Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Feathering the Nest - Dining Room

Somehow the list of things to accomplish before the B-bomb (aka, infant) drops into our lives is getting longer each day, and both my funding as well as energy to complete them are dropping drastically. Ruh-row, to quote the great Scooby Doo. I'm beginning to think I'll never finish another project again...

But that doesn't stop me from starting them :) Last week I ordered a cute little dining room table set, nothing elaborate, but it met my lean criteria of being 1. cheap, 2. counter height (aka - above the dog's tongue...until he jumps), and 3. $0.97 shipping (meaning I didn't have to wrestle it into my car).

I sat down to put it together this weekend, and once I had pried open the box of course I found all the hardware spilled out loose and bouncing around the gigantic carton, which also had some major holes and punctures. I was sure half of it had fallen out along the way, so I started counting up screws and washers, and somehow, everything was still accounted for...except the table top had a huge crack around the apron where the wood had clearly split when the holes were predrilled. Boo! Fail! Daggnabit!

I snapped a few photos and sent them with an email to the replacement parts department right away, but they're only open M-F and on Pacific time, so no word back yet. Hopefully they are cool. I still put together all of the chairs (got to strike while I have energy!), and I really like them, so hopefully they'll send me a new table top ASAP!

One of our goals with the B-bomb is to cook more, and eat as a family, so getting a dining room table was a big first step towards that. The hubby and I actually have never had a dining room table that we sat down to eat at in our 10+ years together, but lounging on the couch in front of the TV is not the example we'd like to set if we can help it. The research on family dinners and healthy kids (both physically and mentally/socially) is overwhelming, so this was pretty high on the list.

Now I just have to learn to cook. And like more than 4 foods myself...

Monday, August 30, 2010

The fear of being boring...and the lady who didn't wear pants.

I had big plans to make some fabulous ensemble to wear to GaGa...

and somehow 4 months flew by, I exploded out of all of my "real" clothes, put a death grip on any frivolous spending (I hear these infant things get pretty expensive), and lost 90% of my energy and endurance.


Yesterday I had a momentary panic realizing that the concert is TONIGHT and I have nothing to wear! My book club compadres are all receiving A+ scores for creatively stitching and combining odd fabrics into what I am sure will be hilarious and fun arrangements, but my situation is a little complicated:

1. I'm huge. Even the clothes I *thought* would still fit (i.e. the random plus-size halter I was counting on from Torrid), don't, as of last night. Hmmm.

2. I'm weak. The idea of standing for hours is already killing my back, and that's before figuring in any sort of cute shoes (I've never sat in a VIP section before, but I'm just figuring we'll be on our feet the whole time again, sadly.) But cute outfits NEED cute shoes. I can't wear a vintage inspired dress with chunky new balance sneakers! My only comfy sandals are brown, but all my outfit choices are black...I have some chunky Mary Janes but even they kill my back after a while if I'm standing. Pregnant ladies + cute shoes = not my reality. But I don't want to spend the whole time worried about my back and not having fun. Hmmm.

3. I'm broke. There is no last minute shopping spree option on the menu, nor any real time to do so.

4. I'm out of time. I'm also working all day today and will have less than an hour to get ready, so as Tim Gunn would say, this is a "make it work moment!"

I'll let you know what I came up with tomorrow...don't hate me if it's completely boring, I'll take photos of people dressed much more boldly to make up for it.

“A year from now, I could go away, and people might say, ‘Gosh, what ever happened to that girl who never wore pants?’ But how wonderfully memorable 30 years from now, when they say, ‘Do you remember Gaga and her bubbles?’ Because, for a minute, everybody in that room will forget every sad, painful thing in their lives, and they’ll just live in my bubble world.” - Lady GaGa, via Vanity Fair Daily, The 10 Strangest Lady Gaga Quotes from That New York Magazine Piece

Friday, August 27, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse

True Blood is half the reason I picked theLouisiana theme for this year's party, and there are TONS of fun characters that would be really easy to whip together costumes for, such as the central figure, telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. She's had a few fairly memorable outfits, but in my opinion it's best to go for the easily identifiable costumes and avoid the "who are you?" discussion. Each of these should be pretty recognizable, easy to put together, and on the cheap side as far as costumes go.

Sookie's usual look is her Merlotte's waitress uniform:

This would be pretty easy to make with a white t-shirt, green half apron, and black shorts. Print out and iron on the Merlotte's logo, or if you're feeling less DIY and more Shop-Till-You-Drop, buy the supplies at HBO's online store - t-shirt is $25, apron is $20. Throw your blond hair (or wig) in a ponytail, add a couple vampire bite tattoos for good measure (you know she can't get enough of it). Even if you buy all the pieces, you're only looking at $50 or so, a bargain with today's costume prices.

Really want to be a fairy, but trying to fit into the theme? No worries! Sook's a fairy too, and in her story they wear lots of random floaty fun, anything from tulle to fur, just as long as it's white.

The easiest way to capture Sookie's fairy look would be to buy a floaty white nightgown, some sequin trim, and a glue gun. I'm finding good gown options on Bonanzle or eCrater for under $30. Sequins, rhinestones, appliques, and other trim can be expensive - consider recycling embellishment from other costumes/dresses you no longer wear, or buying a heavily adorned gown at the goodwill just to chop off the trim. You might want to wear a slip under it too depending on how sheer the fabric is, but the trim will also add some structure and coverage.

This could also be done for under $50 without a problem. Fairies in True Blood don't have wings, but we wouldn't fault you if you really wanted to add a pair. I know accessories are hard to resist.

Looking for a little harder edge? How about Sookie's undercover look when she infiltrated the Werewolf bar, Lou Pines:

You can look for leather/pleather pants and a halter at the Goodwill, Ebay, or Hot Topic, or re-purpose more general costumes like catwoman, or a punk rocker. Rub on some fake tattoos, go heavy on the eyeliner, and add a black bobbed wig (you might even angle it up a little more with your own scissors)

This was actually one of my favorite Sookie looks to date, but nothing rivals her travelling dress:

Chic on the Cheap put together a similar look on their blog, and the comments have some additional helpful resources for finding that floral cardigan. It reminds me so much of my grandmother's curtains. If you can recreate this look, make sure you accessorize with single serve liquor bottles - "They're like BOOZE for DOLLS!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The bets have been placed, and the winner is....

For the first few minutes I was terrified that you "uncooperative" voters would be right. When we arrived for our 8am ultrasound, the little booger was fast asleep, and showed no signs of revving it up to flash the goods. So the tech started with the measurements and other official stuff (that was supposedly the "real" reason we were there - and all of that is good!) and after a lot of poking and prodding, the child became pretty ticked off. Here it is flipping us off (seriously!):

And after a few nice profile shots, here's the babe sticking out their tongue (not sure I see it, but the tech pointed it out so it must be true):

I'd say that she takes after my husband so far.

Catch that? Yup, I said SHE! Ha ha suckers, the vast majority of you (okay, and me) were dead wrong! She eventually got annoyed enough with the pushing of the US wand to move into a good position, and before the tech even announced it I saw the tell tale lines (thank you Internet, for teaching me what to look for) and blurted out "GIRL!?!" I have to admit I wasn't expecting it, even if I was hoping a little. The hubby would like me to include that he was right all along. Regardless, we're thrilled, relieved that all the key parts are accounted for, and looking forward to meeting our little spitfire.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I am off oogling my baby's junk this morning (in addition to having some sort of important measurements and developmental testing, but we all know finding out the sex of your zygote is the real fun - if not an acceptible reason for the insurance company to cover an ultrasound), and since so many of you jerks are voting it will be uncooperative in this endeavor, I think I'll just keep it a secret for a while. Ha, take that Internet. Or the 3 of you who might care a little...

In the meantime, here's a super fun and partially related project I've got in the works:

When we stumbled upon the open house, here's how the room that would eventually become the nursery was staged:

The wallpaper was a cream/yellow with a small floral print:

And the valances matched:

We set it up as a guest bedroom, but since most of our guests actually stay in the basement (pull out couch, big screen TV, separate bathroom) it didn't get much use other than storage and we never bothered with updating (or taking photos of) it until now. A couple weeks ago I cleared out most of the closet, de-cluttered the non-baby friendly crap, and shoved all the remaining furniture to the center of the room in anticipation of tearing down the wallpaper and repainting for the little one. I have actually never painted a place in which I'd lived, and aside from a short experiement helping a friend, I've never painted a wall at all. I definitely haven't torn down wallpaper, and was pretty much expecting the worst - layers of painted over wallpaper, or plaster walls crumbling without the wallpaper holding them together like fondant...who knew what was lurking under the cheery tiny tulips?

I had planned to use these kind of kits that I had watched on QVC or the DIY network or something and was won over by, but I was waiting for the $$$ to invest in them. In preparation I had taken all of the switchplates off, and around the lightswitch there was some "extra" hanging paper.

I gave it a little tug.

The whole sheet came down!

In a matter of an hour, I had done this:

With no tools, no water, and just a little tugging, it all pulled down in long strips:

And the walls underneath were not falling down! In fact, they seemed to be in pretty good shape! They're an ugly powder pink that we will still be repainting, but I breathed a big sigh of relief:

This was all the same weekend I had my little nesting fit, so I felt quite accomplished. I've just got to fill a few nail holes, decide on a paint color, and we're ready to roll!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Old Wives' Tales: Gender Prediction

So, before I find out who was right and who was wrong, and what kind of bits appear to be where, permit me a few more moments of intrigue.

Here's what "they" would say I'm having, based on the oh-so-scientific field of random baseless wisdom passed down through the ages:

Cravings: Sweet = girl, Sour = boy. I've always had a sweet tooth, and while that has somewhat continued (i.e. the chocolate cake, kit kats), the real change has been in my desire for sour things - Sunkist lemonade by the case, sour patch kids, sour watermelon gummies...I'd have to lean boy on this one.

Carrying: High = girl, Low = boy. I'm not totally sure how to judge this one, but Al says I'm low, so by this one we also go boy.

Morning Sickness: Less = girl, More = boy. Clearly boy. Urp.

Skin: Girls "Steal Your Beauty" = assuming I had some to start with, and since I am now a broken out pizza face, this one could go girl.

Chinese Gender Chart: I took two of these, and got one result either way - the first one said boy, the 2nd one (which did some "Chinese age correction") said girl. When I go back and try to find them, I get a million websites who want to spam me or make me register for something, so I'm not linking to any of them. And the results are a wash.

Karma: I'm (not so secretly) rooting for a girl, mostly because I'm already familiar with that owner's manual, so to speak. So I'm pretty sure it will be a boy, just to keep me on my toes or kick me in the teeth. And because I have a house full of glitter and feather boas and other traditionally "girlie" stuff. Its for this same reason my kid will probably be a brat, since I've spend so much of my life annoyed by other people's little monsters.

Conception Month: Dr. Angelo Cagnacci (Modena, Italy) discovered in a baby gender prediction research project (2003) that conceptions in September, October and November (and especially in October) bring more boy births, while conceptions in March and April (especially in April) bring more girl births. (source). This would mean higher likelihood of girl.

Mother's Weight: the same scientist above concluded that mothers under 119 lbs are more likely to have girls. This would NOT be me :) = Boy.

Some other study I read somewhere on the web said that 71% of mothers guessed their baby's sex correctly. I've always had a "feeling" this was a boy.

You have just a few more hours to vote, and for the love of my sanity, stop saying it won't cooperate! I'm not above downing a vast amount of sugar, binging on caffeine, or doing cartwheels if kiddo won't flash the goods.

Grand Superior Lodge = neither grand nor superior.

I did, in fact leave my phone charger at the lodge this weekend. The lodge we spent at least$500 at when factoring in the 2 night stay, restaurant visits, and gift shop purchases. The lodge with zero soundproofing between us and the reception hall beneath our room, to the point that we could easily identify each song the DJ played during the weddings BOTH nights of our stay. The lodge with zero soundproofing between adjoining rooms as well, such that I fully expected the crying baby on the floor above to fall through our ceiling at any moment.

When I called, and was told they had found my charger, I was relieved and offered to pay shipping for it's return, honestly expecting them to tell me no problem and I'd have it in a few days.

So much for Minnesota Nice.

I was told there was a $15 minimum fee for shipping anything.


Is $15 a huge inconvenience? Probably not. But after all that we had spent, how overpriced that seemed for the amenities we received (sleepless nights, mediocre food, waitresses bickering with bartenders and one announcing to the room "Oh, Blow it out your ass!") and the clear lack of recognition of this as a customer service opportunity and cost of doing business in the hotel industry, I was pissed. And very surprised.

Had my charger not been obsolete due to age, I could have picked one up for less than $15. I believe the whole phone was $20. And above all else, I'm just incredibly irritated that after all I spent and what little was received at this resort, that they were willing to gouge my pocketbook once again. My charger would have cost about $3 to mail. Even if you shoved it in a flat-rate box, which the post office would deliver to you and pick up again, it wouldn't be more than $9, and that's for a much larger box than necessary. The staff time involved should at the very LEAST be considered part of maintaining the business relationship.

Instead, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. We were polite during our stay because the bride & groom have a special place in their hearts for this location, but had we been vacationing for any other reason we would have left midway through the first night as the music pounded away beneath our beds. As much as we love the North Shore, this is one resort to cross off our list permanently - Grand Superior Lodge, you have certainly lost my business, and I could never recommend you after these experiences.

I bought a new phone for $29. I think I might tell them to shove the charger up their @$$es.

Monday, August 23, 2010


After all the hullabaloo I went through to get a new charger for my old and decrepit phone, I'm pretty sure I left it at the hotel this weekend. D'oh. I'd blame pregnancy brain, but I tend to do stuff like this a LOT. I've "lost" my checkcard under the seats in my car about twice a week, and before I started clipping my keys on my purse with a caribeaner, I probably spent at least 30 mins a day searching for them.

Also, I sucked at taking photos this weekend. Oops.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Midway Shenanigans...

Exciting things always happen when I do errands in Midway. Today I ran to Target on my lunch break to purchase some important last minute supplies for a wedding this weekend - fake eyelashes and a gigantic strapless bra (not a lot of options in my rapidly increasing size range, how do you busty ladies do it?). While waiting for the world's slowest cashier to ring up 7000 school supplies for the family in front of me, I absent mindedly rubbed my stomach.

I can't help it. It's unconscious. It's like when people get their tongue pierced and rub it on their teeth all the time, or how a newly engaged woman twirls her ring nonstop. To the rest of the world it looks like you are showing off and drawing attention, but really it's completely out of your control - something new is there where something isn't normally, and you just have to touch it. So if you're reading this and humming "Pregnant Women Are Smug," that's fine for a million other reasons, but not because of the belly rubbing. I imagine people do it with breast implants too (I probably would).

When it was finally my turn, cashier asks "How are you feeling?"

A slight departure from the usual "How are you" nicety, but okay...

"Fine, thanks." (Wow, I gave her a thanks. I must have been feeling charitable!)

"Well, you were rubbing your stomach..."

(uh, sorry? WTF?) "Oh, I'm pregnant, so it's just hanging out there..." (why am I explaining?)

"Yeah, I know - I just ask because I've had one person go into labor in my lane."

Once again, Target Midway is never a dull excursion. And possibly a good place to jumpstart labor. Will keep in mind.

I'm off to a super exciting weekend wedding, where I will cross #101 off my bucket list and catch up with some amazing friends from high school. I may bring my "WebConnect Rocket" but no promises, since this lumpy lady crashes about 8pm on a normal night.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: Mardi Gras Ball

I'm a sucker for feathers. And sparkles. And headdresses. And drag queens. So it's no surprise that Mardi Gras Ball costumes keep catching my eye. Is there a better way to celebrate a festival of excess than an over the top ensemble?

The keys to a Mardi Gras Ball costume include:

Excessive Collars - think of these as a backdrop for your face. They're not super comfortable, and you lose some of your peripheral vision (I wouldn't recommend driving with them on - assuming you could even fit into a car) but they definitely make a huge impact, such as this king and queen duo:


Elaborate Headpieces - whether you are inspired by Vegas showgirls, Carmen Miranda, or Lady GaGa, a fabulous fascinator or haute hat is a staple of this look. Excellent example:

source - with lots more great costume photos on her blog

SPARKLES! Are there any little things in this world happier than glitter, jewels, and shine? I find it imperative to wear something with sparkle every day, but Halloween/Mardi Gras clearly call for a bit more volume. Crowns, jewelry, scepters or wands, trim and appliques really bring your look to life:


Makeup & Masks: Masks are a popular symbol of Mardi Gras as really easy to find at party stores or even customize on your own. There are a million different styles - full, half, Venetian, tie on - and even more looks to choose from. I love how a mask really makes you feel incognito, like you really are trying out an alter ego.



But if you don't like having your face physically covered, you can always use makeup to achieve a similar effect:

source and makeup list

Popular themes seem to involve royalty, the traditional colors of violet, green, and yellow, and often a hint at the risque nature of mardi gras. So whip out your old bridesmaid gowns, a glue gun, and some Xmas garland and go to town. As long as you go overboard, you're doing it right.

These people act like every day is a Mardi Gras Ball:

Lady GaGa

Dame Edna


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dear Internets,

I may have found a way for us to be together. I'm still working out the details, but it involves T-Mobile's new "WebConnect Rocket" - unlimited Internet, decent monthly price, and most importantly NO CONTRACT, so if the babybomb dropping in January proves to bankrupt us or otherwise turn us into Internet abhorrent zombies, I can hit the kill switch at any point I need to. None of the promo materials give you this option, but when I asked - BOOM! Excellent answer: if you buy the card at retail price, then no contract (otherwise you're locked in for TWO YEARS. I have no idea if I'll still be able to walk, talk, and type in two years. I may be locked in my house with an evil toddler no longer able to comprehend adult speak. Or just broke). I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship...and more posting.

I loaded it up last night and was super disappointed at first - it was really slow. This was particularly confusing as my excellent saleslady (excellent because she gave me a new charger for my out of date phone, since they didn't sell them anymore and she had one sitting around - this was the REAL reason I had gone in to the store in the first place. Kinda makes me rethink my hatred of T-mobile...) had said it was their fastest product, competing with Sprint's 4G card. Harrumph. But after I ran a million updates on my poor computer that hadn't been connected to the Internet in months, everything seemed pretty slick. Tonight's plan is to test out how my Heritage Makers site runs on it, since a large part of my plan is to attempt to keep up on scrapbooks when the little bugger arrives (go ahead veteran moms, laugh at my naivety. I realize it's a long shot, but we all need dreams).

Anyways, I'm still in the "testing phase" and I have 13 days left to make up my mind or return it. I'll let you know how it goes. And by the way, T-mobile isn't paying me anything. Though they are certainly welcome to.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And this little piggie cried "OMG, it's blocking out the sun!"

Bump Watch: 18 Weeks

From the front, I can still pass for a typical chunky midwesterner (hey, my peeps need some padding to survive our long cold winters, it's evolution at its cheese-curd-induced finest).

From the side, I think I have a reasonably established bump, especially when wearing form fitting clothing.

But the angle I see most often, looking straight down at what appears to be a beach ball:

barely shows my toes poking out any more! And I may have been leaning forward to capture that image. So don't ask me why my toenails haven't been painted, why my socks don't match, or why my big toes are hairy. Out of sight, out of mind. See you in the new year, little piggies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: Saints Marching In

It's no secret I'm not really a sports person, in fact I've been known to cry when some clueless spouse "invited" me to a basketball game on Valentine's Day (and that was pre-hormones). So suffice it to say, this is not really an area of expertise for me. Apparently New Orleans has a football team. Apparently they won a superbowl or something. And just this week, they sat down to eat a po' boy with President Obama. I don't know much about any of that, but I DO appreciate gold lame pants, feather boas, and the costume inspiration this team can bring to my NOLA party. Here are a few pics to get your wheels turning:

Saints Football Uniforms:

Saints Cheerleaders:

Saints Fans:

(More super fans on the calendar described here)

English Majors such as moi are required to appreciate puns ("they were once the highest form of humor" for super bonus points: can you attribute that quote?) so I can't help it that my mind keeps going to these kinds of saints:

Especially if you mixed it with some hats and instruments like these:


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby Poll

I added a poll in the right menu bar - we're getting close to our mid-point ultrasound, got any guesses?

Suzy Homemaker Weekend

Because hormones are like crack, only free!

So now that you've been properly prepped by the article in my previous post, you know that 1. this was instinctual, 2. I was powerless to stop it, and 3. suffice it to say I've already been properly chastised by both my mother and husband for the heavy furniture part. And it will all probably continue to get worse as January approaches!

I had no $$ to start removing wallpaper, painting walls, or buying furniture for the nursery. I had plenty of other house projects that needed attention - i.e. the dumping ground that is my craft room, but it's hot up there in the summer and this weekend was wretched humid. I could have vacuumed, dusted, or any of the other "daily" tasks I prefer to do semi-annually, but for some reason, I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO rearrange all of our bedroom furniture.

Remember, it's not my fault. I am but a slave to the hormones. But if we were in court, it would be noted that I carefully waited until AFTER my husband left to start throwing dressers and mattresses around. Several times. So yeah, I probably knew I shouldn't be exerting myself in such ways, but nothing hurt and I employed the few physics lessons I learned in Howie Shuckhart's class to rely on leverage and minimize drag, so all is well. And I actually really like the new arrangement! I was also happy to finally vacuum around the bed and under the dressers (it had been way too long, and apparently my dog sheds like...a dog. Seriously, I probably could have soaked up all of the BP oil had I swept and vacuumed this stuff up sooner. Oops).

As part of the swap I pulled in a smaller dresser from the "nursery" and moved my larger surface dresser over to be the changing table.

Then I decided to dig out my drill/screwdriver and take the brackets off the back of the dresser that formerly held a mirror we no longer use.

Since the tools were already out, I figured it was a good time to remove all of the switch plate covers in the nursery before we start stripping wallpaper and painting.

In the tool bin were a bunch of nails, including one that looked like it would work to fix the metal strip between our linoleum and wood floors when entering the kitchen, so I pounded that in while it was on my mind.

Then I laid down for a while, because damn it was hot out and other than this strange burst of energy I've basically been lethargic and weak for 3 months, so flopping on the bed has become my natural state. And while I was doing so, I looked up at the ceiling fan and decided to finally remove the light that had burnt out months ago and needed to be replaced. It's currently in a baggie with the strange lightbulb from the kitchen nook, the dial I broke off the vent fan in the kitchen, and a switch plate cover I need to match if I ever get to the hardware store.

Then I laid back down. To rest, and cool off, and relax.

And I got my first flutter!

Clearly the little baked potato was congratulating me on my hard work. Or possibly pissed at my efforts and their related contortions & straining (seriously, moving my 100 lb. pillow top mattress is like fighting with a ton of jello. No form, lots of bulk. It's a battle of wills).

Anyways, there was a flutter! It was a quick little 1-2-3 which I like to believe was either a right-left-right sparring move, or an uptempo version of the clap along to "We Will Rock You".

And I have felt nothing since. Sigh. Well, it's still early, and perfectly normal for the first few movements to be widely spaced and random. So "they" say. Clearly a BBQ chicken pizza was in order to celebrate.

Next day - energy burst subsided? Not quite.

Since it was the HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR, it seemed a good time to make a roast (?!?). So I invited my mom over to show me how it's done.

In preparation I washed the stove and put the burner rings in the dishwasher. The sun was shining in the windows...highlighting all of the crap on the floor. So I swept and vacuumed the kitchen, wiped down the microwave and all the counters, and scrubbed the sink.

I washed all of our organic produce, peeled and sliced carrots, onions, and potatoes, and flung it all in the oven. My first roast:

It was AMAZING! I even ate a carrot (I am NOT a veggie person) just for the tiny one's benefit. And we sat down at THE TABLE, which I had CLEARED OFF, rather than our usual routine of collapsing in front of the TV.

It was a surreal experience.

To balance out all of my domestic achievements, I was in clear need of some debauchery. Since pregnant ladies generally get all dis-included from such revelry, I compensated by catching up on True Blood, Being Human, and MadMen. While eating store bought chocolate brownies. Can't go setting the bar too high now, can we? :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Before I tell you about my weekend, read this:

Nesting Instinct,
from Pregnancy Weekly

Around the fifth month of pregnancy, the "nesting" instinct can set in. This is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.

Females of the animal kingdom are all equipped with this same need. It is a primal instinct. Just as you see birds making their nests, mothers-to-be do exactly the same thing. The act of nesting puts you in control and gives a sense of accomplishment toward birth. You may become a homebody and want to retreat into the comfort of home and familiar company, like a brooding hen. The nesting urge can also be seen as a sign of the onset of labor when it occurs close to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

Nesting brings about some unique and seemingly irrational behaviors in pregnant women and all of them experience it differently. Women have reported throwing away perfectly good sheets and towels because they felt the strong need to have "brand new, clean" sheets and towels in their home. They have also reported doing things like taking apart the knobs on kitchen cupboards, just so they could disinfect the screws attached to the knobs. Women have discussed taking on cleaning their entire house, armed with a toothbrush. There seems to be no end to the lengths a nesting mother will go to prepare for her upcoming arrival.

This unusual burst of energy is responsible for women ironing anything in the house that couldn't out run them. Being preoccupied with ant killing, squishing them one at a time for weeks on end. Packing and unpacking the labor bag 50 times. Cleaning the kitchen cupboards and organizing everything by size to the point that you make sure the silverware patterns match when it's stacked in the cutlery drawer. Sorting the baby's clothes over and over again is a favorite theme. Taking them out of the drawers and re-folding them, putting them away and doing it over and over again. Nesting will provide interesting stories for years to come.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Heather's Mailbag: Knocked Up Edition

I've received several ADORABLE cards from friends and family since word got out, and I'm loving them all. I'm a sucker for mail to begin with, but I also just love cards - the sentiments, the images, the fancy papers...Seriously, they surround me at work so when I'm puking in my garbage can I can remember "hey, this is fun, remember?!?" Yesterday I received this one from my mom's close friend and my childhood neighbor:

Yep, that about sums it up. Thank you everyone for all your love and mail! I've already scanned most of them for the babybook :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: BP Oil Spill

This will no doubt be a huge costume craze this Halloween, but it is particularly fitting for our 2010 theme as the latest disaster to ravage New Orleans. Basically you can take any number of costumes up a level with some black paint, vinyl, or even sequins (please don't use actual oil...if you think I'll let you in my house and on my furniture). Political costumes, regardless of which side of the issue you are really on, are always attention grabbers.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, as predicted, had quite a few anti-BP and oil-spill-related entries, such as:

(my photo...see more of this group here)

Paint for oil - might still rub off (not on my couch please!) but at least it's dry...

These marchers used REAL oil - no wonder she looks so sad. That has to feel NASTY. Also, you'd have to party on my front porch, because that crap doesn't come out of rugs, upholstery, or carpet.

To be much safer, how about a less transferable form of "oil?" I'm thinking some shiny black vinyl would be great (I'm more into the idea than realism...I know it looks brown, but that's less identifiable. Remember that Halloween is more about the caricature than the actual character). You can buy it in most fabric stores, especially around Halloween - think of what you'd make a Cat Woman costume out of:

One caveat: I can tell you from experience, vinyl gets hot. And don't forget what you learned from Ross' leather pants. You've been warned.

So to recap - tons of possibilities to take a mermaid, sailor, beachcomber, sea turtle, shrimp, lobster, crab, or other gulf resident and dip them in oil (not the tasty frying kind).

You could also just "be" the oil spill en masse - how about starting with a flouncy vinyl dress:

(source), then add a couple of these "seaweed" boas:


Tie on a few oil-spattered plastic fish and birds, and you're good to go. Maybe throw in some mardi gras beads, "beach closed" signs, shrimp trollers, and BP logos in the swirling muck.

Here's a homemade commentary on the Exxon Valdez oil spill you could easily update:

(found it here)

Consider replacing the ship "hat" with an oil derrick "hat" and you can still slap some dying sea life all over your shirt and call it a costume. Plus for some reason I think Oil Derricks are kind of cool looking, like a redneck Eiffel tower. And the possibilities for the "eruption" at the top with lots of beads or something else signifying droplets falling are way fun.

Even the commercial costume shops are jumping on the bandwagon, here's the "Bad Planning" costume from AnytimeCostumes:

Additional BP Twists: BP Businessman (or woman) in a suit with BP logo, with blood on his hands, or money coming out of his ears, or devil horns & tail...Sarah Palin (DRILL BABY DRILL!) with a strategically placed oil derrick...clean up worker in a haz-mat suit and respirator...

(source) Don't forget about taking the iconic Uncle Sam or Lady Liberty and smearing them in oil or strangling them with gas pumps.

Happy Haunting