Thursday, January 31, 2008

Free Stuff!

My good blogging buddy
Terri
is having a giveaway in honor of 5000 hits on her blog. She's a working mom, and always has fun stories to share. Check her out, sign up for her free stuff, and tell her I sent you!

It's almost Friday!! And thanks to the housing market, I get a day off on Monday. Happy happy joy joy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What a Trip!

Warning! This is an extremely LONG post, but I promise that I’ll pepper it with photos...that came from my Uncle’s camera since my memory card crapped out on me.

I’m home, safe and sound, after a VERY crazy and busy 4 days. Grandma was doing amazingly well, and I think she will be well taken care of once everyone has gone home. My uncle will be staying with her for a couple weeks, and that should help her adjust gradually.

My flight out there went exactly as planned, as did my sister’s, so we ended up on the same airport tram to the train station after we claimed our bags. I only made a little scene as I fawned all over Captain when I saw him, and I only almost fell over one time as the tram lurched into motion.

We caught the BART train that would take us to my Grandma’s town, and after a very loud and long and tiring ride (where I insisted on taking Captain out of his seat so I could hold him), we arrived at our station and found my mom. I had been traveling for 10 hours by then, Sis for about 12. We were starving, exhausted, and ready to take showers. After 2 tries, we finally got everything into the trunk of Mom’s Honda, and off we went. We were dying for some Baja Fresh...if you don’t know what that is, then you’re missing out! We had to go say hi to Grandma first, but then we ventured to the next town to get our fix. Ooh, that Baja Ensalada and chicken taco tasted good!

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at Grandma’s house (translation – NO nap and NO shower). All evening more people kept coming by...my cousins and their spouses, aunts, uncles, great aunts. I think we had more than 20 people in Grandma’s living room by then end of the night. And it didn’t really help that Grandma likes to keep her thermostat set at 80 degrees...we talked her into 78, and sweated through it.

Looking at old pictures at Grandma's...


FINALLY, we headed over to my aunt’s house right before we collapsed. We enjoyed the coolness and quiet of her house while we snacked on ice cream, checked out her redecorated kitchen, and waited for more cousins to arrive. The airports sure saw a lot of our family this weekend!

Sunday morning I woke up at 7am, after about 7 hours of sleep on an air mattress. I couldn’t sleep anymore because my tummy was growling, so I enjoyed the only quiet of that day by doing a little reading and eating a snack. We had a family breakfast and then Shell came to see me!! She doesn’t live too far from my aunt, so she stopped by to visit with us for a couple hours. It was SO good to see her! We chatted about all these pregnant, as well as our families and husbands, and we enjoyed the antics of little Captain.

Captain gets a bath...


Then the craziness began! Shell headed off to a party, while the rest of us made the next necessary food run when you’re in California...In N Out Burgers. Yum yum! My cousin is getting married this summer, and she wanted to show us a couple wedding dresses in a shop that just so happened to be across the street from the best burger place ever (In N Out, if you’re a little slow). We gorged ourselves on burgers and fries, and then fought the urge to scream as we dealt with the incompetence at David’s Bridal shop. And then it was off to the viewing at the cemetery.



For 2 hours we met family and friends of my Grandparents who we’d never known or not seen since we were kids. Because Grandpa was Mom’s step dad, there are a lot of other step-family members that I can’t keep up with. Grandpa didn’t really look like himself lying there, and Grandma was so overwhelmed that she asked me who I belonged to. She kinda scared me, but Mom said she was fine.

After the viewing, our family went BACK to the 78 degree house where Grandma lives for a spaghetti dinner cooked by my mom. Mom makes GREAT spaghetti! The cousins (there are 11 when we’re all together and 10 of us plus 3 spouses were there this time) hung out in the second living room where it was slightly cooler and we had a door to the outside that we kept opening to let the cool air in. Actually, my UNCLE opened the door originally, and when Grandma came in to get something, he beat it out of there so fast we didn’t know what was going on. For some reason, we didn’t get in trouble, Grandma just closed the door and went about her business.

We told story after story about growing up…we used to all spend A LOT of time together – holidays, summers, trips to the snow or to Santa Cruz. We’re all grown up now, and it’s kinda weird. There wasn’t a “kids” table, but we all still sat together. The difference was that our parents wandered in and out and shared the stories with us, too.

We also took time for family pictures. Here's Mom's bro's family...



and Mom's sis's family...


All the cousins...


Grandma and her 3 kids...


Exhausted again, we headed back to my aunt’s house. Things got a little stressful there though because we were inviting the ENTIRE family (step and blood) back to her house after the funeral the next day. My aunt had a list of stuff for us to do the next morning before we left for the cemetery – put our beds away, pick up our stuff, set up the chairs, go to the store, etc. etc. I don’t think she appreciated our giggles and side comments while she was giving orders. Oops.

I AGAIN woke up too early the next day, 6am! My sis was up because she didn’t feel good, and there was no reason to go back to bed, so we decided to make the grocery store run for my aunt. The perk was that we were able to get in our 3rd food necessity for California – smoothies from Jamba Juice. Oh boy! That was just what we needed to get through the morning.

Uncle D plays with Captain...


We managed to get the house ready for the after-party, and we all left for the funeral. It was a beautiful day. It had been raining for several days, overcast and kinda cool, but Monday morning we woke up to clear blue skies and beautiful weather. The service was very nice. My grandpa’s brother (who looks JUST like him) spoke as did his brother, and they brought us all to tears. Grandpa had a difficult relationship with most of his kids, and his oldest son passed away suddenly just 6 days before Grandpa (his funeral was 2 days before Grandpa’s), but things seemed to have been worked out.

Because the weather had cleared up, we were able to do the burial immediately after the service. Grandma was presented with our U.S. flag for the time Grandpa served in the Merchant Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard.



The rest of the day was spent at my Aunt’s house, eating, laughing, talking, looking at old pictures, getting haircuts (just me – my cousin is practicing for her state boards for cosmetology)...



playing cards...



and singing old hymns around the piano...



We really had a good time. The house was packed! I don’t know how we all fit inside.

Here are 4 generations all together (my grandma, mom, sis and nephew)...



Sis and Captain have some fun...



The step-family left after a couple hours, but our family stayed into the evening. Finally, people had to leave to get to airports or get home for work the next day, or just get out of the house...that was Mom, Sis and I. We headed to the next town over to do some baby shopping. Mom and Sis wanted to help me finish baby registering, so off we went. We registered for all kinds of things, and then we were starving...and what was across the street?? In N Out! Yes, we ate it again!

We went back to my Aunt’s to start getting ready for our long trip home. We were in bed by 11:30, but I couldn’t fall asleep until 1am, and the alarm went off at 4am. We had to leave for the BART station at 4:30am in order for Sis and her family to catch their flight. We left a little late, but had no problems making the train. Too bad it was packed! We had to squeeze in where we could, and our bags were blocking the aisles, but we didn’t care. We were so tired!

We made it to the airport, had time to eat a snack and say hi for 10 minutes to an old friend who stopped by to see us. Then I had to say goodbye to Sis, BIL and Captain as their flight left an hour before mine. Oh, and did you know that the airlines require PROOF of age on kids you hold on your lap? The ticketing agent had the nerve to ask for proof of age on Captain (whose birth cert has not arrived yet) to show that he was under 2 years old. He’s 10 weeks old! Come on!

Anyway, I headed over to my gate, got my bag checked, made it through security, bought a sandwich to eat on the plane, and sat down to wait. They boarded us on time, we pushed away from the gate, and I fell asleep. About 15 minutes later, the captain came on and said that we were going back to the gate because we were delayed to Dallas for an hour and a half...due to high winds. I only had an hour in Dallas! This pregnant lady was NOT happy!

After getting off the plane, waiting in line to talk to the agent about what I should do, and getting BACK on the plane, we finally took off an hour late. I was stressed because the next flight to get me home, if I missed my original one, didn’t get me home until 11pm. BUT, everything got delayed in Dallas, so I had 30 minutes to get to my gate that was only 5 away from where I came in. I finally made it home, just an hour late.

My Sis and her family had to circle Chicago for about 30 minutes waiting for clearance to land, and they only had 20 minutes left to make their connection by the time they landed. Luckily, their gate was also close, so they made it and got home on time as well. However, as soon as they got in their car and headed home, they were in the middle of a tornado warning, with sirens and everything. Sis called our good friend to ask if they could go over and hide in their basement since they don’t have one. The warning finally ended, and they were able to go home.

My Great Aunts ended up staying another night in CA because there’s a blizzard at their home in Washington state – a plane even slid off the runway a couple days ago! Mom and Dad started their drive home yesterday afternoon and got there just after I went to bed last night.

Besides the Great Aunts, we’re all safe and sound at home trying to get back into our routine. What a trip...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Girls Night Out

I wrote this while waiting at the airport at 5:30am on Saturday morning, but this is the first chance I've had to post it...

Last night was girls’ night out for our little group from the Y. We used to call ourselves the Route 44 gang (named by one of the husbands) because we started out going to Sonic for sodas after the gym on Saturday mornings. It’s evolved into something much more now. We email several times a week, chat on the phone, walk in 5k’s (one of us ran), talk obsessively about what new step combo we’ll learn next week, and in general….we NEVER shut up. There is never a quiet moment, let alone second, when the 4 of us are together. If we’re not all trying to talk at once about something, then there are a couple conversations going on at the same time.

Last night the plan was to eat dinner at The Texas Roadhouse and then head over to Babies R Us to get me registered. Well, our call-ahead plan to the restaurant kind of backfired on us, and we still had to wait 30 minutes. And then we started chatting at the table so it took us a while to decide what to eat, but that’s ok because that’s what the three baskets of bread were for! The 2 preggos in our group decided on good ‘ol beef and baked potatoes (we ate broccoli, too!) while the other 2 had salad and chicken. Our service was a little slow also because our teeny bopper server couldn’t stay away from the table across from us where there were 2 dudes sitting. We got a good laugh at how they checked out her ultra-flat, and not attractive, butt every time she walked away. Ok, so we checked it out, too…just to see what all the fuss was about.

After all of this drama, we didn’t get to the store until 35 minutes before they closed. I had to fill out a form, get the quick intro to the scanner, etc., by the clerk, and then we were off. Or so we thought…next we had to escape the stalking sales guy in the car seat area. I finally got registered for about 10 things. Oh well.

We were quite the sight running around the store, talking all at once, pushing the cart that held all our coats and purses…and then we ultimately had to get kicked out when they wanted to lock the doors. But, we had fun. And I was overwhelmed as I expected, but the humor of our group running around helped with some of that.

Now we just have to find a time to go back and actually get it all done. Maybe next Friday night. Hey, this is a good way for us to get girls’ night out every week!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Updates

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, everyone!

It's been a long and chaotic week, but I think everything is under control now. My grandma had a very rough first night, she didn't sleep and got up in the morning shaking uncontrollably. She asked to go see her doctor who prescribed some anti-anxiety meds for her. She's doing better now. She's surrounded by family and loved ones and her church is helping out a lot, too. Mom says that when she sees someone for the first time, she hugs them, tells them she loves them, cries, and then tells them what happened to Grandpa. It's her way of coping.

Almost our entire family will be at the funeral this weekend. My brother isn't able to make it, and The Colonel is staying home, but all the other cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., will be in town by Saturday night. After HOURS on the phone and the Internet with my sister, we were able to time our arrivals in San Francisco to within 5 minutes of each other tomorrow. It will be a long day, as she travels with a baby for the first time (my BIL will be there to help), and we all have to be at our airports before 6am (which is 4am in CA!).

I'm excited to see family who I haven't seen in a couple years, and not surprisingly, I have a few places I'd like to go eat while I'm out there. =) I think I'll even be able to visit with Shell for a bit over the weekend.

The viewing will be on Sunday, and the funeral on Monday....then we all head back home on Tuesday morning. That's when Grandma will really need to rely on her church family and my cousins who live near her.

In other news...this last minute trip this weekend caused me to reschedule a few things this week and next. I moved my regular doctor's appointment up a day to make sure it was ok for me to travel. That meant that I had to also move up my glucose test...which I FAILED! I'm so not happy about that, as now I have to go back next week for the 3 hour test where I have to fast for 12 hours before. Yuck!

I also had to move a 2nd job interview I had scheduled for Monday. They were very understanding, and it's back on the calendar for next Thursday. More on that later.

I came in to work early today, after not sleeping AGAIN last night, because we're having problems on our line again. But, I'll get off early, so I'll have plenty of time to pack for my trip tomorrow and be ready for my girls night out! I have made the most wonderful friends at my local YMCA...we're all addicted to step aerobics, and when we're all together, you can't get a word in edgewise. Tonight we're heading out to dinner and then they're going to help me register for baby stuff. I'm having anxiety just thinking about registering, so I'm glad I'll have helpers.

Whew! I told you it's been crazy. Have a great weekend, and please pray for safe travel for my family over the next few days. And wouldn't you know it? I'm going back to Cali, and it's rainy and ugly while it's going to be 55 and sunny here this weekend. Figures!

Travel Hell



In honor of the TraHell contest, I bring you my most frustrating travel experience. Go check out the contest and submit your own story.

I’ve had many frustrations in my travels, and one other was pretty bad, but I was young and na├»ve then, so it doesn’t stick in my mind as much as this one...

A few years ago I was flying home to California from St. Louis. I’d been in an extremely boring week long training session that started on Sunday afternoon and ended on Friday afternoon. We were in classes and lectures for almost 12 hours each day and then expected to go to dinner with the class. EVERYTHING took place in the hotel. I didn’t have a rental car, and I only left the hotel 2 times the entire week. Needless to say, by Friday afternoon I was ready to GET HOME.

I flew America’s Worst and had a layover in Phoenix, one of the worst places to fly through with this airline. There were 3 other people on my flight who I knew from home (that’s Bako for you), so we chatted as we waited in the gate area in PHX to board the plane. We boarded the plane and took off for our 1 hour flight that would end my week of training hell. When we were about 25 minutes into the flight, almost halfway there, we smelled a little smoke. The flight attendant came on the speaker and said there was a problem with some wiring in the bathroom, and we had to turn around and go back to Phoenix. What? We were almost there, why couldn’t we just go on??

Now, this had been a late flight already, probably 9pm or so, (I've blocked a lot of the exact details from my memory) and when we got back to PHX, they kept us in our seats at the gate while they tried to fix the problem. After about 40 minutes of NOT fixing the problem, they told us to get off the plane and wait in the gate area. It was close to 11pm by now. Of course they didn’t keep us posted about what was going on, so we kept going up to ask. We were REPEATEDLY told that they would NOT cancel our flight because there were no available rental cars or hotel rooms in Phoenix due to multiple events going on – MBA spring training, LPGA tournament, and some NASCAR or other racing event.

About midnight, we saw our pilot and co-pilot leave the gate area with their luggage. What?!? We asked again what was going on and were told that our flight was still planning on leaving that night. With no pilot??

FINALLY, at 1am, they told us that we would NOT be leaving that night and that there were NO vouchers available for hotel rooms, since no rooms were available. They told us that the next flight we could get on was 11am the next morning. We were given food vouchers, but there were no food vendors open anymore. We had no luggage, no pillows, no blankets, no food, and it looked like we were spending the night in the terminal. We finally convinced the gate agent to get us some blankets and pillows from the plane.

A few of us called hotels on our own only to be told that there were indeed no rooms. We also tried to find a rental car because we were only an 8 hour drive from home. No dice.

Finally, we decided to try to get comfortable on the plastic chairs in the sub-zero degree terminal. Luckily, I had my glasses and some saline so I could at least take my contacts out. Then we attempted to sleep. Right about the time I dozed off, the cleaning crew came through with their super-sonic vacuum cleaners and they vacuumed RIGHT UNDER the chair I was attempting to sleep on.

It was a big like the Langoliers (have you seen that movie??) wandering around the airport that night.



I don’t think we dozed for more than 2 hours when everyone decided they couldn’t take it anymore. We headed out in search of food about 5am. Nothing was open on our side of security, so we thought we’d venture further. The idiot TSA guy we ran into said that we couldn’t get back through security to the gate until 6am, or something ridiculous. Our gate agent said it would be no problem for us to get back in. While we stood there arguing with him, he looked down and told one of the girls with me that her toe had crossed the line into the un-secure area, and she’d have to wait to come back in til later. What?? That pissed us off even more. Somehow we FINALLY convinced him to let stay on our side. Note: My Dad worked for the FAA for years, and when I told him this story, he said the guy was totally out of line, and Dad called and filed a complaint for us.

Anyway, at some point we got out to the main terminal, got some food, walked around, and then we headed back to the gate. There was a guy on our flight who was returning home after spending a year in Iraq. He was in his mid 20’s, wearing fatigues, and just a nice guy. He had been in Baghdad when Saddam was captured. His group (I don’t know the right term) had just been getting ready to hand out matchbooks that had a picture of Saddam on it, offering a reward for his capture. They never handed out the matchbooks because Saddam was captured first, so the troops got to each keep a box of them. This guy was carrying those matchbooks with him. He’d been through security at who knows how many airports already, and in Phoenix they decided to tell him that he couldn’t have move than 2 matchbooks for security purposes. We were pissed! After all of us came to his defense and argued for a bit, with no success, we backed away from the checkpoint and divvied up the matchbooks. We all took 2. Then after we got through security, we gave them all back to him. Ha! He let me keep one to give to The Colonel. It was so cool!

We spent the rest of our time waiting for our flight chatting with the soldier and asking him about his experiences. He was on an earlier flight than us going to a city about 2 hours from our hometown. His parents were driving up there to meet him. They were pretty anxious to see him!

We said goodbye to our soldier, and continued to wait for our 11am flight. About 45 minutes later...here comes our soldier again! He got on the plane, took off, and then THEY CAME BACK due to mechanical problems! They rebooked him on our flight, he called his parents and told them to drive BACK to Bako, and we finally all boarded our flight.

And then we sat...and then we taxied, and then we sat...and we FINALLY took off, all of us holding our breaths. Exhausted, dirty, stinky and frustrated, we finally landed in good ol Bako mid-day Saturday. The only saving grace was that the news was there to welcome home our soldier, as well as his family and friends.

This trip would have been 1000 times worse if we hadn't been able to visit with our soldier, hear his stories and take our minds off of how miserable we were. The girl who was with me when her toe crossed the line was on her way to Bako to visit her husband for the weekend. She was living in OH, while he was in CA for a few months. Due to our troubles, she had to get right back on a plane 14 hours later to get back home in time for work on Monday.

And what did America’s Worst give us all??? NOTHING! But, I called and complained and asked for supervisor after supervisor, and I finally got a $250 voucher. Thank you very much!

Wow, I’m exhausted just thinking about it all over again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Plea for Prayer

We got this email from my Dad today. It came as quite a shock.

Grandpa Tom died unexpectedly at home this morning. Mom and I are driving up to help Grandma today and don't know how long we will be there. All I know at this time is that he got up from bed around 7 AM to turn up the thermostat and when he came back he just hugged Grandma very tightly. She asked if he was okay but Grandpa Tom said nothing. She went to the bathroom and upon returning could still get no response so she called 911. The paramedics could not revive him.

Grandpa Tom is my mom’s step-dad. He has been married to my Mom’s mom for almost 29 years. He was 81, and in seemingly good health besides being diabetic. And to make matters worse, his son passed away last week, unexpectedly, and he was only in his 50’s.

Grandma is distraught, to put it mildly. She is not used to being alone, and at 86 years old, it’s probably not good for her to be by herself.

It’s sad to say, but we have never been very close to this set of grandparents. But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t love them or that they don’t love us dearly. Grandpa Tom and Grandma Anne always remember our birthdays and send us emails and are thrilled when we respond to them. They were planning on meeting us all in my hometown in March when Sis, Captain, and I are home.

It’s not a revolutionary thing to say – but you never know when you will see or speak to someone for the last time. I completely took it for granted that I would see Grandpa in March. I was actually looking forward to it, because he and Grandma were making such an effort to make the trip down to see us (it’s a 4 hour drive).

Please pray for Grandma as she deals with this loss. And please pray for my parents and my aunt and uncle as they make arrangements and try to help Grandma decide what to do next. This isn’t exactly good timing for our family…but when is it ever?

And hug your loved ones extra hard today. Send an email or a card to those who you don’t see often. Tell them that you love them…before it’s too late.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Meme Time

Shell tagged me with this one, and since I just backed up all of my postings, I have a pretty good idea of what's out there.

Here are the rules: post 5 links to 5 of your previously written posts. The posts have to relate to the 5 key words given here (family, friend, yourself, your love, anything you like).


family: a little family history and a tribute to Gram

friend: my Buddies, my sister, an old (not in age!) but dear friend

yourself: where it all began

your love: The Colonel -- facts about us and how he proposed

anything you like: the funniest commerical ever!

Tick Tock

Tick Tock Tick Tock...that is what I'm listening to right now -- that and the wind whipping outside my living room windows. I CAN NOT SLEEP!

If there is one thing that I am not enjoying about my pregnancy, it's this sleep thing. For the most part, my pregnancy has been easy so far. Oh sure, I don't exactly enjoy watching the numbers on the scale increase almost daily or seeing my butt and my arms get bigger and bigger or how I have to grunt and heave to sit down on the floor, but compared to others, I've had it easy.

But, this night thing is really getting to me. I can pretty much expect to wake up every hour and either need to pee or turn over in bed to TRY to get more comfortable. And then there are nights like tonight. I got up and peed, I blew my nose, I turned over so many times in bed that I'm surprised The Colonel didn't kick me out. Still, I'm awake and not comfortable - and there are 3+ more months of this!

I finally got out of bed and came to the living room, where the wind is much louder and the blankets not as comfy, but I just couldn't lie in bed staring at the clock projecting on the ceiling any more. Of course, when 6:30 comes and I need to get up, I'll be exhausted...but for now, I'm wide awake.

I've caught up on all my bloglines, checked my email, now what?? I'm kinda hungry...maybe I'll go get a snack. Or maybe I'll turn on the TV. Or maybe I'll just lie here and stare at the ceiling in the living room...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Valentine's Giveaway!

There's a GREAT Valentine's Scrapping giveaway over here!



Go check out what Jody has to offer, and tell her I sent you!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Here's Your Vaseline

That's how we feel here at work lately.

Before I start, here's my disclaimer...I started this blog semi-anonymously almost 2 years ago. It was something fun to try out, and as I met more people and moved to the Midwest, it became a good way to keep in touch w/ everyone. I love it, and I'm having fun with it. And besides my occasional gripe (ok, maybe more than occasional, but whatever), I try to keep it pretty upbeat. But, I'm going to take it the other way today. I'm just venting, so please please please family members don't freak out. Everything will work out, I just have to get this off my chest b/c if I don't, I'll go postal.

I mentioned a while back that my company is about to go through layoffs. Well, some things have happened on that front in recent weeks that I've been keeping quiet about -- at least on my blog. Here's the rundown...


A local reporter wrote a story about our happy little company, mentioning that there were about to be layoffs. There were ALL kinds of errors in the story - from incorrect titles of executives to lies that there had been no layoffs yet, to errors about the number of employees we have. He quoted his source as our VP of HR -- which means she was lying through her teeth

Right after the article, our management told the hourly employees that they would be out of work for 3 consecutive Mondays. Employees were pissed b/c they can't claim unemployment for one day off work at a time.

A few days later, the hourlies were told that one Monday would be added back into the schedule, BUT they'd be off for a whole week next month.

A few days after that, the salary (that's ME) were told that we have to take at least 2 days off during that week also.

AND, the layoffs they've talked about are STILL coming. We still don't know how many or when it will happen.

Now, I only get 10 days of vacation, and I'm being FORCED to take 2 days off in February. I already bought my plane tickets for March, so I'll use an additional 3 days then. That means that by the time Little Major gets here, I'll have already used half of my annual vacation.

Our management has been so kind as to allow us to CHOOSE what days to take off. What that means is that nothing will get done at all during that week. My group has enough work to do from now until Labor Day, so we asked them to allow us to work. They said no. As we talk about it, it appears that they are trying to soften the blow by allowing us to choose the days to take off. Or as my co-worker put it, it's their way of offering us some Vaseline!

I was going to include a graphic of vaseline in this post, but I got so freaked out when I googled a vaseline image, that I changed my mind. Resist the temptation, don't google it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Little Major's "Crib"

Some of you have asked for pictures of the nursery since I've talked a little about our decorating scheme, so here ya go. It's definitely still a work in process, but it's starting to take shape. The furniture should arrive in the next few weeks, and then I guess we'll have to start really getting ready for this kid to show up.

Step one of our project was to paint one wall camo. We went back and forth between putting up wallpaper or painting it ourselves, and with such a creative hubby, how could we NOT paint it ourselves?





The Colonel also painted the Iwo Jima flag raising scene and then added a real flag for a little color. The crib will go under this painting.



The netting I got for Christmas is hanging from the ceiling in one corner, and there will be a couple of helicopters hanging from the ceiling, also.



And since The Colonel decided our actual theme is G.I. Joe, he had to add the G.I. Joe logo on another wall. The TV and the bookcase will not go there when the room is done. The TV will LEAVE the room, and the bookshelf will go somewhere else. I want to get a glider or a rocker for this corner of the room.



So, I'm pretty sure our nursery will be unique. I'm a bright colors kind of person, but I LOVE that The Colonel came up with this idea all on his own and he's having so much fun putting it together. And what better nursery for the son of a die hard United States Marine??

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

California, here I come...

right back where I started from...(not for good though).



I booked my ticket to California in March, and I'm so excited! I've been trying to find a way to get back out there for another visit before the baby comes, and it finally worked out. Ticket prices were high, so I had to suck it up and fly from KC to LA, which means driving on either end of my trip, but at least it's a direct flight.

My sis will be in CA at the same time, which was another reason I wanted to go. Well, to see Captain - I talk to sis on the phone all the time, but I NEED to hold my nephew again (and see my sis, I love you Janer!). I'll be there for 5 days, but it will go all too fast, I'm sure.

Mom and Dad will be moving out here just 2 weeks after I get home, and 4 weeks after that, Little Major will be here. Oh my gosh! I have so much to do, I better get busy!

He moves!

The Colonel felt Little Major move for the first time the other night! We were lying in bed, and the kid was rockin' out in my belly, so I grabbed The Colonel's hand and pressed it to my belly. It took about 3 times of the baby moving, and me asking, "Did you feel that??" before he actually felt it. And it was SO cool!

I love feeling the baby move around. It still doesn't really feel like a kick yet, but he's pretty active sometimes. It reassures me that everything is ok, or at least seems to be ok, whenever he moves.

The Colonel has been spending time in the nursery lately. He's set up a TV and a little boom box, so he can listen to Michael Savage and watch college ball while he paints and drills holes and does all kinds of things. Sometimes I find him in there just sitting in a chair with Lucy (the puppy) in his lap, just kicking back. I love it!

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Evidence...

that I must not look 25 weeks pregnant came to me today. I ran out to the post office at lunch to send off a package for a baby shower that I'll miss this weekend, and as I was getting my big butt back into my car, some scary looking guys in a beat up truck with a bed full of gardening crap yelled out to me, "Hey Sweet Pea!" Huh?! I just barely turned my head to look as I jumped into my car, and they WERE talking to me. Guess they didn't see the belly, just my JLo butt that has appeared in the last few months. Weird!

We had a pretty good weekend, even though it started off kinda crazy. My niece Ellie turned 3 on Friday, and her Dora birthday party was that night. But, before we could get to the party, we already had plans to have dinner with some friends who are moving to the East coast soon. So, in order to have maximum time with everyone, I ran home after work to feed the dogs, then ran to pick up The Colonel from work, and we headed to an early dinner with our friends.

I talked about my friend Shannon in this post. I met her at the tag office when I first got to Kansas. Her parents live here, so they came to be closer to them, but her husband has had a hard time finding work in town, so he's been traveling all over the country for the last year...which has been really hard on Shannon and her son. So, now her hubby has found a job in NJ, and they'll be heading that way when their house sells. I'm sad to see her go, but so happy that they'll be able to be together as a family now. Dinner was a blast, the boys chatted about Ozzy Osborne (don't ask) and football, and Shannon and I talked baby stuff (what else is there to talk about now??). In fact, a lot of the baby stuff I have already came from Shannon. As her son outgrew his high chair and booster seat and other stuff, she just passed it my way so she doesn't have to move it. Yay for me!

After dinner, we drove out to SIL's parent's house for the big Dora party. SIL's mom made the most awesome cake. It was chocolate (which already puts it at the top of my list) and it was Dora the Explorer. It looked awesome. I wish I had a picture. SIL took one, so she'll have to send it to me. We walked in just as they were cutting the cake. We ate cake and the best ice cream in the world (Edy's - or Dreyer's on the west coast), and then birthday girl opened all her presents. She got some cool stuff! And the adults even had fun playing with everything! The Colonel did some magic tricks for the kids, while the rest of us chatted, and by 9pm, I was beat and ready to go home to bed.

The rest of the weekend was pretty mellow. The Colonel met up with an old college buddy on Saturday to shoot their guns, and I hit the gym and the coffee shop with the girls. The 3 of us at coffee are all pregnant, and I feel sorry for anyone sitting around us who had to hear stories about premature labor, big boobs, how to choose a hospital, and daycare.

Sunday we went to our 2nd Sunday school class, and The Colonel even spoke up when we broke into small groups! I was amazed and so proud! Everyone has been very nice in the class, and one of our neighbors goes to it, as well. So, I think we'll stick with this one for a while.

I wasn't very productive around the house this weekend, but I did manage to get 2 workouts in and go to the grocery store. The Colonel picked up the cold I had over Christmas, so we're just taking it easy right now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

On the Brain

I saw this quiz over on Sheila's blog, and I had to see what my results were.

I follow politics, mostly because The Colonel does. I read the headlines in the paper and read further if the headline is interesting. I won't hide that I'm an ultra conservative, and I'm very opinionated. Unfortunately, I don't always find out all the facts...I go with more of an internal feeling. Don't hate me because of that.

I'm very scared for the presidential election this year. I DO NOT care one iota for Obama or Billary (oops, I mean Hillary). They scare the crap out of me. In fact, I'm kinda thinking that Obama might turn out to be the anti-Christ, but you never know. I'm really praying that people don't vote for Obama just b/c he'd be the first black president, and I'm also praying that people don't vote for Billary b/c she'd be the first woman president. Not that I wouldn't like to see one of those things happen in my lifetime, but these two are DEFINITELY not the right choices.

Anyway, back to the quiz. The results are not surprising...Republicans are who I would (and will) vote for. Too bad I don't yet know a lot about many of them. Guess I have some homework to do.

Take the quiz if you're interested and see where you fall out. I really don't want my blog to turn into a political debate, I have a hard time debating in a peaceful manner, and I want you all to still be my friends...so just keep that in mind if you comment. =)


73% Tom Tancredo
71% Mike Huckabee
70% Fred Thompson
69% Mitt Romney
67% John McCain
56% Ron Paul
51% Rudy Giuliani
40% Joe Biden
39% Hillary Clinton
37% Bill Richardson
34% Barack Obama
34% Chris Dodd
33% John Edwards
18% Dennis Kucinich
16% Mike Gravel

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Baby Stuff

I finally broke down and asked The Colonel to take a picture of the belly. I KNOW there's a baby in there (I can feel him rolling all over a lot of the time), but I still don't care for the pictures...so feel privileged that I'm sharing them with you! =)

But, before I do, I have to tell you that I must not look THAT pregnant based on what happened yesterday. I was at Sam's Club looking through their sports bras (I bought one, but it was WAY too small when I got it home and tried it on, so back to the store I go today!), and a lady was looking at something next to me. She dropped the package she was holding, and it landed right in front of me. I looked down at it and took a little step back so she could pick it up. But she didn't pick it up. She stepped back and looked at ME to pick it up for her! I squatted down grunting, picked it up, and handed it back to her, all the while wanting to stick my belly out farther and say, "um, hello, belly here!" I just handed it back to her and walked away. Guess I don't look THAT pregnant.

Ok, now that I told you my story, here are some belly shots.

Here's me at 19 weeks.



And now at 24 weeks, in the same outfit.



To me, I don't feel like I've gotten bigger because it's such a gradual change to me...but obviously I have!


Now, I need to ask your advice...all you working Moms out there...did you take your infant to day care? How did you choose your provider? What questions should I be asking as I start to look around? We are still trying to figure out what we're going to do for day care, and we have several options (SIL - are you still in the running to help??), but I know I need to get going on it now, because there are waiting lists. So, help me out...give me your advice...tell me what you did! Thanks!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Something happier

I found a new blog to read, and she did this MEME, so I thought I'd play along...it's a little more light hearted than what I wrote about yesterday! Thanks for the idea, Jennifer!


1. Do you wear a name tag at work? I wear a badge that has my name on it, but I wear it at my waist so you can't really see it.
2. What kind of car do you drive? 2004 Honda Pilot - that I have had for 2 months today
3. What do you order when you go to Taco Bell? Mexican Pizza
4. Have you ever had a garage sale? Yep, several!
5. What color is your iPod? It's white, but it has a red cover with rhinestones on it. Bling!
6. What kind of dog do you have? 2 Miniature Schnauzers
7. What's for dinner tonight? On any normal day, I wouldn't know, but I told The Colonel I would make breakfast for dinner - he wants hashbrowns.
8. What is the last alcoholic beverage you had? I don't really know...probably a beer or a glass of Pinot Noir...wow, that must have been back in July!
9. Stupidest thing you ever did with your cell phone? I dropped my work cell phone in the toilet a few years ago. I freaked out, grabbed it out, rinsed it off, and then happened to run into my IT friend in the hall. I told him it wouldn't work because it was all wet and handed it to him. AFTER he took it from me he asked why it was wet and when I told him it fell in the toilet, HE freaked out! Ha!
10. Last time you were sick? I've been trying to get over a cold since right after Christmas.
11. How long is your hair? Just below my chin -- I just chopped it off!
12. Are you happy right now? Right this moment? I'm at work, so not really. But, I'm happy with life in general right now.
13. What did you say last? Wow! This assembly line is actually running decent right now!
14. Who came over last? Hmm, probably my in-laws on New Year's Day.
15. Do you drink beer? Yes, but not right now. Corona w/ lime is my favorite!
16. Have your brothers or sisters ever told you that you were adopted? No, but I probably told them at some point.
17. What is your favorite key chain on your keys? I don't have any keychains on my keys, I don't think...just the remote to get in the car.
18. What did you get for graduation? For high school graduation (ages ago) I got my first CD shelf stereo, from my Grandma, and I STILL have it, and it still works great almost 16 years later! For college grad, I got the title to the car my parents bought for me, that I'd been driving for 4 years.
19. What's in your pocket? Chapstick and my cell phone.
20. Who introduced you to Dane Cook? I don't really know who he is...some actor, but I have no idea in what.
21. Has someone ever made you a Build-A-Bear? No, but I bought some for my niece and nephew.
22. What DVD is in your DVD player? Crash Course (a made for TV movie), a video of all my Buddies, and probably West Side Story.
23. What's something fun you did today? I haven't done anything fun yet, but at lunch I'm going to go try to spend a bunch of my flex spending money so if I get layed off, at least I got to use it.
24. Who is/was the principal of your high school? When I was there, it was a lady named Anne something, I think - she wasn't very friendly.
25. Has your house ever been TP'd? my house growing up was - Dad got mad!
26. What do you think of when you hear the word "meow"? A cat
27. What are you listening to right now? Steel presses cycling and the beep of a forklift backing up.
28. Drinking? hot tea that is getting cold.
29. What is your favorite aisle at Wal-Mart? The checkout lane b/c it means I'm leaving
30. When is your mom's birthday? Beginning of October
31. When is your birthday? September 3
32. What's the area code for your cell phone? the one for my town
33. Where did you buy the shirt you're wearing now? I didn't buy it, it's on loan from my SIL - y'know, maternity clothes
34. Is there anything hanging from your rear view mirror? A KC Chiefs antenna ball
35. How many states in the US have you been to? I'm pretty sure the total is 41...9 more to go!
36. What kind of milk do you drink? Non fat, but while I'm pregnant, I'll drink 1 or 2% if it's all that's around.
37. What are you going to do after this? Find a snack, I'm starving!
38. Who was the last person you went shopping with? The Colonel - I dragged him to the grocery store with me.
39. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries, Pineapple, Cherries...I love fruit!
40. What about your favorite dessert? Ice cream and chocolate cake
41. What is something you need to go shopping for? baby supplies...and I have no clue!
42. Do you have the same name as one of your relatives? No
43. What kind of car does one of your siblings drive? Sis drives a 98 Honda Civic (she needs a new car) b/c her hubby won't let her touch the 4-Runner very often. Bro drives a 1989 Honda CRX. We're a honda family!
44. Do you like pickles? No way! Gross!
45. How about olives? Yummy! Kalamata are my favorite.
46. What is your favorite kind of gum? Orbit bubblemint
47. What is your favorite kind of juice? grapefruit juice, with a touch of tangerine juice to sweeten it up
48. Do you have any tan lines? Mercy, NO - the sun is evil to me!
What hospital were you born in? some hospital on the Air Force Base where I was born.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Happy Freakin’ New Year

Today is my first day back at work. Last week, I started logging on to check my email, and what a doozie I found on Friday.

Our VP of the division sent out an email, which I will paraphrase below:

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a very well deserved break that was relaxing and fun.

Too bad that our industry is in the toilet and won’t pick up until early next year. This means that we will have to lay a bunch of you off before the end of the month.

The easiest way to do this is to ask for voluntary resignations. You have one week to decide if you want to take the voluntary layoff. Of course, not all requests can be honored, and we will make the final decision. If we don’t get enough volunteers, we will make our own choices by the end of the month.

Thanks for your sincere dedication to our team.



To paraphrase even more: Happy New Year. Screw you!

It’s not a secret that I am not happy with my company, but I do need the paycheck. Oh, and this email came out at noon on Friday, but by that time they had already canned 20+ people from our plant and our sister plant. Not to mention that a lot of people didn’t even come back to work until today, so this announcement was made when over half the employees were still on vacation/holiday.

So, this morning my boss calls an impromptu meeting (who am I kidding, all of his meetings are “drop everything and meet me now, who cares that we have a meeting scheduler”) to discuss the workforce reduction. He tells us things we already know, then says our department should be safe (I’m not believing anything anyone says, though), and that we need to stay upbeat. What? STAY upbeat? No one has been upbeat for a year. They did away with our bonus, forced us to take vacation the first 3 days of the year, cancelled our Christmas party, put us on a hiring freeze when we have tons of work to do, and they keep us in the dark until the last possible moment...and we’re supposed to be upbeat??

Then he asked if we had any questions, comments or concerns. When we mentioned a few, he just said, “Thanks,” and ended the meeting. Typical.

My friend in HR for a different company thinks I should be pretty safe since I’m pregnant. That may be true, but I’m not sure I want to be around here through all of this.

Happy Freakin’ New Year!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What I've Learned

This post is dedicated to my good friend, Shell, who just found out that she's pregnant. Congratulations, Shell!

I have A LOT of friends who have already had babies. For the last 11 years, babies have been popping out among close friends and family, so you'd think I'd understand more than I do...but when it's not happening to you, you tend to tune it all out. That's why the following things are NEW revelations to me.

1. Maternity pants rock! I will be so sad when I have to go back to pants that I have to button and zip and have no elastic at the top for when you eat too many brownies. Not to mention, the easy-up, easy-down feature sure comes in handy for those million times a day you have to pee.

2. I never understood why pregnant women were always touching, rubbing, scratching their bellies. What is the obsession?? Well, I think there are many explanations for this. First of all, your belly itches! And your boobs itch worse, but it's more socially acceptable to scratch your belly in public than your boobs. Second, the belly starts sticking out there, and you bump into things with it, and you have to protect it. Not only that, but you're wondering if it's really part of you...it feels kind of alien at first. I also find myself rubbing and pushing on my belly trying to get the baby to move so I know everything is ok.

3. I now count my life in number of weeks. I don't say I'm 6 months pregnant...I say I'm 23 weeks or 24 weeks pregnant. Non-pregnant people probably think I'm a freak counting weeks, but weeks matter now, let me tell you!

4. This is the ONLY time in my life that I get excited to go to the doctor. I LOVE hearing the baby's heartbeat, and I NEED to hear the doctor tell me that everything still looks great. Getting on the scale at the start of the appointment and peeing in a cup every time? Not the fun parts, but bearable.

5. Shell, don't think you're being a freak if you find yourself going to the bathroom even more times than you have to just to check and make sure you're not spotting or bleeding. This may not be as common as some of these other items, but I sure did it! Until I hit about 16 weeks, I checked EVERY TIME.

6. One final thing - this is just a warning, and one that I'm still following. DO NOT walk into Babies 'R Us or the baby section of any store at the start of your pregnancy or if you are by yourself. I did this, just out of curiosity, right after I found out I was pregnant, and I was overwhelmed! There are so many things that I know I need, but I am insisting on some of my more experienced friends taking me shopping so that I don't pass out on the breast pump aisle.

I know that the next 114 days (plus or minus a few) will bring many more new revelations and experiences...and I'm so thankful for my friends who have gone before me, so that they can teach me the way.

Signing off for now,
The Little Grasshopper

P.S. I can't wait to see what kinds of google searches this post shows up in!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Better than Crack

Well, I wouldn't really know if it's better than crack because I've never tried crack, but the prenatal massage I had this morning was pretty stinkin' good. I'm addicted after only 30 minutes...isn't that a little like crack?

I used my gift card from The Colonel for my first (of many, I hope) prenatal massages this morning. It was freezing out, and the wind was blowing so hard that I almost couldn't find my way across the parking lot to the front door, but once I got on that table...it didn't matter anymore.

I started out with just a 30 minute massage because the only other massage I've ever had was horrendous and not at all enjoyable, so I wanted to make sure I was going to like this. This was a completely different experience than before. The gal asked me what kind of pressure I liked and told me to tell her if it ever became uncomfortable. The 30 minutes flew by, and I'm already planning on using the rest of my gift card for a 60 minute massage...how long do you think I have to wait to go again? A day? A week? NOW??

My massage this morning was a little reward for how productive I was yesterday. I was a little slow getting started, but by the end of the day I had accomplished quite a bit. I took the dogs to the groomer, made chicken soup, put away all the Christmas decorations, caught up on my scrapbooking while I watched the Rose Parade on my DVR, and did a bunch of laundry.

I even managed to be a little productive today, as well. I vacuumed the whole house, dusted the basement, put away all the laundry I did yesterday, and went to the gym. Whew! No wonder I'm just vegging on the couch now flipping back and forth between the KU game and Celebrity Apprentice.

There were a few things on my list I didn't get done, and they all had to do with cleaning bathrooms...yuck! There's always tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Free Diaper Bag!

Go check out this post, and see how you can enter to win a Land's End diaper bag.

I could definitely use a diaper bag! =) Or, I could give it as a gift to one of the bazillion preggo friends I have. LOL

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wow! 2008 is here already! I'm not big on making resolutions. I can't really remember the last time I tried to make one, and I'm not planning on making any this year. This year will bring a lot of change for us - that's a given. A new baby, Mom and Dad moving close to us...that should keep us pretty busy.

We had a pretty uneventful exit for 2007. The Colonel had to work, so after he got home we made fajitas and stuffed our bellies before heading to the basement to watch a couple movies. Our goal was to remain awake to see the New Year in. That meant we had to watch our movies with the lights on so we wouldn't fall asleep. Ha!

We indulged in a teeny bopper thriller -- Disturbia -- which wasn't as scary as I expected it to be. It was only a little after 8pm when we finished that, so we put in another DVD, Reign on Me. It wasn't the best feel good happy movie, but it was pretty good anyway. It proved to me again Adam Sandler is a great actor (Spanglish did a good job of that, too). Before the movie ended, some of our anxious neighbors started shooting off very loud fireworks, scaring the puppies and giving us some cuddle time with them since they leaped onto the couch with us. The movie ended, we toasted each other with our Martinellis cider (no alcohol for me this year!), took the scaredy-dogs upstairs, and were all tucked into bed by 11:30pm.

We were awake at midnight (reading in bed) when the neighbors continued to shoot loud things into the air...but we were snoozing peacefully by 12:30am.

I couldn't sleep the day away today because I got up and participated in the Frosty 5k Run/Walk with our local YMCA. I probably would have reconsidered if I realized how stinkin' cold it would be! Several of my girlfriends from the gym talked me into participating. I'm not a runner, so when one of the girls said she was going to walk it instead of run (she tore a hamstring not too long ago), my other preggo gym buddy and I decided we'd walk with her. It was cold! I heard something about the temperature being 27, but feeling like 9 with the windchill. Brrr! We walked as fast as our pregnant bodies would allow and finished in 50 minutes. We rewarded ourselves by going for burgers and fries for lunch afterwards! =)

So, the first day of 2008 is almost over, and aside from walking in the event this morning and watching out the window at the neighborhood drama (see the post below), I haven't done much. I DVR'd the Rose Parade so I want to watch that later on. My parents were at the parade, and my university always builds a float for the parade, so I have to watch it! I also have thought about starting to take down some Christmas decorations...but that might be a little ambitious.

Hope you all had a great start to the new year!

Update: As I hit publish on this post, the phone rang, and the 'Rents are on their way over for a quick visit...I may not get to those decorations after all!

Neighborhood Drama

5 big fire trucks
8 suburban type fire trucks
500 idiots driving and walking over to see what’s going on
3 news vans
1 loser on her deck straining to see if she can see what’s going on

That is the summary of our afternoon. I came home from lunch with some friends to hear and see 2 fire trucks go screaming past my driveway to the back of our development. Then I sat in my living room, which is elevated giving me a good view of the neighborhood, and counted the vehicles go by. I never saw an ambulance or a police car. Only fire trucks... but no smoke.

I walked out on our deck to get a better view, but I couldn't really see anything -- only that they had all stopped at a house behind us and a couple down. I swear, every one of my neighbors walked, rode, or drove over to get a better look. I'm curious, too, but I wasn't about to go get in the way.

There were 3 news vans there, so I guess I'll check the news later to see what happened. This was VERY strange for our quiet little neighborhood.

I'll also work on another post about our New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.


Update: Here's what all the trouble was this afternoon...

Still-hot fireplace ashes cause house fire

A house fire today appears to have started from still-hot fireplace ashes, a Wichita fire official said.

A fire looks like it started from day-and-a-half old ashes dumped in a trash container outside the house.

Fire from the container, stored outside the back of house, "burned up the side of the house" and into the roof, he said.

"(The homeowner) heard some popping noises in the attic, and saw smoke coming down from the hood vent in the kitchen," Bricknell said.

Bricknell set preliminary damages at more than $100,000. The fire, which was contained to the attic, caused part of the roof to collapse.

At least one person was home at the time of the fire, Bricknell said. No one was injured.

Bricknell said the homeowner did everything right in disposing of fireplace ashes -- including placing them in a covered metal container outside the home -- except waiting longer for the ashes to cool.

"We recommend three days to dump ashes, at a minimum" Bricknell said.