Monday, January 30, 2012

Sad News

Ugh, this has been a tough week. Last Monday was already a shitty day for daycare-related reasons (more on this later), then we got one of those awful late night calls that turns your world upside down. My aunt came home from work and found my uncle laying on the floor, dead from a massive heart attack. He was 56 years old.

When I first got the call, the cause of death was still unclear. My mind raced through the possibilities...drugs? Suicide? Pretty much every option except a heart attack, because that just hits too close to home. My grandpa had a heart attack at 58, and spent 8 months in the hospital trying to recover before he passed away. My dad is the oldest of his five sons, and is on blood pressure medication and probably would have had a heart attack by now if he hadn't retired when he did. The next oldest son had a mild heart attack just before Christmas (he's doing fine). I have been suffering from episodes of heart palpitations and weird tingling sensations off and on for three years. I was JUST ready to decide that maybe it IS anxiety and not my heart, then two family heart attacks in a row. Bleh.

I am barely prepared to handle my grandparents' deaths, much less the next generation. I can't even begin to fathom what it would be like to lose my dad. It's just...unthinkable. I didn't want to believe that another uncle had a heart attack because then it's a pattern, not just some awful thing that happened to my grandpa when I was 3 years old.

I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but Uncle Joe was mine. He lived in Atlanta, and it was always SO EXCITING when he came up for a visit. He was an artist, so he'd entertain us for hours and hours drawing funny little cartoons and telling us stories about the characters. He was so great with us kids, it really is a shame he never had his own. I remember my older brother and cousin and I sitting in the tree in my grandma's back yard, raptly listening to a horror story about a big worm. When Uncle Joe saw I was getting scared, he quickly switched up the story so the worm didn't eat people, he ate peanut butter. The rest of the story had us all practically falling out of the tree, we were laughing so hard. I'm really going to miss Uncle Joe and his crazy stories.

Hug your loved ones extra tight today - life is way too freaking short.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Crafty Pants

It may surprise some of you to hear this, as I never, ever talk about crafts, but I can actually be pretty crafty. I just don't make time anymore, what with the always being pregnant / having wee ones thing. My grandma taught me to crochet when I was a kid, so I was psyched when Stitch n' Bitch came out and my dorky pastime was suddenly hip. I even joined a local Stitch n' Bitch chapter for a while there, but I quit when I moved to Cincinnati for med school and never rejoined when I came back. [Mental note to check up on this, even though it's super unlikely that it's still going on]. Anyway, yes. Capable of crafting, I just don't often implement.

Thanks to the scarf swap, I have already completed two of my five required crafty projects for 2012. Have we finally found a goal I might actually achieve? Stay tuned.

I was serendipitously matched with Jennifer from Jayesel, who is not only also going to the Blathering, but has two adorable girls as well. Every time I see pictures of them, it's like looking into our future when my girlies get older. I immediately started pinning scarves like crazy, so WOULDN'T YOU KNOW she started following me on Pinterest about 10 seconds after I finished. I am sure she was not remotely surprised by my choices, but what can you do?

The first scarf that really struck my fancy was this braided jersey scarf. The only catch, of course, is that I don't sew. However, my mom does, so we made a craft date. We pretty much followed the tutorial to the T, but we are apparently more OCD than Keight, as I spent 10 zillion years carefully pinning the jersey lengthwise at exactly 7 inches to ensure that both colors were the same size and the seams were straight.

I chose Steelers colors for Jen since she is from Pittsburgh and had some Steelers stuff pinned. I also got some extra of the yellow as well as a light gray to make one later for me, since I loved the combo on the store-bought scarf that inspired it all. Here is how Jen's turned out:

Not pictured: My terrible, not so "blind" stitching on the part that needed to be sewn by hand. Still! Not bad for our first effort. Also, I totally want a sewing machine now. A cheap one, not my mom's complicated, expensive, crazy one. The whole project took a little over two hours (maybe more if you count getting the sewing machine properly threaded and working right), but that could be cut down significantly if you are less anal about the pinning and measuring and whatnot.

Since that scarf was so dang cheap (maybe $10?) I wanted to make another for the swap. I thought Mama Bub's finger knit scarves were super cute, so I bought some chunky yarn and went to town. It was a little hard (for me, anyway) to follow the handwritten instructions. I was going to make a video for anyone who needs to see it being done, but alas, I am not a unique and beautiful snowflake and it has already been done. Shoulda googled that shit BEFORE I spent an embarrassing about of time fiddling around with it.

Once I got going it was very easy, and I was able to whip this out in about an hour. I just did one whole skein of yarn, but I would maybe (I think?) do more and loop one more time next time (Lion Brand Yarn in Dallas Gray, super bulky (6) for those of you playing at home).

Megan gussied hers up with felt flowers, but I wanted to bust out my crochet skillz. I used the pattern here to make these:

There are also 9 million crocheted flower videos out there, but if anyone is interested in making these particular roses and wants to see a video, I'd do it. I did better with this pattern than the finger knitting instructions, but I've also been crocheting for 20 years (OMFG). It's probably a little confusing if you're new, but they are still surprisingly easy to make. I just sewed a pin to a circle of felt and stitched it to the flower when I was done. Easy peasy! It takes me about an hour and 15 minutes per flower, from start to finish.

You can see Jen modeling both scarves over in the Scarf Swap Pool. I will add pictures of me wearing the ones she sent me once I'm actually, like, showered and stuff. In the meantime, you can see my dining room table sporting them:

I love them both because they a) are super cute and b) aren't something I'd pick out myself. To me, that is the best part about joining something like this - branching out. I have like 18 black scarves with some sort of print, and if I wanted another, I could easily buy it myself (and probably will). I NEED a pop of pink or a flash of silver in my life, hand selected by someone more fashionable than I am. Raven also does a flip flop swap in June, which I will be participating in because, you guessed it, I own like 18 pairs of black flip flops.

Thanks, Jen and Raven, this was fun!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Diniwilk Stew, Dorking Out Version

Hey, ladies! And gents, if you're out there! I have been so flipping busy lately it's ridiculous. Let's catch up...
  • Adriana suddenly decided that it's time to be potty trained. She has only pooped once, but she pees regularly. It was definitely a good choice to stop forcing her to sit on it when she clearly didn't want to, and to just wait for her to decide it was something she wanted to do.
  • Around Christmas, Adriana went back to being my sweet little girl, ending her 5 month long reign of terror. That was a tough stage, glad to be out of it!
  • Lucy has always been a happy girl. I finally got a decent video of her laughing, which can be seen here.
  • Non-child things taking up my free time: work, a HUGE craftypants kick (more on this soon), trying to finish my book club book, the bachelor, twitter, pinterest, the instagram january photo a day challenge, a scarf swap, another CDP exchange. Things NOT taking up my free time: blogging, reading your blogs, cleaning, exercising. Things I intend to change about this arrangement: more blogging and reading your blogs. Sorry, kitchen (and ass)!
  • Speaking of my ass, I joined weight watchers, which is a very, VERY un-Lauralike thing to do. I just feel like SO MANY of you are successful on it (Devan, Saly, and Suzanne come to mind), that it seemed stupid not to try. Plus, I have been taking pics of outfits as Shalini requested in a recent comment. Seeing myself from multiple angles is VERY MOTIVATING.
  • Speaking of outfit pictures...Ugh, I can't believe I am doing this. Let's be clear - when I said I want to care more about my appearance, cute outfits are not at the top of my list. This is because I am so slovenly that I have like 18 other things to take care of first. I have been calling it a success if I don't go to work with wet hair and if my rosacea is covered up properly. I need to add "brows are under control" to that list next, because I look like Frida Kahlo right about now. Anyway, I may periodically post pics of my outfits so we can decide if my style progresses throughout the year (and feel free to give advice!!!)

Hey, look! I'm wearing makeup! I want to master bronzer and blush at some point (have shied away due to rosacea), but this is acceptable to me for normal daily wear. I'm sporting Clinique Even Better foundation and powder, Smashbox eyeliner, Lash Blast mascara, Burt's bees lip balm, and the tiredest eyes I've ever seen.

Whew, no more extreme close-up. The scarf is from Target, the sweater is Old Navy (last year)(too tight).

No wet hair! I'm waiting til closer to PJs @ TJ's to dye it, since I don't like to do that more than a couple of times a year.

Let's be honest, even when I take a few seconds to do my hair, it ends up like this most of the day anyway. Dorky expression = tired of taking pics of myself in the bathroom. Oh, I'm sorry, personal pumping room IN the bathroom.

This was Friday's outfit, so I'm wearing jeans. They are the curvy fit 4 Mossimo skinny jeans from Target. I KNOW, skinny jeans! WTF. Those Bearpaw boots are not remotely work appropriate, yet I wear them all winter. I have shoes under my desk in case I need to seem like I care. Whatever, they are warm. I should probably add "proper footwear" to my list of things to work on.

I hope this was not horrifically disappointing, especially since the request came from Ms. Poufy Skirt herself. I don't have a shred of your adorable fashion sense, Shalini!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

CDP Exchange Update

Hey, remember this? I was going to wait until I opened all of my CDPs to update, but it turns out that I am having a rather good month. My package went to Carmen (@S_cerevisiae), and a package came in the mail from...Lacey! I actually squeed (loudly) when I saw who it was from, because I knew my sister from another mister would send awesome stuff.

And she did! Look at all of the pretty packages! I so loved her ribbon presentation that I stole the idea for some of my Christmas presents. And how cute are her labels? She thoughtfully sent gifts for every occasion - for the girls, a friend, and the cats, as well as for my hands, lips, feet, and stomach (and Justin if I wanted to share)(hahahaha screw that). Plus there is another mystery present that didn't make it in the first package, which is fun because now I get double the package excitement.

I told Lacey that I was sad it wasn't a crappy day, so she called me a meanie head to get me started. Of course, I went right for the stomach. Have you ever had the Archer Farms trail mix from Target? They are SO GOOD. Lacey sent one of my favorites, the Monster mix. There is also one with chocolate covered caramel balls and one with bananas chips and dried cherries that are both equally amazing. Try it, you'll like it! (Yo Gabba Gabba, anyone?)

The next crappy day to come around was when Adriana was on the verge of getting sick. She was whiny and crying and just miserable, so I thought a present would be a good distraction.

What happened next is a good example of what life is like with a toddler, for those of you who haven't experienced the joy yet.

A: Ooh, a blue present!
B: YAY, crayons!!!
C: I don't WANT to open another present!
D: Okay, if I must.
E: YAY, a kitty cat!!! (I just missed a huge smile)
F: I want to open it ALL BY MYSELF! I CAN'T! Mama, help! NO, don't help, I do it MYSELF!!!
G: I did it!
H: An orange one!

Don't worry, Lacey, all was well the next day. She proceeded to color every. single. cat's eyeballs purple.

The final present I opened the Friday before Christmas, after MIL was pulling her usual holiday bullshit and trying to switch up plans at the last minute (spoiler alert - we STILL haven't exchanged gifts! I'm gonna mail them this year). It was PERFECT timing, as the nail polish was Glitter In My Stocking, and was a beautiful blingy holiday color.

Thanks, Lacey!!! I can't wait to open the rest!

UPDATE: I'm a ding dong! I completely forgot to mention that Rachel is hosting another CDP Exchange RIGHT NOW, so if you want to join in the fun, go here!


This will come to no surprise to anyone who knows me in real life, but I wear the pants in the family. I am, shall we say, opinionated, whereas Justin generally doesn't care about the details and trusts that I will make good decisions for our family. We are also usually so in sync it's scary. For example, we agreed to make an offer on the one and only house we ever looked at, and we both have no desire to ever move again.

There have only been three areas where we have been in complete disagreement.

Disagreement #1 involves the cats. Well, really just one of the cats, as I don't think Justin would mind Leo much if he was the only pet we had to deal with. It's much easier to clean up after a cat who barfs a lot than one who pees on things. That's right, Mohinder, I'm looking at you.

Justin bought Mohinder as a Valentine's present for me in...2008? 2009? I don't know, my brain is mushy. Anyway, it was 100% his decision to go from a 1 cat to a 2 cat household. Momo is the sweetest cat ever, so I was instantly on board. However, no amount of sweetness can counteract the fact that this cat has been trouble from day one. First, whatever shelter cat disease he brought into our home nearly killed Leo. He went from being almost 13 pounds to 9 pounds, and it took something like 2 years before he regained his muscle and stopped looking haggard. It was crazy (and really scary).

And I know I've talked about the peeing on here before. These days, Momo pees on things maybe 3 times a year, and usually it's because Justin missed a day cleaning the litter box to Momo's standards (but once it was over a week of peeing due to a UTI - it SUCKED). It's not the worst thing in the world when it's on a pile of laundry - it's a pain in the ass, but it's doable. However, Momo picks one big ticket, hard to clean item to pee on each year as well, and that's what really drives Justin over the edge. 2009 it was mattress, 2010 was a couch, and 2011 it was the carpet under the Christmas tree (I'm STILL not convinced I have gotten the smell 100% out, and we are in no position to replace the carpet right now). Justin VERY MUCH wants to get rid of Mohinder, whereas (while I have NO DESIRE WHATSOEVER to have a house that smells like cat pee), I feel that it's our responsibility to give him a good home, as we promised to do when we rescued him from the shelter. If I knew for certain that we could find someone else to give him a good home, I would be okay with that. However, I don't think anyone would take a pee-er, and I'm not going to lie just to pass him on. He really is a great cat. Anyway, I wear the pants, so I am winning this one so far. Laura: 1, Justin: 0

I didn't really realize we were having Disagreement #2 until it was kind of too late to do anything about it. When we first got married, I wanted 3 kids and Justin wanted 2. Then we had Adriana, and we realized how exhausting kids could be. I admitted I'd be willing to have 2. Justin, who is not a fan of the newborn stage AT ALL said that he would be okay with just Adriana, and that he'd prefer close spacing if we had a second to get out of the baby years sooner. My vagina was not so much a fan of that idea, so I calculated which month's nookie would result in 2 year spacing (the EARLIEST I was willing to be pregnant again), thinking that if we didn't get pregnant that month, we would try for a spring 2012 baby (a little over 2 1/2 year spacing, and with a much better maternity leave).

I then completely put it out of my mind, and didn't really pay much attention when Justin continued to state he was happy with one kid. Justin was an only child, so he didn't really get why it was so important to me for Adriana to have a sibling. And I was never going to agree to have just one, which might be why it really wasn't registering with me when he kept saying that's what he wanted. Either way, it didn't matter because we are super fertile and super awful at using birth control. I honestly didn't know how strongly he felt about it until after I was pregnant with Lucy (22 month spacing). It turns out that he was serious, he really did not want another baby.* I am SO, SO glad we got pregnant when we did, so it didn't have to be a huge, stressful issue. And, obviously, Justin loves Lucy, so we both win. I'm still giving myself the point though. Laura: 2, Justin: 0

And now we come to Disagreement #3, which was (much to my dismay) resolved last night. You guys, I LOST ONE. And it's a biggie.

I think I have mentioned before that Justin was a security guard when we met. He had originally wanted to go into law enforcement, but his bad knees were keeping him from taking the test. Anyway, he is really big on security, protection, etc. This includes guns.

I, on the other hand, fucking hate guns. I am not comfortable with them ONE BIT. When I am around them, the hairs on my neck stand on end and I'm constantly alert, unable to relax. I have an uncle who carries a gun on his person at all times, and I'm always moving the girls into whatever room he's not in when we are at family gatherings. I don't think people should be allowed to have them, period. I HATE GUNS.

Not long after we started dating, I found out that Justin owned a Glock. It had chemical burns on it from a past life in a meth lab, which did not really help his argument that only wholesome individuals exercising their constitutional right to bear arms own guns. I made him get rid of it before he moved in with me, because there is no way I was sleeping in the same house as a gun. And he did.

But then my dad got a gun, and it really made Justin miss having one. We don't live in the best neighborhood in the universe, and it's not enough for him that we have an alarm system (if the alarm goes off, it's too late). Ever since Justin bought my dad a laser sight for his gun for Christmas, he has been CONSTANTLY HOUNDING ME to reconsider my position.

At first, I genuinely thought it was more about the fact that he thinks guns are cool and that some extra money was burning a hole in his pocket. After much discussion, I came to realize that wasn't the case. He was as firm in his stance that we need a gun for protection as I am in mine that no good ever comes from owning a gun. We were at an impasse (inconceivable!!!)

I guess the biggest reason I caved was that I not only win our major Disagreements, but I also win a million tiny ones every day, as the pants-wearer. Marriage is supposed to be a compromise, and compromise isn't really my strong suit. I like to win, to be right, to have things my way. Justin presented a strong case for purchasing a gun. He put a lot of effort into researching gun and safe options** that would (theoretically) put me at ease. He thought out where we would keep it, and what we would tell the girls. He showed how passionate he was about it, and that he really did think it was 100% necessary to protect his family.


So, yeah. I have a gun. Laura: 2, Justin: Infinity

*If you ever read this, future Lucy, he TOTALLY would have been on board if he knew how awesome you'd be. He just didn't want to listen to you cry or clean your poop.

**UPDATE: He apparently also researched ballistics, as in "hollow point bullets and gunpowder amounts so bullets won't travel through walls and hit the kids" if it ever WERE fired in the house. The man does his homework.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Resolutions and To Do List

  1. I will keep a cleaner house.

  2. I will be a better wife, mom, daughter, and friend.

  3. I will be more thoughtful.

  4. I will care more about my appearance.

  • Learn how to use my Nikon D-90 and Photoshop Elements 10.

  • Acknowledge every person’s birthday on my 2012 birthday list.

  • Send thank you letters for every gift received in 2012.

  • Read 50 books.

  • Go on 5 dates with Justin.

  • Take kids on 10 trips to the zoo, museum, etc.

  • Complete a couch to 5K program and run an official 5K.

  • Complete 30 day shred.

  • Eat less, exercise more.

  • Cook dinner 3 times per week (on average).

  • Make a recipe book.

  • Get shelves for basement.

  • Make significant progress in decluttering and dehoarding.

  • Make significant progress in paying off credit cards.

  • Donate blood 3 times.

  • Complete 5 crafty projects.

  • Complete 5 home improvement projects.

  • Complete a 365 day photo challenge.

  • Potty-train and de-binky Adriana.

  • Make it to one year breastfeeding Lucia.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas 2011 Recap

I don't feel right getting into my 2012 resolutions/to do list before I've even talked about Christmas, so here we go (better late than never, right?)

First, the photos:

I got the girls bathed and dressed in their matching Christmas jammies. Then Adriana and I put out cookies and milk for Santa and reindeer food for Rudolph. Which happened to be Nilla Wafers, since that was the first thing I saw when I went into the kitchen.

Adriana got a mischievous look before we put the dish outside and popped one in her mouth.

Justin and I wrapped / assembled gifts by the fire while we drank wine and listened to Christmas music.

All Adriana wanted from Santa was "a blue present". He brought her a kitchen and a Mommy and Me set for her dolls (one of those crib/stroller/diaper bag/feeding set deals). The rest of the presents are from Mama and Dada, who may have gone overboard this year. In my defense, lots of it was stuff they needed anyway, like shoes, boots, clothes, bathing suits, sheets, etc. Most of the toys were Melissa and Doug stuff from their one day sale earlier in December. The wooden play food and sticker sets were a huge hit.

Santa left Adriana a letter! And Rudolph ate all of his Nilla Wafers, too!

I made the girls pose for some pics in front of the tree, because I am a mean mom. My thumb made a special appearance in the only one where Adriana is smiling, because I am a shitty photographer.

Adriana ran right for the kitchen.

And her blue present.

We did the stockings next, since I realized I forgot to do them first.

Lucy dug into her stocking all by herself.

Justin wore his festive Mario jammies and looked very enthused.

Santa brought Lucy a doll of her very own.

Some Adriana quotes (so glad I wrote them down):
  • [Before going downstairs, when I asked if she thought Santa ate his cookies] "I don't want Santa to eat the cookie. Can I have a cookie?"
  • [Also before we went down, I exclaimed "SANTA!" trying to get her pumped up. She cocked her head, listening to the banging downstairs, and said...] "That's not Santa, that's DADA!!!"
  • "A kitchen for me?!!!"
  • "Look out Lucia, I'm trying to open my present. Grab it, Lucia!"
  • "Look at what Santa brought for me!"
  • "That's for Lucy, the hello kitty socks." [Trying to share the stuff in her stocking. She then modeled both pairs of socks while we watched.]
  • "Can I give it to Lucia?" [Trying to share again - it was really cute!]
  • "Winnie the Pooh FOR ME!!!"
  • "Dress!" [After every article of clothing, none of which were dresses.]
  • "My matching shoes are flopping over, mama help!" [She tried on all of the shoes, too.]
  • "I'm gonna get some more sheets." [Before opening a second pack of sheets, haha.]
  • "You've gotta scissor these." [Handing me a box to open.]
  • "Extercise boots!" [Snow boots.]
  • "Whoa, can you take these tags off? I don't like boots on my tags."
  • "Frosting!" [It was fake canned tuna.]
  • [After I asked if she wanted to see what else she got...] "No, I'm making food."
  • [To Justin, after he tried to help her open a gift...] "You messed up my present!"
It was so much fun opening presents and starting traditions at our house. The past 2 years Adriana has been too little to really know what was going on, so we just did a few gifts for her at my parents'. She was so excited about everything, I just can't wait to do this every year.