Thursday, December 29, 2016

Stuff & Things: The Sixth One

Welcome to Thursday, where random thoughts are the name of the game and the prize is getting to read about everything going on in my head lately, lucky you. On second thought, maybe the prize should be an extra strong margarita can have mine.

So, Christmas happened. It was nice and quiet and full of food and movie binging, just how I like it. I made my annual cinnamon coffee cake, there was black licorice covered chocolate and cat-themed socks in my stocking, and Isaiah bought me an Instant Pot and an iPad Pro, which was definitely outside of the Christmas budget we had set for ourselves, but I'm not complaining. His reasoning was that I'm going to be at home alone all day (and all night) with a baby soon, my iPad 2 is old and slow and heavy and barely good for anything but a paperweight, and with the Pro I can use the Apple Pencil to do artwork and lettering, and who am I to argue with all that?

I made a traditional English fruitcake for the first time this year, too. It was as dark, dense and disgusting as I thought it would be. Maybe it's just me, but I don't really enjoy cake made out of mostly raisins and prunes. Isaiah loves it, however, and that was the whole point. This may be the first cake in existence that I have not eaten a single slice.

Next on deck, the year 2017. I can't complain too much about this past year, there were definitely some highs and lows, but that's every year as an adult. 2017 is going to be full of a lot of unknowns and new experiences, which I'm simultaneously excited and slightly nervous about, because who isn't nervous about walking (actully, slamming head first) into something they know virtually nothing about?

I'm not really a fan of new year resolutions or choosing a "word of the year", because I think that we should always be setting goals for ourselves and always be working on being better versions of ourselves. My friend Anna wrote a good post about this concept, you can just go read that and know that I'm over here with a big "ditto."

I will say this about the new year, it just me, or does "2017" just sound super futuristic and like how did we even get to this point? I remember being a kid and thinking the year 2000 sounded like something out of a sci-fi movie and here we are, nearly two decades later and it's not any less weird. On a related note, I feel super old.

Here are things I hope will happen in 2017.

I would like Instagram to get rid of the stupid Boomerang feature. If I have to watch one more set of clinking drink glasses or a backwards/forwards flowing waterfall, I'm going to lose it. I would also like every social media outlet that is not Snapchat to ban the use of Snapchat filters on photos. Trust me, you look better as a person, not a squeaky-voiced giraffe.

I would like people to start blogging about real life more, and advertising less. I can count on one hand the number of new blogs I've found this year that weren't in existence for the purpose of straight up moneymaking. I get it, if you have a lot of followers the occasional sponsored post is understandable (as long as it's for something awesome and not for menstrual pads or fabric softener because really??) but when one out of ten posts actually relates to real life, forget it.

I would like companies to get better hold music. I've been writing this while on hold with state Medicaid for the last hour and a half, and I've had to listen to the same three (bad) piano/orchestra songs over and over. Can't we at least get some top 40 or something?

I would like people to be more outraged about things like abortion/baby murder and less outraged about things like Cinnabon Tweeting that Carrie Fisher had the "best buns in the galaxy."

I would like my coworkers to adopt better kitchen and bathroom habits. Nine out of ten times I go in the kitchen, I have to clean up before I can make my food. Last week it was coffee, crumbs and half-and-half spills all over the counter all day, every day. This week it was something white splattered all over the front of the microwave. EVERY week it's unidentifiable food stuck all over the inside of the microwave and dirty dishes in the sink. I'm about to make a sign, a'la Pam Beesly.

My boss also had to send out an email earlier this week requesting that whoever is leaving poop smears all over the toilet seats please start cleaning up after themselves (I'm not joking), because the entire office is grossed out. Not an email you'd expect to have to send/receive in an office full of adults. I, myself, have had to clean up these poop smears on at least two occasions and one time it was all over the seat, back of the toilet, side of the sink, and toilet paper roll. I don't know who on earth makes it past 5 years old and doesn't learn that that's not okay, but I almost went home sick that day.

So, here's to a cleaner, less poopy new year. Until June, at least, when lots and lots of poop will make a grand reappearance in my life and I'll be cleaning it up all day, every day. At least babies are cute. My coworkers are not.

Linking up with Kristin for the last Stuff & Things of 2016!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Life Lately #4

Reading: Still plugging away at Alicia: My Story by Alicia Appleman-Jurman. It's a bit of a slow read. Probably because I've been too busy/tired to read lately, but it's also one of those books you read and you think you've read a ton and then you look and you've only read another 3% of the book. So, according to my Kindle app, I'm at about 40% finished, but I feel like I've been reading this book for a year. Watch it be one of those where the last 25% is just photos and such and I'm farther along than I thought.

Watching: I've started rewatching House from the beginning in the evenings while Isaiah is working. It's a show I enjoy and can usually stay awake to watch, and if I fall asleep, it's no big deal because I've already seen it from start to finish. I enjoy living vicariously through Hugh Laurie because even though he's a huge jerk 99.9% of the time, sometimes I wish I could get away with speaking exactly what's on my mind like that.

Listening to: My new favorite Christmas album, "Christmas Songs" by Penny and Sparrow. I just love their rendition of Come Thou Fount. It's on the Spotify playlist I posted the other day, if you're interested in giving it a listen.

Wearing: A constant rotation of Christmas flannel pjs from Old Navy (well, except when I'm at work, though I would if I could). 'Tis the season!! My new pair this year has cats on them. CATS. IN SOCKS. WITH CANDY CANES. They were basically made for me.

Smelling: A new oil diffuser we got the other day from a local shop. Our credit union gave us a $50 gift card for using them to finance our new Jeep, and lately candles don't smell like anything but burning wick to me (even my beloved Bath and Body Works candles, RIP) so a diffuser seemed like the right answer. It's a balsam scent, mixed with some other good things like vanilla and mandarin. My nose only picks out pine tree, but that's fine. Better than straight up burning wick and fire. Even my beloved Marshmallow Fireside candle hasn't smelled the same, boo hiss.

Eating: An apple, my standard first breakfast these days. It wasn't the best one, if you're wondering. The skin was too bitter.

Loving: Being done with Christmas parties, neighborly baking, cooking for potlucks, Christmas it's all downhill until C-Day (...that's Christmas Day).

Not Loving: Christmas parties with people I don't really know very well who are already 8 drinks deep by the time my husband and I agree it's time to leave at 8:30pm. Not my thing.

Creating: A gnome mobile for the kid's room. I'm about 2/3rds finished with it and I'm pretty excited about how it's turning out. 

Wanting: To stop waking up a million times a night. I don't know what's going on with my sleep patterns lately, but I wake up feeling like I got about 4 hours of sleep. Last night, it was raining and hailing so hard on our metal roof that I woke up at least three times from that alone. 

Laughing at: This Tweet:

Feeling: FAT. I'm told that virtually every pregnant woman goes through a fat stage before you actually start looking pregnant, but I had no idea what a mental game it was really going to be. Part of my brain realizes that this is necessary to grow a healthy baby, but the other part of me, the part who spent the better part of the last two years doing a crap ton of nutrition and fitness research and really getting to know my body and working out really hard to get in the best shape of my life just wants to cry in the corner. 

Hoping: That everyone in my family likes their Christmas presents this year. I kind of went out on a little bit of a limb with some of them, and hopefully they're everything everyone was hoping for and dreaming of. If not, that's why God made gift receipts.

Anticipating: I'll give you a hint: It rhymes with "schmissmas."

Monday, December 19, 2016

This Eggo is Preggo.

Note: That right there is the ONLY time it is acceptable to use the word "preggo" to describe a pregnant woman.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I thought I should pop back in and update anyone who wants to know more about my last post!

Yes, I am actually pregnant, the last post was not a hoax. I'm a little over 13 weeks along (second trimester, holla!), with a due date of either June 24th or June 18th depending if you ask me or my baby doctor.  According to the ultrasound tech at my dating scan, which they did at 11 weeks, the baby was measuring almost a full week further along. I know my body, however, and I know that's not really likely. So, I'm still telling people I'm due June 24th. If the kid wants to come a week early, fine by me...but then, Isaiah is hoping for a July 4th baby. I told him please do not pray for that to happen.

No, this is not in any way, shape or form a surprise. The only surprise was that we were finally freaking pregnant after trying for a full year. I've always felt sympathetic toward people with infertility issues, but now I can empathize, at least a little, with how it feels when everyone and their sister/cousin/best friend/grandmother is announcing their pregnancy and you're still seeing month after month after month of zero results. It's like no other disappointment or feeling in the world and my heart and prayers go out to anyone who is publicly or privately struggling. It's no fun.

Yes, I had "morning" sickness (a.k.a. all day long sickness) from weeks 6-12 but no, I've never thrown up, praise be to God. I asked my mom, and she said she had the same thing happen with both me and my sister, so I guess some things really are hereditary. She also told me she got a lot of stretch marks, so apparently I have that to look forward to as well. I still feel sick if I don't eat a snack right before I go to bed and drink a glass of orange juice right after I wake up so my blood sugar doesn't crash through the floor, but it's far more manageable than it was for those awful six weeks. Being nauseated from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed for a month and a half is just exhausting. But trust me - I am very much counting my blessings that it was only six weeks, and I have a newfound respect for women who spend weeks and weeks and weeks (or months and months and months) throwing up before they feel better.

No, I have not been an emotional, crying/raging wreck. That's actually one of several things I've been expecting to happen that just...haven't. I do occasionally tear up at things I normally wouldn't, like when Beth dies in Little Women or when I ruined a batch of pancakes or when Isaiah has to work a ton of overtime, but I'm usually laughing about it two minutes later. I haven't been overly irritable, either, though maybe ask my husband for the final word on that one. All the stories of pregnant women who scream at strangers for looking at them funny or bawl at puppy commercials...that just hasn't been me.

Yes, I was completely and utterly exhausted for weeks on end. When planning to get pregnant, I had all these grand ideas of how I was going to eat only super healthy food and how I was going to work out for at least an hour every day no matter how tired I was. Ha. Ha ha ha. We found out I was pregnant when I was only 4 1/2 weeks along, so for the glorious week and a half before the sickness hit, I WAS actually eating super healthy and using the treadmill almost every night after work. Then I started feeling like death warmed over, I could barely keep my eyes open past 1:00 in the afternoon (God bless the doctor who told me up to 200mg of caffeine a day was totally fine if I needed it), and the only food I could even think about without wanting to throw up was carbs, carbs, and more carbs. I think I've eaten more bagels in the last few months than I have my entire life combined. Now that I'm feeling somewhat normal again, I'm back to eating a LOT better and exercising, and I'm so thankful to be back into my semi-normal routine. Selfishly, I'm trying to make it easier on myself to get back in shape after the baby is born. Un-selfishly, I'd like to have as healthy a baby as possible and hopefully an easier labor and delivery as well.

Yes, we plan on finding out the sex of the baby. I won't be 20 weeks along until early February, but we do plan on finding out when we get the anatomy scan done. If you know me, you know that I'm a major planner and there is absolutely no way on God's green earth I would enjoy keeping it a surprise. I will definitely let you know what we're having after we find out, but I probably will keep the name to myself until the baby is born. We've already been told not to "name the baby anything weird," so...

No, this is not going to turn into a strictly mommy blog. There will be no weekly "bumpdates" around these parts, I will not be comparing our baby's size to produce, and sonogram photos are staying right where they're supposed to - taped to my own refrigerator.

So there you have it, folks. That's what's been going on in my world lately. It's been so hard to think of things to blog about without accidentally giving away the secret, but hopefully things will pick back up now that I don't have to watch every word I type to make sure it doesn't drop too heavy a hint. I mean, even my "Life Lately" posts have been hard. Here's what they would have looked like had I been completely, 100% spur-of-the-moment honest with my answers:

Reading: Books about sleep training and breastfeeding.
Wearing: Any shirt that doesn't touch my neck because anything touching my neck makes me gag.
Eating: Bagels, orange juice, bagels, saltine crackers, and also bagels.
Smelling: Everything under the gosh darn sun and then some.

You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, no baby bump pictures yet. I'll think about posting one when it looks like I'm having a baby and not a giant bagel.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Annual Christmas Project: 2016

If you've been following my blog(s) for the last few years, you know that every year I try and share a fun Christmas-y DIY project/craft.

One year it was a pinecone garland that had the word "MERRY" on it in wooden letters:

Another year was a tabletop Christmas tree made out of glass ball ornaments:

And the year before last were ornaments I made to look like balls of yarn (admittedly, they didn't turn out quite as well as I had imagined):

Last year I was on a blogging break, so there's nothing to show from that time period, but if I had still been clogging up the internets I'm sure I would have come up with something to share.

I have to say, this year may be my most epic DIY project yet. I posted a sneak peek (not sneak peak and not sneek peek) a few weeks ago on Instagram:

I don't have a supply list or detailed, step-by-step instructions to give you this year (you're welcome), but I wanted to share the final results anyway. Or is it a work in progress?

Merry Christmas, everyone!

P.S. My apologies to anyone who had their hopes up for a "real" DIY project they could copy. I mean, feel free to copy this, but I'm not responsible for how it turns out...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Spotify Sessions, Vol. 3: Christmas 2016

In case you're unaware, Christmas is exactly two weeks from Sunday, and this tinsel and holly loving girl could not be more excited about it.

I was actually pretty stressed out until this morning, when I finally finished my Christmas shopping. I know, it seems like it's still early to be worrying about finishing shopping, but you're talking to someone who is normally finished by the time midnight on Black Friday hits, and normally all the things I've ordered have already come in the mail and are either wrapped and under the tree or packed safely in a box to mail to relatives.

On the other hand, it's kind of nice to not have a bunch of presents under the tree already because normally when that happens, I start trying to convince Isaiah that it would be a good idea if we started opening presents just a little bit early. I swear, I'm not five years old.

All I have left now is to decorate my office at work (if I have to work for a couple hours on Saturday you better believe it's going to be spent hanging lights) and make candy for the neighbors. Sometimes I make jam, sometimes I make cookies, this year I decided to be ambitious and a little bit out of the box and make a few different kinds of candy. On deck are cream cheese mints, peppermint layered fudge, caramel/chocolate covered marshmallows, and candied almonds. I'll be honest, I'd be perfectly fine skipping the neighborly gifts this year because only one person seems to actually appreciate it and it ends up being more stressful than it's actually worth, but at least I get to practice my candy making skillz and probably have leftovers.

Anyway, I digress, because the point of this post is really just to give you a Christmas playlist that you can blast while you're wrapping your own presents or making candy, or whatever. I thought about just posting a playlist for my new favorite Christmas album, but decided that would be a little bit on the lazy side, so I'm doing a compilation of a variety of my favorite songs instead. (That album would be Christmas Songs by Penny and's on repeat and I can't stop.)

Enjoy, and I hope your holidays are past the stressful point too!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Life Lately #3

Reading: Alicia: My Story by Alicia Appleman-Jurman. It's a memoir by a Jewish woman who lived in Poland during WWII. I'm only 15% done with the book but I'm already absolutely captivated. Any memoir from that time period is pretty much guaranteed to suck me in so I'm not the best objective reviewer, but if you like books about Jewish heroes and heroines during the Holocaust you'll probably like this one.

Watching: The snow falling outside! If this keeps up we might have a white Christmas for the first time in years. The first one I can actually remember, in fact. My luck it'll turn to 40 degrees and rain on, like, December 23rd.

Listening to: The new Christmas album by the Pentatonix. And, as always, wishing I was in an acapella group because it just seems so darn fun.

Wearing: My winter uniform. Jeans, boots, sweater, scarf.

Smelling: Nothing at the moment, thank goodness. My coworkers cook some weeeeeeird shiz sometimes and my office is right next to the kitchen.

Eating: An everything bagel with cream cheese. I have been on the biggest bagel kick over the last month or two, and have eaten one almost every single day. Can't stop, won't stop.

Loving: Bagels.

Not Loving: That bagels are like 50 grams of carbs and that's almost half my carb macros for the day. Anyone have any recommendations for soy-free (allergic) low-carb bagels? Bueller?

Annoyed with: GIFT GUIDES. Oh em gee, every year the ridiculous gift guides. I need some gift ideas for Isaiah for Christmas but every gift guide for men is the most stereotypical thing I've ever seen. And can we all just agree that a $120 bottle of cologne is not a "stocking stuffer"??

Creating: My annual Christmas project! If you're new-ish around here, you might not know that when I was a regular blogger in years past, every December I would put together some kind of DIY Christmas craft project, list the supplies and instructions, etc. That post should be up in the next two weeks or so.

Wanting: All jobs to have winter break/summer break like teaching jobs do. Granted, I get a lot more PTO than teachers (my sister gets two days, I get two weeks) so I can take my time off whenever, but it's certainly not 3 months at a time! My sister is using her 2017 summer break to go to China for six weeks with a friend. CHINA. FOR SIX WEEKS. I haven't had a straight six weeks off work since I was fourteen; in other words, since before I got my first job. In case you're counting, that's almost twenty years ago.

Laughing at: This cartoon that my brother-in-law sent Isaiah yesterday. Because it's SO TRUE. My sister's cat is exactly like this with me.

Feeling: Annoyed with Facebook, as usual. You leave one "please help me with this tech issue" on an app company's Facebook page and next thing you know people are asking you about it and you had no idea your comment was even public. Just when you think everything is private...nope. As I've said a bajillion times before, if it wasn't the only way to communicate with family members who don't believe in e-mailing vs. Facebook messaging, I'd be out.

Hoping: That all my Christmas shopping will be done in time. Getting ideas from my mom and sister is like pulling teeth. I think next year I will suggest that we give them both money and they give us an equal amount of money and we call it good.

Wishing: That I was a better blogger. I was telling this to a friend today...that I think I'm more in love with the idea of blogging than I am blogging itself. I'm naturally a pretty private person - I prefer to email or text with a few close friends rather than share everything about my life with the internet. It makes it hard to think of things to write about.

Anticipating: Christmas. Really, December is stressing me out quite a bit this year and I'm ready for it to just be Christmas day so all the stress can be behind me.