22 September 2011


I have just eaten enough food for an Army. I've done pretty well with this pregnancy in not overeating like a crazy person. Don't get me wrong - there were some ugly binges & I had a far from healthy diet half the time but portions usually stayed reasonable. Not today. Ben is at daycare so I breaded & fried eggplant slices & zucchini coins, which he does not care for, & ate about 300,000 of them along with a cherry tomato & bocconcini salad that ended up using the entire tub of bocconcini. Now I'm chowing down on two mini-pavlovas because if I didn't eat them, I'd would have had to throw those little pavlova shells away & no one wants that. I even chose to eat these pavlovas instead of dealing with a washing machine disaster. Oddly enough, I just took a moment to peak at the washing machine & it seems to have sorted itself out. Lesson of the day: EATING DESSERT WILL MAKE ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS GO AWAY.

So our washing machine is quite small - grrrrrr - but I just stuffed our guestroom duvet (not the cover, the insert) into it for a good scrub before Oma arrives on Saturday. Well, I have washed plenty of blankets in this tiny bucket of a machine & it always goes lopsided & gets clogged but today it looked like the inner machine had detached itself from the outer boxy part (I know my technical terms may be too sophisticated for you) & water was leaking over the top of the inner part onto the floor. I started to cry when I saw all of this because we can't afford a new washing machine & this one weighs too much for me to throw out the window as I felt like doing. Instead I set it to drain the rest of the water & ate my pavlovas. Now it seems okay except that the blanket is only partially washed so will still have detergent throughout it & what appears to be flecks of dirt & lint that must have been hidden away along the edges of the inner workings of the washing machine. I will be rinsing the hell out of this duvet in the backyard with the hose momentarily. Poor Oma doesn't know what luxury awaits her on our side of the planet.

Anyway, that drama aside, all is going okay. Hit the mall for a couple of small errands & have finally officially reached the point where I can't walk very far. Had to take a few breaks to let little contractions pass through my lady parts like the hot fireballs of hell that they are - it's hard to act casual when you're strolling past Country Road, wondering if you should drop in on their sale, & suddenly you have the lovely sensation that someone is trying to pry your vagina open with heavy duty construction equipment. And these aren't even real contractions, people! These are just the random ones that show up when you're walking along minding your own business, just to make sure you're ready for the real thing. I have explained to my body countless times that I have scheduled a c-section so I should be exempt from this horseshit but my body ain't listening.

Whatever. I would like to send a bouquet of flowers to whoever at Erina Fair decided to put about a million comfy couches down the length of the corridor so I could act like I suddenly needed to sit down, have some water & organize my purse. The water prevented me from yelling "YOUCH! MY VAGINA!! M-Y V-A-G-I-N-A!!!" No one appreciates hearing that. And digging through my purse prevented people from seeing the face I'm sure I was making that I'll recreate for you now:

Something like this. Also, what is my hair doing?
I still managed to get through the stores I wanted to visit but did not find the picture frames I need so I see more annoying shopping in my future before this baby appears on the scene. *sigh* Why am I on here by the way? I have so much stuff to do & today is really my only chance to get it done. Ben is back in 3 hours - I have done nothing besides shop, eat & watch Ellen shuffle Harry Connick Jr. through the most hurried interview ever. I'm off to hose down a duvet & to see how I fair with washing the actual duvet cover in our little washing machine of horrors. I'll come back later if I think of anything worth sharing.

Okay I'm back to just quickly address those of you who are powers to be in the world of maternity fashion. Anyone? Anyone? Hmmm ... anyway, this is not necessary:

Maybe my pregnancy bosom is all I've got going for me & maybe you're just being thoughtful so I can breastfeed with this shirt once pregnancy is done but there has got to be some discretion. My brain has sadly stopped working & I couldn't manage to get both my full rack & my skeptical face in the picture at the same time so there's actually more cleavage down there. I can't wear this particular shirt out of the house for fear of newborns flinging their tiny selves at my swelling lady lumps. Unless lady lumps means the butt then come up with your own sketchy phrase for boobs & fill in as necessary. Where is the muumuu of yesteryear where a pregnant woman could hide for 9 months of glorious fattening up?? Long story short: cut this shit out, folks.

And a big shout-out to the dude who lives next door. We've been neighbors for about a year & a half & the only time I hear you is when you blow your nose. You make me smile every time but sometimes it terrifies me because I didn't know you were right there, over the fence. 

So I've been doing these updates throughout the afternoon but it's now 5pm, Ben & I are home puttering around. Well, he is throwing things off the Lanai onto the Lower Lanai, which is one of my greatest pet peeves but I'm not in the mood to yell so I'm just letting him go with it. I will seethe inwardly, then pick all the crap back up & put it where it belongs after he has gone to bed. That's how I roll when I don't want to fight with a toddler.

I've accomplished next to nothing today. In fact, I took steps backward instead of forward. The blanket from the great washing machine debacle is drying in the background across some chairs so it could stay in the full sun all afternoon - it's still pretty darn waterlogged so I imagine it will be usable sometime next month at this rate. This is where you should imagine me yelling "ACK! ACK! ACK!" like the old Cathy cartoons. I could also use some Cathy-approved chocolate.

Also in my two steps back mode, I changed some things around in Fonzie's corner of our room. Marcel is going to kill me because I undid some of his work & now I'll need his help to finish out my new plan. Chances are he's working late tonight because he's got big work projects due just in time for the new baby to be settling in. Isn't that just how shitty life is? There's a whole freaking year but absolutely everything in our & our family's lives has to fall at the same time. Thank you, life, we really didn't want to have an easy time of it. Please can we have some more?

Okey dokey, I should go clean the kitchen & attempt to sweep the bathroom as I boldly proclaimed I was going to do. Marcel scoffed so now I have to do it. I am unfortunately beyond the stage of being able to get down on my hands & knees to scrub the grout or I'd be doing that too because those tiles are going to do me in one day. I have no tolerance for the bastards.

On that note, I am going because my temper is starting to run short with the boy who can't not throw things. He's moved on to the big rocks that sit throughout the landscaped sections of our yard. If this child does not end up being a baseball player or some other profession that requires throwing, I will feel cheated.

Adios muchachos.

21 September 2011

Wednesday stuff

As you can probably see, I've started playing around with new backgrounds for the blog. Not loving the one I landed on but Marcel needed the computer & apparently fiddling around with crappy backgrounds suddenly doesn't take priority over paying bills. *sigh* I hope this changing design doesn't bring you unpleasant flashbacks to the dark days of myspace where I changed my background almost minute by minute - I'm a Libra, we're indecisive by nature. 

Had my last official midwife visit this morning. All went well, nothing really happened as usual (which is a good thing) but the baby seems to be right on size & his heartbeat is fantastic. Also found out it's his booty that is taking up all the room in my stomach so he's finally turned back around upside down. So this time next week I'll have the little goofball in my arms finally. Hoping since I'm having the surgery in the morning that I'll be more lucid for the afternoon & night so I don't wake up in the middle of the night & wondering what the hell was going on. I love looking at all the happy smiley pictures of me breastfeeding for the first time & hamming it up with Ben - I have no actual memories of that time. Ah well, I'm taking a little notebook with me to write down anything special they tell me so if I am drugged out & need to reference back to it, I can. Of course I'll probably just write things like "I love candy" over & over. 

Today is my last official day alone all day with Ben. It's been a weird day because I had my appointment this morning so Marcel went to work late so I didn't have to chase the boy around the waiting room or wrangle him while getting blood tests done. And it was the absolute most beautiful weather today & Ben had zero interest in being outside. He just wanted to watch TV & play a bit all day. He NEVER wants to watch TV, even Toy Story, these days. I was just telling my mom yesterday that I would give anything for him to watch TV for a day so I can sit on my caboose but now that he's done it, I feel like a terrible mother. Tomorrow is his daycare then Friday Marcel only works a half-day so we'll have Family Fun Friday all afternoon as our last day as a 3-person family. Marcel's mom gets here on Saturday!! So glad to have an extra pair of hands around here for my last few days of being ginormous & grouchy. Ben will be thrilled to have someone who isn't too tired to play with him too! 

I'm thinking of making the run to IKEA tomorrow since I won't have Ben to drag with me - it's a brutal journey for a toddler. I don't need anything major, just a couple of picture frames & crap but I've gotten it into my brain that I need to go. Nevermind, I'll just get the frames at Target for a few dollars more & be done with it in a fraction of the time. Don't you love when I do my brainstorming for all of you to witness instead of keeping it in my head where it belongs?

We've got a list of things still to do that is a mile long but we're slowly getting there. I have to finish off my hospital bags - I will post pictures of these doozies. I have been known to overpack every now & then but I think I'm doing okay with these because I insist of being comfortable during this hospital stay! Also still need to do a lot of straightening up & cleaning before Debbie gets here - our guestroom is a little shoddy at the moment, so I'll make that my focus for tomorrow since I've cancelled my crazy IKEA plan. Goodness, we still need to get a new carseat too! Crap. Oh well, worst case scenario they can get that while I'm in the hospital since we don't technically need it until Li'l Eisele is ready to come home. 

Okay, I'm stopping now because I don't want to turn this blog into Ashley's To-Do List. I have paper for that, thank you very much. In the next few days, I will bring you exciting updates such as how our guestroom comes together, what my hospital bags include & maybe even how our Family Fun Friday fairs. I can hear your squeals of excitement already ... sarcastic jerks. 

Have a happy day. I'm off to change a stinky diaper.

20 September 2011

and you don't stop

Just in case any of you had doubts about the future of my personal style, I am here to assure you it's only going to get worse. As if being broke didn't cement the fact that I'll be dressing like a hobo from here on out, then add to the fact that I will never lose my baby weight (I just won't), THEN please note that the supermarket I go to is ADDING A CLOTHING SECTION next month. What? Why? How? I am so confused - like actual racks of clothing will be in Coles. Was this necessary? They must realize that a poor, pudgy girl who has lost all sense of self & sanity is going to buy the hell out of grocery store clothes. It's going to be ugly, folks.

Let's see, these days Ben is slightly addicted to youtube. It's fantastic because it means he'll sit still for a few chunks throughout the day & he's always on my lap for it. Too bad the videos are driving me insaaaane! There are a few favorites that I'll share with you:

Shape Train - there are also Number Train & Color Train that are very similar. I have to say they are helping me with his vocabulary, which is something I could never accomplish on my own. Gotta love when the internet is a better parent than me.

And then there is this one. You all probably remember it from a couple/few/million years ago when it went viral. It's an Evian ad & Ben forces me to play it over & over & over ...
I hope this is the right version that uses Rappers Delight or you're missing half the fun. Yikes.

I think Ben just published this by accident by pressing one button so I'm going to re-publish it now before he has a chance to do any further damage. Someone is obviously eager to watch his damn roller skating babies again. Please send an intervention.

19 September 2011

Notes on Monday

Random notes from today:

1. Took Ben to the mall for one shop but couldn't even handle the thought of chasing him so put him in the pram for first time in months. Smart mom move: went directly to Boost Juice & got him a smoothie to work on while I shopped. All went incredibly well, except found nothing that I needed at said shop.

2. There is a red crayon in this house & when I find that red crayon, it is a GONER. On a related note, I nominate the Magic Eraser as one of the greatest inventions of all time. My furniture & sanity salute you little white booger of goodness. Crayons can go to hell.

3. No pay TV so I turned to the wide wide world of web for my Emmy fix. Red carpet pictures & live blogging of the event have given me all I need. Shall have to watch the few highlights online too then I'll be done.

4. So now that it's Monday I can officially say that we're having the baby next week. Yikes.

5. Marcel's stomach TALKED TO ME last night. I am not kidding. I was wide awake for my millionth painful rolling over session plus had to get up to pee. Marcel's stomach was making bizarro noises & I swear to you I kept hearing a little creepy gurgly stomach voice saying "Don't worry ... don't worry ..." I checked for a troll under the bed but nope, it had to be the stomach.

6. Leftover apple pie is a perfectly good lunch.

<< 2 hours later >>

7. Nope, no, no, apple pie is a terrible lunch. Very ill tummy! Ben is peacefully napping on the couch instead of in his bed because I thought we could cuddle together for a nap like the old newborn days. Turns out that does not work with a toddler & a supremely large pregnant lady so I settled on the much smaller loveseat for my own nap ... until the stomach situation kicked in ten minutes later.

8. I taught Ben what a moustache is & now every so often he'll just put something under his nose & shout "MOUSTACHE!" It's the greatest thing I've ever seen - bouncy balls, plates, anything goes for his facial hair.

9. I love my poor husband. Not just because of the soothing life lessons that his sketchy stomach sends to me but also because he is going to be up all night with our crazy son because I let him take an extra long nap. If that child takes a nap at all, we can add a good 1 1/2 - 2 hours of bouncing around his bed at bedtime & today he napped for 2 hours & didn't get up until 4.30pm. I'm going to have to pass out early thanks to the stomach plague so my darling Marcel gets to pick up the slack. There's not a better man in the world & I'll give him extra bonus points if his talking stomach starts giving me lottery numbers to play.

18 September 2011

major goal

I have one goal for the next week and a half. To be a better mother? Pssshaw. A more patient wife? Hahaha! Eat well, meditate, exercise, relax? Gag me with a spoon. All I want out of life is to keep my legs elevated so my little pig trotters stay as unpuffy as possible. I would like to send a big shout-out to the Australian spring season for suddenly bringing the sun & heat, which is making my one goal a little tricky. Now, I will refer back to my last pregnancy & remind everyone of the great cankles that took over my life during the hot days of work & the painful commute every day for a couple of months, so this little spell of puffiness is no big deal. Yet it drives me insane - I'd like to wear my wedding ring again (wait, did I mention my hands are puffy too?). Anyhoo, a girl needs a goal & that's mine - elevated legs. And just to keep flashing back, I have to say that the best part of having my water breaking all over my damn self for two full days before the hospital would let me stick around was that all my puffiness disappeared into the towels I was forced to sit on. Good times, good times.

Oh, I should have a quick frank little chat with you. Aside from the occasional random Ode to Jesse Jackson kinda day, this truly is a parenting blog. Not a "How to" or "Look how crafty/clever/awesome I am" parenting blog but a "What the hell is going on?" or "ARRRRGGGHHHH!!" or sometimes just a boring "We're still here" kind of a parenting blog. If you've gotten bored or annoyed by the last whiny weeks I will warn you that I don't see it getting any better anytime soon. I suspect having a newborn around will inspire some oooh'ing, awww'ing & talking about itsy bitsy adorable baby parts but also lots of whining about not sleeping, washing onesies & everyone's favorite subject, the various colors of baby poop. You will not hurt my feelings if you stop reading until the children are about 15 & I will laugh hysterically & sincerely about any comments that tell me to shut my trap. I never ever want to come across pretentious in my blogging so please send me a virtual face slap (they hurt less than real ones) if I ever start sounding smug or superior. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to sound smug or superior when you have absolutely no idea what you're doing as a parent.

We got Fonzie's baby corner set up in our room & it's looking pretty good. I'll try to post some pictures for you guys tomorrow if I manage to take a picture that doesn't look like the type that people take of Sasquatch. Can I admit something? The ugly little bumblebee bassinet has grown on me & I'm trying to add another touch or two of bees to the corner to help it seem like it's an intentional theme. There are also a lot of elephants for some odd reason - not sure how they've snuck in but they're there. Bees & elephants are natural BFF's I suppose (???) so we'll just go with it.

And I think we've almost settled on a name. There has been much bitching, lots of raised voices & plenty of "THAT'S NOT A REASON TO VETO A NAME!" All of this was from me, mind you. Marcel is obnoxiously level-headed in arguments & tends to dismiss me when I get worked up, which just makes me madder. Anyway, we agreed on a name last night & even shook on it so it was officially agreed upon by a gentlemen's agreement. Marcel tried to backtrack a bit today but I think me ripping his head off had to have set him straight. We'll see, we'll see.

Anyway, the Bones season finale is on now (yes, we're behind - whatever) & I have no popcorn & no pie so I'm not a happy camper. Must rectify this major situation. Adios!

16 September 2011

disturbing the comfortable

I know my blog is all about my awesome parenting abilities & recently has turned into one long boastful session of how pulled together I am & confident while awaiting the birth of my baby who will no doubt sleep through the night at 3 weeks & solve world hunger by the time he's five. He'll most likely do his best thinking & problem solving while playing with his mother's hair by the way.

So I'll give you a break from all the peace & loveliness of my turmoil-free life to discuss the single most random subject I have ever brought up on said blog - Jackie Kennedy's tapes! What the what, say you? If you haven't heard about the taped conversations that have been recently released, I suggest you check this article out & peruse some of the links. It's kind of fascinating & a weird little sheltered view back into that magical mystical world of Camelot. But long story short, she had some beef with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not being what he should have been in her eyes.


Anyway, I have a confession to make in light of all of this - I have such a soft spot for Jesse Jackson. Seriously, I know relatively little about him in the scheme of things but the man chooses some beautiful words to get a message across. For exy (that's my new invented way of saying "for example," inspired by the genius of the made-up word "totes" instead of "totally")(but I digress), here are his statements on this whole Jackie brouhaha:

Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights activist:
“Dr. King disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed. In many ways, he traumatized many people with changes his leadership brought, but publicly she was very gracious.”
“Bobby Kennedy in his anxiety as Attorney General allowed J. Edgar Hoover to do the wire tapping. It just shows the spirit of the times,” Jackson said. “The people who hurt us was not Jackie Kennedy. The people who hurt us blocked school doors. They arrested us, unleashed the dogs and stood on the floor of the House and spoke against the public accommodations bill and set the climate of violence against us. I still see Jackie Kennedy in very favorable terms.”
I love the image of disturbing the comfortable & comforting the disturbed. How lovely is that? And here is a man who was standing right beside Dr. King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on that fateful April 4th, a man who has every right to hold a grudge (for lack of a more appropriate term) against anyone who doubted the sincerity of the civil rights movement. But he refocuses the light to where it should be. I'll be the first to say that Jackie's statements rubbed me wrong but I'm quick to take offense on behalf of others - not one of my best attributes, I'll admit - & plenty of notable civil rights names understandably had more critical opinions but I like Jesse's point of view & hope that I find ways in my life to focus on the point, ignore the drama & not hold a grudge. 
And holy mother of toast, why can't I paste anything on this blog without throwing my font into a tizzy? Nevermind, not the point - not holding it against blogger or anything. Carry on, carry on.

15 September 2011


While I imagine some has been amplified by my grumpy hormonal moods, we have a new problem in this house. Well, a new old problem that's come back around. Ben has become super duper mischievous again. It's like now that he's taller & get into more stuff it's almost like he's just learned how to walk again - I do nothing but desperately try to keep him out of things & to keep decorations, furnishings, EVERYTHING out of his hands. It pushes me past my wit's end most days. I get out of the shower & have to rearrange everything back on the changing table, take the little desk calendar out of the lampshade he likes to stuff it in (note to self: never leave this lamp on without adults around), make sure he hasn't broken the few knick knacky things I have stubbornly left out so that our home has some bloody decoration left. And before I leave him alone for a minute, I have to triple check that doors are closed to the guest room, our room & the bathroom door has to actually be locked since he can work that handle. If I don't, he will remove everything from our bathroom drawers & throw it BEHIND the drawers, which can only be remedied by me getting down on my giant stomach & reeeeeaching way back there - not a fan of this. If he gets into Marcel & my room, he systematically destroys all of the things I have stacked up for the baby's corner. Hopefully we'll get everything up on the wall & organized away today or this weekend so this won't be an issue for much longer but he'll just find something new then.

I'm not sure how to handle this situation. He's two so I know he needs to explore & play & I feel like a mean old cow shutting him out just for my own sanity but I also would love to own some things that aren't broken (I can spot three things from my current vantage points that have been busted & glued back together), to not have to reorganize every little corner of our house 30 times a day after he's rummaged through it & I don't think it's so evil that I'd love our house to have some damn decoration to it. The kitchen has a gate on it plus all its cabinets have stupid little locks on them, which I hate looking at (this is why I steadfastly refuse to add them in the bathroom) but we've been here well over a year & Ben would still run wild with everything in there if allowed.

I'm not embarrassed to admit how insanely angry I get when people say that they don't bother with "toddler-proofing" because after they've said no a few times, their kid isn't interested in trying anymore. Really? R-E-A-L-L-Y??? I hate you & I hate your ass face. If I am in my room with Ben, making the bed or something he'll start in my closet trying to pull things out, I'll say no or steer him away so he'll move on to a bedside table, then the baby corner, then hiding things behind the blinds, then the other bedside table, then Marcel's closet drawers ... it will literally keep going until I give up, curse & move on then eventually I have to go back & clean up everything he messed up. He is just nonstop & has been for as long as he has been able to move his little rear-end. Our house is TINY & has no storage so we only have so many options of hiding things or keeping them out of his eyesight - I really thought he'd get over it eventually but now I'm not so sure.

*Sigh* I don't like complaining about the little love of my life because he's really the most awesome kid on earth - he makes me laugh nonstop & even impresses me with his diligence & dedication to my total insanity. Yesterday when we were outside & down near our little side landscaped area, he dragged out two buckets & plopped down & yelled for me so we could do a little weeding! Hahahaha. I had him help me once earlier this week & we had a great time until a large spider jump out, which reminded me that there are some truly awful tiny creatures lurking under those rocks around the weeds so maybe I should limit the time his tiny fingers are down there with them - the spider that jumped out at us was nothing scary but I really don't like the idea of Ben having to be treated with anti-venom down the road! I still expect we'll have some weeding to do today again with me on my eagle-eye spider-spotting mama skills on display because he really seems to enjoy pulling up some grass & weeds & deciding which bucket it should go in.

Ah well, apologies for starting this day out with complaints. I promised I would go to bed early last night like I say I will every night but it took been aaaaages to get to sleep & I can't sleep until he is for some reason, then I got up with a sniffly nose (mine) & a nightmare (Ben's, though he didn't actually wake up - I can't handle hearing him crying "No, no, no!" in his sleep) then Ben decided he was ready for the day at 6am. Luckily his dear father got up with him but I still can't go back to sleep when the boy is awake - terrible habit! And my lovely pregnancy circulation always makes my hands fall asleep in the morning no matter how I position them & try to shake them out so I go a tiny bit insane.

So yes, I'll go now but please share if you have any advice for how to teach a toddler to listen, play with his own toys instead of playing with our stuff or how to discipline a 2 year-old without yelling (I'm terrible) & that doesn't involve me pinning him to a naughty chair/step/spot (seriously, it's completely ineffectual when the wiggle worm has to be physically restrained). I really feel like a moron about to have my second child when I obviously have so much to learn about how to take care of my first one. This parenting crap is ridiculous.

13 September 2011


Well, yesterday was a doozy. I'll skip to the end where I was going to take pictures of the destruction that a certain child had brought upon the house from room to room & outside but when I turned the camera on, I got the WAH WAH WAAAAH as the battery decided to poop out instead. I almost launched that camera into the pool but reminded myself I'm trying to not be so dramatic. Hide the crazy, Ashley, hide the crazy.

Anyway, the end of those terrible terrible photos of toys strewn as far as the eye could see I was going to show the delicious meal I had made & say some witty version of "but we ended with this delicious dish so all is okay." I can't even think of a witty version of that because I was up half the night while my body violently rejected that delicious dish in various ways at the same time. I will no longer be sharing that recipe because I don't want you to have to replace your lovely bamboo bathroom trashcan like I now have to. So I guess that dead camera battery was a good thing.

It was quite possibly the only good thing from yesterday. I woke up in a funk, which I'll admit isn't unusual these days due to the hormones & absolutely exhaustion. But Ben woke up in a frenzy & did not slow down all day. I know I talk about how active he is all the time but yesterday I can honestly say he didn't take a breath - throwing his outdoor toys into the bushes so he could watch all the bees fly around him (a dark day is coming soon with those bees, I can feel it in my waters) & when I'd scold him for that, he'd switch to throwing all of his bouncy balls (why does he have so many?) over the gate to the bottom part of our patio near the garage or around the pool where he is obviously not allowed to play. So finally I'd give up & move us indoors as punishment where he would just tear through the place room by room & drive me bonkers. At one point in time he dumped every toy he could reach in his room into his crib & climbed in with them - this was okay for me because I knew where he was. Too bad he kept getting stuck & whining to be freed. There were literally about 10 minutes where I sat on the couch with my feet up, listening to him play in his room halfway quietly & I was in heaven. Naturally I became suspicious pretty quickly & sure enough, it turned out he wasn't in his room but in our room tearing apart my piles of organization for the baby's corner.

Anyway, there was much yelling & crying from both of us yesterday. We did do a big trip to the grocery store, which was good except for the weirdos who decided to wait for my parking spot at the end of the trip. I understand not wanting to circle around for a spot but seriously, who on earth zeroes in on the 9-month pregnant woman with a toddler & an overflowing cart of food as the target? It wasn't even a good spot for heaven's sake (& remember that I know a good spot when I see one). I was confused so decided to test whether they were actually waiting for me to move on or just stopping there for no good reason while people kept passing them in a huff. I unloaded at regular speed, dragged my cart back to the cart thingy across the parking lot (I pride myself on always returning the carts like a good citizen), put Ben in his seat, even opened the trunk back up to tuck in a green bag strap that was hanging out, then buckled myself in, all at a non-rushed speed, then finally backed out. Sure enough, they zoomed into my spot!! I am still confused by all of this - they would have waited literally 5 minutes when there were plenty of other options opening up everywhere. Ah well, nothing about yesterday surprises me & I give them credit for not honking at me to hurry up - I avoided looking directly at them just in case I was getting dirty looks or eyerolls.

Ben has a new little quirk, which is cracking me up. He likes to mix & match his gumboots. He wears one blue-checked boot & one blue with silver stars boot instead of wearing a matching pair. I've always joked that my son is a mini-Brent. Brent is my older brother & I don't want to embarrass him but there was a good chunk of time in the heyday of Air Jordan hysteria where he insisted on wearing mismatched colors - one red, one black, whatever. This did pay off once when an airline lost his luggage & had to reimburse him for two pairs of the very expensive shoes instead of just one. Now I look at my son in his unmatched boots & wonder how on earth something like that is hereditary??? DNA is crazy.

I'm 37 weeks now, which is lovely because I'm officially full term so if Fonzarelli was born today he'd likely be just fine. Except that I'd give him a serious stink-eye for ruining all my c-section plans. You do not want your mother's stink-eye on the day of your birth, young man. Watch yourself. Physically I'm still feeling mighty fine - very tired, lots of hormonal/emotional outbursts, ridiculous amounts of cursing but very little pain & discomfort. If I were able to rest regularly throughout the day (oh, the nap fantasies I have had!) I could presumably handle this pregnancy for a lot longer. Again, major stink-eye would be passed around for ruining plans & my doctor wouldn't allow me to go past 40 weeks anyway thanks to my high-risk status so we'll just stick to the 28th, which is 2 weeks from today!

Okay, I should go shower & get ready to face this day. Ben didn't nap yesterday & has become a squirmy little shit master at getting out of my "fool-proof" rocking & relaxing method. He has obviously already outsmarted me, which makes me unhappy to say the least. I have no hope for a nap today because I lose my patience way too quickly so after my lack of sleep last night I realize I am in big trouble. I may have to resort to driving around & hoping to anything holy in this world that it makes him pass out but then my feet get puffy in the car & I want to sleep too but really don't want to sleep in the car because there is no dignity in that.

Anyway, hope you're having a very happy day. And hey, if you happen to know a very pregnant lady with a wild child don't judge her if she buys a box of Fruit Loops because she only has 2 weeks left & she needs whatever little joys she can get to survive that long.

12 September 2011

down in the dumps

Goodness gracious, so many sad things going on. My grandfather's memorial service was today, which I obviously missed being on the wrong side of the planet. I wish I could have been there to be with my family & share the good memories with them. I love my family so much - not to be overly cheesy but they're such a gift. I'm not just talking about my immediate family but my extended family on both sides with all the aunts, uncles & cousins not to mention my beautiful in-laws who felt like family within days of meeting them (Have I ever told them how much of a role they played in me falling in love with their boy? I should do that.). Marcel & I have had many conversations about how lucky we are to have the family we have - we complain about the little hilarious quirks but honestly wouldn't change a darn thing about those people. Whenever people talk about where they'd like to be in the world right then, I always think there is nowhere I'd rather be than at my parents' house surrounded by all the laughter, teasing & loveliness of the fam damily. Okay, there was a good solid several years where I would have answered that I'd rather be wherever Bono was but I've grown up so now I'd definitely rather be with my family. With lots of food. Especially chocolate pies. If Bono just happens to be there, singing sweet nothings to me I wouldn't complain but the family basically wins.

So yes, I feel incredibly sad about grandfather's passing as well as tremendous guilt for missing his memorial service. Do you want to know what you shouldn't do when you're already grieving & wishing you were somewhere else? Let me tell you - do not watch the 9/11 services live on TV. I did pretty well for a few minutes but then it got to me & I had to quit before the waterworks couldn't be stopped. I know a lot of people have been sharing their September 11th stories but I'll spare you my experience because it's not really important & it will make me start crying again, which we don't need. For the record I could be reduced to tears simply by telling you the epic tale of how I baked some brownies & have eaten almost all of them by myself over two days so I'm obviously not in the best headspace at this point.

Also today a very gorgeous actor by the name of Andy Whitfield died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma here in Sydney. He was the original star of the Spartacus TV series for any of you who happened to watch that & he was the star of an Australian movie called Gabriel, which I own but have yet to watch because I'm terrible. Most importantly, Andy was a client at my old job & he was lovely. I have very few bad experiences to tell from those working days & even if I did, none of them would involve Andy because he was a dream - incredibly polite, sweet, funny & professional. And for the love of all that is holy, he was one of the blessed clients who returned phone calls promptly! Anyway, I know he'll be sorely missed by anyone who worked with him not to mention his beautiful wife & kids so I'm feeling a little blue over him too.

No, he never came to the office dressed like this.
As you can see I have managed to take not only my personal losses but also the world's losses to heart and am stuck in my wonderful Woe is Me mode. But as I've been typing this Ben obviously woke up from his nap because he came stumbling in here like a drunken old man. He doesn't possess that gentle pitter patter noise when he walks, it sounds more like he's wearing SCUBA fins or something but there is nothing more wonderful to see than my rumpled little boy. I am ignoring the fact that he climbed out of his crib, which has become our nightly argument these days. I'll spare you the million gazillion details I would usually share about the struggles for now but I'm sure I'll post about it soon enough.

At least whenever Marcel or I are feeling particularly sorry for ourselves, the other jackass can be counted on to start humming the Charlie Brown music. This usually cheers us up - any Arrested Development fans can understand. And can I just say that I can't believe you can find absolutely anything online?

Let's see, there has to be some non-complaining things I can tell you. Hmmmm ... oh! I manage to start on the new baby's nursery corner in our room! All the furniture is in place, now just have to get all the little artsy stuff on the wall to decorate, get the baby gear organized & decide what to do about my lighting choices. Shall post pictures when I get it done. I was just going to move the furniture around to make sure it all fit properly then put it back to normal but then it dawned on me that I could probably use the next couple of weeks to actually get used to not having my bedside table where it used to be & where the hell everything actually will be before I come home with the nameless wonder. Let me tell you, I am one organized mamacita! Of course now that I've put so much effort into being prepared & being so proud of myself for knowing what to expect this time around, I am fully aware that things will not go as planned & I'll be thrown for a loop all over again.

Oh, I know something good - I slept well last night! My never-ending cold must have finally decided to move on because there were no coughing fits, sore throats or anything else untoward. Of course I have a few achy cracks when I roll over but that is simply par for the course at this stage of pregnancy. So now I have just under 2 1/2 weeks worth of good sleep to be had before the newborn madness takes over. I am earnestly praying that Ben sleeps well, no one else gets sick & we all get some much-needed rest while we can. Stop laughing, it could happen.

11 September 2011

Hit the Spot

Just taking a very quick moment to post a recipe I tried tonight - apple pancakes. I am a terrible cook, I will admit it. I can follow a recipe & most of the time be somewhat successful but I have absolutely no creativity in coming up with my own ideas & I can stare into a full pantry without a single notion of what to do with any of it. Therefore I admire friends & family who are awesome cooks & always have something up there sleeve.

One friend of ours over here is starting a tradition with her kids of pancakes on a Saturday night, which I love. Our family used to have a fruit salad & popcorn Saturday night when we'd have other families over to celebrate the end of Sabbath & watch a movie or something. I'd like to rekindle this tradition but tonight I decided to steal her pancake idea instead! Also, I bought too many apples this week that weren't being gobbled up so I googled apple pancakes & when I saw a smitten kitchen recipe pop up, I knew we were in business. I didn't want pancakes with baked or stewed or whatever apples on top because those are always way too sickly sweet for me so I was happy to see that the apples were grated & incorporated into the recipe instead.

Mine didn't turn out overly apple-tasting, just a hint of it but with a gorgeous texture from the grated apples. She mentioned in her recipe that next time she'd make them with additional flavours & maybe use more tart (tarter?) apples & I would agree if I had any clue what other flavours would go in there but again, I missed my mother's wonderful cooking gene! I knew our apples weren't the most exciting, which is why we hadn't eaten them all in the first place but the recipe absolutely hit the spot for me & my gentlemen. Even the unborn one is doing a happy dance in my gut.

I'll just paste the recipe straight up below but I'm also including a link so you can see all her extra notes & the comments other users have left - I find on cooking blogs that the little tweaks that everyone else tries along the way are incredibly helpful & half the time they have the same questions I have. If you enjoy cooking & good recipes, I wholeheartedly urge you to take a few minutes to cruise around her other recipes because they will knock your socks off & she has a really great way of writing a recipe with every bit of information you could need as well as a warm humor ... & a few adorable pictures of her son hidden in there from time to time!


apple pancakes
Adapted from Joan Nathan, and a bunch of other sources laying claim to the same recipe

As I mentioned above, these are going to need a little more oomph than the original recipe entails. I’d vote for some orange or lemon zest, perhaps some cinnamon or vanilla extract or … well, what do you think? I am eager to see what you all do to step it up a bit.

(New to pancakes? Check out these tips.)
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups of milk or yogurt (I used milk and am only assuming that the yogurt will work as well)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 medium apples, peeled and coarsely grated (I used yellow delicious, but will use a more tart variety next time)
Extra flavorings (see recipe notes)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

1. Mix the eggs with the milk or yogurt in a large bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.
3. Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir in the apples and whatever other flavorings you see fit.
4. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over low to medium heat. Drop large spoonful of batter into the pan and flatten it out a little (otherwise, you might have trouble getting them to cook in the center) and cook until golden brown underneath. Flip the pancakes and cook them for an additional two or three minutes.
5. Either dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately, or keep on a tray in a warmed oven until you are ready to serve them.

08 September 2011

Ben's art

One of these days I'm going to get Ben's room clean at a decent light hour & take some pictures of it in its new home, which is the teeny tiny bedroom that once was the office/extra room hybrid. It's not that exciting & it's smaller than his old room but I think it has more character thanks to two corner floor to ceiling windows, which I love. Unfortunately, even with the windows, it's darker than his old room but this will pay off in the stinkin' hot days of summer when the reverse cycle air conditioning doesn't quite reach down the hall properly. Our "master" bedroom (can hardly use that word to describe our itty bitty room without laughing) & his new room don't spend the day collecting sunlight so it's usually quite bearable at night.

Anyway, the whole point of this mini-post was to give you a sneak peek of the little gallery wall we've put up in his new room & in particular the awesome new print we picked up for him on etsy.com.

As always, I must start by asking you to forgive my photography. I think I stole Marcel's iPhone for these lovely snapshots but you could give me Anton Corbijn's camera with him giving directions over my shoulder & you'd still see my goober head in reflections or I'd have everything out of focus except for my thumb. It's a gift, it truly is.

Available from Xander Thurteen on Etsy

I think I've made it pretty clear exactly how obsessed Ben is with Toy Story & its characters. Unfortunately for him, I refuse to decorate with the licensed merchandise available because even I have standards. Yeah, that's right. But when I spotted this my heart grew two sizes & I purchased it as quickly as my clicking fingers would allow. 

$12.00 (US) for the print, my friends. And just a tiny bit more for shipping from the awesome land of New Zealand. And here's where I'm going to blow your mind with my geniusness. I buy awesome affordable art like this gorgeous print, buy or dig up a cheap frame then go to a professional framer & have them cut a mat to match. It is not cheap to have things actually framed by a pro but mats are quite affordable. The place I used this time (Lemon Tree Framing) cost $30, which is more than I usually spend but they have the machines to do it in-store so they turned it around same day, which made me the happiest lady on earth. They are also incredibly friendly & all around awesome - they even added a sturdy string mount thing on the back because my poor discount store frame only had a terrible little hook - so they will forever get any & all Eisele family framing & matting. 

My love of cluttering things up makes me want to add one more thing to this little wall of stuff right below Buzz & Woody but I'm trying to restrain myself ... unless I find something just right. We'll see. I'll give you a closer look at the rest of the artwork (all cheap - the tiger was actually 25 cents from a thrift store near my college back in the day)(yep Dana, that's our tacky dorm room tiger that I will never get rid of!). 

Okay, I need to go save my poor husband who is reading bedtime stories to Ben, even though that's normally my job. It sounds like he's hyping that kid up so we're up for some good times tonight. Please send help.


I don't want to alarm you or anything but I'm pretty sure I'm going to die any day now. The cold from hell that comes & goes & comes & goes is staging its most interesting incarnation yet - the dry, hacking cough AND the snot/phlegm chucking. These are two stages that shouldn't be able to exist at the same time but lucky me, I'm the living petri dish they've decided to experiment in. The best part is somewhere around 3.00am when they meet in a coughing, snotty, choking fit that sets this very pregnant lady off to the bathroom quick-smart lest the feet or head or whatever on my bladder give me just that extra push in the dignity department. Then I can't breathe, can't blow my nose, can't make anything feel better & just keep hacking & apologizing to Marcel that I'm keeping him awake too. May have to move to the couch tonight.

I have less than 3 weeks left until this baby arrives & pregnancy-wise I feel like a million bucks so I should be sleeping like a fiend because the newborn nights are just around the corner but nooooo, the coughing snot fairy is no fan of mine. I did get a tip this morning about one brand of cough medicine that pregnant ladies are allowed to take & I nearly tap-danced to the chemist to pick up a bottle but I have to say I didn't experience any miracles. The warning said "may cause drowsiness," which for me usually means a solid 16-hour coma followed by a medicine hangover but this didn't even make my quick nap any easier. I declared today (Ben's daycare day by the way) a sick day & haven't left the bed since I got home from getting medicine but it really hasn't helped & now I feel grumpy that I haven't accomplished any of the housecleaning & crap that I originally planned on doing. I'm still not leaving bed until I have to pick Ben up just for the principle.

And yes, I have less than 3 weeks left until Fonzie's unveiling. Yesterday was my 36 week checkup - all is well, nothing exciting to report other than that we set the birth date! It will be Wednesday, the 28th of September so 3 weeks from yesterday on our calendar. They don't give out exact times since the operating theatre schedules have to be flexible for emergencies blah blah blah but we have a morning slot at least so please think of us at 6am that day as we trudge in there with my diva-worthy pile of hospital necessities. I'm planning on writing a separate blog dedicated to the over-organizing I have done in the hospital bag(s) department & something tells me that I won't walk out the door to C-Section Land without a final shout-out on facebook & something overly dramatic on here so don't worry about memorizing our date & time just yet, though you're very sweet for trying.

Okay there is something on my mind that I'd like to share. I had bad news yesterday & I will get into that shortly but first I need to brag about something I have NEVER bragged about before & got understandably overshadowed by the bad news. I got the best parking spot yesterday at the hospital. Not the closest, not by far, but it was magical. It was one of those tiny spots tucked behind a back elevator that everyone else passed by & I did too a few times in the laps around the full parking garage because it was almost impossible to see & even more impossible for anyone to fit into. It was marked "small cars only" & I made a snide comment in my head that only a clown car could fit into it, then I remembered that hang on a minute, I happen to drive a clown car! With the angle I couldn't even go into the spot nose first & I was forced to face one of my least favorite things, parking in reverse. I don't know why but I have a mental block about driving in reverse with any kind of aim - I get the concept of the mirrors & not turning the steering wheel, etc. but I seriously get this weird vertigo feeling & feel slightly out of control no matter what. I am desperately googling old school surfing pictures because I feel like those terrible actors used to look - standing way at the front of their board, straight up, arms flailing out to the side, making bizarre smiley faces. Hilariously, while I couldn't find the image I wanted this is also somewhat appropriate:

So yes, I got my tiny car into the tiny spot on the first try with no drama & even managed to squeeze my ginormous pregnant ass out of the car without too much spectacle - true I had to hoist Ben out of the wrong side of the car because only one of us could have appropriate space for our door to open but he doesn't care about such things. I wanted to high-five someone or at least point out my awesome spot to them but the only people around were in the zombie-fied state of driving in circles up & down the parking garage themselves so I kept my smugness to myself. Later when I left some doofus in a station wagon was super-psyched that he was scoring my spot but there is no way he could fit his real-sized car in there so I was still smug as I drove away. So there you go, the most boring story ever about something completely unimportant. Mark that off your to-do list for the day!

But back to real life, my gorgeous grandfather passed away yesterday. I am still trying to get my head around it myself & don't feel like I'm really reacting appropriately to the news - I'm obviously incredibly sad but there is so much guilt at being so far away from him & that I couldn't see him recently. I realize that in the scheme of things it probably wouldn't have been good to see him as he was at the end but I do feel terrible that I'm not there for everyone else. Not that I'm some rock of support but everyone plays their role when the family's down & I imagine my role would be reminding everyone that we shouldn't forget to eat ... preferably at Cracker Barrel or Ole Neighborhood or somewhere else that I have been craving food from but you get the point, family should be together when times are tough. My wise mother pointed out that even if I lived somewhere else just in America it's not like I could fly in at almost 9 months pregnant with the cold from hell lurking within me. It would be just like me to steal the thunder at a funeral by going into labor or tinkling myself from a coughing fit or something.

Anyway, once I get my head a little less fuzzy I'll tell you more about my grandfather because you would have loved him. He would think you have a weird haircut but he'd keep it to himself because he was cool like that. Just kidding, your hair is fabulous just the way it is.

So there, we're all just pushing on. Well, I'm not pushing anything because I don't want this child coming until I'm nice & healthy - some of you may remember I got a cold right after Ben was born & that was not pleasant. Basically I was leaking everywhere that a lady can leak thanks to the joy of birth (yep, even c-sectioners get the weeks of bleeding), breastfeeding & runny nose. I think my mom has a picture of me on the couch with Ben in those first few days with tissues stuffed up my nose looking like deep-fried poop & I'd like to avoid that again if at all possible. Which reminds me that I need to go book a hair appointment!