I was all pumped about NaBloPoMo, because I was all, "Yeah! I can definitely post every day! Every day IN A ROW! I got this!" And then I realized I was totally kidding myself, because I can't update regularly when it's not an assignment - and given my track record in college (not a WORD, Jefferson) I am not likely to finish assignments. So I'm skipping out, but you're not missing much.

I've been suddenly, overwhelmingly, outrageously busy with family portraits, this being the season for that sort of thing. I blame the entire thing on my new BFFFF Kim, who talked me up on the Triangle Mommies bulletin boards. I keep meaning to use TM for social opportunities - they have mothers' nights out, and playgroups, and random events for mommies who just want to leave the house without wearing spitup or play dough in their hair, for pete's sake - but I've just been swamped. Who am I kidding, though, I love it. I love being swamped, because it means I'm doing something right... and then I get to have the grand visions and fantasies about my future studio, which will look suspiciously like Jessica's new loft, but with more pictures of Astrid the Wonder Mutt and her sisters.

Speaking of, here's the latest shot of the sisters - they're both looking in the right direction, can you believe it?

Don't be surprised if you see this on your Christmas cards, friends, because it's highly unlikely that they'll ever look in the same direction again. I think it only worked because I was singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" at the top of my lungs, shaking my butt in the middle of our street. The neighbors already know I'm nuts, so it was okay.

I'm off to bed, at the ripe old hour of 9:30. Mostly I'm just cold, and I hate this whole daylight savings junk - it feels like it must be midnight or something. Why do we still do this? Indiana changed their minds about opting out of the whole program - if they can magically change time, why can't we all magically unchange it? Stupid DARK.

1-800-REALLY, GOP?

** I wrote most of this two days ago, but it seems I've developed strep throat and had to go lie down in the middle of it. As it turns out, Kay Hagan won, and I couldn't be happier - regardless of the issues, regardless of the fact that she's a Democrat, it just goes to show you that utter nastiness is never rewarded. Plus now Elizabeth Dole's roboto friends will stop calling me! Yay!

Confession: I live with a Republican, and I can't seem to make myself stop it. The GOP has brainwashed my otherwise sensible, lovable, funny spouse, and left me with this guy who's all "Rah John McCain! RAH, I say!" (They have also stolen my BFF, with whom, we have agreed, I shall never talk politics at the risk of short-sheeting her bed next time we're staying in the same house. FOR REAL.)

Can we just get one thing out of the way before I start the daily bitchery, too? Yes, I am quite enamored of That One. Yes, I believe in sharing wealth and helping others and all that other bleeding-heart stuff that my spousal unit (and you, friend, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) doesn't really get behind. As we have previously discussed, this blog is not a place for political debate, because I don't have time and I don't like confrontation. Moving on.

Cohabiting with Rob isn't really what's got me hacked about the election tomorrow, though. Honestly, the presidential race in general doesn't really have me as jazzed as it probably ought to - I'm going to do my part and I strongly encourage everyone reading this to do the same, but that's really all I can say at this point. What is KILLING me is the battle between this old hag and this other candidate who I know nothing about. I swear, Elizabeth Dole's robocaller left NINE messages here today, at at least four every day for the past week. Someone from the GOP just called and asked for me, and then verbally abused me when I said I was a Democrat. Seriously, she told me I was uneducated about the "things" at stake, and after asking me if I had kids, said that I needed to "get some focus on the real issues." I thanked her politely and firmly, said that I intended to vote tomorrow, and hung up. I have never hung up on a stranger in my life, so this just shows you how tightly my panties are twisted.

I don't care if Kay Hagan stabs puppies live on the internet - at this point, she gets my vote and a few extra, if I can convince the homeless guys on highway 15-501 to come with me.

** And now we're back to today, the day after election day, at 5:00 AM. I can't seem to sleep anymore, either because my fever is too high (103.1? really? Because I thought that was a radio station, not an actual temperature that a reasonably healthy adult could have) or because I've been in bed for about 18 hours. So I'm awake, seeing what everyone on TV has to say about the biggest news of the year. Fox News is, unsurprisingly, crying in their coffee; the local station is too focused on Bev Perdue and Kay Hagan to really talk about That One and how Yes, He Did win. All I have to say is, surely some things will improve. Surely life can't get any scarier. And surely I need to lie down again. This strep thing is SO not conducive to rubbing this one in Rob's face.

Halloween hangover

Yay, Kristen's first Halloween (and Norah's first in which she actually participated)! Oh, we had fun. We have ten thousand Tootsie Rolls and Norah's got pneumonia from trick-or-treating in the cold, and I have a blister from walking house to house in incredibly cheap Old Navy shoes, but we DID have fun.

Norah was Fancy Nancy for Halloween, for a couple of reasons - one, because we already had the dress and I suckered her into using it for both everyday and The Big Dressup. Have you not met Fancy Nancy? She's pretty precious, actually, despite my earlier refusal of all things pink and plastic. The books are cute - Nancy uses big words and explains what they mean, and declares that "everything sounds fancier in French." Which, of course, it does. And who needs other excuses to wear every accessory in the house?

So here's how it came out (apologies for the crapola photo):

This is at her school, where we had a Halloween Breakfast, featuring eight tons of pumpkin baked goods, several quiches (it IS French school, after all), and a full box of coffee for every grownup present. Look closely and you can see Kristen's carrier - she wore her bear bunting, but since she spent the morning in the Bjorn on my chest (as usual), I couldn't get a good picture. Somehow she didn't seem to mind.

We went trick-or-treating in Chapel Hill, home of the infamous Franklin Street Halloween Party - we didn't go to that, of course, but I did get a little rankled about the way the city treated that particular event. Traditionally, the event is enormous - 80,000 people last year, I heard - booze-fueled, and slightly out of control. However, "out of control" in this area is more like "traffic" in this area - clearly, these guys have never been to Fells Point, is all I'm sayin'. The CH leaders were all, "This is supposed to be a family show, college kids go home, no drunkies, grumble grumble grumble." I'm sure it's a huge expense for the city, and the police force loses years off its collective life, but I would imagine that it would just make the students go home and drink more on campus and throw their dorm furniture out the window. And now I can't wear my Captain Booty costume, darn it.

(I'm sorry, can we just recap something? Captain BOOTY? Seriously? What makes grown women, especially those of us who should deny the lure of the exposed garter, think this is a good idea?)

Anyway - the kid had a great time at what I'm calling "Franklin Street for the Chicken Nugget Crowd," and yes, she has a ripper of a cold, but the giant box of candy in the kitchen makes up for a lot. Mmm, tiny Snickers... Happy day-after, gang. Now go eat some stale Smarties.

Coupl'a things

1. Oh dear, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is on channel 12, and I may die from the high school nostalgia. Is this a band/theater geek thing, this tradition of checking out Tim Curry's bustier-clad bod every Halloween? Or do you all do it, even you cool people - do you flip past it while doing your channel-surf and then flip back for a minute, just to see if it's as insane as you remember? The last time I sat through the entire thing, I was 17 and making out with a boy in a hot pink wig at someone else's parents' house... I was wearing a tuxedo jacket and ludicrous amounts of eyeliner, and the whole thing seemed perfectly normal, if a teensy bit nerdy. Teensy.

2. I have to make two large casseroles for Norah's Halloween breakfast tomorrow, and I haven't even started. It's kind of funny - we're all making things and bringing them in, and yet we're all being charged $10 per family to attend. It's a fundraiser, so it's cool and all, but seriously. Doesn't "fundraiser" make you think of overpriced candy bars and wrapping paper? Candy bars do not require an hour of my time and two bags of refrigerated hash browns. Wrapping paper is not going to burn my legs when I accidentally set it on my lap while trying to down a coffee, drive to school, put on makeup, and be as fabulous as all the other mothers. Note to school: next year, let us consider chocolate. It's safer for people like me.

3. Speaking of makeup, time to shill for Bare Minerals! Have you guys ever tried this stuff? I was touring Sephora the other day, hunting for a pretty foundation brush for my sister, and the salesgirl talked me into letting her apply it to my face. She was pretty and chirpy and I think her name was Crystal, or maybe Cricket, but I don't care if her name was Adolf - she made me glow, and this is no small task these days. Children are murder on the glow (except for the glow in your HEART, am I right, Hallmark card writers? Hire me!) Seriously, it's great makeup. I've been a bigtime Clinique junkie, but I think we might have to break up.

4. Norah's going to be Fancy Nancy for Halloween. I bought the dress and sparkle shoes at Target, and the rest of it is coming from our various dress-up boxes. I'm kind of tickled that she wants to actually wear a costume - I think for a while she was a little frightened of the whole costumes-in-public idea. I'm pretty sure this is related to her hatred of the mall Santa, a big bearded man IN A COSTUME who clearly tried to burn her to death with his jolly red nose. (You'd think, anyway, given her last - and final - attempt at sitting on his lap.) But now she's three, and now she understands that costume + late bedtime = CANDY, and all three of those components are SO much more interesting now that she's experienced Snickers and gummi bears.

5. Rita's just opened down next to the new Harris Teeter, and I have died and gone to mango water ice heaven. Also in the same strip mall: Neo Japan and, lord help us, a Dunkin Donuts. My quest for thinner thighs is being thwarted by commercial real estate developers. Somehow, though, the injustice of this is a lot less injust when it's coated in vanilla custard. 'Night, all, I have a spoon to lick.

Holy WOW Halloween

So I'm pondering my blog reader, as I often do instead of writing my own posts - it's easier, and I don't have to remember whether it's "that" or "which" - when I came across this on Jessica's photography blog (I was just looking for office and workflow tips, and poof! Instant jawdrop!) If you're a crafty sort and you're pondering what to make your little girl for Halloween, DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK, as you will never, ever be able to top this.

The Marie-Therese Gown by Grosgrain

Norah saw it and her little bugeyes went woooOOOP! wide open, and I knew it was all over for me. If I don't win this gown, I will have to live in the yard and eat acorns or something, because the princess will not allow me back into the house without it.

In other news, Kristen rolls over (she does not, however, fetch the newspaper and/or slippers, which would REALLY be an accomplishment) and laughs. And is there anything cuter than a baby laugh? It's this gaspy, "puh-HAW" sound that you'd never know was a laugh if it weren't for her big old grin. When she grins, her tongue sticks out. In 15 years, I am SO telling her dates about this.

Oh, THAT wall. Yeah, I hit it.

So I promised Adrienne I would write something tonight, and Patty's been all up my nose about it (which is acceptable, since she lost about half my body weight and she looks all cute now), and I'm sure you guys were just DYING to know what was up over here that kept me from updating you on the scintillating details of our lives...
Um, yeah, sorry about this, but I've been fiddling with the stupid template for eleventy hours, and this is all you get:

Because a twirly dress is really all you need, and thanks to Adrienne, we got one! Bon soir, mes amis, a demain (as Norah says at school).

Okay, here, have a few more:

So does Daddy, but his don't do anything.

Norah: Mama, my nose is wet.

Me: Yes, yes it is. Have a tissue.

Norah: [much honking and generally missing the tissue, blowing her nose into her hand, ew GROSS] Thass better.

Me: Are you okay?

Norah: Yeah. I just have the snipples.

So glad we invited Hanna to the party

"There's a WHAT coming today?" asked Kristen this morning.

"A hurricane," I said, "and it's going to be a hoot. There's going to be some major flooding in our neighborhood, but because we're lucky and live in a safe place, we'll be totally cool. Tell Norah to get her boots on."

"Hey, Norah. Your friend Ellie is going to try to pull that walking-on-water act again, but if she does, just knock her flat. If she's really that good, she'll float."

"We'll bring out some toys, get the neighbors involved, and have sort of a block party - ostensibly to watch you girls romp around like nuts, but also because we sort of want to romp, too. In fact, Mama may go on out in her sleep-shirt, just because it's fun, and because she's too busy trying to find your hippo floatie to change."

"Don't let it go, though, or we'll have to wade through the woods to get it back, where we'll encounter two crawfish and a beaver. Yes, a BEAVER. In our DRIVEWAY. Too bad he'll be a fast little bugger and we won't get a photo."

"Mama, the floatie is gone."

"It's cool. Astrid's swimming after it. Across the patio."

The stars say go

Aries, September 3:
Things aren't exactly where you want them to be right now and that could
mean that you're in for an uncomfortable time -- but not necessarily! Try your
best to smile and keep others smiling.

And just when I needed some cheerleading, too. Norah's transition to preschool is not going all that well - today when I dropped her off, she had to be peeled from my legs, and I had to walk away without letting her know that my stomach was somewhere north of my throat, and breakfast was headed for the sidewalk. My BABY is CRYING, I thought, and I CAN. NOT. RESPOND.

I know this is going to get better, but good lord, it's hard right now. Good thing I have to keep my shit together for Kristen and Peyton (the youngest of the nanny kids, who's with me most of the time these days) or I would be a pile of jello.

Seasonal updates. That's the ticket.

Hi! So in the last two and a half months, it seems I've had a child, gone on vacations, had the in-laws over for a week and change, delivered Norah unto preschool, knocked out a wall in the kitchen, and made bread that ended up larger than Kristen (y'all ever play with yeast? Seriously, play with yeast. That stuff is MAGIC.) Here is said bread, with a chicken egg for size comparison. When I braided it, it was reasonable - then we had to let it rise some more, and it crawled across the counter and ate the toaster oven.

So the rest of the summer, geez. First and foremost, this whole baby issue - what a trip this two-kid thing is! After some rough weeks in the beginning, we've all gotten used to each other, and it's fun. It really is. Watching Norah turn all cutesy and gentle when she's around Kristen has been hysterical. Her jaw juts out like a barracuda, she clenches her teeth, and grits out, "Aww, baby shissher, you're sho KEWT you baby shissher, you gonna shpit up? You gonna shpit your milk on Mama? Mama thinksh you're shilly, you baby shissherrrr..." I guess she thinks this is how one talks to babies, and I want to tease her about it, but I'm terrified that she'll stop doing it and I won't have anything to make me shpit diet coke out my nose.

Kristen herself, now that she's worked out her original notion that sleeping is for wussies, is a pretty cute little bugger. She's long and lean - even taller than Norah was at this age - and it's becoming a challenge to find clothes that are long enough but not wide enough to fit in the entire contents of the diaper bag. (Although that would lead to one-handed maneuvering... Hmm...) She looks very much like Rob, especially when she's annoyed - their lips get all tight and lemon-sucked in exactly the same shape. And of course, like her sister and father, Kristen sleeps with her mouth wiiiiide open. The snoring in this house, my lord, it's enough to set off the car alarms in the driveway.

We bashed out the wall in the kitchen, and now instead of looking like this (and please ignore the majority of the furniture in this photo, as it is no longer there and/or part of our fabulous collection):

It looks like this (and yes, we just spray-painted that godawful chandlier and put shades on it, but hey, it was a $12 fix):

SO MUCH BETTER! We're putting a small column at the end of the shelf and a pot rack dangling from the ceiling right above it, but that's going to have to wait until either of us is more inspired. At this point, I don't think there's much else we can do to the downstairs, aside from gutting and redoing that nasty little bathroom... Yeah, okay, that's kind of major. One of these days, maybe.

Norah leaped into preschool today at the snooty-booty, awesomely fabulous Montessori school. It started out brilliantly: she marched up there, took her new light-up shoes off, put on her ballet slippers (they can't wear outside shoes in the classroom), hugged the teacher, and went off to see the fish while I melted with glee. Glee for her, because she was clearly having a good time and bypassing that whole freakout issue, and - let's be honest here - glee for me, because I only had one small, non-mobile, morning-napping kid to shuttle around with me. I love me some Norah, but Mama needs her working time. And time to watch CSI reruns on Spike. Oh yes I did.

Then I went to pick her up, and all thoughts of the mad zexy Nick Stokes went zip! out my head, because there was my poor, defenseless, abandoned baby, crying her eyes out and holding her teacher's hand. "It's been on and off tears for about two hours," the teacher said, "but in between, she seemed to have a really good time. I really think she's fine." Then Norah cranked up the waterworks, and I killed myself with a tiny wooden Montessori-approved play knife. "What happened, pal? Are you okay? How was it?" I asked her.

"Oh, Ma-ha-ha-ma," she wailed, "it was GUH-REA-HAY-HAAAAT." What? Great? Then why--? "There's a fish, and he's a blue fish, and we have beads on a string and I put them on the string myself, and Jenna is there and Anne-Sophie, and also Mellya [or Amelia, as her parents call her] and some more kids and there is a mat and I played on that mat and we have to play our things on the mats and then put them away and we have tables and on the tables we can read books and can we do books at home and where can I go potty at home that it will be like going potty at school?"

"Then what's up with the crying? Why were you crying when I came to get you?"

"Because, Mama," she said in a tone that might as well have said because, dumbass, "I MISSDED YOU and I wanted you to see the fish. I fed that fish. Can I go see him tomorrow too?"
And believe me when I tell you that nothing in the last two months prepared me for that. We've been through childbirth, sleeplessness, houseguests, demolition, drywall dust in every orifice, screaming fits, gassiness, and endless wardrobe changes for spit-up and other charming bodily fluids. I thought I was tough, but I still felt a little wobbly inside when my baby a) declared that she missed me and then b) got over it and moved on. To a fish. We're some big girls now, boy.


We're all delighted, especially Norah, who refers to the baby as "my baby sister Kristen who is here now" at all times. And now, if you would, please excuse me while I fall asleep sitting at this computer.

Y'all, I am so happy.

Yup. Stiiiill pregnant.

Wow, it's really hot down here. I mean, really really hot. I knew it wasn't exactly northern Alaska when we moved, but I seriously did not anticipate this open-oven-draft-in-your-face thing we're having these days. I also thought I would plan pregnancies around the foul sweaty weather, but ha ha! Delusions are cute, aren't they?

I'm now three days from my official due date (the 19th, which is also Rob's birthday, and how much do I want a newborn for my/his birthday present) and every night for the past three weeks I've thought, "Oh okay, this is it, I have back pains and WAS THAT A CRAMP?" Obviously I've been incorrect for three weeks, which is getting a little wearing - no one likes being wrong, let alone consistently wrong for 21 days, let alone alone about removing a foreign body from one's abdomen and thereby relieving oneself of a number of unpleasant issues. Like the back pain thing, and the restless leg, and peeing all the time. I feel like a dog in a field of hydrants.

The plus side of being fat, hot, and lazy is that it means I spend a great deal of time inside, which means that I've gotten ALL of my two months of wedding photos uploaded and sorted and processed. I still have a ton of album stuff to do, but most of my girls haven't even scheduled design sessions with me, so it's all pretty much backburnered until a) whenever they get their calendars in order or b) after I get done a'birthin'. Rob's had most of his weekend days off, and will likely have weekends off for the next six months or so (hi Duke! thanks again!) so he's been spending some serious QT with Norah, and hopefully I can anticipate similar sweet sweet freedom work time in the days ahead. Minus time spent with the wee baby attached to my body, of course - which will be SO WAY BETTER than having her inside my body.

Y'all, I really want this kid to get here. Aside from the whole "reclaiming my body" thing, there's the babylust thing, which inspired me to redo the girls' closet, get the crib ready, wash the clothes, all that good stuff - three weeks ago. I want to play with her feet and watch Norah kiss her cheeks, kind of like she kisses my belly at night. (And says, "Good night, baby sister, and I will see you in the morning time. You can wake up and come out ANYTIME NOW." Oh my heart.) I loves me some babies, I do. And, let's not lie, I really want to sleep for more than an hour without staggering blindly to the bathroom sans contact lenses. I feel both are compelling reasons to go into labor tonight, don't you? I'll let you know how that works out.

Is me!

Dear Owen, and the rest of the internet, but really specifically Owen, since he reminded me to update things, or at least his mother did,

I'm fine. Bloated, crabby, and in the 15th hour of the dumbest damn thing on the planet: Braxton Hicks contractions! Woohoo, false labor! I've been torn between "Please God, let this just go ahead and turn into birth," and "Oh Satan, keep 'er in there for another two days, because I have this wedding on Saturday and it's my last one, and I really don't want to have to call the bride and tell her that I'm panting my Lamaze on the side of the interstate." I didn't have this false labor thing with Norah, and I'm gonna go out on a limb here and CALL BULLSHIT ON IT ALTOGETHER.

But that's only today - otherwise, I've been tired, overworked, back-sore, and all the other joys that come with being full-term knocked up with a second child during a pretty much full-time job with ludicrously odd hours. I promise to resume regular posting at some point - this is just not that point. Believe you me, internet, whenever this child gets herself bornded, as Norah says, YOU WILL KNOW, if only because I will have finally, FINALLY stopped whining.

For now, however, I am off to consume my body weight in watermelon, my current crush food. Ohh, melony watery goodness.

Please note that this is not an invitation to snark on ANY political candidates. I'm just bitching.

Dear Barack Obama,

Dude. For real. I love the fact that your name is Obama. I love your wife's pearls. I love that you came to Carrboro not that long ago, because that's about the last place I'd expect any high-powered Mr. Man to visit (not that Carrboro isn't a really cool place, because it is, but you'd think you'd stick to Chapel Hill, its more snooty-boo neighbor).

But seriously. Just because I am a registered independent does NOT mean you get to call me four times in five hours to remind me to vote. Your people, or people claiming to be your people, have now dialed my number with their magical autodialers ELEVEN times since yesterday morning. That Other Candidate has not yet called, which at first hurt my feelings and made me think she didn't care, and now is sort of making me like her more, despite her mannish voice and unfortunate choice in lady politician hair.

So please, please, stop calling. I know I need to vote, and I fully intend to do so as soon as my (deep breath) Republican spouse gets home to relieve me in the childcare duties; this would suggest that perhaps I am aware of my responsibility as a good American citizen to a) choose a candidate and b) cancel out Rob's vote in the future, and perhaps you should call off the damn dogs already. I got a kid what needs a nap, and if your people wake her up again, I'm dropping her off at YOUR house.

Love and frustration,

The skink in the sink, and other Seussical reasons for me not blogging

I'm not dead! Just thought I'd start by informing you all of that, since it's been about six years since I posted anything of merit (and what, three weeks since I posted at all, har har har). I keep experiencing things and thinking "Oh dear, I've just got to blog about that," but I then forget, because what else is there to do when you're pregnant, other than bitch and moan about the inverse correlation between your ever-expanding belly and your ever-decreasing wardrobe options?

(And oh wow, do I do this a lot. I am down to four shirts, FOUR, that I'm willing and able to wear on a regular basis. This wouldn't be such a big deal, since I don't really do much that requires fancy wardrobery, except for the fact that three of said shirts have grease spots on the front and force me to constantly hold something over them, like a purse, or a small child, or the car. My back may be aching but my biceps are remarkable.)

Anyway. The skink in the sink is kind of funny, so here you go. A couple of days ago, Norah and I were doing our thing in the yard - she in her swing, me on my knees in the garden, pretending that the plants are actually going to survive this year - when the phone rang. I trotted inside, leaving her in the swing (she can't unbuckle herself, so I figured she wasn't going to escape or anything), and answered the phone that hangs next to the sink with a cheery "HellOOOOH GOD WHAT IS THAT?" Good thing it was a telemarketer - bet they won't be calling here to offer me any more Scholastic books THIS year, huh?

"That" was this, a Southeastern Five-Lined Skink, who had wiggled his skinkly way through the screen and onto the sill, and fell off into the sink. One would think that skinks would have stickier toes, or something, but this one was clearly a somewhat deficient skink, because OF COURSE the only ones who come to my house and get themselves in impossible situations are the messed-up ones. He was missing part of his tail, he was orange, and good golly, he was looking at me. And skinks bite.

I didn't want to alarm the kid, so I maintained my cool and attempted to trap the little bugger under a Tupperware bowl. Deficient or not, he was pretty bloody fast, and reluctant to be trapped under the Tupperware. So we spent several glorious seconds chasing each other around the sink, until I got mad at him and slammed the bowl down in front of him, trying to scare him into holding still. Because that's wise, right? Scare something that bites? Heck yes! He didn't bite me, though. He had some kind of skink seizure and fell into the garbage disposal.

At this point I was pissed, both at myself for leaving poor Norah in the swing through all this ("Mama? Would you like to come out here and push me now? Mama, I am not having fun, did you know that?") and at this clearly STUPID lizard for getting himself into this position. My hand was on the switch, y'all - I was going to make skink pudding, the easy and downright nasty way. But I stopped, and I thought about how it really would kind of be murder of a defenseless little thing, and how I am not That Person who murders things, and I had a MacGyver-style idea: I stuffed the disposal full of angel food cake, backed it up, flooded it with water, and watched Sir Skinksalot float to the top. Scooped him out, stared at him for a while, did a few fist-pumps in the air to celebrate my toughness, and chucked him out into the yard, where Norah saw him and descended into hysteria. I felt good, righteous even, for having saved one of Mother Nature's creatures... until I realized that now we have no angel food cake, and that's probably even worse than murder, maybe.

Other news: pregnancy good, baby due in eight weeks (wha?? how??), photo biz a'rockin', and my buddy Mills and sister Kate ran the Stick Horse and got medals, because they're that kind of cool. Next year, girls...

(Thanks to Mills' mom for the photo, which I have printed and hung on my fridge in an effort to inspire myself out of the ice cream. Ha.)

Because Zoot's made me laugh

Yeah, she totally started it.

Indeed. Sorry for the lack of updates - I've been swamped with kiddie portraits, bridal portraits, and the overwhelming fear that comes with knowing that in three months, I'll have a two-week-old baby and a three-year-old child. How in the world did THIS happen?

(I'd just like to point out that this is a rhetorical question - I do in fact know how in the world this happened. I'm pretty sure I was there.)

PSA for my fellow cheapies

Should you happen to want restaurant gift certificates for way cheap, Restaurant.com's 60% off sale is currently on for one more day... The discount code is GENIUS. And it is. We've actually used these several times, and it's been great. You buy your certificates for specific restaurants in your area, and then you use them for anything but booze (which in my case isn't such a big deal...) The kicker is that you can get $25 worth of certificates for five or six bucks during the sales; they're always discounted a little, but spending a fifth of what something should cost really appeals to the tightwad in me.

This is significantly more important today, as our heater has crapped out and of course, OF COURSE it's not going to get above 60 degrees for a few days, so the repairman is on his way and I already know it's going to cost $89 for the diagnostic service. At this point, I would probably sell off an arm or something just to get heat back in here - Norah and I both slept in multiple layers last night under a series of quilts and down comforters. Rob was on call, so he got to sleep in the heated deliciousness of the VA. Life is so unfair.

Rah Raisin Neon!

Having anagrammed myself (thank you, MB, for giving me this incredibly fun way to avoid doing the dishes), I've discovered that my name can make the following useful phrases:

A Insaner Rhino
Hernias Rain On
Insane Air Horn
Ha Roar Ninnies

So! Easter was this weekend, which was extra fun - we had a neighborhood egg hunt, and Norah was delighted to learn that hollow plastic eggs are actually sometimes filled with things! And those things are often edible (although in the case of these things, they are decidedly NOT)! Or shiny! Or stickery! Needless to say, the Easter Bunny is the big stud around our house these days; yesterday, Norah sighed contentedly while wearing all of her mardi gras Easter necklaces and said, "That Easter Bunny. He's a good guy."

Here is the slightly confused Norah at the beginning of the hunt. She still doesn't really understand the Easter Bunny concept, even though now she knows he's the source of all things sweet, sparkly, and/or made entirely of crystallized high fructose corn syrup. He's either a gift-giver, like Santa, or he's a delivery boy - both grandmas sent Easter packages that they both swore were from the Bunny, so Norah's pretty sure that he's kind of like a nice version of our UPS guy.

Adrienne was here, as previously discussed, and helped with the searching (which was convenient, since she also got suckered into helping with the hiding). Norah's butterfly t-shirt was "delivered" to Adrienne's via the EB, yet another confirmation that he travels in a big brown panel truck.
This is Norah's buddy, Ellie, who lives down the street. Ellie's mother is at exactly the same point in her residency at UNC as Rob is at Duke, but Ellie's mother is about 30 weeks pregnant. Talk about dancing backward in high heels, man.

And lo, there were plastic beads. And the beads were GOOOOOOD. Happy Easter, friends.

They're just trying to scare you

I hate email forwards. I mean, seriously, I HATE them. Not the ones that are kind of cute, like Mills' dogs movie or, and you know you love it, the dramatic Prairie Dog!

I also don't mind the ones that are actually worth something - Restaurant.com's secret 50% off code springs to mind. Speaking of, right now it's "green," but I think it's changing soon. No, I hate the ones that are designed to create mass panic, like the one I got today that said in HUGE RED LETTERS that Glade plug-ins cause house fires. Come on, guys - don't we have enough to panic about without adding fear of air freshener arson? Besides, my only fear regarding air freshener is that someone will someday buy me a nasty one, and I'll have to use it out of politeness, and it'll make my house smell like a gas station bathroom.

Anyway! Not much up around here, as you can tell. Rob has just finished installing a new showerhead, faucet, and turny-onny part (handle? what is that thing?) and now he's dancing around doing air punches and saying, "Who's bad ass? WHO IS BAD ASS?" Honestly, I think it's bad ass, too... the old faucet, etc., was held to the wall entirely with mildew. Yesterday he put down the new floor - we were going to tile, but decided that that's lipsticking a pig, so we used those sticky linoleum tiles instead. And voila! Instant proud Rob, instant happy me, instant delighted Norah because she didn't have to take a bath tonight while the plumber's putty set.

Yesterday I volunteered for the WUNC-TV telethon thing, also known as Festival 2008! because nothing makes me party as hard as spending the shopping money on invisible airwaves. Honestly, I'd send them money if I thought we had it to send, but the police, firemen, and homeless guys got to me first. So I gave up my time and answered the phones for three hours, which was an exercise in dealing with humanity. Some people were very direct - here's my credit card, here's my amount, send me a thank-you card, and g'byenow - but the majority of the callers really wanted to discuss something. Anything. The current program, what was on yesterday at 2:30, the incentive gift (for a while, it was a home remedy book that consisted entirely of fodder for those horrible forwards; you should have seen some of the remedies for constipation). It was actually pretty fun, if a little nutty now and then, and I felt like I did a good thing.

And Norah would like me to tell you that she has yet to have an accident in her Curious George underpants, because you can't pee on Curious George, that would be SILLY. Everything that would be bad, or wrong, or sinful, is SILLY in Norahese - I can't wait to tell the next bank robber I see to knock it off, he's being silly. Or rather, SILLY. Indeed.

There you go, all the news that's fit for public consumption - don't you feel smarter? Now go unplug your Vanilla Cookie Breeze before we have to call 911.

Things which make the tire man seem utterly insignificanter than he already is

Norah got into her snooty-booty Montessori preschool! It's actually not even close to snooty-booty, but every time I tell someone about applying there for next year, they get this LOOK like we're monogramming her toilet paper before she uses it. These are the people who are unfamiliar with how cool Montessori education actually is - how amazing the kids are with each other, how everyone respects everyone else's personal space, how three-year-olds add multiple columns of numbers while the four-year-olds write cursive. Really, I'm more into the social skills aspect of it, and the fact that the teachers are totally kind, 100% of the time. My baby is leaving me, and she just has to go someplace where the parental figures are as sweet to her as I would be.

And also, that adding thing, that is just BAD ASS.

So that's cool... Also, my sister called today and said she was coming for my birthday in two weeks, as did my parents, who have to go look for their new house in the mountains anyway. This is kind of especially awesome, because I was afraid I would have to spend my last 20-something birthday alone while Rob spent some QT with the sicklies in the VA. (I fully support healthcare for veterans, but SERIOUSLY, it's my birthday. We used to do birthday WEEKS in college. This is not something I take lightly.) Nonos already made my mom promise a cake, which is somehow Their Thing - Mom says they're coming or we're going to whatever holiday, Nonos says, "Are you making cake?" Usually there are sprinkles involved, and once even five bottles of food coloring. Either of these things clearly say "excellent birthday" in my mind.

And Adrienne is coming next weekend, and we shall party with Lisa, sans kids and plus margaritas... at least, two of us will be plus margaritas, and I will be plus sweet tea. Which is almost as good, really.

Although I have asked Rob about none of this - I hope it's all right with him, and he gives me PERMISSION. Ahem.

Oh, REALLY now.

So the Highlander needed some tires. The old ones had seen me through 48,000 miles and a nail pop on Labor Day weekend (one that cost me $100 to get fixed, because hey, it was a holiday and apparently even though the tow/tire place was open and readily available to plug said nail hole, it was still a holiday, and ha ha ha that costs more. Duh!) Rob explored the internet, and we learned the valuable lesson that, like self-diagnosis, one should not tire shop online, because one will inevitably pick the wrong tire and end up with dengue fever instead of a cold.

The Sears guy took one look at the printout I handed him and said, "That one won't work, because you have a limited edition Highlander, which is just code for 'requires extra special parts that are totally going to cost more.'" Maybe not in so many words, but yeah, that's what he said. I laughed bitterly and explained that my husband had printed that out, and he must have just been wrong about the 17" versus 16" size requirements. We got things figured out and I picked a new fancy tire and all was going smoothly, until we got to the pricing.

"Well," sez he, "this one is the right tire for your car, but maybe you want to wait."

"I don't really want to wait, since my old tires are essentially bald and losing about 15 pounds of pressure every ten minutes. I think maybe I'll just go ahead now," I said.

His eyebrows met in the middle. "Yeah, but these tires, they're $20 more each."

My eyebrows met in the middle. "That's okay, really. I knew it would be expensive, and you guys are doing that free installation thing right now, so I would just like to--"

"What I mean," he said, "is that you might want to talk to your husband first and make sure it's okay with him. I mean, that's an extra $80."

[cue scratching record, and of course screeching tires.]

My eyebrows actually crossed and switched places.

End of an era that will not, even while intoxicated, be missed

Norah's wearing underwe*r, using the potty, the whole bit... and she is rather jubilant about the whole thing:

For a short, nostalgic, probably insane moment, I thought about how much I didn't want to do this with her, how much I wanted her to stay my dependent little babycakes. And then I thought about the smell, her poor little sensitive butt, and the diaper rash that would NOT go away, and I changed my mind quicker'n we can get those p*nties down in an emergency.

I LOVE THIS STAGE. LOVE IT. Almost as much as I love her Curious George undi*s.

(I'm putting asterisks in here to avoid pervy Googlers. You know how it goes.)

What every conversation sounds like at our house

Rob: Babe, are you making dinner, or should I--

Norah: Mama, would you like to read a story with me?
Me: Ub, ask Daddy. I dod't doe if I cad right dow.

(This is her new thing, "Would you like...XYZ?" Mama, would you like to make me a snack? Daddy, would you like to carry me upstairs, or would Mama like to do it? Mama, would you like to DRILL HOLES IN YOUR FACE SO THE CONGESTION CAN OH PLEASE DEAR GOD FINALLY BREAK? Yes, precious, yes I would.)

So disgustingly sick. Will return at a later date.

Like the president of Duke needs something else for people to laugh at him for

I mean, come on, his name is Brodhead, for lord's sake.

Seriously, though. The worst possible outcome of the Duke lacrosse rape case has come to pass:

DURHAM (WTVD) -- More than three dozen members of the 2006 Duke University men's lacrosse team and members of their families filed suit against Duke University, its President Richard Brodhead and other officials, Duke's medical center, and the City of Durham and city officials for emotional distress and other injuries in connection with false rape charges and a corrupt police investigation against team members in 2006. (more story here)
I'm frustrated, honestly, and I'm really sorry that this is happening. I went to a university where one did NOT mess with lacrosse. The students only cared about one sport (guess which one), the ROTC only drilled during the national anthem during one sport (c'mon, try harder) and the cheerleaders only cared about making it with one team (right, well, maybe not this cheerleader, but you know what I'm saying). Speaking of, did I ever show you this?

Heh. That's me, seven years and about a kajillion doughnuts ago.

Anyway. After graduation, I joined the adminstration of that university, albeit as a peon, and no one who made decisions like "Let's cancel the team's season because of this rape thing! Yeah!" But I still got to see some inner workings of the bureaucracy, and I know which side the school's bread is buttered on, so to speak in old-people-ese. And athletics is a big, big slab of that butter... especially lacrosse.

Lacrosse brings in money from ticket sales, merchandising, and concessions. Alumni who played, their wives who have to suffer through endless retellings of the 1965 championship or whatever, their kids who want to honor Dad's contribution to said championship season, even if he was the waterboy - these people give money, and lots of it. Cancelling an entire season - God, cancelling a single GAME - is a move that NO ONE at a major lacrosse institution wants to make. And now people are all pissy with Duke because that's what they had to do, cancel a season to protect themselves, the school, and even the team members who are now biting the hand that kept the big bad accuser away.

Of COURSE Duke had to investigate the accusations. Let's just use a little sense here - if someone accused your kid of rape, you'd want to know the truth, no matter how much it hurt and how vehemently you believed your kid's innocence. Of COURSE they worked with the police, even when the police investigation turned out to be seriously flawed. (And by "seriously flawed," I mean "this wouldn't even happen on the most ridiculous Law & Order ever, even the ones that start out with that 'the following is based on a true event, so it's totally ridiculous!' warning.") If the police came to your house and said, "Hey, your kid might be a rapist! Let's see what we can find out, shall we?" you'd go right along with their questions and their probing, if for no other reason than to prove that your kid didn't do it.

And of COURSE they cancelled the season.

People are saying that they did it to protect themselves, as if the provost and the president were somehow involved in the rape and wanted to save themselves from a DNA culture or something, and not letting the boys play their sport would break every cotton swab in the southeast. I wonder if those people ever stopped to think that the admins, in whatever way they could, were trying to protect THE BOYS. The story made Newsweek, every major network's evening broadcast, and who knows how many talk shows - did the men on the lacrosse team ever think that there were people all over the country who thought they did rape that girl? And those people live near other universities where lacrosse is played... and would likely show up at their games... and would begin by threatening them during visiting games and possibly end by hurting them in ways they can't imagine? What about the Duke students who went along to support the team at their away games - wouldn't the condemners go after them too, claiming that they were hiding rapists and supporting criminals?

Yes, it was a flawed investigation and a horrific story that I wouldn't wish on anyone, even the most Neanderthalish of jocks. Yes, those three boys who were actually indicted have had their lives flipped, trashed, and essentially ruined. However, I don't think they can blame Duke for acting in the way they thought would protect the majority of those involved, even on the periphery. And these 38 other team members, I have nothing to say about them. We all need someone to blame when things go horribly wrong, and I'm sure that having their season cancelled and the world's eyes on them (and consequently, the world's attention during their, shall we say, not-so-shining moments) was probably the least fun way to spend their college years.

But don't go after Duke. Why would a university exist if not for the good of its students? Why bother raising money, and growing a stellar reputation, and working incredibly long hours (okay, maybe that was just us peons) if the kids won't be all right? It was a volatile and confusing situation, and no one - except for the accuser, who created the whole mess, and those sneaky characters who wanted to gain from her messmaking - deserves to be condemned for being confused, and acting in the way they thought would protect those under their care.

Speech over. Now back to your regularly scheduled mommyblogging and discussion of really important things like throwing up, and the Backyardigans (you gotta love that neurotic little Pablo!)

Sunday night, our house: Frat boy edition

8:59 PM - Having put Norah to bed after a rare napless day, Rob and I are perched on the couch, eating mint chocolate chip ice cream and surfing the TV Guide channel.

9:00 PM - Rob gets sly, I-wanna-be-sneaky expression and reaches for the remote. Fearing an attempt at switching to Fox News, I lunge for same remote. Am defeated. The channel is changed to...

9:01 PM - NBC? Maybe L&O? Maybe this isn't so baaa---- ack ack ack. It's Knight Rider.

9:05 PM - Mysterious dangerous-looking fellows, including Stereotypical British Accent Guy (see National Treasure for reference), ravage scientific lab, where undoubtedly serious, globally-significant - and yet, unnamed - experiments are going on.

9:08 PM - First look at the new Kitt, and let me just tell you that those Carl's Jr. ads with Paris Hilton and the soapy car wash weren't as blatantly oversexed. Rob sees the hubcap and starts surreptitiously sweating.

9:09 PM - Kitt revs up and rolls out, after hefty CGI effects moment wherein bullets strike car and magically leave no marks. British Guy and other henchmannish guys growl and say threatening things as Kitt purrs off into the sun(rise? set? I'm not sure). Rob is no longer able to stand up.

9:11 PM - And look! The molecular scientist who is lecturing on some random and probably improbable molecular structure thingy is super extra hot! Now THERE'S a surprise!

9:15 PM - Scene cut, and Oh JESUS. Not only is the hot surfer a cop with a penchant for sunrise showers on the beach, she is also a lesbian with a hot naked blonde in her bed. AND she knows how to cock a pistol, badass-style. (Although, like Ms. Hot Molecular Scientist, she is rather small-breasted. I am surprised, since this movie is geared toward pubescent boys and also men who think like pubescent boys, and so wouldn't you think there would be boobies? Big ones? Rob, however, is not entirely concerned, as DIDN'T YOU SEE IT THAT HOT BLONDE GIRL IN THAT BED WAS SO NAKED RIGHT THERE!)

Side note: hot lesbian cop is apparently played by Sidney Poitier's daughter. Sir must be spittin' nails.

9:21 PM - I stop paying attention and start up computer, preparing to blog-bust Rob for having mislaid his brain, his maturity, and his desire to sleep somewhere other than the couch tonight.

9:27 PM - I look up Knight Rider in IMDB to see if the black guy is Delroy Lindo (he's not - I am relieved). The trivia section has only one fact: "Will Arnett was cast as the voice of KITT, but was replaced because he had done commercial voiceovers for General Motors and the show uses Ford cars, creating a conflict of interest." Although I'm sure I should know who Will Arnett is, I don't, and am surprised to see that they replaced him with Val Kilmer. Am confused - doesn't it kind of seem like, even though he's apparently gone native and moved to God-knows-where and gotten all fat and beardy, Val Kilmer should have been a first choice for a movie part? Poor Iceman.

9:29 PM - Random movie guy (I don't know who he is, I quit paying attention, remember?) listens to random movie girl talking about molecular scientist girl and how awesomely awesome she is at science. Guy responds with "But is she hot?" I throw up a little.

9:oh, the hell with it - I think I have to go to bed before I start growing peach fuzz and my voice cracks a la Peter Brady. See, I can't update my blog more often, because I'm busy watching crap fine films like this, and feeling my brain cells deplete.

Cheap-- I mean, carefully handmade! - baby present

Here's what I've been doing on the nights when Rob is out (when I'm not whining about Michelle Pfeiffer or how bored I am). He's on call every third night this month, which is probably good because I had time to get this done:

I did this for two reasons - one, because I needed to come up with a good baby present for Jasmine, who's having her third kidlet in a few weeks, and we're brokeish. I had all the material (Adrienne, remember, we bought it at that Joann's in Columbia to make Nono's nursery stuff?) so I just needed a few notions here and there, and ta-da, instant affordable present! And two, because people like Adrienne and MB make me all inspired to sew beautiful things like they do, and I needed to do a project that didn't involve glitter glue or kittycat stickers.

I tried to think of all the things I liked about my own diaper bag* (messenger style, elastic end pockets, flap top) and all the things I didn't (biggish, bulky) and put them in or leave them out of Jasmine's. Thanks to a somewhat modified Craftster tutorial, I got to put everything together the way I wanted it to be, and I think it came out fairly well.

Strap attachments and keyring buckle:

Inside, with a pink sweatshirt stuffed in to hold it open and show off that snazzy pocket:

I want to make more! Who else is having a baby?

Just me and Miss Baltimore Crab

Thing that is not fair: Rob's at a "liver rounds" meeting tonight. Liver rounds are also known as "several hours at a local bar, where they will be bitching and moaning about how hard their lives are, while drinking on the department's tab." I'm home, listening to Norah snore over the baby monitor. On the up side, though, Hairspray jumped off my Blockbuster queue and into my mailbox, so I'm doubly occupied with wondering exactly how Michelle Pfeiffer still looks like that at the tender age of Older Than Jesus, and playing Spot That Baltimore Landmark. (Patterson Park, I'm talking to you.)

Norah's cold is finally easing up, incidentally, and I think we owe it all to the miracle that is saline nasal spray. The pediatrician pushed it on us when Rob took her in on Wednesday, and our first attempt was nothing short of hellish. I had to hold her down with every limb of my body while Rob squeezed the bottle up her pert little nose, and then God help us all, poked an "apsirator" up there and sucked the nasty out. And now? Now she does it TO HERSELF. And she sleeps through the night again, without hacking up any major organs. Yee-haw.

I particularly appreciated the sleeping thing last night, after I stayed up into the wee hours playing Find 851, some online insanity that I discovered thanks to the Oceanic Air commercial aired during Eli Stone. (And by the way, ABC, don't think you fooled me with that "two hour premiere event" crap. I know a clip show when I see it, and that first hour of Lost was in fact a clip show, in all its Ben-narrated semi-glory. You're just lucky I forgot what happened last season, since last season was what, four years ago.) It's geeky, but it's definitely one of those things that can suck you in if you're not careful. Plus I'm totally impressed with the website - how many extras, how much production time and money, programming skills, props, scenery, went into this thing? Lost is clearly a cult, and I think I may be first in line for the Kool-Aid.

Seriously, how cute is Nikki Blonsky? And how much do I wish I could dance like that? Dang.

Another sally in the potty wars

Norah: Mama, I need to change you.
Me: You mean, I need to change you.
Norah: [whatever-ing me with her eyes] I said that thing.
Me: Right. Okay. [changing commences.] You know, if you'd just use the potty, this wouldn't be such a problem.
Norah: I don't do that. I do not like that potty. It's big and I do not like it and I will go in it like falling in it.
Me: It's really not that--
Norah: Know what else I don't do?
Me: Dishes?
Me: [blink blink] Well, that's a relief.

Obligatory, and yet so warm and fuzzy

Because you can tell so much from the staticky gray snow - the 19-week ultrasound, for your viewing pleasure.

I've had to have three different ultrasounds this time around - the first one, at 12 weeks, was not entirely exciting (except that it told us what we had hoped, that this particular fetus was a clinger-onner). Six weeks later, we had the infinitely more fun and less ulcer-inducing gender scan (and we all know how THAT turned out, don't we?) At that scan, though, the tech said that she couldn't see the cord insertion clearly. I of course came straight home and Googled "cord insertion visibility" and came up with all kinds of TOTALLY REASSURING topics, all of which included the words "abnormality" and "defect" and "undesirable." And yes, I know that turning to the internet for medical advice is not a good plan, and I should have just questioned the tech until one of us passed out from the waves of paranoia issuing from my mouth.

So we got to go again on Wednesday, or rather I went alone - Rob ended up taking Norah to the walk-in peds clinic for a little bronchial ailment I like to call "the fires of hell in my baby's lungs." (She's fine, although she is getting away with blue bloody MURDER because every time she cries, she chokes on the throat gunk that only gets worse as she gets more upset, ergo we do not upset the Nonos. I'd tell you more, but I have to retrieve my shoes from the toilet. AGAIN.) Third scan turned out to be the charm, and we not only saw the flawlessly perfect cord insertion, we saw every little detail of the details south of Babycakes' bellybutton, and there is not a shadow of a doubt that she is in fact She. Even I could tell, and I was deep in the throes of a panic attack about Abnormalities and Defects and Undesirable Insertions (how porny does that sound? Hee.)

Rob was able to help out on Wednesday because he's back on a mildly flexible schedule - at least, during the day. He's overnighting every third night, which makes us all sad and lonely at about 9 PM, when the kid's asleep and I have nothing to do but think about how very quiet it is... except for tonight, which, as you undoubtedly have tattooed on your chests, is the Lost season premiere. Who's watching with me? Admit your geekery and join me, I say!

Absolutely nothing in particular

MAN, it's cold out lately. It's averaged about 35 degrees for the last few days, and while that isn't polar bear weather or anything, it's a big change from our accustomed 45-50. I've been stuffing myself into my usual winter wear because the purchase of a maternity coat just seems silly - I have at least two extra layers of walrus fat at the moment, and I really should stop whining because it's probably going to get warmer in no time... But when you can't zip and the wind's blowin', you start to think crazy.

So! Been busy this month, which was nice - here's a shot from the latest portrait session. Betcha can't guess where we were:

I'm entering a slow period, so I've been doing some nesting (c'mon, like you didn't know that was coming, in spite of the decreased need to depinkify). We dragged the first of Norah's 84 bins of clothes out of the attic to do a swap when a buddy and her baby came to see us, so I kept all the teensy ones out and stocked up the second dresser in Norah's the girls' room. And oh my goodness, some of them are so small. A couple of the really little outfits would make excellent belly shirts for Nonos - except that they're dresses that I remember putting on her and thinking, "God, this is a tent, what am I supposed to do with this?"

Baby girl clothes are so weird. I was lucky and had a number of baby showers (the work one, the friends one, the in-laws' house one) so we ended up with enough teensy clothes to outfit the entire Cabbage Patch Kid line of 1984. I mean, holy crap, we were DROWNING in baby clothes. Some of them were soft, cozy little numbers that I wanted to cut up and stitch into my own footie outfit (like you wouldn't go around in a one-zip t-shirty thing with feet if people wouldn't look at you funny) but the others? The others had acrylic lace, four parts, halter tops, and sleeves that needed ironing. I don't iron Rob's work shirts, let alone something that is likely going to be used to blot vomit in the near future. My biggest sucker-inner was the foo-foo matching hat - but none of them fit, stayed on, or really served a purpose (other than the vomit-blotting, and on one memorable occasion, vomit-catching).

So friends, you'll be getting softy things with maybe polka dots on them when you join The Mommy Club. No lace, and no hats, unless you plan to keep them in the car for those frightening highway moments of "Mama, that chocolate milk TOO MUCH..."

Enough pointless rambling - I'm just bored and don't have a lot to contribute to society at the moment. (Quick, label me a mommyblogger! Call me a drain on the internet's resources! Then click away from the page and read something else, because frankly, it's your own fault if you're still here!)

Now let's play What Shall We Name the Baby. Rob has no ideas, except to veto everything I pick, and I turn to you, oh Wise Internet, to save us from any of these.

Things I do not need to read

Study: Caffeine may boost miscarriage risk

A new study has found that pregnant women who consumed more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, equivalent to about two cups of coffee, had twice the risk of miscarriage as the women who consumed no caffeine at all. The findings are published in Monday's Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Not that I'm 100% convinced that it's accurate - the American College of OB-GYNs doesn't buy it, for one thing - but it's enough to make my innards do a little curling-up, you know?

I guess we can scratch "Jayden James" off the names list.

It's a girl!


  • The envelope please: I've decided not to update my header until Wednesday, when a certain state of affairs shall become known - i.e., we're having the gender ultrasound and I feel I should update said header accordingly. I don't think the pregnant thing is really clicking in my mind yet, although I did make a special trip to the Ikea in Philadelphia to buy these lampshades, on the off chance that Spawn is in fact male and we have to depinkify Norah's room.
  • Like a fat kid loves cake: We went to my parents for Christmas, which was awesome as usual - my mom even managed to stick to the "seriously, one or two toys for her and that's IT" rule. This is Nono's favorite:

    She looks a little drunk and disorderly, but I think that's just her hangover from all the cake. My mom asked Norah what she wanted to eat when we got there, and Nonos said simply, "Cake." Whereas a sane person would have laughed it off and said, "Uh huh, right after we eat actual people food," my mother went directly to the kitchen and made the kid a cake, complete with rainbows of food coloring and Christmas tree-shaped sprinkles (or "sparkles" in Norahese). The next day, there was another cake. And then a pie. And then I think cookies, but I was splayed out on the floor, unable to do anything but roll around like that kid in A Christmas Story crying, "I can't get UUUUUUP! C'mon you guys, I can't get uuup!"
  • Rockin' the Philthy: A week after we returned from Indiana, we drove up to Philadelphia to see Rob's family, a long and less-than-fun trip, which ended up to be less than fun overall, since his dad had a heart freakout and ended up in the hospital the entire time. But Rob's mom went all ape-crazy and bought a new car, which was fun - she and Rob went out "just to look," and came home three hours later in a shiny new rig. Beats the pants off our rig, too, because it doesn't have the big dent in the side like ours.
    (Did I tell you about the dent? Some girl backed into Rob in the Blockbuster parking lot, barely cracking her taillight and busting the crap out of our front fender. She then chose not to report the accident to her insurance, and neither did her dad, which was upsetting because her dad was the policyholder. And since her dad would not reveal to their insurance company whether or not the girl was authorized to be driving his car on his policy, said insurance company would not give us any money. SIX WEEKS LATER, after calling literally every day and watching the dent turn into bare flaked-off metal turn into a big old rusthole, Rob mentioned that maybe we should have our attorney (who is very hard to reach by phone or email and is actually invisible, since s/he doesn't exist) work with them, and BOOM, we got a check the next day. As much as I hate people who play the lawyer card, it sure does work. Take THAT, Allstate.)
  • We're gonna have to amputate: Here's my favorite of Norah's Philadelphia presents: the plastic doctor kit which is already in several small, dead-battery pieces on our living room floor... except for these:

Yeah, that's hilarious. It is. Just admit it and move on.