Wednesday, August 29, 2007

family ties

This picture was taken almost three years ago - Christmas 2004, I think. But aside from some shorter hair on my sister and I - we pretty much look the same.
These are my siblings. Both my big brother and little sister had birthdays this month - the 18th and 20th, to be exact. I just wanted to take a minute or two to tell you (who will, in all likelihood, never meet these people if you haven't already) why they're so cool.
My big brother has thankfully outgrown all of his treacherous-teenage-big-brother ways. He does great voices, accents and impressions (usually quoting some sort of Simpsons or Monty Python type of reference). He teaches middle school art classes and is working on a Master's Degree in K-12 administration. His hobbies of painting and cooking/grilling result in much pleasure for me - lots of good food to eat, and fun original artwork in my house. It's fun to like your big brother so much as an adult.
My little sister makes me laugh pretty much every time I talk to her. She has a great, quirky sense of humor, and is also incredibly talented at funny voices. She loves to read, and majored in English and Psychology in college - so she likes to use fun, big words in everyday situations. And while I'm not quite the English-nerd that she is (her words, don't worry) - I do appreciate fun vocab words. I like to call her after work and hear how her day is going. She's one of the people about whom I can say "I *know* she loves me." And I know she loves me a lot. It's actually really humbling. But I love her back fiercely, and wish she would move to MI so we could watch silly TV and eat junky food together. But wherever she is - I still think she's one of the coolest people I've ever met.
So there they are - happy birthday to two incredibly unique and precious people to me. MANY happy returns! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

tiny bit jealous

My mom, dad and sister are currently in New York for the U.S. Open. (Tennis, for those of you who aren't ardent fans). And I have a confession to make.
I'm jealous.
I played tennis (with average ability) in high school, and loved it. And I still really enjoy watching tennis on TV (I know - it sounds like death to a lot of people).
My sister sent a picture to my phone this morning - up close on one of the courts. And I found myself wishing I was sitting on the sidelines, watching a fuzzy green ball zoom over the net - as opposed to being at work. Go figure. I'm really excited to hear their stories when they get back.
Meanwhile - we had a check-up on Baby B this morning - listened to the heartbeat, and all seems well. Next time we go back, it's time for the ultrasound! Even though we don't want to know what we're having, I'm still awfully excited to watch our little one wiggle around on the screen. Hopefully we'll get some good snapshots to post!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

this calls for a purple heart... or something.

I stapled my thumb this afternoon.
Inadvertently. I was actually trying to remove said staple from a stack of papers because I'm a wee-bit anal and the sorry-excuse-for-a-stapler that I used did a poor job. And I simply cannot settle for a half-stapled document.
So my thumb bravely, gallantly... sacrificed itself.
It still hurts a little.
I had a great, wonderful and VERY busy weekend. We traveled, we ate a LOT of really yummy food, and traveled some more. We celebrated birthdays of my two dear siblings (and I swear, I will soon write a post dedicated their awesome-ness) and played hours of Apples to Apples.
Another really busy week at work - but again, very productive. I like getting things done. And today has been a day for doing. Once 5:00 rolls around, I'll hit the gym, then go lay on my couch and DO NOTHING. I like that too.
Happy Monday!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

shake it off?

Normally, I'm a pretty stationary sleeper. If I wake up in the middle of the night (which happens a lot, as I sleep pretty lightly), I will probably stretch a little, roll over to my other side, and get right back to snoozing.
In the past week or so, every time I wake up (which is even more frequently now that Baby B demands a bathroom break once or twice a night), I stretch my legs, and realize that the muscles in my calf have mutinied.
They clench right up and leave me in need of a professional leg massage at 4:30 in the morning. A wee bit inconvenient.
However, my lovely husband graciously rubbed my legs for me last night before bed. It didn't keep me from cramping up, but it was delightful. There's a sweet sort of intimacy in laying on the couch after a long day, sharing our stories - with a massage being given and received. Mark is getting the short end of the stick lately, so I'll happily scratch his back whenever he asks.
In the meantime - if anyone has any great keep-me-from-getting-nasty-leg-cramps-in-the-wee-small-hours-of-the-morning tricks... I'm listening!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"boy, you're popping right out!"

People are just plain funny around pregnant women.
I don't mind, because I really actually adore being pregnant (yes, even though being sick for a few weeks wasn't much fun, it was totally survive-able, and I know will be worth it).
But people say things like:
"I thought you might be pregnant, but I didn't want to say anything, just in case you'd been eating too much lately."
"Wow, I didn't show AT ALL until I was at least four months!!"
They stare at my stomach as I approach.
Maybe someday I'll do a sociological study and write some sort of hilariously clever and witty book about this whole phenomenon. In the meantime - I'll just pretend that I have a widely read blog.
I just started my 16th week... I feel great - energy is up (well, it usually is - as long as my work day doesn't suck it all out before 5:00pm!), and I really like the belly popping out. Right now, I'm most anxious to start feeling Baby B moving around.
We have another doctor's appointment on Tuesday - I think Mark will be able to join me for this one. It should be quick - but I'm excited to hear the heartbeat again. I *love* that sound.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm busier than a mattababy!

What's a mattababy, you ask?
Nothing, Baby - what's a matta with you?
(slaps knees as she laughs at her own *bad* joke!)
Whew! I know it's only Tuesday - but work this week has been a whirlwind!! Lots of students, lots of emails, lots of projects and "To-Do's..." It's great to be back in the swing of things, meeting with students, helping answer questions and solve problems. And it's a *little* stressful/exhausting at the same time.
I went home last night and fell asleep on the couch at 7:00pm. Tonight may be a repeat-performance.
Anyway - if I don't post much in the next few days, it's just because I've fallen asleep standing up somewhere. I'll find my way back. :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

just what you never knew you wanted to know

And because I know you've all been waiting for just this very thing... here are five completely random questions my sister asked me via email. And my very random answers.

1) It's the zombie apocalypse. What's the first safety measure you take?
Well, I think most zombies eat flesh and/or brains. So I'd probably smear something really smelly and bad-tasting on myself and my loved ones. Then I'd lock the door (because that always keeps the bad guys out).
2) What are the odds you'll name Blasty (Blasty is a nickname for the baby) after me?
That all depends on what you consider "naming after you." I mean, I could call the baby "Silly" or "Goober" or "Shmugg" or "Pooeypooeybuttfacehead" (I'd be Mother of The Year if I did that, I surely would) sometimes, and that would sort of be like naming it after you. Odds are fairly slim that the baby would have your ACTUAL name. Especially if it turns out to be a boy.
3) Would you rather be bald for the rest of your life or have a permanent, thick layer of hair on your chest?
Yeah, um bald. That's not even a contest. Although I'd need a lot more SPF45 sunblock to cover my noggin in the summertime. And I do think there is a funny flat-ish spot on the top-back part of my head. It would be weird to see that out in the open.
4) If I move into your basement, can I paint it fun colors down there?
But of course! As long as it's not wallpapered - you can paint it to your heart's desire.
5) What's your favorite place in the whole world?
Well, I really loved Prague and Paris and Montpelier and Ireland and London and North Carolina and California and some parts of Florida and Chicago always feels like home and I like oceans and mountains and big fields and rolling hills and I really love our little house in Michigan. I don't really like deserts. But probably my most favorite place is wherever I can be with people I love who love me back.
Or my bed - because featherbed + flannel sheets = sooo good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Go. Read. Laugh.

There are a bunch of blogs that I check almost daily. Some are listed under "Blogs I Read" and some aren't (because I've found them since setting up my "settings" and I'm too lazy to change them).
Here's a link to a hilarious place I visit every day: Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. I just love it. Go forth and enjoy, my friends.

Monday, August 13, 2007

crazy crave

As if the ever-growing expanse of my belly, actual ultrasound pictures, listening to the baby's heartbeat, surviving morning sickness, and experiencing here-to-fore unknown levels of exhaustion in the past 2 and a half months weren't enough... I have more proof that I am, in fact, pregnant.
In the past 3 days, I believe I have consumed over a gallon of skim milk. On my own. In cereal (Cinnamon Toast Crunch, thanks very much) or in a tall glass - always very cold (because even minorly lukewarm milk makes my stomach turn).
I know - most women crave normal things like pickles or Chinese food, or delicious things like chocolate malts and peanut butter cookies. And while I enjoy eating all of those items- it is the bountiful wonder of skim milk that I cannot stay away from.
(On an aside - I'm a little perturbed that the picture of skim milk is from Kroger - because our milk either comes from Meijer or Quality Dairy. Always. But the only other milk pictures I could find weren't clearly labeled "skim." And heaven forbid anyone click on that picture and think I've been enjoying Vitamin D Milk all weekend long. Ick. Welcome to my world of Things I Care Too Much About That NO ONE Else Would Ever Notice.)


My drive to work usually consists of smallish back roads - some residential stretches and some farmland expanses sprinkled together until I reach the booming metropolis that is our campus.
The first part of the drive is through the farms that lie just west of our little neighborhood - there are corn, wheat and bean fields nearby. Today, the corn fields boasted stalks that rose above the hood of my car... but the wheat fields nearly took my breath away.
Normally, one of my absolute favorite summer landscapes is a blue sky, green trees along the horizon, and far-reaching rolling fields of golden wheat. We hit that stage of summer about a month ago, and I loved it. The fields have turned auburn now, and have been harvested, leaving very few stalks that are tall enough to wave in the wind.
However, this morning's summer sun fell on those fields in a way that made them look to be glowing - it was as if they were being lit from underneath. Genesis 1 talks about the "spirit of God hovering over the waters." There wasn't any water today, but it sure looked like the spirit of God was hovering over the wheat fields of mid-Michigan.
I wished for a moment for my camera, but I knew just as quickly that I'd never be able to capture that glow.
Maybe some things are too beautiful to be captured on film.

Friday, August 10, 2007

favorite things

I am easily pleased.
Today I was simply tickled by the fact that I was served a full-on turkey dinner. For lunch. And it was free. (Or at least, paid for by someone else).
Mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, green beans, salad, rolls...
The road to my heart is paved with these things.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

parties and plaques

Every year, The Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University (where I work) hosts its annual Faculty, Staff & Families "Barbecue." Now, you know it's not really a "barbecue" when it's spelled "barbecue" instead of BBQ. Also, when it's held indoors at our fancy "Training Center for Executive Development". But that's okay. It's the College of Business. I guess we don't really do smoky grills and watermelon slices. Pity.
Last year, I was new to my position here at the C of B, and decided it would be good networking to show up with my handsome hubby and mingle with my new co-workers. And, oh my, it was dull, dull, dull. The food was good, although I don't recall anything actually being "barbecued." It's one of those work functions where nobody really really wants to be there, and we're all just waiting for the night to end. Or at least, for dessert to be served.
So I was really looking forward to staying home and, oh, I don't know - staring at the dust bunnies along my baseboards - instead. But alas, today I found out that the program I'm partially responsible for coordinating has won an award. The Lewis Quality Award, to be exact. (Definition: Lewis Quality Awards are given annually to individuals, organizations, work teams, or cross-functional teams within the Broad School that engage in innovative activities to further the mission of the Broad School. Nominations are solicited from faculty and staff. Current and former members of the Broad School's Alumni Association Board of Directors then select the four winners.)
And while I'm happy to be part of a team and a program that is receiving accolades and has done exceptionally well - I'm a little bummed that I have to ignore the dust bunnies and mingle, eat "barbecue" and wait for dessert again this year. But bless my husband, he's willing to come back one more time and keep me company.
I would say, "Pictures to come!" but I just don't think that would do anything to drum up readership. It might scare away the four or five regulars that actually visit here once in a blue moon.
I may not be able to save myself - but I'll spare you.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I was strolling across our office earlier today(about 5 minutes ago), when I witnessed one of my co-workers bringing a magazine to another co-worker. The magazine contains detailed information on NFL players, as well as cheat sheets - so that when you draft your very own Fantasy Football team, you have all the best information at your fingertips.
They huddled together for a few minutes, discussing strategies and who is considered a "sleeper" and who is a high-injury risk.
I've never played Fantasy Football (mostly because my husband doesn't even watch sports on TV) - but I'm sure it's addicting and can be really fun. I don't judge. I just found it really funny that the two co-workers who were so avidly discussing their draft strategies were Shannon and Jayne. They're talking about what their husbands do, how competitive it can get around the house...
We all have funny little things that we do to use up our free time - and I love when I come across something a little unexpected.

Monday, August 06, 2007

how i spent my free time

Mark and I were home this weekend. For the first time in 6 weeks. We've had a busy summer - visiting the lake, going away for our anniversary, traveling to Chicago, weddings, camp... but I'm a homebody. It felt so good to be at home this weekend.
I cleaned my laundry room; washed dishes; washed, dried and folded much laundry; put away veritable mountains of said clean laundry (which means you can now see our bedroom floor again); slept in; made breakfast; went to the movies; recycled 3 years' worth of laundry detergent bottles (no, I'm not joking - it may have taken us awhile, but at least we haven't been throwing them in the trash all this time...) It was so productive, relaxing and regenerating all at the same time.
It seems a little silly that a weekend of chores and mild laziness would be so refreshing. I remember when I was a kid, and I thought that it would be absolutely terrible to spend your weekend cleaning the house or pulling weeds instead of running around outside or playing games. But I do really love taking care of our home - when I'm on top of things and the place is (reasonably) clean, I feel so much more peaceful. It makes me hopeful that in 6 months when I'm at home with our baby, I'll be able to find joy and satisfaction in keeping our home.
And still find some time to run around outside and play some games.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

cheer, cheer for bolingbrook high...

Sometimes it's more fun (code: easier) to answer someone else's questions than to come up with anything original to write on my own. Today is one of those days. Here are my edge-of-your-seat thrilling answers to 23 questions about my life during the 4 years I spent at Bolingbrook High School.
1. Who was your best friend?
It changed pretty much every semester, depending on my class schedule. Whoever I saw the most, I guess. But Stephanie, Cory, Susan, and Jackie are high up on the list. Great gals.
2. Did you play any sports?
I played tennis for three years. My friend Anne and I played #3 doubles, and I think we usually won about as much as we lost (maybe a little more). I was propelled by fun more than talent, I think.
3. What kind of car did you drive?
A 1985 baby-blue Chevrolet Celebrity. The A/C was broken, the tape player didn't work, the felt-covered ceiling sagged enough to touch your head, the doors had rust-holes in them, and you had to open the driver's door by rolling down the window and unlatching it from the outside. Oh, and the right blinker was broken too. I loved that car.
4. It's Friday night. Where were you?
Out somewhere with friends - movies, bowling, stalking the mall, playing pool in someone's basement.
5. Were you a party animal?
Nope. We kept ourselves busy without alcohol, and I actually thought my friends that partied were kinda stupid - they ALWAYS got caught and ALWAYS got into major trouble. Isn't it actually more fun to do stuff that won't get you busted? Ah, the superior wisdom of the teenager.
6. Were you considered a flirt?
I don't think so. I have hideous flirting abilities. My husband will vouch for that. I tend to be oblivious to oh-so-subtle male advances. That, and I was way too self-conscious to risk the whole punching a guy on the arm, bat your eyelashes and wiggle your butt thing. Luckily, I married a great guy - and he really appreciates my complete inability to flirt, even when I try.
7. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
I was in the musicals and sang with the church choir. Didn't feel like singing for a GRADE though.
8. Were you a nerd?
Yeah, I think so. Not out-and-out, pocket-protector nerdy, but definitely sort of a nice-girl, school is important, stay out of trouble kind of nerdy. And I'm WAY nerdy when I'm comfortable with the people I'm with. (Face it - everyone is a nerd on the inside. It's just a matter of whether you're cool enough to admit it.)
9. Were you ever suspended or expelled?
Nope. See previous stay-out-of-trouble comments.
10. Can you still sing the fight song?
Actually, yes. Don't know why though - I was never a school-spirity kind of gal.
11. Who was your favorite teacher?
Shoot. I kind of loved Mr. Buss (he taught Chemistry) - but mostly because he just laughed at the havoc Jackie and I wreaked in his classroom. Constant giggling, creating our own experiments with hydrochloric acid and jellybeans, and drawing him pictures with scented markers. But he left up one of the pictures we made for him for years after. I didn't love Chemistry, but I enjoyed Mr. Buss.
12. What was your mascot?
We were the Raiders - a big ugly pirate guy with a knife in his teeth. Pretty darn tough.
13. Did you go to the prom?
Yes - junior and senior prom. Senior prom was significantly more fun, as I recall.
14. If you could go back, would you?
To prom? No. To high school in general? No. Even if I wanted to pass on pearls of wisdom to my younger self - I'm sure I would have been much too smart and mature to actually need the help. I did have it all figured out, after all.
15. What do you remember most about graduation?
I remember that my hair was fabulous that day - I had a fun, chin-length bob, and it was a good-hair-day. I remember that it felt kind of surreal - are we really OLD enough to be graduating??
16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day?
I think we hiked at Starved Rock. Or at the Brookfield Zoo. Or we may have been at Six Flags. I know I did all of those things at the end of senior year. And it was fun.
17. Did you have a job senior year?
Yup - I worked as a cashier/guest service desk gal at Target.
18. Where did you go most often for lunch?
We weren't allowed to leave. But my all-time favorite was chicken nugget day. Every Wednesday, baby.
19. Have you gained weight since then?
That's not really fair, seeing how I was about 115 pounds back then. But yes, I have. Gained, then lost. Now it's going back up - but now I can blame it on the baby and pretend I'll be back to my "old self" in no time. Ha.
20. What did you do after graduation?
I spent the summer working and hanging out with my friends, and then came to Michigan State University to become a Spartan. And I've never left. It's a good place to be, all in all.
21. What year did you graduate?

22. Who was your senior prom date?
Brett. He was my boyfriend for about half of senior year and the first year of college. A really good guy who I treated pretty crummy at the end - but I was 18 and I had just met my future husband. There was no sense of decency in my poor little head at that point.
23. Are you going/did you go to your 10-year reunion?
Yeah probably not. There are lots of people I'd love to see again, and reconnect with. It's just that reunions seem like such an awkward way to do that. Plus, there's NO WAY Mark would come with me, and I just don't feel like doing that solo.
That's all folks - I'll try to dig up some lovely high school pictures for you to add visuals to these riveting details of my life.
Just wait.
In the meantime - look back on high school and answer these questions yourself!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

in good company

I'm a social person. Not always in the way most people would think of "social" - surrounded by lots of people, always in the thick of things, constantly "on the go." But I am social in the sense that I absolutely feed off relating to others - hearing and telling stories, comparing notes on life events, realizing that emotions and experiences are shared (but not the same - so there's a lot of wisdom to be gained in listening)... I soak that right up.
There's a gal in my office right now who is about 3.5 weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy. We both had doctor appointments this Monday. We both were fighting morning sickness together for a few weeks. Neither of can wear pants like a normal person. It's fun to share, and commiserate - and even more fun since this is her fourth baby. She empathizes, is going through the same things, and has the value of perspective and experience. I love chatting with her about clothes, labor/delivery (it's still far enough away that I'm not too stressed about it yet), and all manner of pregnancy-related issues.
I'm sure the conversation (much like this post) is absolutely uninteresting to the general population of the world.
But mostly, I'm reminded that God created me to share my life. It is good for us to sit with one another, share about ourselves and listen intently as others share about themselves. It is good to laugh, good to know you're not the only one going through life. God did a really cool thing when He made us that way.