Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tomboy Style, Plus One: 24 Weeks

This post could alternatively be titled "In Which I FINALLY LOOK PREGNANT, GOSH DARN IT."

And yes, I realize I am wearing a cardigan in South Carolina in April, which means it's generally hovering around 80 degrees all day and cardigans are more than useless. I can explain that. My workplace is, by necessity, heavily air-conditioned. If I don't bring at least a light cardigan in the morning, I'm usually freezing by 11 AM. And also hungry.

Although, I'm hungry all the time now, so... I'm not sure that counts.

I'm still building all my weekday outfits around cardigans or very light sweaters.

... and scarves. Those too.

I really was not prepared for how much heat my body was going to suddenly start holding onto at this point. I'm not really warm-natured, exactly; while being from Illinois does mean I'm not breaking out my winter coat quite as early as some people around my city do, I love sweaters and would wear them constantly if we lived in, oh, Canada or somewhere where winter happens.

I am one of those women who actively celebrates the onslaught of "sweater weather".

But as we leave sweater weather, spend two weeks in cardigan-land, and then dive headfirst into "oh god I am wading through boiling ocean water" (aka, summer)... I am really not handling this well.

I have a tendency to sort of loll around, whining endlessly to anyone who will listen (which generally ends up being Jason, what with him being trapped in the house with me bwahahahahaha) about how awful heat is and how did I stand this before and we are going to have to move before this baby gets here or I will actually get heatstroke and die.

Spoiler alert: I'm not going to get heatstroke. Not when it's 82 degrees outside.

I've been asked, "What are you going to do in August?"

Well, readers, I have a ready answer to that question. I am going to do everything physically possible to avoid leaving air-conditioned buildings. That is basically my whole plan. If forced to leave said buildings, I plan to just sort of lay down and melt. Or cry until someone buys me frozen yogurt.

Or maybe just cry in general.

Then have a baby.

Probably while crying.

We are finally getting a move on when it comes to the nursery. Sort of. We had something come up where we didn't want to commit one way or the other for a little while until we knew what would happen, and now we're good to go. We're just sort of battling our own laziness at this point. We're going to paint the walls, lay down hardwood in the nursery (all the bedrooms in this house have a horrible old off-white carpet thing happening, and our long-term plan is to replace ALL of it with hardwood, but baby room first), buy and set up the crib, and THEN we can start thinking about... uh... everything else.


Do I seriously only have like two and a half months until this kid shows up?


Time to panic.

In Case You Want to Recreate This Mess:
Cardigan: Target, similar here
Shirt: Gap Maternity, sold out (similar here, striped version from Gap here)
Jeans: Gap Maternity, here
Shoes: Uh... Skechers, I guess? From JCPenney. I wasn't really paying attention. I just needed black sneakers.
Scarf: Gift from my friend Jo
Necklace: Gift from my friend Brenna and her amazing trip to Peru (!!!!!)

Friday, April 25, 2014

5 Things - The Dress, Fruit, and ADORABLE LITTLE FACES Edition

1. This maxi dress from Lands End. It may or may not be winging its way to me next week once it's actually available. May or may not; I'll never tell.

The dress seems like it'll work great during AND after this next summer, and it's the perfect lime green to transition into fall with a good sweater or two and a pair of awesome boots.

They actually have the dresses in a ton of colors - even a gorgeous print that I was eyeing just as hard, but it just seems like one of the plain colors will be more good-for-all-occasions for me. I'm already dreading the coming humidity and we'll see if I can make a dress work to help that out.

I'm picturing it with one of my favorite necklaces that my mother-in-law gave me, along with my bracelet from when I saw the Lion King in New York. Actually now that I'm sitting here typing this, I have like five necklaces with lime green in them. And three bracelets. And a scarf.

Also it was one of my wedding colors.

... apparently I like lime green.

2. This post from my bloggy friend Kaelah Bee over at The Clueless Girl's Guide. Kaelah is just a couple of weeks ahead of me on her pregnancy, and has been rockin' out her pre-preg clothing with a vengeance even as things change.

This new fruit dress she's wearing is kind of insane, right? Kind of perfectly insane. I badly want a shirt or a cardigan in that same print.

In the post she goes a little into her own difficulties with maternity clothing and whether she SHOULD be buying more vs. what she's doing now with simply adjusting what she has. I'm pretty much in awe of her wardrobe shifting so easily; I tear my closet apart each morning at this point looking for shirts that are still long enough and covering the ones that aren't quite with a rotating series of cardigans that are currently my saving grace.

As far as maternity-style inspiration, Kaelah is rocking it out for me. Not because we dress even remotely the same - we don't - but because she's doing a great job taking what she already has and tweaking things just a bit to keep them working.

I say, as I simultaneously scroll through the "new arrivals" on Gap Maternity, Target Maternity, and Old Navy Maternity and sigh mournfully.

3. This recipe for crispy green beans from Pure Wow. I used it as a base for dinner last night and it was awesome.

I definitely had to make some changes - I added red pepper flakes to spice things up a bit and also threw in our romanesco cauliflower (Jason calls this "alien food", which hey, go look at that photo) that we've been getting through our veggie delivery service. I also had to turn the oven up twice - once up to 400, and then to 425 - over the course of the cooking time to get them even remotely crispy. Your mileage - and oven - may vary.

We don't use our broiler, but if you do I reccomend taking her advice to do so at the end.

We had a double-order of green beans this week and I was able to get a little bit creative with them - this was great with comfort food sausage grits on the side (I was feeling a little gross after some doctor's appointments yesterday. No worries, everything is A-okay).

4. Remember the mall attack on Nairobi last year? A lot of the photographs that were reaching news outlets and being spread around the world were those taken by Tyler Hicks, a photojournalist who was in the area at the time.

NPR did an interview with him about his experience, both with the attack and with other things that have happened during his career - a colleague died of asthma while they were working, he was briefly kidnapped in Libya at one point - and how they have affected and changed him.

When speaking about the mall attack, he goes into some detail about what he was thinking at the time, and it must take incredible courage to look at several hundred people fleeing, some bloodied and injured, from a shopping mall and decide then and there to go in.

He was contacted by the mother in the photo above, when she saw the photo of her holding her son and with her hand always on her daughter being spread around the world. Hicks talks about what she told him about how she kept her son, a wriggly and naturally-loud toddler, silent as a mouse for five hours until they could escape.

It's a really fascinating, harrowing interview.

5. Because I kinda have fruit on the brain today, I am going to show you one of the things I BADLY want for Kiddo's nursery when she shows up. This. Little. Fruit basket.




Uncommon Goods is an awesome website, a store full of independent artist offerings. They do home decor, some wearables like jewelry and scarves, lots of stuff for kids... they have a huge presence on my registry (seriously, if you are pregnant and don't know about, go check it out. It lets you add items from all over the web to a single registry, making it easy for people to see the diverse things you're interested in).

There's the fruit basket, a veggie crate, even an adorable little toolbox.

Brain? What brain?

My brain is gone. It was replaced by hormones, remember?

Friday, April 18, 2014

5 Weird Things About Pregnancy

1. I don't particularly think I look all that pregnant. At 22 weeks, the fashion bloggers all over the internet are pushing out their bumps and cradling them with their hands and talking about having to dress for 'the bump' and I'm like, well, I guess it looks like I ate some burritos earlier... Maybe it's because, as a lifelong dyed-in-the-wool tomboy, I mostly just wear T-shirts, my awesome Gap maternity jeans, and cardigans all day every day and those don't exactly lend themselves to the bump-showin'? But even when I'm just at home and I kinda stick my stomach out, it's still... I'm not even really convincing myself here, guys, and I'm the one whose insides are being steadily bruised by someone's tiny elbows.

Some women blossom into gorgeous curves with a cute bump and people coo at them on the street. Some women wear little dresses and can pull off talking about their bumps like they're this big deal, sort of petting them while they speak. Some pregnant women, at this stage? People see them on the street and go, "Awww, I wonder when she's due!"

I walk out the door and people think, "Well, she needs some exercise. You know, if that girl wore like a little dress she would really look pregnant. She should seriously go running."

2. I am trying to get my baby to like The Lion King as much as I do, and I'm starting in the womb. I always told myself I wouldn't do a 'theme' nursery, because I usually don't like them. Then I discovered Buy Buy Baby does Lion King bedding. So... now it's a theme nursery.

That's not all, though.

I am listening to The Lion King Broadway Soundtrack preeeeeetty much nonstop in my car. This is problematic, in that "Circle of Life" now makes me bawl like a tiny child because it's so meaningful now (or, you know, hormones). Oh, and "He Lives In You" also makes me cry. And also the last song where he's climbing Pride Rock, and then at the end he does his roar? Yep, you guessed it. Waterworks.

The other day I went to meet Jason after work so we could drive over to have dinner with my in-laws, and I think the guy next to me at the stoplight at one point seriously thought I had lost my damn mind or was going through one crazy breakup. "Circle of Life" was playing, and I was trying to sing along but it just meant so much you guys, just so profound.

I had to sit in the car for a minute after I got to Jason's workplace and compose myself.

The upside to this, though, is that I'm pretty sure this kid will enter life loving The Lion King. Either she will love it or I will die trying to get her to.

 Oh, and if you're wondering how Jason feels about our Lion King-themed nursery, he thinks it's awesome. Because he knows what's good for him.

3. Being. Sick. Sucks. A few weeks ago, I picked up some kind of weird sinus infection. It's funny, actually, because two of my coworkers became deathly ill with the Stomach Bug From Hell and I was kind of convinced one of them was going to die and rise from the dead as a zombie, they were that sick. As in, Monday one of them went home early, Tuesday he called in sick and the other coworker was starting to feel grody. Wednesday they both were out sick. Then Thursday one came back feeling okay and the other was back but I wouldn't have called him alive except that he still had a pulse.

Through all of this I am frantically spraying everything down with Lysol and anti-bacterial sprays. I cleaned my phone, I cleaned my computer even though neither of them had touched it. I cleaned off my desk because one of them had touched it. I was careful.

And then I came down with a completely unrelated sinus infection, because God has a sense of humor.

I went to bed Thursday night feeling a little gross. I woke up Friday morning with my sinuses pounding so hard I got up, walked out into the living room, wailed to Jason about my face, and then laid on the couch for several hours. I called in sick at some point here, but the only reason I know that is because my call was still on the voicemail the next morning. I went through a mental list of what medicines I could take and came up with nothing. I didn't have a fever or anything where you might rely on Tylenol. What I really needed was a shot of Day and/or Nyquil or some good old meth-ingredient-level Sudafed. So instead I just mumbled obscenities for several hours and wore a hot rag on my face and drank baby-friendly hot toddies nonstop.

What fixed me, I thoroughly believe, is that A. I drank my weight in stuff with Vitamin C in it, and B. I went out to a local Vietnamese place to meet Jason for lunch and had pho. Pho has magical properties, and there is no kind of sick that pho cannot set you on the path to recovery for.

Also I listened to my Lion King soundtrack all afternoon and also watched the movie at some point. So... between those three things, I was feeling good enough to work Saturday and was pretty much better by the next week.

4. My baby is not my dancin' monkey. She moves around all the time!

... except when I want her to.

This baby will happily do the tango when I'm sitting at work nowhere near anyone I want to know anything about it. She will kick me while I'm lying on the couch, or cooking dinner, or doing whatever it is I'm doing at any given moment.

But God forbid I try to get her to kick when Jason can see if he can feel her.

Then she is very very quiet and very very still and I am convinced she is laughing in there.

Just you wait, child. Another few months and I can make you look as ridiculous as I want.

5. Dehydration hits with the speed of an out-of-control semi. When they tell you to drink a certain amount of ounces of water, they are not kidding. Not even a little bit. And they're not just telling you that because it's good for the baby; they are telling you that because that baby is going to get the water it needs from somewhere, and if you aren't drinking enough it will take that water from your very bones.

I went on a thoroughly fruitless maternity clothing shopping trip with a friend a couple of weeks ago (that would be the trip where we discovered that the Maternity Mafia hates women - unless of course you have $70 to spend on two T-shirts which I do not) and part of that trip was discovering my new threshold for dehydration.

I don't have one.

I hadn't had any water to drink for a while before I met up with her. No big deal, right? I shrugged it off. Whatever. I'd had some mostly-decaf coffee that morning with milk in it, I'm fiiiiiiine. For most of the shopping trip I was fine, although feeling a bit sluggish.

Then I could no longer walk.

I just sort of stumbled to a stop and said, "We need to get something to drink now." And I continued to stand very still right in that spot. The amount of energy it would have taken to take one single step forward was simply too much to bear.

My friend, who had a baby herself about a year ago, just laughed at me and we went right into a tea place we really like.

Now I carry a water bottle everywhere I go.

I also tend to leave water bottles everywhere I go, because just because I remember to bring them with me doesn't mean I ever remember to bring them back.

Case in point? I met a friend for breakfast and tea at Tealoha this morning and she has my water bottle now, because I left it in her stroller. Of course I have like seven empty bottles I keep around now for this problem, but if I ever manage to forget my water bottles more than seven times there will be hell to pay.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


photo by Gary Heller available for purchase here.

So, I was driving to work last week. It's something I try to do, oh, you know, like five times or so. They pay me to be there. It's a nice little arrangement we have going.

That day you could tell it was going to be gorgeous, no bones about it.
Already at 7:45 or so there was that sort of crisp feel in the air that tells you it'll be sweater-weather til 10 and then it might as well be summer after that. 

Well, except it's not 98% humidity. And no one is actively melting into the sidewalk yet. So it's not like summer at all.

I'm doing my usual maybe-speeding-but-I'll-never-tell zip along the roads when I find myself having to brake behind this weird little truck. You see these little trucks all the time; they're Frankenstein's monster, built by amateur mechanics with too much time and not enough cash in hand. The parts are different colors, coming off different skeleton trucks the fixer-upper in question scavenged from friends or scrapyards or the side of the road. I've never seen a single one with a working muffler.

This truck is towing behind it the rustiest little speedboat thing I have ever seen in my life.

Since the truck could only go about 40 miles an hour uphill (and there are a LOT of uphills), I had plenty of time to look him over. Sometimes, on the really steep hills, we dropped down to twenty mph. I kind of forgive the guy, though, because I could hear how hard his truck was working just to manage that and I was frankly impressed he'd managed to make that truck road legal at all.

Of course, I don't have any evidence it actually was road legal, but for the sake of my friends who have built similar monstrosities, I'm just going to pretend it was.

(For the record, I have driven home inside Greenville's city limits before behind a Frankenstein's truck that had no doors. Or turn signals. And only one brake light. The guy would just lean out and signal with his arm if he was turning left, or the passenger would lean out and signal if they were turning right. It was an amazing and terrifying adventure.)

There was something in the back of the boat that I couldn't quite figure out, and I kept kind of squinting at it.

Finally, it came to me; it was the engine, sliding around inside the boat, knocking up against a gigantic blue cooler. Well, now I knew the whole story; these two gentlemen were going to the lake today, in their hideous little boat, using an engine that I don't think even belonged to the same kind of boat as the one they were towing, and they were going to drink some beer.

(Oh, sure, it could have been Coke. Maybe it was! We can pretend that, if it helps.)

The boat itself was entirely reddish-brown rust on the bottom, not quite but nearly the same color as the dirt on either side of the road. It began to fade out about halfway up and finally, at the top, was a thin strip of unmarked white; the color the boat was actually supposed to be.

I wondered to myself how this little thing was going to stay above the water. Maybe they're taking it to the metal recycling place, like Old Yeller. Only with tetanus instead of rabies. And a scrapyard instead of a shotgun and oh now I'm thinking about Old Yeller and I'm sad.

Then we passed the metal recycling place.


Eventually, I had to admit to myself that they really did mean to take this rustbucket out on the water.

When it came time for me to turn off the highway, and they kept on heading down the road towards the two large lakes I had no doubt were their true destination, I gave them a thumbs-up. They noticed and waved back. The engine knocked around some more in the back, and that was the last I saw of them.

I like to think their thoughts went a little bit like, Hey, that girl gave us a thumbs-up! She must like the boat. I bet she wants to go out on the lake, too. Too bad for her. This is going to be awesome!

Whereas my thoughts were, God speed, little Old Yeller boat, and good luck.