April showers bring May babies…

I had my baby shower yesterday, courtesy of Jen and Mark. It was a lot of fun, and I have to say that Chris and I were incredibly overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. B and Doug got us the cutest little outfit for Baby C – it’s a Kenneth Cole ensemble complete with distressed jeans (even the bottoms are just slightly frayed – as if he’s been wearing them for years!), an oxford shirt and the cutest little corduroy jacket in chocolate brown. The boys were all saying that if they take him to LA, Baby C will get into the Viper Room with no problem, while they would still be waiting outside.

We had one game at the shower – really, the only game I could tolerate, since this was a co-ed shower. The object was to cut a ribbon the closest to my new and expanded waistline (without going over) – and whomever was closest won a $25 gift card to Borders. I don’t know how she did it, but Jen was actually spot on in her guess! It was really funny. Some of the guesses were way off – by a good foot or more – and only one person was under in her estimation.

For me, the best things about the shower – and the most humbling – were the realization that we have a lot of good friends who are anticipating Baby C’s arrival as much as we are and the knowledge that he is going to be accepted and loved by a whole lot of people right away. He’s got a number of great people he can look up to as he grows up, and I’m so glad for that.

It’s really hard for Cute Husband and me, knowing that we are so far away from our families and that Baby C won’t get the chance to see his grandparents, aunts, and cousins very often. It’s similar to how my sister and I grew up, though, because for the longest time, we didn’t have family in the country, let alone in the same city. So, my parents bonded with their friends from the Philippines who moved to Southern California and created a different kind of extended family for us. This explains why I’m much closer to one of my friends than I am to many of my real cousins. (For one thing, she speaks “Eileen”.)

I’m very happy knowing that Cute Husband and I have created an extended family of our own (albeit unintentionally), and that Baby C will be surrounded by lots of people who love him already. And I’m feeling much more prepared for Baby C’s arrival now.

Current obsessions

There are a few things that occupy my thoughts right now… which explains why I’m posting so much from work (I can’t concentrate!).

1. Baby things – All things baby have completely taken over my brain. Cute Husband and I went to a Baby Care class last night (it was free with the childbirth classes we start on Tuesday), and everything is baby-centric right now. I’m trying to think about what Baby C’s going-home outfit will be (which, I imagine, will largely depend on how big of a baby he is), and trying to list out the preparatory things that still need to be done that I can do (right now, that’s a pretty short list). I make everyone at work nervous because of my size (though I remind people he’s still got plenty of room to grow in there), and it’s increasingly difficult to push my thoughts to the back of my mind when I get frequent reminders that he is coming (right now he’s kicking pretty forcefully). And considering we still don’t have a name for the little one kicking me in the ribs every morning, it’s enough to keep me fairly preoccupied.

2. Paper and paper crafting – I have a lot of paper already, but this is an obsession that I don’t think will quit anytime soon. Well, not without a good 12-step program, anyway. But since I’m working on those baby shower invitations and other related stationery, it’s front of mind. Add to this the fact that I still haven’t decided exactly what the baby announcements will look like, and you get a vague idea of how much I’m thinking about this. I have a favorite (and appropriate) quote that I want to somehow incorporate into it, but I’m not sure how to make it work just yet. Another thing for my brain to work on.

3. Food – It’s not just when my next meal will be or what I will eat, but also how much nutrition I’m getting from said food and what percentage of it I think Baby C will ultimately leave with me. I’m eating when I’m hungry (which is to say most of the day), but I’m eating fairly carefully (french fries and potato chips are my downfall, though). All the same, I absolutely love food, though I have to admit we currently have a love/hate relationship. Hopefully that will abate a bit once the baby comes.

4. Sleep and/or rest – It’s like the end of my first trimester all over again with the all the fatigue! I sleep fitfully for a few hours (even enough to dream!), then awaken for a little while, then go back to sleep, only to wake up in the mornings feeling great when I get out of bed but exhausted by the time I get into my car to go to work. Today, I even felt good enough to spend a few minutes curling my hair, if that gives you any indication of how good I feel once I wake up. Of course, after running around the house a bit, I find I tire very easily, but I offer the fact that I’m carrying an additional 25% of my original weight as a valid excuse.

5. Investing and other financial matters – My department learned today that we’re almost getting our full bonuses, which is excellent news (despite the fact that I still don’t know what that means in dollars – I’ll find out in a week). But there is a lot to do with that bonus, including some things for the house, putting it towards a new(er) car, paying for day care, investing it into either my IRA or a 529 for Baby C… Sadly, I know, even without knowing the dollar amount, that I’ll only be able to do one of those things, so it’s going to be a matter of prioritizing. At least I know Baby C won’t be going to Harvard or MIT next year, so there’s still a little more time to plan on financing his education.

So, these are the top five things I think about on a daily basis, several times a day, in fact. In another 6 months, the list may change completely, or it could be exactly the same. That’s the beauty of it all.

Another reason I love my husband…

If you’ve been reading my ramblings for a while, you’ll know I firmly maintain I have the best husband in the world. No, he’s not perfect (none of us really are – besides which, it took him a few years to decide to marry me), but he is really very good to me and I absolutely adore him.

I don’t know why, but I think of strange comments or questions to ask him in the mornings. Sometimes I’m wide awake when I do it, sometimes I’m half asleep. Sometimes my commentary is either part of or resulting from a recent dream, and sometimes it’s something I’ve been mulling over for a few days (or weeks) and have finally composed into a (somewhat) logical argument supporting something.

Last night, he and my father-in-law had to make a late-night run to the Home Depot to pick up some supplies for the Tiki Bar. (Backstory: The Tiki Bar has been under construction since February 2006. It’s awesome and is going to look incredible when it’s done, but it’s been a process.) So, this morning, I asked him to call me if he and/or his dad need anything from the Home Depot again today so that I can pick it up on my way home. Mind you, it’s not next door to work or anything, but it’s not as much out of the way from my work as it is for Cute Husband to get all the way home and have to turn around to come all the way back.

Well, he said he doubted they would need anything but said he would call me if they needed me to run over there. And since I could potentially be heading that way, I asked him to consider getting a dimmer for the nursery – after all, if turning on the lights hurts our own eyes when we’re barely awake, imagine how Baby C would feel!

Now this is why I love my husband:

He said, “That’s fine. You already know what kind you want to get, so go ahead and get that.”

Backstory: I used to work for a building materials wholesaler within their electrical division – in fact, a big part of my job for the first 6 months was working on a catalog of electrical products. I know my dimmers very well.

It makes me smile just thinking about his response. Even funnier was my lunchtime trip to the Home Depot (I had to run to Target and it’s right next door) where I made a beeline for the dimmers and knew exactly which manufacturer I wanted to go with (but had to carefully consider between two models). Meanwhile, there were men in the same aisle asking the sales associate about key features and benefits of some of the switches and dimmers… and I just smiled to myself.

So, I maintain that I have the best husband in the world because he trusts my ability to research, even when it’s in the realm of a traditionally non-feminine area like home improvement goods. I may not be able to pick out paint colors, but I can certainly make an educated decision when purchasing electrical products!

30 things put away

And, yes, they really are put away this time. Or thrown away – I did leave that option open. Of course, when I say “away” in reference to those things belonging in my scrapbooking closet, I mean “put in the appropriate drawer where available or placed in an area where I will be able to readily access it when needed”. My closet is a bit of a mess, too, but that’s a project for another day. It certainly isn’t a project for right now.

So, is the table cleared? Not yet, but it is much closer. And I’m feeling better about it now, too.

Not motivated tonight

I had two things on my To Do list tonight: (1) go through my shoes and pick out the ones to donate to Goodwill and (2) clear off my craft table. I successfully completed the first (4 pairs! Go me!) and am about a third of the way done on the second, and I’m suddenly feeling very uninspired to continue. In fact, the only progress I feel I’ve made consists of shifting piles from one side of the table to the other – although the fact that I even have it in piles at all could probably be considered a small feat.

I just hate it when I set reasonable goals (and my To Do list for the night really is reasonable) and am not able to achieve them. I suppose I can take some small comfort in remembering that I’ve done quite a bit of cleaning just in the 18 days into the year, and I shouldn’t beat myself up over it.

Okay, I’m a little more centered now. I will put away (or throw away – that’s much easier, really) 30 more things from my craft table and call it a night. A nice long shower ought to put me in the mood for sleep.

Let’s just hope the little one lets me sleep through the night this time!

Clutter conquered!

Well, mostly. It’s all off the floor, anyway. And, no, I didn’t just now stop; I took a break to eat (go figure) and played the Star Wars Lego game for a little bit. I suck at video games, unless they’re puzzles. I prefer to watch my husband play them. Anyway, after about 30 minutes playing on my own, I got bored and finished up in the office. So, is the office ready to get converted into a nursery? Hardly. But I can at least say that the things that are mine are managed. Mostly.

I need to purge my craft closet again. Well, that’s not entirely true; I really need to sit down and work on albums. That will use up a lot of stuff and put away all the little pieces of memorabilia I have floating around. I really enjoy scrapbooking, but it’s getting the inspiration to strike that is the hard part. [sigh] Perhaps I can tackle that tomorrow, after I put away everything on my craft table.

At any rate, my laundry is sitting in the dryer getting wrinkled, and I really ought to get started on dinner. There’s no rest for the weary… and I still haven’t taken a nap!

Making progress

Well, some progress, anyway. I bit the bullet and finally decided to get rid of my gigantic box of recipes I’ve been collecting since, well, 1999. I did a very cursory glance through them and decided on keeping a few (my mother-in-law’s waffle recipe, my mother’s shomai recipe, the world’s best oatmeal raisin cookies, etc.). The rest have been unceremoniously reboxed and placed in the recycling bin. Really, I don’t look at them, anyway, so why bother keeping them?

I also got rid of the extra rehearsal dinner invitations (no small feat – I’m very sentimental about my paper), though I did keep five – just in case someone wants to look at them. (They will likely get tossed in another two or three years, I know, but I’m just not ready to part with them completely!) I also moved this wire shelving from the office into one of the guest bedrooms, and my plan is to have all the stuff that won’t fit into my scrapbooking closet either trashed, donated, or sorted and stored in the guest bedroom by the end of the day. It’s actually quite doable. In fact, I’ll bet if I really focus (meaning I don’t stop to look at every scrap of paper), I could be done by 3.

So, with that thought in mind, I’ll come back and 3 and report on my progress. Who knows? I may even be done sooner!

To roast or not to roast?

My chicken aversion started subsiding a few weeks ago, and while I still don’t gravitate towards chicken, I’m certainly not hyper-opposed to it, either. The same goes for mushrooms, though chocolate still doesn’t appeal to me.

Earlier this week, I was flipping through my new Barefoot Contessa cookbook and found all these wonderful recipes that call for, well, roasted chicken meat. Now, I know how to roast a chicken. I’m actually pretty good at it, but after considering the labor involved (washing, prepping, seasoning, and roasting – all before picking it apart), I really don’t have the time.

Enter the pre-roasted rotisserie chicken from my local Publix.

I had to run to the store on Monday for a few staples, and since my husband and I were both working late, it was far better for me to grocery shop and pick up dinner on the same run. I bought a few pieces of fried chicken for him, some salad fixings for me, and a rotisserie chicken for me to take apart and use later in the week. In all honesty, I felt like I was cheating. This certainly wasn’t something my mother would do, I reasoned, and Jen would never do something like this. After all, they’re both very accomplished cooks (the latter being a chef to boot!).

Well, last night, my little rotisserie chicken came in handy. I worked late (again), as did Cute Husband, and by the time I got home (only 20 minutes after he did), I was beat. Normally, if we had frozen pizza available, we would have just heated that – but I had planned ahead! So, last night, we had chicken and dumplings – and it took all of about 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Of course, I also used ready-to-bake biscuits for the dumplings, but all in all, it was a super easy meal that took no time to make. Not only that, there was enough for Cute Husband to take with him for lunch today.

I think my chicken-roasting days may be numbered!

The wonders of sleeping on a feather bed…

I’ve wanted a feather bed for as long as I can remember. It might be because of that John Denver song, or because it was something my parents just never thought of having. After all, no one really collects feathers to stuff pillows, mattresses, or anything else in the Philippines. In fact, I really don’t think there would be a point of having a feather bed in the Philippines, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, some very good family friends gave Cute Husband and me a feather bed as a wedding present, which was a huge surprise because I think it’s something completely extravagant. But I was also afraid that, with the warm weather we usually have here in Florida, it would be too warm to use. Even if we only used it a few weeks out of the year, I reasoned, it was still worth having a feather bed.

So, last night, after suffering with an aching back most of the day, I asked Cute Husband if he would be okay sleeping on top of the feather bed, just so I could see if sleeping on a soft surface would really help me rest. He agreed (I didn’t think he would mind; after all, he would sleep on a cloud if he could – I’m the one who likes firmer mattresses), and I put the feather bed onto our mattress and rearranged the bedding.

Oh my goodness – I think I slept better last night than I have in a very long time. I fell asleep promptly (I’m usually wide awake for at least an hour after lying down), and I didn’t wake up until after 4! It was glorious – and it didn’t even make the bedding hot, which was my biggest fear. I was so comfortable (surrounded by my 8 pillows – I realized I needed another pillow as I was settling in last night, and Cute Husband was kind enough to grab one from one of the guest rooms for me), it was absolute bliss!

I don’t know that sleep will ever regain its status as a favorite pastime, but the feather bed sure made sleeping more comfortable!

Black Friday shopping

[sigh]

I don’t like shopping. Let me get it out there in public for all the world to see: I don’t like shopping. In fact, I would be happiest doing all of my Christmas shopping from the comfort of my own home and not having to interact with a single being. I’ve worked enough Black Fridays in the retail world to know when it is best to stay in bed with the covers over my head in blissful ignorance.

That said, I awoke this morning with a terrible cough and decided to jump online to see what new things are happening in the world. And, since my husband gave me a very specific item that he wanted for Christmas (or his birthday – I only have one of them taken care of at this point, anyway), I decided to look and see what specials abound.

Oh, look! Now I have a motivation to get up tomorrow before the crack of dawn to go to brave the traffic, search for parking, and go to ONE store and pick up ONE thing (possibly 2, though). But if doing so would save YOU $150, wouldn’t you be willing to do the same? It means I can spend a little less than I was planning on spending for a much bigger present.

Anyway, I’m rationalizing the whole process in my head because I truly dread Christmas shopping, particularly on Black Friday. Don’t get me wrong – having managed retail for a few years, I’m one of the best customers a cashier can deal with. I’m patient, not pushy, and an all around good sport. But I’m also a planner – and you can bet that if I decide to go, when the store opens at 6, I would have been waiting there since 5 to save my $150.

Oh, somebody just shoot me now.