Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Sweets

Hello, and a very spooky and happy Halloween to you!

As you may remember, I signed up to bring cupcakes to the Halloween potluck at my new job on Friday. I spent about 3 hours on Thursday night mixing colors, dipping, frosting and otherwise decorating said sweet treats.

I made spiders,
Mummies,And, yes, I made the brains.
And made a total of about 50 cupcakes. So with the exception of keeping a dozen at home for when I saw the family this weekend, I was planning on taking all of them to the potluck. Michael asked how many he could take to his work. I originally snorted and said, "How many cupcakes have you been slaving over for the past three hours?!" He retorted that it would just be really nice since his work wasn't doing anything special and they'd all really appreciate them.

So I gave in and sent him to work with a dozen and took about 25 to work with me. Well, there was a call to bring all food down to the potluck ahead of time, and when I brought them down there wasn't anyone else there. There was, however, a whole table full of desserts including sheet cakes and lovely store-bought cupcakes (next to which I set my poor little homemade ones). At the potluck there was no going around saying who brought what (way too many people).

Here's the thing, guys. I don't make cupcakes to get compliments. I don't need people to "ooh" and "ahh" over them, but I really do like a little acknowledgement, you know? Just a little something that says, "I can see that you spent a lot of time of these. They're nice." But no one even knew that I'd made the cupcakes. Oh well.
I called Michael to see if he'd given the cupcakes away.

He said that they had been a big hit! Everyone had thought they were cute and supposedly one person even took a picture of them. Might he have been exaggerating to make me feel good? Maybe. But it certainly worked. I was so glad I'd given him those stinking cupcakes that I was going to be so frugal about. And the people I'd made them for didn't even know it! Funny how things turn out, isn't it?

A safe and fun evening to everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Boy or Girl?!

A week from today we find out the sex of the baby!

Any predictions? Any wagers?

I am so excited and hopeful! A lot of people have asked us what we want. At this point all I want is to know! I don't know those people wait until the birth of the baby to find out the gender, it's been hard enough waiting to the 20 week point!

I am hopeful we'll get to find out. I've heard stories about people not being able to tell because of the position of the baby or not being far enough along. Well, we're at the end of the recommended period of when to get the anatomy scan, and I don't plan on leaving the ultrasound room until our technician can tell us one way or the other!

So, please vote on our most recent poll and tell me what you think we're having!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Father and Sun

On Friday we were hooked up with some wonderful Suns tickets! We were in the 4th row (after the courtside seats)!
Kai was loving it! (So was JP.)

And I ate two hot dogs.
When Kai got a little antsy we took him to a big kiddie play area where he climbed around and shot some hoops of his own for awhile.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Second Second Anniversary Post

We celebrated our second anniversary on Monday! We went to:

Mmm, I love me some fondue.

I get it when people say they don't like the place. It's true that it's pricey and really you're cooking all your own food, but I just love the experience. And look at what I got to look at all night:Delish!

First course: some kind of French combination of cheeses and a bunch of dippins. Every course that comes out I claim, "This is my favorite course in fondue!" I didn't take a picture of the meat plate. I was too busy dipping pieces of filet, shrimp, lobster and chicken.

But I did have the self-restraint to snap one of the dessert. I was full as a tick by this point, but we still managed to clean our plates.
Michael got us tickets to the Beauty and the Beast musical that's playing at Gammage right now. This was how he chose to share the news:It's a cut up little girl's birthday card. Isn't that adorable/hilarious?
We went on Wednesday and had a great time. I'll say this: it was so fun but it wasn't my favorite musical of all time. (If you're interested, my faves are Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King and Wicked.) I really loved all the songs from the Disney movie, but they had added in a bunch of songs to lengthen the play. I just didn't think these songs were up to par - they were all slow and a little (I hate to say it) boring?
But "Bonjour" was wonderful, "Be Our Guest" was great and "Gaston" had some cool choreography with metal beer mugs that was just really impressive and fun.
Great anniversary, Michael! Sign me up for about a hundred more!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The First Kick

This post was originally written last Friday, October 15.

I just felt the baby move for the first time!

Well, for the past couple weeks I’ve been feeling little things here and there but I’ve never been sure if it was the baby. Sometimes it just felt like gas bubbles or internal muscle twitches. This time, however, I know it was the baby.

It felt like a little nudge from inside. Still a very light and fluttery feeling, but definitely there. I was sitting at my desk at work and suddenly felt it, so it’s not like it was a ligament being stretched or something (which I’ve felt before). The movement felt like a finger running side to side along my gut (from the inside, of course), then suddenly poking. So if it really was a kick, it can only be described as what I imagine to be a stepover move in soccer. This is where the ball is in front of you, you make one swiping move with your foot over or in front of the ball to try to fake like you’re moving one way, and then end up taking the ball in the other direction with a kick or a dribble.

I called Michael immediately. IT’S ALIVE! And moving around!

End of pre-written post.

I've felt the baby move a lot since then! It hasn't been all the time, maybe not even every day, but every once in awhile I'll feel a little something and smile because I know the baby's up to something. I already know that the babe knows how to groove because I notice movement especially when I'm belting out some Earth Wind & Fire on my drive home from work.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Fair Lady

Last weekend JP, Kai, Mom, Michael and I went to the Arizona State Fair.

Now, I haven't been to a lot of State Fairs, but the Arizona State Fair sure is good for people watching, if not for being very clean.

We put Kai on his first little roller coaster. While riding he looked equal parts terrified and exhilarated, but claimed "I liked it!" upon deboarding. The State Fair might not be your idea of fun (it definitely has its...quirks) but I enjoyed it. I love the sensory overload. The lights, the sounds, the smells (which are sometimes appetizing - fair food - and sometimes not - the agricultural center, for example).And then there's the food. Between us all we ate turkey legs, a huge corndog, a piece of pizza, gelato, soft serve, soda, water, beer and milk.

That's milk in Kai's coffee cup - not a latte.
This is why I like the Fair at night:
We rode the big slide as a group. We even burned some of those turkey leg calories while climbing the steep grade to the top.

And we also rode the Ferris Wheel, which is a must for any Fair.
And we played a few carnival games - Kai actually won at this one. Despite Michael's expression, this is not, in fact, the moment of victory. He just likes being a ham for the camera.
On the way out, Kai made friends with a pony named Dr. Pepper.

In summation, I'd say the Fair was a great time. It's pricey and a little crowded (with interesting people, such as the woman with the three week old infant - I asked), but a cool experience. However, I would suggest bringing your own hand sanitizer. Trying to locate some of that was like trying to locate Carmen Sandiego.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Years


knowI love you
moretwo years

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Steak Out

I know "stake" was spelled wrong. Hopefully you will see that this was intended to be a double entendre by the end of this post.

It was very important to Michael and me that we tell our parents about the pregnancy in person. So we told Michael's family during the trip to Solvang (read more here), which was great timing because we had only just found out about the baby but we knew we might not see the family for a long time after. What you didn't read in the blog post was that I didn't do any wine tasting that weekend, and that we told the Shockleys at the start of the trip.

When we stopped to get coffee at a little java joint, we casually chatted at a table outside. Michael asked his parents about their upcoming vacations and if they had any plans for next spring break. Just like we’d hoped, Judy made a comment about how they don’t usually plan that far in advance. Michael said he had a couple things they could do if they came, such as visiting a winery and … meeting their first grandchild. It was really cute and I was so glad to be able to talk about it with them for the rest of the weekend. (Plus, it was nice not having to lie about why I wasn't drinking.)

We also wanted to tell my parents in person. I know this sounds extreme, but we used a free flight and went to Illinois the following weekend when we knew my folks were going to be there visiting my Grandmas. We had a great plan: we'd drive into Danville, call my parents to find out which house they were at and then show up on the doorstep!

This plan suffered an epic failure.

We drove. We called. We found out that Mom was at Grandma Mickie's and Dad was at Grandma Helen's. And they weren't getting together for another couple of hours. We couldn't surprise one without the other! It would totally give it away! What would we do!?

We drove around for a half an hour trying to figure out what to do. ("Maybe we should just, like, kidnap Dad...")

Finally, I called Dad and told him I had something I needed to talk to him and Mom about. He took me very seriously and asked if he could conference call Mom in. I said no, they had to be together. He said he needed some time to get ready to leave, but would be over there in a half an hour. He was so sweet! Didn't ask any questions or anything! Definitely made me re-evaluate who I'll call if I ever accidentally murder someone.

So we did a stake out outside of Grandma Helen's house so we could follow Dad out. We wanted to arrive at Grandma Mickie's right after Dad did. Above: Us, staking out.

When Dad (with Mom now) called we were just sneaking up to the house, so I didn’t answer the phone and instead walked in the (unlocked) front door. Poor Grandma Mickie nearly had a heart attack because all she could see was two strangers creeping in the front door. We shouted “Hello?” and then to warn Grandma Mickie, “It’s Julie, Grandma! You know…your granddaughter?”

And Mom comes rushing out of the back room (where she and Dad had gone to take my call) yelling “Julie?! What are you doing here?!”

I said, “The three of us wanted to tell you in person…the three of us being me, Michael … and our baby. I’m pregnant!” I’m now a little embarrassed that we went to such great lengths to tell them in person. Oh well. It meant a lot to me and to Michael.

And all's well that ends at the Beef House!

See? Steak out?? Get it?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Dour Shower

Our shower situation has just become too complicated for my liking.And I used to love showers! They’re so lovely! When I was a kid I used to spend so much time in the shower that my family would wonder about me. One time (we lived in Florida, so I was between ages 7-9, and were in the hot tub at the time) my mom and brother were trying to figure out what I did in the shower for 45 minutes. They were acting out how much time they spent shampooing and soaping, demonstrating that it definitely shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes and exclaiming that, What could I possibly be doing in there for so long!? I remember panicking and telling them, “I…I spend more time on my privates.” Looking back on it, how did my mom not give me a major side-eye for this?

In truth, I would make believe in the shower. I would act out complex stories. Sometimes they involved me being trapped in a room rapidly filling with water and I was waiting to be rescued while trying to find a way to escape. Sometimes they involved me practicing kissing on the glass door (you had to first draw the face of the kissee in the steam on the door, lips included). I really should have told Mom and JP the truth…isn’t kissing an imaginary glass man less embarrassing than spending a lot of time on your privates?

When I was away from the horrid college dorm shower experience (flip flops and scummy surfaces do not a happy shower make), I was back to my love of showering. My roommates would make fun of me because they’d hear me showering but couldn’t see any light coming from the bathroom. I took showers in the dark.

**This is your homework assignment, especially if you have a good water pressure: start the shower, light one candle, turn off the lights and step into the water. For a real thrill, leave out the candle. Extra points if you slowly back up into the water stream so the water jets move slowly up your spine and then slowly hit the base of your neck and move up to your scalp. Gives me the chills every time. It’s true what they say about appreciating your other senses when sight is taken away. **

We now have two bathrooms in our house. We have two people in our house (not for long!). Both of us take showers in the same bathroom. That shower is not in the bathroom attached to the room we sleep in.

When Michael and I moved into our first apartment after getting married, Michael would get ready in the extra bedroom because he didn’t want to wake me up by turning on the lights and making noise getting ready (isn’t he sweet?). He did the same thing at the next place we lived and he does the same thing now, except that now I think he just likes having his own space to get ready in the morning.

We have a very nice master bathroom shower. It’s a standing glass shower (perfect for practicing kisses, too bad I have a real man to practice on now!). The problem is that there is no ceiling on our shower and there is no door to our bathroom, so the steamy air just floats away into oblivion, leaving me cold and shivering in the shower. This was especially troublesome when we had a hot water restrictor in the shower and I was really only standing around in lukewarm water anyway.

So I started going over and taking showers in the guest bathroom too. It’s so complicated! Michael likes cool showers and hates fogging up the bathroom. I like coming out of the shower looking like a cooked lobster, more steam the better. Now he sometimes takes his shaving materials away to shave away from the steam room, meaning we’re both running around the house going to different bathrooms for our different purposes. Other times I try to take a cooler shower and he leaves the door open to let the steam out. Those times I wait around in the shower until he hands me my towel over the top so I don’t have to expose myself to the bitter 78’ cold. (I make a quick “Meow!” sound if he doesn’t realize it’s time for the towel toss.) It’s all just too much to have to think about at 6 in the morning.

I miss the old days. Like my dear friend Anne Shirley would say, the shower used to have so much scope for imagination! Today it’s totally a utilitarian device.

Let's bring back the enjoyable shower! Let's reclaim it in the name of make believe!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Belly Pics, Month 1-4

I've been taking pictures of my stomach every two weeks to document the progression of my baby belly. Even now - at almost 17 weeks - I know that I'm more uterus and bloat than baby. Still, I thought I'd fill you in on the belly pics I've taken since I first found out I was pregnant.
I didn't take a picture at 8 weeks. I did take them at 6 and 10 but 6 looked just like 4 and 10 looks just like 12. And this was taken on Sunday. Unfortunately my expression was odd plus it didn't occur to me to check if I had makeup smeared across my face, so I had to do some photoshopping. I think you'll agree that I have a potential future career in fashion magazine editing.
I know, I know, I'm not really showing yet. BUT it does seem to pop out more when I'm wearing a tight shirt. I'll try to post more belly pics now and then as the next five months progress!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Brain Cupcakes

I signed up to bring cupcakes to my work Halloween potluck. I'm thinking about making ones that look like spiders, ones that look like mummys, ones that look like pumpkins... and I need one more idea. Are brain cupcakes too creepy?

Things to keep in mind:

1. I'm new here
2. I won't know most of the people at the potluck. I haven't met most of the 120 or so people who work in our office building
3. It's Halloween!

Please vote in my new poll.

Also, the Bakery has been updated.

Telling Michael

This post was originally written on July 20, 2010.

I told Michael about the pregnancy by getting him an early birthday card since his 30th birthday is in just a few days. I also printed off a picture I took of the positive pregnancy test and put it in a new picture frame, then wrapped it in green wrapping paper.

I tried to finish dinner before he came home, but he made it home before I was done. It took all the self-restraint I had in me to not just blab it out, such as when this conversation took place:

Julie: Mm, I love this macaroni and cheese sauce.
Michael: Me too. What spices did you put in it?
Julie: Paprika, ground mustard and rubbed thyme. Why? Taking notes so you can recreate it when you run off with another woman?
Michael: Please, if I ran off, I’d run off to a woman that could already cook! (Hah!) No seriously, I’d never ever leave you. Not ever.

That last line didn’t actually happen.

Anyway, once the mac and cheese was in the oven, I ran out to the living room to tell Michael. I had him put away the laptop and he put the tv on mute. When I insisted on turning it off, I was convinced he knew it was coming. I told him that I had a small early birthday present and he said, “But it’s not my birthday yet.” I insisted he open it since he’d probably rather have it now, considering.

The birthday card was really simple. On the inside I wrote, “For you on for your 30th birthday. I love you. Happy birthday! Love, Both of us.” His brow sort of furrowed upon reading this, but he proceeded to open the picture frame. Looking up at me with wide eyes, he said, “What does this mean?” And I got to utter those life-changing words, ones that I’ve pictured saying over and over again.

“Michael, I’m pregnant!”

We had quite a few moments of him asking, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” and me insisting that yes, I was rather serious. We laughed, red-faced and stared at each other in wonder. I showed him both pregnancy tests, and he shouted triumphantly “It DOES work!” I think it’s pretty funny that both of us immediately were happy to find that our reproductive areas are functioning correctly. He also mused in wonder, “On the first try!”

It’s funny because I did think of the near future when I first found out, but I mostly thought of things far down the line. Like the ultrasounds, when the baby’ll be born, holding him or her for the first time. All the superemotional stuff (see crumpled face). Michael was immediately on top of the practical, talking about this affecting my new job search, that the baby’s due date is near the end of basketball season (his job), what we’re going to do about going to wine country this weekend with his family, how long we’re going to wait to tell our families. After only ten minutes of the emo stuff, he had his laptop pulled out trying to plan flights to see the future Grandparents to tell them the news in person. Don’t get me wrong, he was completely emotionally thrown off. Throughout the night he would just kind of mutter, “Oh my God,” or “Wow!” One time he came over to snuggle with me and he kissed my belly. That made me tear up all over again.

I told him that I’m going to try to be a nice pregnant lady. I’m going to try not to be too complainy, too demanding and that I’m going to try to be healthy and not use the excuse of “eating for two!” to balloon up into a chubby bunny. This is so vain, but I hope I’m one of those cute, positive pregnant women like my friends Remi and Lauren!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Four Months Along...

...And everyone told me that my morning (all day) sickness should be gone by now. It’s what the ladies on the interwebs said. It’s what my pregnancy books say. My mom tried to do a psychological assault on my nausea by stating with confidence, “You will not have nausea anymore” so that mentally I would just get over it. My midwife looked a little perplexed when I told her I was still experiencing it, then said well, it should definitely be gone in the next month.

I felt alright all weekend, hanging out with the New Zealand Legends, staying busy and eating with gusto.

So why, pray tell, did 7:10 am yesterday morning find me orally eliminating my breakfast into the kitchen sink, having to turn on the waste disposal because it started backing up, then getting a nosebleed? During, not after. (For those of you who might one day come over to our house, don’t worry, I Clorox-Wiped the crap out of the sink. Thinking about having Michael do a bleach bath later, too.)

I moped around the office all day, daring someone to jokingly ask if I really should be drinking that large of a slurpee. I had my quip all ready, starting with, “DO YOU WANT TO HEAR HOW MY DAY STARTED?!?”

Lucky for them, no one said anything about the slurpee. Lucky for me, I didn't end up vomitting again (no matter how much I felt like I might during a 10am meeting).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Legendary Reunion

This weekend was a little reunion from my New Zealand. I was particularly close with 5 other girls on the trip and 4 members of our little 6-pack were in attendance.

This picture is of the first day of our trip to NZ.(Sarah, me, Emily, Annie, Stacy and Jenna.) I remember just standing near some other girls and snapping this shot on the beach. When I later got my pictures developed I noticed that it just happened to be the same six that ended up being so close. This might not seem strange to you, but with 42 strangers mulling around, those first few days were spent hanging around everyone in different combinations before you really found the core group you fit with the most.

We took this picture later, which I adore:Every time we do a reunion (we try to get together every year) I always wonder if we will have changed, if conversation will be easy or tough, if we’ll have less in common the further we get away from that trip four summers ago. Every year I get pleasantly reminded that this doesn’t happen. I missed last year’s reunion and we still all chat as easily as we did sitting around the cabins and hostels all over New Zealand. We laugh about all the old jokes but still talk about our current lives and we still share the same sense of humor.

Annie and her boyfriend Sam, who coordinated the reunion while keeping it a surprise for Annie's birthday.
Annie and her lapdog Emi.
We also met up with three guys from the New Zealand crew. We had lunch up at Desert Ridge and caught up.

Jay slipped away before we could take a photo with him. Bobby and Brian (in above photo) plus Michael met us at a joint birthday party for Annie and her friend that night. It was a great time. I hung out mostly with the NZ crew, but my interactions with the new strangers to my life rebirthed my belief that most people in the world are normal and capable of socializing in appropriate ways. (I’ve come into contact with a few weirdos lately that had me questioning if it was in fact me that was the oddity.)

The Legends sure know how to party. (When we were in New Zealand on one bright morning, our group planted about 2000 trees in a single day, running out of seedlings at about midday, causing our tour leaders to call us “legendary” and be left with no choice but to let us out early for the afternoon and drop us off at the pub on the way back to camp. We’ve since adopted the term “Legends” for ourselves, leading to a bunch of Facebook comments such as, “How’ve you been, Legend?” and “Hope your birthday is Legendary!”)
(Sorry for poor picture quality there, it's from my phone.)
I left around 12:30 am, which is saying something because my bedtime has recently been in the realm of 9:30pm.

The next day the ladies (and Sam) came over to our place to hang out, watch the old videos from the Land of the Long White Cloud, get embarrassed at our own narrating skills and eat dinner.

I hope your weekend was just as Legendary as mine!