Archive for December, 2010

  • A Year to Remember

    Date: 2010.12.31 | Category: Baby, Holidays, Life, Love, Nostalgia, OMG YAY!, Pregnancy, Travel | Response: 12

    2010 was an amazing year. It’s hard to believe that it is drawing to a close and the great events of 2011 are looming around the corner.

    So here, for me, is a countdown of the 10 most memorable events of my life this past year.

    10. After seven years, getting an opal necklace from Mark. It was impractical and expensive, but he got it for me anyway because he loves me and knew that it had been on my wish list for a long time.

    9. Mark’s nose surgery in August. He finally had his deviated septums fixed. There was no end to the build up of the needles and blood work that would be involved. And his recovery was tough. He even passed out in the doctor’s office. But, now that it’s done and healed, he sleeps like a normal person and gets a full night of rest making him a happy Mark indeed.

    8. Kelly’s wedding in October. One of my dearest girl friends and the BachelorGirl found her perfect match in The Guy. I got to be a part of the festivities and it was one of the highlights of the year!

    7. Going to visit our friends Scott and Dana in Austin. Floating the river, eating delicious food on Sixth Street, going to a Blues Club to see the Archangels play and having a great time with some of our best friends is one my happiest memories of the year.

    6. Winning my first awards for graphic design work. It’s been on my life list for a long time now and for that to be recognized was a remarkable and amazing experience for me.

    5. Interviewing Mix about his World War II and firefighting experiences. In July I finally did what I’d been talking about for years. With the help of Mark, I interviewed my great, great uncle Mix about his amazing life experiences, documenting on film his wonderful, funny and heart wrenching stories of war and lost love. I took lots of photos and now have all the material to put together a video. Little did I know it was just in time.

    4. Going to Orlando in September/October. I could easily have listed “Epcot Food and Wine Festival” or “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” or “finally meeting my LJ friend Liz” or “going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter” as single events, but they were really all part of one amazing trip. And to get to do all these amazing things with my husband and one of my best friends was of the best experiences of my life.

    3. Losing my great great uncle Mix. This was a difficult experience and one of the most eye-opening. It made me look back at all the ways he affected my life and the lives of all those around him. He was a second grandfather to me and never had a harsh word to say about anyone. Saying goodbye was hard, but knowing he’s in a better place makes it easier.

    2. Finding out my sister was going to be a mom…. That I was going to be an aunt to a sweet little boy.

    1. Finding out that Mark and I were going to have a baby. Mark’s exclamation that “It feels like Christmas morning” when he found out we were going to have a baby touched my heart. The disbelief and amazement was something I will never ever forget. And as this pregnancy continues, it is still my very favorite moment.

    And a year in pictures:

    Music: “A Message 2010″ by Coldplay

  • Best Reads of 2010 Update

    Date: 2010.12.30 | Category: Books | Response: 6

    I need to amend my “Best Reads of 2010 list” because I finished several books in the past couple of weeks, two of which captivated me.

    The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    The Help by Kathryn Stockett Pictures, Images and Photos

    Admittedly I had I trouble getting into this one, but once it got going I couldn’t put it down. It’s the story of black women who worked in the homes of white families during the Civil Rights movement and a young white woman names Skeeter (who incidentally reminded me of my friend BG in about a million ways) who sets out to write down their stories despite the danger to all of them. The book is told beautifully, emphasizing the bad and crazy things these working women come up against while trying to support their own families. It doesn’t fail to emphasize the good parts too, including the love and bonds certain “Help” formed with their families, especially the children. Great characters, including a nasty villain. Shreveport also gets a mention.

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    the hunger games Pictures, Images and Photos

    A young adult book set in a dystopian society where our heroin finds herself fighting to the death in the Hunger Games. Ok, I know the plot line has been done before: Put a bunch of kids in a situation where they all have to kill each other, like Battle Royale, for instance. But this one was written in such a way that I couldn’t put it down. I even had whacky dreams about being in Katniss’s situation. And while the big scenes and some of the important charachters’ deaths weren’t long and drawn out, I can forgive it because it’s a YA book and frankly I wanted to know what was going to happen next. A great read and I can’t wait to start the next one in the trilogy.

    So there is the wrap up of my Top 12 Reads of 2010.

  • 26 Weeks

    Date: 2010.12.29 | Category: Baby, Family, Holidays, Life, Mark, Pregnancy | Response: 8

    12/28/10

    26 Weeks

    I almost let this entry sneak past me! Having the week off after Christmas means we have had time to start getting things ready for your arrival. This week your dad and I picked out and paid for new carpet to be installed in your bedroom (and the guest bedroom). We also purchased a deep freeze partly for storing pre-cooked meals I’m going to start cooking a month before you’re due, and partly to save my sanity every time I get back from the grocery store and have to cram things in our small fridge freezer.

    This week you got your first bout of hiccups which was interesting. At first I didn’t realize that was what was going on because you move so often, but when I realized that the movements were steady and in the same place, I realized you were hiccuping.

    I also had some crazy cravings a few days this week and ended up heating up and eating a giant bag of edamame in one sitting. But I feel there are worse things to eat an entire bag of… like Lindt’s chocolates… which may or may not have happened as well. Also mom’s sweet potato pie. Why are sweets so delicious? Lord help you if you have your mama’s sweet tooth. Speaking of sweets, I have my glucose tolerance test on Monday to make sure that I don’t have gestational diabetes (which would send me into a crying fit, clinging to a half gallon of Bluebell ice cream).

    My appetite has become ferocious and I’m having to constantly check myself to keep from eating enough for three people. But I’m working on it.

    Being pregnant with you as you continue to grow is an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to live through every moment of it.

    14 more weeks!

    Love, Mama

  • Practically Perfect

    Date: 2010.12.27 | Category: Holidays, Love, Mark | Response: 15

    At Christmas I do 99% of the shopping, leaving my husband exactly one person to shop for… me.

    Now I don’t begrudge him this because I actually love shopping and, of course, I do it all from the comfort of my laptop on the couch.

    At any rate, for the past seven years Mark and I have been together, the conversation has gone something like this:

    Him: “What do you want for Christmas / Birthday / Special Event?”

    Me: “An opal necklace.”

    Him: “Hmmmm… No. That’s not practical. Isn’t there a home fixture or appliance you’re just dying to have? How about a toy or gadget, like a video game?”

    Me: Heavy sigh, “Well I guess I could use…” And then I provide other options.

    Because in the past, when I didn’t provide other options, I received the following:

    1. A Toilet Seat for Valentines Day.
    2. A shower head for Christmas.
    3. A gym bag for Christmas.
    4. A bath tub drain stopper for Christmas.

    Not that these items aren’t wonderful and useful and very practical, but I don’t consider them appropriate gift items. Those types of things usually fall into the “household repair budget” not the “gift budget.” (Though I appreciate that he was thinking about my comfort).

    To his credit though, he has also gotten me amazing gifts on his own, including: Beatles Rock Band, a GPS, a flat screen computer monitor, all of which fall into his “toys” category.

    So this year I was ready with a list of “toys” I knew he would like to buy. Because let’s face it, after seven years I’ve given up on asking for those items he deems “impractical.”

    So imagine my surprise this year when I opened up this little beauty.

    Photobucket

    There was a moment of stunned silence, then tears. I just stared at him in shock then thanked him profusely.

    “You do so much for this family,” he said. “I just wanted to get you something nice to show you how much I appreciate and love you.”

    Officially making this the best and sweetest Christmas ever.

  • Merry Christmas!

    Date: 2010.12.23 | Category: Angie Cat, Bonnie Barrell, Dogs, Family, Holidays, Kitties, Leela Fish, Life, Love, Pets | Response: 2

    From our family to yours…

    Photobucket

    Yes, those are doggy Santa hats. Leela attempted to eat hers, while Bonnie thought of it as a rather nice accessory.

    Photobucket

    Hey, at least they stayed on their designated “animal blanket.”

    Merry Christmas!

  • 25 Weeks

    Date: 2010.12.21 | Category: Baby, Pregnancy | Response: 4

    12/21/2010

    25 weeks

    The craziest thing about this week is that I can now feel you simultaneously in two places, like a foot in my lower hip and a fist in my upper ribs at the same time. It’s bizarre. Also, your Mimi was able to feel you move for the first time this week. She can’t wait to meet you!

    This week my co-workers threw a “Rock” a Bye Baby shower for you and you wracked up. I got so many cute little clothes to dress you in, as well as your bouncy swing, bottles, high chair, night-light, humidifier and lots of things to feed you with! I can’t wait to share them all with you. I also think I’m going to hang the cute Beatles poster they had as a decoration in your nursery.

    Everything else is about the same. No weird food cravings, slowly getting used to having meat back in my diet and constant heart burn.

    Lots of stretching pain, but that I can deal with that.

    Oh, and I’ve also sprouted a baby bump. Finally.

    Love,
    Mama

    25 Weeks Pregnant

  • “Rock” a Bye Baby

    Date: 2010.12.20 | Category: Baby, Mark, Me, Pregnancy, Work | Response: 10

    I’ve attempted to write this entry up a few times. But I can’t ever get the words right to express how amazing and thankful I am for my Work Baby Shower.

    What you should know:

    1.     They had to host it early because my press deadlines in the Spring are INSANE.

    2.     My friends and co-workers Lori and Jill spearheaded the effort, complete with theme organizing and planning.

    3.     The theme was “Rock” a Bye Baby. Yes that’s right, rock-and-roll was the theme for my awesome baby shower.

    4.     The decorations were Beatles posters, handmade paper albums complete with songs all related to the baby, and a cake with a record on it. The music playing was called “Baby Goes Pink Floyd,” i.e. amazing Pink Floyd lullabys. Do these ladies know me, or what?

    5.     I got some amazing gifts, including her high chair, bouncy swing, bottle care kit and adorable bedding. Also lots of cute, tiny clothes that I can’t wait to wrap her up in and this amazing Planetarium Turtle.

    6.     There was an ice cream sundae bar… complete with Magic Shell. I love Magic Shell.

    7.     Lots of single men coworkers, including priests, came to this shower, and all purchased gifts of their own accord. I was so impressed.

    8.     Mark, my mom and my mother-in-law came and were treated so well by all my co-workers.

    9.     A fellow co-worker (and priest, might I add) took the role of “Vanna White” very seriously and showcased my gifts for everyone to an appreciative and hilarious audience.

    10. I was overwhelmed by everyone’s love and generosity. I can’t wait to introduce our little girl to all of them.

    So here are some photos to document one of the best moments of this pregnancy so far.

    p.s. I am just having to accept the fact that I will be roughly the size of a small house for a few more months. Humor me.

    The Cake, made with love by Lori
    Photobucket

    The Decor. Each of those records have a song title on them that reflects the baby! Also lovingly hand crafted and cut by Lori. The room was decorated by the Facilities staff.
    Photobucket

    Sweet Baby Girl Clothes
    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    A Bouncy Swing! And lots of other goodies scattered round about.
    Photobucket

    Fr. Price, our enthusiastic “Vanna White.”
    Photobucket

    This is going to be one spoiled baby girl. :)

  • A Not-So-Scroogey Christmas Afterall

    Date: 2010.12.17 | Category: Family, Friends, Holidays, Mark, OMG YAY! | Response: 7

    It’s well known in our household that I love all things holiday. From Mardi Gras to Halloween, to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    My husband? Not so much. Though he HAS always embraced food oriented holidays like Independence Day and Thanksgiving. In fact, his constant state of grumpiness earned him the moniker “Grinchmas.”

    So you can imagine my surprise and delight when Mr. Grinchmas had a change of spirit this year. Perhaps his heart grew two sizes this season? Not only have the complaints about money spending and decorating disappeared, but he actually suggested we watch Rudolph while putting up the tree this year!

    And nearly every day when I get home from work, he has had the classical Christmas music cranked up and filling the house. I’m not sure what’s come over him, but I’ve decided to accept and enjoy it.

    So far this year we’ve also been to see his cousin dance in the Nutcracker Ballet. We also went to Christmas at the Cathedral to see three choirs sing Christmas songs.

    But last night takes the cake. We went to see A Christmas Carol, performed at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse in Shreveport. And it was amazing! Especially since my own Scrooge had such a transformation this year.

    If you get a chance this season and live in the area, I highly recommend you go see it. And here’s my top 5 reasons why:

    1. The children. There are lots of them and they are cute and sing songs. One little girl has a little lisp that melted my heart. Like Kelly said, I wanted to tuck her in my pocket and take her home with me.

    2. The magical disco lights that shine on the spirits and Scrooge as they travel through the air. It kind of made me want to get up and dance.

    3. My friend Katie plays the Spirit of Christmas present. Not only is she beautiful, decked out in discount accessories from a place called “The Hair Store” (that I apparently must be armed go in and shop at), but she slaps Scrooge in the head with gusto at least twice.

    4. Scrooge is performed by Blake Powell, my friend Kelly’s husband, and he easily gave the best performance of the role I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if I liked it best when he was grumbling “Bah Humbug” under his furrowed brows, or after his transformation when he squished his face up and squealed with joy.

    5. I don’t think there is a better play to get you in the holiday spirit. You get to laugh, sigh, and ultimately embrace the spirit of Christmas.

    Here’s some info on when you can see it yourself!

    Where: Marjorie Lyons Playhouse at Centenary College

    Ticket prices are:
    Adults: $15
    Senior citizens, students and active military: $12
    Christmas Day: Pay what you will!

    Times are:
    17th and 18th: 8:00 p.m.
    19th: 2:00 p.m.
    23rd: 8:00 p.m.
    24th: 2:00 p.m.
    25th: 4:00 p.m.

    Hope you get a chance to go!

  • 24 Weeks

    Date: 2010.12.14 | Category: Baby, Pregnancy | Response: 6

    12/14/10

    24 Weeks

    Mommy has been under a lot of stress the past week. So much so that I ended up coming down with a nasty cold that kept me in bed for two days straight! (Though I probably should have stayed in for three or four). You got really lazy while I was down and out, which made me nervous. But as soon as I started feeling better, you starting having a dance party in my abdomen like usual.

    Another fun thing that started happening this week is that we can see you move inside of me now. At nighttime I will lay on my back and your dad and I will watch as my stomach bumps and moves. It’s so strange to think you’re in there having a good ole time.

    Also this week, not only have I gotten over my intolerance for meat, but I’ve been craving hamburgers. I guess you’re ready to start taking in more iron!

    We also looked at another day care for you today. Daddy and I loved this one, but they can’t take you until September. We have some big decisions to discuss and make on that end.

    This seems to have been the fastest week so far. Maybe because of mommy’s tight deadlines at work, or the busyness of the Christmas season, but the time is just flying right by!

    16 more weeks!

    Love, Mama

  • 2010 Book Report

    Date: 2010.12.13 | Category: Books, Life, Life List | Response: 9

    As the year starts to wind its way down, I like to look back on the things I’ve accomplished in 2010. While there are many important things, I noticed that Shelfari informed me that I had read 33 books this year, one more than I did last year. Now, this doesn’t count the books I re-read (the entire Sookie Stackhouse series, for one), or the handful that I’m currently working my way through. But I have a very strong feeling that my read count won’t be nearly as high next year with having a baby and all that brings with it.

    *****

    So, in honor of a great year of reading, here is my top 10 favorite reads of 2010.

    1. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

      I am a shameless and enthusiastic fan of fantasy literature. So when I saw reviews of this book saying it was a grown-up version of Harry Potter mixed with Narnia, I was on board. It was strange and beautiful and dark and mesmerizing. There were elements of all the classic fantasy literature wrapped up in this familiar but unique book, including: Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and, of course, Narnia and Harry Potter.

      Recommended for: People who like Tim Burton movies and are nostalgic about the fantasy genre.

      2. The Windup Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

        Easily my favorite book I read this year. This book was utterly fascinating. Yes, there was a lot of graphic violence and sex, but despite that, or even because of it, this was an astounding story. The book had many characters and a lot of mystery. It unwound in a very “Lost” type way, drawing me in. It was very difficult to put down. And even though there were a few questions still let in the end, I was very satisfied with how the story ended.

        Recommended for: Anime fans, Lost fans, Matrix fans

        3. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

          On my list of top 100 classics, and my favorite from this list I read this year. This book was a fun, quick and entertaining read. I found the story hard to put down. Written concisely with well defined characters and fun adventures, something Verne struggled with in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The time limit kept me n suspense and had me rooting for the odd travelers. One of the fun, easy to read classics. On a side note: I’ve always seen the cover of this book depicted with a hot air balloon… and there is not a single one in the story!

          Recommended for: People who love the classics, travelers, little boys

          4. The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

            Another on my top 100 literary classics that I’m rather proud to have under my literary belt. Beautiful writing and storytelling. The verse and rhythm really fit with the legend and mysticism. Reminded me a lot of The Silmirillan, but not nearly as boring and told in a way that sounds like it could have been passed down from person to person over a long time. Beautiful.

            Recommended for: People who love poetry, nature nuts, history buffs

            5. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

              This book was recommended to me by my boss who informed me it was the best book he had ever read. He also warned me that he bawled his way through this story. Emotionally shielding myself, I dove in. This book has the whole package: a fantastically woven story, guilt and redemption, an in-depth knowledge of Afghani culture, and characters that you love to hate and hate to love. The great writing was the cherry on top. My only complaint? Every time you thought the story was going to take a turn for the better, it just got worse and more depressing. Despite that, an amazing and fulfilling read.

              Recommended for: Those who stay on top of current politics, people who like realistic fiction, anyone who is defiantly ignorant about Afghani culture.

              6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen, Remixed by Seth Grahame-Smith

                I admit I listened to the audiobook of this one. A fantastically fun read, or I should say listen. I think it was all the more enhanced by the fantastic reader from Audible. I loved the original, and this mash-up made me laugh and enjoy the story all the more. The presence of zombies were mostly in the background, but the Sisters Bennets’ training against the “sadly stricken” played a larger role in the whole story. A fun read!

                Recommended for: Jane Austen fans, zombie fans, people with a good sense of humor.

                7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

                  I know, who didn’t read this book this past year? But I thought it was a fun, interesting and captivating read. Although the number of characters initially introduced made it a little confusing, the entire story made it well worth it. Several mysteries opened, explained and wrapped up satisfyingly. The only part of this book that was not enjoyable were the extremely graphic explanations of some of the sexual crimes committed, but they definitely added grit and realism to the story.

                  Recommended for: Mystery and crime book and show buffs, anyone who likes a good page turner.

                  8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

                    I’m a big fan of Mr. Gaiman’s. And when this young adult book won the Newberry, I knew I had to read it. Once I found out that you can listen to it for free, read by Neil himself, I was all over it. It’s a great adventure story with just the right element of macabre.

                    Recommended for: Tim Burton fans, Harry Potter fans, Halloween fans, oh yea, and young adults.

                    9. The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

                      Another unexpected and sometimes overly graphic novel. I’m not sure how I managed to pick up so many of these this year. Not what I expected, but very enjoyable. A great criss-crossing of stories, most of which took place in a setting I knew nothing about. Very real, dynamic, flawed and sympathetic characters. Loved the nerdy descriptions.

                      Recommended for:  Nerds of all sorts: book, movie, comic books

                      10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

                        Neil Gaiman gets a double nod this year. I love stories, like Harry Potter, that take place in a world along side our own. In Neverwhere, this alternate world is  “London Below”. This one is a quest novel with strange, likeable characters. A fun, and interesting story.

                        Recommended for: Harry Potter fans, fantasy fans, London fans.

                        ******

                        And there you have it. Let’s hope I can squeeze some good reads in next year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

                        Are there any books you read this year that you would recommend?