Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Movie Mania (#1): Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

A concerned reader asked me if I could spend this bum-wrist time uploading videos instead of typing long blog entries. Well, okay!

Since Chrissy doesn't do My Movie Monday any more, I'll start my own Monday movie line. We'll call it Monday Movie Mania!

We decorated for Christmas yesterday (sans actually putting lights and ornaments on the tree, which will be tonight). I love when the girls wake up from nap to see the house transformed! They walk around pointing out everything that's different...

Ivie found our Rudolph nose, so she wanted to put it on and sing for you all. So here it is.

Please pardon the many interruptions from Macie. The video is only 1 minute and 23 seconds long. I don't think a kid could have been MORE disruptive during that amount of time than Macie is here... It cracks me up when Ivie finally grows weary of the screaming-in-her-face and grabs her to shake some sense into her. I don't condone hitting/grabbing, of course, but I can't say I blame her in this case!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm Sure It Was Graceful

Let me set the stage for you.

Saturday morning, 11:00a. At the pool for what seemed like the gazillionth time on this Thanksgiving trip to the beach.

Dale is in the pool with the girls. Ivie's pretty self-sufficient at this point, as long as she has her princess ring around her. She's also the more cautious of our girls, so we have little to worry about with her. Plus, she was being entertained by her 12- and 9-year-old cousins.

Macie has a love-hate relationship with her float (also adorned with princesses). She loves it for the first 5 minutes, and then decides she's too big for it and would rather be jumping into Dale's arms into the pool. Coincidentally, Ivie is still not a huge fan of jumping into the pool, unless she's holding Dale's hands from the start of the jump. Like I said. My cautious one.

Macie, on the other hand, is not scared at all. Which is, of course, very scary to her mother. Ivie came by her cautiousness honestly, let's just say.

So back to the story of how this trait ultimately gets the better of me.

We've passed the 5-minute mark wherein Macie stops enjoying her float. So the float is sitting, unused, on the side of the pool. There is a man alone in the pool with what appear to be his three kids. Two boys (probably 9 and 7) who handle themselves just fine, and what appears to be a 1.5-year-old sweet little girl who obviously needs most of daddy's attention.

As I sit watching them, I can see that the boys would love to wrestle with their dad in the water. But he continually is distracted by the needs of the little girl, who wants to play, too. So, while Macie is taking a break and sitting on the side of the pool (safely away from the edge and only about 6 feet from me), I tell Dale to ask the man if he would like to use Mac's float for his little girl - so he doesn't have to give her 100% of his attention. Dale thinks it's a decent idea (or else he just doesn't feel like arguing with a pregnant woman), picks up the float, and heads across the pool to the other dad.

Macie picks this exact time to stand up and edge toward the pool, while looking over at me saying, "Mommy in?". (She'd asked me to get in with her multiple times already, but I, of course, did not have my swimsuit on, so this wasn't an option.). As she nears the pool, she begins to bend over (toward the water) and point at it. With Dale's back turned, of course, and him probably 15 feet away from her at this point.

This is when the overly-paranoid mom in me takes over. (Who am I kidding? My entire being is as a paranoid mom, so it really didn't have to "take over".)

I quickly stand up from my beach chair 6 feet away and take 2 steps toward her (obviously intending to grab her and move her back from the edge).

I don't make it.

On my second step, both of my flip-flops totally slip out from underneath of me on the wet pool deck. I obviously can't watch myself, but I envision myself being horizontal in the air, heading quickly toward the deck (gotta hate gravity sometimes). Again, I don't see exactly how I land (and those that do spare me the details), but from the parts of my body that still hurt today, I'm guessing it was my tailbone, left elbow, and right wrist that take the brunt of the fall. An hour later, it was obvious that the wrist is the body part that appeared to have lasting damage.

Three hours later, after an urgent care visit that was, by no means, fast, I am diagnosed with a badly sprained wrist, given a splint, and told that sprains could hurt just as badly as breaks and could last for quite a while. I'm so very thankful that it wasn't broken - as I sat in the waiting room, awaiting my turn, I couldn't help but think about all the mundane daily tasks (showering, bathing the girls, strapping them in their car seats) that would have been ever more difficult if I had a cast on my arm.

As I look back on this and try (really hard) to find a funny side to this saga, I think of the fact that the only way that Macie probably would have fallen into that pool would have been if I would have kicked her in as I slid toward her on the ground. Which I did come dangerously close to doing.

By the way, the little girl didn't want to use the float. Figures. Guess she was having more fun with her daddy, too. I should just learn to mind my own business, shouldn't I?

Man. This post took me a long time to type.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The "Other" Poems

Since we didn't know on Monday night that our babe is a boy, we obviously had to write poems for a girl, too. I've had a couple requests to share them, so I thought I would just do it here.

For those of you that haven't voted on your favorite boy poem, you can do so here by leaving a comment. I'm sad to admit that the battle is actually really close right now, so all votes count (except the ones that come in for Dale's poem, of course!).

Sharing the author of these girl poems would "give away" who wrote the others, so I'll continue to keep that a secret for now. But here you go!

Girl Poem #1

Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails.
Sounds kind of fun, don't you think?

We may never know,
Cuz our babe is a girl
Who will probably much prefer Tink!

Girl Poem #2

Is it a boy or a girl?
We found out today.
Thank God she'll have two big sisters
To show her the way.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Does Your Camera Shutter Fly?

I take a lot of pictures (understatement of the year). And the massive quantity increases ten-fold over the holidays when we're blessed to be surrounded by our extended family.

Most of the time, these pictures are solely displayed on this blog. But, for those special occasions that warrant something a little extra, I've found the perfect solutions. My home for these projects? Shutterfly.

Did you photograph a birthday party? Was your daughter a flower girl for the first time? Or maybe you want to document a specific holiday? Turn the photos into a book! Do a simple, and inexpensive, 5x7 soft cover photo book! Here are some examples of ones I've done recently:

My niece Olivia's 5th Birthday Party in Missouri (I'll bring the printed version home to you for Christmas, Sarah!)
Ivie's flower girl debut in Matt and Carla's wedding
Halloween, 2010

For several years now, I've also turned our favorite pictures during the year into a calendar. This year, I'm doing five of them! One each for Nina and Papa (my parents), Grandma (Dale's mom), Great-Granny and Great-Papa (my grandparents), Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Doug (Dale's brother), and, of course, myself!

Since the calendars are Christmas gifts and, therefore, SURPRISES, I can't show you this year's versions (though I will say that I'm extremely excited about one of the new features available!). And, since Shutterfly is constantly coming up with new styles, the ones from last year are discontinued. So I can't show those, either. Oh, well. Suffice it to say that they turn out great, and they're wonderful gifts for grandparents (and great-grandparents!). Especially if you can get your siblings and cousins to help you by uploading pictures of their kids for you to use!

Anyway, over the years, many a gift has been found at Shutterfly! I've gotten coffee mugs (which also make great pen/pencil holders at the office!), mouse pads, and luggage tags.

Last year, we even used Shutterfly for our Christmas cards! We had two versions that served different purposes:

Friends and Family
Dale's Work Version

So we'll be "back in" again this year! The hardest part is figuring out which card is my favorite!

I'm a huge fan of brown, so it will be hard to pass up this one, this one, this one, or this one. (Apparently the Shutterfly folks like brown, too!)

And ORANGE! You don't see many holiday cards in orange, do you? So, as a shout-out to my fellow Dutchmen, check out this one!

And, goodness, I'm not even finished. Just flipped over to the "flat stationery card" section and saw this one. Is there a more perfect card for an adorable close-up black and white photo?!? Well, maybe this one, actually!

And since this one fits our color scheme for our yearly Christmas card photos, it's got to be on my "short list". Along with this one with the funky pattern!

Okay. Writing this post has gotten me excited about this sometimes-stressful process. Now I just have to find shirts for the girls to wear for the photo! Black Friday shopping, maybe?

With this post, I am participating in a Shutterfly promotion in which I could receive 50 free holiday cards. Sound cool? You can join in the fun here!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Free Picture

As we walked into dinner tonight at the Giant Crab (huge Thanksgiving Day buffet - YUMMY!), Dale asked me if I'd brought the camera to commemorate the event. I hadn't. Even I, the picture-crazy woman, doesn't think it's necessary to bring the camera along just for a dinner out.

He gave me a hard time, but when we got to the front door, there was a lady there with a camera who said that the restaurant was providing a free picture to patrons as a Thanksgiving treat. Perfect!

So after our dinner, we headed to the gift shop to pick it up. They had two versions, of course. The free one, and the one you could buy for "only $10".

We weren't in the mood to pay (since we'd just been talked into Ty-brand mermaid Dora and Boots stuffed characters in the gift shop by the girls), so we took our freebie and left. It sure was nice of them to provide this service, wasn't it?

Does it change your mind when you actually see the free picture for yourself?!?

And here's my attempt to take a picture of the picture and blow it up so you can actually see us...

Thanks, Giant Crab! For, well, giving us a postage stamp by which to remember our Thanksgiving dinner.

Seashell Hunting, Wave Playing

After it warmed up a bit this morning, we decided to take a walk along the beach and do some searching for seashells (and one shark's tooth, it turns out).

I thought it was much too chilly for swimsuits, so the girls wore roll-up-able pants. Which worked great. Until, of course, Ivie decided that she wanted to walk further into the waves. And then she got so deep that the sand beneath her feet caved in following a wave and she lost her footing and tumbled backward.

Macie's pants got a little wet along the roll, but she managed to stay on her feet. Until about 3 minutes before we left, when she, too, lost her footing and fell onto her bottom into a wave.

Lesson learned. Should have gone with the swimsuits.

Our attempts at group pictures with both girls smiling at the camera were overwhelmingly unsuccessful. Thanks, almost exclusively, to the Mac-ster, who was much more interested in the arriving wave.

In fact, here, Dale snapped a shot of me trying to convince Macie to cooperate. At least I got her to look at me when I was talking to her!

So we decided to settle for the shots-from-behind instead...

Hard to screw those up.

As it started to sprinkle (BOOOOO!) and we headed inside, we snagged one final picture of the girls with Grandma. As you can see, Mac hadn't learned her lesson about smiling AT the photographer.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! While I'm not (at this very second) thankful for all the sand that I had to rinse out of the clothes (I see why Dale prefers mountains to beaches), I'm SUPER THANKFUL to have this time at the beach with Grandma. We can't wait until Doug, Jennifer, Luke, and Rod join us tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (#36): Swimming at the Beach, Round 1 (of many, I'm sure)

Ultrasound Pictures

UNC Hospitals has gone high-tech in the couple of years since Macie was born. They now offer you the option of getting your ultrasound pictures directly onto a CD, instead of having to take the old-school printed pictures back to the office and scan them in (wait, am I the only one that does that?!?).

So, without further ado, here are some pics of our baby boy! With as much commentary as I can muster to describe these to those of you that aren't master sonogram interpreters...

Face and Belly Profile

Love the leg/foot kicked up in the air!

Same shot, closer up. We think he's picking his nose...

Look at those five perfect fingers! Hi, Mom and Dad!!!

He wasn't shy... This wasn't the best look we had, but it served its purpose...

Finally, several 3-D shots. Isn't technology amazing?

Nothing but skin and bones. And what appears to be a well-defined bicep muscle!

The sonographer commented on his "broad shoulders" in this one.

And look at his skinny little leg with his fingers wrapped around it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Big Reveal

OK - which poem is better?!?

Poem #1

Sugar and spice, and everything nice.
A houseful of girls could not hurt.

But hold on to your hats
Cuz our babe is a boy
Who will probably much prefer dirt!

Poem #2

Is it a boy or a girl?
We found out today.
We think we're in big trouble
Cuz a little boy is on the way!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Contest

I know I just said, only about an hour and a half ago, that the news about the baby's gender is probably going to come in the form of a boring blog delivery.

Turns out, on second thought, I'm not okay with that. Boring is not an option.

So I sat down tonight and spent a whopping 6 minutes writing two poems. When I finished, I was pretty proud of them. Dale, ever my unfailing supporter, scoffed. So I challenged him to come up with something better. And he did (or at least HE thinks he did).

Then I thought it would be fun to have a contest to see whose poem you all think is best! So, for those of you that are reading this, you have to promise me that you'll VOTE (via comment) tomorrow. Whether you are a regular commenter or not (most of you aren't, since I only get like 2 comments a month).

So even those of you that read my blog posts through the email that is force-fed to you every morning, YOU STILL MUST VOTE. In the email, click on the link to the actual blog (it will say "Herman Nation" and probably be a different color font), and scroll to the bottom of the post where it says "X Observations". Click on that link! I promise it's not hard.

And since Dale says that he doesn't have as many friends that read my blog, I'm not allowed to tell you who wrote which poem. Dale says that would sway the vote in my favor. I'm confident that it's not going to matter, so I'm willing to oblige.

Obviously the best part of the poems is that they will reveal the baby's gender! Oh, how exciting!!!

Tune in tomorrow...

Our Journey to Five (#5)

Wednesday, November 10th

While lying on the couch last night watching television, I felt a few small twitches in my belly. And then, tonight: same couch, same television, same twitches.

So I think I'm officially feeling baby kicks. At 16 weeks.


Monday, November 22nd

I took a break from blogging while in Puerto Rico. But here's what you've missed... The twitches are now regular - several times a day, and that's just when I'm paying attention. And my belly continues to grow, though I'm still able to wear some of my "regular" pants. The ones that were a little big to begin with! It's probably about time to share another belly picture. Maybe I'll get to that in the next few days.

My 18-week ultrasound is tomorrow! I'm beyond excited to be able to start calling this baby "he" or "she" and homing in on its name.

I had a dream the other night that it's a girl. But something tells me it's a boy. The opinions of the people I ask are mixed, too. Some say girl, others say boy.

I think there's something cool about God being the only One that knows. I'm hoping He tells the babe to cooperate so I will know TOMORROW. The anticipation is killing me. I'm not sure how some of you wait! I'll take my "surprise" 20 weeks early, thank you!

I haven't thought of any fun way to break the news on my blog. So it will probably be a boring delivery. But I hope to let you all know tomorrow!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Dale and I got away for some R&R this week. On Tuesday morning, we flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dale under the guise of work (since Puerto Rico is part of his southeast territory), and me mostly because of our Men's Basketball team's trip there for the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, but partly because I just needed some time away.

Quick mention that none of this would have been possible had my parents not graciously offered (although is it really considered "offering" when it involved me calling them and begging them to help us out?!?) to fly out to babysit the girls. They're awesome. But you all already know that.

Anyway, I'd love to tell you that I was Susie Sightseer and Phyllis Photographer over the week. But I wasn't. In fact, here (in words) were some of the highlights from my vacation:

1) At RDU airport Tuesday morning, I read the first line of the latest (to Lance, my book supplier, at least) James Patterson women's murder club novel, The 8th Confession. Later that afternoon, after a connection in Charlotte, as the pilot informed us that we were entering our final descent into San Juan, I read the last line.

2) Wednesday morning (while Dale was out meeting Puerto Rican orthodontists), I finished 3 of the 5 Shutterfly calendars for which I'm responsible for creating for Christmas gifts and read an entire Parenting magazine (cover to cover).

3) Thursday morning (again while Dale worked), I continued work on the other 2 calendars and didn't get out of bed until 12:30p.

4) In this awkward stage of pregnancy, when it's not entirely clear that I'm carrying a babe as opposed to just eating too many Mike & Ike's (though that, too, is probably true!), I didn't don a swimsuit a single time.

5) Friday, our last day on the island and Dale's only "day off" from work, we went to the Bacardi Rum Plant and wandered around Old San Juan. Our only sightseeing of the trip.

6) In the San Juan airport early this morning, I read the first line of the again-latest-to-paperback James Patterson Alex Cross series, "I, Alex Cross". An hour before landing at RDU after connecting in Miami, I read the last line.

7) The best part of the trip, hands-down, no debate, was driving up to our house this afternoon and seeing my parents and the girls sitting on the front porch waiting for us. And the lingering hugs and slobbery kisses that ensued. There's no place like home.

Anyway, I DID pull out the camera for our day in Old San Juan, so here are some of the pictures (with very little descriptive commentary, since I don't remember/can't spell many of the formal names of the locations, and I don't feel like looking them up - I'm still technically on vacation). I must say that I prefer taking pictures of the girls over photographing structures and scenery. In fact, there were times when Dale had to nudge me with, "That would be a good picture." I guess I had just decided to take a break from everything that exists in my "normal" life, including always having the camera at the ready!

Bacardi Rum Plant

(Isn't this a cool picture?!?)

Our lunch spot - I know you're probably surprised that I wasn't banging on the doors for local Puerto Rican fare. I'll take a BBQ cheeseburger and fries, please.

The City Sights...