Monday, November 15, 2010

Dirt and Lava Update IV

I really do not have an update except to say that I have been taking a break from the work for a while.  The thumbs on my gloves were nearly non-existent and the ground was getting too hard to easily separate the rock from the dirt.  Since we just had an inch of rain the other day, I might go out and work on the pile here in a couple of days, but then again, maybe I won't.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What Was She Thinking?

This semester I am teaching two online classes for my former employer.  Today I was grading essays in my Intro to Lit class, and I found an essay plagiarized from an essay on the Internet.  The student took the time to change the essay by not including all the sentences and changing some of the wording, but the order of the ideas were the same as were many various phrases in the paper.   She likely would have been able to write her own essay with the time it took her to alter the one from the Internet.

Any teacher will tell you that finding a plagiarized paper is the best way to make the teacher mad.  It is frustrating to think that the student is trying to pull-on-over on me.  Since I usually find at least one plagiarized essay each semester, I now check nearly every essay that I read (unless it is obvious that the paper was not plagiarized).  I hate the lack of trust it creates between me and all the students all because one student decided to cheat.

The essay she used came from a blog that another student had created for an American Lit class at another university.  I had been thinking about posting some thoughts on various books that I am reading in order to keep up my analyzing skills, but now I do not think that I will because I do not want a student to steal my ideas. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Fear

I have been studying the book of Acts in my quiet times, and one idea that has stood out to me is the idea that we are to have no fear.  In the past, I have only considered the idea that we are to have no fear within the context of sharing the gospel with others.  This weekend, I began thinking that this can apply to other areas of my life as well.  There have been many times when I have let fear control me and prevent me from accomplishing a task.  I don't like to call people on the phone because I am afraid that I will interrupt them or that I will not know what to say.  I don't like going to a new restaurant by myself because I am afraid that I will make a mistake in the ordering process.  I have even not stopped at garage sales because of fear. 

As I thought about the different areas of fear in my life, I realized that God does not want this fear to be there either.   I am sure that there have been times that I have missed out on great opportunities because of fear.  I need to give this fear to God so that when opportunities come to share the good news with others, I will not be afraid then either.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Funny Story

This morning when I put away the peanut butter in the fridge (it is natural peanut butter) I heard a loud hissing noise.  At first I thought that one of the pop bottles was beginning to leak, but the sound was not coming from them.  I picked up the peanut butter and realized that the can of Reddi-Whip was making the noise.  A small hole developed in the side of the can and it was spraying the contents out of the tiny hole.  I put the jar of peanut butter back to block the spray until it was done.  Fortunately, the can was in a tray in the door of the fridge, so the mess was fairly well contained. 

What is funny, is when I first took out the jar of peanut butter, I was wondering if the Reddi-Whip was still any good and if I should throw it away.  I guess God gave me my answer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The other day when I was at the grocery store, they had some coupons for a product available and with the coupon, I was able to get the product for free.  The coupon came out of a machine that would dispense one at a time.  I went ahead and got two of the coupons, but I wondered if there is proper etiquette for this circumstance.  I didn't want to grab all the coupons and thus prevent someone else from getting the same deal, but I wondered how many coupons would be acceptable to take each time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dirt and Lava Update III

Here are the latest picture of my progress on the pile.  I think that my time line might change to try to finish it by October 2011!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Limited Sewing Abilities

I must begin by saying that my mom is a decent seamstress.  When I was growing up, she often made our Easter dresses, she made clothes for me and my cousin when we were little, she made clothes for our Barbies and Cabbage Patch dolls, she even made my wedding dress and the bride's maids' dresses.

I have tried sewing on and off over the years, but my ability to sew in a straight line is not the greatest.  I am sure that if I sewed more, it would get better, but I often lose patience, so I rarely sew.

Since we are working on a more limited budget, I want to learn to make more of the gifts that we give.  A couple of months ago I dressed up some burp cloths for a friend by adding some fabric and ribbon down the center.  The cloths did not come out too bad, so I decided to try it again.  Here are the results of my latest project.

My lines are starting to get straighter, so maybe my next project will be a little more ambitious.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dirt and Lava Update II

As you can see in the two pictures above, I have made a little more progress on the pile.  It is taking longer than I expected, so I think my time line will need to change.  I can usually fill about three buckets of dirt in a thirty minute time frame (which is about the maximum amount of time I can work because my back begins to hurt)

Currently, I have been placing the dirt in an area of the yard where much of the rock and dirt was originally located.  The previous owners had a strange horseshoe shaped area where I believe some strawberry plants were planted, but our dogs quickly took care of any vegetation that grew. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Since When Do Cherries Look Like Oranges?

I bought a container of fruit slices (or as they should be called, sugar flavored and made to look like fruit) and I found it strange that the cherry flavored slices look like the citrus fruit slices.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dirt and Lava Update

I didn't quite get to the pile every day this last week, but I did make some progress.
I forgot to include the picture of these two containers with the picture of the larger pile.  I had originally started placing the dirt and rock in these containers, thinking that they would be big enough (was I ever wrong).  There are holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage, so I decided that I would use them to store the lava rock.  I had to stop working on the big pile in order to clear out one of the containers.  I was surprised at the number of large earthworms I found neat the bottom of the container.

I thought that I would include a picture of my tools.  My gloves are no longer nearly this clean since we had such a good rain on Thursday.  The thumb on one of the gloves had begun to develop a hole, so I think I will be looking for a new pair of gloves (or two).

Here is a picture of the pile on Saturday, September 25th.  I was able to clean out one of the containers and I have started placing just the rock in it.  I think that I will work on the larger pile for a little while before I clean out the other container.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cool Temps = Good Day to Bake

One activity I have looked forward to doing since I have become a stay-at-home mom is baking, but during the summer, I did not want to heat the house by turning on the oven.  Fortunately, today was a perfect day to keep the windows open and embark on this delicious endeavor. 

This is a basic cinnamon rolls recipe.  The recipe actually came with my bread machine.  I really appreciate being able to put all the ingredients into the bread machine and let it do all the work.  I made two batches of rolls because I need to take treats to church on Sunday.  Soon they will be frosted and hopefully they will be enjoyed by all who try them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shopping at Kohl's

Before I became pregnant with Lucy, I had gotten down to a size ten and I had gotten rid of many of my larger clothes.  Since her birth, I have not lost enough weight to be able to fit in my previous clothes.  With cooler weather approaching, I need to get a few items to carry me through.  Fortunately, I had a $10 coupon to Kohl's, so I picked up a pair of pants and a shirt.  After the coupon plus 15% off the outfit came in under $20. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dirt and Lava - Saturday, September 18, 2010

These pictures represent a project that I want to complete by the end of the month or the first week of October at the latest.  This pile of dirt and lava rocks have been sitting in our backyard for a couple of years.  The previous owners of our house made some interesting landscaping decisions to say the least.  Unfortunately, they did not lay down any landscape fabric under all the lava rock they placed around the yard (some of this lava rock created a path that actually cut through the yard.  One goal I have for this house is to finally have a nice backyard where we can hang out and kids can play.  Two years ago, I spent the summer digging up the lava rock and dirt so that we could begin the process of planting some grass seed.  Since there was so much rock and dirt to go through, I decided to just create a pile and then go through it later.

Well, later has come.  We need to fill in some uneven patches in our yard, so we want to use what dirt we can from this pile before going out at purchasing some dirt.  This pile will not go away on its own, so I am planning to spend at least thirty minutes a day sorting out the rock in this pile.  I spent almost two hours on it on Saturday and I plan to work on it again on Tuesday.  I figure that little-by-little, it will go away. 

I need to make sure I have a big bottle of ibuprofen handy because my back is already getting stiff from the work that I have done. 

PS If you know someone who would like some inexpensive lava rock, I will soon have a significant pile of it that they can have. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Still Learning

For the month of August, I did pretty well with our grocery budget.  I went over a little bit because Dillon's ran some good sales on items that we will use often, so I stocked up on some of the products (I was able to pick up Pillsbury crescent rolls for 70 cents a container!).  Matt reminded me that he is looking for us to average a set amount each month for groceries, so it was okay to go over. 

I recently discovered the blog Money Saving Mom.  Her blog is a good source of information on where to find coupons and how to use them to get the most out of them.  Every week she will post the best deals at various stores.  She is also from Kansas, so many of the sales she highlights are applicable to the area.  On her website I learned about stacking coupons, and when I was at Target I learned that you can stack a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon.   Today I was able to stack a 75 cent coupon for Ragu with a 50 cent store coupon which means I saved $1.25 instead of just the 75 cents or 50 cents.  I picked up two jars of Ragu for less than $1 per jar. 

I have to keep reminding myself that this new way of shopping and thinking about shopping is going to take time to get used to.  I have done better about making a list and sticking to it, and I am getting out of the habit of buying foods just because they sound good.  It has been fun looking for the good deals and I look forward to the challenges of staying within our budget in the future.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NWOT: First Trip to the Grocery Store

Yesterday was my first official shopping trip for this month and my new plan of making sure we stay within our budget.  I decided to just buy items for a two week time span.  That way, I would not spend all our budgeted money at the beginning of the month, and it allows me to change my mind about some of our meals for the second half of the month if needed.  In the past, I would often shop for items that we were out of at the house.  It would not matter if we really needed that item or not; I wanted to make sure we had certain ingredients on hand for whatever I might feel like cooking.  Now, my shopping list consists of items that we do not have and that we need.  That is where planning our meals has made a huge difference. 

I feel I did well sticking to just buying the items on my list.  We are very fortunate that we live close to a number of different stores.  My trip started at the Rainbo bread store since they have the best prices on bread and buns and then to Braum's which still has the best price on milk.  Dillons had some items on sale, so I went there next and finished my shopping at Aldi's and Walmart.  I am impressed that Aldi's is beginning to get in more whole grain products, so I am sure that more and more of my shopping will take place there.
I am really getting into this new way of thinking.  I have begun a spreadsheet of prices for the various items that we use because I want to know who has the best prices, if it is worthwhile to buy a product at Dillon's since they double coupons, and if buying the items in bulk at Sam's really saves any money.  Yesterday I went ahead and bought some Pillsbury crescent rolls at Dillons because the price was the same with my coupon as the store brand at Wal-Mart. 

This new way of thinking will likely also result in a lose of weight since I now think about how much all the items cost which in turn has been motivating me to eat less and to focus on making sure I am just eating a serving instead of two or three servings. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

A New Way of Thinking Part Two: The Pop Conspiracy

Near the end of last week, Matt and I had an interesting discussion about pop consumption.  Ironically, we had both been thinking about the number of cans of pop we drink each day and that reducing said number would be a good way to save money for other purchases. 

It is pretty amazing to think about how much money is wasted in drinking pop.  I usually try to stock up when Dillons has their 12-pack cans of pop on sale for $2.50.  If I were to drink two cans per day, that would be 1 pack every 6 days which would work out to be $10 per month (depending on the length of the month).  If we both were to drink two cans per day, then that is $20 per month (and that's only if I am able to buy pop at $2.50 per 12-pack).  Often, a 12-pack of pop costs $3 or $4, so you can see where this is going. 

After we realized how much we could potentially spend on pop in a given month, we have both decided to restrict ourselves to just one can per day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A New Way of Thinking

This fall (and the falls to come), I will not be returning to HCC to teach.  So far, life has not been too different in that regard since I would have been home for the summer anyways.  Since I will no longer be working full time (I am going to teach a couple of classed part time on line), we have had to adjust our budget.  I want to do my best to meet our budget so that has meant a change of thinking for me particularly with regard to grocery shopping. 

Now, I never went overboard as I shopped in the past, but I would often by pre-made foods or foods that required little prep since I often did not feel like spending much time cooking.  Breaded chicken tenders, instant potatoes, gravy mixes, packaged cookies, rolls, etc were often on my list.  I also rarely planned our meals more than a day or two in advance, which required stopping by the store frequently during the week.  We did not eat out much, but I still spent more money on groceries than was really necessary.

With our new budget, I realize that I need to be a better planner.  I love to plan, it is in my nature to plan, but for some reason I do not like having to plan our meals even for one week.  I have tried writing the various meals on slips of paper and drawing them from a jar, but I just did not like that method.  My biggest concern would be, "what if we didn't want that meal that night?"  For me, there is something very permanent about writing down a specific meal for a specific day, and I don't feel like I can deviate from the plan.  Of course, I know that I can still be flexible with our meals even if I have planned them for a month; like I said, it is a new way of thinking for me.

So, for the month of August, I have planned my meals and I have even created a list of all the ingredients I will need to make the meals.  Now I just need to go through our supplies to see what I really need to buy.  I am looking forward to the challenge of feeding our little family at or below our budgeted allotment for groceries.  Watch out Dillon's, Aldi's, Walmart, Sam's, Leeker's, and Target, here I come!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Happened to You, Mel?

I heard on the news this morning that yet another alleged tape of Mel Gipson yelling and cursing at the mother of his child has been released.  Apparently there have been seven tapes released.  This is the first time I have actually paid attention to the story as they played the tape.

As I listened to the tape, I at first wondered why the media is so up in arms considering this kind of filthy language and behaviors fill many of the movies that unfortunately make quite a bit of money.  Why are they condemning a man who speaks this way and not the films and television shows that are similar?  I know that one is supposed to be fiction and one is reality, but there seems to be some hypocrisy there.

Of course, Mr. Gipson's behavior does not support his claims to be a practicing Catholic either.  I do not want to condemn his behavior as I know that I am no more perfect than he is whether I use the same language or not.  The story did make me feel sorry for Mr. Gipson and other people like him who appear to be trying to find happiness in the world and not in God.  Why did he divorce his previous wife?  Was he really unhappy in his marriage?  Did he want a younger wife?  Why did he marry someone so much younger than himself?  Why did they have a child?  I am sure that he is asking himself similar questions on a daily basis as this situation grows and grows.

The situation reminds me of Tiger Woods.  He says that he is going to try to change his ways and he plans to use his roots in Buddhism to help him do it.  As we learned in church this last Sunday, we can try as hard as we want to change, but if we do not seek help from God, we will fail.  The example we were given was of weight lifting.  There will come a time when the weight will be too much for us to lift and not matter how hard we try, we will not be able to lift that weight on our own.  Someone will need to help us and that someone has to be God.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh for the Doubt of It All

Perhaps one of the most frustrating elements of being a parent are all the doubts I feel about every decision I make regarding Lucy's care.  I know that there will always be doubts, but some of the doubts seem very foolish when I really stop to think about them.

One doubt that I feel silly struggling with is when Lucy needs to take a nap.  I know that she will be cranky if she does not take a nap, but I usually worry that she is sleeping too much or that I am just using the nap as an excuse to do some work around the house instead of spending time with Lucy. 

Another doubt is in relation to feeding Lucy.  We had some difficulties when we tried to breastfeed and instead of calling and getting help, I went ahead and just fed her the breast milk in a bottle.  We have decided for a number of reasons to switch to just giving her formula, so we are currently in the process of making that transition.  I am almost done weaning myself off of pumping, but I keep having doubts about this decision.  I know that making sure she gets enough to eat is the most important part of taking care of her and I know that she will benefit from the breast milk that she did received.  What I did not realize is just how hard it would be to make the final transition. 

As I mentioned before, I know that there will always be doubts no matter how old Lucy is.  I keep reminding my self that we have a healthy, happy little girl and that is the most important part of being a parent. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Worth Watching

Yesterday I watched the movie Swing Vote, and I would recommend it to others.  While the premise is a bit far fetched, it is an interesting look at the apathy that many Americans have about voting and at the way political candidates will go against their own convictions in order to get more votes.  The movie treats both political parties equally as both the Republican and Democrat seek to gain the vote of one man in order to win the presidential election.

The movie is available for Instant View on Netflix if you are a subscriber.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I have to admit that I often watch Deal or No Deal.  I guess that is what happens when one does not have cable and likes to keep the television on in order to hear other adult voices during the day.  As I have watched this game show, I have noticed that there are some interesting trends that happen in nearly every episode. 

At the beginning of the show, the selected contestant has the opportunity to either keep her case or exchange it for another.  Of course, the contestant thinks that her case contains the $500,000.  As the contestant selects cases to be opened, the contestant and the people standing behind the other cases think that by wishing hard enough, the selected case will contain a low dollar amount.  The cases contain what they contain.  No amount of wishing will change what is inside the case. 

The other trend that I find amusing is what happens after the contestant decides to take the deal from the banker.  All of a sudden, the contestant hopes that her case contains a small dollar amount.  The show usually has the contestant go ahead and pick the next case even though it does not change the amount they will receive.  At this point, the contestant and the remaining people behind the cases all hope that the selected case contains a high dollar amount. 

I would never make it very far on this show because I would probably take the first deal offered.  I have seen too many episodes where the first offer was the highest offer because the contestant has a string of bad choices and knocks out all the high dollar amounts.  It doesn't really matter, because I do not have any plans for trying out for the show anyways.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Is it August 3rd Yet?

I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I cannot wait for the election primary to get here so we can see fewer political ads.  Of course, I know that there will still be ads, but at least there will be fewer candidates.   Perhaps the ads would not be so bad if Wink Hartman had not started running ads back at the beginning of the year.  It's pretty obvious which of the candidates has the most money. 

Hartman's latest ad cracks me up.  He talks about how he signed a pledged card to run a clean campaign and to focus only on the issues, yet the ad is doing exactly what he says he is not going to do.  The ad does not focus on what his policies will be; instead it attacks his opponent by making issue of the fact that he did not sign the pledge card.  Also, there is actually another candidate running for the same seat.  Why does he not mention her in the ad?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mixed Signals

It seems like every day on the news there is a story about the obesity problem in America, especially among children.  I heard just the other day that now teenagers are beginning to have gastric bypass surgery to help them control their weight.  I find it interesting that this has become a national problem as opposed to an individual one.

A news story I saw last night focused on how a school is helping children combat this problem by creating games that include the names of the fruits and vegetables that children should be eating.  I believe the idea is to make healthy foods "fun."  What the program did not appear to do is to provide the students with these foods to actually eat and learn to like.  After watching the news story, I was left with the impression that the kids would know about games to play and know the names of the foods they should eat but that their eating habits would not really change.   Wouldn't it be more effective to educate the parents so that they can begin providing their kids with healthier food choices?

It's no wonder that people no longer know what food to eat.  There are constantly news stories that tell us to eat one food, and then another story comes out to tell us not to eat it.  One day nuts are good for us, and the next they are too high in fat.  Mixed signals are also given in the commercials.  Can you name one commercial for a fast food restaurant (or any restaurant for that matter) that includes people who are overweight eating the food? 

This issue has become more important to me now that we are raising our own child.  I want to make sure that she eats well and know how to exhibit self control with the foods that she does eat.  I hear of so many stories of kids who will not eat a variety of foods that I wonder what our future will hold.  I am trying to do better job of eating a variety of healthy foods now since I am feeding her breastmilk and I hope that she will develop a taste for the different fruits and vegetables.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Saying Good Bye

This last weekend we had to say good bye to our dog Mies.  Mies was the first dog that we acquired nearly 12 years ago.  We found Mies at the Kansas Humane Society.  At the time he was a little ball of white fur with brown ears, one of which sat crooked across the top of his head.  The Society thought that he would be about 50-60 pounds, but he turned out to be 100. 

Mies was a gentle dog, but he started off as crazy as they come.  It was not until we got our second dog nearly a year later that he calmed down.  Apparently, he needed someone to be a role model to.  Mies' favorite activity was having people pet him.  When he was younger, he would sometimes race with Kate while chasing tennis balls, but he seemed to prefer just sitting beside us and having us pet his head. 

We knew that he would not live to be much older than 11 or 12 years old since he was such a big dog.  Over the years he started moving slower, but he still would show signs of being as excited as a puppy when we would come outside to play with the dogs.  On Friday night, he was laying in the yard and could not get up.  Apparently his back legs just would not work.  He did get up later, so we thought that we would wait through the weekend and take him to our vet on Monday.  Saturday he began having more trouble getting up and around.  We thought about taking him to the animal hospital at that time, but we again thought that we could help him get through the weekend.  Saturday evening he began to go downhill quickly.  He could not get up at all and he had become stressed to the point that he did not appear to know we were with him.  Matt took him to the animal hospital at 1:30 in the morning.

We knew that our time with Mies would come to an end soon, and we are thankful that there was no doubt regarding his condition and what we should do, but saying good bye was harder than I expected it would be. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where to Begin

Someone asked me on Facebook if I had given up on my blog.  Not really.  At the end of my pregnancy, I had carpal tunnel in both hands, so typing was not very comfortable.  Then the baby came and we are still adjusting to our new life schedule.  I just laid her down for her first official nap (can one begin doing that at 6 weeks?), so I thought I would take a few minutes to create a post. 

I am trying actually laying her down for a nap because for the last week or so, it seems that Lucy stays up much of the day without really taking any naps.  She sleeps okay at night, but when the evening comes, she often seems confused if she is hungry or tired, so I thought that I would try actually laying her down in her crib for an official nap to see if that will help. 

I don't want to blog just about life with Lucy, but I have to admit that right now, that is what primarily consumes my thoughts.  Hopefully I will have other insights to share as well.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pregnancy Update - 8 Weeks to Go

Wow!  It's the 7th of March already.  The advantage of continuing to teach while pregnant is that time is passing very quickly.  This next week is my breather week because I don't have any major papers to grade.  Research papers come in next Monday, so that is when more grading fun will begin.  I hope to spend this next week completing my lessons plans for the semester so that I will be ready to hand off my class to my back-up sub if the need arises.  Thankfully, my backup is a good friend from WSU, so I know that she will do a great job with my classes.  I am hoping to make it at least two weeks before Lucy's due date.

At our appointment this last Thursday, the doctor said that all is well and Lucy appears to be just the right size.  I can tell that she is getting bigger because there are times when I can't quite lean forward because she has some part of her body shoved under my rib cage.  I wish that I had more time to just sit and watch my stomach when she really gets to moving around, but it usually seems to happen when I am in the middle of an activity that requires my full attention. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pregnancy Update - 9 Weeks to Go

It is hard to believe that in as little as six weeks, our little girl could be born and considered to be full term.  She has certainly been moving more and more this week.  Occasionally I can take the time to watch my stomach and see the ripples.  Otherwise, there is not much to report. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Monday: Movie Musings

I realized that I never gave an update on the Masterpiece Classics version of Emma.  I would say that I enjoyed their version of the book very much.  I feel that they gave a more accurate portrayal of Emma than the one seen in the Gwyneth Paltrow version.  The portrayal in the Masterpiece version shows Emma in a more sympathetic light and one can better understand why she feels the need to meddle in the relationships of others like she does.  I also enjoy watching movies where I am not as familiar with the actors because then I am thinking of who the actor is and instead can more easily pretend that he or she is the actually character in the story.

I has mentioned the Laura Linney gave the introduction for the movie.  If you have not watched the John Adams miniseries that HBO did a couple of years ago, I would recommend that you add it to your Netflix queue soon.  It is in seven parts, but they did a great job of portaying Adams' life as well as the growth of the US at the time.  Laura Linney plays Abigal Adams and I feel she gave one of the best performances in the series. 

A final movie recommendation I have is Gran Torino.  Matt and I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and it was well worth the time spent.  It certainly is not an action film, but the story line moves quickly and they do a good job of really establishing the relationship between Clint Eastwood's character and his neighbors.  Make sure you have a box of kleenex handy because the end of the movie is a real tear-jerker.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pregnancy Update - 10 Weeks to Go

Next week we will officially be in the single digits as far as weeks are concerned.  Our appointment went well on Tuesday.  The baby's heartrate was right where it should be, and I am only measuring about a week ahead, so I am guessing she is not getting too big.  I saw the PA, and I find it interesting that she actually uses a tape measure to measure my stomach, but the doctor just uses her hands and says all looks about right.

I am grateful that I am still able to get a decent night's sleep.  I typically wake up every couple of hours, but I usually do not have any problems falling back to sleep again.  The main discomfort that I experience at night are the occasional Charlie horse cramps in my calves.  One night I had one in each leg at the same time!  Fortunately, I have had them in the past, so when they began occurring, I at least knew what they were all about.  I try to make sure I drink plenty of water before I go to bed, but they still make their appearance. 

I am still trying to go the the Y at least three times a week, and I have been able to continue bowling without any problems.  I keep wondering if each week at bowling will be my last, but I have yet to have any problems with my balance which is what the doctor said would be the biggest concern.  I don't throw the ball quite as hard as I used to, but otherwise my game has not changed too much.

The baby's room is still a work in progress.  Matt has been diligently working on the trim work for the room and will hopefully be able to get it up this next week.  Our first shower is in a month, so the room should be all ready by then.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pregnancy Update - 11 Weeks to Go

We are now at week 29.  It's hard to believe that soon the remaining weeks will be in single digits.  The baby's room is still a work in progress, but Matt promises that it will be ready by the first of March.  We are in the process of painting a chair rail to go around the room, and Matt is also building and painting a shelf that is going to go around the room at the height of the top of the door frames.  We are going with a Narania theme (the books, not necessarily the movies).  Of course, there really aren't any nursery products to buy that are Narnia themed, so we have to come up with our own.  We are planning to print out some copies of book cover art that will go in some frames that sit on the shelf, and since Lucy is named for Lucy in the books, we are going to have a larger picture of Lucy and Tumnus walking in the snow in the forest.  We also found a nice map of Narania that we are also going to place in a larger frame.

We have a crib that we found on Craig's list, and just this weekend we bought an armoire that is going to be used as a changing station (thank you, Maranda, for the idea).  The armoire has a good wardrobe look to it, so it goes well with the theme of the room. 

Our next doctor's appointment is this Tuesday and then we will be on the two week visit schedule.  While her movement occurs a different times of the day, Lucy does seem to be moving a fair amount. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Movie Monday: Austen Edition

My favorite author is Jane Austen and some of my favorite movies are those based on Jane Austen's books. 

The very first Jane Austen book I tried to read was Emma.  I can remember that the main character of Emma annoyed me so much, that I stopped reading and decided that maybe Jane Austen was not for me.  It was not until I read Pride and Prejudice as I was finishing my bachelor's degree that I discovered how great of an author Austen really is.  I can remember reaching the end of book when Darcy is about to propose to Lizzy again and reading with eager anticipation for the event to occur.  Since then I have read Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Emma.  My favorite remains Pride and Prejudice with Northanger Abby being a close second.

My favorite movie versions of the books are those done as mini-series.  The A&E version of Pride and Prejudice is my absolute favorite even if it is about 5 hours long.  Colin Firth certainly plays the part of Darcy well and Jennifer Ehle could not have done a better job in her role as Elizabeth Bennet.  I also enjoy the modern remake in the version of You've Got Mail. We recently watched an interesting miniseries called Lost in Austen where a young British woman trades places with Elisabeth Bennet and makes her way into the reality of Pride and Prejudice.  The young woman is a huge fan of the book, so she tries to make sure that all the events in the book take place as they are supposed to, but, of course, this does not take place.  It is an interesting look at what would happen if the world of fiction were true and if some modern day ideas were to be introduced into the past. 

Emma Thompson's version of Sense and Sensibility is my second favorite Austen movie.  I have seen the Paltrow version of Emma as well as the movie Clueless but must admit that since this is not my favorite of Austen's novels, these are not my favorite movies.  Today I am in the process of watching the Masterpiece Theatre version of Emma and so far I have been impressed with the quality of the production.  At the beginning of the miniseries, it is mentioned that Austen set out to write a book with a heroine she did not like, so I guess that would explain why I did not find Emma as endearing as a book in the beginning.

I have yet to watch versions of Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park.  I know that they are out there; I just need to take the time to watch them.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pregnancy Update - 12 Weeks to Go

I haven't really posted any details about the pregnancy because there really hasn't been any details to post.  All has gone well: no sickness, not much discomfort, every appointment has given us a positive report.  Overall, no real complaints.  We are very thankful that God has blessed us not only with the pregnancy but with a good pregnancy as well.

Being pregnant, I now realize a at least one statement not to say to pregnant women.  I don't recall ever really making comments about whether or not someone is showing, but I now know that the best comment a person can make to a pregnant woman is "You're looking good."  People would comment that I was not really showing, and that was frustrating because I knew that changes were taking place and it made me wonder just how big I appeared to people before I was pregnant.  On the flip-side, I also would not people to talk about how big I am getting either.  Just tell the woman she looks good and that should be enough.

One question that I am getting tired of answering is "How are you feeling?"  Does a pregnant woman ever answer this question truthfully?  Does the person asking really want to hear that I am constipated, tired, emotional, concerned, weary of the question itself?  If I was not feeling well, I likely would not be present for the person to ask the question.  I understand that it is asked with the best of intentions, but I feel like I should just wear a sign that says "I'm feeling fine."

So, all this to say that all is well.  I will try to post updates on a more regular basis as the time of our little one's birth draws closer.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Quote Monday: Another Cary Grant Movie

To Catch a Thief is not only one of my favorite Cary Grant movies, it is also one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films.  Cary Grant plays a former cat burgler who is forced out of retirement when someone begins stealing jewels in Monte Carlo and the police suspect that he is the one committing the crimes.  He is able to obtain the trust of an insurance adjuster who agrees to help him catch the real thief.  A key member of the cast includes Grace Kelly who I think was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood. 

While this movie still contains some of the suspenseful moments that Hitchcock is known for, the movie is often light-hearted and is very enjoyable to watch.  If you have never watched a Hitchcock film before, this is one I would highly recommend beginning with.


One of Grace Kelly's best lines in the movie comes when she swims out the see who Cary Grant is talking to out in the water.

Frances Stevens: Are you sure you were talking about water skis? From where I sat it looked as though you were conjugating some irregular verbs.

Cary Grant invites the insurance adjuster to his house to discuss their plan of action.  The insurance adjuster compliments Grant's housekeeper's cooking and learns a little more than he expected.

H. H. Hughson: The pastries are light as air.
John Robie: Germaine has very sensitive hands and an exceedingly light touch. She strangled a German general - without a sound.

While in the water, Grant is talking to the daughter of a former acquaintance.  The conversations becomes a little heated between the two women.

John Robie: Say something nice to her, Danielle.
Danielle Foussard: She looks a lot older up close.
[John Robie whimpers]
Frances Stevens: To a mere child, anything over twenty might seem old.
Danielle Foussard: A child? Shall we stand in shallower water and discuss that?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Movie Quote Monday: Cary Grant Edition

I never watched many classic movies until I started dating Matt.  I held the belief that many people have that a black and white movie could not be that interesting.  Fortunately, Matt did not grow up with the same prejudice and he introduced me to many good movies and we discovered many more good movies together.  One of my favorite actors is Cary Grant for many obvious reasons.  We enjoy his acting range and the way that he can does well in both comedic and serious roles.  We need more actors today like Cary Grant (and the many others who starred with him).

This week's movie is one of two that he made with Myrna Loy (one of my favorite actresses).  The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer also started a grown up Shirley Temple and is full of many great lines.  The movie is a light-hearted comedy that shows the fickleness of young love.

Margaret: You know I'd die for you, only sometimes it's so hard living with you.

Matt Beemish: I'm the court psychiatrist.
Richard Nugent: Come back in an hour. I'll be crazy by then. 
Richard Nugent: Hey, you remind me of a man.
Susan Turner: What man?
Richard Nugent: Man with the power.
Susan Turner: What power?
Richard Nugent: Power of hoodoo.
Susan Turner: Hoodoo?
Richard Nugent: You do.
Susan Turner: Do what?
Richard Nugent: Remind me of a man...
Matt Beemish: I couldn't help overhearing. I had my ear to the door.
Waiter at Tick Tock Club: [to Nugent after he has been yelled at, insulted, slapped, had champagne tossed in his face and been stuck with the check] Can I get you anything else, sir?
Richard Nugent: For instance?
Richard (Dick) Nugent: How'd you get in here?
Matt Beemish: Well, the door was closed, so I opened it and came right in.