Getting ready for baby?

Okay, so with baby #2 due in just a few short weeks, I decided we really need to start getting prepared. So far we have a car seat (not yet installed), we pre-registered for the hospital, and I pulled out most of m's baby stuff (clothes, blankets, cloth diapers, etc). The problem is none of this stuff is set up in any usable way. That's my goal for the weekend. The two high priority tasks are to get the changing table set up and to pack the hospital bag.

There is plenty of other stuff to do. I wish I could start my maternity leave early, but I really want to save it for after the baby is born.

And, I really want this stroller since we don't yet have anything that the car seat can snap into...


Happy Holiday

Despite my worries, Christmas was very pleasant. On Christmas Eve, everyone in the neighborhood lines the street with luminaries. So, just after dark, we met up with M, M and i to take a walk. The girls had a great time looking at all the lights and got to work off some of their pre-Santa energy. We stopped in at M and M's house for wine (water for me) and toffee before going home and wrapping gifts.

In my family, we always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve (usually pajamas) so m opened her nightgown. It was my first attempt at making a nightgown and it turned out pretty cute. m was very pleased and said she felt like a princess! Thanks for teaching me how to sew, mom!

On Christmas morning, we had a relaxing time opening gifts, eating whole-wheat blueberry pancakes, and enjoying a fire in the fireplace (I almost knocked myself out when I hit my head on the mantel but that's another story).

We ended the day with a fancy dinner at a local hotel. No cooking!


Can we limit Christmas extravagance?

Right now, m has been playing with a little lizard she got a Chuck E Cheese (much as I hate that place, she loves this inch-long lizard), a little set of figurines my mom bought her at an art gallery in Edisto, and some plastic hair barrettes. She has been occupied for more than 25 minutes with just these few toys!

Then I think about how much stuff m is going to get in the next few days... I did the shopping for Mr. Claus and kept a reasonable budget. Four toys, a homemade nightgown, and some stocking stuffers. I purchased something else too (before she wrote her letter to Santa) and decided to keep that until her birthday. If it were just these few things, we would be fine. But I'm afraid adding a bunch of other gifts from friends and relatives is going to overwhelm m and send the wrong message about the holidays.

In her gift exchange at school, m got a cheap babydoll set from a large national retailer (made in China, of course). I tried (a little) to convince her that we should give it to charity. I admit, I would rather just make it disappear since poor kids deserve better quality too. m cried at the suggestion, and, since it was her gift from a friend, I let her open it and told her she could play with it for a few days. I am *hoping* she'll completely forget about it after Christmas.

I guess we'll see what other gifts she gets. She is one kid who actually likes getting clothes. Since she wears them often, we always talk about who gave her a certain shirt, sweater, etc. That helps her remember names of relatives and also to appreciate their generosity.

I admit I'm anal about what she has- after all it's in our house. I want to make sure that it is safe, good quality, and doesn't take up too much room. We already have much more than we need and I want to create nice holiday memories for m - spending time together making cookies, decorating, donating things to less fortunate families- not just gift giving.


More holiday happenings...

Forgot to add these fun holiday events to the previous list:

- put out our shoes for St. Nick's day (Dec. 6th)
- decorated gingerbread houses with M and i
- went to see the Christmas lights at Hopelands with friend EG

- saw our public tax money spent on a Christmas tree lighting ceromony (involved a lot of Bible thumping by public employees- this really got me riled)
-made our own wreath from branches cut off the bottom of the Christmas tree


In the Christmas mood

I'm finally in the holiday spirit...

- got an Advent calendar for m
- we've gone to several Christmas parties
- saw the Nutcracker
- put up the tree
- baked candycane cookies and spritz
- sent Christmas cards (today!)

I think I've got all my Christmas gifts done, with 2 exceptions (both sewing projects)- a nightgown and some grocery sacks.

My energy level is low and now I've got a wicked cold.
Glad the only thing I need to cook for Christmas dinner is the stuffing.

Here's a photo of m having a serious conversation with Mr. Claus!


The holidays...

Is it December yet? So many people in our neighborhood already have put up trees and decorations. I don't even have an Advent calendar yet. And then there are Christmas cards...

This Christmas is (thankfully) going to be low-key for us. We won't have any family visiting, won't be traveling, so it will be just the 3 (almost 4) of us. I would like to get a dining room set before then so we can celebrate in style with our "fancy" china. For gifts, as always, I'm trying to keep it simple. No toys made in China. And we won't be buying for EVERYONE. Usually I plan to just do gifts for immediate family and then aunts and uncles and everyone else starts sending US gifts so I feel obligated to reciprocate. I'm working on curbing that feeling.

I am also feeling serious baby stress, as in "there's only a few weeks left and I have so much to do." I wish I could start maternity leave a few weeks before the baby is born, but I want to maximize my time with the baby after it's born. This country (and particularly this state) is so backwards when it comes to maternity leave.

M still seems a little in denial. I bought some (on sale) pacifiers at the store last night and he said, "What did you buy these for?" Um.... remember that4-5 lb kicking and squirming life that is making my belly look like a basketball? It's coming out soon!!



There is nothing like fall in Boston! I was there on Weds and Thurs (to defend my thesis- which was successful by the way) and the weather was beautiful, the city looks great, and their sports teams are just fantastic! With the Red Sox winning the World Series and the Pats 8-0, what could be better? I haven't been to a Sox game in a few years, but I walked around by Fenway before Game 2. The Cask'n Flagon has been remodeled and Brookline Ave looks squeaky clean. Maybe I should think about doing a post doc there...


Big Girl Bed

m slept in her own big girl bed for the first time last night. She slept through the whole night and didn't fall out! Hurray! A little bribe with some Jack-o-lantern stickers didn't hurt and made the first night in her new bed a success!!

We just got back from a weekend in SC with M's grandparents. They were in good spirits but I could tell they are on the decline, healthwise. CT fell over trying to sit down after pulling weeds out in the pasture. It was 85 degrees, so I probably would have felt light headed too. GG got really upset and started crying. I think she's feeling helpless and fearful and I wish there was something we could do. But, I feel like I would be out of place trying to say something or interfere.


Long hiatus

Well, I did read Harry Potter. It filled a void and I'm glad I read it although personally I think it was a little tame.

Had a brief stint at the beach with my parents and M and m- very relaxing. And I'm happy to say I got my luggage reimbursement from BA. I would rather have my actual luggage, but I'll take the cash. It's better than nothing!

I am trying to find motivation to get out of the consumer mode- I keep thinking of all these things I want/need: a new computer, a camera lens, baby stuff, a clothesline, a bed for M. It just always seems like there's something else. I got a cool new camera but can't edit pictures on my 7+ years old computer...

m is getting so big and loves to color...


Adventures in Composting

So I arrived home from work the other day to find a Biostack (from Smith and Hawken) on my doorstep (a gift from GC). I'm pretty sure we're the only people in the neighborhood with a composter now...

We set it up and M thought it was a "square playhouse". We finally convinced her to let us put some clippings in it and we're waiting for something to happen. It's kind of fun saving kitchen scraps, clippings, etc. for the compost heap but I really want it to turn into compost in a hurry. It's about 100 degrees here at the moment so I think that will really help.

While we're waiting for the compost, we're busy pulling out nasty ivy which I want to replace with some kind of native ferns and other groundcovers. Fun! If we had another 5 or 6 compost bins, we would really be able to take care of all the yard clippings!

And we're thinking about getting the house painted...



Okay, I admit that I've read all but Book 7 of the Harry Potter series. I've been avoiding reading the last one for several reasons:

1. It's expensive ($35)
2. I don't want it to end
3. I keep trying to use it as a reward for doing a bunch of other stuff (If I accomplish {some task} then I can go get Deathly Hollows).

But now I find myself avoiding anything Potter-related so that I won't run into any "spoilers". I'm going to break down and get it this weekend. It's summer; I should indulge, right?


Back to normal life

After a week in Switzerland and a week in Lake Tahoe (with husband and daughter, M and M) I'm not quite back into my regular routine, but I'm getting there. I wish I lived in Tahoe, although I guess it probably wouldn't seem so great if I wasn't on vacation.

It was great for M to get to play with her extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) and for us to hang out with them too. Plus it was nice to mingle with Californians for an extended period. Spending too much time in Georgia can really warp your sense of reality.

M also got to her first major league baseball game on this trip. She wasn't too excited about it until Auntie K started feeding her popcorn and nachos.


First post

So, 8 months after I "created" this blog, I'm finally getting around to my first post. I think what spurred it on is my recent experience with British Airways. I just took a business trip to Geneva (Switzerland, not Wisconsin) and I had a lovely flight home, where I got upgraded to first class. Then things turned ugly when I arrived in Atlanta without my luggage. I filed a report and figured the bags would turn up sooner or later. So it's been nearly two weeks and ONE bag has shown up- unfortunately it was the one full of dirty socks and t-shirts, no souvenirs, chocolate, business suits or make-up.

Kind of a downer for my first post. Apparently BA is the worst airline for lost luggage. So, if anyone sees an unclaimed black travelpro suitcase from Georgia, let me know. And I've learned my lesson- I'm planning to paint bright green stars on all my bags before my next trip to make them easy to spot!!

It was a fun trip though...