Thursday, September 07, 2006

a man's point of view

Hello all. Mindi has been asking me to pen a few words here on the blog. So without further ado, allow me to recount the last several weeks.

Mindi has started a new job. She is the 7th grade English teacher at a middle school in Howard County. Before classes started, the Abster (that is our code word right?), well she helped Mindi and I move Mindi’s school supplies from her old school in Northern Virginia to the new one in Elkridge, MD. The Abster also helped us arrange the desks in the new classroom and even tried one out for size – check out the pic.

Things are same-old same-old for me at work – making those flavors so you can all enjoy your flavored sodas, teas, cereals, you name it.

Now that both of us are working, the Abster is in daycare (The Goddard School). She really likes it and we do too. The teachers there are nice and fuss over her, which she doesn’t seem to mind. The Abster sets her own schedule though, and plays by her rules. When it is nap time, she likes to play. When it is arts and crafts time, she likes to nap. After the first art class, all of the other parents got a sheet of colored paper with some crayon markings on them. Ours was blank!

The Abster is up to four teeth – two on top and two on bottom. We’re already looking for a good orthodontist since she seems to have what I am learning is called the Harrod gap – this mountain of a space located between the top two front teeth. For those dental experts on the blog world, I believe it’s called a diastema.

Sissy is doing well. She’s about to turn four and already talking about a birthday party. On our last visit, I stayed with her in WV (didn’t have enough time to come back to MD). We toured the Organ Caves with our own private tour guide – this was nice since he tailored the tour to our pace. “We” got tired about halfway through so had to turn around. One of us had to carry the other one, so let’s just say it was quite comforting to see the daylight.

A few weeks ago, we visited some friends in NJ. We’ll call them Ed and Jenny – names may be changed to protect the innocent (or maybe not). We enjoyed our time with them, and mainly chilled and relaxed. We spent a few hours with them at the beach. There was a serious game of Trivial Pursuit played one evening, guys against gals – and let’s just say that one of the teams wasn’t afraid to look at the answers before giving their response to the question. Hmmmm.

Labor Day weekend we spent up in New York. The Abster was with Gamma in Richmond, so Mindi and I had a weekend to ourselves, actually we met up with some of my old college friends there, so it was just the four of us. It was a great time, we did a ton of things in just a few days – went to a Yankee’s game, saw the Broadway show Hairspray, did shopping on Fifth Avenue (Mindi “needed” something from Tiffany & Co. – something she had just happened to pick out before our trip to NY was even started), went to FAO Schwartz, Times Square, and a nice restaurant where I tried rabbit for the first time. On our first night in NY, this crazy fella came up to us in a bar. One of those guys that wants to tell you his story and you can’t shake. Well we finally shook him (thanks to the help of the manager), but the next day this guy crossed our path again on the way to the Yankees game. Fortunately we saw him before he saw us. Just when we thought we had seen the last of this guy, he popped up again. This last time though was where we least expected it. We were watching the Today Show on Sunday morning, the show they film in Rockefeller Center. Well there he is, standing there in the crowd, eagerly looking into the camera as if he was looking for us. It was really crazy – he found himself a good spot.

One last shout out to my good friend Marty. He sent the Abster a 1-yr birthday card, we received it today, and in it scribed a note that said that he was sorry that he missed her party. The Abster doesn’t turn 1 until November and we haven’t even started planning yet, but I guess this is Marty’s way of saying that he won’t be able to make it.

That is about all I can think of for now. Ciao.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Good things are happenin', but, man, we are exhausted. To sum it up, I have started my job as a teacher for Howard County Public Schools (or the orientation portion anyway), Dan has taken up gardening on the side, and Abster is doing time in daycare. Ugh. We are just too pooped to pop, ya know? More later.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The New Job, Dakota and the Puppet

I got a job!!! (big, long sigh of relief, as I have been freed from the possibility of going back to retail or substitute hell, for a year at least) I will be teaching seventh grade English at a middle school about 19 miles away. I will not name it because it is highly possible that people who work there will slip into a post or two, and I don't want someone recognizing them and saying, "Say, aren't you the one Mindi was bitching and moaning about on her blog for the whole world to see?" Suffice it to say that, so far, the people there are really nice and welcoming and I have a room with windows that open and a view of the pond. Yeah, buddy!

Dakota, our wonderful five year old collie/lab mix, is finally warming up to Abster. I mean, she has always liked her, but now she REALLY likes her. Wanna know why? It is because Abster now eats solids foods, like cheerios and fruit puffs and pasta. Those of you who don't have a dog might be asking what this has to do with anything. Those of you who DO own dogs know where this is going, so you can just stop here if you like. Abster likes to try to feed herself, and is pretty good at it, as long as she does not have a utensil in her hand. She makes it to her mouth about 80% of the time. The other 20% ends up either under her bum (which is some sort of miracle of physics, because she never shoves it under there - it just travels there on its own), in her hair or on the floor. Here is the part where the dog becomes relevant. Hoover, Dyson and Oreck don't got nothin' on Dakota Marie. That dog can hear boiled pasta hit the floor from outside on the back deck. She is immediately whining at the door to come in, beelines for Abster's high chair and commences the cleaning process. First, she sniffs out and eats all of the big chunks, then she does another once over for the little stuff. Finally, she revs up the licker and licks my entire dining room floor clean. Seriously. Anybody who stays here will tell you that that particular room of the house gleams. We can see the table reflected in the floor. Good girl, Koda, good girl.

In return for the spoils of meal time with Abster, Dakota protects her from the evil scottie dog puppet. This is a little, and one would think harmless, grey scottie dog puppet that Abster LOVES. I can hardly get the thing on my hand and she is cracking up! I guess Dakota had never seen me tickle her with the puppet before. I guess she thought that Scottie was attacking her new source of food. I guess Scottie is dead. While I was tickling Abster, Dakota stood silently by, eyes on the prize. Once it was no longer touching her precious charge, she tenderly closed her mouth around it's head and removed it from my hand. Then she ran away at full speed, growling and shaking it vigorously. Rest in peace, Scottie. So sad.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Stitching and Job Hunting

For those of you who do not already know, we were trying to buy a house about an hour south of here so that I could keep my old job and Dan could keep his. Well, we went down there and found some really nice places - four bedrooms, more than two baths, finished basements, etc. We were giddy with the anticipation of moving out of our little townhouse in Baltimore and giving the girls and the dog a proper yard, and us some proper space for an office, craft room, a real guest room (rather than having guests sleep in Sissy's daisy themed bedroom), etc. Giddy, I tell you! Then we met with Mark the Mortgage Guy. Dum, dum, dummmmm. We're not moving. Mark told us, in a perfectly cheerful and optimistic tone, that we had been approved for the new house. Yay! Then he told us what we would need to come to the table with for closing. This was within our realm of possibility. Yay! Then he told us what our monthly payment would be. Excuse me? Could you repeat that? Seriously? You have got to be kidding... Our new payment would be more than what we are paying here - we expected that. We were expecting it to almost double, and we had planned accordingly - we were going to have to be a little less cavalier about going out to eat and a little less generous at Christmas and on birthdays, which would be fine because we have a tendency to go overboard on gift giving occasions (see my Mother's Day post). No problem. But wait a minute. What was the total payment again? is TRIPLE our current mortgage. After we politely got off the phone and commenced puking with the stress, we had a conversation. Without boring you with all the gory details, let's just say that we will be staying here for at least another year. Our old, little townhouse never looked so good! It is quaint, well-painted, in need of some updating in the all-important kitchen and bath areas, and it is affordable. We are staying put. End of story.

That, of course, throws a kink into my "keeping the old job" plan. I had to call my principal and let him know that, although I love my job there, I cannot fathom a 90 mile commute each way every single day with a baby in the car. He expressed his disappointment and support and I cried. I really, really liked that school, and I am going to miss it. Honestly, I don't have a lot of time to reminisce. I must find a job. All of the schools have already hired most of their staff for next year. I quickly put together three application packets and sent them to Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Howard County Public Schools. I sent these off last Wednesday. On Friday, Howard called me. Today I had my preliminary interview with Danielle from Human Resources. I already have my second interview, with the Director of Language Arts for HCPS, scheduled for Thursday. I am a hot commodity, people of Baltimore County and City. What's the matter with you??? Better step it up, yo, or you will be losing out on a good thing. Snap.

Ok, time to morph into my goodie-two-shoes stitching persona. I actually got some done this week. Let it be said that I never, ever claimed to be the fastest stitcher in the world. Slow and steady, right? Jeez, I hope I get faster than this. Anywho, here is my progress on my three WIP's.

The Petal Fairy. Can you see how it looks like a fairy sitting on a poppy stem? Can ya?

Here is Summer Stack - every time I work on this I marvel at how easy it is to work on. So why isn't it done yet???

And here is Chatelaine's mystery sampler. The stitching on it is really hard to see. I personally think I should have used a lighter fabric, but this is the one she recommended, and as I have never done one of her pieces before, I trust her judgment. The rest of the colors are more vibrant, and will show up much more clearly. I hope.

Teasers for next time...moon bounces, twins, Abster's favorite new toy and A Child was Born.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oh Happy Stash

I know, I know. I have been really bad about cross stitching lately. I truly love my hobby and I even belong to several cross stitching groups on the web, but I have simply not found the drive to put needle to linen lately...however...I have managed to considerably increase my stash! Sometimes I wonder if my real hobby isn't collecting stitching patterns.

Imagine how my pulse rose and my heart went pitter patter when I saw these waiting inside my storm door late last week.

Wait a minute. What is wrong with this picture? Hmmm...

Don't worry. Upon opening this package, all of the contents were found to be in perfect condition. I must say, I really like Janlynn as far as cross stitch companies go. This is what I ordered...

And this is what they sent me FOR FREE!!!

The same day, I also got my Dinky Dyes from ABC Stitch Therapy and the Teresa Wentzler Christmas Collection book I won on ebay. It was a happy, happy day.

Yay me. :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Houses, Babies and New York

As you may know, we are house hunting. Now maybe it is because I have already moved twice in the last 10 months, or maybe it is that we have an eight month old child who has decided that it is a lot of fun for all involved for her to learn to crawl, vocalize and cut teeth all in the same 48 hour time span, but the house thing is just not a lot of fun for us right now. It is necessary, though, in that if we do not move, Abster and her momma will spend most of her life in the car. Not good.

We are looking for a new home in Frederick, MD, which would put us equidistant (for the most part) from both of our jobs. We have found a few neighborhoods that we really like, and are only slightly shell-shocked by the prices of the homes. Originally, we dreamed of building a home there, but were quickly brought to reality when we realized that we could only do this if we occupied one room in the house and rented out the rest of it to a wealthier family. Hmmm...on to pre-existing homes it is. That being said, we have found some really nice ones that we like a lot, but since the market there is so soft, we have to wait until we get a contract on our townhome in Baltimore before we can write one in southern Maryland. That's all I have to say about that for now.

Our neighbors had their baby girl - we will call her Elster here. She is a very sweet, tiny bundle of gorgeousness. Everybody is just loving that she is here. Everybody but their dog, Baxter, that is. Having formally been the king of the roost, he is not too happy about being knocked off of his throne. Outwardly, he is handling it and adjusting the best that he can, but I can just see his little mind working on how he is going to regain his spot on the family bed and the family laps. This should be interesting.

The coolest part, in my opinion, about this new addition to the neighborhood is that I got to be there for part of the labor. Granted, I was not present for the sweaty, bloody, grunting part, I was there for the peaceful dilation under the influence of the almighty epidural. I stayed with momma for about six hours - just long enough to become jealous and want to go through this again myself. It is funny how the brain blocks out the horrors of labor and just makes you remember a blissful time of anticipation while being waited on hand and food by a nursing staff, family, friends, and doctors. I am ready! When do we start??? Just kidding...sorta.

Dan's weekend in NY with Sissy went well. They went to The Great Escape and did fun things like ride in Cinderella's coach (over and over and over again), the carousel (until Daddy had to get off because he feeling pukey), and the swings - one ride on each of these would have been enough, but Sissy has a stomach of steel and wanted to ride everything multiple times. Poor Daddy. Perhaps the funnel cake and soda was not such a great idea...

We have a new camera. I don't know how to download pics onto the computer from it yet. This is Daddy's homework for today. Hopefully, the next entry will be illustrated.

Where are my ruby slippers? I wanna go back...

We are back from the Land of Oz, and it was a great trip. Although some may say that Kansas is not one of the top vacation destinations on our humble planet, we find it vastly entertaining and heart warming. Dan held up remarkably well and really seemed to gel with the fam. That being said, my family is hard NOT to get along with. I am definitely one of the more difficult people to hang with, and the man married me!

Kansas is slow, warm and laid back. Driving across the country with my mom and my daughter, I could feel my shoulders loosening and my thoughts becoming more introspective and free-flowing the further we got from the east coast. There are certain things that a body knows are going to happen in the mid-west - two of those things being fishing and beer drinking. We did partake of those, yes we did.

Abigail got to meet her great grandpa and her nana (we will not call her great-grandma because it doesn't fit her. Nana she is and Nana she will always be). More than one of us was surprised by the vitality and earnestness she brought to Nana. She may be almost ninety, but she can hand jive better than most! Great fun was had on Shrine Park Road!

We camped out at Grandpa's. His house is airy and bright. It overlooks a pasture from one side and his second son's home from the other. Daddy is buried right down the road. Family gathers there (at Grandpa's or Ron's, not at Daddy's grave) and there have never been more lawnchairs, beer and, yes, fishing.

Speaking of fishing. We finally got out to see Brian's place - talk about huge! This is a child's paradise. Around every corner is flora and fauna to delight the eye. Lizards, birds, a dog, swimming pool, impromptu golf course, game room and pond. Who could ask for more?? I swear, they could turn it into a resort and charge people for the fun that we had for free! Who could turn down a homegrown beer koozie, made from carpet padding and duct tape. No one with half a brain, I tell you! Not only that, but we caught a lot of pond weeds!

Oh, yeah. There was a wedding. Cousin married a non-cousin (which is no small feat in Leavenworth, where everyone seems to be related to everyone else, somehow). It was fun, even though we had to pretend to be grown-ups.

And, finally, let me throw a shout out to Coop, who will do anything on a dare for money. 'Nuff said.

Monday, June 19, 2006

We Interrupt this Broadcast...

Just wanted to let all of our ravenous fans know that we will be out of town for the next several days. Abster and I are leaving on Tuesday to go to Mom's in Richmond. On Wednesday she (Mom, not Abster) will be having the other half of her epic dental surgery and we will be on the road to Oz on Thursday at the hiney-crack of dawn.

Dan will be kenneling Dakota (do we hear collective groans on her behalf?) We are not too happy about doing this, but our neighbors who normally take care of her are going to be just arriving home with their new baby and we felt badly asking them to care for our lovable pooch whilst adjusting to having a very small, yet needy human at home, so we did not ask and we are taking her to a doggy hotel. No doubt, WE will be the ones in the dog house when we get back.

Anyhoo, Dan will be leaving to meet us in Oz on Friday. He is flying back on Tuesday of next week and then Mom, Abster and I will begin our long drive back on Thursday or Friday, putting us back in Richmond late the next day and then I will likely recuperate there for a day before heading back up here with the little one. The only reason I would come straight back is if we had a contract on the house or something....

We will return in a week or two. If I can post from Oz, I will certainly do so. Otherwise, you will hear back from us around the 4th of July or so. Later, gators.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dan's Time of the Year

Sorry I have not written in so long. This has been a crazy couple of weeks. First of all, I took Abster and went down to Chester to help my mom out after dental surgery (hers, not mine). She came through it, humor intact, and was back in full "Gamma" mode just 24 hours later. Gotta love her stamina. There will be no pictures posted of this event, as I value my life.

Dan's birthday came next. The big three-two. The highlights of it were that I brought him Burger King to the office (which is exactly what he wanted, thank you) and that mom made him a chocolate cake, which was also consumed at the office. It needs to be stated that he did not bring even the tiniest piece home to share with the wifey and princess. Knowing his humungoid sweet tooth, mom had the foresight to make extra and we had some of our own at her house before I left! I should note that he did share the cake with his co-workers, so that is good.

Abster was more than happy to chew voraciously on the envelopes from his birthday cards and generally make it difficult to open his presents. He was glad she was there and they had fun. His fun was getting the presents and her fun was that every time he would open a gift, she would throw it on the floor.

The last of the big news is that little Abster is now occupying space on the planet in an upright position. Go, you crazy, sittin' girl, you! We are so proud. What is even cooler than that is that she sat on her own for the first time while she and I were in the Sears portrait studio getting surprise photos taken for Father's Day, so he will be getting a professional photo of his youngest babe's first upright moments. Kewl.

Don't ask about the stitching progress. Just don't ask. Worked a little on the Mirabilia piece. That's it.

Just a teaser for the next blog - we have been house hunting in Frederick and found something we may really like, our home in Baltimore is on the market, Dan and Sissy are spending the weekend together in Latham, NY (close to Albany) and I am attending a birth tomorrow. Later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

No One Likes a Soggy Book

My best friend visited me last week and we made the mistake of going back to the school where we both taught last year to see everyone. Talk about tugging at the heartstrings! If there was ever any doubt as to whether or not I would go back to teaching there next year, there's not one now. Thanks, Jenny. Now we have to pack up and move. All because you came to visit.

That being said, I have the best hubby in the world. He is willing to move nearly an hour southwest of here so that I won't have a horrible commute with Abster in the mornings. This, of course, means that he will be the one with the horrible commute. Actually, it is supposedly equidistant in time from both of our jobs, but his is longer miles-wise. My 35 mile commute is down back roads that only have one lane going in each direction. It is a beautiful drive through Loudoun County, VA which passes vineyards and large horse farms. The only problem is that if you get caught behind one of the farmers who happens to be out for a joyride on the John Deere, you are screwed. Oh well. Dan's commute will be 95% highway travel, so even though he is travelling almost 10 miles further, his drive will likely take less time. Plus, I will be the one in charge of dropping the Abster off at her daycare center in the mornings and picking her up in the evenings - so add a few more minutes there for us.

Aside from being able to return to my old job, and a slightly bigger salary than last year's, the other positives to moving to Frederick County are that we will not be living in the city and that we will be inhabiting a larger residence (read "single family home"!).

Getting a house ready to go on the market sucks. There's no way around it. And doing it while your 7 month old shows you how she can shriek at the top of her lungs for hours on end can sometimes prompt odd responses from the parental units.

A shout out to the best friend's hubby - let's call him....ummmm....Ed. I totally agree with you that, if you are taking a bubble bath and your book gets soggy, you should definitely call the wifey into the room so that she can rescue said book from the humid, bubbly splendor that is your own private paradise. Princess.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day and the Spider

I know, I know. You are just dying to see how far I have gotten on the cross stitch projects, right? Sadly, I have only made progress on one of them, and not that much. I am going to do better this week, I swear!

Before I get into the whole weekend story, I wanted you to see who I met on the back deck a few nights ago. Yes, the Godzilla of spiders! He survived a healthy dose of Windex! He is out there, Baltimorians. Watch out!

We went to Dan's parents for the long weekend. What a weekend. It was a long drive (seems like forever when you are sitting on a broken tailbone). Our first stop was 6 hours into the trip in Charleston, WV - not to be confused with the beautiful city of Charleston, SC - this was not nearly as picturesque! We stayed at the Holiday Inn by the river - they were kind enough to give us a big room on the end and provided a crib for the Abster. She did not like it. It was a nice enough crib, and the linens were clean, but I think she felt like it was a jail...

The next day, we picked up Sissy (in Charleston, where she stays with her mom at her grandparent's house) and headed on to Wellington, Ohio. Husbands out there, let me give you some advice, do NOT fall asleep whilst the wife is trying to get to a house that she has not been to in over a year on roads she does not know with two children in the backseat and pedophile truck drivers nearby (That is a whole other story, and one best left out of the blog. Suffice it to say that they are out there and taking a gander at the little ones whenever they can). It is not a good game plan.

Anyhow, after about an hour of backtracking (and so 6 more hours on the road on top of the 6 hours the day before), we finally made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Wellington. All of us were glad to get out of the car. They have a beautiful eight acre plot of land and, to the delight of all little girls out there, ponies! They have three ponies, a horse, and three cats. This was heaven on earth for Sissy. Saturday afternoon they hosted a big barbecue and had 40 people over. Sissy and Abster got to ride Rascal and fun was had by all. Abster also got to meet her uncles and a whole bunch of other people, so that was great too. Abster really enjoyed meeting Uncle Ronnie and just could not stop grinning at him and trying to touch him. He had been looking forward to meeting her, too, and it was a pretty special moment when they locked eyes.

By the way, I don't want any truck drivers out there to take offense at what I said earlier. But there is one of you who cruises the highways of the midwest looking at little girls while they are vulnerable and sleeping. You know who you are, and I do too!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mother's Day Rocks!

I have always been a holiday person. Every holiday is my favorite. Valentine's Day is great because we get the sparklies and the smell-goodies and the lacies from our husbands. They, in turn, get some small tokens of affection and a WHOLE lotta lovin'! Easter is fun because we have a small person in the house just old enough to be excited about it. This year was Sissy's first time starting to understand what Easter is all about - which for a three year old means dressing up in her "princess" dress and getting a basket full of toys and candy (we went easy on the candy, though). In fact, in her mind, going to church on Easter Sunday is just a way to gain an audience so she could twirl around in her dress. The people at Towson UMC were kind enough to make copious, kind comments and look awed in her presence. She responded by bestowing them with her sweet "princess" smile and twirling yet again. (It needs to be said here that she was picked up off of the ground more than once that day for her twirling endeavors.) May Day is fun because it is a reason to drink. There is also some historical significance to this day, however I do not think the average Joe knows what it is. But he does know, I can almost guarantee you, that you are supposed to drink on that day.

Chronologically, this brings us to the newest holiday on my calendar. Mother's Day. Having only produced my first child six months ago, this is my first time getting to celebrate this holiday Let me just say that it ROCKS! There is much attention, food preparation and gift giving on this day - all in my honor. How could a holiday be any more fun?? That being said, I am very fortunate to have a husband who spoils me rotten on such days. It all started out with me sitting straight up in bed at 10:00 - HOLY COW! I do not remember the last time my eyes stayed shut beyond 6:30. After an initial moment of panic (Why didn't the Abster call to me for her typical 6:30 feeding? What was wrong?) I realized that I could hear her and her Daddy playing downstairs. I got up and mozied on down to be greeted by four gifts on the mantle and a smiling hubby and baby. How nice! We had a light breakfast and then sat down to present the queen (that would be me) with her gifts. I used to be the princess, but Sissy currently owns that title. I digress. Gift number one was from the Abster. Daddy and Tiff (the best babysitter in the whole wide world - I am not kidding! She has twin girls and still finds time to come and watch our little one, and brings puppets to boot!) had staged a photo session of Abster in her mommy's current favorite outfit laughing hysterically at something unseen by the rest of us (which, it turns out, was one of the aforementioned puppets). Dan put this into a hinged frame. On the other side of the frame were handprints in clay of her little six month old paws. This is a precious picture, but you don't really get to see it here because it is on Dan's camera and so it is not on the computer.

I would have been happy with just this, but there were more gifts to open and I did not want to disappoint my family. So, on to gift number two. This one was from the dog. Dakota knows that I am a voracious reader, so she got me a gift certificate to Borders. Great gift. Perfect. 'Nuff said.

Gift number three was from Dan. It is an outfit from Coldwater Creek. Long, flowy white eyelet skirt and turquoise shirt. Very pretty. It fits and I will be modeling it for you in the near future, when it is warmer.

Gift number four was also from Dan. This was a stunning diamond pendant. It actually matches my engagement ring. It is, in my opinion, breathtaking. The picture does not do it justice.

So there you have it. My first official Mother's Day. The bar has been set very high, I must say. How is he going to ever be able to top this? How am I going to be able to do it justice on Father's Day? Guess I better get crackin'.

As a post script to this entry, I want to say that we are not overly materialistic people. Either one of us would be happy with a card and some heartfelt words, but ya gotta admit - gift are just so much fun to give and receive!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cross Stitching and My Other Addiction

Ok, so the Abster is 26 weeks old now and just a pound (or three, depending on the brand) away from crossing into the 6-9 month category for baby clothes. So, today I go downstairs and get the clothes out of storage that my cousin sent me. It is a box about as big as a 13 inch tv, so not too big or overwhelming, and she has the same taste in clothes as I do (Baby Gap, Gymboree, Little Me, etc.) so it is wonderful that she sends me this stuff when her daughter is done with it. It is all in really good condition and some of it still has tags on it! After I dragged the box out and re-washed everything in it, as it now smelled like it had been in a box for several months, and brought it all upstairs, I went to the basket and toybox full of new clothes that my mom, Dan's mom and I had bought for Abster. I laid it all out on the bed so I could start sorting through and organizing it. I think we have a problem.

This is a picture of part of the bed - the whole thing would not fit into frame, but you get the idea. My cousin's clothes are not even in this picture! Ummm...we live in a fairly small townhouse in the city and the closets are miniscule. Abster does have a changing table/dresser in her room, but it is not nearly big enough to fit all of this. The first step is admitting your addiction, right? Ok, here goes. I am addicted to buying clothes for my daughter. She cannot possibly wear all of the clothes that she has. Dan is going to kill me! Luckily, I have a kind neighbor who is going to come over and try to help me get this organized and put away. Also, she is 32 weeks pregnant with a girl, so she may end up just having to take some of this home for her daughter.

As promised, here are pics of how far I have come on the three cross stitch projects on which I am currently working. First of all, I finished A Child Was Born last Friday. Yay! Here it is, ready to go off to the framers tomorrow. The next time you see it, it will be framed and hanging up in her room!

Next, here is the beginning of Summer Stack. Obviously, I have a lot farther to go here, but working on this piece in almost exclusively overdyed threads is so much fun! I love the variation of the colors as I stitch along... I am doing this on 32 count hand-painted linen. The picture does not do it justice. It starts out a beautiful sunny yellow and then fades into a sea blue. Gorgeous fabric!

Finally, I just started The Petal Fairy. I am not even 100 stitches into it yet, but the fabric (32 count Lavender Bliss linen) is prepped and I have started the first color, which is the pale green part of the stem of the flower on which the fairy is sitting.

That's it for now. Gotta go work on the closet.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Baptism, Fairies and the Announcement

The Abster was baptised a couple of weekends ago. I am not sure why we thought this was so important, but we did. We had it done at the Methodist church we attend. It was a nice ceremony and we were able to incorporate the new godparents, Paul and Bonnie. They are not overly religious people - they believe in God, but they do not attend church or affiliate with one, but they are really, really good people and that is what matters to us. Here is a picture of all of us at the Baptism.

Yesterday was a good cross stitching day! I stitched all of "November" onto the Lizzie Kate announcement for Abster's room. Now all I have to do is the numbers part of the date and I am done! Hopefully, I will get it to the framers this weekend. I would love it if Dan would get me a gift certificate to The Stitching Post for Mother's Day, but I have dropped a lot of other hints, too so I guess we will see. The other hints all pretty much had to do with sparklies! I especially like Brighton pieces.

I took my neighbor, who is 32 weeks pregnant, to my favorite abovementioned cross stitch store to pick out something for me to stitch for her soon-to-be daughter's room. Rather than pick a traditional announcement, which sometimes tend to date themselves, she picked "The Petal Fairy" by Mirabilia. I am sooooo excited to start it! I have never done a Mirabilia piece, but they are my favorite. I also ordered the supplies to start Chatelaine Mystery IX. I will start that when I get them and then I will be working on three pieces at once!

Finished "Almost a Lady" by Jane Feather last night. It was pretty good! Logged it on to Frugal Reader today so someone else can enjoy it. I just love that website. It is really good for people who love to read, like me. Now I am reading "Night" by Elie Wiesel. Heavy stuff, but really engrossing. Hmmm...I feel another list coming on. I will start one of books I have read this year. They are numerous, but I at least remember the last few. They are all gone now - shipped out to other members of Frugal Reader for their enjoyment.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Goals, the Forklift and the Glasses

I am a list person. I like to have a list for just about everything. Books I want to read. Movies I want to see (although Netflix pretty much keeps that list for me). Names I want to give to children (I have way too many of these, so if you are lacking for names, just shoot me a comment and I will respond posthaste with copious suggestions!). Groceries we need to buy. Things we need to do around the house. Even what I need to pack for our trip to Kansas next month. But you know what I don't have a list of? Cross stitch projects that I want to finish. This list would be pages and pages long, I think, so I will just start with what I want to get done in May. This is a very short list.

  • Finish "A Child Was Born" (Lizzie Kate sampler)
  • Start "Summer Stack" (Waxing Moon Designs) and get it halfway completed
  • Chatelaine Mystery IX - get January and half of February done (just got the chart emailed to me today, so I have a lot of catching up to do here)
  • Start something for Andrea, our next door neighbor, and her baby

That's it. This is a very lofty list for me, as I also stay home and take care of a baby, a dog and a husband. :)

Speaking of my husband. Here is a funny pic of him from this past weekend. Notice anything kinda different? How about those glasses? Yep. They fell out of his pocket at work and got run over by a forklift. At least his face wasn't in them. I have to say that we got a pretty good laugh out of them when he got home and showed them to me. We weren't laughing so hard when we had to pay for the new ones at Lenscrafters on Saturday, though. They are kinda cool - a little trendy, but not too trendy. They are by DKNY (the unisex collection).

By the way, every Monday I want to post a pic of my cross stitch progress for the week, so here goes... I still need to put in the date, and then this piece will go off to the framers to be completed. Yay!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A well oiled machine

So, Dan and I have been married for almost seven months! I know what you are thinking..."A" is almost six months old. Yes, it's true, we got married when I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was not the most graceful bride, but I sure was glowing! After being together for nearly two years, we were thinking we were going to get married anyway, but we just decided to speed things along. It was a great decision. No regrets.

We do really well together. I appreciate his dry sense of humor and his attraction for me and he appreciates my level-headedness and kindness (who do I think I am fooling??). I guess some of his past relationships have not been with the most stable or affectionate of women. As I am both of those things, he is happy. Plus, we are both short.

We have a lot of things in common. We both LOVE to travel and have done so extensively, although a lot of it was before we met each other. I have lived in several different countries and state, thanks to my dad's job when I was young. Dan has visited several different countries and over 30 states! Together, we have been to (including lived in and visited) Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey and New York. We are going to Kansas in June (to visit my extended family) and we hope to hit Vegas sometime this year for a few days.

He is a younger man. I am 34 and he is 31. It works for us. What can I say? Also, he treats my dog like she is his - and she has gratefully adopted him as part of her herd of people. And I treat Dan's daughter, "S" like she is my own. Love her to pieces. We will call her Sissy from now on, since that is what she refers to herself as when she is around her little sister.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Trucks, the giraffe and Barqs

Woke up this morning feeling like a truck had hit me. When I went to bed last night, I felt fine. I have no idea where this came from. It is mainly body aches, stuffy nose and shooting pain in my left ear. Jeez. I hope "A" does not get it. I am going to try to get over this a naturally as possible since I am still giving "A" the boob juice. Just an ibuprofen here and there for the aches and to ward off fever.

I went into "A's" room to check on her during her afternoon nap yesterday and this is what I found. She has just recently become attached to this giraffe. It is kinda cute how her little fat hand keeps ahold of it even when she is sleeping.

Not much going on today except for a whole lot of laying on the couch and playing with the munchkin whilst feeling extremely sorry for myself. Luckily, Dan is a wonderful husband who came home from work and immediately took over the parenting gig - he does this every night and don't think I don't appreciate it, because that would be a gross misassumption on your part!

Gonna finish my root beer (Barqs rocks!) and go to bed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day

Did you know that today is May Day? Any idea what that means? Well, in a nutshell, it is International Workers Day. It is celebrated in every country but the U.S. and Canada, but the holiday started in the U.S. Does that make sense? According to, this holiday is what symbolizes the historic struggle for an 8-hour work day back in the 1800's. Obviously, the struggle worked, but lives were lost over it. If you want more info on it, go to - this is a free online encycolpedia. Being an English teacher, I love this website.

Ok, ok, I know. You want to know who I am and what I am all about. Well, I will get to all that eventually. Right now, all you need to know is that I am a Midwesterner who transplanted to the East Coast many moons ago. I have a new husband, Dan, a new daughter, "A" and a new stepdaughter, "S". We have a faithful and loving dog, "D" - wait, why do I have to protect the dog's identity? Her name is Dakota Marie. Yes, she has a middle name. Most midwesterners do.

My favorite hobbies are reading, cross stitching, scrapbooking, jewelry making, traveling and shopping - not necessarily in that order. In this blog, I will keep you updated on my escapades into these hobbies and occasionally share pics of my most recent endeavors. In fact, here is the cross stitch project I am working on now. It is a Lizzie Kate design for the newest addition to our family, who joined us in November. If you really, really like this design and think you might want to use it for your own offspring, or somebody else's, or maybe your pet fish, go to or you could go to your local cross stitch store and maybe get it there. If you don't have a local cross stitch store, you can use mine (I know, I know - incredibly generous of me - you will get that a lot here.) Their website is They can get just about anything for you and are happy to ship it. They did not pay me to tell you about them - I just really like that store a lot. Anyway, I am going to try to post pics of my current projects once a week. That way, I will feel pressured to work on them so that I don't keep posting the same picture of an uncompleted project every week and start getting frustrated comments from those of you who are bored enough to read about my cross stitching projects!

That's all for now folks. This momma is pooped.