Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Nursery Rhymes (with Curse - ery)

Well, the nursery is all put together. It wasn't easy, it wasn't fun, but hey, nobody got divorced.

(that might be because I waddled away when it started to get really loud)

The painting was done at the end of November, and looks fantastic - sky blue on top, and grass green on the bottom. We still need to apply the super-cute yellow-and-orange jungle animal decals to the walls, but otherwise, it's all set.

The rocking chair, bought second-hand from Laurel, was partially reupholstered a few months ago. Fabric, cushion, staple gun, go. No worries, especially for the Domestic Goddess. I wanted to make a cushion and some curtains, as well, but someone has issues with their sewing machine.

Ok, I'll admit it. It's me.

I used to sew so many of my own clothes (like my green dress! Who didn't love the green dress? The Amish LOVED my green dress...), but when I finished university, suddenly I started having problems with my machine. It was always loopy. The tension was off. It was frustrating and demoralizing. So I gave up sewing.

But, for the curtains, I knew I'd have to crack open the beast and give it the old college try. Procrastination, of course, helps one avoid an unpleasant situation, which brings us to Christmas Eve.

The crib had been put together a week or two before, and after several angry calls to Costco (we ordered it from their online site) to report damage, we decided that we could live with it (still waiting to hear about a discount on it), and opened up the dresser.

Which was pretty well destroyed.

We took it back to the warehouse, and ordered a new one online, hoping that it would arrive on time (tick tick tick!), then sat back to wait.

The new dresser arrived on the 23rd, and I decided to spend a pleasant afternoon assembling it. Kaff. Well, let's just fast forward to the afternoon of the 24th, when I finally broke down and asked for help. The door wasn't closing properly. The drawers kept falling off their tracks.

This is when I stepped away. By 11:55 pm, though, it was all finished, and we shared a Merry Christmas kiss.

AND THEN, on Boxing Day, I opened up the sewing machine. Nothing like facing the demons head on, right?

The first thing I did was call my sister, to have her walk me through the threading of the machine, since I figured that's where my problems lay. Turns out that my breaking the spool holder thingy as I opened the machine (oops) was the best thing I could have done - by using the auxiliary spool holder (Tracey told me all about it; she broke hers about 10 years ago and had been using the backup ever since), the first test line I sewed was perfect. So, the DG was off! Nothing would stand in her way!

The curtains are white flannellette, with a broad stripe of yellow flannellette on the bottom, distinguished by a ribbon of orange and yellow polka-dots (which matches the jungle animals perfectly!) - I even lined them. All without a pattern. I was pretty happy with them, and Chris was totally impressed. Go me!

And the room, it looks lovely.

Above, the crib, with the ducky quilt that Mom made.

Ooo... fancy, profesh-looking curtains
and matching chair! (I expect that the top cushion will shape itself as it gets used.)

Monday, 29 December 2008

Huff Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Our little family celebrated quietly yet extravagantly this year - Santa and family spoiled us without mercy, and even the Huffalump was spoiled, despite the fact that it's not here yet!

We slept in a bit, and were woken with a phone call from my parents, then staggered down to a breakfast of freshly-baked cinnamon buns, mandarins, and tea/coffee (will need to tweak the Christmas menu a bit for next year...for example, the candy group was missing in its entirety), then a nice bit of stocking opening, before tackling the too-much-generosity of gifts under the tree.

The afternoon flew by, with more phone calls to and from family, as I made an apple pie and Chris handled the meat and potatoes (and broccolis and carrots and -- yech -- turnips). Dinner was delicious; we had decided on a nice roast beast (that the Grinch himself carved), and it was amazing. Yes, even the turnip. After dinner, we played a round of Killer Bunnies, then waddled off to bed.

I doubt that next year will be as peaceful!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Week 37: Misty Watercolour Memories...

...of the way we were....

Ok, so what better way to show off the FULL TERM BELLY than to squeeze my girth back into the same outfit I wore in the first belly shot?

Ok, truth time: I'm too "thrifty" to buy new jammies, and the others were in the wash. But isn't it funny?

At left, me at 5 weeks, still ab-tastic, full of pep and vinegar, excited for the weeks ahead (ok, in reality, I cut my head out of the shot because of the shocked-and-appalled-what-the-heck-have-we-done look on my face).

At right, me last night, again with the head cut off, but mostly for comparison purposes. And also, my head is wrapped in a towel. A lot of the pep has subsided, but I still have THAT LOOK once in a while, trust me.

Chris thinks that I have "dropped", which means that, according to my multitude of books and references, labour is, at most, 4 weeks away. Kaff. Thanks, science! All I know is that I am even more intensely uncomfortable, ungainly, and unwieldy than usual, and I'd be happy with any day now!!! But, we wait.

In other, uncomfortable, topics of discussion, people with class, etiquette, and good sense, please stop reading now.

Several people have asked whether we are registered or not.

(embarrassed sigh)

First, let me say that we got ourselves (ok, Chris got ME) into this mess (ha ha), and we're not doing the baby shower or gift request thing at all. We've already picked up all the must-haves, mostly thanks to the generosity of already-parents who have passed on their gently-used stuff! BUT, for the purpose of the people that HAVE asked us to (can you picture me typing this with a bag over my head?), we have registered at Babies 'R' Us. And aside from that, books or 3-month-plus outfits would be welcome, but really, really, really not necessary.

/end embarrassing greedy/mercenary bit

(head is still hung with shame)

Mostly, as we proceed (onwards!), I'd really appreciate the gift of staying in touch with my family and friends, even if I'm not the one picking up the phone or sending the letters/emails - please bear with me/us over the next little while, and don't give up on me!

Friday, 12 December 2008

You asked for it

Ok, against my better judgement, I'm posting these shots. Those who are prone to nightmares, you've been warned!

I give you:

THE GINGERBREAD MEN! (dun dun dun)

Chris' interpretation resembles a demon with glowing red eyes:

And this is my creation, a screaming banshee:

Sweet dreams!

Monday, 8 December 2008

DG: Gingerbread House

In an effort to festive up the House of Huff, Her Huffness decided to purchase a gingerbread house kit. As a child, I used to make one of these from scratch (well, from graham crackers), and I remember it being a lot of fun, easy to do, and delicious to eat, a month later, when the whole thing is rock solid and needs a hammer to break it and really good teeth to eat it with.

So, why not? (I have good teeth.)

I picked up the kit at Costco, and decided to research as much as I could before I started to build it - I didn't see the instructions at first, so I went to the Create A Treat website, watched the instructional video (hosted by a 10-year-old boy, so I was sure I'd be successful!), and checked out the gallery.

Obviously, one picture stands out from all the rest. I figured that, if three grown men could have this much fun decorating a gingerbread house, the weekend was sure to be a blast. I mean, what could be more fun on a Saturday night???

I forwarded the picture, enthusiastically, to His Huffness, who replied back that he would be glad to help out. Note the keen-yet-somewhat-pained smile on my helper.

Well, it didn't quite match the hilarity of the guys in the gallery, but we did ok. Chris was in charge of the front of the house, and I was in charge of the back. There "may" have been a bit of profanity during the initial stages, but we ended up doing quite a bang-up job of it, if I do say so myself. Afterall, with gingerbread house art, really, if you mess something up, stick another gob of icing on it, and cover it with candy. Done.

We also each fashioned a very creepy, scary-looking gingerbread man, which are somewhat nightmare-inducing, so I've spared my readers of any photos.

All in all, though, aside from the decorative aspect, the best part of this project is that my living room now smells like gingerbread. And now we start the countdown to when the house is fair game as a snack...

In other news, I had my 35-week checkup on Friday. The Huffalump is still floating head down, and other than the doctor refusing to say out loud, "Why, that's the most streamlined, smallest-headed baby I've ever palpated!", everything went fine. I'm as healthy as a horsie, and we just need to wait till the 'lump engages itself and decides to make an appearance. I have a feeling that the gingerbread house may be long gone by then.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Week 35: Seriously, now.

We had our first real snowfall last night. It was beautiful, an icing-sugar snow that Chris was able to just sweep off the driveway this morning.

I was picking up baking supplies in Trevor (and yes, of course I played with the handbrake, but there wasn't enough snow or ice yet... patience...), and admiring the Christmas lights, and of course, what should come on the radio but "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

Needless to say, I was a wreck by the time I got home.

Despite the sobs, the Domestic Goddess managed to bake a double batch of cherry-coconut macaroons, freeze 6 dozen of them, clean up, and help around the house a bit before I fell into bed. Well, before I hefted myself up into bed, anyway.

The renovations are almost done! The painter comes in today, so in another week, tops (fingers crossed!), maybe I can build a crib and dresser or something. It doesn't look like I'm very pregnant, does it?

Speaking of that, everybody into the pool! We've developed a nice little baby pool for the Huffalump, with scoring and a well-formatted spreadsheet and everything, so start emailing in your guesses on:

  • Date (my estimated due date is January 7th)
  • Time (to the closest hour)
  • Sex (50/50 chance!)
  • Length (in inches)
  • Weight (in lbs and oz)

The prize, so far, is bragging rights, but we're open to suggestions!

Original artwork on the wall is by my Very Talented brother-in-law, Ryan.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


We had a great time at prenatal class last night - aside from the discussion topic, which was postpartum and quite disturbing.

But they had an "empathy belly"!

They asked for volunteers, and Chris was the first one with his hand up. Sure, some might argue that I lifted it for him, but really, who's counting?

After he signed a waiver (hey, I don't remember signing any waivers!), the instructor had him stand up and take a deep breath in, then out. At the bottom of his exhalation, she wrapped a tight elastic around his chest, to make sure that he couldn't get a full breath in. Then she strapped on a very silly-looking contraption that weighed 33 lbs, complete with boobs, a big belly, and a weight that presses into your bladder.

The "volunteer" had to walk around picking up laundry (very awkwardly), lie down for a "nap", roll over (that alone was worth it!), get up, sit down, tie his shoe, and then stand up without using his hands.

I think it was a very good experience for him... and I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

Honestly, though, don't you think he looks sort of like Mrs. Doubtfire naked?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

A weekend in Montana / Belly out, 33 weeks

Another long weekend, gone, frittered away frivolously...but how fabulously!

We drove down to Whitefish, Montana for a 4-day r&r with Scott, Jenn, and the angel baby, Graydon.

Montana was lovely – well, the part we saw, which was a) the inside of the cabin, which was delightful and always had a nice crackling fire, even in the middle of the night, which scared the bejeezus out of us, since it had gone out 3 hours before and somehow started itself back up 10 times better than it had been when we were actively (ok, passively) tending it, and 2) the inside of box stores, which were also delightful in their own way.

We didn’t manage to go hiking, though Chris somehow got up for a run on the day we left (I lied – HE didn’t freak out about the sudden blazing fire at 2 am – he also didn’t imagine that there was a mass murderer in the cabin – he also suggested that if I was so concerned about it, I should go check it out, and then promptly fell back asleep. Anyhoo), which impressed the rest of us to bits.

The menfolk were the cooks, which was awesome (with the small exception of the waffles, but we can overlook that), and they also somewhat graciously conceded defeat on the last game night (even if they got all the hard questions. Kaff) (though some might say that they were unbearably smug during all of their other victories). I'd like to add, however, that if I sit down at a game and declare that I have no strategy and/or spatial orientation skills, I shouldn't be mocked for my performance at said game. Even if nobody focuses on me and I end up pretty much playing by myself, and still end up losing. So there.

The belly, somehow, is still growing.

At right, you see me in my mouse pyjamas, late last night, trying not to disturb the intrepid adventurer upstairs.

And again, the hall paint really, really isn't as bad as it photographs.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Things That Suck

Alberta-philes, close your eyes.

We have only lived in this godforsaken province for 11 months (minus 3 days), but we have agreed that it sucks. When we decided to make this move, a big selling point was that an awful lot of people seem to move here, and end up staying forever. How bad could it be?


The cost of living is ridiculously high. Come on, we're in MEDICINE HAT, not some thriving metropolis, or even some small-but-cool area that people would go to visit. We make oil and gas, but it's more expensive here than in Ontario. It has a pathetic assortment of restaurants, at which you get lousy, lousy service, and the food is always hit or miss. People are uneducated. They're rich, because you don't need to finish high school to start working in gas and oil and pulling in $100K plus a 18. They're ignorant. They're rude.

Mostly, though, they just don't care.

This is true of our visits to Calgary and Edmonton, too. Too many idiots with too much money, with stupid, giant, gas-guzzling trucks that drive too fast, tailgate you, cut you off, talk too loud, and generally think that they're better than you.

Today's rant is sparked by an ongoing struggle to get laminate flooring installed. We need the flooring installed before we paint. We need to paint before we set up the baby's room. What should have been done well over a month ago -- simply enough, one would think -- has taken way too long to even get an installation date (it took 14 days to estimate the cost, after they measured, and then another 14 days to order in the supplies). But, they even called on Wednesday to CONFIRM they were coming out to install it today! Somehow, though, they didn't think to call to CANCEL it when they decided NOT to come out to install it.

Which means: all of the furniture that was on the carpet in our living room, hallway, landing, and master bedroom (quite a bit, all together) is piled up in the kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and upstairs bedrooms. We moved it ourselves, and I don't know if we should move it back while we wait for them to return any of the 75 cranky phone messages we left to reschedule, or leave it, since I'm not getting any less pregnant. We slept in the guest room last night, and had to rummage around in various piles to find our clothes, since we took the drawers out to make the dressers lighter. It also means that Chris took the day off work to be there, since they required someone to be home for the whole time. To sum up: not only is there a tv stand in the bathroom (the tv is still on the wall, alas), but there is a Very Cranky Man in my house, and I expect he will stay there until we get flooring, whenever that is.

We've called the Head Office of ISO Installations (oh yes, I'm naming names!!!). We've called their customer service line. We've called their Calgary office, which was in charge of the installation. We've called Home Depot. And nobody has called us back. The best we got was at Home Depot, where a real person, at least, said that she'd pass the message on.


I think I know why people stay here. They stop caring, too. They start to think that this is normal, that this is what it's like everywhere, or maybe that they don't deserve any better, and hey, there's no PST.

It's not enough.

But nobody's there to listen, and if they don't listen, nothing can change.

/end rant

(for now)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Once a Halloweenie, always a Halloweenie

Who likes Halloween more than I do?

Nobody, that's who!

This year's costume was a bit of a logistical challenge, for obvious reasons. At right, you'll find my full-day-at-work-and-then-a-party-that-night costume. Not offensive, not ill-fitting...

However, there was no way that I couldn't share my Parade of Ill-Advised Halloween Costumes with you.

Hope you appreciate the selection of costumes that I considered... sensitive readers, please be warned that you may not like what you see. I apologize in advance for offending anyone's sensibilities.

Sport Barbie: briefly considered.

Hmmm... it's fine from the back...

Whoa! Maybe a little more time should be spent on your abs, sister.

How about a Renegades Cheerleader? It fit last year....
Nope, still seems wrong, somehow. Go team?

The Olivia Newton John Let's Get Physical costume is a flashback to the early 80s, and also my first year at CNA (2002?), when I was the only one in costume, of 85 people! This look just wasn't working this year... but wow, lycra sure can stretch!

I admit that there was one more. For a work luncheon on Wednesday, I decided to just go with it, and hope that others' senses of humour would keep me from being lynched.

Possible captions include The Smoking Nun and Bad Habits. Now, usually, I publicly humiliate for a whole lot less... ok, free... (see above), but I won $50 for Best Costume!

I had really tried to do proper recon ahead of time to make sure that there were no "secret nuns" working at the base, and I was assured there were not. Unfortunately, the first person I saw was the padre.

We handed out candy to 14 kids last night. Ordinarily, I'd be disappointed by such a low turnout, but then, I take a moment to reflect on how much candy we have left... Aaaah.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful Halloween!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Week 29: The more it grows, the more it keeps on growing

(tiddly pom)

Obviously, Milo's bull was much lighter than a Huffalump. I haven't even attempted a chinup in ... 2 months... and I've decided to drop pushups-from-my-toes from my repertoire, as well. I'll use the excuse of my 2-inch range of motion - by the time I bend my elbows 10 degrees, the belly is on the floor.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Vampire-types be damned!

To start with, I’m all for the medical system. They do good stuff, and I think it’s good to have reassurance that nothing’s wrong.

SIDE RANT #1, involving my belief that if there are no signs, symptoms, or family history of complications, perhaps the mother should be allowed to say “no” to extra tests, especially when they involve needles, and, subsequently, lots of stress. (And yes, technically, I have that right. But the “encouragement” from the doctors, and the “direct orders” from El Husbando always make me think that yes, this is a good idea, or at least not worth the battle.)

So, a few weeks ago, the doctor gave me a form for my glucose tolerance test. No big deal, I was told; you just drink a very icky orange drink, sit for an hour, and get a little finger-prick. Fine.

So I went to the lab on a Friday afternoon, and brought a book with me. The orange drink was just like a very sweet – and quite tasty – orange pop…for the first half of the bottle. Given only 5 minutes to drink it all, I came out of the gate too strong, and had to talk myself through the rest. Bubbles = bad. Too sweet = bad. So, there I am, feeling icky and bloated and you know when you can feel your breath getting worse, because you’ve just poured a ton of sugar into your mouth, and you’re not allowed to rinse it, and I have a moderately-interesting book, but my other option is Oprah… it was a long hour. (It would have felt shorter if I was properly informed – I find that dreading something makes it come faster.) Anyway, they called me in to take a vial of my precious life fluid, instead of just pricking my finger, I was not only sleepy, dopey, icky, and foul, I was in a biting mood.

But, it was over with. Done. With only minimal emotional scarring.

AND THEN (dun dun DUN)…

I went in for a routine checkup at the Mat Clinic (and brought Chris along for fun), and the doc gave me another testing form… for the fasting, 2-hour glucose tolerance test. My initial numbers came in just 0.3 below the “you have gestational diabetes” cutoff. My first concern, of course, was that, since Chris was a witness to this, that I wouldn’t be able to pretend everything was fine/shirk future needles. My second was MORE NEEDLES!

SIDE RANT #2, involving the fact that a) you don’t give a hypoglycemic 75 g of dextrose and then make her sit still for an hour. That’s just dumb; and 2) if I have gestational diabetes, the whole system is broken, since the treatment for GD is eating pretty much the way I do, exercising often, not gaining too much weight, etc. and my only recourse would then be to stop everything I’m doing, and sit on the couch with bonbons, in protest.

I booked the day off on Thursday, stopped eating on Wednesday at 9 pm, and got to the hospital, weakly, at 8 am, where they promptly took my blood. I pulled out my knitting and sat…and sat… and was finally given the orange pop at 9 am (they needed to test the sample before I got to drink it, for some reason). So, I sipped and sat… and sat…and knitted…and sat, and eventually, about 7 hours later, an hour had passed, and I got to go give another blood sample.

SIDE RANT #3, involving the fact that yes, student nurses need to learn on someone, but why does it always have to be meeeee?

This one hurt. A lot. I tried to keep the sad little whimpering noises to myself, but didn’t do a very good job of it. And then I went back to the waiting room to sit… and knit… and sit sit sit sit. (and did I like it, you ask? Not one little bit!). Four days later, the third hour of the two-hour test had passed, and I got called up for my last stabbing. I proffered my previously-poked-but-not-as-hurty arm, and they took the last sample. And then booked me for an appointment with a dietician for Friday.

SIDE RANT #4, involving the fact that I was booked for an appointment with someone who may or may not be a registered dietician, that barely answered any of my questions (and when she did, it was with rote answers), that was a vegetarian, AND that referred to herself at least three times in the third person (I ask you!)… but mostly, I’m upset that I was sent for this meeting BEFORE the test results came back.

YET ANOTHER SIDE RANT, involving the fact that, after the results came in, right at the beginning of our appointment (and came in at the low end of normal, thank you very much), I still had to sit through the “consultation”, in which I was told that my one sip of juice-mixed-with-water every morning (quality control for Chris’s juice) is too much, and I should cut it out. Also, vegetarian athletes consistently perform better than meat-eaters… (I’d LOVE to see that reference.) I have no problem with health professionals telling me what to do, as long as they are more qualified/educated than I am. And don't refer to themselves in the third person. Grr.

So, this human pincushion looks like a crack addict. I have track marks and bruising (one elbow looks like I’ve been vampired, and the other is just one giant bruise), and all for nothing. Don’t tell me it’s for peace of mind! My mind was already at peace! More importantly, my elbows were both at peace, and I had lots of blood.

Mumble grumble…

Monday, 13 October 2008

Domestic Goddess Channels the Urban Peasant

The DG recently returned, with colours flying, to expose Chris to the wonders of the Urban Peasant.

I was given his (James Barber's) Fear of Frying book at Christmas, a few years ago, by my mom.
The secret of life: all you need is an electric frypan and a bit of wit, and you can make fabulous meals for yourself and all your hippie friends!

Even if you don't cook, it's readable as just a book, in a really neat style - a write-up on one page, describing where he came up with the recipe, or who he spoke to when making it, or even an amusing anecdote that's completely unrelated, and then a comic-book style for the actual recipe. It's not an easy-read, easy-to-follow format, by any means, since the characters in the comic strips often talk back or have conversations, which, again, have nothing to do with the recipe. Also, the cat (as cats do) often has some points to add. I love this book.

All this to say that I subjected my dear husband to Garlic Chicken - possibly the garlickiest chicken he's ever had.

I heated up 2 tbs (ish) of canola oil in a frypan, and added 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces. After they browned (5 min), I tossed in 15 cloves of garlic (yikes! you say, and rightly so, but the secret is to separate them, but not unwrap them), cooked until their skins were transparent. I squeezed the juice of 1/2 a lemon over top, salted and peppered it all, stirred it for a while, then covered it for 10 minutes. That's it. We pipped the soft, sweet garlic out of its skins, and spread it on slices of baguette, so that we were equally garlicky.

The last instructions say to "eat it out of the pan, with cheap red wine, a green salad, spanish music, fingers, and friends".

We did.

One of the comic strip characters lifts his nose in the air and says, "it's not gourmet, y'know". The others say, "but it's marvellous."

It is.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Week 26: And Leon's getting llllarger!

(Oh, Airplane, is there anything you don't have a quote for?)

Ok, so at right, I stand at 26 weeks. (I expect that, over the next little while, I will be leaning, or supported from falling over!)

The Huffalump is becoming more and more active by the day (and night), and its newest skill is hiccups. We're obviously dealing with a Very Advanced Fetus here. It can also wedge a limb up under my ribs, which isn't as cute, and it's laying the smack down on my abdominal wall with increasing force.

New nicknames include Kicky McFidget, Pele (soccer star), Nadia Comaneci (due to gymnasticky flippiness and a recent trip to Romania), and Kung Fu Panda.

My energy level (despite the beatings) is still high - I've been feeling quite good for the past 4 weeks, and am a bit worried about the dreaded 3rd trimester fatigue, which is apparently caused by my blood volume reaching maximum capacity, which sounds pretty cool, actually.

Preparation-wise, since my ticker now counts me as being in the double digits (98 days left as of today), can I just say, AAAAAAAAAAA! This baby will arrive with diapers and a few stuffed animals, but I think we need to get on the ball. Maybe next week.

STOP RIGHT THERE! It's time for another Random Foot Check!
As you can see, the toesies are still visible, but I'm sure it'll be a different story by this weekend!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Week 24: Slimming Secrets of the Stars

With swimsuit season just around the corner, there are always concerns about getting into shape for photoshoots and random paid appearances.

I have taken a poor, unfortunate soul desperately in need of a makeover (at left), and will show you how my the Triple-A system (Adjusting your Attitude with Accessories!) can reveal the gorgeous creature you see at the right.

Phase 1 - striking a jaunty pose.
Phase 2 - sucking in rounded cheeks.
Phase 3 - it's all about the sunglasses.
Phase 4 - involved a fake tan, but obviously we didn't get that far.

So, yep, this is me in my maternity swimwear (shudder) at 24 weeks. The Huffalump (who may be the Champ's love child, judging by the strong kicks and the flurry to the solar plexus that I got last night (Chris even took a punch in the jaw!)) seems to be doing well... and active.

I tried swimming yesterday at lunch, in an effort to reduce the beating that my body's been taking at the gym lately, and decided that it's just not worth it, at least not on the days that I've taken the time to straighten my hair.

However, on the plus side, I didn't get harpooned.

Karen Explains Everything

On the 35-minute drive in to work each day, my mind has time to wander.

It really is a beautiful drive - rolling prairies (ok, they roll somewhat flatly), fields of cows, horses, antelopes and llamas, and the occasional coyote all make for interesting conversation starters.

I realized this morning, as I gazed upon some gorgeous antelopes, why animals are always so beautiful.

They eat well and exercise on a daily basis, resulting in beautiful lines and lean, rippling muscle.

And WHY do they live like this?

It's because they're naked!
Most wild animals don't have access to flowy skirts or distracting accessories, so they need to work extra hard to stay in shape, for esthetic reasons.


Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Week 23 Photoshoot

What with all the paparazzi, it's amazing that I'm able to get any work done at all, and that the Huffalump is able to perfect its kung-fu master skills...which it has. I could SEE the kicks last night. Yikes.

But anyhoo, it's good to know that everything looks fine (and irresistably cute!) and that the "little" one is growing well.

The adorable profile is still adorable! Awwww...

Monday, 8 September 2008

Sleep all day/Ralph all night

The adventures of the PDD (Perpetual Designated Driver) are in full swing!

This past weekend, I, the award-winning wiff (well, I SHOULD win an award!) banked enough sparkly things points to get me a full diamond tiara and matching drop earrings.

I went straight to bed at about 4:30 on Friday afternoon, for a wee nap. I woke up at 7:30, with my husband innocently looking at me and saying, “well, I would have woken you up sooner, but I figured that if you had a really long nap, you’d be able to stay up later tonight”. Ah. How… sweet.

We got to Ralph’s at 9 pm, for a combination going-away party and two birthdays. Ralph's Texas Bar and Steakhouse (actual motto: Life’s too short to go anywhere else) is a giant restaurant / sports bar / dance hall, specializing in country music and, apparently, shooters. By the time we arrived, the Medicine Hat All-Star Drinking Team (they even had matching t-shirts) was well oiled (they apparently started just as I lay down for my nap, to give you an idea), and the country tunes were a-blarin’. I drank heavily (water…water…water…), feeling quite inappropriate and out of place. This was partially due to my sobriety (which I’m still getting used to…not to mention that I was probably the only one at Ralph’s who wasn’t drinking!), and mostly due to the fact that, at 5 months pregnant, what the heck am I doing at a bar???

But I talked, I laughed, I two-stepped with two different men (getting the hang of it, but will need more practice!), and made it to about 12:30 before I decided that I really had to go home, not being drunk or anything. So I gathered up my Boozy Smurf, and headed for bed. Oh wait, no I didn’t. (I thought I had been smart, when, at dinner, I made sure there was enough leftover grilled cheese to soothe the hunger of a savage beastie, and prevent a stop “on the way home” for post-bar snacks. No dice.) We drove ALL THE WAY to Wendy’s for junior cheeseburgers. And then to bed.

Saturday was equally exhausting. An early morning phone call (hi Jenny!) got me up and… well, in front of Saturday morning tv (we got cable last Wednesday – it’s like a whole new world has opened up to me… for example, I watched an episode of Zoe 101. Kaff) until I roused the dragon for breakfast, which was at noon. The ‘lump wanted French toast, so we went to Perkins (yes! They have a Perkins in the Hat!) and greased ourselves up, then undertook 4 hours of comparison shopping for stereos, cribs, freezers, strollers, and towels. It was too much information, sensory input and excitement, and I was a zombie before we left the second store… and then I dragged my swollen self around after Chris for 3 more hours. Luckily, every store had a furniture section, which I made use of, by “testing” ottomans, sofas, recliners...while Chris did the work.

I was granted a 1-hour nap, before getting up and getting ready for – where else – Ralph’s again! Another birthday, but this one involved a steak dinner first (yay!) before the round after round of shooters. It seemed to be the same playlist as the night before, and I was able to go two-stepping again - and I think I’m improving! We stayed out till 1:30, then went back to another couple’s house so that everyone (else) could keep partying – I was propped up on a sofa with lots of pillows…and a glass of water…) and finally got home at about 2:30. What a wiff!

On Sunday, I suggested that we go to Ralph’s again, since we were on such a roll. I was denied.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Day 153: Beginning to suspect something

Dear Diary,

Something is definitely going on. Despite continued workouts, my previously-flat stomach has disappeared almost completely, and I find that it becomes more and more distended by the day.

Possible theories that I have considered include:

  • Having accidentally swallowed a balloon. I initially hypothesized that my arch-nemesis (and Sandwich Maker), 'Fis', had placed an uninflated balloon in my lunch, and was slowly filling it up with air by encouraging me to drink ginger ale, since my stomach wasn't feeling very good for the first few months. Yes! Bubbles from ginger ale! THAT would inflate it!!! The option was discarded; after all, I haven't had ginger ale lately, and it seems to continue to grow.

  • Increased caloric intake leading to insane rate of waistal expansion, to the point that skin is stretched taut across the bulbous protrusion. Flaws in this theory: that there may have been some more fried and salty foods initially, but that appetite has slowed down a great deal in the last 8 weeks.

  • Hernia. A very, very large hernia is causing this odd bulge in my abdominal wall. True, I have partaken in heavy-lifting-and-straining activities in the past, but with my current low levels of energy, the lifting I now do is but a ghost of what I did before. I seem to be constantly out of breath (alas! I have turned into that most foul of beings, the mouth-breather!). Curses.

  • A tumour. This, for quite a while, seemed to be the most likely answer. The rate of growth has not slowed, and the disproportionate expansion of the waistline only indicates that the condition is localized. Initial medical evaluations do not indicate malignancy, however.

  • Possession. This, I fear, is the explanation. The ever increasing...well, it can only be described as "activity" within makes me worry that I am housing some kind of wee beastie in my abdomen.* Yes, yes, laugh if you must; I would have laughed with you 21 short weeks ago, but now I believe that at some point, I will release some kind of red-faced, screaming demon into the world. And lord help us all.

I am concerned that this, whatever it is, will continue to grow, unabated, until I reach cartoonish proportions. I beg of you, please remember me as I used to be, not the caricature that I am quickly becoming.

* still suspect Fis' involvement, however.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Moving Milestones

Ok, I would never in a million years forgive myself if I didn't write this down somewhere... or actually, this might be ok, so that the second child (if second child occurs) never gets a chip on its shoulder about not getting the same level of documentation as the first.


I've been feeling the Huffalump flippety-floppeting inside me since 13 weeks and 2 days, which is pretty early, apparently, but I hadn't felt any substantial movements other than that... until Tuesday (Aug 19 - 19 weeks, 6 days) - I got a very deliberate poke... poke poke... very cool.

The next day, after lunch, it was running laps in there (I told Chris that it felt like having a Very Excitable Rat in a kangaroo pocket, which to those that know how much I like rats, is really a good thing...).

AND THEN last night (Saturday, Aug 23), we were watching a movie, and I got a good thump. So Chris put his hand on my belly, and he felt it too! Totally awesome.

Misty moment.

I'm ok now.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Belly hai - 20 weeks

In my defense, this was taken at 10 pm, which is about 2 hours past my bedtime. Long day, involving work, the gym, a doctor's checkup (Chris got to hear the 'Lump's heartbeat! It had a funky house sound to it, and he swears that there's a Prodigy song with the same beat), a step class, one last night of backsplashing... why, it would make a non-pg person tired!

So, all this to say, please don't zoom in on this shot. Please.

DG: Project BS Part Deux

Zee backsplash, it is complete!

And GORGEOUS, if I do say so myself. It adds a certain cachet, a je-ne-sais-quoi to the kitchen, and totally brings out the colour of the cupboards and of the steel appliances. Yay, me!*

Photo: the tiles are all up, and the adhesive is curing for 24 hours. Note that the section on the left (which will be hidden below the stove, of course), was much easier to do and looks much nicer than the other bit. But it still looks lovely!

The next step involved grouting - a very, very messy step. I smooshed muddy stuff between all the cracks, and smoothed it in with the aforementioned grout float. After about 20 minutes (ok, much longer!), I wiped the tiles of excess grout. Last night, all of the tiles were polished individually, and ridded of the last bit of haze.

Below, the action shot of the finished project. You'll have to provide your own sound effects. Might I suggest, perhaps, an "oooooh" followed by an "aaaaaah"? (in retrospect, I would have neatened up the tea towels before filming...too late now)

* to be fair, I allowed my helper monkey to help with the wiping and polishing of the tiles, which was quite time consuming. Thanks, helpful husband!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

DG: Project BS

So, the Back Splash has been a long time coming. Perhaps due to fear of making a mistake, perhaps due to lack of knowledge of how the heck tiling works, or perhaps due to laziness... either way, I finally undertook this "weekend project" last weekend.

At left, the before shot. If I hadn't taken that picture, I wouldn't believe that it's my kitchen. It is not very often that the counter is that neat and clean, but anyway.

Phase I: Mental Preparation/Accumulation of Supplies
I did the requisite research on the web (to the Internet! Away!), printed out 2 sheets of terribly insufficient instructions, went shopping at Home Depot, peeked at their Tiling 123 book, noted that it was $29, decided to wing it, bought spacers, adhesive, a wall trowel and a grout float (which really is a lot of fun to say) and was all ready to go.

... this was three weeks ago.

Phase II: The Renting of the Tile Saw
This is actually a surprisingly intimidating step, in which you are openly, publicly committing to do this project in the next 24 hours, or die trying. Also, it's heavy. And the guy didn't want to give me the manual to take with me - he wanted me to initial the little box that said "instruction manual declined" - no way. True, it wasn't very helpful, but still! I brought the manual home.

Phase III: The Changing into Tiling Gear
One can't tile in designer labels, you know. I switched into ratty gym shorts (they still fit) and a large-yet-ratty tank top.

Phase IV: The Actual Tiling
The instructions say that you shouldn't apply more adhesive than you can cover with tiles in 45 minutes. I did them one better. I applied almost enough adhesive for one tile. It stuck. It looked good. It boosted my confidence, so I applied some more.

AND THEN I had to cut some tiles. (Keep in mind that I didn't choose an intricate pattern; that would be silly. I simply chose a size of tile that wouldn't stick perfectly to my wall, go around three inconsistently-spaced outlets and cabinets without any trimming, which, in retrospect, was my second mistake. My first was not hiring someone with skill to do this for me.)

Saws are generally loud and scary things, especially ones that have a water tray, plug into the wall, are in my kitchen, and are being operated by someone in garden gloves who honestly is not qualified to even wear garden gloves, let alone operate a tile saw.

The important thing, at the end of the day, is that I still have all of my fingers. It matters not that I have a half-finished backsplash to show for my efforts, nor that now I have to spend all NEXT Saturday finishing up with the tricky bits... also, nor that the pressure is REALLY on to finish it next Saturday so that I can grout (with the float) on Sunday.

Actually, all that matters is that, even only half done, the beauty and wonder of my backsplash makes the lino on the floor look cheap and insipid... so I guess that'll be the next project.


Thursday, 7 August 2008

Huffalump's 18-week Photoshoot!

Well, the time is "flying"... ok, no it's not. I'm still quite tired all the time (but still making it to the gym), out of breath (I'm turning into a mouth breather), and crampy (the Huffalump likes to stretch out, I think).

But the cat is out of the bag. People, especially at the gym, are confident in coming up to me to ask when I'm due, which means that, in fitted clothes anyway, I'm out of the "just looks fat" stage. Yay!

Back to the baby: the Huffalump did a fantastic job at its 18-week ultrasound. It flipped and flopped (obviously a natural for "action shots") for the first little while, then settled down for the glamour shots.

At right, the Huffalump has settled down and sucks its adorable little thumb, all curled up. All together now: Awwwwww.

At left, s/he strikes a pensive, wistful pose. Of what does the Huffalump dream? Perhaps another cookie for mom? How could I say no to that face?

Obviously, I'm incubating a future Derek Zoolander, or perhaps a Cindy Crawford (no, we didn't find out!).

No gas fights* for you, young Huffalump! But maybe a walk off wouldn't be out of the question...

*"If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it's that a male model's life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident."

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Week 17: Yikes

Ok, seriously. The belly is getting bigger by the second.

My sister warned me that she was wearing maternity clothes by week 20. Um, I've been wearing them since week 15. I just relegated the Last Remaining Pair of Normal Pants to the basement. Sigh. Thank goodness for Value Village, though!

Shout-out: my mommy-friends have been very generous with sharing books and resources with me.

These are the books I bought when I discovered the Huffalump's existence:

And THESE are the books I have now!

Thanks to the girls (Jess, Jenny and Jennifer) - I'm loving them all!

Cedric does Calgary

SO...Cedric, who was still pretty upset about being left behind for both the Huffintastic X-Country Adventure AND the trip to Napa, kindly (yet gruffly) accommodated my request to come on my long road trip to Calgary.

I was all prepared: traveling gnome, audiobook (this one was a nice, light, pleasant experience, unlike the last fiasco)... the only thing I forgot was snacks. (HUGE oversight!)

The drive was quick - the book-on-tape really makes the time fly, and keeps me awake, too! Good weather, and not too bad traffic, got me into the city by 6. We changed and went out for dinner at the Chicago Chophouse, which had, unfortunately, not changed their Stampede prices back to their regular prices. But it was gooooooood.

Cedric, look out!

We spent Saturday morning shopping (in a REAL MALL!), then drove up to Airdrie. We met up with Chris' mom, brothers, and brother's gf (hi Nouha!), and then went off to the 50th anniversary party.


Cedric loved the beautiful pictures of the bride and groom that were on the tables!

And Mr. Spilly had a great time! He fully endorses the Tide stick for any and all encounters of the spilly kind.

Friday, 1 August 2008

I weigh a ton!

At left, a Heffalump (not to be confused with the Huffalump).

So, I went to the gym today at lunch and proceeded with my Milo and the Bull workout*; that is, I figure that if I continue doing body-weight exercises -- like chinups and dips -- as my weight/waist/girth expands, I will be lifting more, getting stronger, and be, well, strong as a beastie by the time this whole fiasco is over.

I forgot to consider how humbling/disheartening/HARD it would be to lift my enhanced poundage ... and honestly, it made Friday at the gym even less fun than usual. I'm up 8 lbs so far, and that apparently makes a huge difference!

...but doesn't Roo look like he's having a good time?

* This legend, which is the basis for modern progressive resistance training, is fantastic...except for the bit where he ate the bull... And also, in my version, I am both Milo AND the bull. Niiiice.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Whoa, Belly! Week 16 (ish)

Lettuce take a moment to reflect not only upon how the belly has grown, but also how terribly the paint in our foyer photographs.

The Tapeworm (heretofore to be referred to as the Little One, at the behest of His Huffness) has decided to stretch its boundaries and make some room for flip-flopping around, and whatever else s/he is doing in there. It feels quite like an eyelid twitch inside my abdomen, but much less irritating, since I know that it's the Little One (sigh...that does NOT have the same ring to it as Tapeworm)**.

Also, total strangers aren't going around thinking that I'm winking at them, and getting the wrong idea.

At left, the Belly at 15 weeks, 4 days. Tell me I look pregnant!!! I think I have finally passed the "just looks chunky" stage. In fact, lettuce also reminisce about a few weeks ago, when, on the way to the gym, I turned to Chris and said, "I'm thickening," and he said, "What?" and then turned around and said, "Oh". Ouch.

And, for your viewing/snickering pleasure, lettuce now turn to the Random Feet Check.

As in, can I still see my feet?

Yes, yes I can. For now.

**Update! Thanks to input from an Alert Reader (Mommmm), the Tapeworm has been re-christened the Huffalump - a name that I'm sure we can all agree is less horrifying and offensive, but still has that certain je ne sais quoi.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

DG Presents: Yummus

The Domestic Goddess rides again!

Perhaps due to the increased spare time I have on my hands (Chris is still in la Calgarie, on French training, for another week and a bit), or perhaps due to uncontrollable cravings, I decided to make myself a nice batch of my homemade, low fat hummus, which I like to call Yummus. It's quick, easy, cheap, high in fibre and protein, deeeelicious, and great as a dip with veggies or as a sammich filling. Now sit up straight. I give you:

Yummus à la Goddess

Prep time: less than 5 minutes

1-2 cloves garlic*
1 tsp dried or a handful of fresh parsley
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs of DG's breakthrough product, I Can't Believe It's Not Tahini**
1 can of chick peas, rinsed well and drained

Throw the first 4 ingredients into a handy-blender/food processor (I got mine from Andrea -- thanks again!) and blend until the garlic is finely chopped and the rest is fairly mixed. Add chick peas, only a few at a time, pulsing to blend. Add water as needed to keep it blending; you can add extra water to make it smooth (for a dip) or leave it a bit chunky and textured for a spread.

That's it. Yum.

*amount of garlic you put in should be related to the amount of people you plan on kissing or close-talking in the next 24 hours. Note that the intensity of the garlickosity develops, so if you put in enough to make it garlicky right away, it'll be crazy garlicky (you know the kind - where you can actually feel the toothpaste and the garlic fighting it out, and the garlic wins the first round) (not a bad thing!) after a few hours in the fridge.

**tahini seems to come in giant-pickle-jar sizes only, and I've yet to use more than a quarter of one before it goes bad, so I use ...(purists, stop reading now!)... peanut butter. So far, nobody has been able to tell, except for perhaps the husband, but that was AFTER he knew I put pb in it, and he said, "it tastes like peanut butter". But really, I think he was just being difficult.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Belly up - 14 weeks

Ok, the belly is still growing, for some reason. I went on a shopping spree with the long-suffering baby daddy (nyuk nyuk) at Thyme Maternity in Calgary. He held up very well, considering... better than I did, actually.

Here is the belly on Saturday, July 12, at 14 weeks and 3 days. It looks SO MUCH BIGGER to me - maybe the camera is magic and takes away pounds... ?

Spreichen die shopping, I couldn't help but upgrade the belly-button ring; I'm already worried about stretching, and they make pregnancy-specific supplies, at quite reasonable prices. I got a 2-inch PTFE barbell (really, a thin plastic tube) with the cutest charm ever.

Due to such horrifying things as splotchiness (self-tanner), rashiness (who knows), and fuzziness (damn hormones), it doesn't photograph well on me, and I have decided not to post that picture. (Mom, I know you're disappointed, since you looooove to look at my belly ring!)