Thursday, November 5, 2009

So it's been a while...

I still don't have time to write anything, but I DO have a big pile of material I want to post up. Pics of Ian and JD carving the pumpkin, pics of Ian in his Storm Trooper costume, pics of trick-or-treating, etc. Expect to see a Halloween album soon.

BUT since I do have some lunch time left I wanted to put up this thought.

Top reasons you know you are READY to give birth:

This sight of your untied shoelace makes you cry.

I haven't quite reached this phase but I did spend several moments yesterday regarding my shoelace in deep depression.

Sitting on my butt in the middle of the cold parking lot to tie my shoe was not very good for my professional image. Getting back up, after sitting on my butt in the middle of the parking lot to tie my shoe, was even worse.

Note to self: Must teach Ian to tie shoelaces.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Harry Potter

Last night it was JD’s turn to get Ian ready for bed. We try to take turns because if one of us does it for too long he gets very upset if the routine changes. I was fooling around on the computer, or reading, or something when I heard JD reading a story and Ian singing random songs and generally making noise.

I went to the door to figure out what the heck was going on – Ian is usually very quiet during story time – and saw the cutest thing. The two boys were cuddled up together. JD was valiantly trying to read Ian the first chapter of Harry Potter and Ian, being a typical 3 year old, was creating a sound track to make up for the lack of pictures.

JD announced it a “spectacular fail” after he had finished tucking Ian in, but I think it was an excellent idea. He’s tried it a couple times and I know one of these times it will stick and become one of Ian’s favorite memories. Even if it doesn’t stick it will still be one of MY favorite memories.

Update: He's sticking to it! He's been doing 2 or 3 pages a night, which apparently is Ian's limit. If he keeps at it we may have a HP costume next year instead of an evil Star Wars character... who knows?

Update 2: I found this picture from the first time JD read Harry Potter to Ian. Awwwww. Ian was a little quieter the first time around. JD ran out of voice before Ian ran out of patience. Hopefully we will get back to that someday soon.


New England weather is always odd, but this weekend it went right past odd and into bizarre.

Usually we have a reasonably nice, crisp September and October, with maybe a little Indian Summer thrown in. Then November and December are wet, cold, and miserable. January we might actually see some snow. February it snows. March it snows and sleets. April we usually get one last hurrah snow storm before it turns back to cold, wet, and miserable which lasts through the beginning of June.

This year wet cold and miserable lasted almost until August, then we had a month of summer, beautiful September weather, and… snow in October?

Friday and Sunday we got snow flurries. Sunday some of it actually accumulated. Very, very strange. We celebrated by running to Target to get Ian a winter hat and gloves. We are still missing snow boots so hopefully we do not get any further freaky weather until after Evelyn is born.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have jinxed myself by announcing happily that I was glad I would be on maternity leave during the first snow falls so I did not have to deal with the insane traffic. Ick.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

While the cat’s away…

The mice will… do absolutely nothing.

So here we are, day 5 sans Ian. What have we accomplished? Absolutely nothing! I am not really sure why that is.

Actually, I have a few guesses.
  1. We are staying at work longer.

  2. We are playing video games. Usually the rule is no games until after Ian is asleep. But with Ian away… and the Mirkwood beta conveniently released this week… well.

  3. I am lazy tired. A few days this week I have simply gone to bed really early rather than accomplish anything. Or I've taken a nap, waking up just in time to… play more play video games.

JD has been much better than me. He has washed dishes and thrown out trash. Kept the cats alive. Stuff like that. I have slowly let our bedroom be eaten by piles of clean and dirty clothes. Yipe.

When I was pregnant with Ian I kept waiting for the “nesting” instinct to kick in and make me into a total cleanliness genius. I was sure that all the sudden I would get the urge to vacuum and mop and dust and rub down door knobs with Lysol wipes. My clothes would be ironed and my hair would be just so. I would channel the Martha. No such luck.

Instead I pretty much felt then what I am feeling now… large, slow, and grumpy. And in desperate need of motivation. And what do you know? My mom is coming to stay the night this weekend.

*alarm klaxon sounds*

Breakout the hazmat suits and the SoftScrub! Incoming mom!!!!! OMFG I need to go grocery shopping and clean the fridge! What do you mean we are out of Clorox Cleanup???!!!one!!

Or, at least, that is what my mind is usually screaming at this point. Right now all I can seem to manage is a half-hearted “Mom… coming... @#$%.”

I am actually pondering whether all those dirty clothes will fit under my bed… and do the clean ones really need to be folded before I stuff them in random drawers? Maybe I can accidentally total my car and avoid having to shovel out the toxic waste. I am a little afraid it has been breeding in the back seat.

Hopefully the panic will hit soon and I will go into psycho self-preservation cleaning mode. I have gone into that zone occasionally and it works for short periods of time. But usually there are vast amounts of caffeine or alcohol involved dammit.

Must… fold… clothes…


Bella Claire Baby

So next on my totally girl-crazy wish list is one of the amazing bodysuit/bloomer sets from Bella Claire Baby who I found on Can you tell I am addicted to Etsy?

When I was little I swore never to dress up any baby girl of mine in girly stuff OR in pink. No pink, no way. Yeah, right.

Sometime in the last, oh, 10 years or so I started the typical mooning over pink things in stores and dreaming of princess dresses. I started to regress to that earlier time… before adolescent grunge and fledgling feminism… back to a time where I loved princesses and fairies and a dream dress was one with tulle. Oh yes…. I remember.

When my sister had Sophia I was in 7th heaven. And now, finally, I have my own little girl to live vicariously through. *rubs hands evilly*

These bodysuits caught my eye quite a while ago and now, with Evie on the way, I am looking at my calendar and planning what occasion to buy one for. First day of school? Picture day? Maybe arrange for a family portrait with my sister’s family and put Evie and Sophia in matching outfits? Oooooo

MANY thanks to Kerry from Bella Claire Baby for allowing me to rave about her designs here, and post up a picture!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apple picking (10/4/09)

(Click on the pictures to see a bigger version)

Despite having lived in the Northeast all my life, I have never been apple picking. A classic Northeastern activity. We planned to go last year but were stricken with a nasty strep throat attack that hit the whole family.

This year Mims arranged a trip for all of us (Me, Ian, Mom, Mims, Tommy, James, and Sophia) to Honeypot Hill, in Stow MA. I had the rather na├»ve belief that we would go to someone’s little farm, pick some apples, have a picnic lunch, and go home. Sorta like picking out a Christmas tree.

The first clue that it was not going to be like that were the people directing traffic into the (multiple) parking areas. There were hundreds of people there to pick apples and generally enjoy themselves, and the whole thing was run with the efficiency and cheerful professionalism of Disney World. It was wild.

The first place we parked was at the ‘farm store’ which was located right next to the Barnyard Animals and the Hedge Maze. There was a man there directing traffic through the parking lot (and believe me, he was needed – parking lot drivers are crazy). He was about 70 years old and actually managed to get us all packed in while maintaining his cool AND his friendly smile. I was deeply appreciative. Five minutes spent in the parking lot and I was already wide-eyed and slightly panicked.

Despite having to serve hundreds of people, the farm store managed to maintain a homey country store feel. I bought some cider, some honey sticks, and some apple butter (YUM). They also had free samples of some of the apples and Oh. My. God. The honey crisp apples were amazing. I’ve been fantasizing about them ever since.

After we escaped the store we went to see the barnyard animals. They had a lot of goats who played on a two-story climbing structure. I don’t think they were mountain goats – all goats must just have a natural ability to climb. For 25 cents you could get a little hand full of feed which the goats would eat right out of your hand. The boys LOVED it.

They also had bunnies, piglets, and chickens – but the goats were the most impressive. After running around like crazies, we finally herded the boys back to the car and drove to the next parking lot for the actual apple picking.

Ian and I managed to get a prime parking spot and walked over to the ticket shed to buy our medium bag for apples and our tickets for the hay ride. The line moved quickly, but even so I was ready for a sit down after standing still for so long. It is odd but I can walk for miles or sit for long periods of time but standing still kills me. My back hurts, my legs hurt, and baby belly starts attracting immense amounts of gravity.

So after we got our stuff I herded Ian over to some picnic tables to have a sit down… where he immediately announced he had to go potty. So back we went to the porta potty near the ticket shed which (natch) was out of toilet paper.

This was Ian’s first experience with a porta potty and he was SO FUNNY. After locking us in the tiny space I turned around to see him staring into the potty with total horror. He looked up at me with his mouth and his eyes wide open and couldn’t say a word. He was speechless. The porta potty was actually very clean, but the fact that the potty didn’t flush and you could see everything… just sitting there… unflushed… it blew his mind.

After we did our business and escaped the porta potty the rest of the family had caught up. While Mims, Tommy, and James braved the porta potty we had a long discussion about which apples we wanted, where we needed to go to get them, and how we would get there.

Actually most of the discussion was spent staring at each other blankly, hoping someone would make an intelligent suggestion. The kids were hyper and the adults were dazed and confused. The parallels to a Disney trip were growing.

We finally decided to walk up to the nearest orchard and upon arriving immediately decided we didn’t want these apples – we wanted the ones that were farthest away. By that time Sophia was fast asleep in her stroller so Mims and Tommy decided to load me, Mom, and the boys on the hay ride while they walked to the correct orchard.

Again, I had naively thought the hay ride was going to be a fun little ride around a field somewhere, but actually it was a disguised mode of transportation. It made stops at the store and at each orchard where you could get off, do your stuff, get back on, and ride to the next area. Half a dozen hayride tractors and trailers circled the farm at all times in a farm version of the Disney monorail.

There was much hilarity maneuvering me down onto the hay bales that served as seats. By the time we had circled the ENTIRE farm to get to the correct orchard (it probably would have taken 5 minutes to walk cross-wise to the orchard) I was ready to hit Mims with a mean set of snake eyes for loading me onto this stupid ride. Fortunately for her she wasn’t there yet (they had stopped at the car) and I had to content myself with sitting on the grass and convincing the boys to eat some of their PB&J sandwiches and drink their juice boxes.

The day before it had rained heavily and the morning had been gray and cloudy. As we sat in the orchard the sky cleared and it became blue and beautiful. And hot! We really could not have asked for a better day, especially after such a wet beginning.

Mims, Tommy, and Sophia caught up to us and we finally moved on to our ultimate destination: the apple orchard!

Five minutes later, our bags were full. Huh.

We walked to the top of the orchard for the heck of it and picked some apples to munch on.

The sheer size of most of the apples was amazing. We found a few that would definitely take three people to finish a single apple. The rows were pretty well picked over, but there were a few areas that were roped off and the trees were completely laden with apples. I had been a little surprised that the apple trees were so short – not at all like the huge trees I had imagined. After I saw them buckling under the weight of all the apples I understood why.

After we filled our bags and munched some apples we made our way back to the hayride. I gave Mims and Mom the scare of their lives by throwing myself down the final hill and doing an extremely ungraceful somersault in an attempt to not land on my belly. I was fine except for a very muddy pair of pants and an extremely red face, but it took a while for Mom’s hair to stop standing on end.

The hayride back to the lot was a lot shorter and we decided to simply walk from there to the store instead of hoping back on the hay ride. I was confident about my walking ability at the beginning, but the hill did me in and I was VERY glad to reach the store and sit at the picnic tables.

Tommy brought their car back to the store lot and unloaded the picnic lunch. By that time it tasted like the best food we had ever had. Earlier we had bought cider to drink, but after eating three huge apples each we pretty much just looked at it sadly and thought about future bowel movements. Eventually we moved the cider to another table to act as bait for the gazillion yellow jackets that had homed in on us.

The boys ate (sorta) and ran around looking at the farm animals again. Then we hit the hedge maze. I am SO GLAD that Tommy went with us otherwise we may have never seen the boys again. Going through the maze was a series of stop and go as the boys ran ahead and Tommy made them stop and wait for me to puff my way to them.

I thought there would be tears when I accidentally belly-checked a young girl into the hedge as I came around a corner, but she ran off before I could gasp out my apologies. I did a lot of gasping. Whoever heard of a hedge maze built on the side of a hill?

We found the center finally, touched the flag pole, and then stop and go’d our way back to the entrance. I must have had a certain look in my eyes because Tommy sent me on ahead while he took the boys through the tunnel maze.

And then… finally… it was time to go home. Sadly, my car was still in the other lot. We gave hugs and kisses and saw the others on their way, and then Ian and I trekked back to the hay ride. No way was I attempting that hill again. In fact, on the way up the slight hill to the hay ride I made Ian let me lean on his shoulders. Passersby thought it was cute when he kept yelling “You’re breaking me!”

The hay ride was nice. Me and Ian had some snuggle time and joked with our fellow riders about various things we had done that day. We rode all the way to the lot and I thanked the parking gods that we had such a great spot.

And then we drove home.

Ian was fast asleep before the car left the lot.

So apple picking was an experience. Not the experience I was expecting but definitely fun. I think there was only one tearful breakdown (by one of the kids, not me), which was pretty good considering the length of time we were there and the hot sun. I’ll definitely go back next year. With a stroller. And a husband to carry the apples. *grin*

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby shower!

Last week my coworkers got together and threw me a surprise baby shower. I was EXTREMELY surprised – both because it is still early and because you don’t usually get a shower for your second child.

My boss got me all riled up with talk about some process improvements we are doing at work and then led me to the conference room for a meeting. I barged right in and had a moment of absolute horror since there were about 15 people in the room. I had interrupted a BIG meeting. Then I saw the cakes and for a moment was even more horrified… I had interrupted someone’s PARTY.

So, okay. I am a moron. I finally got it when they all yelled SURPRISE and laughed at me.

The cakes were gorgeous. One lemon chiffon (YUM) with the most beautiful baby shower decorations. One chocolate cake with the hard chocolate coating. I am still eating the leftovers of that one a week later. I think it will take care of any chocolate cravings for the rest of my pregnancy. They were both awesome.

I got a ton of cool loot, including a crib set, several outfits, blankets, and toys, and some relaxing bath stuff for mommy (which I have already put to good use).

Now I have to figure out how to merge the girl and boy decorations in the kids’ bedroom into a cohesive whole. Pink is so CUTE, but it is also so PINK. Mixing that with the more mellow yellows and greens of Ian’s bedroom might be a challenge.

I think I can probably get my sister to come over and do it for me if I make the puppy-dog eyes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


<----- What I look like now.

I had a moment today when I realized how thoroughly I had crossed into Mom territory. I absolutely could not WAIT until Evelyn gets old enough that I can tease and scold her for all the things she did to me in the womb.

B-Day minus 6 weeks and I am already counting my grudges. *grin*

A month or so ago I described to one of my male coworkers (much to his horror) that when Evie moves it looks like I am smuggling ferrets under my shirt.

It was a joke, but I seem to have jinxed myself because more and more she does move around like a little ferret. And at her active time (around 4am) it feels like several ferrets fighting for supremacy in there.

I don’t know how else to describe it – she scrambles. Or maybe she was severe restless leg syndrome. Either way, the rare times I am awake during this time I usually have my hand over my stomach so I can rub her back and tickle the occasional foot that wanders into my grasp.

Her acrobatics don’t hurt. Sometimes they are a little uncomfortable because when she really sticks her legs out I can practically feel myself adding stretch marks. But mostly they are ticklish and make me realize… wow. There really is a person in there. Or possibly several ferrets.

This morning Ian crawled into bed with us at around 5am. I pulled him under the covers, held onto him so that he wouldn’t fall off the edge, and promptly fell back to sleep. Evie did not, however, and was still scrambling around. Since Ian was wrapped around my tummy he got to enjoy the full show and I woke occasionally when he would giggle or stick a cold hand against my stomach to feel her move around.

What I will look like in a few weeks ------------->

At one point he laughed so hard I groggily cracked open my lids. His blue eyes were about an inch away from mine and he put one hand on my cheek. “She’s funny!” he told me. I laughed too, flipped him over so that he was between me and JD and no longer in imminent danger of being kicked off the bed by his little sister, and went back to sleep.

Later this morning I had a very pleasant image of teasing a 10 year old Evie about her 4am psychotic exercises in the womb. Moments like this, however, usually have faded away by that time and I was a little sad that she would not get to experience… well, herself. And how much we enjoy her already. Then it hit me. Duh. That is what this blog is for!

I hope you all enjoy the stories as much as I am sure adolescent Ian and Evie will hate them! I will try and add them as they occur. Some of them might be TMI (too much information) but I really want to capture them so I can remember and use them to torment my children later in life.

It’s just how I roll! *grin*

Monday, September 28, 2009

Home Depot

When Ian was very little we joked that he would grow up thinking that we lived at the Home Depot.

He knows the difference between Home Depot and Lowes, and has his favorite parts of the store. The tractors (lawn mowers), any set of stairs that say "employee only," the refrigerator section where he can open and close all the doors, and the shower section where he can hide in the various showers and door displays.

Yesterday when we went to buy some more moulding, we found that they already had Christmas stuff out. Officially our first sight of Christmas in the stores. Not as bad as it could be I guess -- Fall officially started 6 days ago so at least it is not still summer.

Ian had a lot of fun. It was raining and we geared him up in his cowboy rain boots and his fire fighter rain coat. He had a great time splashing in the parking lot puddles and running around the outdoor section (which actually still had Halloween stuff).

After the Home Depot run we hit McDonald's that has an indoor play gym. There was a little girl birthday party going on and... wow. Our future spread out before us in ear piercing shrieks. Girls are LOUD!

The pictures here are the first ones that show his new haircut. I took him to SnipIts and he did really good. The brows were lowered and the chin wrinkled in distress, but he didn't cry or freak out. I wish I had a shot of him in the barber's chair. He was adorable.

Next time I think I will ask them to keep it a little long on the top. He looks great with it short... but so old! Where is my baby boy?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mad About Color

I had a very strong desire to purchase one of these for Teddy in advance. Only a picture that Gwyn sent -- of Nic and her on the beach -- reminded me that they live in a sunny piece of California that probably never requires warm knit hats.

Luckily, I live in New England. A popular comedian once said that we have four seasons here: "Almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction." Perfect hat weather. And Evie will be just over a month old at Christmas, perfect this hat weather.

Actually, the entire Mad About Color shop reads to me like As I mentioned before, my mom and my Aunt both have the amazing knitting skills to turn out pieces of clothing like artwork. Me... not so much. But I have been bred with a love and appreciation for this kind of work and for anyone who can create it.

And when I can place it on my baby (my own work of art) and display him or her for the day care ladies to coo over -- even better!

Many thanks to Joanne for allowing me to post about the items in her shop -- and many MANY congratulations on her new baby grandson.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fleece on Earth

I have another item for the wish list, and again it's been something I've had my eyes on for years. This time it is the Fleece on Earth striped wish cap and matching star sweater.

The wish cap has a tassel on it with letter beads. You can spell out the baby's name, or any other meaningful word you choose.

I am very fortunate to have members of my family who enjoy knitting and do it very well. My Mom made Ian the most beautiful sweaters and booties and my Aunt Jan made him an amazing bunny cap that was the envy of everyone who saw it.

Unfortunately, I lack something -- time, skill, patience, something -- and I have been unable to make anything but a few mangled lengths of yarn that vaguely resemble scarves. My wallet, on the other hand, has the ability to magically make beautiful things appear on my doorstep with the simple click of the buy button. 'Those who can, make. Those who can't, purchase.'

A wish cap with Evelyn's name on it is definitely in our future. The sweater is a little bit expensive... but I am talking myself into it.

Baby Legs

Next item up for the wish list is Baby Legs!

I found this amazing website and bought some for Sophia on her first Christmas. They are so cute, I am drooling over the opportunity to get some for my little girl!

The only question now is... what color?

I love just about all of them, but I have to admit -- I am a total sucker for the rainbow ones. They are so bright and cheerful.

When I revisited the site recently I realized that they now have a line called "Modish." These don't appeal to me very much but they underscore a recent fashion trend. Brown, pinks, polka dots, and paisley are back. You cannot look at little girl clothes without seeing these colors, and scrap booking materials are covered with them.

Creative Memories actually has a paisley paper punch so that you can punch out your own paisley-shaped pieces of brown and pink paper. I even considered getting one. Which shows you how seductive new fashions can be... even paisley ones.

While I've seen some very cute clothes in these colors (baby legs included) they are just not my thing. I am trying very hard to let this stretch of fashion time pass me by without having too many polka dots invade my wardrobe or photographs.

But Baby Legs leg warmers... these I am really looking forward to. Many thanks to Sam and the Baby Legs team for allowing me to post about them here!

Fathers and sons

Sometimes I think about all the issues that kids have with their parents. Everyone seems to have parent baggage. Misunderstandings, frustrations, hurt, self-doubt. I look at Ian and wonder when it will hit us. Puberty? Or are we sowing the seeds even now?

But then... I look at him again. The way he curls up against me and sleeps. The way he plays with JD. And smiles. And laughs. And who cares about puberty? He is our happy heart now.

He loves to do all the things that JD and I do. He sits on my lap and runs my LotRO characters around, and he plays Rockband with JD. He TOTALLY has the Lars from Metallica thing going. Whenever he plays the drums he sticks his tongue out and looks so serious.

He doesn't quite get the strumming concept but he does understand that if he hits it right he can "break the colors" on the Rockband screen.

I haven't figured out how I feel about raising a gamer, but I suppose it is inevitable. Hopefully some of the writing and engineering love gets passed on as well.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On the Edge, by Ilona Andrews

One of my newest favorite paranormal/urban fantasy authors is Ilona Andrews. I got sucked into her Kate Daniels series and now she is coming out with what will hopefully become a new series (though at the moment the plan is only for two books). First book up: On the Edge.

Andrews is one of those authors I am really pushing JD to read. The paranormal, fantasy, and horror elements are very strong. The romance elements are understated, serving mainly to ramp up the emotional intensity of the characters. Every time JD acts as Game Master for a World of Darkness campaign I realize all over again how much he would LOVE these books.

To promo the new release the authors are running a contest. To enter I need to post this lovely image on my blog:

Chick with a shotgun. I can't wait to read it! The prize is a Sony eReader... very sweet. (Mom, if I win, this one is for you!)

On their website Andrews is also running a promo and the grand prize is to be in their beta reader's group for the next year. Wow! To enter this contest I have to show proof of pre-order. I hope this will do:

Either one of those prizes would be amazing. I am looking forward to On the Edge. The snippets that Andrews regularly posts on their website already have me emotionally invested in the characters. Especially the two little boys (as I am a bit preoccupied by boy child rearing myself these days).

IF you are interested, you can visit the Ilona Andrews website at Navigate to the Kate Daniels section and you should be able to find excerpts for each of the books. The excerpt for the first book is what hooked me and wow, the rest of the book definitely lives up to the first chapter. And they just keep getting better!

Sleeping like the dead

Over the past month my pregnancy-related snoring has really hit extreme levels (much worse than my non-pregnancy snoring). JD and I have been taking turns sleeping on the couch.

Last night it was my turn to take the couch and it was really quite comfortable until about 4:30 am when the little boy stumbled in and climbed on top of me. Apparently he has decided that his baby sister makes a good pillow. Urg.

Eventually, in the way shared by both children and cats, he ended up with the whole couch and I ended up with the floor. It was time for me to get up anyway so I puttered around quietly, doing my morning routine. Not a twitch out of Ian the whole time. JD got up and also began his, much louder, puttering. Still no twitching.

He was dead to the world.

One of his fingers twitched a little when I took these pictures, but other than that... wow. I am a pretty sound sleeper but this kid has me beat. We dread the day we are trying to get his teenage butt out of bed and onto the high school bus. I told JD we are investing in a fire hose.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Teddy!

Our new cousin, Teddy, was born 11:23pm Friday, September 18th, 2009. He was 6 lbs 15 oz, and 19 3/4 inches long.

It sounds like Mom and baby had a tough time of it. 23 hours of labor followed by an emergency C-Section. From what Mom told me the labor very much resembled the tough time I had with Ian. But, like me, Nic and Gwyn ended up with a beautiful little boy afterwards.

Now the fun really begins! I am trying to imagine what Gwyn must be doing right now. Sleeping (hopefully), figuring out how to breast feed (painfully), and examining the little guy for signs of personality.

I remember with Ian I watched every expression, attempting to divine what kind of person he was going to be. Happy-go-lucky? Serious? Daring? All I could really tell is that he looked grumpy, and he was SERIOUS about eating. Kid latched on like a piranha.

I can't wait to get more pictures of Teddy... from what I have seen he looks tiny and precious. All our love to him, his Mom, and his wonderful Dad. We are so proud of them.

Friday, September 18, 2009

And the winner is...


Current codename: The Little Squiggler

Potential nickname: Eevie (Eve-ee)

Now for middle names...

Mom voted for one of these two:
  • Evelyn Ariana Katrinn

  • Evelyn Asa Katrinn
I need to come up with some more family names from JD's side.

And for fun, here is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time (from The Mummy):

Evelyn: Look, I... I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am.

Rick: And what is that?

Evelyn: I -- am a librarian.

Librarians rock! Although I should add the disclaimer that we did not name Eevie after the character in The Mummy. My sister's middle name is Evelyn.

Today is a happy day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How to turn your husband into a cornered animal

I was just thinking that maybe I was a little unfair in saying that JD looked like a cornered animal whenever I tried to bring up the subject of baby names with him. What I should have said was that his wife radar was going crazy and he was looking for the escape route.

For example, I can imagine the conversation going something like this:

Me: What names would you like to add to the list?

JD: I like Tabitha a lot.

Me: Ooo, Tabitha is a nice name… hey, wait a minute.

JD: *wife radar starts beeping*

Me: Wasn’t that the name of that hot chick in high school?

JD: Uh…

Me: Dude! WTF? It WAS the name of the hot chick!

JD: She was really nice.

Me: True. But she was still hot and I KNOW you noticed. Pick another name.

JD: *starts looking like a cornered animal*

So I must admit that any avoidance of the naming subject was not because of a lack of caring… but because he is a very smart and very well trained husband.


What’s in a name?

When Ian was born we let his gender be a surprise. This had pros and cons.

The biggest pro was that when he was born the “It’s a boy!” came as a revelation.

Suddenly all those half-formed imaginings of what life could be like took on color and shape and spread before us in a future. Before that moment all we had was a possibility. After that moment we had a BOY. Ian.

I think JD, Ian, and I all started to cry at the same time. Although I am sure Ian wasn’t crying of happiness, the way his parents were.

The biggest con was that we could do no planning. A couple people who were DYING to buy gender-specific gifts (especially if it was a girl) were quite grumpy with us. We had to make up two lists of names. And when Ian was born, and he was a boy, the girl names and all the half-formed imaginings that went along with them faded away.

I felt a little sad, looking at them, as if those amorphous imaginings actually had a life… we had just somehow failed to turn it into reality. The sad feeling faded quickly in the joys and terrors of figuring out what we DID have – a brand new boy person to take care of – but the list of names still sat there, unused.

For this baby we decided to find out the gender ahead of time. Partially because we wanted to prep Ian so he was not disappointed on B-Day, but also because we needed that little bit of additional control. The illusion that we could foresee and plan our lives in advance. Haha.

Later I was even happier that we were going to find out because Ian really was getting confused. We would refer to the baby as “your little brother or sister” and eventually he decided he was having a little brother AND a little sister.

He would insist on giving both of them a kiss at bed time, which was cute, and he told everyone at the daycare, which was not so cute. Rumors spread from the daycare and soon I had coworkers randomly coming up to me and congratulating me on the twins. Oh no. No, no, no!

When we did the gender ultrasound it was different from finding out Ian’s gender. It was exciting, but still not real. With Ian we found out we had a boy, and we REALLY had a boy – one that we could see and hear and touch. This time all we had was the same little belly bump and a very alien-looking ultrasound image. We went home in a kind of daze. Huh… a girl. Now what?

The only concrete things we could do were shop and pick out names. We went for the names.

Whenever I brought up the subject of names JD started looking like a cornered animal, so I decided to make up a list and have him either add to it or pick ones he liked. This is roughly how we picked out Ian’s name. I came up with the following list:

  • Asa
  • Evelyn
  • Adriana
  • Asling
  • Samantha
  • Nell
  • Emma
  • Mia
  • Riley
  • Andrea
  • Ariana
  • Logan
  • Katrinn
  • Ellisann

JD looked it over and announced he liked the first three, with the current favorite being Evelyn.

I already had a Word file containing just about every name under the sun, along with pros, cons, and meanings, so I moved those three to the top of the file and researched them a bit more.

Hey, documentation is what I do!

Meanings of the name Evelyn

Hebrew: Alive, life
Old French: Hazelnut, bird, the juniper tree
Norman: Lively, pleasant
Celtic: Lively, pleasant
German: Desired
English: Desired, beautiful bird, hazelnut

Meanings of the name Asa

Hebrew: Doctor, healer
Scandinavian: Goddess
Japanese: Morning, born at dawn
Nigerian: Hawk, little hawk
Swedish: Pet name referring to the pantheon of Gods

Meanings of the name Adriana

Latin: Woman from Hadria; dark one

A short time later my Mom, unaware of the list of three, sent me an email of names she had extracted from our family tree.

-----Original Message-----
From: Elisabeth
Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 10:40 PM
To: Hanna
Subject: names

Skimmed through the Dutch family names, but any attractive ones are pretty thin on the ground. Here are some;

Oma Benders side
Carolina (pronounced Caroleena)
Ineke (pronounced Eenukuh)

Opa Benders side

Then there are the inevitable Gijsbertha, Geertruida, Henrietta, Cornelia, Albertina, Klazina, Trientje, Vassarina, Francina, Neeltje, and the doomed Annetje, who was renamed four times in one family.

There is also a recurring Barbera. One that I'm rather fond of is Antonia Magdalena Louisa, but she married into the family. Had a last name of Vinju. Strange.

Have fun.

Love you

The ones she suggested are really pretty, but the ones that really caught my eye were the horrible ones. They were AWESOME!

I knew how at least one of them was pronounced (Geertruida = Hair-true-dah), but not the others. I demanded a pronunciation guide and she sent me the following:

There is no phonetic corresponding to the ij sound in English. The letters ij do correspond to the y in most other languages, a sort of straggler from the olden days. The closest I can come to it is the ea sound in break.

Gijsbertha = Heas-bear-ta

Klazina = Klah-zee-na

Trientje = Treen-tjuh

Neeltje = Nailt-juh

Or something like that. I don't know
how to do the phonetic stuff. The tje at the end of a name connotes the diminutive. They quite often put it after a girl's name; Annetje, Jannetje. But they also put it after a girl's name if they gave the girl a masculine name like Hendrikje. Lots of those.

There are a few sounds in Dutch that have no corresponding sound in English. The one unique sound that even Germans have trouble with is the "ui" sound. They used passwords and phrases in WWII using that sound. You'll have to ask me to pronounce it the next time you see me. Young children can do a good job at reproducing it, but not after their native language has got a hold on them.

The potential to forever torment my new offspring was enormous. Truly, I would never do such a thing as saddle her with something like Evelyn Gijbertha Hepsibah (Hepsibah is from my Dad’s side) but the temptation is there. If she ever complains about the name we DO give her I will just have to whip out this list.

Once JD comes makes a concrete decision I'll come up with some options for middle names. Ian has a middle name from my family's side so I feel like I should go with some names from JD’s side this time. I will have to think on it, and yes, do more research!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Punk Rock Baby

I am starting my wish list for Baby. First up is this wonderful outfit from lowleepop on

Punk rock. 80's. Space invaders. Unicorns. It is so perfect! I can't wait to hear what the day care ladies say. I can't wait to hear what my MOM says! Definite photo op material.

I wonder if she does matching outfits for moms?

Many thanks to the "Owner/Designer/Rockin' Mama" of lowleepop for letting me post this link!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My birthday!

Okay, I am a bit behind in my blogging (of course). September 7th was my birthday and it was verrrry relaxing.

Mom, Ian, and I went to Elm Park and checked out the Art in the Park. My favorite was the "Saturn" sculpture made out of "found items." It was a huge metal planet made completely out of old farm tools and other metal pieces.

The rest of my birthday was spent basically doing nothing. Friday and Sat JD and I cleaned the house so Monday I just enjoyed the cleanliness, read, and messed around on the PC. JD gave me a gift certificate to Amazon, so I spent a good portion of the evening shopping. It was lovely.

Dipping a toe in the water

AKA: My first personal post.

Labor Day weekend Mom came over on Sunday and we visited Uncle Whit and Kat at UMass. We went to lunch at a Sushi restaurant... which I thought would be a bad idea. I snuck out and got Ian a piece of pizza at Antonio's, but when we got back he actually ate a bunch of my Teriyaki chicken and Miso soup. Go figure! AND he used the chop sticks better than I did -- he actually managed to snag some rice.

After lunch we got dessert at the Black Sheep, which was one of my favorite places 9 years ago when I was UMass. It is still amazing. I had a cream puff, Mom had a fruit tart, and Ian had a cupcake with about 4 inches of cream on top instead of frosting.

After dessert we hung out on a strip of grass across from the bakery. Ian ran Whit ragged around the place, after which they both collapsed. Whit hung on tight to make sure Ian stayed collapsed... or at least in one spot, for a few minutes of rest.

When we got back to Worcester we met JD at Vinny T's for dinner. Ian wanted to sit by JD and paused every now and then to hug his arm and say "I love you Papa." Little guy really knows how to get to us.

After I snapped a few pictures Ian demanded the camera and took the following lovely images. Future Monet perhaps?

I am definitely putting one of those kid digital cameras on his wish list this Christmas. I can't even think of pulling out my camera before his grubby paws are all over it!

A friend of mine scrapbooks with her son and he has created an amazing book already. One of my goals during maternity leave is to print out Ian's pictures and have him scrapbook them himself.

We'll see how much damage we can do.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Second day frustrations


It must be human nature. As soon as we are given something that looks cool, but has the potential to be changed, we immediately try to change it.

As a writer, the blogger template “scribe” immediately appealed to me. The word implies ancient tradition and responsibility. It belongs to writers in the unique way that a family tree belongs each of us – a part of our identity and evolution. Plus the template itself has a sweet papyrus design. Irresistible.

Not so exciting were the flower-shaped bullets the template contained.

Bullets are one of the main tools in the technical writing toolbox and so are Serious Business. The happy little flowers had to go.

Clicking through my options, I discovered I needed to change the cascading style sheet (CSS) code in order to return my bullets to a normal bullet-like shape. No problem. I took a grad class in CSS a few years ago. I can do this.

An hour later I was sweating bullets (no pun intended) and combing through Google for answers. Apparently most authors assume that you already know how to create regular bullets, and what you really want to do is replace these bullets with little flowers.

Abandoning Google, I was reduced to deleting random lines of code and checking to see what happened.

  • Eventually I triumphed!

For future use, since I know I will screw it up again, here is the modified code:

.post ul {
.post li {
padding-top: 0;
padding-$endSide: 0;
padding-bottom: .6em;
padding-$startSide: 3px;


It did not take me long to realize that editing posts in Blogger is a nightmare. Whenever I save an edit my post ends up looking like this:

To fix this disappearing/warped text issue I have to first remove all formatting from my post, reapply it, and then publish the post. Long, long process.

Unfortunately the only solutionseems to be: do it right the first time.

Can I handle writing material without going back to edit my posts half a dozen times? Maybe it will be good for me. Ug.

Anon: To be Hanna or Paks?

One issue I did not foresee, and should have, is the issue of online identity. For years I have managed to keep my online handle (Vorpaks) separate from my real life name (Hanna). When creating this blog I used my handle to create it, and my real life name to title it, letting the two identities merge.

Remaining anonymous prevents the following issues:

  • Random strangers knowing intimate details of your life (they will still know, but at least they won’t know whose life it is).
  • Employers and potential employers judging you based on your Adventures in Motherhood, your tendency to post insightful comments on your favorite Vampire Romance forums, or (gasp!) any grammar or spelling mistakes made after a long day of working, bath time, cleanup, and story time.
  • The temptation to give out other people's personal information (names of friends, relatives, etc.).

The problem with remaining anonymous is that I lose the personal touch. Grandparents and Aunts are not going to find the site as meaningful if they are reading about Vorpaks, DH, INC, and Baby.

Since loved ones are the intended audience I am going to make the leap and link my identities together. But, in the interests of safety and privacy, I am only going to use first names. I feel happy with the compromise.

Action items:

At least I got one thing off the list!

  • Research blog etiquette. When it is it okay to link to other sites and blogs?
  • Quote authors and websites?
  • What is my audience interested in reading about?
  • What restrictions does the blogger format have?
  • How do I change these funky bullet points?
  • What is the best way to minimize post editing frustrations?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The first blog post! (AKA first blog specifications)

Hello and welcome! I started this blog on a whim and, totally lacking inspiration for my first post, I am falling back on what will no doubt prove to be my usual standby: my experience as a technical writer.

The first thing I do when approaching a new writing project is to outline the specifications of the document. This serves two purposes: helps me write a clear and cohesive document, and gives me inspiration when I hit a patch of writer's block (even tech writers get that, believe it or not).

Since this is a motherhood journal it should be easy to find inspiration. I have a three year old and another one on the way so I shouldn't have to look farther than knee level. But for those days when I am too tired, or feeling too grey and thinned out, I hope to come back to the following specifications and find the drive I need to continue.



  • Journal the first few months of my daughter's life.
  • Provide a place for Grandparents and other family members to check on Ian and Baby, view pictures, and leave comments.
  • Get back into creative self-expression through writing.
  • Provide an outlet for frustration, excess energy (haha), inspiration, and love during my maternity leave.
  • Learn the technology involved in blogging.
  • Have fun!


Hanna's Motherhood Journal will cover the first few months before Baby is born, as well as the months of my maternity leave. The blog will cover daily thoughts, pictures, and items of interest (not all related to motherhood).

Intended audience:

  • Family members
  • Close friends
  • My children

Action items:

  • Research blog etiquette. When it is it okay to link to other sites and blogs? Quote authors and websites?
  • What is my audience interested in reading about?
  • What restrictions does the blogger format have?
  • How do I change these funky bullet points?
  • What is the best way to minimize post editing frustrations?