When we bought our house in 2015, the hallway lighting situation was grim: an old, painted-over inset fluorescent light was the only light source. It took several seconds to come to full brightness once it was turned on, and it looked very dated. I wanted a regular flush-mount light in its place.
To start the demo, we turned off the power at the breaker, and then ran a box cutter around the frame of the light to cut the old layers of paint free. Once that was complete, the edging came off and we were able to remove the diffuser and the fluorescent tubes as well. Then we pulled out the entire metal housing box and were left with… a giant ceiling hole.
We took a break for about a week to allow product orders to arrive and to formulate a plan. I did a lot of Googling and asking my dad and assuming we’d figure things out.
As the gallery above indicates, we installed the electrical box, cut out a circular hole for it in the drywall patch, installed the wood supports, dry-fitted the drywall patch, screwed in the patch, and then used drywall tape and joint compound to patch the ceiling. Whew!
I let the joint compound dry overnight, and then after work the next day I sanded all the worst lumps and ridges out. I didn’t think to buy any ceiling-specific paint beforehand so I raided our shed to see what the previous owners had left behind. There was a partial gallon of old flat white interior paint that was weirdly thick/grainy and kind of separated but you know what? It was a holiday and the paint store was closed so I just went with it.
It’s not perfect and I will need to actually paint it with good ceiling paint at some point in the future, but several rooms in our house could do with some ceiling paint as well, so eventually I’ll get the good stuff and commit to doing several rooms. I was not going to do that for this project.
My haphazard 1.5 coats of paint dried quickly, and then it was time to install our flush-mount light! I got the Geometric Diamond Ceiling Light from Shades of Light designed by Young House Love, and an LED Edison bulb to go in it. The bulb is a little yellowy for my taste but it’ll do for now!
I am so pleased. I’ve been thinking about doing this since we bought the house, but had assumed we didn’t know enough to do it. Turns out that flying by the seat of your pants can sometimes work!
It’s so nice to have a regular light! It feels like such a simple upgrade but I think things like this make a house feel a lot less dated – there’s no way someone would choose that fluorescent light for this hallway if it was a new build, and this way if we ever want to change out the light in the future (or if we ever sell and new owners want to!) it’ll be a piece of cake and won’t involve a two-foot wide ceiling hole.
I have a job I ADORE but it’s completely unrelated to my degree (and doesn’t require a degree) and I haven’t done any real web development in years. I have only a passing knowledge of how people build good websites nowadays. It’s bizarre how fast the industry moves. A while back, I spent a year at a job I hated where they stuck me with in-house PHP work versus the client-side HTML/CSS work that I enjoy, and I feel like in that time, mobile development (as a skill) passed me by entirely. I did my best to learn on my own, but with nobody to bounce ideas off of and no client work to force me to get it right, I just hoped I was on the right track. I didn’t even have a smartphone at the time so it was difficult to assess my efforts.
Anyway — I feel like I don’t know where to start with web dev anymore, even for hobby stuff like this ancient website. (Side note: did you know that I bought this domain in 2003? Yipes.) That said, CSS has always been fun for me so I might experiment with bringing this WP theme into the current decade.
I did roller derby for nearly a year until The Incident, and I’m conflicted over how much I want to keep reaching for something I may never have again. I could NSO (be a “non-skating official”) for bouts still, which I know would be appreciated, but… I miss my friends! I wanted to have roller derby adventures with them, not be stuck on the sidelines. Derby was FUN and I miss skating and seeing friends and being a part of a group of badass women. *weeps forever*
I feel like I’ve had a pretty chipper attitude toward my leg/ankle breaking and me missing out on fun derby stuff, but this week all my teammates started receiving their official new uniforms in the mail and I am so jealous!!! Argh.
I cut off half my hair a couple years ago and I still love it and have zero regrets. I’ve never done anything interesting with my hair and what finally pushed me over the edge was this excellent exchange from Melissa and Aisling:
Just prior to cutting my hair, I attempted to come out to Daniel as bisexual, and he sort of laughed and said he’s known that about me for forever.
I’m still figuring out how to navigate being very hetero-passing due to marriage/kids but wanting to be visible as a bi person! It’s a weird place to be in! I don’t have all the answers yet, but I have a deep and abiding gratitude toward my bi friends who have come out publicly recently and who have given me the courage to start saying some stuff out loud. I am also grateful for Whip from my derby team exclaiming at an afterparty that this was “the gayest team we’ve ever had,” and then pointing out all the queer team members before turning to me and saying, “…and I don’t know you very well but you have a gay haircut so…” I felt so SEEN. Haha!
(I’m thinking now about all the internet friends I’ve made via personal websites or the Qbee and WOW who would have thought so many of us would wind up identifying as queer?!)
Wesley is in third grade and is about to turn nine, and Thora is four and will go to kindergarten in the fall. She can read already, and is whip-smart and more clever than you’d expect. Classic Slytherin. Wesley is a Hufflepuff and is such a thoughtful, kind boy. For as much as I loved the baby stage, I’m really enjoying having older kids. They’re funny! They’re able to help around the house! They can buckle their own carseats! Many advantages.
I’ve read so many good ones recently! Here’s a few:
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Easy, entertaining read? Explicitly bisexual main character? Adventure and mystery and some very hot flirting? SIGN ME UP. The sequel (from the sister’s perspective) is also excellent.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. Recommended reading for all humans.
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. Depressing but fascinating look at how dangerous stuff gets passed off as “perfectly fine” if people can still make money off of it.
I also re-read the first two Grishaverse books by Leigh Bardugo so I could make sense of the third one, Ruin and Rising, and MAN I had forgotten how much I enjoy her stuff. I then went on to read the other Grishaverse books that are out now – The Tailor, The Demon in the Woods, Little Knife, and The Too-Clever Fox. I also read Six of Crows and am excited for the sequel to come out.
TV and Movies
I went to a movie by myself for the first time ever – I put on some red lipstick and took myself to see Wonder Woman. I cried in the theater during the “No Man’s Land” scene like everybody else did. I can’t even describe why… Something about her body positioning and what she was doing and GAHHH I ended up buying a digital copy of the movie and I can’t watch it without getting a little misty-eyed at that part!
I also took myself to Thor: Ragnarok because HELLO – Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth! I haven’t seen really any of the other Marvel movies besides the first Thor movie but you know? Sometimes you just have to trust in Taika Waititi and you’re not disappointed. I’m very interested in the new Men In Black movie starring the both of them.
TV-wise, obviously I am currently obsessed with The Magicians, but I also love Sense8 and am super sad it’s done but grateful we got to get a conclusion with that special episode they put out. I like Marvel’s Runaways, and I have a love-hate relationship with Riverdale. It’s like a horrible soap opera and it’s objectively terrible but also amazing and I love it? I think? Except Archie was recently bucking bales of hay shirtless which is I think the stupidest thing I’ve seen on that show so I’m still recovering from that scene.
In 2019 I’m trying to lean more into the interests I’m a little embarrassed by, so I’ll probably be tweeting and/or posting more about TV and makeup/skincare and pop music and other things because I LIKE THEM and I usually talk myself out of posting about them but man do I have a lot to say about media sometimes.
In December 2017, my friend and coworker Tarra told me she was going to start participating in a “Fresh Meat” (newbie) roller derby program in the bigger town about an hour away from where we live. She offered to be the carpool “derby car” if I wanted to come along, and I definitely did!
I started January 2018 and went to practice twice weekly, and I loved it! Roller skating is super fun.
I graduated from Fresh Meat onto the actual team in May (I won the “Brave Little Toaster” award for trying everything even if I wasn’t sure about it at first) and then in the fall I got to participate in my first scrimmage and then a Halloween bout!
On November 1st, I ran a bunch of errands before practice. I went to the book fair at Wesley’s school, went and got us both flu shots, and then decided to early vote in person “just in case,” knowing I had two derby practices between that day and midterm Election Day on Tuesday. I wanted to be sure nothing came between me and voting for Paulette Jordan for governor and voting to expand Medicaid coverage in Idaho.
I was the carpool car that day, so I drove Tarra and Bronwyn to practice. It was a pretty difficult practice for me – I’m okay at skating but horrible at endurance work and I was exhausted. I kept taking breaks to regroup but was still overexerted. Finally, our coach told the few of us that were struggling that we could do our own thing for a bit until we felt like we were ready to rejoin the group.
Once I gathered myself, the group had started a new drill to practice jamming. You skate up to a group from behind and try to make your way through. I felt good enough to try it.
I skated up to the group and started bulldozing my way through. I made a little bit of headway and then took a strong hit from the left that knocked me up and off balance a bit, and as that was happening, I took another strong hit from the right and immediately felt my lower left leg break while I was still off-balance. I screamed and fell to the ground where I screamed again as I landed.
Practice stopped right away and the girls confirmed that I really was hurt and needed an ambulance. Someone called, and as we waited for the EMTs to arrive, my teammates removed my skate and cut off my sock so they could assess the damage. They told me my ankle looked pretty swollen and bruised, but I could only focus on how badly my leg hurt and kept saying there wasn’t anything wrong with my ankle. (Spoiler alert: there was.) One of the first non-injury related things I said to them was that I was SO THANKFUL I had early voted so at least I had that out of the way.
My teammates were amazing and even though I was in a lot of pain, I wasn’t ever scared. I felt like they handled my injury and getting me emergency help really well.
I was lying in a very awkward position – I was on my back with my left leg stretched out forward but with my foot tipped out, so the outer side of my leg rested on the ground and my inner ankle was toward the ceiling. My right leg was bent with my foot on the ground, and my right hip and buttcheek were off the ground slightly. This was admittedly difficult to maintain but it was truly the only position that felt remotely “comfortable” if one can really be comfortable with a broken leg.
I didn’t cry, but it hurt a LOT and I definitely squeezed my eyes shut and did some very deep labor breathing. My friend Bronwyn later told me that she wasn’t sure if I was even hurt that badly because I seemed to be handling it fine, and once the EMTs arrived I felt like they made a similar assessment!
My friend Tarra brought over my wallet and phone, got close to me and said, “Here’s your phone and wallet. I am coming in the ambulance with you. Your gear is in your van and I’m giving Bronwyn the keys to your van, and we will meet up with her later.” SHE IS PERFECT, A+ HOSPITAL BUDDY, COULD NOT HAVE ASKED FOR BETTER.
I texted Daniel that I had broken my leg but that the EMTs were on the way and I was being taken care of – no reason for him to get the kids up or drive to meet me or anything. That must have been a horrible text to receive, but I wanted him to know what was happening even if he couldn’t help!
Once we were in the ambulance, one EMT kept putting words in my mouth to describe my accident. Like, “so you were skating and twisted your ankle?” and I’d say “NO, I got hit and it BROKE my LEG. My ankle is not even an issue” and he’d say, “so… you got hit and then you landed on your ankle and hurt it?” And I’d have to repeat that I FELT MY LEG BREAK and had no idea what happened to my ankle but that I did not land on it. I felt very frustrated at this point but I think he finally got it in the end. I rated my pain at an 8/10 at this point and Tarra told me later that it surprised everyone in the ambulance – they didn’t expect it to be that high based on how I was acting.
We arrived at the hospital and I’m not going to lie, I was more nervous about my impending hospital experience than I was about my leg being broken. I have a well-documented history of trauma in hospitals and while I trust them to repair whatever physical injury I have, I remain very concerned with how they will treat me as a human being. Fortunately, everyone was very kind and (once I got pain meds) it was actually kind of a jovial atmosphere.
Once I got X-rays, the doctors determined that I’d broken my medial malleolus (inner ankle bone) clean off and had fractured my fibula (outer lower leg bone) in two places.
The ambulance driver came back in to check on me at this point and since the X-rays were up, he asked if he could take a non-identifiable photo of them and I said sure. He couldn’t believe the breaks were that bad! I said I told you all that it was my leg, and he laughed and said sometimes people just know!
The worst part of the whole thing was when it came time to splint my leg. Tarra semi-jokingly asked if I wanted to hold her hand during it, and as I was about to decline, the nurse was like “YES, great idea, get over here!” Tarra grabbed my hand and they assigned someone to hold my foot in place, which meant keeping it bent at a 90° angle and it was excruciating. They applied the splint materials and I firmly squeezed Tarra’s hand while she asked me about what my kids did for Halloween and what they dressed as and where we went. It was the PERFECT distraction. Easy questions to answer, which gave my brain something to focus on besides the pain as the medical professionals wrangled my broken body.
We were told they needed to consult with an orthopedic surgeon before discharging me since it was clear I needed surgery but they weren’t sure if I could wait or if it needed to be done that night. Unfortunately for me, the ortho on call just… never responded to the hospital’s calls (which is VERY BAD, if you are on call you HAVE to answer) and they tried and tried but couldn’t get ahold of anybody. Ultimately, they got someone to consult — I noted they did not say they got an orthopedic surgeon to consult — and decided to discharge me and have me follow up with an orthopedic surgeon in the morning.
Overall, I felt like I did a good job advocating for myself during my time in the ER. I asked to take photos of my X-rays! I asked doctors to repeat things to make sure I understood them! When they tried to have me leave the ER at 2am with a prescription for pain meds but no actual pain meds to make it overnight until the pharmacies opened, I voiced my concern about this and we got it sorted out before I left.
We connected with Bronwyn, who was in charge of my minivan, and she came by to pick us up.
To get me in the minivan, the nurse recommended we lay the front seat down and have me scootch up so I’d be sitting on the flat back of the seat with my leg out straight. We got me into this position with some effort and then I realized the headrest was between my shoulder blades and my whole head and neck would be hanging semi-upside down for the hour drive home and I was like… nope. We need to do something else. We were all laughing pretty hard at the sheer absurdity of the situation.
Somebody pointed out that the seat was so far back that if I just kept scootching up and over, I’d eventually come to land squarely in the backseat, which is exactly what I did. This let me prop my injured leg up on the center console between the two front seats and it was actually comfortable and I could even use the seatbelt. Tarra drove my van home with me in the backseat.
When we arrived at my house at approximately 2:30am, I texted Daniel to move the car so we could pull the van really close to the house. He did that, and then as I was getting out of the van and attempting to make my way to the porch stairs, I heard Daniel mumble something about “not feeling well” and looked up to see him white as a sheet. I told him to go inside and sit down so he didn’t pass out and he agreed, so Tarra and I were left to figure out how to get me into my house. I eventually sat down on the steps and scooted up them on my butt, which worked better than I expected.
Tarra’s husband had arrived at this point and I couldn’t help but laugh as they stood on our porch, looking down at Daniel and I who were both sitting on the floor, wondering if they should actually leave us in this condition. We waved them off, thanked them profusely for their help, and then spent the next fifteen minutes sitting on the floor and talking.
I eventually butt-scooted my way to the couch, where Daniel went about setting up the funniest (to me) barricade for the children so they wouldn’t unknowingly jostle me when they got up in the morning.
The story of trying to schedule surgery and then actually having surgery and the subsequent recovery is too long for this post, but MAN it has been a wild ride.
Huge thanks to Tarra for being the absolute best hospital buddy a girl could ask for — she kept saying I was “easy” to help but truly, she was such a good friend to me in my time of need. May everyone have a friend like her!
I received my second StitchFix box today! I didn’t request the same stylist this time (though I’ve heard you can!) and for content, I basically requested “fancy t-shirts.”
Page Flutter Sleeve Blouse by Skies Are Blue
When I opened my StitchFix box, I knew this shirt wasn’t going to work for me but I gamely tried it on anyway. The front view was okay, if a little “Floridian grandma,” but the side view is where things really got bad:
That style of pleating high on the chest has never done much for me – it tends to make me look like I’m trapped in a drawstring sack – and this was no exception. Plus, it was very sheer and made from a semi-crinkly polyester-type fabric that didn’t feel very nice to the touch. I don’t know, I feel like I’ve got a ton of years at the end of my life to look like a shapeless Floridian grandma – I don’t need to start now.
Aiden Skinny Jean by Mavi
These were a really fun reddish coral color! (The last photo in this blog post is a better representation of the color – they’re bold but they’re not THIS bold in person.) They would go great with navy shirts (of which I have several) and they were nice and soft. I tried them on with the two pairs of knee-high boots I have and I was surprised that I wasn’t in love with how they looked with either – I have black and cognac brown and they both looked weird to me. I need my skinny jeans to be able to be worn with at least one of those pairs of boots or else I won’t survive winter! I had a hard time deciding whether or not to send these back, but ultimately, I decided that I do like the color a lot and it’d go with a lot of stuff in my closet, but for the price I’d like to get something I really want, not just something I’m like “ehh, that’s nice” about.
That said… my stylist indicated that next time, she could size up and send me the Emer brand kelly green pants if I wanted? and oh my heck, YES, PLEASE DO. I am dying for kelly green pants. I liked these coral ones, but for $98 I’d rather have the green pants!
Verdict: RETURN, but I was conflicted about it
Marisol Mixed Material Knit Top by Papermoon
Curse you, boobs! This was another shirt that could have been cute, but was supremely unflattering on me in practice. If it could be nipped in at the waist in the back it might work, but as-is I wasn’t into it. The front was a very soft, stretchy denim-type fabric that reminded me of baby jeggings (in a good way) and the back was a lightweight woven fabric. The neckline was a leeeetle high for me but nothing bad, and I liked the polka dots. It was just… super unshapely and I know that I am roundish but egads. NO.
Ohara Faux Wrap Tie-Waist Dress
This wrap dress is a total winner! I’m always a little nervous about cross-front dresses and tops because they have a tendency to be super low-cut, but this one wasn’t. It fit over my boobs nicely and didn’t shift around. I also love that it has 3/4 sleeves! The print is fun and the color is fun and the dress was really comfortable. I’ll have to figure out what shoes to wear with it because all mine looked terrible but I am up for the challenge.
Corinna Striped Dolman Top by Market & Spruce
I knew this one was a keeper right out of the box! I have a thing for navy shirts with white stripes already, but I’ve never had a Dolman-sleeve top before. I liked the tunic length and the cuffs on the sleeves – they’re just the right length for pushing up a little bit. After having read a bunch of StitchFix reviews on other blogs, I have a feeling that I know a few people who would have sent this back because the fabric is leaning toward being sweatery and we’re right at the beginning of summer, but good grief. Who cares? Fall will be here soon enough and in the meantime I can wear it on cooler days. I love it!
Verdict: KEEP! I already wore it to work!
My stylist left a really nice note and thanked me for my “helpful and extensive profile notes,” haha! I am glad somebody found it useful! I just figure more information is better than less – if you don’t know that I would never spend money on a giraffe-print sweater and you send it to me and I sent it right on back, we’ve just wasted everyone’s time. Better to know ahead of time and not bother sending it.
I’ll probably wait a while before getting another Fix because we are in the middle of possibly buying a house (AAAAH!) and Fixes are a splurge for me spending-wise, but now I can’t stop thinking about getting those green pants.
If you want to try StitchFix, you can use my referral link and I’ll get $25 credit and be endlessly thankful.
My StitchFix box came today! I immediately tried everything on and took some photos, so you are in for a treat. (Ha!) As a frame of reference, I am pretty solidly a US size 14 and all of the items in my box were a size XL, save for the pants which were L Petite.
Carina Printed Dress
This was almost a success. It was a great length on me, the ties hit right at the waist, it buttoned up the front so I could potentially nurse in it (with a lot of fiddling – those buttons are tiny!), AND it actually fit over my boobs without gaps between the buttonholes. HOWEVER. I was immediately not crazy about the print when I opened the box (I never wear red or yellow, and those boxes are actually ticked on my style profile as “please avoid”), and when I stepped into the living room my almost-five-year-old hid his eyes and said “OH CREEPY.” I said, what? and he said “That. It’s… weird.” I finally got him to specify that yes, he did indeed mean the print on my dress and then he said it looked like “eyeballs with nobody behind them.” SO.
Isaac Floral Print Tab-Sleeve Blouse
I kind of have a thing for grandma-y florals and this would have been a nice addition to my rather floral-less closet. BUT. Anytime I moved my arms, the whole shirt bunched up above my boobs. Boo. (Better pic of the non-bunched up shirt below, with the trousers.) I liked the floral print but not enough to overlook the bunching. I actually just purchased a really similar (cut/style) blouse from Old Navy recently, and the StitchFix one was made of way higher quality fabric and felt way nicer on. However, both shirts seem to do everything they can to de-emphasize my waist, which is a shame because with boobs this big it’s nice to be able to tell I have a waistline.
Montgomery Chevron Print Cross Front Knit Top
I was excited about this when I opened the box, because yeah, I probably would not have ever chosen this for myself, but it was a great pick for me. It’s nice and drapey so it conceals a lot of postpartum midsection lumpiness, but it’s still fitted somehow so I don’t look super shapeless. The colors and print are fun (and a little outside of my comfort zone) and the cross-front will be SUPER EASY to nurse in. The one flaw is that the armholes are a little big on me and hang down so you can see a bit of my bra. And it’s a little hard to drape the cross front so it’s not all bunchy in one spot and flat elsewhere, but that’s a minor complaint. This was exactly the sort of pick I was hoping for – something slightly adventurous for me that’s not fussy but looks nicer than a regular tee.
Emer High Waisted Cropped Trouser
I pulled these out of the box and I was like, okay! Sure! I do have a pair of black dress pants but they’re wide-legged and really long so these seemed like a more wearable alternative. Then I almost couldn’t get them above my knees. Ack! With some shimmying, I managed to pull them up and oh my god, they were so comfortable. SO COMFORTABLE. I loved that they pulled on, they had a nice flat front which smoothed over my weird post-baby lower-tummy, the fabric was firm but stretchy and they were a nice ankle length on me. If I were a size 12 versus a 14 I would definitely have kept them even though the price tag (just shy of $100) made me wince. They were that good. If I manage to drop a pants size at any point in the future I will be requesting these back.
Verdict: RETURN. Sadly.
Andrea Airy Knit Scoop Neck Sweater
I was initially a little skeptical of this sweater because it has a ton of little cutout dots across the top chest part and halfway down the arms. It’s not bad at all, but I probably would have glanced at it in the store and not even picked it up. Which would have been a shame! This is the softest, most comfortable sweater I have ever worn. I daresay it is flattering on me – it fits without sausaging me anywhere and the dots are actually kind of fun! It makes me feel good about myself when I put it on.
I feel like my box #1 was a success! I am keeping two out of the five the pieces I was sent and I desperately wanted to keep a third, but alas.
If you’re curious about the money aspect, I did wait until I was receiving a tax return before pulling the trigger on getting my first box. The total for all items was $350, but with the “buy five get 25% off” discount and the styling fee refund it would have been $247.50. I am only keeping two items, so I’m paying the full cost for them minus the styling fee, and it came out to roughly $80.
I felt like my stylist understood what I was going for (nicer-looking basics) and I would happily get another StitchFix box!
While we were visiting Portland in October, we went to the Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch. After we got our pumpkins and spent some time playing on the hay bale climbing area, we posed for photos in the pumpkin cutouts.
Wesley’s face (and his HAIR) are so silly in both of them – it’s like baby Farrah Fawcett hair:
He’s basically potty trained (except for nighttime which we haven’t attempted yet) and can ride a balance bike, which he calls his Tiny Bike.
He finishes the ABC song by saying “next time no more sing with me.” He knows Mommy likes to watch Buffy, and Mommy and Daddy like “Soop-er-nat-chull” and Doctor Who. He has so many books memorized – two of his favorites are The Pigeon Wants A Puppy and Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willems. He loves Raffi’s Baby Beluga song and a bunch of stuff by The Decemberists, including Down By The Water and “the yellow bonnet song.”
He remembers one-off things you say for DAYS, POSSIBLY FOREVER. I once put some lotion and coconut oil on his butt to help his dry skin, and told him not to move or put his butt on anything before I put his diaper on because stuff (fuzz, hair) would stick to him. ONCE, I said this. And now every time I put the coconut oil on him, he starts whining, “I WANT TO PUT MY BUTT ON STUUUUFFFFFFFF!” and I have to tell him that he can, just as soon as I put his diaper and jammies on.
I had a few ideas regarding what Wesley, Daniel and I should be for Halloween this year, but ultimately got shot down. (I still think Spike, Angel, and Buffy would have been amazing. You can’t convince me otherwise.)
We visited Portland the week before Halloween and had the opportunity to go to a Halloween party at a former co-worker’s house. Since we didn’t think to bring any costumes with us, we tried to think of costumes that would be relatively easy to throw together, and we came up with the main characters from Supernatural.
(Supernatural is my new TV obsession.)
Castiel is an angel, and wears a dark suit with a blue tie and a tan trenchcoat. Dean and Sam Winchester are brothers who hunt supernatural beings, and they normally wear jeans, boots, button-up shirts, and jackets.
We walked into Goodwill and immediately found an olive green military-style jacket and a tan trenchcoat. It was a sign! I picked up some basic black pants, a white button-up, a black button-up instead of a suit jacket because they were expensive and hot, and some cheap dress shoes. I found a blue tie at a different Goodwill a few days later. We also had a fake demon knife for Daniel and a plastic Colt for Wesley.
I also found some supplies to make Dean’s necklace for Daniel, since it was too late to purchase one. I don’t think I did too bad for 15 minutes of sculpting!
Here’s a fuzzy, kind of blue-ish photo of us at the party:
Daniel and Wesley as Dean Winchester and Sam Winchester:
And me as Castiel:
(I know my tie has polka-dots instead of being plain blue. I TRIED. Goodwill was not forthcoming.)
For actual Halloween, I wanted Wesley to be Draco Malfoy. His hair is practically the exact same color! I found him an inexpensive Slytherin tie, and we also got him a gray v-neck sweater vest (couldn’t find a full sweater in time), a Slytherin patch for his Hogwarts robe, and a dark mark temporary tattoo. We used a ton of hair gel to slick his hair back à la Year One Draco, and in the meantime I sewed his Hogwart’s robe in about thirty minutes right before we left to go trick-or-treating. Whew!
I folded the material in half with the fold at the top (neckline/shoulders), and then cut upside-down L-shapes out of the sides to make the arms/cloak part and stitched those together. It was some kind of horrible polyester double-knit fabric, so it didn’t fray at all, and I just hacked off the bottom to hem it. Then I stitched on his Slytherin patch and it was ready to go!
I didn’t manage to make him a custom treat bag this year due to obvious time constraints, but I think something dark green with a silver snake on it would have been lovely. Instead, he carried a green reusable grocery bag. And yes, I did feel a little like I had failed him as a mother because of it. A non-matching, non-Halloween-themed treat bag?! Travesty! (Oh well. There’s always next year.)
He did a great job walking up to houses, knocking on the door, and then saying “tick-oh-treeeeet” when they opened the door. He was also really good about saying “thank you” and yelling “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” as we left. I was so proud!
If we asked him to cast a spell, he would point his wand and say “ZOOM ZOOM!” which was super funny.
We got a lot of compliments on his outfit – Daniel and I dressed up as Harry and Luna, so a lot of people got a kick out of us as a family too. When we were visiting with Daniel’s dad and stepmom, Wesley was helping answer the door and a little girl with a cute hand-knitted Gryffindor scarf was like, “Are you a Slytherin?! I’m a Gryffindor!” I called back “I’m a Ravenclaw!” It was the best.
I’ve now read through Season 8 and (what’s been released of) Season 9 of the comics (though… I read S9 first and want to go back and re-read now that I’ve finished S8) and if you are a Buffy fan, I’d recommend them. They’re totally outlandish but it’s outlandish in a quirky, fun, comic-y way. I am glad I was warned it was crazy, for sure, but I felt like they stayed true to the spirit of the show and I really enjoyed them.
Plus, the artwork is so great – they resemble the actors without being portraits of them, and some of the panels are downright beautiful. (The “I miss my mom” dusk-sunset page!)
I’ve also been reaaaally half-assedly watching Angel, and ye gods. I cannot get into it. I am still set on giving it a chance (mostly to get to the bits with Spike) but it is pretty tortuous. I am just not that big of a fan of Angel, I guess?
I turned 27 on June 21 and I had a Harry Potter-themed birthday party! My mom came as Molly Weasley, my dad as Neville Longbottom, my brother as Sirius Black, Daniel’s mom as Pomona Sprout, her man-friend as Hagrid, and Daniel was Harry Potter, I was Luna Lovegood, and Wesley was Dobby. Whew! There were several other guests that came as Muggles. I made a Platform 9 3/4 “brick wall” out of a sheet to hang over the door – it was a big hit. All the food was HP-themed as well; I even made pumpkin juice! I think the butterbeer was the big winner though – cream soda + butterscotch schnapps. YUM!
Daniel’s grandpa, whom we called “Hi-Kid,” passed away on June 20.
My favorite Hi-Kid story revolves around him discovering I did web development, and then telling me he had Adobe CS already and wasn’t sure if he should upgrade to CS2 since what he was doing with Photoshop seemed to work fine for him, and could I tell him if it was worth the extra cost? I remember being appalled that someone in their eighties even knew what Photoshop was, let alone used it and had an opinion about upgrading it.
Another favorite memory involves the first time I had dinner at Nana and Hi-Kid’s house, and Hi-Kid was serving mashed potatoes. I asked for one scoop, and he gave me that plus two more. I soon came to find out this was a thing, and the chronic over-purchasing and over-serving of food is sort of a running joke. This was further underscored during Hi-Kid’s memorial service when the family purchased WAY too many boxes of cookies for guests to eat and were trying to pawn them off on guests.
He was an incredibly sharp, witty man and I’m a better person for having known him. We’ll miss him a lot.
We’ve had some crazy lightning storms recently, and I am a dunce and did not think to unplug my computer during a particularly flashy one, and the next morning my computer wouldn’t turn on and the monitor smelled like burning. We took it in, it was diagnosed with a burnt-out power supply and we had to wait for a special one to come in the mail (I have a tiny computer and it needed a tiny power supply) and get installed. TWO WEEKS LATER, I have my computer back and am able to resume my normal computery activities. We do have a tiny netbook and a broken-but-repaired iPod Touch that got us by in the meantime, but man. I do not want to do that again.
August is going to be a busy month for us! My brother is getting married on the 18th, and then we have friends coming to stay with us, and then my cousin is getting married near Boise, ID on September 1st so we’ll take a trip down there.
Wesley and his cousin were in the 4th of July baby parade again this year. Riley has one of those motorized kid cars, except it’s a John Deere tractor, so he drove and pulled Wesley behind in the trailer. They had loads of fun.
My mom, Wesley, and I went cherry picking at my grandparents’ house. I am making a weird face but we had a good time:
My dad took Wesley on a (low speed! very safe!) ride on his ATV. Wesley calls it a motorcycle (pronounced “moley-lyco”) and was THRILLED he got to wear a moley-lyco helmet.
My mom had gallbladder surgery recently (non-emergency, thankfully) and is recovering well. I was nervous when my dad didn’t text me for a few hours but then again I forgot to ask how long the surgery would take.
She’s also organizing a local Big Latch On event that I’m helping with. Should be fun! If you’re a breastfeeding mom see if there’s one near you – you can help break the record of the most women breastfeeding simultaneously.
I’m still working part-time, three days a week, and Wesley still cries at every daycare dropoff. Thank goodness it’s only once a week!
Our county fair is coming up later this month and I am ridiculously excited about it. I used to make all my summer money at the fair when I was younger (you get $3 for a blue ribbon!) and I want to enter some embroidery stuff this year. I have this Badbird Beaver pattern already and I’m dying to use it – I really want to make it sort of oversized and prettily colorful, and then maybe the judges will be overcome with love for my efforts and I will get a purple Grand Champion ribbon for it. A girl can dream.
That about brings us up to date, I think. What have you been up to?
Wesley turned two on March 25, and we had a big, dinosaur-themed party for him!
We had pizza, chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and fruit salad with a watermelon carved like a Tyrannosaurus Rex! (I followed this tutorial.)
Wesley has been so funny and so crazy lately; I suppose it’s part of the territory when you’re two.
He’s started talking in more sentence-like ways, saying things like “Daddy make juice” or “Mommy play blocks” or “Sophie nap blanket.” He’s been calling himself “Wecky” for months, but now he does it if he wants something. Especially if we’re in the store. He just starts wailing “WECKYYYYYYY! WEEEEEEEEECKYYYYY!” which sounds like absolute nonsense to anybody but us.
I posted this on Twitter already, but the day after his birthday he found a leftover unused plate and said, “Plate! Mommy Rowie. Eat. Pizza! Happy birthday! Blow candle. Cupcake.” IT’S LIKE HE IS A REAL HUMAN, WITH MEMORIES. (“Rowie” (Roan) is his best friend, and he never calls Roan’s mom by her name – it’s always “Rowie Mommy.”)
This is a super belated post, but I wanted to acknowledge his birthday here for posterity. Happy birthday, Babby Weffles!
As I mentioned in my last post, since February of this year, I have been working to drop the baby weight. I have purposely chosen not to write about my attempted weight loss on my site, for fear that I would be embarrassed when it did not work out. I gained a LOT of weight while pregnant – roughly 60lbs, while my recommended weight gain was 10-15lbs since I was already overweight. Basically, I had a long way to go and didn’t want public knowledge of my complete and utter failure.
I started Weight Watchers in February and have slowly but surely lost about twenty pounds. (!!!) I am still a few pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, but I am just so shocked that this appears to have worked that I almost don’t care.
Weight Watchers seems to work for me because calories themselves are somewhat meaningless to me, and the numbers are too big and I never know what number I’m supposed to be hitting anyway. WW is different in that it comes up with an arbitrary number of points for you (mine is 29) and you just track what you eat, making note of the point values, and hit that number. In theory, you can also eat all of your weekly points (I have 49 available) and still lose weight, but I find that if I dip too far into my weekly points, my weight goes up instead of down.
I started out with a much higher point goal (36), because WW helpfully offers an “Are you breastfeeding?” option and I checked it when I signed up. However, even though I was (and still am!) breastfeeding, I don’t think my body needed the extra calories WW was allotting me. I joke about “lying” to WW about breastfeeding, but it’s true! I had to lie to get an accurate point goal. You can see exactly when I changed my settings, too:
(Click to enlarge)
Pre-May is when I had it set at the higher limit, and once I changed the settings I started losing about a pound per week.
I’ve slacked off a bit the past month but have managed to maintain my weight, which is a good sign. Now that I’ve started Operation: VBAC, I’m excited to kick it into gear again and really watch what I put in my mouth.
My next goal is my pre-pregnancy weight, and the goal after that will be the 10lb marker that will mean my BMI merely classifies me as “overweight” and not “obese.”
Just so no one is confused, WW has not paid me to talk about them or anything. I have just had the good fortune to have some success on their program.
Over Labor Day weekend, Daniel and Wesley and I decided to surprise our families and make an unannounced trip to Idaho! Despite my parents and my brother and his girlfriend and baby going on a camping trip, we had a great time and definitely surprised everyone.
We left Thursday after I got off work, so at midnight we had made it about halfway and decided to get a hotel room and continue the drive in the morning. (We’ve powered through it once, but that was pre-baby and it wasn’t very fun that time around either.) The only two rooms the stupid hotel had left were both smoking, so we chose the king-size bed and turned the air purifier on high and opened the window all the way. Fortunately, the pillows/bedding smelled fine so I was able to sleep okay and not freak out about third-hand smoke harming my baby (or either of us).
(Edited to add: Also, THANK YOU to those of you who chimed in on my most recent post. You were all very helpful. I am pretty sure I can see two tiny teeth coming in now that weren’t visible before, so *ding ding ding* teething seems to have been the answer. He is still occasionally sad at feedings but NOTHING like what he was doing before, so we seem to be past the worst of it for now. I heart the internet.)
My family came to visit me last weekend! My mom, dad, and one of my brothers drove down to Portland to see us and we had a great time. Here are some photos:
Wesley and Grammie Angie:
Wesley and Grandpa Ronnie:
Wesley and Uncle Landen:
We went to a local toy store, looked at lots of awesome things and walked out with a Skwish toy for Wesley. He loves it!
Later, we drove to the coast to hang out at Cannon Beach for a while. Wesley had on a super-hip outfit:
Then he napped for something like three hours while I carried him around in our new Ergo carrier. While he was asleep, we visited another toy store and my mom bought him a squeezy ball and a book with baby sign language (we want to start teaching him signs). He loooooves the squeezy ball! It’s easy for him to grab and hang on to, and it’s chewy and has lots of places for him to poke his tongue into. Case in point:
It was a super-fun weekend and I’m so glad they got to come and visit! It’s great that they could hang out with Wesley again now that he is more interactive – my brother had never met him and my parents last saw him at 7 weeks old!