Designing the Nursery—Part 2 (Baby Steps)

This is the face of the little booger who consistently gets the hiccups at 3:00 AM. Could you sleep if someone poked you in the ribs, every three seconds for an hour? I highly doubt it. In fact, she is so active lately, my stomach always looks like we are seconds away from an Aliens reenactment. I have officially crossed into the discomfort portion of my pregnancy, and I don’t think I can swing wearing yoga pants to work…*sigh*

In the meantime, work on the nursery has been on hold. Though I didn’t want to write about it at the time, my husband had to go away on a nearly month-long business trip. Let’s just say that working full-time, keeping the heathens fed and healthy, and maintaining some semblance of order in my house has been a challenge. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty of those three weeks…it’s enough to say they weren’t a picnic.

My husband made it home safe and sound this weekend, and we’re gearing up to resume work on the nursery.

Though this project has been on hiatus, I still spent time figuring out a few things. If you recall, the room in question has these shelves:

I wanted to maximize the storage potential of this space, so I figured that cute baskets would be an attractive solution. Finding the right baskets, however, proved to be a challenge. I really wanted something that was as large as would feasibly fit into the space, so that the items inside would not be completely visible at a glance (I’m not very adept at keeping drawers Martha-Stewart-neat). I also needed so many baskets that the budget became a significant issue. Just as I would find the perfect basket, I’d also find the $20-a-pop price tag. After weeks of searching at all the usual places, I happened down the home-storage aisle of Lowes:

These baskets were only $6 a piece. I also found some in a smaller size (3 for $12), which I’ll be able to use for things like hair accessories…yes, I said hair accessories. I’m having my first girl for cripes sake.

Painting is an ongoing process, but while I’ve been waiting, I also found this wall decal on Etsy, which I will be ordering this week:


Progress may be slow, but, hey, it’s still progress.



Is It Like Riding a Bike? And Other Ridiculously Stupid, Hormone-Driven Questions

As I approach my eighth (holy carp!) month of pregnancy, I am constantly fighting back hormonal rushes of irrational behavior. For example, I know we still have two months to finish the nursery, but as I stare at the half-painted room with nothing in it but a plastic-covered crib, I get so twitchy, I could jump out of my skin.

So far this week, I’ve cried about dropping a pile of folded laundry and having to re-fold it, the driver in front of me who was too busy texting to drive until the light was yellow…of course he made it and I didn’t, and let’s not even get into my epic battle of wills with AT&T. At any given moment, I may go from perfectly fine to unstable weirdo in two seconds flat.

When this pregnancy-induced madness hits, I do pretty well with chanting the “it’s just hormones” mantra in the back of my mind, lest I unleash the power of my insanity on unsuspecting bystanders. However, I am also dealing with the increasingly loud voice in the back of my mind that reminds me it’s been eight whole years since I’ve dealt with this:

Or this:

Logic tells me that, two boys later, I should be a pro at this whole motherhood thing. The psycho-woman in my brain, however, keeps reminding me that it’s been EIGHT, LONG years since I’ve dealt with an infant. I took the LSAT eight years ago too…that doesn’t mean I’d have a clue what to do if I had to take it tomorrow. Some information is still ingrained, I’m sure. The basics like changing diapers and burping, are like riding a bike; they’ll come right back to me. It’s the complicated stuff I’m worried about.

When we have that first bad night, will I “know” what to do, or will I be stricken with the desperate panic I felt during Demon-Baby’s reign of terror? Does it make me a moron that I’ll have to look up how often Bean should be eating, because I can’t for the life of me remember how frequently a newborn is supposed to eat? Will her umbilical stump give us the heebie-jeebies as badly as the boys’ did? Will I fret over every damn thing, or am I to the point that I’ll be a more confident, laid-back mom?

Yes, there is a crazy woman in my head who is starting to annoy me greatly. Time to silence her with King Cake.

The Best $10 I Spent This Week

The heathens have been a little restless lately, and I can’t really blame them. They’ve both had school projects and piles of homework, on top of their usual chores. As we were running errands today, we ducked into a bookstore, so I could pick up the new issue of Mary Jane’s Farm magazine. While we were there, I wanted to reward them for all their hard work, so I told them they could each pick out a book.

Why? Because post-Christmas, they certainly don’t need any more toys or games at the moment. Also, we are working on the concept of allowances, saving and thoughtful decision making…’nuff said.

Bear decided to get the Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s Do-It-Yourself Book, and while I had hoped for something more…literary…I was willing to compromise from his original choice of a Pokémon comic book.

Dang if it wasn’t the best money I’ve spent in a while. He has spent the ENTIRE day glued to the pages, reading, drawing, writing and laughing.

Add in some unseasonably warm weather, a little outside playtime, and peace reigns around my house today.


Dear AT&T–We are Not Friends Right Now

Our internet service went down the other day…conveniently, this was a day the heathens needed the computer to complete multiple school assignments using internet research. Yes, I was aggravated. But I dealt. Trying to research famous hurricanes on an iPhone for my 9 year-old was not my idea of a good time, but I sure did it.

After a day or so, I started to wonder if it was a problem with something in our house, instead of the service itself. After all, a full day would have been plenty of time for any service problems to be resolved, right?

Soooooo, I called AT&T technical support, and after navigating the never-ending automated menu, I finally ended up with a person who clearly resides in a country other than my own. No big deal, but he had to repeat every sentence at least twice before I could understand what he was saying. This made for a very long process.

THREE hours later, and after following instructions dealing with computer settings and command prompts that I had no business messing with, my technical support “friend” declares the problem to be our modem, and breaks the news that I’ll need to shell out $125 for a new one.

Fine. Bleepity-bleep-bleep…fine.

THE VERY NEXT DAY, I go to the doctor to find out that EVERYONE in my town’s AT&T internet is down. Despite three hours with technical support, those clowns somehow missed that the problem really was on their end.

Well, dang.

So, I called technical support again, hoping to cancel said modem order. What I got was a recording informing me that they knew there was an outage, and to press “0” if I needed further assistance. Which I did. The line would ring once, then HANG UP ON ME…three…dang…times. Finally, I called another number, and kept repeatedly pressing “0,” despite the automated voice trying to convince me it really needed to know more about my problem to help me. After the tenth “0,” a huffy computer voice finally transferred me to a real, live person, who told me it was too late to recall the modem.

Now, I will have endure the hoopla of sending the modem back, but no big deal. At least I could bask in the knowledge that my internet would be restored soon.

Until, last night.

Oooooohhhh, last night.

When I finally saw the mystical internet light on my modem blink green, I rushed to my computer to rejoice in my connectivity…not that I’m an addict or anything, but I sure love my Kindle Fire…which needs Wi-Fi…as does every computer and the main TV in our house.

As it turns out, my “FRIEND” in technical support had me change so much crap on our computers that our in-house wireless network now isn’t functioning. If I want internet, I have to sit on the floor of the empty nursery, and plug directly into a modem that, up until this point, had been concealed in a cabinet. All other computers, my Kindle, the TV, etc. are now cut off for at least the next two weeks, until my husband is able to come home and fix it.

I am not happy, Bob…not happy.

In fact, after trying to fix the mysterious issue for another two hours last night, I erupted into hysterical tears that were completely disproportionate to the situation at hand.

I know it’s the pregnancy talking, but I’m starting to take this personally. AT&T…you and I may be headed for a break-up.

A Blanket for Bean—Or Worrying that I’m Not Worried About My Persistent Procrastination


I’ve been a bit under the weather recently, which wouldn’t be so bad if I could just stop time for a day. But, alas, school projects, homework, hungry heathens and a house that won’t clean itself mean that I’ve been running pretty much from sun-up to sun-down lately. Of, course, then there’s that whole “growing a person” thing, but whose counting?

In the midst of juggling the day-to-day, I managed to finish Bean’s first blanket:

So, now, she has a bed and a blanket. Considering that I’m giving birth in two months, I probably better get on the stick and come up with more than that. Seriously, I’m seven months pregnant, and my kid has a blanket and a bed. In fact, Bean wouldn’t even have the bed if her grandparents hadn’t gifted us the most gorgeous crib ever. I keep waiting for the day that panic sets in, but every time I go to buy something baby-related, my slacker/procrastination tendencies convince my commonsense that it’s way tooooo early…I have PLENTY of time left to worry about stuff like that.


Procrastination may not be my best maneuver where childbirth is concerned.

My Prescioussss…Version 2.0

This is what my husband got me for Christmas:

Yep, it’s a Kindle Fire, and I love it.

Since I have my pretty-pink-laptop, I was not really in the market for anything as fancy as iPad, though it sure did look cool. First, iPads were a smidgen out of our budget, and even if they weren’t, the only thing I’d be using one for is reading, music and surfing the internet for brain-rotting entertainment on-the-go. Anything more complicated than that is a job for the laptop, because I am the nerd who still needs the keyboard and mouse in order to function anything close to efficiently. Therefore, I didn’t think that paying more for a small tablet than I actually did for the laptop was reasonable, especially since I’d be using it in a more limited way. So, up until Christmas, I had resigned myself to lugging the laptop or burning through enough data on my iPhone to keep AT&T afloat for the next decade.

Thanks to my awesome husband, however, I now have the Kindle Fire, and the data plan on my iPhone is no longer on life support. I can read my books, waste time on the internet and even watch the shows on Netflix I’m embarrassed to admit I watch. The added bonus is that all my stuff from my second generation Kindle transferred right over, so my digital library remains intact.

Amazon didn’t even need to make one in pink…my guys know that if they touch the Kindle, they’ll draw back a nub.

Nobody touches my Prescioussss….

School Projects Are No Fun—But Dinner Sure Is Tasty

I’ve been in school-project-hell this weekend. G-Man has a social studies project due in a couple of weeks, which any mom knows means that we all can kiss our free time goodbye until it’s done.

I really, really struggle with school projects, to the point that I truly dread when they come up. I want my kids to do them on their own, because that is the whole point, right? However, in the age of growing parent competitiveness (i.e ridiculousness), I learned early on that some parents’ idea of “helping” their kids is actually doing the project for them. I hate seeing super-slick class projects that you just know were done more by the parents than the child, if not in their entireity. Normally, I shrug it off, but I can’t help wondering if my child’s honest effort will be compared to their peers, and found lacking because I didn’t ensure all that glossy polish by practically doing the final product myself. Further, I don’t want my kids to feel substandard because their classmates’ projects look like professional advertising materials, while ours reflects the true work of a 4th grader. I am in a constant battle to figure out how to help my child be successful, without crippling him by doing too much. I wish I had the answer, but in the meantime, I still bleeping hate school project time.

In semi-related news, I tried a new recipe last night that I found in this month’s Southern Living. This King Ranch Mac and Cheese seemed like just the kid-friendly meal I needed to take the sting off our marathon report-writing session. This was dang tasty, and much faster to put together than I anticipated. The boys raved about it, so you know it’s not just the pregnancy talking.

King Ranch Mac and Cheese (From Jan/2012 Southern Living)


  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 (16-oz.) package cellentani pasta (I couldn't find this at Wally World, so I used ¾ of a 16-oz. box of elbow macaroni)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (I used the "mild" Rotel to make this more Heathen-friendly)
  • 1 (8-oz.) package pasteurized prepared cheese product, cubed
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes and green chiles and prepared cheese product; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Stir in chicken, next 4 ingredients, and hot cooked pasta until blended. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 11- x 7-inch baking dish; sprinkle with shredded Cheddar cheese.
  3. 3. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

By following this dinner with our first King Cake of the season, I got to relish in a little “you’re the best mom ever!” That is, until I announced that it was shower time…then I was back to being Captain Meanie-Pants.

But, I’m cool with that.

Budgetary Panic Attack—Or Step 1 of Plugging the Financial Leaks

I got a call from the doctor’s office today. And let’s just say the news was not good.

Don’t worry, Bean’s fine. It’s my budget that is in need of life support.

You see, despite the fact that we pay a substantial amount of our expendable income for health insurance, I still will be required to pre-pay a boatload of money to the doctor…like ASAP. I’ve tried figuring out why this is, but my eyes crossed after less than two minutes of the nurse attempting to explain the complexities of healthcare to me. The moral of the story is that I owe a bunch of money we don’t have, and I need to start saving it…like yesterday.

Thus, I am now challenging myself to plug the holes in my hemorrhaging budget, and my goal for this month is tackle our excessive tendency for eating out.

I am embarrassed to admit that we drop a huge chunk of change in restaurants. I’ve become a total slacker in the cooking and meal planning department, and I am the first person to toss self-control into the wind when I get tired and cranky. For months, I’ve been saying we really need to eat out less, only to break down a few days later when I’m confronted with hungry heathens, no energy and no plan. Even after grocery shopping on Monday, my refrigerator is embarrassingly empty, because I’ve become a disorganized mom who just grabs enough to “get by,” only to be surprised later when I don’t have anything in the pantry to make a full meal.

What’s so stupid about this situation is that the meals portion of my budget has easily been within my control…I’ve just been a lazy dork about it. With a huge financial setbacks brewing, I need to snap the hell out of it, and get things under control.

I’ve broken many bad habits in my time, and in the next few weeks, I’m determined to break this one too.

Curbing our restaurant addiction is not as simple as “just say no.” For this plan to work, I need an extensive menu plan and not just for weeknight meals, either. Weekends have been my biggest downfall, so my plan better include all meals and snacks for the FULL week, not just enough until Friday.

Instead of my recent inertia in regards to meal planning and cooking, I’m going to take some time tomorrow to actually make a real, long overdue plan. I want to make sure I have plenty of menus, including a couple of easy stand-bys for those really bad days. I vow to be responsible and accountable.

I can’t change the ridiculous health care system, but I may be able to use this reality check to get back into being the kind of financially responsible chick I want to be.

Designing the Nursery—Part 1

As you may know, Bean needs a room. After 10 years of living with all boys, I am bound and determined to exercise my right to girly-fy something in my house. I’ve already got the inspiration; it’s the execution that is proving to be elusive.

After an inordinate amount of internet surfing, I fell absolutely in love with this bedding from Polka Tot designs, and thought I found my jumping-off point.

And then, I had a much-needed budget reality check, and decided that I better start back at square one.

Before we get to all that, let’s take a look at the room in question. Bean’s room was our former office, which in some past life, was probably a bedroom. Technically, the room had a closet, but the former owners of our home converted the closet into the laundry, because it is deep enough for the stackable front-loading washers and dryers. I am eternally grateful that they did, because otherwise, it would be a trek to our detached garage and back for clean clothes, and my abject laziness would have rioted.

Here’s Wall 1:


It has great windows and built-ins, but has an extra door to the rear of our house, despite the fact that we also have an exterior door in our kitchen. To the left, you can see the aforementioned closet-now-laundry. The color scheme in this room is the same as the ENTIRE house (white walls, beige/brownish trim). Trust me, the previous owners were really into this color-scheme, down to the flowers in the landscaping. My husband and I have left it alone since we’ve moved in, mostly out of laziness. However, every room is the same, and we are getting kind of tired of it.

Here’s Wall 2:

This is the wall the crib will go on. The door pictured here leads to the kitchen.

Wall 3:

This is the weird wall. As you can see, the entire wall is built-in storage (and those cabinets are REALLY deep), so I’m not too concerned about the lack of closet issue. In fact, I can probably run a rod through one (or all) of them for hanging up clothes. However, those windows look into the dining room, so some type of curtains or window treatments will be necessary. The catch is ensuring whatever I put there looks good on BOTH sides, because I will be able to see it in the dining room.

Finally, Wall 4:

This wall is also tricky, because putting furniture on it that won’t hinder opening the cabinets on Wall 3 is a challenge. The small cabinet by the door is a former built-in ironing board thingie, but it now houses some very small shelves. Good storage, but limited uses. The door leads to the Heathen’s room, and you’ve already met the laundry closet.

Other than the gorgeous crib, this room is a weird, blank canvas.

Now, we just have to figure out what to do with it.