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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Proud of Myself

I just have to take a minute to say that I am really proud of myself. And here is why. I like teaching in higher education. Really, it is a great gig - especially for a second income (which we hope it will be for my family some day). I don't work every day of the week, I choose my own hours, I choose and design the material I work with - and what sets it apart from other teaching - I am not responsible for my students. Meaning, if they don't do their work and come to class this is not my problem, a luxury high school and el. ed teachers do not have.

And I have been really lucky to score the position I hold now, especially with just having a master's degree in a market flooded with English instructors. However, I have always known that to stay in the upper-ed game and have a decent shot at a tenure track position, I must have a PHD or, at the least, an MFA.

I came to DSC instead of applying straight to a doctoral program for a few reasons. 1 - Trev was still sick and we needed to catch our breath. 2 - my family is amazing and offered to let us live in their vacation home here. 3 - I just wanted to take a year off to study for the GRE Lit. Subject test.

The Lit Subject test is an incredibly intense, hours long entrance exam to be accepted into most PHD programs. To give an idea of how difficult it is, moderate programs require you to score in at least the 50th percentile. Competitive programs have much higher demands. But that just gives you an idea of how many people can botch it. Of course you can take the test multiple times, at $200.00 a pop. The subject matter covers everything in the English Cannon, from Beowulf to contemporary authors with a light smattering of world literature as well. There are also extensive questions on Literary Criticism theory, and identifying grammar as it is used in middle and old English. Questions range from "Identify these lines, and select the work they come from" to "Which of the following authors worked as an insurance agent in London?" Think Trivial pursuit.

Because of its random nature the test is criticized as not really being a measure of knowledge concerning the literature field. In fact most professionals I know in English Departments roll their eyes when asked about the validity and pedagogy of the test. But, it is what it is...and I have to take it eventually.

The best way to study is to read everything you can get your hands on, memorize as much as you can and then pray really hard.

So this is the studying I was supposed to be doing last year...supposed to...being the operative phrase. The test is only offered twice a year, and when it rolled around last month I knew there was no way I would preform well at all. So I decided to give myself another year. My husband provided the perfect excuse, after all, he is still in school here so I still needed to hold off on applying to programs elsewhere.

But I needed to start studying. Because I hadn't been very disciplined or successful on my own, I found a study partner. Another instructor in the same boat as me, here at Dixie. We have been studying for the last two weeks and it is amazing! I have done more in two weeks than I did all year. In two weeks I have read:
  • All of Christopher Marlowe's notable poetry
  • Dr. Faustus (Marlowe)
  • Tambulaine (Marlowe)
  • Beowulf
  • Bleakhouse (Dickens)
  • Great Expectations (Dickens)
  • All of Robert Browning's important poetry
  • All of Alfred Lloyd Tennyson's recommended works
  • A hefty selection of Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Material on the mythical and archetype literary criticism schools of thought
If you don't appreciate the HUGE amount of material this is - Google some of the books and consider their page numbers. Then consider that Beowulf is in old English, and that literary criticism is dreadfully boring.

After reading our assigned texts for the week, my colleague and I meet and each present the study guides we have prepared for the readings we were selected to note and present to each other. Our meetings have actually been really fun, productive and remind me of graduate school.

Having to report to another individual, who is not a good friend that I can easily blow off has made me so much more disciplined. I also love the effect that all this extra reading has had on my life the last few weeks. Instead of opting for an hour to relax on the couch and watch TV, I pick up a book. I have always read a lot - but not to the degree the last two weeks have entailed. I love how much more active my mind feels. And I am surprised that the veg. time I used to take everyday to some silly sitcom doesn't even feel appealing anymore.

Anyway - thanks for listening - and thanks for sending any encouraging GRE thoughts my way.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Perfect Solution

With neighbor gifts starting to roll into our residence (Thanks to all our sweet friends!) I have been trying to think up our own bit of "Christmas Cheer" to hand around this year. I have been crazy busy, and still not feeling great. Little miss/mr. Linderman has gotten big enough to locate and sit on my sciatic nerve over the last two weeks. This is not a pleasant feeling, and according to the doctor it isn't one I can do much about either. Oh well. So for these reasons I keep trying to explain to my husband that I am not going to be a doing a mad baking session of goodies that he gets to sample and try before they are delivered. I settled on the idea of making these funny little candy mice and taking plates around that quote, "On the night before Christmas, all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." While explaining this idea to Trev last night the following conversation ensued:

Me: So that is what I'll be making.

Trev: What about making that fudge you make that has one layer of chocolate fudge, then one layer of peanut butter fudge and then is topped with crushed pecans and Carmel?

Me: That is way more work than the candy mice.

Trev: If I were getting a neighbor present I would rather have the fudge than the mice.

Me: You aren't getting a neighbor present. They are for the neighbors.

Trev: Oh. {moment of silence} I know then, how about you make the mice and the fudge and then I eat the fudge while you deliver the mice?

I laughed. But I have been thinking of the conversation since. And I just might duck out of the office a wee bit early today, to go home and make my sweetheart some fudge... :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Geared Up

I married a "Gear head" which, according the Urban Dictionary is: (n) A hiker whose main focus is backpacking and outdoor gear." I had to scroll across the entire page to be sure Trevor's picture was not uploaded anywhere along with the definition.

On second thought - maybe I will email his photo to the web-administrator, since he fits the ticket so perfectly.

Trevor loves outdoor anything...and really loves the outdoor anything equipment that comes with such activities. He has all sorts of backpacking, hiking, camping, white-water rafting, biking, and rock-climbing gear.So it on naturally follows that anyone who comes into Trevor's life must also be properly geared out. So it wasn't a huge surprise to me that for all the occasions since we have been married Trev has gifted me with gear. For my birthday the first year we were married I got hiking shoes, then I got a -15 degree mummy bag, then a backpack, then whitewater paddles and life jackets, then a bike rack, then biking gloves, camping lanterns, coleman stoves, an amazing cooler that I could literally fit a body in. In fact, this year is the first time he gave me something not out-doorsy for my birthday (an incredible sewing machine that all my family pitched in on and that deserves its own post coming soon!) And I am pretty sure that he only went that direction this year instead of in the rock0climbing gear way because I cannot wear a belay harness while I am pregnant.

And its not just me. As soon as Ripsi was big enough she got this to haul backpacking:And this to wear boating and rafting.PLUS - her life jacket matches ours!
We are such outdoor enthusiasts that one of our biggest concerns about the "baby development" is that we are going to lose a significant part of this life. And while we know things will change...instead of letting the baby beat us into staying home, we decided to enable the baby to join us in going out. So while most people might think of booties and blankets when it comes to baby gear - this is what we are thinking:

Stroller wheels that look like this:
So we can walking, jogging on trails that aren't perfectly paved.

And hiking mobility that looks like this:I love this pack. Trev's parents gave it to me for my birthday. It is a Kelty pack - which is probably my favorite backpacking brand - next to the way-too-expensive arcteryx brand.

And finally - last weekend when I met my mom, grandma and sister for a day of baby shopping in Provo, (also a soon-to-come-post) I got this!
This tent might be my favorite baby gear yet. How cool is it? It folds up teeny-tiny to a light 4lbs and is designed to take anywhere outdoors. This way when we are camping or hike in to hang out somewhere for a few hours and the baby falls asleep I can lay him/her in here on the little air mattress bottom, and zip them in safe from bugs, and dogs and too much sun. I really think this will come in handy. (Thanks again Mom and Grandma!)

So baby Linderman is off to a good start in the gear world. Trev has also been perusing these contraptions you can use to lift and lower your baby up cliff faces while rock-climbing. However, my love for gear ends there and I have given a solid "NO" to the entire idea. Our child will have to get a little (lot) bigger before I will feel good about watching it cling to rocks way up in the air. But until then...we have an extreme stroller, awesome kangaroo pack and fabulous, teeny-person tent.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to....me

It is true - today I am old. A whopping 25. Birthdays were so much more exciting when I was younger, but today has been a pretty nice one. As far as getting old goes. Trev has been at school all day - and I will celebrate with him later tonight, but I did want to quickly post one neat thing I got to do on my birthday for a present. A 3 D ultrasound. Crazy. The lady was really nice - she took a lot of pictures and was very careful to avoid any gender revealing shots. Here are my favorites. Click on them to make them bigger.Here is the baby sucking it's thumb. I also love the little toes down in the left hand corner.We were trying to get the baby to move around more - she/he was probably asleep - so we jostled my tummy around to get it to move and this is apparently what it thought about the whole idea, since it lifted both hands up to hide its face. And don't worry - for those of you staring intently at the space between those two legs at the bottom - the ultrasound lady assured me you couldn't see a thing down there - the umbilical cord is all wadded up in front of whatever parts may or may not be there.This is a little elbow resting on a knee. Isn't that cute? Check out the spine and ribs you can see as well. Still being camera shy - but check out that ear and chin.
This was the best face shot we could ever get - you can see nose and lips and eyes and fingers right up next to the mouth.
This last picture is especially for my mom. Every time my mom holds a sleeping baby she says the same thing, "Look at those little rosebud lips." So here you go mom - and soon-to-be grandma - look at those perfect rosebud lips!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Hunting We Have Gone...

I am late getting this up here - but just barely got the pictures put onto my computer.We went hunting again this year. I love hunting season. Ever since I was a little girl hunting has been a big event on my mom's side of the family. We all gather at our family land in Scofield Utah where we eat great food, see amazing animals and just generally relax and enjoy each other's company.This year was the best, because everyone's schedules worked out so that we could all be to the Mountain at the same time. Last year we missed hanging out with Lacy and Hank.
I also love to see the other hunters that come to our Mountain. The "California hunters" have been coming to the Mountain my whole life. These are wonderful men that have literally known me since I was a baby. They are always kind and are good for a joke, a political rant or two, and, of course, numerous stories about past hunting adventures.

We had extra fun this year zipping all around on the Rhino ATV's my grandparents bought. Trevor is now convinced he needs a street-worthy Rhino to go to school in. I have told him to just keep dreaming. :) The Rhino's were especially great because they ride the rough mountain roads a bit easier than the trucks do. I only got sick from the bumping once then entire time we were hunting - and the Rhino has no side windows- so vomiting was even convenient.Trev also harvested a nice deer, and just in time because we have used all of our meat from last year. I have already consumed nearly one entire smoked summer sausage by myself. Trevor tells me I am supposed to share that stuff, and I just smile and say that the baby made me eat it.

We really did have a wonderful time. Thanks to mom, Dan, Grandma, Grandpa and Lacy & Hank for being there. You are the best!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Too weird

I know at the 20 week ultrasound you are supposed to primarily be excited. And I was excited to see our baby - I was also pretty freaked out. The last time we saw the little guy/gal it mostly looked like a little sausage. This time it looked like a baby. I know that should be comforting - and on one level it definitely is. But on another level I found myself thinking, "Oh dear. It really is a baby in there...a baby that is going to come out in a few months. Oh dear."
Though this anxiety subsided a bit when we got to watch its little hands and feet. That was pretty amazing. We watched the baby literally just kick and kick me for a minute. Which explains a lot about all of the movement I feel. Even the ultrasound tech said we have one of the wiggliest babies she has ever seen. It really is such a strange and incredible process. We did have the opportunity to find out the gender...but we closed our eyes and said we didn't want to know, so we are still holding strong on the "Let's do it the old-fashioned way" front. Anyone want to place any bets on what will be arriving in the next 4 1/2 months?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Picture Collage

Click the link below to see a mural collage of all the guests that attended the Murder Mystery party

BigHugeLabs: Do fun stuff with your photos


Murder Mystery

There is something everyone should know about me, and that is that I absolutely LOVE Halloween. It really and truly might be my favorite Holiday.

I have such great memories as a kid about Halloween - I loved the local carnival every year, and I loved going Trick-or-Treating with my Dad who always dressed up in an awesome costume. I loved the sweet little old ladies in my childhood neighborhood who went to great lengths to make Halloween special - Bessie Wilcox who was always Witchy Boo-Boo with a huge maze (made of blankets and cushions) in her house that we had to crawl through to find our treats (homemade popcorn balls) and Rusty Smith who made home-made candied or Carmel apples each year. What kid wouldn't love this?

Sometimes it really bums me out that trunk-or-treating has replaced the long, cold walks I loved taking as a kid, and that most parents don't trust their neighbors and frown on any kind of homemade trick-or-treats (which is so weird to me 'cause everyone exchanges homemade goodies at Christmas...but anyway) I know that is the world we live in...but it still makes me sad.

I was also super sad at that time in my life when I was too old to trick-or-treat - but still too young to attend Halloween parties.

And I am always bummed if we don't get to do something festive - which was the case last year.

So this year I refused to be a Halloween-bum. Enlisting the help of a friend - we decided to throw a murder mystery dinner party.

And so the planning began. We choose a vampire-themed murder mystery. It is built around the storyline that there is a global vampire slayer killing vampires throughout the world. So the most powerful vampires have gathered to figure out what to do. Of course, the Slayer is actually one of them, there is a murder and everyone must figure out who did it.

Murder mysteries operate on the concept that characters are quirky and extreme. Trev played the host character Stat LeBaCourt, who is known for telling ridiculous jokes and randomly bursting into song. Other characters would laugh hysterically every time someone said the word blood, etc. Each guest is assigned their character in advance and given costume suggestions. The dinner is divided into three sections - appetizers, dinner and dessert. At each session each guest receives a clue prompt that tells them clues to reveal to other guests in conversation and clues to conceal. During dinner the murder takes place. During the dessert round the characters accuse each other of being the murderer, and the murderer eventually reveals him or herself.There are also games played throughout the party. The best game was that guests were divided into 24 teams and given a roll of toilet paper to make a cape out of. One member of the group had to model the cape to "I'm Too Sexy." That was my favorite - it was hilarious.We served the following:

Appetizers:
  • Stuffed Eyeballs (stuffed olives)
  • Villain Vegetables (veggie tray)
  • Deviled Eggs
Dinner:
  • Blood Soup (home-made Tomato soup)
  • Dead bats Wings (home-made wings)
  • Soul-Sucking Salad (pasta salad)
  • Corpse Casserole (green bean casserole)
  • Funeral Potatoes
  • "I Can't Believe it's not Garlic" Garlic Bread
Dessert:
  • Graveyard Cups (pudding with oreos)
We had soo many funeral potatoes- the only thing we could mix them in was a cooler

We had 22 guests - so it was a good turnout. Everyone looked GREAT! We took pictures of each couple as they arrived, and I am now working to put a copy of each couple's picture into a thank you note to get out to them later this week.

It was a TON of work - we cooked the night before until 4 AM, we decorated the clubhouse where we held the party, we burned CD's for background music and then we had to clean it all up too.

PLUS - I made Trev's costume. He loved it and I also think it looked pretty good. He even wore it to work and a co-worker offered to buy all the material plus pay me to make him one for next year. So I was pretty proud of myself.

The only thing I am bummed about is that I was so busy hostessing and serving food I missed out on getting photos of the best parts of the night - like when some guests randomly broke into the Thriller dance when it was on. Or when Trev and Michelle C. led everyone in the "Time Warp" dance. Hilarious! Luckily, my friend Sarah said she got some of it on video - so when I get the files I will post them up here.

Overall, I think the party was pretty successful. There were some mishaps - we learned a lot about how to host and run a murder mystery party - so next year I think it will be even better. We are going to make it into an annual event, and already have next year's theme all picked out. It will be a Disney Character Themed murder mystery. I am way excited - now I just have to wait 12 more months. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

So I am trying

to nest.

I have actually been surprised at how NOT into baby stuff I have been. There is so much crap out there. I know we need to start stockpiling stuff...but I start to try and look at strollers or cribs and I just get completely overwhelmed, snap the lap-top shut and think that maybe if I don't think about it the kid will just never come out and require equipment that I might have to try to choose and buy.

Baby stuff is expensive...there is a ton of it...and some of it is even sorta creepy. And after all of the looking / shopping I have tried to do all I really have accomplished is to decide that I do not really like pastel shades or hippopotumsuses and lions on anything.

My little sister is so into the baby gear search I have told her to just buy two of everything she picks and let me know what my tab is.

However, I do want a perfect, cute nursery. I know this is silly. I know the kid doesn't care what color its walls or sheets are. But the nursery scheme is about the only thing I have been able to get a little excited about.

Way back before we even knew that we were expecting a baby, I asked a friend who is a budding artist to create a big mural for me. I love her modern, abstract, art style, but couldn't really think of any current rooms that demanded such a peice. So on a whim, I ordered a huge landscape style painting of the old classic nursery rhymes for a nursery or playroom someday. She made a small mock up version (pictured below) and it is the only picture I currently have. I love it. The only thing the photo doesn't capture is the texture to the whole thing. It is made of all sorts of organic and recycled materials, so in person it has a real 3-d look becuase so many things are layered on the canvas.

I have thought this is sort of the theme I want to base the nursery around - maybe something to do with nursery rhymes and really bright, jewel tones. But the more I look for complimentary nursery stuff the more frusterated I become. And I am starting to wonder if I am jsut going to end up sewing a crib quilt and curtains. I am not sure I am that ambitious.

So then I thought, what the heck, I know some of you out there end up with some time to kill during the work day. If, in your surfing of the net you feel so inclined to google "baby bedding" and see anything that goes with the picture below (total size is about the length of a crib, which is where I plan to hang it, above the crib) link me the URL. Or if you have any other suggestions...or if you want to just tell me I am nuts I will take those comments too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

On second thought...

Maybe wearing a long, flowy- behemain inspired dress that is tie-died bright blue, green and red is not a good idea when you are 5 months pregnant. Maybe it actually does make you look like a woodstock blimp.Yup. pretty sure I look something like this...only tie-died.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Growing...

Remember when you were a little kid and your mom would say things like, "You just shot up overnight?" I swear there were nights I would go to bed in elementary school and then wake up with pants that were too short. Until I hit seventh grade and halted at my current 5'2 stature. I once heard that some kids grow so fast they can get stretch marks down their legs.

Being pregnant is kind of like that.

One month ago:

Yesterday:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cousins by chance, Friends by choice

There is nothing like having cousins when you are a kid. They are your built-in best friends. I have so many very cherished memories of spending Saturdays and Summer days playing, talking and hanging out with my cousins. At family reunions and events they are the ones I am most excited to see. When our grandmas send out newsletters they are the ones I most anxiously read about. I still think about them even though I haven't seen some for years and we live on opposoite sides of the country, becuase cousins are truly childhood playmates that grow up to be your forever friends.

Which is why I am so EXCITED for my baby to have so many cousins and second-cousins arriving around the same time!

On Trevor's maternal side there are four cousins that are close in age. Trev, Ty, Ryan and A.J. We really enjoy spending time with all of them, and are especially close with Ty and his wife Erin. Ty and Erin have a beautiful little girl who is six months old. I cannot wait for our kids to play together. Ryan and his wife Amy are expecting a little girl in January, and we just found out that AJ & his wife Summer will have a little one in May. We talked to Trev's grandpa on the phone last night and he said it best, "I am going to have tons of little great-grandkids soon." All of this eqauls 3 cousins and playmates for our baby

Then there is my Flamm family side (relatives of my stepmother). We are a really close family. One of my favorite events every two years is the Flamm Family reunion. We held a reunion this summer - and I already cannot wait for 2011 because then we will have my little rugrat running around along with My cousin Emily & Will's AND my other cousin Jared & Cassie's. Add another 2 cousins for our little guy/gal.

Of course, we can't stop counting cousins there - On Trevor's dad's side we also just learned our cousin Emily and her husband are expecting a baby just shortly after us. We don't get to see them much, but are excited for them, and extra excited for our Grandma Thelma who gets her first two great-grandchildren right in a row. So that makes 1 more cousin!

All of these SIX second cousins will be fun, BUT...the very best cousin we are expecting of all, has to be a first cousin! That is right. Lacy, my baby sister, is also expecting. And get this - my due date is March 15, 2010...Lacy's is March 18, 2010. Now how crazy is that?

October Play

In May I was asked to help create and perform a play in our church ward. I agreed and set out to write a 40 minute play, complete with music, three different acts, stage directions and prop instructions. About a day after I started writing I realized what a HUGE project it would be.
Getting into costume backstage

After writing up a script I ran it by two other incredible women - Sister Hukill & Sister Call. They gave it a go ahead and we cast our characters.
Blurry Lamanites

I thought my part was primarily done, but it turned out I was also asked to co-direct the play with Jan (Sister Call). We scheduled play practice for each Tuesday night and began.

Because there were nearly 40 members from our ward involved it became quite a challenge to first, get people to show up to practice, and second direct that many people at practice! I really have to hand it to Jan, because she has a much more director-ish personality than me. She really stepped up to the plate and got everyone moving in the right direction.One of our Lamanites

Meanwhile - our original costume designer had to back out because of some family emergencies out of town, so myself and two other ladies also began to sew costumes.The opening Sunday School scene - that is me - playing the Sunday School teacher

We practiced, practiced, practiced. Our performance date was set for October 10, and we held our first dress rehearsal the Tuesday before.

I would by lying if I said the dress rehearsal ran smoothly, Trevor, who was in the play said it best as we walked home together: "We really could do like 12 more dress rehearsals before we are totally ready."The BOM characters coming out of the Book of Mormon

We tried another dress rehearsal Friday night, Oct. 9, and I am pretty sure it was even more rough than the first. We decided that we also needed to do another rehearsal Saturday morning. So we did - and it went a little bit better. However, we learned that the man who was planning to run our spotlights suffered a heart attack that morning. We were relieved to learn that he was ok, and just needed to rest. We were also extra relieved that my grandparents were here and stepped up to the spotlight plate.
The opening scene in Act II - the entire cast singing and dancing

Even though there were some major set backs there were also some major victories. The man who made our large Book of Mormon prop was AWESOME! It looked so good! The opening act of the play calls for some characters who represent Book of Mormon characters to be inside a large book that looks like it is open on its side. The book is back-lit with a huge spotlight and at first all the audience sees are the shadows of the characters inside of the book. It turned out to be amazing.
Trevor as Helaman with one of his warriors

Many of our cast members - the BOM characters in particular were amazing. Trevor played Helaman and was so cute!This is the group of little boys I worked with - singing their big song. Notice Trev in the background

We also had some young men and young women and primary kids really come through for us. I practiced with the primary kids every Friday afternoon in addition to Tuesday nights.One of my favorite scenes

Word of our play also seemed to spread throughout the area. The week of the play the Bishop called and told us we needed to plan for an extra 100 people in the audience. Turns out people were coming from out of town, from the stake and all over to watch the play. Trev and I alone had 15 extra people planning to come to support us.Yes, this is me, playing the part of an Ensign Writer

This would have been less problematic if all we had to do was set up chairs, but we had planned for a ward dinner to proceed for the first hour before the play began. Luckily, the ward dinner was an easy potluck. Ward members had been asked to bring either 1- plain spaghetti noodles, 2- spaghetti sauce, 3- plain green salad, 4-salad dressing, or 5-a dessert. The ward just had to provide the breadsticks, plates and utensils. We made some extra phone calls, and instructed all cast members to tell any extra visitors to bring some food.

Saturday night the place was packed! We barely had enough food - and I think the desserts may have run out a little early. The play started right on time.King Benjamin in the final scene

And it went....practically perfectly! I really could not believe it. Everyone really came together. They remembered their lines, they delivered them wonderfully, they sang loud and danced well. Everyone in the audience stayed. The audience laughed at the super-cheesy lines in my script and it was just amazing.Singing the final, closing song

At the end of the play, after our curtain call, two kind cast members called for me, Sister Call, and Sister Hukill to come up. They gave us each a dozen roses. The bishopric also gave us a bouquet of lilies. It was so sweet and touching. I couldn't sleep that night because I just kept thinking about how far we had all come and how well it went.

I am so grateful to live in a wonderful neighborhood, with such a nice sense of community. We really became close with the other cast members, and I think the experience as a whole was good for everyone. The following Sunday our ward held fast and testimony meeting, and I was surprised how many people spoke about the play - both cast and audience members.

It was a ton of work, but probably one of the coolest church activities I have ever been involved in. For anyone who is interested - here is a link to the script: http://gvsecondward.blogspot.com/ Remember - it is a goofy Mormon comedy and it was my first play-writing attempt - so no harsh judgments please! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guilt

I know you know about me.

I know you have been looking my way, sighing and shaking your head in disappointment.

I have read the comments - the subtle and the blatant.

I have even dodged some phone calls...because I know the subject would be brought up in conversation.

I admit my guilt. I am a BAD BLOGGER.

Seriously, I am. And I drive myself crazy. I thrive on your updates, your witty diatribes, the dramatic accounts of your every-day events - and yet, when I sit down to write all of my own stuff seems so boring.

Or, maybe that is what I tell myself so I don't have to write - so that I can just contentedly lurk around in your blogs and worlds while contributing nothing to my own.

Or, perhaps I am just busy...this seems like an accurate justification. After all, I work, have been writing-directing-and this weekend finally producing a HUGE ward play, I have been sewing costumes, planning hall-o-ween parties, gearing up for the primary program, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog, getting ready for hunting season, sorta shopping for baby paraphernalia, Studying for the GRE subject test, reading for book club, switching from summer crops to winter crops in my garden, organizing the basement, scrap booking like mad, dealing with the backyard Sprinkler system and occasionally hanging out with my husband.

Or, maybe I am still in some sort of pregnancy depression/exhaustion funk. Evidenced by the fact that I am down to three pairs of pants that still fit (one pair that is turquoise and the other pair brown cords...and let's be honest, how many times a week can you pull those off?) and by the following comment from an eight-year-old in my neighborhood: "You look like a bee stung your belly. You are poofy."

Or, it could be that I avoid blogging now because my lovely little laptop died after extensive warning from my husband that there were too many pictures on the hard-drive and as penance for my sins He is dragging his feet on fixing it for me. And no lap-top means no pictures, and isn't that what you all really look for anyway?

And you would know all of that if only I was a better blog updater.

All excuses, justifications and cuteness aside, I really am sorry. I promise to do better. And - because blog posts are better with pictures and because my computer is still broken. Here are some chickens.

Monday, September 21, 2009

There is Life

After the first trimester of pregnancy.

I have been missing for a little while. To say I am just crawling out of a dark hole of depression would maybe only be a little bit of an overstatement. Maybe.

My first trimester has been a little rough. I told Trevor, there are a lot of things in life I am really good at, but being pregnant is not one of them.

I haven't blogged anything in all that time because I was afraid if I did I would just end up whining.

In the last three days though I am just starting to finally feel a little more like myself. After 12 weeks of throwing up multiple times a day, sometimes just seconds after trying to eat, of not feeling hunger pains just overwhelming waves of nausea that tell me I need to eat before I get more sick, of stomach cramps and dizzy spells that climaxed into me actually passing out (in a skirt!) in front of my students one morning, and pregnancy-related onset of hypoglycemia it is good to just start to feel somewhat normal again.

After telling Trevor that this baby had succeeded in its plot to be an only child. After thinking I would never feel like doing anything I love ever again. After thinking I would never be able to smell anything sweet ever again. After living in a state of utter disrepair because I couldn't stomach the smell of cleaning supplies or cleaning itself, life is finally looking a bit better.

I am used to doing so much I have been incredibly frustrated by the sudden inability to do everything I wanted to do. Sunday was the first time in weeks that I made a big, beautiful dinner that my husband raved about (all without vomiting) and it felt so good to have a clean kitchen and a pretty table, it surprises me how much such simple things are a huge part of my sense of identity and security.

The last four days have been good. I still get dizzy and shaky - so I have had to abandon my beloved high-heeled shoes - and I am achy and tired all the time. But these symptoms are a walk in the park to where I am coming from. I am starting to feel hungry again and even though I am tired I can do more because I don't feel so sick on top of the tired anymore.

I have to thank all my friends and family members who have listened to me cry. I know it might sound crazy and selfish, but the last few weeks have been some of the hardest of my entire life. I seem to be in a good streak now and am just hoping to hang on to that. I really don't know how women do this over and over again. I don't know how women with little kids do it. I have hardly been able to take care of myself and my husband - I can't imagine taking care of anyone else. My husband has been sweet. Of the two of us I am definitely the more nurturing spirit, and Trev has really had to try in the last few weeks. He has been sweet and I really do appreciate everything he has tried to do. He is a good man.

Here is to being back...I hope.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Favorite-est pregnancy conversation

While visiting with good friends:

B: "Hey Chelsi, I have the perfect cosutme for you this Halloween."
Me: "If you say a pumpkin I will throw this shoe at your head."
B: "No, not a pumpkin."
Me: "If you say anything that makes me look even fatter I will throw this shoe at your head."
B: "An Anaconda!"
Me: "An Anaconda?"
B: "yeah, an anaconda that just ate something...cause you know how they get that buldge after they eat? You would be a perfect anaconda."

I think I may have hissed as I laughed hysterically and the random suggestion.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yes. Yes I am.

Funny moment today. At eleven weeks I am starting to show already! How depressing is that? I have been wearing looser, more flow-y-ish clothes, but there is definitely a bump there. So I suppose I should not have been really surprised today when walking across campus I ran into a student from last Fall and had the following conversation:

Me: "How are you? How has your summer been?"
Student: "Good. It was great. How are you?"
Me: "I'm good."
Student: "Are you...pregnant?"

My face must have said it all, because he immediately began scrambling. However, it got worse before it got better.

Student: "I just mean....You were always super skinny."
Me: Saying nothing, just letting him fluster
Student: "I mean...you are still super skinny but it just looks like there is a bump there. It's a cute bump, even if it's not cause you are pregnant. I mean...gosh...this isn't something you should ever say is it? I just....I really hope you are pregnant."

Lucky for him I am. Just for a moment though - had I been able to act indignant enough I might have let him think he had done what he thought he might have done. He gave me a real headache over a paper once, and if I could have mustered up the acting skills to be mortally offended and let him be horrified I would have chalked it up to karma.

But I couldn't. So I owned up. Let him take his foot out of his mouth and graciously accepted his congratulations.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Books let us into their souls, and lay bare for us the secrets of our own"

Last May while traveling in California, I met a stunning woman, named Suzanne. She is the sister of a mutual friend we were traveling with and she was kind enough to entertain all of us for a lovely evening at her home. As we visited she and I talked and talked about books. We created and exchanged reading lists with one another and as I left she actually pulled a book off her shelf and gave it to me, with the caveat that I would email her when I read it and share my thoughts. The book is one of the most complex I have ever read.
It is fabulous and heartbreaking. In fact, I haven't finished reading it yet because I can only read it in small sets of time, otherwise it all seems too much to consider. I can't put my finger on why it is so moving to me yet. It is horrifying and terrible and so relatable at the same time. The characters are deeply flawed, and while I am so dissapointed in their continual bad decisions, I also find myself reading with urgency to see what they will do next.

I am the first to admit that it is never good to blindly recommend a book, and I have not finished it yet. But I am DYING to discuss it with someone. I would choose it for my book club pick, but have a feeling that the conversation about it wouldn't go far with some of the members based on the fact that the book is rooted in the story of Frank Llyod Wright & Mamah Borthwick Cheaney's affair. It is a pretty conservative club and I am just not sure it would go over well. Not that the book makes you an advocate for affairs, like I said, I find myself continually frusterated and disgusted by the decisions the characters make. But the book does bring up a lot of complex, very human emotions that I think should be considered: feminism, a 'woman's place,' maternal love vs. romantic love, self-justification and denial, the way individuals can 'fall' into things, duty, obligation and so much more. Not to mention that the writing is absolutely lovely.

Anyhow - I just read another segment, and the overspill of emotion that resembles something like "what do I do with this" is probably what this post is born out of. I truly am resisting the urge to send out mass emails and texts ordering you all to read it and report your thoughts back to me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

You look like a......

Trevor and I are watching "Heros Season 3," streaming it on Netflix this afternoon. Because I married a geek we have a computer piped through our big screen TV, so we are a big fan of streaming netflix on-line. So we are watching. Rather, Trevor is watching and I am sleeping. Just as the episode ends I wake up and start to sit up.

Trevor: looks at me and says "You look like a mermaid right now."
Me: "A mermaid?"
Trevor: "Yeah, a mermaid."
Me: "On the couch?"
Trevor: "Yeah. A mermaid on the couch."

Husbands are so weird.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flutters?

Last time we were at the doctor, while looking at the ultrasound, the doctor told me if the baby always moves as much as it was in the picture I should start to feel flutters soon, maybe even in the next week or two.

Last night there was the oddest sensation in my stomach. I don't know how to really explain it - other than maybe if there was someone blowing a bubble in my stomach the bubble popped. Not in a painful way - but just like there was some sort of quick expansion and then decrease. I have felt the same feeling once this morning.

I have no idea what it was...so my question is for all you mommies out there, what does a flutter feel like?

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Baby Story

You may recall that a couple of months ago I blogged about my conflicting emotions of starting a family anytime soon. It is true that the idea of having a baby has come up a few times in the last couple of years and Trev and I flirted with the possibility - but always decided that it wasn't something we were ready for quite yet. For a couple of reasons:

1 - Just before we were married I was told that it would be really difficult for me to get pregnant because I have a "disoriented uterus." Don't you love that term? Makes it sound like my uterus was bonked on the head and has a concussion and is absently wandering around in my body. While the doctor at that time told me I could probably carry a baby if I were to get pregnant she indicated that it may take an in-vitro process to make that happen. As an odd side note - my mom was told that she would likely never have children and my little sister was told it would be really difficult for her to have a child as well. So - I guess we are just weird or something.

2 - We just weren't ready yet. Trev is still doing the school thing, I am getting ready to do the back-to-phd-school thing and, as selfish as it sounds, there were simply other things we still wanted to do.

So our last big conversation resulted in both of us deciding that right now we were content to live this life that we love just the two of us. Then about seven weeks ago I woke up at 3:30 AM and threw up. And I kept throwing up for the following days. After about five days Stacey took me to the store and I bought the infamous "test."

It would be a lie to say that I was thrilled at the result. To be honest, I had a little bit of a break-down. I cried. I know that probably sounds awful to some of you. I know how lucky I am to have this baby when so many incredible people have complications in this department. But - right or wrong - it was how I reacted. It caught me by surprise and I was totally overwhelmed. It was an odd emotional expereince. What was most interesting to me was how immediately protective I became. I remember thinking, "I know I don't really want this rightn ow, but please don't let anything happen to make it go away." It is an odd emotion. I read once that a mother's love is immeidate and instictual. That is the best way I can think to describe how I felt.

Becuase I was still not quite ok with the fact that I was now pregnant it was important to me that Trev not see me that way. Isn't it always supposed to be the guy who freaks at the news? :) I left early and went to work. Trev told me later that when he came home and I wasn't there he just knew.

My husband is amazing. And he is such a good balance for me. Each time life throws us a loop he lets me melt down and then is there to tell me it is all going to be ok. By the time I came home from work he was cooking dinner and had bought flowers for me. He is wonderful. Even though Trev already knew he let me tell him. And when I started to ramble he held me an told me how wonderful it was and how excited he was. And how even though we we had recently decided against this, it was just the universe's way of telling us we made the wrong choice. He talked about how I was going to be a great mom and how we could do this. I love him. His acceptance and excitement helped me so much. It still took me a few days to wrap my mind around the situation and to get excited for myself, but for those few days I could hold onto his excitment and it made it all ok.

We have been to the doctor twice now. At our last appointment we were actually able to see the little thing. It was cruising all over and waving its arms and legs. It is such a strange sensation to know there is another body within your body, to know that there are two hearts beating under your skin. We are due March 15, 2010. That puts me at 11 weeks on Sunday. I know things could still change - but if something does happen I figure I would need all of your support anyway - so we are letting the cat out of the bag.

So far things have been ok. I have been sick, sick, sick. It is odd that ever since I found out at 5 weeks I haven't been able to even eat sugar or anything sweet. It seems all my body wants is fruit and vegetables. I can't even eat NERDS - and those who know me well - know how serious that is. So I am hoping it is a sign that our kid will be a total health nut.

Oh - and for those of you so eagerly looking forward to the result of the gender ultrasound I am sorry to dissapoint you. We are not going to find out the sex of the baby til it's born. So think gender nuetral. I know, I know, we are crazy. Trev has never wanted to find out, and to be honest, I am still just processing "baby". All I really care about is that it is healthy.

There you have it folks - all the details. How crazy is this?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Life is what happens

to you when you are busy making other plans."

John Lennon could not have been more right.

Trevor and I were planning to take a cruise to Mexico this coming January....

We were planning multiple, multiple day bike trips for next summer.....

We were planning a lot of things. But it seems that, quite literally, LIFE is what happens when you are making other plans.Surprise.
Sorry the picture is so fuzzy. We don't have a scanner at home...so this is a picture of the picture of our baby...whom, of course, we are now making new plans for.

More details soon. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Oh what do you do in the summer time...

When your in-laws come to visit?" (A slight primary song rendition)

Oh what do you do in the summertime when all the world is green?
Do you hike up a hill, to a view that's surreal, because you are up so high?
Is that what you do? So do I!Oh what do you do in the summertime when all the world is green?
Do you swim in a pool, to keep yourself cool as all the clouds float by?
Is that what you do? So do I!














Oh what do you do in the summer time when all the world is green?
Do you climb up the rocks, til your wife hollers stop, then laugh until you cry?
Is that what you do? So do I!