Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hello! Again!

Wow. I hadn't realized it had been this long since I touched my blog. A lot has happened since the beginning of November, besides the fact that we've been in 2010 for almost six months now. Here's a short list of what has occurred:

1) I did manage to complete NaNoWriMo in November and went over the 50,000 word count by 100 words or so. I was very proud of myself for sticking with it, even on those days and nights when I just didn't feel like writing. I'm not entirely in love with my "novel", but it has potential, and there are some specific passages of which I'm very proud. Unfortunately, I took a break from it during all of December because of the holidays, and I've not touched it since November. I have an idea for a new story that I'm thinking about starting, and maybe one day, I'll go back and edit/rewrite my NaNoWriMo novel. I'm just proud of myself for doing something I've always wanted to do.

2) Christmas came and went. It felt kind of low-key, last year. We didn't get our tree up until mid-way through December, I think. I did have fun taking V around to the various neighborhoods in our area to look at Christmas lights. We got to spend Christmas Day at home because of B's call schedule, which was very nice. And, the stomach flu passed us all by, this time around! That was the best part! I was a little nervous when we ended up hosting the Cook Christmas at our house due to B's work schedule and other scheduling conflicts, but we were all pleased at how it worked out, and I think I'd be happy to do it again. My favorite present came from my husband--a brand new camera! It's wonderful, and I love capturing life's little moments with it.

3) Last August or so, B and I officially decided we were going to try to get pregnant. Well, late-January or so, after several months of trying, I finally took a home test that came back positive! I was excited and nervous and all of those other feelings that come along with finding out such news. My first ultrasound was done at about seven weeks, so the fetus was just a tiny little peanut on the screen. My son didn't know what to think of it, and I don't think he still does! We talk about it now and then, and I try to read books to him about families and having new babies, but I don't think it will be a real experience for him until the baby comes in late September. The due date is September 24. We're going to try a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarian) this time, if the stars are aligned and everything stays positive with the pregnancy (no breech positioning, no major problems arise, etc.). The idea sort of frightens me, since I never labored with V because he was breech and wouldn't turn for us. It'll be a whole new experience. Of course, I want to try it, but if something happens before then, I'm not opposed to just scheduling the C-section and having another healthy, safe delivery for both me and the baby. B and I have decided we're not going to find out the gender, just like we did with V. We have a few names picked out, although I'm still not sure if I like the boy's name upon which we've decided. It'll have to grow on me. In the mean time, I've had a dream about giving birth to a little girl, and in a way, I'm hoping the dream comes true. It really doesn't matter what the baby is, as long as it's healthy, but since I have a son already, it would be nice to have a daughter to even things out. :)

4) V and I have stayed active with our local mom's group. The group has really grown, and now that I'm a co-organizer, I've found something else that has helped give me a feeling of purpose and fulfillment, besides being a stay-at-home-mom and supportive wife. The moms in the group are great, and I feel like I've made a lot of friends. Not only does my son get a chance to meet and play with other kids, I get some support from other women who know what it's like to be a mom in today's society. It has been a great resource for me, and I've learned my way around our "new" hometown quickly. I've also learned about all the great opportunities for kids (and moms) in the area, which has really enriched our lives. I don't know where I would be at right now if it weren't for my mom's group.

5) B and I continue to meet our board gaming group every Wednesday when we're available and it's convenient for me and V to be there. It's another great outlet for me. I really enjoy spending time with everyone in the group, and although I haven't been able to participate as much as I'd like, it's still a fun way to get out and enjoy being an adult (sort of). B's started his D&D campaign back up, although it's been difficult with schedule conflicts. We've also added some new members, which really made the last session very lively and fun! I look forward to these times with my friends.

6) Despite my pregnancy, we've decided to go back to Charleston, SC, with B's family in July, and we're going to attend Gen Con in early August. These are things I can look forward to for months, and they are just a couple of the chances I get to spend real quality time with my husband. I've explored a couple of the state parks with my mom's group, also, and I hope to get B out to some of them when the weather cooperates because we really live in such a beautiful area of the state. There's so much to see and do here!

7) We've signed V up for preschool in the fall. He'll start at the beginning of September and will be going two days a week in the afternoon. He's really ready for school, and I think it'll be good for both of us to be separated for a bit each week, especially after the baby is born. He's really grown up so much in the last several months, and I'm so surprised that my first baby isn't a baby anymore. I can't believe he'll be four years old in August! The time has really flown by. We've had some very trying times, especially during my first trimester of this pregnancy when we were both sick with various GI bugs, and he decided it would be a good time to start exerting his independence more. However, he still remains my sweet little boy, and I love him dearly.

I think that's all there is to say, for now. I'm hoping to be better at acknowledging this blog, more. Twitter and Facebook seem to be my way of expressing myself, nowadays, but it's nice to have a place to go where I can get my thoughts down in a longer form.




Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I guess it's been a while since I wrote anything here. I've been busy with my moms' group and family doing all sorts of things. I've also been gaming a bit with friends, reading for my monthly book club, wasting time on Twitter and Facebook, and sewing A LOT! Over the past few weeks, I think I've done more sewing than I have over the past year, though that's probably not true. My sewing teacher had a workshop on how to make capes, so I made a red crushed velvet hooded cape for my son. Then, I made a blue fleece dinosaur costume for my son for Halloween. He was kind of freaked out about it when I first tried to get him to wear it, but when we went to a Halloween party for the kids in our moms' group and he saw all of the other kids in their costumes, he happily got into his. Having the party on Friday made Halloween a much happier experience for him. He was very excited to go Trick or Treating, and since this was the first year that he really understood what was going on, we went to a lot of houses in our neighborhood before he showed signs of being tired of it. We stopped by my sewing teacher's house, where she got to see not only his costume, but mine, as well. I had it in my head a while back that I really wanted to try my hand at sewing a steampunk costume. For those who don't know what "steampunk" is, here's a great website of steampunk fashion: http://www.clockworkcouture.com/. It's a mix of the Victorian Era, the Industrial Revolution, and WWI, and it kind of answers the question "What would the world be like if the atomic bomb had never been invented?". When I started looking for costume ideas, I found a pair of boots in a catalog that I absolutely loved. Once I bought them and they arrived at our house, I realized that I needed to get down to business. A pattern for a woman's pirate costume inspired me, and when I found a corset vest and a flouncy blouse at two different stores that I knew would work perfectly, the rest of the costume came together pretty well. I just had to sew the bolero-jacket, the pants (which came from the pirate costume pattern), and a bustle, which I attached by ribbons to the corset vest. I also found a hat at a store, and I already had my goggles from a previous costume. It took me a while to actually sit down and sew everything, and I was actually finishing the jacket and making the entire bustle on Halloween! It was a good thing Trick or Treating didn't start until 5:30! The costume turned out better than I expected, and V and I both had fun walking around all dressed up. After going by my teacher's house, we went to the mall, where some of the stores handed out candy to the kids. We ended our night at our college friends' house, where V got to hang out with their sons, and B and I got to spend some time chatting with them. It turned out to be an amazing Halloween, and below are a few pictures to prove it.





Now, it's November, and it's also National Novel Writing Month. Today, I did the craziest thing and registered at this website: http://www.nanowrimo.org/. I've wanted to write a book for a long time and have had a few stories bouncing around in my head for even longer. I guess this is the perfect opportunity to give myself a deadline and do what I've always wanted to do. I'm not sure if I'll make the 50,000 word count goal by the end of the month, but it never hurts to try. Plus, no one will be reading what I write but me, unless I decide to post excerpts here or on Facebook or something. I'm not sure if I'll be that adventurous. As I told someone on Facebook today, what I write may be utter crap, but at least it'll be MY utter crap, and I can decide whether to edit or not after the month (and deadline) is over. We'll see!
Best,
Amanda

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Month Of Good Times!

We spent the month of August traveling and seeing all kinds of new (and old) places and friends. I think I already mentioned that we went to Charleston, South Carolina, during the last week of July with my husband's family. We rented a huge house near the beach and had a great time swimming in the Atlantic, sight-seeing around Charleston, and eating all kinds of seafood. I think we ate a record number of shrimp that week, too! The Atlantic around South Carolina is so warm and beautiful, if a bit choppy. Our house had a pool, so we had lots of fun in the water. We even took a historic carriage ride and a ghost walking tour around downtown. It was a relaxing trip for all of us, which was exactly what B and I needed after his first year of practice. About a week and a half after South Carolina, B and I made our annual trek to Indy for Gen Con. V stayed with my parents, so that we adults could play and have some time alone. We rented a hotel this year that was attached to the Indianapolis Convention Center via Circle Center Mall. So, really, we never had to go outside if we didn't want to. We also decided to try out the "Very Important Gamer" package. It cost a lot more than we usually spend on badges, but we got all kinds of perks like our first choice of hotel at the Gen Con discounted price, a swag bag with probably $150 worth of great products, the chance to get into the exhibit hall an hour earlier than everyone else on the first day of the con, and choice seating at some of the big events. I even won tickets to "Hickman's Killer Breakfast", a Gen Con tradition that is so funny, I left with a headache and an achy face from laughing so hard! We also tried out the True Dungeon this year. It was a lot of fun, and afterward, we caught the Zombie Walk leaving the Convention Center. The best thing about the con was my costume on Friday. I had advanced in my sewing lessons enough that I was able to make a fantasy dress like the dresses from "Lord of the Rings" and a cloak to go over it. It turned out great, and I really enjoyed wearing it around the exhibit hall and getting my photo taken by various con-goers. It wasn't too long after we got back from the con that we packed our bags again for a quick trip to Seattle, Washington. Our friend, Ben, has written and organized a murder mystery party for the past couple of years, and this year, he invited eighty of his friends to attend and participate! We decided to join in the fun, and we had a ball. I even managed to make a satin 1930's style gown just for the party. While in Seattle, we spent time with friends of ours from other parts of the country who we only get to see at game conventions. Two of those friends spent a day and a half with us sight-seeing around the city. V enjoyed spending time with them, and he was a real trooper while we traveled around Seattle seeing various "touristy" locations, and then, spending time at a very large party with lots of people milling about acting like mobsters from the 1930s. We just got back from that trip yesterday, and this morning, both V and I slept in until 8:45 am! Even though we were really jet lagged this morning, we had so much fun in Seattle, and I would love to go back and do it again next year. Now that August is over, I look forward to the coming months and what they'll entail. B and I are officially working on getting pregnant, so I'm excited to discover how quickly it will happen. It only took a month for me to get pregnant with V. I guess we'll see if the next one comes along just as fast!
Here are a few of the many pictures I took of our travels over the past month:























Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to V and Happy Anniversary to Me and B!

Yesterday, we celebrated our son's 3rd birthday and my and my husband's 8th wedding anniversary. V was due on August 8th, 2006, but because he was breech, we went ahead and scheduled a C-section/external version. My husband wanted to schedule it on a Friday, so he could have an entire week at home with me, and it ended up being scheduled on our 5th wedding anniversary! The night before, I remembered that I hadn't bought anything for B for our anniversary. When I mentioned it, he pointed to my belly, and said, with a smile, "What do you think that is?". So, V was our big present to each other! On the morning of August 4th, 2006, we went up to the labor and delivery floor of my husband's hospital. The nurses strapped monitors on me, and we found out I was actually contracting every two minutes, but I wasn't laboring at all. Because V was breech (head up, feet down), my OB/GYN tried to turn V around by pushing on my stomach, but the little guy just wouldn't budge, so we went ahead and did a C-section. He was born at 9:44 am, and he was 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 1/4 inches long. He came out with a full head of black hair, and I immediately thought he looked like my husband. Both of our families were at the hospital when he was born. Though I was full of drugs from the C-section, I still remember that those first few hours were very happy ones.
Yesterday, I decided to take V to the local mall. He always wants to run into the "Build-A-Bear" store to push the buttons and play on the computers. I thought it might be fun to actually make a stuffed animal for his birthday. We went to Subway for lunch first, and as we were eating, a massive thunderstorm blasted through our city and took out all the power in the mall! We waited and waited, and after two hours, I was about to leave the place, when the power suddenly came back on. We went back to the store, and V and I made a stuffed cat. He was more into the buttons and computers, so I ended up dressing the cat (named "Cally"). We went to Target, too, because there was a set of Matchbox cars he wanted. When we came home from our shopping trip, we discovered that the power in our house had also gone out during the storm. It didn't come back on until around 7 pm! I made dinner on our grill, which is luckily hooked up to a gas line. Then, B, V, and I sat around and caught up on things we couldn't do without power. I was working on a sewing project, and around 9 pm, we were going to have V blow out candles on a cupcake, but he had fallen asleep! He was just worn out from all the excitement of the day. B and I decided we'll celebrate his birthday with candles later today or tomorrow, when B can be there, too. B and I really didn't do much to celebrate our anniversary. We're saving that up for next week, when we get to spend four days at Gen Con (and at a hotel) alone! ;)
We had an awesome trip to Charleston, South Carolina, last week, and I'll try to post pics of our trip later.

V celebrating his birthday while in Charleston, SC

V and his new friend, Cally

Happy Anniversary, B! I love you!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Snooty Fox, and Vacation Time!

After we first moved to our new house, I took some pics of the wonderful wildlife in our area. Even though we live in a small city, our neighborhood is so near wooded areas that we constantly find deer and rabbits in our backyard (and sometimes our front yard). This week, we've had a newcomer!

Twice this week, I've caught this little guy loping through our back yard to the front yard and across the cul-de-sac. This is the first picture I've been able to take of him, since he stopped for a few minutes before wandering off. I'm not sure where he lives, but I'm happy to see him, as long as he stays safe in our neighborhood and nobody runs him over!
Also, it's vacation time again! We're heading to Charleston, South Carolina, with my husband's family. We've decided to rent a huge house near the beach this year. I'm looking forward to (hopefully) some sun and sand and ocean. I'm praying the weather there won't be as crazy as it has been here. We'll have Wi-fi in our rental house, so I'll try to post pics at some point next week.
Have a great weekend/week, and be safe everyone!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

V, Laurie Berkner, And A Webcam

I don't think I mentioned I got a new laptop recently. When we moved to our new home, B bought himself a new Sony Vaio for work (and entertainment) purposes. I took over the five-year-old HP laptop and used it for all sorts of things, namely the Internet and e-mail. A while back, the hinge that connects the monitor to the keyboard and keeps it upright broke because a certain little boy in our house kept standing on the closed laptop when it was on the floor. I didn't mind because I could hold the monitor up with one hand and type or use the mouse with my other hand. Slowly, the hinge started breaking even more and little bits and pieces that should have been inside started falling out. One night, while watching "Juno" and checking my e-mail, the entire monitor blacked out and went all pixely. I couldn't see a thing! So, the next day, B and I went to Best Buy, and I bought my first laptop--also a Sony Vaio. I love it! And, something I've just started using is the built-in web cam. I hope to use it for Skype and taking pictures. However, it's also great for those little moments when your video camera isn't handy and you'd love to catch them for posterity! Observe:
video

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My New Specs

So, I got a request for pics of my new glasses. I didn't intend to buy Juicy Couture glasses, but they were the only ones that really looked the best. Plus, I got Transitions lenses, so I don't have to buy/wear separate sunglasses. Here are the new spectacles:

They're not a drastic change from my last ones, just a different color (brown), and a somewhat boxier shape. Oh, and definitely chicer. I like them, and I'm glad I finally got my new prescription. Hopefully, these will stay in good shape for a while, considering the screws stripped out of my old glasses, and the lenses were being held in the frames with jewelry wire!