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!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Birthday Girl

Yesterday, I turned 32 years old. I really can't believe that I'm in my thirties. I guess when you're really young, you think that 30 is old. Then, you get there, and you realize that it's not at all. A lot has happened in the past year. We've moved to a new town, I've made some great new friends, I'm closer to my family, and I just feel settled in life. Some days that's really good, and some days it's not, but that's okay. I spent the first day of my 32nd year on this planet with the two men in my life. Even though I got up before the boys, my husband still made me breakfast in bed. Then, I went to the eye doctor to pick up my new glasses (Juicy Couture; I couldn't help myself), and we went to the mall to do a little shopping. I also picked up an iced mocha from Panera Bread, one of my favorite morning drinks. I don't get it very often, so it was a real treat. At the mall, I bought a couple of cute tops from Old Navy to wear with a skirt I'd bought there previously. I just happened to be wearing the skirt at the time, so it helped me to find exactly what I wanted. The only bad thing about the day was my husband had scheduled a surgery, even though he wasn't on-call over the weekend. I guess he decided that he wanted to be responsible for that particular patient. He sort of apologized in his own way for scheduling it, but it didn't bother me too much. I've gotten used to him having to forgo holidays with the family because of his job. Happily, the surgery didn't take very long, and he was home fairly quickly after it was over. I spent that time playing a fun video game, called "Viva Pinata", on the XBox 360. It's a cute little game, very family-friendly, and very similar to "The Sims". The player builds gardens to attract living pinata animals. You can get them to "romance" to make more pinatas, and you can plant different seeds that grow into plants to feed and/or attract the pinatas. It can be very addictive and sometimes frustrating, but I always seem to come back for more! After both my husband and I had spent some time on the XBox, we loaded our son's diaper bag up and took him over to a friend's house. Then, Hubby and I went to see the new "Star Trek" movie. It was phenomenal! We both agreed that the retcon to the series' plot was done very well, and I adored all of the main characters. The cinematography was beautiful, the acting was superb, and overall, it was just a fun movie to watch. It will definitely be a film I add to my DVD collection. Afterward, we headed to a local Italian place for a very late dinner. I went ahead and ordered a glass of Mosel Riesling wine, which B and I shared. Actually, we shared the entire dinner: appetizer, salad, bread, entree, and dessert! It was very nice, and enough food for both of us. The rigatoni con pollo (large tube pasta with chicken, wilted spinach, roasted tomatoes, and an alfredo sauce) was excellent, and I absolutely loved the tirimisu. It was a little pricey, but we had a gift card, and since we shared the entire meal, we only paid about $15 (including tip) for dinner. Since "Star Trek" has been in theaters for a while, it had moved to the $5 per screening rate, so all told, we only spent about $30 or so for our entire evening out! It was a great way to end the day, and I'm so glad we were able to spend it together. Oh, and my husband tried to get me a bread machine for my birthday, but none of the stores around here carry them for some reason. He ended up buying it on-line, so I look forward to receiving it in the mail. It's always fun to get new appliances! And, I'm looking forward to the next year of my life, as well.
Namaste,
Amanda

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Son, The Talker

I realized, recently, how verbal my son has become this year. It's been really hot lately, and Wednesday afternoon, I decided to pull his kiddie pools out to the driveway, so we could cool off a bit. I absolutely love his little rigid pool because I can lay out in it, and there's still enough room for him to play, too. The water felt great, and we both had fun splashing around and trying to get as wet as possible. At one point, I sat back and looked up at the sky. The clouds were big and fluffy, and I thought it might be fun to do a little "cloud-gazing" with V. I pointed to one and said it looked like a dragon with fire coming out of its mouth, and then, a hissing snake. He looked at another cloud and said it looked like "Franklin", which I assumed he meant "Franklin, the Turtle" from the Noggin Channel. In a way, the cloud did look like a turtle. He said another one looked like a "doggie", and one more looked like "Wii Bike!", which is his name for the game, MarioKart. I really could see what he was seeing in the clouds, and I marveled at how imaginative he's become just over the past month or two. I've noticed little things that show me his intellectual and verbal growth, and they all amaze me. He's started "reading" some of his books to himself, and at bed time, he likes to read his favorite book, Moo, Baa, La La La, along with B or I. He answers questions fairly clearly and asks for things, as well, though sometimes, it takes me a few tries before I get it right. He can count up to ten, knows a few of his shapes, and even knows most of his colors, though he likes to argue with me when I try to explain that blue is blue, not purple. I love that he knows his own name, and one day at the park, he even introduced himself to a much older boy, pointing to his chest and saying "I Vincent". Sometimes, he wants me to carry him "downstairs" when he really wants to go "upstairs", but at least, he understands the concept. Just this past week, I noticed him answering the puppy, Blue, on "Blue's Room" when she asked a question. He did it with Dora on "Dora the Explorer", too, saying "yes" or "no" when her backpack was trying to find the right tool for her job. It really kind of floored me that he suddenly started "participating" instead of just passively watching his favorite shows. He sings along with many of the shows' theme songs, though he gets embarrassed when I notice and hates it when I try to sing with him. Lately, I've been telling a lot of new moms I meet that he'll be three years old in August. Every time I say it, I can't believe that it's already been three years since his birth. The time has really, truly flown by, and lately, my son never ceases to amaze me. I really hope I can keep up with him in the coming years, so I don't miss anything new and special. Like, today, when I noticed he was upset about something. I said, "Are you mad?" and he said, with a pout, "Yeah". When I asked him why he was mad, he said, "Because..." How did my baby suddenly get to be so grown up?!?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Marseilles Dress SHABBY APPLE GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

I just can't pass up a giveaway for a pretty dress! Plus, the makers of said dress help women living in poverty. It's a win-win situation all around! Yay!

Marseilles Dress SHABBY APPLE GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Water Fun!

This past Christmas, my sister-in-law gave V a rigid kiddie pool. I decided that, since we already had two inflatable baby pools, we might as well pull out the new pool, too, and have a baby pool party in our backyard. Earlier this week, I was sweeping out the garage, and I realized that V really needed something to keep him entertained. I love the fact that we have a water faucet and a hose right in our garage. I inflated one of the baby pools, drug out some pool toys and V's Elmo sprinkler, and let him have at it. He loved it, and I realized that our driveway would be a much better spot for the pool party than our backyard, especially after all the rain we've had lately. For the pool party, I filled up the big, rigid pool and the two baby pools, and the Elmo sprinkler was turned on full-force. I also provided a bucket of water and some paintbrushes, so the kids could water paint on the driveway. There was sidewalk chalk for them to use, as well, but I think it just ended up getting all wet (and eaten, by some of the smaller babies). I provided the standard, long, skinny ice pops for the kids and some gourmet, raspberry-mint ice pops for the moms (here's a link to Giada's Italian Ice Pops). Some of the moms even packed a picnic lunch, and we sat out in the front yard or in the driveway to eat. It was so much fun, and I plan on doing more water fun days, this summer. (Below are some photos of V enjoying his pools. For privacy purposes, I'm not going to post pictures from the pool party.)






Thursday, May 14, 2009

And All That Jazz....

We're back from our vacations to Chicago and Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. B and I had such a lovely time in the Windy City. I kept myself very busy while he attended his conference lectures. I discovered on my own that Millennium Park was only two blocks away from our hotel and a very short walk from there directly to the lake! We had a great time walking the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave. and window shopping along the way. I took the time to get a facial at our hotel spa. It lasted TWO HOURS and consisted of two different masques, a hand massage complete with paraffin gloves, a foot massage, a scalp massage, and eyebrow waxing. The girl who did my facial was simply amazing. If you're ever in Chicago, I highly recommend Spa Chakra! And, The Palmer House Hilton, where it's located, is such a lovely hotel. After my facial, I enjoyed a high English tea in the gorgeous lobby of the Palmer House. The tea included an exquisite Earl Grey loose tea (with milk, of course!) and a selection of mini cucumber sandwiches, scones, and delicious petit fours. I took the bus one morning to the Museum of Science and Industry to witness firsthand "Harry Potter: The Exhibition". It's a definite must see if you're in Chicago, especially for any Harry Potter fan. The props, costumes, and set decorations on display were beautiful, and I couldn't believe how much detail was put into each movie. Though the exhibit wasn't huge by any means, I stayed in it for about an hour and a half, taking notes and sketching details from some of the costumes. I spent the rest of my day walking around the other exhibits in the museum, which were also pretty amazing. That evening, B and I were able to meet up with some of the doctors he worked with in Ohio, one of his old attendings and two of the girls who were in his residency year. We had a wonderful dinner, and it was so nice to catch up with people we hadn't seen in a while. On B's final day of his conference, he decided to spend the day with me at the Art Institute of Chicago, since it was also only two blocks away from our hotel. I got to see my favorite painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat (think: the painting Cameron stood in front of in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), as well as many other great works of art from a wide range of time periods. Afterward, we decided to see Chicago from the SkyDeck of the Sears Tower. It's such a lovely view, and you can see for miles in all directions! That night, we had the best meal of the trip at Moto Restaurant. It was an amazing experience, and I wished I'd taken pictures, but I'm not sure if it would have been allowed. The chef specializes in molecular gastronomy and "playing with food". To understand that, you'll have to watch this clip on YouTube. It was the perfect way to end our trip in Chicago. V had fun staying with my parents, and B and I had fun enjoying some time alone together. We ended our week in Pigeon Forge with my in-laws at their cabin in the mountains. We helped them do their annual massive cleaning, and then, we did some great shopping at one of the local outlet malls and my favorite pottery shop, Alewine Pottery. Mr. Alewine is a true artist, and he makes beautiful, functional pieces from clay. I brought home a kitchen utensil holder, a sugar bowl, a creamer, an oil lamp (a gift from my in-laws for my birthday), a batter bowl complete with a whisk, and two mugs. I've used just about every piece so far! I didn't get any pics while in Pigeon Forge, but we had a good time. I also ended up meeting a Twitter friend who happens to live in the area and her husband. He's a doctor as well, so we had a lot to talk about. He and B talked about their occupations, while she and I gabbed about our family lives. All in all, we had a great week. I'm glad to be back home, but I'm also happy that we were able to make so many lovely memories.













The front and back pictures of me in the brown top and skirt were taken after our dinner at Moto. I made the top over the course of several sewing lessons, and I made the skirt at home on my own. I was so happy to be able to wear something I've made in public, and the ensemble worked very well for our outing! I'm looking forward to my next sewing lessons, during which I'll be making a black cloak for myself and a blue one with sleeves for my husband. I've also got an idea (and fabric) for a costume I'll be making for GenCon. Should be fun!
Amanda
Amanda