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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life Begins at the OLC.

Oliver's Love Palace now smells dreamy, with no trace (that I can detect) of the boiled dust stench it had after being empty so long. This is largely due to air conditioning and opening doors, but I think the fact that I've plugged in more Wallflowers than I've ever used in a house may have something to do with it. I have Lavender in the living room, Strawberry Patch in the dining room, Lilac Blossoms in the kitchen, Japanese Cherry Blossom in the bathroom, Vanilla Coconut in our room, and Cinnamon Stick in Oliver's room (Oliver's room! I feel a happy flutter every time I say that, just as I still tend to gasp with wonder when Oliver gives a good kick).

Oliver has had his back turned to my belly for days. He seems to do this when anything is not to his liking (cold hands on my belly, too much activity...). I don't like this because I can't feel him move as much. Also, he's been trying a new position in which he seems to push his feet hard against the back of my hips, and his back and rear nearly explode out of my belly. I'm sure he needs to stretch, but that made me feel rather ill. I'm hoping that as my constant activity winds down, he'll face front and say hello to us.

My brother came to stay with us on Tuesday night during my dad's business trip. After I left Josh to finish the cleaning at the old house, I put on my gray maternity pajamas. Later, I made my second real meal in the OLC kitchen: chicken and veggie fried rice (sans chicken for Josh. You can see my recipe in Meals for Culinarily Poor, Lazy, and Untalented Couples). Cooking this meal in a kitchen with already limited counter space right after a move (meaning with highly cluttered counter tops) was an exercise in colorful language, but the meal was very satisfying. Still, I soon experienced a powerful sweets craving.

Burger King has a HERSHEY®'S Sundae Pie, which I decided to try. Josh went to get it, picking up a serious Oreo shake for James and strawberry cheesecake for himself. The pie was perfect: perfect size, perfect combination of crunchy and smooth, and perfect blend of cookie, ice cream, and solid chocolate flavors. I have I feeling I will be becoming better acquainted with that pie.

I settled in to grade tests online while the guys played Dragon Age II. In the game, Josh is romancing Merrill, an elf character who reminds him of me (minus the blood magic). I think it's an ill-fated love, but I like that he's drawn to me even in fantasy worlds. 

 (Merrill from Dragon Age II by Bioware)

I love how in this new house, I can sit at the spacious desk to work and still see the HDTV and Josh playing in the green recliner (which is old but matches the leaves on the fancy couch beautifully). I'm already imaging grading there while Josh and Oliver watch Disney movies. When I'm done, we can have a stretched-out family snuggle session on the big, comfortable couch.

I spent some time on my exercise ball, and then, I was ready for bed. The cats were quite sad when James closed his door for the night. Davis had been been quite snuggly.

We had a lazy morning on Wednesday, apart from Josh taking a load of recycling to the drop-off site. Oh, the boxes we will break down (hopefully at amazing speeds)! I worked on some blog writing and reading, both of which I'd missed and felt incredibly behind on. James watched The Sopranos. Dad got back into town, and we all met again at 215 on Main. I wore my new green dress and felt quite pretty. I've been wishing for a green dress anyway.

I had a bacon cheeseburger (impressively juicy and saucy) with those magical Parmesan and herb fries,

Josh had a fancy salad with the fries,

James had catfish (sans sandwich) and fries (he'd already nibbled a bit when I took the picture),

and Dad had these impressive looking shrimp and grit cakes.

Yum! I ate just the right amount, realizing at the critical moment that I could either finish my burger or my fries (I chose fries). Josh took some photos of the downtown area, including an art deco bank (of course, he loves that) and a strange, empty, open-air shop space that I think would be a lovely backdrop for artsy or quirky photos.

Dad and James left, and Josh and I went home (new home!) to lie down. The neighborhood was so quiet. I kept thinking about that crib box in Oliver's room. We don't have a mattress or bedding for it, but I still want to see what the crib will look like in the room, along with the two tall white bookshelves and the pretty purple "grandparents' bed."

Oh, something else that seems peacefully settled and homey amid the cardboard chaos: we have a fruit bowl on the dining table. I normally wouldn't set food out like this, but the cats have never seemed to care about fruit. Wal-mart sells bags with mixed oranges and red and green apples. The different colors look nice in the silver bowl on the black table. And I like seeing Josh munching on a green apple.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Moving House, Part I.

I like the phrase. It makes more sense that simply "moving." I find it interesting that Sophia of Sophia's Journal is also in the process. As of today, the old house is empty and clean, and we've turned in the key. Our new house is full of box towers, but it's totally livable. I'm determined to set up quickly (so much more fun than packing but still exhausting) because I'm only getting more pregnant, and the fall semester is fast-approaching.

Last week was a little crazy. We went to the family reunion on Sunday, we packed on Monday, I went to work and to a baby shower on Tuesday, we went to a concert on Wednesday, and I went to work on Thursday. The concert was Def Leppard and Heart. The lawn tickets were a birthday present from my dad. I was a little nervous about going since I didn't want Oliver to be scared. I knew, though, that this would be our last concert for a very long time. I also knew I'd be exhausted at work the next day, but it was one of those events that is sort of a pain at the time but makes an awesome memory. And memory lasts longer than experience.

The lawn was great. We spread out a big Panthers blanket, and I could sit, lean back, lie down, or stand up whenever I got uncomfortable. We sat on the side near the steps to the bathroom. We had the area basically to ourselves. While the local opener played, I finished grading tests. A woman had brought her baby. The baby seemed absolutely delighted to be there. Heart was great, and of course,  Def Lepp was awesome. I got to hear my favorite song, "Hysteria." Oliver did kick a lot, but he got still whenever I sang along. I went to the restroom four or five times and never had to wait in line. I'll just skip over the horror of trying to leave the parking lot after the concert.

 Everything began in earnest on Friday. We loaded the car, signed the lease, picked up the key, and requested utility switch-on from the city. The house had been empty since at least January. When I stepped onto the porch, I could smell the sickening hot mustiness. We started by cleaning some filthy old blinds. Luckily, most of them were brand new. The new paint job was very nice too, apart from the fact that the painters painted over lock holes and painted windows shut. Apparently, the previous tenant got paint happy and painted every room a different color. The kitchen was Kelly green (an odd green stripe remains beside the fridge), and the living room was fire engine red. He even painted the light switches (not the plates, the switches), which are still red. The bathroom was lavender. A little of the paint remains around the sink and bathtub. I noticed something I hadn't seen during my two viewings of the house: the bathroom ceiling is still lavender! I think it's kind of cool and cheeky.

We opened windows as we worked. I swept the weathered hardwood floors and dusted door frames and ceiling fans while Josh bleached the kitchen and bathroom. These days, I prefer tasks that don't require me to bend down. 

He told me that I would be very pleased with the water pressure and the hot water. These are vital if one is a bath lover. I also wish I could test the bath before signing a lease. Unfortunately, my doctor says I'm not to take baths while pregnant, so I've gone without for months. I'm not sure why, but it's probably best since I like my baths hot. Oh well. It's something to look forward to.

The city came out earlier than we expected. The stove fan inexplicably roared to life, and the heat came on. We turned on the AC and ceiling fans. I set out yummy soap and plugged in Wallflowers. I put a different scent in each room, so we won't get used to them and stop smelling them as easily. I hoped that the house would smell better by morning. Josh and I made a good team.

Then, we stopped at Arby's to stuff our starving faces and drove to Charlotte. There, we picked up the moving truck and met Dad and James at Mom's storage unit. A kind woman in a golf cart guided us through the maze. Packed into that bathroom-sized storage unit, I saw the table with my brother grubby baby hand prints (he's fifteen now) and my mother's doll house which I played with. The guys basically had to unload the whole unit to pull out the gorgeous Waverly couch with dark leaves and pink roses. I can't believe we have a couch this nice. Our couches have always been...well, either too old to maintain their shape or just not comfortable, so we didn't really use them. And this one is just so pretty.
We went next to Pansy Cottage (sadly empty of rabbits, but Mom hasn't done the real move yet) to pick up the other luxurious hand-me-downs: Mom's beautiful queen-sized bed with fancy ivory iron headboard and footboard (complete with gorgeous lilac quilt, violet sheets, purple body pillow (a body pillow for my legs and belly at last! Josh uses my green one as a headboard, and pulling it down and stuffing it under the blankets every night is tiring), and ivy comforter and bedskirt; my stepfather's black round table with four sturdy chairs (a amazing step up from our rickety Wal-mart set); and Mom's huge white wicker wardrobe (the top will hold my work clothes, and the drawers will hold Oliver's clothes, blankets, and hooded towels...whee!).

We all had dinner later at 215 on Main. I hadn't realized I was so hungry, but apparently Oliver was because I devoured (as in tore into savagely with a fork and my fingers) about half a chicken. The restaurant's Parmesan and herb fries are truly divine. The servers were so nice to us even though we were sweaty, wet (Charlotte had had a hail storm as we were leaving), and nasty, and we'd arrived much too close to closing time...and I was laying into the chicken like Daryl Hannah eating lobster in Splash.

Dad had some hotel points and had reserved two rooms at the local Hampton. I was resistant to the idea at first, but stumbling into a cozy room with a sofa and a king-sized bed with Josh at the end of that sweaty day and taking a shower in the stone-tiled bathroom were such a relief. The pillows were those magical hotel pillows. I forgot all about moving for a bit and slept wonderfully.

(Image: It didn't look like this, but it felt like this!)

Shopping Bags.

Lately, I've been a bit of a shopaholic. This is rather ridiculous since my husband's school has laid him off, and I have a bambino on the way. I think, though, that it has a combination of causes: 1) it's a symptom of the nesting impulse, 2) who knows when I'll be able to shop again? and 3) I want to be a little selfish while I still can.

Anyway, I've done it, and I may as well share the fun!

Motherhood Maternity

~If you read More Mini Sequins, you probably saw that lovely black tank top with (appropriately) tiny sequins at the neck and hem. It's gorgeous. I may wear it to my first shower.

~I said I wouldn't buy maternity pajamas. It seemed a silly waste. But then, my pajama pants began to feel like tourniquets. I also started to think about what I would want to wear in the hospital. Those Wal-mart nightgowns (which I mentioned in Mini Sequins) have been great (so much so that I added a cornflower blue one), but I spotted something special when I was scoping the Destination Maternity sale online: a gray pajama set with silky silver ribbon ties. The pants are loose enough to last through the pregnancy but won't fall off later. The tank top is ruffled and has an elastic neckline for nursing. The mini robe/jacket ties over the top for warmth and modesty. It's a beautiful set, and if I actually wear it there, I think it will make me feel pretty (or at least human) at the hospital. And for all my thinking I wouldn't buy maternity pajamas...I've been wearing these constantly. They're nice enough for lounging with family (my brother is visiting). I was even wearing them when my landlord stopped by.

I ordered these two items, and they arrived at our new address on Friday while we were busy with preliminary cleaning. That's a nice housewarming gift.

Bath and Body Works

Of course, B&BW has that month-long, wild sale in June. I wanted more essentials (as in candles, hand soap, and Wallflowers...see Making a Home) for the OLC, so we went to the location that we have (shockingly) in town.

~I found True Blue Fancy Foot Fizz for 50% off. With the stunning onset of third trimester pain and swelling, I thought the fizz would be worth trying (it was, if only for the moment in Those Unexpected Moments).

~Sugar Lemon Fizz antibacterial hand soap...smells like lemon drops plopped in Sprite. $3. I'll love it in the kitchen.

~Cinnamon antibacterial hand soap. The scent is comforting, and the label (foamy beverage and a cinnamon stick) is incredibly engrossing for a soap label. I got two. $2.50 each.

~Butterfly Flower items were in the 75% off bin. This is worrisome--is B&BW discontinuing the light, sweet fragrance? It's one of my favorites. I got bubble bath for me and body cream for my mom.

~The lip glosses B&BW sells are, I believe, the only ones worth buying. They aren't cheap, though, at $8 a pop, and I always wait for the Buy 2, Get 1 Free deals. But I saw bins of glosses for $2! I got two clear sparkly ones--coconut vanilla for me, and Kiss Me I'm Irish peppermint for mom.

~When Wallflowers are $5, rush in. Most of the fragrances were already gone, but I did snag Kitchen Spice and Vanilla Caramel.

~A new candle graces Josh's desk--it's pink and smells exactly like rose petals. The scent is Flower Shop.

~I have a container of Warm Vanilla Sugar body butter. It was in the toe of Josh's stocking from his parents one year (we have a joint stocking sometimes). It's very luxurious, and I'm used it sparingly because it's expensive, and I doubted I'd ever buy more. But it does feel very nice on pregnant feet and bellies, especially when one does not have fancy belly balm. But I spotted mini containers of body butter for $5! I got a sweet scent (Sweet Pea) and a sassy scent (Twilight Woods).

~You may recall that we have a soft spot for chubby and unrealistically cute bees. I found a rubbery little bee cap for the hand soap pumps. Absurd? Yes. Adorable? Totally.

But that trip wasn't enough. I had to see if Monroe had a different selection. I did find a few things.

~Lemon Gelato is a fresh scent with a hint of dessert. It fared well in the Josh-swooning test. The giant candles were 75% off. I got two.

~This store had even fewer Wallflowers left, but I found Warm Vanilla Sugar and Lilac Blossom.

~I also got two new Wallflowers (the actual plug-ins) in white. A couple of mine don't seem to be working...not surprising since they are probably six or seven years old. The new ones are so crisply white compared to yellowed old ones.

B&BW...wait for the mega sales, and don't go often. Luckily, I hadn't been there in a long time. Now, I just have to stay away.

Shoe Show

Josh is on a constant quest for brown boots. I don't mean cowboy boots. I mean those short, European dude boots. And he's very picky. He miraculously found a great black pair at Shoe Show, of all places, and he's been going back ever since just in case. He had no luck this time. But I did! I've been thinking that I really need more flats since heels are getting uncomfortable/somewhat unsafe. I do have some excellent flats, but they're not very versatile (violet and teal, for instance).

~I found, on super sale, silver flats with rounded toes and silver ribbon threaded around and tied in a bow. They will go with just about anything.

~Also on super sale were a pair of flexible (like ballet slippers--real ones on little girls' jittery feet) black flats covered with a pattern of black sequins. Wow.

Josh, dejected at the limited availability of cheap and stylish man boots, was still just delighted to take my pregnancy-friendly shoes up to the counter. They're so cheap that even if they don't last past the pregnancy, they'll be worth it. Plus, as is becoming clear, anything pretty is increasingly important these days.


On Monday morning, we finished another car trip of stuff from the near-empty and now very hot CLP. After sweating and wearing ratty clothes for days, I was desperate to feel pretty. We were meeting my mom in the afternoon to return a daybed we'd borrowed while living at the CLP. We took our showers, and I put on my Pea in the Pod gray leggings, red maternity tank top, black bead cluster earrings, and my new black sequined flats. Josh said a few times that I was beautiful. I felt great.

~Josh has a gorgeous, huge desk that this grandfather made for him. It takes up most of our living room, but it's totally worthwhile. Our chairs, though, don't really fit under the desk (not with our knees, anyway). So we found a tiny office chair that sit low to the floor. It was under $20! You have to love cheap, compact, "dorm-style" stuff like that. It works perfectly with the desk, and we were able to move the desk back a bit to make more room.

~I've been liking the idea of an exercise ball. Supposedly, just sitting on one tones core muscles. Am I realistically going to work out during this pregnancy? It certainly seems unlikely at this point. But might I sit on a ball and read? It's very possible. After multiple unsuccessful explorations at the local Wal-mart, Josh found such a ball at Target. He inflated it for me last night, and I felt so cheery and relaxed just sitting, bouncing, and stretching on it. It seemed to take off some of the extra weight's pressure in a way that even sitting or lying down don't.

~I spotted a lavender shirt with tiny buttons and flutter sleeves. It's not maternity, but it has a bell shape that I thought might work now and later. It's pretty and sweet, and it shows off Oliver's growth.

~I've been wishing I had one or two light summer dresses--not necessary work-y--to make me feel a) cute and b) less hot (temperature wise) and uncomfortable. I found a Liz Lange teal dress--soft cotton, beautiful color, sleeveless, with a little past-the-knee length to guard against awkward shortness when my belly takes up even more material. It's light and pretty, and with a short-sleeved cardigan, I can wear it to work. Again, I was amazed to look at myself in the mirror and see my belly in unfamiliar clothing. The woman at the fitting room desk asked when I was due and said the dress looked pretty and comfortable. I thought, "I have the most wonderful secret...and everyone knows it!"

Drinking a decaf soy Coconut Mocha Frap and eating a very nutty piece of banana nut bread while shopping around with Josh and my mom was pretty blissful, and I'll always remember that when I sit down at the desk to grade papers, wear those clothes, or (hopefully) sit on that exercise ball.

Gifts from Me to Me

Gifts are my love language (yes, according to Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages), and even the ones I give to myself are emotionally valuable...not simply because of the stuff but because of the experiences I tie to buying and using them. Pick something up in my house, and I can tell you who bought it for me and when and why or where I bought it and with whom and what was going on at the time. So these indulgences will be reminders of a happy time--feeling close to my husband, moving into Oliver's Love Cottage, and waiting for that sweet, sweet boy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Journal Day Prompt: A First.


I've just started reading a new (to me) blog, Sometimes Sweet. Danielle is trying out "Journal Day." She posts a prompt to which others can respond on their blogs. Here's her first prompt:

"Describe a "first" (first date, first lie, the first time you experienced something, first time in a particular setting, etc). Include as many details as possible to paint a picture."

I'm thinking about the first time I got a gift from a boy. I'm not counting the weed-flowers that a red-faced, farting boy left on my desk in sixth grade. These gifts were from a sweet, soft-spoken boy with a romantic name. He was a southern boy (I lived in Tennessee until I was twelve) who liked to go hunting. I'd probably been in Sunday school with him all my life, and for some reason, he liked me.

I wasn't allowed to have a "boyfriend," and we only saw each other at church. But I had a beauty ritual as if I were going on elaborate dates to proms or balls. I'd agonize from Sunday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon about what I'd wear to Wednesday night class, and then do so again from Wednesday night to Saturday night about Sunday morning church.

I took long baths and shaved my legs very carefully. My mother had, at last, bought me a fancy razor and shaving cream for my twelfth birthday and shown me how to use them. I coated myself in scented lotion and perfume like Esther preparing for her king. I layered foundation over my innumerable zits. Usually, I completed a Mary Kay "Satin Hands" routine the night before (Keely's mom sold Mary Kay, and Keely, who was much more confident and glamorous than I, kept me somewhat informed about the road to loveliness). This involved two kinds of gel, exfoliating scrub, and intense lotion as well as wearing gloves all night. I would wake up with sweaty but pristine hands. I always had my mother pull my hair back into the half ponytail or barrettes I wore because I was mortified about the slightest bump or flaw in hair smoothness.

I'm sure the ritual involved more than this. Now, I look back and wonder at my attention to detail. The boy was probably aware of little besides my vague femininity (and perhaps the nauseating amount of perfume or body splash). But I also think that, as I've come to realize and embrace since, the ritual had little to do with him. It was about me, about trying to feel beautiful and precious and like a woman. Now, if Josh tells me I look stunning, it's a wonderful bonus (he's just as likely to say this when I'm greasy-haired and smooshed-faced and blowing my nose in the mornings). I don't really get dolled up for him very often.

 But this was supposed to be about first gifts. One particular Wednesday night was perhaps the last time I was going to see this boy. I was moving to North Carolina. I don't think we'd ever touched apart from one or two hugs (the sideways kind that everyone in youth group distributes generously, so they can sneak in a hug with the person he or she actually likes). He walked with me to the front of the church, where it was already getting a little dark under the trees. He gave me a necklace (I think it was gold and pearly) and a teddy bear the size of my hand. Did I like them? Not really. I've never cared much for traditional boyfriend gifts. Still, they were my first. And he patted my back as we walked back to wherever everyone was chatting. It wasn't holding hands or even really having someone's arm around me, but it was something: my first something.

As it turns out, my mother was following us at a short distance the whole time. I wonder if she was simply worried and slightly ticked or if some part of her recognized that in that moment, I felt a little more grown-up and a little more like I could really matter to a boy (and really see myself as special even apart from a boy) someday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Those Unexpected Moments.

I'm taking a few minutes out of the moving madness to write.

Josh and I often have moments which seem normal in the movement of our lives but which we occasionally realize are bizarre. We stop and ask each other, "What would you think if someone told your fifteen/eighteen/twenty-year-old self about this?"

We had two of these today. Josh pointed one out when we were driving home from Monroe today.I had just scarfed some Chick Fil-A (a wonder I don't have in my town), having been so pleased to crave and see the restaurant on a day other than Sunday. Josh had driven through Taco Bell for vegetarian food (which proved to be a waste since I immediately made him park, so I could run in to use the restroom). He'd finished his bean burrito and was ready for his Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, a side dish completely inappropriate for eating and driving. So I ended up feeding the hashbrown-like bites to him one at a time, getting my fingers squishy with cheese and sour cream in the process.

He smiled to himself and said, "I wonder what my seventeen-year-old self would have thought of this." Josh, who at seventeen could not imagine being married, was driving with a pregnant woman who was feeding him cheesy potatoes. He said, "I would have thought you were very nice to do that and wondered who you were."

The second came tonight, close to midnight. "How about this one? What would your seventeen-year-old self think of you sitting on the lip of a tub with a pregnant lady in rolled-up pajamas...she's shaving her legs, and you're both soaking your feet in--"

"Kool-aid," Josh interrupted.

"--foot fizz," I continued.

He didn't have an answer. I was shaving my legs in this manner because I have never had the balance to shave standing up in the shower, and now, I could barely see what I was doing if I tried. We were wearing rolled-up pajamas because the AC vent is remarkably powerful in our tiny new bathroom. The water was bright blue from the fizz. But all that doesn't explain how we got to the tiny bathroom or much of anything else.

"So much backstory," Josh said. And we are very lucky.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More Mini Sequins.

*My pink suitcase with black and white paperdoll-like outfits on it.


*Looking at the Madame Alexander website.

*This perfect purple nail polish (I searched so long!).

*Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark.

*Realizing that I still have a bag of those fabulous Panera chips stashed in my bag.

*Seeing my pregnant silhouette in the hall.

*Josh saying, "Everyone is gazing at your belly."

*Waking up from a nap to find Davis's (cat) head on my head and his arm (leg?) around me.

*Oliver doing acrobatic performances when both Josh and I put our hands on my belly. Attention from both parents at once is apparently pretty exciting.

*Baby ripples, rumbles, turns, flutters, jabs, jerks, and leaps.

*My polka dot robe I got for free from Ulta when I ordered perfume for Mom.

*All the wonderful associations with the unremarkable scent of birthday candles.

*My pink Express mini trench.

*My plum wool Loft coat (Christmas present from Josh).

*Josh bringing home a mint chocolate chip milkshake, watching me make a mess of it, and saying, "Forget Paris Hilton and a Hardees burger. I want a pregnant girl with a milkshake."

*How satisfying and non-nauseating milk chocolate chip milkshakes are.


*My white wicker laundry hamper, cat-destroyed though it is.

*Josh working on our trees and saying, "So far, it looks like our families have not intersected at all in history, which means we're pretty much not related." Rock on.

*The white wicker wardrobe Mom is giving me...the key to our negligible closet space survival!

*This cupcake picture.

*The fact that (also thanks to Mom) we're going to have a queen-sized guest bed for new grandparent visits.

*Thanks to Mom yet again, the comfy, frou-frou pink floral couch we'll soon have.

*Having my first follower on Bloglovin'.

*Getting my first views from Nicaragua, Belgium, and Italy!

*Pink rollerskates (maybe I'll have some someday).

*No new work E-mails (rare)!

*Union Station.

*Josh saying, "I want you to have my elf baby." Giggles!

*Egg salad sandwiches.

*Flash-mobs. I get so happy seeing people getting together to do something cool and uplifting.

(Video: youtube)

*Josh saying, "I'm going to go catch up on the dishes."

*Josh getting excited over my very humble cooking.

*A big box of rainbow Nerds...and the way Nerds taste like rock candy once the sour part melts.

*Stationery with colorful envelopes.

*Josh: "In this game, once a characters' loyalty to me reaches a certain point, they start wearing new costumes."
Me: "Once my loyalty to you reached a certain point, I started wearing maternity clothes."

*The way my long necklaces now curve out instead of going straight down.

*Receiving journals as gifts. It doesn't even matter if I already have the journal. It feels like the person is not only doing something nice for me but also supporting what I love to do.

*Receiving writing utensils as gifts (same reason).

*Finishing a journal and writing the end date inside the front cover.

*Opening a journal to the back cover and seeing that I remembered to write down where and when I got it.

*Me quoting Shakespeare: "All my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay and follow thee, my lord, throughout the world."
Josh: "Back at you, baby."

 (The lovely Olivia Hussey as Juliet. Image:

*Figuring out that Shift+Enter keeps Word from automatically capitalizing the first word of a new line of a poem.

*Squishy, messy egg salad sandwiches.

*Deviled eggs, especially on Mom's Easter tray that looks like a painter's palette.

*Fancy picnics that someone else packed.

*Sparkling apple juice.

*The way Oliver gives little shiver-flutters when Mom talks to him in her Marmee voice.

*Dark purple wine glasses.

*Miniature irises.

*Colorful bowls at Anthropologie.

*My huge sparkly purple bead ring.

*Valentine's Day decorations.

*Strawberries. Dipped in white chocolate? Bliss.

*Scraping out the last of the chocolate pudding.

*Fairy tale retelling books and stories.

*My giant sparkly, purple bead ring.

*Rock candy (need more!).

*Stray glitter bits on Josh's face or clothes.

*Purple and green.

*Cute little elephants on baby clothes.

*Waking up with the blinds open by my bed, seeing all the leaves and branches right outside, and feeling like I'm in a treehouse.

*Increasingly frequent Oliver hiccups.

*Clothes that have beading, sequins, or glitter on them but will be pretty even if it all falls off.

*That my mom put different ribbons on each of my birthday presents.

*My green Mary Jane wedges.

*Journals that masquerade as books.

*High, super-smooth ponytails.

*Dr. Pepper that has been in the freezer for about twenty minutes and has just a little ice forming.

*Old school bicycles. I want a red bicycle and a green dress.

*The moment when the ice chunk in a frozen water bottle finally slips through the top.

*A photo (of which I don't actually have a copy) of my mother's mother drinking a Dr. Pepper and smoking a cigarette. I fully support one of those vices.

*Cinnamon candles.

*The beautiful, frivolous maternity tank top I've wanted for three months going on sufficient sale.

*Wild violets.

*Pottery Barn Teen catalogs.

*Josh doing something cool and saying, "Maybe you can put that on your next 'Why Josh Is a Champion.'"

*Bath bombs that color the water and have confetti or something inside.

*Mary Poppins's carpet bag.

*The wooden xylophone sound of a bouquet of PrismaColor pencils.

*"I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I had your name and address." --You've Got Mail


*Those gorgeous storage boxes at craft stores...especially ones with dresses, shoes, and cupcakes on them!

*Figuring out that the Shift+Enter habit was the reason Blogger never put images where I wanted them (fixed!).

*Putting in two good hours of work while Josh plays Dragon Age II. I never want to do it, but I feel good when I do.

*Color-coding my books. They become decor in a new way.

*Pretty pajamas for Christmas.

*The way my mom individually wraps each little present in Christmas stockings.

*Having a big stack of good magazines.

*Surprise packages.

*Picking Melissa's brain about pregnancy and baby advice and experiences (usually, I go first, so it's nice to be the grasshopper this time).

*Red Hots.

*Knowing we have lots of help for our move (thanks Dad, James, Zach, and the future Grammy and Grampy!), especially since I'll be essentially worthless.

*Knowing that I can focus on tasks like setting up the bathroom, making the bed, and moving and arranging clothes during the move.

*The lovely fact that Time Warner Cable can actually come transfer our Internet the day of our move. No temporary dark age!

*Planet Hollywood. I still think it's cool. I've gone with Josh, Keely (my best friend from childhood), and my grandparents and surely some other super cool people. I've been there in Paris and Honolulu.

*My purple knit slipper boots with serious soles.

*Kissing in libraries.


*Josh showing off the three twenties he found in his desk.

*My very flattering, simple, and modest black maternity swimsuit.

*My maternity tee with sparkly pink seahorses on it. It's like Old Navy knew me.

*My black flip flops with little rhinestone flowers. I'm very picky about flips. I was especially happy when I saw them at another store for $20 more!

*Quirky elegance.

*My awesome black and silver New Balance shoes that aren't chunky like most trainers (am I allowed to use that word? I like it so much better than tennis shoes or sneakers) and don't have those vents that equal soaked socks in the rain.

*Learning British terms (usually through moments of confusion while watching Dr. Who).

*My mom's pink mixing bowls.

*Josh saying absurd, lovey things like "If you were any prettier, I would turn into a unicorn. I'd have wings and a tail." I guess this would technically make him a Pegasus.

*Mom's always-pretty tissue boxes.

*Sunshine naps.

*My tiny purple umbrella with girly drawings (mirrors, purses...) on it.

*Josh brought home a slice of carrot cake for me, and the box had a tiny plastic spork attached.

*Imagining this: