Friday, July 29, 2011

Shallow Thoughts by erin

Have you ever avoided cleaning something because you thought it would take too long or too much hard work, but when you finally did it, you saw it took about 10 minutes and used no deodorant at all? I do this all of the time. Seriously, always.

Let's say you're getting on a Metro elevator. (Note for those of you who have never ridden D.C.'s Metro system: The elevators have two levels only.) You get in the elevator and there are two buttons: "M" and "P" with no other text besides them. You're trying to get on a train to go downtown. Which button do you push? Or let's say you're done with work and you want to get to where your car is. Same question: which button do you push? Just what do those buttons stand for??

I'm about to inherit a much newer iPod than the one I have now (my Laurels would be happy). But I've never ventured into the world of apps. Any recommendations?

You know how if you're napping on the couch, you wake to drool on the pillow? Come on, admit it. But what I don't get is why do I drool only during naptime? Or is it that I drool just as I'm falling asleep regardless of whether it's for a nap or night, but with naps I don't have enough time to let it dry, but with nighttime sleep, I do. What say ye?

If Congress and the President can't agree on this debt ceiling thing, then it's possible...AGAIN...that I might be furloughed. Thank goodness this one comes at an okay time. And thank goodness for savings. Sheesh. And I thought government jobs were stable! Silly me.

Rhett's request for a story last night: "Tell me a story about a little boy who hit his dad and then maggots ate his fingers."

Penultimately: My sister rules. She sent me a birthday package (with instructions that I may open it at any time) full of my favorite things: Hot Tamales, Air Heads, and Luna bars. Perfect for the delivery room...if they last that long. Is "penultimately" a word? Oh well. I don't care.

Finally, how can Blogger still not recognize "internet" as spelled correctly?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pew Forum's Survey on Religious Knowledge

I am always up for a good internet quiz. I saw this one the other day, and being Mormon and a mathematical statistician* and all, I took it asap.

Anyway, I found the results of this survey so interesting! I mean, the top-line result is that, "Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on
a new survey of religious knowledge." Cool!

Hooray for Mormons on this one: "On the full battery of seven questions about the Bible (five Old Testament and two New Testament items) Mormons do best." I also like this result, "On questions about Christianity...Mormons and white evangelical Protestants show the highest levels of knowledge."

Where Mormons aren't so strong is our knowledge of other worldly religions (Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism specifically), although we still didn't do too badly.

It was also of interest to see who knew the least about Mormons. Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics had the lowest average scores when asked the three Mormon-specific questions. Thank goodness Mormons knew the most about Mormons (phew!) but did you know that next-smartest [sic] about Mormonism are the atheists/agnostics? I didn't.

The survey also asked some general knowledge questions. Mormons, on average, did third best, coming in behind Jews and atheists/agnostics. Apparently less than one-third of Mormons know what the Scopes trial was about (evolution) yet we do know Darwin developed the theory of evolution. Weird.

If you're interested in seeing all 32 questions asked in the phone survey, click here and go to page 19. I did fairly well, but struggled on the general Christian questions. Awesome.

*I'm learning that people close to me don't know that I do, in fact, know more mathematics than Chuck does. (This doesn't mean that I'm better than he at all things math-related. Quite the contrary: he kills me in geometry and logic puzzles. But you want differential equations or number theory or statistical inference or linear models? Talk to me. I can point you in the right direction.  KIDDING...kinda) I think this is in part due to the fact that I get lazy and don't tell people my full job title "Mathematical Statistician;" rather, I just say "statistician." It's my mid-year goal to give myself the proper math respect. We'll see if it helps.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Scenes from a Heat Wave

It seems nearly the whole country, well maybe the whole country east of the Mississippi River, recently experienced a heat wave. We were definitely not immune. Some temperatures were:
1. Thursday evening at 9 p.m. = 90 degrees.
2. Friday morning 5:50 a.m. = 82 degrees (with wicked high humidity).
3. Friday morning 10:30 a.m. = 90 degrees + 70% humidity = a "feels like" temp of 105. At 10:30 a.m. Awesome.
4. And then this one from Friday afternoon:  (Note the "feels like" temperature.)

Sadly, even swimming doesn't sound good in this weather. Our poor air conditioner can't keep up with the rising temperatures, even with running non-stop for three days but only in the early mornings attaining our set temperature. Thankfully the basement provided some relief.

So what did we do? Well, of course I worked in a cooled, air conditioned building for two of the worst days. Chuck and Rhett ran some errands on Thursday, but then chose to stay home on Friday. Chuck even pulled off the wallpaper in the boys' room. And Rhett bowled on the Wii for the first time.  (It didn't last long.  He got bored.)  Rhett also had a total "melt"-down all day Saturday. Oh my. As parents, we tried to explain why he would be so terrible, but all we came up with was (1) too much sugar, (2) too little sleep, (3) he's three, or (4) he suffered from cabin fever. Whatever it was, the dude was intolerable. Thank goodness Sunday was better!

Side note: When I told my mom that Chuck removed the wallpaper, she was disappointed. It's her greatest joy in life to peel things. If I were a good daughter, I'd sacrifice my back to the sunburn gods just so it would peel and just so she could peel it. She's crazy!

And do you want to see what this kind of heat and a little bit of walking (a necessity to get from the metro to my car) does to very pregnant feet? Caution: The following has been approved for Mature Audiences Only.

And finally, how awesome would it be if this four-day forecast were correct? See if you can spot the problem.

Here's hoping for a cooler week for all!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ah, Now I Remember

I'm the first to admit I have a bad attitude towards pregnancy, especially my own. I wish I could be happy and enjoy it and see the pain and discomfort as just means to an end, but clearly, I struggle with this. Sometimes my attitude is so bad that I wonder why I chose this, why I tried so hard to have another child.

And then, just when I need it, Rhett reminds me. Oh how I love this little boy. Oh how I can't believe I have any more room in my heart for another, but nor did I think I had the capacity to love this guy like I do. I imagine that much like the Grinch, my heart will grow more when the new one decides to come out.

Here he's making me a soup, more specifically a vegetable soup...just like Martha (whoever Martha is).

Rhett was walking around like some sort of bandit, albeit a bad one. Might help if he could see where he was going.

In a moment of rest for me (maybe a moment of trying to unswell (de-swell?) my feet so they could fit into my shoes), Rhett came to join me and share a "foot kiss."

Finally, Rhett eating his favorite dinner, pasta with alfredo sauce. He loves it so much he wanted to use two forks. And so he did.

P.S. Anyone else digging my outfit in that picture up there? Wednesdays (my work-at-home days) are not the most fashionable of days. Just be lucky I'm covering my body in this picture. I can't guarantee that on other Wednesdays.

P.P.S. Just in case you haven't heard, D.C. (as much of the country) is in quite the heat wave. Yesterday at 3 p.m. it was 99 but felt like 109 (due to humidity). And today is supposed to be worse. Pretty awesome, right? If only you could see my feet now...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hey! We Grew Something!

Chuck and I have dreams of one day having a lovely garden in our backyard. You know a place where we grow Fun-Dip and freshly baked whole wheat bread. For whatever reasons, it has yet to happen. This year we were close, but man, I am sure glad we didn't. Can you imagine me out there weeding, with this body, in this heat and humidity? Uh no.

When Rhett planted a squash seed during preschool and brought it home in a cup, we kept watering it just for fun. But then it grew. And kept growing. And then Chuck transferred it outside where we have a little unused dirt. And then it turned into this:

And on the plant grew these:

And then Rhett appropriately used one as a phone:

Phone call may or may not have been made to a monster in our house wherein Rhett was tricking the monster by having the monster mow the lawn and then we'd lock him out. Sneaky sneaky!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Latest Projects

Even though it kills my wrists to do anything dexterous, it helps (1) keep my mind off my pregnancy and (2) move the rest of my body. So I work through the pain. Although, I can happily report that my attitude is improving. I think weeks 34-35 were so hard because I felt huge, but also like I still had so much time left. But now that I'm closing in on 38 weeks, it feels like I'm huge for a reason. So don't worry about me; I'm surviving. That is, until this week when Maryland kills me with heat.

Here's what's been happening in our house. First, the curtains for the boys' room (oh how fun that sounds!). After some dreadfully wrong calculations and subsequent design changes, I was able to pull off these curtains. I love the fabrics (Kate Spain's "Central Park"), and I think they'll look great next to grey walls. I backed them with blackout fabric and am amazed at how well they darken a room: just what I need for little boys to sleep. Then there is the book sling out of some coordinating fabric.  I found the tutorial at Megan's blog, "Penny Carnival." I know it doesn't look like much now (fabric rectangle anyone?), but just imagine how cute it will be hung next to Rhett's bed. I'm so very excited.

Then this. This is mostly Chuck's project since all I did was measure stuff and sand a bit. He cut, primed, painted, drilled, screwed...everything. It's totally his project. But we both love it. I saw it on Jenny's blog "Anything Pretty" and knew it should be ours. I mean, come on. Have you ever met a bigger couple of math nerds geeks? Rhett loves playing with the extra beads, although to him, they make a better microphone ("Ladies and gentlemen...") and ice cream cone. (oh and you can't really tell, but this is about 2' x 3'. It's pretty big.)

Remember this table runner I saw at that adorable Utah quilting shop? Well, here's mine. I thought about adding something to the middle but Chuck said, "Oh no, that's where all the flowers I buy you will go." Isn't that the funniest thing you've ever heard?! That Chuck, always making me laugh.

And finally, because it's summer in Maryland it's humid (have I mentioned that Maryland is humid? I can't recall). Humidity means sweating glasses. Sweating glasses means stains on wood if there are no coasters. So coasters we must have. I found a couple of tutorials and think these will be great for our house! We haven't finished them yet because I want to use some sort of varnish that could harm the baby. So it's on Chuck's list.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Random Thoughts

1. Chuck and I have a couple-friend. We really like both of them. The male of the couple called Chuck the other day with a mathematical question. I was offended. Sure sure, Chuck is a math teacher. And he did do better than I on the math part of the GRE. But I am a mathematical statistician and I have a bachelor's degree in math AND a master's in statistics. Chuck's degrees, on the other hands, are computer science and education. I digress. While they were calculating on the phone and I'm fuming downstairs, the only excuse I would allow male friend as to why he asked for Chuck instead of me was that it was awkward to call a married woman. When Chuck came downstairs and said that male friend said exactly that, all was forgiven. (Then I solved the problem just to prove I could.) Question: Is it weird for a married man to call a married woman? And if so, why?

2. Project Runway comes back on July 28th! Summer television suddenly got 10,000% better. Question: Why is summer TV the worst? Who is outside playing in this heat and humidity? No one. We're all stuck inside wishing for better TV.

3. No matter where I live, I feel like I'm always the last to get the newspaper and the mail. Seriously. On Monday our mail was delivered at 6:00 p.m. There can't be that many people after us, right? And almost every single morning when we were in the apartment, our paper arrived at 6:30 a.m., the latest it could be delivered without me getting it free. And now that the time moved earlier for the Post (it's now guaranteed by 6), there are still some days when I'm leaving for work at 5:50 a.m. that it's not here yet. Question: Does anyone else have this problem, or do I just gravitate to living at the end-of-the-route places?

4. Let's say, hypothetically of course, that you have a countdown chain for something. Let's continue hypothetically speaking and say that you counted up for 20 weeks to create the chain, and now are counting down the remaining 20 weeks. But now that the chain is down to only three links, do you change it to count days, putting 19 links on the chain? You get to remove them much faster that way. Or do you leave it measuring weeks because, HOT DOG! there are only three links on it? Decisions!

5. Question: Is "Charles" one syllable or two?

Finally--some nice pregnancy comments! According to a stranger on the Metro platform, you can't even tell I'm pregnant from the back. That's what I'm talking about! This woman has never been pregnant, yet she knows exactly what we-with-child want to hear. Bless you metro woman, bless you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pregnancy, Oh, Pregnancy

I'm at the stage now where I just don't want to leave the house: not for work, not for church, not for fun. I know I'm big. I know. Yes, I'm worried the doctor missed a gestational diabetes diagnosis. Yes, I'm worried something is wrong with my fluid levels. Yes, I'm worried that I really have twins in there. (Well, that's more Chuck's worry, but still.) Even if none of that's true, I'm worried I just have a big baby in there. (Okay, but let's get real: I'm not going to have a baby this big, am I? Seriously, check out the link. NOW.) Fortunately I'm having another ultrasound on Friday. Unfortunately it won't make me smaller.

I repeat: I know I'm big. But it's still upsetting to have to hear it over and over and over again. Said the woman walking by me on the way to the metro, "[DANG]*! When's that baby due?" Said I as I kept walking, "Oh still four weeks away." Said the walking woman, "Seriously? You're HUGE!" Thank you. Thank you woman I've never met nor do I want to meet, for telling me this heretofore unknown fact. *Edited for language.

Also, everyone seems to love to say any version of "Any day now!" or "Looks like you're ready to pop!" Both of which are not helpful when I still have three weeks. Instead, these comments make me embarrassed and self-conscious when I have to explain that I still have three weeks to go. My sister said I should make a t-shirt that says, "I know I'm huge. SHUT IT." I might have to do that.

Even my feet are wide. I usually have pretty wide feet (thanks to a father with quintuple-E width shoes, or something thereabouts). But now? Dang. They're like full rectangles. I'm down to one pair of flip flops. It's pretty professional at work, believe me.

One last thing: I just checked when the next full moon is, and sadly it's this Friday, the 15th. I'm afraid that's just too early to push my body into an early labor. Sigh.

Yes, I wish I could be more positive for the sakes of all around me. Yes, I wish I could have a more eternal perspective about the pain I'm in. Yes, I wish I could just lie about it and tell everyone I'm doing great. Yes, I understand that so many women can't get pregnant so I should be grateful. Yes, I understand that so many have/had/will have it so much harder than I. But I can't think of that now.

Before you stop reading and never come back, the next three posts (and maybe more!) have nothing to do with me complaining. Lucky you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Keepin' Busy (oh no, not me, my parents)

When Rhett was born, I knew I was going to be a mess...and I was. I really didn't see having my parents there right away to witness this, so instead they showed up six weeks later. By that time, I was feeling better and they got to enjoy a more-alert baby and attend his blessing. It was the right decision for us.

Things are different now. Before, I didn't have another child running around; now I do. Because of this, I see the immediacy of extra helping hands. Fortunately, I have a husband who will be home for the first couple of weeks after Betamax joins us before he even has to go to work. But you better believe that as soon as Chuck returns to the classroom, my parents are coming to help with the new baby.

What should I have them do? I mean, sure, they can hold the baby and look at the baby, but really, they're not baby people...hmm...I wonder where I get this?! (Note: This just means I can't pass off the baby all day, not that they don't love their grandchildren as babies, because they do.) Here are my ideas for ways to use my parents:
1. Play with Rhett.
2. Grocery shop and make meals (both regular and ones to be frozen for later).
3. Take off the wallpaper from the goon room walls and then repaint.
4. Chores.

My dad will be content to sit and take in all the scenery. But my mom is a woman who likes to stay busy so I'm not sure this is enough. What tasks am I missing? What did you find most helpful from extra hands right after you gave birth?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Halfway Through the Summer

Well halfway for us. Today I complete three of the six full-time work weeks that I'll do this summer before he-who-should-be-named-but-isn't arrives. And how is it going?

1. I need to be easier on Chuck. Yes, sometimes he doesn't think, but it takes time to get in the stay-at-home groove. He does a great job. And besides, he's doing a job I really just can't do right now so I should stop criticizing.

2. Sitting at my desk for 8.5 hours isn't horrible, as long as I remember to get up and walk around a couple of times during the day. Sure beats those 10.5-hour days.

3. I am sad that I have to miss summer things. My sister emily is busy doing these fun "summer merit badges" and I would have LOVED to do them with Rhett, but just can't. Maybe I'll at least make Chuck do them next summer.

4. Working from home is hard because I just want to be playing with Rhett, but can't because I am working. I really could not do it without Chuck being around. Of course my "playing" this summer is limited, but still.

5. I'm feeling a bit better. I think week 34 was really hard because it felt too early to feel so bad. But now that I'm 36 weeks, something in my brain says that it's okay to feel so icky. (And for the record: I do feel icky still. Both hands are now sporting braces. Do pro bowlers ever wear them on both hands? But I did find some cute maternity shirts at Target that actually cover my belly therefore making me feel better!)

6. Working full-time and then coming home and having to parent is HARD. With these shorter days, I'm home by 4 p.m. (compared to 6 p.m. with the part-time schedule). That's three hours with Rhett, that while I cherish, totally exhaust me. How do other working parents do it?!

7. Really, it's only six weeks this summer, with only three remaining. I can do it, right?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Least Exciting July 4th Ever

At one point we thought we would spend the 4th at a state park enjoying the lake; but when we found out you need to be there be 7 a.m. just to get parking, we thought again. So what did we do? Not much. Trips to Target and Safeway. Lunch. Nap time trip to a fabric store for me, which proved to be a bust. Afternoon trip to Chuck's parents' house to enjoy their backyard pool, but also to endure the mosquitoes. (I think I forgot to mention them in my "Maryland Summers Suck" post. But yes, another downside to a Maryland summer--BUGS and lots of them.) Then we went home and had dinner, which wasn't even done on the grill (although Sunday's steak and corn were). We watched the fireworks on T.V.:  much better seating and no Metro crowds to fight!

The three redeeming points of the holiday were:
1. That I was off and able to spend the day with my boys.
2. We ate homemade raspberry ice cream. Which, unfortunately is a bit sour for the boys, but fortunately, is a bit sour for the boys (which means I get it all to myself!). Next time I'll make sure there's some chocolate in it for Rhett.
3. I organized my craft closet. Oh my. It's lovely. I keep wanting to reopen the door just to look at it again and again. This means that almost all of the closets in my "sewing nook" have been reorganized, except for one. That one contains a bunch of my clothes that I won't bother touching until I can wear them again.

I am blaming my lack of holiday spirit on the 5-pound fetus growing inside me, that and the heat and humidity. Next year we vow to get Rhett to see fireworks.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Date Night

Although I've alluded to it, I've never really documented the beauty that is our babysitters' club group. What is it? Major bullet points are:
1. Five couples with a total of 7.9 kids between us.
2. We meet every other Saturday night at one couples' residence.
3. Three couples go out, while the other two babysit all seven kids. So within a five-week period, Chuck and I go on three dates and babysit twice.

Simply put: It's awesome. Everyone loves it, at least in our house. Rhett frequently tells us he wishes it was Babysitters night because he likes being with his friends, and he likes being without us. He actually wants us to go on dates. (What type of dates does he suggest? Well, the zoo, of course!)

Even the nights when we're "stuck" babysitting aren't horrible. We get to share them with another couple and since we like all the other couples, it doesn't feel like we are "stuck" doing anything. We get to chat while watching the little ones. It really works well. And since two of our seven kids are just over seven months old, having four adults is a necessity (at least to Chuck and me).

And what do Chuck and I do on these date nights? Well, I've mentioned the swimming. Of course there's dinner (we went here once and got to feel so cool without having to go all the way downtown). Sometimes it has to be stuff that is normally so hard with a three-year old, like shopping for baby gear or furniture. But really, does it matter?! No. We're on a date! Although our final date before the baby comes is couple pedicure night. I'm pumped.

How great is this comic? Seriously so funny. And really, to me, this wouldn't be a horrible date night. Remember this date bread?! It's AWESOME. Maybe I should make some the next time we host...

P.S. Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Just in Time for the 4th

I saw these chairs over at Simple Simon and Co. and wanted to try them out. I've never experimented with PVC pipe but since she made it sound so easy, I thought, why not.

We made our trip to Home Depot last Saturday, even though I'd already started working on the fabric seats. For some reason, I couldn't get her measurements to work out just right on those seats. When I checked her blog again later, she changed them to something that made more sense. I actually recommend cutting the rectangle to 7.5" x 19" (and if you want more details on how I finished them, let me know). I just prefer to work with thick hems, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, the chairs weren't quite as easy as she said and I would have struggled to finish them on my own (Home Depot laughed at us when we asked for help cutting the pipe). Was this just me or pregnant-me or pregnant-with-carpal-tunnel-me who struggled? Who knows. But with Chuck, they were no problem. We still haven't quite figured out how to get the printing off the pipe, however. Her acetone trick didn't work for us.

Now to find a parade and maybe even fireworks show wherein we can test them out! (They look kind of lopsided in this picture, but they're not. I promise.)

It's now July! I can now say "next month" when talking about when the baby's coming! Hopefully this will keep peoples' jaws on their faces when I tell them August. Hopefully, but not likely.

Anyone out there have a telescope or know anything about them? I'd like to get one for us, but other than knowing they're super cool and I want one, I don't know much.