Tuesday, August 31, 2010

High Five-Low Five

High Five to:

1. Song of my summer: Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti. Love.

2. Laura Mercier Tinted Foundation. I'm not much of a product junkie, but I think this stuff is worth the splurge. Allure would probably tell me I am commiting a beauty sin, but a tube lasts me almost the whole year.

3. Wiggly, squirmy baby movement. I will miss this way too much.

4. College football season kicks off in just a few days, bringing with it potato skins, rotel dip and many hours spent on bar stools.

5. Nearly two more weeks of recess!

Low Five Goes Out To:

1. Last day of XM radio trial. I have to say good bye to Nashville CM, The Spectrum, 90s on 9 and many others (It'll be a while before Rumpshaker comes across my dashboard...)

2. Everytime I go to repurchase a hair product, Pantene has stopped selling my standby. Stop with the rebranding people!

3. Outgrowing my favorite pair of maternity pants. Sad day.

4. College football should not be played in 90 degree heat. Seriously, last day of August and we have a five day stretch of 90+ temperatures. Mother nature, time to give the pregnant lady a break already.

5. My proclivity to be a joiner means my summer ends this week too. Back to meetings and clubs and no more summer slacker schedules.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Richmond-Land Delight

I know that relationship compatibility has a great deal to do with finding a mate who enjoys doing similar things. What happens when you cannot neatly identify what that might be? We are not hikers, world travelers or gourmands. What we have in common makes us seem simple as old folk. Rocky and I both enjoy discussing politics, college football, shopping and watching television. I guess that is why a little road trip to Richmond, Virginia can make me all mushy. It was a great trip to unwind and do all the little things we like doing, like living out our golden years in our twenties.

We didn’t do anything particularly extraordinary. We did a little boutique shopping and driving the streets of Richmond taking in the pretty old houses. It reminded me of when we were still in college, we’d explore Nashville and I would point out the houses I wouldn’t mind calling home.
This one wouldn't be so bad.

Another lovely trip down memory lane was tea time at the Jefferson. On our honeymoon, our resort had afternoon tea. It was a great excuse to get out of the sun and take a break from the rum punch. In Richmond, there were no waves crashing in the background, copious amounts of Caribbean dill were blissfully absent, and my camera didn’t fog up in the humidity.



We had to walk off the strawberry macaroons, cucumber sandwiches and chocolate scones. Rocky taught me a little about Civil War history as we made our way to the Capitol, past one of Robert E. Lee’s homes and to the monument to Stonewall Jackson.

Anyone else find it ironic that they called this man a patriot?

Then it was back to more eating. We cashed in a gift certificate for a lovely four course meal at the Melting Pot. It made me feel like I was living on the edge, not getting home until after 11 and being one of the last ones there at closing.
Sunday was a bit back to reality as we took our time driving the two hours back to Arlington.

From tea and crumpets to Hemnes, Fjelse and Mörrum. This time there were no Whitley’s available to help assemble the newest purchases for B. B. King.
We got sidetracked in Fredericksburg attempting to find a Sonic, wooed by the gourmet meals at Wegman’s, and safely made it back to town with furniture, frames and tilapia in tow.

I feel very lucky to have found someone who enjoys the mundane and the ordinary as much as I do. We spent our last weekend before college football, the last free weekend for the next eighteen years, at maternity shops, with fondue pots, and “requires some assembly” particle board furniture. It is certainly a good thing I found him before the age of online dating. I am not quite sure how many matches I would have made with such stimulating material.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flashback Friday:Marine Number One

If I were better at this whole flashback thing, I would have been able to dig up some quality photos of my cousin dressed up in tights as a Peter Pan for Halloween or when he was five as the Rocketeer. Anyone else remember this classic movie?!

Instead, you are stuck with photos of my cousin in his crazy bachelor days, but wait, that certainly isn’t a flashback.
I have had the pleasure of watching Sean grow up after years of attending catechism together and celebrating all the major holidays at his family cabin (St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s, and Muskey season, you know, the big ones). He has gone from the kid who knows more about Sonic the Hedgehog to the kid who studies both Mandarin and an alphabetical list of DC pubs. Sean is scary smart, wicked funny and can adapt himself to any unusual situation, be it counseling a new batch of recruits on budgeting for beers and Ford Mustangs or surviving a very awkward Easter Brunch with a bunch of strangers. He can lighten up a room with his mere presence or his impressive pant-splitting dance moves.

Sean is off to Afghanistan on Sunday as a first lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. We are all very proud and humbled by where and when and how Sean will be serving our country. His wisdom, wit and adaptability will make him an excellent representative of our military and I know upon his safe return he is destined for many big things. I pray for the kid in the green tights who grew up to be such an incredible man.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Case of the Dairy Fairy and a Wunaway Wabit

I wouldn’t say I have had any true cravings. I haven’t sent Rocky to Taco Bell at 4 in the morning for a burrito. Pickles and ice cream just sounds gross. Sure, I see an Outback commercial and think a juicy piece of meat sounds good right about now, but then my doctor tells me I’m anemic so I don’t know that a sizzling two-dimensional steak qualifies as a craving.

But the first trimester? All I wanted was cheese. I came home and would stand over the kitchen sink devouring whatever shredded variety we happened to have in our fridge at the time. Cheddar, mozzarella, colby jack? Low-fat, 100 calorie pack, string cheese or mascarpone? It didn’t matter. I’d like to blame it on the fact that all the good stuff is off limits, brie, camembert, humboldt fog, even the real blue cheese is a no-no. Some women want a glass of wine or a cup of coffee after delivery. I told Rocky to bring me a nice log of goat cheese. The creamy delicious good stuff.

These days I don’t feel satisfied after dinner without a scoop of ice cream (or the whole pint). I’ve made our friends walk blocks after a big dinner to get Haagen Daz. A few weeks ago, Rocky and I went to four ice cream shops when Maggie Moos line was too long, only to end up back there because one place turned into a freaking yogurt shop, the Baskin Robbins down the street just started a renovation, and Harris Teeter didn’t sound nearly as good as some Udderly Cream.

But the one that takes the cake? An urge for more dairy came at 10:30 on a Saturday night while watching a movie. It was late, but I could really go for some cheesecake. Since Rocky was going to just run in and get it, the dog was invited along. I opened the door and he bolted out at the first site of a rabbit in our neighbor’s driveway. He went across the street and down the road, running through the neighborhood. I was laughing so hard as Rocky ran after him and screaming his name, surely waking up all the sleeping kids as Atticus ran alongside flower beds and up to front doors after this rabbit. I finally made it to the end of our driveway and called his name once. He bolted right into my arms. Rocky might say otherwise, but I am telling you, that cheesecake was worth it.

The offending puppy with his craving du jour.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flashback Friday: Thoughful Friend Edition

Whitley is the kind of friend that sends you a box of chocolates when you call to tell her good luck on her last and final finals but you casually mention you stubbed your toe last Tuesday.

Whitley is the kind of friend who single handedly assembles your new furniture with only vague diagrams and the Swedish dictionary to help.

Whitley is the kind of friend to loan you her favorite dress even though she was thinking about wearing it to church but no you go ahead, you have very important errands to run.

Or loan you matching sweatshirts. Too bad I can't blame her for the funky shorts. They were all the rage in Kiawah though. Trust me.

It’s why it should come as no surprise the girl gave me one of the greatest birthday presents ever, a calendar.

During my days working on the Hill, I sustained myself with boxed mashed potatoes and cheerios. Whitley had a similar job situation and lived on rice and beans and copious amounts of generic orange juice. We were living on peanuts and exotic vacations were just a twinkle in our eye. So, we started this silly game of planning a virtual trip once a month to distract ourselves when a constituent had called to talk about the government invading his brain using alien technology. She would find airfare, accomodations and day trips to Bath, the Amazon rainforest or the place where they filmed that one restaurant scene in this movie about a bird in a cage, you know which one I am talking about?

Whitley moved on like everyone in the DC metropolitan area except the Kings are apt to do. She went to law school and I got married. Perhaps we matured past trips to Jane Austen’s birthplace. Maybe it just got too depressing that we were now responsible adults and would never get to spend three weeks in New Zealand hiking and tracking Orlando Bloom’s every scene. Our “trips” became fewer and far between until Whitley sent me the best twenty-fifth birthday present I could have asked for. She made me a 2008 calendar with trips planned out for the whole year. We were going to go to Japan, Paris for Valentine’s Day, The Bahamas to swim with the dolphins and Daniel Craig. It was such a very very thoughtful gift. Lucky lucky me she is coming to town today.

A birthday cake from Whitley on another festive birthday occassion. One where it looks I either couldn't afford to do my laundry or forgot to wear a shirt...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's in a number?

I like birthdays. It's a day to treat yourself to a fancy cup of coffee, wear your favorite shoes and drop hints that you'd like chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Maybe it is because I have been blessed with some pretty special birthdays along the way. Every year, I can't help but think how special I was that on my seventh birthday, my dad snuck me out of daycare early to have lunch at McDonald's and see the movie Peter Pan. Another year, I hosted my closest friends for a very special tea at a doll museum. I got to wear white gloves and a pretty hat. For my golden birthday, my best friends planned a huge surprise party and they totally fooled me. I showed up unshowered, in an Old Navy tank top and upset that we were running behind schedule to find about thirty friends hiding in Anne's basement. Now I am dreaming about my thirtieth birthday, Sonoma or bust baby!

This year is a different kind of birthday because it isn't all about me anymore. There were no champagne mimosas with my chocolate chip pancakes and I had to pick my outfit based around what favorite shoes still fit. There were several reminders along the way. The day I turned 28 I was 28 weeks pregnant. I had 82 days left to my estimated due date and I was born in 1982. At my appointment on 8/18, I learned I had gained 18 pounds.

It was a fun day to celebrate dinner with friends, get calls from L.A. and New York and Minneapolis. And really fun to think about all the exciting things I get to see and do and experience this year, like become a mom.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Raise the Roof

For an early birthday present, our good friend Tom gave me a new roof. I'm a lucky lucky girl. Saturday morning, Tom, Rocky and Bobby tore off part of the roof on the dining room extension. The blizzards in December and February did a number on our 80 year old house. Of course, we didn't realize that the roof had also fallen victim to the tons of snow until this summer when I realized that the back of the house looked a little saggy. (Note to self, take a before picture before the guys show up at 10:00 am and start tearing apart your house.)

Sure, Tom has never built a house, nevertheless rebuilt a roof from the trusses up. We were desperate to give it a try before doling out thousands of dollars to a contractor who can smell a sucker (or the super glue that normally constitutes home repairs in this family) a mile away. And so far, so good.
The very scary during phase (also pictured, the very scary rotten boards)

Don't worry, I only let Rocky up there with adult supervision.
Ta da! The After.

Tom, for all of your hard work Saturday and all of the "how to build a roof" googling you did Friday, this post's for you.

Shrimp and Kings Presents: Real Man of Genius
(Real man of Genius)
Today we salute you. Mr. Holmes on Holmes Taught Roof Builder
(Holmes on Holmes Taught Roof Builder)
With your steel-toed boots and your tool belt, you're a real inspiration.
Getting paid with beer and pizza...
(We all knew those Kings were cheap)
Sure there's danger, high ladders, asbestos insulation, wives afraid of liability, Rocky with a power saw.
(Watch out for those power chords)
Your keen instincts tell you that Bob Villa has nothing on you. And if it doesn't work, who cares? It's your buddy's house.
(Who can't hang a curtain without you)
So crack open an ice cold Bud Light, Builder Boy. Because if this don't work, we know a lawyer or two.
(Mr. Holmes on Holmes Taught Roof Builder!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Flashback Friday: A Tale of Two Horses

We arrived to the church to find a gift table stuffed to the gils and one surprisingly large box without a card. It was large enough to be a dresser or a coffin or maybe a small refrigerator. All interesting choices for a baby gift, but we would have been grateful nonetheless.

After opening presents for an hour the large box was the last one standing. Rocky helped me open it and my mouth dropped open. The guests that had stuck around until the bitter end were silent waiting to see what we pulled out of the mysterious package.

It was a rocking horse, a beautiful handmade rocking horse. I was already choked up and overwhelmed, but the craftsmanship and the gesture paled in comparison to the story behind the horse. Rocky had been given one when he was a baby from the same couple almost 29 years ago, the Caughorns. Linda Caughorn had been Rocky's aunt Rawlena's best friend growing up in Walland and she included with the horse a little history lesson.

Once upon a time...a long, long time ago...there were two little girls who lived just a few miles apart. Their families took them to the same church so they were friends long before they started school. One of the little girls had sisters and a brother (Big Rock) and PONIES! The other little girl loved horses her whole life and told everyone "I'm going to get me a horse as soon as I get me a bar." This little girl loved to visit her friend (Rawlena, called Sissy by Big Rock). Rock let the little girl ride HIS pony whenever she came to visit Sissy. The pony's name was Midnight and he was the biggest, prettiest and smartest of the whole herd of ponies! Rock would ride another pony and the three would have so much fun.

The three little pony riders grew up and the little girl that so loved horses got a bar, a horse and a husband, not necessarily in that order! When she heard that Rock and his wife were expecting a little boy, R-3 (aka Rocky), she and her husband decided that he would have to have a special rocky horse. They caught one of their horses and took many pictures: of hoofs, eyes, mouth, ears and even under the tail! The neighbors who saw this photographic event probably wondered why one was holding a horse's tail out of the way and the other was snapping pictures of a horse's back end!

When he finished, one was dark and one was light in color. Remembering the black Midnight, the little-girl-all-grown up decided that the dark one would have to go to R-3 and so he did.

The husband took the pictures and set to work carving. Along the way he decided that it would be just as easy to make two horses and so he did.

Years passed and the other little horse sat all dejected. Then came great news! R-3 and his wife were expecting a little boy (R-4?). R-3's horse with the often broken ears would not be good enough for the new little one! The little light colored horse was dusted off and polished until his wooden coat shown. His mane and tail were brushed and his eyes were polished. He was so excited! Now he would have a special rider and they could travel miles and miles together just like R-3 and Midnight Jr. had done years before...and they all lived happily ever after!

I had sat visiting with Linda and David for quite some time until I was told it was time to open the gifts. They sat there knowing this amazing treasure was waiting for us in that box. I can't imagine what it must have felt like trying to keep such a beautiful secret quiet. Rocky loved his so much, David had to make several sets of ears because he broke off the poor horse's ears multiple times trying to hold on tight. How do you keep broken pony ears a secret?!

It is not my Flashback Friday, but a flashback more than fifty years in the making. The Caughorns kept this horse in their house for decades waiting for the right child to take it home. Little B.B. King is one lucky lucky boy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Play that funky music white girl

Sometimes even ice cream can't salvage a bad day. It is true. I have tried. However, seeing Rump Shaker appear on your XM radio on the way home from work might just do the trick.

A little pre-flashback Friday flashback. Mom, dad or other readers with sensibilities more tactful than my own, proceed with your own risk before daring to push play.

p.s. the link is a limited time Thursday treat.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cry Me a Tennessee River

People who know me well know that even on a good day I am sappy, weepy and overly sentimental. Adding hormones to the mix does nothing to ease the likelihood for me to get choked up over a toilet paper commercial, broken nail or cinnamon roll in the shape of a baby's foot. Traveling to Walland, Tennessee to visit Rocky’s family and attend a baby shower in our honor was ripe for a blubbering episode or two.

It was another sappy-filled gratefully blessed kind of weekend. It was the kind of weekend where your father-in-law drives twenty miles because someone mentioned donuts. I wish I were kidding. Apparently, Big Rock felt compelled to introduce me to the East Tennessee Donut of Legend, the Richy Kreme. This place has been baking donuts from scratch for more than sixty years, rolling out the dough by hand. By hand! Of course this labor intensive process can only satisfy so many pregnant ladies and they are sadly only open until they sell out, which of course is why Little Rock and Big Rock drove all the way to Eagleton at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday while I was still asleep.

Rocky and I also had the chance to have lunch at Calhoun’s on the River where we celebrated our wedding reception three years ago. It was nice to reminisce and think about how far we have come in just a few years. Another culinary highlight was the discovery of the Sonic Cherry-Limeade Cooler, a delicious blend of ice cream, cherry and lime “juice.” I am thanking the gestational diabetes gods for leaving me alone so I could partake in the smooth, sweet and tart goodness and cursing the fools who believe that advertising a Sonic more than 100 miles away is deemed necessary. No cherry-limeade chillers/coolers/floats is enough to make a grown woman cry.

Saturday afternoon we went to the church hall for hot dogs and all the fixings. But I really cannot begin to give the baby shower justice. It was some kind of wonderful. Rocky’s aunts, uncles and cousins drove from all corners of the state and my mom and Mary made it in from Nashville to help us celebrate the future arrival of B.B. King. The guest list didn’t end there as the entire congregation of the Walland United Methodist Church was invited. The new preacher and his wife came, the Sunday School teacher, the organist, the volleyball coach, the golf pro, a Lady Vol. We make it back to Walland maybe three times a year and yet they couldn’t be happier for us. We had something like 53 people in attendance grinning from ear to ear, rubbing my belly and telling Rocky newborn horror stories. LindaRosa was a proud mother hen greeting people and telling them about the baby. Big Rock manned the gift table and my mom saved all the bows. My sister took notes as I opened gifts with homemade afghans, his first pair of tennis shoes and a box full of infant-sized UT propaganda.

Maybe I am getting old. Maybe this softie is getting softer. Something about the weekend made me begin to wonder if my pining for Nashville is roughly 196 miles off target. Perhaps the church, the family, the donuts could all make up for the absence of a Nordstroms, Guapos and reliable cell phone reception.

As overwhelming as the generosity and as satisfying as a Sonic run was, one thing that could really turn on the waterworks is that our camera’s memory card was corrupted and we don’t have a single photo of the weekend. So until our friends and family print off their photos, mail them, and I scan them (we are talking about East Tennesseans here), you’ll have to be placated with a verbose entry sans pictures but hopefully full of the gratitude I have for the amazing people who know how to make a girl happy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Flashback Friday: Swingin London Fashion

In August of 1996 my family jumped across the pond for a two week vacation to London and Ireland. It was the first trip for all of us to go abroad and Mary and I agonized for weeks over just the right outfit to wear in Jolly London. And this is what we came up with. Let's analyze further, shall we?

Jean Shorts, so versatile, the fashion icon Daisy Duke made them popular. Here I am sporting the fashion in the ever flattering distressed dye variety.

Sandals with socks. Sure jean shorts may be coming back in style, but can we hope the same cannot be said of the sandals with sock? How about the folded over sandals with sock. Feeling a little cheeky? Go for purple. Its smashing with a pink top you stole from your big sister.

Baby doll shirt. Probably not intended for the late bloomer. Hot stuff.

Not quite pictured: the mini backpack. You can see the lovely black leather straps, but not the hip green plaid pattern. It was groovy baby, trust me.

So here we are, merrily sitting on the steps of the Canadian Embassy in Trafalgar Square drinking our Coca Colas and dining on turkey sandwiches that tasted like fish. In these getups. This my friends is the picture that we all loved so much from our trip we had made into a modest framed canvas print, only in 20"x30". I'd love to be embarassed that my parents chose this moment to treasure forever. However, let's be honest, I haven't improved much in the fashion plate category in the past 14 years. So I cannot wait to look back on my trip to Paris in another decade and mock my clothes then too. It won't take ten years to poke fun at that look. My first day in Paris I decided to model the German military look of the 1940s, always something to aspire to.

When will I ever learn?!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Primer for the Baby Daddy

First, these are not cankles.

Come see me in October and I will show you cankles.

Second: not okay to say to your pregnant wife that you STILL find her sexy when she is only six weeks along. Come see me in October and you better say the same thing.

And finally, never say to a pregnant lady:

"From behind I can't even tell you are pregnant. But then you turn around and WOW!"

Not ok, Baby Daddy. I am just looking out for you and your poor wife who does not yet have cankles.