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Monday, December 29, 2008

Were you maybe wondering what things I don't miss about my job? No? Well, then this isn't the blog entry for you.

So it is official. I am on Maternity leave. And it's weird. I have odd feelings of guilt, like I have a test I should be studying for and decided to play video games instead. It was definitely high time that I took leave, yet it has been one of the harder decisions I have ever had to make. I don't know who I think I am letting down here, probably just myself. And I have to fight the annoying thoughts of "Well, so and so flew this long", or "she worked right up to her delivery..." blah blah blah. I have to keep convincing myself of a few things to keep me sane.
I know that work was getting physically too hard for me. I know that I got "big" very fast while other women are "normal-sized" longer. (I know that I am fine, just the right size, and not a planet, yet.) It's just a fact that I cannot do a lot of the things that my job requires anymore. Let me list a few to make myself feel better. Thanks for indulging me.

1-Repetitive bending below the waist. My job includes picking up a million little things off the floor of the airplane throughout the day. I also have to cross seat belts and clean out seat pockets after each flight. This is a lot of twisting and stooping that is pretty difficult while pregnant.
2-Lifting luggage above my head. Even though flight attendants aren't really supposed to stow people's bags for them, it's always easier if we just do it. You would be amazed at how some people think a tiny back-pack wont fit ("Just let me do it!") and then others swear that their 800 pound yak (Thanks Brian Regan) will fit just fine. It wont. Even though I tried to refrain from helping people with their stuff, there is always a little old lady or disabled passenger that needs help. I also still had to stow my own overnight bag a few times each trip. Or carry my bags up a few flights of stairs a few times a week. Dr says 25 pounds is about the limit and that was getting harder to enforce.
3-Long periods of standing. I could usually take my jump-seat for a spell, but it is ram-rod straight and uncomfortable. I could also sit on an atlas container (the metal cupboards that hold the sodas, we aren't supposed to sit on them) but it is pretty low to the ground. So we stand. A lot. and it's not the best.
4-Long, long, long days. This is the one that got me the most. An average day is anywhere from 9 to 12 hours. That doesn't include the time it takes to get to the airport (1 & 1/2 to 2 hours), airport shuttle & go through security (1/2 hour or less at a good airport), ride to or from the hotels (5 to 40 minutes each way) etc..etc... When flying locals an average day for me was 15 hours from the time I left my house to the time I got home. Ugh. Three day trips had shorter days, but it meant I had to pack a bigger bag, which means more weight, which means more lifting... See the problem?
5- Long days with no real breaks and no real opportunities for a healthy meal. Breaks are random and poorly spaced throughout the day. Packing food for three days is a pain in the neck. Keeping it cold without fridges for three days is also hard. Not having microwaves available at half of your hotels is also a drag. Packing a sandwich and a banana, but then wanting the freaking airport Burger King instead, is also sometimes a problem (for me at least.) And as it goes in the airline business, a two hour break can turn into one hour behind schedule due to weather or mechanical delays. So that lunch break you were looking forward to is now gone and any other breaks you might have had are now eaten up in trying to get back on schedule. We eat a lot of peanuts.

And there are other things too. Like being clumsier and dropping things a lot. The bad winter weather makes it easy to slip on the hard tarmac (as I found out repeatedly). Super awesome hormones make me a little less inclined to patiently listen to the lady in 8C explain why she needs to hold her cat throughout the flight, even though he isn't a service animal and the person next to her is allergic. And the same hormones make me a little less sweet when the umpteenth person says: "WOW. Should you be flying?!" Because my honest answer is "Probably not." But they get a fake smile and a: "You betcha! Now what would you like to drink?"

So last Monday I was dressed and packed for a two day trip. I was battling the blizzard from heck inch by inch, to make my way to work when I finally wondered "Why am I trying so hard to do this?" Clayton isn't making me, SkyWest isn't making me... so who...?" Ya- just me. So I called in, talked to my chief and started my leave. I couldn't enjoy it at first, but today has felt like the first real day of my break. And I plan to use it. I have mounds of sewing projects I want to finish, rooms that have been begging to be cleaned out, and a baby to try and keep healthy and safe. That should be enough for now.

I know I will still face the "demons" of The SuperWomen from time to time. We all know at least one. One annoying brag-hag who makes you feel vastly inferior and lame. You know, the ones who seem to work full time everyday till they deliver, all while going to school full time, raising three other children under three, serving as the Relief Society president, and still finding time to out-quilt Martha Stewart. Well good for them, but I will close this entry with my mother's favorite poem of all time, which is in line with my current train of thought.

"Song for a Fifth Child" by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton 1938

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,

empty the dustpan, poison the moth,

hang out the washing and butter the bread,

sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?

She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Dishes are waiting and bills are past due

(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,

and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo

but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.

Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?

(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,

for Children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.

So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep......


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas CD 2008

About 5 years ago I came up with the idea for our family to exchange personalized mixed cd's instead of presents. Each year each person or couple makes a mix tape of whatever they want, and burns a copy for each person. In years past I have done favorite slow songs, all classical, all dedications, and a few general mixes. Clayton usually does his favorite from the past year. It's a lot of fun. Sadly it has petered out to where only Clayton, my brother Adam and I do them anymore, but I still hope it will keep up.

So here is my mix for this year with a few details. A few old ones, a few new ones and a few baby ones. If anyone wants a copy, let me know and I will burn you one. Otherwise this list is for my family who already have theirs. Merry Christmas.

1-4th of July. Azure Ray.
Definitely a great passing of the torch, if Mazzy Star were passing her torch. So pretty, almost haunting.

2-Grapevine Fires. Death Cab for Cutie. This is my favorite track off the new album. They always tell such interesting stories in their songs. Little bits of snatches of stories from some one's life. And who doesn't love a chorus that sings: "Everything will be alright"?

3-Blue Headlights. Shout Out Louds. I just love this song. One day I was listening to my I-Pod on shuffle and it stopped me dead in my tracks. (We have a lot of songs on our i-pods I have never really listened to.) I love the lyrics.

4-Heartbeats. Jose Gonzales. This is a cover of the original by The Knife. It reminds me of Iron & Wine's version of Such Great Heights by The Postal Service. Both amazingly well done, just two great versions.

5-Space Oddity. Natalie Merchant. Lovely cover of David Bowie's classic. My sister in law Rachel sings this one at her shows. Don't have her version, or the Cat Power version (which is mind blowing but sadly not for sale, durr) which are superior to this one. But this one is lovely too. Such a great song.

6-America. Josh Groban. This is probably my favorite Simon & Garfunkel song. (Well, and The Only Living Boy in New York, and...) I love Josh Groban, I know he is a bit much for some of the guys, but this is a great pared down live version I hope everyone will like. As a kid I was always shocked at the cigarette references. Man I was such a goody two shoes.

7-Rocky Took A Lover. Bell X1. This is Damien Rice's old band. Great song. Sorry- there are two swear words in it. One is a**h*** which is unfortunate and the other is arse. Which is just funny. Technically the same word, why is one ok and one not. Oh, they both aren't ok? Oh well.

8-Buildings & Mountains. Tiger Republic. Great song by a relatively unknown band. Good stuff. Of course this is my list, so naturally I think it's all great.

9-The Ballad of Love and Hate. The Avett Brothers. This is just cute and adorable. I like the imagery of the two "characters". Also- "whatever" is one of my favorite words.

10-Joyful Girl. Ani Difranco.
She could sing the phone book and I would listen.

11-Wintersong. Sarah Mclachlan.
This is a Christmas-y song, which I normally try to leave off my cd's. But it is just a touching song about a lost love. Julie's cousin lost her husband last year and I always think of this song when I think of her. And it usually makes me cry. Then again so did X-Men this year. (Darn hormones.) Don't we love to get way too emotional sometimes? No? Just me? Oh well. It is still a good reminder to remember the good times of the season with our families.

12-Watercolours in the Rain. Roxette.
Forgive the spelling. They are European. I've loved this song since I was 13 or something. Another song lately is blatantly stealing this melody, and every time I hear that one, I get annoyed and want to hear this one. So I have revisited this a bit lately. PS. I can't think of the stealing song, but it will come to me.

BABY SONGS

13-Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel). Billie Joel. Here starts the baby songs. This is just sweet and pretty. Who doesn't love Billie Joel? Besides his neighbors whose houses he keeps crashing into.

14-What a Good Boy. Barenaked Ladies
. This isn't exactly a song for a baby, but I love the beginning two lines about the expectations placed on children. One swear word. D***. Sorry. I like the live version of this song better than the album versions for the piano at the end.

15-When You Dream. Barenaked Ladies.
This is a song for babies. Great lyrics.

16-Daughter. Loudon Wainwright III. This is Rufus's father for those of you that remember Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk from my cd two years ago. Interesting names huh. Anyhow, this is just the cutest song from a father about a daughter. The lyrics are so so cute.

17-Three Little Birds. Elizabeth Mitchell. (Not the actress) This is a cover of Bob Marley's feel good anthem. The child singing is her daughter Story. And I think her husband is the other voice. Pretty adorable.

18- Everyday. Carly Comando. Familiar boys? This is from the NBA commercials. I love piano pieces like this one, dynamic and powerful without other instruments. I put it at the end with the baby songs although I don't know if it qualifies as a lullaby.

Snow day, Temple and Ants in my pants can apparently be ignored.

No kids of our own just yet, despite the fact that people repeatedly ask if I am delivering this week. Nope, ha ha. Sure do like hearing that though. No- about three more months still. I am just super-awesome-big. Deal with it.
Anyhow- the first real snow last Saturday was still something to enjoy as we were at little Allie's house (technically Tom & Jenni's). A team effort got her into her snow gear and outside. Her gloves did keep her hands warm, but she had no individual finger movement at all. Just two shovels which she used to scoop snow and then drop. Tom got all dressed up too and she really enjoyed it. She spent the better part of an hour out there while he shoveled the walks.


A proper BYU fan all in blue.


The night before Clayton and I went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with his parents. What a lovely evening. The grounds looked so pretty. You can't take a bad picture of the Temple. A crooked one, sure. But it is one photogenic building.


The moon was full and huge (kinda like me) at the beginning of the night. When we came out it was normal sized and just peeking between the spires of the Temple. Very pretty. (I however stayed the same size, and the only thing I can "peek" between is maybe two barns)


Here we are. Coats don't fit me anymore, and I can't justify buying a maternity one. At work I wear my regular coat and just hike it up to fasten the top button somewhere near my chin. As if I already didn't look cool enough in my uniform. (See older posts.) Luckily I have a few wraps like this one for nights out. They are fantastic, but not exactly slimming. Ah well.
So, can we just pretend this is our Christmas card? Ya- until we have kids I just don't feel like making the effort with stamps. Next year baby!

Merry Christmas 2008!
Love Marianne & Clayton Firth

And today it is coming down in droves! Holy Moly! I had such plans to get things done! Sadly most are home chores, so the snow really isn't impeding my progress, and yet...
Here I sit at 2 something in the afternoon in my sweats listening to Christmas music. In between games of Zuma I am obsessively checking every one's blogs to see if anyone has written anything new. Durrr. Come on friends! Write something! My dishwasher needs to be unloaded, laundry to be started, presents to be wrapped, and sewing projects are glaring at me from the other room (who knew they could give such dirty looks?) So could you all help a girl out? How am I supposed to procrastinate when you haven't given me anything to read since this morning? I also should go buy milk and eggs. I shudder to think of what Clayton has been eating the last three days while I was at work. Without milk he is deprived of his one major food source: boxed cereal.
Alright- just writing it out is spurring me into action. The Christmas season is upon us and I am so excited!!!! So much to do, but all (ok some) with such fun results! Namely: parties!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The bozo in seat 1C and stealing from other people's other blogs

I had to work a three day trip this week. Ugh. Tired, sick of airport food, sick of airports and seriously pondering how some people can be so mean and or stupid. Most of my passengers are super awesome, but it only takes one doofus to ruin a flight. Well done 1C. You are my winner of the most annoying passenger of the week. I wont go into details, and most of it is smell related, but a quick list would include:
1-Taking off his shoes to make the whole forward cabin and galley smell like hot, foot-death.
2-Eating corn-nuts. I am sorry if you like these, but on a plane they smell like #1. Wee. Ya got me here? Shudder.
3-Wearing Patchouli. A lot of people do not know what this is. It is a hideous oil that hippies wear to cover the fact that they haven't showered. So it is usually the overwhelming stench of patchouli combined with BO. Super awesome. (PS:He was in a business suit.) If you are unfamiliar with it, go to a head shop or health store and ask if they have it, smell it, and then remember the times you have hated it before, but didn't know what it was. Dave Matthews concert, college dorms etc... PS. If you don't know what a head shop is, then good for you. It's where they sell bongs and other "tobacco" related items.
4- He kept "shushing" me and the other flight attendant if we started talking in the galley. Bugger off hoser! I am allowed to talk to someone for the freaking three hours I am stuck in the galley with no where to sit and nothing to do. People talk on planes. Deal with it. If you are so special as to afford first class, then buy those freaking headphones that cancel out the noise.
5-He had all the room in the world, yet every time I had to walk past him in the aisle he would hold his paper fully stretched out into the aisle so I had to beg him to let me pass, or just push right past it with all of my giantess-glory. Which is what I chose to do after the first two times of asking only to have him deeply sigh and make a production of angrily folding it all up. By the way- he was on the aisle seat with no one next to him. He could have just shifted to his right, but I imagine he was making a point.
6- He ordered a white wine, took a sip and then ask for a red instead. Later he ordered a coffee with three creams and two sugars, took a sip and said he had ordered it with no sugar. Whatev. When he ordered a scotch on the rocks, took a sip and then "decided" he wanted a whiskey instead I thought the other flight attendant was going to show him the door. Some people.

So that was more detailed than I meant it to be. Wow, this is why I don't usually talk about work at home. Too much irritation.

Now don't get me wrong, normally my job is awesome and I enjoy being there. It has it's hard days, and now that I am massive and uncomfortable all the time it gets harder each trip. I might have one or two more weeks in me, but we shall see.
The only upside of being gone for three days is that I come home with a new appreciation for my cozy house, want to snuggle with my husband and get to catch up on blogs and e-mail. Like cute Allison's. She wrote an awesome bit about her "grown-up Christmas list" like the one in the Amy Grant song. Here is the link.
http://michaelallisonhansen.blogspot.com/
It was inspiring. She made the point that her list isn't as "world peace" as Mz. Grant's. Maybe a bit more materialistic. However, when compared to mine it looks like hers was written by mother Theresa. Anyhow, here is my blatantly stolen Grown-Up Christmas List. Thanks Allison. Let's start with the far fetched and work our way down. I'll go with twelve for the twelve days of Christmas.

1-For my pregnancy to be a breezy total of three months of baby kicking and nothing else, followed by a brief and easy labor.
2-To have Martha Stewart come and arrange my kitchen pantry and cabinets. And while she's at it she can invite Mr. William Sonoma over to update my pots and pans.
3-Since we are playing make believe here, how about Sufjan Stevens hanging out in my living room playing Christmas songs during the day. At night I would like Johnny Mathis. On special occasions like Christmas Eve we can invite Josh Groban.
4-To enjoy holiday eating without feeling like I am awful, cruel mother who is giving my baby the shakes by over consumption of Cadbury chocolate balls.
5-To have the gumption and time to paint the whole dang place. This one I could conceivably handle I guess. I dream of clean, matching walls that don't show the signs of five years of bachelor living. It would just be a major pain to take down all of the frames and pictures and move furniture and stuff.
6-To know how to organize my spare rooms better. I have craft and sewing stuff in every room of this house. And I'd like to have a crystal ball to see if I will ever really need that tube of paint or yard of lace, instead of hanging onto every leftover from every project.
7-For our fish to die. That sounds awful, but let me explain. He is old. Like six years old. For a fish that is like 147. All his friends died this last year, and now I feel bad for him. The fish friend I miss the most is the wall sucker guy who kept the tank nice and clean. The filter isn't enough, and I dread cleaning the giant tank he now has all to himself. I can't flush him or even give him to my niece. (As that is the same as flushing him. Sorry Abby.) Do vets put down fish?
8-For the winter to stay nice and dry, except for the week of Christmas, but then back to dry. And for the temperature to hover around 40 degrees or higher. And for none of this to affect the water levels or drought conditions.
9-To be finished with my shopping. I am almost there, and I have had a blast this year. But I have one standout, frustrating, blank that is still bothering me. What do I get *****? (Bleeped out name, not dirty word. This person is not a dirty word.)
10-To be able to paint, sew, photograph, bake or write what I really imagine in my mind. Lately a lot of my results have been more than a bit disappointing. To have the time and patience to really try.
11-To not have missed the last three Oh Sweet Sadie shows. Durr. I haven't stopped dreaming about a pair of green shoes I saw there (four shows ago) and can't find them online.
12-To have everyone happy this Holiday. And I don't mean that in the pageant way. It just seems like a lot of people are having a harder than usual time lately and it's frustrating that I can't do a thing to fix any of it. No specifics, as they aren't my stories to share, but there is a definite trend of really sad things happening. I hope everyone can get through them to a shinier and better, greener grass, sun is shining side of things soon.

Ok, like Allison asked: What would be on your Grown-up Christmas List?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'll take things that glitter for $1000 Alex.

Oh I love my Christmas stuff! I tend to gravitate towards mixed shades of blue for any new project, (old bedding, bathroom redo, my wedding colors etc...) so when I decided to choose a theme for our tree two years ago, it was an easy choice. And like my friend Heather T. (Hi Heather!) I love all things sparkly. I try to keep it toned down in clothes and decor, but holidays are begging for it. Last year we had no sparkle as we were barely home for the month of December and almost didn't put up a tree. Clayton had just bought a collection of He-Man figurines off E-Bay and so we just put those up as ornaments. Of course most people liked that tree a million times better. Oh well. Someday it can be a second tree for us. Here is a shot for old times sake.

Sadly this was back in the days when I-Photo wouldn't send photos rotated. No matter what I tried. (They do now.) And I took this from my blog so it is still sideways. Ugh. Anyhow. On to the pretty stuff!And without the flash!
OOOH!
Our Stockings!
I know you want a close up of my ornament wreath I made last year and the vase of sparkly ball things I got at Robert's Craft just today. If you look close you will see jars and vases of them everywhere. 40% off coupons baby!If you have been part of my life lately, you have heard me complain about the little Nativity things I was working on. It started as an Enrichment project but took up my living room for about three weeks. They didn't really take that long, I was just slow to finish them. Ten minutes today, ten minutes in two days etc... Well they are all finally finished and ready to go. Here is my set on our mantle. Which would be the giant black entertainment center. Remnants of Clayton's bachelorhood.
P.S. One of our favorite comedians Demetri Martin has a bit about glitter. About how once you use it, it will be all over you and your belongings forever. He calls it "the herpes of craft supplies". Right now our house is riddled with it. So. If Clayton looks sparkly next time you see him you can blame me, and then make fun of him too.

Thanksgiving in Arizona!

Clayton and I flew down to Phoenix to visit his sister Valerie, her husband Sam and their three boys: Caleb, Lucas and Tate. Clayton's brother Tyler and his wife Rachel drove up from San Diego so we had a great time with family. Dinner was great, thanks to Jim and Sharon (Sam's folks) for hosting the big day. It was fun to get to know Val's sisters in law on that side too. We got to spend 6 whole days down there so there is a lot I could blog about, but I'll keep it brief and mainly to the boys. Clayton brought down his Wii and so this is what we saw a good portion of the time. This is Tate, Tyler (a cousin on Sam's side) Lucas and Caleb engrossed in Mario Party.
Here are Lucas and Clayton in a brief reprieve from the wrestling action.
Tate is just about the cutest thing ever. He may be looking a little a bit tired in this shot, but trust me- no one has more energy than him.
On Monday night the boys and Val set up the tree while the rest of us watched. (Too many cooks, you know, alright so we were just lazy.) When you ask anyone in this family to pose, this is what you get.
And here is Clayton with the most lovable dog on the planet. He and his brothers and sisters have gone on for ages about their old dog Scotty. Smartest, nicest, cleanest dog etc...etc... Bear is the same breed and has been well trained. Now, I have never been a huge dog person. I like them, but can do without. Not anymore. I want this dog. He is heaven. He is the only dog I can pet without feeling like I have to wash my hands soon after. He cuddles, he comes when called, he goes outside, he lets Tate give him long and hilariously meaningful hugs. This dog is a joy to be around. They can leave him at home without worrying that he will eat up all the shoes or leave surprises on the carpet. I could go on but I am sure I am boring you all. Bear rules, and someday we will have a dog of this breed. Just hope I can train him as well. By the way, Tate added the cowboy hat. They aren't really the dress up your dog type.
And here is Tate again. He is just so cute. I barely saw Caleb and Lucas the whole week due to the Wii and their other cousins being in town. I love that it took them four days before they stopped in front of me and Lucas said "So, do you have a baby in you or what?" After that Tate was my new best friend, touching and talking to my tummy. Normally I slap away hands that touch me. I'm just not big on the whole touching thing that pregnancy brings. But Tate could do whatever he wanted. I love that I left the room and a few hours later Tate asked if the baby was out yet. I wish little man.
We also got to go see Betsy, Jay and little baby Spencer. He is adorable and freaking rock-star Betsy looks exactly the same as she did pre-pregnancy. I can only dream of looking that good six months post delivery, not two weeks. Wow! Sadly we missed the return of Matt & Melissa from Roatan by a few days, but we hopefully will be seeing them in Provo soon enough. Hope everyone else had such a great holiday!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things I Heart

This will be my Thanksgiving address of sorts. What I am grateful for right now. Sure, I am grateful for Clayton and our baby and blah blah blah. But these are the little things that have made me happy as of late.

1- Cadburry Chocolate.
So I could act like a snob and say that I prefer the stuff you get in Europe, but to be honest I haven't seen enough of a difference to make it worth the trip. There are other reasons for that. I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to chocolate. Around Easter and Christmas they come out with the hard shell chocolate balls. Here is the Easter version.

Those things.
They rule my world around now. I get panicky on a Saturday night to make sure I have enough to get me through Sunday. As today is Sunday my count is 2/3rds full big-size bag in my purse and an individual sized pack under the front seat of my car. I should be able to make it till the stores open tomorrow.
Sadly around Christmas I lament that there aren't the good old Cadburry Eggs. You know, the ones most grownups can't eat as they are way too sugary and odd?
Ya those.
In one of my pregnancy cravings of late (Uh huh right, blame the pregnancy. I want them all the time.) I have been jonesing for one, wishing I had squirreled some away in my freezer like I have done in years past. Then: Christmas Miracle! Happy happy day! They make them for Christmas now too! Hooray! Next to world peace this ranks pretty high. Anyhow, if you are a fan, just know that there is another reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

2-Fabric Shopping.
I love Joanne's. I recently went through all of my fabric and sorted it by color. I thought it would clear out a ton of totes, but alas, no. I am trying to get organized for baby but my results are a bit slow. I have trillions of ideas for blankets and clothes and happy little projects but never quite find the time to complete them. Which is why I love the moment of purchasing the fabric. It's so full of hope and giddiness. Then it sometimes becomes a chore. Where did the love go? Here are some recent purchases that I still adore and have aspirations for.
This will be a dress.
This will be a blanket.
This will be a dress, blanket... possibly cover the whole darn room. Can't decide.


3. Twilight Movie.
Alright, for all you naysayers out there, I don't care. I loved the movie. It was clean which is a refreshing change, and it was very entertaining. What more do you really want from a movie other than a great two hours of diversion? Totally delivers. A lady bought out an entire theater at Thanksgiving point and sold all the tickets to her friends and coworkers, which is where my mom got our tickets. This group had free popcorn and soda for everyone and gave away prizes before the show started. Super fun. Almost as fun as watching 56 year old women in "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob" shirts squeal in delight over every scene. My niece Megan won a hat that Clayton is modeling with pride here. Go see it. The movie, not the hat. You have to make special appointments for that honor.

(PS. Like who would be on Team Jacob?)

4. My Visiting Teaching Companion Laura.
She is on the ball and totally motivates me. She's been a sorely needed kick in the pants for me in that department. Which is fantastic. And of course she is moving in three weeks. Hopefully her enthusiasm will stay behind.

5. Alright, Clayton.
Not in the grand "I am so thankful that we found each other..." kind of way. Well, I am. But right now I am thankful because he always lights the pilot light for our furnace. It blows out about five times a day. Very annoying. I technically know how to light it, but hate doing it. He just snuck out to relight it and now I am typing under a glow of warm air. Maybe I should say I am grateful for warm air. And water. And bedding, and socks etc... etc... Hey- I am also grateful that we have had such a lovely warm Autumn season this year. We all have to appreciate that right? It's still sunny and nice out today, November 24th. (I started this blog yesterday.)

6. November 24th, also known as the day that Kirsten joined our lives!!!!! Woo hoo! Happy Birthday Kirstie!
Let me tell you about our niece Kirsten. She is my oldest sister Cassie's oldest daughter and she joined our family when I was six years old. Until then the sun had pretty much revolved around me, so her arrival wasn't noted by me as a good thing until a few years later. As a kid she was an exceptionally bright and motivated little girl. She loved ballet and reading and was a wonderful eldest child to four sisters and her brother Ryan. She still is all of those things. She is classy and responsible and super cute. She does things that most people only talk about doing. Like getting season tickets to Ballet West, or redoing her bedroom walls complete with wood trim and other tricky stuff. She has the most glorious hair you have ever seen, and I can't recall a time in the last three years or more when she just threw it in a pony tail. She is very patient and deals with a lot of crap that would send most people into a tail spin (Mainly her job, I pretend to understand what she does but it is actually way beyond my comprehension.) and always comes out with aplomb. She uses words like aplomb. She runs a great blog. She had to go on a vegetarian diet for a while, her doctor's orders, and did so without becoming self righteous or obnoxious. (I or anyone else couldn't do that without becoming extremely smug.) And she's tiny. That's not a trait that should be applauded per say, due to women's low self esteem issues blah blah blah. But she is just a mite of a thing and I can't help but admire her petite little jeans and shoes. Especially since she really loves good food and treats. No one likes a skinny girl who has no pleasure in food. She makes her own sushi. Hello. Oh, and she dresses like she stepped out of a Banana Republic ad at all times. Yet she's not a credit card loser. She is insanely responsible with her finances. And best of all she is funny. That should maybe be trait #1. She has a good laugh too, it's a cute girly giggle. She is loving and kind to everyone, not just the people she likes. She throws awesome parties. All the cute details of my wedding shower? Kir. She would drop anything to help anyone. She is always the shoulder that her friends turn to cry on. She has good taste in music, hmm maybe that should be trait #2. Well, I could go on and on, but I need to call her and wish her a happy birthday. If you know Kirsten you should too.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pregnancy is a Magical Time...

...and don't get me wrong. I love it. I have been so blessed and we are so grateful for the chance to start our family. That said, let me tell you about some of the "perks".
1- New Magical IQ Level Hint: it didn't get bigger.
To start, it took me three tries to spell the word 'magical' in the title. I'm not the world's best speller, but lately I feel like I need a dictionary just to spell my name. A few weeks ago I couldn't tell Clayton the fourth President on Mt. Rushmore. And now I can't remember if I had forgotten Roosevelt or Jefferson. I also couldn't tell him the President on the dime. F.D.R. in case you are pregnant too. Clayton wasn't buying the pregnancy brain excuse. Little bits of knowledge that I normally feel secure in, suddenly escape me. It's beyond frustrating. I really hope this scatterbrain feeling goes away after delivery.
2-New Foxy Body Hint: it did get bigger.
I'm not naive about what pregnancy does to a body. I also realize I am the last person on earth (it seems) to experience this. However, it still comes as a shock every time I look in the mirror. I am not disgusted or upset, just a little startled and then I move on. It's bizarre. I wish I could put into words how strange it all is, but as we just learned in topic #1, I'm not the writer I used to be anymore. The only thing I am concerned about would be my belly button. It has gone from innie to flat, and is now on it's way to outie. Bugger. And I know why. Not because a little person is pushing it out from the inside, no. It's punishment. Karma. You see, when I was 14 I was at the mall with my sister Jennifer. We saw a lady who had to be in her 10th month walking around in a very tight and bizarre stretch, stirrup-pant, jumpsuit thing. It was bright teal green, so it caught your attention. Well, she had the most pronounced outie that I had ever seen. So of course I ogled in fascination and horror. I didn't point or laugh, but I doubt I was discreet. Well, the memory is still vivid. More so now because I realize that she probably was at the mall walking around to try and get her labor started. She was wearing the ridiculous outfit because it was the one piece of clothing that still fit. And she was probably extremely annoyed that this stick figure 14 year old girl wouldn't stop staring at her. So now I will have a ridiculous outie because my anorexic looking, idiot 14 year old self made it so.

3-The Fantastic Unsolicited Advice I Get Hint: let's review what unsolicited means.
Let's start with Doreen from work. I flew a trip with Doreen when I was about three months along. Then I flew with her a week ago. She was eager to hear what the gender was and so I told her. The words were barely out of my mouth when she said: "Oh, I could have just told you that you were having a girl. Because with a boy you only gain weight out front, and with a girl you gain a ton of weigh all over." She made a circling motion with her finger pointing at all of me as she said it. Hmmph.
I would say that 95% of all of my co-workers insist that I not quit my job. Not that I asked them. It's just the first thing they seem to want to tell a pregnant flight attendant. Apparently being a stay-at-home mom is now the equivalent of working as a stripper. You really have to defend your notions, only to have them still shake their head in confusion or pity. Don't get me wrong, I think a woman should be able to choose what path she wants in motherhood. And I know way too many awesome women who are single moms or need to work to help the family or just choose to for a million other reasons. But who would of thought that people were so against the old fashioned June Cleaver bit? I've taken to telling people that I will decide when the time comes. Which is true. Never say never right?
People have told me I am carrying high, others that I'm carrying low, but no one just comes up and says: "Wow, you are carrying just right!" It's usually passengers on my plane. They have lots to say to me. Most people are sweet and well-meaning, but a few ask pointed questions like:"How long DO they let you work for on this job?" That's not a bad question, and the answer is- not past 7 months or as long as you still feel ok. But it's the emphasis on the question that implies that I am a freak. Understood. There isn't that much room for me on the plane, and it is rapidly getting smaller.
I also had a guy say he wanted to ask me a huge favor. Ok I say, thinking he needs help with a connection or something. But then he surprises me with: "GET AN EPIDURAL." Apparently he had to suffer through his wife going through some tortuous three day natural thing. No problem strange man, I will take your advice. I am of the "modern medicine is my friend" mindset. Seriously, how bad was it for him that he feels the need to spread the good word on pain killers? Poor guy.
Even my cute mother-in-law had a bit that I hopefully can't use. I told her about the first time I felt the baby kick and she said to "mark her words, that six months from that day is the day I would deliver". She acknowledged that it is an old wives tale, but that it was true for each of her babies. Let's hope she felt extra early. Otherwise I will be delivering a month and a half past my due date.

I have many more things I could say about this. Clumsiness, exhaustion, moodiness, bad sleep, new freaky things I learn everyday that you should NEVER do when pregnant, but I just did etc... etc.. I could also talk about the amazing things that I've experienced. Extra patience (from others towards me, not the other way around) feeling the baby move all day, getting to buy baby clothes... but this is long enough for now. So I will just leave you with this treat.
I wish I could say this was my Halloween costume, but no. This is the maternity treasure that I get to wear to work from here on out. This picture isn't properly conveying the frumpiness. It is apparently made at the Yearning For Zion dress shop. (PS. That's the Warren Jeff's compound.)

Rarrr!



Sunday, November 02, 2008

October

Happy Halloween to everyone a few days late! All through October I have barely had any time to sit and blog. Time enough to sit and read blogs, sure. But I am sure we all go through this. So let me catch up. Earlier in the month Clayton's sister Valerina (Autumn's name for her) came to visit with her three boys. We caught up with them while they were at Alison and Clint's house with their three boys and their adorable Autumn. If you read my blog, you already know all about her. We planned to spend just the night but ended up a bit longer as the draw of games, kids and birthday cake is too strong a pull for us to resist. (Happy birthday Jonah!) Clayton spent the time mainly as an improvised bean bag/ punching bag. As seen here.

I also got a shot of the whole group as we headed out for an outing. Autumn is princess ready as usual. It was a great time.
I had a sleepover weekend with Jennifer's three youngest kids: Calvin, Jack Abby, where we did October crafts. Sadly I didn't get a single picture. Boo. We taught them how to play Clue and painted pumpkins. Here are my results. The kid's pumpkins were much cuter.
On the 20th my friends and I held a play-date for our husbands where we carved pumpkins. Here is Heidi's Josh's results. Mine is the star thing in the upper left corner of the photograph. Don't know why I didn't get Josh actually carving. I didn't get a shot of Sterling either. Some friend I am. But isn't his Ernie cute?
Here is Clayton with his masterpiece. The mouth reads "I EAT KIDS". Of course it does.
Here are Heidi and Shauna with their super-Martha pumpkins. So much fun to play together.
Next up is my Birthday! Hooray- not really. None too thrilled about how the numbers are creeping up. Anyhow, I got a great car-seat and base. Love the teal and brown colors. The idea is that it will work for girl and boy babies. As I hope to eventually have both.


Clayton spent a good hour in the bedroom wrapping my next present. I started to wonder what was taking him so long. How long does it take to wrap one present? The next picture should explain it all.
How cute is he? Pretty freaking cute is the answer. I have coveted these galoshes for a while now. Does everyone love them as much as I do? Yes, I believe you do.
Last week I helped Jenni make Halloween cookies for Megan's Young Women event. Allie helped. Here she is posing with Clayton.
And here she is diligently working on another "Barney" cookie.

And finally Halloween. We had a friend's show (Puppetgrinder!) to go to and costumes are a must. Don't need to twist our arms. Clayton and I both love Halloween. What to be when you are over five months along? Pregnant nun and dirty priest of course. My apologies to any Catholic friends out there. We thought about pregnant missionary, but that is actually possible with Mission presidents and families and stuff, so the joke isn't as good. By the way- I am huge, but not that huge. I did stuff an extra blanket in for good effect.

Sadly we waited outside the venue for about 35 minutes before I gave up. Too tired and too many smokers right next to us in line. So we missed Curt's show. Luckily we got to see him the next day for lunch while he was still in town. Thanks Curt!
Happy October everyone. Sadly the best month of the year is now behind us. Rain and snow and blech ahead. At least it means I stay indoors blogging! Or reading yours.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Not on topic...

...but so important! Yes on Prop 8.
I had a really hard time with the issue of gay marriage in the past. I have a few friends who have struggled with lifestyle choices and a ton of co-workers who are happily out. (Obviously, in my line of work.) I never really had a problem with how other people wanted to live their lives. It didn't seem to affect me personally, so who am I to say...what have you... etc... etc... I know what I believe personally so what does it matter what others... I don't want to make waves... etc...etc...
See how I can never get a concrete thought out about it? I am always so worried about offending other people who believe differently than me. So then I read this article. Lovely Alison linked to it in her blog and I can't thank her enough.

The Divine Institution of Marriage

It's a little long, but it covers the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's official stand on the issue. Which is a loving and understanding position. I get frustrated when people accuse the church of being hateful or cruel to those dealing with homosexuality or abortion or other sensitive issues. Yes, people in the church are human and sometimes say horrible things, but that is never condoned. Which is why I so often tread lightly around those topics. I don't want someone of another faith or persuasion to judge the entire religion based on my uneducated musings.
So- read this article. I'm not trying to change any one's position, I just want people to understand that by not supporting same-sex marriage, I (and others) am not a bigoted hate-filled person. I don't think less of anyone dealing with the personal issue of sexual orientation. I don't want their life to be any harder than it already is. But I don't believe that same-sex marriage should be legal. The article explains why so many Mormons are now against supporting legalized same-sex marriages when in the past we have usually stood on the side-lines. It has far reaching effects that I hadn't even considered. Adoption rights, college housing, and even our legal status as a religion to name a few. The Catholic church closed it's Boston chapter of it's adoption services because it would have to include the same services to gay couples. No religion should be forced to cater to lifestyles not supported in their doctrines.

I also found this link interesting, though not as solid as the LDS News article.

Massachusetts' Diversity Laws

So there is my most political blog to date. I hope everyone that reads this blog isn't put off by it. Again, I am not trying to change any one's mind. I just want people to understand this side of the issue.
Trust me, I will be back to baby news and fall crafts in no time.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ultrasound #1

So my original ultrasound is scheduled for the 23rd of October, but I couldn't wait that long. And for $30 you can find out the gender and get some pictures...so duh. Yesterday we went and here are the results! Best $30 I've ever spent. The first one is my favorite as it looks as if the baby is chatting. The last one has the "results" so don't look at that one or read the end if you don't want to know. However I will be blogging about it in the future, so good luck with that.
P.S. My dad doesn't want to know, so everybody keep it from him if you can.

Little alien faces, just in time for Halloween.


Long spine, good, good. Looks normal. I felt the baby for the first time this week too.
Ta da!
I was totally wrong! I could have sworn it was a boy. I originally wanted a girl, but I got so used to the idea of boys that I was excited for either. We even have a whole bunch of boy stuff. Not because we were shopping for a boy, it was just the odds and ends that we found were all blue, sports or robot related. However, I am really stoked to start sewing and planning. And we are always in the market for names. We have a list, but none seem perfect. I like old fashioned or foreign names, Clayton likes funny ones. A good compromise of those three would be "Helga" or "Broomhilda". So we obviously need some help. Anyhow- More as it happens!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Chicago!

Hello! I had a 25 hour layover in Chicago so Clayton flew in to join me in exploring the city. We had a wonderful guide in Clayton's old friend Tosh. He has been living there for over 7 years and knew all the ins and outs. We took the train into town and met up with him at the Art Institute of Chicago. We had about a half hour before the museum opened so Tosh showed us the Millennium Park about a block away. They have some great public art pieces like this giant chrome jelly-bean. You can walk all the way under it, and take some crazy pictures.

Here is my self portrait of Clayton and I.

And here are Tosh and Clayton under the bean. It reminded me of James and the Giant Peach.
Here Clayton and I are in front of the Art Institute's bronze lions.
There are hundreds of notable works here that even the least knowledgeable person would know. Like American Gothic by Grant Wood.

Sadly an entire wing was closed for renovations so we didn't get to see a few key pieces that we were looking forward to. Like The Old Guitarist by Picasso. It is Clayton's favorite piece ever. Oh well, next time. Still there was plenty to enjoy. Like John Singer Sargent, one of my favorite artists. I thought I would take my four month tummy shot next to this one, but we didn't quite get it all in the shot. Um, ya- cuz' it's that big. Sure I'm kidding, but not really. I am getting bigger by the minute. I may just have to blog about my belly button alone... but I digress. Back to the art.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges-Pierre Seurat. Can you believe he was only 26 when he painted this? Makes me feel like a slacker. Non-art fans may recognize it from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Which is required watching for a trip to Chicago. As is Adventures in Babysitting. Oh wait, is that just me?
Downstairs they have an entire exhibit of about 60 miniature rooms. Like doll houses on acid. These were incredible! Every fabric was hand woven , every chair hand carved. They looked so real. Pictures don't do the least bit of justice, but I included two so you could see the scale next to Clayton's gigantic head. I'm kidding- his head is normal sized, I'm the one that can't find hats that fit.

They had ones done in every major historical style of decorating. Did I mention they were amazing?

After the museum we walked downtown a bit for lunch. We hit the Billy Goat Tavern, a Chicago staple. They serve great burgers. It's a famous place due to the the eccentric former owner Billy Sianis. He actually owned a goat and in 1945 bought seats for himself and his odd pet for the world series at Wrigley field. They denied entrance for the goat, and Mr. Sianis cursed the Cubs that they would never win a championship as long as he lived. And they never did.

After lunch we headed up to the Hancock Center. We decided to go to the top there instead of the Sears Tower as it is almost the same height, and Tosh knew a secret to get us up free. (Completely legal.) They views were astounding. If you are headed to Chicago it is totally worth it to make time in your schedule for this. Here are Tosh and Clayton.
Here is one of the views of Lake Michigan. Note the sand at the bottom of the picture.
Well here we are on that very sand! A beautiful little beach in downtown Chicago. It is such an amazing city. After the Hancock Center we walked along the lake to the Navy Pier.

Here are Tosh and Clayton enjoying the view at the end of the pier.

We took a Ferris Wheel ride on the pier to rest our legs and enjoy the views.
Here I am next to the elevated train (the El). It is loud.
And here are Clayton and his tired, pregnant wife in front of the Sears Tower (sort of). We did it all in about seven hours and I still had to work my flight home that night. We walked our legs off- like we do in any city we are trying to conquer in one day. It's worth it for the experiences, but oh, we hurt today. A million thanks to Tosh for his expertise. We had a great time!
And here is the Sears Tower from the ground. It's a bit tall. You can't even see the top from this angle. We loved Chicago. It's like New York with a Seattle twist. Of course we had the most beautiful fall weather ever. I've heard the winters can bite, so maybe we will have to try it out then to get the whole feel.

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