Thursday, September 30, 2010

Slowing Down

Have you ever reached a point in your life when you realized it was far too over-booked? There's nothing like first-trimester grossness to illuminate such a point.

Besides being sick, and pregnant, and working... I've also been juggling a lot of projects and responsibilities in the air. I just finished a big project and Matt looked at me, took my hand and said, "No more extra commitments OK? You need to just stop."

And as I gazed at him, eyes bleary from cold crusties, right ear completely clogged from yet another infection, I nodded like an obedient child. Matt is right. Sometimes you just have to throw on the breaks. Sometimes you just have to slow down.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meet Coy

I'm just going to say it. I'm not a cat person.

Don't get me wrong. I think they're beautiful, but with the exception of my dear friend Lynn's cats (who are really more like miniature people with defined food tastes), I've never really cared much for the feline branch of petdom.

But I've made another exception. His name is Coy.

This is our neighbor's cat. He talks. And makes eye contact. And bats the back of my feet to get me to play with him. Or pick him up, he's happy either way.

Coy is particularly frisky when the air turns cool. So he came over to inspect me while I decorated the front porch. And then he decided my camera was pretty darn interesting, especially the lens caps swinging down.

Before I knew it Coy and his whiskers and his mason-jar blue eyes were right up in my grill.

And then he licked my lens.

But as I fussed "Coy... no!" he didn't seem very concerned. Because he knows he's not really in trouble.

I love that cat.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Town

Me: "Hey, do I have glitter in my eye?"

Matt: "No. But it's in your hair."

Me: "So, does the house look festive enough?"

Matt: "It's like living in Halloween Town."

Me: "Good."

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Moment

This morning I stopped by Starbucks. By some heavenly answered prayer, I discovered their apple/caramel/spice drink. No caffeine, but so good. So I sat waiting.

A testy lady stood at the counter, tapping her foot in irritation. She had a big purse and an excessive amount of gold jewelry. She kept sighing, deep, dramatic heaves. The sweet little workers just ignored her and went about their business.

She hefted her massive purse onto the counter and sighed again. This time a little spittle flew out of her mouth.

I looked around to see if anyone else was noticing the show. But I was alone. And then it hit me. I was not alone. I glanced down at my belly and realized Butch Ann was right there with me.

I wanted to pat my stomach and whisper, "Don't you ever act like that lady. Be nice to people who work in the food industry. It's a hard job, plus, they can spit in your food." But I didn't. Because I don't want anyone to see me talking to myself and I have no interest in an involuntary 48 hour psych lock-up.

But it was a moment where I realized that Butch Ann and I... we're a team. We're in this together. It was a very nice moment.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


1. I wish someone else would remember to water my plants for me. They're dying.

2. I wish someone would walk Mabel. She's getting fat.

3. I wish that someone had warned me about other first trimester stuff (besides the nausea). Like exhaustion (aka permanent altitude sickness) or passing gas. Or the fact that I may spend the next 7 months sleeping in an upright position while flames take up residence in my esophagus.

4. I wish Pottery Barn had more than one fall magazine.

5. I wish our government could get its act together.

6. I wish the weather was cooler, the yard was less brown, and the strange new hair I found on my cheek would go away. But it won't. So I plucked it.

So there you go. There's my gripey, pregnant lady wishes. You can bet your bottom dollar Matt has a big wish list of his own. The top request would probably be:

"I wish my wife would stop spending every moment rolling around in bed, groaning, and glaring at me accusingly."


"I wish I had a priest right now. I think Liz's head just spun backwards."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Autumn

It's the first day of a very important season. The season that allows me to watch Hocus Pocus fourteen times in the span of one month.

So welcome fall. I'm off to dig Halloween stuff out of the attic.
Or rather, I'm going to let Matt dig things out of the attic.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy In My Shoes: I Need

You know the part in the movie "What About Bob" where Bob has a melt down and starts yelling at Dr. Marvin (in public), "Gimme, gimme, gimme. I need, I need, I need..."

I'm pretty sure that's what I've been doing to God lately.

Don't get me wrong. He's a big God. He's capable of handling our true feelings. He's capable of handling our praise, our love, our doubt, our anger... and our needs.

But feeling whiny is not a good thing.

I left the house early this morning and pulled over beside this lake. I grew up on this street. I fed ducks and geese crust and learned to ride my bike here. I sat in my car and watched the sun come up over the water. I thought about my needs. I thought about whether or not God would answer me.

It's safe to say we all have a lot of needs. We need comfort, peace, healing, and safety. We need raises, shorter commutes, more time with our families. We need reliable cars, roofs that don't leak. We need hope, health, and love.

I plan to continue talking with God. I plan to continue to remind him of the things we need. But there seems to be a balance I have trouble walking. A balance between requesting things of God, and trusting him. A balance of asking, yet knowing His will, whatever that may be, is good.

So I will spend more time in the early morning just sitting. Sitting and watching the sun light up the water. Because it's in calm moments like this I'm reminded everything is going to be OK.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 16:33

Monday, September 20, 2010

A "What the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks Am I Doing" Moment

I'll be honest with you. For the past 11+ weeks, I've been so sick I rarely had time to contemplate the fact that a real, live human being was gestating inside my body. This was good for two reasons.

1. The idea of a real live human being gestating in my stomach probably would have made me throw up even more. Let's face it... the whole concept is very Sigourney-Weaver-Alien-ish.

2. It delayed the inevitable freak out moment.

But this early this morning, approximately 4 am, I had that moment.

It all sunk in. What we'd done. What was going to happen. The fact that our lives are never, ever, going to be the same again.

But more than that, I realized I'm going to be a mother. Not in theory. Not in a sometime-way-down-the-road scenario. But soon. In 30 weeks, to be exact.

And that's when I sat up in bed and mumbled, "What am I doing?"

Now some women never doubt their abilities. Some women know from the moment they're old enough to hold a baby doll they will be great mothers. But I'll be honest. Even as a child, even though I had a billion baby dolls and loved them all, I knew even then I wasn't that great at my job.

For example. This picture (the only topless picture I'll ever post of myself here, cross my heart) shows me holding my first and most prized baby doll. Her name was Sandra.

Sandra was loved. See the way I'm gripping her in a vice-like hug? That was my way of showing love. But Sandra also spent an inordinate amount of time lying face down on the floor. I knew, even at four, that baby dolls should not be treated that way. But I had more important things to worry about. Like finding a shirt to wear, or playing with blocks.

I also may or may not have tattooed her face with a ball-point pen.

This is example Number 2. Raggedy Anne was loved. She also accidentally went swimming in the bathtub. OK, not accidentally. I put her in there on purpose. I knew she had no business drowning in a full tub of water, but I put her there anyway. Because I wanted to see if she could float. See? Not a good mother.

And so early this morning, as the crickets chirped and mocked me from outside the bedroom window, I was paralyzed with fear. Can I be a good mother? Can I do a better job than I did with my dolls? Can I protect the soft spot on the top of Butch-Ann's head? Will I wake up during midnight cry-fests, or will I snore on while the baby screams in a dark room, alone, and develops psychotic tendencies?

As I pondered these things and my forehead dripped in cold sweat, the words of my Meme came back to me.

"You'll figure it out. Everybody does."

And so I took a deep breath and tried to count sheep. I slowed my breathing and tried not to to think of daycare selections, breast pumps or the fact that Matt and I might not notice when our toddler is watching a Victoria Secret commercial on tv. I'll take Meme at her word. Doll abuse or no doll abuse, I'll figure it out. Because Meme said everybody does.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Fun

My husband Matt, the man who is currently in charge of all cooking, cleaning, and rational thought at Mabel's House, started his own blog. He's an art director, and movie nut, so he's posting his own versions of movie posters. Like this one.

On a side note, this says a lot about what it's like to live with him. Matt's favorite thing to yell from the bathroom in the mornings is, "HOT WATER BURN BABY." Of course this will change when we actually have a baby that could be potentially burned by hot water. Then it will not be funny at all. He'll have to change it to "Water did NOT burn baby."

Ugly Pictures

The women in my family tend to be very sensitive about pictures. Whenever there are ugly photos floating around... we monitor the situation closely. Heaven forbid someone puts those ugly pictures up on facebook. Then the angry phone calls ensue:

"Excuse me, take that down immediately. I have man-hands."

"Dude. I'm untagging myself. I have the biggest butt in history in that picture."

"Did you not see the Gomer Pyle face I was making? You're mean."

It could be that we're just vain. But I don't think so. No woman wants hundreds of people to see images of her captured forever in time with one eyelid closed and a double chin.

But every now and then a few slip through the cracks. Like these pictures my Mom took of me while we were saying goodbye to Rebecca before she left for China.

I think the only word that can describe me in these is, "Uggo."

But my Mom doesn't agree.

"NO, those are sweet pictures."

There's nothing sweet about forehead wrinkles and a red nose. Just look at Bill Clinton. But still, I think she might have a small point. Because while these might not be the most attractive pictures ever taken of me, they are honest. Because I'll never forget how it felt to say goodbye to her. I miss her terribly.

*Coincidentally... these are the same faces I've been making for the past 11 weeks of first trimester hell. Think I'm being over dramatic? Fine. But don't say it to my face. With all these hormones coursing through my veins I could probably throw someone across the room Hulk style.

Poor Matt.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Out of Season

Many was the year I found myself mid-September thinking, "Gee, I wish I could decorate for Halloween this early." And to be honest, there were times I did, much to the horror of easy-going Matt. When I see his face blanch white and he sucks air through his teeth while saying "Umm... I'm not so sure about this...." then I know I've gone too far with my jack-o-lantern/ paper skeleton obsession.

But this year, thanks to BHG, I actually have permission to decorate and craft early. Way early.

So I'm relishing the land of glitter and drippy candles. Halloween isn't in full swing (after all, I haven't raided the five giant plastic bins from the attic yet), but it's close enough. On a side note, does anyone know how to make candles super waxy/drippy? I burn them for hours but the wax just seems to evaporate...

Also, be sure and check out this HGTV article by Camila. It's about combining design styles (with lots of fun house pics, including one from my dining room). You can also check out Camila's blog, High Heeled Foot In the Door here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tastes Like Chicken

On a day like yesterday, a day where I didn't get sick once, a day when I had 25% energy instead of .002% energy, I felt like anything was possible. I felt like sitting at the table instead of wallowing in bed. I felt like reading a magazine.

I felt like admiring Matt's fantastic baked chicken (think rosemary, lemons, onions). I felt like taking pictures again. I felt like maybe, just maybe, I would feel good again. One day.

I'll remember yesterday for a long time. A day where I was able to think about the baby and smile, instead of running for the bathroom. A day where I didn't go to bed until 7:30 (as opposed to 5:30). A day where I watched Mabel run through rustling leaves in the backyard. A day that tasted just like chicken.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall, In About a Month

Don't forget to vote online for your favorite Better Homes and Gardens Halloween mask! To vote click here. You can vote once a day.
Ok. On to regularly scheduled programming.

There are four BHG projects in all. Here's a hint at the second one. Let me tell ya, it's starting to feel like craft boot camp around here. But I'm not complaining. Who can complain when they're playing with metallic spray paint and glitter all the time?

So it's September. I see other bloggers talking about fall weather and it makes me sigh, adjust my tank top straps and flip the room fan to high. But, despite the heat, we've gotten a lot of rain. Hours of it. Dark lovely rain. And if you look very closely across the street onto my neighbor's roof... you can see fall leaves.

It's almost here. Almost. In about a month.

But until it cools off I'll be here, watching tv, brainstorming the recesses of my brain for craft ideas, and watching it rain out the window.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Better Homes and Gardens Project: Halloween Mask

Hi guys. Round one of the Better Homes and Gardens contest begins today.

For the first project, we were asked to create Halloween masks. This is mine. And while there can only be one winner per project, in my opinion, this is a win-win scenario. I mean, doing a project for BHG is award enough, right?

To vote click here. Please do.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Starve a Fever, Feed a Pregnant Woman

Liz... where have you been!?

You don't even want to know. All I'll say is first trimester misery meets ear infection meets strep. Miss Grossy Grosserton right here.

But this meal was the bright spot in the midst of my misery. This meal is proof that food can work miracles. For exactly 30 minutes, while wolfing this lovely steak, mini-potatoes and fresh green beans down my gullet, I forgot my trials and all was right with the world.

So thank you Matt. Thank you for doing the dishes and picking up the towels and checking the mail every day. Thank you for feeding me and picking up my medicine at the pharmacy. Thank you for not getting annoyed and rolling your eyes while I flop around in bed, day after day, wailing, "Why? Why me?"

For more on the fantastic Montana Seasoning Matt used on these steaks, click here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Disturbance in the Force

My parents have adopted a new member of the family. Her name is Lucy.

She's adorable. She likes to lick faces. She loves to chase Mabel. But Mabel considers Lucy's presence to be an unwelcome disturbance in the force.

Mabel's solution is to run really fast, eventually ending up underneath some piece of furniture while growling in disdain for Lucy's puppy-happiness.

But when Lucy licks me in the face, Mabel doesn't handle it too well. She stands with her knees locked and stops blinking. She really doesn't like Lucy anywhere within a five foot radius of me. But she'll have to get over it.

Cause I'm just fine with Lucy licking me in the face. Actually, I'm fine with just about anything Lucy decides to do. Except when she bites the living room rug.
*Pics courtesy of Mom

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BHG Work

Mantle, originally uploaded by MelanieF.

Lest anyone think I'm just twiddling my thumbs and barfing... there is a lot going on around here. The Better Homes and Gardens projects have taken center stage, along with my search for fall inspiration. I'm always amazed at the talented ladies and gents of blogworld (this picture included... not my house... I wish) who freely share their decorating ventures.

I've been hunting the net to make sure I wasn't COPYING anyone and that my ideas are fairly original. So far so good. And am I the only one slightly miffed that Martha Stewart and her staff/legions have cornered the market on all things Halloween? Is there ANYTHING she hasn't done?

Oh well. I guess it just forces the rest of us to use our melons and get creative. Now back to barfing, glitter, and pumpkins.

Update From China

Rebecca arrived in China safe and sound. She's settling in and sending us lots of fascinating emails and pictures. I, on the other hand, am sick as a dog. Sorry for the lack of posts, but life tends to slow to an uninteresting crawl when all you do is work and go to bed by 8 every night. Hopefully this will end soon.