New Kid on the Block

According to the results of the poll, New Baby is a girl by a margin of 2-1.

However…

Boy number four is due to arrive early this fall.

It’s a boy!  Boy number four should arrive early this fall.

Surprised?  Me, too.  None of my symptoms matched the ones from my first two male pregnancies.  Which, come to think of it, were completely different from each other anyway, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.  My dog and I continue to be the only girls in the house, which is totally cool…she digs musicals and would probably let me paint her toenails if I asked her really nicely.  And bribed her with bacon.

boy     noun/boi/

1. a male child.

2. noise with dirt on it.

In all seriousness, I couldn’t be happier about having another little boy.  Can’t wait to meet you, Little Guy!

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A Check in the Box

Yes.  It’s been a while since I last wrote, and for that I am truly sorry.  There are a zillion reasons as to why that is the case, but it’s enough to say that the writing thing just hasn’t happened.  Until today.  (Whoo-hoo?)

At the beginning of this year, I posted my non-resolutions for 2014.  My brain loves checklists…not so much the list part of it, but being able to put a check in a box and say, “Boom! All done!”  This weekend, I was able to put a big, fat check into a few boxes…and I feel that it totally merits an update post.  Which, if you were unclear at all, this is.

  1. Non-resolution 1: Get an A in my ARTS 351 class.  Check!  After much blood, sweat and tears, this was a check.  Seriously.  This was supposed to be my “fun” class.  It was probably one of the two least enjoyable classes I’ve ever taken in my life, missing the absolute bottom by the virtue of it not being a Java programming class.  I learned a lot, and really developed my portraiture technique a lot.  People are not my strong point, and I’m feeling much more confident in that department after this class.  There was some good work that came out of it, but between technical issues on Blackboard, and a whole lot of professor issues, it was just not much fun at all.  Oh, well.  It’s over.  Thank goodness.
    An expressive painting of Baby. Copyright 2014.  Images may not be used without written  permission from the artist.  All rights reserved.

    An expressive painting of Baby. Copyright 2014. Images may not be used without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

    My final undergraduate project...ever: an expressive painting of my sweet Toddler.

    My final undergraduate project…ever: an expressive painting of my sweet Toddler. Copyright 2014. Images may not be used without written permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

  2. Non-resolution 2: Graduate Magna Cum Laude on 10 May 2014.  Done and done.  Whoo-hoo!  Being an online student, I’ve never actually been to campus until this past weekend.  Although it was a stressful and crazy busy weekend, I am so happy that I actually got to participate in Commencement and got to walk across the stage to get handed my fake diploma.  My real one came in the mail on 05 April 2014…the same day I got my cap, gown and hood.   But, being finished really didn’t feel real until Friday, when I got to my school and received my reader card and my honors/veteran/senior project cords.  And the most real moment of all was when I walked into the stadium.
    Walking into the stadium for Commencement.

    Walking into the stadium for Commencement.

    All decked in my graduation regalia.

    All decked out in my graduation regalia.

    My cute little family and best friend in the stands.

    My cute little family and best friend in the stands.

    Holy potatoes.  That was, in the words of Anne of Green Gables, an epoch moment in my life.  And then I found my husband, kiddies and best friend in the stand, which made it even better.  (My parents, grandmother, best friend’s parents, three brothers, one sister, one brother-in-law, and my baby nephew were on the grass at the back of the stadium, but I didn’t know that till later.)  It totally validated the nearly fourteen years work it took to complete the degree and made me start itching to start my Master’s degree right away.  Which isn’t going to happen because…

  3. Surprise: We have a new baby coming late September/early October.  At this point, I have no idea who’s cooking away in there, but hopefully, we’ll find out tomorrow.   With three boys in the family already, what do you think the odds are of this one being a girl?  Make your pick!  Results of the poll and the ultrasound will be out tomorrow.  (Eek!!)

 

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A Little Sunshine, Part 1

When I get an e-mail from WordPress saying that I got a comment on a blog post, it usually turns out to be spam…which is totally cool, because I (a) don’t aggressively market my blog and (b) I have hitherto primarily used it for catharsis and cyber-accountability.  Bearing that in mind, I was quite surprised (and touched) when I discovered that Kim at Craft-Create-Connect nominated me for a Sunshine Award.

Sunshine Award

I’m still pretty new to the blogosphere and therefore had no idea that such a thing existed, but her acknowledgement brought a little bit of sunshine and encouragement into my life when I was feeling rather blue.  (I have 2 sick babies with 4 infected ears between the two of them.  Being Momma, I have been contaminated myself, and right now, the sound of my voice is alternating between post-Ursula Ariel and an adolescent gosling who was just hit by a bus.)  Thank you, Kim!

Apparently, this particular award has a few rules.  Boom.

Rules:

  1. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that were asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Include 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  4. Notify your nominees about this post.

In the words of the immortal Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, “Alllll-righty, then.”

  1. I would absolutely love to be a Mythbuster.  It is the perfect blend of art, science, electronics, and explosives…and I do love me the smell of gunpowder in the morning.  Or any time of day, for that matter.  Plus, I think Kari needs a friend.
  2. I cannot make pancakes or grilled cheese sandwiches without setting off the smoke detector.
  3. If I were a crayon, I would want to be peacock blue.
  4. I still love Nancy Drew and occasionally stay up too late reading her stories.
  5. I have never had a cavity, but I had 6 wisdom teeth that were taken out 1 at a time.
  6. I need the sun.  As soon as it gets dark outside, my brain powers off.  On dark and cloudy days, it never fully boots.  When I was stationed out in the Pacific Northwest, I was never fully alert.
  7. If I were trying to be the Next Food Network Star, I would want to be mentored by Alton Brown.  I never understood cooking or baking until I started watching him and learned “why” it all works.
  8. I don’t like chocolate ice cream.
  9. I can’t draw with charcoals without looking like I’ve been playing in a fireplace.
  10. If I were a scent, I would want to be a citrus.
  11. Sunflowers are my favorite flower.

And now…Kim’s questions.

  1. Let’s start with something important…white, milk or dark chocolate?  Dark.  Really dark.  Like 80% dark.
  2. Coffee or tea (or something totally different)?  Tea!  I’m not usually allowed to drink coffee without adult supervision…I kind of turn into Dr. Krunklehorn from Disney’s Meet the Robinsons.
  3. Where do you find your inspiration?  Life.  I haven’t really narrowed my blog’s focus yet, so I tend to write about whatever is currently going on in my life.  Like gestational diabetes, sewing projects and kitchen experiments.
  4. Monday mornings… love them or loathe them?  Love them!
  5. What is it that keeps you blogging?  As I said earlier, writing is cathartic.  Also, I can’t lose a blog.  I tend to lose my diaries.
  6. Curl up on the couch or night on the town?  Curl up on the couch.  Preferably, with a book.
  7. Who would you say is your hero?  Winston Churchill.
  8. Best film of all time?  Oh, dear.  I’m going to go with Mary Poppins.  Do I seriously have to narrow it down to just one?
  9. How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.
  10. Do you have a job not associated with your blog?  If so, what is it?  I am a stay-at-home homeschooling wife and mother.  I am also a part-time student, a piano teacher, and I occasionally paint on commission.
  11. Where else can we find and follow you?  You can find me on Pinterest and on Twitter!  (Side note: I don’t really tweet much but my blog posts, but I’m there.)

Because I am a morning glory and am still sick, and therefore need to get some sleep, I am going to stop here for now.  I will pick up with my own nominees and questions for said nominees in my next post.

To be continued…

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Non-Resolutions for 2014

My mom used to repeatedly remind me that “Patience is a virtue,” to which I would repeatedly reply that “Impatience is a virtue, too.”  I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, although upon reflection, I can see that it might have sounded that way.  It just seemed (still seems) to me that if everyone was patient and waited for things to happen all the time, than nothing will ever happen.  For example, as a sailor, I could wait for the deck to strip and wax itself, but since the likelihood of that happening is slim to none and the lack of completion posed a very serious risk to my liberty (and the rest of my division’s liberty as well), it behooved me to take action and “git ‘r’ done,” so to speak.

In 2013, I decided to set goals rather than to make resolutions.  I know.  Semantics, right?  I think that the reason that goals resonate with me whereas resolutions do not is that action is at the heart of a goal.  Resolutions sound great, but more often than not, they are just words that sound great. Goals have quantifiable outcomes, which makes it much easier to determine whether they have been met (or not).  It worked, though.  I definitely had more success than failure this last year.  Bearing that in mind, here are my primary goals for 2014:

  1. Get an A in my ART 351 (Digital Imaging) class.  I am actually looking forward to this class for a number of reasons.  The first is that, obviously, it is a digital art class.  Totally awesome.  The second is that this class is my last undergraduate class.  Ever.  That I am able to say that makes me nearly weep with happiness.  It has been nearly 14 years since I started working on my bachelor’s degree.  As a goal-oriented person, the fact that it has taken so dang long to finish has been like pouring lemon juice in a paper cut.  However, I’m almost done!
  2. Graduate Magna Cum Laude on 10 May 2014.  If I get the A mentioned above, I will finish with a GPA of 3.84…exactly 1/100th of a point away from Summa Cum Laude, which I am trying to not let bother me too much.  (Curse that B in my sophomore theology class…)  Oh, well.  Magna’s not too shabby, right, especially considering that I got my degree spanning across an overseas tour, three sea tours (two mine, one his), two full-time jobs, two pregnancies?  Please say that you agree with me.  (Obviously, this little Magna/Summa thing is still bothering me.  I’m working on it.)
  3. Date my husband more often.  As I mentioned in my last post, last year we got to have 2 out-of-house dates, which was 2 more than we got to have in 2012.  However, I read something (maybe in my Babywise book?) that said that one of the most important things parents can do for their children is to show them how much they love each other and to make sure that the romantic side of marriage isn’t neglected.  Since I’m all about quantifiable goals, I’m shooting for 6 out-of-house dates.  That’s one every 2 months.
  4. Find a good (and relatively inexpensive) babysitter.  Otherwise, item 3 ain’t happening…at least, not out of the house.
  5. Read the Bible in a year.  I’ve done this in the past (most notably reading it through during one summer while I was in high school), but it’s been awhile since I’ve done it from cover to cover.  I’m going to use a plan like this one to keep me on track.
  6. I’m back to where I was before I had both babies, which is good.  However, both of these pregnancies have been super hard on my body.  We definitely want more babies, but I need to give myself some TLC to give myself the best fighting chance of having a normal pregnancy next time.  My body will never be the same again…and that’s okay.  I run around like a crazy woman all day, but my energy-burning isn’t, shall we say, targeted.  So, my goal is to put a minimum of 3 workout sessions a week back into my routine.  Oh.  And drink more water.
  7. Recondition my hands.  My dear piano teacher reminds me periodically that pianists are like athletes, and need to train and build dexterity.  My hands are a little out of shape, so my goal is to work a minimum of 30 minutes of piano a day back into my routine.  I’m hoping to have at 5 pieces remastered/mastered by the end of the year. (Bach, Chopin and Ravel are all on my list.)
  8. Earlier last year I discovered the Fly Lady.  She makes it pretty much the easiest thing in the world to build a routine that gets your life organized.  My chaos is pretty organized, but it could be much better.  I started the Baby Steps and was doing pretty well, but something threw off my groove.  So, I’m restarting on Monday.  Hello, Shiny Sink!
  9. Maintain academic excellence in our little home school and have fun doing it. *
  10. More of the good stuff. Painting/drawing, crafting, reading, family game nights, kitchen science, writing, homemade Christmas presents…you get the idea. *

This is where it gets a little dicey.  I applied to graduate school on a whim and got accepted, which is awesome.  I still haven’t completely decided if I want to do the program to which I was accepted (Masters of Education in History) and know I will use or the one I am absolutely drooling over (Masters of Public Policy in Campaigns and Elections) that I will not immediately use.  My G. I. Bill benefits will cover about half of my graduate degree, but I need to figure out where the rest of the money is going to come from before I go ahead and jump into anything.  With that in mind, I applied for an art scholarship that would cover the rest of the money I need ($10K), but I won’t find out about what’s happening with that until the middle of March.  I’m planning on applying for other scholarships as well, but I had kind of been thinking about taking a break from school for at least the next year, so I wasn’t going to really stress about it as of yet.  I mentioned the 14 years for my bachelor’s, right?  Plus, my husband wants to start working on his bachelor’s when I finish with mine.  (We do the tag-team thing.)  However, my academic advisor said (afterwards, since I was awesome and didn’t think to ask before I applied) that if I win the scholarship, I have to start taking classes, or they’ll send the money back.  I have very mixed feelings about what I hope will happen here.  In any case, it’s an opportunity to trust God, so that’s where I’m leaving it.  Without further ado, here are my secondary goals, which are contingent on whether I win the scholarship.

  1. Either…Take 3 graduate classes (1 in the summer term, 1 in each of the fall subterms) and earn A’s in each class.
  2. Or…Participate in and finish the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge of completing a 50, 000 word novel in the month of November.  I have tried every year for the last 4 years, and since I have been taking classes simultaneously, have not been able to finish.  I have a story in my head that I want to get out of my head and onto metaphorical paper, but it hasn’t happened because I need sleep.

And, there you have it, Sports Fans!  That’s my Plan of the Year…because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

* You will see these goals every year, more likely than not.  Just sayin’.

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2013: The Completed Checklist

Back on 02 January, I shared my checklist of things I wanted to accomplish in 2013.  Seeing as this year is rapidly drawing to a close, it is time for me to let y’all know how that all went.

  1. Have my baby.  Check!  New Baby arrived on 27 March 2013 after induction and 32 hours of labor.  He weighed in at 8 pounds 14 ounces and was 21 inches long.  I ended up having an epidural right at the end.  It had been 29 hours and I couldn’t catch my breath.  I might just lead with that from now on.  It was awesome.  Anyway, New Baby has grown tremendously in the last nine months and got his first tooth from Santa for Christmas.
  2. Get back to pre-baby weight.  Check!  I am down to where I was before I was pregnant with Toddler. 
  3. Start doing pregnancy yoga again.  That was kinda hit or miss.  What can I say?  I’m a work in progress.
  4. Date my husband more often.  We got to go on exactly 2 out-of-house dates this year.  However, that was more than we got last year, so I’m thankful.  We did get to spend a lot of quality time together, which is awesome.
  5. Drink more water.  I’m doing better.  Still have room for improvement.  Still don’t like water. 
  6. Plant a garden!  Maybe in 2014…
  7. Reorganize my kitchen.  Yes and no.  I reorganized the dish and canned goods cabinets and replaced my pots and pans and Rubbermaid containers.  I also got 2 new chef’s knives for Christmas from my in-laws.  They’re awesome, but I have to confess that I’m a little afraid of them still.  I still have to go through my spice and medicine cabinets.
  8. Get an A in my BMIS 330 class.  I got an A!  I also got A’s in 4 other classes and changed my major.
  9. Maintain academic excellence in our little home school and have fun doing it.  Check!
  10. More of the good stuff.  Music, painting/drawing, reading, family game nights, kitchen science, writing, homemade Christmas presents…you get the idea.  I started teaching piano again this year, so that’s more music.  I painted 4 canvases as well as the ceramic ornaments for all of my kiddies’ grandparents.  I read a lot of textbooks.  We did have several family game nights, which were a blast!  Kitchen science…does creating a few new recipes count?  I wrote a metric butt-ton of papers.  And did make a few of the Christmas presents this year.  So I guess…check!

Stay tuned for a recap of the high points of 2013 and the list of non-resolutions for 2014!

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Making a Baby for Baby, Part 2

Well, dang.  I started this post on 22 April, and it has remained a draft.  Lonely…unfinished…forgotten.  When we last met, I was pretty sure I had gotten an A in my class and I was waiting for New Baby to arrive.  Now, 8-ish months later, I can confirm that I did get an A.  Happily, New Baby also arrived a little ahead of schedule via induction.  (It’s a long story…I’ll tell you some day.)

I promised to share the pictures of the Little Brother doll I made my erstwhile Baby to prepare him for his transition to Middle Brother.  I am happy to say that I think it worked…Baby (henceforth to be referred to as Toddler) and New Baby are best buddies, and I couldn’t be happier!

Without further ado, allow me to present to you the Little Brother Doll (brought to you by insomnia and by Simplicity Pattern 2809).

A Face in Progress

A face in progress.  P.S.  My hubby was totally creeped out by this process…

Finished Face

Dolly’s finished face.

A flat little dolly body...complete with ears and a belly button.

A flat little dolly body…complete with ears and a belly button.

Back of dolly's crocheted wig.

Back of dolly’s crocheted wig.

And the Little Brother Doll has hair!

And the Little Brother Doll has hair!

Sadly, when I went to the hospital to have my real New Baby, the doll was left at home sans clothes, which my mother finished in time to present Toddler at the hospital when he met his real little buddy.  I really thought I had pictures of him with his clothes on (the doll, not my babies).  Apparently, that is not the case.  I will remedy that situation at some point in the (let’s face it…probably distant) future.

I need to find the clothes first.  Toddler figured out how to work snaps.

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Back on the Air

So, apparently it’s been nearly a month since the last time I posted.  I’m happy to announce that I successfully completed BMIS 330 prior to New Baby’s arrival.  The course final grades just got posted, and I’m very reasonably certain that I can check off my eighth non-resolution as complete.  (Dude, I aced my final.  I’d happy-dance here, but that’s kind of painful and New Baby doesn’t appreciated getting bounced around any more than my abs do at the moment.)  I apologize that radio silence has been in effect for this last half of the class, but I just couldn’t bring myself to write any more than I already was…and I was pretty sure you wouldn’t want to read anything about the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) Model or exactly what the function of a network router was.  Which is where my brain has been living for the last eight weeks.  If I was wrong about that, please let me know and I can post some techie stuff, too.

Now that class is over, I’m in the three-ish week countdown to New Baby’s arrival.  My nesting instincts kicked in this weekend…finally.  I wasn’t sure if they were going to go into overdrive this time or not, but here they are.  Boom.  I now have a burning need to paint my bathroom a different color and to paint a mural in the nursery.  I’m fairly certain that neither of these are going to happen, but I’m daydreaming about it anyway.  We got New Baby’s crib and two new dressers for the nursery so both babies can have clothes available at the same time.  Bonus: Hubby and I got to play furniture Tetras yesterday during set-up.  This is one of the awesome things about having a smallish house.  Every time something new comes in, it turns into a mental exercise of epic proportions.

I’ve finally gotten back to working on Baby’s doll.  Yesterday.  The face is nearly embroidered, and it is cute…not scary.  (There may or may not be a needle currently sticking out of his left eye at this very moment, but that is easily remedied.  Sorry, Buddy…)  I’m really hoping my sewing machine decides to cooperate and actually sew curves and not spit oil randomly for this project.  (It does that.  Frequently.  I don’t have the heart to replace it…it tries so hard.)  I didn’t really leave myself any time for having to redo anything seeing as I barely left any time for it to get done in the first place.

I also decided that there needed to be shirts included in this iteration of big brother benefit packages.  Which actually never happened last time because I got put on bed rest, so I’m really excited that this plan is really and truly in the execution phase.  I’m not going crazy with this project.  I swear.  Oldest and Baby are each getting a new book and a t-shirt that proclaims their place of brotherly awesomeness (i.e. Big Brother and Middle Brother).  I’ve already done the graphics work…just need to print them out on transfer paper and iron those suckers on.  New Baby gets one, too.  I even did Daddy and Momma graphics, but those are not high priority at the moment.  I think all that’s left for the brother bags is Baby’s doll, “something” for Oldest’s bag, perhaps some goldfish crackers and/or teddy grahams…and New Baby’s stuffed animal from his brothers.  The procurement of the last item is still on the to-do list because any trip to Build-a-Bear requires much planning and forethought…neither of which I have been mentally able to handle yet.  I’m a sucker for stuffed animals anyway, and Baby has been so good…and clingy…and emotional…lately that I’d be an idiot to walk into that cuddly hornet’s nest without some sort of plan and The Enforcer (a.k.a. Hubby/Daddy) on hand.  In all honesty, we’ll probably end up walking out with three animals instead of one.  What can I say?  The Enforcer is a sucker for pleading eyes, too.

Holy potatoes.  I just realized my mom and little brother will be coming down here in a little over a week.  This is getting real, y’all.  I should probably get those labor bags packed, too.  Maybe they’ll actually make it into the hospital for labor this time.  Hey…I can dream, can’t I?

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