Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baby Jack Update, 11-25-09

Baby Jack, 11-17-09

Baby Jack is hanging in there. He had a tough week or two, but for the last several days he's been doing much better, thank God. He is gaining weight and getting stronger by the day. Tomorrow he'll be 29 weeks old. Pete and I are very in love with our little baby boy.

I'm still healing, which has been a slow road process for me. I'm also fighting high blood pressure, for which I'm taking medication now. Otherwise I have good days and bad days, depending on how I'm doing physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Thank you for all your words of encouragement and support. I haven't been able to blog since having Baby Jack, but just know that I appreciate all the comments and letters.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our Halloween miracle

Peter Jack Hoover Hoogestraat
Born 10-31-2009
1 lb, 4 oz and 11 inches long
25 weeks, 2 days

Jack today, at 26 weeks, 5 days

Stay strong and fight, our little jackrabbit. Mommy and daddy love you :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Makin' groomki with ma

On Monday I got to hang out with my mom for the day, and she took the time to teach me how to make a Polish dish called groomki—I am sure I'm totally misspelling this, but I can't find the name anywhere online. Essentially, it's rice and hamburger mixed together, which is then rolled up in a cooked cabbage leaf and covered with tomato sauce. I ate that from time to time as a kid, and Pete had actually heard of it before.

So I figured I'd learn how to make it, and it was pretty easy to make. Of course, Pete doctored his with shredded cheese, Ragu, cayenne pepper, and any other number of ingredients. We both had a couple of the rolls, and the dogs were drooling over it—even Spanky, who wasn't feeling well that night. Next recipe to learn: ma's egg bread.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Now it's Spanky's turn

Our little man-fox Spanky (that's what Pete calls him) isn't feeling so well today, so I'm taking him to the vet. Pete and I were gone most of the day yesterday, and when we got home, we discovered he had puked in a few places around the house, and continued to puke on and off all night. Early this morning he was still puking, and although he hasn't puked since then, he isn't eating at all and looks miserable.

So now we'll "go see doctor," as I like to tell the animals when they don't know what's going on. They know what this phrase means, and I don't think Spanky is happy about it, but hopefully he'll get his tummy checked and will be feeling better soon.

And yeah, if you're keeping count, that's three pets in the last month that have been sick. The only one who's escaped this fate so far is Max. Hopefully he stays healthy, and this little curse of illness upon the Hoogestraat household ends with Spanky.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peds with Jen

Today Jen is treating me to a pedicure, a raincheck on a birthday gift from almost two months ago. I was in the middle of freelance mania back then and didn't have time to go with her. But now we're both ready to go, and sorely in need of a good trim and paint job. It's much too hard for me to reach my toes nowadays, so this will be quite the treat. I can't wait to relax in the chair, read magazines, and gossip with Jen while we watch stupid game shows on the shop's tv.

Hope your Sunday is just as relaxing as ours is. Ahhhhhh!

(Image from

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Memorial for Sandy

Today Pete and I are attending a memorial for Sandy, my aunt who passed away back in April. It's been a long time coming, and I'm sure it'll be an emotional event for everyone in the family.

I made a memorial board for her service (see above) that I think she would have liked. We don't have many pictures of her, so I figured I'd make it as nice and special as possible. I had leftover stuff from my wedding scrapbooking days (something I never finished), and it fit in perfectly with her memorial board.

We also have a communion picture (above) that was recently found in one of my grand aunt's trunks, who had passed away a few years ago. The picture is in excellent condition and stands up on its own, so I'm going to set it next to the board as part of the display.

As I mentioned, it's a long overdue service. But we all feel grateful that we can honor her in some way, and share our favorite memories of our beloved Sandy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Goofy-Pluto puzzle

I noticed the other day that there's a bit of weirdness on my dogs' bag of treats. A cartoon dog cowboy, standing upright and decked out in cowboy gear including shirt, pants, and a hat, is holding up a freshly grilled piece of chicken...while another dog, who is NOT attired and is on all fours, eyes the meat and licks its lips. So, um, yeah, I'm puzzled by this, just as many have been puzzled by the Goofy versus Pluto mystery. Why is one like a person, and one is like...a dog? Hmmm....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

(So) happy together

I'm not sure why, but lately Pete and I have been in a really good place, as far as our relationship goes. We don't fight much, we have really interesting conversations, and we laugh and cuddle more than ever. Not that we were always fighting like cats and dogs before, but there just seems to be a sense of harmony that has settled over our home. Despite the extremely tight finances (uh, hello unemployment, furlough days, and tons of medical bills) and the usual bumpy road we travel called life, we've been pretty mellow and happy.

I think we are also both happy (and a bit scared) about Baby Jack coming, and are enjoying this strange journey together (where DID that belly come from???). I think Pete is settling into not only his role as a husband, but as a father and provider, and perhaps is enjoying it more and more. He is ready to take on his new roles, and seems to be so excited to make a difference in someone's life (Jack's).

So yeah, we're happy. It's a good place to be, and I hope it only gets better from here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A bit of (cheap) bling for my iPhone

My iPhone has been suffering lately. Although I'm pretty careful with it, and I have had a cover on it from day one (a hot pink silicone model), I do tend to throw it in my purse or pocket from time to time. And it does sometimes end up on the floor (accidentally, of course), through which it suffers quietly, but with no ill effects so far (thank God!).

Matt, Sam, and Mani have all gotten iPhones this past weekend, which has strangely made me excited for them. I shouldn't say strangely, because I'm weird like that. If someone gets something cool, especially if it's something I already own and that I know they'll love, I almost get more excited about it that the person getting the new thing. I had lots of fun hanging out with Matt this weekend and showing him all the apps, features, and little tricks and treats that come with his shiny new toy.

And I realized, looking at his pretty new iPhone, that mine has been neglected as of late. For something that has helped me so much, and that has entertained me for hours, I sure have not been babying it like I should (hey, I've got other things on my mind, lol). I figured I could at least upgrade the case it's in. The silicone case is looking pretty sad these days, with a couple of rips in the corners. Now, that alone wouldn't make me get a new case, but the rips cause the case to come off the phone very easily now, which causes the phone to either drop out of the case (bad when I'm walking around holding the phone), or for my hair/debris/scratches to get in there under the case. The hair thing is the worst, because it pulls my hair out when I'm talking to someone on the phone (it gets stuck in the case via those rips) and I end up yanking out a few precious strands at least a couple times a week. Ouch.

Matt and Pete, discussing iPhones, history, and life in general at Starbucks this weekend

So, after looking at Matt's pretty black leather case, I decided I should properly protect my investment and get a new case. But for me, this is no easy task. I'm a very, very picky person when it comes to stuff like this, and at the time I bought my case last year, there wasn't much to choose from. I went with hot pink silicone since Pete chose the basic black silicone (I don't want to mix up our phones). Even though I love Matt's black leather case, Pete had his phone stolen earlier this year, and ended up getting a new phone and a newer, better silicone case—but it's still a black case, so that color is a no no for me.

The online search then began, and I spent hours (I toldja I was picky) looking for just the right case. There were plenty of red leather ones online (I like red), but none of them were quite what I was looking for. I saw some nice silicone ones too, but they just weren't as appealing to me, now that I've had a silicone case for almost a year and a half. Then I saw this:

And I thought, oooooh, pretty! But for the price, I wanted to be super duper sure I liked it. And being the consummate online bargain shopper, I didn't just feel like plunking down the cash for it, until I was sure there was nothing else cheaper (or a cheaper source for this model). So the search continued, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon this one at

I read reviews, checked out other competitors, and decided to go with the cheaper one from Overstock. I figure it's almost a third of the cost of the Case-Mate one, and if I truly like it, great, I saved money. If it doesn't work out, then I saved money on something I don't like. And it allowed me to get a nice red leather pouch in which to carry it (in my purse or car, where it tends to get knocked around a lot):

The coolest feature about the chrome cover? It comes with a mirrored screen protector:

Now yes, I've heard it's a bit hard to see in bright sunlight, so I'll determine whether I actually use the screen protector (I also have a clear one that Matt gave me on Saturday). But either way, it's a nice little upgrade for a device that has more than paid for itself since I bought it. And it's nice to go on a little shopping spree, even if I spent less than $30 total on my "crazy" purchases.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out for a stroll

Pete, the dogs, and I went for a stroll on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day, and I hadn't been walking for a while (the last time was during our camping trip). I had a great time, although I really got tired about 2/3 of the way into the walk. Baby Jack was pressing on my bladder, I was tired, and my legs were itching like mad—ever get that weird itchiness? It happens to me after I shave sometimes, especially when I used to go running (not doing that now, lol!).

Anyhow, I think I was a bit whiny, and Pete felt bad because I was uncomfortable. (Him: "You're tired? Really?" Me: "Uh, yeah! I'm lugging around an extra 30 pounds here!") But it was cute because we ran into some of his friends, and he was proudly showing off my big belly and telling everyone how happy he was to have his son on the way. So it was worth any discomfort to me to be out in the sunshine with my hubby and dogs, enjoying the vivid colors and warm sun, and stretching my (achy) legs a bit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poopy girl

Poor Adora's been having some digestive issues lately. She's her same ol' spunky self, but her tummy isn't feeling all that great. She ate some steak bones on Friday night, and hasn't been eating the same since then. Hopefully things will stabilize, and she'll be back to her usual food-loving self.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin pancakes...mmmm

If I'm lucky, I'll be dining on pumpkin pancakes this morning, depending on whether the restaurant Pete and I are going to (with my parents and Matt) still have them. I dined on them a few weeks ago when having breakfast with my mom, and whooo, they were good. Bigger than the ones in this picture, more like the size of dinner plates, and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. My mom said they smelled good, and she hates pumpkin.

Anyhow, I know you can make them at home pretty easily. Just add pumpkin to your regular pancake mix and voila! Instant pumpkin pancakes. Of course, you can make them from scratch, and there are any number of recipes out there for just such a thing. Either way, they're wonderful and I highly recommend eating them.

Happy fall!

(Image from

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Way to go, hubby!

Pete, recently featured in his company's first official newsletter. That's him in the lower left corner, standing with his boss, wearing safety glasses and grinning. But they spelled Pete's name wrong.

I'm so proud of Pete. Today he passed the second test needed to be certified for stainless steel welding (10 and 18 gauge). He has struggled a bit with these tests, but he aced this one today. It was great to see him come home, grinning ear to ear, and just so happy and relieved. He's still on cloud 9, hours later. He wants to take the galvanized steel tests next, but for now, he's a happy man. As he put it, "I have great a family and friends, a woman who loves me, a baby on the way, and I passed the test!"

Of course, then he strapped on his leathers and welding helmet, and I had trouble concentrating on the stew I was making. There is something really, really nice about him all decked out in his welding gear...that's all I'll say.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Put on your mom jeans

I have had trouble maintaining that sexy frame of mind as my belly, thighs, and bosom endlessly expands. And although Pete calls me Sexy Bear and thinks my new shape is cute, I just don't feel all right now.

Well, let me tell you, while maternity pants help you to maintain a normal appearance, and they make you look as good as possible, they are not the prettiest thing in the world. Pete likes to tease me about my "mom jeans," even though I hadn't bought ANY maternity pants or jeans until today (I've been wearing large, low rise pants with drawstrings or elastic waist bands up til this point).

I take exception at my wardrobe being compared to those ultimate symbols of frumpiness, though. I do not see a tapered leg or pleated panel anywhere on these babies, a la the traditional model of the mom jean. My new pants (jeans and cords) are all about boot cuts and curve-hugging fit, and are as close to my old wardrobe as I'm gonna get, with my extra large booty and waddle-inducing belly.

Anyhow, I'm excited to be wearing something that isn't squeezing my waist or belly, that I don't have to wear a belly band with (Baby Jack doesn't seem to like it when I wear them), and that doesn't create that oh so attractive muffin top I've been sporting lately. Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and wear whatcha gotta wear, whether they be mom jeans...or something completely different.

(Figurine from

Friday, October 9, 2009

That's why I love him

Pete and me at Fogo de Chão last year, where we had also dined on our first date.

Five years ago today, Pete and I met. It has been a wonderful time since, and through all our ups and downs, we've been very happy together.

Tonight we were sitting around the tv as we often do most nights, watching something on the Military Channel (his choice), covered in snoozing cats and dogs, and our bellies full of McDonald's cheeseburgers. Pete suddenly looked at me and said, "Hey! Let's both concentrate on this pencil here and see if we can make it move by telekenisis." He had an eager look on his face, and carefully set the pencil on top of one of his car books, ready to concentrate.

I started laughing, and said, "See? That's why I love you! Because a normal night for us is watching tv, surrounded by animals, and spending our free time trying to make a pencil move. This is our lives together." And I laughed some more.

Pete smiled and seemed startled by this, but very pleased, and we eventually went on to throwing our brain waves at the pencil (it wiggled, but that was all). Good times.

I'm happy to have known you these five good, long years, my love.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Free 6-month online Photoshop Course

There is a free 6-month online Photoshop course if you're interested. One is broadcasting live right now (classes are every Thursday), but you can join in anytime.

Me and the motley crew

I'm not sure why, but lately the pets seem to be swarming around me, more so than usual. They like to lay all over my expanding belly, or snuggle next to me on the couch. I don't know if they sense that there's another little life present in the house, but I'm not complaining about the increased affection (for the most part, lol).

Last night, three of them—Adora, Spanky, and Dollie—spontaneously gathered around me on the couch and hovered around me for a good five minutes. It was so odd and funny that I quickly snapped a photo with my Mac (I was working on my laptop). They were being goofy and rubbing against me and each other, and even Baby Jack was wiggling in sympathy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I just got this cool iPhone camera app called ShakeItPhoto, which makes your pictures look like a Polaroid. It was fun to play around with, and I tested it out on Adora. It's only 99¢, so it's a cheap way to have more fun with your iPhone's camera.

(Images from

Friday, October 2, 2009

A nightly ritual

Me, Dollie, Spanky (by my belly), and Adora

This is how we end up every night, with me snuggling under a blanket and the dogs/cats piled around me, sleeping. The only one who didn't join us last night was Max, who was off prowling around in the basement somewhere, I'm sure. Sometimes we mix it up and they all lay on Pete, or we split them 50/50. It's hard to move with dogs and cats on you, but it's super cozy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I know I'm already jumping the gun on this, but...

I want to dress Baby Jack as a pumpkin next year for Halloween. How cute is that? A real Jack O' Lantern, lol! I haven't told Pete yet, but I'm sure he'll think it's cute. I'm going to prowl the clearance racks in the baby stores after Halloween and see if I can find a costume for next year.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Long overdue update

Pete, me, dad, and ma sitting around the fire, eating dinner

Well, how are you all? I'm pretty good. I've been gone from the blogging scene for a while, so I thought I'd pop in. I don't know about any of you who have been pregnant or have kids, but it certainly seems to put a crimp in how much time I'm on the computer, especially with blogging. I miss it, but most days I'm unable to get around to posting anything, much less taking pix for my photography blog, vivid.

Anyhow, the project I mentioned in the previous post is STILL going on. Not to the same degree it was before, but there are revisions that still trickle in here and there. Today I actually have to change something back to the color it was before, even though a previous revision asked for the color change. It's kinda funny, but hey, at least I'm getting paid for it, eh?

And I was able to get back onto unemployment this morning, so that's a big relief. The guy said it shouldn't be a problem for future projects, which is good, because I think more might be coming down the pike (I hope).

Well, what have you all been up to? Busy? Not so much?

We went camping this weekend on our big annual family camping trip. It's our 8th year (I think), and it was quite different this year with all the babies and me being pregnant (and quite pregnant right now, in my mind, although it'll get worse, I know). Here's a shot of me on the beach in Peninsula State Park in Door County, Wisconsin. Yikes! That's some baby belly!

That's my dad behind me, and Spanky at my feet.

We had a great time, and it did rain a little, but not too much. We hiked and went to town too, but I quickly realized how little stamina I have now that I'm pregnant.

Here's a group shot on the last day. I had a meltdown about 30 min. before this picture was taken because I had a severe migraine and bad allergies that would not stop, and Tylenol/caffeine was NOT making them go away. But as you can see, I was not the only weepy person in the group!

(From left to right, front row) Me, Hambone, Sam, Jane, Henry, ma, Jonneal, Tallulah, dad, Otto; (back row) Mani, Pete, Adora, Quinn

Anyhow, I am slowly feeling better, although I still don't feel 100% as of today.

Some GOOD news we got on Friday morning, before leaving for the trip: Little Baby Hoogestraat is a..............BOY!!! Yup, we are the proud future parents of little Peter Jack, a.k.a. Jack (we're calling him by his middle name, since he's a junior). Here's pix of him from the ultrasound on Friday.

Jack's profile

He was quite an active little boy, squirming and kicking all over the place. The tech and doctor were quite amused.

Frontal view of Skeletor—I mean Jack

Pete swore up and down since day one that it was going to be a girl, but I refused to call the baby anything but "it." Well, when the tech rolled the wand over his little bottom and said, "Yep, that's definitely a boy!", Pete's jaw dropped and he was speechless.'s a boy!

I just started laughing because Pete was soooo sure, as were 90% of everyone else who was guessing. I must admit I was even a little surprised because of my "girl" symptoms, but I also had "boy" symptoms too—mild morning sickness, craving meat/dairy, etc. I think Pete bet Steve a 12-pack of beer that it'd be a girl. Well, Steve is ready to collect!

Jack likes to use these feet all the time on my insides, lol.

Anyhow, we are both thrilled and glad that we can start calling him by his name, buy him gender-specific clothes, etc.

Other than that, not much else going on. Dollie was sick for a while, but she seems to be getting better. Looks like her throat is raw, but they don't know why. Maybe she ate something she shouldn't have? I know she's fond of plants.

Our little goofball is doing a lot of this lately—sleeping.

I'm still unpacking from our trip, doing what I can while I have the energy. Mainly I'm trying to take it easy and rest, because I think I overdid it this weekend. I'm not used to being limited in what I can do (besides issues with Hooveritis), and I think I pushed myself a bit too hard. But you live and learn, and little Jack seems none the wiser of his mama not taking it easy. He's still kicking and rolling around in there as always!

Well, I hope all is well with you guys. I hope to start posting regularly again, and reading all my favorite blogs. I'll have to pick up the camera and start shooting again too. I hope my fatigue and headaches/backaches ease a bit to help me with this, but we'll see.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Super-duper busy mode

My hastily assembled work area in the kitchen, complete with coffee mug and unopened baby listening monitor on the table—I hope to open the monitor and actually use it, once hell-week is over.

I've been scarce for several days (and will continue to be for a few more) while I finish up a freelance project I'm working on. The deadline suddenly changed, and time to finish the work was suddenly in very short supply. So, I've been living and breathing this project for days now. I'll resurface in a few days and go back to blogging (and reading my favorite blogs).

Oh, and meanwhile, Pete is already recovering and in therapy for his knee. He'll be off for another week and a half, which is wonderful because I love hanging with him, but I'm going crazy from watching the Military Channel and cleaning up after him—but what else is new?

Anyhow, hope you all had a great holiday back to the drawing board!

Spanky and Max, looking outside together during a moment of inter-species harmony

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A bad case of the dropsies, or, a benefit of having dogs

I have been incredibly clumsy lately, and, as with everything I don't want to take the blame for, I'm blaming this on my pregnant state. As with the peas the other day, I somehow magically flung a dog bowl full of chicken and broccoli soup onto the floor during a recent lunch. I don't even know what happened, because the bowls weren't that full, and Spanky's food made it to the floor still in its container. But when I went to put Adora's dish down, it instead flew out of my hand and (of course) landed upside down, soup everywhere. I quickly looked around and started grabbing paper towels, but Adora was one step ahead of me. She cleaned that floor up like a good little Hoover (Hoogestraat) should, and Spanky even came in after her to do some light spot cleaning. I was left with a slightly sticky, wet floor, which was easily cleaned with moistened paper towels and dish soap. Everyone benefited from my channeling of Dick Van Dyke (as Pete likes to call me during my clumsier moments), which is how it should be, right?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Going under the knife (or laproscope)

Pete is having knee surgery today for a torn medial meniscus (the cushion between his femur and tibia, in his knee—see diagram). And, as a loving and caring wife, I'm a bit worried about him, although it's an outpatient procedure and fairly small scale as far as surgeries go. But it's his first surgery, so he's a bit worried and scared, as am I. Please keep him in your thoughts today, that all will go swimmingly and he'll be running around in no time.

(Image from

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What makes it all worthwhile

The it...

...and why it's all good in the end...

(This made me cry, I was so touched.)

On the inside:

(Printed) Wishing you a day blooming with happiness!

(Written by Pete) "I thought you should get used to this kind of card. Anyway, it's practice. To my loving wife on her birthday."

My first "mom" card ever. It was so touching that he took the time to pick out a card that would mean so much to me, and wrote some personal thoughts in it as well. This was accompanied by a dozen red roses, a belly rub, dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant, and a movie (Public Enemy) at the dollar theater—during which he excitedly whispered facts in my ear about the gangsters, cars, and guns in the movie. So cute.

I love my husband.

P.S. I'm feeling MUCH better today, so I am feeling smiley and positive :)

Abs-olutely miserable

DISCLAIMER: I sometimes worry that I'll turn people off (my readers, that is) if I start talking too much about one thing, or not enough about another. And then I realize that hey, this blog is about ME, and it's about my life and family/friends and what I'm going through or thinking about on any particular day. And if I want to talk about pregnancy stuff ad nauseum (ha ha, cuz that's certainly part of pregnancy), then I will. This is my outlet for my inner being, and if people want to come here to share, that's great. If not, there are a million other blogs out there with more exciting content. I don't mean to sound all hard-ass, I guess it's just my way of making a disclaimer about this post and past/future posts regarding my current favorite subject: pregnancy.

One of the things that has been plaguing me throughout my pregnancy (besides headaches, acne, and the occasional moody breakdown), probably since day one, is abdominal pain. This one has caught me by surprise, because I've never heard of women suffering so much from this as I have. Oh sure, I've heard complaints of back pain, or bloating, or the wonderful headaches (which I'm already used to, pre-pregnancy). But the abdominal pain is something I didn't expect to have so much trouble with.

I definitely expected to have problems with my abs, since there's a lot going on there with muscles growing/stretching/moving, and obviously that's going to cause some discomfort and pain (mostly pain for me). But when I ask other women if they suffered from this, they all seem surprised or a bit confused, and only say that they had a little discomfort or problems with their abs, and that's about it. I was in pretty good shape when I got pregnant, just 10-15 pounds over my "goal" weight, but with really strong abs that could do 50-100 crunches easily. So concerned, I asked my doctor about it last week. She said it's normal, and unless it feels like contractions (it doesn't) then she could only offer me advice (Tylenol, rest, heating pads) and some sympathy. I've tried them all, and they only take the edge off the continuous pain. There's not much help on the Internet either, only a few other women complaining of the level of pain that I've experienced—surprisingly, more in my second trimester, since this is supposed to be my "golden time" of pregnancy.

Pete does not seem to understand how much this hurts me, almost on a daily basis, and it's much worse some weeks than others (this is a bad week). He understands back pain, and often gives me massages (which he is used to from the Hooveritis problems I've had), but whenever I mention how much my belly hurts, he typically just says "Oh" and goes about what he was doing. I know he doesn't mean anything by that, but to not have your husband understand and sympathize with your pain is hard.

So the only thing that offers relief is when my abs decide to stop stretching so much, and I go back to feeling happy and content again. It's almost magical when I don't hurt all the time, when I'm happy to be pregnant and can feel the baby kicking down below. That's a side effect of the ab pain—I don't feel the baby kicking much at all, and that makes me hurt physically AND emotionally. I start freaking out and worry that the little bean is suffering, or not growing properly, or even dead in there, and I worry endlessly until I feel the occasional kick. It's scary, because I normally feel him/her quite frequently during my "good" days, so to feel nothing most of the day is very difficult.

I'm certainly not complaining about being pregnant, and for the most part, it's been wonderful. I had hardly any morning sickness (3 weeks of strong queasiness) and the headaches only hit a few times a week, no more frequently than my past migraines did (which were much worse). The acne? Well, I can deal with that, I certainly have in the past. A full bladder at night hurts a lot, rather than being uncomfortable, but our bed is 15 feet from the bathroom, and nightly trips are normal to me now. Even the back pain is tolerable, having dealt with that so much in my life.

But the ab pain is horrible. From rolling over in bed (the worse), to just sitting in a chair drawing at my computer, it's agony. The pain has been pretty much non-stop since Sunday, and the last time this happened, it lasted a week (which was a few weeks ago). I can only hope that in a few days (or sooner, if I'm lucky) the pain will subside and I'll be back to my rotund, waddling self, happy to be growing and changing along with the baby. I do wonder if the pains are signs of the baby going through growth spurts (certainly my uterus is), and that's a small consolation to me, something I can hang on to in order to deal with something I have little control over.

I hate to use this as a forum for complaining about something so wonderful as having a baby. But I feel like I can share with you all, and just get the feelings out there, if not for relief, then for a small peace of get all this ugliness off my chest. And yes, I'm glad to say I can feel the little bean kicking right now as I type this, so I feel a little better about things, if not in body, then in mind.

Thanks for listening, and I hope to be back to a happy, goofy, regularly-scheduled post tomorrow.

(Image from

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Me at seven. I love my gap-toothed grin and wonderful posture in this picture.

Yup, it's that time of year again. It's the time of year when I usually get really depressed for no reason and feel sorry for myself. That was the case last year.

Not sure why I get so moody on my birthday, but this year? None of that. Which surprises me, because I'm laid off, underemployed, and money has been tight—Pete has had his of hours cut, too. And now with the baby on its way, I often lay in bed at night, worrying about the future and what I'll do when unemployment runs out, hopefully something which I won't have to worry about til next year (please please please give me an extension, IDES!).

But things just seem rosier now for some reason. I think there are many reasons for that. The fact that I'm no longer working at a job that I've HATED for the last few years is one. The fact that I'm starting to mix things up with my freelance work and continue to do what I love, at home. The fact that I get to work at home (for now), preparing for the future, for when I am taking care of our little bean and so lucky to be able to spend my time with him/her. And that's one of the biggest facts of all: the little bean. I've droned on and on about how wonderful life is with the baby coming and with something meaningful to look forward to, but I gotta tell ya, it's true. It does change so much, and he/she isn't even here yet.

True, my health still isn't wonderful. A lot of that has to do with being preggers, and I think that tends to distract me from the fact that there are still underlying health issues that I'll have to deal with once the baby is born. But again, I have the opportunity to raise a child, love them, teach them, laugh and cry with them, and of course, lose lots and lots of sleep. But it's all worth it.

I also just feel more comfortable in my own skin. The fact that Pete still finds me pretty when I have a face full of acne (thanks, hormones), or that he calls me Sexy Bear in my pregnant state and actually finds me attractive (yet cute with the tummy and all), does a lot for me confidence-wise. So does the fact that I don't care if I have 2 readers of my blog, or 22 readers, or whatever; my blog is for me, and for those who care to see how I am or what's bugging me or what's making me (or them) laugh. So does the fact that I can have fun with my camera and try new things and play as if I were a little kid again—albeit, a kid with an expensive and complicated camera. So does the fact that I have a loving family and friends who never notice when I've put on 10 pounds (well, until now, lol) or when my hair is misbehaving (almost daily) or when something isn't fitting quite right. They do notice when I'm not feeling my best, and they are always there to help me feel better, offer advice, make me laugh...whatever it takes.

So, to cut this ramble short, I just wanna say that 36 is looking pretty darn good. Yeah, it's on an average weekday, and not on the usual holiday weekend it falls on 3/4 of the time (grrr). Sure, I have no particular plans today and we'll probably just eat meatloaf I plan on making for dinner. And yes, life will go on as always, trudging (or leaping or rushing or tip-toeing) toward 37, then 38, and beyond. And I'm cool with that. I haven't been able to say that for several years, but I definitely feel it this time around.

Happy Wednesday, September 2nd, everyone!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Missing that caffeine magic

This tin poster (a birthday gift from Sam years ago) is in my kitchen, and makes me smile.

As I sit here trying to come up with some witty, colorful illustrations, I realize how much I rely on caffeine to fuel my creative urges. And because I have to limit my caffeine, my lack of "energy" is definitely affecting my creative urges. Which is obvious, because I'm busy blogging instead of drawing. I'm not sure how to get into the zone and be all hyped up about what I'm working on without chemical intervention. It's quite frustrating, and I find myself procrastinating or getting distracted by other things (blogging, tv, the pets, housework) just to avoid having to be imaginitive and innovative.

How does one get past this block? I know I've blogged about it before, but it seems even more difficult now. And I don't have the luxury of time to wait for inspiration to hit, so what is one to do? This has been a problem for me as a freelance creative person, and it's always something I struggle with. I wonder what the solution is, and how to get into the correct frame of mind to do what I need to do (and WANT to do, dammit). I know deadlines can be quite convincing, but I don't want to fall into that trap again and again. And since I'm working with a few new clients, I want to make a good impression.

So...what to do? Any suggestions from those who have to be "on" for certain projects?