Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemaking Skillz

About two years ago, I had an identity crisis freakout session. Really. See rant here. I was concerned that I wouldn't have the capacity to enjoy the everyday life of a stay at home mom. (I still haven't found a suitable alternative to that title.) Well, if my 2008 self could see me now, she would see...

1. How much fun I had making a Cafe Rio taste-alike chicken salad for my bachelor brothers when my man was out of town. It took hours and lots of ingredients, but I now find so much fulfillment in cooking for other people (especially when they are as appreciative of homemade goodness as bachelors can be).

2. How obsessed I became this week over my new sewing project. The only other project I've completed besides the ugly felt Christmas stocking I stitched in 7th grade home economics was a quilt I made two years before I even became pregnant with the punk. I made it with two other girlfriends as a fun activity, and we were heavily supervised through the entire process.

This time, I'm completely on my own. I have armed myself with an entire paycheck-load of darling fabric (isn't it a requirement to use the detestable word "darling" when discussing a baby quilt?) and my mom's sewing machine, which used to be my Grandma Venna's.

I was supremely happy for two hours today: sewing, drinking Diet Coke out of a fancy glass, enjoying a shortbread cookie that I made last night, and watching Julie & Julia, the film that inspired my friend Brittany and me to begin a monthly cooking group (and blog) with our fellow food-loving friends. I combined two homemaking enterprises today that may have intimidated me two years ago. Look at me now! Meatloaf in the oven and sewing machine at my fingertips! I'm a totally awesome housewife!

This is my grandma (my dad's mom). She passed away when I was only one year old, but as I've been working on this project with her machine, I feel like she's watching over me. Thanks Grandma! I need all the help I can get, even if it comes from the Beyond. What am I saying? ESPECIALLY if it comes from the Beyond!

3. How giddy I can be over a scrumptious lunch at home. Today it was turkey, swiss, cranberry & arugula on a parkerhouse roll. Oh yeah, and half a banana. The punk stole my other half.

4. How I haven't swept the kitchen floor in at least a week nor changed the bed sheets for... too long. Some things never change.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I am thankful for my family, immediate and extended. Also: the changing seasons, my warm house, my loyal friends, and dark hot chocolate.

Punk, what are you thankful for?

"Grandmas, papas, and Bogey (Grandma Lynn's dog)... and Aaron too (his uncle)!"

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Be Awesome

Mama: "Punk, do you know what that bird is called? It's a vulture."
Punk: "Hi vulture! Hi vulture! Be awesome. Bye."

Then, addressing his socked foot like a telephone: "Hi sock! Be awesome. Bye."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Faux Pas

My brother David and I attended our little sister's Young Women Standards Night this evening where we heard an entertaining guest speaker talk about the recently added Young Women value: virtue. She first addressed all the other Young Women values, saying that if only she could be considered a woman of faith, or a woman of divine nature, individual worth, etc, then she would be content. When she came to the value of knowledge, she said, "I would love to be a woman of knowledge. Not only spiritual knowledge, but sexual knowledge."


All the heads in the congregation snapped up. She had our attention. We wondered what the next slide would be in her PowerPoint presentation. Images from the Kama Sutra? Are we in the wrong meeting?

Silent pause.

Crickets chirping.

"Excuse me, I meant secular knowledge."

This faux pas was the highlight of my Sunday. That and the fact that my brother brought a fork with him so he could scratch his itchy foot during the meeting. He just carried it right in with him. No wallet, no keys. Just a fork in his hand.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weight Room Mishap

I anchored the midpoint of my exercise band behind the door, above the top hinge. My mission: reverse squats. Pull down on the band while squatting into a 90 degree sit position, and then return to standing. This provides two-fold resistance: from pulling the band on the way down and from the ever-present force of gravity on the way back up.

As I settled into my first squat, I said, out loud, to no one in particular, "I hope the band doesn't break!"

Aaaaand: SNAP!

"Huuugh!" I was suddenly flat on my back with the band in one hand and a loose handle in the other. The handle had become separated from the band.

I heard chuckling in the other room. My man was laughing at the timing of my unlucky prophesy. I'm sure the image of a big-bellied chick sprawled on the floor may have also contributed to the evil giggling.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

And the Mother Of The Year award goes to...

The mama who let her punk watch too much TV...

Then eat pizza for dinner (with no fruit or vegetable supplements) while displaying abhorrent table manners...

Then top it all off with a fat/carb/calorie-filled chocolate cookie!

I am awesome.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Punk Funnies

1. When we were staying with our friends the Garretts in California a few weeks ago, my man told me of this experience he had with the punk. I've briefly mentioned our method of trying to get him to behave appropriately on furniture by uttering the reminder, "Knees or bum!" when he tries to stand up on the couch. Anyway, the man was supervising the punk's outside playtime with the Garrett kidlets, their dad, and the dog Cruz. Daddy Garrett was showing the punk some of Cruz's tricks, including his obedience of the command, "Sit!" He was saying, "Cruz, sit!" over and over, but the puppy wasn't cooperating. So the kids joined in, "Cruz, sit!" without success. So the punk took it upon himself to give the command in a way the dog might understand: "Cruz, knees or bum!"

There are a couple punk phrases that always make me wince and look around, just in case there is a stranger nearby who might misunderstand:

2. The punk loooooves his train table that he inherited from his cousin James. Happily for me, he will spend a good hour supervising the progress of his blue engine and the many train cars that occupy the track. But when the blue engine (the one with batteries) is made to pull too many cars behind it, the load is too heavy and it becomes stuck. Frequently. All the time. So I hear this phrase frequently. All the time. "Uh oh! I suck!"

He's actually saying "it's stuck," but you wouldn't know that, would you?

3. The punk has learned to identify the American flag, and gets very excited when he sees one. He'll even put his hand on his heart (really, his tummy) and sometimes we recite the pledge of allegiance together. As the grand-daughter of a sailor who served in WWII and the sister of a Marine who served two tours in Iraq, this makes me happy. But when he points to these red, white, and blue standards, he yells, "Flag!" without the "l." I can't even bring myself to type this horrible word. I just hope no one ever hears this exclamation and gets offended that I've taught my toddler to be a complete jerk.

4. "Mac and cheese-aroni."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Peculiarities of Pregnancy

I shall now give you a short list of the weird social peculiarities that a woman is forced to experience during pregnancy, interspersed with a series of photos of the punk. They really have nothing to do with each other, except that I was pregnant with the punk once. And this is what he looks like now, while I am pregnant with his little brother. Besides, you'd rather see photos of him than me, right? Well, that's what you're going to get because I'm better with the camera than he is so if there is any photo-taking around here, I'm the one doing the shooting.

Shall we begin?

1. Tummy touching.

When I was gestating the punk, the amount of annoyance this act created in me was surprising. I really, really hated it. Especially at work. "Hello, person from Accounting that I've never actually had a conversation with. I've never even shaken your hand, but yes! Feel free to place your hand on my protruding abdomen. That's not invasive at all! Better yet, why don't you stand behind me and we can spoon!"

This time, I'm not as annoyed. Maybe it's because I've already been through it once and I know that some people just really love touching the tummy of an expectant mother. It makes them feel close to the magic or something. Or maybe it's because I know that being annoyed isn't going to do any good because tummy-touchers will be tummy-touchers. Either way, I'd rather you didn't invade my personal space if we don't have that kind of close relationship. (If you are a friend or family member that I regularly hug, you're in the clear.) But if you insist on rubbing my belly, I will try not to karate chop your wrist.

2. Gender expectations.

When I found out that I am having a second boy, I was genuinely thrilled. I felt like I had all the fortune in the world. I have high hopes that the punk and his little brother will have a close bond. It's not that he wouldn't have a great relationship with a sister, but I get excited thinking about two little Bell boys running around together. Some other people, however, seem to have different ideas.

When a close relative found out about the second male, she smiled a sad smile and said, "I'll bet you would have liked to have a girl this time, huh?" Um... no. Not really. I found it a bit strange that having two of the same gender was a cause of grief for this person. Is it that once you have one of each, your family is complete? Will I be an incomplete mother if I never have a variety?

At another time, someone else said, "Oh, well I guess you'll definitely have to have another baby. You have to try for a girl next time, right?" Um... no. I'd be completely happy with all boys. Maybe we'll have another one, maybe not. But if we do, it won't be so we can "try for a girl." How would one go about doing that anyway?

I find it very amusing that people even have opinions about this sort of thing, and that they share these opinions with me. Which brings me to number three...

3. Unsolicited opinions.

Especially when it comes to names. We all know someone who has decided on a name for their little bundle months before the birth, but refuses to share the name with anyone. I used to think this was kind of silly, but after hearing a few stories, I have a new respect for this method. If you tell someone the name(s) you are considering for your baby, you WILL receive a positive or negative assessment, even if it's just an accidental facial expression. Usually, the general public will hold their tongue if they don't really love the name as much as you do, but occasionally, you'll find someone who just has to tell you why you can not, under any circumstances, give your child this horrible name!

I especially love the concerns regarding possible nicknames or childhood taunts. Yesterday, my friend told me that her friend was considering the name Tate for her baby boy. Then some loud-mouthed character blurted out, "Tate, Tate, masturbate!" And that was the end of that.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So Cute

My man, the punk and I went out to breakfast early this morning. After the man paid the bill and left to catch a flight, the punk and I lingered to finish our pancakes. (I may die in the next 5 minutes of early morning sugar overload. Farewell.)

In observing the decor of the restaurant, the punk said something I've never heard him say before and it tickled my funny bone. He pointed to some flowers in a vase and said, "Flowers, so cute!" I wasn't sure if I had heard him correctly, so I asked him to repeat what he had said. "Flowers, so cute!" I laughed so loud and hard that he could be in no doubt of how I felt about his new phrase; he is not lacking in positive reinforcement. So then he pointed to the decorative plates on the walls and said, "Plates, so cute!"

When we got home, I asked him to repeat his new phrase for the camera. (The lighting in our basement is horrible, so please ignore the poor cinematography.) Enjoy!

Hump Day

Today, I am 20 weeks along in my pregnancy with the petit garçon. He likes to kick when I'm resting. Or maybe that's the only time I feel it. My man came with me to an ultrasound appointment last week. While the tech was trying to get some clear pictures, the little guy was wiggling, turning over, grabbing his toes, then stretching all the way out. My man asked me if I could feel all that movement, and I told him I couldn't. It was pretty weird to see the babe moving on the screen, but not feel it inside. He is only the size of a banana, so I guess he has plenty of room to move without my knowledge. You enjoy that now, little man! When you're a teenager trying to sneak out of your room at 1:00 am, I'll know of your movements! Oh yes. I'll know.
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