Sunday, December 20, 2009

My first video!

The Studly Hubby helped me put together a video so all y'all (Texan plural) can see my bump and the house in its full holiday charm (please forgive the messiness).

Here it is! I edited it using iMovie on the mac which has all kinds of neat transitions and things.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where in the world is Ward?

Our friend Ward has become an unfortunate victim of modern technology and I'm afraid it's all my Studly Hubby's fault. The Studly Hubby used his phone to snap a picture of Ward enthusiastically holding up two bottles of hard-to-get Templeton Rye whiskey (made in Iowa and distributed only to Iowa and Illinois) that the Studly Hubby had brought back from a holiday trip. The picture got sent out to a few creative people, messed with a little bit and then turned into a viral epidemic over email... these are just three of about 10 pictures that were sent around on Friday.

Poor Ward! Fortunately he took it all well. And I think he would say it's worth it for the chance at some Templeton Rye.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby user manual

The Studly Hubby's new favorite book:

"Operating Instructions and advice on 1st year maintenance"

Available at

And for two years from now:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas Party '09

It's nice to have a spouse that works in industry because they have fancy Christmas parties, and if I'm lucky I get invited. We have been to some really awesome Christmas parties in our day, the best were put on by the first company he ever worked for back in the homeland (Iowa) and everyone would go out and buy ball gowns and dance all night and get wasted and stumble up to a hotel room afterwards and leave the kids at home for the night. We were wee college tikes and thought it was a pretty great time.

Now that we're all grown up we still try to have a good time and so I was excited to get invited to this year's party. It was James Bond themed, so I put on a black dress and got some flashy shoes (flats of course, now that they're in I couldn't resist) and we headed downtown (Bellevue) to party down.

Me just before - it's amazing what lipstick and dim lighting can do!

The flashy shoes

The Studly Hubby, sipping on a bond-like martini

James Bond, or at least a hired look-alike that really looked like him! It spooked me out a little. If you want to hire James Bond to come to your next party, you can! Here is his website.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

28 Weeks

Baby gained FOUR POUNDS over Thanksgiving! I hope baby is not so demanding at Christmas...!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Peppermint brownies and a healthy afternoon snack

If you don't have a chocolate factory in your neighborhood I highly recommend getting one. They are GREAT. In our neighborhood we have Theo Chocolate, which makes organic, fair trade chocolate in small high-quality batches (without removing the cocoa butter which is apparently common practice in the chocolate industry) and they have happy well-paid employees that give high-energy tours of their factory while constantly slamming chocolate. They also have a CHOCOLATE UNIVERSITY where you can go learn about chocolate, where it comes from, how to prepare it, and why it is good for you (they used to actually prescribe chocolate and sell it in pharmacies, which is why it is made in segmented bars).

Theo also has REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE and are always changing up what they have in the little store at the factory - so whenever I go I find lots of great new stuff (and lots of great samples!). This time they were getting geared up for Christmas, and had wine- or beer-and-chocolate taster sets, chocolate spa treatment gift baskets (including a peppermint-chocolate body lotion, oh my gosh!), whiskey confections (with real, good quality whiskey!), special holiday flavored chocolate bars, a section for vegans, a Jane Goodall line (with a copy of her latest book), and a list of holiday events and recipes. I signed up for the gingerbread house viewing in December and loaded up on some new recipes, then dropped a wad of cash on their excellent chocolate.

That night, we decided to make chocolate brownies using Theo dark chocolate bars. It is a typical brownie recipe, but calls for their Ivory Coast 75% cacao chocolate. Unfortunately, I realized after I was committed that I was two bars short of the Ivory Coast so we had to substitute the special holiday peppermint chocolate (70% cacao with peppermint chips). Then we used up all the butter and eggs in the refrigerator and baked it up. It turns out that peppermint chocolate brownies are pretty freaking awesome. The magic of the Theo chocolate was so powerful that we both ended up staying up well past 9 pm (and the baby too!).

Just the smell of chocolate brownies baking is magical. I think it triggers some sort of vortex that transports a person like me into a happy hallucination. Maybe it's just hormonal, I'm not sure, but it's good stuff.

On Sunday I incorporated the chocolate brownies into every meal. For breakfast, I just had a brownie (and some cereal, I'm not totally unhealthy). Then to supplement lunch I had brownies, sliced apple and cheese. Then after dinner, we had more brownies.

A 'healthy' after lunch snack on Sunday...

By dinner the brownies we served up were getting pretty small - but we still have half a pan to go!

I doubt we will have a problem finishing off these brownies. Not only are they delicious, but I think they are also giving me superpowers. This afternoon, I went to the Gap and scored big time - I actually found a half-price maternity coat that they told me last week they were sold out of. I'm telling you, it's magic!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blog Gadgets!!

I don't know if I should feel dumb or smart - I just now discovered that you can add stuff to the side of your blog. Check it out! I added Twilight quotes, Followers and a Search engine. I was clued in on Mandy in Minneapoland's blog, who is obviously way sharper than I am. For the rest of you who are really sharp about this stuff, can anyone explain to me how I already have two followers when I just put up the option to follow my blog? Also anybody know of any other cool stuff to put on the side of my blog? I probably shouldn't leave that Twilight quotes one up forever or you might think lesser of me...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Twi-fans: here comes the Studly Hubby!!

For the past month or so, the Studly Hubby has been very busy putting together a fan website for the new Twilight movie (New Moon) which opens next week. They launched the website yesterday. It features video footage of Forks (where most of the Twilight book series takes place) and an integrative map of various sites in Forks and all around that are important in the New Moon movie. The website features lots of videos and pictures and even a secret hidden interview with the cast (where cast members answer a question the Studly Hubby and I helped pick! - it's actually a pretty good interview, although short).

It has been a big project with lots of new features (the map is particularly cool) that the Studly Hubby had to work hard to create - many bags of M&Ms were consumed in the process of making this website. But it turned out really really great! Go Studly Hubby Go!

The website will get a plug tonight on Extra (with Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell) and has already gotten a mention on Ryan Seacrest's radio show. It will also eventually be the first hit if you search for "Twilight" on Bing.

Click below to see the clip from Extra!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

What was I thinking (and why was I thinking that?)??

Yesterday at the end of yoga a woman in class announced that she was renting out one of the other rooms in the building and had some furniture to give away. So I and several others stopped by to check it out. As with most free furniture, it was not great stuff, but free, so I decided to take the bookshelves.

The problem is I have a tiny Honda Civic and it was pouring rain outside and I am pregnant, so it was an adventure getting the bookshelves crammed into the car and then driving home. Once we got the bookshelves outside they clearly did not fit in the car, and I had no bunjee cords to strap anything down, so after it was all done and the bookshelves were hanging out of the open trunk in the pouring rain I realized the whole thing was a bad idea. But since I needed a lot of help to get into that predicament I felt badly asking everyone to help me back out of it. I wedged them in as tightly as I could and mapped out the least hilly, least bumpy and least busy route home and then crossed my fingers and went for it. The rain of course got heavier and the hills were steeper than I remembered and the whole way home I had myself convinced the Studly Hubby would throw a fit and make me return the shelves when he saw them (we had previously made a pact not to buy any more crappy furniture... but free is ok right?).

On the way home I decided the best way to tackle the problem of the Studly Hubby, if I made it that far, was to just bring the bookshelves inside and wipe them off and pretend like they were always there. So I snuck the car up to the front of the house, got out and cheered quietly that I made it, and then somehow maneuvered the bookshelves out of the car and up to the porch in the pouring rain. I was just about to think I was going to be victorious in my plan when the Studly Hubby flung open the front door in his robe and proclaimed, "WHAT are you DOING?"

So I had to change tactics. "I DON'T KNOW...!" I wailed. "I'm not sure what I was thinking...!!!" He ran and got a pile of towels and put them down so I wouldn't wreck the house as I dragged the bookshelves through the living room and then he actually helped me wipe them down (with many complaints about how grungy and wet they were) and proceeded to ask why I thought it would be a good idea to bring home crappy bookshelves in the pouring down rain with our too-small car. I pleaded ignorant. I think it kind of worked. By the end of the morning I had convinced both of us that if we painted the bookshelves glitter purple with pink hearts on the side they would be really cool and totally worth my effort.

Couple's massage at the yoga center

I have started going to yoga at a new studio, Planet Earth Yoga (in Fremont).

It's a nice little studio that has small classes and a knowledgeable instructor (recommended by my physical therapist). I miss hot yoga a lot but this has been much better for me since I've been injured.

Yesterday the studio had a couple's massage class, which the Studly Hubby grudgingly agreed to (mainly because I am pregnant and he is wisely aware of the hazards of angering a pregnant lady).

The class was a lot different than I thought it would be. I thought we would get a little book on massage technique and get lectured on how to effectively work out muscle tension with your fingers and knuckles and elbows etc, but instead it was a simple do-it-and-make-it-work kind of thing. We spent one hour on each person and the instructor just talked us through a basic massage - start at the head, do the neck, the shoulders, then move to the arm and the leg, then do the feet, then switch to the other side. It was very straightforward and didn't take a lot of skill.

And it was AMAZING!! The Studly Hubby did a GREAT job on me and when I got to massage him it was exhilarating. We were both worried it would hurt my achy back to lean over him for an hour, and he was sure he wouldn't enjoy it anyway... but I think he really liked it! and I used all the props from yoga to help out my back (it's amazing how helpful a foam brick can be). Plus there was an indescribable thrill to it - maybe because I'm very tactile, and don't normally get to touch to many things without seeming weird, or maybe because his body was so fascinating (he has a manly brow! and giant hands and feet! oh my!). Probably I was also thrilled by the electric energy of the healing touch too. We both felt awesome afterwards.

The Studly Hubby just after his massage. You can see the foam brick just behind him that I sat on to protect my back. The teacher also had a million of these navajo blankets that you could use to crouch on and keep warm with and we were lying on cozy foam mats. It was quite lovely!

The Studly Hubby sprawled out at our 'spot' on the floor in the studio. The teacher thought I was pretty funny taking pictures of him. I didn't tell her it was for my blog!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Digital Scrapbooking Anyone?

Some of you may already know this about me, but I am a closet cardmaker. I'm terrible at it, and don't do it very often, but if you put me in a store with a bunch of scrapbooking materials I will go crazy and buy some things and make a not-so-great-looking card eventually. Real scrapbooking is a whole different beast however. And when it comes to making a photo album I'm totally lost.

This photo album blockage has been on my mind for a while now, especially with a baby coming. I thought going digital might help, and iPhoto and photo websites like Shutterfly have very simple templates one can use for this but for a baby book I wanted something more - lots of page templates (or even blank templates to build your own pages) and some extra features like different backgrounds or digital 'stamps' and decorations. So I asked someone in photography and was recommended two options: Adobe Photoshop (which has a digital scrapbooking add-on that you can buy) and Creative Memories (a traditional scrapbooking company that has made digital software).

Creative Memories:
In the end I went with Creative Memories. They have a free version you can download and play with (and actually use, although it's very limited) and the software itself is $65. Then you can buy various packages (like a baby-girl package of templates and decorations for $15). It works a lot like Microsoft Power Point so it's very easy to use and in the end you can use their sweet high-quality printing service to make hard-back or paper-back books.

They have a TON of other stuff and I will probably be entertained by this for a lifetime. Plus it's kind of run like Avon so there's a sales rep in my district that is going to constantly bug me to come to her parties and try new products. Hopefully it will be fun and not annoying. I am going to take advantage of her immediately and invite her over to host a digital scrapbooking party so I can have some girls over and learn the full power of the software. Hopefully I can get someone else hooked so I can be extra-motivated.

Let me know if you use or know someone that uses this software!

23 Weeks

I am one week away from the 3rd trimester. I am finally getting a pretty obvious bump, and people in my yoga class are starting to guess. But I feel like my height is finally working to my advantage because the belly has so far been very manageable.

I am starting to really be able to feel the baby move. She is very wiggly (during ultrasounds and lots of other times) and we have figured out that she probably gets this from her dad, according to the all-knowing Studly Mother-In-Law, who reports that baby's daddy was also quite wiggly in utero (unlike my brother and I, who 'didn't move' the entire pregnancy according to my Studly Mommy). I think Dad is very proud that his genes are already making themselves obvious. Also, clearly they'll be a good match for each other.

A doc appointment a few weeks ago and heavy-duty ultrasound all looked good, baby and mommy are healthy, all the tests are coming back negative except one. Apparently I am a carrier for cystic fibrosis, but thank goodness the Studly Hubby is not a carrier so the baby may be a carrier but won't have the full-blown condition. Also as you can tell I am using 'she' now so we found out the gender and the technician seemed pretty confident of the diagnosis. Plus my baby-girl instinct, which I have had since before I found out I was pregnant, has been verified.

Also I am happy to report that I finally got vaccinated for H1N1, a huge relief since this has been wreaking havoc on pregnant ladies around the country, and the doctor did a good job of freaking us both out a few weeks ago. We have been progressively being more careful as it hits Seattle (we both stopped riding the bus, I've requested my co-workers let me know if they run a fever, etc) and I've been getting more worried as the number of cases here goes up, but now I am vaccinated and I can sleep better!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Halloween outfit

Here it is:

For Halloween I decided to be that guy who got pregnant, Thomas Beatie. I don't look very much like him, but he's got a pretty original look:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pregnant lady Halloween costumes

The best Halloween costume is one that is a great idea but not too much work. Like the following:

This year I have THREE Halloween costumes, first I was an MSN butterfly for the Studly Hubby's NERD party, then for work tomorrow I will be that dude who got pregnant (Thomas Beatie), and on Saturday I will be a doctor (so I can wear a mask and gloves and protect myself from all the germy kids while handing out the Halloween candy).

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First baby present!

The Studly Hubby and I got our first baby present, and it is a bumbo chair!! Thanks Caetano and Rosana! You guys supplied us with an entire night of entertainment (clearly we are easy to entertain).

We spent a lot of time putting together a very long baby registry at Target and at Amazon that includes a few fun things but mostly things we really really need (at least what we think we need). Not only is it fun to get gifts, but it felt really good to get our 'to buy' list organized and spend lots of time thinking hard about what we want (which we really like to do). So I am super-duper excited about our baby lists (and the upcoming shower(s) that are being thrown for us when we go back to the homeland in November - thanks A&D and L&L for organizing these!!). Note that the Target gift list is super-short because 1) we wanted to encourage people to send us things (which is easy through Amazon) rather than buy them and give them to us when we are traveling and 2) Target locked me out of their system after I had only put a few things on the list because they wanted to 'verify' I was really me and asked me some hard questions I couldn't answer right.


In the spirit of the upcoming baby, and all things baby, The Studly Hubby and I have been looking at our own baby pictures.

First I dragged out my baby book, which I take with me wherever I move to, but unfortunately has seen some hard years (31 of them to be exact). This baby book is totally awesome - not only does it have a lot of great pictures of ME but it also has great pictures of my mom and dad from way back when they were totally different people and lived in the alter-universe of pre-babies. My aunt Lisa made it when she was 16, which I think makes it even better, because she did a lot of excited teenage journaling and wrote about things like where she was when my mom went into labor (study hall), the place my mom lived (Dodge Street in Iowa City), all the stuff they bought for me and who came to visit after I was born, and she even got my dad to write a little note in it while he was waiting for me to arrive (as per usual I was exceptionally late - 3 weeks!) - and everyone in the family doodled cute little things all over the pages.

Unfortunately the pages are starting to fade and the pictures have all fallen out several times, so I think it's finally time to digitize it. I am hoping the Studly Hubby will be a hero and scan it all for me because looking through it Friday gave me some horrible allergies that lasted clear into today.

Here are two of my favorite pictures from the baby book:

Me and my beautiful mom (who looks 14, but is actually the same age as me right now):
Me, at 3-6 months:

Second we looked at the Power Point presentation that was also made by my very Studly Aunt Lisa for our wedding (and my Studly Uncle hooked up a sweet sound system to play the slideshow to a rockin' awesome soundtrack). Here are a few of our favorite photos from the power point (including the ones above):

Me, on the potty. This one actually didn't get included but was part of the collection of photos she dug up.

The Studly Hubby on his swing:
Thanks Aunt Lisa!! Hopefully the entire photo album will get digitized soon and then I can post more from it. For now it is safely stowed away from my traumatized immune system.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Studly Hubby's NERD party

Last weekend The Studly Hubby threw a 'Windows 7 Release Party' (aka NERD party). Microsoft sent him a party pack full of games, decorations, party gifts, and a free copy of Windows 7 in exchange for the loose promise of inviting some people over and advertising Windows 7. We actually like Windows 7 and thought that was a neat idea so we hooked the computer up to the TV and showed it off like we were supposed to. We also made people dress up like their favorite Windows icon - below is a 'My Pictures' icon (who won second prize) and a 'Windows defendor' (who won first prize).

In the spirit of the party, we put up a 'Penalty Box' for crimes against Windows 7, but I was the only one that ended up in it all night.

The Studly Hubby bought himself a blue unitard for the party, which he was pretty excited about. He originally had a sign around his neck with his favorite logo, XAML (a Silverlight programming language), but the sign was unwieldy and was eventually left behind somewhere. Fortunately when one's costume includes a blue unitard it's interesting with or without the main feature.

Here we are with our full costumes. I was the MSN butterfly (the Studly Hubby's idea - I stole it) and he was XAML. The butterfly wings were also a bit unwieldy, and required some extra maintenance to keep the wings from drooping - but we made it work.

Little baby bump

I think this was taken last weekend, at exactly 5 months. I have gained about 10 lbs now (shooting for 20-25 total, so I'm on track). The second trimester is as good as they say; other than the belly growing, I've been feeling pretty normal.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This just in from one of my nerdy friends...

Cymothoa exigua or the Tongue eating louse is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cymothoidae. It tends to be 3 to 4 cm long. This parasite attaches itself at the base of the spotted rose snapper’s (Lutjanus guttatus) tongue, entering the fish’s mouth through its gills. It then proceeds to extract blood through the claws on its front three pairs of legs. As the parasite grows, less and less blood reaches the tongue, and eventually the organ atrophies from lack of blood. The parasite then replaces the fish’s tongue by attaching its own body to the muscles of the tongue stub. The fish is able to use the parasite just like a normal tongue. It appears that the parasite does not cause any other damage to the host fish.[1] Once C. exigua replaces the tongue, some feed on the host’s blood and many others feed on fish mucus. They do not eat scraps of the fish’s food.[2] This is the only known case of a parasite functionally replacing a host organ.[citation needed]

There are many species of Cymothoa,[3] but only C. exigua is known to consume and replace its host’s tongue. (via wiki)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It's FALL!!

We've had such a crazy, chaotic summer that I was REALLY looking forward to fall this year.

Plus fall is the season for my favorite foods:

Apple crisp!

Our favorite recipe is the one by America's Test Kitchen - it is SO delicious! But my old stand-by, the Joy of Cooking apple crisp recipe (with oatmeal) is pretty good too.

And Pumpkin Pie!!

My favorite pumpkin pie recipe is the one on the Libby's pumpkin can - although it's still good without Libby's brand pumpkin. And homemade whip cream is not necessary but certainly delicious.

Another fall favorite - going to the APPLE FARM!!

In Minneapolis we would always go to Aamodt's apple farm, which sold the locally invented Honeycrisp apple (mmm-mmm delicious!) and had loads of good food to eat and fun stuff to do.

We're still looking for that perfect apple farm in Washington - we went to one two years ago with a corn maze but we got lost and stuck in the mud and it wasn't as fun as it sounds. Plus they didn't have any apple-flavored popcorn.

Another great thing about fall is that it provides the perfect excuse to GO SHOPPING! Which I have been doing a lot of this year, as my belly is popping out of all my normal clothes. I also managed to convince the Studly Hubby that some hip fall boots would be really good for the baby:

And they are WARM, too!

Happy fall everyone!!

Ivar's Seafood Underwater Billboards

Ivar's Seafood ("Acres of Clams") was opened by Ivar Haglund in 1938 in Seattle. Ivar was an eccentric Seattle character and pulled many stunts to advertise his restaurant. The restaurant has since turned into a local chain and is still a well-known destination for Seattleites (we have taken many visitors there).

A historian recently discovered yet another stunt of Ivar's - underwater billboard advertising (the first of its kind!) - put in during the 1950s and then forgotten. The locations of the billboards were discovered in some of Ivar's old documents in his office and a diving excursion was initiated to go find them - and about half of them were there! At underwater locations all over Seattle, they were cemented into the ground and advertised great deals for underwater divers and submarine riders.

Apparently Ivar's dream was that submarines would become a major mode of transportation for Seattle area residents and he would be the first to catch their attention. Unfortunately, these billboards didn't catch anyone's attention until the map of their location was recently discovered by the historian. But as far as anyone knows they are the world's first example of underwater advertising so even though nobody ever noticed them they are getting some attention now.

Of course, the chain is using this as yet another eccentric stunt to advertise their restaurants. The entire story is on Ivar's website, as well as in local TV ads and the media. They are also advertising some of the deals that were offered on the billboards in the 1950s - you can really get 75 cent chowder for a limited time! Yum!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

baby BUMP!

Flash forward (brought to you by the Baby Bump Belt at the maternity store):

What I actually look like right now (at 4 months, the pic was taken about 2 weeks ago):

If I'm slouching (which I'm not in the picture) you can see the bump a lot better, and anyone who knows me can tell there's something there that wasn't a few months ago - but if I stand up straight a stranger still can't really tell. I gave a talk on Friday and some other post-doc moms in my department guessed but they said the thing that gave me away was that I put my hand on my belly sometimes during the talk that was in a way that only a pregnant woman would do. Huh!

Do you ROCK?

The Studly Hubby and I rock, that's for sure!

Because we can stay up past 9 pm (sometimes). Like last Tuesday night, when we went down to Key Arena at the Seattle Center (near the Space Needle) to go to a Pearl Jam concert.

Key Arena (I'm pretty sure the concert was sold out):

And here's me thinking about how hard I'm about to rock:

The Study Hubby thinks it bodes well for my mommy potential that I know how to rock. I think it says something about what kind of father he's going to be that he thinks that (translation: baby will be playing drums in Dad's band by age 3). While we were waiting for the music to start we figured out that this is actually baby's SECOND concert (and baby has only existed for 4.5 months!). The first one was, to my delight, Tori Amos.

The concert was good. Pearl Jam showed that they know how to rock professionally and didn't need any glitz and glam to make a good show. They told us this was their 50th show in Seattle (!!).


1) The drunk ladies in front of us that thought for some reason they could influence all the people in front of them to sit down by yelling and waving wildly. At first it was funny, but after three songs it got old and someone else thankfully let them know this.

2) The fight that almost broke out on the bus on the way home. Not only was it a new experience for me to see two nearly-crazy men almost come to blows in a very crowded situation, but a (very small woman) took it upon herself to break it up (and she was successful!). This one made me think a little differently.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


It's been frigging an entire summer since I've posted.

I guess we've had a heckuva summer! Let me tell you... (and then you should forgive me my blog-neglect)

Right after my last post, we went on our family vacation to Missouri and had a blast, but then I came back to Seattle with some kind of awful stomach bug that sent me running to the doctor where I found out I was PREGNANT!!! I was quite pleased but as you can imagine but also a bit worried that the next three months was going to be a continuation of the horrible week I had been having... especially when the doctor assured me that it probably would be (and prescribed a bunch of anti-nausea drugs).

Fortunately I did get better and the subsequent pregnancy-associated nausea and exhaustion was so mild compared to actually being sick that I put up with it like a champion (although it did get kinda bad about a month later during Seattle's record-breaking heat wave... ugh). But the fun didn't stop there. While I was recovering from the stomach bug we took in a vacationing neighbor's dog - normally pleasant but not this time. Two weeks later, we returned her with a vow never to dogsit again. Meanwhile we had been hunting for a new apartment and had ramped up the motivation since getting the big news, and we finally found something... a perfect little house only a few blocks away... so the weekend after we gave back the dog, we started packing! Seriously! So all in one month after returning from the fun family vacation I got really sick, found out I was pregnant, dogsat for a totally obnoxious dog, and then MOVED. Thank goodness my very Studly Hubby helped a lot with all this, including hiring movers to do all the heavy lifting (but I learned that even with movers it is still a huge amount of work).

After that we started having some fun - we had family visit, went on a big camping vacation with a bunch of friends to a beautiful peaceful island north of Seattle, and had some other friends over to celebrate our new house and the deck that is attached to it. We also got our stuff unpacked, kept the flowers alive in the new garden, and bought shelves for the basement and a desk for the bedroom.

But as you can imagine we are pretty worn out. Then, at the end of it all, we both caught colds and were totally wiped out over Labor Day weekend. Fortunately it was a rainy weekend anyway and we had needed a good excuse to stay home and watch TV all weekend, which is exactly what we did. This weekend we are finally feeling better, a little recovered, and ready for fall and a fresh new month (with much less in the calendar).

Due: end of February
Baby bump status: starting to make an appearance
Gender bet: girl
Gender decision: we will find out ASAP (hopefully in one month)
Current names favorites: Wardonius, Carnitas Fajitas Burrito (if it's a girl), Falgar

Probably this blog will have a lot more baby stuff in it from now on, so get ready!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Swimsuit shopping made easy

If you're in the market for a swimsuit and you're a woman, I'm very sorry. It's such a painful and traumatic thing to do isn't it? That's why I hadn't bought a new swimsuit in over six years (with the exception of my triathlon swimsuit, which is really neat but looks kinda dorky on the beach). But next week we are off to vacation in the midwest at a lakeside reunion, where I will most likely need a swimsuit. Plus, some friends here in Seattle just bought a house with a pool and having a pool in Seattle is such an anomaly that I will probably find myself in it at some point just to say it happened. 
So I grit my teeth and set out on a swimsuit expedition. The catalogs are no help at all. You can't tell anything from a catalog especially when it's so totally important as a swimsuit. So we ventured out to The Mall and hit every store that might have a swimsuit and you know where I hit jackpot?

Old Navy.

Not coincidentally this is where I bought my last two swimsuits six years ago (and they are still intact although I can't say I've worn them a whole lot). 

Old Navy is so great. They find a good generic cut that looks good on everyone and then they mass produce it in a zillion different interesting modern patterns and sell it at a price that doesn't make you freak out since you know you're only going to wear it about 5 times. Plus they don't seem to run out all of a sudden after spring break like everyone else does (who can even think about buying a swimsuit in March? Obviously everyone).

Old Navy, you are my hero.

The Viewpoint Inn

Over Memorial Day Weekend the Studly Hubby took it upon himself to arrange for us to go on a weekend getaway-vacation to Oregon.

We stayed at the Viewpoint Inn, a very old beautiful building that has been turned into a restaurant and bed and breakfast.

This is the back of the Viewpoint Inn which faces towards the Columbia River Valley gorge. The first floor is the restaurant and the second floor are the rooms for overnight guests. Our room was the one on the far left.

The Viewpoint Inn also happens to be where the ending of the movie Twilight was filmed.

A snapshot taken between scenes of the two stars of Twilight at the Viewpoint Inn. In the background you can see glimpses of the fabulous view, which is also seen in the movie.

The lawn of the Viewpoint Inn is the kind of place you could hang out all day. They serve drinks and limited appetizers to people on the lawn and leave it open for anyone to stop by and enjoy (while we were there many people did this, but it is a big lawn and generally not crowded)

Some of the original props from the movie like the Monte Cristo arch were kept as a souvenir but instead of leaving it in the center of the lawn as it was in the movie (as shown below) they tactfully put it on the side of the lawn nearest the road so tourists can go shriek and jump around it without interfering with the tranquility that the rest of the guests enjoyed.

Although it was a fantastic coincidence that this was the site where they filmed part of Twilight (and the wait staff told us some great stories when they weren't busy), the Studly Hubby picked this spot because of its great location (near Portland, the waterfalls, and Mount Hood) and also because of its beautiful view, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The rooms were very classy and made us feel spoiled, but were not very private - we shared bathrooms with the other overnight guests AND the restaurant guests, they were constantly giving tours through the entire place, and there was actually a shared door between our room and the room next to us (with a 2-inch crack under it). But they served amazing food, we met some memorable people, and we had a fantastic time. We enjoyed nature (we drove around and up Mount Hood, hiked to a lookout over the Columbia River Valley gorge, and sprawled on the lawn every chance we could), we ate their amazing food and saw the gleaming kitchen of a four-star restaurant during the off hours (overnight guests have the run of the place when everyone else has left). At night we went into Portland and drank local beer and got caught up on movies we haven't seen at a great dollar theater (that serves... local beer!). 

When we got back we watched Twilight again. It was even worse the second time, and the scene filmed at the Viewpoint was rather short (although very beautiful). However the Studly Hubby watched it all the way through with me and didn't even complain, which is really something.