Mirror, Mirror on the . . .

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Do y'all have those objects collecting dust in your garage that are just calling to you? Grahm and I changed the mirrors in our bathroom a few months ago, and ever since this gold, beveled frame has been barking at me like my conscience does when I'm eating a donut (which I may or may not be doing right now). 
I grabbed some leftover Annie Sloane from this project, chalkboard spray paint, and some burlap--the perfect ingredients for any artsy fartsy session--and got down to business. (Did you just start singing this song in your head? Me too.)
Choosing a quotation for my new chalkboard was hard like 50-burpees-in-the-morning difficult. (And for the record, no. I did not do that today.) This was my inspiration.
I have a really weird obsession with handwriting. (I judge you by your p's and q's, literally.) Every year in school I would dramatically change my handwriting or my signature, which you may call a waste of time but perfecting that John Hancock of mine sure has come in handy for all my shopping sprees.

Needless to say, I spent an ungodly amount of time perfecting these good ol' Mumford&Sons words. It still may or may not look like chicken scratch. BUT when Grahmsterdoodle came home he asked, "Did you print that off or something?" (Yes, he'll be getting some ice cream and cake for that perfect response.) Or maybe I should raise my standards a little bit since his handwriting literally is chicken scratch.

Now to hang this bad mamajamma in our entry way...

Dear Neighbor's Dog,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I know you've had a jam-packed morning of teaching that long blade of grass a (very loud) lesson for flapping in the breeze so willy nilly, which allow me to add is invaluable to your non-deaf community, but please take a few moments to read and ponder this letter from a disgruntled neighbor. (This is best done in silence.)

First let me say, be ever so thankful a wooden fence separates us. By now I would have gone all Johnny Depp Secret Window on your skull. (It involves a screwdriver if you've never seen the film.)

You see, my raucous friend, we have some issues . . . to put it mildly. It is of the utmost importance that we resolve these problems before they become really big (bigger than the gifts you so kindly leave in our front yard)--aka when I have a sleeping (key word) infant in my house.

Until recently, I have taken my disdain for your constant banter and buried it deep into the backyard of my heart (an analogy you understand, yes?). But now I am coming out of my "I don't like canines" closet, loud and proud. You have left me with no choice.

I'm imploring you to turn your neurotic behavior around. There's still time, my friend. Someone somewhere thinks your ear-piercing, soul-crushing yips in the wee hours of the morning are cute (bless them), but I would be willing to bet you a fine pig ear they would find a docile, silent creature just as lovable... if not more so.

Think about it. More belly pats? More behind-the-ear rubs? I'm offering you a wonderful trade off here. It's a win win. And what's more, you will forever change your neighbor's opinion of dogs--an invaluable thing, my friend. You alone have the power to change this bitter woman's opinion of all your canine companions. Let Spiderman's uncle's words ring true: "With great power comes great responsibility."

Affectionately,
Your Wish-I-Was-Deaf Neighbor

P.S. Whispering is fun.

It Finally Happened

Monday, July 22, 2013


I knew this day would come. It was only a matter of time, really--as sure as the fact that I'm gonna have bladder problems after shooting this kid out of my tinkle taco. For over three blessed years, I was able to skidaddle out of this undesirable task, but this weekend I could swerve no longer.

You see, Saturday I had to go car shopping (wait for it) with my engineer husband.

When Tater Tot made his/her "I'll be popping out of you" announcement, it became undeniably obvious that we needed a new car. A truck and a two-door Yaris aren't exactly conducive for Baby Roach. No way can my noodley-oodley arms cram and jam a car seat into that teeny hatchback every day, nor do I want to win Redneck Mama of the Year by strapping my baby into the bed of a truck.

Hence car shopping.
As you may or may not know, engineers are a tad . . . quirky. (Love you, babe.) I've dreaded this day since we went to Bed Bath and Beyond for our wedding registry. (I'm pretty sure the BB&B lady thought we were crazy to share our lives together if we couldn't even agree on plates.) I knew if picking out dishes and blenders (that other people were going to buy us) was an incredibly painful experience, car shopping would be a whole 'nother ball of hurt.

Grahm's Approach to Car Shopping:
1. Research for at least one month prior to stepping onto a lot.
2. Ask people who own the car he's thinking about the pros/cons.
3. Test drive several vehicles. Research for weeks again.
4. Ponder. Research more.
5. Weeks and weeks later, start thinking about actually buying something.

Words like horsepower, cylinder,and  four-wheel drive are as foreign a concept to me as back hair. I could really care less what I drive, I just need a car to get me from Point A to Point B that won't chug-a-lug gas every two minutes (aka it won't cut into my shopping "budget").

Jena's Approach to Car Shopping:
1. Play dumb (not hard). Ooohh and aahhh over all the shiny things. ("Pretty!")
2. Make lots of unnecessary small talk with the car salesman, so he will like you and give you discounts.
3. Play the "We're expecting our first child" card as often as possible. More discounts.
4. Pick a vehicle based on color alone. (It can't be white, it has to be pearl.)
5. Buy immediately.

Needless to say, it's a good thing Grahm is the way he is (however painfully slow this process is/will continue to be). We would have driven away in the first shiny car we saw, if it had been up to me. But boy howdy, picking out anything mechanical with a mechanical engineer is no walk in donut park.

Fun fact: One of the car salesmen we dealt with told us that 4% of car purchasers spend more time searching for their new vehicle than they do in picking out a spouse...(The car is the real commitment, apparently.)

Linking up with Sami!

Don't Do It

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. I mean the transformation your body has to endure to bring life into this world is nothing short of miraculous. But let's be honest (I always am), it's also kind of gross. I mean. You explode. You swell. You start producing things only a cow should be able to do (moo). You can't eat sushi (don't get me started on that one). Your hips even move, for Pete's sake.

Don't get me wrong. I will happily do all of these things. I'd grow a third boob between my eyewinkers if that meant having a child of my own. But you gotta admit, some of the itty gritties of pregnancy are a little less than stellar.

So when you find out you're pregnant, do yourself a favor and avoid these things like I've been shirking the gym lately. Learn from my mistakes, my friends, and don't do it.

1. Don't Google "Stretch marks." Just trust me on this one. While you're at it, avoid phrases like "Eating the Placenta," "What Happens to Your Boobs When you Get Pregnant," "Birth Canal," and other terrifying images that will haunt your slumber. (My WHAT is gonna do WHAT!) You know what, just avoid Google altogether.

2. Don't go swimsuit shopping for the cruise you registered for before you knew you were pregnant. That'll make depressed faster than you can say, "There are no cute one-piece swimsuits in this world."

3. And finally, most importantly, if you take nothing away from this post... do not, I repeat DO NOT, volunteer with your husband for nursery duty the Sunday after you find out you're expecting. We did this, a mere 48 hours after I peed on four pregnancy sticks, and we walked away feeling completely numb--like someone had run over us with a tiny toy truck. We were exhausted, disoriented, and strangely emotional ("Why won't this kid stay in the corner like I told him to!?"). Any shred of joy completely disintegrated within those two horrific hours. We got through it by telling ourselves the same lie all future parents tell themselves, "Our kids will be different."


And then we went to...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This summer has been the season of a thousand trips, and we're loving every minute of it. This weekend we flew to Tampa for a friend's wedding. Alan and Melanie are adorable, and we had a blast seeing Grahm's old college friends.
Girrrrl, I'm watching you hold onto my man. Check yo'self.
Here I caught him doing his one and only decent groomsman duty. Other "duties" may or may not have included Henna tattooing the groom from neck to ankle the night before his wedding and replacing all of his underwear with man thongs just before they left for the honeymoon. Bet that was a crack of surprise. (Am I the worst wife ever if I knew of his plans beforehand, but did nothing to prevent them? My forever apologies, Melanie!)
Listen, Florida. You're beautiful and fantastically fun and all, but when I spend an hour curling my hair to a perfection that mirrored a poodle dying on my head (in a good way), I expect it to last all day--not only that, but well into tomorrow. Big dreams, apparently. My hair wilted into a pizazz-less wonder before I could lock and load the hairspray.
Sunday evening, we rented a car and drove to Sarasota. Just the two of us. I really wanted to reenact this famous statue, but I was too embarrassed to kiss while a stranger takes our photo. Besides, that death grip doesn't look entirely comfortable.
Do you spy a 13-week-old Baby Roach?
I promise we don't have some weird obsession with our last name, but our sandcastle was looking more like two big mounds of nothing (well, before Grahm decided to put dark seashells on the top and declared that they were "Boobs!"). So, of course, we decided to "make" a roach at the Siesta Keys beach.
We also went to the Selby Botanical Gardens and saw some amazing views, which may or may not have included two lizards getting their groove on. (You know you're not ready for parenthood when you're laughing and pointing like a five-year-old.)

Florida, we miss you already!

Confessions of a Wingback Chair

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Not many of my craft projects make me cry. That's a lie, most of them do. But it's not their fault. It's me. It's definitely me and my inability to follow directions (and I wonder why cooking is so terrifying).

I finished this project months ago, and it's taken me that long to recover from recovering this damn chair. Don't get me wrong. It's beautiful, and I love it now...but I'm not entirely sure it was worth all the blood, sweat, and tears I poured into it. And I mean all of those quite literally.

I bought this dingy blue velvet wingback chair from a scary man off of Craigslist for a whopping 20 bucks. After getting a whiff of my new project in his pack-rat garage, I wasn't entirely convinced that the smoke-drenched chair was worth my $20 (I know, I know. I'm a Frugal Frances.) or that I would make it out alive. (Does anyone else automatically think that the Craiglister is going to chop them up into little bits?)

This picture really doesn't do the heinousness justice.
I got out Grahm's best flathead screwdriver and went to town wiggling out the stubborn staples that had held this abysmal fabric in place longer than my grandma's toenails. Staples, crusted fabric, and discolored foam went everywhere.
Hours and hours and hours later, I finally got all that crappy material off. I then seriously contemplated burning the sucker to the ground. My fingers were raw from pulling out staples, my hand was in a crippling claw-like position from having held the screwdriver for entirely too long.
I laid out the old pieces of fabric, now warped from time, and labeled how each part fit on the chair. They served as my pattern for recovering. It was a hot, staple-y mess.

Picking out the fabric was another challenge altogether. I didn't want something too floral, too loud, too cutesy, or anything chevron (the stripe in everyone's house). I wanted a transitional fabric that would flow with our house but wouldn't make me want to puke on it in a year's time for an excuse to change the fabric again. Easier said than done. Pretty sure the lady at JoAnn's had to give me a hug after I cried in the middle of the aisle.
Stapling the chair turned out to be much more fun than pulling staples out. I felt like Rosie the Riveter a little bit, busting out my forearms and sweating like a dog. (Turns out I'm incredibly weak.) This is also the part where I cried a lot. It was like an intense jigsaw puzzle trying to get my newly cut fabric to fit just right around the chair. Upholstery fabric isn't cheap either. I just knew I was gonna ruin it.
Eventually it started looking like a chair again, and my fear of failure dwindled to the size of the zit on my chin. I finished stapling all the pieces on, MacGyver style, and I added new nail trim. My wonderful mother sewed the cushion for me because I was too scared and scarred to tackle anything else with this project from hell.
It's not perfect. You don't have to stare too hard to see a flaw, but I love it because I made it. It's unique, and I know for certain no one else has a chair like this in their house. So come on over to our home and plump your fanny on this bad mamajamma.

Total spent:
Wingback Chair from CL: $20
Fabric from Hobby Lobby: 7 yards for $60 (I had a gift card.)
Staples and Staple Gun: Free (My wonderful father-in-law let me borrow his.)
Nail heads for trim: Free (Did I mention my father-in-law is awesome?)

"With Roach"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I was wearing blue nail polish the day I found out I was "with Roach." I remember because I had the pensive thought while squatting over my toilet, "Clearly, I am not ready for motherhood. Look at my Taylor-Swift-concert-ready fingernails."

Nothing was really out of the ordinary those first few weeks. My boobs felt full (something this 32 A-er has only experienced in her dreams), I wanted to sleep every moment of every day (I was the poster child for NyQuil), but somehow I was convinced I was making it all up.

(Boys, turn away now. No, really.) I have a really weird period, and it's not unusual for me to skip two or three months at a time. (Okay, you can come back.) I've always joked that I would wind up thinking I needed to take a dump one day and instead of unleashing yesterday's lunch, I'd birth a child I didn't know I was carrying. At least I could've been on that horrific TLC show: I didn't know I was pregnant. (Spoiler alert: I won't be on it.)

Until one day.
I was having my weekly Skype date at lunch with one of my very best friends, Blayne. (Fun Fact: I was the first person she called when she found out she was preggo. "I see TWO pink lines! TWO! What. Does. It. Mean!") After hashing out all of my symptoms, she very wisely told me to take a pregnancy test--if for no other reason to cross it off the list of reasons I was acting weird.

So right there in the middle of a Friday afternoon of working from home, I did. I ended the call with her, grabbed the pregnancy test I had stowed away in my bathroom cupboards (I'm a crazy, paranoid lady), and proceeded to take a whiz. (Can we just talk about how this is such a grizz-tastic way of discovering one of the greatest blessings of all time?)

 . . . My test turned positive before I had even finish peeing on the stick.
I jumped. And yelled. And cried. And proceeded to pee all over my hand. 
It was magical. And terrifying. And wonderful. And confusing. And gross (the pee was anyway).

I cried a lot. I washed my hand. And I quickly called Blayne back. I don't really know what my mental state was at that point, or what I even said to her. It was all a blur of tears, snot, and urine. The phone call didn't last long, and I proceeded to cry on my bed for the next two hours. I remember thinking, "I'm in the fetal position, and I have a fetus in me..." So much for trying to do any more work that day.

I was so happy and so terrified and totally incapacitated. Grahm and I were planning on waiting another year before we braved the parental front, so this was all so shocking to me. So unplanned, yet so incredible. (Though if you don't take BC, ladies, you can't really be too "shocked." It was bound to happen.)

I found out at 2:30. I called Grahm at 3:30 and begged him to come home early. This is a pretty standard phone call between us (he likes his job too much, and I'm super needy), so he didn't really think anything of it... until I asked again. I guess I had more desperation in my voice this time despite my efforts to tone down my "Come home immediately. I have a baby growing in me!" panic.

He told me later that night he knew I was pregnant instantly--so much for playing it cool. I confirmed his suspicions when he came home and found me on the bed, still fetal. I had always pictured some grandiose way of telling my husband that I was carrying a person in my hot pocket, but this was much more real. More us. We cried. And laughed. And prayed. He was/is so supportive, loving, and genuinely excited for our life-altering surprise. I can't imagine doing this without him.

We are incredibly blessed and incredibly thankful. Baby Roach is already so loved, and I can't tell you how much that means to us.

P.S. One preggo test is enough. Keep your dollah dollah bills unless you just like to pee on things...

The P Word

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I'm back by popular demand. And by popular, I'm referring to the ungodly amount of whiny text messages my mother sends me, "Golly, Dollymiss. Will you ever blog again??" Hope you'll excuse my mysterious disappearance from the universe. I've had about as much energy the last few weeks as sloth slurping down some Dramamine. There's a reason for this . . .

Pink. Pickle. Paisley. Pimple. Pregnant.
I am one of these things. (Please say you didn't pick pimple, although I hear I'm fun to squeeze.)

You guessed it. We're pregnant!!!
We are thrilled to finally finally announce that Baby Roach (don't think about that one too much) is making his/her grand entrance into the world January 2014! We are already in love with our little Tater Tot and cannot wait to meet him/her next year.

Thanks to our beautiful friend Holly Birdsong, who graciously met us at our favorite park for a two-minute photo session. This is surprisingly enough time to get eaten alive by mosquitoes. 
We feel wonderfully blessed with this bundle of surprise, especially now that everyone knows (I'm terrible at keeping secrets)! Our friends and family have been overwhelmingly supportive. So many have asked how I've been feeling (amazing, no puke buckets here!) and many others have been texting me potential baby names the last few weeks. (Coming up with a name that sounds good with Roach is extremely difficult, my friends.)

Tomorrow I'll rehash how I found out (it involves pee) and how I told Grahm (it thankfully does not involve pee).