Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Just a Quick Note to Say...

...that Baby "Ender" finally emerged! Five days ago. Oops. We are delighted to add this sweet and chunky beauty to our collection.

Thanks to all the friends and family who encouraged me throughout this pregnancy. Your kind words and prayers have been invaluable to me.

I'm working on the birth story but for a five-hour, mostly-uncomplicated labor there sure does seem to be a lot to say! So that might take a while;)
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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

{Project} Facelift for the Eat-In Kitchen

The rumors are true. I am what they call "extremely pregnant".

Today is my due date, and tomorrow I will be the most pregnant I have ever been. I really didn't expect to be pregnant this long, as CJ was born at 40 weeks, Noni and 39 weeks, and I foolishly assumed that Ender would also be in the "40 weeks and Under" club.

What is it they say? Two data points do not make a trend. Also that babies do not care about your plans. Lesson(s) learned.

Anyway, all this sitting around waiting for labor to attack for the last two weeks has me absolutely dying of a combination of boredom and insomnia. I just went to Target for some Tylenol PM, so I guess it's time to fend off the boredom by cranking out a blog post. I never finished telling you about my recent kitchen spruce-up!

Our house has a formal dining room, but alas it is carpeted and thus is not practical for us to use it for dining at this stage in our lives. Luckily, there is an eat-in kitchen. 

So we put our lovely dining room set in there, but it soon became apparent that it was just the wrong shape and size for that space.
Whoops, forgot to take a proper "Before" picture. This is the best I could find!

Even with all the leaves removed, it was very difficult to maneuver around the table--for me especially, given my rate of growth over the past few months.

During my first thrifting excursion after I had decided to retire the table (for the time being) I came across the perfect substitute! I love when that happens.

Rectangular, perfect size, and cheap ($65)! All major criteria met.

It had the additional bonus of being handmade, and the chairs and table legs were all solid wood. I didn't realize until I got it home that the tabletop itself isn't solid, but you know, the kids are just going to draw on it anyways so maybe it's for the best.

I also liked that the chairs were upholstered, as I've been meaning to try my hand at upholstering for a while.

We used the new set for several weeks before I actually got around to the upholstering, and by that point (after countless spilled cups of milk) it had become very apparent that VINYL was the name of the game.

I didn't really like any of the printed vinyl at the fabric store, so I ended up choosing a cotton upholstery fabric and a clear vinyl to go over top of it to protect the cuteness.

So every evening for a week I took a chair:

Then after detaching the seat I got to work prying off millions of staples used to keep the old fabric in place. Once it was off I used it to cut the new fabric and vinyl to size.

Next came the actual upholstery. There are some tutorials with pictures here. I found it worked better if I layered the vinyl over the fabric and attached both layers at the same time, rather than first attaching the fabric, then the vinyl.


I really love the fabric--and it goes so well with the new paint in the kitchen!

It is sooooo nice not having to perform a contortionist act 1,678 times during every meal to get more milk/ketchup/salt/water/whatever the heck it is the kids want.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, March 27, 2015

{SQT} The Gift of Gab: Toddler Quotes

How much do I love having two verbal toddlers? SO MUCH. While there is still the same amount of screaming as when I had two non-verbal toddlers, at least now there is some entertainment to be had as well.

Here's some of their best material from the past few months:

When he saw me wearing foundation for the first time in, like, ever--

"Uchhh, Mom, what's all over your FACE?"

While reading the titles of the songs in the hymnal before Mass started and coming across one called "Shout to the Lord"--
CJ [shouting]: "Hey! We don't shout in CHURCH!"

On walking into the living room and noticing that we had finally mounted the tv on the wall--
CJ: Hey! Did Sandra Boynton do that???
Me: ?

Discussing Saturday plans--
Nemo: Noni, do you want to go to the gym with me?
Noni: No! Mall! MALL! MAAALLLLL! Mall, mall, mall, mall, mall, mall, mall! MALLLLLLLL!

While riding in the car--

Noni: Arrrrrr! Arrrrrr!!!
CJ: No, Noni, no growling!
CJ: No, don't say that to me, I don't like it!
Noni: changes tactics, starts singing the alphabet song to herself but (intentionally?) skips the letter "R"
CJ: No, Noni, you did it wrong! You forgot the "R"!!!

While giving a wiggly three-year-old a haircut with only a two-year-old sister as backup--
CJ: Nooooo!!!! Not my thousands and thousands of hairs!

After the aforementioned haircut--
Me: Well, CJ? What do you think?
CJ: Ummmmm. Bad.

On passing a particular radio tower in a field on our way to the grocery store--

Noni: Mommy! Dat's mine wocket ship! Noni's going to da mooooooon!

Linking up with Kelly today for Seven Quick Takes. Head over to her habitat for more SQT fun!

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

{Project} Kitchen, now with fewer holes in the wall!

Here I am in the home office, blaring The Dubliners, and trying to ignore the banging and crashing coming from CJ's room as he takes his "quiet" time. I guess I could try to write a blog post during this time...we'll see how it goes.

Why don't we talk about my kitchen? You know you want to.

In November we played a little cabinet musical-chairs which increased the functionality of the kitchen by like 1000%, but unfortunately the process left it with some...cosmetic issues. A quick review:
I've been meaning to repair the walls in kitchen for a while, but things have been we couldn't for the life of us figure out how to remove that stupid nail. Then a few days ago Nemo had a stroke of genius and figured out some sort of lever system to pry it out...that was one mother of a nail. 
 No wonder it gave us so much trouble.

With that issue taken care of I was able to get to work spackling, sanding, and then giving the whole kitchen a fresh coat of paint (Behr in Watermark).Which left things much nicer, to be sure.

We had to take the bifold doors off the pantry because CJ was playing with them one day and one of them actually fell off the track and almost took him out. It was very traumatic for everyone. Really, those things are the worst. And this house is FULL of them--10 sets at last count.

So anyway, while the kitchen looked much nicer with patched walls and was at least much SAFER with the bifold doors removed, it left the pantry area looking a bit unfinished.

It seemed like a nice space for my tea things, which were soon to be homeless anyway since I will need their former cabinet by the sink to house baby bottles in a few weeks or so.

I got a 6' length of common board at the hardware store, which Nemo helpfully cut it in half with his scary power tools that I'm still not comfortable using. Then I stained them and gave them two coats of polyurethane, then Nemo took over again to hang them above the microwave using some basic wall brackets. The results!

A sheer curtain might not have been the BEST choice, but it was part of a set that was left in the house by the former owners and Nemo had used one of the panels to filter a batch of beer (no, really!), so instead of having a lonely curtain moping around the house I decided to give it a job. I mean, it was free. Plus, there is very little chance it could injure inquisitive toddlers. Double win!

It makes my heart happy.

I got the glass canister from the St. Vincent de Paul store for $0.60!

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, March 6, 2015

{SQTs} This is 35 weeks

The ninth month begins. 

Ann Marie over at White House Black Shutters wrote a pretty nifty guide to taking a DIY maternity silhouette photo a few years ago that really stuck with me and I finally got to give it a try!

Some random thoughts and facts about my big fat pregnant life right now:

I hate to admit it, but this dumb Whole30 diet has helped tremendously with my insomnia and inflammation problems, so this is the best last month of pregnancy that I have experienced so far.

That being said, I am still third-trimester pregnant, so I am huge, ornery, weepy, hungry, out of breath, and ready to be done.


We finally got around to locating the hospital where I will be delivering and touring the maternity digs, which are quite nice. The recovery rooms actually have full-sized beds (with real mattresses, instead of the traditional 2-inch thick, plastic-covered hospital mattresses) so Nemo doesn't have to sleep on a chair. Pretty swank.


On the downside, the hospital has a strict rooming-in only policy, which is causing me a little bit of stress. I have a VERY hard time sleeping with a baby in the room and have no intention of "rooming-in" once we are home. I'm not saying I want the baby to stay in the hospital nursery all night, but a two-hour stint here and there so I can take a worry-free nap would be nice. 


I am nesting like crazy, but given our recently-moved status it is manifesting more as box-unpacking and bathroom-painting rather than onesie-washing or bassinet-assembling.

Beige. Florescent lighting. Clearly unacceptable.

 I'm hoping I still have the time and energy to paint the kitchen and install some shelving, because obviously that should be a priority right now.

Baby "Ender" is still without an official name and little progress is being made in this area. This could be a problem.

I've been measuring a bit smaller with this pregnancy than I did with CJ and Noni's--and when I  say smaller, I mean "average", as opposed to two or three weeks ahead. I'm curious to see if Ender will end up being a bit smaller than her siblings who weighed  8 lbs, 14 oz and 8 lbs, 10 oz at birth. My overworked arms would be ecstatic.

Noni is beyond ready to be a big sister. She is always asking me to kidnap babies for her. "Mommy, you take dat baby home pweese?" she says whenever she sees someone in the under-one age bracket.

CJ is for the most part indifferent, as Ender is neither a letter nor a number.


Linking up with my Whole30 pal Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pigs are flying

For the last year or so my Bloglovin feed has been exploding with personal stories of people who have participated in the Whole30 program and have found it to be immensely beneficial to their health and sense of well-being.

(For those of you aren't familiar, Whole30 is a program that requires participants to abstain from all grains, dairy, legumes, and sugar for a period of 30 days, which allegedly "resets" your system and makes you feel ha-mazing--after you are finished with the sugar withdrawal period, of course.)

And for the last year I have been sort of skimming over those posts, because pasta is delicious, especially with a cream sauce, and whyyyy on earth would you do that to yourself? I had zero intention of ever trying it myself, especially not when hugely pregnant.

But lately I have been especially conscious of how crappy my food choices are making me feel, specifically in wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels and crappy sleep quality. Being in my best physical health is going to be a HUGE factor in how I deal with the stress of introducing a newborn into our household (in ~6 weeks, yikes).

The Whole30 program alleges to fix both of those problems, and a plethora of others. And all I have to do is give up sugar, grains, and dairy? Sign me up!

Actually that was a pretty tough call to make.

As a stay-at-home-mom of two toddlers, I'm kind of limited in the type of fun I can have during daylight hours. Due to being surrounded by impressionable young minds and grabby hands, anything I do for me must be able to be completed within ten seconds of dodging behind a closed door. So watching an episode of True Blood is a no-no. But wolfing down half a sleeve of Thin Mints works perfectly.

So you see my dilemma.

But ultimately Nemo and I decided to give the program a go, not just for our own health but to try to create a healthy family food culture.

My worries going into this were that I wouldn't ever feel full, that I would be a raging maniac without sugar, and that the kids would go on a hunger strike.

It turns out that I may have been worried about all the wrong things.

 Noni actually ate three of these Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Cups the other day. Like whoa.

After a more or less successful Day 1, I was ready to call it quits. Not because I was hungry or that I missed ice cream and Indian food, but because I had grossly underestimated the time that would be required to cook all of this delicious and nutritious food THREE TIMES A BLESSED DAY.

All the time I spent planning, reading, and pinning, never once did I stop and remind myself, "But, Eva, you HATE to cook, and you would rather eat glass than wash more dishes than you absolutely have to". I blame the pregnancy brain.

We are now on Day 8, and things are smoothing out a little bit. Cravings and hunger have been intense but manageable, the kids are eating their vegetables in unprecedented amounts, and practice has made...well, not perfect, but at least better the whole process of cooking and cleaning up.

In just 22 days we are going to start eating grain and dairy products again,  hopefully in more moderate amounts than before we started the program, but we'll wait until Easter to get back on the sugar train. Totally doable! Unless Ender shows up early (her due date is 2 days after Easter) which case all bets are off:)

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Friday, February 13, 2015

{SQTs} It's OK, because...

This post contains seven things, so I thought I would link up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum. Totally legit.

So here I am, steadily limping my way through the third trimester.

And I do mean "limping". I have two pregnancy-related conditions that make it difficult to walk, and unfortunately treating either one of them tends to make the other worse so...I'll be on the couch if you need me.

At this point in my previous pregnancies I was neck-deep in finalizing my birth plans. After two unmedicated labors, I'm so over the "natural birth or bust" thing. I think Jenna at Call Her Happy said it best on her Facebook page when she said her birth plan was, "epidural and get baby out".

So, with the birth plan squared away, I am spending what spare energies I have coming up with an after-birth plan. Ew, that actually sounds kind of gross. Maybe it's better to call it a postpartum plan. Yeah. Let's go with that. 

Given my experience with postpartum depression the last time around, I have been more than a little bit anxious about the possibility of history repeating itself. Luckily, my post-hospitalization therapist, who was the best therapist in all the land, taught me a very helpful game called:

"But it's ok, because..."

Basically, when I'm freaking out, I have to hit pause and think of ways to complete that sentence. Stops an imminent anxiety attack like THAT. For me, anyway.

So, I'm freaking because Ender might be colicky
because I might get depressed
because I might not be able to sleep
because what if I'm not cut out for three kids?

Whew, take a breath. Those things might happen,

 But it's ok, because...I will not be breastfeeding.

I had breast reduction surgery in 2004, and while I knew this made exclusively breastfeeding my children a near impossibility, I was still determined to give CJ and Noni as much breastmilk as possible. This involved a lot supplements and prescription medication that messed with my head, round the clock pumping that messed with my sleep, and a constant sense that I still wasn't doing "enough".

Breastfeeding difficulties are strongly associated with the incidence of postpartum depression. True story. So Ender will be formula-fed from the start. No apologies. No regrets. It might not prevent a relapse of PPD, but it will certainly cut down on my stress level, which will help a lot.

 But it's ok, because... I'm closing my Etsy shop.

This decision was a tough one, but ultimately it will be for the best. While I still dearly love the creative aspect, the business end of the shop has always caused a lot of stress for me. So I am going back to sewing for fun for the time being. Or I might finally have a date with the mending pile. 

My shop will remain open through Saturday, February 28. After that I will put the shop in "Vacation" mode and I'll decide at a MUCH later date whether or not I will be coming back from that vacation.

I'm trying to offload some of my inventory before the shutdown to help pay for my trip to Edel, so I have discounted dresses to $25/shipped and onesies to $15/shipped. Get 'em while they last!

{3}But it's ok, because...
This here's a spring baby

Noni was born in the dead of winter, which made it hard to engage in the colic-busting activity of walking. We specifically planned tried for a spring/summer baby because that way, if we ended up with another baby who needs to be walked 12 hours a day, I can at least enjoy some fresh air.

{4} But it's ok, because...
I won't be pregnant anymore.

I have a bad habit of making up a future that stars my present self--who is pregnant and enjoys all the many lovely symptoms of that condition. Sure, I will have a newborn to care for, and it will be hard, but I will not have to do it while also contending with SPD, varicose veins, indigestion, lower back pain, food aversions and cravings, or the inability to roll over without assistance. That's a happy thought.
{5} But it's ok, because... 
I have family and friends who love me

Obviously I had wonderful people in my life before, but I had some sort of mental block that prevented me from "inconveniencing" them with my problems. Well that block is GONE, people.

{6} But it's ok, because... 
The kids are alright 

When Noni was born, CJ was still very much a baby and required constant interaction, supervision, and care...none of which I could provide, given Noni's colickiness. Now I have two "big" kids who can survive on fruit and string cheese and two diaper changes a day if need be.

Sure, they may WANT a lot of individualized attention but they are also content to watch a two hour block of SuperWhy! Also we splurged on tablets for Christmas, so...we're all set for a worst-case scenario.

{7} But it's ok, because...
Zoloft exists.

 My OB has been informed of my previous difficulties and she's got her prescription pad ready for me, should I need chemical intervention. She would actually prefer to put me back on Zoloft before the baby is born, but to be perfectly honest while Zoloft makes me feel pretty great mentally and emotionally, it makes the rest of me feel pretty crappy. So we're going to take it day by day, and if it turns out that I DO need it to cope, it's just a phone call away.

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

All About that Cat

Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram have already heard of our dear cat Pippin's brush with death, but I thought I would pound out the long version here for posterity.

From the day we brought our cat Pippin home from the shelter in a year and a half ago, he has perfectly personified his literary namesake.

He's hairy, loves to eat, has huge feet, is incredibly sweet, and gets into more than his fair share of trouble.

The kids love him, and he loves them back--which is to say he indulgently lets them carry him, chase him, etc. That's love by cat standards, right?

Everyone who's met him loves him. He's just so dang cuddly and entertaining and ridiculous.

Pippin and Noni are friends too, I just can't seem to find pictures of the two of them together.

Anyway, a few weeks ago we started stepping in a lot of cat barf. If you know cats, you know they just love to barf, especially in heavy-traffic areas. I mean, wtf? They hide under beds all day but choose to hurl right outside the bedroom door. so, given the nature of cats, we took the appearance of barf with a grain of salt and at first didn't think too much of it, but then Pippin started to act very un-Pippin like. He was skulking a lot and not participating  in his favorite activities, including mercilessly teasing our other cat, trying to trip me as I go down the stairs, and photobombing my bump selfies.

We thought, maybe it was something he ate? Maybe a hairball? Who can tell with cats?
Eventually he started looking so pathetic that I bit the bullet and made his first vet appointment here in our new town, then I got SO worried that I called back to make an emergency appointment. I really didn't think it could wait until Friday.

Everything was just starting to feel very familiar--just a few weeks after I was released from the hospital in 2013, the cat Nemo and I got when we were first married started acting very sick. A visit to the vet showed that she was in acute kidney failure, at a stage so advanced that we had to euthanize her. It hit me pretty hard.

When Pippin's bloodwork came back it was the exact same diagnosis as our previous cat--acute kidney failure, probably due to a toxin or a physical injury--and I immediately assumed the worst. Maybe it's the hormones, or maybe I just really like this cat, because I was an absolute wreck.

The thing about veterinary care is that it is super expensive, and I really struggled with shelling out the amount of money it would take to treat him ($1000+) with no guarantee that he would recover. The outlook was pretty grim, but we decided to gamble on him, since he seemed to be at a less advanced stage than the previous cat, he was still interested in eating and drinking, and the kids really like him, dammit.

Even so, you could have knocked me over with a feather when Pippin's bloodwork showed dramatic improvement the next morning. The vet was equally shocked--thanks dude.

It was a very happy day when we got to bring him home from the hospital. Unfortunately, the damage to his kidneys during this crisis is permanent, and he may continue to have some health problems because of it. But gosh am I glad that the kids didn't have to lose their best friend.

And I have definitely found a new appreciation for all the ways he brightens my life.

Cudding the Ender-Bump

But I still reserve the right to be grumpy with him when he tries to trip me on the stairs.
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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

{Kids} Noni Turns Two

So, Noni had a birthday recently.
 Noni at one.

 Noni at two.

I suspect that I'm *supposed* to say that this year has really flown by and that I can hardly believe how grown up she is. Well, I can't believe it--can't believe we finally made it past the baby stage! If you've read this blog before you'll know that Noni's babyhood was very challenging, to say the least, but lately it seems like things might be turning around. She's got acres of personality and grows more delightful by the day.

I am going to cautiously say that she is starting to grow out of her stranger (read:anyone but me) anxiety. She recently let her gymnastics instructor, who we have seen every week for 4 months, pick her up. It was big, let me tell you.


Her primary hobby continues to be screaming at me for not holding her 24/7, but over the past year she has developed quite a few ancillary loves, including: Pigs. ElsaAnna (Frozen). Beef Stroganoff. Pigtails. Winnie-the-Pooh. Fashion accessories. She is a very well-rounded little girl.

When I was getting the kids up from their nap/quiet times the day before Noni's birthday I discovered that CJ had actually fallen asleep, so I grabbed the opportunity to sit Noni down and ask her some questions while know-it-all big brother was otherwise occupied.

Me: Ok, Miss Noni. How old are you?
Her: Two
Me: You're two today?No, how old are you right now?
Her: Pink.
Me: Mmkay...

Me: Where do you live?
Her: Ride in pwane.
Me: Oh really, a plane? But where do you live?
Her: On pwane.

Me: What is your favorite thing to do?
Her: ...

Me: What makes you happy?
Her: ...

Me: What makes you sad?
Her: Happy!

Me: What makes you scared?
Her: dfjghlksdgbbv (she usually speaks very clearly but I could not for the life of me understand what she said)

Me: What's your favoite book?
Her: ElsaAnna

Me: Who do you love?
Noni: ...
Me: Do you love Pippin?
Her: Wuv Pippin
Me: Do you love CJ?
Her: Yeah
Me: Who else? Do you love Daddy?
Her: Daddy work times  (I think she meant that Nemo was at work right then)

Me: What does Daddy do for work?
Her: Epic (which totally is the name of Nemo's employer)
Me: And what does he do there?
Her: ...Watch broken. CJ watch. (That's ok Noni, I don't really know what he does there either)

Me: What does mommy do for work?
Her: Daddy.
Me: Oh, just Daddy works? Mommy doesn't work?
Her: No.
Me: So what does mommy do?
Her: Mommy wite. ( I wish I could say that she was referring to blogging or working on a novel, but she meant that I was jotting down notes at that particular moment)

Me: What are you going to do when you're grown up?
Her: Two!
Me: I know you're two. Are you going to work at Epic?
Her: Yeah, Epic.

At this point Noni farts rather magnificently.

Me: giggle
Her: giggle giggle.

Me: Oooohkay, Noni, last question. What's the meaning of life?
Her: Dis. *holds up a crumb leftover from her snack* Pumpkin bwead.


Interview with CJ on the Eve of His Third Birthday

Noni Turns One

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Postscript: There's more Humblebee on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Hope to see you there! Especially on Instagram. I love Instagram.