Friday, December 12, 2014

Things I want for Christmas, but probably won't get (SQTs)

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum again this week...

For some wise entrepreneur to open an Indian restaurant with a drive-thru, or curb-side service at the very least. I can't tell you how many times I've driven by a restaurant and thought, "man, I could really go for some paneer pakora right now...but I really don't want the drama of getting everyone out of the car.
Come here, you.

Come to think of it, a lifetime supply of lamb tikka masala and paneer pakora would be nice.

For some miracle worker to develop a vaccine for gastrointestinal viruses. The barfs are going around town right now, like they tend to do this time of year, and I very much do not want them right now. Or ever again.

Maternity long johns--I've scoured the interwebs and they really don't seem to exist. Seriously, how is this not a thing?

Oh, right, because most pregnant women get nine months of their own personal summer. Unfortunately this has never been true for me, and I've been wearing my big fuzzy bathrobe over my clothes since September. I am so bored of being big and red. My kingdom for the ability to wear a cute outfit and not have my lips turn blue!

This popped up on my Pinterest feed the other day. Story of my life.

To have fresh episodes of This Old House on my Roku in perpetuity.

The ability to drink enough caffeine to feel awake during the day, and still be able to fall asleep at night.

For toddlers to find sewing supplies way less interesting. Also for sewing fairies to come while I'm sleeping and wind bobbins.



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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, December 11, 2014


I've had a lot of mildly stressful days lately. We all know that when you have a bunch of those in a row, things are going to escalate and you will eventually have a BAD DAY.

CJ and Noni love to make each other miserable. This has been going on since Noni was nine months old, when all she had to do was look at CJ slyly and say, "Bup" in a particular tone of voice to make him burst into a Psycho-esque fit of screaming. Family members and ladies at the gym daycare comment on their mutual love of making the other cry, so I guess it's not totally normal behavior? When we decided to give him a sibling, I  imagined that I was giving CJ a friend for life, but I guess they're turning out to be more like the sworn-enemy siblings in fairytales. Ah well. You can't win them all.

Anyway, screaming. It's been a constant presence in my life for many years now, and I'm still not used to it. Lately, the screaming has been more pervasive than usual (how is that even possible?), which brings us to today's BAD DAY.

After Noni screamed for 15 straight minutes during the drive to her gymnastic class this morning, I decided that after we picked CJ up from preschool, I would be taking the day off.

And that's exactly what I'm doing.


Today, my only duties are feeding the kids something food-like on occasion and making sure the house doesn't burn down. No cleaning, no cooking, not even any sewing.

I've prescribed myself a diet of tea with toast and Nutella, an afternoon of couch rest, and much Netflix. I just hope I can hear the TV above all the screaming.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happenings (SQTs)

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum, the new home of Seven Quick Takes!



I bought a ticket to attend the Edel Gathering in July 2015! I'm still not sure how it's going to work out, what with the distance, cost, and the having of a three-month-old who may very well take after her colicky siblings, but I am bound and determined to make this happen!

It was recently discovered that Baby "Ender" is a girl! I guess that means that we have to stop calling her Ender now. Or do we?
She is about 22.5 weeks right now, and continues to demand and inordinate amount of ethnic foods. Just yesterday I was forced to make an emergency run to Aldi to get the fixings for Greek salad, including peppercorn feta cheese and pickled beets. I recently read on Wikipedia that putting beets in Greek salad is only a thing in Detroit. Silly rest of the world. You don't know what you're missing.

Shameless self-promotion: I got these toddler dresses listed in my Etsy shop this week.

Due to some policy changes, my Etsy shop hasn't done well over the last year or so, and I'm beginning to explore other markets, i.e. Facebook, and I also was recently accepted as a vendor at a big local craft show taking place in February. Hey, I've got to pay for that ticket to Edel somehow.


There is a lot of growing up going on here. CJ has mastered counting by twos and by fives and, though he usually eschews drawing in favor of writing out the word for whatever it is he is asked to draw, he recently drew a pair of scissors.  

At the age of 22 months, Noni has jumped from being basically non-verbal to speaking in four or five word sentences. All I can say about that is THANK SWEET HEAVEN. There is still a lot of screaming, such as when I refuse her request to "My turn up please" because I'm in the middle of cooking dinner, but at least I KNOW why she's screaming.


For your amusement: Christmas 1986
(I'm the one who looks like Noni)


A few weekends ago we had family pictures taken for our Christmas cards. My Facebook feed is full of kids that smile for the camera, but my kids seem to have a positively Victorian attitude towards being photographed.

 Let's sit here and look angry.

Every. Single. One.


With 40 minutes remaining in "nap" time, I am off to wrap presents for St. Nicholas' visit tonight. And maybe to eat one of the chocolate coins.

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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.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Un-Fancy Thanksgiving Weekend Kitchen Remodel

While my in-laws were in town for Thanksgiving weekend I had the opportunity to go to Home Depot ALL BY MYSELF. While there, I couldn't help but notice a really sweet sale on cabinets.

Now, the kitchen in our new house is perfectly usable, unlike the kitchen in our last place:

  A sink base, an upper cabinet, and a fridge in a different room. That was it.

 Sure, our current kitchen is a tad outdated, but it has all the appliances, a vaguely workable floor plan, and even a few cabinets to boot! But for one pesky detail I would never even consider a renovation right now.

All of our wall cabinets are mounted a mere 13" above the counter, while the general population enjoys a height closer to 18" So the vast majority of our counter space was rendered useless, and it was especially annoying when it came to the peninsula area.

In the end we decided NOT to jump into another full-scale remodel--as long as something could be done about that stupid cabinet over the peninsula.

With only an hour before the in-laws had to leave for the airport, Nemo and his dad got to work removing the cabinet. It turned out that the cabinet over the peninsula and the one to the left of the window were all one piece, so it was quite a job.

We were left with tons more counter space, but a bit of a lopsided appearance.

So to solve THAT problem I convinced Nemo to steal a cabinet from the other side of the kitchen. It'll be a quick job! I said. 

Not so. (It never is. When will he learn not to listen to me?)

The original owner of the house designed and built it himself,  and he wasn't messing around with this kitchen. There was a particular nail (really more of a railroad spike) that gave us a bit of trouble (hence all the wall damage), and we eventually had to just break the cabinet off the wall. The nail remains firmly embedded in the stud, as you can see.
I'll just fix the wall later. 

After a few hours spent rebuilding the cabinet, Nemo installed it to the left of the sink and BAM.

Acres of food prepping space, plus a clear view of the kitchen table. Hopefully this will cut down on the sneaky oatmeal-smearing that is rife in this house. Find a new favorite activity, toddlers. I've got my eye on you.

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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, November 20, 2014

New Master Bedroom Gets a New Look

Hey! I've finished watching the whole run of Buffy for the second time in six months (which Nemo seems to think I should be embarrassed about; I don't see why), I've got some second trimester energy, and the kids are contained in their rooms for quiet time. So I thought I would sit here with a bagel and Nutella sandwich and try to crank out a blog post.

Let's talk about the Master.

 No, not THAT one. 

THIS one.

That's what the master bedroom in our new house looked like when we bought the place. After a coat of paint and getting semi-moved in, it looked like this:

Not too shabby, but it had a few troubling first-world problems:
Problem #1: The paint I selected for the walls was a light blue-gray, which is very hard to tell in the picture. But it was not jiving with the neutral palette of the bedding and lamps.

Problem #2: No curtains. 

Problem #3: I wanted to pivot the bed 90 degrees for a reason I can't really remember, but that meant there was nowhere for our huge dresser to go.

I kind of blew the bedding budget on just sheets--I had just bought some at Home Goods but they pilled after the second wash, so I had to shell out for yet another set. So disheartening.  
This left me in a little bit of a bind when it came to the duvet cover. Then one day I got the idea to try and dye it to the gray tone I had in mind. I mean, textile dying always seems to work out so beautifully for the ReFashinista--why shouldn't I give it a go?
So one afternoon the duvet cover met a plastic tote filled with a whole lot of water and a packet of Rit dye that I picked up for $1.88 in the laundry aisle in Walmart. I reduced the amount of dye and didn't let it soak as long as directed in hopes that I would achieve more of a gray color, rather than black.

The result was purply-gray rather than dove-gray, but all in all I like it!

Next up: Bedside lamps found on Craigslist, spruced up with new shades found at Walmart.

I spent a good amount of time sewing curtains for all the bedrooms. I splurged on thermal/blackout liner fabric, since this is Wisconsin, where it is freezing cold in the winter and the sun doesn't set until 10pm in the summer. Totally worth the extra cost and time.

Then we moved our x-large dresser to the guest room and found two smaller dressers on Craigslist to go in the master.

All this work, and what did I get?

A lovely space.
And a really weird cat.

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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, October 17, 2014

Seventeen Days Later: A Home Tour

Thanks to copious help from friends and Nemo's coworkers, our move to our new house went fairly smoothly. I can't believe it's been over two weeks!

Some of you have been asking for pictures of the new digs, and now that most of the boxes have been unpacked (or cleverly hidden), I am more than happy to oblige.

The house is a colonial built about 45 years ago. Much of it is dated, and we had PLANNED on doing some updating before we moved in, namely replacing the flooring. What with one thing and another we didn't get to it and likely won't for several more years now. BUT! I did manage to paint all the bedrooms and Nemo installed ceiling fans and replaced some outlets.

So! Welcome.

 To the left of the entryway is a nice-sized office...

Off to a good start,  huh? Don't worry; it gets better.  

To the right of the entryway is the living room...

Which leads into the formal dining room.

Since I am morally opposed to feeding toddlers in a carpeted room, the dining room has become the library/sewing room. This is likely as tidy as it will ever get. 

I just now got my sewing machines out of storage a few days ago, and I hope to get my Etsy shop up and running again within the week. Sorry to everyone who has been waiting!

Then we have the kitchen.

 It's certainly a step up from the kitchen in our rental, but of course if we had unlimited time and money we would definitely rip it all out and start again. It's just what we do.

The eat in kitchen, good for eating in and also playing board games. CJ is completely obsessed with Blokus at the moment.

Off off the kitchen is the family room, which contains Nemo's new BFF: a functional wood-burning fireplace. We've had a few fires so far this season and it IS quite cozy. And no doubt good to have in the event of a snow-related power outage. This is Wisconsin, after all.

The family room also contains my new BFF, the red couch. We had some camp chairs set up in the there while I was obsessively checking Craigslist for reasonably priced sofa that didn't look like it was covered in various frat party substances. They were few and far between, let me tell you. 

So I wandered into a legit furniture store one day (with both kids in tow, oy) and purchased this one from the clearance section for about the same amount that I would have spent on a nice, used sofa on Craigslist. Score! One can never have too many places to nap, I always say.

To the left of the playroom is the garage, a powder room, and (contain yourselves, ladies) a laundry room! Note that it's not in a basement and there is nary a spider's web to be seen.

 At the far end of the hall upstairs is...

...Noni's room, aka "Where all the cool kids hang out and try to cheat death".

I ordered fabric for curtains like two weeks ago, but thanks to some sort of clerical error the order never got shipped. They assure me that it's on it's way now (sure, sure) so hopefully I will be able to retire the quilt-curtains before too long. 


...and CJ's room.

At the near end of the hall is the guest room/future baby room.

Then there's the master suite.

There as some feng shui issues we need to work out, but there's one thing that I am definitely OK with:

It's a beautiful thing.

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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, September 23, 2014

Riddle Me This

It's time for a fun game of DIAGNOSE EVA! Here are some symptoms for you to write on your white board...

Clue #1
Our credit card company put a block on our card due to suspicious activity, which was actually me sending Nemo out to the store for just one thing: Spaghetti-Os, Ramen Noodles, and Wendy's cheeseburgers, etc. Apparently innumerable small charges on a credit card is a red flag for fraud...but in this case, it was something completely different.

Clue #2
Nemo and I recently started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I couldn't help but notice some stunning physical similarities between myself and the android Mr. Data.

Namely, we both have pale, greenish-tinged complexions. I'm also finding that I have a hard time getting jokes lately.

Clue #3
Netflix keeps condescendingly asking me if I am STILL watching Buffy/Ripper Street/The Paradise.  Why yes, I am, Netflix, NOW STEP OFF BEFORE YOU GET HURT.

Clue #4
CJ and Noni have conveniently fallen in love with The Tigger Movie. They obligingly watch it every day after lunch so I can I zonk out for 77 wonderful minutes. Sometimes I wake up to someone driving a toy truck across my face, but mostly not. 

Clue #5
The other night I wanted to put hot sauce on my mashed potatoes. Luckily I started to feel pukey about seven seconds after having this thought, so I didn't follow through.

Did you guess it?

We are thrilled that we will be welcoming another HumbleBaby to the outside world this Spring! 

I had to get an ultrasound to date the pregnancy, because what with the cross-country move and everything, I kind of lost track of things. The baby is around 12 weeks now, and should be making his/her appearance sometime in April. 

We've given the baby the nickname of "Ender". Major nerd points if you know why:)

This all might seem strange, given my history and also this recent post. I really can't explain it, but somehow, despite everything, I got a mad case of baby fever. 

I am excited, and very thankful, but that's not to say I'm not also anxious. Prayers and positive thoughts are very much appreciated!

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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.