We are so thankful to be celebrating Christmas with our family, and are also thinking of our family in the Czech Republic, where we had such a blast celebrating Christmas last year.
Have a lovely holiday, everyone!
*AND, if you are looking for something to do with your time off, feel free to check out a great new blog - Western Mass Mama - by someone you're a little familiar with, about baby-related stuff in Western Massachusetts, and pregnancy in general. Enjoy!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Tomorrow we have our anatomy scan ultrasound, where we'll find out if we're having a girl or a boy!! Hooray!
Our plan is to have the tech write it down and put it in an envelope. Then we'll go someplace private and open it just Andy and me, and find out what we'll be expecting.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I haven't written much lately. Truth is... I've been really sick! Like, 1st trimester morning (all-day)sickness and serious fatigue.
It's not pleasant. Especially since I'm nearly 18 weeks pregnant (this Sunday!). I should be feeling better, and I'm not. But I am looking forward to feeling the baby move, which could happen any day now.
But, we go on. Other than that I'm fine, and obviously very obsessed with baby stuff right now, which is the real reason I haven't written as much lately. Oh, and work. That takes my time, too.
On the bright side, it's the day before Thanksgiving! We will be spending the time with family, and it's exciting to realize that next year we'll have an extra mouth to feed pureed sweet potatoes to. Yay! It's also amazing to think that on Thanksgiving last year we were in Prague and went to our favorite Thai place, Noi, in Stare Mesto (I don't have the energy to go looking for proper accents right now, sorry).
Have a great holiday, everyone!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Family and friends know this already, but for everyone else...
My mind and focus have been all over the place lately, and I've been very baby-oriented.
Today I am 14 weeks. Today the baby is the size of a 3.5" lemon!
Here's my 14 week picture. I'm starting to show a bit! I wasn't the skinniest to begin with, but I'm fairly confident that the bump that's starting to show is baby and not ice cream and Halloween candy (*I hope!*).
I'm finally ready to unveil Step 1 of our Master Bedroom Redo!
The redecorating of our master bedroom was no small feat... if anyone remembers, the previous owners had some very eclectic taste which they exhibited masterfully in the master bedroom.
The room was a mix of sponged-on mustard yellow walls and large vertical stripes of red and green fabric separated by gold ribbon a la Christmas wrapping. Hm. Interesting.
What we did: We used Stone 2 by Laura Ashely (from Lowe's) on the walls. I saw the color on a design blog, where it was used in a nursery and I loved it. It's surprising, because it's a pretty neutral color for me (I'm generally a bit more dramatic and bold) but it was so soft and pretty and completely unlike the look of the room that we wanted desperately to undo.
The paint is a kind of pinky-taupe that I think looks amazing with our bed (which I've had dreams of for years and we finally got from Humble Abode). I realize most of these after pictures are bed-centric... but we don't have other furniture, aside from a dresser, and it's not a huge room so the bed really is the focal point.
We have so much more to do to bring the whole room together (Step 2) - curtains, pictures of walls...but for now this is what we've got!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
As promised, here's the fall decorations on the front of our house...
Actually, we think we'll leave the crazy weird and slightly scary (and creepy) flying monkey hanging from the nail in the middle of the porch ceiling. This was my dad's and we love it. No matter how weird it is!
Monday, October 5, 2009
...My new unhealthy love for seasonal decorations.
Seriously, I don't know who this person is that I've become, but all I want to do is buy, like, twelve different wreaths for my front door.
Friday, October 2, 2009
This week I got sick.
This was a major drag, because last weekend I was fine, but on Sunday I started sneezing. I figured it was allergies.
I continued to sneeze on Monday. "Damn allergies!" I thought to myself.
I went to work, and then to an after work meeting in Northampton at La Veracruzana, a Mexican take out/eat in restaurant. I was super proud of myself because I drove into Northampton, parallel parked, went to the meeting and then drove home in the dark - all by myself!! (Remember, I'm a new driver, so these were firsts... don't kill my buzz, dude.)
(La Veracruzana Side Note: I took home two Carne Asada Burritos for Andy and me... they were fine, for what they were, and the salsa was great, and I appreciated that I got some limes with the order... but I really find myself missing Burritoville and it's creativity!!)
Anyway, somewhere on the drive between La Veracruzana and my house, I came down with an awful head cold. I was suddenly so congested and disgusting that I could barely be alive. I was sneezing non-stop... it was gross.
A day later I'd had to miss work and was still nasty, so I forced Andy to drive me to Whole Foods where I purchased my first Neti Pot.
A neti pot is a little pot (kind of looks like a mini tea pot) that you fill with warm saline water (you buy the neti pot salt separately and mix it in, or use Kosher salt), and then pour it into one nostril for it to come out the other. Sounds gross, right?
It kind of is, at first, and when I first did it I felt like I'd jumped into a pool... it's just that water-in-your-nose-and-face-cavity feeling. But you get over that.
The whole point is that the saline washes out toxins and mucous and crap that's making you all congested and nasty. And, by Golly!, it worked! It absolutely worked. I've been doing it twice a day for three days now and I feel great. I would definitely recommend the neti pot to anyone. I mean, people swear by it for relief for allergies, sinus issues, everything, and now I know why. I'm a true devotee for life.
Hooray for the Neti Pot!!
And if you have a hard time picturing the process, here's the official how-to video to help you:
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Hooray, we finally got a rug for the living room! It finally feels (fairly) complete. We still have some little tables to buy and pictures to put on the walls, but it feels like a real room now.
We got the rug from homedecorators.com, which has proven to be a pretty great resource for us. We also got our TV cabinet, standing/reading lamp from them, and now we're waiting for our new dining room chandelier.
It was also a relief, because we weren't sure what colors would look good...I've gone with a semi-monochromatic look (notice how most things in here are blue?) with highlights of yellowy-gold (the couch) and the complementary color of orange (the copper of the top of the coffee table).
Anyway, the rug looks fab with it all, I think. If you disagree, don't tell me!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Not really, but I am busy.
With my job...remember, that thing, that job, I got?
It keeps me busy.
And I'm tired.
That's why I've not written lately.
I work with kids, you know.
And they're young.
Some are, like, five. Years old.
So, I'm kinda beat lately.
But, I'll write soon. Just know I'm alive, just super tired.
I'll be back soon!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I started my job yesterday.
Back to the world of schools, children and perfecting my "scary" face (a.k.a. my "stop-talking-now-or-I-will-call-your-parents-and-make-your-world-hellish" face).
It was great to be back working. I'm working at two elementary schools here in Easthampton. Today I'll have my first day at a different school than yesterday. I get such butterflies in my stomach anytime I have to start something - anything - new; I just hate it. But yesterday went well and I'm sure today will, too. It's just the getting into the routine process.
It's really starting to feel like fall here in the Pioneer Valley, too. I always sleep with the windows open and there's such a chilly breeze coming through in the morning, it definitely feels like the start of the school year.
You can practically smell October and Halloween creeping up.
I love it.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Our "Vacation at Home" has just finished, and we had a great time. Edith was here staying with us for a time, so she embarked on some of these journey as well.
Thursday we went for lunch at La Casita Azteca in Easthampton, my favorite local mole place. Afterward we did a relatively brief (45 mins) walk on Mt. Tom, then we went to the Montague Bookmill, which was pretty awesome.
Friday Andy and I headed off for Quabbin Reservoir, planning to do a nice big hike and give Vivi some great exercise. Of course, as soon as we got there (about a 30 min drive) we saw the sign: NO DOGS ALLOWED. Ugh. So, we'll return some other time (though I did get to snap a couple pictures from the entrance), and instead went for a walk in some off-season fishing and hunting area. Not the same, but good nonetheless. Later we stopped at a roadside stand for fried clam rolls. Yum!
Saturday was rainy and crappy, so we went to Ikea. It was an hour and twenty minute drive, since the closest one is in New Haven, CT.
Andy, Edith and I decided to make the most of it, and stopped to get pizza at Frank Pepe pizza on Wooster St, which is supposedly the greatest pizza ever, but the line was long, we were cold and starving, so we went to a lesser known spot a couple blocks down and surely had lesser food. Ah, well. Then we bought stuff at Ikea, went home and vegged for the rest of the night.
Sunday we all went to some yard sales, but the only thing purchased was a children's book called Tea with an Old Dragon: A Story of Sophia Smith, Founder of Smith College for a buck. We dropped Edith back at home, then Andy and I went to Bub's BBQ for lunch. It was AWESOME. Great, smoky pulled pork sandwiches, awesome BBQ Ranch beans, everything was great. I'm so happy this place is open year round, and in our area.
After lunch we went for what ended up being a crazy steep and semi-difficult hike to Rattlesnake Knob in Amherst, where it was all worth it for the view. Needless to say, Vivi and I were dead for the rest of the night.
Finally yesterday we saw "Inglourious Basterds" which was okay, but I didn't like it as much as so many other people. The beginning was promising, with the conversation
at the French dairy farm that was reminiscent of "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction." ("Pulp Fiction" is also Andy's favorite movie.) But Andy and I both felt the second half (after the scene in the pub) dragged. There was still good stuff, but once again I had high expectations that I feel weren't met (sadly I felt the same about "Julie and Julia"). Ah, well.
The awesome news for yesterday, though, was that we found Banh Mi in the Pioneer Valley!! We randomly went for lunch at Miss Saigon in Amherst and there on the door was a sign that they were making Banh Mi. We are suckers for these Vietnamese sandwiches, which have gotten so popular lately, and after trying them in NY, I had searched and searched for them here and found nothing. And they were good! I'm seriously considering stopping for another one for lunch today. We'll see.
Now, it's kind of back to the grind. Andy's back at work, and I'm prepping for next Tuesday, my first day back at work since June 2008! Weird. And exciting.
How are you spending the last days of the summer?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Andy has four days off next week. We'd initially thought we'd make a trip to the Cape at some point, but because of various life things right now I suggested we do a "vacation at home" instead.
So, instead of spending the money to go away and stay in a hotel AND pay for every meal, we'll stay here at home but do vacation-y, explorer-y trips each day.
After all, we've lived here in Easthampton since June and really haven't explored much, like Mt. Tom or anything. We just went to Look Park in Northampton for the first time on Monday!
With this plan we can also actually splurge on a few nice restaurants and maybe even buy some "souvenirs" in our travels, AND get some exercise AND have fun in the nature and towns of the Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts.
I was reading a recent post in a great local blog, in the valley, that has some amazing pictures from Mt. Pollux (click on that link to see them). So, I think we might try that for a picnic one (clear) evening. The sky from that spot just looks breathtaking!
Also on my list is the Montague Bookmill, which sounds very exciting to me, and the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst. Have I mentioned I'm an English Teacher? This is the stuff that gets me going!
(Now that I think of it, Mark Twain's house is in CT... maybe I should see how long the drive is?)
If you know of any fun places to go to see, eat, enjoy - whatever - anywhere here in the Pioneer Valley, please suggest it!!
Time to reveal that I've got a job! I will be teaching Poetry and Newspaper for an after school program here in the town.
Where I live.
Trying not to reveal too much.
Trying to be professional.
Very happy to be teaching again. This program will be quite structured and for this I am thrilled. I am in the process of doing curriculum plans. Nice.
Other than that... I was out of town last week visiting my grandmother in the Midwest. She's in the hospital. It's kind of stressful time, as she's 92 and we all love her so much. That's about all I'll share for now.
We took Vivi to the vet today and she got her rabies shot and took it like a pro. That bitch has got mad skills as toughin' it out through the pain and discomfort. Like her moms.
She also has gained 2.2 pounds, for a grand total of 6.2 pounds now!! She's growing so fast and it just breaks my heart. I can't imagine having a baby, as this puppy's throwing me for a major loop. Ah, well.
Back to my research for lessons now...and if anyone has any tips on producing a class newspaper (like, um, can it be on regular 8x11.5 paper?) please leave 'em in the comments section).
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
We went back and forth deciding what color to paint the kitchen (the first of many steps in fixing this space up).
We were going to go for white, because we want a clean, open, light space...but decided on the same pale blue (Behr's Cool Sky) with white trim (Behr's Creamy White) that we used in the living and dining rooms. One reason is because the first floor of our house is very open and you can see each room from the others. We wanted things to feel connected, cohesive, and not broken up (since the rooms aren't huge and don't need to feel smaller than they are).
Another reason we went for the pale blue/white combo is because it's just so pretty. Every time I look around at the walls I say, "Isn't this so pretty?" So, why not spread that love to the kitchen?
See how light it is now, without that dark green keeping everything in shadows?
The blue might not go with things yet, but soon it will all come together.
The next step we plan to take is to paint or stain the cabinets white. I say paint, Andy says stain so they're kind of white-washed with the wood grain still showing through. I'm open to anything - does anyone have experience/knowledge pertaining to this? Please share!
Eventually we'll also (over who knows how many months) replace the sink (I hate this one!), replace the counter (probably with granite, though a big part of me yearns for butcher block), put up a tile backsplash, and change the floor. Speaking of which - what do you think of the floor? Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it...
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Our kitchen - the color, that is.
(Wait, does color cook? or does a kitchen cook? Whatever. The question was "What's cookin'?" meaning "What's happening?" and the simple answer is "We are painting our kitchen." Whew. Sorry.)
We spent the last two days priming & painting the kitchen. We finished today, and although we still plan to paint or refinish the cabinets, I'm really not one to wait, so I'll post (pre-changed cabinet) before and after pictures tomorrow.
Am I making sense? I don't think so. This is what two days of painting does to my brain. Ouch. Consider this a word problem.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Should I have capitalized the "at"? Or not capitalized the "all"? Capitalization in titles always confuses me. Sorry.
Anyway, because I was primarily raised by television, to this day I feel comforted and normal when the tube is on. I do house chores, cook, clean, work on the computer, all while it's on. Because I like to be amused, I find myself DVR'ing random shows I enjoy ("Gilmore Girls," "Seinfeld," "Sex and the City") and having them on all the time, so at least when the TV is on, it's tuned to my selected mind-fluff, and not just whatever crap is on.
So, while I'm here on the computer I've had "How I Met Your Mother" on - I've begun taping old episodes that I've discovered are shown in Lifetime on Monday evenings. How great is this show? I really enjoy it - Doogie (Neil Patrick Harris), Jason Segal ("Freaks and Geeks" is in my Top 10 favorite shows) and Willow from Buffy?! Right on. Anyway, just watched the episode that ended with Barney (Doogie) writing his blog on his computer a la Doogie-endings. Right on. (Did I just say that twice? Oh well, I won't delete one - I won't!) Love it.
It smells like dog food in here. Schizophrenic much? Perhaps. Or just a smart, fast-paced, ever-thinking (?) mind. Or something.
Oh - just saw a commercial for "Post Grad" - Rory from "Gilmore Girls" is in it. And speaking of which, I saw a commercial (on Lifetime?) for "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" that said it "launched the career" of the actresses and showed Alexis Bledel at that moment. Um - no! I think "Gilmore Girls" did that!
Enough tv/movie stuff.
I finally took a break from my three-month long "Battlestar Galactica" (such an awesome show) fest with Andy to actually move some movies to the top of my Netflix list and sit down and watch them. In the past five days I've seen three big supposedly must-see movies of the year: "Gran Torino," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Revolutionary Road."
Of course, "Slumdog" was awesome. I just love movies and books about East Asian culture. Fascinating. That culture is one of the reasons I had a concentration in Cross-cultural Literature when getting my BA. The first English class I took at Hunter College was East-Asian Women's Lit and it basically changed my life. Reading works by Shani Mootoo, Arundhati Roy and Jhumpa Lahiri (among so many other amazing writers) was just amazing, and turned me onto a whole new world. So, of course, this movie went right into that world and was just great. And sweet and lovely, which is always nice, too (I'm so easily pleased).
"Revolutionary Road," which we watched last night, was good and depressing and all that. I won't get too into it, for those who haven't seen it, but I admit I was nervous that when the movie was over I'd turn to Andy and insist we sell the house and get out immediately. This wasn't helped by the fact that just about every day I tell Andy how much I want to return (again) to Paris. Those who've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, when it was over I was depressed by the story, but didn't feel I had to change my life... because we're special, we are the Spaceks, after all...right? hm.
And "Gran Torino." I though this was a reference to a "Grandfather" or "Grandpa," last name "Torino" because, you know, Clint is old, and what the hell do I know about cars?
Anyway, I liked the movie, and again, it's always nice to get a glimpse of other cultures... however I found that the girl who played Sue was such a terrible actor it was hard for me to concentrate. I felt this way about a lot of the dialogue between her and Clint - like I was watching a student film. A bad one. Sorry. I thought it might be because I had the English subtitles on (I do this when I can't hear/understand the tv/actors sometimes) - perhaps I was reading too much, and that made it seem so scripted? But then I turned them off and I still thought she was awful, so go figure.
Have you seen these movies? What did you think? Wanna argue with me about that bad actress? Do you like/dislike the authors I mentioned? Leave me a comment!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
*(See previous post to know what the hell I'm talking about.)*
Don't make fun of my favorite videos - I like watching babies eating limes - if that's not pure comedy, I don't know what is!
If you visit you tube here at this link you can enjoy not only Vivi, but also see an old video of Andy & his brothers in Prague, laughing, eating & speaking Czech. I think they were drunk - what do you think?
Yes, I DO have that much time on my hands.
To post videos on you tube of my puppy.
Between job searches on the internet.
I mean, you never know - I could post videos of Vivi on the internet and she could be the next big sensation. This reality/internet world is a mysterious thing.
You just never know.
Anyway, to see videos of Vivi (because you have as much free time as I do, right?) click here (I'm Ivyreb).
Better yet, subscribe to me when you get there - I don't know what it will do for you, but it will make me feel mad important.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Introducing our new puppy, Vivian!
We call her Vivi. She's a West Highland Terrier, and very smart - she has learned her name, to fetch and to come AND has been AWESOME in her housebreaking (for the most part). And it's only her second full day here!
See more pictures of our little Vivi here.
We're not really the kind of people to call ourselves our pet's "parents" or her our "baby," but seriously, she's so cute and little and we have to wake up in the middle of the night to take her out, so it certainly feels like we are getting some preparation for a baby (and no, I'm not pregnant yet!).
We've wanted a dog for loooong time, but never could get one in our NYC apartments. We knew we wanted one as soon as we moved here. We thought we would get a mutt or something, but we happened upon a litter of Westies, and my mom's dog Buster is a Westie and a great dog, so we went for it.
And it's not just me who loves terriers! One of my favorite sketches by "The Kids in the Hall" is Bruce McCulloch singing the Terriers song.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Wait, you don't know the song "Asshole" by Denis Leary (my favorite line conveniently perfect for the title of this post)?? Before going further, go watch the video NOW!!
(and yes, our other, often-quoted, favorite line is "When handicapped people make handicapped faces"... don't judge!)
Little did we know that one day we'd be what we've been laughing at all these years.
It all started with... a mower.
That's right - we got a lawn mower.
Not just any mower...
a ride on mower.
We have a big yard.
A push mower would take hours.
Everyone else has a ride on mower.
It makes the air smell really nice.
Never mind the excuses, here's my own white suburbanite slob, taking that bad boy for it's first spin.
It's absolutely thrilling. I know. Don't be jealous.
I don't know what's next - me wearing an apron, baking a pie? What other suburban stereotypes can we act out?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Hey! A great friend of mine has started a blog. You should go on over and check it out - the dad scene.
My friend is the first-time father of an (adorable) 11-month old boy AND a self-proclaimed pop culture nerd. Because I kind of am, too, we've never run out of things to talk about, and he's like my TV show soul mate. But he's got other things going for him, too. Check it out!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Painting, painting and more painting. That's where I've been.
But today was a change - the big carpet cleaning expedition! How exciting!
We rented a carpet cleaner and just finished up four hours of intense cleaning.
I hate carpeting.
Here's some before and after shots of some rooms we've done so far, in terms of painting. We have lots of decorating that will be coming up soon; just not yet. foyer before (looking into the half bath)
half bath after (never got a decent before pic)
guest bathroom before
guest bathroom after
guest bedroom before
guest bedroom after
dining room before
dining room after
living room before
living room after
Foyer & Half Bathroom: Glidden Antique White w/ Creamy White trim. (We were dumb - we went ahead and bought the Antique White based on a suggestion on a website that it's a great cream color, without actually testing it first... it's a little more grayish than cream, but it looks clean so I guess it's okay for now.
Guest Bathroom: Behr White Bathroom paint (mildew resistant, all that good stuff) w/ existing wood trim
Guest Bedroom: Behr Grass Cloth w/ existing wood trim.
Living room & dining room: Behr Cool Sky w/ Creamy White trim.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
We bought our grill yesterday. Hallelujah!
For anyone who knows us, you know we usually have "steak night" once a week - kind of our version of date night, I suppose, where we make steak and drink a (big) bottle of wine and talk and watch some half-hour TV show (used to be "House Hunters" though now our needs have changed, it's more likely to be "Renovation Realities" or similar) where it takes us two hours to watch it because we pause and chat so often.
Therefore, we've enjoyed steak made on the grill... two nights in a row! I know, sacrilege. Don't judge our red-meat tendencies. Please, don't.
My mom is coming tomorrow and we're off for lots of shopping, mainly for the guest room & bathroom. We need to buy bedding, a shower curtain and towels - we must buy these otherwise she has to do without. We should have lots of girly fun.
Also, we got our bed frame delivered today, and tomorrow our guest bed is coming, along with our new oven. Thursday it's our couch that's coming. It's definitely a busy week here - and, though I'm not giving too much away, I have two important things this week. Tomorrow I meet with a woman at UMass Amherst about finishing my Graduate degree and getting certified to teach in Mass, and Thursday... I have another appointment that I'll discuss later.
Anyway, it's getting later as I write and I'm beat (must be that half giant bottle of wine getting to me)...
more later! Have a good night!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Okay! For all the exciting moments of our first week and a half in our new house captured on film (well, my digital camera) AND a quick trip to Boston on Saturday, click here.
And for just a glimpse of dusk from our back deck, here's a quick video to give you and idea of the surroundings. We love it!
Monday, June 22, 2009
I am so exhausted from painting and cleaning (still) that I can't really think of a halfway interesting or intelligent title for this post. If you've come here for the complete entertainment experience, my apologies.
I am desperately trying to post pictures from our first week and a half in the house online and provide a link, but I think the Charter internet makes is difficult. Or it's Facebook, which is where I create my photo albums.
Soon I'll write more and show off all the cleaning/black ant/oven-smoking fun.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
(UPDATE: I think embedding the video slowed down my blog and stopped a lot of pics from loading, so I've removed the original post and now just put up the link to the video.)
Lauren Conrad from "The Hills" (in case you live in a cave) came clean on "The View" about Spencer's apology, basically saying everything is staged! Ah ha!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
If you've been paying attention, you know that my mind is in overdrive with decorating this new home. I want clean, calm, organized but warm...I want colors and patterns but nothing too busy but instead all cohesive and beautiful... yada yada yada.
I'm inspired by Parisian apartments, French Country, Victorian (especially because of the exterior of the house) and am working with a lot of inherited old wood American furniture.
Here's some great sites I frequently drool over that definitely inspire me and keep my eyes on the prize (and remind me that there's so much more out there than Ikea or Pottery Barn!). Check them out! The last one is great for DIY stuff and clean, organizational ideas (their place is sooo clean looking, especially their kitchen!)
La Maison Bohéme
The Paris Apartment
The Inspired Room
This Young House
Here's some pictures that I've found online that are also inspirational for colors I'd like to use (rich cream, soft lavender, grey-green, sunny yellow, pale and deep blue).