Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays.  Getting dressed up and wandering the streets in search of free candy?  It really doesn't get any better than that!

But somehow, as the years passed and I outgrew trick-or-treating, my Halloween/autumn decorations have become more and more minimal.  This year it's probably just as well, since I doubt whether trick-or-treat will be happening in my town, given the current weather situation. ;-)

Next year I want to carve actual pumpkins, plant mums in front of the porch, put up lights and cobwebs, and have one of my friends make an autumn-appropriate wreath for the front door. 

In the meantime, this is what I'm working with:

A fake jack-o-lantern and a cauldron (full of Hershey Kisses!) on top of my new desk.
Autumn-themed dish towels I won at a tricky tray a couple of years ago.
This cute little thing is on top of the toilet, because the bathroom needs to be a little festive, too!
My beloved skeleton lights, which I've had since middle school, now adorn the bar.
Our bar, all lit up!  Even if all I can do for the time being is sit back and admire it. ;-)

If any of you folks have posts with photos of your Halloween/autumn decor, share the link below - I need some inspiration/motivation for next year! ;-)

P.S.  This is a scheduled post, so by the time it's up, it's entirely possible that Hurricane Sandy will have plunged us into darkness. Good thing I have a decent supply of candles and books!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What Calm Before the Storm?

This weekend has been an absolute whirlwind of a weekend, some good, some not so good.
Things started out on a pretty sour note, when we found out that Glen's car is in need of a new transmission.  In light of the fact that he drives a '99 Kia Sephia, that's not an investment we're willing to make, so now we're on the hunt for a new car for him.  Not happy about having to spend the money, but excited that we will hopefully have not one, but two, relatively new, reliable cars.

We actually got the bad news about Glen's car in between his cousin's wedding ceremony and reception.  I spent the cocktail hour commiserating with my sister-in-law, because as you will see if you hop on over to her blog, October has not been a good month for the Tickle boys' cars.  Despite being bummed about the car situation, the reception was a good time, as evidenced by one of Glen's tweets from that night:

Gotta love swing dancing with my father-in-law!

I was up bright and early Saturday morning for my first craft show of the season:

I was pleasantly surprised by sales for the day.  October shows are usually a bit slower, since people aren't necessarily thinking of Christmas shopping yet, but I made a decent number of sales, and things usually pick up a bit more for the November shows.  I originally hadn't planned anything for December, but I'm debating trying to find a show on December 8.  Maybe my big 7-months-pregnant belly at that point will give sales a nice little bump. ;-)

After getting home from the craft show, we had to run some errands to make sure we were ready for the upcoming storm, making sure we were stocked up on dog food and degu food, as well as non-perishables that can be cooked on our gas range, should we lose electricity.  Lots of canned soups and Chef Boyardee, as well as pasta and oatmeal, and fresh fruit.  

Once errands we done, we took a drive down to Philadelphia for our friend Eric's 30th birthday party.  We haven't seen him since December, which is way too long, especially compared to the days when we all went to the same college and he and Glen were roommates.

Here's Glen with the birthday boy:

Don't be fooled by that casual pose.  They spent a disproportionately large portion of the evening hugging one another. ;-)

Glen and I spent a good chunk of the night hanging out in Eric's back yard, which was all brick and greenery and twinkly lights.  The weather was gorgeous, and even my chronically-cold self was comfortable without a sweater for the earlier part of the party.  Here's an cute photo Eric took last night and sent to me this morning:

We didn't get home until nearly 3:30 this morning, but it was totally worth the lack of sleep!

Now I'm just relaxing at home, recovering from the busy weekend and trying to figure out the odds that I'll be going into work the next couple of days, seeing as the governors of both NJ and PA have declared states of emergency due to the havoc Hurricane Sandy is expected to wreak.

I hope all my fellow northeasterners stay safe these next few days!  Is anyone out there hosting or attending a hurricane party?? ;-)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Maternity Monday: 24 Week Belly Pictures and Finished Curtains!

I'm finally not running multiple weeks behind on belly pictures!

As of today I'm 25 weeks, and these pictures were taken about midway through week 24:

 I'm pretty sure the papaya from week 22 was bigger than this cantaloupe...

...But my belly is way bigger than it was 2 weeks ago!!

 Sharing a shot from the front this week to illustrate how different I look from this angle.  
This is why most of my maternity clothes are still too big. ;-)

In nursery decor-related news, the curtains are done! 

Glen and I spent Saturday afternoon weeding through and organizing the storage spaces in the house so we can start to make more progress in the office-to-nursery conversion, and I've started gradually moving my jewelry stuff into the bottom section of the secretary desk.

I'm amazed by how much of my supplies fit in there!  Once I finish moving the rest of my supplies into the desk, I might have to do a post about how to fit an entire small business into a single desk, because aside the display supplies I use for shows (table, risers, tent, and a Rubbermaid container of tablecloths and jewelry stands), all of my office supplies and raw materials should all find homes!

Speaking of the jewelry business, my first show is this Saturday!  Eek!  It's going to be a busy week, but *slightly* less busy than expected, since my band rehearsal for tomorrow evening got cancelled.  I still need to fill in some gaps in my finished inventory - I desperately need to have more earrings on hand, and I still have an entirely new style of necklaces that I'd like to have available in a few different colors by that time.  If I have time, I also want to try out a new idea for added my logo to the gift boxes as well.

On top of that, I have a childbirth class at the hospital Tuesday night, an appointment with my OB after work on Wednesday followed immediately by a movie night at a friend's house (I will be bringing jewelry making supplies to the latter!), my usual Thursday night library shift, and a wedding on Friday.  And of course, putting in my 40-hour week at my day job.  Needless to say, I'll be spending most of Sunday napping!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Window Shopping

This is the time of year I'd normally go buy a few new pieces of clothing for the fall/winter.

Doesn't make much sense to do it this year, since I have pretty much all the maternity clothes I need, and it doesn't really seem practical to attempt to buy non-maternity clothes at the moment. 

It doesn't stop me from looking though!

During my shift at the library tonight, I didn't have any special projects to work on.  This meant I've been browsing ModCloth for things I might like to buy this spring.

I long ago decided that one of my first post-pregnancy dress purchases would be one of their Coach Tour Dresses, although I can't decide what color to get!

Tonight I was browsing the blouses, and my top three picks are:

Which one gets your vote??

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wedding Shenanigans

On October 6, one of my very best friends (who was the maid of honor in MY wedding!) got married.  It was a beautiful wedding, and I'm so happy for her!

I just had to take a minute share this picture that Glen took during the reception.  I feel like it sums up the dynamic of our marriage pretty well.  It started out as a nice self-portrait of the two of us, but at the last second he made a ridiculous face and I started laughing:

This is what happens when you marry someone you've know since middle school.  ;-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Maternity Monday: 22 Week Belly and Curtain Prototype

How was everyone's weekend?  Mine was busy, but fun.  Glen and I went to my cousin's 30th birthday party on Friday night, then went on a sushi date (I stuck with a California roll and eel roll, but was stuck admiring his spicy salmon roll from afar) and attempted to finish up our baby registry.  Yesterday afternoon, Elvis had a play date with his cousin Magoo, who is a 118 lb American bulldog.  Magoo definitely falls under the category of "gentle giant" but the two of them had a fantastic time chasing each other around the back yard and wrestling.  I wish I'd taken pictures, but I dropped the ball on that...

However, I DO have belly pictures!

These were taken about a week and a half ago, about midway through week 22:

Baby was the size of a papaya that week.

Unrelated, but that was the week I stopped wearing my hair curly.  I had just dyed it and the weather's been less humid lately, so it stopped curling on its own, and straightening it is the path of least resistance again.  I am lazy. ;-)

Contemplating how it's possible something papaya-sized fits in my belly!  And probably worrying about watermelon week.

Although my belly has grown quite a bit, I'm still not filling out much of the maternity clothes I got, so I'm still mostly in my regular clothing for the time being, fitting into my jeans and dress pants with the help of Target's BeBand.  Seriously, best $16.99 I've ever spent!

And I just have to share this photo of Elvis hugging my belly.  It's a bit blurry, since I took it on my iPhone in the dark at an awkward angle, but it's too cute not to show you guys:

In other exciting baby-related news, my mom pinned together a prototype of the curtains for the nursery.  She stopped by over the weekend to check the length and width:

Please excuse the blue curtains that we lazily pushed to the side.  It just didn't seem worth it to take them down all the way until the new curtains are done!

Anyway, the print on the fabric was quite a bit larger than I'd expected, but now that I've seen it in curtain form and in the room, I actually think I like it better than if it was too much smaller.  An unexpected bonus of the print being so big is that we will be able to do a custom-made mobile by cutting out some of the birds from the excess fabric.  This works out well, because after searching high and low, I couldn't find a single mobile that I liked!

Next weekend's project: clean out the laundry room and hall closet so I can finally start clearing the non-nursery things out of the room!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Office Space

I explained in a previous post that I need to relocate my office, since little Stormageddon will be taking over that room is less than four months (!!!).

After much debate over whether to hold out for the perfect antique or go ahead and buy something new, I decided to go with the latter, mostly because it would be easier to find and would give me more room to transform the old office. 

Ultimately I decided to go with the same desk I mentioned in this post, except in black:

As much as I would have LOVED to have find a cool antique desk, this one was the perfect color and style for the decor in the rest of the living room.  It was on sale.  I couldn't resist.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the desk, it's definitely quite solid.  (Come to think of it, we've bought at least 3 other pieces of furniture from Target, all of which turned out to be surprisingly nice!)

Here's what our living room looked like pre-desk:

I feel kind of bad about this, but the recliner (which is officially Elvis's chair at this point) had to make way for the desk:

I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do about a chair yet, but for the time being I will probably just stash a folding chair between the desk and the fireplace or between the desk and the wall, then take it out as needed.  Once I come up with a more permanent solution, I'm sure I'll be sure to share.  Perhaps THAT will be the antique element in the room!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Maternity Monday: Diapering Decisions

First and foremost: Glen and I DID take 22-week belly pictures last week.  They are still on his camera, because I kept forgetting to put them on my computer.  I will have them next week, I promise!

So, in the meantime, I'm going to talk about one of the first childrearing decisions Glen and I ever made, long before we seriously started considering having a baby.

We've been a bit on the crunchy side, even since we first got married (which, incidentally, was on Earth Day in 2006, but we didn't choose the date for that reason, we chose it because it was the week after Easter and we wouldn't have to buy flowers for the church!).  But increasingly so as the years have gone by.  It started with simply using canvas bags at the grocery store, and now we grow some of our own food, buy a large portion of what we don't grow at the farmers' market.  We buy our eggs and meat directly from a local farm, where we can be assured that the animals were treated humanely and not pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics and hormones.

The crunchy streak continues with our decision to use cloth diapers.  There are three main reasons for this decision:

Cost - Disposable diapers are expensive.  According to this website, assuming Stormageddon is out of diapers by the time she's 2 1/2, we'd have spent about $2500 on disposable diapers.  This seems on par with estimates I've seen elsewhere.  I've done the math, and using a combination of prefolds (the cheapest option, and probably our primary diaper style) and pockets (for when the grandparents watch her, since they are most similar to disposables), cloth diapers will probably run us around $500-600.  Bonus: If we have a second baby and keep the cloth diapers, diapering baby #2 will cost next to nothing!

We're Treehuggers - Disposable diapers are made using chemicals and non-renewable resources, and they take up a TON of room in landfills.  Cloth diapers are typically made of natural materials, like cotton (no chemicals, AND it's renewable).  Yes, they do use water (also a renewable resource) and detergent, but there isn't quite the same environmental impact as with disposables.  You don't throw them away, you keep using the same ones.  Even on future children.  Or you can sell them or give them away.  Heck, I've even heard that people will continue to use them as dust rags after their last child is potty trained (obviously after giving them a very good wash!). 

They're ADORABLE! - Seriously.  Have you seen them?  Just search Amazon and you'll see what I mean.  Here are some of my favorites, from Assunta Store:

Sure, it takes a bit more time, since it means 2-3 more loads of laundry each week, but when the cheapest option is also the most environmentally-friendly AND the most fashion-forward?  It's kind of a no-brainer for us!

As of right now, we've decided to start out using some bumGenius one-size 4.0 pocket diapers, along with prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers, and a selection of adorable, adorable covers from Assunta Store.  As odd as it sounds, I'm actually incredibly excited about using cloth diapers!  My husband doesn't quite get my enthusiasm.  He said he feels good about our decision for reasons 1 and 2, listed above.  I think the gap in our enthusiasm is mostly because I'm a stereotypical girl and can't wait for a daughter to make a fashion statement with her diapers, but Glen just can't get that excited about something that is, as its primary function, a poop receptacle.  ;-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Do You Read Banned Books?

Ok, folks.  Time for me to be a librarian. 

Here we are, right smack in the middle of Banned Books Week.

 Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association
Naturally, as a librarian, this is something that is near and dear to my heart.  So in the spirit of Banned Books Week, I decided to take a look at the ALA's list of banned and challenged classics to see how many I'd read.  The list consists of the 46 of Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been banned or challenged.

I'm a bit disappointed to report that I've only read 15:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

The numbers on this list skip because they correspond to their number on the Radcliffe's list, just in case that threw you off. ;-)

I'm still trying to figure out how I made it through nearly 30 years without reading some of the books on this list, yet have managed to read all the D.H. Lawrence novels up there.  Guess I'd better get reading!!!

How many of these classics have you read?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Elvis's Buddy

Sorry guys, no Maternity Monday post today!  Baby-related stuff has been fairly uneventful.  No appointments or progress on the office-to-nursery conversion.  Although I guess today's post is tangentially baby-related.

Not long after we found out we were having a girl, my parents bought some cute baby girl outfits and a toy that Elvis thought was his.  To be fair, it was a doll that rattled and had that stuff that makes a crinkly noise inside it, so can you really blame him?

My mom felt so awful about buying stuff for the baby and not for Elvis that the following week she stopped by and dropped off a big, soft, squeaky bunny. 

He is a big fan of Bunny.

Lounging with Bunny on his bed
A really, really big fan.

Thank goodness for Bunny's foot.  Elvis has never been a fan of the "modesty tail." ;-)

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