The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: A Year In Review

I can't believe 2010 is almost over! Doesn't it seem like it just started? Where does the time go? It's been a busy and surprising year. Let's look back, shall we?

Travel! We did loads of traveling this year!
*Poland (James Bond, not me-he was called Mr.HH then)
*Barcelona, Spain
*Tunis, Tunisia
*Naples and Pompeii, Italy
*Rome, Italy
*La Spezia and Pisa, Italy
*Ajaccio, Corsica
*Villa France, France
*Monte Carlo, Monaco
*Warwick, England (this one got a second post)
*Wiltz, Luxembourg
*Bastogne, Belgium
*Garmisch, Germany

Whew, I'm exhausted just thinking about all that traveling!  It was loads of fun though. 

Indy had a big year.  He turned 8 and went to Legoland, had a pirate party, started 3rd grade (homeschool of course), swam in the Mediterranean, got a letter from President Obama, and skied the Alps.  He also got dyslexia therapy and finally grasped reading!  This was my personal favorite thing that happened this year.

This year James Bond and I both turned 37 (he in Jan and me in March), celebrated 15 years of marriage, drank loads of wine, spent countless hours watching the World Cup (Germany came so close), and got a sweet (but crazy) new girl.  I found further proof that Edward and I are meant to be, and think Johnny Depp might be checking up on meCall me. I love you!

The biggest surprise/shock/unexpected bit of craziness of 2010 though came back on August 27th, when I took 5 pregnancy tests and they ALL came up positive

Of course 2010 wasn't all sunshine, soccer and traveling..  This year we sadly, and with broken hearts, said goodbye to our beautiful 14 year old girl, Pepper.  It's been 6 months now, and I miss her every day.   And not as sad, but just before Thanksgiving, I ended up with food poisoning and landed in the hospital, which was less than fun.

It looks like 2011 will be a whopper of a year (what with a new baby and all).  I look forward to sharing it all with you guys.  I wish you all a peaceful, prosperous, happy, healthy and high-heeled new year. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Decor 2010

Well, now that it's all over, I guess I could show you my Christmas decor, huh? We were down in Garmisch during all the holiday posting hoopla and I missed all the parties. Sadness. Still, if you'd like to look, here it is. Click on the individual photos to enlarge.

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Hope you liked it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How did you spend the day after Christmas????

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! It started snowing here on Christmas Eve and by morning we had about 6" on the ground. No dreaming of a white Christmas for us! Believe it or not, we actually had to wake Indy up at 8am! What kid sleeps in on Christmas? He had a great time and got loads and loads of gifts. Lego's, Lego's and more Lego's! Since we had lots of people coming over (including young children) we didn't let him open any of the big sets, which was pure torture. He woke up at 7:15 this morning (I think something is wrong with him) and after taking the dogs out, we got to work. He and I put together Lego castle that was 423 pieces. It took about an hour. After that we really got down to business. He asked Santa for the Lego Medieval Village and the big guy delivered. This thing is 1601 pieces!  Normal Lego sets come in numbered bags and you put together the bags in order.  Not so, this set.  There were about 12 bags of random pieces that needed to be sorted by color.  It took me, Indy and my mom (Gigi) a little over an hour just to sort!  I had used my 3 tiered server for Christmas and it came in handy for sorting Lego pieces (I'm really getting my money out of it).  James Bond and my step-dad (Papa) came back from the store and Indy, James Bond and I set to building.  Four and half HOURS later we were finished (and I never want to see a Lego again).  I have to say this is a really, really cool set with great details.  Have a look:

The whole shebang!

Blacksmith and stables

The Inn and market

Outdoor restaurant and town tree (notice the frog and duck)

Close up of the market-there's even a price chart

There's even a rooster!

And a chicken!

The inside of the Blacksmith and stables.  The stove on the second floor actually opens and has fire in it.

The waterwheel actually moves the hammer up and down!

Inside of the Inn.There's even a beer barrel.  Can't have an inn without a beer barrel!

Check out the fireplace with fire!

He got 4 more sets that have to be put together.  They'll have to wait another for another day though.  Sigh.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Skiing the Alps

Sorry I've been MIA for so long, but, well, I've been busy. My mom (Gigi) and stepdad (Papa) arrived on the 7th and then we went to Bastogne, Belgium for the Battle of the Bulge memorial walk, and THEN down to Garmisch for a week of sightseeing in the cold and snow.
The first day we were in Garmisch, they were scheduled to go on a day trip to Innsbruck, Austria, but the weather was NOT cooperative, so the tour was canceled. There were already about 2.5 feet of snow on the ground and it was falling fast.  Indy had mentioned wanting to learn to ski while we were in the Alps, so I called the Hausberg ski lodge and got him into a ski class (even when the weather is bad, you can still ski). He was so excited. He'd never been on skis before and I was terribly nervous (I did not want him breaking anything a week before Christmas-well, ever really, but still).  The Hausberg has a private ski slope and for use by beginners only though, so that made me feel better.  We got there and suited him up (good golly did that take forever) and off to the slopes he went.  He had a great time!  I sat in the lodge drinking hot chocolate and watching him through the windows.  Not a bad way to spend a snowy day if you ask me.
He spent about 3 hours on the slopes and by the end of it was flying down the hill like a pro.  He had such a good time!  The next day Gigi and Papa went on a tour of a cheese factory and the Ettal Monastery, so I took Indy back to the Hausberg for more skiing.  He spent about 4 hours zipping and zooming down the hill like he was born on skis.  I suppose if you're going to learn to ski, doing so on the Alps is the way to do it.  Check out my little ski pro.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Names on a wall

If you did a random survey of the military today, asking why someone joined, you'd get a variety of answers. Some joined because they felt it their patriotic duty, some for the steady paycheck (no matter how small) in an unstable job market, some to see the world, some to get off the small farm they grew up on (or away from the big city), and others because they had nothing better to do. Sixty-nine years ago, the answers would likely have been the same. For those joining the Navy, an assignment to Hawaii was likely a dream come true. Travel wasn't as easy or cheap as it is today and a visit to Hawaii was something most of them would never have thought even remotely possible. For thousands of young men (and a few young women) a posting to the Pacific Fleet was the assignment of a lifetime. Outside their duties were beaches, bars, and the opposite sex in a lush paradise. Life likely seemed perfect.
In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, this dream assignment became a living nightmare as the Japanese dropped bombs over the fleet and surrounding bases. Chaos ensued as sailors, some just boys realy, stumbled from their bunks, many still sleeping or tired from just getting of watch and some still a little hungover from the previous night's carousing. They did not yet know it, but they were in the middle of a major event in world history.
More than 2400 men (and a few women) lost their lives that day. More than 1100 were wounded.
Today, despite the horror and heroics of that fateful day, they are mostly forgotten. Sixty-nine years ago though, they were fathers, sons, brothers, mothers, daughters and sisters. They had families "back home" who loved and cared for them and looked forward to receiving letters filled with their adventures on that far away island. It's easy to forget that they were real people, not just names on a wall or characters played by actors in Hollywood blockbusters. Some were long time Navy vets close to retirement, and others were just at what should have been the beginning of their lives.  On that morning, some of those men became heroes.  Others became a name on a wall.  Remember them today, not as a name, but as a person with hopes and dreams for a life that was cut short in an instant.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Food poisoning and German hospitals

So, I trust you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are now gearing up for the fa-la-la-la-la insanity of the Christmas season.  T-giving was actually quite good for us, but the days before...not so much. 

The Friday before T-giving, James Bond and I went to a social function and had a great time.  It was almost like a date!  Saturday morning I felt...not so good.  Not pregnancy sick, sick sick.  Lying in the bed wishing you were dead sick.  You know what I mean.  I kept down a cup of tea and piece of dry toast (by sheer force of will, let me assure you) and Sunday was the same story (minus keeping down the piece of toast).  It was bad.  By Sunday evening, I knew I was dehydrated and it wasn't getting better.  I am not a fan of going to the hospital, but James Bond wasn't delirious with hunger and germs and made me go to the hospital.  Something about the baby and my health, blah, blah, blah.  We woke poor Indy up around 11pm (he was more delirious than I was-the boy needs his sleep) and headed over to Sankt Elisabeth Krankenhaus (St. Elizabeth Hospital) and I was immediately admitted.  They did an ultrasound and the baby was fine, but wasn't moving.  This freaked me out and I asked the doctor why.  She said simply "Er schläft" (He's sleeping).  I told her (irrationally in retrospect) to wake him up.  She clearly thought I was mad, but tapped my stomach a few times with the u/s wand and then I laughed because he head started shaking back and forth and his little hands were waving around and I had the image of Karl, from the movie UP.  The doctor clearly thought I was insane and began an IV push immediately.
Our insurance pays for a double room, but I opted to go with a private room for an extra 50 Euro a night (I was on the maternity ward and did not want to be in a room with a newborn).  This was a good call.  The room was large and crazy, crazy, crazy clean with a very posh bathroom.  I got loads of fluids and anti-nausea medication, which, turns out, I am allergic to.  I was literally itching from the inside.  Good times!  The only other things I could take while pregnant I have known allergies to (yeah, I'm a bundle of fun), so I just lay there miserable.  The nurse came back a while later and said she had something that would help and handed me a glass shot glass (none of those disposable paper cups here-that's wasteful) and asked if we used "ho-MAYO-puh-teek" in America.  Um, what was that again?  I had no idea what she was talking about but I looked down in the little shot glass and saw about 8 round white balls and it suddenly dawned on me what it was.  I looked up in surprise and said "Homeopathic!  Yes, of course, we have homeopathic medications in America."  What I didn't say though was "but they don't give them out in hospitals."
The next morning my OB came in and checked on the baby (still good) and me (still not good-it was really bad food poisoning, nothing more dangerous), took more blood and put me on a diet of zwieback and mushroom broth.  Yum.  The nurse asked me if we had zwieback in America and laughed when I told her that we did, but generally only gave it to toddlers who were teething.  I was there for 2 more nights on fluids and mushroom broth but I insisted that I was going home on Wednesday.  No way was I missing Thanksgiving.  The OB told me I should stay and "rest" another day or two, but I said absolutely not.  Here are some of the highlights of happenings and things I learned while there:

*The nurses work 6 hours shifts. 

*Their English is far superior to my German, but some of the things they said made me LOL.  One nurse (whose English was not very good) was asking me if I'd had any diarrhea or vomiting (or womitting as she called it), but she didn't know the word for diarrhea, so she put her hand on her bum and made a weird motion and asked if I had had "big toilet."  Thankfully, no, but the way she mimed and phrased it gave me a good chuckle.  Another nurse knew the term for diarrhea, but not vomiting, so she asked if I'd had the mouth diarrhea.  I almost died at the mental image.  Ick!

*For breakfast on the maternity ward, they have a buffet.  I was only allowed there on my last morning, but thought it was such an odd thing.

*Lunch is the big meal of the day.  My last night there, they finally decided I could eat and dinner (light fare) consisted of 3 slices of cheese and 2 pieces of bread.  I almost cried.  I was so hungry I called James Bond and told him he had to bring me some food or I was going to starve to death.

*German women stay 5-7 days in the hospital after having the baby.  The nurses wait on them hand and foot.  I know why they don't want to go home.

*The zwieback they serve tastes like it's made from brioche bread and was surprisingly good.  I understand why they laughed when I said we don't generally eat it in America.

This is the hospital where I will give birth and while being sick SUCKED, it was nice to get to know the staff at the hospital and see how things will work.

I'm hoping we can spend the next few months outside of the hospital only seeing the OB for normal appointments.  AND that I never, ever run across what made me sick in the first place.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RTT: Royals, Preidents and Mars


*It seems like all my thoughts are random lately. I think the strangest things. Probably because I have a person growing inside me. Isn't that weird? I mean, I know I've done this before, but it still kind of freaks me out to know that there is a whole person inside my body.

*The other day in the commissary (military grocery store) I was standing patiently in the health and hygiene aisle, waiting for Indy to pick out his bubble bath (You'd think this wouldn't take much thought, but you'd be wrong.  So wrong.) and glanced over at the "Family Planning" section (which really means condoms because, well, that's all they stock, but "Family Planning" sounds classier I guess) and had a strange thought.  Do they make condoms in a size small or medium?  If so, do men really buy them?  All the commissary had was large and extra-large (which makes me laugh) and it occurred to me that if they don't  make small and medium, then wouldn't large really be small and extra large really be large?  Seriously, it took the boy forever to pick out his Mr. Bubble scent.

*I feel like I should make a viral video.  Maybe I'll work on that.

*My dogs have to get shots today.  I'm so not looking forward to it.  The shots aren't the issue, it's the car ride there and back.  OMG, they are so loud in a car!

*Scientists apparently want the US to colonize Mars with older astronauts who will not be coming back.  It's a one way trip!  I'm not seeing a lot of astronauts volunteering for this.    I can think of a few people *I* know that I'd like to volunteer for the trip though.  You think NASA is taking suggestions?

*Every time I see a military homecoming on the news (or in person) I tear up.  It's so emotional.

*Is it weird that I'm kind of excited about Prince William and Kate Middleton getting engaged?  I really like weddings and remember getting up super early in 1981 to watch Charles and Diana's (though I hope the results are better for Wills and Kate-I call them that.  We're tight.).   It's not often you get to watch a royal wedding, and this should be fun.  Especially since we should be in a better timezone to watch.

*Also, not that I mean the Queen any harm, but I'd really like to see a coronation.  Poor Charles, I don't see him getting the crown any time soon.  I think the Queen might secretly have been replaced by a robot.  Probably Prince Phillip too.

*I am so happy that GW is out promoting his book.  I don't care what you say about his politics, I have missed GW.  I have missed his crazy little laugh with the shoulder shaking.  I've missed his voice and pronunciation.  Obama is too articulate and specific when he talks.  He needs to learn to say 'Merica!

*I think I might need a Kindle intervention.  I've had it for about 3 weeks now and it's practically glued to me.  I love this thing.  If you are a reader and don't have one, get one!  They will change your life.  James Bond is concerned for my sanity and my eyesight.  That's the cool thing about the Kindle though: no eye strain! 

*There's only 2 weeks until the European Christmas markets open!  I'm ridiculously excited.  Why, you might ask?  No, not for the holiday gifts and hand made items that can be bought.  Not for the Christmas-y feeling you get when you go there.  Not for the carols or ornaments or Gluhwein (hot spiced wine).  I'm excited for the kartoffelpuffers!  Oh, delicious, yummy kartoffelpuffers!  They're a sort of potato pancake, deep fried and served with apple sauce or Tzaziki sauce (my personal preference).  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Delicious!

Okay, I'm done for now.   I'll leave you with this, because it's my kind of gym:

Hit the crazy button up there ^ to visit all the other random.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear So and So: the Monday, really irritated edition

Dear So and So is usually done of Friday, but I've missed the last few, and honestly, I really need it today, so bear with me.

Dear So and So...

Dear PFC Loudmouth:

Not every person in the food court is interested in your conversation. We don't care how drunk you got. We don't care how "off the chain" the bar was or how hot the "German chick" was. I certainly didn't want Indy hearing how "totally sweet" what a moron you are.  I was 8 tables away (yes, I counted) and could hear you as if you were sitting across from me. Take it down a notch or two.  Or ten.  Better yet, why dont' you just shut up?  Idiot. 


Dear Vehicle Registration Office:

That wait time of "approximately 25 minutes" you posted on my number slip was a joke.  JOKE.  We arrived at 10:55am and my number wasn't called until 12:10pm!  That's an hour and 15 minutes of wait time.   25 minutes my arse.  My total time at the counter was less than 10 minutes, yet cost me $45 to renew my registration.  I should have charged you for all the time I lost while sitting there.  Do you know how much school work we could have gotten done?  My time is valuable and you wasted a whole lot of it today.  You'll be getting my bill.

Annoyed and $45 poorer,

Dear Lady in line at Taco Bell,

Do you really need to ask the cashier what is in every freaking item on the menu?  It's Taco Bell, not fine dining.  The basic ingredients are beans, cheese, meat and grease in various combinations.  Order your burrito and get out of the way.  Some of us are hungry and crabby and just want to get our portion of beans, cheese and grease (no meat for me) without having to listen to you hem and haw and debate over what you are going to order.  You stood in line for 10 minutes.  You couldn't have figured it out while waiting?

Annoyed and hungry,

PS. Taco Bell, your lines are too long.  You'll be getting a bill for my time too.  Sheesh!

Dear Doctor's Office,

You are the worst!  You wasted more of my time today than the vehicle reg. and Taco Bell line put together.  I am very angry with you over this.  When I make an appointment, I expect to be seen within a reasonable amount of time of said appointment.  I'm not expecting you to be there on the dot (though I might note my German OB is incredibly punctual and once he even had to leave to deliver a baby and still managed to see me within 15 minutes of my scheduled appointment time), but within an hour would be nice.  If you can't see people within an hour of their appointment time, you need to look at how many bookings you have in a day.    I have better things to do than sit around in a waiting room with sick people who are hacking up a lunch and spewing germs all over me (I am not sick, just dealing with a medication/pregnancy issue, and don't appreciate the possibility that I might get sick from someone else).  It was like a germ bath in there and you made me sit and stew in it for AGES.  Ack.  If I get sick, I'm holding you responsible.

Very annoyed and in need of a Lysol bath,

PS. Indy is coughing now.  If he gets sick, you are in serious trouble!

Dear Weather,

Make up your freaking mind already!  Is it going to be warm or cool?  This whole back and forth thing is really starting to wear on my nerves and I don't know how to dress from day to day.  And what's with the rain today?  My hair actually looked good before I went outside.  Thanks a lot.

Annoyed and drippy,

Dear New (pregnancy safe) Happy Medication,

If you could start working right away, everyone would appreciate it.  Especially James Bond, Indy and all the people I have to come in contact with.

Annoyed and slightly irritable,

Dear Readers,

Thanks for listening.  Even though it's not Friday, I really needed to get that off my chest.  I now return you to your regularly scheduled High Heeled goodness.

Lovingly (and not annoyed with you),

Man, I feel much better!   Thanks Kat

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

This is (mostly) a repost of last year's Veteran's Day.  I should note that Frank Buckles is still alive and lobbying for a national WWI memorial in Washington D.C. 

Sixteen year old Frank Buckles enlisted as an ambulance driver in the Army. The year was 1917. He sailed to France in late 1917 on the Carpathia, the ship that rescued survivors from the Titanic in 1912. He was just 17 and still serving in France on Nov 11,1918 when the Armistice went into effect. Today he is 109 and the last American Survivor of World War I. He is one of 3 verified vets of WWI in the entire world. Time is not on Frank Buckles side. When he is gone, an entire generation will be lost forever.

It is estimated that of the 16 million Americans who served during WWII, less that 3 million are still alive today. Their stories are dying along with them.

Edited to add:  The gentleman in the red shirt is John Finn.  He passed away in May of this year.  He was the last surviving Pearl Harbor Medal of Honor winner.  You can read more about him in this post.

The Korean vets are of an age with the WWII vets. Some of them were WWII vets.

The spunky, misunderstood, often angry, Vietnam Vets are now grandfathers.

One day, the young men and women serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be old and have only stories and memories.

This is one of my favorite Veterans Day photos of all time.  It's also incredibly sad when you know the story behind it.

This was taken at the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in 1982.  The man shown is John Ambrose.  He was 86 at the time and a WWI vet.  The flag he is holding covered the casket of his son who had been killed in Korea.  Not only are vets amazing people, but they often raise children who are patriotic and feel bound to serve their country.

If you know a Vet, your father, grandfather, mother, uncle, sister, whoever, talk to them. Ask them to tell you what they remember. Tell them you're grateful for their service and sacrifice. Honor those who came back. Remember those who didn't. Never, ever, ever forget.

There are many vets in my life, chief among them James Bond and my dad, and I am grateful that I know such amazing people.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

RTT: Movies, dogs, stuff


Oh, RTT! I haven't been with you in several weeks now. I've thought about you, but just couldn't get my act together enough to actually join in. Why? Because I've had crazy pregnant brain, and while my thoughts are random, I can't quite seem to form a were we talking about?

*We had so much fun at Halloween. Star Wars was really big this year over here. I'm not sure why. There were tons of Darth Vader, Luke and Anikin Skywalker, Obi-Wan, a couple of Boba Fett,two Jengo Fett, and storm/clone troopers galore, but only one (very handsome) Han Solo.

*Coco is fitting in very well with the family.  Okay, Dutch and Arf may have something to say about that, but with the humans, she's great.  The first few nights we had her, she snuggled up to James Bond, but much to his distress, she has abandoned him in favor of me.  She likes to get under the blankets and snuggle up against my stomach.  I wonder if she knows I'm pregnant?

*I was complaining to my mom one day about pregnant brain.  Here's our conversation:

Me: I can't remember anything! It's driving me crazy.
Mom: Why?
Me: You know, pregnant brain.
Mom: Huh?
Me: Pregnant brain! When you're pregnant, you know how you can't remember anything? I have it bad.
Mom: I don't remember having that when I was pregnant with you.
Me: Point made.

*Indy wants to call the baby "Mutt" on my blog. As in Mutt, from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  I had to put my foot down on that.  We still don't know what to call him (on the blog-he has a name IRL).

*I can't believe this year is almost over!  Where did it go?

*I got a Kindle last week!  My mom and step-dad bought it for me for Christmas.  It arrived and they told me I could go ahead and have it.  Thanks goodness, because there is no way I could have put it away for another month and a half.  IT. IS. AWESOME!!!!!  I've already read 3 books on it and there is zero eye strain!  Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.

*Harry Potter 7 part 1 comes out in the States soon.  We won't get it for another week or two after it opens in the States and then I'll have to fight all the teen agers (who aren't true fans) to get tickets.  Curses!

*WHY do I have to wait ANOTHER year for Breaking Dawn (part 1) to come out?  I'm having some serious Edward withdrawls.  WTH?  I want it now!

*Coco and Arf both like to sleep up on the back of the sofa like cats.   She would snuggle with him, but he won't let her that close.  Maybe it's because she snores.

*I love to decorate for the various holidays (can't wait for the Christmas season to roll around!), but I hate taking it all down afterward.  Blah.  Someone should start an undecorating service, where they come take down all your holiday stuff.  I would pay for that!

*Oh, oh!  James Bond is super awesome and told me to hire some cleaning help!  Huzzah!  Indy and I do school work in the mornings and by afternoon I am beat!  I do the usual cleaning up (dishes, picking up, etc), but the deep cleaning has really been relegated to the back burner over the last few months).  I hired a guy named Clover, who came for the first time last week and he is amazing.  He might be my new favorite person.  He scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen top to bottom, swept and mopped, vacuumed and dusted the entire house and wiped down all the baseboards and cabinets.  And all for a very, very reasonable price.  He's coming again this week and then after that, every 2 weeks.  Yay!

*The dogs like to "burrito" me in at night.  Dutch sleeps on top of the blankets pressed against my leg (knee to foot).  Arf sleeps under the top blanket (he bites if you disturb him in his sleep, so he's not allowed under all the blankets) pressed against my hip (usually on the opposite side of Dutch).  Coco sleeps under all the blankets, but on top of the top sheet, pressed up against my stomach.  The other night I tried to roll over and couldn't!  They had trapped me.  James Bond had to move them so I could roll.  How sad is that?

* And finally, you've been warned.  Do it, and you're in trouble.

*Oh, no, wait.  One more.  Since Indy was such an awesome Han Solo, I'll leave you with this.  We found it while researching the holster for his gun (I made it out of an old belt and 2 old purses from the thrift shop).  This made me laugh.  Enjoy:

Hit the weird button to read all the other random.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


First, I want to thank you all for the congratulations that have been pouring in since my last post.   You're all too sweet.  I should also say (because I was asked), that no, this was not planed at all, and yes, we were completely shocked and surprised.  I promise that my blog will not become all about pregnancy and babies.  I know you come here for my charm and rapier wit (and occasional rhapsodies about shoes), and that will continue despite the fact that I apparently have an Olympic gymnast doing an elaborate routine inside my body cavity.  Today, though I do want to chat about pregnancy.  More specifically the cravings that come with pregnancy.
When I was pregnant with Indy, I didn't have many cravings, just some weird food issues.   I spent several weeks unable to eat anything hot.  Not that I couldn't eat cooked food, I just had to wait for it to get cold.  It drove James Bond crazy.  I also drank gallons of chocolate milk.  I have no idea why, but I HAD to have it.  We went through so much milk and chocolate syrup it was kind of ridiculous.  Toward the end of my pregnancy, I ate so many blackberries it's a wonder I didn't turn purple.  I was lucky that they happened to be in season and growing wild along the paths that wound behind our housing complex.  James Bond and I would go for a walk and come back with grocery bags full of them (and I may have come home with a wildly purple tongue, but that's kind of all a blur).

This time, I only went through a (mercifully) short phase of eating my food cold and taking a bite of something only to discover that something I normally loved made me queasy.  Being pregnant is WEIRD.  For the past several weeks, I have wanted fruit.  Fruit, fruit, fruit!  Any kind of fruit: grapefruit, mangoes, plums, cherries, strawberries, you name it.  If it's a fruit, I want it.  My absolute favorite though is clementines.  Oh, sweet, sweet, little clementines!  I sat down one day and ate an entire 2lb bag of them (thank goodness they are crazy low in calories and I have treadmill).  I buy them every time I go to the store and they only last a day or two at most.  James Bond is a HUGE fan of clementines, and I have to make myself NOT give him the stink eye every time he eats one.  In my mind I think How could you eat that?  You know I'm pregnant and love them!  You hate me, don't you?  Then I calm myself down and remember that he has to eat too.  Or something.  Fortunately, clementines are good for me, so it's not such a bad craving, I guess. Side note, I had to pause in typing this post to go eat 4 clementines.  YUMMY!

Tomatoes are another strange craving.  Mmmmmmm.....tomatoes.  Maybe I really need lycopene?  I don't know, but there have been evenings where I couldn't stomach the thought of whatever I had made for James Bond and Indy for dinner, that my entire meal consisted of sliced tomatoes followed by several clementines.  Delicious!

My other craving though, is sooooo not good, but I can't help myself (just looking at the photo makes my mouth water-seriously).  It started back before Halloween, when I bought several bags of candy to hand out to the little goblins who would come looking for goodies.  I picked up a bag of Willy Wonka Mix-ups, that included Nerds, Sweettarts and Bottle Caps.  Oh, sweet, yummy, bottle caps!  Before Halloween had rolled around I had eaten every little 3 pack included in the bag.  At one point I was so desperate I went to the store to pick up another bag only to find that they had sold out.  I almost cried.  On Halloween night, Indy went through his candy bucket and pulled out all the little packets of Bottle Caps he'd gotten and gave them to me (is there any wonder I adore that boy?)  Unfortunately, I can't find them anywhere over here.  I even tried to buy some from Amazon (I'm desperate here people!) only to find that they won't ship them to an APO (Army Post Office) address.  WHY AMAZON?  WHY???  Do you hate pregnant women?  Do you???  I thought about sending them to my mom and having her ship them to me, but the cost of that could become insane.  My mom and step-dad (bless them) even went store hopping to find some for me, but couldn't.  I am awash in sadness.  Whatever shall I do??

Don't those look delicious?  :(

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Secret, the big reveal. Sore throat+fever+weird smells=WHAT?

A while back, on a Random Thoughts Tuesday post, I mentioned that I had a secret. A few of you picked up on it and wanted to know what it could be. Well, I've decided the time has come to let it be known.

Back in August, I posted this about being sick.  It was awful.  I couldn't shake a sore throat I'd had for weeks and had a constant low grade fever.  About a week after that post everything started smelling weird.  I thought it was all very odd, but didn't give it much thought.  Another week went by and I did not get any better and then I realized something very important had been missed.  I started counting the weeks and then I started panicking.  I ran to the store, came home and locked myself in the bathroom.  I took a test.  Then another, then another.  Five  positive tests later and I knew it was true:  I was pregnant! 

That's right, I am pregnant!  I should have known from the sore throat and weird smells because it was the exact same as when I was pregnant with Indy.  I went to the doc and they confirmed it (though 5 positive tests couldn't be wrong, could they?).   As of today, I am 15 weeks, 3 days pregnant and at the doctor today we found out it's another BOY!  Indy is over the moon excited at the thought of having a baby brother.  I have to say I was really hoping for a girl, but I have decided it is my lot in life to be surrounded by handsome men and treated like a queen.  How can I complain?

I am due April 25, 2011, but if this baby is anything like Indy, we're looking for a late March/early April baby.  The doc even said to expect an early baby as the best indicator of having an early baby is having already HAD an early baby.  As of today I've actually lost 3 pounds (and am not showing), but the baby is growing fine and was very, very busy on the ultra-sound.  Of course that could be because I drank a ton of OJ and ate a Honey Bun before the appointment to give him a sugar rush so he'd be lively and cooperative. 

So, there you  have it,  The big secret is now in the open!  Mom in High Heels is soon to be a mom of two (and yes, still in high heels).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The safest place

When I was little, there was nothing I loved better than crawling into my parent's bed. There was something about being in their bed that made me happy. My dad was in the Navy and when he was out to sea, my mom let me sleep with her and I loved it. I fell asleep faster and slept better. When my dad came home I went back to my own bed and was only allowed back if I was sick or had a bad dream. Their bed wasn't big, just a full size (the same as mine) and didn't have a luxurious mattress on it, but for some reason their blankets felt warmer and their pillows softer. The smell of my mom's perfume and my dad's aftershave lingered on the sheets and comforted me.

Even into my teens, I loved to crawl into their bed in the early morning hours after they got up to go to get ready for work. When I was sick, I always felt better if I slept the day away in their bed.  When I was 19 and home from college for a break, I had to have my wisdom teeth removed (all 4 were impacted), my dad took me home after surgery and put me straight into their bed where I spent the remainder of the day.   He could have put me in my own bed (I was too looped out to protest), but even he knew the power of their bed.

When I moved out of my parent's house for good, I tried my best to make my bed as comfortable and cozy as the bed I remembered from my childhood. I bought a nice mattress and pillows, soft sheets and thick, heavy blankets (I loved how their blankets cocooned me), but to no avail. I couldn't replicate the feeling. The problem was that I didn't know exactly what the feeling was. I just knew it was how their bed felt.

James Bond and I have a really nice bed. We have a massive king size Tempurpedic mattress that is sheer heaven to sleep in. Indy absolutely loves our bed. He rarely sleeps with us; we already share it with 3 dogs who take up half the space; not to mention the fact that Indy practices some sort of Spongebob-style karate, which inevitably leads to me waking with a foot in my face and James Bond receiving a well placed fist to the groin, and Indy talks in his sleep, leaving me and JB bleary eyes in the mornings.  Often in the morning Indy come crawl in bed with me after James Bond gets up for PT though. He especially likes to curl up next to me when it's cold outside.  We have radiators, not central heating, so it's often chilly in the house in the mornings.  He'll lay next to me and put his cold little feet against my legs and wrap his arms around me.  It's the sweetest feeling.  He commented the other day (it was a particularly chilly morning) how "comfy and cozy" our bed is. He said he always feel safe when he gets in our bed. This made me reflect on how I felt in my own parent's bed and I realized the he nailed it. It wasn't that their bed was more comfortable than mine, or had better pillows or sheets or whatever, it was that their bed was safe. There were no monsters under it and there was no "little red devil" (who tells kids these stories?) trying to get under the blankets to get me. Their bed was a haven of love and security and safety.  It comforts me to know that Indy feels the same about our bed and I hope he carries the same memories with him when he becomes a dad and allows his kids to curl up next to him on a cold morning.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Samhain!

Back before Halloween became a sugar induced candy grab populated by polyester wearing little goblins, it was known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-in).  Being that I homeschool Indy, and he's curious about pretty much everything, we spent a few days learning about the origins of Halloween.  Since there are soooo many misconceptions about Halloween (Satan, Devil worshiping, etc), I thought I'd share some information with all  my readers.

Samhain, means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter part of the year commences on this day.  The Celts divided the year into four quarters: Samhain (winter), Imbolc (spring), Beltane (summer), and Lughnasadh (autumn). The Celtic year began in November, with Samhain. The Celts were influenced principally by the lunar and stellar cycles which governed the agricultural year - beginning and ending in autumn when the crops have been harvested and the soil is prepared for the winter.

It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane (May 1). 

Originally the "Feast of the Dead" was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the "wandering dead". Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. This has evolved into today's practice of carving Jack O'Lanterns.  The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

This was the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person's fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land. 

When the Romans made contact with the Celts, they added their feast of the dead to Samhain. The Christians subverted the recognition of Samhain to honor the saints, as All Saint's Day on November 1st and named October 31 as All Hallow's Eve. This latter became a secular holiday by the name of Hallowe'en. Although using different nomenclatures, all of these festivals and feasts are celebrating the accessibility, veneration, awe, and respect of the dead

I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Indy for President 2040!

Back when we lived in TN, Indy went to the most amazing preschool, where they called him "The Senator" because of his hatred for injustice of any kind. If two kids were arguing he would walk up to them and ask "What's the problem?" and try to mediate the issue. It was ridiculously cute. Fast forward to the present day.  He still hates injustice, doesn't like when people don't get along and likes to mediate.  And talk.  Always with the talking.

Indy and I usually eat lunch around 12:30-1pm every day. Because of the time difference between here and the US, we watch the Today Show while we eat. With all the mid-term election brouhaha going on, he's taken a real interest in politics. We were eating on Friday and this was our conversation:

Indy: How old do you have to be to be President?
Me: At least 35, I think.
Indy: Maybe I should be President when I'm older.
Me: You think? What would you do?
Indy: Well, I would give food to the people who don't have any.
Me: That's a good idea. What eles?
Indy: Well...there's lots of empty buildings and houses in America, so I would put all the homeless people in the empty buildings and houses. I'd also stop the dolphin slaughter, but Obama should be taking care of that. If he doesn't though, I definitely would.
Me:  Sounds like you'll be busy.
Indy:  Yeah, but I'll be an awesome President.  When can I be President?
Me:  (thinking and adding with my fingers in my head)  You can run in 2040.
Indy:  That's a long time from now.
Me:  Not so long.
Indy:  Yeah, and it will give me lots of time to think about how I'm going to fix stuff.  Plus, I can be an archaeologist first and then be President.
Me:  Good plan.
Indy:  Yeah, I know.  That's why I'm going to be such a good President.  I have good plans.

So, in 30 years, vote for the former archaeologist. He has good plans.  Plus, look at this face.  How could you not vote for him?

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