Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Christmas Letter

I felt like a Christmas letter would be an appropriately "grown up" thing to do, now that I have a husband, baby in utero, 401K, and real furniture. But I'm still in a poor, young, pregnant-with-a-student-husband stage  of life so I hope you excuse my using a free resource to distribute it.  (Postage is a luxury, folks.)

Right off the bat in 2013 we got two new nephews!  In the words of their father, they came too late for a 2012 tax break and New Years baby prizes, but they are still loved.  We had to wait till my brother-in-law's wedding in the summer to meet them, but it was cool because by then they were in a fun learning-how-to-crawl phase and laughed at all our jokes.

We took a fun trip to Durango, CO, for a long spring break weekend in March and per tradition, I got sick.  I felt it coming on the day before but I was scared to admit it to my husband because I didn't want justify the family cliche.  No hospital trip, but there was lots of congestion and nose-blowing.  I survived, and we managed to fit in a historic train trip to the mountains, delicious food, a snowmobiling tour, hot springs, and a movie.  Not usually something I point out, but our hotel had the most impressive free continental breakfast I've ever encountered. Two words: Belgian waffles.

Much of this year, especially summer, was highlighted with weddings of families and friends.  Each of us had a brother get married over summer and it was great to travel and see each of our families.  I also took a quick weekend trip by myself while my husband was taking his summer finals to attend the wedding of one of my best friends from high school.  It felt like a early high school reunion in a really fun and awesome way.  I probably don't even need to go back for the real one.

In between the summer weddings I spent my time trying to not throw up and patting myself on the back when I made it to work before 10AM.  First trimester is the pits, yo. I've had a classic and healthy pregnancy, though the whole nesting thing is still foreign.  Isn't that instinct supposed to kick in by now?  We walked through the baby section at Target last week and after 5 minutes my husband had to quickly steer me elsewhere.  I was so overwhelmed I stopped forming complete sentences.

Speaking of my husband, if all goes as planned he should be done with school by this time next year.  He studies industrial design and this last semester he designed some really cool stuff. His final project was a bassinet for Baby Hopkins which we're excited to use.  He still works nights while I work days, but while he's on break between semesters we get to see each other every morning before I go to work since he doesn't have to leave early for class and that's awesome.

Another nephew made his debut a couple weeks before Thanksgiving.  He's grandchild #9 for my parents.  I'm glad our kiddo (who shall be #10) will have cousins close in age on both sides of the family.

I was thinking about the last few Christmases, this Christmas, and Christmases to come.  When I was a kid, Christmas tradition wrapped the season in a sense of comforting sameness.  The last few years have each been very different than I'm used to, and I'm resigned to it evolving each year going forward, but I find the happy feeling of giving and love and family sticks around no matter what.  May it be so with all of you.

Love, Me

Token family picture Christmas Sunday, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm going to educate you

I'm a little disappointed nobody actually answered the question, except for the two who just asked another question in turn (namely, "You're head is missing?" and "You've gained some weight?").

Guys, the answer to my question should be yes.

And by golly, why shouldn't I look different?  I've been working for every inch.  It's disheartening to be steamrolled by those who think they are doing me a favor by discounting my size when they are really making me feel like there is something wrong, or like I am some kind of wimp for feeling large and tired but only producing small results, or I'm flat out lying about being pregnant.

FACT: the 26 week gestation baby inside the woman who looks ready to give birth is just as large as the baby inside the woman who looks like she's doing a poor job hiding a football under her shirt.  And both women are uncomfortable.

Just like you should never ask a woman if she's pregnant, don't ever comment on her size (after her pregnancy is independently or voluntarily confirmed, of course).  No matter her size or gestation, 99% of the time you'll sound like a douche-bag to her when presumably you don't mean to. Err on the side of telling her you're happy for her and hope everything is healthy.

No matter how it looks from the outside, carrying a practicing human in the uterus is uncomfortable at every stage, so give all pregnant women credit for what they are accomplishing.  At the end of the day, they are making people with their bodies and everyone else is not.

For all other questions people need to stop asking, this article sums many up nicely.

Now that I've preemptively returned the favor of giving unsolicited advice, your reward for reading it, i.e. answers to the questions I know you wanted to ask:

  • Due date: March 8, aka 26 weeks gestation
  • Baby's sex unknown by choice.  Yes, this was a rational decision.  No, I have neither a suspicion nor a preference if it's a male or female. No, I don't have a problem calling Baby "it".
  • Yes, both of us are healthy.
  • Yes, husband and I are excited.
  • Yes, Baby moves a lot. Within the last week it can reach my ribs when I'm seated.
  • Yes, we have several names lined up.  I'm not sharing here but you can ask if you see me.
  • Yes, I'll take maternity leave from work, but no I don't know what I'll do afterward.
  • No, I'm not sick anymore.
  • I'm 21 weeks in the blue-dress picture.  I have a more recent picture but it looks like a prison photo.  Since I'm not in the habit of publicly distributing ugly pictures of myself, if you want to know what I look like, look at the blue dress picture and imagine me slightly bigger.
  • Sadly, the basil is dead.  It was a seasonal plant, anyway....

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summer activities

The basil is doing great.  I introduced a sister plant to the pot and now I have a little basil bush.  It really needs harvesting but I keep putting it off because I want to make sure I have enough to make a batch of fresh pesto.  Pesto takes a lot of basil.

Other than cultivating a houseplant this summer, I went to Utah and witnessed this:

and went to Idaho and witnessed this:

and my husband made me this, which I'm learning to ride:

Yay summer.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I admit I'm a lazy pet owner.  I never want a dog of my own because they take way more energy than I'm willing to give.  One time I had this goldfish for a year.  I hardly ever cleaned the tank and forgot to feed it all time time and yet it hung on admirably.  I'll probably have to answer for it's life someday.

I did enjoy having cats.  Most of my life my family had at least one outdoor cat at any given time and they were great because all you had to do for maintenance is put out food and water.  Unfortunately, sometimes their life expectancy was akin to the goldfish, but sometimes we had a rock star that stuck around for half a dozen years (three cheers Tiger).  "My" current cat has been with the family 8 years now, but I attribute her longevity to indoor life and my mother's care so I don't really get credit for anything but picking her out at the Humane Society for my 18th birthday.

Because of my lazy pet-owning history, sometimes I fear I shouldn't be a parent.  I felt like I should try out some other kind of nurturing to boost my confidence.  Some people get a dog as their "starter" child.  I decided on a houseplant.  I expressed this to my husband so one day he came home from the grocery store with a primrose.  I was excited and a little nervous and read up on the care of indoor primroses and planned to buy a little pot and soil to give it a better situation.  A day later I put it near a window out of directly sunlight as instructed.  Unfortunately, by the time we got home the sun shifted and the poor thing was toast.   I had it for literally 2 days and killed it.  I felt like a terrible human and a doomed pro-creator.

Since this failure had the opposite effect on my confidence that I needed, I impulsively picked up a half-dead basil plant at the grocery store to start anew.  Husband was a little wary, given my history and the initial state of the organism, but he supported my efforts.  I cut it back and nurtured the living parts and I'm proud to relate that I've not only kept it alive, but it's actually thriving .  I finally procured a larger container and a friend donated some potting soil so I could upgrade its habitat. I've used bits of basil to make tomato basil soup this spring and it turned out great.

Ok, I realize that raising basil is not super hard, and it doesn't exactly disprove that I'm a lazy nurturer.  But it's baby steps to... well, baby steps. Today it's basil, tomorrow... still basil.  But someday?  The world.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I don't even know why we like each other #1-3

Do you ever look at your spouse, or friend, or cousin, parent, etc, and think "I don't even know why we like each other?"

You realize differences are not complimentary.  Opinions are not comprehensible.  Tastes absolutely do not match.  And yet you still think that person is just the greatest thing ever.

Sometimes my husband and I have these moments.
  1. He doesn't like jello, oranges, or sour cream.  Ok, he's allergic to the sour cream, but hello-- who doesn't like oranges??  (to be fair, he opposes the texture, not the taste)
  2. He LOVES spicy food.   Things that I can hardly handle as too hot he thinks are slightly flavorful. Wasabi, Fred's hot sauce, horseradish.... it's all wonderful to him.  Please just pass me a potato with butter.
  3. He thinks skydiving is thrilling. Just thinking of free fall makes me sick to my stomach.
We've figured out that we still like each other because for the things that matter most, we're perfect for each other.  We keep important things important, and everything else can be crazy and weird.  The things that matter most are worth enduring what doesn't matter at all.

Monday, April 1, 2013

No Foolin' Here

Exactly one year ago my husband sent me to his kitchen to get an apple out of the fridge.   A minute later he was on his knee in that tiny kitchen asking me to marry him and he was not joking.

Of course, I said yes.  Or maybe I said "of course".  Same difference.  We're married.

It actually never crossed my mind that he was joking.  (I forgot it was April 1 till later when a few family members texted me after we spoke to make sure it was real and I had to assure them I was serious.)

I realize this is every Facebook jokester's dream, y'know actually getting engaged and announcing it on April Fool's Day because nobody will believe you and then the joke's is still on them.  But I have too much respect for my close friends and family to take advantage of this golden opportunity.  I'm also a terrible liar.

But seriously, it really means a lot to me to personally tell my own good news, and let others personally tell me their good news.  Those closest to me know they must call me to tell me important news or I will pout.  Three have called in the middle of the night to tell me their engaged.  My sister rustled me out of bed to tell me she was engaged.  My brother called me in the middle of the night to tell me I was going to be an aunt.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

After we got engaged I systematically called my mom, dad, siblings, Grandma, various other relatives, and best friends in turn.  Since there are a lot of them, it took a while.  When I couldn't get to everyone, I let the rest of my family spread the news too.  Sorry if I didn't get to you.

I actually didn't ever get around to putting it on Facebook though I did blog about it about a month later and casually referred to it occasionally.  Sometimes I almost regret not capitalizing on the opportunity for such a good joke, but then I remember were so many other things going on at this time last year that were more important than making a joke that I no longer feel bad.

In conclusion, I'm glad it was no joke.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

His birthday

Guys, can I brag a little?  My husband doesn't like to celebrate birthdays, and he had a GREAT birthday and liked it.  This is an achievement.

My husband doesn't make a big deal of holidays in general, and his birthday in particular.  Now, I LOVE birthdays.  He'd hate it if I planned a party or invited people over so I don't dare, but I still wanted to make his day special.  So I made his favorite sticky buns for breakfast (which he pretended to be upset about because they take a lot of time and effort so he'd told me I shouldn't do it, but behind it all he was happy I did it despite him because he LUUUUVS sticky buns).  And I gave him exactly what he wanted and didn't ask for: LEGO Indiana Jones game for our new Wii, an extra nun-chuck so we can play together, and his favorite candy: Mini Cadbury Eggs.  He was totally impressed I did such a good job picking out presents.  I was impressed with myself.  I was way more excited than he was to open everything.  That evening we had sushi at our favorite neighborhood sushi place, and then played Indiana Jones until our hands were too tired to keep playing.

When he admitted he had a great day (in a way that meant he truly enjoyed it, and not that he just was happy I was happy doing things for him but didn't really care about the things themselves), I felt like I accomplished something really significant.  I told him every birthday can be this fun, and he did not answer with skeptisicm.

A truly happy birthday FTW.

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Addition!

Who has two thumbs and got home from work while it was still daylight?  THIS GIRL!

This is exciting, because last week I crammed the work of 6 long days into 5, didn't get home before 7:00pm four days in a row, and forgot to eat lunch a couple days.  I also worked a holiday I wasn't supposed to in order to be ready to bill 300 new accounts on time that encompass over 1300 new monthly parking customers.  All while fitting in (most of) my regular work that already fills 40 hours a week.  And as luck would have it, it was all endured midst raging mood swings and cramps.  It's like the perfect storm for loosing all semblance of sanity and patience in the workplace.  But never fear!  I prayed really hard and by the end of the week I was not suicidal which I think counts as a win with a capital W.

It's nice that business is growing, but it's not so nice to be one who bears the brunt of growing pains.

Anywhoodles, by the time the weekend came around needless to say I needed some decompressing which may or may not have lead to reckless behavior which included telling my husband we shouldn't wait for our tax return to arrive before we spent it all.  Not one to be given permission twice to do something he wanted to do last week, we headed to IKEA and Costco.  Behold the beautiful result in this crappy phone picture.

Now I can stop telling everyone I need a bookshelf. 

For the record, this is what we'd planned to do with the refund once it came.  And then the money arrived at our bank today so we aren't so irresponsible as we originally seemed.

There are these moments in my life periodically where I feel like a REAL ADULT.  

Setting up a certificate of deposit and a savings account.  
Opening a 401K.  
Shopping for and purchasing insurance.  
Buying a bed.   

Buying brand new furniture and a TV gave us one of those moments this weekend.  Almost all of our furniture was given to us or bought second hand which makes feel perpetually like poor college twentysomethings, so having something NEW has been a strange and wonderful feeling. (Having a real job and getting married didn't make me feel like an adult, just a kid getting away with stuff.)

On a sort-of-related-but-not-really-note, another reason my husband is awesome is in marrying him, my tax refund increased over 4000% (not an exaggeration).  That's all I have to say.  No wait, one more thing: my mom just became a great-great-aunt.  Her oldest brother's second oldest daughter's oldest son just became a father to a daughter.  (I dare you to say that ten times fast.) This means when my child has a child, it will already have a third cousin. That's craZAzy.

Are you mad I tricked you into reading this manic post by by giving it a leading title?  You may tell me in the comments.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Birthday, marriage, and crazy talk

My far-away friends told me I need to blog more, so here you go.

Pretty much my only tradition on this blog is recounting my birthday every year.  I had another one, same day, same time.  Less exciting than some years.  My mom kind of spoiled us gave us high expectations for birthdays growing up.  I realize they can't all be like that, but Husband humored me came through like a champ.  He made me French toast and elder berry juice for breakfast in bed and gave me a couple of thoughtful and much-desired gifts.  After a full day of work (me) and 12 hours on campus (him) we met up to have a late dinner downtown at a nice Indian restaurant.  My parents and his parents also sent some fun and thoughtful gifts as well.  No cake or anything.  We don't have any days when we are both available to host family and friends for something like that since I work weekdays and he works most nights and weekends.

We hit our 6 month wedding moniversary this week too. (It's can't be an "anniversary" since it's been less than a year.)  Our anniversary is on my half-birthday, so it makes measuring the time easy.  And it makes it easy to remember when I have to take my ring in to be cleaned and inspected.  

I keep waiting for that "hardest first year" part of marriage, but it never seems to arrive.  Like my friend Jeff, I don't think marriage is hard, it just takes time (and to give credit where credit is due, Jeff also coined "moniversary").  And time well spent, I say.  I feel like marriage makes my life easier.  It's made me so much better at serving and loving, and hard times (life is still hard, even if marriage isn't) are so much more livable when you have this permanent cheerleader to hold your hand and snuggle with to help you feel like things aren't so bad after all.  

Probably the hardest thing for me within married life in general is realizing how crazy I am sometimes.  As a single person I guess I covered it up really well, or just didn't see it not knowing any other way to be.  Probably the latter.  Having this person so close to me physically/emotionally serves as a sort of mirror to reveal me to myself.  Makes me appreciate how patient my husband is all the more!  Because I can seriously be crazy sometimes.  You don't even know.  I don't even want to deal with me on those occasions.  To find someone to tolerate the craziness and even like it I feel was a miracle, or "an event attributed to divine intervention" (

May you all find someone to love your crazy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

As promised

Honeymoon pictures!
That's a big fish sandwich

My husband is proficient at taking my picture at exact moments I look like a cow chewing cud.

ATV tour in Steamboat Springs!

It was dirty business

So delicious* it made him cry.

*full of horseradish


We made falafel and homemade tzatziki sauce and homemade hummus

Free museum day

BWE** moment.  That is indeed a t-rex Portal shirt.

**best wife ever

Power Dome 400!  Thanks Hopkins!
I made pie for Christmas dinner

Homemade gifts for the mom and dad

New Years Eve, and my first time on the Denver light rail.  We really were excited, just cold.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Merry Married Christmas

Sometimes lists are useful organizational tools.
  • We experienced our first "married" Christmas.  Everyone thought it was a big deal and kept pointing it out to me.  "Hey, this is your first Christmas together-- married!" Um, yep. It didn't feel like a big deal to us, mostly because we spent last Christmas together in Idaho with my family while we were dating, but nobody counts that.  Even this last week someone brought it up again.  "How was Christmas?? It was your first together, right??"  Why does it seem important to be married for Christmas?   Because we get a day off work?  We get a day off for Martin Luther King Day too, but nobody is getting sentimental over that.  Is it because of the content?  Nobody gets in a lather over being married during Easter, but that day was just as important in Jesus' life.  Is it because Mormon stereotypes infer a courtship so short that a couple is hitched before sharing the holiday, so it's a sort of benchmark?  More likely.  For the record, I count last Christmas, and that's the only opinion that really matters.  It was a pretty big deal to me, sharing it with him.  Kindly stop telling me it wasn't.
  • The big deal this year for me was actually spending Christmas in Denver, which ironically nobody thought was interesting or significant.  It was my first Christmas away from home, that is "Idahome", but it was fine.  I spent every Christmas in Idaho while I was single on purpose since I figured I may never spend it there ever again once I had a family of my own.  I am satisfied with my effort and I was prepared to spend it somewhere else this year. Interesting thing is if we had chosen to spend Christmas with one side of the family or the other, we still wouldn't have ended up at either family's home. They all spent Christmas somewhere else too.
  • It was very nice celebrating with just the two of us.  Opening presents didn't take nearly as long.  We ate an entire pan of cinnamon rolls by ourselves (not all at once... we spread it over 24 hours).  Later in the day we made a visit to my brother's family who live nearby, and then we enjoyed Christmas dinner with people from church who had invited us over.  We got their daughter addicted to this game (go on, you know you want to try it) and now they probably won't ever invite us over again.
  • The weekend before the holiday, my in-laws stayed with us a few days while en route to spend Christmas Day with a daughter in Kansas, and stopped again one night afterward on their way home.  We all get along just dandy so good times and good food were had by all.  I am proud to announce my batch of well-beloved Hopkins sticky buns were lauded as worthy representations of the favorite family tradition.  And Husband and I planned and executed a bang-up pre-Christmas family dinner that Saturday evening.  His aunt and uncle from Greely came down for it and everything turned out delicious.
  • I should put up some pictures.  Maybe soon.  
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