January Project Life!

I had really intended to post here more often than once a week, but it has been crazytown at our house of late.  My mother in law is visiting and we are celebrating lots of birthdays this month, and to top it all off, I am fighting off a cold.  No fun.

In goal news, I have achieved one of my goals so far!


Baby J and I signed up for a class at Gymboree and we go on Thursdays.  It’s been a great break out of the house while the weather is still pretty gross here, and it’s nice for him to meet other kids.

I also finished up my Project Life pages for January and started on my layouts for February.  Project Life was designed with doing a week at a time in mind, but I sometimes struggle to fill the layouts for two weeks considering we are at home and Baby J is only barely starting to be mobile, so two layouts a month works well for me.

Without further ado, here they are!  I also included the cover page of our album for this year. Click on through the jump to see!

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New and Improved Goals!

I took a class on self-improvement when I was fresh out of high school, and they really drilled it into our heads that any goal we make should be tangible and measurable.    Too often, people fail because they say things like, “I want more money” or “I want to feel better.”  How much is “more”?  What does “better” look like?

When I made my 101 in 1001 goals, I made sure to have these two components in mind.  Instead of saying, “I want to eat better”, I specified that I wanted to cook through Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, since I respected his views on health and the value of fresh food and vegetables.

Looking back, I realized that I was missing something.  There are actually FIVE components to achieving goals.  In his book Attitude is Everything, Paul Meyer explains how we should make SMART goals:


With this in mind, I decided to tweak my 101 in 1001 goals so they were more Attainable and Realistic.  When I made them, a little over three years was plenty of time.  Now, I’m running on kid time, so time works both amazingly fast and really slow at the same time.

How does that work?  Ask The Doctor:

So! Now that we’re clear on that  point, back to me and my goals!

I decided to break down my giant list into more manageable bites; focusing on five different topics.  All of my goals naturally seemed to fall into these groups anyway, so this is just a way to go from 100+ goals to four a month.  With each little win I will get more confident about completing the list overall.  So… drumroll, please….


I’m already planning on a class for the baby and I this week, and I know exactly which fitness class I’m going to take (teaser:  it’s a hybrid of fun things that is sure to kick my butt); I just need to decide on a day to go.  I wanted to stretch myself a bit more with the meals challenge, but we will be out of town this month (and it’s already short anyway) so I wanted to keep this attainable and realistic.

Is anyone out there making new goals for February?  Did you make New Years Resolutions? How are those going?


So, I did it.  I peeked out from underneath my blanket of introverted-ness and signed up for the Blend Retreat,  a weekend of fun put on by some of the bloggers I read.  I figured I didn’t have much of an excuse not to go, seeing as though it’s right in my backyard and amazingly affordable.  The only thing tripping me up was my lack of a blog (though having a blog isn’t even mandatory, really), so I decided to remedy that too!   I am hoping that I can become a part of the online community that surrounds the blogs that put on the Blend retreat, because so far everyone I’ve found that participates seems awesome.

As I glanced through the wasteland that is this poor, WordPress blog, I realized that I really lack cohesion here.  From 101 goals to Things I Love, to the story of my son’s birth, things are all over the place around here.  I tried to narrow down a point of focus so if I actually get any readers, they would know what to expect.

Here’s what I came up with:

Digital Project Life Layouts

Project Life is like scrapbooking, but simplified.  I do it digitally and am loving it. I am learning so much about Photoshop doing it and I am excited to share my results! I think too often only experts show off their layouts and that can be really intimidating, but I am in the midst of learning myself and I hope that my process will help someone who is thinking about doing their own projects.

Goals and Successes

I really liked the idea of 101 in 1001 but in the middle of it all, I ended up with a kid.  Whoops.  That addition obviously changed my focus a bit, but I still want to become the sort of person I envisioned when I made my 101 in 1001 list.  Taking bite-sized chunks will allow me to make progress without getting overwhelmed, I think.  First up: moving more!  I have felt so sedentary in the house over the winter and I need to change that!

Everyday Life

I will do my best not to rant too much, but at my core I am a thinker, learner, and someone who likes to talk about issues.  I am passionate about harm reduction, politics, and studies of minority classes, so you might see news about these groups pop up every once in awhile.   I am also a stay at home mom, so stories about my son will likely sneak sometimes too.

Maybe this isn’t any more focused than it was before, but I feel good about having some sort of a plan.  I already have my goals for February thought up, so look for those tomorrow!

Giganto Birth Story

I kept a lot of notes about my experience in the hospital and having Baby J. I thought it might be useful for other women who have high blood pressure and what they can (theoretically) expect when having a hospital birth. Most of the time, I just heard of people sort of brushing over, “I had pre-ecclampsia and had to be induced” but there were some interventions I was fortunate enough to have (said sarcastically) due to my blood pressure that I had never heard about so I thought I’d write a bit about them.

The story is huge (8 pages in Word. Yikes) so it is broken up into parts:

Part 1, Where I am unexpectedly admitted to the hospital.

Part 2, Where I chill in the hospital and generally feel drunk

Part 3, Where I actually give birth, then talk about how weird I felt afterwards

If anyone who actually knows me reads this, please refrain from posting the baby’s name in the comments. I am willing to bet he is one of the few people in the whole world who has his name and it would be pretty easy to find him/us considering this blog links to one that gives away our last name.

Birth Story Part 3- The Actual Birth and afterthoughts

At about 10pm on Wednesday night I got moved over to a lower-monitoring room. I had been off the Magnesium for a couple of hours at that point and elected to walk down the hall to my new room to see how bad the effects were. My doctor had said that I could still do a natural childbirth if that’s what I wanted but my main motivation for that was the ability to get up and move around instead of being attached to an epidural or catheter, but I wouldn’t be able to move much on the Magnesium (which I’d be put back on as soon as I was induced). I guess I wanted to see how bad it really was and if I’d be able to at least do something, but even a few hours off of it were like dragging ankles of lead down the hall- and that was with the support of a wheelchair ahead of me. The exertion of moving from one room to another was enough that it made me feel very light headed and faint, so I am definitely a bit curious about tomorrow. My doctor is still on board for a natural delivery if that is what I want, but one of the residents did bring up the fact that if I suddenly had to do a c-section having the epidural in place will give me more options in that regard (as opposed to being put totally out). Again, not the birth I was expecting but I never went into it with a really concrete plan simply because of the complications I already had, so I guess I am glad not to have to mourn what I probably won’t be able to have.

My night in the lower-monitoring room was much more restful. I wasn’t being woken up for checks every hour, though I was nervous that the second I got moved my bp would skyrocket and I’d just be heading straight back to where I was. However, when they woke me up at 4am my bp was in the 140/80 range- not great for “normal” people but well within the guidelines for keeping me pregnant. Hooray!

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Birth Story Part 2- The Days Before

Monday, April 9: I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment that I forgot about until the last minute. We got there and my doctor talked to me about the fact that the 24 hour urine test I took (used to check for markers of pre-e) was looking… not awesome. The one she referred to was the 3rd I had done; the first was right when I got pregnant so she’d know what was normal for me. Everything had been fine prior but this one was significantly higher. Still not in the range of pre-e, but a significant difference. She wanted to repeat the test on Thursday, April 12, 2012 so we could see where my ranges were in a week, and wanted me to keep an eye on my pressure readings. They had been creeping up and we had been combating it with more of the medication I’ve been on since I was 20, but we clearly were getting nervous. She let me know that unless the 24 hour urine was better somehow, I should brace myself to get admitted at least for monitoring. I hit the 34 week mark that Thursday and had been on bedrest for two weeks at that point. The bedrest did help a bit (when she told me to go on bedrest I was retaining a ton of water but having my feet up and not working helped this significantly), but with the upward creep plus the increased indicator of pre-e, the doctor wasn’t taking many chances. I did opt to get a check at that point and was actually slightly dilated, which we were both happy about. It seems weird to get happy about that kind of thing at 34 weeks but with pre-e and a pretty inevitable induction looming overhead I was going to take whatever win I could.
Monday night, we got really crap readings. My machine seemed to be acting a bit weird and was reading higher than anywhere else but they were high enough that Derick was starting to get really anxious about it. I went to sleep and Derick woke me up around 1:30, and my readings were not great but they were out of the “go to the hospital” range, so we were happy about that. We decided to go test my monitor against the monitor at my work (a medical research lab with a free health clinic) the following day and if I was still reading high, I’d go to the hospital.

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Birth Story, Part 1- Background Info

A note: obviously the tenses on this are all weird because I wrote it on many different days (and The Captain wrote some of it as well).  Hopefully it’s not super confusing.  Also, this is very long, so it will be broken up into a few parts.  Gold stars to anyone who actually reads it!

Firstly, I’m not sure that I need to make this disclaimer but I guess I will anyway.  I have a wide variation of friends who will probably see this.  I am blessed to be surrounded by a community that includes OB-GYN’s, doctors, natural birth advocates, doulas, and then just “regular” old moms.  I think childbirth is one of those really personal but highly politicized issues at the moment where everyone has an opinion about what should be done.  That being said, I am currently writing this from my hospital bed, overlooking a lovely rainy day and the parking garage.  I don’t even want to think about the type of crapstorm that this post would generate being posted in other places, so… yah.  Mostly I am trying to keep myself chill for obvious reasons. :)  Maybe in the future I will have a different perspective on this but right now, I would ask for all comments to at least be neutral/gentle.

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Another year older

As usual, I went for the grandeur and fell a bit short. Looking back at my 101 in 1001 list, I am glad to see that I actually did make some progress on them though. Still trucking along, though not as consciously because last September, we found out we were expecting our first child. This was right after I started the busiest and most hair-pullingly busy semester at school I had ever experienced. Suffice it to say, the blog (and the list) got pushed by the wayside.

Before I got pregnant, I had illusions of grandeur about that as well. Weekly pictures! Super cute blog! Baby book with thoughtful pictures and quotes! Again, the reality of it was more in line with how things typically are for me. I always shoot for perfection and fall short, so I don’t bother to do much at all. The pregnancy has sort of humbled me in this regard, however. Read more of this post

#2: Master Restaurant List

I’ve been plugging away at my list, especially the one that includes eating! Here’s my master list of local restaurants.

1. Z Pizzeria: Near our house, locally owned, and delicious. The Chicken Wing pizza is awesome!

Other reviews: Yelp

2. Desert Edge Brewery: The Captain and I got our of our shells (well, I got out of mine at least. I think he is mostly shell-less) and went to a meetup of a website we read at Desert Edge, then went back for dinner the following week. Wasn’t a huge fan of the French Onion soup but the Spicy Beef Dip was very good.

Other Reviews: Yelp

3. Pie Hole I wanted to have a quick lunch with The Captain the other day and decided to stop in here and grab a pre-made slice. The bacon and potato was really interesting and different, but I think I am usually up on my quota of grease so I probably won’t be stopping in here regularly.

Other reviews: In This Week / Yelp

4. Este Pizza: A friend of ours had raved about Este, calling it some of his favorite New York style pizza in the state, so we finally broke down and gave it a shot when we got some coupons in the mail. A medium, thin-crust pepperoni and some garlic knots later, I think they’re pretty solid. The pizza was really good, and not overly greasy like at the Pie Hole, but the garlic knots were not what we were expecting. They were a little on the tough side for one, and they were doused in actual garlic bits. I’m a fan of garlic but this was a bit much for me. I’m sure those who love it more than I do would really appreciate these, but overall we were glad we got them for free.

5. Stella Grill: This was a spur of the moment choice when the Captain and I couldn’t decide on dinner. He’d promised me a steak if I got an A on a paper I spent 14+ hours writing, so when I saw the Hangar Steak sandwich on the menu I figured that’d be my celebratory meal (90/80 on the paper. Nailed it!).

We started with an appetizer of bacon wrapped shrimp with jalapeno. Despite the winning-sounding title, I didn’t like this one at all. The shrimp seemed too delicate for the bacon, which wasn’t all that flavorful, so the whole thing just tasted like grease to me. Surprisingly enough, The Captain liked it a lot, despite not being a fan of shrimp any other way but doused in cocktail sauce.

My steak sandwich, though, was excellent. I had forgotten my nice camera at home so I took this awfully-sketchy looking pic with The Captain’s phone. Clearly, the picture does not do it justice:

Snarfed a bite before I remembered to take the picture. :(

The meat was really flavorful and juicy, and the bread underneath had a bit of a bite to it. I’ve had other sandwiches before where the bread is too soggy and doesn’t hold up to the meat on top, but this was a good balance. I almost got the French Onion soup with my meal but once we got there we realized that this restaurant is owned by the same group as Desert Edge, and their soup left a lot to be desired, imo.

Since it was a “hooray for A’s” dinner I opted for a giant piece of pie to wash down my dinner:

Burbon Pecan Pie

The drizzly stuff didn’t taste like much of anything to me, but the pie itself was really good. So rich I couldn’t finish it, in fact. Overall, a nice experience at a restaurant close to home, and even with three courses we didn’t break the bank. I’m sure we’ll hit Stella up again, if only to fulfill my crazy steak cravings for cheap.

Master List of AFI Movies

Just like the books, here’s my movie list!

AFI’s Top 100 in 2007

1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: Number 33 on the list, and a pretty approachable movie, I think. Jack Nicholson does crazy well and this movie was no exception. I liked that the characters were varied and had depth, including Nurse Ratched. It took me awhile to determine if this woman was truly evil and out for her own gain, or if she was actually trying to help these people entrusted to her, albeit in a pretty messed up way. I think I’ll check the book out for this one, too. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it’ll be on the Banned Books list.


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