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My title should actually read “Hold Please, Again, But While You Wait Here Are Some Random Things I Want To Talk About,” but I thought that was a little long.

So yes, it’s been another one of those weeks. Work went all kablooey last week, which continued into this week, and even though I got everything sorted out on Monday, I had a metric ton of crap to get to afterwards. You know, everything that had gone un-done over the last two weeks or so as I dealt with the kablooey. Plus, the whole gestating business I’ve got as a side-gig over here has really slowed me down this week. However, it’s not fair of me to just leave y’all hanging on updates to my supremely interesting life, so without further ado I present: Things We Did This Weekend. Enjoy.

I believe I mentioned that we had a friend’s birthday party to attend in Austin this past weekend. We had a great time. In a departure from our normal Austin trip routine (where we crash at a friend’s house), we decided to get a hotel this time. We did this mostly because I am very pregnant and don’t necessarily need to be spending the night on the floor or the couch or kicking our friends out of their beds so I can noisily roll around. However, in a brilliant stroke of forethought, I relished our arrangement as our friends’ houses became overrun with party-goers. You see, what started out as a birthday party for Luffy’s friend, we’ll call him Max, quickly morphed into a sort of ultimate birthday party for everyone in our extended friend group who has an August birthday. Instead of celebrating one person, all of a sudden we were celebrating five people. And, of course, their friends were invited too. Instead of just a couple of people coming down from Dallas, suddenly there were dozens of people coming down from Dallas. Everyone needed a place to stay and most of them wanted to do it cheaply or for free. And with that, our friend’s three bedroom (but two bed) house hosted eight people. Max’s single bedroom apartment hosted five. Max’s girlfriend’s apartment hosted four (not including her roommates). There were numerous others spread out around Austin. So basically, our desire for a modicum of privacy and comfort for my pregnant self spared us from being heaped onto the pile of bodies that was our friends’ houses. Yay!

Having a hotel room also allowed us a little more freedom from the group when it came to food. Luffy loves finding delicious places to eat and our food desires often diverge from the groups’. So that’s how we found ourselves racing into a Chinese bakery literally one minute before their posted closing time to find the hidden banh mi shop that had such high ratings. (That sandwich was glorious, by the way.) It’s also how we were able to eat breakfast at a reasonable hour instead of waiting for the entire group to rise and get ready (they’re notorious for planning a breakfast, which turns into a brunch, which actually occurs at 1pm).

Speaking of breakfast, I have to admit that we had breakfast at the hotel both mornings. I got a waffle the first morning and it was such a delicious waffle that I got a second. And then I had another one the next morning. And just this morning, Luffy was looking for the same hotel in our area so he could take me to get another waffle – probably so I would shut up about the waffle already. The waffle is done Belle – it’s gone, you ate it – IT’S NOT COMING BACK. STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

Ahem. Back to the party. While we did hang out at restaurants and bars (which is always a fun experience while pregnant), the main event of the weekend was a barge cruise on Lake Travis. We had a bit of bad weather Saturday afternoon which had us all concerned, but it cleared out in time and we took off on schedule. We had a lot of fun once they tied us off to a rock island and we got to get in the water. Someone had brought along a kid’s float – one of those tiny little rings with the animal heads. It was a turtle. People joked when Luffy tossed it to me, but that little turtle held me up admirably! It was just big enough to go around me – under the boobs, above the belly – and just small enough to make sure I wasn’t stretched too far. Great fun! So we swam and others drank and everyone danced to our party planner’s custom mix. Then we reached the shore again and the other 46* party-goers loaded up on a bus for the forty-five minute drive back to party central while Luffy and I (in another great move of foresight) got into our own car to drive the twenty minutes back to our hotel.

Anyway, we had a great time down in Austin and I would highly recommend the waffles at Hilton Garden Inn.

* Yes, you read that correctly. Including Luffy and I and the party planners, there were 50 people at this party! AND I ALMOST FORGOT TO TELL YOU THE BEST PART!!! Towards the end of the night, I got cornered by a … how shall I put this delicately … exceedingly inebriated guest. I’d met her a couple of times before, but wasn’t super friendly with her or anything. Anyway, she cornered me and for a good ten minutes went on and on about how excited she was for Luffy and I. Except that, through her thick haze of alcohol, she kept losing her train of thought, so it went something like this: OMG I’m so happy for you guys – I literally started crying when I found out – your baby is going to change the world – Luffy is just such an amazing person – he shut down an internet troll for me once – …. – OMG I’m so happy for you guys – I literally started crying when I found out – your baby is going to change the world – Luffy is just such an amazing person – he shut down an internet troll for me once – …. and repeat. For ten minutes. At top volume because we were standing by a speaker. I was so relieved when she got distracted.

Hold Please

Work. Woooooork. My apologies for being incommunicado this week but work things y’all. In technical speak, they went kablooey. Only time for quick updates:

  • Jas has, for the past two nights, woken us up around 4 in the morning with incessant, loud meowing. I think maybe something’s scaring her?  I walked around with her this morning, kissing her little head and rubbing her back, trying to find something that looked out of place or unusual. Couldn’t find anything (to be fair, I also didn’t look that hard at four in the morning). Luffy, on the other hand, just thinks she’s hungry and announcing her woes.
  • We got the crib mattress in! I got it unwrapped and into the crib yesterday afternoon. Then I put Jas in it – you know, to visualize a small infant in there. And to see what she’d do. It’s the small things really.
  • We’re going out of town this weekend for a friend’s birthday party. There will be lots of booze and food and festivities and I will …. try not to scare the children in a bikini. And also try to stay up past the hour of 10pm.
  • So after I got all uppity last week about the weather – we’ve had a cool front here and it’s been absolutely wonderful. Humidity is still high (as evidenced by my hair which is a giant wave of frizz right now), but I’ll take mid-80’s and humid over 100’s and humid any day.
  • Little Dumpling’s good! He’s kicking away in there and I think he got his first case of the hiccups last night!

Aaaaaand that’s all I’ve got folks. Back to the trenches.

August got me like….

Whew…. It’s hot in DFW. Hot and humid, which is a terrible combination. You can laugh all you want, but I’m super excited for this weekend’s cool front. The high on Sunday is only 93 and I don’t know what to do with myself!!

As I’m sure you probably know, the Olympics are on right now. I’m not super into the Olympics (you know those people – the ones who have not performed an athletic feat in the past 5+ years and suddenly they accost you every morning with a detailed recap of last night’s swim record or gymnastic pass or volleyball … er volley), but I do really enjoy watching. I basically spent all weekend with the Olympics on, watching the biking road race and rugby and beach volleyball, plus prelims for the swimmers and gymnasts. Good fun. I highly relate to all those memes out there about watching the Olympics:

Me: Wow! That gymnast is amazing!

Commentator: Oooh, devastating mistake there. He’s going to regret that.

Me: …… [scrutinizes replay] …. [still haven’t got a clue]

Other than the Olympics, not much else is going on right now. Luffy and I put the changing table together, which means that I can officially start washing clothes for Little Dumpling (the changing table doubles as a dresser). We got a bunch of hand-me-downs, so those are the clothes I’ll be washing. My plan, for the other detail-oriented folks out there, is to not wash much of the new stuff ahead of time. That way, when Little Dumpling comes out as an itty bitty six pounder or a line backer at 10 pounds, I can adjust accordingly. Once I get the hand-me-downs washed, I can start organizing them into sizes, which I’ve been itching to do.

Looking into the baby’s room, it’s starting to come together a bit. We’re still lacking a mattress for the crib, but we’re shopping around. I need to organize all of the random crap that came with the hand-me-down clothes. (My friend was nice enough to give us a bunch of stuff, but they were also moving at the time so we have a few bags that suspiciously look like random piles of baby paraphernalia.) As far as furniture, I think we’re about done. I’m considering buying some sort of rocking chair, but I might hold off until the baby’s here and I can see where I prefer nursing. I’m also eyeing some sort of organizing cart to go alongside the changing table, but haven’t made up my mind yet. I bought some artwork for the walls, but haven’t bought the frames yet. And perhaps a lamp for the corner would be nice??? Maybe? Eh, we’ll see. Procrastination!!

One last piece of news (that pretty much proves how boring August has been so far), Luffy and I went to a chocolate shop last night and put together a custom, two pound box of chocolates. They are incredibly delicious and really, the only thing keeping me from polishing off the entire box in one sitting is Luffy would TOTES JUDGE ME.


We’re back!

Luffy and I, along with some friends, headed down to Cancun for a few days over the Labor Day weekend. We stayed at a wonderful all-inclusive resort down there and had a blast hanging out in the pool, sipping frozen drinks, and trying to fit as many dining options as we could into our limited time (second breakfast anyone?! How about a pre-lunch snack?).

We were only there for two full days, so we literally did not do anything. No excursions. No shopping trips. No planned activities. Just hours of pool and ocean time. Naps for Luffy. Reading for me. We went out to a local club Friday night and danced until our feet hurt. We played in the ocean until everyone’s eyes stung with salt. It was glorious.

The only hiccups in our trip were transportation related (we missed our connecting flight to Cancun in Mexico City because we stood in the Immigration line for over an hour and a half!), but were minor overall. The resort was all-inclusive, as promised, and we enjoyed the fact that they actually meant it. (I hate it when they promise all-inclusive, but then they want to charge you extra for something like water in your room.) Everybody got adventurous with their drink orders because of the FREEDOM of just ordering a different one if you didn’t like it.

We got back Sunday evening and then had the day off yesterday to catch up on errands and get ready for the week. I’m back at work now, of course, with a full day’s work ahead of me but I’ll leave you with some pics from our balcony.


When you can only focus on one thing…

It’s hard to write when I can only seem to talk about one thing.

Work was ridiculously busy last week. Summer is supposed to be our slow time. Last year, I had ample time to complete my work. To the point where some days I had multiple hours of free time. This year – not so much. I barely finish one project before another one gets added to my list and then my normal work items pop up and oh yeah here’s a couple office-wide meetings and events to attend and, wait a minute, what happened to my slow season?! My current to-do list spans multiple writing-tablet-sized post-its and keeps expanding every day.

A couple of weekends ago, Luffy and I got to go to Frank again. It was our fourth time to experience the unique “underground” restaurant that Ben Starr and Jennie Kelley created after their stint on Master Chef. Since it’s an underground restaurant, they hold dinners about once every 6-8 weeks, usually eight to twelve seatings a session. You enter into a lottery to win spots at their intimate (20 person) dinner table for the evening. This dinner was fantastic, as usual. The theme was Brunch After Dark and that’s honestly the whole reason we signed up again. We’d been lucky enough to catch their Brunch After Dark dinner last year and it was remarkable.

I could bore you with details about each course, but I won’t. Suffice to say everything was delicious and there was plenty of champagne and mimosas (it was brunch after all!). My favorite course was probably the first course – a black bean puree with chorizo, a 63.5 degree egg, and homemade pickled veggies. So good. So so so so so so SO good. I wish I had been able to convince Ben and Jennie to give me the leftovers. Alack and alas.

The wonderful thing about these dinners is that they are never the same. Even if it’s the same theme, the menus are different. Ben and Jennie get to flex their culinary creative muscle and we get to devour unique creations every time we go. It’s an incredible experience and I highly recommend it.

Well folks, that’s all for now. Tomorrow is the day so I’m sure I’ll stop by later this week to rejoice or vent or something in between.

The 4th!

So, everyone back to business as usual?? How was your holiday weekend? Mine was lovely, thanks for asking (not that you did, but I’ll pretend you did because that’s how polite conversation goes).

Luffy and I visited friends in Austin. We saw Jurassic World Friday. It was good, although intense. I felt like my poor heart had run a marathon by the end and it was only partly due to the movie itself. You see, our group went to an Alamo Drafthouse. If you’re not familiar with that theater, they serve alcohol (and food! but you know, also alcohol) and they run an announcement before each movie warning viewers to be quiet, letting everyone know they can officially complain about noisy movie-goers. You can and will be kicked out, in fact, if you are disruptive. About twenty minutes into the movie, I heard the random guy sitting next to me mutter a stream of invective about us noisy kids. I quickly shushed Luffy and then sat on pins and needles the rest of the movie, worried about being kicked out by some guy who thought that my sharp-inhale-omg-IT’S-BEHIND-YOU-GASP was too loud. Oh and the dinosaurs were terrifying too.

Saturday found us hanging pool side with some margaritas, burgers, and music. It was wonderful, especially considering it was (1) my first opportunity to work on my tan all summer (ha! that was a joke – am pasty white – like ghost) and (2) I was the last person standing. The rest of my group damn near passed out around 5:30-ish because margaritas and beer and holiday! I was rather proud of myself, having achieved the perfect balance of tipsy but still functional. I passed the time by cleaning up our cook out mess and mother-henning everyone. It was fantastic! Of course it came back to bite me later around midnight when everyone else, having had their midday nap, was ready to party and I was begging to go to bed. Luffy dropped me off at our borrowed apartment and headed back out because I am lame, but also very persistent when tired.

And then! We came home Sunday and ordered the new flooring. It should be ready for pick-up this Friday and hopefully installed next week. All in all, a very good weekend.

More on poison ivy

As I mentioned yesterday, I appear to be highly allergic to poison ivy and have somehow come in contact with the foliage. I blame my neighbor for allowing their side of the fence to become overgrown with grapevine (and other assorted varieties of vine apparently). About three weeks ago, I’d had enough of the aggressive plant after I discovered that several particularly hardy vines had made it up and over the fence, across our backyard, through several hedges, and were now attacking the driveway. I spent a couple satisfying hours yanking and hacking and tossing the vines away. Success! I also promptly showered off (a clue!).

The next week, I noticed that a large bunch of vines had somehow made their way down the fence again. Perhaps they’d come loose and simply fallen or maybe the demon plant had launched a new attack on my yard. Regardless, I promptly chopped down the offending vines and went about my day. I did not shower off (a clue!).

A week after that, I noticed my first angry red patch. I thought it was an ant bite or something. When I realized it was more of a blister than a bite, and that more were popping up, I wracked my brain trying to find what I was allergic to. I hadn’t switched laundry detergents or soaps or any of the usual allergic-reaction suspects. In fact, the only new thing in my house was a set of curtains. Surely I couldn’t be allergic to that, could I? After some more googling, I realized these blisters and itchy, scaly patches of red looked an awful lot like poison ivy rashes.

For a week, I self-medicated with Benadryl cream and Cortizone cream. It was actually working pretty well, especially while I was at work (minimal arm movement + freezing cold office helps keep the itching at bay). However, by the start of the second week, with a new wave of blisters coming in, I finally went to my doctor. She confirmed the poison ivy diagnosis in seconds and prescribed a prescription strength steroid cream.

I am still finding new blisters almost every day. Earlier in the week, I thought I was re-exposing myself in my own house. This triggered a massive cleaning crusade. Nothing was safe. Everything from our comforter to our kitchen towels went through the wash. Even Jasmine did not escape the Great Cleaning of 2015 (much to her displeasure), though I assure you that she was hand-washed. After all that, new blisters still appeared and I was losing my mind trying to figure out what was causing them. That’s when I found out that the blisters and rash can appear anywhere from four hours to three WEEKS after the initial exposure. So it’s entirely possible that the fresh blisters on my legs came from a brush against the ivy TWO WHOLE WEEKS ago. Couple that with the fact that the blisters and rash take two to three weeks to clear up, and you’re looking at almost two whole months of itching and redness and medicinal creams to try and clear up this reaction.

I so was not kidding about that haz-mat decontamination shower yesterday. In fact, I’m thinking of having one installed when we have our floors redone.