Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Picture Unclear

You know these puzzles, where everything's scrambled but you can only move one piece at a time until you get everything in order?

Yeah, that's what my life feels like right now. Most of the time it's a fun challenge, but other times I start to wonder whether I'm just doing the same five moves over and over again and whether I'll ever finish.

In many ways, Erich and I complement each other extremely well, but, as I know I've said before, one thing that doesn't work out so perfectly is both of our tendencies toward procrastination. We're currently finding ourselves in a situation where we have to get a huge list of things done in a relatively short amount of time, so we have to kick our organization up into high gear. If getting ready for a baby didn't involve the physical rigors of pregnancy, this might be a bit easier, but never let it be said that I won't take the bad with the good!

We moved in early June, when I was about eight weeks pregnant. Now, I know I would have been slow to unpack even at my most vivacious, because I really hate moving and packing up and moving was exhausting, and living in a new house is overwhelming. But the stress of the first trimester meant I was even more exhausted than usual, needing at least a nap every day and feeling like a zombie regardless. As the exhaustion of the move wore off, we started to get discouraged about how much there was to do with the house, and how our priorities had to change. For example, the A/C stopped working and we had to decide when to get that fixed. (Luckily, it looks like we can put that off till next year.) Then Erich went to do a "simple" (haha) re-grout job on our downstairs shower and discovered mold. That shower is now demolished and we're thinking we could/should just redo the whole bathroom since we also hate the wallpaper. Luckily the toilet, sink/vanity and lighting are all new and fine.

Meanwhile, outside of the bathroom drama, which has extended to our upstairs bathroom as well with re-caulking, leaks, and an ornery toilet, we absolutely have to get our baby's room ready. It's currently set up as a guest/junk room. Even though Lily will probably sleep in our room for a few weeks or months, we need to get her room ready before she's born. But I can't do her room before I have places for the stuff that's in there! And here enters the puzzle. This is what I've been doing and plan to continue doing:

  1. Organize all basement clutter into laundry room (in progress, going well)
  2. Empty second bedroom of all non-baby-related items and throw away, give away, or integrate into organized laundry/storage room (in progress)
  3. Uninstall shelves from second bedroom closet, move or store elsewhere
  4. Patch holes from shelves and paint closet interior
  5. Purchase and install new closet organization system

While this is happening, Erich will be doing the following:

  1. Select and purchase tile, shower pan, and fixtures for shower
  2. Remove wallpaper, patch drywall where necessary
  3. While we're at it, remove horrible wallpaper from upstairs entryway, prime and paint everything
  4. Install durock, cement, etc. to studs for shower
  5. Install tile and fixtures, replace floor and ancient light switch
  6. DONE. Easy, right? (Riiiight.)
Back to the baby's room:

  1. Paint
  2. Move queen bed to basement as temporary guest quarters for live-in help with newborn
  3. Magically come up with baby furniture, assemble and arrange
  4. Purchase and install closet doors
  5. Supply baby
Meanwhile, we also hope to replace the carpet in the living room/dining room, master and second bedrooms with a hardwood laminate. It seems to make the most sense to do this before baby's arrival.

Baby's due in three and a half months. Erich is remodeling a bathroom while balancing a full-time job and two grad school classes. I plug along as much as I can, but I'm already feeling encumbered by my rapidly increasing size. We may be crazy to try to get so much done, but our motivation level is very high. We can do it!

(And if anyone wants to help, you know, we'll gladly accept. We're not too proud for help, oh no indeed!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wedding Memories: The Aisle

Seating of the grandmothers...

The mothers...

And the nearly 2-year-old unofficial flower girl, accompanied by daddy.

She did not relish this role and sought refuge with Mamalaine. Her momentary howls were heard in the back.

I still blame the scratchy dress and the confusion of the day.

Mom seated, the boys are ready!

Bring on the ladies!

Holding up well to the pressure of going first and solo.

Listening to the voice in her head telling her not to hold her flowers too high.

Walking down the aisle? Been there, done that.


If there's ever a time in a wedding when I well up a little, it's when it's the bride's turn to walk down the aisle. My own wedding started out as no exception.

No really, I'll be okay. Spare the make-up!

Aw shucks, how can I be anything but thrilled? When I saw all the faces of 200 people I love smiling back at me, I was too happy to ruin my make-up. Besides, I had the best view:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wedding Memories: Here Comes the Groom

It has now been exactly two years since our wedding day. Between how long it feels and how short it feels, I suppose two years is just about right! We certainly have come a long way and been through a lot in two years. In just the last one, we had a Halloween party at our home, got pregnant again and had a miscarriage again, saved up money like crazy only to shed it all in the purchase of our first house, got pregnant a third time and now eagerly expect the arrival of our daughter in January, and went on many trips to visit family and see the world ourselves. All-in-all a bit easier year together than our first, and I can only expect each year will be better than the last!

It's also been over six months since my last "Wedding Memories" post, but I don't intend to give them up forever. So I'll just pick up right where I left off!

After I and my maids were done having our pictures taken in the church, it was time for us to disappear and make way for the men.

First and foremost, this handsome devil!

Brothers Andrew, Michael, Handsome Hubby, Paul and friend Lance. All the brothers look so different now!

Megan manned the guest book, while Donna and Phyllis (friends from the church office) prepared the informal reception for people coming to only the ceremony.

Before long, people started showing up for this:

My grandparents... and his.

As the top-notch brass quintet started to play...

It was time for me to emerge from my hidey-hole!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Land of Port: Columbia River Gorge, Part 3

Welcome to my travel blog.

It's not really a travel blog, but that seems to be most of what I blog about these days! OH WELL. :)

What I thought might be one of the less exciting stops along the Historic Columbia River Highway ended up being one of the best and coolest. After waterfall country, we got to the Bonneville Dam.

Pretty impressive looking...

And Erich, the electrical engineer, was mildly interested in how it works.

But the dam itself really wasn't that exciting. However, the fish ladder, a system to aid the fish in their regular migratory patterns, was extremely cool. Sadly, I did not get a picture of the exterior. I know, what was I thinking?

I don't want to leave you hanging, so here's a picture I've taken from Wikipedia.org:

And HERE'S what's going on inside:

We stared at the fish for a while inside and outside, learned about the different types of salmon that come through, had a little snack, then continued on to the fish hatchery. I had never been to a fish hatchery before, and I was shocked and amazed at how fun and interesting it was! First we saw a video of how the actual process works, but there was nothing actually going on this time of year, so we continued to the different fish ponds.

This is Herman the Sturgeon. I think. I suspect there was also a back-up Herman in this pond who was almost as huge. Herman is about ten feet long! Big fish amaze me in a way that makes me feel like a small child.

Next we came upon the rainbow trout pond, which the signs made pretty clear were there just for fun since they don't actually hatch them there. We found 25¢ for a handful of fish food to be well worth it!

(This is so cliché, but I hate hearing my own voice. I wish I knew how to take out the sound.)

I'm glad we didn't see any egg fertilization or sorting or anything because this stuff was WAY cooler to see: the salmon are trying to return to their birth place to spawn! I really wish I could have taken a video, but my camera batteries were dying.

Some of them would leap over a foot out of the water right into those wooden planks! That was sometimes startling but always mesmerizing.

This was a bit further back. Though some fish would take the flying leap to get up to this level, many of them were forced back because there was such a backlog of fish trying to get past the final barriers. Hilariously splashtastic!

From the dam, we went to the town of Hood River. We stocked up on some provisions at Safeway and decided we had waited long enough for dinner. Our Central Daylight Time tummies were hungry for dinner early! Hood River has a lot of wineries and breweries, and the National Geographic guide suggested Full Sail, so we went in search of it. Unfortunately, our GPS failed us here: it seemed unaware of any Full Sail brewery in Hood River. Weird. We went looking blindly and nearly gave up when there it appeared in all its glory! The pub portion of the brewery had a stunning view of the Columbia River, which nearly rivaled the gastronomic experience upon which we were about to embark!

I haven't missed beer too much during my pregnancy, for which I am very thankful. But in this instance, I really wanted to be allowed to order a pint. Though I don't get uptight about taking tastes, I won't actually have an entire drink, so I begrudgingly ordered a Diet Coke (a little caffeine, a little aspartame--well, no one's perfect). Erich ordered the pale ale, described as a "godlike nectar" on the menu, and I chuckled at this. Then I tasted this pale ale and found the description to be quite accurate. YUM.

When our food finally came, we had our second amazingly delicious and fully satisfying meal of the day. I ordered the fish and chips: Alaskan halibut, session lager-battered. The word "amazing" gets overused far too often these days, but it's so appropriate for this meal. I might also throw out the word "foodgasm." I even really liked the cole slaw, and I'm not a big cole slaw eater. Erich enjoyed his burger and his second beer, and I gladly took the keys and booked it out of Hood River to make it to Mt. Hood. We knew it would be nearly dark by the time we got there, but we couldn't get that close to the mountain and not actually see it. It was indeed nearly dark, so we didn't get out of the car or take pictures. But we've now seen Mt. Hood!

We completed the rest of the loop in the dark and got to our hotel nice and late, completely wiped out from our long and adventurous day. Yay, Portland!

P.S.: I loved the flowers at the hatchery:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Land of Port: Columbia River Gorge, Part 2

Have I iterated enough just how much we loved our trip to Portland? It made a wonderful early second anniversary celebration/babymoon, and it would not have been possible were it not for free Southwest flights from Erich, free Mariott points from my dad, and childlessness. Or my cousin Dennis, without whose wedding we would not have had the impetus to go at all!

After our stop at Crown Point on Friday, we continued along the Historic Columbia River Highway through twists and turns past giant trees, dramatic rock walls, and gorgeous (get it?) vistas of the river. Eventually, we came upon a waterfall, so we stopped and got out of the car. I should have taken a picture of the sign because I can't remember this waterfall's name. [ETA: Erich figured it out! It's Wahkeena Falls.]

It's a tree stump!

This plant was all over the Portland area. Any amateur botanists know what it is?

Tree had precedence.

The next place to stop on the road was the granddaddy of the Columbia waterfalls, Multnomah Falls:

All fresh and airplane-y!

View from the bridge.

Lower falls, from above.

Lost shoes!