Chaos and Harmony

I had this big long post about how this has been the craziest morning ever, and of course it disappeared.

My dinner didn't agree with me last night so I went to bed at 8:30. I woke up early to make sure I had time to shave my legs since I had two doctor appointments this morning. Mike had a big meeting at a plant an hour away so he was racing around to get out early too. Despite my the usual flood of snot pouring from my draining sinuses (did I mention how bad my allergies get during pregnancy?) and depsite the usual consquential pause for morning sickness while packing Nathan's lunch, I still got us dressed and fed ahead of schedule.

Mike raced out before me and suddenly I heard an odd clicking noise from the garage and then the deafening sound of a car alarm going off. I walked out to see what was up and Mike informed me that he could not stop the alarm, it just kept going off when he put the key in the ignition and did not stop despite removing the key. Additionally the car would not start at all.

So Nathan and I waited to leave for school. 45 minutes and 6 more times setting off the alarm (which we had never heard before) and waking up the whole neighborhood, and Mike gave up. I had to get Nathan to school if I was going to make my first appointment. I pulled out of my neighborhood only to find traffic stopped in both directions. An 18 wheeler got stuck going up the hill, backing up traffic in both directions. This happens in my neighborhood a LOT.

So I raced to school, raced home via an alternate route, picked up Mike and ran to the doctor, making it just in time. Mike went and got a battery while I had a surprise 12 week ultrasound and didn't even have to get undressed and show off my nicely shaved legs!

Then off to my second appointment for a prenatal test involving a more extensive ultrasound, which was incredible. No getting undressed there either! More on that later. The new battery didn't work and now Mike is waiting to have the Explorer towed to the dealership and I am ready to let the stupid dealership KEEP the car.
I can already see the debate over the tax refund...new car or finished basement? Hmmmm....


I'm a Loser, Baby

So I didn't win the photo contest this weekend. I suck. At the suggestion of a friend who is a member of the group I was trying to get into, I spelled out the letters SYWBPP in yoga. Not crazy enough. I was shocked by who they chose as winners, I didn't think they were nearly as good as some other entries, including one by our friend Sharkey Marlarky! Oh well.

This weekend Mike was sick so we didn't do much. I have these terrible allergies that contribute to my general lethargy as well. I'm thinking I may be anemic again too. I keep dosing off all the time.

Watched the DVD Last Holiday which came via Netflix. Loved it!! I seem to like everything Queen Latifah is in, but this was particularly a warm and fuzzy, feel-good comedy. Highly recommended family film. Couple of sexual references that would probably go way over the heads of most kids, but that's it for objectionable content.

Missed the SAG awards because I went to my friend's house to make hand-made Valentine's cards. Soooo much fun. Five women crafting and gabbing. I'm so not crafty, so it's best when someone hands me a ready made task with all the pieces ready to go and a full demonstration. Plus a little room for creativity. Crafting is much better done in a group.

Back to work now. Lots and lots of work to do...ugh. I have a bit of the winter blahs.


I Need Your Ideas

So you ALL know my aspiration to become a professional photographer. Well here's your chance to help me out. There's a group on Flickr I have long wanted to join called "So, You Want to Be a Professional Photographer." It's an awesome group with wonderful discussions for learning all kinds of new tips and tricks, and generally drawing inspiration from other wannabe's and professionals. But you see, the group is FULL. Packed. I asked to join a long long time ago and was put on their waiting list. They are celebrating their one year anniversary now and are giving away REALLY COOL prizes for photo contests.

Here's where you, my readers, come in. They are having a contest and giving away three memberships to the group. The catch is I have to submit a totally wild and crazy photograph proving how desparate I am to get into the group. So far the entries are weeeeak. But I am a bit at a loss for ideas. I can be wild and crazy...but I need a muse. If only it would snow, I would go stand outside in the snow in only my skivvies and some high heels. But alas, no snow, and it's tough to demonstrate in a photo JUST. HOW. COLD. it is. We're talking 8 degrees this morning with a wind chill of 10 below. That's Fahrenheit for all you Canucks up there.

So suggestions please? I could incorporate some yoga somehow. I don't KNOW. The deadline is Saturday night so I've got two short days to figure this out and knock their socks off.


Not THAT Kind of Republican

It's not often I agree with the political opinions of fellow blogger, Mrs DallasK. But she's funny and she's nothing if not opinionated. But I must give a hat tip to her for alerting me to a false rumor being spread by conservative media and email about Barack Obama's Muslim upbringing. I received the email forward in question today and I must say I'm already turned off by the tactics being employed to discredit Sen. Obama AND Sen. Clinton in one fell swoop.

The truth in the email is that Sen. Obama's stepfather was a non-practicing Muslim and while they lived in Indonesia the Senator attended a school there. He was age 6 to 8. The email and magazine story claimed the school he attended was a madrassah, a radical Islamist school funded by Saudis that teach hate and violence. The media claims Sen. Clinton's camp unearthed this dirt and is secretly spreading it to discredit Obama. CNN and the Washington Post, among others, have debunked the story about the school. What really gets me is that Obama is a practicing Christian, who has been a member of a UCC church in Chicago for almost 20 years.

Now I know that not all so-called Christians really believe the Gospel. But that is NOT our place to judge what's in the heart of others. We can observe people based on their actions SINCE becoming Christians, especially when it comes to electing our government, but the Bible is clear that in Christ we are NEW CREATIONS. "The old is gone, the new has come". Just look at Paul. If the pre-conversion Paul were around today he would absolutely be considered a radical terrorist. When he was converted he had to take at least three years to reexamine his faith before preaching, and another 14 years are also missing before he really got into his mission to the non-Jews. Paul's testimony is a shocking one, very similar to if Osama Bin Laden himself came to believe in Jesus and one day renounced Islam completely and started preaching Christ. What would we think? But Paul's life is just like that, and he was utterly used by God.

Do I agree with Obama's politics? Not all, probably not even most. Am I scared that he might have some deep dark extremist Muslim ideas? Heck no! Even if he WAS a Muslim, you cannot possibly know what he really thinks about things, you have to just listen to what he has to say. I'll be listening for sure. But don't judge a book by it's cover. I sure as hell am glad the Lord doesn't judge me by my cover!


Finally, Snow!

Proud Mama
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom.
Sunday morning in Richmond we watched the weather maps before all ten of us headed to church for Elizabeth's dedication. It appeared that things were going to be icy and snowy in Richmond and D.C., but we kept thinking we'd leave before it started and get ahead of it to the north. Mike and I skipped the big formal dinner and scarfed down sandwiches instead before hopping in the car at 1:30. The freezing rain had already started on our way out of church.

We got about ten minutes down the road and hit bumber-to-bumber traffic on I-95. It was slick, yes, but not as bad as it could be. They just don't treat the roads in Virginia, and people don't know how to drive on ice! About two hours later we had only made it 40 miles up I-95. I took over driving and that's when it got REALLY bad. We wished we had stayed another night, and began thinking of people in the DC area we could call to crash overnight with. Snow fell faster than the cars were moving, so it accumulated rapidly. It got dark quickly and I could hardly see through the snow falling in front of me. We finally made it to College Park, MD and stopped for dinner, because with a toddler, you really HAVE to stop sometime. Nathan was great though, really cooperative for the 8 hour drive. Traffic AND the snow cleared up after dinner and we finally got home about 9:30, and carried the boy up to his bed.

Of course, there was NO SNOW near our house. None. Ok maybe a dusting on the driveway in the morning, but school wasn't even delayed.

There's a lovely snow falling right now, making things pretty, but it won't accumulate. I'm just dying to stick Nathan out in a few inches and watch him learn to love it.


Heading South

Well, the family is all heading to my sister's house in Richmond tomorrow for the weekend. So I doubt I will be posting after this till Monday. My niece is being dedicated at church and we are the godparents. My mom and her husband are also going, as well as her inlaws and inlaw grandparents.

Still not quite ready to post that big post I told you I was working on. There are some people I need to talk to first and they are a bit preoccupied right now. They probably never read this blog anyway, so I guess I can give you a hint.

All through the holidays I was so tired I regularly took two hour naps in the afternoons. Then I had insomnia and would wake up at 3am not able to go back to sleep. I'm not so tired anymore but I have been sick, sick, sick to my stomach for weeks. Horribly, awfully, no good, very badly, sick. Hopefully that will go away soon.


In Heavy Rotation

Since I got some iTunes cards for my birthday and Christmas, I've been having fun downloading and enjoying a bunch of new music. Thought I'd share the Top 10 tunes on my iPod at the moment.

1. When You Were Young - The Killers
2. Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
3. Boston - Augustana
4. Is It Any Wonder - Keane
5. Here It Goes Again - Ok Go (ya know the treadmill video?)
6. Alone - Sanctus Real
7. Change Your Mind - The All-American Rejects
8. I Will Follow You Into the Dark - Deathcab for Cutie
9. Wait - Get Set Go
10. Caroline - David Gray


Never Underestimate My Jesus

365.13 Reflecting
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom.
It's not too often that I talk about my faith on this here blog. Probably because most of the time I don't think I know what I'm talking about. But it's a big...no, huge part of my life. So anyway.

Church, Sunday School, and my Life Group have all been really great lately. I feel blessed, inspired, and like maybe God is trying to get something through to me. I haven't figure out exactly what yet.

Last week in Sunday School we discussed science verses the Bible. This is particularly interesting to me as a scientist. I was pleasantly surprised by the teacher's take on the supposed conflicts between science and Christianity. It's very hard for me to recall his points exactly now, but in a church where we believe firmly in the inerrancy of scripture, I was happy to hear him say that the Bible is not meant to be read as a science text, and that it's possible six day creationism isn't exactly literal (although it is possible it IS), AND that it's not the end of the world, or our faith, if some scientific theories happen to turn out to be true someday. We talked alot about Aristotle and Galileo's theories of heliocentrism and why the church was so opposed to them. This teacher, who is as much a fundamental evangelist Christian as I am, maybe more so with his Baptist background, continuously surprises and pleases me with his emphasis on grace when viewing or hearing opposing ideas. He's the same guy that has been leading us in the discussion of other faiths, like Roman Catholicism.

In Life Group this week (a small group Bible study) we began a study of Galatians, and had a wonderful discussion. A new insight was given by modern Christian writer N.T. Wright, an Anglican bishop, which is in direct condradiction with what I've always been taught about Jesus' take on the Pharisees. Click the link for more info on that. Anyway the study of Galations and the centrality of the gospel of Christ is always amazing. I love the people in my group.

Then in Sunday school this week we had a guy teach who had been a missionary in Indonesia for nine years. I'd met him in class many times and always thought he was a bit strange, kind of tough looking and pretty anti-social. But I was blown away when he got up and spoke to us today about his life and self-righteousness, and having a spiritual vitality most Christians severely lack. I determined I need to get to know this guy and his wife better.

We decided to go to church after Sunday school because this week is Prayer Week at our church and they have a guest preacher, who I know from my old church growing up. This guy Rick Marshall has worked as an executive with the Billy Graham crusade for 25 years. I never heard him preach before because he was always behind the scenes at my old church. But he was great. Kind of loud, but very motivational. Plus the worship music was fabulous, which is always a bonus for me.

So, all this leaves me wondering what the Lord has in store for me next. If I pay attention and get on my knees more, it's going to be big, I can tell.


Hijacked Stuff Portrait Friday

It seems that Kristine is too busy these days to give us an SPF assignment, so The Kept Woman decided to hijack the game this week and give us all an assignment herself. Yay! When you can't think of what to say, SPF is good. I have a major blog post that I've been working on and perfecting and holding back until just the right moment. In the meantime, I haven't been able to think of anything else!

So here's my SPF.

1. A houseplant. Easy one. I only HAVE one. I have a black thumb, but a friend gave me this pot with the seeds already planted last July. I kept watering it and it GREW! I don't even know what kind of plant it is.

2. Something you complain about but secretly enjoy.

This was a tough one. I'm a pretty upfront, to-the-point person. If I complain about something, I really don't like it. I'm just not a fake complainer. Once in awhile I complain about Nathan. What parent doesn't? But I enjoy him to death. Especially his sweet smile, his loving hugs, and the way he skips around the house now. He's the best kid anyone could want.

3. Something gross.

So there are lots of gross things around here I could share. But the other day my husband came home from a trip with the grossest thing I've seen around here in awhile. He's always bringing home disgusting jarred foods, but this was the worst. It made me barf on sight and I had to hide it out of view in my cabinets.

It's venison. Yeah, bambi meat. It's not that I'm opposed to hunting, I just don't want to see chopped up bambi meat staring at me in a glass jar. I think it's totally gross. I don't really like meat very much in general. YUK.

Happy Friday!!!


Blame it on ADD

I have zero freakin' attention span these days. I suppose I know the reason, but still. Remember how I said, just this morning, that it's a damp dark day which is perfect for WORK? Yeah the sun came out. I got a few things accomplished. My focus started rapidly sliding downhill at about 11am.

So! A New Year's Meme I stole from my dear friend DCRMom at Musings of a Housewife.

1. What did you do in 2006 that you had never done before?
Hm. Crash into the Christmas tree while doing a headstand.

2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I really never make them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My sister, my BIL's fiance, and several friends. Lotsa babies!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, both of Mike's grandmothers.

5. What countries did you visit?
I guess I didn't visit any last year. That may be a first for me.

6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A finished basement. Seriously.

7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day I found out I'd miscarried. Also July 9th, the day my sister had her baby.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Either taking awesome newborn photos of my niece or giving presentations in front of a big crowd of engineers at WEFTEC.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Probably failing to consistantly cook decent meals for my husband or keep my house clean.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well there was the whole runner's knees problem that is better with rehab and NOT running.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Totally Norton the Nikon D50. Changed my life.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Probably Nathan the angel child. Although the past few days he's been difficult. I think he's not feeling well.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The people who trashed my sister in the media for leading the Virginia Marriage Amendment. I understand why they are opposed to her cause, but she's not a liar, she's not stupid, and she's not all those other things people called her.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Who knows. Paying the bills, right? House, childcare, food, cars, clothes.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Dallas for WEFTEC. It did not disappoint.

16. What song will always remind you of 2006?
Probably either Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol or Bad Day by Daniel Powter.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) I have no idea how I was feeling this time last year. I'm pretty happy though!

b) I'm not sure if I'm thinner or fatter than this time last year. I was thinner at some points last year, but I've let it go in the past couple weeks.

c) Richer. Thanks to saving, net worth keeps going up up up! Yeah baby.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sit on my ass. Although I probably move more than most people.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my house with my grandparents. It was pretty relaxing.

21. Did you fall in love in 2006?
Yeah, with the baby I lost.

Hm, 22 is missing.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Heros. Hands down fave. Grey's and Studio 60 are close seconds.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No. There are a couple women I thought were super cool but when I got to know them I found them to be irritating snobs. Don't worry, nobody that reads this blog!

25. What was the best book you read?
The Davinci Code, I guess. Or Angels and Demons, same author.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Maybe the David Crowder Band. Fan-fricking-tastic modern worship music. I also seem to like almost everything by the All-American Rejects and the Killers.

27. What did you want and get?
Uh, the camera. I mentioned that already.

28. What did you want and not get?
Kid #2. But fear not, all in good time.

29. What was your favorite film this year?
Hmmmm....the Breakup? That sounds so pathetic.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
31 and we had lunch with my sister's family and my mom at PF Chang's, my fave.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Finishing the basement.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006?
I totally dove into the whole stylish/sexy thing this year. Lots of sparkly lowcut tops to wear with jeans and heels. Other than that it was a LOT of yoga wear. Gym clothes all the time.

32. What kept you sane?
My faith.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Fancy? I dunno, maybe Patrick Dempsey. He's HAWT.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Trying to get Rick Santorum re-elected. So sad.

36. Who did you miss?
I always miss my dad, but I also miss my sister who is too far away.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I met so many AWESOME people this year. The people I really got to know and like best include, but are not limited to, (besides bloggers), Carolyn, Dawn, Kimber, Ann, Rikki, Tammy, Lauren, Susan, Yoga Jen, and Yoga Mark. I seriously made a number of fabulous friends.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006.
Our children are not ours for keeps, they are only on loan to us from God.


Not-straight Peacock
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom.

I'm still working on editing a whole bunch of yoga pictures I took for Jenifer. Photoshop can be tricky, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. In this photo I removed a whole bunch of random stuff lying around that was distracting. My husband keeps talking about how he wants to create cool photoshopped images for his football blog, like with people inserted into odd pictures, but he never gets specific enough for me to do it for him.

Last night's Eagles game was awesome, and now the city is really going nuts. This city loves their Eagles. Everyone except my husband, that is. Even though I readily admit to being a fair-weather fan, I have not yet bought a single stitch of Ealges clothing yet. I keep eyeing the jerseys and hats and tshirts hanging everywhere, but I have this feeling that if I buy one it will jinx the team and they will lose.

Today is a dark, damp day, and traffic was UGLY this morning. Perfect for getting some serious work done both at the office and around the house (which happen to be in the same place).

Oh!! I almost forgot. My sister and my baby niece made the front page of the Richmond newspaper yesterday. A piece about women mixing politics and family. Victoria takes the baby into her office with her every afternoon. I guess you can do that when you're the boss. Here's the article.
Family News


Pimp My Ride

So Mike, the Natester and I decided to go to the ghetto mall up the road a bit tonight. It's not really a ghetto mall, but it's not the BIG King of Prussia mall, and the clientel is a bit, well...not-so-mainline. We had never been there before, but we needed to return a Christmas gift to a store that isn't at KoP.

On a positive note, Victoria's Secret was having their big clearance sale and I found TWO bras in my oh-so-hard-to-find-because-they're-very-big size. Usually all the decent stuff in my size is totally picked over in the little clearance bins. Amusingly as I was standing there a mom said loudly to her daughter "They go over here in this bin, and maybe this woman would like them because they are very pretty bras!" as she handed me two baby blue ones in just my size. I said "Oh yes! I would like them very much, and they are nice." To which the mom of the very pretty and NOT fat 20ish daughter said "She's just mortified that this is actually the size she wears." I chuckled and said "I know the feeling."

Now back to the title of this post. As we were getting into the car to go home, a blue minivan pulled up next to us with the word "Odyssey" written in big script letters across the top of the windshield. I doublechecked, and sure enough, the minivan was in fact, a Honda Odyssey. I said to Mike,

"Who on earth would put the word "Odyssey" across the front of there frickin' MINIVAN?"

"Yeah that's funny."

"I mean, what are they thinking? Is that how you soup up a minivan? Is that like they said, 'Xibit, please pimp my minivan?'"

"Yo man, this baby has holders for 18 sippy cups!"



Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom.
2007 is set to be a really good year. I'm optimistic about it. I have been asked to photograph a wedding in March for a friend, and Mike's cousin wants me to handle her senior portraits. Both requests are an honor and should provide a great learning experience. But I still haven't thought of a name for this business, and I really need one. I ought to have business cards and a website. I'm not crazy about using my last name, it just doesn't flow that well.

I remember when my two partners and I picked a name for our engineering company. It took us forever, and there was lots of back and forth, and I think it was still a compromise in the end. But it stuck and it has worked well for us over the past three years. Yep, almost three years and I'm still getting a paycheck. There were a lot of times we really weren't sure we were going to survive. But we have survived and thrived. So I'm not rich yet, but maybe someday.


Happy 2007!

Amish Country
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom.
So New Year's Eve was not so much fun for our family. Nathan was whiney, I was whiney, and Mike had his nose buried in his laptop doing all his sports blogging while insisting we watch at least four football games. We didn't even stay up to watch the ball drop.

In good news, my Philadelphia Eagles won their division by some miracle and my next door neighbor had a baby girl. She called me in a panic Saturday night so I went over and watched her two boys until their grandmother showed up. Since this was her third kid, I figured she must know when it's really time to head for the hospital, and she didn't say a word to me as she raced out the door. I saw her husband's car in the driveway very early the next morning, so she must have had a pretty short labor.

The husband called and talked to Mike with the good news yesterday, but he neglected to get such vital information as the baby's NAME or weight. The conversation from my end sounded something like this.

"Hey Mike! Yeah well, Mary had a baby girl last night."

"Oh congratulations Dan, that's terrific."

"Tell Sarah thanks so much for coming over to watch the boys, she was a lifesaver."

"Oh it was no problem. No problem at all."

"So the Eagles won their division!"

"Yeah, I'm not an Eagles fan, but my Broncos just lost. So now I guess I'll root for the Eagles."

Ten more minutes of football talk. I did manage to interject a question of what hospital was she at, and get an answer. Mike thinks Dan was angling for an invitation to come have a beer, but we were just about to put Nathan to bed.

I can't believe they didn't cover the baby's name. We're guessing it'll be some kind of good Irish Catholic name, like Katherine. Right now, my money is riding on Katherine. Her older brothers are Sean and Joseph. I'm also willing to bet the baby's middle name will be whatever Dan's mom's name is, since she passed away earlier this year. Either way, she'll be forever known as "the little tax deduction".
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