Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sweet Taste of Defeat

Today was supposed to be my last doctor's appointment before the baby's arrival (assuming she arrives close to her due date). It snowed most of the morning, so I wasn't looking forward to trying to maneuver my belly around the car and most likely slipping on the ice while trying to clear the snow off the car. Still, I was determined to get to this appointment and find out how the baby was doing and if labor was progressing.

I put on my game face... and hat, gloves, scarf, and boots. I bundled the baby belly in a big sweater, and reminded myself that we were two strong women who could brave a Vermont winter and every thing it had to throw at us.

The cold air hit me as I opened the front door of our apartment building, and I have to admit, it was invigorating! I felt so free in that moment and decided that once I was out, I would go everywhere! I would go to my appointment, the cafe for a fruit smoothie, the craft store, the grocery store! I waddled to the car, only slipping once, opened the door, brushed the snow off the seat, and carefully slid my big rear end into a sitting position.

I swung my legs into the car, leaned back, and took a few deep breaths. I made it! Next step - start the car. Then I would tackle the snowbank on top of it.

I put the key in the engine, turned it, and... nothing. I couldn't believe that my car would let me down at this exact moment, feeling a combination of exhilarating freedom and complete defeat. But it did. I called my husband, Mark, and put him on speakerphone, so he could listen to the awful sounds the car was making as I tried to start it. He told me to cancel my appointment and stay in for the day - the roads were bad anyway.

I went back to the front door of our building, sat down on the steps and cried... a good, long cry, while Mark tried to console me over the phone. I finally told him I'd be fine, hung up, dried my tears, and headed back upstairs.

But to add insult to injury... the apartment next door to ours is being used for offices, and one of the workers from the company was coming up the stairs behind me. There's a door at the top that swings out to the very top of the stairs, and I can't get myself around it without backing down a few steps. This guy wouldn't give me enough room to back up. So, I finally said, and God only knows why I feel the need to explain myself, "Excuse me, sir, I need to try to maneuver my large belly around this door here."

I can only guess by the surprised look on his face that I had bundled myself so well that it wasn't clear whether I was pregnant or extremely overweight.

Ugh, awkward... I quickly went into my apartment and tried to shake off the embarrassment. I ate two whoopie pies and called my sister. That helped. I cancelled my appointment and spent the rest of the day inside.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Season, Another Reason... For Makin' Whoopee... (Pies)

And!! Another great gift - a Whoopie Pie maker from Baby Cakes!

I'm going to give this thing a whirl today... I'll update via Twitter while I work (user: UrMomIsStrange) and the blog once I'm finished. I'm hoping to find some other practical uses for this in the kitchen too. I even considered trying to make mini burgers with it (Sliders, anyone?), but I'm not sure I want to spend my afternoon cleaning beef out of the whoopie wells if something goes awry.

Hopefully all this baking will make the baby timer go off too... 3 days and counting!

Update: Okay... so that went well! Especially for my first time! The maker is great and cooks up the batter in 1.5-2 minutes! With the mix, the batter is super easy to make too! For the outer cookies, I was able to use a whisk instead of an electric mixer. Mixing, preheating, and baking took me about 15 minutes - I mean, you can't make cookies that quickly. I was impressed!

The filling was a mix as well and should have been easy to throw together. I did a few things wrong, though: I cut the recipe in half. After using too much batter for the cookies and "testing" some of the less attractive ones from my first batch, I had omitted, eaten, or destroyed a good majority of my cookies. I only had enough to make 9 pies instead of 18 per the recipe. Then the butter for the filling wasn't soft enough, so I microwaved it. That wasn't smart. I added the milk and sugar mix, and basically created an icing. A very delicious icing, might I add... I "sampled" about half the bowl. But I think this is where an electric mixer would make all the difference. I'm not sure a whisk would have mixed the butter enough to make it nice and fluffy.

Anyway, for the sake of showing you what could have been, I grabbed some frosting and put these together. Cleanup was extremely easy too. No cookie pan to clean! Overall, I'm a happy camper and had lots of fun with this! I can't wait to get creative and experiment some more!

Unfortunately, the baby seems perfectly content baking from the womb. I'll have to see what else I can do to convince her to come out and play!

Crappy Birthday!

Another gift I feel is worth mentioning... the Crappy Birthday card game. I got this one for myself, because I thought it looked fun. It's similar to Apples to Apples in that when it's your turn, players submit cards to you (or birthday gifts in this case), and you decide who has given you the worst birthday gift. I love these types of games, because they're subjective, and you learn quite a bit about your opponents.

For example, to some, "Flying Lessons" would be horrific, but I know my husband would love that gift. Instead, I gave him a "Spot on a Reality TV Show - Disco America". He gave me a "Pet Tarantula." I got nauseous just looking at the card. This game got a lot of laughs, and we look forward to playing with more people!

Feed Moo!

My sister-in-law gets us the best Christmas gifts. I'll tell you why... If she gets me socks, she gets me nice socks. If she gets me clothes, they're clothes I like and can actually wear. She shops practically. Plus, she always throws in something a little out of the ordinary. One of my favorites is a Cow Parade collectible. 6 years of marriage, and 6 cows later, she gave us - Feed Moo!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I officially feel productive after designing a few note cards to sell. (With a little help from!)

My sister suggested the "It's Just Poop" theme. I have to admit, I love it. It was one of my dad's favorite sayings when we were growing up.

Paperback Writer

Okay, so I should give you at least a little background to get started:

I'm 9 months pregnant, due in 4 days (New Year's Day, 2012). The countdown has officially begun. This is the countdown to... literally the moment my life will change, in a big way. Bigger for me than most people. I'm sure it will be for the better, but I have to tell you, I'm getting scared. Labor worries aside, my life hasn't always been super (ahem) organized or put together. I fake it pretty well, but underneath the surface, I'm just an eccentric nut trying to find my place in this seemingly nuttier world. And if I'm still struggling with this at 28 years old, how will I teach my daughter to find her way? To quote my pal below, "That is just the highlights."

But I can explore that anxiety-inducing question later. My problem now is that I'm officially on maternity leave. The company I work for was generous enough to give me 12 weeks of leave time, but not so generous to pay for it all - 6 of those weeks I will have no paycheck. Add to that the rising cost of daycare, and I'm thinking about working from home full time. I've done it part time for about 9 years now.

I would do just about anything (legal) to stay at home with my baby, but those 9 years have also made me a little wiser to the world of freelance anything. A job that offers $500 for a logo design is okay until you put 500 hours into it or create 500 sample logos.

Still, I was optimistic this morning, at 2am, when I woke up with a craving for cheese & crackers and an appetite for finding a stay-at-home job. I thought that maybe I could avoid the more creative jobs that all those other freelancers were fighting for. I could be the gal rooting around at the bottom of the barrel for the less glamorous jobs. I thought, "That's where I could really shine..."

Two hours later, I was back in bed with a panic attack. The 15th job post I read triggered anxiety better than any contraction or shortage of baby kicks:

I am looking for someone to help me write a book about my life....raised around *****, gambling, terrible deaths of loved ones, my own drug addiction, abusive husbands, prison time and getting my life back together for myself and my daughter.  That is just the highlights.
Pay Offered: Ask Me

First of all, let me just say that this was one of many vague and, shall I say, mis-priced job requests. Second, take out the drug addiction, abusive relationships, gambling, and (most likely) whatever "*****" is, and this is my life too. In some ways, I'm living the "Sheen Dream" and need to refocus. So, no offense to whoever posted this - on some level, I get it.

What I don't get is... These are the jobs freelancers are fighting for! Yes, these jobs:

I need a website. It's simple just info page gallery and contacts. No big graphics and nothing fancy but I want it to look like [insert absurdly detailed, graphics-heavy Flash site link here].
Pay Offered: $250

And to take any one of these jobs assuming that the client will be 1. available; 2. not crazy; and 3. able to pay on time -- is a little risky to say the least. It's only Day 2 of project "Find At-Home Work", so I promise myself I won't lose hope just yet.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to build my blog and work on some (hopefully) sell-able creative projects. Tomorrow I will calm myself down and start the search again.

Just testing the water...

Hmm, a little cold.