Our Year In Review

After reading both our parents' Christmas letters last year, Kristen and I were pretty depressed that all they could think to write about us is that we were living in Salt Lake and working. But what more was there to say? It seemed like nothing of consequence happened in 2006. The same cannot be said for 2007 however. As the year draws to a close, I can't help but think back on the many milestones that we experienced. So without further ado, we are pleased to present our year in review.

One of my main resolutions for the new year was to find a new job. Only a few weeks into January, I called on a job listing for Salt City Candle Co. While the hiring process is usually so drawn out, such was not the case this time. In a whirlwind week and a half, I had two interviews and a job offer.

After giving Nutraceutical the old heave-ho, I started at Salt City the first Monday in February, the day after the Super Bowl. And the candles slowly began to pile up in our closet.

No longer tied to a commute to Park City, we decided to start house-hunting in earnest. We quickly learned that there are some really weird realtors out there, as evidenced by Steve Zelenyansky, who resembled a washed-up former child star from the 70's. We saved his business card just for laughs.

Once we dumped Steve-o and found a decent realtor, things started to move along. We still looked at some real dives, including one Taylorsville rambler that will forever live in our memory. The basement featured a wet bar, wall-to-wall wood paneling, and an accordian-style dividing curtain. I guess that would come in handy in case you needed a separate room for Sunday School class. We eventually found our way out to Daybreak and made an offer on a townhome. We moved in at the end of the month.

Now full-fledged homeowners, we were excited to make the new place our own. It took us a little while to get settled, as we spent a good portion of the month painting. Most people agreed that our new paint looked great, but would never dare to try such bold colors themselves. We also got our first pair of fish, and thus began our vast knowledge of strange fish diseases.

Once the house was presentable, we held a housewarming party for some of our friends. From this experience, we learned that our maximum capacity is about 20 (but even that is pushing it). For my 27th birthday, I got a PlayStation 2, finally graduating from a two-generations-old gaming console to a one-generation-old gaming console.

I spent a good portion of July working like crazy on Salt City's latest catalog (which introduced over 50 pages of new jewelry into the mix). One fateful night at my sister's house, we were introduced to the wonders of the game Guitar Hero. On my way home from work the following day, Kristen called to inform me that she fully endorsed the purchase of this product. I promptly changed course to Best Buy, and we have been Guitar Hero addicts ever since. Also, our second fish, Admiral Ackbar, finally bit the dust after literally falling apart. So we invested in a new pair.

For a change of pace, the Barton family summer reunion was held at Bear Lake. Despite liberally applying spray-on sunscreen (not recommended), Kristen got a wickedly splotchy sunburn. She still has the tan lines. After a nice long hiatus, we finally picked up the paint brushes again. We painted the second bedroom (and future nursery) with a color that has been said to resemble green frosting. We also began training regularly (sort of) for a 5K.

Kicking off the month was a trip to sunny Florida. We spent a week there enjoying amusement parks, the beach, humidity, and 7 glorious innings of Devil Rays baseball. This time it was me that ended up with the wicked sunburn. The trip also turned out to be a last hurrah of sorts for Kristen and I; the night we got back, Kristen got a positive pregnancy test. We ran our 5K, and blog fever finally caught up to us.

This month was shrouded in a haze of morning sickness and raging hormones. That is all we need to say about that.

Once the haze lifted and Kristen regained consciousness (and her appetite), we enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving at my sister's house in Draper. Kristen also turned 23.

We experienced the joy of seeing our baby in glorious grainy black-and-white, and learned we are having a boy. Kristen discovered yet another hitch to pregnancy--that she no longer had a functioning immune system. After contracting every stray virus that crossed her path over a 3 week span, things finally culminated with the flu on the Saturday before Christmas. We got to take a trip to the emergency room so she could get an IV to restore her fluids. She did manage to recover in time for us to have a nice Christmas in Cedar City. Among our presents was Guitar Hero III. The addiction continues...

All in all, 2007 turned out to be quite a year for us. But 2008 is sure to bring a whole new assortment of challenges, experiences...and fish. We are looking forward to it with great excitement and anticipation. Much thanks for everyone's ongoing love and support.


Buford "Mad Dog" Tannon Barton

July 21-Dec 26, 2007

Buford "Mad Dog" Tannon Barton died on December 26, 2007 after a short bout with Swim Bladder Disorder. Mad Dog managed to become the Barton's longest tenured fish at 5 months and 5 days, but was never quite the same after being implicated in the mysterious death of his brother Egon.

Although eventually acquitted on all charges, Mad Dog was hounded by ongoing accusations. He also failed to live up to his much ballyhooed promise of tracking down Egon's "real killers," instead living out the remainder of his life in solitude.

His family seemed to become disenchanted with the troubled fish after having to fund his ongoing legal proceedings. They would clean his tank only sporadically, and neglected to buy him a heater when the weather turned cold, which may or may not have contributed to his death.

Mad Dog is survived by his parents, Dave and Kristen, and his unborn human brother Smidgen.


Ten Things...

...I Have Learned From Pregnancy

Pregnancy is definitely different from what I could have ever expected, but I am willing to admit that I've learned a few things from it. Of course, some of them may be things I never wanted to know... but I guess you have to take what you can get!
  1. My mom was right (about pretty much everything ever, I mean).
  2. Things could be worse and they will get worse unless you're really lucky.
  3. Just because something sounds or smells good does not mean that your body will agree once you've consumed it.
  4. TUMS are a delightful addition to any meal or snack.
  5. Sleep is a luxury (as is an immune system).
  6. No matter how many times you have blood drawn or IVs put in, you never get used to being stuck with needles.
  7. Sore throats, morning sickness, and acid reflux make for a wicked combination.
  8. It's a lot easier to lose weight when you're supposed to be gaining (and vice versa).
  9. Mommies are paranoid and over-protective even when their child is a fetus.
  10. It's already worth it.


Dave's Christmas Memories/Confessions

This was written for an anthology of family stories being compiled by my mom. This entry focuses on family Christmas memories.

When I reminisce about Christmas, many fond memories come to mind, such as playing “Deck the Halls” on my trombone to wake everyone up one Christmas morning. Or endlessly listening to the Star Wars Christmas Album, which features such classic couplets as “Everyone will have a cookie, I bought extra for the Wookiee!" or “I cannot believe the question, it's like ‘what is indigestion?’”

Most of all, I remember our relentless quest to discover what we were getting before Christmas came. My brother Rob and I employed all sorts of methods and techniques, with varying success. The most common method was, of course, carefully opening and then re-taping presents. We had it down to a science, matching up the new tape perfectly with the tape that had been cut. No doubt this was a big reason for Mom’s continued implementation of her elaborate Christmas present tag numbering system (she wouldn't put tags on the presents until Christmas Eve).

This may have slowed us down, but it did not stop us. It simply necessitated a revised strategy. Instead of being able to open presents that we knew were ours, we were forced to find presents that looked like they were about the same shape as things that we had asked for. This strategy produced mixed results at best. Imagine my disappointment upon hoping to catch a glimpse of that ever-elusive Double Dragon™ hand-held video game, and instead pulling out a hairbrush. Parents 1, Kids 0.

Another favorite present-discovering pastime was finding Mom’s hidden stash of presents. When we moved to Centerville, we quickly deduced that the office supply closet was her secret hiding place (The closet, which was always unlocked, was suddenly locked during the holidays). We went to great lengths get in this closet. For our initial attempt, I suggested that Rob ask for Mother’s fingernail clippers, which just happened to be on her key ring. The operation was going smoothly as Rob was handed the keys, but as he was leaving the room he started to laugh. Mom quickly took the keys back and Rob received the clippers without the keys. Soon after, the closet key was removed from the key ring and put it in a more secure location. Several other attempts were made including trying to get into the closet from the outside window (even though it was raining that day), and every stray key that we found lying around the house was tried on that closet door, but we never did get in. Parents 2, Kids 0.

Truly our finest hour was one chilly December evening when our parents informed us they would be “going to the store” for a little while. Well, we had been around the block a time or two and we knew this kind of vague statement could mean only one thing: Christmas shopping. We waited patiently for them to return and we made our move. We got the car keys, and went out the back door so as not to be spotted. We snuck around the side of the house to the driveway and crouched behind the old Camry. We quietly popped open the trunk of the car. At long last, success! There before our eyes was the electric racetrack that we had so desperately coveted. Parents 2, Kids 1.

But wait, they didn't get the racetrack with loops, that could go up walls, and glowed in the dark! Parents 3, Kids 1. Game over.


The Scariest Place On Earth

This was written for an anthology of family stories being compiled by my mom. This entry focuses on family vacation memories.

We took my first trip to Disneyland, the so-called “happiest place on earth,” when I was 3. I can recall a few things about this trip, the first being that I found Pirates of the Caribbean to be truly terrifying. The exaggerated images of this hair-raising childhood death ride have been forever ingrained into my consciousness. I remember my apprehension as we slowly began floating into the unknown, then the sheer horror as our boat began plummeting into the misty depths. After the second such drop, we leveled off and emerged from the darkness only to be greeted by guns and canons blazing all around. My recollection of this harrowing experience ends there as I probably spent the rest of the ride crying and covering my eyes with my souvenir Donald Duck hat.

Later in the day, we took a break from all of this “fun” for an occurrence that probably only happened a handful of times in our impoverished childhood--our parents bought us overpriced amusement park treats. While everyone else got frozen chocolate-covered bananas, my discerning eye caught hold of the icy symmetry of a frozen orange juice bar. Before handing it off to me, Mom asked for a taste. Instead of the relatively harmless lick that I was expecting, she took a full bite, destroying the beautiful curves that I found so appealing. I screamed with disapproval as my treat was now unsuitable for consumption. In retrospect, I may have overreacted. But in my defense, it is possible this incident somehow triggered ’Nam-like flashbacks of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Our next family trip to the Magic Kingdom came when I was 9. While I may have been a little older, I was no less of a scaredy-cat. We went to see Captain Eo, but I couldn’t bring myself to keep my 3D glasses on. Who can blame me though for not wanting to see Michael Jackson in all his 3-dimensional glory?

By the afternoon, we reached Space Mountain. Not having much experience with rollercoasters, I was a little nervous. Rob didn’t help my apprehension by pointing to the ride descriptions and taunting, “Look Davy, high turbulence!” The line gradually progressed from outside to the inside. It was now much darker, and I could hear the screams of the riders echoing through the galaxy. I finally lost it and refused to go on the ride. Mom took me out and waited with me while everyone else went.

My siblings, surely weary of my ongoing cowardice, conspired to get me on Thunder Mountain Railroad. There were no mentions of turbulence this time. All queries about what manner of ride this was were met with only the vaguest responses. All I knew is that it somehow involved a train. I didn’t realize the ride was in fact a roller coaster until the lap bars came down and the recording instructed “hold on to your hats and glasses, ‘cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!” By then it was too late to escape.

I braced for the worst, but as we began to twist and turn, it struck me: Hey, this is actually fun! At the end of the ride, an adult passenger in front of me echoed my sentiments by enthusiastically cheering, “Give the ride a cigar!” Well, maybe not my exact sentiments. But at long last, Disneyland was fun, not scary.

Now that we are expecting, my thoughts can’t help but turn to the future, and to our children’s first trip to Disneyland. Hopefully it will be less traumatic for them than it will be for me. After all, the ridiculously expensive tickets, shoddy souvenirs, and overpriced food will be coming out of my pocket now. Talk about terrifying.


My Attempt at Journalism and/or Activism

For those of you who are not avid Deseret News readers, this post might not make too much sense to you without some introduction. Dave and I (being the harsh critics we are of everything), have discovered our two least favorite newspaper columnists: Jeff Vice and Ann Cannon. Generally, they have become a joke at our house. However, after reading several terrible columns yesterday, I could stand it no longer and felt compelled to take action. I wrote this lovely satirical newspaper column and actually sent it in to the editor of the Deseret News. I doubt they'll publish it since it is a little mean, but I felt like my voice needed to be heard on the matter. And besides, I was feeling sassy yesterday. To prepare yourselves to fully understand and enjoy this column, feel free to check out the latest columns by Jeff Vice and Ann Cannon (the very columns that prompted this rant). By the way, Dave and I also take issue with the bombardment of articles written about Mitt Romney that appear in the Deseret News (at least one per day). So I allude to that as well. Here are the links:

Jeff Vice's article about the new movie "The Golden Compass"
..and classic Ann Cannon "writing," to use the term liberally.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Jeff Vice & Ann Cannon Should be Unemployed

Ah… it is that time of the week again when the Deseret News lands in my driveway and I can once again peruse the idiotic ramblings of incompetent writers (and get the latest update on Mitt Romney’s campaign, upbringing, family, success at the 2002 Olympics, gardeners’ legal status, nose hair grooming techniques, etc). Suddenly, I find myself trapped in the midst of an inane film review or random column of the week written by none other than Jeff Vice and/or Ann Cannon. I am utterly appalled by the lack of writing skills (and the lack of Mitt) in these columns. Since, as Jeff Vice so astutely pointed out, there is a writer’s strike preventing us from having actual humorous top 10 lists from the David Letterman show, I felt compelled to compile my own top 10 list to compensate (and make readers wish there was a newspaper columnist strike going on instead). So here it is, today’s Top 10 Reasons Why Jeff Vice and Ann Cannon should be Unemployed (or at least employed in a position where they cannot kill others’ brain cells with their absurd columns):
  1. No mentions of Mitt Romney anywhere in their columns. Who are we kidding, folks? These writers are employed by the Deseret News. There must be some way they can work at least one Mitt reference into each and every one of their columns. The other writers for the paper don’t seem to have any trouble doing it.
  2. Making lists of items that really aren’t list material (and are generally irrelevant in every way and have too many tangents).
  3. Besides, it seems like making a logical list is something they teach in elementary school – even in Utah’s terribly underfunded public schools.
  4. I’m sure Mitt Romney knows how to make a good list, but if not, when he’s elected President, he’ll make sure more money goes to education to make up for it.
  5. Listing items and then, in parenthesis, saying you’re kidding. (I’m not kidding… it’s really not funny.)
  6. Instead of using each number in the list to mention a different point, simply using the numbers where there really ought to be a sentence break in an otherwise mediocre paragraph. Apparently complete sentences are not necessary in this situation.
  7. Just like this.
  8. Using “hip” language to appeal to your “hip” audience. Dude! These columns make me a little “loco.” (see Ann Cannon’s recent column Hosting a Yule Party is Scary – Not Merry to see what I mean.)
  9. Placing exclamation points where commas (or other, less obnoxious! punctuation) would be more appropriate. (Just kidding… NOT!)
  10. Publishing said columns where unsuspecting people attempting to be informed might stumble upon them and suffer brain damage after attempting to read them. After all, the least a professional writer can do is write a complete sentence.
But what do I know? I’m just a simple reader. Why would a professional journalist need to think of my intelligence level before writing and publishing their drivel? After all, I won’t notice any of those little grammatical or thematic errors that they miss when proofreading their column – if proofreading is standard practice anymore. All I can do is hope that the blunders published in the Deseret News will not pollute the minds of otherwise intelligent people, turning everyone in the state into mindless zombies who actually enjoy reading Jeff Vice and Ann Cannon. Dude! That would really suck.


Hello World, I'm a Boy!

We had our ultrasound on Friday afternoon. Smidgen looks completely healthy, if a bit squirmy. Can't blame him though, a uterus isn't the most roomy place. The ultrasound technician was nice enough to show us his boyhood twice--we believed her the second time. And we even got a little wave hello. Pretty amazing.


Tag, You're It - Kristen

A. We were tagged by Dave's sister Cheryl, so here it is: The rules of the game are posted at the beginning. B. Each player answers the questions about themselves. C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Five Things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Officially becoming a teenager
2. Showing some skin on the community swim team (and developing a severe crush on my coach, Todd)
3. Holding frequent Brad-A-Thons with my friend Mindi (for the unenlightened, a Brad-A-Thon involves watching as many Brad Pitt movies in one night as humanly possible while consuming mass quantities of Pepsi, peanut butter M&Ms, and chili cheese Fritos)
4. Riding with my family from Miami to Key West in a rental car fondly dubbed the "Cockroach-Mobile"
5. Applying large quantities of wax to my new braces that changed color monthly to coincide with the closest holiday

Five Things on my to-do list today:
1. Get up and make it to Trax without throwing up
2. Pack enough snacks to make it through the 9 hour work day and the 2 hour commute
3. Make it home with enough of an appetite to eat the dinner that Dave made
4. Convince Dave to give me a back rub (I am carrying his child after all)
5. Go to bed before 9:30 pm

Five Snacks I enjoy:

1. E.L. Fudge cookies
2. Tater tots smothered in ketchup
3. Anything that encourages the consumption of milk - despite Smidgen's (and my stomach's) objections
4. Dr. Pepper (or the nearest available bubbly beverage)
5. Ice cream (when I'm not pregnant)

Five things I would do if I were a Billionaire:
1. Quit my job
2. Push my car off a cliff and buy a Mini Cooper
3. Buy a house with bedrooms larger than closets
4. Visit England, Australia, and Hawaii
5. Pay someone to invent that teleport machine so that I never have to ride in a car for more than 5 minutes again!

Three of my bad habits:

1. Drooling in my sleep
2. Road rage
3. Cracking my knuckles (and any other joints that I can manage)

Five places I have lived:
1. South Jordan, UT
2. Salt Lake City, UT
3. Logan, UT
4. Provo, UT
5. Price, UT

Five jobs I’ve had:

1. Scheduling Specialist for the University of Utah
2. Poetry Judge for Creative Communications, Inc.
3. Cashier (and Best Practice Associate) at Sam's Club
4. Book shelver at the Logan City Library (for about a week)
5. Office Assistant for a chiropractor in Price.

Five things people probably don’t know about me:

1. I am a creature of comfort - I once listened to the Counting Crows, and pretty much nothing else, for an entire year (this drives Dave crazy)
2. I watched two hours of Dawson's Creek a day for the first few months of our marriage. I would then make sure to tell Dave all the juicy details.
3. I had plastic surgery when I was 9 years old (I dare you to guess what I had done)
4. I have refined my taste since the days of my Brad Pitt obsession (Hello Christian Bale and Daniel Craig...and I've given up chili cheese Fritos)
5. I managed to graduate from high school and get a Bachelor's degree in English Lit without ever reading such classics as To Kill a Mockingbird and Jane Eyre (don't worry, I have since read them both)

Tag, You're It - Dave

Five Things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. Getting ready for another school band Christmas concert
2. Ignoring our dates and building a multi-level gingerbread monstrosity with my friend Marc for our Christmas Dance activity
3. Blowing up said gingerbread monstrosity on New Year's Eve
4. Going to see Tomorrow Never Dies on opening night instead of Titanic
5. Experiencing my first kiss (then having to go see Titanic shortly thereafter)

Five Things on my to-do list today:

1. Finish Salt City's 2008 Fragrance of the Month Calendar
2. Make dinner
3. Give Kristen a back rub
4. Check on my fantasy basketball team
5. Finish this questionnaire

Five Snacks I enjoy:
1. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
2. Muddy Buddies
3. Peanut Butter M&Ms
4. Garlic Knots from Big Apple Pizza
5. Chips & Salsa

Five things I would do if I were a Billionaire:

1. Buy a big house with a game room and theater room
2. Soak up the sun in Hawaii
3. Buy the Batmobile, and hey, might as well get a Delorean too
4. Trek around Europe for a couple months wearing a giant backpack
5. Pay for something with a briefcase full of cash, like they do in the movies

Three of my bad habits:

1. Biting my nails
2. Mumbling
3. Stealing the covers

Five places I have lived:

1. South Jordan, UT
2. Logan, UT
3. Altoona, IA
4. Succasunna, NJ
5. Edmund, OK

Five jobs I’ve had:

1. Graphic Designer for Salt City Candle Co.
2. Marketing Research Assistant for USU Development Office
3. Mover/Packer for Bailey's Moving & Store
4. Conveyer Belt Cookie Separator/Cookie Dough Shoveler at the Lofthouse Cookie Factory (for 3 whole days)
5. Fry Cook for Gringos Mexican Restaurant

Five things people probably don’t know about me:
1. I am OCD about stereo volume controls - I like the volume to be set on an even number
2. I have seen Dave Matthews Band live 6 times
3. I am a founding member of a quarterly Mario Kart tournament
4. I have seen every James Bond movie at least once, even the lousy ones (I'm lookin' at you Moonraker)
5. My ipod is peppered with guilty pleasures including, but certainly not limited to: "Superstar" by the Carpenters, "Do You Think I'm Sexy" by Rod Stewart, and 'Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin

Scott, Ben & Becky, Melissa & Steve, consider yourself tagged. You must participate or a pox will be upon you, much like if you didn't respond to one of those chain emails.



Kristen's recipe for a fun-filled Saturday afternoon:

• Red felt
• Cotton balls
• Hot glue gun

The overwhelming response so far: "You must have a lot of time on your hands."


Those Were The Days...

Apologies to the Pumpkin Walk for stealing your theme. Feel free to add more captions in the comments.

...when Rob wore BYU t-shirts.
...when Cheryl could hold me on her back.


Hummus Among Us

I made hummus for the first time last week as a Thanksgiving appetizer. The bowl got scraped clean, so it seemed to be a hit, although Kristen was a chicken (or chick pea?) and wouldn't try any. Here is the recipe:

• 2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained
• 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
• Juice from 1 lemon
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/4 tsp cumin
• 1 pinch paprika

Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add drained bean juice as needed to achieve desired consistency. Add cumin and cayenne pepper according to taste. Sprinkle paprika over the top. Chill overnight to allow the flavors to properly mingle. Serve with pita chips, crackers, or fresh veggies.


Dinosaur Tracks

Here's another lovely photo from our Kolob hike. This is Dax, the culprit who turned the one mile hike into a one hour hike. He liked stopping to sit on rocks and finding "walking sticks" along the way. He also claimed that he saw dinosaur tracks on the trail. Unfortunately, the closest thing that we saw to a dinosaur was a very small lizard.

In other news, I am happy to report that there will be fewer pregnancy rants now... at least for a while. I am feeling much better and can actually eat other types of food besides just tater tots!


If You Could Hike To Kolob

This is a photo from a hike we went on to Kolob Canyon in Zion's National Park last month. It was the longest short hike we have ever been on. The trail was only about a mile long, but our 2 year old nephew Dax explored every inch of that mile. I guess we had better get used to that.


Chicken Wraps With Spanish Rice

This is a slighty modified recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens Grilling Cookbook. We have made these a lot over the last several months Hopefully it's not too late in the year for grilling. I sure don't think so.

• 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp lime juice
• 1/2 tsp ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp oregano
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 2/3 cup long grain wild rice
• 3/4 cup salsa
• 4 8-inch tortillas
• Guacamole
• Fresh Cilantro
• Lime Wedges

In a small bowl, combine oil, lime juice, cumin, and oregano. Pour over chicken in a self-sealing bag or shallow dish. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare spanish rice. In a saucepan combine chicken broth, salsa, and long grain wild rice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Cook chicken over heat for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once. Once cooked, chop chicken into slices. Warm tortillas and spread with guacamole and spanish rice. Top with chicken and additional salsa. If desired, serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Fold in sides of tortilla and roll up.


Thinking Outside the Box

Reed Diffusers are all the rage in the fragrance market these days. Salt City just launched a collection, and here is the packaging I designed. It was a fun project to work on, experimenting with non-traditional box shapes. They are selling like hot cakes right now, we can't keep them in stock. Surely it is all because of the lovely packaging.


Updated: Things I Love/Hate About Pregnancy

You decide which fit in the "love" category and which in the "hate" category...

  • Throwing up every Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday... you get the idea).
  • Soft, comfy bathroom rugs and clean toilets (thanks to Dave).
  • Going to Famous Dave's and eating only fries (The waitress had a hard time believing that there was nothing wrong with my food... but really, all I wanted was fries)!
  • Unisom.
  • Having a legitimate excuse to go to bed at 9:00 PM (because the Unisom kicked in).
  • Having ridiculous dreams at night (of course, that might also be the Unisom...)
  • Incredible sensitivity to cold.
  • Even more incredible sensitivity to any motion at all (it's like a sixth sense).
  • A one-hour morning/motion sickness-filled commute (twice a day).
  • People telling me, "oh, you just wait..." (sorry, I'm too busy vomiting to have time to think about what is in store next week/month/year!)
  • A husband who appreciates sassiness (when taken out on others instead of him, as is generally the case).


Halloween Chic

What a fine looking couple: Glen, a blue collar elevator repair man, and Krissy, um, the girl with the funny pants.

What can I say, when you got it, you got it.

Now that Halloween is over, we are thinking of using these pants as a seasonal table cloth.

I have so much experience with elevators in fact, I even have my own theme song.


Jack-O-Lantern Hijinks

We carved our pumpkins Saturday night. Kristen did Bonejangles, and I did the Headless Horseman. Kristen's looks more complicated (what with all those teeth), but my pumpkin was ridiculously thick so it took me longer.


French Dip Sandwiches

Loosely based on the Rachel Ray recipe found in 30 Minute Meals 2.

• 2 T butter
• 1 shallot, chopped
• 1 1/2 T flour
• 2 cans (14 oz each) beef comsommé
• 1 lb deli-sliced roast beef
• 4 torpedo sandwich rolls (a fresh baked baguette works great too)
• provolone cheese (or whatever kind of cheese you want really)
• horseradish

For the au jus:
In a large, shallow skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Sauté shallots in the butter 2 minutes. Add flour and cook 1 minute longer. Whisk in comsommé in a slow stream. Bring sauce to bubble and allow to simmer over low heat until sandwiches are ready to serve.

For the sandwich:
Here is where I differ from the original recipe a bit. Preheat your oven to broil. Spread a thin layer of horseradish on one side of the roll for an extra kick. Pile several slices of roast beef over the horseradish. Cover the other side of the roll with thinly sliced provolone and place sandwiches open-faced under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly, and the edges of the rolls are golden brown. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Serve sandwiches with a small bowl of au jus, and well, you get the idea.


Instant Halloween

I recently put together a mix album of Halloween songs, spooky movie themes, and creepy sound effects, and I wanted to share the scares. It is just the right length to fit on a cd, for those that still use cds.

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart, or those with dial-up.

Click to download


Won't you take me to...Spooky Town!

I took the opportunity to take a few photos of our ever growing Spooky Town village last week. We added the Spooky Bridge and the Forsaken Souls Prison this year.

Our orange walls make a great backdrop, don't they?

The prison is perched high on a hill (bookcase) above the village.


You Can't Reason With a Headless Man

Thought I would spread some Halloween cheer...or should that be chills? Here is the climactic chase scene from the old Disney cartoon "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." In elementary school, we used to have assemblies on holidays where we would watch a movie, and it seems like we watched this for Halloween pretty much every year. Plus me and Kristen just watched it last night.


My Top Five...

... Worst Things About Being Pregnant So Far

5. Increased Kidney Efficiency

4. Legitimate Reason to Use Sick Time (I'm very tempted to take advantage of it)

3. Listeriosis Preventing me from Eating Un-Heated Deli Meat

2. Morning Sickness While Driving to Work (thank goodness for Ziploc bags!)

1. Peanut Butter

... Greatest Things About Being Pregnant So Far

5. Seeing Smidgen's Heartbeat

4. Telling Everyone (despite the fact that they all already suspected)

3. Root Beer

2. A Light at the End of the Tunnel (the full-time office work tunnel, that is)

1. French Fries and Ketchup!


Going Bananas

I think I have found me and Smidgen's Halloween costumes for next year.


The Daybreak 5K "Fun Run" 9/22/07

Here are some photos from the 5K we ran/jogged/walked last weekend.

And we're off!

Jeremy and Natalie ham it up while Dave, Teresa and Krissy's ear are wondering what they got themselves into.

Watch in awe as we thwart the evil "Gantlet of Super-Villains" en route to the finish line. We couldn't have done it without the aid of Doc Magnus.

Ok, in real life, my abs aren't quite that chiseled. Here I come, huffing and puffing to a 77th place finish, with a time of 40:44.

And here come Krissy and Teresa, finishing in 82nd and 83rd place, with an expeditious time of 45:18. Special thanks go to the Key Bank mascot and his encouraging wave. We really couldn't have done it without you. Apologies to Doc Magnus.


Our Little "Smidgen"

To answer your question, yes we are.


Thoughts on "Afterwords"

Faced with the prospect of enduring the radio all week while we were on vacation, we decided to stop in to Target our second night in Florida to find a cd to listen to while cruising around the state in our rental car. We ended up deciding on the new Collective Soul album, Afterwords. The bad cover art aside, it turned out to be a good choice, and we listened to it at least a dozen times over the course of the week. It was perfect vacation music: big, catchy, and relatively harmless.

Some of my favorite songs:
New Vibration - Classic Collective Soul riffage to kick off the album
What I Can Give You - Earned the right to accompany our trip slideshow
Good Morning After All - A ballad along the lines of "Run"
Persuasion of You - What can I say, I'm a sucker for big riffs


Florida Trip Photos

Kristen hanging out under our $15 rental umbrella at Clearwater Beach. It saved us from being sunburned for the duration of the trip, so I'd say it was worth the $$.

The requisite artsy black & white ocean photo.

Behold the majesty of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

It was a packed house for a Labor Day battle royale between two AL East titans, the Devil Rays and Orioles.

A view from the tank of live sting rays in center field. I think games would be more exciting for everyone if they removed the safety net and renamed it the "Splash Tank."

And now it is time for everyone's favorite game, "Who is the real Johnny Gomes?"

Kristen posing in front of our hotel....

...and me with the rental car.

Fish tacos anyone?

You would think Kristen would be a little more concerned about her predicament.

Here I am enjoying the waves at Cocoa Beach. I wasn't enjoying myself as much later in the day when I discovered the waves had knocked off all my sunscreen.

We made sure to stop in for dinner and a shake at Friendly's, an east coast favorite.

And finally, here we are in front of the Orlando Temple.