Friday, June 27, 2008

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away . . .

. . . Or, a few days ago, in a corner of the world that's probably not all that far away from where you are . . .

It's important to note that Charlotte has spent the last month or so poring over Consumer Reports and other reviews to determine what are the safest, most economical cribs, car seats, and strollers for the little angel. She has also been checking freecycle and craig's list religiously, going to various garage sales, and just in general watching for good deals on other baby trappings. Friends and family members have been offering to send her hand-me-down clothes, and she has been gratefully receiving those as well.

SCENE: This is a phone conversation, so there are two scenes. Charlotte is at her desk at work, and we assume that Eric is also at his desk at work. We begin by focusing in on Charlotte's scene.

The phone rings, Charlotte looks, sees on the caller ID that the call is from someone at Eric's workplace, and picks up the phone

CHARLOTTE (faking exasperation and sassiness): Who is this??? Why do you keep calling this number???

ERIC (laughs): Uh, this is your husband.

CHARLOTTE (giggles, stops the charade): Oh, right. Hey! How's it going?

ERIC: Oh, not too bad. Listen, do we have a Halloween Costume for the baby yet?

CHARLOTTE (a little confused, which is understandable considering that if the baby comes on or around her due date, she will only be 3 weeks old on October 31): Umm, no, I don't believe we do.*

ERIC (happily): Good! I just found the perfect costume for her online. It's a Darth Vader costume. Wouldn't that be great?

CHARLOTTE (partially incredulously, partially delightedly):What? Darth Vader? (giggles) Uh, sure, that would be great. How big is this costume?

ERIC (enthusiastically): Well, it says "infant: six-to-twelve months".

CHARLOTTE (doubtfully): Huh. It might be a little bit big for her this year.

ERIC (a bit crestfallen): Oh, right. (recovering) Oh wait! There's an even cuter Chewbacca costume here, and it's for zero to three months! Actually . . . (pauses as he clicks through to some other screens on his computer) there are a whole bunch of size and costume options here!

Eric e-mails Charlotte the link for these costumes, and they spend a few minutes clicking here and there, looking at other costume options. Eventually they decide that Eric will take on the project of finding a costume for their little girl. They agree on a budget, and as they hang up the phone, Eric is enthusiastically looking through costume options, with visions of baby Star Wars characters dancing through his head.


* * *

Our daughter should be arriving sometime within the next 3-4 months. We don't have any diapers, we don't have a baby monitor, we don't have a car seat, and we have exactly one bottle. Her crib is currently sitting in a box in what will eventually be the nursery, pending the time that we (we meaning Eric primarily) gets around to putting it together. We do have a few things ready for her, but as you can see, we are far from ready for her arrival.

But by darn, if her father has anything to say about it, she will be ready for Halloween!

What a lucky girl!

(Yes, I realize that she is a girl, and that these characters are primarily for boys. I'm okay with that. I used to play "Star Wars" at recess in the second grade, and I wasn't the only girl. Since we couldn't all be Princess Leia, I quite often had to be Chewbacca or R2-D2. I can't see that it messed me up in any way whatsoever. I also realize that our daughter will not look anything like these big chubby adorable babies this Halloween. I'm okay with that as well.)

*Actually, I later realized that we do in fact already have a Halloween costume for the baby. The kind woman who gave me her infant bouncy chair via freecycle also threw in an adorable pumpkin costume, complete with a little orange hat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For all who read this with google reader, bloglines, etc.

You now have another chance to vote for the name of our little darling. (see sidebar) There will be yet another chance to vote in a week or so, and chances are, that will be the final vote.

That is, unless September rolls around and fickle Charlotte and Eric come up with a whole new batch of names that we like more.

If that happens, then all bets are off.

(Surely though, there aren't any bets that are currently on, right?)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eight links in one post! A new record!

I've been trying new things this week.

Sunday evening Eric and I were eating our after-church lunch/snack. We usually eat supper out at Eric's parents home (lucky us!), and it's always good food (and the company is even better), so we try to eat pretty light for lunch to save room. This particular snack consisted of toast, string cheese, and a little bit of salad. As Eric was spreading jam on his toast, he mentioned how much he loved the jam, and how he was a little bit sad that we were nearing the end of it.

The jam in question was made several years ago by Heidi, while we were roommates. When she moved out (over two years ago), she was kind enough to leave some of her possessions behind, including a couch, a table with chairs, some bookshelves, a porch swing, a George Foreman Grill, a blender, 5-6 small containers of delicious strawberry freezer jam, and a few other items, all for my owning pleasure. (What a gem!)

My mother also makes awesome strawberry freezer jam, and as Eric mentioned his fondness for it, I briefly considered asking her to bring a container or two to our next family gathering. Before I managed to pick up the phone however, I remembered that I'd recently read about two of my friends who had blogged about successful jam making experiences. That combined with the fact that strawberries were currently on sale in every grocery store in town made me decide to try my hand at making the coveted jam myself.

So, last night, I bought 3 pounds of strawberries* a package of pectin, and a 10 lb bag of sugar (you don't need this much for jam of course, but we've been running low), and came home to start the strawberry adventure. One short easy hour later, we were the proud owners of 5 1/2 containers of what looks like delicious strawberry jam. It was so easy! The recipe was right there in the pectin box (I used Sure-Jell), and it was the simplest thing in the world for me to follow. Basically, you mash up the strawberries, add a whole bunch of sugar (and I do mean a whole bunch of sugar. If you've never made jam before, you'll die when you see how much sugar goes into the mix), soften the pectin in boiling water, add that to the strawberry-sugar mixture, and stir it until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then you pour it into containers and let it sit at room temperature for a day. After that, you put it in the freezer and you're done. How fun!

The other new thing I've been trying is the OpenOffice Suite from Sun Microsystems. Eric told me about it a couple of weeks ago, and then I read about it in Journal of Accountancy, and I've decided to give it a try. Basically, its a suite of software programs that are very similar to the MS Office programs, but they're free. As you may remember, I've had my share of frustrations with the MS Office 2007 programs, and so I'm all for trying out something new. So far I've been pleased with my experience. It's only been a day or two though, so I'll wait before giving it an official thumbs-up.

And that's life these days. Strawberry jam and software. Could anything be more thrilling?

*1 pound for jam
1 pound for healthy snacking
1 pound in case I find myself in dire need of chocolate-dipped strawberries soon

(Note--I totally lifted the picture of the jam ingredients straight from Angie's blog. Is that bad?)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

America Voted

The results of the Official Vote-for-the-naming-of-the-precious-first-born-child-of-Eric(Jon)-and-Charlotte(Julien Corry)-Cantwell are in!

In a three-way tie for eighth place, with 5% of the vote are:


In seventh place, with 8% of the vote is:


In sixth place, with 11% of the vote is Eric's personal favorite:


In a three way tie for third place with 14% of the vote are:


In second place with 22% of the vote is:

(interesting how that name so closely resembles my middle name, huh?)

And, the clear and obvious winner, with a whopping 28% of the vote is (oh, so surprisingly) Charlotte's personal favorite:

Christina and/or Christy


Of course, during the week of the actual vote, Eric and I have decided that we also like the name "Sarah" quite a bit, and I'm considering going back into negotiations using "Aubrey" instead of "Abrianna" (because I suspect that it will be an easier sell to good old Mr. C.).

So, you know, it's still a total gamble.

But it sure is fun!

(Seacrest . . . I mean Cantwell, OUT!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

a tag for our little miss

Over a month ago, Amanda tagged me to say three things about our baby. (The original tag was for eleven things, but since we don't know all that much about her, being unborn and all, Amanda said that I could say just three things)

So, here we go:

1. She likes Peter Breinholt music-unless she hates it. All I know is that whenever I get into the car and I have Peter Breinholt on, she starts wiggling around in there. It's entirely possible that she's squirming and trying to maneuver her hands over her ears to block out the noise, but I prefer to think that she's chair (or womb) dancing. Just like her mama.

2. She's either a pretty big baby, or we've been calculating my due date wrong all along. -At our ultrasound last week, we learned that she is measuring about 8-9 days bigger than is normal for someone with my due date. That combined with the fact that I'm an "older mother" means I'll probably be induced, and that will probably be happening a week or two earlier than my due date of October 10. Wa-Hoo!

3. She's going to have cousins, aunts & uncles, and grandparents galore!-By the time she makes her appearance, this little girl will in all likelihood have 25 cousins, 8 aunts, 8 uncles, one adopted aunt, (probably one adopted uncle), four grandparents, and a whole retirement community of folks who live too far away from their own grandchildren, and are just looking for a sweet little girl to spoil. Not a bad way to start life out, huh?

And there you have it. You'll notice I didn't post her name. Yeah, that one's going to take awhile. Eric and I (especially me) are both too fickle to settle on anything just yet. We'll get it figured out though.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


So, last night I'm sitting on the couch writing in my journal when Eric comes home from work. Usually Monday nights find me making dinner when Eric comes home from work, (I get off an hour before he does) but this particular night we hadn't quite decided what our "exercise/dinner/family home evening/possible after-work-nap" schedule was going to be, so I hadn't started dinner yet.

He rushes in the door, gives me a quick kiss and says, "I've got to finish listening to NPR! Marketplace is on!"

He proceeds to stride into the kitchen and fiddle with the tuner on the radio there, with no luck. He finally finds his precious program streaming on the web, and proceeds to ardently listen for the next 30 minutes, while simultaneously checking various stock prices on the computer, and updating me on the latest share prices of Google ($571), Apple ($180), Haliburton ($59), and Zions Bank ($37)*. Meanwhile, I'm throwing together a green salad and heating up a frozen pizza (yeah, it was a healthy night for us. At least I can report that the pizza was thin-crusted and quite small). After Marketplace is over, we eat our dinner, go for a walk, have Family Home Evening, and go to bed.

This wouldn't be all that interesting unless you realize that two years ago (to my knowledge), Eric had next to no interest in the stock market whatsoever. Eric's an artist. He's talented at painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic design, writing interesting stories, dreaming big dreams, and even making some plans of how to make those dreams come true. Of the two of us, I'm the one with the financial background. I'm talented at keeping the checkbook balanced, making sure our bills are paid on time, saving little pockets of money here and there, dreaming practical dreams, and making detailed plans as well as back-up plans of how to make those dreams come true.

In light of all that, I find it delightfully ironic that it is Eric rather than myself that has developed such a dedicated interest in the stock market and its turns and twists. He's helping me to see it in a whole new way, and it's been kind of a fun little adventure recently. We may never be major investors, but I figure that a little well-diversified dabbling never hurt anybody, and I certainly don't expect it to hurt us.

And, as long as "Marketplace" is broadcast from 6:00 to 7:00, I'll have an extra 20 minutes before I'll need to start to making dinner.

What's not to like about that?

*We were given some Zions Bank stock a year or so ago, and we've watched it steadily go down in value since that time. We're "buy and hold" (or in this case "be gifted and hold") kind of people though, so we're not all that worried about it at the moment.

Friday, June 13, 2008

last year and this year

I've posted some pretty long things here lately, so here's a nice kind-of short, kind-of random one.

One year ago this weekend I sang and played my my guitar at Summerfest. It was a triumphal experience for me, in that I never thought I'd have the courage to do something like that. Turns out I just needed to have someone ask me. I have a hard time saying "no" to singing gigs, even if they are gigs that are way out of my comfort zone and/or skill level. Having said that, two months ago I was asked if I would perform at Summerfest again this year. It was quite easy for me, in my nauseated and exhausted state, to say, "No, not this year, thank you." We'll see if I get asked again next year. If I do, I don't know what I'll say. Life will probably be quite different then than it is now. I'd better not make too many assumptions.

Next weekend I'm going back to this lovely campground for the fifth year in a row (It will be Eric's second year in a row). It should be fun, although, you'll notice that I didn't say I would be camping. Nope, Eric and I will content ourselves with driving the 30 or so minutes to the campground, mingling with all our friends, eating a delicious Dutch Oven dinner, maybe having a S'more (which has taken the place of green salads as my new craving--Rats!), and then driving home.

This weekend will be laden with family stuff. We're meeting up tonight with Eric's brother and wife (the brother's wife, not Eric's wife--although Eric's wife will be there as well, obviously) to play grown-up games and chat about this and that. It's been too long since we've gotten together, and I'm looking forward to it. Saturday Eric has to work, and while he's busy selling decking material and pricing blueprints, I'll be driving down to Salt Lake to attend a family gathering, check out the crib and car seat shopping options in the big city, and maybe get a little bit of niece playtime in. These are the same nieces that slept over at our place just about a year ago.

And thus we see that the more things change, the more they stay just about the same. I like it when it works out that way.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"all the better to smell you with, my dear"

This is one of my great-great grandfathers.

There are many many exceptionally exceptional things that I could write about him. He was a great man, and he left all of his descendants a great legacy, to say the very least. For our purposes today however, I'm going to focus on one thing.

His nose.

See that nose? It's a little bigger than average, don't you think? In my family, we call it "The Grant Nose", and it turns up from time to time on the faces of his descendants (you can look at this post if you want another example).

This is my husband.

As is often the case, he is being silly in this picture. I might mention that this particular cantaloupe spoiled before we got around to eating it. Apparently sticking a pencil in a cantaloupe is not the best way to ensure its longevity. However, we won't focus on that at this particular moment. What we will focus on now is:

His nose.

Eric has what he lovingly refers to as "The Cantwell Schnoz". It's a little larger than your average nose, but not unpleasantly so. I kind of like it, to tell the truth.

This is me.

When I was little, I used to read the Anne of Green Gables Books, and I would compare myself to that most alluring of heroines, Anne Shirley. You may or may not remember, but Anne had kind of an infatuation with her own nose. She loved it. She thought it was pretty, and she must have been right, because she got many compliments on it.

As I would read the books, I would look at my own nose in the mirror or in photos, and I decided that my nose wasn't too shabby either. In fact, I decided that I had been fortunate when it came to noses, in that I had quite a pretty one.

I've changed my mind.

Now, I'm not going to go out and get plastic surgery or anything, but as I look at pictures of myself these days, it seems to my that my own nose is a little bit larger than average. Who knows? Maybe I'm starting to develop "The Grant Nose". Only time will tell.

In light of all this, I suppose it's only fitting that there was only one facial feature that our ultrasound technician was able to capture crystal clearly in our (non-digital, unfortunately or I might have posted a sample) 3D ultrasound pictures.

Any guesses as to what feature that might have been?

I'll give you a hint. It wasn't her eyes or her lips.

Poor dear, take a look at her ancestry. She doesn't even have a chance.

(But she's beautiful. To us, she is absolutely beautiful.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bring on the Drama!



Scene: The Primary room in our church. I am sitting and chatting with my neighbor and fellow primary-worker, Jenny while we wait for the children to arrive. It should be noted that Jenny is the mother of four adorable boys, aged 4 through 9.

Jenny(gesturing to my belly): Remind me again, do you know what you're having?

Me: Not yet. We find out tomorrow.

Jenny: Do you have a preference?

Me: Well, not really, but my gut feeling is that it's a boy.

Jenny: Really? I could never tell on any of mine. No gut feeling or anything.

Me: Yeah, well who knows? I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel. Part of me wants a boy, just because the little boys in my family tend to be more even keel than the girls. I think we might want to start out with a kid who's a little more easy, you know?*

Jenny(enthusiastically): Oh, do I ever! I babysit girls sometimes, and whenever I do, I'm just amazed at the difference!

Me (nervously): Oh, really? Isn't that interesting . . .

(the children start arriving at that point, which makes it necessary for us to end our conversation)


* * *

So, as alluded to above, I've recently been contemplating and trying to remember how my nieces and nephews were as babies. In looking back, I've noticed a trend, a trend that is somewhat disturbing to me now. With no exception that I can think of, all of the boy babies born to my siblings have been (by and large) easy-going, relaxed, mellow little guys. In contrast, the girls (by and large) have been more prone to great big smiles generally immediately followed or preceded by great big tears. In other words, there's been a lot of drama with the girls. Now, I'm not completely averse to drama (which must be one of the reasons I work for an opera company), but given the choice, I'll generally choose "mellow/smooth/amiable" over "happy/sad/overjoyed/in-the-depths-of-despair", you know?

At the same time though, there's really no smile that compares to a drama smile.

Notice the mostly relaxed boys and the ecstatic-ly happy girl in these two photos. What could be cuter?

Here's hoping (as we welcome OUR BABY GIRL to our home this fall), that there are lots of smiles, and not quite so many tears.

*This was mostly a lie. For no accountable reason that I can think of, I have secretly been wanting a girl for quite a while. I didn't say too much about it, because I had a feeling that we'd be having a boy and I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. But, all the while, I've really wanted a girl. That's the honest truth.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Peppy Blog Tunes

Don't be looking for any big additions to this particular blog anytime soon, but I've decided that I like it when people have music loaded on their blogs.

Sometimes the music can be a little bit inconvenient when I'm at work, as I often check blogs while backing up files, printing reports or sitting on hold with various technical support or customer service agents. At those times, I already have my own music of choice going (I have a mix of classical music on that is just the perfect mix for me--although I'm probably going to test out Tasha's British Classical Station soon) , and so the blog-music usually clashes until I find the player (on the blog, not on pandora) and stop it.

All the same, I'm a fan of blog music. It seems that the authors of the blogs that I frequent tend to have music tastes that are very similar to my own. Add that to the fact that I don't particularly like making decisions (which is why I rotate my clothes, rotate my recipes, rotate the CD's I listen to, and rotate a bunch of other things that we won't discuss just now), and the fact that I like to have music in the background for nearly everything I do, and the whole blog music thing fits me like a glove. Pretty much anytime I'm on the computer at home, I've got one internet window open to one of my music blogs, and I'm listening away while working on whatever computer tasks I have.

As an added bonus, we (if by "we" we mean Eric) recently moved the computer downstairs. I started to write a big explanation of why we did this, but this post is already getting too long, so I'll spare you the details. The fact that the computer is downstairs though makes it so that I can now listen to blog music as I'm cooking, cleaning, or doing most of the living that I do in the living areas in our home. Nice!

There is one aspect of blog music that I like more than any other though, and I haven't touched on it yet. It is simply this: I feel closer to my friends as I listen to their music. Today as I mopped the kitchen floor and Eric vacuumed the living room, we listened to the music on my sister's blog. I loved it. The selections there range from Neil Diamond and Simon & Garfunkel to Five for Fighting and the Bare Naked Ladies, and each of the songs (except for one) is fun for me to listen to, and makes me think of my Becca.

Becca has a short-ish playlist on her blog, and so when we had finished with all of her songs before finishing with the housework, we headed over to Tayneshia's myspace page. She's got a bunch of music loaded there as well. You may remember (and if you don't, you can click on the link to her name) that Tayneshia is a dear friend of mine who moved back to Texas last August. Many of the songs on her page are new to me, but they all have a distinctive "Tayneshia feel" to them. Even Eric, who doesn't have the history with her that I have, commented on how the music there reminded him of Tayneshia. I completely agree.

And there you have it. Peppy tunes that make housework more fun and help me to feel closer to dear friends and family across the miles. What's not to like about that?

I can't think of a single thing.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Pregnancy Developments (nothing too important here)

Lately, I've been craving green salads like crazy. All I want to do is go to restaurants with good salad bars, and pig out. Finally, a few days ago, I decided that it would be better for me to buy salad fixings at the grocery store than either

1)spending all our money in restaurants


2)denying myself this fairly healthy craving day after day after day.

So, I did. Who knows how long this particular phase will last, but I'll enjoy it while it does. My last phase featured Peanut Butter M&Ms in large quantities. I have to think that this is better.

In other news, I can feel our baby move these days. I mean, really move, not that little fluttery thing that you don't really recognize or know what it is. (S)he's been wiggling around, and kicking here and there, and it's been such fun. Best of all, since (s)he isn't big enough yet to do much damage, his/her wild cavorting doesn't hurt or bother me at all. I've heard that this is a fleeting period of time though, and soon enough I'll have aching ribs and muscles from all this rambunction. Oh well. I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

And finally, a small triumph. Remember how a few months ago, I received a bunch of maternity clothes via freecycle? Well, what I didn't mention in that post was that the girl who gave them to me is about 4-5 inches shorter than I am. This isn't such a big deal when it comes to shirts and pants (I'm not too proud to wear unfashionable high-water pants for a few short months-so sue me), but she gave me five different dresses, all really cute, all much too short for me. I had just about resigned myself to sending them to the thrift store, or re-freecycling them, when I decided to try my hand at hemming them into shirts.

Now, you might remember that I have a pretty intense sewing aversion. I'm not good at it, I don't enjoy it, and I've had very few good experiences with it. But, all the same, last weekend, I gave it a try. I whipped out my little cordless sewing machine, my scissors, my courage, my sense of humor (most importantly) and went for it. Surprisingly, after a few trials and errors, I was able to hem all but one of the dresses, and they all look pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. The hems aren't store quality (or my mother quality) or anything like that, but I'm pleased with the results. Someday I'll probably post a picture of one or more of them, but since I haven't taken any pictures, today is not that day.

And those are the big items of pregnancy news for now. Eric and I are still in name negotiations. I've lessened (somewhat) in my ardor for the name Abrianna, and now I'm leaning to Christy (spelled with a "C", so she could have the initials of "C.C." I always loved the fact that my initials were C.C. Don't ask me why). For Eric's part, he has moved his attentions from McNeil and Ike to Jack. I could probably go for Jack, but we'll see. Our ultrasound is scheduled for Monday, which can't come soon enough, as far as I'm concerned.

Happy Wednesday.
(love those initials!)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Good News!

Remember our tree?
It survived the winter! Wa-Hoo!
Things are good for us. We had a nice weekend, and it should be a good, if busy week. Today things really start to go crazy at the opera company. Nearly 85% of the company is here (everyone but the orchestra, and those singers who are only involved in the operas*), and rehearsals have already started. I always have mixed feelings about this day. On the one hand, it's hectic and crazy and noisy, and there are people running around all the time, who have needs and demands and requests. On the other hand, it's just really exciting, and (as much as I hate to admit it), there's a part of me that kind of likes the drama.
So, there you have it.
Hasta luego,
*We generally do two musicals and two operas in rep every summer. Because the musicals require a bit more rehearsal than the operas, those people who only participate in the operas (about 5-6 people total) arrive a week or so after the rest of the company.
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