Monday, November 30, 2009

Calling All Moms! I Want Your Stories!

Like all good ideas, this one hit me in the middle of the night. Sylvain and I have started our child birth classes and I've been reading lots of books about labor, delivery and recovery. Last night I was thinking about all the Moms I know, and how it would be nice to sit down with all of you and hear your birth stories. Since I don't have that much room in my house or time to go visit all of you, I've decided to put out the "all call" on the internet for your stories instead!

So here's the deal:
- Email me your stories at pocket879 at hotmail dot com OR if you have your stories in a blog post, just send me the link.
- If you have more than one kid, you can send me more than one story OR you can combine them, I don't mind.
- Let me know somewhere in your email if I have permission to post your story on my blog. My number one goal is to learn as much as I can about your experiences, my number two goal is to share what I learn with the online world. So, if you don't want me to publish your story, don't let it stop you from sending it! I still want to read it!! If you do want your story published, leave out any identifying factors like locations, hospital names, and names of doctors and nurses.

Don't hold back, ladies! I want the WHOLE story - the good, the bad, and the ugly!

If you don't know where to start with your story, here are some questions to consider:
1. When and how did you know you were in labor?
2. What was your husband/partner/coach's reaction? What role did this person play in the process of labor and delivery?
3. How long were you in labor? When did you decide to go to the hospital? When did your doctor get there?
4. Did you have any medication or interventions during labor and delivery? This list includes, but is not limited to: pitocin, epidural, episiotomy, forceps, vaccuum. What were the effects of these medications or interventions on you and on the baby, if any?
5. Who was with you in the delivery room? What was their reaction?
6. Were there any surprises for you on that day? Did anything happen that you felt unprepared for?
7. Describe the moment when you first saw your little one - Did the baby cry? Did you cry? Were the baby's eyes open? Did you get to hold the baby right away?
8. If you nursed your baby, how did that go?
9. How long did you stay in the hospital and how long was your recovery?

I'm really excited about this little project. I'm particularly interested in hearing the stories of the Neltner women on my mom's side of the family, since I appear to take after my mom as far as this pregnancy is concerned. I'm also interested in getting a good sampling of stories from mothers of all ages, young and old! If you're not a mother, pass this idea on to one that you know - most of us know at least ONE mom, right? If nothing else, these stories should be written down for prosperity's sake!

Have fun and happy story telling!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Online Shopping

Oh, how I love the online shopping these days! Free shipping! Discounts galore! I just finished all of Sylvain's presents in about five minutes. I do NOT love shopping in stores like most women do, especially the women in my family. I can shop out in the real world for about two hours MAX before I putter out and die like a flickering Christmas light. My mother has the shopping stamina of an elephant during the dry season. She can bounce from store to store to store at 5 AM like it's nobody's business, but me? I just didn't get that gene.

So, I do my shopping online and I LOVE it. I can sit here in my PJ's, browsing the wares of the world while listening to my own music and eating popcorn. I can click-clickety-click my way to gifts for everyone in the family, and as long as I do it this week, they'll be on my doorstep by Christmas. Ahh, it feels so good!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy Shopping!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Griping About Maternity Clothes

Okay, okay, I forgot to blog yesterday, but I had a good excuse...I was sitting on my Mom's couch all day. Actually, Mom and I went shopping and I went out to visit with my Dad and Sally and we had dinner with my siblings get the idea. It was another busy holiday day. I didn't even realize I had skipped a day of blogging until I sat down to write tonight. Alas, I'm not very good at this "every day" thing, so get over it!

Anyway, now that all the running and visiting and turkey-eating are over, I can finally think about more important things. Like what in the world I'm going to wear for the next four to five months. My belly is the way. My jeans and belly band can get the job done for a while and they are still pretty comfy, but I have very few work clothes that I actually fit into and can wear comfortably - including the maternity clothes I bought way back when I was only 10 weeks pregnant. Buying maternity clothes is HARD, especially when it's your first time. I have no idea what size I'll be, everything makes me look fat or frumpy, and, most importantly, I can't find anything comfortable. I'm glad I'm pregnant in the winter time, but this would be a lot easier if I could just wear cute skirts, tank tops, and flip flops.

I'm convinced that maternity pants were created by the devil...or a man. They were definitely made by someone who has clearly never been pregnant before. Almost all of them have this GIANT stretchy panel in front which looks deceivingly comfortable, until you try to wear them for a whole day and realize that you're spending 98% of your time hiking them up to where they're supposed to be on your waist because that stupid panel isn't getting the job done. I thought this would go away as I got bigger, but I noticed something as I was sitting in the doctor's waiting room last week. I even pointed it out to Sylvain. I noticed that every woman who got up from the chairs when her name was called stood there for a few seconds before moving forward to hike up her pants! ALL of them, even the really big ones! They stood up, grabbed their pants at the waist and gave it the old heave-ho tug before walking back to the exam rooms. I thought, "Hey! It's not just me! It's not my size, either! It's the STUPID panel pants!"

I did find one really good pair of jeans at Target last week that do NOT have the panel, but actually have the regular button and zipper in the front. They have elastic on the sides, which is very nice. They stay where they are supposed to stay, for the most part, and I wore them all weekend. They're not nearly as comfortable as my old trusty pre-pregnancy jeans, but I'm hoping that's just because they are new and I have to break them in. I've also taken to wearing my black yoga pants to work with long, cute sweaters or shirts and I pulled it off without anyone really noticing - and fourth graders notice everything! I think I've given up on the panel pants, especially for work. I'll just spend every weekend between now and April trying on skirts and dresses and praying for a fat-girl fashion miracle.

Update: Gap Maternity has pants with different "levels" of panels! I bought a pair of "semi demi panel hip slung pants" online this morning. I also found a really cute black dress for sale. If they work out, I'm hitting the Gap outlet during Christmas break!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Extra Thankful

Well, today I'm just...THANKFUL! What a wonderful holiday. Today we get to spend time with our loved ones and celebrate all that we have with good food and good company! However, today is not JUST Thanksgiving in our's Sylvain's 30th Birthday! Yes, we already had his party, and yes, it was amazing. But today is the day that he woke up as a 30 year old. So in addition to being thankful for everything we have today, I'm extra super duper thankful for my amazing husband.

I'm sitting on Mom's couch watching the Macy's Parade. The year Sylvain and I started dating, we went to New York with my family for Thanksgiving and had such a wonderful time at the parade. I remember when we got our pictures back, and I looked at one of me and my boyfriend on the streets of New York, with giant smiles of our faces. I looked at my own face and thought, "Wow. I look really happy. I should marry this person." So I did. And I'm glad! I've been smiling that way ever since.

Happy Birthday, Honey! I Love You!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I drove up to Mom's house by myself tonight. She needed help cooking and Sylvain and Jordan are coming up together tomorrow. Usually I complain about having to drive by myself, but I was looking forward to it tonight. I know the holidays are filled with lots of running around and visiting with family, so I wanted some alone time to mentally prepare for the big rush. I turned my iPod on shuffle and sang my way all the way up North - and I loved every second of it.

So tonight, I'm thankful for my music! My Christmas tunes, my lullabies, my Taylor Swift and Old Crow and Bonnie Tyler. I always sing in the car, especially when I'm by myself, but these days I feel like I'm actually singing TO someone, and I got really excited when I thought about the day that my daughter and I will be able sing together in the car. I hope she recognizes some of these songs when she's out here in the real world, and I really hope she's ready to make some music.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I know that there are plenty of people out there who think that teachers have the easiest job in the world - babysit some kids for a few hours a day, a few months a year. And, even though I'm a staunch advocate for year-round schooling, I will never complain about the time off. However, I think there are a lot of people who underestimate exactly how hard teachers work. Correction: exactly how hard GOOD teachers work. There is a big difference between a regular teacher and a GOOD teacher. I'd like to consider myself a good one.

With that being said, tonight I am thankful for the rest that comes with the holidays. This is the time of year where I start to panic in the classroom. It's no longer the beginning of the year and it's no longer acceptable that my kids DON'T KNOW ANYTHING! I start to realize, right around November, exactly how much they really don't know and I start to hyperventilate at the realization that it's MY JOB to teach them what they need to know. Yipes! Why did I sign up for this?? It's a huge job, and in many cases, it's damn near impossible.

So, when I got home tonight, I dropped my bags of grading and lesson plans at the door, plopped down on the couch and said, "Ahhhhh......" The grading a lesson plans can wait while I recharge and think about what in the world I'm going to do with these kids for the rest of the year. I can worry about all of that on Sunday night. For now, it's sleeping in and eating lots!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fourth Graders

I'm just hopping on here for a few minutes tonight to express my thanks for my students and my job. I know I complain about it pretty often, and I've had days where I wanted to go work at WalMart instead of set foot in that god-forsaken classroom, but when all is said and done, I can truly say that I love my job, and I love my kids!

I've written about their silly antics and funny quips before, and I wish I had a new one to add tonight, but I don't. All I can say is that 9 year olds are the most amazingly clever and astute people on the planet. Sure, they have a lot to learn, but the things they come up with and the discussions they have never cease to amaze me. No day is exactly like the one before it, and no child is exactly like the one next to it. The ups and downs are monumental, but the smiles on their faces at the end of the day make it all worth it.

I love fourth graders!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today I'm thankful for good, long, lazy Sundays - even though today wasn't lazy at all! We've been so busy for the last couple of days and things have been so fast-paced and exciting around here, that we really needed today to just unwind and get things done around the house. We slept in super late this morning. Thanks to a rocking Shellac show last night, this pregnant mama stayed out with the punk rock crowd until 1:00 AM! Am I the coolest person you know or what?

After we woke up, we puttered about for a while until it was time for me to finally get my National Board work started - again. I've been stuck on a couple of questions for one of my portfolio entries, so today was the day I had to force myself to sit down and answer them, whether I liked it or not, and I did not. Sylvain made the greatest lunch of all-time: homemade Shepherd's Pie! We enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch together, then I got back to work.

We tried to walk to the library to get some books we need for our Bradley class, but they were closed, so instead we just took a delightful walk around the neighborhood. Then I went to my National Board meeting only to find out that my mentor forgot about it, so I got to leave early and come straight back home! Hooray.

All in all, it's been such a nice, relaxing Sunday, even though we've both been doing lots of work. I know these days are numbered and soon there will be a tiny person controlling our every move, so I'm so thankful that we were able to spend this time together! I'm really looking forward to going home for Thanksgiving, too. We have lots of wonderful family to visit and lots of fabulous food to eat! Hooray for the Holidays!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Well, I just can't stop looking at our ultrasound pictures and I've already shoved them in everyone's face, so if you're planning to be around me in the next couple days (umm...make that four months), get ready to slap a smile on your face and tell me how cute she is. While I was lying in bed this morning, I felt her moving around and decided that she deserves another day on the blog. This might be cheating as far as NaBloPoMo is concerned, but I don't care. I've never been so thankful for something in my life! So, if you're reading this today, I'd like to direct you to the post below. If you've already read it - then just take a look at those beautiful pictures and go "Awwww, isn't she the sweetest?" and get all teary-eyed (okay, the teary eyes might just be for me). If you haven't read it - WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Get to it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Thankful for Our Baby Girl!

Here she is, world! In all of her girly glory - well, not ALL of it. I do have a scandalous "up the skirt" picture which will stay in our album. No need to start flashing people this early. Here are the modest pictures of her head, face, arms and tummy. I can already tell she's going to look like her daddy!

Profile of her face with her hand up by her mouth.

Here she is looking straight at you with her hand up like she's waving! Say "hi" to the baby!
The pics got a little blurrier when we scanned them :( but I still think they're pretty darn good!
The ultrasound visit was INCREDIBLE! I drank a little bit of Coke right before I went and that girl was moving and shaking all over the place! Sylvain and I held hands and watched for a good half an hour. Neither of us cried or got super sentimental, we were both too stunned and awe-struck. We saw her heart, her kidneys, her stomach, her SPINE, it was crazy! Everything was right where it should be and everything is in perfect working order, as far as we could tell. She weighs 13 oz and is still due on April 9th. Hooray for a healthy baby girl!!

After we left the doctor's office, we went out to lunch and then to Target to look for something cute and girly to buy. I got the cutest set of baby booties that look like little Mary Janes and a pair of striped leggings that were so cute I almost ate them up right there in the store! Then, I did what I swore I would never, ever do... I changed all of the bedding on our registry from neutral to downright, no-questions-asked GIRL stuff! I couldn't help it! I knew this would happen if we found out before it was born! I just couldn't resist the pink, green and brown polka dot bumper with the pink and white striped dust ruffle! I had to have it - no, SHE had to have it! What kind of mother would I BE?!

Oh, it feels so good to know. Now we can call her a "she" instead of an "it!" Now I can feel her move and talk about her growth and what kinds of things we'll do with her when she gets here! We have a pronoun and I love it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I've been following Heather Armstrong's story over at for over a year now. She is kind of my hero of the internet world. Not only is her blog wonderful and her writing hilarious, she participates in the greatest invention of the digital age: Momversation! Each week or so, I get a new "episode" of Momversation from her website, but you can go to to get them all. It's just a bunch of internet moms sharing ideas and philosophies and questions and stories about their lives. They talk about It All, including all the raunchy things you'd never talk to your own Mom about, so it's nice to know there are people who will go there. Heather, you're my favorite and I'm thankful for you, your website, and Momversation!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Operation Baby Room: Phase One...Complete!

Tonight I am so thankful that all of the painting and chair-railing is done in the baby room! Now we can move on to more important (and fun) things, like curtains and furniture. Here are some pics...

Working hard on the finishing touches, jamming to my Christmas tunes.

Aren't those stripes the cutest?! (Ignore the ugly curtains)

And how 'bout those corners, eh? Not too shabby!

This is exactly what I had in mind when I said "stripes and a chair rail" and I LOVE it! Really it wasn't that hard at all, just time-consuming. We painted the room green back in July. Recently, I measured the one foot stripes and marked them with chalk, then Mom came down to help me tape them up and slap on the paint. Here's my trick for making really straight, defined edges - use a level when you put up your tape and then take a wallpaper scraper and run it over the tape so it is DOWN good and tight, that way the lighter paint won't seep through to the darker color. After Mom rolled the white paint on, we took up the tape right away so that none of it dried to the tape, which was a huge problem when I did the baseboards over the summer. As for the chair rail, we bought it pre-primed from Lowe's and Sylvain cut it with his HANDSAW! He's so hard core. The angles worked out perfectly and we even got to take back an extra strip or two that we thought we'd need if we made any mistakes. We used wood glue and a level to get it up straight, then he nailed them into the wall, I covered the nail holes with wood putty, and put on the last coat of white paint! Voila! A lovely baby room for a lovely, lovely baby!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I would like to interrupt these sappy-people-fun-fests to bring you a much more important item for which I am very thankful:
My wonderful parents have blessed me with many things...but good skin was not one of them. I have always had problems with acne for as long as I can remember and in the last few years my skin has become red and blotchy and wrinkly and gross. Pregnancy makes all of these things TEN TIMES WORSE! I realized the other day, as I was slathering on my Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, that putting on moisturizer has NEVER felt this good. After I get out of the shower, when my face is all crazy red and almost cracked from dryness, I put TWO LAYERS of this stuff on, and...oh my's like a glass of wine for my face. I literally stand in front of the mirror and go "Ahhhhhhh, oohhhhh, ahhhhh, yeahhhhh, ahhhhhh...."
Sylvain has equally bad skin, but he has found that keeping a beard helps with the acne and dryness problems, especially in the winter time. I keep trying to convince him that he should try moisturizer, but he's way to manly for that, so whatever. I do know this - between our skin issues and our allergies - our kid will have to live in a bubble. We've already looked into it.
So, today I am thankful for moisturizer (and the four hundred other Aveeno products I use every day). In fact, I can't wait until tomorrow morning when I get to put more on!

Monday, November 16, 2009


How many days until Thanksgiving? Well, it's not enough days to count the blessings we have in all of our wonderful friends! Sylvain and I have been so lucky to have known many of the same people for such a long time. In fact, we kind of knew each other before we really knew each other because we hung out with the same crowd at UK. Now, we have our Lex buddies, our hometown buddies, and our NKY buddies to summon up on any given Friday or Saturday night. The memories made in Lexington since we started dating are fun-filled and sweet - lots of drinking, game playing, downtowning, karaeokeing, cooking, cupcaking and the like. Now that we live in L, our new friends (which are partially made up of old friends from Lex who have since moved here as well) have introduced us to many new places, new music and new food that we adore. I also can't forget to mention my work friends, both new and old. There's something about teaching with other ladies that bonds you together for life, especially when you share your first years of teaching together! Then, of course, there's my old standby buddies in NKY - my old friends from high school whom I think about often and miss when I'm lonely.

Where would any of us be without a good friend? In the gutter, that's where!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


What with a large "blended" family, it turns out that I have four sets of Grandparents! Since it's Sunday night and it's been a long weekend, I will list for you my favorite thing about each set, thus fufilling the "thanksgiving" portion of the blog in time to snuggle in bed and watch a movie before I go to sleep. Here goes:

Grandma Neltner: My mom's mom. She's a country granny through and through. She lives in a beautiful little house on top of a hill with the best Kentucky view you've ever seen. She makes a mean Christmas Ham and I love to sit on the porch with her in the summer time and talk to her about....everything. Boy does she love to talk! My grandpa Louis died long before I was born, but the family he left behind is the lovingest, laughingest, merriest family in the world.

Nana: My dad's mom. Nana is a very faithful, patient and quiet person. I love to visit with her on Sunday afternoons, sit in her living room, and hear about all her life stories. She loves to hear about my life stories, too, and she's full of great advice. She's the one who constantly reminds me to stop worrying (I get that from my Mom's side of the family). She has never worried about a thing in her entire life because she knows that God will take care of it. And he does. Pop passed away when I was in college and we all miss him terribly. He was a hard worker and a great Grandpa. Recently, on the family camping trip, we all reminisced about his insanely powerful, dish-rattling, earth-shattering, sneezes. Seriously, he could knock your house over.

Grandma and Grandpa Stine: My stepmom's parents. They are the sweetest couple you've ever met. Grandma is soft spoken and has never said a bad word about anybody. She thinks that anything her grandchildren create is masterpiece. Grandpa loves scotch, golf and having a good laugh with the family. They're always fun to be around.

Granny and Grandpa Eiben: My stepdad's parents. Unfortunately, both of Jay's parents have passed away, and we miss them terribly, too. Grandpa flew a bomber in WWII, ate at Skyline Chili every day, and constantly complained about things that everyone insisted would make his life easier. He took care of Granny when she was in a wheelchair and he loved to tell or hear a good joke. Granny was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and she loved her grandkids with all her heart.

These are the people who came before me and the people who created my world. I don't think any grandchild can ever find exactly the right words to say thank you to their Grandparents. When I think about all of the miraculous things that had to happen in order for these people to meet, fall in love, and create new lives in this world, I get goosebumps. My Nana hopped on a train to Texas just to marry Papa while he was in the Army! How cool is that? Their blood is my blood and their character built my character. I love them with all my heart.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Rest of the Siblings

And now for the brother and sister on Mom's side of the family! Matt and Jenny...

Matt and Jenny are Jay's kids and we've known each other for a very long time. When Mom and Jay started dating, Matt, Jenny, Jordan and I would pretend to be brothers and sisters and we would BEG our parents to get married. It only took them seven years to finally listen to us, and by then, we were all in middle or high school. We moved in together and formed lots of happy memories on W. Drive.

Christmases were particularly eventful at the Eiben house. Jenny and I used to drag our blankets and pillows into Matt and Jordan's room on Christmas Eve so we could all wake up at the same time and get downstairs for presents. One year we all woke up in the middle of the night to hear Mom and Jay banging around in the basement trying to put the Pop-A-Shot and Ping-Pong table together. We laughed about it all night long and tried to pretend like we didn't know what they were up to the next morning. We still get together every Christmas, despite our multiple family events on both sides, and we see each other as often as we can throughout the year.

Matt and Jenny hold a special place in my heart. And now their side of the family has grown to include two more sweet additions: Matt's wife Jen, and their precious, adorable, cuddly cutie-pie son....CHARLIE!! He was born on July 3rd and I do say he's the luckiest little boy on the planet. Jen is an amazing sister-in-law and mother, and I'm so glad she's going through all of this newborn stuff before I do. I plan to use her as a resource for...well, the rest of our lives, pretty much! Here they are in all their cuteness:

That's the end of my immediate family, for which I give many thanks! I have one more post about my incredible grandparents and then I'll get to the fun stuff.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And Now for Jordo...

...okay, I bet you're all thinking, "How many people does she have in her family and when will she start blogging about more important things?" Well, the answers are A LOT and VERY SOON. I'm dying to tell you all about how thankful I am for moisturizer this time of year, but it wouldn't be fair to the million or so people left in my family. So with, that I now give you another brother for which I am very thankful....

There he is in front, and for some reason I really look like my Mom in this picture, then there's Evan behind me and John in the back. All three brothers in a row...aren't they cute?
So Jordan is the only actual "full blooded brother" I have, although that hasn't ever really counted for much. Like I said in my last post, a brother's a brother and I have lots of them (more to come, actually, can you believe it?). Jordan and I are only 18 months apart, so we've always been...together. No matter which parent's house I was going to when we were growing up, I at least always had Jordan there with me. As kids, we were polar opposites - he was always doing crazy, adventurous feats (which usually ended in stitches) and I was always freaking out and playing it safe, with a fair amount of bossing him around thrown in the mix. He's a brilliant song writer and singer, and if you haven't been to Louisville to hear Supertruck...well then, you're really missing out! What I love most about Jordo is his sense of humor. No one makes me or the rest of the family laugh as hard as he does. He really knows how to live life and love it, which I admire. Time spent with him is sure to be a good time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sally and "The Boys"

One more chunk of the family to be thankful for: my stepmom and brothers (okay, technically they're "half" brothers, but if I spent all my time calling them "half" brothers instead of "brothers," it would be way too confusing, so they're just BROTHERS, got it?)

It's been such a wonderful experience having these three lovelies in my life! Sally has always been a steady rock and a sympathetic ear for me, and we like to sit at the kitchen table long after dinner and dessert, talking about the world and how much better everything would be if people just listened to US! And in high school, she was always the one who could calmly explain why I was in trouble and exactly what I needed to do to make things right. I certainly wouldn't be who I am today without her.

As for "the boys," (although they're certainly not boys anymore), they are two of the best brothers a big sister could ask for! I love that we're so far apart in age, because I feel like I helped them grow up, and I love that they have an "adult" in their life they can talk to, just like I had their Mom growing up. John just started his first year of college and Evan is loving his History classes in high school. They both tower over me now, but I remember when they were small enough for me to clasp their shoulders and pull them to my waist to give them a big giant hug! They're very kind, thoughtful, and adventurous, especially when it comes to dirtbikes and motocross. (Did I spell that right? I'm not even sure that's what you call it. I didn't get the mechanical engineering genes in our family.) All I know is that there is always a pack of motorized two-wheeled vehicles on every camping trip we go on, and I'M certainly not the one riding them! I could watch them ride those things all day!

I am so grateful they are a part of our family and I can't wait to watch them turn into UNCLES in a few short months. This kid won't know what hit 'em!

John, pictured with his lovely girlfriend, Maggie.

Evan, pictured with....a large woman's shoe.
And, look what I found!

A picture of my Dad! I told you he was good lookin'!

"Where's a picture of Sally?" You ask. For some crazy reason I cannot FIND ONE. I'll be taking lots of pictures of her this holiday season. Until then, here's a picture of someone I always thought she resembled (in looks, not necessarily character, although Sally is quite spunky)!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Dad!

Okay, I'm a terrible blogger. First of all, I should have posted this last night. Second of all, I have no good pictures of my Dad or Sally! I have one picture of Dad from a camping trip and it's saved on a CD that will not open on my stupid half-broken computer, and I have one good picture of the two of them that was saved on MySpace years ago and I can't find it anywhere. Grr. Anyway, even though you can't see them, just trust me - they're good lookin'!

When I was six years old, I thought every Dad built their own house and knew how to live in the woods. I thought every Dad had a basement full of machines that you could take apart and put back together. I thought every Dad built giant bonfires and made gasoline patterns in the front yard to light it. I thought every Dad had two canoes strapped together with a grill welded to the front to make hamburgers and hot dogs on the river. I thought every Dad ate dinner with robot-machine sound effects and wrestled with his kids on the carpet. I thought every Dad took his kids hiking in the woods and could name every tree in Kentucky, or took his kids fishing and could name every fish in Kentucky, too. I thought every Dad drove a big red truck and I thought every kid got excited to see it drive down the street.

But I was wrong. That's just my Dad!
Next post: Sally, John and Evan. And I'll do my best to dig out some pics!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Mother

My thankful thoughts today turn toward Mrs. Joyce Ann Eiben, and her fabulous husband Jay.
I'm truly at a loss for words when it comes to talking about my mom. She's a very faithful, hard-working, compassionate person and she has set the bar quite high for motherhood! Every choice she makes and every breath she breathes is for the good of her kids and I don't tell her "thank you" enough. She and Jay have been a monumental help to Sylvain and me, especially now that we have our own house. She is always planning our next painting party or shopping day or weekend together. Without her, I'd have an empty house and no clothes. Thank goodness she's around!

My favorite thing about my mom is her constant effort to hold on to traditions. She's always trying to "pass on" something, whether it be a necklace or a quilt or a recipe. Holidays are a big deal and she gets such joy out of gathering everyone together around good food and fun games. A trip to Mom's house is sure to provide nourishment for the body AND the soul and I always leave there feeling a little more centered than when I arrived.

In fact, I changed my mind about my favorite thing. My favorite thing about my mom is that she succeeded in creating a "home." I've written about this before. All through college and the rest of my adult life, Mom's house was always "home." It's where I used to go to do my laundry and shop in her pantry. Where I could show up any time, day or night, and know there was a room for me and a place to hide. And it seems that she always knew what I needed. "Want some banana nut bread?" "Wanna go shopping?" "Wanna go to church tomorrow?" "Wanna go see Grandma?" Visiting her really keeps me grounded.

And don't even get me started on that husband of hers! I don't know where we'd be without Jay around. I remember when he and Matt and Jenny showed up at our door so many years ago. "Who is this guy?" I thought. Turns out he was the perfect person, and they were the perfect family for us. I don't have to worry about Mom being alone, I don't have to worry about who will help us cut down the tree in the back yard, I don't have to worry about who will watch our baby when we go on our Anniversary trips. Mom and Jay are just always....there.

And I'm so thankful!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Husband

As the countdown to Thanksgiving begins, I've decided to combine this NaBloPoMo idea with a great idea I saw this morning on Facebook. Some folks over there are trying to post one thing they're thankful for each day between now and our favorite American holiday. I thought I'd try to blog about one thing I'm thankful for every day, and that way I can cover this daily post thing lickety-split, no problem. It might get a little more challenging as I go, but I honestly believe there is no way I can run out of things to be thankful for. So, without further ado, here's number one on my list:

Mr. Fasciotto! My favorite person on the planet. Thanks to our dear friends, Emily and Ben, we were set up in 2004 and haven't left each other's side since. I remember telling Emily way back when, "You know, he's the kind of guy that makes me NOT want to kiss anybody else!" And that was kind of a big deal for me. I was a "serial dater" and he was my rehab. The end of the line. The one and only. The "it doesn't get any better than this and I know it because I've seen it all." Maybe it was his French-ness, maybe it was his shy-ness, I'm positive it had something to do with his button-down shirt worn open over an old green t-shirt that got me. Whatever it was, it didn't take long for me to decide that I was done. Goodbye other boys, heelllloooo husband! Best choice I ever made.
During his birthday party this weekend, I had a "moment." I was watching him play pinball and everyone was crowded around - talking, laughing, drinking and partaking in the general merriment of a party. All night long I had been so grateful to everyone who came to see him on his special day, and I was honored that so many people came from out of town, but for one, tiny, brief spec of an instant, I thought, "This is more fun when we're by ourselves." We go to Game Works all the time, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas break. We order a pitcher of beer, put a few dollars on the game card, and park it by the pinball machines so he can kick my butt at his favorite game. But I SOOO love spending that time with him. And I love playing pinball, even though I stink at it. I never thought of it as romantic bonding time, but while everyone else was watching, I thought, "Hey, this is our thing. This is what we do together and you guys have no idea how wonderful it is!" Then I snapped out of it and joined the party once again.
Now that there's a baby on the way, I'm really starting to appreciate the time we spend together, which is all the time. We can't get enough of each other and I know we're going to have no trouble sharing all that love with our kids, but I know we'll miss all the dinners out and last-minute "change of plans" activities that we like to do. I'll miss driving around town deciding what to do as we do it. I'll miss those quiet days at home where we both end up on the couch reading for hours and hours and hours. Not that we won't get to do those things anymore, but I know that our entire way of life will flip upside down once our little darling gets here. I can't wait until the kid's old enough to go to Game Works with us! I have visions of a wee tot standing on a chair to reach the pinball buttons with his (or her) dad hovering behind, watching and giving advice, celebrating every flashing light and ringing bell.
I married the pefect person for me and I'm so thankful!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fun Times Were Had By All!

Well, the party was a roaring success! We are so grateful to everyone for coming, but especially to those of you who drove from out of town just to spend an evening of fun at the greatest Sports Bar/Arcade on the planet! It was so good to hang out with everyone. Here are some highlights (I finally have a camera)!

The Cake
check out for the recipe for cupcake pops
The Room
We had the whole back bar section of Gameworks!

This is my stepbrother Matt, but there were lots of other family there -including Grandma Neltner

Michael and Sylvain - buddies for 12 years.

Sylvain's new soccer jersey - French team. He promptly shoved it in my stepsister's face and teased her with inappropriate comments perfectly befitting a maniacal soccer fan.

And of course....lots and lots of PINBALL!

Laura and Sylvain

Pete and Victoria

Sylvain and Greg - quite a match!

Tucker and Karl


The Birthday Boy!
Happy 30th!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We're Gonna Party Like it's 1979!

Tonight is Sylvain's big Gameworks Pinball Birthday Extravaganza! Therefore, I won't have much to post until tomorrow, at which time we'll have pictures and some good stories to tell.

In other news, Mom and I went to Target today to register for baby stuff! It's amazing how much I DON'T KNOW about babies. Sylvain was not interested in registering with me, but has reserved the right to veto anything we've picked out, which he won't do, I'm sure. The funny thing about shopping with Mom was, every time I saw something I wanted, like the nursing pillows and the microwaveable bottle sterilzer set, she would say, "Why in the world do you need that? I didn't need that when I had babies! No one needs all this stuff!" And I told her that maybe her life would have been easier with a bottle sterilizer and she says to me, I kid you not..."I don't think I had to work that hard." I laughed and said, "Sure, you say that NOW, but I bet you were pretty pooped 28 years ago with a newborn." Regardless, we found all kinds of useful stuff, but we have lots more to add. I need to do some research on things like carseats and baby swings. A couple times we found ourselves standing in front of a wall of baby things completely confused and saying, "Um....let's wait."

Anyway, I can't wait to see all of our friends and family tonight, and I'll be sure to post pics tomorrow.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I already forgot to post yesterday! I don't know if this National Blog Posting Month idea is going to work for me. I also realized this morning that posting every day in November is the complete opposite of the "no blog sacrifice" I had during lent. And now this whole thing feels like one big sin. Oh well. I bet if God read my blog, he'd like it.

And on that God note, we joined a church yesterday! You are now reading the blog of the newest member of St. Pius X. I really want to get this kid baptized and we really like the little church that's just around the corner from our house, so it all worked out perfectly. St. Pius looks just like St. Mary's, the church I went to in high school, and the priest, Father Bill, is one of the best ones I've ever heard. He's very progressive, in my opinion, and not afraid to talk about important social issues, which I respect. I'm sure there are lots of people in the congregation who disagree with him, but so far I have not, especially when he spoke about Health Care and Education. My kinda guy.

To completely change the subject: I've been working on Sylvain's birthday party "cake" for two days now. A pinball themed party is hard to pull off. It's turned into more of a "manly polka dot" theme than anything else. I'll post a picture of it when I'm done IF it turns out the way I want it to. There's a good chance we may just be driving through DQ to pick up an ice cream cake on our way to the party. Who knows!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thinking Like a Parent

Now that I'm pregnant, I'm starting to look at everything differently. It's amazing how a 28 year old girl is so different from a 28 year old soon-to-be-parent. Tonight I had another "parent moment" while we were watching the new Coen Brothers Movie, The Serious Man. ("Why were you out at a movie on a Wednesday night?" you might ask. Well, because we're off school tomorrow AND Friday for no apparent reason. Our school district must really hate November's guts, because we're only in school for 16 days this month!)

So the movie takes place in the 60's and there's this awkward, red-headed Jewish kid who smokes a lot of pot with his friends. He and his friends are smoking up in the bathroom right before he has to get up and sing during his Bar Mitvah. Anyway, when he stands up and walks to the front of the temple, he is CLEARLY effed up. Red eyes, blurry vision, stumbly, get the idea. And the whole time he's walking and when he's getting ready to start, all the parents and adults are sitting there all proud and smiley and I'm like, "People! Can't anyone see that he's a MESS?! Wipe those smiles off your faces and somebody go GET MAD AT HIM!" Then I remembered how hard it was for me to tell when my friends were high in college (seriously, I got made fun of because I could NEVER figure it out). So I quickly tapped my husband on the shoulder and in the middle of the dark theater I said to him....

"You'll be able to tell when our kid's high, right?"

He said yes, and I relaxed with that fuzzy, warm, "Go team!" feeling. No kids sneaking drugs at our house!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo)

Okay, so I missed November 1st, but I plan to participate in the 30 posts in 30 days for the National Blog Posting Month challenge! I learned of this lovely activity from my dear friend Laura, who has recently ABANDONED her blog because she's crazy busy with school. When I checked her blog yesterday (like I do EVERY day) I found that she has revived her poor, lonely blog and is now posting every day! Yippee and hooray for me! So, after I thought about it for all of 30 seconds, I decided I should do it too. From the perspective of a writer, it's a great idea: trying to generate quantity before worrying about quality, just like I try to tell my kids to do in their writer's notebooks. I can sift through all the mediocre stuff later and hang on to the really good "gems" of writing that I might (possibly) come up with. The only downside: the four people who read my blog will have to read everything. Everyday. Well, I guess they wouldn't HAVE to, but I would appreciate it. I mean, there's only four of you and that INCLUDES my mother, who pretends like she doesn't read this, like she only checks it every once in a while, but I know better. She's my Mom. C'mon.

So that's that. And here's my thought for the day, or rather, just a random thought that I came up with in the hallway at school and would love to leave here for you to ponder:

Where do you think the phrase, "I hate your guts" comes from? I mean, how can you hate someone's GUTS? Do you think it just means, "I hate you to your very core?" or "I hate all the things that make up you?" or do you think some kid somewhere, probably in the 1950's, couldn't come up with anything better so he just blurted out..."I hate..........YOUR GUTS!" and everyone went "Awwwww, no he di'int!" Okay, "No he di'int" was probably not thrown around in the 50's, but you know what I mean.

Now ponder and reply, people. This is important stuff!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Okay, I waited a while to post this because I thought that I might just be crazy, but the last few days have completely confirmed my suspicions...


It started two weeks ago on a Friday afternoon. I had read lots of articles about this topic and knew that first-time moms don't feel it as soon as the pros do, because they often mistake movement for other things, like gas or cramps. Lucky for me, I have both gas AND cramps frequently, so the third sensation was very noticable. I was sitting at my desk after school, all alone, and I leaned over to read the calendar on my bulletin board. I felt a teensy, tiny, flutter in my lower abdomen and thought that maybe my pants were too tight. Then I leaned back in my chair and thought, "Wait a minute...I've never felt anything like that before." I was sure if it was movement, but I made a mental note and went on with my day.

The next day (last Saturday) I laid down to take a nap. As I was lying on my side, I started to feel a constant flutter in the same area, south-central to my belly button. I paid attention to it and it lasted for a good couple of minutes. I smiled as I fell asleep, fairly certain that I was feeling movement.

Since then I've felt it numerous other times. It's most obvious when I'm laying down, especially if I lay down after getting home from school. I've felt it for the last three mornings in a row and it's the most amazing thing in the world! It feels like there's a tiny mouse inside of me, just pitter-pattering away with it's tiny feet. It makes me smile and I feel so connected to the baby. It's like he/she is saying "Wake up Mom! It's time to start our day!" or "Nap time? Really? You're such a lazy bum!" Every time I'm tired and trying to slow down, the baby is NOT tired and is very active. It's all very weird, but very exciting.

On a much sadder note...our chicks did not hatch this time around. :( The kids were really looking forward to it and I was so sad when the day arrived and the eggs were all still pefectly intact in the incubator. I'm sure it had something to do with the temperature and the cool weather, so maybe we'll try again in the spring. Oh well.

Happier update: the baby room is painted and so is the basement! The baby room is green with big white stripes on the bottom and a white chair rail, and the basement is all one, gloriously uniform off-white color. Hooray for house projects! I'll post pictures as soon as I have a working camera, which should be this weekend.