Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To Do: Buy Matt a truck

Note: Pretend like this is a new development.

My husband is perfect is nearly every way.  (Yes, I realize it's almost Christmas time.) He's also nearly identical to his own dad, John...well, except for this one thing.  Matt loves to switch vehicles!  So when he got a truck at the end of October, he decided to keep it a secret until his dad came to Little Rock to visit us in November.  John just smiled...and likely his nose flared a bit (a trait they both share).

In the 18 years he has been able to drive, Matt has owned a few vehicles.  Here's the stats:

1. 1989 gray Pontiac Grand Am with 2.2L turbo

2. 1997 red Ford Ranger (later driven by his sister and converted to a monster truck)

3. 1999ish white GMC Sonoma

4 . 1996 red Ford Ranger Supercab (sold it to that identical dad in 1998, who yes, still has it)

5. 1994 white Pontiac Sunbird (sold this to his Aunt Kara)
     * Also had a work van during this time
6. 1999 white Chevy Shortbed

7. 2002 taupe Ford Taurus (formerly my car)

8. 2007 silver Dodge Ram
     * Sold this when CAT was doing major layoffs and we wanted to get rid of a vehicle payment.

8.5 2009 red scooter (couldn't make it up the hill to our house in Little Rock; sold to CAT employee who  still drives it to work daily)

9. 2005 taupe Ford Taurus (barely made the drive from South Carolina to Little Rock to South Carolina)

10. 2007 white Ford Edge (bought it in South Carolina to get cheaper taxes right before we moved)

11. 2008 Razorback Red Ford F150 (Matt swears that "Mateo" will drive this one day...he has to keep it awhile anyway...Mateo has to wear this shirt we got him)

Other Notes:
* We started dating in 1998 when he had #5
* We got married in 2003.  He has since gone through 8 vehicles in that 8 year period.
* Let's do the math: 33% were white; 33 % were neutral (gray/taupe/silver); 33% were red
* Matt's dad has had 6 cars in the past 30 years. He still drives and owns 50% of them!
* Matt has a very patient, understanding, loving wife.

Monday, December 12, 2011

To Do: Wait for a Baby

Waiting, waiting...waiting for a baby (My 4-H House sisters know how that chant goes!)

Holy cow!  It's only a matter of time.  Everyone tells you that the time will fly.  I think those first few weeks, when we knew but were waiting to tell, were the longest. Part of me wants him to hurry and get here, but part of me is not quite ready. 

Here's a new belly shot for you, along with a sneak peak at the nursery. I'm still waiting on the letter Z to arrive, then I'll unveil the final alphabet project!

As most of you know, I'm a worry-wart. Big time!  My friend, Jamie, will tell you that I worry about crazy, irrational things.  But ironically, I'm not as worried about child birth as I thought I would be.  (I reserve the right to change this statement as I enter the hospital though).  Sure it took myself a few many years to be convinced that my wimpiness could handle birth, but now I know I have no choice.  Thanks for all those who shared their horror stories, but really, I just don't want to know what to expect come d-day.  We are all off better that way.  We skipped the $65 childbirth class--sorry nurses, you will just have to tell me what to do.  (Like I'm going to remember anything anyway...I know I'll be panicked!).  I used to be worried that my water would break in some embarrassing public location, but I've since learned that only 10% actually have their water break naturally anyway, and it's almost always at night.  Let's hope I didn't just jinx myself there. 

I'll be the first to admit that I have had an easy pregnancy.  It's probably God's way of encouraging me to do this again sometime.  The last few weeks have brought about the feet in my ribs, the constant acid reflux, and swollen hands (I've managed to get my wedding ring off, but not the other ring...shoot!).  And I even have the waddle going on most days.  But really, it's not bad at all.  I imagine that "Mateo" is probably more anxious about getting out.  I think this may be his thoughts:

My doctor told me a few weeks ago that I make pregnancy look easy.  I assured her that she would be earning every $ on delivery day! (Crossing my fingers that SHE actually is my delivery doctor!). 

It seems as though not unveiling the name has been more torturous for everyone else.  Only a little longer people!  We picked out our boy and girl name almost instantly after we found out we were expecting.  It will be so nice to actually use it!  But the worry-wart in me worries that with all the anticipation, people will be disappointed or won't like it (which is exactly why I don't want to hear that BEFORE the name is given...I'll just keep changing my mind).  But for those of you that are curious, we will give you a hint: It did make the list of Top 100 names of 2011.  That should help you narrow it down.  Oh, and only 1 of you has guessed correctly :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

To Do: Use my child

Happy Halloween friends!  My blog writing has been a little scary lately, or should we say ghostly!  But today is such a fun day.  But Halloween reminded me why I needed a kid after all.

Sure, kids are good to have around as little gophers--with a little praise, going to get the remote from the other side of the room seems like such a big and important job!  And yes, I plan to use my kid to their full go-getting abilities!  I'm an old parent you know!

But sometimes you just need a kid for other reasons.  Matt & I had decided we didn't want to go another Christmas without having a kid around (yep, cutting that goal close!)...I mean our cat, Shadow, gets excited about the tree being up for about 5 minutes and she seems to have no problem sleeping on Christmas Eve. And you may remember that I even tried to become a Big Sister so I could "borrow" a kid just for these reasons.  (See this post here ) But here is some other occasions when you seem like a weirdo if you go without kids.

Trick-or-Treating: I'm not talking Halloween parties.  I'm meaning the whole adventure of ringing the doorbell then checking out if the bowl is full of the cheap stuff or did they go all out and get Hershey products.  Oh, we have an entire bucket (well cauldron to be exact) full of the good stuff here at the Ervins!  But come tomorrow, we have nothing.  They say that 90% of parents steal candy from their child's Halloween stash.  You know the other 10% are either lying or are vegan.  Oh, I can't wait till next year to use our 10 month old to pedal for candy :)

Pumpkin Patch: I love going to a great pumpkin patch--one with pumpkin donuts or ice cream; a corn maze; gourds and mums every where you look; giant pumpkins, tiny pumpkins, lumpy pumpkins, white pumpkins.  Most adults love to go, but again, watching a kid scour the patch for that perfectly round, orange pumpkin (and then posing for a picture sitting on top of it) seems so much better than watching Matt do it. 

Elf on the Shelf: It's not a tradition I had as a kid, though I do remember my Grandma Stahl having those strange-looking, red suited elves around.  But I love the idea of it and can't wait to come up with plans for it.  My friends who are on pinterest have surely seen the awesome ideas! 

Circus: When Barnum & Bailey come to town, you have to go.  But go without kids...and you look like child molesters on the prowl. 

Carnivals: Sure, the carnies like to give men a boost of confidence as they tempt them to show off their big muscles or throw some hoops, but really, it's just not the same as watching a little kid get so excited to cash in their hundred tickets to get a dum dum sucker!  And Matt no doubt cannot wait for an excuse to go to Chuck E Cheese as often as he wishes!

DisneyWorld: If you know me well, you know that DisneyWorld is not my idea of a dream vacation.  Maybe I've just been there too many times as an adult.  But...I will be the first to admit that I can't wait to cast that video of us surprising the little ones with the announcement that we are going to see Mickey.  I'll wait in line for hours with them to get Goofy's signature or ride Dumbo.  I'll even buy them a souvenier shirt. I'm not that big of a scrooge!

Kids movies in a theatre: Speaking of Disney, have you noticed there are tons of cute kids movies out right now? OK, you aren't totally creepy going to the theatre for these, but you have to feel a little bad when the kids behind you claim they can't see over your head and you just wish your kid was your excuse to be drug into that seat!

Dig for Diamonds: The only place you can you go dig for real diamonds and keep what you find is about an hour away from where I live.  But I guess I'll have to wait for my little guy to master the shovel since I can't seem to beg anyone else to go with me.

Zoo: I have yet to go visit the new penguins at the Little Rock zoo.  I even went to Memphis for the weekend and didn't stop at one of the country's best zoos.  But I know the zoo is a reason I put a stroller on my baby registry :)

Children's Museum: You know that my dream job is to work at a childrenss' museum, right?  When I had an interview at the new museum in SC, the lady asked me to name what childrens' museums I had been to.  That question still haunts me to this day!  Oh lady if you only knew how I always point them out on vacation and I would love to visit every one I see, but really, how creepy would I look?  Why don't you just go ahead and ask me if I have kids!!

Library Story Time/Kindermusic: One of the best jobs I ever had was getting to lead story times, playgroups, family nights, and music class for toddlers.  Some of my readers sat through the torture as I tried to be animated while reading a story or worse, sing in front of a group!  But I loved it!  And there is no doubt my kid will be drug to them too!  And very likely, we will come home to make green eggs & ham for lunch, or put streamers on scrunchies and dance to some silly, made up song! 

Advent Calendar: Again, Christmas is for the kids.  And there is nothing like counting down the days till Santa arrives with a kid!  We will be sure to make cookies for Santa and have carrots for Rudolph.  We'll watch the sky and look for a red light.  And we'll get up early to look in the stocking and shake the presents.

Oh, we can't wait to have a kid of our own!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To Do: Little Rock Baby Shower

To think that it was over 8 years ago when I went to my wedding showers.  But this time, it was even better!  It's hard to get too excited over china and bath towels, but cute little baby stuff is always fun to get!  (sorry you have to turn your head again for some pictures)

With a room full of women, there was lot of oohing and ahhing over the cute little outfits, blankets, toys, etc.

There was good food and good friends too!  Some friends I knew from Illinois and some I just met this past year.

We played an adorable game where we had to guess, with our eyes closed, what baby related item we had grabbed from the basket.  Some were easy like the piggy bank and nail clippers.  But some were tough like the formula dispenser and the bottle dishwasher basket. 

It was such a fun day!  I'm so grateful for my friends here who have helped make Arkansas my home.  "Mateo" is without a doubt going to get lots of love from them too. 

Thanks especially to my friend, Kelly, for hosting the shower!! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To Do: Pick Cotton

I love the South!  And finally after all this time living in the south, I got to see my first crop of cotton in bloom!  I have seen it green, but I just had never seemed to manage it just right where I was out and about just before it was picked.  And go figure--the only camera I had was my cell phone.

I've become somewhat of a city gal now.  Rarely do I get to see fields unless I'm on a trip.  Farmers were out harvesting soybeans too, and that smell of the dust smelled like home.  But imagine my excitement when I saw field after field after field that looked like this:

Isn't it gorgeous?  If I was a farmer, I would build my house right dab in the middle of a cotton field. 

I was on my way to Sikeston, MO to meet my college roommate, Amanda (who lives near Evansville, Indiana---this is our halfway point).  After telling this farm girl about the cotton fields, she said she had never seen any either.  We totally lucked out because there happen to be a field of it practically in downtown Sikeston. 

Call it stealing--but I was able to pull off a bundle to put on a shelf in my house.  (Ironically, next to my Transfer House plate to remind me of Decatur, IL).

I thought I wanted a whole plant, but (a) it's not easy to pull out of the ground, and (b) that is really stealing.  And southern belles don't steal!  Plus, the farmer across the street was outside...though I was really hoping he would come over.  I have lots of questions.  Anyone know a cotton farmer?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To Do: Week 28 Appt.

Week 28's doctor appointment went good.  Well, it probably won't surprise you that I'm almost ready to enter week 30, but who's counting?  At this point, I'm not so sure it really matters.  It only took me like 10 hours to write up details of our Texas trip and that surely is more exciting to read than this!

Anyway, "Mateo" and I are both growing.  Yes, both of us.  Unfortunately, hitting the Texas State Fair 3 days before my appt is what I am using as my excuse to why I gained an extra 2 pounds this month!  My belly actually didn't grow as much.  Conclusion: I grew wide, not out.  Scary!!  Needless to say, I've since stashed the fridge with more veggies and fruit this week and my neighbor Lindsay and I have started walking 1.3 miles (yes, that 0.3 matters) every day!  My doctor really wasn't worried, it just bugged ME!

My week in Texas seemed to bring out an array of pregnancy symptoms: swollen ankles, charley horses daily, and acid reflux.  But really, I feel bad even complaining since I've had it so good.  And the ankles and horses have since gone away.  And since everyone asks, nope, I have no cravings yet.  Oh, and with much relief, I was thrilled to find out I passed the glucose test!  Bring on the sugar!  (more like sweet tea).  I'm definitely preparing for the limited sleep as side sleeping is not for me.  I sure hope these big hips are good for something! 

Mateo remains super active in there--I seriously think he is constantly practicing that maneuver that swimmers make when they come to the wall and have to flip and go the other way.  That's what I imagine anyway.  His swim practice usually starts about 8pm and goes till about midnight, then restarts at 5am.  And you may have seen on Facebook that I felt him get hiccups for the first time this week.  I couldn't believe you really could tell, but that rhythm was pretty obvious.

Speaking of obvious, I guess my baby bump is now obvious--which is sort of a relief because I now I know they don't just think I'm chunky. 

And I had my first belly rub from a stranger in Texas as the hostess touched me and then went on and on and on about her 6 kids!  I didn't panic though and handled it better than you would think.

My first baby shower is this Sunday here in Little Rock!  Now that is exciting!  Don't worry--I'm sure I'll be telling you all about it (maybe in like 3 weeks..ha).  People, I'm busy! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To Do: Babymoon Days 7&8 (Dallas again)

Golly gee, I hate to leave out a single detail of our trip for the 10 of you reading about it...

Our original plan was to drive from Round Top to Houston then back to Dallas, making a giant triangle.  But, locals told us there really wasn't much in Houston except traffic so we headed the advice and just went back to Dallas.  By this point to, the oh-so-comfy bed in the rv wasn't so great anymore and we were sick of being tourists. 

Conveniently, the almost halfway point back to Dallas was the Czech Bakery...remember those kaloches?  Matt went back for that warmed cherry cream cheese masterpiece, while I decided to venture out and try the chocolate cupcake. 

Oh my!  It was like an inch of cupcake with 4" of rich, fudgy icing.  Literally, it was like homemade fudge on top.  Quite heavenly, but even a little too rich for me.  Luckily, Matt had this great idea of getting a cinnamon roll as well to share...it is now my new favorite.  (You know, for the next time I stop by).  Yummo!

Ok, so here it was Friday, our last full day in Texas.  Again, my own personal trip advisor, Anna Beth, had tipped us that the Texas State Fair opened on Friday. 

I knew then that this was on my to-do list.  Having been a 4-Her for 11 years, going to the state fair was just something you did.  Matt on the other hand had only been to the fair once, and that was just to go to a concert.  So Texas State Fair, here we come!

Two great things happened: (1) It was opening day. (2) It was about 15 degrees cooler!!  We got to the fair around 11am...after being led to 3 different gates to park because the parking attendants didn't know where to park rvs on day one.  The gondolas were the first thing we saw. 

We figured it would be cool to ride above the fairgrounds first to take in all the sights before walking. 

2 minutes.  Ride is over.  It only goes over the carnival.  Boo! 

So we walked to the main entrance--we had to see the historic landmark, Big Tex. 

Check!  And right in front of Big Tex, a large crowd was gathered.  We quickly realized it was the line for "the original corn dog". 

Oh Matt, he's so "corny"--somehow the only picture we got is when he managed to take a big ole' bite.  If it was me eating, I wouldn't allow such a picture on here--but it's my blog, not his. Ha!  Corn dog-Check.

We took in it all: the enormous car show, the butter cow,

the free ice cream sample in the Texas products showcase, watched people embarrass themselves at the vendor's tent shaking their not-so-firm booties,

of course saw the pig races,
and the dog tricks show, watched people on their duck paddleboats, etc.

We saw it all!  I even drug Matt through the show barns--which by the way, were so clean! 

We only saw 3 longhorns the entire trip.  One in a field, one on a truck on the highway, and this one at the fair.  They are huge!

That evening we stayed and watched the opening ceremonies (Gov. Perry was not there...hmmm...out campaigning?)
 followed by the daily light parade then a light show synchronized to music. 

But it wouldn't be the Texas State Fair with what they are truly known for--Fried Food!  The choices were everywhere and simply unreal! 

We passed on the fried beer, fried autumn pies, fried smores (though I was tempted), fried moonpie, fried pb&j, fried butter, fried snickers, etc.  This year's new special was fried bubblegum (though it really was a fried marshmallow). 

It took a lot of willpower to pass this stand too!

 So what did we eat?  Well, besides the corn dog, we went for my favorite, the walking taco (which I guess is strange to those in Texas from the questions I got), fried oreos, and our favorite...fried cookie dough!

 What a day at the fair!

Finally, the day had come for our trip to end.  We had to have the rv back by 11am.  Unfortunately, our flight didn't leave until 6pm.  So we took all of our luggage and went to the Chilis inside the airport to watch the exciting Arkansas game (even though it was just down the street!).  Luckily that made time go fast.  I can tell you it sure felt good to sleep in our own bed that night. 

It was a fun trip and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience in our RV!

Monday, October 10, 2011

To Do: Babymoon Days 5&6 (Round Top)

Never heard of Round Top, Texas?  Oh, here's why:

 Population: 90.

We drove from our campsite in the middle of no where down the backroads of Texas.  We later learned that just a few miles away was where many of the bad fires had just occurred.  But we drove on this blacktop for miles wondering what we were getting into...

 when all of a sudden...it looked like heaven!

Oh my goodness!  One thing I've missed about the north is the great craft fairs.  Oh what I would do for a trip to the Covered Bridge Festival in Indiana!  But thanks to Southern Living, I had read about this enormous antique fair (and it was truly antiques, not crafts) years ago and had saved it under my favorites on the computer.  As fate would have it, it was going on while we were in Texas!  Hooray!

Town after town along this highway was just tents as far as you could see with antiques. 

You name it, it was here! 

  Sometimes it felt like walking onto the set of American Pickers!

 Look Mom, they even had chicken coops!  (I have one I need to bring back from IL but keep forgetting.  Suggestions on what to do with it?)

There we so many things I would have liked to have bought, but when flying, that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for antiques. 

We did come back with some great treasures...though you'll have to wait a bit to find out what!

To Do: Babymoon Days 3&4 (San Antonio)

On the road again (sing it with me...)

Not too far from Austin, we drove onward South to San Antonio.  It's probably the city we wanted to see the most on our trip.  We would have loved to stop along the way to spend a day at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, TX (outside San Antonio), but poor Matt had this extra baggage that would only be able to enjoy the lazy river...not quite worth it.  But someday! 

This time we knew to go reserve our campsite FIRST!  See, we may be blonde, but not dumb.  We stayed 2 nights at a super nice (that means clean bathrooms to me) campsite on the outskirts of town.  But...the bonus was that it was a stop on the city bus line.  Very handy when you consider driving an RV through downtown areas is not fun.  Plus, the bus itself brought lots of entertainment!

We spent a lot of time strolling along the RiverWalk.  It's just as amazing as they advertise.

While mainly restaurants (and lots of hungry ducks), it was shady and the landscaping/architecture was gorgeous. 

 Of course, when in Texas, you must enjoy Mexican cuisine.  We stopped on the first day for Happy Hour.  Yes, mine was a virgin margarita (which fyi, cost twice as much as Matt's giant one...what!)

That night we again ate Mexican and enjoyed dinner along the river, with great people-watching!

The downside to depending on the bus was the last bus left sometime after 9pm.  We didn't want to risk it so we left fairly early that night.  We figured we had the entire next day too.

So on Tuesday, we played the role of tourists.  (which basically means $ here, $ there).  We started off at the famous Alamo. 

 I mean you haven't seen Texas till you've seen the Alamo. 

Unless of course you have seen the Alamo before, and you'll likely not go back.  Wow, it was sort of a disappointment to us.  Now before my friend, Kendall, (a history buff) goes all postal, I will say that some of it was interesting.  But not worth all the hype.  As we were warned, it is so small! 

It's kind of like that old cheer "we've got spirit, yes we do, we've got spirit, how 'bout you?"  Texans have a lot of Texas Spirit!  But, hey, now we can say we've been there.

After the Alamo, we boarded an air-conditioned tour trolly (we wanted to do the double decker, but the air trolley sold us! Remember, it's still 100 every day despite it being the end of September).  It drove to various sites around San Antonio, where you could get on and off.  It was lunch time and heaven knows we didn't want to miss a meal, so we headed to the Market Square. 

 Guess what we had to eat?  Matt said his meal was one of the best Mexican meals he's ever had. 

We planned to go visit a mission, but messed up on the times, so when we didn't get off on the last stop at the Alamo, the driver asked where we were planning to go.  He explained the schedule, but kindly drove us to the Hemisfair Park instead.  Built for the World's Fair in 1968, we rode up 500 feet to the top of the Tower of America's...enjoying the view basically to ourselves. 

We went to the mall that was on the CityWalk (yes, Mateo got an outfit), we watched a movie at the IMAX about elephants and monkeys being rescued (Matt's first IMAX experience outside of Disney), then you won't believe this, but it was time to eat again!  This time we went for barbeque!  We hung out on the lit CityWalk some more, hoping to catch the famous boat ride down the river just as the lights came on.  (Sadly, this picture from 500 feet in the air is somehow the only picture of the boat we got!)

But, you know how Texas is having a serious drought?  Go freakin' figure.  A storm was brewing and they shut down the boats.  So here we were there for 2 days and of all things we didn't get to do was the famous boat ride!  I was totally bummed, yet glad to get back to the rv before the wind started picking up.  (FYI--it never rained).

So that was our two days in San Antonio. Whew!