Saturday, January 31, 2009

Song 4

In 1994 my father came home with this c.d. He played me "Gentleman who fell" and told me about this Russian model who had decided to record and album and see where it took her. If it didn't pan out, he'd heard her say in an interview, probably on Fresh Air, she would go back to modeling. Well, the album is probably not all that well known, but many people know who Milla is now, you probably even do, Milla Jovovich has appeared in several movies including the first three Resident Evil films and The Fifth Element. She is an OK actress and a beautiful woman but I must say that my favorite thing about her may still be this song.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm Coming Out

Because I want the world to know, my name is not really June. It is Alexis. Most of you may have gathered that by now probably but it is with frustration that has been building for years that I tell you my name. Alexis. A-L-E-X-I-S, not Alex.

For years and years, from school to work and now as you could possibly tell from the ultrasound the doctors office, people have been shortening my name for absolutely no reason that I can see to Alex. When I was growing up my family called me Lexi or Lex and that is how most people who knew me before high school know me. It's actually pretty interesting to me, you can tell who has known me longer by what they call me. My sister still calls me Lex informally. This is a nickname I was given, it's dear to me, Alex on the other hand just irks me to know end and I can't even really explain it.

It started to really bother me when strangers at the grocery store where I first worked would want to be formal with me and use my name, but then completely ignore the last two letters of my name. I could never understand if they couldn't pronounce it or they just had it in thier minds to give me what they may have thought was a popular nickname for my first name. I didn't appreciate it. And dozens of people did it over the course of my career in retail. I hated wearing a name tag. I thought of changing my name.

Maybe it's because Alex sounds like a boy name. I just know I hate it. It seemed rude. But it continued in college where I was often called at the beginning of the semester as 'Alex' or professors in my smaller classes would ask if I wanted to be called 'Alex'. Is Alexis such a strange name? At my high school and college graduations my name was botched by the person calling out diplomas and degrees. At my high school graduation they said Alex and tried to cover it up with the -is, making a long drawn out mess of my name. I just rolled my eyes. In college it was actually my middle name. Instead of Aileen they called me Eileen. Maybe it's where I live, maybe people have a hard time with pronunciation, but it really drives me up the wall.

I know it shouldn't bother me and I have mostly come to laugh at how my six letter name so easily gets said incorrectly but sometimes if the dog tore up the trash that morning and I burnt my morning toast a small thing like 'Alex' can just ruin my day.

I am so sensitive about it that I can't stand spelling or saying someone elses name wrong. For a few years I was spelling my neices name wrong before someone finally brought it to my attention, I was mortified. It's just not my style. Sorry Haley.

So if you want to call me or email me or send me flowers, that would be great, but for my sake please keep the -is.

Song #3

My favorite Sinead O'Connor song, 'The Emperor's New Clothes'.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

"And the impossible came true...God, I've worried over you"

Today was my ten week check-up, I was becoming increasingly more worried as the days crept by as I had been having less and less nausea (with the exception of the flu) and I just didn't 'feel' pregnant despite feeling the exact same way with the twins. Yesterday, I was virtually useless as I counted down the hours until my appointment this morning.

Fortunately, all is well. The doctor says the baby looks great and we even saw the baby moving fiercely, both it's arms and legs swimming in the amniotic fluid. I am once again, at least for the time being, calmed. Ward says that will last two weeks, at the most, and then I will be back in crazy worry mode. It does get easier once the baby is moving. But 25 % of the pregnancy is behind us, I can hopefully begin to breath easier.

Once again my doctor asked me about c-section versus vaginal delivery. It's my choice but after she listed the risks of both I have no idea which choice is the right one. At the moment, I am waiting to make a decision.

Here is the little one, the doctor kept referring to the baby as a him, could she possibly know something at ten weeks? No, right?


My doctor informed me that I am not 'special' this time around and I will not get an ultrasound at every visit. I can have an optional ultrasound at 18 weeks for gender determination but it costs $100 and isn't covered by insurance. Otherwise, they do a 22-23 ultrasound where they check all the organs and tell you the gender. I was 23 weeks when I finally found out that I was having a boy and a girl last time. I would like to do the 18 week "Blue or Pink" ultrasound but Ward is against it. How everyone expects crazy ole me to make it 12 more weeks without checking in, I have no idea. I know, that's what everyone has to do, I just think I'm a little crazier than most.

But for now I am completely happy.

Song 2

Elliott Smith "Needle in the Hay"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We own that?

Last night we were moving our c.d. collection and Ward came across this and exclaimed rather loudly, "Oh my God, we own that?" Now keep in mind, he knew we owned that, but it got me thinking about some of the stuff we are less than proud to admit belongs in our collection.

Take this well taken care of Janet Jackson single. Want to know how the case broke? A chow chow was chasing me. Don't beleive me. It is a 100% true story. I fell on my brick front steps and cracked the case and I care so little about the c.d. that I never fixed the case. I should have sold some of these c.d.s but now that Plan 9 is going out of business they're probably ours forever.

Neither one of us would fess up to where this c.d. came from, but notice it's still shrink wrapped. Maybe we'll regift it next year. Any Cinderella fans out there?



In this pile we have a Vince Gill c.d. that I didn't know we owned and a Goldfinger c.d. which unfortunately, I did. UB40 isn't all that bad but there are included because of that cool collector's card that came with the c.d.




Ward wanted to include this photo as well, to prove that we do indeed have some good taste in music.








Before

I forgot to take a picture of the wreckage before we started emptying the bonus room but last night as we were moving c.d.s I thought I would go ahead and snap some before pictures to document the transformation. We went to Home Depot last night and bought five different colors of paint, I picked the colors but Ward didn't tell me what he was going to do with them.


I am really excited about getting all of the Christmas and birthday gifts out of the Living Room and Family Room, however now there are just more piles of junk throughtout the house.

Monday, January 26, 2009

MIA

So some of you are probably wondering what has happened to me, not even a video posted in a week. Well it turns out that a few days of feeling OK were followed by several much longer days of the flu. It was my second time with the flu this winter, I thought I'd already paid my dues for this year but apparently not. Today is the first day I have been back into rotation entirely. I hate to sound silly but I am really lucky, luckier than I really thought I was. Between my husband, mother-in-law and sister I was able to do (or get done) some things that really needed to be done. Ward washed the heap of dirty clothes that were growing exponentially and I have been spending the morning tackling the clean heap. I was going to take a picture but I was honestly too embarassed.

Because it's really cold here in Virginia (there is a 100% chance of a wintery mix tonight and tomorrow, 100%, I would never make that kind of guarantee if I was a Virginian weatherman) and construction on the S.S. Deathtrap has long ceased but Ward has moved onto a new project, a new space shuttle, I mean playroom for the kids. This new adventure in our lives is to be built right off of our bedroom in what was once our "bonus room" (also known as junk room). I meant to take pictures of the wreckage before we started the junk transition to other parts of the house but for some reason I plum forgot.

We went to Charlottesville so Ricky could buy his car. It turned out to be nicer than I had remembered, or ever knew. It was a 1995, not a 93 and where as it may not have air conditioning it has heated leather seats, all for the bargain price of $1, nice. It has a few more miles than I had realized but no one will ever be able to argue the price. The gas alone in the vehicle was worth more than the $1 that exchanged hands. So now we have a fifth car in our driveway to shuffle every time we go anywhere. We have officially declared the two car garage a wasted effort as far as vehicles are concerned, besides with the relocation of six tons of junk the garage space has come in handy. I never realized how much stuff was in the bonus room.

I should get back to the heap. I have put away eight loads so far today, only four more. Keep in mind Ward washed all twelve loads, what a great guy. We often say around here that he would be a way better stay-at-home spouse than I make, but instead he has to work and then come home and take care of all of us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"One man come in the name of love"

Just some things you may or may not know about the man whom we celebrate today.


  • Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for leading the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. He believed in nonviolent opposition to segregation and racial discrimination.
  • King also spoke out on the Vietnam War and poverty. He felt that money and resources used in the Vietname War would have been better spent on the War on Poverty he believed to be taking place in the U.S.
  • His non-violent approach came mainly from the teaching of Gandhi.
  • Became Time's Man of the Year in 1964.
  • Won the Nobel Peace prize.
  • The FBI put wiretaps on King's phones both at home and in hotels across the country to monitor phone calls with King and one of his trusted adviser's, New York lawyer Stanley Levinson, because of his ties to the Communist party.
  • After King's "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington in 1963 the FBI said King was "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country".
  • The FBI threatened King to discontinue his civil rights efforts.
  • In January 31, 1977, United States district judge John Lewis Smith, Jr. ordered all known copies of the recorded audiotapes and written transcripts resulting from the FBI's electronic surveillance of King between 1963 and 1968 to be held in the National Archives and sealed from public access until 2027.
  • Conspiracy theorists believe that the FBI may have been involved in King's assassination.
  • Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday" was released in 1980 as he and Coretta Scott King rallied for a Federal Holiday to celebrate Martin Luther King.
  • President Reagan signed the bill in 1983 recognizing a federal holiday in celebration of MLK, Jr.
  • The first holiday was celebrated in January 1986.
  • Arizona Senator John McCain, voted against the bill in 1983. Arizona did not agree to recognize the holiday until 1992. The NFL even moved Super Bowl XXVII from Tempe to California in protest of the State's refusal to recognize the holiday.
  • In 2000, South Carolina became the last state to recognize the holiday.
  • Lee-Jackson-King day was celebrated in Virginia from 1984 until 2000, thus celebrating Confederate soldiers and a civil rights activist. In 2000, Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore proposed splitting them into two separate holidays. Only some counties recognize both. Campbell County, the county we reside in, recognizes both. DMV's across the commonwealth are also closed for Lee-Jackson day.
  • Martin Luther King was shot on April 4, 1968 on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel, he was pronounced dead later that evening.



Sale of the century


My uncle has a hunter green 1993 Volvo Wagon that he has had for years. Over Thankgsgiving it came to my attention that he was going to try and sell the car and I immediately thought of my brother Ricky who just got a license in October and has yet to get a car.
I called my uncle a time or two during the holidays but we were never able to get with each other and so at Bailey and Cooper's birthday party he approached me about Ricky buying the car. I told him I really wanted the car for Ricky and that we would try and find a way for him to buy it. Only problem is we don't have any money to lend anyone (not even my mother who is in danger of having her utilities cut off from not working since September, but that's a different story altogether) even for a car. My uncle and aunt said they would talk about how much they wanted for the car and get back to us.
This past week we have been talking to Ricky about the car. We looked it up on Kelly Blue Book and even without air conditioning and high mileage the car is still worth somewhere between $2-$3k. My brother wasn't sure he could afford both the car and the insurance on the car, especially with being a freshman in college who isn't allowed to have a car on campus without a "good" excuse. To my chagrin he decided against the car. I thought it would be a good investment but I understood (mostly) his decision to not buy the car.
I put off calling my uncle back because I was a little embarassed (because that's the kind of freak I am) about not buying the car. Finally, this morning I called. I told him about Ricky not being able to afford both a car purchase and car insurance at this time but asked him if they had decided what they wanted for the car. They had.
He wants to sell the car to my brother for $1.
I took it. I mean we were thinking $1000-$1500 would be a great deal and at best maybe he would take pity and offer us $500 but $1, I can't find a reason to turn that down. So I told him that we would make arrangements to come to his place in Northern Virginia but he said that he would meet us in Charlottesville.
My uncle is strange. Not in a terrible way, just in a very quiet you can never tell with him sort of way and I must admit that I am a little taken with his offer to sell us his vehicle for $1. He told me that the stereo was better in the Volvo than in either of his other vehicles. I told him Ricky would like that but really I think he would just like the price period.
And he did. I called him immediately and he called me back about a half hour later and was just as surprised as I was about the offer. He worried that a car and insurance would stretch him too far but with just the insurance to worry about it sounds a lot more feasible.
I am excited for my brother, having your first car, especially when you're young, is like a rite of passage. I remember having my first car and working just to afford the gas and insurance for that car and being really proud of myself. I hope my brother is at least half as excited as I am for him.

Because You Can't Shut Her Up When She Has Something On Her Mind.

A guest post from Todd’s favorite sister.

Dear Anonymous’s,

I’ve noticed a trend over here the past few days. It seems that some people have “stumbled” upon this blog that belongs to my favorite brother and my favorite sister-in-law. And some of those stumblers have read some things they didn’t like. I get that. Nobody likes to hear that they are annoying, or insensitive, or that someone thinks they are goofy. Nobody likes to hear it, but I promise you, everyone is to someone. Sometimes we even annoy or embarrass or offend our friends or our family. Heaven help me, I do it on a regular basis. We usually don’t mean to, at least I hope we don’t. In fact, I’d say, often the things that bug others are things we aren’t even aware we are doing.

I would be willing to bet that those same people who have “anonymously” commented here and gotten themselves in a snit have, at some point, vented at work, or the park, or at a family party, or the most unforgivable of all, to mutual friends over lunch. Maybe you have even had a laugh at the expense of my favorite sister-in-law here. Who knows, maybe you and she have had a nice chat about me, though I’d be hard pressed to believe that, as I am practically perfect in every way.

At the risk of offending even more of Alexis’ family and friends I’m here to stick up for her. I want you to know, that she loves her family, every one of them, even the ones who can be hard to love sometimes. Try as I might to lure her here to the land of forever blazing summer, she won’t budge, nothing could pull her away from her sister, her brother, her nephew who she adores, her parents who she longs to understand and have in her children’s lives, and her grandmothers’ who both mean the world to her.

She loves her friends too. All of you. Even the nutty ones. She loves that she has known you forever and that you have known her forever. She loves your children. She puts up with your husbands (I’m kidding, she thinks your husbands are great, really). Sure you get on her nerves sometimes; I bet she gets on yours once in a while too. That’s what friends do.

All I’m saying here is that you guys are all pretty lucky to have Alexis in your lives. If I could live down the street from her and my favorite brother and those twins I would be willing to put up with being mocked on the internet every now and again. It’s a small price to pay. You should thank your lucky stars, and before you start throwing stones, you might want to make sure you aren’t living in a glass house, if you know what I mean.

Yours truly,
Bailey and Cooper’s favorite aunt

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Couldn't Get You Off My Mind

I may have posted this song before, I can't recall. I know I told you all about the book I first heard about the song in, but I don't know if I ever played the song for you.

When Bailey and Cooper were babies (I know they still are, I mean when they first came home and I felt less foolish singing to them) I would sing this song to them. Coop loved it.

So anyways, because it's playing in my head, Lucinda Williams:

In 1993 a little known, yet some would say overly sexually confident woman put out her first major album under Matodor Records (who've also given us great stuff from Belle and Sebastian, Guided By Voices, Teenage Fanclub amongst many many other things). The album went on to make Rolling Stones Top 500 Albums of all time (#328, after The Cure 'Disentegration' which was #326). However, the list is not fool proof as P.J. Harvey made the list twice and Guided By Voices and Luna didn't even make the list, but regardless, this album I'm talking about today, made the list.



Have you guess yet? The only person I am willing to be who reads my blog and whom would know who I was talking about would be my brother-in-law, for the rest of you I am probably enlightening you, or at least boring you.



Anyways, the lady is/was Liz Phair and the album "Exile in Guyville" is one of my all time top 10. It's not for everyone and my two favorite songs have quite a bit of babd language so unfortunately I do not recommend it for your teenagers, even though I think I was all of twelve the first time I heard it. It is not everyone's cup of tea, actually I don't think Ward can even stand to listen to it, but there is something about Phair, especially on this album, that really gets to me. I love the songwriting, the honesty, the bluntness. And I love to sing along so it really doesn't bother me that I only get to listen to this album when I am alone in my car.



Possibly my favorite Phair song ever (tied with one won't post because of the language):







Baby It's Cold Outside

Do you want to know how cold it is here in Virginia? Well, Monday afternoon we put a bag of ice that we no longer had room in the freezer for outside and now, Thursday afternoon, we still have a bag of ice.

It still hasn't snowed but county schools are closing school tomorrow because it's so cold they don't want to make students stand at the bus stop for the bus. I guess they also figure that they have those 15 snow days built in and it looks like they may not get to use any of them.

Tonight is Bunko. The theme. Blue with white snowflakes. In hopes that we will see snow.

I think I may be the only one that is OK without any snow. I mean I was expecting a bad winter what with all the acorns and the Farmer's Almanac and all, but then again it is only January 15th.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Will I Always Be Like This?

Today the kids and I went back to Romp 'N Roll after a six week hiatus. We took December off because it was too busy and hectic to try and squeeze in any romping and I thought that we may better afford the rolling after the first of the year. We also moved up from Babies Gym to Tumble Tunes which is for walkers 10-24 months old. There were twelve children total and 15 parents and grandparents present. I love how many fathers and grandmothers come to Romp 'N Roll. Of the eleven other women there in our class this morning I overheard two of them talking about being pregnant, one "8 1/2" weeks along the other "11 or so" weeks along. They appeared to be telling people they didn't know very well or at all (me) about baby names and morning sickness. They went on happily sharing due dates as I sat there wondering what was wrong with me. Coming out on my blog was a big deal. Really big. And if Ward hadn't come out days before on his own blog you all would still be in the dark, though it's nothing personal. It's just me.

I have slowly told those members of our family close to us and paused for cramps or some other sign of Armageddon. I'm not superstitious, just filled to the brim with fear. I know I've been to the doctor and had good hcg levels and saw a pole and beating heart, I know I've been sick and dragging my feet throughout the day, but it just isn't enough, I want something that I can't have. A guarantee that all will be well.

I am much more relaxed this time around, don't get me wrong. We didn't tell anyone we were pregnant for almost three weeks last time, just kept the secret to ourselves. And then slowly over six weeks confided in those nearest and dearest. But this time, I told myself, I want to revel in the excitement of being pregnant, I want to share the wonderful news. But now, now I'm more fearful than I thought I would be. I haven't told any of my friends here in town. Only you blogging buddies.

When we did the first IVF, we told everyone. We told all of our friend and family. We kept them up to date so that they knew when we were having retrievals and when we were having blood tests. The day that I found out that neither of the eggs took everyone called to find out. Everyone of them hoping for good news. I felt like a failure that I had bad news to deliver. I made Ward answer all of those calls. The sadness in the voices, I knew, would be too much for me. I knew that everyone calling was hoping for me, concerned for me, but their sympathy was just too much to bear. I avoided everyone for days and hoped that we didn't have to talk about it when we met. It was this reason alone that the second two IVFs were a total secret form the world around us, and probably the reason everyone keeps asking if this baby too is a result of top secret science experiments.

My Dad called this morning. I told him (he was in Florida last week and I didn't want to tell him while he was on vacation, though I can't exactly explain why), he seemed excited, a little shocked. He asked what my sister had said and I told him that she said she was more excited this time around than last. He told me that it was just different last time, that they wanted to be excited, but not too excited, that they were 'guarded' in case something happened. This time, he says, will be smooth sailing. Maybe he's right. But I'm stubborn and scared anyways.

I'd love to tell you that after sharing all of this with you that I am going to be less guarded and shout this exciting news from rooftops, but I just don't think it's completely safe, rooftops during pregnancy that is. So those of you who have been pregnant, did you share the news immediately? Did you wait, and if so, how long? Is there some taboo time or am I just a little, you know, crazier than I thought?

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Forgot One of The Best

Like I'm Totally Feeling Retro You Know?

My brother Ricky and his girlfriend Lucy bought me an XM radio reciever for my car and a three month subscription card. I was totally thrilled, like totally that is because not only had I been vying for XM Radio for years but it has the best 80's stations I've ever come across. Next week on Channel 44, 1st Wave, a whole week of The Cure. On the way to the grocery store today I got to listen to New Order, Depeche Mode and Tears For Fears. When I was young my sister loved Tears For Fears, we had a thing for male duos I guess (They Might Be Giants and The Coreys) and I can remember coming up with dance moves to "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". It's fun to be eight. Or ten. Or just young. We also had a whole dance routine for The Eurythmics "Last Time". Anyways, because I thought you would like a visual to walk down memory lane with me:




We danced way better than Annie Lennox and I think if paid enough, we could still perform the entire thing by heart. Forever embedded in our minds. What do you say Erin? At family dinner, Saturday?



My favorite of New Order (next to Regret, gotta love that intro)





Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blog Stalking

I am totally inspired. By this.

Not only do the cupcakes look divine and the photography more than impressive, I want to know how to make these , I mean how does she get her cupcakes to drink diet soda or look like a 'Mom' tattoo?

Not that I'm feeling up to baking anything, but maybe someday. When there aren't babies the size of blueberries kicking my butt, I will attempt my own...

Positive


I figured since the cat was already out of the bag (thanks, Ward), why not go ahead and come out on my blog as well. We are still in the very early stages (I'm in my eighth week and I probably wouldn't tell anyone until twelve weeks, but Ward is super excited).
And just so you know, because you may be curious and everyone has already asked...we did not do IVF or anything else, we couldn't afford it and we wouldn't be crazy enough to do it that close to the twins anyways.
I have been really sick, really. Mostly at night though. The baby (yes, there is only one) does NOT seem to like Candy Cane JoJo's...at ALL.

Monday, January 5, 2009

One

Today Bailey and Cooper turn one. It's incredible how much more that means to me than them. They aren't even aware that it was their birthday. In the last few days leading up to their first birthday I took a little trip down memory lane, reading journal entries from this time last year. Not that I had forgotten everything but the words brought back a flood of memories, stored comfortably for the past eleven and a half months.

Yesterday morning I thought about getting up at 3 am on January 4th of last year, anxious and excited, thinking my babies would it make there entrance sometime later in the afternoon. I counted the minutes down until 6 am when I could call the hospital to see if they had room for me.

Yesterday evening I thought about watching the Incredible Hulk and not being able to feel my legs thanks to the epidural. How pointlessly we spent those last few hours as a family of two. Bana's Hulk was the reason we swore off television after our children arrived.

I've thought about the nurse checks, the pain returning as the epidural wore off, the happiness that surrounded me the moment Coop was born, followed by fear when Bailey turned. The pushing on my stomach that ensued, the wheeling me to the O.R. Being strapped to the table. The sound of Bailey's first cry and how much stronger she sounded than Coop despite the circumstances. How happy I was when they told me she would go straight to the nursery, how alone I felt when Ward left to take her there.

The long morning of recovery, the visitors and flowers. The desire to sleep I'd never felt before and haven't since. My stubborn persistence to not share my children with our visiting friends and family.

I wonder if these memories and emotions will always return to me in this powerful a way on the celebration of their birth, or if they will fade as year's pass? I know one thing, despite their being unaware of today and it's significance, their birthday means a lot to me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Resolution Time

Wow, I haven't posted all year (ha, ha, ha). I have been super busy or super lazy the last few weeks and I have felt either to busy or guilty to post much but I thought we should gather round and talk resolutions. It is after all, the second of the new year and that is the time to really get on the ball.

So here are my resolutions as of now, for the new year:

1.) Get out of debt. This is important to me because we have carried little more than a car payment and mortgage payment for the past half decade. With the economy in a slump and a spec house that just won't sell, we have over the past year, incurred a little debt. It's time to pinch pennies and face dreaded ole Wal-mart. The down side, I forgot to eat any black eye peas yesterday.

2.) Lose weight. I'm big, I know it. I need to drop some weight, I know it. There I said it. Must we really talk more about it?

3.) Gain more patience. With the children getting into everything and my not wanting to be too harsh, I need to find some extra calm. Here's hoping for my kids sake that this is the new year's resolution that sticks.

So what are your big plans for the New Year. What do you want to cut out or add to your lives?

Happy New Year!!!