Thursday, October 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo here I come

I know I still have one day left on my poll, but considering there are 12 votes for and 0 votes against, I think I'll be signing up. I really thought that at least one person would vote no...although I guess if you didn't want to listen to me ramble all the time you wouldn't read my blog in the first place.

Now, since apparently I'll be blogging every day in November, does anyone have a topic they want to hear me blog about? If not you'll just be subjected to my randomness. (more than usual.) Also, does anyone want to sign up with me?? It'll be fun! (Just ignore what I said before about not having enough stuff to blog about.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

What do you think?

Sooooo....I've been thinking about signing up for NaBloPoMo. For those of you who are too lazy to click on the link, NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month. Basically the idea is you sign up and then post on your blog every day for a month. I've been going back and forth about it though. Part of me says-- Hey! That would be fun! and the rest of me says-- Really? You think your life is interesting enough that you could find something to post about EVERY DAY? For 30 days IN A ROW?! And so, indecisive Libra that I am, I thought I would let my lovely readers decide for me. I'm posting a poll on the sidebar so that those of you who are too polite to leave a comment saying "No way, you're way too boring to post every day, in fact, I wish you didn't post as often as you do!" can just vote anonymously. The poll will last until lunch time on Halloween so if the vote is yes I'll have time to sign up before November 1st. Now vote and tell me what you think!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My life is a sing along

I have a knack for picking up song lyrics (and lines from movies and TV shows, but that's a whole different problem.) It must be a family thing because I'm pretty sure all my siblings are the same way. I only have to hear a song a couple of times before I can sing along, and a lot of the time I sing along without even thinking about it.

My problem is that once I start singing along with something I have this compulsive need to finish. I have a hard time changing the station in the middle of singing a song. Even when it's a song I don't like. Yes, it's crazy. There are some songs that when they come on I switch the station during the intro before any lyrics so I don't end up singing the whole thing. But sometimes I get caught. I end up singing along with stuff that I don't want to sing but I can't change the station because apparently I'm just that weird. And this, my friends, is why I could sing you that entire annoying commercial about buckling your kids in seat belts. Maybe I should stop listening to the radio so much.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Lately Kalena has decided that just gurgling and cooing noises weren't enough, so she's started making raspberry noises all the time. She will even interrupt herself fussing to do it which makes me laugh. I caught her today on camera. She's not facing me because whenever she sees the camera she just stares at it.

She doesn't start right away, but she's loud once she does. Also, yahoo for my first video posting!

Friday, October 17, 2008

One word

Kirsta tagged me, and I think even with my brain cloud (bonus points for anyone who gets that reference) I can fill it out. This requires single word answers, which is about all I can come up with right now anyway. So here goes.

1. Where is your cell phone? table
2. Where is your significant other? driving
3. Your hair color? red
4. Your mother? motherly
5. Your father? psychologist
6. Your favorite thing? home
7. Your dream last night? nonexistent
8. Your dream/goal? many
9. The room you're in? warm
10. Your hobby? scrapbooking
11. Your fear? spiders
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? home
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? tall
15. One of your wish-list items? vacuum (a good one, not the piece of junk we own)
16. Where you grew up? Junction!
17. The last thing you ate? macaroni
18. What are you wearing? pajamas
19. Your TV? AWESOME (that was Kirsta's answer too, but I can assure you that our TV is WAY more awesome than Kirsta's)
20. Your pet? greyhounds
21. Your computer? necessity
22. Your mood? sick
23. Missing someone? yes
24. Your car? gone
25. Something you're not wearing? socks
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? vacation!
28. Love someone? indeed
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When is the last time you laughed? earlier
31. Last time you cried? September?

No tags from me, but if you don't have anything to do, fill this out!

It was Burt's Bees too!

I'm still home today with the plauge. In case you were wondering, it's the sore throat/runny nose/foggy headed/ears won't pop variety. Just how foggy headed? Well, let me tell you a little story. I was walking over to the trash with an empty Styrofoam cup in one hand and my chapstick in the other. I'm pretty sure you can fill in the rest. That's right, I threw away my chapstick! And no, I didn't get it out. Some of you (Kirsta, Kari, Laura) know that I can't live without chapstick. Luckily, thanks to Laura, that wasn't the only one I had. Otherwise I would have had to put on real clothes, load up the baby and go to the store to get some, plauge and all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pointless posting

I was going to write something good today, but then I came down with the plague last night and spent all day dying a slow painful death. So you'll have to settle for more pictures. Kalena got bored with her play mat so she decided to explore the oh-so-interesting underside of the coffee table.

And in case you were wondering, all those orange stains on the front of her sleeper are the result of delicious carrot baby food.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I haven't posted any pictures of the little one in a couple weeks and I know that's the real reason you all read this blog, so here you go.

Smiley happy girl.

Not a great picture, but an excellent example of her bed-head. She gets that from Brian, believe it or not.

More of the bed-head.

All that riding around in a stroller is hard work. Also, that blanket looks like it's doing a super job keeping her warm, doesn't it?

From on top to underneath quicker than I want to think about. She'll be into everything WAY too soon.

If you're interested, here's a quick update of what she's doing these days. She rolls all over the place, worms her way forward on her belly, manages a combination push/crawl backward, and she is still working hard trying to sit up on her own. She is still not sure what she thinks about rice cereal, but she loves sweet potatoes and carrots. Now, in addition to imitating us when we laugh, she laughs unprompted when we tickle her. And today, for the first time, when I went to get her out of her Exersaucer she lifted her arms to me so I would pick her up. She is ADORABLE. (Ok, maybe I'm a little biased.)

October 15th

A year ago (give or take a few days) I was at the doctor's office hearing Kalena's heartbeat for the first time. I was anxious to hear it, because 3 and 1/2 months prior I had been in that same office under different circumstances. I had gone in to have blood drawn to confirm what I had suspected. I was having a miscarriage.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Although it's not something that's talked about every day, I'm sure you all know someone who has lost a pregnancy either to miscarriage or stillbirth or who has lost an infant. Keep them in your thoughts today. For all my readers who have experienced a loss like this, I will be thinking about you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

People! Google reader is like crack!

I am so addicted.

For those of you who don't know, Google reader is a service offered by Google (duh) to keep track of the blogs you read. You subscribe to blogs by adding the blog url and then reader tells you whenever there are any new posts on the blogs you're subscribed to. This is good for me because I read a lot of blogs regularly and it keeps me from having to check them all every day. Now I don't check them unless there's a new post to read.

BUT! Google reader has another feature that I am wasting WAY too much time on. Next to the button to add a subscription, there's a little link that says "Discover." And if you click on it? It has recommendations for you. Based on the blogs you subscribe to, it gives you blogs that you might like! So now I spend too much time clicking on these recommended blogs to see if I like them. If you like one, you can just click subscribe and it will add it to your list, if not you can click no thanks and it will take it off your recommendations list. But really? I read too many blogs as it is. I just can't resist though. If I'm bored I just log in and click on discover and see what's there today. It's bad news people. Seriously.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Being a working mom

Most of you probably know that I'm a chemical engineer. I work for an oilfield services company. I have a pretty cushy job: it's mostly computer work, I have my own office, a company laptop, company cell phone, company truck, company gas card, and it only requires a little traveling, paid for by my company credit card, of course. (Man, I'm a little spoiled at work aren't I?) But I'll let you in on a little secret-- all this work is really getting in the way of my being a stay at home mom.

I'm not complaining; it was our choice to have a baby while Brian is still in school. And considering he's still got 3 years or so, I imagine we'll have at least one more by the time he graduates. Even though this isn't our ideal situation, things have worked out amazingly well. Since Brian only has class 3 days a week, he stays home with Kalena 2 days a week. My job allows me to work from home 2 (sometimes 3) days a week so I get to be with her those days. And we have several friends from church who are generous enough to watch her on the days we both have to be somewhere else. All in all, not bad. But...

There are times when I am painfully reminded that I work full time when ideally I'd be at home. Mostly I am reminded when having to work keeps me from making the parenting choices I would prefer to make. For example, we quit giving her breast milk at just after 4 months. Why? Because for all my efforts and pumping at work I was making just over 4 oz in 9 hours. I was spending an entire hour of my workday pumping (20 min every 2 hours) to make 1 bottle worth of milk. At that point it stopped being worth it. Also, I wanted to use cloth diapers. But with me working full time, Brian being a full time student and Kalena's care typically rotating between 3 people in a given week it's just too much. (So Sarah, about the diaper bag and cloth diapers, I don't know. I think it would work well.)

Even little things, like when friends are planing play groups or outings to the park or story time at the library and I want so badly to be able to put all that stuff on MY schedule but I can't. I rearrange my work schedule for the occasional lunchtime outing or daytime errand, but I wish there was no work schedule in the first place. I want my schedule to revolve around my family, not my job. I want to spend my days playing with Kalena, tending the house, having dinner ready when Brian gets home. And it's hard for me to wait on that.

But I'm willing to wait. Because when it came down to it, my choices were to wait on staying home or wait on kids altogether. I've wanted kids since I was like 12, so by the time I was 24 I'd waited long enough! :) Also, we want a big family, and putting off having children might have interfered with that.

I know that this situation is for the best. I know that Brian getting his education now is what will allow me to stay home in the future. More importantly, I know that having to work now will help me appreciate being able to stay home when the time comes. I hope at that time I'll be able to do things the way I want. Maybe I'll still have supply issues with breastfeeding. Maybe starting cloth diapers with the 2nd or 3rd child will be overwhelming. But I'd like a real chance at those things without work getting in the way.

Anyway, I have more to say on this topic, but I've gone on long enough so I'll save it for another post.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I love to read. I have loved reading since I was little. It's always been an escape for me to immerse myself in a story. Unfortunately, I enjoy reading SO much that sometimes it's a distraction from my normal life. In college I wouldn't allow myself to read for pleasure because I wouldn't get my homework done. These days I won't pick up a book until I've done everything I need to do for the evening. Otherwise it just won't get done. Even with that restriction I have to be careful how late it is when I start reading because I'll keep telling myself-- just one more chapter-- until like 2 am.

My one big dilemma with reading is that there just isn't enough time to read everything that I want to read. So every time I go to choose what book to read, I debate about whether to read something I've never read or to re-read a book I already know I like. I'm sure I think about this WAY more than I need to, but I hate wasting time on a book that isn't good. I'm realizing, as I'm writing this, that I'm quirky about reading, so let me explain some stuff.

First of all, I don't decided whether a book is good or not based on if I like it. I've read plenty of good books that I didn't like for one reason or another, typically because I didn't sympathize with the characters. Bad books are ones that are poorly written, have lots of plot holes, or are simply unbelievable. Good books make you buy into the story, no matter what it's about. Bad books don't do that which is why I hate wasting time on them.

You might ask, if you don't want to waste your time, why not stop reading when you realize it's no good? Well, because I finish books. That's just what I do. I can think of only one single book in my life that I quit reading because I thought-- this just isn't worth reading. I've left other books unfinished because I got distracted by work or school or life, but usually I just read the whole thing. Some stories start slower, sometimes it takes a little time to get attached to the characters, sometimes a plot twist at the end makes the whole book worthwhile, so I try not to judge prematurely.

Because of this need I have to finish the books I start, I have a particular way of deciding what to read. If I'm choosing (for myself) a book I've never read, I will pick a classic, or something from an author I've read before and know I enjoy. On the other hand, I am willing to read almost anything if someone recommends it to me. (The one exception being romance novels. I don't read those.) This is because, in my experience, people rarely recommend bad (per my definition above) books. I am open to all types of books- classics, contemporary, science fiction, fantasy- I just want a good story.

Anyway, the point of all this (if there was one, I'm still not sure) is that for the year that I'm 26 I want to keep track of what I read. I have no real concept of how much I read, so it will be interesting to see. I'm not going to post reviews of what I read, because I have a hard time going beyond-- I liked it or I didn't like it-- without getting into a discussion of the book and this blog is less a discussion and more me rambling at you. I'm just going to keep a running reading list on the side bar.

So, are you all weird about reading like I am? What do you like to read? And, most importantly, do you have any recommendations for me??

Friday, October 3, 2008

Playing games

Last weekend my sister and her husband came to visit and celebrate my birthday. We ate lots of good food, played lots of games, got to see some family and just generally had a good time. Although, I’m pretty sure Brian’s favorite part of the whole visit was Monday morning when I had to go to work and Kari took the baby at like 6 and let Brian sleep til 10. I’m sure when they have kids of their own that won’t happen anymore.

It was lots of fun to have them here, especially since it meant we got to play games every night. Board games just aren’t as much fun with only 2 people. Kari’s post got me thinking though, about my family and board games. Here’s what she said about one of the games we played: “That night Elsha introduced us to a game called Blokus. It was awesome. We had a great time, and by that I mean we all hated each other at the end of the game. We'll have to play again sometime soon!!” The funny thing is, we didn’t just play one round of Blokus; we played over and over and over. It didn’t matter that we all hated each other at the end of the round; we still wanted to play again. My family is a little crazy about games so I decided to write some rules you need to follow if you want to play games with the Gustavsons. (And yes, I had to train Brian to do this stuff—he was far too good natured about games when we first met.)

1. It always needs to be competitive. There is no playing just for fun. Because as Monica says on Friends, “If we don’t keep score, how do we know who wins?!”
2. Make sure to trash-talk. This provides almost as much entertainment as the game itself.
3. When you hear the answer to a trivia question you just got wrong, the correct response is-- Oh! That was my next guess!
4. Make fun of the other players/team. This doesn’t have to be game related. We spent an entire game of trivial pursuit making fun of Jonathan because he’s “old” (like 3 years older than I am.)
5. When you are in the lead make sure to point that out often. That way, if you lose, you can remind the other team how much of the game you were winning and tell them they just got lucky.
6. If you win, make sure the other team know that it was because of your far superior game playing skills and that luck had nothing to do with it.
7. If you lose, make sure there is a re-match. As Eric says, in our family there are winners and let’s-play-again-ers. There are many excuses to play again such as:
That was just a practice round!
Ok, best 2 out of 3
(Or after 2 losses) Ok, best 3 out of 5 (This can go on indefinitely)
If for some reason, a re-match isn’t feasible, make sure everyone knows it’s not your fault you lost. Point out that it’s late/you never got dealt any good cards/the other team got all the easy questions/everybody was out to get you and so on. If all else fails, resort to insulting the other players- as in—yeah, I could win too if I were old like you are.
8. If you’re trying to get your teammates to guess something, make sure to use encouraging statements like, “if you don’t know, don’t guess!” (An actual quote from my dad.)
9. If things aren’t going your way, throwing things may be necessary. Game pieces, video game controllers, baseball caps, and clipboards are all acceptable choices.
10. Most importantly, have fun! (I know that seems counter intuitive too all the previous rules, but trust me, it's the point of game playing.)

So, all you Gustavsons out there reading this, did I miss anything? And for everybody else, how do you all play games? Is it all good natured, or a *little* bit competitive? Also, I hope this doesn't put anyone off from inviting Brian and I to play games, we're on our best behavior when it's not family:)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

4 months

Well, Kalena was actually 4 months old on the 18th, but her 4 month appointment was yesterday. Here are her stats: 15 lbs 5 oz (84th percentile) and 26 3/4 inches long (97th percentile). So, she's a big baby. I'm not sure where she gets this because I was little. Like, teeny tiny. I'm too lazy to look up how much I weighed at 4 months, but I know I didn't weight 15 lbs! I'll post a comparison sometime.

Anyway, 4 months means we can start solids, and we decided to try rice cereal today. It pretty much went like this:

It was quite an amusing experience. She always let us spoon it into her mouth, she didn't turn her head away or anything, but she made this face every time. And then it would just dribble out of the corners of her mouth. We'll see if she likes it any better tomorrow.