Monday, December 21, 2009

The aftermath

The plows came through last night, which was good because they made the road driveable.  Not so good: the fact that they plowed all of the cars in.  Thanks guys. 

The snowy mound in the far right of the picture is our two-doors-down neighbor's car.  The giant mound in the center right of the photo is a giant pile of snow blocking them in.  Our shared neighbor must have figured they weren't going anywhere, and dumped the snow from in front of his own car onto the giant pile.  He's a real nice guy.  


We dug out the Subaru, but Jeremy's Jetta isn't going anywhere for a bit.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


It started snowing late yesterday evening and it's still going!  There's at least a foot of snow on the ground, probably more. Unfortunately, Natasha is still recovering from her first illness - a nasty cold - so she did not get to go outside.

6 am:

9:30 a.m.: Jeremy looking for his phone in his car before realizing that he'd driven my car the night before.

Cleaning off my car just for fun, since we clearly weren't driving anywhere.

5 p.m. Can you see Jeremy's car?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Target,

It is only December 14.  Why are you sold out of everything Christmasy except the crap?  Also, how hard is it to sell a humidifier that actually has all the pieces in the box?  Just so you know, I am beginning to prefer Walmart over you. 


Monday, December 14, 2009

Why I unfriended Facebook

Disclaimer: This post reflects only my opinion and not necessarily that of my husband, who has a Facebook account.

I joined Facebook a couple years ago.  At first, I really enjoyed finding old friends, perusing all their photos, and learning all kinds of interesting tidbits about their lives.  Quickly, I amassed a good number of friends.  The overwhelming majority were people with whom I had probably never been more than casually acquainted, of course, but that doesn't matter in the Facebook universe.   We browsed each other's pages, but there was precious little real, active communication.  And I noticed that even among my real, close friends, emails and phone calls were fewer and farther between.  After all, we only needed to log on to learn that one friend was expecting a baby, or that another had just bought a house.  But the fact that I didn't get to hear their news and congratulate them immediately in a more personal way made me sad. 

Ultimately, it was Facebook's encouragement of my inner voyeur (a part of me that is better left un-encouraged) that led me to delete my account last January.  I spent way too much time digesting all the teeny tiny tidbits of the lives of people who, honestly, weren't really my friends.  Worse, I found myself envying others based on photos of vacations to exotic places, or how many people had wished them a happy birthday.  Not healthy.  So I quit.

It wasn't long before I began to get e-mails from friends wondering whether I had "un-friended" them.  No, of course not.  I had unfriended Facebook (or so I thought - I'm still not certain that my account has been fully deleted).

Now, nearly a year later, all too often when I catch up with friends, I'm surprised (and saddened) to find that I've missed hearing about significant events in their lives. 

"Yeah, I put those pictures on Facebook."

Because almost everyone is on Facebook.  And it's easy.  And on the surface, I guess there's nothing terrible about that.  But just as the advent of e-mail has virtually wiped out the art of letter-writing, and just as text and instant messages have begun to erode e-mail (not to mention basic spelling and punctuation), Facebook is slowly chipping away at long-distance friendship.  When you keep up a friendship through correspondence and phone conversations, there is the capacity for give and take, for tangents, for real emotion and for reflection.  By contrast, the typical wall post is not only read by all of a person's "friends," but is only a few lines long.  No matter how many photos or status updates a Facebook user posts, a Facebook profile is still just a two-dimensional depiction; a person in brief.  I don't know about you, but I prefer my friends to be the three-dimensional variety.

Quitting Facebook didn't exactly fix this problem.  I am left out of the loop a lot of the time, because my friends forget that not everyone is on Facebook.  But at least I remember to email or call them, because otherwise, I'd have no idea what they were doing.  And then we can interact like real live people.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I have always been the type to start playing Bing Crosby on Thanksgiving evening, and to have all my lights up by Dec. 1.  This year, though, there's been nary a Melekalikimaka, and we only got our Christmas lights up today!  I'm hoping our neighbors are similar procrastinators, because at the moment, only three of about 40 houses in our cul de sac are decked out for the season.  It's a little bit sad.

I'll be digging out the Christmas CDs tomorrow, but our tree will have to wait until our return from Nebraska.  One perk of celebrating Christmas on the old calendar is that the season lasts six weeks!  We won't take our lights and tree down until Jan. 13.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Needle on fire

Natalya took a long nap this afternoon, so I was able to spend a few hours at the sewing machine.  I personalized a $1 Target stocking ...

... and then I sewed this fleece earflap hat for her.  It was meant to fit her this winter.  Oh well.  Guess I'll put it away for Moscow!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gobble gobble

I was going to write a long post about how life has changed and how accomplished I felt after cleaning three bathrooms, dusting and vacuuming upstairs, picking up the master bedroom and the two spares, sweeping the main level, starting the laundry and unloading and loading the dishwasher, all during the baby's 100-minute nap.  But she woke up hungry just as I settled down with a cup of tea.  So, I leave you with this photo taken on Thankgiving Day: Natasha with all of her aunts and uncles!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why is it ...

... that no matter how many burp cloths I use, or wear I place them, the baby always manages to spit up on the one clean shirt I have that fits?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pregnant, not fat!

So, a few weeks before Natasha was born, Jeremy and I decided to get supplemental life insurance.  Jeremy called USAA and got estimates for our policies, which were subject to change based on the results of our physicals.  I had to do a phone interview during which I divulged my diet and exercise habits, etc.  During the interview, the lady asked my height (5'8") and my weight.  I answered that it was [36 pounds more than usual - don't judge], and added that it was because I was eight months pregnant.  She asked whether I'd had significant weight gain in the last six months - I answered yes, because I was eight months pregnant.  She asked a few more questions related to my weight, and to all of my answers I tacked on the phrase "yes, because I am eight months pregnant."  She didn't seem to get it, but since I knew I would be seeing a nurse in person for my physical, I didn't sweat it too much.  A couple weeks later, the nurse came to the house.  When she took my weight (about 40 pounds more than usual - don't judge), I asked whether she could note next to it that I was eight and a half months pregnant.  She said there was no space for it, but that it was recognized elsewhere in the paperwork. 

Well, when we got our quotes back, mine was substantially higher than the estimate.  Jeremy called in to find out why, and they said it was because I was overweight.  He explained that I had been eight and a half months pregnant during the physical.  They didn't care ... apprently we have to pay the higher premiums for a year, at which time I can get another physical and have the rates adjusted accordingly.


Way to go, USAA!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wet wool and Kool Aid

Yesterday I dyed some yarn using unsweetened Kool Aid.  I had this idea for a variegated yarn in a combination of deep berry and vibrant purple.  So I went to  Giant to buy some Kool Aid in black cherry and grape flavors.  Only Giant was out of grape.  So I bought some blue raspberry lemonade, and some pink lemonade, then came home and assembled my tools.  (The flowers were from Jeremy for our anniversary).

I mixed my Kool Aid.  On the right is straight black cherry, and on the right is the cloudy purple I got by mixing the black cherry with the blue raspberry lemonade.  Not ideal, but I figured it would work.
Then I put my wool in the pot to soak for half an hour before adding the Kool Aid.  I could tell from the start that I wasn't going to get the saturated color I was looking for, but it was only my first try, and anyway, it would work for its intended purpose: longies for Natalya.

They looked a little like someone vomited up Pepto Bismol while hanging to dry, but I think the colors are prettier in the skein.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Almost six weeks

Time is racing by, though sometimes at 2:30 a.m. it doesn't quite seem that way (and by the way, why do we pay for cable when even the paid channels only air paid programming at 4 a.m.?). Natalya is well into her second month of life, and we've hit a few milestones: smiling while awake, holding her head up for more than a second at a time, and "standing" on her feet when you hold her up. Jeremy is trucking along in his Russian studies despite lack of sleep, and I'm trying my best at the hausfrau thing. I'll let you know when I have it figured out.

We celebrated our second anniversary last week.  The celebration was a bit different from that of our first anniversary, which we spent in Venice.  Less poop there.  This year, Natalya's Tetya Alya babysat so that we could go out for a nice dinner at our new favorite sushi place.  We got the boat.  It was way more sushi that two people should ever eat, but we took down most of it.  This baby weight isn't going anywhere ...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lesson of the day

Today I learned:

How to get poop stains out of sheets and baby clothing (a cold rinse followed by liberal application of Spray 'n' Wash and a hot wash).

How to get poop stains out of a PUL diaper cover (a cold rinse followed by a hot wash and drying in the sun).

How to get poop stains out of a wool Afghan rug (blot with a mixture of 50% cold water and 50% white vinegar. If the rug dye bleeds, just be happy that it's dye and not poop marring your beautiful carpet).

Life, it will never be the same.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Figlet is finally here, and it turns out that he is a she! We were both pretty sure we were having a boy, but earlier this week, I dreamt that I woke up from a nap during labor to discover that I had given birth to a baby girl with dark brown hair. Labor wasn't quite so easy (20 hours of active labor plus back pain due to the fact that Natalya was posterior, meaning that her skull was raking against my vertebra as she made her way down), but she does indeed have the dark hair!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our new master bathroom

We finished the master bathroom remodel about four weeks ago, but have postponed putting up the photos because we couldn't find the "before" pictures that it turns out, we never actually took. So you will just have to imagine the gross "before" bathroom - tiny little shower, dingy white tile, discolored grout, oversized vanity and cruddy light fixtures. And here is the after:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Being Old

Every once in awhile it hits me that I'm old, and only getting older. Like yesterday, Jeremy and I were at Target picking out a brown bathmat for our newly renovated master bathroom. All of a sudden I noticed, at the end of the aisle, a girl I knew from college. We had actually hung out a fair amount for most of my first year. And I could not remember her name. So I walked away without saying hello (after all, if I'd forgotten her name, she might have forgotten me entirely, and that would have been kind of embarrassing), and began to do the math in my head. My first year of college was 13 years ago.

I'm old.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


It seems both of us are! Today I

* cooked a huge pot of spaghetti sauce to freeze for meals after the baby comes
* washed and dried all of Figlet's newborn clothes, receiving blankets, washcloths and crib sheets, and put them all away
* continued knitting my latest pair of longies.

Today Jeremy

* put together my dad's old crib (which all of the Herbst kids slept in)
* installed the carseat base into our car and figured out how to adjust the actual seat
* finally hung the pictures on the wall (they'd been sitting on the floor in the upstairs hallway for two months)
* hung a tapestry in the first-floor hallway

We also attended a Cloth Diapering 101 session, took my sewing machine into the shop for a repair, hit a thrift store and a farmer's market, and did the week's grocery shopping. Now Jeremy's out with some A-100 buddies, and I'm watching old episodes of the original 90210 online. A very productive day.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Herbst women (minus Matriarch)

Last beach picture, but had to get the lovely ladies that prowl the beach in the summer.

More Beach Week

And then the waves came, and we surfed! Now surfing in the OBX is like downhill skiing in Nebraska. You can do it, you're impressed with yourself, but it's not going to win you any kudos out in the real world. But hey, I'm an expert now, so come to me for tips. Nick and I took a lesson (Tip #1: Buy a DVD and save some money). We had such a good time that we rented boards the next two days to try our hand (Tip #2: Make sure you have waves before you rent a board). Needless to say, we got others in the Herbst clan to overcome their shark fear (Tip #3: Don't watch Shark Week on Discovery before you come to the beach), and try out surfing. After a many falls, wipe outs and chapped nipples (Tip #4: Wear a shirt), we were surfers!

Beach Week

One week is too short. We definitely could have used another week at least at the beach. But the Outer Banks spoils you I guess. This year was especially interesting in that there were hardly any waves for the first half of the week. This allowed Masha to get in the water and play around, which was great for the baby since he seemed to be rocked to sleep by the calm water as he didn't kick Masha much the entire trip (check out the belly - it's huge). As you can see, we lounged in the intertubes, playing Cash Cab as the questioner pulled all the tubes around the ocean. Even got a kayak and practiced riding the waves in (I still feel bad for the idiot who wasn't aware that we were going to run into him. Obviously didn't get the memo about our family). But overall, it was great to get away from the office and just spend time with Masha, Figlet and the Herbst family. Now we are just looking forward to kayaking the lake in Omaha over Christmas!!! Love me some ice and snow!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More sewing :)

The stitching is messy, the fabric is bunchy and it took me two hours to sew, but I made a cloth diaper last night and I am SUPER proud of it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A new hobby

Last weekend, Jeremy flew to Oregon for his cousin Andy's wedding. He arrived in Portland around midnight on Friday and flew back Sunday morning, getting into DC around 10 p.m. There was no way I was going to make such a grueling trip at 32 weeks pregnant, so I stayed home and learned how to use my mom's sewing machine! The sewing machine box had not been opened in more than 20 years - she toted it around the world with her, but had not actually used it since I was very young. So it's a bit dated, but still works great. I made these cloth wipes with a yard of cotton flannel and a yard of terry. Got a dozen out of it, and have enough leftover to make four or six more. Jeremy is thrilled that I have yet another hobby that will involve leaving bits and pieces of stuff (like yarn and fabric remnants) all over the house.