Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Roundup

This week involved a lot of recuperation sprinkled with writing and drawing.

Usually I go to Nia and yoga on Monday nights, but I had a holiday hangover.  I took the night to chill out. 

Tuesday night I started my newest article.  I also started a drawing of someone near and dear for an e-card I planned to send.

Wednesday night I originally planned to work on my article, but my back was killing me so I took some painkillers and rested.  And watched America's Next Top Model, of course.  But about my back issue -- it's been happening off and on for years.  I get inflamed muscles in my lower back, and they press on the nerve that runs alongside my sciatic nerve.  It's annoying and I don't know how to stop it from happening.  Anti-inflammatory painkillers like Advil help ease the pain when it happens, thank goodness. 

Thursday I went to pilates and then came home and begged Jeremy to make his famous grilled cheese.  He obliged while I got the baby ready for bed.

Annnd now it's Friday.  And I'm alllll alone.  Well, with two dogs, a cat and a sleeping baby.  Jeremy went to Colorado Springs this morning to help fix his dad's fence, and ended up needing to stay the night down there to finish the job tomorrow.  Booooo.  I have to say, though, I got a ton of work done on my article tonight AND wrote up a case study for the GW website without Jeremy here to distract me.  LOL

Loki has a vet appointment on Monday.  She is just such a sickly, miserable dog.  And right now she looks like a skeleton.  She's always been skinny, but there is definitely something wrong with her.  She keeps getting into things, digging in the trash, eating pieces of clothing that are left on the floor (ahem Jeremy's socks).  So it could be an issue with her digestion -- but she poops three freaking times a day, so no way could it be a blockage.  We care about her and we want her to be healthy and happy, but it's one issue after another with this dog.  We just can't seem to make her happy.  Prayers are welcome as we continue to try to figure out what to do for her.

Blog Stuff

So I'm maintaining three blogs now.  Which honestly gets annoying sometimes.  But then I actually like having the separation in content -- because let's face it, most of you probably know me as a friend OR writer OR artist.  But few of you know me as more than one of those.  So this makes it easy for you to read the content you want to read. 

Also, because I have my blog printed as a hardback book once a year, the writing and art blogs will be books unto their own.

I did move my writing blog to a new address this week, though.  I migrated it to WordPress: http://jmehring.wordpress.com.  The reason?  Well, I gotta learn WordPress, and practice makes perfect.  The GlobalWrites website is built on the WordPress platform, and all of us team members are responsible for adding/updating content.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jeremy's Blog

One of the great things about Jeremy is that he never stops surprising me.

Most of you know that my husband is a comic book fanatic.  But he's not just an avid reader, he's a serious collector.  He makes strategic investments in addition to his regular reading.  And the man knows EVERYTHING there is to know about Marvel comics -- the history, the writers, the editors, the artists, the process of publication, everything.

But even knowing that about Jeremy did not prepare me for the newest surprise this morning.  He started his own comic book reviewing blog.  And it's REALLY GOOD.  Especially for someone who doesn't write on a regular basis -- and, let's face it, a lot of our generation is lazy when it comes to written communications -- his writing is good.  I enjoyed reading it, even though I'm not a big comic fan.

Anyway, this blog was mainly to brag about my awesome husband.  He not only takes care of our daughter while I'm working, and does a ton of housework and errands, but now he's carving out time to blog about his biggest love in life (other than his family, of course).  I'm really extremely proud of him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter 2011 and Crawling

We started the Relative Relay on Saturday afternoon.  We packed up our overnight bags, the dogs and their kennel, and an amazing amount of gear for the baby, then headed to my parents' house in Castle Rock.

The boys ran a load of stuff to my brother's new house in Aurora (Jeremy hadn't yet seen the house) while my mom, Scarlett and I dyed Easter eggs.  I haven't dyed eggs since I was a kid.   It was so fun!

That night we had an awesome salmon (for me) and chicken kabob (for the carnivores) dinner.  I am constantly amazed at how easy my mom makes these meals look -- but in reality she spends a lot more time in the kitchen than I do.  Generational difference, or difference in attention span?  I'm not sure.

Scarlett went right to bed at 7pm in the playpen in my dad's office, which amazed all of us.  We expected at least a little argument from her since she was in a strange place -- but nope.  No problem.  However, she did wake up an hour later and required snuggles and a few ounces of formula to go back to sleep.  She didn't eat her full bottle before bed, so it was probably a good thing she ate more anyway.  And she stayed asleep through the night, waking at her usual 7:15am.  That kid is just awesome.

Sunday my mom (aided by me, my brothers and Lisa) made an Easter brunch.  While everything was cooking, we gave Scarlett her Easter Bunny gifts.  First were the colored eggs, which she promptly grabbed and put in her mouth.  It was cute until we noticed she looked like she'd smooched a smurf.  The blue dye had bled all over her face!  Yeah, we took the eggs away after that.  LOL.  Jeremy set up the Easter baskets from us and my parents on the floor in the living room, and covered them with a blanket.  He tried to coax Scarlett over to pull the blanket off herself, but she wouldn't do it.  So he removed the blanket and her eyes immediately lit up -- but she still didn't move.  It took a few minutes to convince her it was all for her.  But then she went crazy playing with her new stuffed animals, puppet, books, videos and sand pail.

After brunch we packed up again and went down to Colorado Springs to have Easter dinner with Jeremy's family.  Along with Jeremy's parents, all the nieces and nephews, Jeremy's three sisters, Grandma Schell and John, Adam and Jamal were there.  Everyone was fascinated watching the twins play with Scarlett.  Baby David especially gave her lots of attention, putting a hat on her, bringing her toys and kissing her cheek.  At one point Scarlett tried to "kiss" him back, and we had to explain to her that when you kiss a cousin it should be closed-mouthed and on the cheek.  Hahaha!  He got a face full of Scarlett slobber, poor kid.

Janet, even though she was not feeling well, still managed to set up an Easter egg hunt for the kids.  That woman amazes me.  Scarlett just watched, but the nieces were able to help the twins find eggs.  It was very cute.  Then Janet brought out the baskets the Easter Bunny had left for the kiddos.  Scarlett now has her very own Raggedy Anne doll.

We spent several more hours hanging out with everyone.  Scarlett refused to take a nap, so Jeremy and I were expecting her to have a hissy fit -- but she held it together.  We left in the evening, and the baby cried in the car for the last ten minutes.  She had finally had enough.  But she slept well that night and has recovered from the trip nicely.

I should note here, too, that Scarlett is now officially crawling.  She still prefers to army-crawl, but she can get up on her knees and move in a normal crawling position too.  It's adorable, and a little scary at the same time. 

Here are a few more pics from Easter:





Latest Article Live

For those of you interested in my writing work, my latest articles are live on HEB.com.  Details over on Penning the Way.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Pics

I will write a full blog post about Easter -- but until then, here are some pics.


Dying Easter eggs...




Easter morning -- the Easter Bunny has made the eggs very easy for Scarlett to find...





Beautiful girl, ready for Easter brunch!




The Easter Bunny has brought Scarlett so many presents, she doesn't know where to start!






Showing off her dress and her dog puppet...




Snuggles with Great Grandma Schell...




Snuggles with Cousin Selena...




David put this hat on her.  He likes to share with his little cousin.



Both of the twins are amazing with Scarlett, but David reeeeeally loves taking care of her...

 



Two can play at this game!
 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yoga Baby

My mom took some pictures at Mommy & Me Yoga this week.  Enjoy!

Can you tell Scarlett's happy to be out of the house?





















Oh boy!  It's time for squats with the chubby baby!





















She spends a lot of time like this -- trying to escape my mat to visit other people (in this case, Michelle).

9 Months Old

Cuteness squared.



Visit from Mom

I haven't written since Saturday.  I know, you're probably worried that I was sick or something.  But no -- just been a busy bee!

I did my Nia-Yoga combo on Monday night -- and this time I didn't pass out.  Wahoo! 

After getting back from the gym, I ate dinner with Jeremy and did some GW work.  I had talked to JoAnn on the phone on my way home from the gym and agreed to create a template for our team to use for pitches.  I am really good at creating templates, instruction docs, wireframes, etc.  Anything that provides information or instruction, I can create quickly and accurately.  I suppose I'd be a good tech writer.  I just haven't veered in that direction professionally yet.

And amazingly, I still found time to do the housework that Jeremy hadn't had time to get to that day.  We wanted everything to be spic-n-span for our Tuesday visitor.

Tuesday morning my mom arrived.  Yay!  She works from home, too, so we just shared space during our working hours.  She went to Mommy & Me Yoga with us (I'll post some pics she took later) -- but sadly no one else showed up for class.  Probably due to Easter travel.  So my mom got to see me work out, and Scarlett be a little scamp, but she didn't get to see Scarlett with the other babies.  Bummer. 

Jeremy went to the grocery Tuesday during the day so I made dinner for us all Tuesday night.  Then we watched Tangled (SO GOOD) and ate ice cream sundaes (ALSO SO GOOD).  Afterward my mom went to bed, and Scarlett woke up.  It was really weird.  Every so often she'll have a night where she wakes up an hour after she goes to bed, and it takes an hour to wind her back down again.  But Tuesday night she was just having a major hissy fit and would not stay down.  The last time I tried to put her down was 10pm, I think, and she finally stayed down.

Today Jeremy made us his special grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.  Then my mom left this afternoon.  I miss her already.  It was so fun to have her here, and it was great to have the extra help with the baby.  Because we both work from home, we understand each other's work needs, so we can coordinate schedules easily.  During breaks, we took walks together and played with Scarlett.  The last two days have been an absolute blast.

So tonight, back to the grind for me.  I have to put together some new pitches for GW, and then I'll be watching America's Next Top Model, reading my new Artist's Magazine, and probably practicing my drawing.  Life is good. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rainbow Baby

Mistakes and Hubby Housewife

I have been incredibly mistake-prone lately.  Like crazy forgetful.  Like leaving the garage door open, not thinking to bring formula for the baby when we'll be gone all day, missing entries in the checkbook register kind of forgetful.

Maybe it's Mercury in retrograde.  Maybe I'm not getting enough Omega 3.  Maybe it's the last two weeks of Scarlett's sleep troubles finally catching up with me.  I don't know.  I'm not having problems with work.  I'm still very thorough and prompt.  But Jeremy has a whole new arsenal of things to make fun of me for.  Honestly I'm happy I have such a laid-back husband.  If he had been making mistakes like these, I would have gotten on his case about it.

I finished the small edits the client sent back on my GW articles and illustrations Thursday night.  Did I mention that I sold illustrations along with these articles?  Yay portfolio fodder! 

Anyway, Jeremy and I curled up and watched some Walking Dead when I was done.  I am so hooked on that show.

Jeremy was gone all day Friday so I had the baby.  I tell you, reality smacked me square in the face that day.  It was impossible to get work done while trying to watch a fussy (because Daddy wasn't home), army-crawling baby.  AND I did a load of laundry, AND I made a stew.  I was beyond fried -- like off-the reservation -- by the time Jeremy got home. 

So that has made me rethink the whole job thing with Jeremy.  He is putting the hauling business on hold for now.  With the non-compete agreement still in place from his corporate job, he's got another year before he can go after the real money-maker accounts -- and we can't let the business cut into our personal savings.  It was a hard decision, but it had to be made.  So we thought maybe the best bet would be for Jeremy to get a part-time job. He's put in several applications over the last two weeks.  Nothing has panned out from that yet, but honestly I'm not sure that would be the best bet anyway.  He would still be working every day with the shifts offered at these places, I can't work and take care of the baby anymore, and daycare would take up all his earnings.

I realize that twenty years ago it would be a man writing this instead of me, a woman... but I think we are better off with Jeremy at home right now.  We are both picking up contract work where we can, and that helps make ends meet.  But my job pays the bills and provides insurance -- and Jeremy has the perfect temperament for being with the baby all day.  She's happy, I'm happy, he's happy.  So until a better opportunity comes along -- like something opening up with Jeremy's business, or him finding a job that pays enough for us to hire help with the baby -- I think this situation is going to be our best bet.

Besides, I get to walk out of my office and see my daughter and my husband whenever I want.  I'm spoiled rotten. 

Okay, so a completely different subject now.

We went to the Springs today. I had a hair appointment, and we wanted to spend some time with Jeremy's parents before David has his back surgery.  I was going back and forth about cutting my hair again or not -- but Jeremy told me last night he thought I should chop it again.  So I did.  I HATED the length it was at.  I felt like I had a "mom" haircut, no matter how I styled it.  So now it's back to short and pink.  Though the pink is just streaks this time.  Not all over the front.  I may grow it out this round.  At least to my shoulders.  I don't know.  We'll see if I can get through the "mom haircut" stage without taking scissors to it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Allergies and Baby Waking

I missed Nia last night.  I started feeling like crap late in the afternoon, and pure exhaustion had set in by 4:30.  I assume it was allergies, but it could also be a side effect of my newly increased Celexa dosage.

So I rested for about an hour after work, then went to my usual 6:30 yoga class.  Carmen, the teacher, really focused on stretching out our hips that session, and it felt sooooo good after being deskbound so much lately.

The baby has been waking up around 5am for the last week.  Most of the time I check on her and she goes back to sleep -- but last night she wouldn't go back to sleep.  So I took her to the couch (Jeremy's a loud sleeper) to try to snuggle her and wind her back down.  But she was so restless.  I finally found a position with her that helped calm her down, though -- belly down on my stomach, with her head turned to the side and resting on my chest.  She stayed asleep as long as she was held like that.

Every so often Scarlett has a week where she wakes up at night.  We haven't figured out exactly what causes it.  It could be teething pain, tummy pain, a nightmare, a noise from outside, hunger from a growth spurt -- we just don't know.  But the good news is it doesn't normally last more than a week and she's back to sleeping through the night.  Let's hope last night was the end of it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend Recap

I didn't have much of a weekend.  But I'm not complaining.

Friday night I made my Mexican casserole, and then I worked on a GlobalWrites project.

On Saturday, Scarlett and I met my mom at the new Babies R Us in Thornton to take advantage of their grand opening sale.  The baby is all set for summer now, and even has Easter shoes (thanks Mom!)!

Since it was a grand opening, they had character appearances at Babies R Us.  Geoffrey the giraffe, a yellow robot and a couple of storm troopers were all I saw, but Jeremy said Thor was supposed to be there.  LOL.  Scarlett watched Geoffrey and the robot from a distance and was quite interested.  But when the storm troopers came up to her, she stared with a mix of fascination and horror -- and when one of them extended their hand to her, she recoiled.  No crying, she just pulled back into her Gramz's arms.

After shopping, we went to Gunther Toody's for lunch.  As usual, the entire restaurant focused their attention on Scarlett, and she loved every second of it.  She's started waving to people now, and when she combines that with her scrunch face, she always gets a big reaction from people.

I dropped Scarlett off with Jeremy after lunch and headed over to the hospital to visit Della, Mike, and their new baby Orion.  Orion is so teeny tiny and beautiful!  He doesn't even weigh 6lbs, but he's almost as long as Scarlett was -- and she was pretty long!  He looks like a doll.  I already love him so much!

Tamara and her kids came to visit at the same time I was there.  I sometimes refer to her son Cohen as "Scarlett's twin".  They were both born on the same day, only a few hours apart -- and they have the same big blue eyes.  Cohen is more mild-mannered than my little drama queen, but he's more sure of himself when it comes to moving around. 

When I got home from meeting Orion, Jeremy had taken care of the dishes and put the baby down for a nap.  Have I mentioned lately how awesome it is to have him home?  So I cranked out some more GW work and then we curled up to watch some Castle episodes until bedtime.

Sunday morning Jeremy woke me up with sweet rolls fresh out of the oven and a monster cup of coffee.  Bless that man.  After breakfast I got straight to work.  I completed my GW articles, then got cracking on the illustrations.  I wanted to fit the style of the client's website, so I ended up having to re-draw all of my sketches in Corel Painter and Photoshop to get cleaner lines.  It took me most of the day, but I'm pleased with the results.  The client may or may not want the illustrations, but JoAnn and I thought it wouldn't hurt to present them -- even if they don't buy this set, at least they'll know it's a service I can provide in the future.

I didn't wrap up my work until about 7:30pm -- so Jeremy made us dinner and we watched more episodes of Castle on DVD.  Exciting, I know. 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

My Helper

Scarlett's Weird Sleeping Habits

I have to document this for later reference, so bear with me.

At night, Scarlett goes to bed at 7pm on the dot, and sleeps until about 7:30am.  Pretty normal.  But she has the weirdest sleep habits during the day.

She takes her first nap around 9am, and she sleeps until she poops -- anywhere from 45 min to an hour and a half.  She wakes up, we get her changed, she plays for about 30 min and she's ready for her next nap.  Again it can be anywhere from 45 min to 2 hours.  Then she's up for about two hours, sometimes less, and she's back down for her first afternoon nap.  If she sleeps more than 45 min, that's the last nap of the day.  But if she sleeps less, she'll be up for another hour or two and then back down again for one more nap before evening.

I'm not complaining that she takes so many naps.  But don't most kids her age (8 1/2 months) take only two naps a day -- one in the morning and one in the afternoon?

She's happy and healthy, and she's army-crawling/inch-worming to get to everything she shouldn't have, just like a normal baby.  So no real worries.  She's just a weirdo.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Work, Fainting and Crocus

Work, work, work.  That's what I've been up to.  But it's not all bad.

I spent Monday evening at the gym, first attending a Nia class, then yoga.  The back-to-back classes are a real challenge, but I absolutely adore both of them.  Unfortunately this week my yoga teacher decided to incorporate a lot of "fire" poses into the class.  Those poses are designed to build heat -- which normally is not a bad thing, but this week after an hour of shaking my butt in Nia, I got dizzy after 5 minutes of yoga.  That NEVER happens.  But I was literally standing there in Mountain Pose and the room started to close around me.  I had to sit down and let my blood pressure even back out.  The teacher came over, knowing I'm normally a tough cookie, and I waved her off with a whisper, "Got my butt kicked in Nia."

While I was at the gym on Monday night, I got an email from JoAnn with the details on my newest assignment.  I about fell over when I read it was due on Wednesday night.  So after I got home, I started dinner, took a shower, ate dinner (after Jeremy finished making it), and got cracking.  Between Monday night and Tuesday night I was able to get it done AND help out another team member.  Whew!

Scarlett and I went to Mommy & Me Yoga on Tuesday.  She was tired this time since she didn't take her second morning nap, so while she still did great, she didn't put on a big show for once.

I was able to finish my writing work early enough to do some botanical illustration last night.  I have the step-by-step photos and process over on Attack of the Muse for those of you who are interested.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Baby Shower, Jeremy Stuff, Nia and Sick Dog

Catching up on my weekend goings-on, here.

Della's baby shower was on Saturday.  Her mother-in-law threw it in the penthouse of one of the few towers in Boulder.  It was small and perfect -- just us gals and our little ones, eating Fatty J's pizza and ogling the shirtless college boys on the campus basketball court outside the window.  Oops, did I write that out loud?

Scarlett was the star of the show, as usual.  After a few minutes spent orienting herself to her surroundings, she quickly started her performance.  The first act was climbing on Sophie -- probably in an attempt to lick her face, because that's what Scarlett does best.  Sophie wanted to hold "Baby Scarlett", but was not happy when the baby got grabby.  For her second act, Scarlett "cheesed" everyone in the room in turn, prompting Shana to dub her "a ham".  Scarlett's third act was to try to steal Cohen's pacifier -- while she still had her pacifier in her mouth.  And the encore was leaning back and hitting her head (lightly) on the leg of my chair and then emitting a pitiful wail, complete with her lower lip sticking out.  She was fine after a moment of snuggling, of course, but that didn't stop everyone's hearts from breaking for her.

Jeremy was supposed to take Scarlett to her first swim lesson on Sunday.  But a combination of a snowstorm and Scarlett sleeping late due to a growth spurt made us decide to do the May session instead.

Jeremy has an interview for a courier job later this week.  It pays okay and we're hoping they will hire him part-time so he can keep his business running.  But it will work out how it's supposed to work out -- the universe always leads us in the right direction.

I am now addicted to Nia.  Yes, I have broken out of my yoga/pilates box and added a new drug to my repertoire.  It's on Monday nights, so I compromised with Jeremy -- I am now going to the gym for 2 hours on Monday nights (first Nia, then yoga), and I'm giving up my Tuesday night yogalates class.  He said I didn't have to give up the yogalates, but I think it's only fair.

Looks like I'm working every night this week and this weekend to get my first assignment with GlobalWrites done.  I've had insomnia pretty bad for the last week, so I guess that's going to be a blessing as I pull some late nights.

And finally, Loki is sick.  Again.  If you know Loki, you know this is not news, but rather a chronic event in our lives.  Maybe she should stop eating Jeremy's clothes and Cairo's litter.  Just a thought.

Bad Night

Scarlett had a rough night last night.  Thus we all had a rough night last night.

She woke up an hour after we put her down, and she wouldn't stop crying.  She was pushing my hand away when I tried to give her the pacifier.  After 30 min of that, we gave up and I brought her downstairs to the couch to snuggle for a bit.  We put Fern Gully in the DVD player and curled up.  It took her about an hour to wind down.

Then she awoke at 5am and had absolute hysterics.  The only thing that calmed her down was walking around with her.  I tried changing her diaper and she melted down.  Jeremy came in and tried to calm her while I finished changing her, and he picked her up when I was done -- but she still wouldn't stop crying.  She kept reaching for me, so he handed her over and she immediately stopped crying.  I guess she needed mommy snuggles.  I brought her to bed with me but she started hollering as soon as we laid down.  It took a few minutes to get into just the right position -- basically with my arms wrapped around her -- for her to finally sleep.

She had tummy problems yesterday, so we figure that's what woke her.  Poor thing. 

It's been so long since she has awakened at night like that, I had forgotten how hard the morning after is.  I'm hurting.  I am spoiled with full nights of sleep.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Double Date and Pitches

The radon test for the Northglenn house came back high.  :(  We're going to ask the seller to pay for the radon mitigation, so wish us luck.

Jeremy, Scarlett and I went to dinner at Tutti with Michelle, her husband Dan and their two kids tonight.  Their family area downstairs at Tutti is so awesome.  It's great that the kids have a play area, and the staff is used to the noise and energy, so we don't have to worry so much about our children getting loud or cranky.

This was the first time I had met Dan, and the first time Michelle had really met Jeremy.  Double dates are always a crapshoot, so I always go in hopeful but not heart-set.  In tonight's case, however, everyone got along beautifully.  The guys even had conversations with each other -- and how many times to MEN talk to each other?  It was so fun.  And Scarlett lasted the entire time without getting the least bit fussy.  Almost two hours after her bedtime, and not a peep of complaint.  It's safe to say tonight was a success.

It's looking like two of my pitches are going to get picked up in the next few days.  And one of the articles has a very tight deadline.  So I'll be working some long hours here soon, I think.

I'm going to try to find some time this weekend to pitch a few other publications, too.  The more money the better at this point.

And finally, I'm going to be putting together an online portfolio of my artwork soon because I found a publisher that I think would like my work.  So I may ping a few of you to get your opinion on what you think are my strongest pieces.