Thursday, December 29, 2011

Disney Princess Fan Art

You may know by now that I love me some fan art! Especially if it's a realistic interpretation of an animated character. I have new discoveries to share with you!

I found a lovely set of life-like renditions of Disney princesses. They're by Jirka Väätäinen, a graphic designer/artist. He takes pictures of models and alters the photography adding other design elements to create his final products.

Here's Cinderella:

Jirka Väätäinen

Check out all his other work by following the link on his name. He's done most of the popular princesses and some other female Disney characters as well. When you go to his site, be sure to click "previous entries" at the bottom, because he's got a bunch of great artwork!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

IMDB Official

I haven't been acting since October, but it's fun to see the projects that I've worked on come to fruition. Yesterday I was checking on 365 Decision Time, which has a countdown to the end of post-production on the website. I followed the movie link to IMDB (Internet Movie Database), curious about what cast members were listed...

... And sure enough - there I am - the eighth cast member listed!

Check the IMDB movie page here.
Check my IMDB page here.

I'm totally on IMDB. I just smiled at it for a long time and thought, "That's not just a 'Deborah Kennedy.' That's me." Then I posted it to Facebook, because that's the quickest way to spread good news.

Even though I haven't had an opportunity (partially my fault) to act in the past couple months, I'm still experiencing the second-hand joys of acting. Soon 365 Decision Time will be in theaters, and I expect everyone to go see it.

I'll let you know when.

P.S. For all of you who are thinking or have said, "You need to get a picture up." I just have one thing to to say to you: Baby steps, people! Baby steps!

P.P.S. Go like 365 Decision Time on Facebook!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Movie Flowchart!

Inspired by my Christmas movie rubric, my friend Ray designed this sick nasty awesome flow chart for your movie-testing pleasure! I love it!

Enjoy!

Thanks, Ray! Check out some of his other work at his site!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Up-cycled Beer Bottle Christmas Decor


[I saw this gorgeous display at my sister's house earlier this month and I begged her to write a guest post on how she did it! So here it is, a tutorial written by Lydia! You can check out her other guest post here.] 


Earlier this year I made the decision to stop throwing away glass jars and bottles, and save them for crafts and organization. However, brown beer bottles are not very pretty, and there are only so many things you can do with them. 

I found this option on pinterest and thought to recreate it. I thought of doing an all-seasons “Welcome” and spray painting the bottles green to match our living room. But with Christmas coming, I decided to do a seasonal one since I could do welcome anytime (and certainly have plenty of bottles for it.) I planned to sharpie or paint the letters on, since I am too cheap to buy the vinyl letters. My bottles were going to say “Rejoice.” 

One day, I was perusing the holiday treasures of Target’s dollar aisle where I came across hanging glitter letters. I thought these would look more fantastic than my drawn letters, so I searched for the ones I needed. There was not a large assortment. Resigned, I moved on through ornaments and other decorations, when I realized that it is ridiculous to pay $1 per cardboard, glitter letters! Rather, I purchased some white glue and a variety pack of colored glitter! Let the crafting begin!

I started with 6 Blue Moon beer bottles. We like the pale ales, but you can use any bottle that you have. I decided to use the word “Noel” since it’s shorter and it’s my middle name. and have snowflakes on the ends.



The spray paint I got from my father, who is the epitome of handy and supplied. We had previously used this spray paint to create Gimli’s helmet for our halloween costumes. 


I spray painted the 6 bottles. While they dried, I began creating the letters. I searched the interweb for a long time before settling on a font. I had a very particular look in mind and none of them seemed to match it. In the end, I am not sure which font I chose, but I trimmed it to make it perfect. I printed the letters in a large font onto pieces of cardstock (my leftover wedding invitations) and cut them out. The cardstock was not thick enough, so I pulled out an empty cereal box, traced the letters and cut those out. Perfect. So simple. 

Now for the messy part. I had looked at this tutorial, but really, this is a pretty intuitive process, especially if you did any glitter crafts as a child. Spread the glue over the letters (I used an old paint brush), then pour the glitter over, let it sit for a second, then shake off the excess glitter. I had a really hard time keeping the glitter under control; it’s very unruly. I used foil, but a paper plate might be better. I tried to create the snowflakes in the tutorial, but I had used all of our printer’s ink with the letters, and I couldn’t seem to get it freehand. I bought a pack of 6 glitter snowflakes at the dollar store. I was able to use them with my clear bottles and white lights, also. 


I used some green ribbon leftover from our wedding favors to hang the letters. The “N” was tricky to get straight. I added some candles, and it’s a Christmas menorah. Well, sorta. 


The moral of this story is: never throw away anything! Seriously. Just stay organized. Oh, and never buy anything you can make. Especially Christmas decorations. 

I did my best to think of homemade gifts this year as best I could. Maybe next time I can share with you about the Nook Color case that I made for my mother-in-law! Until then, Merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Movie Rubric

What makes a movie a "Christmas movie"?

This year I had several friends and family tell me that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. I had never seen Die Hard, since it was released when I was two years old. This weekend I watched it with my dad and really enjoyed it, but I had a hard time accepting it as a "Christmas movie."

Of course, those who claim it as a Christmas movie (the number of followers in my circle gaining volume) are die hards about it. Pun majorly intended.

In defense of my opinion that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, I thought of movies that I call Christmas movies and discovered that they're not necessarily any more "Christmasy" than Die Hard. It therefore raised the following question:

What makes a movie a "Christmas movie"? Let's explore:

The Rubric

1. Is the word "Christmas" in the title of the movie?
Yes? It's a Christmas movie.
No? Move onto next question.

2. Does the movie include characters such as Santa Claus, Rudolph, Scrooge, or other classic Christmas characters?
Yes? It's a Christmas movie.
No? Move onto next question.

3. Does the movie take place or include scenes during the Christmas season?
Yes? Move on to next question.
No? Not a Christmas movie

4. Does the movie include scenes where the characters celebrate Christmas?
Yes? Move on to next question.
No? Not a Christmas movie.

5. Does any character in the movie make a decision or undergo a change in moral character which is heavily influenced by Christmas?
Yes? It's a Christmas movie.
No? Move on to next question.

6. Is Christmas one of the main focuses of the movie?
Yes? It's a Christmas movie.
No? Not a Christmas movie.


Die Hard's Rubric Challenge

Let's put Die Hard to the test.

1. Is the word "Christmas" in the title of the movie?
No? Move onto next question.

It's called "Die Hard."


2. Does the movie include characters such as Santa Claus, Rudolph, Scrooge, or other classic Christmas characters?
No? Move onto next question.

Plastic santa in the closet doesn't count as a character.


3. Does the movie take place or include scenes during the Christmas season?
Yes? Move on to next question.

The movie takes place on Christmas Eve.


4. Does the movie include scenes where the characters celebrate Christmas?
Yes? Move on to next question.

John came to his wife's office Christmas party.


5. Does any character in the movie make a decision or undergo a change in moral character which is heavily influenced by Christmas as part of the plot?
Yes? It's a Christmas movie.

Technically, John McClain's initial choice to travel to L.A. to be with his family is because of Christmas. It could be argued whether or not that decision was part of the plot, since the film opens with him landing in L.A, decision already made.


6. Is Christmas one of the main focuses of the movie?
No? Not a Christmas movie.

The focus of the movie is survival and good triumphing over evil. Not Christmas.


According to this self-developed rubric, Die Hard sits on the fence on whether or not it's a Christmas movie. Using the phrase "Now I have a machine gun. Ho, ho, ho," doesn't throw it over to the Christmas movie side. It failed question six and only passed question five with explanation. It's just a tough call, which is why I called it into question in the first place.

I put some of my favorite movies through the rubric, and they don't pass so easily either. Some of my failed movies were Meet Me In St. Louis, Little Women, You've Got Mail, and When Harry Met Sally. There's Christmas scenes, but that's about it.

I hope this rubric is helpful to you as you determine your holiday movie viewing schedule and what truly constitues a "Christmas movie."

I'm a fan of Die Hard and I recommend anyone who can stomach violence to watch it. But don't watch it with your kids, because they only say "Merry Christmas" if it's followed by M-F-er. Yippie ki-yay...

What other Christmas movies barely squeak past the rubric? Do you think my rubric is comprehensive or have I missed something important? I want to hear your feedback, especially from you die hard Die Hard fans!


Also - check out Ray Lau's flowchart of my rubric!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Disney Stranger

Zane and I went to Hollywood Studios earlier this month. He rode the updated Star Tours ride, and I waited outside the gift shop for him. The following events ensued:

I sat on a curb. A woman with a cane came by, sat down and asked, "Do you have a cell phone I could borrow to call my daughter? Mine is dead."

"Sure." I fished out my phone and handed it to her.

"Oh a Razor! I loved my Razor. I wish I still had it. It was my favorite phone ever. Are you on T-Mobile?"

"Yes." I'm thinking to myself, I hate my phone.

"I loved T-Mobile! You know, they're coming out with another Razor soon! I'm going to get it." She called her daughter, explained where she was, and handed me back the phone. I thought she was going to leave, but she turned to me and said, "So are you here with your parents?"

"No, I'm here with my husband."

"Oh, your husband! You look so young! How old are you?"

"Guess." That's my new game, since I started acting.

"24."

"Nope, 26." I dont' know why I said that, because I'm 25, but I guess I've been thinking that I'll be 26 when the baby comes. It just came out of my mouth. Afterwards, I figured it wasn't worth explaining that I forgot how old I was.

"Oh, my son's 26! That means you were born in 1985!"

I just went along with my lie. "...Yep..."

"Guess how old I am."

Crap. I hate playing that game. "Um...35?"

"Nope!" She takes off her glasses, "Try again!"

"Um...43?"

"Nope! I'm a lot older! Try again."

"Um...52?"

"I'm 56! I don't look it, do I?"

"Nope."

"Those earrings are pretty, did you get them here?"

"No."

"Oh, well they sell that kind of stuff here. Why aren't you riding the ride?"

"I'm pregnant, and it says you're not supposed to if you're expecting."

"Oh, you're pregnant!!! That's wonderful!!!" Then she hugged me. Throughout the 30 minutes that Zane was in the ride, she told me about her three marriages, her bunion surgery, and her son's hobby of building light sabers (which I told her that he should sell them online), how her son's and my birthdays are only a year and a day apart (actually 2 years...oops).

It was totally surreal.

Eventually her daughter came and found us. She looked right at me and said, "Hi, I'm Julie."

"I'm Deborah."

Then the lady looked at her daughter and said, "This is Deborah! She's married and she' having a baby!"

The daughter lit up and said, "Oh congratulations!!!"

Then Zane came out, and I said, "That's my husband."

The lady looked at him and said, "Congratulations!!!"

It was totally surreal for me, talking to a stranger at Disney about her bunion surgery. She told me to tell my mom never to get surgery on her bunions because that's why she walks with a cane now. That advice goes out to all my readers.

The strangest part was her hugging me when I told her I'm pregnant. Even strangers are excited for us! So weird!

Sonograms = Wow

This is exactly the kind of post I would have never wanted to read during my time of infertility, but here I am writing it. I won't judge anyone who passes on reading this post, because I totally understand. Even if it's not painful, other people's ultrasounds aren't as exciting as your own (at least in my opinion).

This week we got our 12-week ultrasound.

During the 9-week ultrasound, we were just in awe that there was something inside of me. All we could see was a little peanut and a heart beating rapidly in the middle of the bean-shaped figure.

9 weeks is a bean-shaped figure

This time, we weren't so surprised to find a baby in there, but we were pretty shocked at the development in only three weeks. He's only two inches long, but he has all his parts and looks like a little baby.

I'm saying "he," but only because it's easier than saying "he or she" all the time. It could be a girl. Who knows?

12 weeks is more baby-like

By far, the coolest part was watching him move. Nine-week in-womb babies are stationary, but 12-week-ers are mobile!  

We had to get him to turn on his back, like in this picture above, but he was so comfy on his side. The ultrasound tech poked my stomach, but it wasn't helping, so I jammed my fingers into my abdomen and saw the walls of the sac (black part of that picture) go inward where I poked. Then he squirmed around. 

Dude, it was so cool. 

I was like, "This is my first interaction with my baby!" 

The ultrasound tech laughed. 

We got to see his spine and all his ribs, his legs and toes, his arms and fingers and little nose. His heart was beating nice and fast. His brain has both lobes. His straight-on picture is kinda freaky, so I'm not going to post it. It's kind of alien-like, because his brain lobes are so proficient. He looks like he's plotting to kill you or snatch your body. Or both.   

This ultrasound experience made the pregnancy feel the most real. 

I remember him moving around in there, and I think about what he's doing when I'm just going about my day. He doesn't have a care in the world, and soon he'll be in this world of sorrow and joy and scariness and excitement. We'll guide him, protect him, and help him become a person of his own. He'll be a little person!

These are the kinds of thoughts that I've been wishing for so long that I could think. Now I can. It is such a privilege to be able to dream about my kid, who's in my belly right now. I'm so blessed. 

And if it turns out that it's a girl, I'll only feel slightly bad for referring to her as a boy for these first few months. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Lights and a Corn Maze

Happy Holidays!! Thanksgiving to New Years is just one big holiday celebration. Sometimes it can get muddled together too.

In the beginning of December, Zane and I went to Hollywood Studios for the day. We had free tickets from volunteering at the Disney Marathon in January, and since we enjoyed our trip to Magic Kingdom so much last year, we decided to do another Christmastime Disney trip this year.



We meandered around most the day, taking our time. We only did a couple rides, ate a couple meals, took a nap in the car, and went back in. It was very leisurely. We didn't want to rush around, and eating and sleeping are what keep me in the best mood these days. 

Disney does Christmas very well. We went to Hollywood Studios for the Osborn Family Spectacle of Lights, which neither of us had ever seen before. 


We were not disappointed!


It was pretty insane. 


So insane, that I had to leave the area after fifteen minutes or so, because the lights were inducing nausea! I've never had that problem before, but this Christmas it's happening with all Christmas lights, so it must be the pregnancy. 

The next weekend we went to the corn maze! We had a Groupon that we bought in September, that expired on the 11th, so we figured we ought to go. We had planned on going the day before Thanksgiving, but my foot was still healing, so I didn't think I could walk around a corn maze. 


The corn was all dead, so finding the stations was actually easier in some ways. Here's a picture of a station that we saw between dead stalks. That's the only picture we took this day, because I couldn't make it through the whole maze. I failed in preparation and didn't bring water or a snack. We only spent about 50 minutes in there, before I had to get out and get something to eat!

Zane was upbeat and accommodating. In the past, we've tried to find all the stations, but my body was not cooperating this year.

Since then, we've just had one holiday party after another. It's been a fun season so far. We even received our first baby gift at Zane's work Christmas party. It's a pajama one-piece thing that says, "Future Quarterback." They pegged it for a boy. We'll see. Or it could be a girl with a great arm.

10 days until Christmas! Are you all ready? I'm wrapping presents tonight!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Auditions Adventure: Maternity Edition

I haven't acted since October. I had lofty plans to go to auditions in November, but it was right after I sprained my ankle, and I was afraid they wouldn't cast me if I limped into the audition.

Yesterday I went to an audition downtown. I wasn't sure if I should go, since I don't know when my baby bump is going to start showing. I decided to go, and let them see me and see if they liked me enough to work with me. I was hoping it was scheduled to shoot in January, when I might not be showing much.

Plus, I wanted to act. I haven't acted in something like six weeks. It feels like forever.

I walked into the audition and was delighted to see a fellow Art-Saker behind the casting table. That always puts me at ease. He was the reader, which was even better.

We ran through it once. I got an adjustment. We ran through it again. I felt really good about it. The casting director seemed to like what he saw. He asked if I had any questions, and the conversation went something like this:

"Yes. When are you scheduled to shoot?"

"We're starting principle photography in [some spring month] and are planning on shooting in late April to mid June," said the casting director. "What's your availability like then? This role is a supporting role, so we wouldn't need you to be there the whole time."

"Um, my availability isn't that good. Well, actually I am available, but I'm in the early stages of being pregnant...so...I'm pretty sure I'm not a good fit for this role."

Exclamations of surprise and congratulations, "Oh! Congratulations! Wow, well, you're glowing!"

Nervous laughter from Deborah, "Yeah, so if there's a pregnant role..."

"Actually...there is..." Casting director people talk to each other about the particular scene and proceed to ask if I could be aged up, would I cut my hair, how far along will I be and how that might really work.

They were really nice about it, even though I felt awkward declaring that I am pregnant. I used to think that pregnancy was the announcement of doom in acting, but this made me hopeful that I could still do small roles in the near future. Nine months is a long time to not act, not counting post-partum recovery.

We'll see if it works out. I hope it does. There's definitely no guarantee, but it was a really encouraging experience either way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

God's Goodness

I mentioned in a previous post that I'm working through a lot of thoughts and emotions with this new pregnancy. One of those thoughts is God's goodness.

God is good, but not because He gave us a kid.

I spent months being really frustrated with God and wondering why He would be so mean to me by not letting us get pregnant. My heart was ruled by pride and entitlement. I see it in myself still. Through counseling and God's grace, I was able to believe that He is good no matter what.

My circumstances do not define God's goodness, neither do His gifts or lack thereof.

After Job was stripped of all his earthly possessions, his family was killed, his life was basically crap, he says this in Job 1:21, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised."

Basically, I didn't come into this world with anything, and I can't take anything with me when I go. No matter what God gives, doesn't give or takes away, He is worthy to be praised.

That's tough to swallow when you're suffering.

But Jesus suffered worse than anything I could go through. It was because of His suffering and victory over death, that I can know any depth of peace in this world. The gospel is proof of God's goodness. Am I so self-absorbed and entitled to think that having a baby is a greater gift than grace and life? Than knowing God? That I would call Him mean for withholding a baby, while He gives me all kinds of riches in knowing Him personally? Audacious. That's what I am. Yet He loves me.

But I'm pregnant now...so...

I guess I'm not really suffering anymore. I can't forget what I went through either. I also can't be naive to think I'll never have future hardships. I find myself guarding my emotions. I'm thankful, glad, and excited for this baby, but it looks a lot different than it might have looked had we never dealt with infertility.

Basically, God isn't good because He gave us a kid. He's good, and He gave us a kid. He was good before that, and if He takes our kid away, He'll still be good. That's truth.

God is good all the time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Girl In The Steel Corset

All it took was the beautiful cover and a great review from Lisa for me to read The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross. Actually, it also took my sister checking it out from the library.

As far as steampunk literature goes, I've only read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This was my first exposure to the new wave of steampunk, and Cross does it well.

It's the story of Finley, a teenage girl with mysteriously dark, super human strength. She has a hard time finding a place to fit in Victorian England, where dirigibles fill the sky and robots serve as bartenders. A velocycle accident introduces her to Griffin, a young duke, who has unlimited resources and super-human secrets of his own.

Cross describes her book as "teen X-men meets the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

I spent the first three quarters loving this book. Cross does a great job with characters, details, and setting up a beautiful steampunk world of mystery and creativity, but the plot really dragged for me. Toward the end, I set the book down for longer periods of time before finally forcing myself to finish. By the time the final [anti]climactic scene came, I was thinking, "That's it?"

It looks like Cross set herself up for a series, but I don't plan on reading the next books, unless I hear that they have more complicated or intriguing plots than the first one.

All that to say, I would recommend this book, especially if you're interested in steampunk. Cross does steampunk extremely well, and it's a great introduction to a genre that is growing in popularity. This book has gotten some great reviews, so just because I didn't love it, doesn't mean you won't.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

You're a Cute One, Rufio!

I've been trying to come up with good alternative lyrics to the Mr. Grinch song about how wonderful Rufio is. All I have so far is:

"You're a cute one, Rufio.
You really are so cute!
You're a cuddly little muffin man, my wittle pumpkin face,
Rufioooooo!
I would cuddle you in my arms all the time!"

I admit, it's not my best work.

Some people have asked me how Rufio is taking the pregnancy. Though he obviously doesn't understand us when we tell him there will be a baby, he definitely understands something.

Almost as soon as we found out we were pregnant, he started acting different. He's more cuddly, more subdued, and more attached to me. He used to enjoy being in the same room as me, not necessarily near me, but now he wants to be touching me all the time. He lies across my stomach, or up against my legs or back when I'm taking naps, which I do a lot these days.

We thought it'd be funny to stuff Rufio in my sweatshirt, but he quickly found an exit out the top. 

Zane and a coworker were working in the living room the other day. I was taking a nap in the bedroom, and when I came out, Rufio lay next to me on the floor of the living room. Zane's coworker said that he'd never seen Rufio so calm. Before I came out, he was running around and barking.

He also checks on me when I'm lying down. He'll jump on the bed and smell my face as if to see if I'm breathing. If I'm on the couch, he'll to climb over me to check, usually stepping on my face in the process.

It's mostly with me, but he's been more cuddly with Zane too.

Maybe he senses the upcoming separation. But I think he'll be a great big brother, checking on the baby and cuddling with him/her. Maybe he'll be like nana from Peter Pan. Hopefully. We'll see.

Friday, December 2, 2011

November News

I only wrote three posts in November, due to a lack of motivation, due to fatigue, due to a little secret.

All the many things that happened last month were mixed up with being pregnant, so it was hard for me to tell stories and leave out that important detail.

Even my sprained ankle story was more intense than I first shared because I was six weeks pregnant when I fell. Compensating for my ankle took a much heavier toll on my body because I was already super tired, and there was an initial scare that I had messed something up inside. Praise the Lord, I didn't fall on my tummy.

Thanksgiving
Photo by Eddy Badrina

Here are some highlights of our November - it was a whirlwind month!

1. We visited our friends in North Carolina. We had a fantastic time, celebrating our pregnancies and playing games. That was also when my nausea first started to spike. I think I'll always remember everything I ate during that trip, because every meal was hard. It was an extra blessing to share the joy of our pregnancies during that trip.

Photo by the Gjertsens

2. I had my first prenatal appointment, which made the pregnancy feel more real. I also got my first flu shot ever...for the baby. The first of many sacrifices. I hate shots, so I never used to get the flu shot. I also never contracted the flu.

3. Zane's brother got married! It was a beautiful wedding. This is also when I sprained my ankle. The only story I shared on the blog. I danced as best I could on one leg, and Zane did a great job taking care of me while tending to his groomsmen duties. After the wedding, we shared our pregnancy news with some of Zane's family, which was really special.

Post-wedding fun!

4. The drive back to Orlando after the wedding was rough. It marked the worst moment[s] of nausea to date, and I hope I never go back to that dark place.

5. I stayed a week with my parents during Zane's second week working in Jacksonville. I was scared I would fall in my house alone, since I couldn't walk with my sprained ankle. I also cancelled all my plans because I was completely knocked out (and up! hardy har har). Thank you, mom and dad, for taking such good care of me that week. It's nice to be with mom, especially when you're sick.

6. I saw the latest Twilight movie with a bunch of friends. I totally related to Bella throwing up her chicken, and I look forward to when Zane touches my tummy and tells me what our baby is thinking.

Nine weeks along.

7. We had our first ultrasound. It was such an amazing experience to see the little heart beating so fast. This picture is a little different than the one on our announcement post. I cannot wait for the next one at twelve weeks!

8. Thanksgiving was crazy. We spent time with my family Friday and Saturday, and then drove over to Zane's family for the rest of the weekend. It went by fast, like all holidays do. The only picture I took was of Rufio on the car ride over to Plant City.

Asleep on a duffle bag.
9. I met my friend's sweet little newborn. While I was holding her, I was thinking about how little her hands are, her little fingers and fingernails. I thought about my baby's developing fingers, and how they're even tinier than the newborn's. My head almost exploded. The development of human beings is insane. Just absolutely crazy awesome. It also made me super excited to meet little baby Kennedy next summer!

10. We wrapped up the month with publicly announcing the pregnancy. Thank you for the love!! It's more than I can handle at times. I told Zane that it almost seems like other people are more excited for this baby than I am - and lemme tell ya, I'm excited!

That's a summary of our November. Because of the pregnancy, it ended up being different than I would have ever expected or planned for, and I couldn't be more grateful for that! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Love and Scampi

Five Decembers ago Zane and I started dating. A couple weeks after our first date, he invited me to his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party a few days after Christmas.

I was more excited about Zane than I was about Christmas, but I was pretty nervous about meeting everyone else. Usually you meet the parents and branch out from there, but I jumped in with both feet. Total immersion.

December 2006

I remember exchanging witty remarks with his grandpa and being totally intimidated by my future sister-in-law, you know, because she's gorgeous and was established in the family. I couldn't tell apart his aunts because they all looked alike to me, and their husbands too - three blonde sisters married to three tall brunette men.

At dinner I ate shrimp scampi. It was delicious.

After dinner we all ended up in his grandparents' large suite. I remember standing in the doorway chatting with one of the aunts, an uncle that I don't think went with that aunt, and Zane's mom. Outside the door in the hall was Zane and his two cousins who were six and seven.

In the middle of a really sweet story about Zane's childhood cancer and how he named his stuffed animal "Mr. Positive France," I let out an awful, awful SBD.

SBD - flatulence described as "silent, but deadly." It was the scampi. It wasn't sitting well.

I pretended not to notice. But it was bad. It was BAD. Zane's aunt continued in her story, and his uncle and mom also pretended not to notice. That must be adult protocol for smelly farts.

Just when I thought I was out of the woods, Zane turned to his young cousins and said loudly, "Alright, who cut the cheese?"

At that moment, I became intensely interested in what Zane's aunt was saying, hoping to God that Zane would drop it.

Zane didn't drop it. He kept asking the boys, trying to draw out a confession. The first cousin said, "It wasn't me!"

My palms got sweaty. They were going to find out. I was going to be exposed as the farty girlfriend.

Zane turned to his other cousin and said, "Did you do it?"

My heart started pounding. I wasn't getting away with this. I had no idea what Zane's aunt was saying anymore. My frozen smile was in her direction, my focus was on the kid. My future hinged on this boy's response.

He laughed.

I sweated.

He giggled.

Zane waited for an answer. I knew the inevitable "no" was coming.

Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles - praise the Lord, he just laughed. He never said "no." The kid just laughed. I will forever be grateful to that kid for remaining silent and laughing in a guilty manner. I don't know why he laughed, but I know he saved my life.

These boys saved my life. 

After the family went to bed, Zane and I walked through the streets of Mt. Dora. It was freaking cold outside, but we wanted to be together.

I told him about the fart. He laughed and started calling me scampi. I resented it.

A little while later he told me that he loved me. I laughed and called him scampi. Just kidding. I didn't do that. I think I told him I couldn't tell him that yet, but he was okay with it. He knew his heart, even while I still was figuring out mine.





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Thank You's


I've been thinking this over for a long time and the best way to say it is this:

First, thank you to everyone - each person - in our lives who has cried with us, listened to us and supported us during two and a half years of infertility. Every new person who shared with us your personal story has encouraged us and given us hope, even when life seemed hopeless.

Thank you to everyone who believed we would become pregnant one day. You believed it when I didn't or couldn't.

Thank you for everyone who prayed for us. There were many times I cried out in desperation to God to give us a child, but there were so many more times that I couldn't. I was too tired or bitter or depressed to ask anymore. But you guys didn't stop asking. You prayed for us consistently, some of you daily, for months and years. How can I ever thank you?

God said yes.

After nearly 30 months of failure, confirming that we have no control over our own fertility, God allowed us to conceive. He's given us a baby, safely growing in my tummy.

Only He can truly open the womb. He's the only one who allows a timely ovulation. He's the only one who makes sure that little sperm gets all the way to the egg. He's the one who oversees a little baby egg to implant in the proper place. There are so many miracles in conception - and only He can make them happen.

We didn't do anything different. We just waited (not necessarily patiently).

Thanksgiving 2011
Baby Kennedy due 6-29-12
Photo by Eddy Badrina


Second, thank you for your joy. When Zane and I found out we were pregnant, we didn't jump for joy. We were afraid. We were in disbelief. We were scared of miscarriage. We weren't exactly happy, because we couldn't believe that we were actually pregnant.

It wasn't until we shared our news that we started to experience joy.

To those who we told in person or on the phone, I treasure in my heart each of your reactions to our news. The hugs, tears, gasps, screams, shouts, looks of shock, exclamation points, fist-pumps - they're all in my memory, and I replay them frequently. I don't know if I've ever been as excited about a pregnancy as you all have been about mine. I don't deserve it. My heart is overflowing with joy because of your love and care and excitement for us.

Every new word of congratulations reminds me of what an awesome miracle this is. How long we've waited for it, and how it's really real.

Nine week ultrasound done the day before Thanksgiving.

Here's our little 2.19 centimeter nugget. We saw his/her heart beating at 180 beats per minute. Zane and I couldn't speak, we just stared at our baby with tears in our eyes, completely in awe.

Baby Kennedy is ten weeks today.

Thank you for your prayers, for your joy, and for your continued support as we figure out how to be parents. I'm discovering a lot of things about myself as I wrap my mind around this miracle. I'll share them with you in the next days.

Finally, thanks for your patience with my blog silence. I discovered that it was really hard to write without sharing my little secret.

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord." Psalm 113:9

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On My Sprained Ankle

I have lived a very safe life. Until Friday, I had never broken, fractured, sprained or twisted anything.

Friday night I was walking down a dark staircase on my way to Zane's brother's rehearsal dinner, and I missed the last stair. Instead of tripping and laughing and going on with my life, I rolled my ankle inward, and landed in a heap of silent tears. It was painful.

That's the bad news, but here's the good news:

  • I missed a step on the short flight of stairs before a landing. I could have missed a step on the longer flight and fell down the whole thing. 
  • Zane's grandparents were in front of me, but had already turned the corner. I could have taken them with me if they had been closer or I had missed a stair on the long flight. 
  • I only sprained an ankle. No breaks, no head injuries, no any other bad thing. 

The rest of the weekend was spent with people carrying me around, mostly my burly husband. Thank the Lord for him. I even danced a little at the wedding on my good leg.

Siblings! Us with the bride and groom at the rehearsal dinner. I love being friends with family. 

This injury has also exposed two flaws in my character.:

  1. I don't like asking for help. I like being able to do stuff on my own, but I physically cannot do things right now. It's pretty humbling. 
  2. I'm embarrassed by my disability. Zane and I went to Bealls on Saturday, and he wheeled me around in a wheelchair. I was so embarrassed to be in a wheelchair! Then I felt ashamed for being embarrassed! 
Everyone has been so helpful to me. I can't thank them enough. Zane carried me around and took really good care of me Sunday night, when my exhaustion was at it's peak. He unpacked for us and helped me shower and wrapped my foot with ice. I'm so blessed to have a husband like him. 

Monday was rough. My body was already tired from the weekend of holding onto Zane, while he carried me. We only own one crutch, so getting ready for work was really difficult. Then getting to my desk was even more difficult. I just sat there and cried. My dear coworker was so sweet and wheeled me around at work. She arranged to get me another crutch and suggested that I take Tuesday and Wednesday off to recuperate, so that's just what I'm doing. 

My mom has also been really helpful while Zane is at work. I am seriously blessed to live so close to family. 

Here I am in bed on Tuesday. I slept all morning, which is a pretty good indication of how tired my body is. My arms, my good leg, even my torso muscles ache from all the extra work they've been doing to get me around the last five days. My ankle isn't as swollen as it was, so hopefully I'll be back to walking by the end of the week. 

It's such a minor injury, but it has major effects on one's life. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Prepare for Trouble!

And make it double!


To protect the world from devastation.
To unite all peoples within our nation. 



To denounce the evils of truth and love. 
To extend our reach to the stars above. 


Jessie
James


Team Rocket blasts off at the speed of light!
Surrender now or prepare to fight!


Meowth! That's right!


A side view of my Jessie fascinator.

Best quote of the night from a middle-school aged trick or treater, "Pokemon was my favorite game for...well, it still is!" We encouraged him in his gaming. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween: Halloweens Past

I love dressing up for Halloween (or anytime costumes are appropriate)! 

Let's take a glance at Halloween's past.

1991
That's me on the far left with my two sisters. My favorite part of this is my Napoleon Dynamite boots.

I didn't do halloween while I was in school, so when I got to college, I was more than ready to let loose with my creative, non-scantily-clad costume ideas.

2005
I was a palm tree and my roommate was a carrot. 

2006
I was "Mysterious Woman in Black." I changed my gait, dyed my hair, and didn't talk. No one recognized me for the first half hour of the party. It was actually pretty uncomfortable being treated like a stranger among my friends. This was before Zane and I were dating. He didn't even know who was behind the mask when we were taking this picture. They were just indulging the photo request of a stranger girl.

2007
His costume went with his roommate that year, so I threw on some silk flowers and a sheer dress and let other people guess what I was. I got Greek goddess, woodland nymph and fairy.


2008

Our first married Halloween we did our first couples costume, Popeye and Olive Oyl. Sorry for the blur!

2009
Prisoner and his ball and chain. 

2010
Fairy! I used a real plant for my headband for my office party. Zane and I didn't dress up that year, because we were out of town for Halloween. I can't find the original photo file...so no picture for this one. 

2011 
Pikachu for the office party!

I hope everyone has a fun, safe Halloween tonight! Check back tomorrow to see our Team Rocket family costume!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Candy Corn Bottle Decoration

I saw this on somewhere else on the internet, so this isn't my original idea, but I wanted to make them for the Halloween party tomorrow.

This picture is off-centered and weirdly framed, but just focus on the pretty candy corn wine bottle.

I started with one wine bottle, five beer bottles, and a mid-sized apple sauce jar.

I painted them white with paint/primer spray paint. I let it dry for an hour. 

Then I did the orange part. I think my orange paint can was defective, because it ran a lot, even when I tried spraying from a distance. It just didn't spray evenly. I let it dry for another hour.

Then I added the yellow bottoms. I also touched up the white tops. I let them dry for another hour.

When I went out to check on them, the beer bottle yellow bottoms were still pretty wet, so I let them dry longer.  The wine bottle was dry enough to bring inside.  Here's how I plan on using it at the party:
But not on the floor. And don't mind that part of the mirror wall that is all gray. I didn't see that until I was writing this post, and I don't feel like taking more pictures. I'll put flowers or something in the apple sauce jar, since it obviously can't be used as a candle stick holder. 

I'm not very experienced with spray paint, so if you're like me, this is a good project to try! Cute Halloween decor for pretty cheap!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Team Rocket Costume: Meowth

This is part three of my Team Rocket Costume series. Earlier today I posted our Jessie and James costumes. Now I'll show you how I made a Meowth costume for my sister's dog.


By the time I got to making Meowth, I was totally in the zone, and didn't take any pictures of the process, but I'll describe it to you as concisely as possibly.



I used the bottom excess fabric from Jessie's turtle neck. I measured around Rufio's head and sewed a hood. Then I used the ends of the sleeves of Jessie's turtleneck and shortened them a little more for Meowth's feet. I sewed that onto the hood.


Used the same brown scraps from my Pikachu costume and hot-glued them around the ankles. I folded white fabric into a triangle for ears and hot glued them. Lastly, I hot-glued several layers of yellow shirt together and cut them into an oval. Then I glued that between the ears.


Rufio didn't like wearing it, but it's okay, because it's for my sister's dog. 

Check back on Tuesday to see Zorro as Meowth along with the rest of Team Rocket!