Friday, October 30, 2009

This one's for the family

Here's one for the family: the baby at 21 weeks. I signed up for one of those online updates that tells you what's going on with your baby week by week. Every week, the emails describe the baby's development, but the descriptions always come as different vegetables. One week the baby was a heirloom tomato. Another was a bell pepper. This last week it was as long as a carrot. I wonder how long they can keep this up. We could still size up as cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, rutabaga.....

The baby was very active during the ultrasound, and kept stretching out his or her legs. Several times we guessed it was a boy...other times, no a girl. Check out the picture and see what you think. It does look like frog legs, doesn't it?

We could see all 10 fingers and all 10 toes.

The big blog entry

The secret is out. We are expecting an addition to Team Schwartz in March!

Dave and I decided to err on the side of caution and wait to spread any word until after the three month mark. Then, we decided it might be nice to tell our families, if we could, in person about the first grandchild or the first-in-a-long-time grandchild. I don't think we actually sat back and realized this would be 5 months into the pregnancy, but we waited to share the good news in person and it was well worth the wait.

I told my family when I went home for Karen's wedding at the beginning of October. I generally don't like big announcements and the attention associated with it, so I told different people at different times. For me, it was nice treasuring each person's reaction and well wishes in private and I wouldn't have it any other way. Most knew I'd gained weight, and it was nice to supply them with a good reason why.

For Dave's family, we told them when we went to New Jersey this past weekend. Coincidentially, the wedding guests were staying in the same hotel where the New Jersey Professional Wrestling Association was also holding their convention. Every washed-up, puffed-up, over-dyed, tattooed and over-tanned wrestler of local fame was there. Some national big names were there too. Several had bald spots combined with the long ponytails. Several women had one enhancement too many. What did they do? Besides congregate around the entrances smoking a minimum of four packs a day, I really don't know.

But anyway. This was the setting for telling Dave's parents, already named Pop Pop and Meemaw by Jake, about their grandchild-to-be. Needless to say, they were excited.

After spreading the news gradually over the past several months, I've learned the basic baby questions. If I don't see you in person to answer your questions, I bet this gets it done:

1. My due date is March 12. That means right now I'm right at the halfway mark.

2. No, we're not finding out if we are having a boy or a girl. According to my doctor, more and more people are doing this too. You don't get many happy surprises in life, so why not? And, after seeing countless friends have babies, I've come to two realizations:

i.) It's much more fun for everyone involved not knowing. Otherwise, the only payoff at delivery is either how much the baby weighed or how long the mom is in labor. After we started taking out bets in my last newsroom on what the sex of the anchor's baby would be and seeing everyone so excited to spread the news when she had the baby, I decided this was definitely the best way to do it.

ii.) Besides, you get far fewer baby clothes at showers if the sex is unknown and more practical items instead. If grandma-to-be-gone-wild can't buy girl or boy clothes, chances are they will buy something you really need. And, they'll buy clothes after he or she is born too, I'm certain. (If grandmas-to-be are reading this, please know we fully expect and hope for the barrage of baby goodies! :) )

There's no right or wrong decision with finding out sex and I think everyone should be free to make their own decision here, but from my standpoint, this not knowing has been really fun so far. It's a daily guessing game with Dave and me, and we've laughed about it a lot.

3. No, we don't have names picked out yet. We go back and forth daily over a small list of 5-6 names, but we don't have anything set in stone now.

4. Girl or boy, we want a healthy child. And we mean that. Dave worked in high school with developmentally challenged children, and I've done several stories, especially up here, on autistic children. We've seen meltdowns, challenges, and the stress these parents face firsthand. So when we say we just want a healthy kid, we really mean that.

On a side note, Dave really wanted a boy when we first got pregnant. Then he started thinking. A few days later he said maybe we should hope for girls.... after all, they are the ones who usually take care of the parents later in life. So, we should have lots of girls so we are well taken care of. We don't get much choice, but we'll be happy with both.

5. Yes, I'm feeling fine right now. I did have the morning yucks for the first three months and felt like I could've slept 15 hours a day every day... but now I feel fine. I'm just gaining weight, but at least it's for a good cause. That still doesn't make it easy to get dressed everyday.

6. Yes, I'm wearing some maternity clothes. Having clothes in your closet that actually snap does boost your self esteem a bit.

7. No, I am not posting any fat belly pictures on here. I refuse to email fat belly pictures too. I don't trust the internet THAT much. The last thing I want a potential employer to see is fat belly pictures.

8. Yes, I'm taking off the maximum I can from work. It's not paid, but I figure it's one of the few times I can take a long stretch off from work.... and from what I hear, I'll need it.

9. Yes, I'm planning on registering at Babies r Us and (gulp) Target. But I haven't done it yet.

10. Yes, we are investigating day cares and nannies and the like. It's going to be tricky finding a place to keep a child until 10 pm at night.

I think that's the 10 most common questions answered. But stay tuned for more stuff, including an ultrasound that resembles frog legs.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Now Schmear this

While in New Jersey, Dave and I got to sample local fare with his family who drove down specifically to spend some non-wedding time with us. We enjoyed our time togehter, and there's no better way to spend it... than over a nice plate of bagels, lox, blintzes, and pastrami. Well, not everyone ate all of the above together, but we had a nice sampling at our table when we ate at Harold's New York Deli in Edison, New Jersey.

Harold used to operate the legendary Claremont Diner as well as the world-famous Carnegie Deli in New York. If he's learned anything from his
time as a restauranteur, I'd say it's size and quality do really matter.

This place had the biggest portions I've ever seen. Of course, they advertise on the menu that the plates feed 2-4 people. I'd amend that to say 2-4 very hungry people. It's no wonder people dine in parties of 15 here! I can't imagine the meat deliveries in this place.

Dave's dad and I couldn't finish an omelet that was the size of a meatloaf!

Jake took home most of his corned beef sandwich that stood nearly a foot high. (Most of the sandwich was meat and not bread)

These pictures of cakes and desserts don't do size justice. I should've done some sort of reference point. One slice would probably feed the entire table.... maybe 10 layers here?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ranch at the New Jersey Wedding

You can take the boys out of college, but sometimes you can't take the college out of the boys.

Dave and I journeyed to New Jersey this past weekend for the wedding of one of his college roommates. Scott is now a pediatrician working in the Bronx and his lovely wife Kristina does something on camera for a communications network in Connecticut. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with the Hobart College gang at their wedding.

Scott and Kristina said their vows in a beautiful Episcopal church that was built (by my guess) in the early 1800s. The wedding had many Irish elements to honor Scott's heritage, complete with a bagpiper playing as the couple out of the church. The reception was a lavish affair with beautiful flowers, lighted trees, a Yankee Stadium groom's cake, real silver flatware, Italian wedding songs to honor Kristina's heritage, and several yummy courses at dinner. It was held at a snazzy country club just a mile or so away from the hotel. I have to say the event was worthy to grace the pages of Bride's magazine or be featured on Lifetime. ((See the flowers on the cake? Those are edible. See the silverware? Someone had to polish that. ))

And where did the host knowingly seat the Hobart and William Smith graduates? At a table in the corner, and for good reason. We'd just gotten through the first course of thick, delicious crab cakes when a server brought around gravy boats of salad dressing for our next course. It took under two minutes for the guys to collect $100 bucks from the table-- enough to dare one of their buddies to drink the entire gravy boat of ranch dressing. And, Charles did it in one very long, very gross gulp while his buddies hooted and hollered and recorded it on their cell phones. We had the vinaigrette on our salads, but didn't feel like eating for a bit.

Another bet circled to get someone else to eat the plate of rose shaped butter pats, but they couldn't find a taker. Charles just sat there staring at his beer for awhile, not daring to start drinking again. I'm sure this event will be brought up every time the group gets back together. It doesn't matter that these men work in the financial district of Manhattan, for the gov't in DC, testing pharmaceutical drugs as phDs, or designing homes in Boston. They went right back to the mentality they had eight years ago.

Nothing works better to bring you back down to earth at a high brow event like this, than a gravy boat of full ranch dressing and a dare.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Curiosity killed the cat... and look what else:

A friend sent me a picture of an alligator that crawled into another friend's yard in Bossier City. This subdivision is not that far from where I used to live in Shreveport, Lousiana. The gator measured 8 feet 11 inches long, and predictably, someone shot it. Anytime we had a rain event in Louisiana, we'd get more alligator calls at the station than normal. They'd come up in ditches or bayous than run near the roads. But this year's deluge of rainfall in that region seems to have them a bit more curious than usual. In the case of this gator, that's not a good thing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In the spirit of Dylan

Bob Dylan lives at our station. Or at least one of his spirits does. He's conjured there by several fans of our production crew, who always have a song playing or are planning their latest cross country trip to see the famous Minnesotan in concert.

So, it came as no surprise at a wedding on Saturday that Dave & I were seated at a table bearing the name of a Dylan song, "Knocking on Heaven's Door." Weddings usually have all the flavor of the bride, but this was a decision that definitely was made by the groom.

Dylan references were made in toasts, and even by the officiant during the ceremony. At the reception, our director sang a song dedicated to the newlyweds.

This is the first wedding that I've attended as a blogger and not gotten a photo of the bride and groom. They were both happy, surrounded by friends & family, and basking in all that nuptial bliss. Really, it was a classy affair that the 12 crew really enjoyed.

I missed a good chunk of the ceremony and cocktail hour because I was glued to my cell phone waiting for updates of the Arkansas-Florida game. When Dave and I left the house, Arkansas was leading 7 points and had just recovered a fumble. That seemed nearly impossible. On the way to the wedding, I arranged for my brother and a friend to send me updates.... and if I hadn't had two texts coming in from both sides of the country, I might have thought someone was joking to say Arkansas was actually staying in the ballgame against the number one team in the country.

By the time the cocktail hour got there, we'd located a television in the hotel bar. When it was tied up with less than a minute to go, I negotiated with some Notre Dame fans to please, please let us change the channel. SEC football is nearly never on up here. We sadly watched the end of the game with quite a few wedding guests.

When the family members started giving a series sentimental wedding toasts, the evening still seemed to drag in a sweet, sappy way. But then, the best man offered his toast: "I'm only going to follow that with one toast: May your genitalia never fail ya."

The evening really picked up from there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not yet, please not yet

After a beautiful Minnesota summer where the temperature only topped 90 degrees two days, it looks like autumn could be on fast forward too.

We had two inches of snow on Saturday. It melted. Today we got 4 inches of snow. Most of it melted. There's not any on the pavement or sidewalks, but there was enough to see a few kids attempt to make snowmen.

Saturday, when I arrived to announce a 5K & 10K the DJ was actually playing Christmas carols. I loved watching the big, fluffy flakes fall all
day...but please, please not winter. Please not yet...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Emmy Winners

Here it is! My first Emmy.

It's a regional Emmy award for best cable show, and it's for a show the 12 News team did back in November. A coworker, Jen, entered the show and paid the fee on the sly, so we all were extremely excited when it was accepted so we could be 'nominated.' Since it was in a new category and against some tough competition, we honestly didn't think we had a chance. But we won, and it's been a big morale boost around the station.

And what was my story on? What else? Seniors! After three years of reporting on seniors and senior issues in Shreveport, it seems only fitting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crazy nights at the Dome

We've had some very busy sports days here in the Twin Cities, and everyone is still talking about the big Vikings win and the even bigger Twins win. Dave came home stinking of champagne and beer, after being sprayed during interviews in the Twins locker room after the game. This morning, he couldn't quit talking about the game and the celebration.

Unfortunately, when you are covering a story, you seldom get many pictures of you actually in the story.

So the only shot we have of Dave at the game (besides the live shot later) is this one. A friend took it. Dave and Jonathan are waiting in the wings, moments before rushing the field ... Jonathan laughing, Dave looking like he had a heart attack. The Twins did it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Judging Miss Wisconsin USA

I had my first experience judging a pageant in the Miss USA organization a few weeks ago, and it wasn't a bad one. I spent a beautiful weekend outside of Madison with a nice group of judges, that included two former Miss Wisconsin USAs, a guy who lives and works in Syracuse, and another guy who lives and works in cable television in the Twin Cities. We were instructed to pick a pretty girl, and we both the Miss and the Teen categories. And although the winter white pants seemed a good idea at the time, I didn't like them in pictures.

Homegrown Wedding

I've had several blog readers tell me Dave and I sure do go to alot of weddings. When picking which weddings to attend, I think you need to remember three things: Were they a bridesmaid/groomsman/honor party in your wedding? If they were, you have to go. Did they travel a considerable distance to your wedding? If they did, you have to go. And, are they really special to you? If they are, you have to go.
This past weekend a wedding in Delight met all of those requirements. My childhood best friend, Karen, married the boy who grew up next door, Jason, in an outdoor ceremony and reception that all wrapped up before the Razorback football game started. These things are important in the South, you know.
Karen is one of those friends I don't remember meeting. We have pictures together as toddlers at the same church. We both started kindergarten in the same class on the same day. (Except she was on the purple table with all the cool kids and I was on the yellow table with a boy who cried under the table.) We ran bleachers together in basketball. We played softball together all over the state, for our team and a few tournament teams. We were both bookworms. We roomed together at college and went to our first frat party together. She was my maid of honor, and I was honored to be hers.
As with most small town weddings, this one was alot of work. So I flew in a week early to help the bride and her family prepare favors, run errands, and basically do whatever was required. In this case, it also required getting a cow pasture ready for the ceremony by levelling holes, covering cow piles, and spreading fire ant poison. Typical bridesmaid stuff, right?! No really, it is refreshing on a level to see friends and family just come to pitch in, help out, and make the event happen. (And clean up fast afterwards so everyone could go see the Razorback game--one we had a decent chance of winning)

My favorite wedding moment had to be when I spied the 3-year-old ring bearer getting a bit antsy. After he turned around and told a groomsman, 'this is taking too long,' he amused himself with the ring on the pillow. At one point he actually was sticking his tongue through it and running his tongue around the ring. Then, another bridesmaid nudged me and said 'it's gone'... the ring had fallen into the grass. Before the big moment, another groomsman found it and kept it until the groom placed it on the bride's finger.
And that ring sure was shiny.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Only at home

Only at home do you have to contemplate, "Do I put the wedding sign in front of the "Guns for Sale" sign or on the back?

I put it on the back, since that was the correct way the arrow was facing. It's things like this that make home an interesting place to be.

More news to come, stay tuned.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trip home

Lard is on sale this week at my hometown grocery store. You can buy 15 pounds of lard for $19.99.

That, and the kids working in there, who are my younger siblings age, call me ma'am now. Or, the "our very own celebrity we used to watch on the news"....or at least that's how Mrs. Zetta Ray put it.

Ah, home.

More to come.