Wednesday, June 27, 2012

25 Week Bump

Home Improvement

We spent all weekend working on the new house.  My dad came over and started putting up the fence for the dogs, my mom and mother in law started painting the nursery, and I worked on some random projects (not allowed to paint or get up on ladders because my husband doesn't want anything to hurt the baby) here and there.  We all worked hard and were very sore for a couple of days as a result.  I'm thinking we should probably not take it to such an extreme again!  Maybe pace ourselves a little more?

But the best thing that happened is that the Sago palms are gone!  I actually spent about an hour and a half pruning the one in front of the front door.  It looked pretty cool when I was done, but we still wanted them removed.  I posted the picture on facebook and got a call from my sister very quickly after, asking if we had destroyed the palms yet.  I said no, and she said to leave them alone, that her husband wanted them.  So Rob came over and dug/pulled them out for us!  And this is how he did it:

It was very exciting!  The one being pulled in the picture ended up being about 8 of them growing together, so he cut them apart and put all of them on the back of his truck, plus all the bulbs we found and all the seeds that were scattered on the ground.  He's going to plant them in their front yard.  And we get a lovely house that you can actually see now:

I'm working on a landscape plan for the flower bed in front of the porch.  I want some color there since the house is very vanilla.  I'm so excited to have the toxic palms gone!  We've also raked tons of leaves.  I think we're up to about 14 or so bags of them.  You can only put out a certain number at a time, so we are having to go over there and put them out when we know it's time for pickup.  Hopefully once we get the six months of leaves out of the back yard, we can keep it at bay a little easier by raking each weekend or something.

I was anxious to get this particular project done and was very excited that we managed to finish it on Sunday.  We bought the paint during the week and got started on Saturday.  Jon finished up on Sunday and it looks awesome.  Ladies and Gentlemen... Sir Nathan's Castle:

We still need to paint the office (same color) but it's all taped up and ready to go, so that will be Saturday morning's task.  Hopefully we can get that room done this weekend.  

There are lots of other projects to do, some of them can wait until we move and some need to be done before we move, so we're making lists and crossing things off and prioritizing.  I think we have a pretty good system.  The fence is the most important thing.  And the painting.  Once those are completely done, there's no stopping us from moving in and actually spending our first night there!  I'm so excited for that moment!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dear Baby (25 weeks)

Dear Nathan,

We started painting your room over the weekend.  It's the most awesome shade of gray.  I'm calling it "castle wall gray" because that goes with the theme we chose for your first bedroom.  I hope you like knights and dragons, because they are going to be everywhere!  I've had a few dreams about you and what you may look like and who you may become.  It's so exciting to think about you growing up and becoming a person with ideas, creativity, and your own opinions about things.  I can't wait to teach you and learn from you.  We will be moving into our new house very soon.  We've been packing things up like crazy, including some fun items we've already gotten from people for you!  I can't wait to put all that stuff in your new room.  Your grandpa is going to build your first bed, with your daddy's help.  I love watching them build things together.  I'm sure you will help them do that when you get older, if you like doing things like that.

Keep moving around in there - it helps me know that you are okay.  I actually enjoy your kicks and punches.  They make me feel closer to you.

See you soon.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Ravelympics Controversy

Yesterday, I logged onto Ravelry, one of my favorite sites.  I logged on to check something on a pattern and to see if any of my forum posts had gotten any replies.  But mostly, I logged on to check information about my favorite Ravelry tradition, the Ravelympics.

What is this Ravelympics?  Well, it's an event held to coincide with the Olympics, where knitters, crocheters, and other fiber artists make a commitment to watch the Olympics while challenging themselves to create a project that tests and enhances their skills.  Much like the Olympic athletes do when they participate in the Games.  But there was a message from Casey, one of the site's founders, on the main forum that made my heart sink.  This letter was from the US Olympic Committee.  Here is the text of this letter:

Dear Mr. Forbes,
In March 14, 2011, my colleague, Carol Gross, corresponded with your attorney, Craig Selmach [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the "2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory." At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC's intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website. I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content.
By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States. The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games. Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts. Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL. See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the "Act"). (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.) The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website. See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c). The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country's participation in the Olympic Games. Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team. Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.
In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus,'s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.
The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.
1. Changing the name of the event, the "Ravelympics."; The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them. For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career. Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world's best athletes. The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.
The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States. Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect. We believe using the name "Ravelympics" for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.
It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012). The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms "Ravelry" (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement. Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act. Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.
1. Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc. As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country's Olympic athletes. The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees. The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on's website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized. The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012. If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, Carol Gross.
Kindest Regards,
Brett HirschLaw ClerkOffice of the General CounselUnited States Olympic Committee1 Olympic PlazaColorado Springs, CO 80909
Take a look at that passage in red.  That's what has fiber artists around the globe so angry.  How dare they say that us practicing our craft in honor of the teams we support in anyway denigrates them?  I would love to know what the actual athletes think.  I believe they would agree with the spirit of our games, the desire to create something that pushes our skills to their limit while watching them push theirs to the limit as well.  Their reward may be a medal.  Ours is a finished project we never thought we could finish, and a sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well-done.  
After this letter was released into the community, members of the more than 2 million strong social network took to other social networking sites to make sure their voices were heard.  Facebook and twitter were flooded with comments, as were blogs all over the world.  Media outlets began to pick up the story, including MSN, Gawker, and Hot Air.  But that wasn't the end.  The Olympic Committee, realizing the language in their "standard" cease and desist letter was insulting to millions of people all around the world, decided to give a half-hearted apology:

Statement from USOC Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer Patrick Sandusky:

“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.  Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.  The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.  We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

Once again, read the passage in red to understand why members of the fiber arts community did not accept this apology.  You insult our craft, apologize for any insult, and then ask us to send you our handmade items?  The items that took us years to learn how to make?  The items that take hours to create?  I don't think so!  After this apology, a new firestorm started on the Olympic Committee's facebook page and twitter, sparking new articles from different news organizations.  This time, the New York Times got involved, as well as NPR and Yahoo Sports.  PR Daily also weighed in, and Gawker took another swipe at the story as well.

Another apology from the Olympic Committee: 

Statement Update:

"As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games."
My own response to the foolishness, posted on the US Olympic Committee's facebook page yesterday: 
As a knitter, a member of Ravelry, a past participant in the Ravelympics, a public relations professional, and a fan of the Olympics, I have to voice my opinion here. Your letter and subsequent apology are both insulting. It makes me wonder if you have anyone who is responsible for public relations, because that person would surely have said something before these documents were released. Or at least, someone worth his or her title would have. With two documents, you have managed to insult more than 2 million people. That seems like a PR crisis to me. And it's not about the copyright issue. It is about the insinuation that practicing our craft in honor of the games is somehow detrimental to the games and the athletes themselves. 

I will watch the Olympics, because I love the games and I support Team USA with all my heart. I will knit while watching. I will be calling it the Ravelympics. You may be able to make the site change the name, but you can't change what we call it in our hearts and our minds. And you can't change the fact that we do what we do to honor a community we love (Ravelry) and a team we support (Team USA or whatever team each individual Raveler decides to support.)
I think the important thing to remember is that when you give someone too much power, they will abuse it.  Is the US Olympic Committee going to go after every organization that uses the letters -ympic in their name?  It wasn't the Ravelry Olympics.  It wasn't the Knitting Olympics.  It was the Ravelympics.  Does the committee own these letters in this configuration?  I'm not sure the trademark goes that far.  And the other important thing to remember is that you should never mess with 2 million people who routinely use pointy sticks.  And the Internet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Some pictures of our new house!  Forgive the photo quality, they were taken with my phone.

The front of the house.  The massive Sago Palm is leaving this Saturday, 
by any means necessary.

The dining room with lovely french doors leading to the back yard.  The blinds are between the two panes of glass, so the dogs won't be able to eat them.  A plus for us, for sure! 

The lovely large living room with fireplace and awesome vaulted ceilings. 

A nice-sized kitchen with lots of cabinet and counter space.  There's also a floor-to-ceiling pantry! 


This bedroom is the smallest and will be the office.  
It's purple right now but will be painted light/medium gray. 

Main bathroom off the hallway.  There's a full bathtub with shower on the other side of the room. 

This bedroom is going to be the nursery.  It's right beside the master bedroom and is bigger than the other one, so it will be great for Nathan.  It will also be gray, rather than the pink it is currently. 

This is the master bedroom.  There are two walk-in closets in here, and the room is pretty big. 

Love that we have a master bathroom!  This is the vanity area, and there is a door closing off 
the full tub with shower and the toilet.  I like that too, because I can dry my hair at the mirror 
while Jon is taking a shower in the other room.  Or the other way around, I suppose! 

And this is the closed-off area with the tub and toilet.

One of the walk-in closets.  Every bedroom has one, the master bedroom has two!  Awesome, right?

Path from the driveway to the front door.  I love this brick pathway and can't wait to line it with pretty lights.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It Takes a Special Person to be a Daddy

Yep, that's my daddy.  I don't think I've ever called him anything other than daddy my entire life.  I've always heard people say that anyone can be a "father," but it takes a special person to be a "daddy."  Well, I have the most special daddy in the world!

This man is strong, smart, and can do anything.  I always saw him as a superhero when I was growing up.  I knew that he could solve any problem and fix anything that was broken.  When I was 16, he rebuilt the engine in a car so I could have something to drive.  When I was 22, he helped heal my broken heart after my divorce.  He helped me to not fall on my face when he walked me down the aisle last year, and gave me away to the most awesome husband I could ever have found (who, by the way, is a lot like my daddy in a lot of ways.)  He came with us when we looked at houses every Saturday for several months, and helped us identify and understand potential issues with the ones we liked.

My dad was a farmer when I was a kid.  During that time, he used our farm as a classroom, teaching us about animal care and the circle of life.  He taught us how to work hard and how to appreciate a job well done when we were finished.  He was firm, but gentle with his two girls, never raising a hand to us (he let my mom do that on occasion) and never making us feel like we were less than what we were to him - his girls, his world.

He coached our first softball team, and never missed a soccer game.  He even came to my theatre and choir performances, even though I knew they were not his favorite thing to attend.  He came because his daughter was in it, and he knew that's where he needed to be.  We grew up outside, playing and working and spending time with him.  He helped us develop our minds and imaginations, and a deep appreciation for the earth and everything it gives us.  We were never afraid to get our hands dirty like some girls were.  He taught me how to fish when I was little, and I still remember trying to throw the cast net (it was a little bait net just like his only smaller) when I was 10 years old.  I got pretty good, but it took a long time!

I've seen my daddy cry only a few times in my life, and while it was terrifying for me at the time, I'm glad I saw it.  It's important for girls to understand that men do cry sometimes and that it's okay.

My daddy and I are similar people in a lot of ways.  I'm just as stubborn as he is, and never want to back down from a fight.  My dad will debate with you that the sky is purple, knowing that he is wrong, but wanting to debate it anyway.  And the funny thing is, you will most likely leave the conversation questioning your knowledge about the color of the sky!

He shows love well.  I never had any doubt that my daddy loved my mom.  They would kiss each other goodbye and hello in our presence.  Not intimate kisses, but sweet pecks on the lips to acknowledge that they were glad to see each other, or that they would miss each other while apart.  I never had any doubt that he loved me, either.  He would kiss us on the cheek all the time.  When we were little, we would crawl up into his lap while he was watching TV and hug him like he was our favorite teddy bear.  And really, that's exactly what he was!  I have great memories of watching the original Star Trek while sitting on my daddy's lap in the living room.

He is not arrogant like so many men are.  He is a humble man who deserves to be recognized for his intelligence and skills, but because he is humble, you will never hear him brag about it.  He is a fun and funny person to be around who always manages to make everyone laugh.  I never felt like he wished he could be doing something other than being right where he was, with his wife and his kids.  He taught me about integrity and honesty.

On this Father's Day, I can't help reflecting on what a wonderful daddy I had and still have.  I think of all the qualities I love about him and about the fact that I see those qualities in my husband.  I am happy that our children will have the kind of daddy I had.  And that they will have my daddy for a grandpa.

Happy Father's Day, daddy!  You have always been, and will always be, my superhero!

Monday, June 11, 2012

23 Weeks and All is Well

We had a repeat anatomy scan today because Nathan was not in the right position to get a good picture of his heart last time.  He was in the same position again this time, but since he was bigger and not moving around as much, the tech finally got some good shots of his perfect heart and everything else was perfect too!  I was so glad, because Jon had the flu and wasn't able to come to this particular appointment, and while I was being very brave about it, I have no idea how I would have handled bad news without him there.

But there was no bad news and everything looks great!  He's still measuring big, about a week ahead, but the doctor didn't seem too worried about that.  We did talk a little about labor and delivery, something I've been pretty nervous about, and she helped me feel better about some things relating to that.

I love our new baby pictures!  He looks like a real little person now!  And in this one, he's holding on to his foot.  I actually got to see him playing with his foot a little, reaching out and grabbing it, letting go, and grabbing it again, then moving it around with his hand.  It was absolutely adorable.

Is it possible to love him this much already?  I didn't think so, but I guess it is!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Dear Baby (22 Weeks)

Dear Baby,

Or should I say Dear Nathan?  We found out you are a boy not too long ago and we are very excited!  Your nursery plans are coming along now, especially since we know that you're a boy, and we are looking forward to painting the walls and making it a special place just for you!  I'm going to make a quilt, and your daddy and I are knitting a special blanket for you too!

Our most recent milestones, besides finding out you are a perfect, healthy, growing boy, are that we can actually see your kicks on the outside now!  It's a little strange and completely wonderful.  I haven't seen an outline of your hand or foot yet, but I'm sure that's coming.

I hope you like your name.  We picked it out just for you, to honor some special people in your life.  Your daddy didn't really want to name you after him because of "junior confusion" later on, but your name is a part of his name, so we thought that would be cool.  And your middle name is after your Nana (my mom) and also your grandpa's family (my dad.)  It's a special way for us to carry on a little bit of them with you.

We have a new house to bring you home to - a special house that we bought with you in mind.  It has a beautiful back yard that already has a swing set for you to play on.

Keep growing and being safe and healthy, my sweet boy.  I will see you in a few months.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012


These are the keys to our new home!  We closed on the house today, and I've never been so excited in my life!  Signing the next 30 years away was a little frightening, but knowing we got a great deal and that we are going to be very happy in this house for at least 7-10 years helps a lot.  The payments are only a little higher than our monthly rent was, and the utilities and everything should be much lower (better energy efficiency!)

We have some work to do before we can actually move in, plus our lease doesn't expire until July or August, so it'll be awhile before we actually settle in there, but for now I'm just excited that it's ours!