Losing My Mind

Hubby tends to roll his eyes when I blame pregnancy for my utter lack of concentration lately, but I’m convinced that’s the source of my absent mindedness.

The little sweetie pie growing in my belly is draining my brain.

Yesterday (while trying to drive three blocks to an appointment with our insurance agent) I made a wrong turn twice and (after circling the block) missed the final turn-off completely. By the time Hubby called to say he’d taken care of everything and we could just meet at home – I was stuck in traffic – going the wrong way – and on the verge of tears.

I do not like feeling like this.

You see, I’m usually able to complete simple tasks like driving three blocks without getting lost. I don’t usually tell the same exact story multiple times to the same person (this is typical lately). I realized last night that I hadn’t yet bothered to tell anyone that we’re having a birthday party for Little Guy in a few weeks. I usually like to warn everyone in advance in case there are scheduling conflicts. Hubby has assured me that the “save the date” email I sent this morning will tide everyone over till the invites go out in the mail….the invites which I haven’t started making yet.

I have less than two months left, and I’m hoping that when our dear Baby Boy is born, my ability to think clearly will return. I miss it so.

Until then…don’t be shy. If my shoes don’t match – tell me. If you see me wandering aimlessly – show me the way.  If you think I’ve lost my mind – it’s because I have, so just be nice…and maybe bring ice cream.


Little Guy's Cowboy Quilt

Last month, I finished the twin quilt I’d been working on for a while. Technically, if you count fabric selection…it’s been in the works for almost three years. When LG was just a tiny baby I started to buy bits of cowboy themed fabric wherever I ran across it - with the goal of an eventual twin bed size quilt in mind.

This cowboy quilt has been a really fun project for me. I didn’t use a pattern, but chose a basic four-patch design which I knew I could handle. I used a low loft batting and a solid navy blue fabric for backing. I went with blues and reds to accent the cowboy fabrics because they seemed like colors that could withstand whatever wear and tear our Little Guy might put them through.

Someday I’ll do some more hand quilting, but this project was done 100% on my sewing machine. I also tied off the centers of each four-square block. The ties weren’t necessary, but reminded me of the first twin size quilt I ever had (and still have now) which was made by my Grandma.

Luckily for me, I also found some cowboy themed sheets at a garage sale last summer, making the overall look really come together (I think). The day these pictures were taken, was the day Little Guy’s new bunk beds were delivered (giving us time to set his toddler bed back up as a crib before the baby is born).

Look closely... Little Guy is peeking out from behind his stuffed dinosaurs.

I’m never going to win any quilting contests, but I do love the process: from picking out fabrics to finishing the final stitches…it’s like putting together a puzzle that you don’t have a picture or box for. Pure fun, if you ask me.

This is the second twin size quilt I’ve made (my first was a Superman themed one for my little brother back in 2001). I’ve made a number of baby quilts and a lap quilt or two. I’ve never taken a class or had any formal training. What I have done instead, is read a lot of books on the topic, and carefully examined the family quilts which I love the most. Those quilts I have which are most dear to me are what I consider true patchwork. They were assembled with squares cut from old dresses, work shirts and feed sacks. They are not perfectly color coordinated, but they were clearly made with love.

When Little Guy outgrows this quilt, or decides he needs something else, it will be carefully stored away. Maybe someday one of his children or grandchildren will be able to use it too. One of the many things I love about quilts is how they can be handed down from generation to generation, and loved by each.

My quilting focus has now moved to the crib quilt I’m working on for Baby Boy. Then it will be time to start collecting fabric for HIS first twin quilt. Right now…I’m thinking maybe his will have a space theme (planets, rocket ships etc.) but time will tell.


Fire Safety OOPS

I haven’t begun to “nest” yet. If you were to peek into the nursery, you’d see evidence of just how much I should be nesting (boxes stacked everywhere & hardly anything where it needs to be in just a couple months).

One thing that has been bothering me lately however, has been home safety, so I decided to check our fire extinguishers. We have two. One was Dan’s before we were married. Though five years old, it still has a good charge. The other one we have was there when we bought the house, and hangs in the stairwell to our basement. I took a look at it… and well, you might say that I was surprised.

From a distance....

and zooming in for an eye-opening close-up!!
Yikes!! This fire extinguisher was last charged two years before I was born! Needless to say, a new fire extinguisher became something I very much wanted. My parents just happened to ask me later that same day what we might want for an anniversary gift. I told them I’d like to replace our fire extinguisher. They chuckled a bit (not exactly what they’d had in mind), but said they could certainly do that. And they did. So, now we have a spanking new one hanging where the old one was. I was even able to re-use the old bracket. That’s one feature that was better with the older model. It’s largely made of metal. The new one was 100% plastic, and just didn’t look very durable to me.

Brand NEW!!!
So, now I can breathe a little easier knowing that’s taken care of. The next item on my list? Well other than organizing the nursery of course (haha)…is to get a carbon monoxide detector. There’s such a wide variety of those, and I’m doing some research before making a final decision on brand/model. Any suggestions?

Tulip Time

Last weekend Hubby, Little Guy and I took a day trip to Pella Iowa for their annual Tulip festival. Pella is not a large town, but they take this opportunity to show off their Dutch roots and their amazing gardens of Tulips.

My guys treated me to this day of flowery entertainment for Mother’s Day. How sweet is that? Though I certainly had the most fun, I think they both ended up enjoying themselves too.

Everywhere we went, locals were dressed in period costumes and wearing wooden shoes. The fragrance of Dutch pastry wafted out of two sweet little bakeries on the town square, and we made a point of stopping for Dutch Letters before heading home. We didn’t stay for the parade, but did take part in various other activities and generally had a lovely day.

Below are some photographic highlights of our day in Pella.

This large windmill overlooks the town.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

Red Tulips - Do they get any lovlier than this??  Well maybe, but these are really great.

It's hard to tell here, but the color contrast was very striking.

Little Guy, taking time to smell the Tulips...

A lovely look at part of one of the gardens.

I think these were called "Sensual Beauty" or something along those lines...really lovely.

Probably my favorite picture of the day.  He was really having a great time!

Not Tulips obviously, but the blossoms on this tree were just amazing.  I'd love one of these beauties in my front yard.  Any idea what it is???

Last, but certainly not least....my edible treat for the day: A Dutch Letter.  YUM!


Happy Mother's Day

A special thank you to my Mother, and all the other special Moms in my life (you know who you are).

As I Look Back...
As I look back on my life
I find myself wondering...
Did I remember to thank you
for all that you have done for me?
For all of the times you were by my side
to help me celebrate my successes
and accept my defeats?
Or for teaching me the value of hard work,
good judgement, courage, and honesty?
I wonder if I've ever thanked you
for the simple things...
The laughter, smiles, and quiet times we've shared?
If I have forgotten to express my gratitude
For any of these things,
I am thanking you now...
and I am hoping that you've known all along,
how very much you are loved and appreciated.

Author Unknown


Jelly Beans as Currency

This is probably not my proudest moment, but I have a confession to make: I’ve been bribing my toddler with Jelly Beans.

Now, before you send me a note explaining how horrible sugar is, and how his dentist would never approve… hear me out. Because Hubby and I have different work schedules (his work day starts and ends way before mine), we split up the daycare duty. I take Little Guy to daycare on my way to the office, and Hubby picks him up on his way home.

In the past, this system worked perfectly. Recently a couple things have changed:

1. First off, Little Guy has developed a love for running from me. As soon as the front door opens, he is off like a shot. If he went straight to the car and waited, this would be fine…but mostly he just runs (he thinks this is soooo funny). He might run into the neighbor’s yard or off to chase birds or hide behind the shrubbery. Some days I couldn’t even get the front door locked before he would start sprinting down the sidewalk. (And if you think a two year old can’t run fast, you clearly haven’t chased one.)

2. Secondly, I’m now in the third trimester of my second pregnancy, and let’s be honest… running is not something I’m great at right now. I always catch him (eventually), but the idea of getting to work already sweaty and tired isn’t how I want to start my day.

One morning last week (as we both stood just inside the front door), I looked down and saw in his expression that he was primed for a hasty escape. I sighed, resigned to another chase, when suddenly I had an idea. I said, “If you wait on the porch while Mommy locks the door, you can have one jelly bean.” I then fished one out of the candy jar and showed him the tiny candy as proof of my promise.

His eyes grew wide, and he said, “Okay Mommy”.

He went outside and patiently waited on the porch while I locked the door (Eureka!). I then took one tiny hand in mine and put the jelly bean in his other hand. He grinned and gobbled it up. We began walking toward the car, and almost immediately he was straining to get away. I held on tight and when we reached our destination, I got his attention again, and said, “If you climb into your car seat and sit there while I buckle you in, I will give you another jelly bean.

Once again, he became quite serious, and said, “Okay Mommy”. Usually he tries to vault into the front seat, or plant himself in the regular seat trying to fasten the adult seatbelt. But, upon hearing another jelly bean was coming his way, he proceeded to climb right into his car seat and ate his second jelly bean while I buckled him in. (Eureka again!)

There was no running. There were no frantic cries of “Get back here this instant!” There were no laughing neighbors pointing at me chasing him. No stress. No panicked rise in my heart rate. No sweaty sprints across the yard.

It was peaceful. It was serene. It was wonderful. It was all thanks to a couple tiny jelly beans.


Vintage Toys

Hubby and I both enjoy finding old toys for Little Guy which are like those we played with as children. He already has the Fisher Price Record Player, the Fisher Price wind-up radio and Tupperware Mix and Match animals (among others). Recently I found the Fisher Price School Desk (what can I say? We love Fisher Price) on eBay, and bought it at a bargain price. 
Little Guy loves his new toy. He wants to “play letters” every day, and can do exactly that for long periods of time. I remember playing with my own FP School Desk back in the 1970’s, and seeing our toddler playing with his – brings back some really great memories.


Oreo-filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I first heard of this recipe when two Facebook friends posted links to similar recipes in the same day. Then a few days later, Mindy blogged about giving them a try, and THEN my little brother called to say he’d baked some and thought they were a hit.

I’m not a big trend follower, but when the trend involves combining multiple yummy cookie types, I’m a sucker for peer pressure. Last week my office was having a food day, and I decided to take a batch of these sweet treats.

This is the recipe I tried. The one thing I did differently was use mini oreos instead of full size ones, as I’d seen some others try. I was very pleased. These are indeed yummy cookies.

Hubby had a food day this week, and he tried the recipe also. He went with the full size double-stuff cookies from the original recipe, and I must say the original is way better. Of course, eating one cookie feels like main-lining sugar, but the sheer joy associated with biting into one of these sweet explosions makes all the calories and eventual sugar letdown worth it.

If you haven’t tried making this yet…and you love cookies…. Try it today. I promise you won’t be sorry (no matter what size Oreos you use).


Minneapolis Mini-Vacation - Day Three

We checked out of our hotel after a lazy morning of cartoons and conversation.

We took a scenic drive around some of the lakes (so that Little Guy could get a nice nap before we got to the game), and then headed downtown.

We parked and ate lunch at the Hard Rock Café. It was fun (I’ve been a Hard Rock Café fan since high school, and this was one I hadn’t been to yet. While there, Little Guy started singing the Sunday School song “The B.I.B.L.E.” and we joked that it might have been the first time such a song was sung there. The food was good and when we were finished we headed for Target Field.

We are big baseball fans, and go to as many games as we can. Though our favorite team (Boston Red Sox) was not in town, we still had fun watching the game we went to (Twins vs. Indians). Don’t ask me who won. Little Guy was getting pretty tired (ie grouchy) and we left during the fourth inning. Even though we didn’t watch the entire game, we still had a nice day and perfect weather.

After leaving the stadium, we headed home to relax and unpack and sleep in our own cozy beds.


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