Friday, December 4, 2009

at 20 weeks I am...

...feeling very frequent belly flutters, appreciating the bottle of Tums on my bedside stand, signing up for prenatal classes, lovin' onion bagels with butter and cream cheese or a big bowl of raisin bran cereal with a banana sliced into it, keeping my eyes peeled for deals on the maternity clothes racks, sticking to our resolution of not finding out Baby's gender at the ultrasound yesterday (as much as I kinda wanted to peek!), putting together (with Winn's help) the rocking chair we ordered for the nursery, feeling really good!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gratitude List: Nos. 84-103

84} Meeting up with my sisters and mom and niece at a hotel in Des Moines for a girls’ outing.
85} Parents who have been married for over 30 years.
86} Combines out in the fields around our house late into the night (It makes me feel safe and cozy to know that our neighbor farmers are watching over things while I’m asleep).
87} Feeling the baby move for the first time (and several times since!).
88} A large extended family who keeps in touch with one another.
89} Buying a crib on Craigslist for $20 and meeting the nice family who sold it to us.
90} The dusting of snow on the ground when I awoke early this morning.
91} A kind police officer who didn’t ticket me when he pulled me over for having expired tags this week (Apparently expired since July?? Where have I been?!).
92} A healthy and active baby upon ultrasound yesterday.
93} Working on homemade Christmas gifts in the evenings with Winn.
94} Seeing and visiting with so many people I adore at church on Sunday mornings.
95} Planning the schedule for my side of the family’s New Years’ Eve get-together, to include a breakfast crepe buffet, a homemade Christmas gift exchange, games, iceskating on the farm, white chocolate mochas, and an awesome family.
96} My mom’s new job (which will allow her to have the holidays off!).
97} A conversation with a fun gal at the coffee shop this morning.
98} An attached garage and a car that starts easily on cold mornings.
99} Sajak, our big clumsy lab who is getting old and lazy and just makes us smile. (We took him to doggy day care while we were out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, and they said that he was so well-behaved that we could bring him back anytime. We’re so proud. :))
100} Southern gentlemen (attorneys in town from Memphis for a deposition the other day) who say “yes, ma’am” and who stand up for you when you enter a room.
101} A friend like Rebecca who is willing to help me register for the baby, her two young children in tow.
102} Homemade jerky from my brother's deer.
103} Our first Christmas card of the season in the mail today!

Monday, November 30, 2009

photo bombardment.

Thanksgiving-time in my grandparents' small town (spent with dozens of aunts and uncles and cousins and friends) was jolly as always, and too short. We crammed a lot into three days, including games, visiting, a wine and cheese party (courtesy of my aunt and the treats she smuggled in with her from The Netherlands), swimming and hot-tubbing, and of course plenty of turkey and stuffing and pies, to name a few. I'm already looking forward to next year.

My "little" siblings Jim and PJ

Cousin Ellie

Sister Polly and Niece Eavan

Exchange student Lucciano entertaining my cousin's son Oliver

Wearing purple ribbons (pancreatic cancer awareness) for my sister-in-law's mom

And these photos were taken by my Aunt Brenda's beau Richard...


My nephew Joel loves him a piggy-back ride

Aunt Amy

Grandpa and his friend Larry playing one of their favorite games

My sweet grandma

Cousin Drew and his wife Sam

Miss Evelyn and my cousin's daughter Joely


Aunt Barbara

Uncle Jon

Cousin Crystal

I wasted no time in setting up the tree the day after we got home, with help from my niece and nephew, and hanging some holly around. And now it looks all cozy and festive from my place on the couch where I recently awoke from my after-dinner nap. The kitchen still smells like garlic from the meal I scrounged up and threw together with ingredients from our nearly bare cupboards. Thankfully you will rarely find us without at least a couple pounds of pasta in the jar, and we still have a pile of carrots in the fridge from our garden, as well as some broccoli in the freezer. So I sauteed the veggies with basil and cheese and chicken broth and piled it atop the noodles and was pleasantly surprised to find its taste to be second-helping worthy.

Now I have a stack of baby magazines next to me, a husband sprawled across the living room floor working on a Christmas gift project, Enigma radio playing on Pandora, and three recently devoured chocolate chip cookies in my belly. And to top it all off, I came home this afternoon to find we had finally caught the darn mouse that ran across the kitchen floor right in front of me a few nights ago! Life is good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

just the two of us (for now anyway).

My sister signed me up to get these fun email updates each week from ParentsConnect that tell you how big your baby is, how you might be feeling, maternity tips, etc. Last week's note said to take advantage of this time together with just your spouse, so we've been trying to heed that advice, whether it's Winn bringing home Chinese for dinner to surprise me and snuggling together on the couch with it; seeing a Saturday afternoon matinee; having a mocha and pastry at the coffee shop; or lighting candles over our grilled T-bones, sliced pineapple, and loaded salads.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

trash to treasure.

We needed some coat hooks at the door since our mudroom isn't finished yet. Conveniently, I had just discovered an old barn door in our basement! I gave it a fresh coat of royal blue paint and then antiqued the cracks and edges. Hobby Lobby had a 50% off sale on all their knobs and hooks, so I found some fitting iron ones and Winn attached them and hung it on the wall by the front door. And voila...

Friday, November 13, 2009

at 17 weeks I am...

...eating constantly (my favorites are fresh fruit and cereal), waking up several times throughout the night, starting to pack away select pairs of jeans and finding that many of my old shirts aren't long enough, collecting a few hand-me-downs for the baby, still finding all of this a bit surreal, thinking about how much I need to start walking more, looking forward to feeling the baby move any day now, loving it when Winn kisses my belly or puts his ear up to it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

grateful today for...

64. My sister bringing her college friends over for an evening of caramel apples and pumpkin carving

65. Sunshine

66. This "book" written by my 7-year-old niece Caitlyn

67. A successful presentation to a law firm this week

68. My little buddy Ashton calling me on the phone last night when he wasn't feeling well

69. Vita-C skin nutrients

70. This post (about having kids) that made me laugh

71. Crisp fall air

72. Tall leather boots

73. Ultrasound technology that lets us see our baby

74. Hearing my sisters and brother sing in the choir concert at St. Mary's Chapel

75. Getting to talk to a neighbor on the telephone and discovering that she sounds really sweet

76. The ability to keep in touch with old friends via Facebook

77. Receiving a tour of the Transplant House and realizing again what a wonderful facility the Mayo Clinic is

78. Listening to "The Luckiest," by Ben Folds

79. Planning an overnight girls' outing with my mom, sisters, and sister-in-law

80. Looking at my friend Jen's photography

81. The anticipation of hanging out with my extended family at Thanksgiving-time

82. An unexpected phone call from my far-away friend Andrea

83. Amazing grace

Saturday, October 31, 2009

this was us today.

No special plans. My favorite kind of Saturday.

Sleeping in and then chatting and giggling in bed for another hour ~ Meandering down to the kitchen for some coffee and puffed oven pancakes ~ Driving to town to drop off our recyclables and go to the bank ~ Admiring the colorful leaves along the country roads on our way home ~ Going for an invigorating walk through the trees on our property and finding a fort the neighbor boys had begun and pondering the reason for some trees that have been stripped of their bark ~ Coming back inside a warm house and making chili taco salad for lunch ~ Curling up on the couch together to watch Wall-E ~ Spending the rest of the afternoon on small home projects and our laptops.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

no. 64 on my gratitude list deserves a post all his own...

64. A husband who works hard all day and then comes home and helps with dishes and laundry, without me asking him to; who makes me a homemade dinner of sun-dried tomato stuffed chicken, with Parmesan broccoli on the side, because I saw the recipe in a magazine and it looked so good; who works tirelessly on our home renovations on the weekends, not to mention his other responsibilities at church; who suggests that we should carve some pumpkins, just the two of us, and he makes a clever design out of the wart pumpkin while I carve a bat into mine (reminiscent of our encounter with them earlier this year); who takes time for his friends as well, taking a day off work here and there to help them with their home projects or go golfing with them; who is so quick to forgive; who every so often will ask me, "What do you think of the name _____ or _____ if it's a boy?"; who I would marry all over again if given the chance.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

a head start on christmas.

(Louet roving, imported from New Zealand sheep)

Is it weird that I’m having an apple w/ peanut butter, tater tots, and chocolate milk for supper? Winn is eating the leftover pizza that we had for dinner last night (courtesy of our out-of-town guests), and that didn’t sound good to me. I figure this way I’m getting my fruit, protein, carbs, and dairy. And chocolate (in the milk), which is a food group, right? At least when you’re a female. Or pregnant. Or, in my case, both.

I am thinking about Christmas gifts today. Because the challenge for our family’s gift exchange is to make a homemade gift for our recipient. My sister Carrie and I were the ones to devise this fun plan and impose it on everyone else, much to my sister Jessica’s chagrin (she doesn’t think she’s creative enough, but we disagree). Thankfully I drew a girl’s name, so I’m trying to decide on baked goods, sewn goods, knitted goods, or some other crafty endeavor. I also need to get on the ball and make a couple of baby gifts.

So I was all over town this afternoon searching (oops, I just dipped an apple slice into the ketchup pile instead of the peanut butter pile…not so yum) for supplies for these various projects, as well as a stop at my office to pick up the smallest check I have received in my career thus far (gotta love freelancing) and a stop at the library for a book of knitting patterns and a new novel to read (since I finished all the maternity books on my nightstand). I was unsuccessful at finding any roving, so I will have to buy that online. I have never used roving for a project before, but apparently it’s wool that hasn’t yet been felted or spun into yarn.

While I was at Kristen’s Knits, I found the perfect bamboo cotton in tomato red to make little baby socks out of, and I couldn’t help myself. Our baby absolutely must have a pair of stockings made out of it. I have never tried knitting socks before, but I found a free pattern for them online. I’m going to give it a whirl this evening...I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

gratitude list (this is fun!)

43. Pumpkins from our pumpkin patch

44. Crunchy granola for breakfast

45. My grandpa coming to visit and buying pizza for all of us

46. A weekly Skype call with my aunts and cousins

47. Herbal pregnancy tea

48. Colorful scarves

49. An inspiring drama at church on Sunday

50. A rainy Monday (and Tuesday) at home after a hectic workweek

51. BBQ ribs in the crock pot

52. Less nausea lately

53. A weekend dinner with friends at Tucci Benucch in Minneapolis

54. A trip to IKEA for new wine goblets and to scope out a dresser for the nursery

55. Sunday dinner in Mom's kitchen three weeks in a row

56. Smiling at a sweet voicemail from my little sister

57. Brainstorming about ideas for our family's homemade Christmas gift challenge this year

58. A generous family

59. Mousetraps

60. Lots of books on my nightstand about pregnancy/babies/etc.

61. Candy corn, with peanuts

62. Listening to the accent of our North Dakota guests

63. Walking in the rain to get the mail

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

baby feet.

Someday all the painting might be done. But (*sigh*) not yet. Tonight I put a coat of Crumb Cookie on the front door trim and patio door trim. It looks nice and crisp now, and my arms are tired. Winn is installing the drawer slides in the Tupperware cupboard and the dividers in the cutting board/cookie sheet cabinet. One spice rack to go, and our kitchen will be officially complete!

There's a chance of frost tonight, so I picked the last three tomatoes from the vine this evening. I used one of them to make BLT's for supper. It hit the spot. I've been craving BLT's. Now we just need to pick our pumpkins and then we can mow the garden down for the year.

Before I go to bed, I have to show you these tiny metallic pretties that we got as a gift from my sister Carrie. I can't get over the adorable pink floral lining and the small rubber traction on the bottom. And in case the baby is a boy, she got some fabulous little navy blue corduroy sneakers as well...

Monday, September 28, 2009

gratitude list (continued).

21. My niece's tutu pajamas

22. Being taken out to dinner by my friend Rebecca

23. Working up a sweat in the hot kitchen while canning 20 pints of salsa and tomatoes

24. Playing "Red Light, Green Light" with Cate and Joel

25. Visiting my friend Valerie in the hospital and seeing how good she looks with her new liver

26. Going to see the afternoon matinee Julie & Julia with my mom and sister

27. Grape juice

28. French fries

29. Being able to take afternoon naps when I have no energy

30. Lint rollers

31. Having a bouquet of flowers from some friends delivered to our door this morning

32. Running through a corn maze with my niece and nephew, giggling and trying to lose the rest of the group

33. Caramel apples and baby bunnies at the apple orchard

34. A pot of Kalanchoe on my table

35. New trim around the front door

36. Crying with my client and her daughters as she got to "hear" today with her new cochlear implant

37. Pretty autumn magazine covers

38. Rain and thunder

39. Paisley fabric

40. Having a nice lady hold the elevator door for me today when I was in a hurry

41. Looking forward to a visit from another sister this weekend

42. Baking apple pies with my mom and Aunt Nancy for Sunday dinner

Sunday, September 27, 2009

a plug for my friend.

My friend Andrea (former owner and creator of is SO crafty and creative. I've learned a lot from her over the years about creativity, organization, parenting, and more. We were so sad when she and her family moved away from Rochester a couple years ago, but it was such a treat when they came to visit this summer. Anyway, she has now added the title of "sign maker" to her long list of abilities. Check out her business over at Signs by Andrea and spread the word to win a free sign of your own!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

gratitude list.

1. Tea lights in a muffin tin on our coffee table

2. A new shiny white laptop

3. Autumn smells like leaves and pumpkin

4. Another visit from my sister and nieces and nephew

5. A huge garden harvest

6. Our big slobbery yellow lab greeting us when we come home

7. Eating Honey Crisp apples straight off our tree

8. Dinner at my mom's two times in one week

9. Lots of excitement from friends and family coming our way about our pregnancy

10. Less nausea today than I've had in the past few weeks

11. A new part in the washing machine that makes it run more smoothly and quietly

12. Warm cherry pie just out of my oven

13. Hot tea on a fall evening

14. Watching my brother's soccer game in the rain

15. Having fun sisters to hang out with

16. Using coupons to get a couple treats at Bath & Body Works this afternoon

17. Reconnecting with old friends

18. Hearing my husband pray for our baby

19. A piano that holds a tune

20. Friendly conversation with my bank tellers

Monday, September 21, 2009

9 weeks.

Sitting here with my herbal pregnancy tea, a gift from my friend Janet over the weekend, and reading dozens of congratulatory notes from people we love. We've been so overwhelmed by our family and friends' excitement for us. I think that (and the pregnancy tea) has helped to ease the nausea. It seems all I eat these days, be it breakfast, lunch, or supper, is a slice of wheat toast and a piece of fruit. Except for yesterday when Mom had us over for Sunday dinner: BBQ ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed vegetables, warm Parmesan rolls, and apple crisp. And I was able to eat it without getting sick!

Janet's husband Kevin gave the baby its first Estwing hammer, with a big orange bow around the neck. Of course, Winn thinks he should be able to break it in. They also took us to dinner to celebrate at a new wood-fired pizza place in town. They are such silly good friends, making a fuss over us already.

And then there's my mom (and she already has five grandchildren, mind you) who has already gone shopping for a bag of diapers, two small neutral outfits, four receiving blankets, and a set of bibs. It was exciting to see the newborn diaper, small enough to fit in my palm.

In a while I've got to summon the energy to do some laundry and make a run to town for a box of printer paper, but until then you will find me on the couch for a morning nap.

Monday, September 7, 2009

happy birthday, sherill.

Today would have been my mother-in-law's 67th birthday. I wish for just a quick glimpse into heaven to see that sunny smile once again, as they're probably throwing her a party that we could only imagine. We miss her so much. So it is a bit melancholy around here today.

Winn took the day off to work on our never-ending renovations. Today's agenda has included duct work, a trip to the hardware store, and a threshhold for the front door. Meanwhile, I have been doing a bit of deep-cleaning and making Challah bread.

This weekend we brought in our harvest. There must have been about 50 pounds of red potatoes and loads of carrots and cucumbers, plus a good pile of sweet corn. We've already collected oodles of lettuce, gallons upon gallons of green beans, and a smaller amount of snap peas. The tomatoes and pumpkins are almost ready. Now the freezing and canning begins.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

to share or not to share.

We turned this old farmhouse into a three-bedroom, with the fourth becoming a new walk-in closet and master bathroom. We didn't think we'd miss the fourth one much because we thought if we have kids, we'd like them to share rooms anyway. And there's a large attic where we plan to have an extra hide-a-bed for guests when it's finished.

For most of my elementary school days I shared a room with my sister Carrie. She is almost two years younger than me. I was bossy, and Carrie was sweet and would do almost anything I'd ask her to. We each had a twin-sized bed in our room, and we would rearrange it often, to keep it interesting. Sometimes we'd have the beds directly across from each other, with a night table in between, and sometimes they would be on adjoining walls so that we could whisper at night when we were supposed to be sleeping.

The color in our bedspreads was called dusty rose, and we each had a porcelain doll on a stand on our dresser. And we had lots of barbies, which we kept in separate boxes because Carrie liked to throw hers all together and I liked to sort mine, with their clothes and accessories carefully stored in their own places. And we loved to set up a mansion for them in our bedroom, with the little barbie doll furniture and clothes that Grandma June made for our birthdays each year.

My older sister Jessica had a room right across the hall, with a daybed and a blue comforter. From time to time I would get bored with my sleeping arrangements and decide to move onto the trundle bed in Jessica's room. As a middle child, I always felt kind of jipped because Carrie had a room and Jess had a room, and I would float back and forth between them. But I guess I maybe liked it that way. However, Jessica wasn't at all acquiescent when it came to my bossiness, so we usually didn't last too long as roommates. Besides, Carrie and I liked to keep things fairly tidy, while Jess wasn't as concerned about dirty socks on the floor and apple cores on the dresser.

When I was about 11 and Jess 13, Mom decided to move the washer and dryer upstairs. I was in Jessica's room at the time, with Carrie just across the hall, and the two babies in their room across from Mom and Dad. Anyway, with our room becoming the new laundry room, Jess and I thought it would be a great adventure to move downstairs, because you see we were all grown-up and mature by this time. Dad cleaned out the old room downstairs and painted the floor and set up the bunk beds he had built, and we carried all our belongings down and hung curtains and laid a rug.

And there was a big work cabinet on the wall in the room, and we thought wouldn't it be so hip if we put our stereo up in that cabinet with one door swinging open with the speakers inside, and then we'd play Bryan Adams really loud while we put away all our things in our new room. And when our girlfriends or the Bacon boys would come over, we decided we were just about the coolest thing since sliced bread, with that new downstairs room to hang out in.

So I guess personal space is real nice, but sharing was probably the best, when you can whisper in the dark with the lights out and learn to share your things and make sacrifices and have a sister to set up Barbie Doll mansions with or sing along to the Best of Bryan Adams.

The way we were.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

a little bit o' this and a little bit o' that.

**Thankful for a flood of three out-of-town jobs this week after a bit of a work drought.

**Lovin' it that these beauties live right across the road from us and come running to the fence if you approach with an apple or carrot.

**Reading Why You Do The Things You Do, by Drs. Clinton and Sibcy, and learning a lot about my relationship style.

**Watching the flowers bloom that we planted earlier this summer.

**Searching for salsa recipes as we're about to be bombarded with a tomato harvest.

**Discovering new ways to eat cucumbers.

**SO looking forward to Cate, Joel, and Eavan (nieces and nephew) coming on Monday!

**Invited by friends to the PGA Championship, where we were within arms length of athletes like Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, and Padraig Harrington (AND I got Lee Westwood's autograph--my bright pink shirt ploy worked!).

(Had to give my right arm for this burger, but of course they wouldn't let you bring food in.)