Friday, April 30, 2010

A Little Outdoors Brought In

We did end up taking that second walk yesterday which turned out to be just as wonderful as the first.  I'm pleased as punch that Levi ditched the stroller.  I hope it sticks.  Wandering aimlessly with him by my side is more fun than taking a set path while pushing a stroller.  It feels more like home this way.

After our walk, we meandered through the yard a bit.  Levi could spend forever looking through a one foot patch of earth...just discovering new things, watching ants, asking what this is and what that is.  We brought some of his discoveries inside to make a mini nature table...vetch pods, acorn caps, a stick, and an unidentified seed pod of sorts... 

Nature Table

He was so stinkin' cute carefully arranging his finds...

Nature Table

Nature Table

Haha...don't go thinking I have some mutant little boy.  Most of this neatly arranged set up was demolished within seconds of me putting my camera away.  But, isn't that half the fun of it?  ;)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Morning, Today, and Some Gratitude, I might have gotten off to a bad start.  I might have been grumpy and snappy.  I might have banged a few dishes around while making breakfast, and I just maybe was slightly ill tempered.  But, my husband was still nice to me, and Levi was actually in a good mood, and things started to look brighter.  So, I've been thinking about what I'm grateful for today, and my mood has improved.  I like that thoughts can change a day from cruddy to good.

Thoughts like these:

~I married a really sweet fella who still hugs me and tells me he loves me even when I turn into a grumpy, overly emotional pregnant lady who cries at random (and dumb) moments.

~Levi has been kind of grumpy for a couple of days now, but today he's been in a good mood!

~Even better than that second one: Levi is currently napping!!  Naps have become a tad trying lately, and the past two days...oh. my.  Lets just say, Levi without a nap = grumpopotamus.

~The sun is all shiny and beautiful today.  We spent the morning kicking a ball in the yard.  Levi calls it the neighborhood ball.  I'm not sure where he got this, but it's cute.  And, true.  The ball mysteriously appeared...probably from one of the three neighboring yards.

~We have an incredible array of bird life in our backyard.  I'm surprised every time I walk out there.  How is it possible to have more birds in a neighborhood than when we lived out in the country.  I think I need a bird book.  Any suggestions?

~Levi actually took a walk today!  As in on his own two legs without insisting on being in the stroller or being carried.  It was oh so very nice.  He's been scared of walking around our neighborhood since we moved in.  The dogs barking scared him (not sure why since my parents have dogs).  The cars on the road outside of our neighborhood scared him....just the sound of them.  We almost never actually see cars moving inside of our neighborhood.  Everything was new to him, and he's hitting that time where fears are setting in.  But, today he conquered those fears...or at least ignored them.  Today he was fascinated by the street.  The spots on it, rocks on it, green patches of grass and moss on it...the whole thing was mesmerizing to him.  He chased butterflies (and a wasp).  He smelled flowers, and even picked a clover just for me. :)  I think we might attempt another walk after nap time.  It was nice to see those little legs moving.

~I'm getting a car!!!  My parents have been planning to lend us their spare car, but it's been in the shop for months now.  My mom called me this morning to tell me that it was FINALLY out, and they are bringing it to me this weekend.  Thank you!!!  Stephan works 12 hour days for 7 days straight, and he never has more than 3 days off in a row...usually not even that much.  So, spending entire weeks housebound is pretty much enough to drive me and Levi crazy.  Especially since it's Spring, and parks and duck ponds and trips to Nana and Baw-Baw's house are calling us!  Now we'll be able to answer.

Life is good.  Sometimes I just need to remind myself of that.  Especially on days when the pregnancy hormones take over and turn me into the grumpopotamus.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweet Dreams: Finally

Yesterday was a tiring day...not bad...just tiring.  When nap time rolled around, I was so happy at the prospect of cuddling up with Levi and catching a few z's myself.  Ha!  After two hours of trying to convince him that napping with mommy was a good idea....I'm persistent when sleepy....I finally gave up.  We had a snack, read books, and eventually this oh, so exhausted mama resorted to you tube videos.  Levi's current faves: odd...he has his mother's taste in music.  ;-)  Anyway, it worked.  He fell asleep in my arms.  Of course, being the doting mommy, I stared at my sweet angel until my arm fell asleep, and I had to put him down.  What is it with us mamas and the need to stare at and cuddle with our sleeping children even after we've been praying for hours that they would fall asleep?

And, yes, I took pictures.  Note the pile-o-stuff in the bed.  The days of sleeping with one or two strange items are gone.  Now it's a whole flock of craziness...books, puppets, toys, even very large dragons.  This shot doesn't cover the half of what was actually there.  It's a miracle that Stephan and I fit in between it all.

And He Finally Sleeps

And He Finally Sleeps

Sigh. Love.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh, Yes, She Did!

My sister has been talking about dying her hair some crazy color for months now.  Well, she did it...

And, as far as blue-green hair goes, I think it looks pretty cute.  Actually, it kinda makes me want to dye mine pink.  Kinda...not really. 

P.S. Annie, Your hair no longer matches your eyes...which is a cool family trait that has been passed on to Levi.   Right along with his eyes turning green when he cries...just like yours.  However, I do hope the need to dye one's hair strange colors is not genetic.  :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eating His Greens!

Do you see the green?!!!!!

Eating His Greens

Okay, so you have to peer through the red around Levi's mouth to actually catch the green.  The kid loves all things red, but green....ha!  He won't touch green.  That is...until now.  Thanks to Hannah from Mulberry Spot, I've got Levi eating his leafy greens.  Her green smoothies inspired me to make one more attempt at getting the greens in this kid.  Y'all, I was seriously beginning to doubt that I would ever see the day.  Turns out that he LOVES them.  Of course, it probably helps that I tell him it's ice cream.  Teeny tiny lies are not beneath me.

Here's how I make mine...

Kale (you can also use spinach)
1/2 a cup or so of juice (your choice)
Frozen bananas
Other frozen fruits

The amounts involved depend on how much you want to make.  This really isn't an exact science.

Trim the tough stems off of the kale.  Pack your blender with kale.  Pour in about 1/2 a cup of juice (you can use water but the end result isn't as sweet).  Blend until smooth.  If you are having trouble getting the kale to blend, add a little more juice or water.  Once the kale is well blended (it will look like a green juice) slowly add frozen bananas and/or other frozen fruits until you have as much smoothie as you want.

Using all frozen fruits creates a thicker texture which can be passed off as ice cream...if your kid is like mine.  However, feel free to substitute fresh fruits for a more smoothie-like texture.

Note: If you add colorful fruits, your smoothie will turn funky colors.  We don't mind oddly colored "ice cream" around here.  If you want it green though, stick with white and yellow fruits like bananas, mangoes, and pineapples.

And, for more green smoothie ideas, check out this ode to green smoothies.

P.S. This is an excellent way for pregnant mamas to get their greens too.  If you're like me, pregnancy = an uncharacteristic dislike of all things leafy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Portrait By Levi

Levi is beyond fascinated by all things photography.  It's inevitable that at some point all of his toys become cameras.  He holds them up to his face, grins the biggest, most amazing grin, and says "I take pictures!"  When I took the photos from yesterday's post, Levi was itching to take some of his own.  Since it was just my old point and shoot, I decided to let him have a go of it.  (I not so secretly want a new one anyway.)  Of course, most of the pics ended up being of the blue wall or his lap, but I thought this one was pretty passable for a two year old...

Levi's Portraits of His Pregnant Mama

If I do get the camera that I really, really want (I know, like a Rebel isn't enough!), then I'm giving this old point and shoot to Levi.  Well, giving might be a strong word for it.  I'll let him use it under supervision until he's a tad older.

And, for future reference, I've bookmarked this pinhole camera tutorial.  How cool is that?!! 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Halfway There!

Thanks for all of your sweet comments on yesterday's post.  Your kindness and prayers mean a lot to me.  :)  Now back to regularly scheduled blogging...

So this week I hit 20 weeks...the halfway mark!!  I love pregnancy beyond this point.  Don't get me wrong, I was glad to be pregnant during the previous 20 weeks, but pregnancy really gets fun now.
This little munchkin's teeny, tiny feet are already creating visible bumps in my belly when s/he kicks.  Stephan was even able to feel him/her move on incredible!  Sigh.  I'm glad to be a woman.  I think men miss out on the whole carrying a baby thing.  Okay, maybe not in the first trimester, but still, babies are so cool!
Levi is very curious about this growing belly of mine.  He  likes to "feel" the baby.  Although, he has yet to actually feel a kick.  That doesn't seem to bother him though.

Levi Feeling the Baby

Levi Hugging the Baby

Levi feeling the baby kick

I think Levi is well on his way to being an awesome big brother.  He's already "reading" to the baby...

Levi "reading" to the baby

He takes his job very seriously.

Ha! Levi just woke up, took a look at a couple of these photos, and recognized me from my belly.  "That's mama!!" followed by, "It's a baby!!  I need to see de baby!  I need to kiss it!"  :-)


Friday, April 23, 2010

An Absence Explained

The much anticipated reunions are becoming increasingly stressful for both of us.  Levi is angry when he returns.  Sometimes that anger only lasts a couple of hours.  Often it goes on into the next day.  Last Sunday was one of the hardest. 
Pregnancy isn't really helping my coping abilities.  I am much more emotional now than usual.  So, when Levi screams at me that he doesn't like me and that I'm not his mommy, it burns a lot more than it probably ought to.  The patience required definitely stretches me in ways that I never expected and would love to skip.  All in all, it stinks.
On the bright side, since Monday, Levi has been somewhere close to angelic.  He spends most of his time being sweet and funny, kind and curious.  We've had a wonderful week...a very much needed wonderful week.
About that explanation...blogging just seemed like it would be more of a burden than a blessing this week, so it got skipped.  Hope your weekend is off to a wonderful start!   


Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Little Sunday Wishing

Something tells me that for Mother's Day, I'll be getting nothing but hugs and kiss.  I'm totally okay with that, but still...a gal can dream right?  Since Mother's Day is coming up next month (and I'm just sitting around waiting for my little fella), I thought I'd share some of my dreaming and wishing.  Although, I'd take hugs and kisses over all of this.

I'm currently oohing and aahing over Moon Over Maize's lovely creations.

Like this gorgeous necklace...

Or, these stunning earrings ...

Monica also makes a very cool Home Birth Necklace!

Because I'm pretty crazy about all things yarn.  This cool shop totally has my attention.

Kjoo's Crocheted Earrings are fabulous...

And, since clutches are oh so practical in my life...note of sarcasm...

Red Ruby Rose makes some beauties...

Of course, a knitting needle case would be pretty spiffy too.  I need somewhere to keep the overwhelming number of needles that I've collected.

So, this would be great...

Ha!  But, this hanging needle case would be even better...

Hope y'all have something special coming your way for mother's day...even if it is "just" a whole lotta love.

Oh, and Stephan, you should be thrilled that my retail therapy doesn't entail sending us over budget.  Otherwise, all of these things and maybe more would be on the way to our door.  ;) 


Saturday, April 17, 2010


So, this weekend is definitely harder than last weekend.  Ugh.  I'm surviving, though, and overall I've enjoyed my day. 
Stephan and I went out for breakfast before he left for work.  That was a really nice treat.  We don't exactly get a whole lot of dates, especially since he works most of the weekends when Levi is gone.  And, by works I mean 11 hour days.  Double Ugh.
I've also done a lot of internet browsing, crocheting, and some fun shopping with my mom.  I think we even found the flooring for the rest of the house and comforters for the beds!  Yay!  Now we just have to get Stephan to agree with us.  ;) 
I'm tempted to do a little extra retail therapy and buy this book...

I am such a timid knitter.  I'd love to be fearless...or at least less fearful.  Oooo...and Amazon actually has it for much cheaper.  Hmmm...excuse me while I go and spoil myself a bit.

So, what do you do to spoil yourself when your feeling a bit blue?


Friday, April 16, 2010


Levi is off to visitation for the second weekend in a row.  Ugh.  It's much harder this go round, and we're not even a whole 3 hours into it yet. 

On the bright side, we had an incredible week.  We generally enjoy ourselves as a family, but there was something special about this particular week.  It was, amazingly, tantrum free and rather blissful.  I thought tantrum free wouldn't be coming our way for some time.  A whole five days of it was awesome. 

It would seem that I would have a boatload of photos to show for such a glorious week, and there were definitely times when I thought about grabbing my camera.  But, it was always in another room.  Grabbing it would have meant missing out on some of the bliss.  I think some moments, days, and weeks are better savored without a lens.

Today was probably the best of the whole week...possibly why it was hard for me to part with Levi.  We had such fun today.  Okay, so Levi waking up at 4 am left me exhausted, but he was so friendly and funny ALL day long that I couldn't help but want to squeeze him and keep him close to me. 

This morning his laughter was infectious as he climbed "mountains" (a.k.a. Stephan trying to sleep under the covers).  It left me grinning, and Stephan is terribly good humored about being woken up by a 40 pound munchkin jumping on him and calling him a mountain.  I've definitely married a keeper!

Levi spent half the morning searching for acorn tops, which he is utterly fascinated by.   And, he got a mite bit upset with a squirrel for eating his "acrins".  How dare he?

He also searched for a ladybug that we spotted days luck.  Poor fella was so very offended by the idea that she might have flown away.  Didn't she know she was supposed to stay put?

The little munchkin was thrilled when my parents came for a post-nap visit.  The day was beautiful, so we headed to a frozen yogurt shop with a kid friendly fountain out front.  Levi refuses to set foot in the fountain, but he loves watching other kids play in it.  When we got home, he spent the remainder of his day playing and squealing with delight.  That's one of the things I miss most when he's gone...the squeals.  They just make my day complete.

So, what to do with yet another weekend without my little guy???  Me thinks crocheting and knitting are on the agenda for sure.  That and shopping.  What would a bum weekend be without a little retail therapy?


And, The Winner Is.....

Congratulations to Marcela from the wonderful blog Culture Mami!!!
Marcela gets a Barefoot Book of her choosing.  Enjoy!

Thanks so much to Barefoot Books for sponsoring this giveaway.  If you haven't checked them out already you are definitely missing something very special.  So. . . .what are you waiting for?  Head on over!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Conversation Overheard

Conversation overheard between a couple in the baby section of Target.  (They apparently had decided to divide and conquer when it came to their baby registry.  They bumped into each other with scanner guns in hand):

Man: "Hey honey, how's it going?"
Woman: "Great!  I've scanned 362 items!"
Man: "What???!!!!!  What baby needs that much stuff?!!!"
Woman (rolling eyes): "Oh, honey, we need all of it!"

I am not making this up!  362 items!!!  Really.  I came this close to stopping her, and saying, ", dear, not only do babies not need it all, you will be pulling out your hair trying to store it all."  I didn't, though.  I just chuckled a bit, and walked on.  

It reminded me of my first visit to Babies R Us.  My mother accompanied me...thank the good Lord.  The minute I walked in I wasn't sure whether to run and hide or just stand there and cry.  I was so overwhelmed by all the stuff.  I turned to my mom and said, "Do babies need all of this?"  Being a practical woman (who raised kids before the advent of mega baby stores), she said, "No."  And, steered me in the appropriate directions...away from the frivolous crud.  I walked away with just enough...okay, I might have splurged on a few little extras...but, nothing overwhelming and nothing regretful.

I like the minimalist approach to baby shopping.  How about you?  What are your thoughts on baby "stuff"?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Photo by my sister, Annie

A big thank you to the fabulous Tania, of Myrtle and Eunice, who recently not so recently tagged me for a Creative Blogger award.  Ahem, excuse my lack of promptness.  It seems to be a theme around here.  Anywho, I am in need of a whopping seven things to reveal about myself, so I'll give it a whirl.

Thing One:
I am not a phone person.  I know some people love their phones.  Me?  I like to know I've got one if...say...I run off the road and land in a ditch or lock my keys in the car.  But, I don't actually like talking on the phone.  Chatting occasionally with family or friends is nice, but anything in excess is, well, excess. I have friends who think chatting on the phone ranks as a relaxing activity.  I don't get it.  I count sewing, knitting, crocheting, drawing, reading, and aimless wandering as relaxing, but not phone time.  This has become worse since having a kid.  I hate talking on the phone while he's awake.  It's worse than trying to check my email while he's awake.  Even if he is happily playing when I get on the phone, within seconds of me putting the contraption to my ear he is climbing on me and telling me to get off of it.  Quite frankly, I'd rather be playing with him anyway.

Thing Two:
I like to take long, hot baths.  I'm sort of angry with our water heater because it doesn't allow for that.  It's plenty big and ought too.  But, I think it might be making its way to death's doorstep because it barely gives enough hot water to fill up half the bathtub.  And, if you try to take a shower...well, don't plan on shaving because you'll be freezing before you're done.  Ack!!

Thing Three:
Thus far, I have crocheted three girly baby bonnets and knitted one girly baby hat.  No, I don't know what we're having, but I like to be prepared.  I have loads of boy stuff already and no girl stuff.  I can't justify actually buying girl baby gear since I may never have a girl.  But, making that's a different story.  See, if I make girly baby things then I can justify saving them for possible grandbabies or giving them away as gifts.  The made stuff makes it into the special category (i.e. worth saving for 30 years).  The bought stuff...not so much. 

Thing Four:
My lovely, wonderful Bernina came with free new owner's lessons.  I took my second one today.  I'm smitten.  This machine rocks, and the ladies at the Bernina store are so incredible.  I've learned more about this machine in two lessons than I knew about my old Singer in 10 years!

Thing Five:
The first thing I craved during this pregnancy was broccoli.  The first thing I craved when I was pregnant with Levi was pepperoni pizza.  Neither of those makes it to my normal favorites list.
The broccoli craving was short lived (a couple of weeks).  Once morning sickness set in nothing green sounded good anymore.  Since then I have had a new craving every week or two:  pepperoni pizza (a morning sickness craving), apples (about two weeks into morning sickness apples started sounding better than peperoni pizza), strawberries, oranges, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (very brief...only about 4 days), and most recently avocados.

Thing Six:
We moved into our master bedroom...finally.  The floors walls and trim are finished!!!  The bathroom and closet, however, still need a bit of work.  I love the room.  Even if it isn't really decorated yet.  It feels peaceful, and just having one room finished is so soothing.  The whole construction zone look gets old fast.  Photographs to come...when I get my act together. 

Thing Seven:
Hmmm....If this baby is a girl, I'm buying myself a ruffler foot.  It's a big swanky foot for my Bernina.  It makes ruffles and pleats and even stitches two pieces of fabric together while ruffling the top piece and leaving the bottom flat....totally mind boggling.  I never thought I'd get into ruffles, but this foot has me converted.  Stephan's going to wish my machine hadn't come with classes.  The list of extras that I want just keeps getting longer.

Phew!  Made it to number seven!  :)  I'm supposed to tag people, but for the sake of time (the munchkin is due to wake up asap) I'm going to dodge out of this little task.

Hope y'all are having an incredible week!!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Surviving Another One

We survived yet another visitation weekend.  Stephan was actually home...such a rarity around here.  He works most weekends.  I don't think I'll ever get used to Levi being gone for a whole weekend, but having Stephan around definitely helped keep my spirits up.  Although, we both would have rather had Levi with us, it was nice to spend some time as just the two of us.
I was afraid that Levi would be upset that Stephan was here when he got back.  I thought he might feel like Stephan was encroaching on his mommy time, but it was quite the opposite.  Okay, at first he gave Stephan the evil eye.  Have I ever mentioned that Levi is a bit touchy when he gets back from his dads?  Touchy is actually quite the understatement.  Anyway, not long after the cold shoulder treatment, Levi was following Stephan around the backyard in search of creepy crawlies, and then they shared an apple...and a pear...and a bowl of strawberries.  Apparently, Levi was hungry.

Sadly, next weekend will be the same story...minus Stephan because he'll be working.  Uck!  Levi's dad had to switch weekends around this month, so now we're stuck with two in a row. 

P.S. I promise that one day, I won't inform you of every single visitation....maybe.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Ephants and Tigers and Geeeerafs

Levi and Stephan are both nuts over the zoo, so I'm pretty sure a membership is in our very near future.  Stephan was off of work yesterday (a very rare occurrence).  Yay!  Of course, we headed out to see all the animals.  While we were there one of the birds caught a mouse.  You can't see the mouse in the birds mouth, but you can see Levi's beaming grin over the whole affair....boys! 

Zoo Day

Zoo Day

Levi spent pretty much the whole trip either on Stephan's shoulders or running around like a crazy person...

Zoo Day

And, jumping on fences....

Zoo Day

He was also terribly worried about some of the animals who were alone.  "Wheres der mama?"  All the animals in pairs were of course (no matter their sizes) mama and baby.  :)  Sigh.  He might be growing up at an alarmingly fast rate, but he's still my little baby!

P.S. I left my camera at home....seems to be a regular occurrence nowadays!  I'm chalking it up to pregnancy brain.   All of these were taken on Stephan' phone.  


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Barefoot Books...A Giveaway!!

 Contest is over.
Winner to be announced.

The gals from Barefoot Books were sweet enough to send me four incredible children's books from their collection.  I am thrilled to be able to share them with you.  Levi immediately became smitten with these reads, and two of them in particular keep popping into my face followed by a sweet little voice saying, "Read dis!  Read dis!!".  Here they are with Levi's two absolute faves on top...

It's probably no surprise that I am really picky about children's books.  But, I too am smitten with these lovely reads.  They've left me wanting to order more Barefoot Books. . .like this one and this one and this one.  Don't those just look magical?  The illustrations are imaginative and charming, and the stories are so delightful.

My personal favorite is the Gigantic Turnip.  This tale of an old man, an old woman, and a whole lot of animals trying to harvest a very large turnip is simple but engaging.  Levi is enthralled with each reading, and, thankfully, this is one of those rare books that I don't mind reading again and again and again. 

Barefoot Books is a wonderful publisher of books for children of all ages.  Their stories inspire imagination, give glimpses into other cultures, and even encourage healthy living.  You'll love their great book selection, and while you're there check out their many award winners.

As if there weren't enough reasons to love Barefoot Books, you must read about their work with the Books for Africa program.  If you'd like to get involved, then check out their Books for Africa Collection.  Each book purchased from this section is sent directly to children in Africa.  Now whats not to love about a company that gives back?

On to the best part...Barefoot Books has been kind enough to offer a book of the winners choosing (up to a $25 value) to one of my readers!!  Pretty fabulous, huh?  :)  All you have to do to enter is...

Main Entry: Visit Barefoot Books, and leave a comment on this post, telling me the title you are most interested in.  Please, leave a way for me to contact you!!!

Extra Entries:  You can tweet (once daily) or blog (once total) about the giveaway.  Be sure to link back to this post.  Leave separate comments with urls for each of those entries.

Contest is open to U.S. and Canada.
Contest will end Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. central time.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Crayon Stars

We made a single solitary star crayon. . . .

Star Crayon

Levi decided it was pretty cool to draw on. . .note "on" not "with". . . .

Levi's First Star Crayon

So we made a few more. . . .

Making Star Crayons

And a lovely mess to go with them. . . .

Crayon Making Mess

Two cracked in half as we were removing them, but we still ended up with a nice stack. . . .

Star Crayons

We used this method and this star mold.  It was easy peasy.   And, once Levi caught on that stars were coming out of it, he was all over this one.