A little to the left

I realized a while after I wrote yesterday's post that I may have given a false impression as to the serenity of my evenings. My bedside table is what it is, but the frequency in which I use all that is stacked or piled on it must be clarified. I wish I could tell you that I give myself a manicure every night, and that Curt and I lay next to one another, reading interesting and compelling literature, then fall asleep sharing and discussing what we've just absorbed. I wish.

Most evenings, I crash into bed and lay like a vegetable while I watch whatever prime time garbage I have recently become addicted to. Some nights I cozy up to one of my beloved books, but really I just find incredible comfort in knowing they are there. Whenever I feel mentally revived and ready to dive into something brilliant, I know I have options. Those nights are coming fewer and farther between these days.

Why? Well for one example, let me show you what is just to the left of my bedside table...

Where are the drawers to this lingerie chest? Over here...

You ask why again? Simple... Because of this...

You see, Saturday afternoon Curt decided he wanted to wash the car. When I went to the side of the house to turn on the spicket, water proceeded to flow everywhere. Hmm, I thought, that can't be normal. So I turned it off. Curt checked it out, agreed that something was wrong, but thought it was only an issue with the spicket outside the house, and the plan to wash the car was forgotten. We headed off for some grocery shopping and when we came home, found standing water in our bed and bathroom. Fantastic.

We gave Addie a bath, saved some drinking water in the fridge, then Curt turned off the water supply to the house. He then informed me that we would have to try and stick it out until Monday, when we could get a plumber in to take a look and not have to pay the weekend rate. Seriously? Thank goodness our dear friends and neighbors, Paul & Kim, called just to check in. When I told them what had happened, they showed up minutes later, toolbox in hand. To emphasize what good friends they are, I must tell you that they came over right in the middle of the big UK vs. West Virginia game. What hockey is to Canada, college basketball is to Kentucky. I'm telling you--this game was a REALLY big deal.

Paul and Curt cut a hole in the wall of our bathroom to find that the pipe inside had indeed ruptured. Then they went off to Home Depot to get the necessary parts to fix the issue. Kim stayed home with me and after I put Addie to bed, she stayed to watch the train wreck that was the second half of that dreadfull game. In a way it was a blessing that the boys didn't have to see it. Sad, sad stuff.

In just under an hour, the new pipe was installed and our problem was solved. We could turn the water back on and I was much happier knowing that I could use the toilet and not feel like I was in a latrine. But, for a few days we had to keep a box fan running to ensure that our carpet was thoroughly dry. It's a little difficult to feel relaxed in a room where the furniture is all displaced and there is a constant loud whirring a few feet from your head.

So this week, my loud and messy bedroom is my excuse for not taking advantage of the hour or so I have before bed when I could expand my mind with the written word. Maybe next week we can avert disaster and I'll dive right into those glorious pages with the boob tube off. Hey, a girl can hope.

My bedside table

Here is what my bedside table looks like right now. I was drawn into my room because as you can see from all of the lights on the monitor, my girl was wide awake during what was supposed to be her nap time. She was chatting and whooping and having a glorious time, all within the confines of her crib. I love those sounds.

As much as I wish she would settle down and get some rest, I suppose I can't blame her. I'm notorious for getting into bed long before I'm actually ready to go to sleep. But when I have such a stack of compelling reading material, along with a crooked lamp shade, a bottle of lavender linen spray and some bright red nail polish, can you blame me?

I tell you, it makes me want to curl up in there right now, in the middle of the afternoon, and just be. Maybe I will. What's on your bedside table?

Crafting week ahead

This week leads up to some very important days over the weekend. On Friday, my baby girl who isn't such a baby anymore, turns two. Then of course on Sunday there is Easter, but it is also my best friend's 30th birthday. She lives in Chicago so I won't get to spend time with her to celebrate her big day. Pout But I will be sending a special package up north in honor of making it through the last decade + together and the years of friendship that lie ahead.

What does all of that mean? It means I have some very full and busy days of making, sewing, gluing and hopefully some knitting ahead of me. Last night I tackled one of my projects for Addie: hair clips. One day at story time I saw this little girl with the most adorable simple ribbon-covered clip holding her hair back. I asked her mom where she got it and she told me she made them. Of course! In just a few moments, she shared with me how it was done and I made up my mind to craft some for Addie this summer.

With just a few alligator clips, some grosgrain ribbon, a toothpick and a dollop of craft glue, I was able to put together a fantastic collection to get Addie going. The clasp that holds Curt's badge for work broke over the weekend so I grabbed it up and sewed some ribbon around it to make a little home for these cuties.

I think these might be wrapped around my little love's Easter basket Sunday morning. One down, many more projects to go. Annnnd--I'm off!

What Keeps Me Going

Fridays on this space are dedicated to sharing what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

This week, I am having such a hard time just picking one thing... After over eleven total hours of travel time on Tuesday and Wednesday with an almost two-year-old in tow, I spent a lot of time clinging to the happy thoughts. When a super poopy diaper threatened our ability to board a plane on time. When the overly attentive flight attendant seemed far too eager to find something wrong with how we were holding Addie or how our carry-ons fit under the seats in front of us.  When an ugly attack of IBS hit me and I prayed to make the next exit and find a bathroom in time. (I did--phew!) When Addie refused to fall asleep on any of our flights.

During all those moments of frustration and panic, I kept thinking about all the fun we had with my sisters. Most of all, the fun that Addie had connecting with her aunts and watching them fall in love with her even more. I have shared much about those moments this week, but one that keeps coming back to me, that stands out above the others right now, is the night before Addie, Emily and I left Omaha.

Addie was sleeping soundly in Kate and Seth's office, Seth was watching a show on the History Channel about pawn shop owners (which made for really interesting background noise) and Kate, Em and I were hard at work on Addie's birthday banner. This banner started out as an idea that I got from seeing so many other bloggers out there create similar things for their kids' birthdays. I kept thinking that my girl needed one too and that it had to be beautiful and timeless so we could use it year after year.

Before our big trip, I asked my sisters if they would mind helping me put it together, as I knew it would take me forever to do it by myself. Of course they agreed and added their creative ideas to make it better than I initially envisioned. We made a few extra trips to "Oh Bobby!" and added some steps into the process with another color of fabric layered over the pattern I picked out earlier. A disaster in paint colors threatened to throw the whole thing off, but a persistant Kate kept mixing pinks and whites until the right shade swirled through.

We sat together for a few hours, stenciling, painting, collaborating and admiring. No deep discussions were held and no major problems of the world were solved. We simply worked together, around the kitchen table crafting and creating in each other's company. There is such a comfort in spending time with people who know you so well that conversation is no longer necessary for your bond to grow. We were quite tired when we finished painting those last letters, but it sparked fantasies of one day living in the same town or city and getting to work on projects together like this all the time.

I must say, the (almost end) result is breathtaking. I love it!!! Addie will probably be too young to really appreciate it this year, but I hope that in the years to come it will be part of her birthday tradition to get out the banner that was crafted by her mom, aunts and yes, her Memere. Aunt Em is going to sew the fabric rectangles to some binding tape and my mom volunteered to decorate the edges of the brown fabric with pink embroidery floss--then it will be complete.

At some point I plan to put together a tutorial for how it all came together. First I have to remember where I saw the tutorial that started this whole thing so I can link to her as well and give credit where credit is certainly due.

In the meantime I have to thank my sisters once again for their amazing help in making this project a beautiful reality. Thanks to my mom as well for offering to take on that last little step that will likely be the most time consuming, but will also add the perfect touch to make it stand out even more.

Such great memories have already come from this banner and it hasn't even been used yet--Oh the magic of crafting!

I would love it if you joined me in sharing what keeps you going! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

**Special thanks to my dear friends Jenn over at Raising a Kid, Katie & Lee, and also to my amazing mom and dad for sharing incredible inspiration last week. I can't wait to hear what stood out this week for you all!

My sisters

Yesterday made for a longer day of travel than I anticipated, hence my absence from this space. It's funny how it always feels so nice to be home again, no matter how painfully I miss those I had to leave behind. Sister time is so rare for the three of us that when it happens it is oh so sweet, but when it ends the knot in my tummy hangs on for quite a while.

And really, aren't sisters the best? Especially as adults, there is no comparison to the level of intimacy I have with my two younger sisters. Who else would see my naked body after having a baby and say with sincere curiosity and shock, "Your nipples are huge!" Who else would lay with me and my sleeping sick girl, quietly comforting me while I cry out of sheer exhaustion and frustration? Who else would jump at the chance to help me on a craft project, knowing that when I said I planned to do it myself I really meant that they would do it with me?

Of course over the years we have had our ups and downs. We've had big fights and little ones, huge disagreements over politics and religion, yet through it all we are here for each other through anything--good or bad. That kind of security in relationships is so very rare. I know I am blessed.

The incredible bond I have with my sisters is one of the big reasons I have always wanted several children. I have said for a while now that the greatest gift my parents ever gave us was each other. What more could I offer my own daughter than the opportunity to have friends and partners in life through her siblings? My prayer for Addie and this baby in my womb is that they can appreciate and love each other for all that they are, whether or not they are alike, whether or not they are the same gender and whether or not they share the same views of the world.

My baby sister is about to embark on the biggest adventure of her life with her husband. They are leaving the country so he can attend an international medical school for 16 months. While I am thrilled for them, I am devastated at the thought of being separated from her for so long. When we were saying goodbye at the airport, I felt like Jo in Little Women, "Will we never all be together again?" Well of course we will, just probably not until Christmas. In the huge excitement I presently feel at the beginning of spring, that seems really far away.

But in the meantime, there is such anticipation for the new ways we will be able to connect. Skype is definitely going to see a lot more traffic from this location. I am adding a new budget line item for international shipping costs to cover the number of care packages that will be heading farther south that I have ever traveled. There have been threats of violence if daily blogging does not become a part of my sister's tropical routine. And darnit if absence makes the heart grow fonder doesn't ring absolutely true in the long year ahead. We will get through it and if I was a betting woman, I'd throw in the lot that the three of us will come out even closer in the end than before.

The three of us--Sara, Kate and Em. Between us all we are a mom, aunts, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, friends, wives and of course, we are sisters.  How I love them... How I love us. Until Christmas, my dears.

Fun at the zoo

When my sister, Kate told me that we were going to the zoo during our visit, at first I was a little perplexed. Won't it be way too cold in Nebraska/Iowa in March? She assured me that this was one of the best zoos in the country and there were lots of things to do inside. OK, if you say so!

Well, she was right! Our time at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo was very well spent and we all had a blast. Hands down, Addie's favorite was the monkeys in the Lied Jungle. But really, how could she choose?

The Desert Dome was amazing, but a little stinky.

The orangutans were beautiful and so very close.

This gorilla was unbelievably gorgeous... until he decided to vomit right next to the glass... and eat it.

Emie was not amused.

Addie loved this monkey, who stole the show with his whoops and swings.

She wanted to swing and dance just like him.

Awesome Emie joined right in.

Mommy is looking (ahem) quite preggers.

Then it was onto the Scott Aquarium, where Addie thought she met all the characters from Finding Nemo.

Mommy loved the starfish and the jellies.

We only spent about three hours there and saw just a fraction of what this incredible zoo has to offer. If you're ever in the area, we highly recommend it. Just beware of the regurgitating gorillas!

Fun with Aunts

As much as I love my sisters, I think Addie might love them even more. If she can't have Mommy, they come in second as the women to whom she wants to be the closest. We've had a few bumps along the way on this trip--trouble with our seats on one of the flights, a nasty allergy attack that left Addie with swollen eyes and fluids leaking out every corner of her face... But through it all I had my girls with me to help me out and lift the spirits of my sick babe.

It turns out that no matter how miserable Addie may have felt, as long as she had her Emie and her Kate, she didn't seem to mind the endless stream of tears and snot that plagued our first days here. And really, how can you blame her when there was so much fun to be had?

We stuck to the house for most of the first day and a half to make sure Addie had time to rest and feel better. Once she was up and at 'em, we ventured out to one of her favorite spots ever--the zoo. More on that tomorrow...

Very important side note: We emailed Addie's pediatrician Sunday morning when I realized her allergies were getting worse and not better. He got back to me within a few hours with a recommendation and today she has been infinitely better. Thank you so much, Dr. Feddock! We love you!!!  

What Keeps Me Going

As I stated last week, Fridays on this space are dedicated to sharing what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

It seems that as of late, our lives and plans revolve around when and how long we get to be outside. This week had a dull beginning weather wise, which left me looking forward to the bright days forcasted ahead. I didn't wallow in the gray, but I definitely was looking forward to the warm temperatures and the sun that was in store for us. (I might have checked the weather a few times a day just in case the highs were thought to get any higher or the skies any less cloudier.)

On Wednesday, it seems that I was anticipating the sun a little too much. I saw that it was out and that clouds were way off in the distance, so it was clearly time to jet! I got out Addie's blanket, some books, snacks, and her favorite ball to kick around. We were ready to spend the rest of the afternoon outside!

After about ten minutes, I realized that the clouds I thought were off in the distance (as our normal weather pattern would suggest--I suppose a C in college meteorology will only get you so far), were actually headed our way, directly in the path of our beloved sun.

Once the wall of gray hit, it got pretty chilly and Addie started yelling, "Come back, sun!" Oh, how I felt her plea! We hung in there for a little while longer, but after a while, made our way back inside. Those 20 minutes or so were absolutely perfect and left me so hungry for the afternoons when we will be able to park it out on our back lawn for hours without a care in the world, except maybe for some sunscreen.

As it turns out, I didn't have to wait very long! Yesterday was one of the most gorgeous days we have had in a while. Just as I predicted, when the brightness finally did arrive, the light filled our home and our spirits with incredible energy and excitement! I enjoyed Addie's nap time with an hour or so basking in the natural warmth alone. I did cast on for toast, but realized early on that the circumference was a little larger than I expected. I knew I should have done a better gauge swatch! I pulled it out to start again, but wasn't upset. I think I could knit for hours in the sun and not care if I ever came out with a finished product!

Curt came home from work early and my heart was full in watching them play the evening away together. Apparantly, it was too full to remember to grab the camera, but I have no doubt there will be many more chances to capture their magic in the spring days to come.

Today Addie and I leave for what I'm sure will be an adventure. We are headed for Iowa to visit with my sister and brother-in-law. This is our first big trip without Daddy and I have a little anxiety about flying with Addie and without him. My sister, Emily with be traveling the skies with us, so that will help--just please hold us in your thoughts and prayers. I have a small fear of flying commercially anyway, but something tells me those fears will be distracted by a little girl clinging to my lap. I hope.
I will see you all on Monday with updates on our adventures away. Until then, be well and enjoy our first official days of spring!

I would love it if you joined me in sharing what keeps you going! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

**Special thanks to my dear friends Katie & Lee, and also to my amazing mom for sharing such inspirational moments last week. Keep 'em coming ladies!

Moving right along

Thank God for the second trimester and the energy lift that comes along with it! Yesterday I cut all the pieces for Addie's birthday banner and I finally finished the hat I've been working on since January. January!! Remember the fancy hat I made at Christmas? Well this one has an organic cotton pale pink body with a 1 in. hot pink grosgrain ribbon thread through the eyelets. I adore it and think it will be perfect on a special baby's head for springtime!

Now my fingers are itching to cast a new project on the needles. I haven't knit anything for myself since my very first project (which I ended up not really loving), so I think it's time to make something for little old me! This fantastic Classic Elite Portland Tweed that my sister gave me for Christmas cannot sit around unfondled any longer.

With a trip to chilly Omaha just around the corner (literally--Addie and I fly out on Saturday), I think I must go and bask in our sunny 65 degree weather and whip up a pair of toast for the journey.   

Oh Bobby!

A few days ago, during a gray and cold afternoon, I took Addie to a most glorious place... Hobby Lobby. In gearing up to make a few small crafts for the big two-year-old birthday, I was in need of supplies. I kept saying, "Addie, this is so exciting--we're going to Hobby Lobby!" She shouted back every time, "Oh Bobby!" Love it.

First on the agenda: a birthday banner with this sweet pink and brown fabric. With a little help from my sisters, I think we can pull it off.

There was a 50% off sale on ribbon so I stocked up to make some hair clips in fun summer colors.

And of course, there was the obligatory impulse buy. This print stood out amongst all the others just begging to be transformed into a sun dress for my girl.

The next few weeks will surely be busy, but full of color and lots of fun! Thanks, "Oh Bobby!"

Big girl panties

What happens while Daddy is shaving and Mommy is in the shower? Addie strolls into the closet, pulls out all the contents of Mommy's underwear drawer and... puts panties on her head. Awesome.

Does that count as a sign for potty training readiness? I'm going to say, yes!

Biggest fan

Saturday we were so excited to have Addie's godparents and their boys over for a long overdue visit. We always enjoy our time with them and that has grown exponentially as our families have gotten bigger. Their oldest is nearly five and their youngest is three months younger than our girl. The three of them together warms my heart and watching them play is wildly entertaining.

My favorite part about seeing our families combine is how much Addie is in love with her big cousin, Adam. Ever since she has been old enough to notice, she took to him in a way I have never seen. Truly, I believe she views him as the big brother she will never have. She hugs him incessantly and bless his heart, he doesn't seem to mind at all. In fact, I think he grew to like being so adored. By the end of the day, he was calling her, "Ad" and we parents couldn't help but giggle.

Little Miss. was so excited to be with her best friend that she even posed for pictures, which is a true rarity these days.

During a little R & R session, Addie took the time to brush Adam's hair. 

Sweet, independent Ryan gets to admire his big brother all the time and was more content to hang by himself for the day than join the I heart Adam fan club... Of which, Addie is surely the president! 

That is, until our ring leader got ahold of a bowl of Dorrito crumbs. Nothing is funnier than seeing a group of kids who normally aren't allowed to eat undisclosed amounts of chips find a stash just for them. 

After the troops headed home, I think we could have drawn straws to see which one of us was more tired. Addie put up an Oscar worthy protest at bedtime that left us more drained than should be humanly possible. How did we cope? Curt with a glass of bourbon (oh so jealous) and me with another box of Girl Scout Cookies (I promise, I didn't eat the whole thing). All in all, totally worth it and we can't wait to do it again. 

Do over!

The exact moment I posted my last entry, and I mean the very second I clicked "Publish Post" I felt my new baby move for the very first time. Just two little jabs in my tummy to announce, "Mommy, I'm here!" Undoubtably that is my moment of the week. What greater event could lift me up and keep me going more than the tiniest life announcing his/her presence?

Oh sweet angel, I feel you! Keep growing, keep moving, keep kicking and letting me know you're OK. Your mommy is here and loves you so much. We can't wait to meet you! 

What keeps me going

March is almost half way over and I am still flying high on this month's step toward balance. Maybe it's because the weather was gorgeous and Addie and I were able to spend quite a bit of time outside. Maybe it's because I am obsessed (just ask my husband) with this whole fresh bread whenever I want thing.  Whatever it is that's saturating my mind with incredible memories, it doesn't matter. Shifting my perspective to actively search for the great and fabulous moments rather than clinging to the bad has drastically improved my attitude and general state of being.

Last week I talked about finding a way to weekly highlight those perfect moments and thanks to Natalie's suggestion, I think I finally came up with something that will work. Starting today, Fridays on this space will be dedicated to what keeps me going... A moment, a photo, an event or a memory that stands out against whatever might have gone wrong or felt dark in the last seven days.

I would love it if you joined me! Leave a comment to let me know you're participating and each week, I will include a list of everyone who is playing along.

So, what kept me going this week? Aside from Wednesday, I think I have to go with the latest bread recipe I tried yesterday. It's the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread & Hamburger Buns in what is becoming my new baking bible. One of these days I will get over the magic of this concept, but until I do, I just can't stop myself. I mixed the dough Wednesday night, shaped it up yesterday afternoon, baked the buns & the loaf and now have some of the best bread I have ever tasted quickly disappearing from my countertop.

Addie even got a taste of the action when she saw the stack of buns waiting for her after her nap, and reached out with both hands repeating, "Hold, hold, hold!!!" Of course I had to oblige her and gave her a roll of her very own. We went for a walk and instead of the normal traveling snack of crackers, it was a handfull of bread. My girl! She ate the entire thing and wanted some more, but until I decide that bread alone makes a healthy dinner, I had to decline.

Little Miss. put up a bit of a protest when I tried to document how much she was enjoying her bun, but that made it even funnier to me. Gosh, Mom--I'm eating! How can I blame her? With the heavenly smell of freshly baked bread flowing all through the house, it does seem like indulging in those tasty treats should be some sort of private moment. That being said, there is a part of these recipes that always cracks me up: at the end of each one it says, "allow to cool completely on a rack before slicing and eating". To that I say with as much maturity I can muster... Make me!

p.s. Thank you to everyone who stopped by this space yesterday during the chaos that was me trying to upload a new banner. I think I finally found something that feels right! Happy weekending.