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Apr 30, 2010

Gardens, II

My friend J sent this picture from yesterday, so, you get to see more Botanica pics!
We missed the tulips but there was still plenty of color!
Here's L and her darlin' A:
J and Will (isn't he scrumptious?):
On another note, I went through the girlie toy aisle at Target today. Though I'm a grown-up, I still like to look at the dollies and no-bake ovens and such. Look who I found!
She's changed alot. Do you like her better now, or pre-makeover?

Lastly, I just might have to have this
necklace...it's on sale at JC Penney.

P.S. ~If you think of us, please pray for Shawn's Grandma Dorothy, who's been battling lymphoma. It is now in her liver.

Apr 29, 2010

Gardens

Spent some time at the local gardens this morning. I needed the fresh air, exercise, and social time. Although I was tired from having people in my home this week, I knew I wouldn't want to miss Botanica.

We were quite the sight with our strollers (some double), toddlers on leashes (not Wilder), and fancy cameras!

Wilder was infatuated with the streams, fish (which gross me out), and sprinkler systems, moreso than the flowers. A true boy.
Quite tempting to plunge my 9-months pregnant self into the fountain and bob around for a while.
But I didn't. No suit. And they would have kicked me out. Sympathy doesn't stretch that far.

Note to Wichitans: Botanica is $3 on Thursdays, for adults! I paid in quarters. We had some left from vacuuming the car.

Apr 28, 2010

Did you know?

Did you know that I had the honor of interning in the activities department at a long-term care facility my last semester at K-State? It was part of the requirements for my degree; I was really excited to get the hands-on experience. I think field experience should be required early on, to give students a feel for what they really want to do, before they invest years into their education.

If you were to ask me, what's one of the most memorable/life-changing things you've ever experienced, I would answer: working at St. Joseph Village. I didn't get paid, but that didn't matter. I didn't need payment of the monetary sort. Time with the residents was worth more than gold. I had a million grandmas. They filled a huge place in my heart.
Earllee, me, and Kathryn, 2004

It wasn't an easy beginning. I didn't know much about wheelchair etiquette, dementia, Alzheimer's, activities and charting, whether to yell or talk normal due to their hearing loss, dietary restrictions, privacy, the odors...some moments were intense or really sad, or even scary when people weren't of sound mind or they insulted me, because my heart for people is strong and sensitive.

All of that came to not really matter once I got the hang of it. It was my paradise. Really, truly. And my strength somehow regenerated itself and I came back each day not knocked down, but built up.


I oft wonder how I'd handle the experience again: if I'd have the same patience, compassion, empathy, enthusiasm, mercy. I think I would. But I still don't think it's a career I'll pursue (I'd need more schooling, which I started but then had Wilder); the subsequent jobs I took weren't in gerontology-related fields.

For now, it's this experience that I have to appreciate and be proud of.

And when I live to be 103, like one of the residents, I'll still be gabbing about my precious 6 months tiptoeing about heaven.

Going from room to room, heart to heart.

Exercise time

Apr 27, 2010

C is for Cookie.

Looking for a pretty cookie to take to your next gathering, or to treat your family? This slight spin on the sugar cookie is just enough to impress, I think. The only thing is that they are a little messy. Also, I prefer a 100% butter-based sugar cookie as opposed to one supplemented with cream cheese.

Black & White Hearts

They turned out nicely, and were yum-O!
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening


1) Combine sugar, butter, cream cheese, egg and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl often, until light and fluffy. Add flour; beat until well mixed. Divide dough in half; wrap each half in waxed paper. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.


2) Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out dough to 1 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut out with lightly floured heart-shaped cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned. Remove immediately to wire racks to cool completely.


3) Melt chocolate chips and shortening in small saucepan over low heat 4-6 minutes or until melted. Dip half of each heart into melted chocolate. Refrigerate on cookie sheets or trays lined with waxed paper until chocolate is firm. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

And when it's time to treat myself, I just beg Shawn for an Old Chicago Big Cookie!
After all, I've only 4 1/2 more weeks to eat "whatever I want."

Apr 26, 2010

Oh my closet!

Gotta put it out there that I'm so proud of my husband for taking the reigns on many projects this weekend. Wilder stayed Friday night with grandparents so we could make concentrated effort on our ever-growing to-do list.

And when my doctor told me that sometimes second babies come a little early, we really upped the tempo on getting things done...15 things done, 22 to go.

And it feels guuud!

Gonna take you on a little history lesson of my closet experiences as a married person. First closet: shared with Shawn; had to use laundromat...pretty awful. Second closet: much bigger but never organized. Third closet: house was built in practically 10 B.C. so it was teeny tiney; never organized. Current closet: house built in 1950, when people didn't need as much, so, it's little. And never organized.

I was too embarrassed to take a before picture. If Wilder ever played in there he would come out with a tampon or dime or tangled mess of bras and belts and dust-bunnies...

But with the help of my super awesome friend, L, it is now beautifully organized. I think J Lo or Mariah Carey would be jealous:
Two trashbags off to Goodwill. Every shoe in its place. Seven cheapie purses on the top shelf.
It's freeing to have my belongings pared down to only what I use. Brave enough to show me your closet?

Secondly, we're progressing on the nursery. Have one blank wall (heaven forbid!) to find art for so I won't do a final nursery post until then. But, here's the crib corner:
Gender-neutral can be done!
Hope your Monday is dust-bunny free.

Apr 23, 2010

I did not sneak and take a lick of the Bisquick batter.

Found a scrumptious-looking, pretty cookie recipe I'm making to share with you. However, the dough is still stuck in phase one: the 2-hr chill time turned into 16 hrs, and probably longer because I'm so taking a nap after this.

Will you settle for an easy pot pie recipe? It's nothing over the top amazing, but it will feed your families. Plus it's a total cheater's recipe (Bisquick, cream chicken soup, frozen veggies). Find the recipe here.

The boys worked on the nursery windows last night. I was excited to have them install the black-out shades but we ended up with the wrong size. Well, ok. Let's keep the reaction calm and neutral, for the baby.
And reason number 5,084 why I love being a mom:
Dime, marshmallow matey, strawberry yogurt

Seriously, I had a complete blast bending my 35-weeks pregnant body onto the super dirty green linoleum I pretty much can't stand, and using the brand-new clean kitchen towel to wipe up the mess. More fun than my bachelorette party. More hilarious than the latest SNL episode.


How's this for an aloof audience?
I'll take a standing "ove" today. Anyone?

Apr 22, 2010

Earth Day treats that I didn't make...

I've been going through old pictures, the ones from our point-shoot. Aside from wondering how we ever survived without the Nikon, and how I still managed to complain about my appearance though I was thin and tan, I kept being drawn to this photo from a few years ago:
My current hormonal craze involves impatience as a mommy (can you please just obey this time? can you please not empty the trash onto the floor?) and this sort of clinging to Shawn, wanting to spend as much time with him as I can. I see him in the evenings, but it never seems to be enough, as we are fully focused on W.

Babe, just taking a minute to thank you for making it possible for me to stay home with Wilder. I would've never guessed this is how our lives would've evolved, but I love it {most of the time}. And I'll do each phase of our lives proudly as long as I'm with you.


On an unrelated note, Happy Earth Day! Did you make any cute crafts or recipes? If' I'd had my game on, I would've made these globe cookies, featured on FamilyCorner. Click
here for recipe. But alas I do not have my game on (barely have a bra on that fits) as the kitchen still boasts scents/sights from Monday night's marinated chicken...and also I'm really tired and can't breathe very well because of the weakness in my diaphragm (related to pregnancy).
W and I couldn't have spent Earth Day any better than spending a cool morning in my friend's back yard. She has chickens, so I learned all about the egg-laying process, and a grapevine, which looks like something out of a movie; I told her she and her husband should renew their vows under the trellis. It made me want to go home and pluck/prune/mow/de-weed our yard; it is in dire need of TLC.

But we will get there.

Apr 20, 2010

A little suport for poetry

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
September 2007, Point/Shoot, Salina, KS

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day's

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

~Elizabeth Barret Browning~
It's quite the privilege to celebrate National Poetry Month this April.
I'll never contribute as Poe or Cummings did, but that
doesn't mean I don't
LOVE the stuff. Here's what the Academy of American Poets strives to
accomplish each April:
  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry
Enjoy art the way you love it today. What forms of art speak to you the strongest?

Food counts, too.

Apr 19, 2010

Family rolls on...

In a sometimes malicious, and very much topsey turvey, world, my family has served as my anchor, a safe haven. Though I've had times of wanting to swim on my own, of wanting to coax the anchor out of the sand, I've wised up and arrived to appreciate the rich treasure of family.
Your family tree is likely much different than mine, and to that I say, "how beautiful." Some have lost their loved ones and now rely on friends who beat blood and life as much as their real family members did. Some have never known their fathers or mothers and to that I say, "you have a Father." Some may have cut ties due to conflict, and to that I say, "I'm so sorry."

Regardless the size, shape, color, scent, and makeup of your family tree, from fledgling sapling to towering sycamore, I urge you to connect yourself to each limb and member. A simple "thanks" or "I love you" might make Aunt Bertie's, or your sister's, day.

While trees are not perfect, they'll always provide shade. Safety. And for a little while, in those moments when we want to feel small and thoughtful and smart and selfless, we can stand under our tree, behold a tangled, sprawling history above, and appreciate our beginnings.

Twas never our job to do the pruning.

Daddy, I wish you were in these pictures. Peters, we miss you.

Apr 16, 2010

That darn crab nearly got me.

Good afternoon, friends.

No one likes to hear each others' dreams just like it's a little boring to hear about other people's health woes, so I will keep this short.
Last night's dream involved a large pet crab that made little round poos and hissed so I had to put it in a WalMart bag and let it skitter around. It still lunged forward and tried to get me...

And other things, some captured on iPhone because Shawn left camera at work:

I love sleeping with the windows open, but the sirens, mating cats, and drag races irk me a little.


Shawn got the shelves hung in the nursery but when I put the stuff on, they fell (cheap hardware). My boobs and belly caught the vase/pic frames, hence nothing was broken.


Wilder and I may be home-bound the last couple of weeks of this pregnancy. It's getting hard to bend down and over to get the trash or a toy or a boy.


I have two chin hairs that have needed plucked all week. I
presume they'll remain there for awhile. Until someone says something.

We are going out of town this weekend and I'm getting my hair done. No, I haven't packed yet.


I own a drapery-ish, or wallpaper, dress. I wore it last summer to Sissy's college grad and my family politely hated it. I thought maybe I could get away with the bohemian hippy look since I'm pregnant, so I wore it today. It's so much more comfortable than jeans or even pj pants which kindof cut of my circulation right now...I'm 34 weeks!
Shawn turns 28 today. He is such a cool person. I just want to be around him all the time (unless he is stinky from mowing or has cereal breath). Happy Birthday, Hotness.

Found cute things at an estate sale. Were money not an issue we'd have a new exerciser trampoline, a large world globe, some vintage stationary, and an ottoman...

Found a going home outfit for a girl, if we have one. Couldn't resist the owls:
Just stumbled across the adorable Zutano baby brand. Such cute prints, though expensive. We bought this blankie, too, since it goes with the nursery colors.

How was your week?

Apr 13, 2010

What it'll look like...

...to have two!
These are from last week's playdate with J and her sweet pea, Will. J just sent these to me today. I love the B & W & love it even more that my arms are capable of holding and nurturing two babies.
I've hit a little bit of an emotional roadblock this week, which I feel is the hormones coursing their way through my body. My blood supply has increased by 50%, and the volume of my uterus has grown by 500-1,000 times! No wonder I am tired. What an amazing journey.

And while this may sound bad, I'm grieving that this phase of our lives is nearly over. The one where it's just Wilder. The one that we thought/think is hard sometimes, is about to get harder (but better, too!). Thankfully, Wilder's not going anywhere! And we are giving him a new friend/playmate to be proud of. While we can't predict how we'll find our new normal, we can rely on God's promise that He works for our good.

Blessings to all the mommies today; you are doing a superb job. A+ and a sticker for you!

Apr 12, 2010

We're gonna need some work days!

Our weekend was a flurry of busyness (girls night, dinner guests, park, cheesecake, yard work, Wilder portraits, church, a baby shower...) I didn't capture on the Nikon...but Shawn managed some iPhone pics.

I love that his blue sun hat finally fits him. Thanks, Becca! I'm obsessed with keeping this kid's skin protected.
The thing we most needed to accomplish was laundry...and, well, that didn't happen. But we did clean out the fridge! It was a nightmare, but at least no fuzzy stuff. Rotten lettuce in the picture, so look out...this is not for the fainthearted.

Momma, I promise I only bought margarine once, and we didn't even use it all. I always use real butter!
Gross, gross, gross.

We have 6 weekends left to cram in everything we need to do before the baby arrives, 7 if you count the weekend he/she is due. Some of the items on our to-do list include:

~oil change
~finish nursery: purchase mattress/sheets/hamper/storage bins/black-out shades; hang shelves
~print out pics of Wilder from 3-19 months (!)
~or maybe just make one of those Apple photo albums
~finish writing in Wilder's memory book
~organize Wilder's baby clothes by size
~make unfinished basement as clean/guestready as possible
~stock up on breast pads, tucks pads, those "other" pads, cabbage leaves, diapers, wipes
~install new kitchen ceiling fan for blistery summer days
~purge all closets
~haul off twigs/branches/leaves from backyard
~clean windows
~install carseat
~register at hospital
~think of a baby name
~make arrangements for family help with Wilder

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Whew! Shawn, are you reading this?

Want to share your to-do list? Am I totally overdoing it here?

Apr 9, 2010

Very truly

Savor the moments before they leave you
Care a trifle less for what dost please you


Share a bubbly toast to success

But take heed that the best

Things in life cannot be explained

They are feelings unconstrained


Savor the moments before they leave you

Make it the purest earthly thing you'll do

Pause for a tick-tocking minute
Think how you've spent it


Time. That valuable commodity

May quiet moments cease as an oddity

Grate your fingers through the gritty sand

Release your bleeding heart into His hand


Touch the boundless, billowy sky

Don't attempt to decipher why
Answers are boring anyway

Tis much more fun to play


And glory in the moments
They are yours.

Yours truly.

~mh

Apr 8, 2010

Cookies and walks and playdates and hair in need of highlights.

iPhone photos from Shawn:
Can anyone say root touch-up? Great mercyLord.

Pretty soon I'll be wearin' a baby for our walks. Any tips for a good baby wrap (isn't there a whole baby-wearing phenomenon going on right now? Shall I join the throngs? It looks really complicated & like it hurts the back & the kid can't breathe). I'd like to have something a little less harnessy than the Bjorn, although I still want to use it because it was such an awesome device with Wilder. I'd put him in it then make cookies. I was always so worried about flat-head that it was nice to be "holding" him even though I wasn't.

Blessed to get another playdate today, with J and her son. Wilder's loving all the time with babies; he kissed this boy--a bona fide, gentle, closed-mouth kiss.
But really, who could resist? Yum.
And my food of choice for "breakfast" was cookies and dum-dums.
Gotta start the day with zeal.

Apr 7, 2010

Cool and uncool: a list

Things that aren't cool:

I'm lame at taking self-portraits on the Nikon.

See what I mean?
Pregnancy update: I have gained more weight with this baby. It is excruciating to step on the scale at the doctor's office. I'm 33 weeks this Friday, so, moving right along. Doctor said I have more amniotic fluid this time which may be why I feel like the baby moves so much more than Wilder did...this time he/she just has lots more room. And it's also why I'm bigger around and weigh more (ok maybe sugar has played a part, too). The most annoying discomforts are back pain, tiredness, and finding a comfy sleep position. Practice contractions and pressure also prevalent.

The nursery is at a stand-still as Shawn's been working on other things, but we hope to get the crib together, shelves hung, and a few more things taken care of in the next couple of weeks. So bear with me on a picture post!

Back to the uncool things:

The refrigerator stinks.
Like, really stinks.

I'm unsure as to which piles of laundry in our room are clean or dirty. Sniff test not the most optimal during pregnancy.

Wilder can't wear pants/shirts pjs because he'll take off his pants/diaper and pee in the bed (prior post). Mission to comb the town for lightweight footed pjs: accomplished.


Things that are cool:

It's green and blue outside and the creatures have come out to play.

I got to hold Calla this week.
That was a long time coming.

Passed the glucose test.


Wilder actually
asked to help unload the dishwasher. I told him they were dirty but he could help once they were clean (this is a new, fun practice of ours).

Bath time/curly hair.


And if he isn't an exact copy of Shawn, I don't know who is!