Thursday, March 31, 2011

This being the last day of March

I totally wasn't expecting to take pictures like this today:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Finished Project

First off, third trimester is finally here!  Only about 11 1/2 weeks to go.  (Yikes)  And, actually, if she decides to be like big brother Noah - she would be here in about 8 1/2 weeks...  That's only 2 months.  I'm still feeling pretty good.  Heart burn is horrible and nasty.  Getting off the floor is not easy.  I've limited my shoe choices to those that do not include bending over to put on.  :)  Other than that - it's been great.  My energy level is still pretty high most days.  I can get around fairly well.  Sleep, when not interrupted by heart burn (yes, that is the WORST way to wake up) has been really good.  I'm enjoying seeing and feeling all her movements.  I think she is head down - at least that would be my guess, but we'll see what the Dr says.  I have an appointment next week - and then I think I will be on to the every two week appointments.  OH - ha - I guess I did forget the one little snag in this whole process.  I did fail my one hour glucose screening test (Again! - I did with Noah too) so I have to go in Saturday for a 3 hour test to see if I have gestational diabetes.  I passed the 3 hour with Noah, so I'm hoping for the same results.  We shall see.  And according to the, let's compare your growing baby to a food guide, baby is as big as an eggplant.

Now on to the crafty side of things. I finally finished one of my "secret" projects.  A baby quilt for my sweet nephew, who will be 2 months old tomorrow.  I started it before he was born, shortly after they showed off their nursery.  I don't have many pictures for it, and I don't have a finished picture. Lame I know....  This is a result of putting the final stitch in the binding a few hours before taking it to give them while they were in town visiting paired with my horribly addled pregnancy brain forgetting to get my camera out and take a picture of it.

I found the pattern at the Moda Bake Shop.  However, instead of using a precut pack, I bought yardage.  So there is a bit less variety in the fabrics.  The middle row I had accidentally got things turned around and had put the sides and tops/bottoms on the wrong place.  So the middle squares would have been off, if I had lined up the borders correctly, and lining up the middle squares correctly would have made the borders opposite of the rest of the quilt.  So I decided to try to have the middle squares correct, and just let the border be off....  I didn't think it would make a difference... boy did it ever.  It was pretty horrible.  The corners were so far off...  So it was off for some seam ripping time.  What quilt/ blanket of mine would be complete without a little seam ripping time loss....   So I got that taken care of.

Then I realized that I really wanted to add a border?/strip? (my quilting vocabulary is not very extensive) between the pieced together squares and the border.  I didn't really think much about how wide to make it, except to what I thought would look nice.  Well......  I realized after I added the white border that had I done a little math, I could have made it so that I just could have added an extra square or two to the border, when in reality, I was going to have smaller rectangles on the ends now.... because I didn't think that far ahead.  But I didn't think it really mattered all that much, and it really didn't.  I think it looks ok still. Then I realized that it went further than that.  Adding the white border also meant that my backing was no longer big enough.  D'oh. But that was a simple fix with a row of squares on the back.  I was actually glad for this mistake because I really like having it on the back like that.

So that was all the glitches I dealt with...  Other than that, it was a fairly easy quilt to piece.  As for the quilting, I hand quilted it.  It really didn't take all that long.  I just quilted in the ditches (I think (and hope) that's what it is called.)  Basically around all the piecing - except for in the border.  For the binding I didn't have enough of one fabric, so I just alternated the dark orange fabric and the blue branch fabric. I have been promised to be sent pictures of it - since it is now currently about 2 hours North of me - and soon will be heading its way to TX.  As soon as I get those pictures I'll post them as well.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lucky Duck

So, about a month or so ago I won an excellent giveaway.

I won the giveaway over at JessicaNDesigns.  It was sponsored by Ahmelie.  Go check them out!!

I won this adorable swaddling blanket.  It is great!  It the perfect size - meaning nice and big.  My boys both loved being swaddled in those first few months and the receiving blankets just don't cut it.  I can't wait to try this one with our little girl.  I love the fabric too.  It's a flannel, so it's nice and soft.

Thanks so much to Jessica and Ahmelie for the wonderful gift!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Update - 26 weeks

I have to say - this pregnancy has been great lately.  I haven't been feeling too bad.  My energy level is pretty good.  My two main complaints are the heart burn and the fact that walking fast/jogging on the treadmil becomes painful way too fast and I end up walking pretty slowly.  Keep reminding myself that it really is better than nothing.  But I know better than to "push through the pain" when exercising at this point.  Not a great idea.

So I'm 26 weeks along.  14 more to go - 96 days until my due date.  It seems far away - but the weeks are really going by fast.  I have the glucose tolerance test that I need to get done - but my Dr. told me that I need to wait until my cold symptoms are gone for a week....  Hopefully that will happen soon - I've had this cold for about 2 weeks now and it is still hanging in there.  I'm hoping I can go in next Saturday for the test.

Then the next "big" thing will be another ultrasound at 32 weeks - if they are going to go ahead with it.  I'm not really sure if they are going to or not.  So, that would be fun. :)

I'm starting to get clothes together.  For whatever reason there is still this (very small) nagging feeling that somehow they were wrong and it really is a boy.  Probably why I really want to have that extra ultrasound. lol.  As for a name - still not decided.  There is a short list of about 5 or 6 names, but we haven't really talked about it to narrow it down.

She is kicking/punching me like crazy these days.  Nothing painful - just highly amusing.

I realized today that I really have only taken 2 "belly shots" this time around.  At 18 weeks, and today.

What a difference 8 weeks makes.  She is definitely growing.  (Puh, me too...)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bratwurst and Potatoes

One of our favorite meals lately has been a meal of Bratwurst and Potatoes.  Which actually seems a little odd, seeing as we haven't grilled them outside yet this year.

We all enjoy bratwurst - and not the prepackaged, precooked kind.  We like to get them from our local meat sellers. (Well, ok, we still like the prepackaged ones too - but like the others better.)  Usually I'm a little cautious when grilling these because I think it is always a trick to get the middle of the brat cooked through while not completely burning the outside.

I found a good tip on an episode of Kitchen Boss on TLC.  I don't watch it much - actually I think that is the only episode I've seen.  All the recipes can be found online.  The recipe I'll give you here actually is for an Italian sausage sandwich, but I use it for the brats.

Here is the recipe.

The tip I have used is to boil the brats first.  I boil them for about 10 minutes before grilling them.  It works really well, I think, and the end result is great.  The middles are cooked through - and you won't have to worry about burning the outside.

For our meals I also grill some onions and red peppers.  If I have some mushrooms I'll add those for myself too.

For the potatoes, I've been making some baked french fries.  I cut up some red skin potatoes into thin strips (french fry shape). I put oil on a pan, put the potatoes on the pan, sprinkle them with salt, pepper, a little garlic powder. Then I spray them all with an olive oil cooking spray and bake at 400 until they are soft.

Simple, easy, and enjoyable. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Birdie Block of the Month

Well, this is where I'm at. 12 blocks, ready to have tops and bottoms pinned and sewn on.  

I had to do a little fixing on those strips.  The corners were not even remotely close.  They were all over.  So I either didn't measure all the squares correctly - or didn't pay close enough attention when sewing the squares together.  In any event, it was a pretty easy fix, involving measuring to find the off sets of squares and sewing them so they were the right size.  Now they are all ironed, again, and ready to go.  

Meanwhile, the rest of the group has already worked on the embroidery for 3 blocks.  Oh well, I'll just have to play some catch up.  I actually have a few embroidery projects that I would like to get done.  I thought I would do some practice before I hit these squares.

You can find out more about the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blah Week

Did you ever have one of those weeks that just kind of drifts by.  Not much gets done, besides what is absolutely necessary. (Like feeding oneself and children and husband (and sometimes not him.), oh and cleaning dishes - so there is something to put the food on...)

This has been that week.  Now, I should give myself a little credit.  I did actually get some things done.  I cleaned out/up a couple closets, but really, that was about it.  At least from Wednesday to today.

The culprit: Nasty head cold (that is migrating to my chest - joys) + pregnancy.  Not a fun combo.  I was getting really good about getting some walking (and even an occasional jog) in, but that has completely been put on the back burner.  I can't be doing much active for very long before I feel that I need to sit down. It doesn't make for very productive days.

There have been quite a few things I wanted to blog about too.  A really good Bratwurst tip I found.  A recipe for some baked "french fries" I've been making.  The progress on the B.O.M that I actually did do some work on. (Some fixing mistakes work - but it was a pretty easy fix - thank goodness.)  A giveaway win and prize received.  Hopefully - I will get those things up soon.

Until then I will share one of the side effects of pregnancy + cold.

An addled brain.

This is the white board on my refrigerator.  Yes, I wrote that. Yes, I took this picture quite a while after I was done writing....

Yes, I shall have a weekend visitor.  His name shall be Time Chang.  Maybe a relation to Chang from Community....

The worst part - I didn't realize my mistake for 3 or 4 hours - and I KNOW I looked at it within that time frame.  And I think I left it that way...  What kind of life is it if we can't laugh at ourselves.  :)

On the subject of time change - I still think the whole process is silly - the fact that we go back and forth.  And as the mother of small children - it can be downright infuriating.  However, this should be the "good" one.  The kids should sleep until about 8 next Monday - instead of 7.  We shall see. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Disney World Part 2 : The Parks

I really didn't sit down thinking I was going to write so much about our trip - but I hope someone can glean something out of it all. :)  And it is hard not to share, it was such a fun time.

Today I want to focus on the two parks that we chose to go to.  This part, for me, was a little difficult before we left.  I had only ever been to Epcot and MGM (which is now called Disney Hollywood Studios - DHS for my blogging purposes).  I went when I was a teenager - and I enjoyed it, so I went in thinking that those places probably weren't the best places to take the little ones.  So I was thinking we would head to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.  They seemed the most little kid friendly.  However, I then did some research and discovered that there really is alot for the little ones to do at each park.  Magic Kingdom, though, was on the top of the list.  It is just the quintessential Disney Park.  I didn't want to miss out on that.  So that was staying on the list.  At this point (the planning stage), I really wasn't sure about what Noah was going to be able to do, so I was still leaning towards the Animal Kingdom, because I knew that he would LOVE to see animals.  And that is what we ended up doing.

Magic Kingdom

This place was great.  I suggest getting there first thing in the morning when the open.  The ride times are the lowest then.  And if there are rides you absolutely want the kids to ride - go to those first.  Especially those without a FastPass option.  Notably the flying Dumbo ride.  We never made it to this ride.  The wait time was always over 35 minutes when we were there, and it really didn't seem like a great idea to wait that long in the heat with fidgety little ones.  The first ride we went on was a Buzz Lightyear ride.  It can be ridden by all ages!  I was so impressed by all the rides that were accessible to Noah.  They really do cater to all kids.  This ride was great.  There was place to sit and in front of you was a laser gun.  In the middle of the console was a lever that would spin the car.  There were targets to shoot at and it kept track of all the points you got.  Ohlen loved it - and to be honest so did the rest of us.  Noah loved making the car spin. :)  We had about a 5 minute wait when we first got there.  We came back later and it was up to about 25 minutes, so we grabbed a FastPass.  The FastPass gives you an hour time slot to come back and get in a quicker line.  I think the longest we waited in the Fast lines was about 10-15 minutes.  We rode several other rides.  Another that stuck out to me as really great was the 3D show we saw there.  I think it was called Philharmagic.  It had lots of the favorite Disney characters and music in it.  You did have to wear the 3D glasses, which Noah refused to wear - so I'm not sure how much he really got out of it - but Ohlen LOVED it.  Well, except for the occasional blast of air or spritz of water they added for some realism.  It was hilarious watching him try to reach out and grab the 3D objects.  It was really well done - appreciated by us adults as well.

We are ON a Choo-choo!!

Once it hit about 11 it got really crowded.  There were so many people.  By that point we were pretty much only riding FastPass rides.  Ohlen and I did wait in line for one ride for about 25 minutes, and I think that was about his limit.

Some other highlights from Magic Kingdom were seeing some Toy Story characters in a random parade we stumbled on.  (They do post times for those, but we didn't really pay much attention to it.)  A train ride that takes you around the whole park, Noah was especially fond of this one. Ohlen's first roller coaster ride.(He loved it!  I'm foreseeing a Cedar Point trip in our future - a few years yet - but I can not wait.) There were a few rides there that Ohlen was not tall enough for, but there was plenty to do.

We left the park to rest and swim.  Jonathan, the boys, and I headed back to the park around 7 to catch the big fireworks show.  Again, there were so many people.  But the show was good.  I was amused by all the people attempting to take flash pictures of the fireworks.  I imagine they didn't turn out so well.

Waiting for the fireworks.

We were pretty exhausted after our day there.

Animal Kingdom

The next morning we headed out to Animal Kingdom.  Here we mostly walked and looked at the animals.  There weren't as many rides here. It was a nice change of pace from the day before.  And I was really glad that we went to the parks in this order.  The first thing we did was head to another 3D show, It's Tough to be a Bug.  It was hosted by Flick, from A Bug's Life.  The signs on the way in warned that it might frighten small kids, but I really didn't think much of it.  But then as they announced before hand that if it got too intense we could leave through the side, I got a little nervous.  And yeah, we didn't last too long.  There were lots of air blasts - which Ohlen hadn't really liked the day before either.  And this time the subject was bugs...  And they also did some stinky air for a stink bug... yeah, we had to get out of there.  Not the best start to the day, but the rest was pretty good.  We got to see lots of animals.  They also have a place designated to meet a few Disney characters, which was nice.  Ohlen met Goofy.  He was a little shy. :)

I think our 2 favorite things at this park that we did were the Safari ride and the Finding Nemo show.  The safari ride was one that I was really looking forward to.  I was a little bummed though because the map said that pregnant women should not ride.  I did a little research before hand and really, everything I read said that they were just a little overcautious.  So, I decided to ride it anyways. Really, there were a few bumps, but it really wasn't bad at all.  Certainly not enough to cause any concern.  It was a really neat ride.  They loaded up a huge open truck and drove around (like a safari) and we got to see a bunch of African animals.  Very fun.  The Finding Nemo show was just great.  It was a Broadway type show.  The costumes/props were amazing. The show wasn't all that long - I'm thinking about 30-40 minutes.  The boys seemed to like it too.

I was a little disappointed with the petting zoo part of the park.  When reading it, it made it seem like there would be lots of animals that the kids would get to interact with and touch.  It ended up being mostly just sheep and goats.  They've had more animal interaction here at home at the Truck Patch...  Overall, though, we enjoyed this park.  However, it was much more like a zoo than I thought.  There weren't as many rides as I was expecting.  Or at least we didn't find them.  We also didn't venture into the Dinosaur section, which I think is where the rides were.

I do sort of wish we would have been able to go to DHS simply because they have a big Pixar section and apparently you can meet the Cars characters - and I know that Ohlen would have loved it.  However, I'm not sure how another day full of rides would have went.  It will definitely be on our list for next time.  I'm sure Epcot would have been fun too, but I also think that it has a whole lot of walking.  At this point I don't think the boys would be old enough to appreciate all the different cultures that are represented there.

Has anyone taken little ones to DHS or Epcot?  I would love to know how it went.

I have to say - it was a really fun trip.  I wasn't sure how it would go.  How the boys would like it.  They had so much fun.  I think seeing them enjoy everything was best part.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Disney World Part 1

Last week we took a trip down south to the heat and humidity for our first family trip to Disney World.  My mother-in-law came along as well (well she actually was the driving force behind all of us going, so saying she just came along would be an understatement. :))   I thought I would share our experience, how we did things.  I know that before we left I was concerned a bit about what all there would be for Noah to do - and if there would be enough for Ohlen. (lol)  So, if anyone else out there is hesitant to take their young kids, don't be.  I'll share some of the things I really liked and things they really liked.   And, of course, there will be pictures. :)

Our boys are 4 and almost 2, so we didn't want to completely overwhelm and wear them out.  So we booked a trip for 3 nights.  We got 2 tickets for the parks - the very basic tickets.  No park hopper option or anything like that.  It just didn't seem worth it for us.We did everything through Disney.  I ran the numbers a bit - and it was possibly a little cheaper to stay off resort, rent a car, and all that - but it would have also have been more of a hassle.  And for the time we were going to be there - it really didn't seem like a  huge price difference.

Meals.  I can't say I researched this too well.  We ended up going with the bottom tier meal plan.  Each person over 3 (I think) was given 2 meals and 2 snacks per day.  As well as a souvenir mug that you could refill at the resort with as much pop, coffee, etc as you wanted. So Noah did not get the meals - but we generally had enough to share with him - and he wasn't eating real well the whole trip anyways.  I have no idea if this was cost effective or not.  The food was, generally, pretty good, especially in the resort.  It was also fairly pricey.  It was a little confusing in the parks as to what was and was not included in our plan.  There was supposed to a symbol marking what was included, but many times the main dishes did not have a symbol - but if you asked they said it was included - so it was a little confusing.  But it all worked out in the end.

On one of the shuttles.

The whole Disney package was so nice.  They had a service to take your luggage from the plane directly to your room - no need to go to baggage claim.  They had fairly efficient shuttles that would take you from airport to resort, resort to each of the parks (including the water parks and Downtown Disney)  We had no need to take along a car seat for the boys, which was really nice.  We got there at a low time so check in was a breeze.  Plus they give you a card that you use for everything, meals, park ticket, etc.  The resort was nice.  The rooms were just regular hotel type rooms - but the decor around the facilities were so much fun.  They provide Pack n Plays for free.  We stayed at the All Star Movie resort.  We were in one of the Toy Story buildings. (Completely by chance - I was so happy. :))  They had a complete large mock up of Andy's room.  I think Ohlen's facial expression says it all.  This resort had 10 buildings 2 each per theme - Toy Story, 101 Dalmations, Fantasia, and The Love Bug.  There were also 2 pools, plus a kiddie pool area.  Our building was right next to the main building that housed the food and store and all the shuttles. It was also next to the playground and the pool.   We really lucked out as far as the location of our rooms.  And we had a connecting rooms which was a huge plus.

"That is a really big Buzz"

Probably a good idea to put a fence around Woody.

Army men "guarding" the rooms.

This kid's energy was impressive.

We saw Buzz's rear every time we left our room to go anywhere...

He really, really wanted to climb on to Rex.

The Brrm-brrm was also a big hit.

I could do a whole other post on flying with little ones - but really it went really well.  I would definitely recommend a stroller for ones as little as Noah.  It saved some sanity as we had to wait for a while in the airport on the way home.  We just pushed him around for a while and he loved just looking at everything.  It was also nice to have a light weight stroller along for in the parks - it was easy to fold up and carry onto the shuttles.  Although, renting a stroller there would be another viable option.  The flights themselves went really well.  Ohlen loved it.  He sat by the window and looked out a bit, when he wasn't playing on the GameBoy.  Noah was very sleepy on the way down - explained in next paragraph.  On the way back he was a ball of energy, but still did really well, no crying, screaming, or anything like that.  We had a genius plan to have him watch some Thomas on a laptop while in the air... but the laptop battery was somehow dead.  I do have to say I felt completely defeated at that point, but really it all turned out well.

Waiting for acceptable electronic devices to be allowed. (for some Gameboy play)

Sick little boy.

Enjoying the plane ride.

The biggest issue with the whole trip was with poor Noah.  He started with a fever literally as we were driving to the airport.  Although we didn't really notice until we were already on the plane - with the medicine and thermometer safely in the checked bag.  He held on to the fever until the morning we left.  However, my boys always seem to do really well when they have fevers, and he was in a pretty good mood - especially for not feeling the greatest.  And thanks to Disney for having some infant ibuprofen in their store.

The weather was also great.  Well, ok, it was a little too hot (mid 80s) and humid for Jonathan and I, but the rest of the crew enjoyed it. We even got to go swimming one day.  And it was nice not to have to worry about coats, gloves, and winter hats.  Although we did trade that for sunscreen and caps to keep the sun off of heads.

Tomorrow I'll post about the specific parks we went to.

Has anyone else done Disney with little ones?  Is there anything you found to be a better way than using Disney for mostly everything?  I think there are definitely pros and cons to using their shuttles vs driving yourself.  There is definitely more freedom in having your own car - but it was also nice to not have to drive at the end of the day.  As far as staying in a Disney resort vs an outside hotel.  I remember when we went when I was a teenager we didn't stay at Disney and it was fine.  You definitely don't get completely immersed in the whole "Disney experience"  They do have a whole bunch of little things they will do for the little ones.  We got 1st time Buttons when we first arrived.  One time they gave the boys a balloon with a neat Mickey weight thing to keep from flying away.  They got plenty of stickers wherever we went.  It was definitely a fun experience.