Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My First Baby Shower

More baby stuff.  Sorry for those of you that are still somehow under the impression that this is a book blog.  It will be again someday, but first, let's talk baby shower!

It's fitting that I spent my first unofficial Mother's Day weekend at a baby shower.  It was held at my parent's church, my home church, where I was baptized, confirmed, and married, and we had quite the turn out as you can tell from the table full of gifts in the above picture.  The women in attendance were mostly women that I've know all my life.  This is small country church where I'm related to practically everyone by blood if not by bond.  And they've been my parents lifelong friends and support, so it was very special.

It was a celebration of all things pink!  Little Ali Rose never had a chance at being a tomboy (although if my dad has anything to say about it, she will be!), and we received several darling outfits that will make her a very well-dressed baby.  Thankfully there was nothing too over the top, like some crazy ruffly dress or giant, flowery headband.  Mostly it was very practical and adorable stuff I can't wait to use.  

Here's a basic run down of what we received:  lots of diapers of varying sizes, safety equipment like latches and such, health products like wipes, lotions, detergent etc., several nice baby blankets, a Noah's Ark quilt, handmade afghan, play swing, two bathtubs (apparently she's going to be a dirty baby), changing pad, a manageable amount of toys, likely over 20 outfits (I'm going from memory here), diaper bag, and lots of love!

And this is what our car looked like for the drive home.  There's no doubt that we are having a girl!

I'd like to point out a couple of things here.  First, we didn't bring our Lucy beagle on this trip because we thought we might need the cargo space--we were right!  Second, I don't look pregnant in this picture at all!  And third, in the back of the shot, you'll see a pink bucket sticking out.  That was likely my husband's favorite gift.  It's actually from my dad.  There's a store called Rural King down home and the week before, you got 10% off everything you could put in that pink bucket.  Doug is already looking forward to a photo shoot with Ali Rose in the bucket.  And that's going to be her bucket, because apparently every baby needs a bucket.  

Now for a before and after of the nursery:

Before the shower:  Simple gray and purple walls, curtains that really need to be switched out, handmade rocking horse.

After the shower:  Holy Pinkness Batman!

By now I've cleared out the bags and boxes, washed and put away all the clothes, and made up the bed.  I still need curtains, art, and a chair, but it's getting there.  I'll likely put up a picture when it's all finished.  

Here's a picture of the growing, multi-generational family:  Doug and I, my parents Keith and Diane, and my mom's parent's Ray and Janet.  This will be my parent's second grandchild and first granddaughter, and my grandparents sixth great-grandchild and girl number 4.  We like the ladies over here!

Thank you to all of the loving families at Augsburg Lutheran Church!  Thank you for being so supportive of my family through the years, and thank you for always welcoming us back.  A church is more than a building, it's a community and family that you are always a part of, and I'm so blessed to have been raised at Augsburg.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 Things: Baby Stuff

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. Baby stuff!  I apologize if this blog spirals into non-stop baby mode for the next few weeks--like eight weeks!  But I'm getting really excited for our little biscuit.  This weekend we bought this little bouncer and put it out in the living to start acclimating Lucy, the beagle, to the idea of a sister.  Lucy will sniff it almost every time she comes back into the house, and she's only tried to eat the animals once.  I imagine that for the first few weeks, she'll sniff the baby ever time she sees her and wonder when we're going to get rid of her, but they'll be best friends.

2.  More baby stuff.  We picked up a crib mattress and made up the bed this weekend too.  So, the nursery is coming along, if by "coming along" you mean sorta ready with the stroller box sitting in the middle of the room.

3.  Only a two day work week!  I'll only log 15 hours of work this week, thanks to Memorial Day and a vacation, so I'm practically done already.

4.  We had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  We accomplished a lot of work around the house, mostly Doug, but I cleaned, then we hung out with friends on Sunday and napped a good portion of Monday.  

5.  Lucy had a great weekend too, judging by how exhausted she is.  It's hard work keeping track of all these people.  She was one busy beagle this weekend, and is now one tired puppy.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend too, and maybe you're also enjoying a super-short week!

Friday, May 23, 2014

5 Things: Eat, Drink, Read

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. It's Friday.  And better yet, it's a three day weekend, followed by a two day work week, followed by a four day weekend.  Why can't every week be like that?

2.  When you're pregnant, it's all about breakfast.  And I decided on two breakfasts this morning.  First cereal, then a yogurt parfait on the way to work.

3.  I've pretty well given up all coffee, but on a sleepy Friday like this, I went for the decaf this morning, even though decaf just makes me more tired.

4.  Sleepy Fridays mean reading Fridays!  Today's selection is a review book about the Orphan Train.

5.  I also have a mid-day library trip planned to pick up a bunch of summer reading program books.  Storytime at the local library where I'll be volunteering will start in just a few weeks and I need to be ready.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Can't Believe it's Come to This!

It was a sad day for me last week when I learned that Rush Limbaugh had won the Children's Book Council Author of the Year Honor.  I began to question whether I should read this book, although I hated to pay for it and read it on my Kindle, but the shame of interlibrary loaning it and going to pick it up from the library!  I would not be able to look the librarians in the eye while picking up this book.

Thankfully, it won't be necessary for me to read Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims because some brave and respected book reviewers fell on their sword and did the hard work for me!

Travis Jonker, librarian and blogger for School Library Journal, posted a round-up of commentary, all of which is insightful and quite civil.  I personally found the review from Vicky Smith, Kirkus editor, and the commentary from Roger Sutton, Horn Book editor, particularly interesting.  Vicky puts aside the politics, historical inaccuracies and concentrates on the poor writing and even more disappointing editing.  She makes a very well-reasoned argument.  Roger points out that this is a popularity contest, and that Rush Revere was never even sent to reviewers, nor was the Sophia the First series book that earned it's illustrator the top prize.

This episode brings into question the entire CBC Children's Choice Award process.  These awards are based on sales numbers, pure and simple.  Typically the books and authors that are nominated are writing dynamic, plot-driven, but ultimately average books.  This award is not the Newbery.  It is not meant to award the finest in literature, rather, it's meant to recognize the book that kids and teens are reading with passion.

This is where state and regional children's choice awards do a better job.  Take the Rebecca Caudill Award.  I've often been critical of the Caudill, but in order to be in the running for the award, the book must be nominated and reviewed by a panel of librarians.  This leads to an interesting mix of books every year--some bestsellers, which ultimately go on to win, and some mid-list sleeper books.  At least for the Caudill Award, participants must read three books, and they are likely to read something of substance before voting for the latest blockbuster book.

There are no such checks and balances in place with the CBC awards, and I think that is going to change after this year.  There is nothing wrong with recognizing the success of a big-time children's author like Jeff Kinney or Veronica Roth, especially since they are bringing thousands of children and teens to books, but there is something wrong with honoring a person that has no children's writing experience and that has produced a book that is barely edited.  It's a quality issue really.  Not just a quality of writing issue, although that bullet point wasn't met either in this case, but the quality of a product.  Lots of people worked on this book I'm sure, but they didn't take enough time to make it something to be proud of.

My two cents, and that's all!

But, if you want to read a great book about the pilgrims and this time period, check out Blood on the River by Elisa Carbone.  It's much more historically accurate, has a great plot and will leave readers wanting more.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What's in a Name?

Ever since I've been writing my daily 5 Things, I've been sharing a little more of my personal life, which is good, just not something I'm used to doing.  And yesterday I almost spilled my little biscuit's name in my post.  And today I realize it's almost unavoidable, so my little girl will be named Alice Rose.

When I tell people our planned name, I usually get two comments:  1. That's beautiful, or 2. Is that a family name?  Yes to both!  It is a lovely name and it is a family name.  Alice was my grandmother on my father's side, and Rose was my great aunt, again on my father's side.  Both of these women were very kind and loving but they also had a fun side, a rather large fun side if the stories are true.  My grandparents and my great aunt and uncle were quite the dancers and music lovers in their day, so I hope that my Alice Rose will inherit some of that zest for life.

For the most part, Doug and I refer to her as Ali or Ali Rose.  Our families most often call her Ali Rose, and Alice Rose is likely only to be used for formal reasons, or when she's in trouble, because that's how you know you're in trouble.  Since we've been referring to our baby as Ali, most people think her name will be Alison, but no, just Alice.

I'm so accustomed to referring to this little kicking baby as Ali that it's hard to avoid when I mention her here, so there you have it.  Plus, I'm reading Alice in Wonderland right now, and that's one of my happy things for today.  I think I read it as a young child, but I couldn't quite remember, but I'm only reading it for my little Alice Rose, so it would be hard to explain why I'm going back to it without the name story.

And what a name story!  Ali will be named after two very special and loving women.  All little babies should be so lucky!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5 Things: Sunny Days

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. My yard is sunny now!  Doug and I had to get two trees removed, one chokecherry that was poisoning our dog every fall and one locust that was huge and mostly dead and could have crushed our house any minute.  That last part might be an exaggeration, but still.

 Here's an in-progress and after shot.  That's a lot of tree to remove, but our yard already looks brighter and more fun.  Plus, there's so much more room for activities!

2.  There's a Kate Spade Flash Sale today, and this little mama has her eye on a baby bag!

3.  I found a pink ink pen in my pen collection and am using it at random.  It makes me feel 12 again.

4.  I love just hanging out in the nursery, which I would say is about 72% finished.  If we had the baby tomorrow, we could make it work, but it's not quite there yet.  But yesterday, Doug, Lucy dog and I just sat in there for a bit.  Everything is going to change so fast, so it's nice to enjoy the quiet moments for now.

5.  Apparently, I'm just a little pregnant lady.  I measured small at my appointment again yesterday, so we were treated to a surprise sonogram to check for growth.  The good news is that our little biscuit is growing just fine, and it looks like I'll get my little baby.  She's about 3.5 pounds right now and so that means she'll likely be in the 6-7 pound range at birth.  Totally doable!

Where did last week go?  Seriously, I was here, but forgot to check in.  Promise you'll forgive me?  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mostly it's Friday

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. It's Friday.  Again, that's mostly enough.

2.  I only work a half day today.  Why aren't all days half days?

3.  Gas station hot chocolate.  I meant to get coffee shop decaf but I was so dazed this morning that I missed my turn to the coffee shop, so this was my consolation prize.

4.  I'm wearing a cute outfit.  It's baby bump in the Hampton's with white capris, blue and white striped tee and pink cardigan.  I'll try to post a pic later, if I can keep my pants clean, which brings us to #5.

5.  Doug laughing at me while I was trying to gate Lucy this morning.  I tried to lure Lucy into her playpen area with a Greenie, forgetting that when you give her a Greenie, she goes nuts and attacks you with her love.  So, here I am, in my white pants, yelling "Don't jump on me, I'm wearing white pants!", and holding the Greenie as far away from my body as I can.  Then I threw it like a girl throws a spider in a kleenex at Lucy's bed and set up her gate.  This whole time, Doug is just watching and laughing.  Way to help a girl out, darling.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. Fancy new camera.  If you are a regular on this blog, or in my life, you know that I'm hard on cameras.  The camera causality count is three (dropped in the ocean, maced with sunscreen, kidnapped in Vegas).  If not for this little biscuit we're expecting, I wouldn't even bother with a proper camera, but the grandparents insist on pictures, so there you have it.  This thing is awesome!  It's an Olympus SZ-12 and it's somewhere between a simple point and shoot and a full DSLR.  So it does some cool stuff that I don't totally understand, but I can still use it.  And I love Olympus cameras--two of our three dearly departed cameras were Olympus, so it's a good run.

You may ask if I'm concerned that this beauty will meet the same fate as it's predecessors, and the answer is yes.  But, I have a couple of back-ups like a warranty that will cover another ocean incident and macing.  And I even have a plan for theft!

2.  Which brings us to #2-my new EyeFi card.  It's a normal storage card with WiFi which automatically backs up my pictures to our Kindle, where we can then throw them on Facebook or into a Picassa album.  So, if my camera is kidnapped, it's a bummer, but our pictures will be safe.  Genius!

3.  More presents!  Well, none of these things are presents since I bought them, but getting packages at my doorstep is wonderful.  Anyway, a shipment of four picture books for the baby (or mama really) arrived yesterday and I am very excited.  And the proud papa might be excited too.

4.  Early morning nap with the dog.  This beautiful weather has us sleeping with the windows open and you would think this farm girl wouldn't mind the chirping birds in the morning, but you'd be wrong.  So those little buggers woke up me and the dog this morning at 5:30 am, so we cuddled and napped on the couch.  Really I think this is just training for what lies ahead.

5.  The school year is wrapping up fast, which means quieter days and a sleepy little town.  I love this time of year because it's like everyone exhales and finally relaxes.

Beautiful day ahead.  I hope you go out and enjoy it!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Puppy Cuddles

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. It's Friday!  That should be enough to get me through today as is.

2.  Hot chocolate again today.  It's still a little chilly, so today's selection is white chocolate.

3.  We have this great divvy pasta place called Italian Express in town, and I convinced Doug to pick up the half gallon of spaghetti for dinner last night.  That's right, a half gallon of spaghetti, and a full loaf of garlic bread.  That's my lunch for today and I'm very excited!!

4.  While I was in the shower this morning, Lucy came in and made herself comfortable on my bed.  She was nestled between two pillows and just looked so comfy.  I wish I could have cuddled up with her all day.

5.  Warmer days are ahead.  That's enough to brighten anyone's day.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hot Chocolate

5 Things to Brighten Your Day
Despite the BS that May Get in Your Way

1. Hot chocolate on a cold spring day.

2.  Lumosity games.  I'm hopelessly addicted to Trouble Brewing right now.  I just can't beat level 11!

3.  Taking off early for an appointment today.

4.  Good night's sleep last night.  Doug actually came to bed and I said thank you.  He said for what, and I said, just for being my Dougie.

5.  The crib is all put together.  It's so big for such a small little person, but maybe that's what I was thanking Doug for last night.