Jul 24, 2008

Thunder down under

We saw Sara Evans perform at Frederik Meijer Gardens tonight. She is beautiful and witty, but not the best singer I've heard.
During the concert, I think that maybe, just maybe I felt the baby move a few times. It felt sort of like a rolling over in my pelvis. I figure the baby was either telling me that it really likes country music, or it was saying "Turn that mother f'in radio down!" That's right, my fetus has a potty mouth.

BTW, her younger sisters are her back up singers. How much fun is that?

Jul 23, 2008

Strawberry Jam

Last summer Carrie gifted me with a small jar of strawberry jam and cherry dessert topping. It was so delicious that I dreamt of having a basement full of my own. Now, I know my pickle making from last year was sort of a bust in that I was too afraid to eat them or give them away. My boss ruined that for me when he filled my brain with the threat of botulism. I figured strawberries were completely different, so I went for it.

I set out to the farmer's market Saturday for my fruit. Good thing I chose last weekend because I didn't realize it was the last week for the season. I picked up 4 over-ripe quarts, a few cases of Mason jars from Meijer, and the deal-maker, Sure Jell. Carrie recommended the recipe from Sure Jell's website. Turns out, making jam is pretty easy! I used our immersion blender to grind the strawberries, which worked like a charm (I better tell you that was Brian's idea or he'll be mad. I was just trying to do it with the potato masher.) The most work was the canning process, but even that was simple enough to do. I boiled the jam jars for 10 minutes each. When they cooled they made a cascade of "pops" when each jar sealed. That sound brings a smile to my face. I'm very happy with the results, already ate some (no botulism), and am excited to try out some other fruits before the summer is over. Any recommendations?

Jul 22, 2008

16 Weeks

Brian and I enjoyed some Chinese take-out beach side tonight. The weather was beautiful. Here I am, proud to be healthy and pregnant.

Sort of reminds me of a "muffin top." My 50 year old patient informed me that is the new lingo for a beer belly. (You know that bulge you see on all of the teenage girls hanging over their belt lines.) Very clever in my opinion.

It's a bird, it's a plane.

Saturday morning Brian and I visited our local farmer's market. It was raining and miserable, but still very crowded. We hunted out four quarts of strawberries ( and I say hunted because I didn't realize it was the end of the strawberry season). We trudged back to the car with our over ripe strawberries and set out to drive home. As we backed up, I viewed a sight I haven't noticed at the farmer's market before. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen it in Holland before. An old man flipped us the bird. It may have been because Brian just about ran over his foot while backing up, but still, shocking! I had to laugh all the way home.

Summer Dreams

Well, it's already July 22nd and I feel like summer days are slipping past. There are always so many visions I have of how I'll spend my summer. But it seems in Michigan the summer is over in a blink of an eye and I have not had the chance to really enjoy it.

So far, I have been able to spend some time at the in-laws cottage, visit Cincinnati, go sailing, and walk the lighthouse pier at our beach, walk downtown during street performer night, see an outdoor concert at Frederik Meijer Gardens, and make strawberry jam. I made it out to my parent's house, but only once. We've started our patio, but not quite finished it.

By the end of the summer, I am making a promise to myself to spend an afternoon at the beach, walk downtown with Brian for a weeknight dinner somewhere with outdoor seating, see a free concert in the park, spin some yarn outdoors under the shade tree, and invite our neighbors over for dinner on our finished patio (hence we have to finish the patio!) We are going camping for a full week coming up, so I know I'll feel like I've appreciated the summer a bit more once I get back from that trip.

Anyone else with summer dreams?

Jul 19, 2008

A tiny blessing

A small miracle happened this week without too many knowing about it. A high school friend of mine sent me an e-mail on Tuesday requesting urgent prayers from a family that would be delivering conjoined twins that afternoon.

You can read their story here. They already knew the twins shared one three-chambered heart, so a chance at a long life was not possible. The family asked for some time, how ever little, to spend with their twins living. They were granted that. The story is beautiful and is a real testimony in faith. I pray that they continue to find strength in God as they grieve.

Jul 15, 2008

Waiting for someone to snuggle

We picked up a wonderful rocking chair at a garage sale this summer. Since then I have adorned it with a hand knit teddy bear and most recently a gift from my MIL, Patty. She surprised me 4th of July weekend with a "conception blanket." She was knitting this and praying for us during the spring months to help us get pregnant. Thankfully, the prayers worked! It's a beautiful blanket in pink/blue with a satin edging that she hand-stitched. Thank you so much Patty!

Jul 13, 2008

Busy Weekend

It was a beautiful weekend and Brian and I filled it with many fun things to do.

Friday night we drove to Grand Haven for a beach picnic with old college friends. Mitch and Amber were visiting from Texas for the week. It sure was great to unite again - I cherish the few times we can all get together.

Saturday started with some delicious blueberry pancakes. They were Brian's treat to me, Kim, and Meredith. I wish he would make them for me every day! We finally picked up our new car, the Infiniti G20. Unfortunately, we had to spend more money on all new tires before it was deemed road-worthy. But now, it's home with us and Brian has busied himself caressing the leather seats. To celebrate, I took my first "belly pic." I'm not sure how I feel about posting baby bump photos, but a lot of people have told me I should - so here it goes.

(Uh, I know why I don't like this - I look like a cheese-head.)

Saturday night we finished Brian's birthday celebration. One of the gift's I gave him was a sailing trip on Lake MI with friends. We took a 3 hour voyage with Montelle, Kyle, Tim and our captains. Luckily, the rain held off and we were blessed with cool weather and a glorious sunset. It was the first time I've ever been sailing and I found it so peaceful. I forget how much we can get used to the sound of engines running in the background. With just the wind and the waves, it is really easy to let go of your stress.

Jul 8, 2008

There's nothing sweeter

than dropping in to your doctor's to listen to your baby's fetal heart tones (mid-140s today, maybe it's a boy!) and then stopping on the way home for a twist cone. Happy Summer and Happy Pregnancy!

pregnancy calendar

Now I'm not the only weirdo...

knitting wool socks on the fourth of July.
My cousin-in-law, Rachael, is a newfound lover of knitting socks. I'm so happy to have another capital K-knitter in the family!

We're, coincidentally, both knitting socks with Berocco Comfort Yarn in the same teal colorway.

Can you guess?

We took Maggie to the dog park on Saturday and found her excellent new friend, a beagle named Layla. They had a lot of fun romping (and sniffing). Can you guess which one is Maggie?

Jul 5, 2008

The Saga is Over

Thank you for all of your car advice. What we ended up doing was selling the Accord on Craig's List, listed with no engine. In less than 24 hours, five people contacted us with two people making offers. We sold it this morning for a mere $675, but this was more than we would get for scrapping it to the mechanic. So, with that extra cash in hand, we continued shopping. (btw, I now love Craig's list!)

This week we had test driven about 5 different cars, checked out many online, and then drove another 7 today. We fell in love with the last one we drove, a 1999 Infiniti G20. This is far better than our last car with good gas mileage. It even has the luxuries of heated leather seats and a Bose sound system. We've never felt so spoiled! We'll have our mechanic take a look over Tuesday, and if all is well, we'll be the happy owners of a Nissan that evening.

Jul 2, 2008

Ingenious cleaning tip

I learn so much from my fellow knitters, and about more than knitting!

Did you know that if you wipe your bathroom mirrors down with shaving cream, they stop fogging up? You apply it as though you're waxing the mirror. I used Brian's facial foam. The effect is supposed to last 2-3 weeks. It worked like a charm. I love it because I would always get annoyed when I was trying to apply make-up and Brian's overheated shower was fogging up my mirror. He tells me to put the blow dryer on it, but then I'm doing that every 30 seconds. I try to crack open the door without him knowing, but he always feels the cold air. So, conflict resolved!

Jul 1, 2008

The Law of Murphy

Murphy has come to visit us. Now according to Dave Ramsey, Murphy is supposed to come when you're doing the wrong thing and get you into worse trouble. I thought we were on the road to greatness, but right now we're not really on the road....more off the road and in the hands of an auto repair shop.

Long story short, our Honda Accord died last Thursday. Apparently coolant was not circulating, causing the engine to overheat and either the pistons fused or head cracked. The final decision is that we need a new engine, which so far, on one estimate will run $2500 to $3000. The pessimistic side of things is that we may end up replacing the engine, only to need more major repairs in the next 1-2 years because the car already has about 160K miles on it. I have looked online and found other '96 Accords selling for approx. $3500 to 3900.

So, Brian and I need advice. This is a real WWYD situation. And if your advice is to go out and finance a replacement car, then I ask that you give that advice behind my back, because I'm looking for advice that aligns with our core principles regarding debt. We could come up with close to 5K by the end of July (which would deplete our emergency fund).

So, as I see it, our options are to:

1) Repair our car, figuring this is an Accord and a good car for the most part. Do a good job saving money over the next 1-2 years and plan to replace it with something from this decade before we have another major repair. Also, this may be a good plan knowing that Honda's do not depreciate in value so rapidly, so we may be able to still sell this car in two years for about $2500 (if the rust doesn't have its way).

2) Scrap the car and use our $4-5,000 savings to pick up a '99 or '00 Accord or Civic with a bit less miles and rust. Again, save for a newer car over the next few years, but feel less urgency.

3) Pick up a different used car, other than a Honda, since Honda's are generally expensive. Our main goals are to find something with good gas mileage and fairly trustworthy. If we're only going to have it for a few years, the hope would be we wouldn't have it long enough to run in to major repairs. But then again, it's always a gamble with a used vehicle, so I would want to get something for a good price so that I wouldn't feel too bad if I had to put a few hundred into repairs over the next 1-2 years.