Sep 30, 2008

I don't know what I was thinking

I scrimped "allowance" for the last 9 months trying to save money for a spinning wheel. I sold my flute and tried to sell my wedding dress. After all that, today I gathered some old gold jewelry that I never wear (took me all of 10 minutes) and made an appointment at a local jeweler. I walked out 20 minutes later over $300 richer. If anyone needs some fast cash, I'd highly recommend cleaning out your jewelry box!

Bible Across America

The next big thing - and Brian is right at the root of it. I won't see my husband much this week as they launch the tour, but it is all in the name of an awesome ministry. The bible signing starts today in Grand Rapids. You may catch the story on your local news, or perhaps see them on a big show like GMA over the next few months. We had dinner with the "tourguides" Sunday night and I really enjoyed them. It's going to be hard, sort of like Road Rules, having to live so closely with a strange couple for five months. Let's pray that it all works out well and they can get this Bible Across America.

Sep 28, 2008

Showering Jacqueline with love

Patty, Julie and I hosted Jacqueline's baby shower in Rockford this afternoon. We had a casual brunch with all kinds of foods, ham, bagels, egg strata, egg casserole, french toast casserole, quiche, fruit lasagna and more! Let's just say, it's too bad eggs don't make better leftovers. Our centerpieces were classic toys - I'm sure you all remember the rainbow xylophone, dial telephone, and rainbow stack'em toys. Patty also found some of Jeffrey's old toys to clean up and pass down to his son. There were also flowered centerpieces with baby booties blossoming from the center.

Jacqueline received many nice gifts - definitely a lot of cute clothes! I told her it frightens me to think how many clothes I may get since I'm having a girl and those cute outfits are even harder to resist buying. I just worry she won't be able to wear them all before she grows too big!

Here are the token belly photos. I think Jacqueline is far better at the posing than I, she belongs in a Motherhood Maternity catalog.

We also met the newest addition to our family - Chewee. This is Julie and David's new 4 month Papillon. He and Maggie got along splendidly. Although she couldn't roll and tumble with him, she was very curious about this new little cousin and loved to eat his food.

Sep 23, 2008

Today I started my third trimester. I find that very hard to believe, because although I do feel like I've been pregnant for a while, I also can't believe that I'm approaching the end. I'm still waiting to experience so many of the things that people say pregnancy is all about, late night cravings and mood swings....strangers holding the door open for you and tiny baby kicks to the bladder. I suppose these things may come over the next three months.
Now it's time for Brian and I to begin the final preparations. We've signed up for all of the classes the local hospital offers and I'll be joining a water aerobics class in hopes that the extra conditioning will ease labor. The shower dates are on the calendar and the short term disability paperwork is complete. I'm looking forward to it all.

Sep 21, 2008


Did anyone else catch Friday's episode of Oprah? One of her stories featured an amazing teenage girl from the Philippines, Charice. She was first seen on Oprah September 9th. (More back story here. After hearing her beautiful voice, Oprah decided to help make her dream come true by getting Celine Dion to sing a duet. She really moved me with her voice. I hope she goes just as far as Celine has.

We just returned from a relaxing visit to Grand Blanc to see our friends, Meredith and Adam, their (relatively) new house and their (relatively) new chocolate lab, Sullivan. I have to keep repeating relatively because our visit was long overdue. Kim drove out for the evening as well. Their house is just great with wonderful decorating and plenty of room.
This was the first time our dogs met. Maggie and Sullivan had a rough start, with Sullivan being over three times her size but Maggie trying to be the dominant one. Once they figured out their roles, the play ensued for hours and hours. We had a delicious home made dinner and Death by Chocolate dessert. It was so nice to just sit back with my old girlfriends and catch up on life.
Now we're home. Maggie has already been bathed clean and is fast asleep. Brian is off on a 21 mile run (his last long run before the Chicago marathon), while I try to catch up on cleaning. I'm looking forward to more relaxing on the couch tonight and watching our Netflix rental, Nim's Island.

Sep 19, 2008

My nursing staff just told me I'm filling out - not my belly, but my butt, hips and face. Damn it. I new that 20 pounds had to have gone somewhere other than my bump, I was just in denial.

Sep 18, 2008

I know a certain boy who would love this sweater. It's on my to-do list, it's just too bad there are so many other things I want to knit first.

Sep 16, 2008

Baby update

Other than showing my newest baby bump photos, I haven't given an update on how me and Charlie are doing. While at Meagan's apartment last week, I noticed Charlie kicking pretty hard at my right side. I decided to watch the area and noticed I could actually see the kick from the outside. It was so neat, and so strange. I liken it to the alien scene in Spaceballs, you know the scene at the diner after the man orders "the special." I told Brian to watch...when he finally saw the bulge he just about jumped off the couch. She can hear voices and noises pretty well, so she'll react to what's going on. Brian read her "Green Eggs and Ham" which she seemed to like a lot.
I still feel great. I notice I'm a bit more winded when exercising or climbing stairs, but most of the time it's easy to forget I'm pregnant. My energy is good and appetite is normal. No late night cravings at all, which is sort of a bummer because I was looking forward to seeing what strange recipes I could come up with. I pray all continues to go well with me and baby.


NYC trip, the extended version

If any of you ever plan travel to NYC, the biggest piece of advice I can give is that you should not expect things to go as planned. Make one set of plans, and then a back-up. Don't get your heart too set on the first agenda. We had a great trip, it's just that I'm a planner by nature, and when things don't go my way, I can get easily disappointed. Hopefully this is a character flaw I can work through.

I already told you about our ride there and first trip to Saratoga Springs. Here are a few photos to go with.

Here's a good view of my 23 week belly.

The small geyser at the state park

Friday morning, Meagan and Brian took one of their beloved 15 mile runs while I slept in. We drove out to Poughkeepsie, where were could catch a commuter train to NYC for a decent price. We almost missed the train as Meagan struggled to find a parking spot, but she made it in just enough time. When we exited Grand Central Station in NYC, we were greeted by rain, and lots of it. We also found out there were no lockers for our luggage, so we trudged through the streets with suitcases and umbrellas, running over the feet of all rude people. We walked out to SoHo so I could find Purl.

The store was quite small. It was tricky to navigate my large belly through the 2' walking spaces. I have seen most of the yarns before, like Tili Tomas and Koigu. I ended up with a fluffy skein of "Lumpy Bumpy Yarn" from Farmhouse Yarns in Seafoam. I also picked up a souvenir canvas bag. If that's all the yarn store that New Yorkers are treated to, I'm sad for them.

We tried to get into the Friday free night at the MOMA, but refused to wait in a line about 5 blocks long, while it was still raining. After a stop for Bri and the Apple store, we took the subway to Brooklyn and met up with Joani, our host for the weekend (one of Brian's prior co-workers). She found us some good food and a wonderful dessert shop, Sweet Melissa, to fill up our bellies. Joani helped to put me back in a good mood because she's so cheerful and gracious.


Saturday AM, more disappointment came after getting up early for GMA and finding out there was no studio audience on weekends and no outdoor audience that day either. We settled for the Today show - which at first seemed promising. They had all of us corraled around the outdoor recording area with cameras and stage lights ready. I knit on my sock for a while to pass the time.


Well, 9 am came, the Today show ended, and no sign of Lester. Hurricane Ike took precedent over the tourists on the street. The TKTS booth was our next stop. We hoped to score some matinee tickets at 1/2 off. We probably would've failed at this too since the line was already filled with hundreds, but after about 30 minutes waiting, one of the employees noticed I was pregnant. This scored us a spot at the front of the line. Excellent! That definitely picked up my spirits. We purchased three tickets for Chicago. Without that baby bump, we probably would've been watching Harry Potter nude in Equus.


Saturday went on with a walk around Times Square, Central Park and lunch with an old school friend of mine, Dave Klein and his wife. It was great to catch up with an old friend and there wasn't any of that awkwardness that sometimes occurs when friends haven't seen eachother for years. We met back up with Joani and friends, as well as Bri's cousin to have dinner at Bread Tribeca, a neighborhood hot spot. Dinner was delicious, but the real treat was realizing Tyra Banks was sitting at the table kitty-corner to us. Joani sure knows how to pick 'em.


We finished out the trip Sunday morning with a terrific brunch in a restaurant with a quaint backyard patio and some frozen hot chocolate from Jacques Torres. The day was humid and hot, but we were determined to also get some pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge along the waterfront. The cityscape was beautiful, as was the view of the Statue of Liberty.


We made it back to Schnectady uneventfully and relaxed until it was time to head home on the Amtrak. Meagan dropped us at the station, only for us to find out that our train was completely canceled due to flooding in Buffalo. They couldn't do anything for us and couldn't even promise there would be a train the next night. Meagan came back to get us so we could research our options from her home internet. The plane was much more expensive than we had budgeted for, and Brian adamantly refused to take the Greyhound bus. He said noway, no-how, it stinks and scares him. Our last option was to rent a car. This option brought me to tears because we were already sleep deprived and the thought of staying up all night was more than I could handle. We picked up a $100 rental (actually a nice brand new Chevy HHR) and started on our way at 9:30 pm. We took turns sleeping and made it back to Toledo to get our car from the station by 7 am. We had to drive through the remnants of Hurricane Ike, so it was very windy and rainy at times, but we made it safe and sound. We were back to Holland by 12:30 to make it to some daycare appointments. I was asleep on the couch by 6 pm.

So, we're home safe and sound. We have taken our last pre-baby vacation and have some great memories to go with it. Thanks so much to Meagan and Joani for hosting us! Despite the mishaps along the way, we really enjoyed the trip, seeing new sights and catching up with old friends.

Sep 11, 2008

New York

We are now relaxing comfortably in Albany. The 11 hour train ride was essentially uneventful, just the way we like it. I studied for my recert exam, slept, knit, and listened to a new podcast, The High Fiber Diet. (A good one to check out - some girls from my Monday night knit group put it together.) We drove out to Saratoga for some shopping. I managed to find a yarn store for our first stop and picked out a single skein of laceweight. We had some excellent Mexican at the Cantina and fought about which liquor has a worm - it is tequila, Brian (Mezcal, specifically). We stopped at a geyser on the way home so Meagan could fill up her water bottle with fresh spring water. The geyser seemed more like a garden spout shooting from the ground...not quite Old Faithful, but worth a stop.
Tomorrow, we'll try to catch the 12:30 train to NYC and continue our adventure! Look for us on GMA Saturday morning.

Sep 10, 2008

So close!

I sold my flute today, so now I am $40 and sales tax shy of buying my very own spinning wheel! I can't contain my excitement!! Here's my beautiful dream wheel (I'm going to get it in walnut stain).

Of course, it doesn't stop there. After the wheel, I can buy the jumbo flyer, fast flyer, additional bobbins....

Sep 9, 2008

Toot on that flute

If anyone knows someone in need of a flute, check out my Craig's list ad.

This would be a perfect flute for the beginning student.

Today I'm trying to take care of errands and last minute details. Brian and I will be going to visit my younger sister for a long weekend in NY, leaving tomorrow night . We're hoping to catch a discounted broadway show, visit museums, shop (AKA knitting stores), and some other sight seeing. I'll have a full report next week!

Sep 7, 2008

This weekend was dedicated to finishing our backyard patio. This project began many moons ago when Brian demolished our small wooden deck. Since then, the project has made slow progress as he dug through tree roots and moved gravel to the area. In the last month or so, we had to wait for our budget to recoup from the "new" car purchase before we bought the patio stones. Fortunately, Menard's marked the stones down for end of summer and (after 6 carloads) we were finally ready!
Brian recruited helpers, big and small, to give him a hand. His dad, friend Carl, and Carl's son Aaron were here to help.

They moved a truckload of crushed concrete to our hole and then used a powered compactor to mash it down to a cement like surface. This was difficult to make absolutely level, but they did a darn good job.

Following this step, we were supposed to lay sand to help fill in the hills and valleys. We skipped this step simply because sand costs another pretty penny and we think any unlevel spots will adjust with time. Once they got to setting stones down, the patio took shape quickly.

By the end of the night, we were able to set up our patio table, kick back and relax. We still need to lay some sand down as the top layer, which fills in the gaps between stones, but that can wait. Now I'm having visions of landscaping work to make our backyard as nice as the catalogues.

Sep 5, 2008

Work is fun

At least it's fun today, because I got to staple a man in his head. No power tools or anything involved, but still pretty awesome.

Sep 3, 2008


It's about time I posted my take on Stitches Midwest. The conference took place the weekend of August 23rd in Schaumburg, IL at the Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center. There were classes which went on for three days, covering all topics from wire knitting, to pattern design and fair isle knitting. The market place was a large shopping arena with vendors for beads, roving, books, spinning wheels, patterns, and of course, plenty o'yarn. Several book signings took place, mostly fiction, even murder mystery. There were also fashion shows.

Since this was my first time there, I decided to pass on the classes and just be the observer. I got there right at opening Saturday, waiting in line with many other knit clad and crazed women. Half naked men doused in cologne worked the crowd, handing out samples of soy yarn. I was ready with camera and backpack, even snacks for that extra umph.

As soon as I was released into the market, I headed straight for the Webs booth. Webs is a popular yarn store in Northampton, MA with their own catalog and podcast. I wanted to buy a skein of each of their own brand, Valley Yarns, and conduct my own "taste testing." I also was dying to meet the owners and podcasters, Steve and Kathy Elkins. They're a young, cute couple with small children. They travel to each of the yarn shows themselves. What a dream job! I asked if they did "photo ops." I don't think they quite understood that I wanted to be in the picture too. Oh well, they'll get the hang of stardom someday.

Soon after that I found out photos weren't allowed in the marketplace, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

I made about three laps around/through the vendors. I watched a lady make a beaded necklace and almost bought her $40 kit until I realized the beads in the kit were far from representative of what she was doing the demo with. I saw a World War I sock knitting machine in action. I sat down at my future spinning wheel, the Kromski Sonata, and determined that my love is still going strong. I found adorable patterns for baby sweaters and Christmas ornaments and ended up with a nice size pile of yarn to take home. My favorite is a jewel toned wool/silk that I'll use to make a scarf. My morning ended by watching the style show. The styles were as trendy as any major fashion show, enough so that I couldn't really see myself wearing many of them.

I had a great time, but I could only have so much fun being alone. I'm sure I can recruit some friends to go with me next year, maybe take some classes and stay overnight. Maybe Charlotte will be up for it by then!

Sep 2, 2008

Weekend spinning

Hanging out at home this weekend was a perfect time to break out the spinning wheel and some fiber from my stash. I had 50 grams of pencil roving, 100% merino wool, that I bought at City Knitting back in the spring. The fiber was so soft. It was a lot of fun to watch the barber pole effect spin up from the stripes of rose and black in the wool. I spun this as a gift, but it's definitely going to be hard to part with. I think it would make a lovely and soft hat or join up with a solid color for some mittens.

Summer days

Well, the "end" of summer has come. We had a very pleasant and relaxing holiday weekend. My little sis Meagan came out to visit while home from New York. Chris and Ben also came with our nephew, Amos (and their schnauzer, Cayman).

The three musketeers

We all headed to the beach for a picnic Friday night...including all three dogs. Saturday we lounged and found ways to entertain Amos. I've realized that I need to practice my nursery rhymes and songs before I have my own baby. I've forgotten most of the lyrics. Amos was a good boy. He tolerated the farmer's market and lunch at Boatwerks. The only time he really raised heck was when Chris and I tried to take him shopping with us. He screamed bloody murder. As soon as we had him back in the car seat and headed home, he was all smiles.

Meagan - learning how to like babies.

Sunday and Monday were spent up at Whitefish Lake. On the way up there, we dropped our visitor, Fergie, back with her relatives. It seems Maggie was ready to say good-bye. Fergie kept stealing Maggie's favorite spot on the armrest.

This was the hottest weekend we've spent up there. It was nice to just float in the water, except for the gutsy bluegills who nibbled at my toes and fingers. Patty bought all of the girls matching sunhats and glasses. Don't we look cute? Or maybe just silly.

I guess you can also count that as a photo of my 21 week baby "hump."