Updated Baby Shower Game

It’s wild to think that the last baby shower I threw was almost 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with my youngest!  Now, we are showering the friend who helped throw this last shower.  Today, I updated the baby shower game, What’s in Your Purse?, and thought I would share the new and improved version.  The font is a 1,000 times better thanks to my current favorite design site – Canva.

What's Inside Your Purse_

I don’t have much else to share right now, except I am on spring break and plan to power through the last of my homework and hopefully make some artwork of my own.  I have just two more weekends of classes and then I am done with grad work.  Maybe this blog will spring back to life…stranger things have happened.


6 months and a New Year!

Oh Happy New Year to you!  I admit, I was in bed last night by 9:30 and it was GLORIOUS!  My littlest one, who is now 6 months(!!), was in bed by 6:30 and then up again at 9:30 and after the second time up, I took my cue to get to bed.  It was worth it – he made it for an almost 6 hour stretch of sleep.  I tell ya, I don’t know what I will do when I finally sleep through the night again.  After five and a half hours of sleep I feel I could conquer the world!

xmas.treeChristmas came and went and now I sit here facing a new year chock full of milestones for both kids, events with family and friends, and always new opportunities.  Of all the posed and practiced shots from the holidays, this is my favorite.  Older sis, desperately trying to prevent younger brother from grabbing ornaments off the tree, all the while telling him to, “Look at mommy!”  Meanwhile, my hubby is just off camera, laughing, and holding Q up.

Oh what a Christmas it was, indeed.  Seeing the wonders of Christmas through a child’s eyes is truly magical.  Now that there are two of them, it is twice as magical.  Read on for a much overdue update on our family, or just skim/skip and look at annoyingly cute photos of my clan.  Whatever suits your mood.


One of the highlights of the past 6 months was watching Greta spoon feed her brother some of his first solids (listen to me, I know!  I sound ridiculous, or I guess like a nursing mother appreciating sweet relief!).  I stood by making sure she didn’t push the spoon in far enough to gag him!  Solids have made all the difference in his attitude during the day – not so frantic and very eager for mealtime.  I just hope it wears off on sister and some friendly competition kicks in and kills the toddler picky eating.

jumpingThis kid cracks me up – such a charmer and loves to jump and move.  He is itching to crawl.

IMG_4178This break he has been working hard on sitting on his own.  The dog, cats, and sister are all incentives for him.


Meanwhile, toddler sister’s artistic side is blossoming.  I love watching her color, draw, and sticker away.  Her creative side really shines by her love of patterns in the dressing of herself.


I discovered a new quick bread over break – peanut butter and jelly banana bread.  It is from Better Homes & Gardens and definitely my new go-to banana bread recipe.


So, as we embark into 2015, I reflect back on 2014 and its ups and downs.  I have made a few resolutions for myself, and they are for myself.  I spend 95% of my day doing things for others – whether at work teaching or at home with the kids, animals, and never-ending laundry.  A few things I resolve to do this year:

1. Read more (silently, not aloud to children).   I do plenty of reading to my own two kids, as well as my students.  I want to read more fiction, best-sellers, non-fiction…you name it!  I have been on a short kick reading eBooks, but want to get back into physical books.

2.  Make weekly time for creating.  Let’s face it, having kids takes up all your time. Oh do I miss my own hobbies.  However, I don’t want to miss the amazing things happening so quickly in their lives.  So, I figure, weekly is not overdoing it by any means at all.  Hopefully, as I begin to sleep more, I can carve more than weekly time for creating.  This one is an important resolution, as I have finally figured out that I need to create like some need to go on runs.

3. Spend more time appreciating my dog and two cats. 2/3 of my animal friends are elderly and facing some health issues.  Sometimes, I admit, I let it get to me.  I caught my toddler using her foot to roughly move a cat out of her way the other day and saying in a far too familiar way – “Move, move!”  Time to slow down, appreciate the furry members of our family, and model loving and endearing behavior for my children.

There you have it, my resolutions for 2015.  What goals have you set for yourself?

The First 4 Weeks Update

QandGWelcome to the world Quinton!  He entered the world four weeks ago at a healthy 8 lbs 6 oz.  This picture is our second day at home with our new guy.

Q.GThe past four weeks have been actually very nice – I admit I was worried about quite a few things, as most moms to be tend to do.  However, things are going well for all of us and big sister Greta is adjusting well.

My advice for parents of single children, about to become multiple children: talk about babies, read about babies, watch babies, look for babies, and seek out babies as much as you can before the new sibling comes along.  We hit the library for picture books on babies, watched video clips on babycenter.com, role played with her baby dolls, read magazines about babies, asked family and friends with babies to allow questions and assistance from Greta whenever appropriate.  Let me tell you, it paid off.

dollAside from a few jealousy issues at the beginning, she has been a happy helper and eager to take on the big sister role.  Our biggest meltdowns involved the question, “Why do I have to go to bed if Quinton is still awake?”  I and finding her baby dolls in Quinton’s swing, on his changing table, in his crib, and wrapped in his blankets.  She watches me carefully and mimics everything! Luckily her cousins got her a diaper bag complete with diaper wipes, bottles, cell phone, and changing pad so she can mimic with her own things and take them with us when we are out and about.

skySpeaking of getting out, right around Quinton’s birth we had a spell of rainy weather – to the point of wondering whether Iowa was entering monsoon season as North Carolina did every fall with the onslaught of hurricane season.  Just after he was born, the clouds lifted and the weather has been beautiful for venturing out with a new baby.  So get out we have done!  Baby round two has been different of course, I learned from baby one too late that newborns are portable and there is no reason to sit on one’s bum when they sleep constantly!  Not that my three-year old would allow such a thing to happen anyway.

grays.lakeWe have been enjoying sunny walks around Gray’s Lake as a family.  I am determined to start the physical activity earlier this time around, in hopes of maintaining a better sense of well-being and to avoid feeling the stresses of starting a new school year and unpacking my classroom from a summer of remodeling with a new baby.  Plus, I am eager to get back to riding my bicycle.  It’s been far too long and watching RAGBRAI and Tour de France coverage has me chomping at the bit this year.

fairSpeaking of bits, we enjoyed the county fair as some free and very engaging entertainment.  I cannot ever remember it ever being this nice of weather when I was in 4H and showing at the fair!  The Polk County Fair takes place at the State Fair grounds every year and showcases all the hard work and dedication of 4H and FFA youth over the past year in Polk County.  Greta enjoyed watching the horses compete and the jumping event was her favorite – especially when one horse while practicing, stopped and walked around instead of jumping.  She laughed and laughed at that.

balloonsThis week the pleasantly cool weather continues.  We enjoyed a morning at the National Balloon Classic in Indianola, IA watching hot air balloons.  Flights are at 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM daily for the entire festival and the morning session is free entrance.

sushiI got out for sushi and even tried a new place!  I kept hearing about how Wasabi Chi was the best sushi in town – I finally decided to check it out when my delivery nurse said this is the only place she goes anymore for sushi.  I am pleased to report that Wasabi Chi on Douglas Avenue in Beaverdale did not disappoint.  Their lunch specials are to die for and hard to choose between – the crispy calamari mango roll, on the left, was my favorite.  I had two rolls, miso soup, and salad for $8.95!

smoreI have also been experimenting with my own simple and satisfying recipes at home.  Read: no time for elaborate cooking right now.  This heavenly dessert is simply two graham crackers, with a smear of peanut butter, topped with two marshmallows, and then microwaved for 10 seconds.  Behold: the fluffer nutter s’more.  You are welcome.


Happy almost August everyone.  Where did this summer go?

A Greensboro Goodbye + Move to Iowa

This is a lengthy post and long overdue.  But, I felt I had to put in some effort, in saying good bye to a place and a group of people who have captured my heart for the past eight years.  The goodbyes started with one last dinner at Sticks & Stones Wood Fired Pizza.  Oh how I will miss the Kiss Before I Go pizza and Hoppyum beer. My colleagues from the 8th Grade hallway helped me tearfully say goodbye.

Then it was one last lunch at Natty Greene’s.  I will miss the Charlie Tuna Ahi sandwich and all of their locally brewed beers.  By this time, my mom and friend Aaron had made it to Greensboro.    I tried a delicious smoked peach IPA.

Greta came home from daycare to find a huge truck outside her house.  She was so excited to get to sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to drive.

Relaxing got harder the fuller the truck got.  We managed to fit a dinner in at Kiosco’s and some couch time.  Greta enjoyed sitting between daddy and Aaron.

Oh boy.  The heavy stuff.  Big thanks to Eric and Aaron who filled this 26 foot bad boy.

Goodbye Greensboro home.  It was a great starter home and we learned a lot about DIY projects.

We decided to stay in a hotel the night before we left – this was the best decision yet.  For dinner we headed to Gray’s Tavern on Elm St. in downtown Greensboro.

Greta enjoyed the signs on the street more than anything else.

Next it was off to a Greensboro Grasshoppers game.  It was a perfect night for a ball game and I am so glad we got this one last treat in Greensboro.

We sat on the hill with a couple friends and enjoyed the Natty Greene’s beer and sights and sounds of the hill.

Eric scrambled and got his first ever baseball.  He was nice and gave it away to a very polite little boy who came over to congratulate him.

It was a beautiful night, so we decided to walk on to McCoul’s for another last.  McCoul’s will be missed for its fantastic rooftop patio.

And then Elliot appeared!  He drove down from Washington D.C. to help celebrate Aaron’s birthday.  I felt horrible, we made him help us move on his birthday.

Found this lovely lady dining with her family at McCoul’s.

I absolutely love what is going on in this shot.  Too much fun. 

After a sleepless night at the Biltmore (can you say scooping the loop hotel?), we headed to Bestway to pick a few last minute items.  I will miss the local NC goods and wall o’ beer.  Then we were off.

We took the route north through the mountains, first through Virginia and West Virginia.  Meanwhile, the guys and the truck headed west to Asheville, NC.

Thankfully, Greta is a car napper and a good one at that.

I love driving through windy Charleston, West Virginia.  The capitol building is easily seen from the road.

Greta go disgruntled and so I broke out my stash of stickers that I have been stockpiling since Christmas.  These just happen to be unused yearbook Jostens stickers. 

Dina made a reappearance on this trip!  Greta finally learned to say Dina and said it constantly, and is in fact, still saying it right now.

We stayed overnight in Louisville, Kentucky.  Greta, my mom, and Brownie enjoyed some non-car time in the parking lot of our hotel.

The drive out of Louisville is always so beautiful.  I keep saying I want to come back to this town for a proper stay and not just an overnight stop, as we so often have done.

Greta amazingly stayed fairly entertained in the car.  The tube of puffs were a life-saver and a gift from a friend, Julie, in Greensboro.  Thank you again!

We stopped at some beautiful rest stops and Greta did her best to be helpful.

Greta stayed cheerful and happy with books, but even that too eventually ran out.

So, out of desperation, I gave her a bag of diapers.

She unfolded and stacked them in her lap.

She moved piles of them off to the side.

She played peek with them.

She threw them.

And then, the bag was a hat.  At this point, I promptly took the bag away and brought out art materials and stickers again.

Eventually things began to level out and look more Midwest-like.

We finally made it to my parents’  house and survived the 1, 000 or so mile drive.  Greta was eager to play with her car waiting for her on the patio.

Another happy moment: reuniting with her cats.  Tsali purred and purred with seeing Greta again. Neither cat seemed to remember Brownie, and so things were a little shaky and scary for a while for the two cats.

I took a brief walk with Brownie after Greta was in bed and enjoyed the familiar sounds and sights of the Iowa landscape.

Tsali was happiest to see me though.  The guys arrived in Des Moines the following day with the truck.  We unloaded everything in two days and began the remodel process.  More on that to come soon.