Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July giveaway!

Since I’ve been back in the States, I’ve been on the hunt for a decent daily face cream.  I’ve tried a few in the past – mostly cheaper ones you can get at Target and Wal-Mart, but they didn’t seem to help my dry face at all.  I looked at Macy’s but just couldn’t justify paying $80+ for 2 oz of face cream, even if it did work wonders (which I don’t know if they did because I didn’t buy any).

And then I discovered L’Oreal’s Youth Code.  I wanted something with SPF in it, and I wanted it to smell decent, but not be completely overpowering.  And I wanted it to work on the dry skin I have on my face.  This lotion fits all my criteria and then some.  I seriously love it!


So I wanted to share my good find with one of my followers!   To enter this giveaway, please leave me a comment and tell me your favorite names for boys and girls.  (Mark and I are still trying to think of name options for baby #2.)  Please make sure that you leave your email in the comment if you have your profile set to no-reply, and again, this giveaway is only for people that follow my blog.  I will only ship to US or APO addresses.

I’ll be picking a winner on July 10th, so be sure to leave a comment before then!  Good luck!

Disclaimer:  This giveaway is sponsored by me only. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby quilt done!


I recently sent my friend, Erika, a quilt that I made for her baby, Elise, who’s now a month old.  I had every intention to have it finished before Elise was born, but honestly, I was terrified to try free-motion quilting for the first time.  So it took me a while to get the guts to try it.  It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I think they’ll still like it anyway.


Here’s a picture of the front and back.  I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, even though there are quite a few mistakes.  This is the 2nd quilt I’ve completely finished, so I didn’t expect it to be perfect.  I had fun making it and I learned a lot also.


Oliver is my trusty side-kick, as usual.


Congrats on your beautiful baby girl, Erika and Brian!  Sorry your gift was so late!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

100 minus 4

Last Sunday we had a birthday party for my 96 year old grandma.  Could you imagine living to be 96?  I asked her if she felt like she was 96 and she said that no, she didn’t and she couldn’t believe she was.  She’s doing really well considering she’s only 4 years away from being a century old!
We have a fairly small family and most of us were at the party.  The younger cousins had fun spending time together.  Of course any sort of electronic is going to keep them riveted for quite a while.
Kyle (the older cousin) had fun doing an “egg cracking” simulation on Miles (orange shirt) and Cameron (white tank top).
My family is full of people that like to take pictures, so there were cameras galore at our little gathering.
My uncle Jerry and Aunt Claire made the trip out from Colorado for the special occasion.  My parents, Abbie and I are going to Denver to visit them in August and I’m pretty excited about that trip.
My Godmother, Avis and her husband John came also.  Avis was one of my mom’s college roommates.  John and my dad always have a lot to talk about.
Marc (below with Miles) is my cousin, and Allison (below with Abbie) is his wife.  They took all the younger kids to a nearby park for a while.  I was worried that Abbie was going to be a handful as she sometimes can be, but they said she was great when they got back, so that was good to hear.  I’m always worried that friends and family are going to think my kid is a holy terror, especially when I’m not around, but they seemed to enjoy their time with her, so I was relieved.  Allison said it reminded her of when her kids were Abbie’s age.
Abbie and my grandma are 94 years apart in age!  Abbie enjoyed seeing her great-grandma and I’m glad I got a few pictures to capture the moments.
Since grandma wasn’t able to attend Abbie’s birthday party last month, she gave her her gift last week.
She gave Abbie her first tiny necklace.  I think this is my favorite picture that I took all day.  There’s just something so symbolic about an elderly person’s hands.  Just thinking about everything those hands have touched, how much food they’ve made, how many people they’ve helped – it’s just amazing really.  I think I would recognize my grandma’s hands anywhere.
We also got another 4 generation photo with my grandma, mom, Abbie and myself.  I can definitely see the resemblance between my grandma and Abbie.
And one more of my little stinker.  She’s full of funny faces!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

3rd quilt along

I have recently started my 2nd quilt along.  I love doing quilt along’s.  For beginner’s like me, they are perfect because they’re usually pretty easy, there are lots of pictures and if you do have questions, there are many people to ask.  I love them!
This one is the Synchronized Squares quilt along by PSIquilt.  I’ve had this layer cake from Me and My Sister Designs for quite a while and I decided to use it for this quilt, along with a Bella Solids layer cake.
As I’ve said before, I LOVE fabric from Me and My Sister Designs because it’s so colorful and fun, and it makes me happy to look at it and work with it.  This line of fabric is appropriately named “Happy”.
I had lots of fun perusing JoAnn’s for the backing fabric.  I had the top swatch of fabric from the picture above with me so I could make sure it matched, and I decided to go with a lime green fabric with a subtle white florally design throughout it.  I think it’ll go nicely with the rest of the fabric.
Here’s all of the fabric together.  I am attempting my first scrappy binding with this quilt, and I’m not 100% sure I have enough scraps from the layer cake to make it, but we’ll see.  If I don’t I’ll have to improvise something.
I’ve already started cutting my fabric for this quilt, but I haven’t done any sewing yet.  Hopefully I’ll actually get around to that before it’s time to go back to Italy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

If you had told me.

If you had told me, 10 years ago, that in 5 years I’d marry the most amazing guy I’ve ever met, you would have gotten my hopes up.

If you had told me that he was going to be a fighter pilot, I would have laughed and said “Yeah right.”  And if/ when I actually believed you, I would have gotten pretty excited, because who doesn’t dream about what it would be like to marry someone in the military.  (Although, at times, it’s not quite the fairy tale I was envisioning, that’s for sure.)

If you had told me that within our first five years of marriage, we’d move 5 times, living in 3 different states and 2 countries, I would have prayed that we’d have a lot of help moving, and I would have been up for the adventure.  (And I still am!)

If you had told me that within our first four years of marriage we’d visit 14 different states and 10 different countries, I would have been ecstatic!  I LOVE to travel!

If you had told me that our first year of marriage would be a huge adjustment and learning experience, but that it’d just keep getting better and better after that, I probably wouldn’t have believed you because who really thinks that the “honeymoon” stage might be hard before it actually happens.  But the good thing is that it has kept getting better and better since then.

If you had told me, 10 years ago, that I would have an amazing 2 year old and be pregnant with #2 in 10 years, I would have said that wasn’t in my original plan.  I wanted to wait until I was 30 to have kids, but that all changed when I married Mark.  And if you’d told me that my husband would be the most involved, attentive, loving, perfect father to our child(ren), it still wouldn’t have “prepared” me for what I saw when our daughter was born.  I knew Mark would be an amazing father from the time I married him, but nothing could have shown me how amazing he truly is with Abbie until I saw him in action with her.  Every time I see him with her I fall in love with him a little more.

If you had told me that we’d be living in Italy by our 4th anniversary, I would have been thrilled, but again, probably wouldn’t have believed you.  I’d always dreamed of living overseas at some point, but I didn’t think it would really happen.

If you had told me that on our 5th anniversary we’d be separated by 7000 miles, with him being in a war zone and me living with my parents, I would have been pretty bummed.  Who wants to spend their anniversary apart?  And while I am still bummed, I am also exceedingly proud of my husband.  Words can’t describe what you feel when the most important person in your life, the one you share every part of yourself with, goes off to war.  There’s a lot of fear that that might be the last time you ever see him in person, but after you’re able to get that fear under control and push it aside, the main thing that’s left is pride.  A lot of pride.

If you had told me, 10 years ago, that in 3 years I’d meet this guy that I liked a lot and had tons of fun with, and that in 5 years I’d actually marry him, and that in 10 years I still wouldn’t believe the life that we have to together, the experiences we’ve shared and all the fun we’ve had, I would have hoped and prayed that you were right.  And you would have been.

Mark, you mean more to me than I can put into words.  Because of you, we have a life that I never could have even imagined.  You are absolutely everything I had hoped for plus much, much more and I love you more and more every day, even if you are on the other side of the world.  I can’t wait for you to get back so we can celebrate our anniversary (maybe in London??) a few months late.  I love you!


Friday Fill-in

  1. Are you a different person than you were five years ago? submitted by Sisterly Thoughts  Yes, I am.  I got married 5 years ago today, and I have a 2 year old, and I think marriage and parenthood change you in ways you could never even imagine, but so far, I think they’ve all been for the better.
  2. If you could go on Amazing Race, who would you take with you as your partner and why? submitted by Thoughts from a Poekitten  Most definitely my husband.  Mark and I balance each other out completely.  I’m good at things he’s not, and he’s good at things I’m not, and I communicate better with him than anyone else, so I think we’d make a great team.  Plus we LOVE to travel together.  I’d love to go on that show with him someday!
  3. Does Facebook or Twitter actually bring more stress or good in to your life? submitted by Just an Arizona Girl  I don’t use Twitter much, but I think Facebook is mostly good.  I cannot STAND it when friends have cryptic FB status’s all the time, leaving you wondering what the heck they’re talking about, but other than that, it’s a great way to keep in touch with people from your past.
  4. June is National Soul Food Month- what’s your soul food? submitted by NH Girl Displaced  I think probably pasta.  I love pasta and garlic bread.  Plus they’re both really easy to make, which is always a plus, and they fill you up easily, and they’re GOOD!
  5. If you could live in any other era than the current, which one would it be & why? submitted by Sugar in My Grits  I think it would be interesting to live in the late 1800’s/ early 1900’s.  Before the Great Depression when lots of inventions were being made – and the clothes were pretty neat too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

15 week and 3 day appt


Today I had my shortest OB appointment yet (from either pregnancy).  It took a grand total of 15 mins from the time I walked into the dr’s office, until the time I walked out.  I’ve gained 1 lb in the past month, and my blood pressure was 140/80, which is kind of high, but I was a tad worried about the appointment.  The midwife measured me and we listened to the baby’s heartbeat, which was nice and strong, so I had nothing to worry about after all.


This pregnancy has been kind of odd for me.  I would say at least 9/10’s of the time, I don’t even feel pregnant at all.  I completely forget I’m pregnant half the time.  My hips/ pelvis area does this weird “clunky” thing when I get up from laying down, and I’m still more tired than normal, but other than that, I really don’t have any pregnancy symptoms at all.  And when you add my husband not being around to share the excitement of the pregnancy to the mix, I don’t know.  It’s just weird.  It just seems as though this pregnancy is SO different from when I was pregnant with Abbie and it really makes me think I’m having a boy this time around.  If I’m completely honest though, I really want another girl, and the thought of having a boy pretty much completely terrifies me.  I know NOTHING about raising a boy.  I didn’t have brothers, or any younger male relatives that I spent much time with growing up, so having a boy would be completely foreign to me.  I was talking to one of my best friends tonight (who has 1 girl and 2 boys) and I told her about my fears and she pretty much laughed and said, yeah, I don’t blame you for being scared.  Haha!  I’m glad she was honest though.  I was at the grocery store today and saw a mom with 3 girls and a boy with the boy being the youngest, and that would be my idea of perfect.  I told Mark about that today when I talked to him and he was like, “Whoa, we need to discuss this a little more.  You really want 4 kids??”.  =)  Yeah, maybe?  Depends on how this next one is, I suppose.  So anyway, my next appointment (when we’ll find out the sex) is July 28th.  Too bad that seems like FOREVER away!!


(I absolutely LOVE this little dress on her!  Mark bought it for her and I just think it’s the cutest.  I just bought a pattern and fabric so I could make her another one.)


So we’re in the “picking out names” phase right now and we’re still seeking ideas.  Do you have any names you really like for boys or girls?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Abbie at 2 years and 1 month

I swear I fall more in love with this little girl every single day.  Lately she has been so much FUN.  She just soaks up everything around her and she’s getting to the point where she asks questions and says some pretty entertaining stuff.  There’s never a dull moment with her around, that’s for sure.
I should probably think about potty training her pretty soon.  I know she’s smart enough to know what I would be trying to teach her, the bigger question is if she’d be willing to cooperate.  She likes to put her dolls on the potty and make the “psssss” sound for them peeing (HAHA!!) and then says “all done!” and gets them off.  So she understands the concept.  I might try to tackle that battle in the next month or two.
Many of her clothes are 3T’s already.  She’s just so tall that 2T’s are usually too short for her, so I’ve just been buying mostly 3T’s and if she can wear them next year too, then great.  She usually wears size 5 diapers, except at night, I put her in size 6’s.  She needs size 7 shoes already.
She doesn’t go to sleep with a bottle (of water) anymore.  It was MUCH easier to wean her off that than I expected.  She’s still drinking bottles of milk during the day, and they are 100% her comfort item.  If she gets hurt or upset, she immediately wants a bottle.  Granted, she doesn’t always get them, but that’s what she asks for.  She uses normal cups at meals and she drinks just fine out of them without spilling, and she’s pretty good at using spoons and forks.  She eats her cereal in the morning with a spoon just fine, and she’ll even hold her other hand under the spoon to catch any spills (like I do occasionally when I help her eat).
Abbie is a very loving little girl.  She LOVES giving hugs and kisses and I can’t walk out the door without at least 3-4 different sets of hugs and kisses.  (The picture below is her “kissy lips” face.)  She likes to snuggle at times and she loves reading books.  She doesn’t watch TV at all really.  Even if I have it on, she doesn’t watch it much.  She LOVES to sing and dance and she can sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” song pretty much by herself now, along with do all the hand motions.  Sometimes she’ll try to sing along with the radio when we’re in the car, especially if I am.  She’s not a big fan of bugs, but LOVES to be outside, especially if water is involved.  She’s counted to 13 by herself before, but she pretty consistently skips #4 still.  We’re still working on her colors and she’s starting to recognize a few letters.
I can’t wait for Mark to get home so we can start enjoying our little girl together again.  She’s growing up way too quickly!

Monday, June 20, 2011

No more little dogs

I grew up with Golden Retrievers.  My parents had 2 when I was born and we’ve owned 5 more since those.  (They usually had 2 dogs at all times.)  I love Golden’s.  They’re such kind, gentle animals and are easily trainable.
Before we were married, Mark bought me Oliver, a long-hair Dachshund, for my 25th birthday.  Although, it might have been more for him since he’d always wanted a weiner dog.  When we got Ollie, I was looking for a job, which meant I was home all day searching the internet and mailing out resumes.  We got Ollie when he was 9 or 10 weeks old, and yet he still seemed to imprint on me.  I thought that only much younger animals imprint, but Ollie, almost immediately, thought I was his mother.  He followed me EVERYWHERE.  He was not happy unless he was touching me.  He was so bad that for the first few weeks we had him, he would jump into the SHOWER with me and sit in the back of the tub so he could see me.  And then for a few weeks after that he’d sit on the bath mat outside the shower and whine/howl.  We had planned for him to sleep in a crate in our room and after a full week of trying to get him to sleep in a crate, we finally gave up.  If you’re familiar with Dachshunds, you know that most of them are very strong-willed, tenacious little animals, and Oliver definitely fits that description.  He barked ALL. NIGHT. LONG every single night.  He would scratch at the cage door, and try to chew his way out of it.  We’d go in there 2 hours after we’d tried to go to bed, and he’d be breathing super fast and be covered in his own slobber.  None of us slept and we finally gave up and brought him to bed with us, and what do you know, he slept for like 10 hours straight regularly.  I’m fairly certain his breeder had him sleeping with her, so that’s what he was accustom to.
At first, I really didn’t like Ollie all that much.  He was needy and clingy and I just wasn’t used to that from an animal at all.  But he eventually grew on me after a couple weeks and he very much was our first kid.  I’m fairly certain that he doesn’t realize he’s a dog half the time.  I sleep with him wrapped in my arms like my little stuffed animal, and he’s very snuggly.  He definitely keeps me company when Mark is away.
We got Sadie, our wire-haired Dachshund,  from a farmer who was selling puppies on the side of the road.  She’s our little fireball.  Full of spunk and energy, but afraid of her own shadow half the time.  She’ll preemptively yelp if she thinks anything bad is going to happen, even if nothing even touches her.  My parents big cat looks at her the wrong way and she makes so much noise you’d think someone cut off her leg.
Sadie is great with Abbie.  She’s very patient with her and lets Abbie pretty much maul her.  And Abbie loves Sadie too.  Ollie is terrible with Abbie.  He mostly views her as competition and he growls at her any time she gets near him.  And he’s bitten her a few times.  Not good.
My parents have an 11 year old Golden Retriever, Maddy, who’s never really been around little kids, and she is EXCELLENT with Abbie.  Abbie gets in her face and gives her “hugs”, and crawls all over Maddy when she’s laying on the floor, and Maddy doesn’t mind in the least.  I’ve been wishing we had bigger dogs for a while now, but seeing the way Maddy is with Abbie has just confirmed the fact that our next dog will be a large breed.
I love my little weina dogs and they are like kids to me, but I don’t think I’ll ever have little dogs again. 
Sidenote: The weinas are lots of fun to photograph, particularly when they’re running.  Ollie is fairly lazy and prefers to stay in one place for long periods of time.  Sadie, however, is either standing still or she’s running flat out.  I’m still trying to get good pictures of her in motion since she’s MUCH faster.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pony pictures

In May I had the pleasure of visiting a friend of mine at the barn she works at and keeps her horses at.  She is going to be selling a horse she’s been training for a while, and she asked me to take a few pictures of Song to put on her ads.  I suppose I took a tad more than a “few”, since it was closer to a couple hundred.  But I had lots of fun shooting Ruth and Song and it was great to be in the barn setting again.  If I wasn’t pregnant I would love to ride again, but that’s not the smartest move when you’re pregnant so I won’t.
Here are a few of my favorites from that shoot.  (And Rachel, you’re next so pick a date!!)
Thanks for letting me shoot you, Ruth!!