Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Big Boy Clothes

My brother is getting married this weekend (four days from now) and, not surprisingly, I am still trying to get our wardrobes together for the weekend.  I know what I'm wearing for the wedding down to the jewelry but not for the rehearsal dinner.  See...the actual rehearsal is at church but then the dinner is at an old lakeside Farmer's Union Camp converted to a restaurant...and it is going to be May but it looks like the weekend is going to be cold...ughhh just be warm!  I don't want to wear a blasted coat anywhere!  Then there is Ben's clothes...there aren't alot of cute wedding clothes for babies his age unless, of course, you want to spend quite a bit for a one time use outfit.  I ended up buying dress shoes at Payless (yes, I entered Payless...I make exceptions for kids dress shoes) and they are so cute.  He is wearing a white shirt, black pants, and this...

Hehe I am so proud of this thing!  I just made it this afternoon!  Of course, I found the pattern on Pinterest.  And for once, it looked like it would be really quick to sew and it really was.  It took about 1/2 hour to make.  I just need to add quickly stitch some elastic on which I hope my mom has in her stash because I don't want to go buy a few inches of elastic! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

My New "Hummel"

A few years ago when my cousin Kara turned 30 my mom and sister and I went to her birthday party and came up with the idea of giving her a gag gift in addition to a normal gift.  We used to get a Hummel Figurine from our grandmother every five years from ages 0-25 which means my cousins and siblings and I, boys included, all have five of these Hummels.  If you didn't know, they are collectible figurines depicting children doing wholesome things that originated in Germany.  They were based on the drawings of a nun named Maria Innocentia Hummel and became popular in the U.S. after solidiers in WWII started bringing them home as gifts for family members (Wikipedia). 

A more thorough background of Hummels in our family can be found in the original post:  http://www.marenask.blogspot.com/2010/10/birthday-party.html

In summary, we found a really bad and cheap figurine at a dollar stare and forged a M.I. Hummel signature on it and gave it to Kara to give everyone a laugh.  She had hinted that I would be getting my "30 year old" Hummel and yesterday it came! 

Oh my, how eleagant is this?  It almost matches the hand painted detail and artistry of the originals.  There is NO WAY this came from a dollar store! 

Although this is not news to anyone because it is all I have seen on Facebook and in the local news and all I have heard anyone talk about, it got nice out finally.  I can't wait for upcoming days of playing outside now that Ben can walk. 

Al doesn't know what he is missing!

I caught him mid knee buckle...it looks like he is levitating!
Oh, and here is a patch of snow left from our five foot high pile from clearing the driveway...

Everyone join me in saying DIE!!!!!!  DIE!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Draft 2013

The NFL draft started last night!  It crept up on me this year and all of a sudden it is here!  Time for a new group of NFL Players that I have been, until now, mostly unfamiliar with because I don't really follow college football except the Bison of course and it would be a rare occasion to find a Bison player in the early rounds of the NFL Draft.  Also it is time for me to scrutinize these players for completely superficial reasons such as their appearance, neck circumference and uniqueness of their names! 

First of all, the MN Vikings, which I would consider a favorite team since they are the most popular based in this area, got three first round picks because of various trades of picks so that was exciting.  One was Cordarrelle Patterson, who I would probably vote for in the best hair category.  He had his braids arranged into some sort of elaborate updo so his hat barely fit on his head.  Also, I love how he and most of the other players were practically busting out of their suit jackets. 

I saw several bow ties.  Are they in style again? 

Xavier Rhodes was another Vikings pick.  He seems like a class act.  I can't help but compare him to Urkel...you know, Steve Urkel, a hugely popular TV character from the 1990s show "Family Matters?"  Except, of course, much much more of  a stud and not even close to as annoying and with much better clothes.  And he probably outweighs Urkel by about 120 pounds.  And he's in the NFL now!

The best name of the night was certainly Barkevious Mingo.  Yeah...that's one you probably won't find in the baby name book! 

Also a stud...

For the cutest player, I initially thought I liked Luke Joeckel, the second round pick. 
I wasn't really sold though...it is hard to top the exhuberant grin of Robert Griffin, III from last year's draft.  By the way, I looked at his Wikipedia and he is engaged to this girl who is his college sweetheart...
I expected a model type person but she is actually quite average (in a good way).  She looks like a girl someone would meet in college!  How sweet is this?  After hearing interviews with RGIII during the season I realized that he is not only a good player but also has a brain.  He is definitely a role model for all the young kids out there! 
Back to the draft...I was going to establish Luke Joeckel as my vote for cutest until...until...I found out that Chris Long's brother was in the draft!  Yiiiikes!  I was a giggly mess after that.  Oh, his name is Kyle Long...and he doesn't have the cleanest past.  He got a DUI and had some academic problems at his first college in Florida where he was going to be a star athlete and had to take some time off and then play at a community college before ending up playing for the Oregon Ducks.  Good job on overcoming the substance abuse issues rebuilding the career, Kyle. 
Check this out...it is a high school photo of Kyle Long.  He and Chris (and they have another brother!) played for St. Anne's-Belfield and this is what their uniforms looked like...
STAB...hehehe.  How intimidating are those initials?
Of course, the best part of the night was watching the excitement and teary mom thanking and especially the thrill when a player was picked higher than they expected.  Rounds two and three are tonight but we won't be home.  We will be heading to the NDSU spring game tomorrow to get a light tailgating fix to hold us until fall.  I can't wait.   The sun is finally shining and the weather feels like spring.  I forgot how exhilarating the 70s can feel after missing those temperatures for months. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ben's One Year Old Pictures

A few weeks ago I brough Ben to JC Penney to have his pictures taken.  It was a mediocre experience but I guess that is my fault for being so cheap.  I won't go into all the reasons it was not great (such as how I just got my CD today even though the shoot was two weeks ago when everyone knows you can make a cd instantly. I used to practically mass produce cds in my dorm room and even crappy Sears gave me a CD the same day!) but there are few nice pictures from the experience.   
I brought two shirts and the ones with the green striped shirt turned out good and the ones with the blue striped shirt turned out bad. 

Now we go downhill...

He was pretty unruly through the whole experience.  I went to a studio since I thought an assistant would be necessary for controlling him but the only assistant was me. 
These are some collages the photographer assembled.

I am kind of over the whole dappled background look. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Stacking blocks is a skill that, according to the lists and books, babies and toddlers start to figure out around the age of one year.  There has been an big increase in block playing this past week by Ben and by Justin and I because, as everyone knows, blocks are fun!  He also likes to put them in various receptacles such as plastic cups and this shopping bag and a baby shoe box from payless that we have laying around.  Who needs toys?

By the way, thank you to whoever left that Turf mug in my car during NDSU homecoming last year! 

The kitten gets to join the fun too!  He loves to play with blocks!

He says, "Thank you, little human, for stacking blocks by my butt..."

Here is a funny photo from a trip to Target this morning.  There is a culture of "Sanctimommies" out there that have made themselves experts on safety when it comes to any form of transportation for children.  I just recently read a blog via Pinterest where a woman wrote a lenthy post about how setting the infant car seat in the front part of a cart is egregiously irresponsible and dangerous because your cart could tip over in the store.  She had no examples of this happening.  I have, in my thirty years of frequenting stores with carts, never seen a cart tip over in a store besides lone carts left in the parking lot during a bad wind storm.  I admit that when Ben still used it I put the seat there and the only reason I even had the idea is because I saw many other people doing it.  If everyone followed these high strung people and thier philosophies we would not be able to go out in public with babies.  And the answer to "how am I supposed to get anything done or go out in public?" is always to "babywear".  Well guess, what?  Some babies, such as mine, don't like being worn and hanging with a strap in their crotch or being wrapped in a sling.  I tried.  Also, I spent three years in law school walking around with a twenty pound backpack strapped to my body and that was enough.  Well anyway, I didn't mean for that to be some rant but please don't let any of those types of mothers see this picture!

Even I don't think this is safe but at least that seat belt offers some reassurance.  I made this trip a fast one.  I feel much more comfortable shopping with him in his stroller.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shared Moments

After the crazy bombing events last week and the manhunt that followed I started thinking about how much I love moments of solidarity when everyone is following the same story.  When I was at the Y on Friday morning every TV screen on every bike and treadmill was tuned in to the coverage in Boston.  No ESPN or "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns or talk shows in sight.  We can all think of the moments our generation will remember.  Mine include many shared American experiences such as the outlandish and rather amusing OJ Simpson flight in the white bronco (I was at my friend Haley's house to watch that footage) the unreal horror of 9/11 and the inevitable arrival of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast which happened during my first weeks of college and my first weeks of law school.  I will always associate those events with those crazy and exciting times in my life.  Experiencing those events really brought the groups of new classmates I was part of together at a time when life long connections were starting to form.  And of course there was Election night 2000 when I stayed up until 2 a.m. on a school night waiting for the results that would take months to be final. 

It used to be required to turn on the TV to find out when there was a crisis or, in the case of OJ Simpson, an interesting celebrity news story.  Now news spreads fast and everyone knows the headlines before that intense music and red "Special Report" screen interrupt a TV show.  For example, when I woke up on Friday morning my phone had multiple CNN updates from the night giving up to the moment details of the shooting of the officer and the manhunt for that mysterious teenager turned terrorist.  Although my generation is criticized for being obsessed with our phones and addicted to the Internet I don't think I would like to go back to the past in this context.  I love news!  Good or bad or unbelievable as the big story might be, I like knowing all the details.  I think my love of news came from spending most of my childhood without cable TV which meant that we watched whatever was on the major networks which was often news or Dateline and its similar programs. 

Speaking of news and on a much lighter note, this video of a news anchor's first time on camera has 150,000 views on YouTube and the channel is a Bismarck channel! 


I wish I had seen this live! If you don't have the patience to watch it the details are that he didn't know when the camera would start filming and he says something homophobic and then mumbles "F-ing $h__" on live TV. I feel like a twelve year old giggling over this. I have made mistakes on the job too but wow this would be tough to overcome. And according to the newspaper he was fired today.  I can't help but feel bad for him even though it was seriously a "DUH" moment.  It makes me wonder what they talk about around that station on a regular basis! 

One last thing...over the weekend I went to my brother's fiance's bachelorette party.  Although it was nothing too raunchy or out of control, bachelorette party details are something that doesn't need to be discussed in detail on the Internet.  It was alot of fun.  Well, once the awkward part that involves the visualizations of your brother in the context of being a husband were over...haha...OK enough said...


Yeaaaahhh Melanie's last night as a free woman!!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It Continues

Yes, the snow is still here and after a second pass with the plow blade now our front yard looks like this...

It is hard to get an idea of how tall this crusty mountain of snow is from the picture.  It is up to my neck and it so soooo beautiful.   That messy track you can see is where the dumpster goes for garbage day, which is today.  It was quite a fiasco trying to situate it so it wasn't in the middle of the street or blocking the driveway. 
I am trying to come up with something else interesting to say but I can't.  I really don't want to lose my creativity but recently I have just been feeling brain dead.  I don't have time to do any fun projects because Ben wrecks everything I do and he only naps for two hours a day which doesn't give me time to do much of anything beyond basic household functions and a mediocre blog post a few times a week.  I checked out a few library books for myself ("Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet" included!)  this morning after the baby story time and they have only been in the house a few hours and I have had to guard them from him with my life.  If he sees them he is on a mission to get to them and inevitably destroy them.  When I was looking back at old posts around Easter I couldn't believe how long and detailed they were and, if I can admit it, how entertaining they were!  I am surprised anyone is left reading this mess of baby pictures and complaints.  A goal of my life is not to lose my personality and creativity because I have a kid and it is easier said than done sometimes.  And then there is that blasted Pinterest taunting me with fun ideas!  Hopefully when we can finally play outside Ben's energy can be allocated somewhere else besides climbing all over the furniture and trying to wreck the one plant left in the house which happens to be an Agave cactus that also will be moved outside as soon as it is warm enough which will probably be in June at this rate.
I guess it is time to just look ahead to the following weeks...the Weather Channel app on my phone is forecasting a 68 degree day for April 27! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring $hit Storm

I finally made it home today after a prolonged stay in Eastern ND because of the winter/spring storm that hit the whole state and some surrounding states this weekend.  It had everything...temperatures right at freezing for the perfect formation of sleet and freezing rain, wind to blow snow across the slush covered roads and form ice patches and ALOT of snow. 
We knew it was happening on Sunday as we sat at my parents' house with the interstates closed and no travel advised for most of the state.  The snow accumulation map had a bullseye ever Bismarck with estimations of 12-16 inches of snow.  I saw people on Facebook showing snow piled against their patio doors and burying their recently uncovered grills and outdoor furniture. 
I had my car and Justin had a company vehicle that happens to be an SUV so he headed back on Monday to see what awaited back at home.  I had to wait because my car couldn't get out of my parents' driveway.  Imagine, if you will, a big, wet mut pit with pools of melted snow and deep ruts.  Then dump six inches of water dense snow on top of it and set the temperature at about 33 degrees.  That was my first hurdle.  Then imagine an unmarked gravel county road that gets plowed after the paved roads and the gravel roads important enough to have signs.  Make it soft and muddy and dump the same snow on it and add some two foot drifts and that was my second hurdle.  After an afternoon of melting on Monday I was able to get out this morning when the mud was still firm from freezing over night.  My car looks like someone threw clods of mud all over it but I don't care enough to go to a car wash.   With the weeks of melting ahead I think that would just be a waste.
Being stranded is so annoying.  If I had to be trapped anywhere I guess "home" is not a bad place.  It would have been very relaxing except the house isn't exactly baby proofed and Ben is into everything!  I think I trailed him as he climbed up and down the stairs five hundred times.  I tried to do some favorite snow day activities including reading and doing a puzzle but he makes it impossible to let your guard down for even a few minutes.  At least we weren't missing anything important.  The worst part was the knowledge that it is April and most of the country has green grass and blooming trees right now.  It will melt...it will melt...it will melt...I love wearing boots...I love wearing boots...I love wearing boots...
So, here you go...the pile from our driveway.
UGHHHH...those poor bulbs are under there somewhere.  If you could have heard my inner monologue as I was driving around town today you would have heard nothing but a string of expletives.  It is a mess.  I have rarely seen a more half-a$$ed plowing job.  It was an official snow emergency so I know they just did the minimum to make the streets passable but it is bad.  You can't see over the snow banks to make a turn and, speaking of turns, the turning lanes are still buried.  Cars left on the streets are buried up to the roofs. 

Oh well.  As a friend pointed out on Facebook yesterday, we must keep our perspective and not worry about things that aren't really that bad. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Ode to Bulbs

Last year, on March 10th, we brought Ben home from the hospital.  It was 70 degrees and when we were taking pictures with him in front of the house we noticed that the bulbs in the flower bed were sprouting through the dirt.  This year on March 10th those bulbs were not even thinking about popping through the dirt.  Tomorrow will be April 10th and they are coming up finally.  This morning they looked like this.  By the afternoon the snow had melted but I feel so bad for them, trying to grow in the cold. 
I have to admire you, bulbs of zones 3 and 4.  You always wake up when the strength of the sun signals you to sprout even though conditions might not be ideal.  And yet, you perservere through it all to bring those early flowers to us!  Snow and frost doesn't stop you! 

This is a picture of our Irises last spring.  They were robust and full of blooms.  We should have divided them last fall but it never happened so this year they will be out of control. 
Ugh, I am just desperate for some living vegetation.  I saw a Burpee seed catalogue at my parents' house awhile back and I was just drooling over that thing.  Did you know that there are purple tomatoes?  I need some of those!  I admit, I am jealous of some of the more temperate zones.  Justin and I were just discussing how fun it would be to have an orange tree.  That is not going to happen around here! 
Even the most simple landscaping needs some bulbs.  We just have the purple irises and some standard yellow and red tulips and also some hostas.  There are so many interesting bulbs out there that I wish we had room to add.  Like these...
Drumstick Allium
Allium.  I am drawn to flowers and plants that have circles like Hydrangeas.  These would really stand out!
Ice Cream Tulips.  I have never seen such a thing!

Pink Irises would be a fun alternative to the traditional blue/purple tones.

Very interesting zebra looking tulips...

Ok, back to the dormant, brown reality...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ben's Second Haircut

This morning I caved and brought Ben to Cost Cutters to have his hair cut by a professional.  If you remember, we cut his cute baby curls at home about two months ago.  As it has grown out the uneven spots really show.  My brother's wedding is coming up and I also want to get his picture taken by a professional so I thought now would be a good time to get our mediocre work fixed. 
Wow, is that place ever a dead zone during the work day.  There were two stylists on duty and one had wet hair and was situating herself under the dryer.  It looked like she had fresh color in her hair.  I think they were dying each other's hair!  Sorry I interrupted ladies!  Oh well, Ben's cut only took about ten minutes. 
I thought most cheap, family oriented walk in salons had special novelty kids chairs that look like cars or planes or ponies with restraints for little wild ones.  I knew this would not be easy when the stylist put this board like booster over the arm rests of a regular chair.  There were no straps or anything.  Yikes.  First he straddled it and then I ended up holding him for the rest of the cut. 
Ooh, Ben, zebra looks good on you!  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Burned Out

Ahh, another weekend passed...and let me tell you it was one to remember.  The highlight was my figuring out that the bottom element in the oven had burned out while I was cooking something and we couldn't find the proper replacement in stores.  Justin ordered one online to be delivered Monday (it came this morning!) so that meant a weekend without frozen pizza...whaaaaat??

Yet, somehow we made it through...

Here are a few recent pictures that I thought were worth sharing.

Isn't he a cute kitten?

Mr. Static Hair.
Also, I just took note of the date and realized that yesterday I didn't even think of it but it would have been my Grandpa Harold's 89th birthday.  He died in March seven years ago.  It's crazy how fast the years have gone by but he is not forgotten. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The 30th

As some of you may know, yesterday was my 30th birthday.  As 2012 turned to 2013 and I knew the day was coming I was dreading it even though I know that is a cliche and age is just a number and all that.  It really is hard to leave the 20s behind.  It was a really fun time in my life and knowing it really is over has make me really nostalgic and sad.  I also feel like I could have accomplished more or done better at what I did accomplish.  So I wasn't even going to mention my birthday and just let the day pass by without fanfare and then get on with the next decade.

And then...Ben started walking!  On my birthday!  REALLY KID?  We have been thinking this day was inevitable for months.  He crawled between four and five months, started furniture cruising between six and seven months, so the logical time we thought he would walk would have been between ten and eleven months.  Well, it didn't happen and didn't happen.  This last month he has been getting around by walking on his knees!  Ugh!  So this is exciting.  It is very exciting for me because since he is out of the the removeable car seat I can't bring him anywhere (mainly public bathrooms) without him crawling around on the floor.  This will be a good step (hehe) for our daily lives. 

The rest of the day was fine.  It was no college era party with twenty people eating at Paradiso before a night of drinking or a glowing first time buying trip to the liquor store but it was OK.  Justin got me a new phone for me and Ben to constantly have power struggles over the possession of.  I win, Boy, I will always win...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Memories

After that April Foolishness I thought I should share some photos from Easter weekend.  It was a packed weekend and I, to my regret, took very few pictures.  On Saturday we had a shower for my future sister-in-law at my aunt's house and I can't believe I didn't' take any pictures.  It was a pretty big family gathering and I got my camera out to take pictures when Melanie opened a quilt from my grandpa but I had a bad angle and thought, "I will have her pose for a picture with it later!" and of course never did.  It brought me back to my Easter weekend bridal shower back in 2007.  Time flies. 
Here are the pictures I did take...
Ben being disinterested in his Easter basket from my mom.  The bag of candy was gummies for me!

Ben's cousin Adalyn.  It was their first official meeting.  Not surprisingly, he was oblivious.  The rest of us thoroughly enjoyed seeing her!

Here we are taking an after church photo.  It looks like Ben decided to smile for another camera!
I am always reminded of one of my favorite Easter mornings this time of year.  I was going to tell the story but I thought I had already told it and I searched my archives and here it is! 
I know you won't be surprised but it involves cats!