Friday, May 31, 2013

Post 500

I was getting ready to do a mundane post about some Irises I cut from our front yard when I realized that this will be the 500th post on here.  Holy crap...that's alot of updates and stories, most of which no one cares about!  Oh well, I have had fun so who cares.  It will be fun to have documentation of our life at this time.  So many highlights...moving into the house, adopting Allan, family weddings, trips, weekend adventures, sewing projects, and then the big event...the baby!  I will try to put together a highlights post but that will be time consuming and my weekday Ben napping hours are limited.

So, on to what I was going to write about...a few years ago we placed Iris bulbs in the flower bed in front of the house.  They looked very neat and dignified but they are about a year past due to be divided.  I didn't even know you had to divide them until I read an article about irises in my mom's Better Homes and Gardens magazine this spring.  They have all the signs...thinning and dying in the middle of the plant and general huge-ness.  They were alternated with tulip plants and those tulips have been completely overpowered. 

They sure are pretty though!  There are hundreds of blooms out there.  I thought it couldn't hurt to cut a few for a vase.  I love those white fluffy things and the petals.  They have a very intricate bloom.  I wish I could make these last!

That turquoise vase was my gift for being host couple for my brother's wedding.  I love the combination of turquoise and purple.  I tried to pull off that same combination for my own wedding but forces worked against me from many sides and it ended up being a subtle theme. 

We went to check out our garden plot last night.  It looked like a 10x10 foot patch of dirt surrounded by other 10x10 foot patches of dirt.  In a month those gardens will be jungles but for now they are just getting started. 

I don't know how we are going to take care of the garden with this wild man in tow.  Last summer he could be confined to removable car seat and was often sleeping while I watered and weeded and ate my fill of cherry tomatoes. 

I know everyone jokes about leashes for kids but are they REALLY so bad?  I don't want him to run onto the street or something!  I just don't's going to be a challenge for sure.  At least he will be enjoying his beloved outdoors!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flower Towers

The flower towers are planted.  The idea came from a Lowe's commercial and corresponding tutorial video which can be found online.  So far, they don't look as nice as the ones in the videos although I know patience is necessary for this sort of thing.  I am just waiting for those petunia plants to get established and take off.  All of the new plants really need some heat more than anything else (as in temperatures in the 80s and 90s) but that isn't happening this week.  Also, it has rained so much that I moved them to shelter last night because they are so saturated I am afraid they will drown or get root rot.  Also, petunias need so pruning to make them fill out and not be long skinny vines with flowers at the ends.  I hate to start cutting them if they aren't fully established. 

It rained all night last night and I was horrified to see this when I went outside this morning...

The rain completely washed out the top layers of soil and those poor plants are just hanging there all limp and sad looking...I hope this project can be salvaged...
If you need a laugh after seeing those depressing plants check this out...this is how I found Ben after he passed out for his nap yesterday. 

We put the bumper back on a few months ago now that he is a toddler.  We thought it would help to avoid situations like this.  It is only a matter of time before it because a "jump out of the crib" aid.  That is one milestone I am not looking forward to!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy 30th Justin!

His birthday was actually on the 26th but who has time for the Internet during a long weekend?  Well, I guess I had plenty of time to scroll through Facebook on my phone but that's about it...

By the time we woke up on Sunday morning the transition had been made since he was born in the middle of the night.  Here is a pretty early baby photo of him which looks mediocre because I just took a picture of the frame with my phone and I couldn't get it to take without a glare or reflection. 

Look at the little baby...
Here is a under 21 college favorite from my scan collection...almost ten years ago! 
Ben gave Dada a Twin's t-shirt.  He picked it out all by himself.  He is so thoughful!  He also got a NDSU Fargodome panorama framed poster. 
It was an uneventful day.  We returned home to find our lawn, which hadn't been mowed yet this year because Justin wasn't home last week and I, although perfectly capable of mowing a lawn, can't really get it done with Ben in the house, so unruly that our yard must have been the visual blight of the block.  I am going to post this picture even though I look "not pregnant just fat" bad so you can see how long it was. 

It was up to my shins in the back yard. It took all day to get it under control. Oh well, someone (cough Justin) dumped twenty pounds of fertilizer on it a few weeks ago so it's not really a surprise that it is growing out of control.  It sure looks green! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Sun Came Out...

After a few days of almost continuous rain the sun was finally shining so I went outside as soon as I could (as soon as Ben fell asleep for a nap) and did this...

And that's not even all of them!  I placed a few before I took the picture!

I couldn't watch those poor plants sitting in their trays from the greenhouse any longer.  The petunias are still waiting because I need Justin's help to make the flower towers but otherwise I went crazy.  Last fall Justin's mom gave me a garbage bag full of planters of various shapes and sizes.  I had to restrain myself and make sure that just because I HAVE approximately twenty-five planters does not mean I have to fill them all at this moment.  As much as I would love our deck and front steps to be just covered with plants I have to leave some space out of consideration for the mail carrier (the box is attached to the house and they deliver on foot).
I also have to restrain myself from squeezing too many plants in each pot.  It is hard when they look so spindly and sparse during the first weeks.  Every year, though, I find several plants that have withered because they have been overgrown by the others. 

Hey, anyone want to play a game?  This is a challenge every spring.  It is called, "Is That a Weed or a Perennial?" 

In another week the question should be answered.  I identified a lily plant for sure and that large one that is filling out is not a weed although I don't remember what it is exactly. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Weekend Assortment

We had a busy weekend with each day bringing something completely different.  It was crazy!  It started on Wednesday.  Justin had been dying to get back to Eastern ND to help my dad on the farm.  He was stalking the weather all week hoping it wouldn't rain the whole time.  We were going to leave on Thursday morning but left on Wednesday afternoon instead.  Other plans for the weekend included watching the Fargo Marathon, a bachelorette party (just for me, of course!) and my cousin's high school graduation.  It between those things was going to be a lot of farming.  So, I don't even know how tie all this stuff together since it is all over the place so I will just start telling. 

I reported to the finish line of the half marathon to watch my parents and sister finish the half marathon.  I had my camera ready to go and equipped with the zoom lens.  However, just when they were due to arrive Ben decided to get really antsy in the stands so I was wrestling with him while trying to take pictures.  Apparently my sister finished first but I somehow missed it even though I thought was paying close attention.  I caught some decent pictures of my dad but my hands were too full to zoom. 
He's in the blue.  I knew my mom was wearing a pink shirt and ended up zooming in on another woman wearing a pink shirt who finished at the same time as her so the pictures I got are of two pink blurs and some pretty decent shots of that other woman.  Haha sorry mother!  I don't think she minds not having a photo of herself after running thirteen miles.  Also, I'm sure they would have preferred not to have their grandson tumble down the concrete stairs of the stadium to having a fabulous finish line shot!

Oh, what else...we have big plans for our planters this year (flower towers!) and filled up these plastic tubs with Red River Valley field dirt.  Anything will grow in this stuff so these planters better yield some fabulous blooms this summer! 

First I guess I will have to break up those clumps...
I stayed in Fargo after the marathon to attend a shower and bachelorette party for a college friend.  Even though I couldn't drink, I had a great time.  After all these years I still have fun with these people regardless of what we are doing.  I hope it never changes.  Also, I got to sleep until 9:30 a.m. the next morning which is a very rare and invigorating occurence. 
The graduation party was in a small town about eighty miles southwest of Fargo.  On the way there, I passed through the tiny town of Nome, ND, where a sight to the left of the highway caught my was a large abandoned building set back in the trees!  I turned off to get a closer look. 

You can see the overgrown road leading up to it.  I thought it must be an old school and after looking it up I was correct.  It really looked impressive but also sad.  Sights like these are really fascinating to me but make me kind of depressed too.  A big school like this was a sign up hope for a town and now there is hardly anything left.  Apparently, Nome was a railroad town that lost the railroad.  It is referred to on a few websites like Ghosts of North Dakota (a very interesting site to read if you like history) and the comments are filled with people who attended or worked there.  There was a postcard from 1919 where a former teacher told her classmate about her new job teaching first grade and how happy she was there and she put an X over the window where her room was.  This all just makes me feel bad for the abandoned building and the people who had good times there.  I saw some recent interior pictures and it is not good...lots of collapsing floors and water damage.  The strange thing is that it has been left alone and the windows have not been broken and there doesn't seem to be vandalism like there is in many abandoned places. 
There it is when it was new.  I hope I can get another look at this place before it deteriorates completely or gets demolished. 

So, after that little stop, on I went to graduation. 

Kendra is my youngest cousin on my dad's side and has attended every party that I have ever had in my life.  Confirmation, multiple graduations, bridal showers, my wedding, and baby showers.  Now she gets her turn finally!  I am twelve years older than her. 

Every time we visit this house we have to play on the tire swing.  It used to be ours.  My dad made it for us and it has the longest chain I have ever seen on a tire swing.  We used to twist it up so high we needed a stool to climb on and then let it unspin until we were so dizzy we stumbled around like drunks.  This never got old.  We had years of fun with it until the aging and rotton box elder trees in the yard betrayed us and every good branch was lost to high winds.  We passed in on to our younger cousins.  My uncle said we should take it back for the grandchildren.  I don't think the grandchild is quite ready for it yet but someday I am sure he would love the "make yourself dizzy on purpose" game! 
Speaking of rotton old box elder trees...
Between farming and running and graduation my dad spent his extra minutes laying waste to the woods behind the house.  It is quite a sight to see a familiar landscape so altered.  I could hear the trees screaming!  Haha...I hate to see healthy trees removed but like I said before, most of these were not healthy.  Every time the wind blows you can hear branches crashing back there...or I guess I should say you could hear branches.... past tense... 
I have to mention, although it doesn't seem quite right after this light hearted post, that Justin flew to Oklahoma City this morning for work.  This trip was planned long before the tornado yesterday and he is actually working about 100 miles away but he texted me that he saw some of the damage from the air.  I am interested to hear what he says about his time there.  As everyone has been saying, it makes the weather woes that we complain about (snow in April, days of rain, etc.) seem embarassingly minor.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baby #2

Yes, indeed, it is hard to believe we are having another baby.  Having one baby is a huge transition but having more babies seals the deal...when this happens you really are an adult.  No one hesitates to call a woman 'ma'am" who has a multiple kids accompanying her.  And I think I am past the point of rescue in the shopping from American Eagle and Hollister and many other "young" stores will never look right again.  This is probably a good thing to just move on from since I am thirty now!  It also means YEARS of not being able to drive people anywhere because my back seat will be full of various car and booster seats and also MOUNTAINS of diapers for the forseeable future.  But that's OK...many families do it so we can manage as well.  It is not even an issue when you think about the result of the family you want. 

So, here are the answers to the usual questions and comments...

1.  "Do you know what you are having??  No, not yet.  It is too early.  I won't get an ultrasound until around 20 weeks. 

2.  "Are you finding out?"  We don't know yet. 

3.  "Do you want a boy or a girl?"  I speak for myself here.  I don't know what Justin wants.  I would guess that deep down he wants a boy like I think many men do but he would be happy with either.  Same for me.  Of course I want a daughter but it would be fun for Ben to have a brother so close in age.  Refer to this so adorable Christmas commercial that was on TV this year!

AWww...I want another boy....

But then I go on Pinterest and see stuff like this...

Awwww...maybe I want a girl..awww maybe I don't know! 

  They will be twenty months apart just like my sister and I.  Either way,  they will overlap and be in elementary, middle and high school at the same time, probably end up sharing friends when they are older and be on the same sports teams and in the same activities.  I think this is good. 

4.  "Do you have names picked out?"  No.  When Ben was born we weren't 100% committed to a name when we went to the hospital for his birth so don't expect any early announcements in this area. 

Well, I best be going...Ben just finished eating nothing for lunch.  Well, I shouldn't say nothing...he ate a handful of dry cereal just like he ate for breakfast and about three slices of banana.  He threw a fit in his high chair and now he is eating the cereal that he threw off the floor.  LIGHTBULB!  Maybe I should just clean a little patch of floor for every meal and just let him eat everything that way!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day #2

Yesterday, as all American's know, was Mother's Day.  It was my second Mother's Day, which is hard to believe.  It feels like I was just a little elementary school girl in Sunday school, singing in church on Mother's Day and then filing through the pews to give my mom a carnation.  Or, if like my family, you had more than one kid, one sibling gave your mom a carnation and then whoever was left was instructed to give it to a grandmother, female relative or other woman in the congregation who didn't have their family with them in church.  Now that I think back, as the oldest of three, I think I was usually the one who branched out and found an older woman to pass of my flower to.  It was probably usually one of my grandma's church pew friends.

Throughout my teenage and college years, and continuing today, I never knew and still don't really know what I am supposed to be doing with my life.  When my classmates said with certainty "nursing" or "elementary education" or "accounting", I could never commit to a major area of study as a senior high school and hoped that at a large state university with hundreds of major and minor and emphasis combinations that I would find the magic fit.  Then I made the mistake many indecisive liberal arts type people make and tried law school mostly because it was something people actually took seriously and respected as opposed to some vague liberal arts degree.  When asked in high school guidance couselor class sessions the answer to "where do you see yourself in ten years" was always vague and included making enough money to have an enjoyable life, having a job that I liked even though I didn't know what that was, and without fail, the vision included kids of my own.  I never wanted to only be a mom but that was always part of my future.  It was the only thing I couldn't imagine not being in my future.  So, I guess I have achieved the one thing I always knew I wanted and now I get to celebrate Mother's day,   even though I find it to be a rather manufactured day of card and gift marketing.  I can't imagine how much money Americans spend on cards in the week before Mother's day. 

And in the spirit of Mother's Day,  we have an announcement to make!  If you are reading this than you most likely already know, but here it is anyway...

Ben is going to be a brother in November of 2013! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rummage Sale Opening Weekend

I know there have been rummage sales already this spring but this weekend is my first weekend where I am available to participate in the fun so for me it is the kick off weekend.  YEAAHHH!!!  Ben and I were out first thing Friday morning.  I saw a rummage sale in a development in Northern Bismarck that had some interesting items on the list.  The item I was specifically interested in was a dissapointment but I didn find this...

This Little Tykes car was calling our name!  I forgot the stroller so I placed him in there and pulled him around while I checked out the other merchandise.  He loves it.  I have pushed him around the block in it several times and he holds onto the wheel like he is driving.  The floor is removeable so he can move it with his feet when he gets bigger. 
This morning we went to a neighborhood sale.  There were seventeen (or something like that) sales in one development.  Justin's co-worker lives there.  When it comes to rummage sales, as many of you know, you have to be there early to get anything good and everything good I have ever found has been when I was there right away when the sale started.  Well, unless you count the weird and obsolete items that only certain people would like such as old decorations and wall hangings.  If you are there an hour or two after it opens it is barely worth looking at the kids clothes.  I have seen people buy every decent garment on a table in a certain size and leave nothing but the mediocre pieces. 
Here is an example of a weird item that probably would not interest most people that I bought today...
It is a vintage tomato pin cushion.   I love these things!  Sewing related merchandise always catches my eye.  I also love unique globes, old piano sheet music, and the elusive piece of Fiestaware.  No one sells Fiestaware at a garage sale!
This afternoon Justin cleaned the garage.  My aunt gave Ben this swing awhiel ago so we hung it in the garage and he sat in there, very content, for almost an hour while we worked on projects. 
Looks fun to me! 
We bought a few plants but haven't planted any yet.  Of course, today it is cold and barely out of the fifties.  Tomorrow will be more summery again so hopefully we will fill in the missing plants.  The greenhouses we visited do not seem to have their full inventory  due to the delay in the planting season.  I want some moss roses and cannot find them anywhere!  Also, we are going to steal some soil from the farm next weekend.  It would cost a fortune to fill these pots with dirt.  The soil from last year was a few years old and needed to be dumped out. 
We are going to need alot of soil because we are going to make one of these...
A flower tower!  We bought the wire fence and the landscaping tarp today.  This one looks freshly planted.  An extablished one should look like this...
We shall see how it works! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Who Needs Toys?

This week the weather has finally taken a turn for the average so I have been getting Ben outdoors on a regular basis.  As of now, "regular basis" means today and yesterday but so far it has been great.  He loves to be out there.  I knew he would.  Last summer, when he was an infant, a walk around the yard or the deck was a certain way to distract from fussiness.  It still works!  It sure is nice to spend time outside.  Since we don't really have an established outside routine yet, I have just been grabbing an assortment of acceptable toys when we go out.  Usually I take a ball and a truck.  Well, not surprisingly, he could care less about the toys.  Today he discovered the was sooooo neat...the river stones for the landscaping! 

I had my camera outside and planned to take some pictures in the evening sun since today he is fourteen months old.  Too bad he would not look up at me for one half a second because he was so obsessed with these rocks. 

Yes, buddy, I've seen those before...

He carried them around and made little piles. 

I thought that weathered fence would make a nice backdrop.  Too bad he wouldn't stay anywhere near it because he preferred to crawl around on a bed of rocks. 

Oh crap...those teeth are only a few month old!


He's also been wearing his warm weather pajamas. 

At fourteen months, he is getting better about eating.  I have discovered that maybe I was not giving him enough credit where food is concerned.  By that, I mean I have been giving him things that are too bland and cut too small.  Last night, I was eating an apple.  Normally, I slice it and then take one slice and cut it into bite sized pieces for him.  Before I could stop him, he grabbed a whole slice and started knawing on it like it was corn on the cob.  Sure enough, it was fine and he ate most of it including the skin.  I only had to take it away when it got so thin that big choking hazard sized pieces were coming off.  Tonight, I made some baked enchiladas for dinner and set aside some plain shredded chicken before I mixed the rest with salsa and seasoning.  He turned away from the plain chicken.  On a whim, I gave him some of the spicy chicken and he started chowing down.  Imagine that...the kid likes food with flavor!  I don't know why this surprised me.  Who would like bland and unseasoned chicken?  His favorites are bananas, toast, and dry cereal.  After a visit with his Nana he discovered Cinnamon Toast Crunch and also he loves peanut butter Cheerios.  But his FAVORITE is probably still milk...from a bottle...with me or Justin holding the a baby...
I wish I could say he talks more than he does.  What he does do is constantly make this weird whispering/hissing noise.  It sounds like "ptssssss" or something.  It makes me laugh just to think about how odd it is!  His next favorite thing to say is "dat!" while pointing at something.  I think he is asking "what's that?"  Usually, there is so much crap laying around that I have to guess about what it is that he is pointing at. 

He is getting good at walking.  He can stand himself up from the floor without having something like the furniture to pull up on.  I love his staggering run/walk! 

Here is a picture from early May of last year when he was two months old and just beginning to be interesting in staring at dangling objects!  Haha...and I could leave him laying on the floor and would know he wouldn't move more that a few inches!

Monday, May 6, 2013



My brother got married this weekend in Mayville, N.D.  It was a cold, gray, day without even a hint of green grass or new leaves that felt like March which probably wasn't what they had in mind when choosing May 4th for their wedding but that's what you can expect in N.D. I guess!  It is hard to believe that now my sister, brother and myself are all married and the "wedding" years are in the past for our family. 

It was a fun but hectic weekend with my parents old six bedroom house transitioning into a full on hotel (for people and dogs) starting on Thursday night.  The washing machine was running all weekend with loads of sheets and towels.  The driveway looked like a parking lot.  Well, more like a parking lot than usual anyway.  The rehearsal was on Friday night at a new restaurant and catering business that our neighbor Christine opened at their family's old camp on a small lake.  She recently retired after being a cook at our school for years and her talents go far beyond that questionable government issued cuisine.  They also serve special homemade wine! 

My sister took this picture of Ben at the rehearsal.  That aisle was to enticing for him to handle!  What an expanse to practice walking!

It was fun to get together with the cousins at the restaurant. 

Benjamin and Uncle "Dete".

Ben couldn't wait to get into his wedding ensemble!  I love a baby in black dress socks!
These next two photos are from the photographer's preview on Facebook.  I can't wait to see the rest.  We watched the set up and it is fun to see how the vision of the photographer comes through in the finished product. 

This one was not from the was taken on my phone.  First walk as married people!  I love the look of that pipe organ. 



Ben with his new tie!

Me and the baby!  He had a fun day because everyone who held him (well the women anyway) was wearing fun costume jewelry for him to yank on. 

My mom and her sisters. 

A nice three generation photo. 

This is my cousin Laura's daughter.  They have met before but we never got around to taking their picture together.  These pictures are really funny and a fine example of how a group photo of children of a diaper wearing age usually can turn to chaos in a matter of seconds!

Ben, Ben, settle down...

First dance.  I have no idea what that boy is doing.  The YMCA maybe?

Doing the dollar dance with my brother (shudder)...

Melanie doing the dollar dance.  Her line was so much longer than Pete's that a groomsman gave me a dollar to get back in his line to even it out!  Haha. 

Here are the newlyweds with their best and most treasured gift...a spoon rest shaped like a cat from their favorite feline nephew Allan. 
It was a fun night.  The bartender told my dad it was the most excessive wedding bar he has ever had and asked if he could keep the reciept as proof.  Now that is an accomplishment for a small town wedding!
Congratulations Peder and Melanie!