Monday, September 30, 2013

With a 2x4...

Earlier this summer my aunt was visiting my cousin in Northern MN and the were visiting antique stores.  They felt called to get me this little metal stool. 


 
It looks simple but is actually quite heavy and solid.  According to the store owner it came from an old doctor's office in Greenbush, MN.  It had been painted a 90's country blue.  I don't remember if we knew we had our new house at the time or not but it worked out because now we have a kitchen peninsula and can use stools and it complements the other industrial style stool I bought earlier this summer before we knew where we were moving.  Sometimes instincts prove to be true and if you really like something you should just go for it! 
 
I decided I wanted to paint it yellow and Justin took care of it this weekend. 
 
 
I like it!  I think a third mismatched stool would be a finishing touch since design usually requires an odd number of items to please the eye unless the display is symmetrical.  No hurry though. 
 
October starts tomorrow which means a frost is inevitable which means that  will have to find indoor homes for the unreasonable quantity of succulents that are living on our back deck.  They have really taken off since I planted them back in July. 
 
 
I love that frosted green pointy one.  I had no idea it would grow like that. 

 
That tall one on the left is quite interesting too, and it has flowers.   They make me think of plants growing in an exotic fish tank except they don't require any water at all! 

 
This one grew a little flower! 

 
Yeah...there are a lot of them...there is another large pot on the deck too.  Fortunately, I have read that they kind of go dormant in the winter so they don't need full sun which is good because we don't have wide window sills and no surface is safe for plants in this house due to a certain wild climbing 18 month old who was very close to climbing out of his crib when I went in to get him this morning.  Oh crap. 
 
 
Here is what they looked like when I planted them. 
 
Regarding inevitable Ben news, today when I was making lunch I turned on the TV (yes, I watch TV when he is around.  I know kids his age are supposed to have 0 hour of screen time every day but I am a human who enjoys news, background noise, and distraction in the form of a censored episode of Sex and the City on occasion).  It was still on PBS, which was playing Sesame Street when we left the house this morning.  I allow Sesame Street as one of the rare "kid" shows that is ever on because I think they are very very annoying and I like to watch the news in the morning.  He shows interest in it which allows me a few minutes at a time of reading the news on the ipad (I just want to know the news kid!  Is that so much to ask?!) and I trust the years of research that goes into making it and consider it quality programming.  And also, I watched it as a kid!  It's good!  I remember learning to count in Spanish from watching it. 

Well, what was on at the moment was the much maligned Barney and his annoying friends Baby Bop an BJ.  I didn't know this crap was still on!  It was a favorite target of vitriol for kids my age when we were in elementary school and was considered too babyish to even consider watching.  A certain skewering of the "I love you, you love me" theme song comes to mind...

"I hate you, you hate me, let's get together and kill Barney, with a 2x4, now he's on the floor, no more purple dinosaur!" 

Whichever 5th grader in 1995 invented that alteration, wherever he or she may be, had a twisted mind but probably ended up successful because they were pretty clever.

And of course, my kid stood enamored with what was in front of him.  It is new and updated and Barney has a new voice that is less doofy but I think kind of creepy.  And it's in razor sharp HD!  Yessss!

 
Oh damn, I can't let this show be seen again.  I don't want it to become a habit.   

Thursday, September 26, 2013

1 Month

Yesterday was the 26th, which means that it has been a month since we moved into our house!  That was fast!  We are mostly moved in except for the dreaded projects that are easy to avoid.  For example, I haven't unpacked my costume jewelry because I haven't really had a reason to wear it.  Oh, I miss those days of bold necklaces and earrings and never worried about them being ripped off by a toddler!  The garage is still in upheaval.  There are still a few items that need to be hung on the wall.  Every week I think I will hang them when Ben is sleeping but of course I don't want to pound nails when he is sleeping so nothing ever gets done. 

Over the weekend we picked out this gigantic clock that I have been wanting to get.  The former owners had one too, although it was in a different spot, and I knew that I wanted one.  They have been featured in magazines for the last few years so I think the idea has been done but I don't care.  I still wanted one!  I found this one at cheapy-cheap Gordman's. 


 
I liked it because, although cheap, it is actually made of metal and not plastic that looks like metal like many of the other cheap ones I looked at.


Sorry these pictures are not very good.  They were taken with my phone.  Good news, though.  Well, it could have been better news but the good news is that we got a replacement for my computer.  The bad news is that we had to replace it because replacing the broken part on the old one would have cost $400.  Waa-waaaaah...So I would have preferred to pay for the new part and got the old computer back but at least the repair shop is transferring all my crap to the new computer this afternoon then I can start loading it up with pictures again!  YESSSS! 

Allan has adjusted just fine to the new house.  His favorite spot is sitting at the patio door with the glass open.  As soon as he hears the sound of nature he perks up and starts fixating. 

 
After one month it still isn't getting old!  It is tempting to start letting him out, maybe on a leash to start with (I know, lame) but I don't know.  We worry that he would get too adventurous and we might lose him since he has no experience with being outdoors. 
 
Also, since it has been a month already I know I need to change the picture on the blog header.  I don't know what to change it too!  I guess I need to take a picture of this house.  Maybe I am subconsciously clinging to the old house...but I know that it's creepy.  I will get around to it soon. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Countdown Is On

 The countdown is on...less than two months until the baby comes.  Based on the doctor's measurements and "first day of last period" chart I am due on November 16th and based on the ultrasound I am due November 21st.  Either way, it is less than two months away.  I am going to stay with the ultrasound opinion based on what I think I know about my cycle and what happened last time I was pregnant.  I am hoping this baby is out before Thanksgiving which is November 28! 

I was a bridesmaid in a wedding over the weekend, which caps a summer of bachelorette parties, showers, and weddings for three special ladies in my life and I must say that I am DONE doing these things sober and pregnant!  If you want to invite me to a bachelorette party in the next two months you are out of luck!  I am officially too fat to be doing that stuff!  The wedding actually was fine.  My dress looked fine and my seamstress did some good work.  I lasted all day in my heels and changed into our complimentary flip flops from the bride at the same time as the other girls.  Most of the day I felt just normal and didn't even feel pregnant.  Old college friends can put you at ease like that I guess!  The wedding was on Friday and the salon visits and festivities started on Wednesday night and it was a fun few days.  My sister and a friend were our first houseguests on Friday night so it was fun to show off the house.  And, unless you live under a rock or are reading this somewhere far away and you don't actually know me, you know about ESPN broadcasting "College Game Day" from Fargo on Saturday morning before the NDSU game.  Somehow we managed to fit all of this in and although I was exhausted I am glad we pulled it off. 
 
Ben had a much better game day than he did two weeks ago.  We got him to nap in his stroller which made a huge difference.  He slept for about an hour, woke up, and ended up crawling back to the stroller where he slept during the first half of the game.  Then he woke up and had some food and since the game was a bust my mom and I chased him around the hallway during the 4th quarter. 



I love this picture!  I am so glad he was able to sleep through the commotion. 

 
On Sunday we shopped briefly and bought Ben some new shoes for fall.  I can't believe how much his feet have grown since he started needing "walking" shoes.  He has worn out and pretty much destroyed two pairs of hand-me-down sandals this summer to the point that one pair has straps that are ripping off and another pair has Velcro that is so stripped that it barely closes so these were much needed.  Such a simple life...only needing one pair of shoes for daily life!  For the wedding Justin discovered that his dress shoes from my brothers wedding were way too small when he was getting Ben ready so he ended up wearing Justin's little cowboy boots from when he was a toddler!  I tried to add a picture from my phone but the Blogger app. has been saying it is "uploading" for the last 25 minutes and nothing is happening and an earlier draft failed to upload so I am giving up on that for now. 
 
So now that the excitement of the wedding and the big football weekend is over it is time to start focusing on baby planning.  Women on the November 2013 birth board on Babycenter are already packing their hospital bags and worrying about which laundry detergent to use.  Or, I guess I should say, the first time moms on that board are worrying about those things.  I sure am not.  I guess I am planning on using most of my belongings and my overnight bags in the next eight weeks and if an emergency happens someone can drive five minutes to our house and get stuff for me. 
 
I am getting impatient with being pregnant.  I feel bad complaining about the little things, especially after hearing two women having a heart to heart talk about their various fertility struggles while I was in the bathroom at the wedding dance this weekend.  They were in jeans so I think they were there for another party or maybe just at the hotel bar or restaurant but I am sure a pregnant whale in a bridesmaid dress wasn't who they wanted to walk into that conversation.  But anyway, knowing this is whiny and insignificant, I have had it with these stupid maternity clothes and I can't believe I was excited to wear them again when I took them out at the beginning of summer.  I have this pair of skinny jeans that does not stay up...like they would fall completely off if I didn't intervene and pull them  up every few steps that I take.  And the point has been reached where many of my shirts (maternity shirts!) are getting too small.  Mostly they are too short.  I hate walking around looking like a mess but I have just given up.  I have some better cold weather shirts that I am anxious to wear as soon as the temperature drops to a more fall like level.  My other jeans are so frumpy and bad.  I have two pairs in addition to the fall down pair and both are just a bit too short and one has this awkward panel that cuts across the middle of my abdomen even though they were supposed to be "full panel" and the other pair is an elastic waist pair that I indulged in from GAP last time that were quite expensive and they also barely stay up.  Then there is the "tunic" and legging option but I have discovered that when something says "tunic" It means tunic for someone who is 5'4.  On me, it just looks like a shirt.  I was really tempted to buy some new jeans from a cute maternity boutique at the mall in Fargo this weekend but I stopped myself.  Who knows what the future holds and if I am pregnant again in the future I might be at my largest in the summer months and what good would jeans be then?  This last week was the first time I wore my jeans all summer and I probably will have a few more warm weeks to wear the capris from this summer.
 
Oh well, soon these clothes will be a distant memory, I know, and the discomfort of the third trimester is quickly forgotten once the baby arrives and the minor irritations are meaningless compared to real complications.  I try to remind myself of that whenever I am feeling frumpy or having a sleepless night or chasing Ben around. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekend Catch Up

I feel behind in posting the last week.  The reason, on top of the eighteen month old monster that throws a fit whenever someone focuses their attention on technology and doesn't share it with him, is that my computer is broken.  Not in the usual "acting up" way where I downloaded a bad song or clicked on the wrong ad or fell for a phony virus scan that was actually a virus but physically broken.  The power jack, the internal part that connects with the power cord, is broken.  when I unplugged the cord part of the jack came out with it and it did not look like a clean break.   I looked it up to get an idea of how difficult it would be to fix and apparently it is a laptop weak spot and can weaken if you often move the computer around while it is connected to its cord.  Also, being banged around could cause it to weaken and eventually break.  Both of those things have happened pretty regularly especially since Ben has been here.  We have alternative computers in the house but none that we want to have my excessive collection of pictures, music and documents on.  It is at a repair shop as of tonight so hopefully it will be back soon. 

So, what have I missed?  Last week, I decided to turn our pristine white kitchen into an angry red splatter party and blanched and froze some tomatoes.  I did another batch today.  I can barely stomach eating any more of them.  I still eat the cherry ones every day even though I am sick of them and these big ones are just too much. 


At the garden Justin's co-workers who have a plot there also and introduced us to the garden last year put up a sign to warn away the thieves.  Since then, it has been discovered that many gardens have had thieves.  I haven't noticed anything else missing from ours since the big onion sweep a few weeks ago but that is probably because there is nothing left to take (that is easily accessible) except tomatoes.  There are quite a few peppers growing that aren't ripe yet so I have hope that I will get enjoy at least a few of our own peppers before it freezes.  Also, I thought the zucchini crop was done a few weeks ago.  The plants all had this white residue all over them and they kind of wilted and stopped producing.  Too bad!   Everyone else's vines looked the same so I assumed it was a blight of some sort or that they had just run their course.  Well, today I went there and within the last few days new vines have popped up and started producing.  I picked four pretty robust zucchini.  BLAST! 

Last Thursday, Justin mowed the lawn for the first time.  It was a job he was dreading but it had to be done.  Here is a good photo of our back yard. 


We have half way up that hill to the neighbor's house.  It is not very much area so it didn't take long, but it is a pretty steep climb. 

Over the weekend, Justin's sister and her family visited so Ben got to hang out with his cousins who are in elementary school.  I was delighted by how entertained he was by them the afternoon they spent here.  They just hung out and played with his toys in his room!  Maybe it is easier with more than one kid although it is hard for me to imagine now!  They stayed at a hotel with a water park so we went there on Saturday night.  They had a pool with a big slide and a smaller one with a shorter slide and climbing apparatus for little kids.  The surrounding pool was only six inches deep.  Ben loved it and I even took him down the slide a few times.  There aren't any pictures because I thought I would spare everyone the sight of me in a maternity swimming suit. 

On Sunday we went to the zoo.  It was Ben's first trip there.  He was kind of in awe the whole time, just staring at everything.  He was glad to spend time outside I think.  Right when you walk in, before you get to the good attractions, there is a goat habitat where you can feed the goats.  This does not really interest me at all because we had bottle goats for fun one summer at the farm when I was in elementary school and they are not as fun as they might seem...but he liked feeding them. 

He befriended these geese...

 
The bear habitat has four bears and two of them were galloping around showing off and jumping in their pond and these two were lounging in mud holes.  The one closest to the fence was lounging on it's back. 

 
Ben loves the book "Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and says his own version of "Brown Bear"! whenever he sees the book so I made sure to point out that Brown Bear was there!
 
The best attraction for me is the tiger habitat!  They are so majestic.  You can walk under tunnels and get a panoramic view of their area from several of these window bubbles. 

 
This one was really showing off today!

 
We thought Allan would be happier there with his family so we dropped him off in there!  Haha....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Curtains

The patio door faces south and takes sunlight all day.  It's nice.  Who doesn't want a bright and sun filled kitchen?  It was already equipped with some nice curtain rods and sheers and drapes when we moved in.  It was nice to have something until I had time to change it. 

 
I am not really a red person and they made the kitchen too dark.  This isn't the greatest picture but you can see how dark it is.  Also, these are panels from the Target and I had similar ones back in my apartment at UND and I never wanted to see them again.  They were easy to change.  You can kind of see that they were held up by little clips on a runner so all I had to do was buy some fabric in the proper width and length and hem the edges. 


I managed to sew these during Ben's nap somehow.  I am so thankful that he took a long one so I could get it done and get my sewing machine stashed before he woke up.  I kept the white sheers behind them for extra shade and fade prevention although I think fading will be inevitable. 

 
Here is a night time picture without the sun shining behind them so you can see the grey background better.  Of course, no current picture of this house would be complete without a bunch of un-magazine like clutter laying around! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dining Room

After a few years in storage in my parent's granary this dining room set I inherited is finally seeing the light of day.  There is a post about it somewhere back in 2011 I believe and I'm sure it's as captivating as they all are.  The story is that it belonged to my great-grandparents on my dad's side and the my aunt and uncle had it for years until they moved to townhouse that included furniture and doesn't really have a formal dining room anyway so they asked who in the family would like to have it.  I said I would like it even though we didn't have a spot for it at the moment.  I am a nostalgic type and I like mixing old and new items.  It includes a table, china cabinet and buffet. 
 
 
We finally got it all set up got the table cleared off.  It had become kind of a gathering spot for the crap we didn't know what to do with and pictures that needed to be hung and situated.  I want to assemble a nice centerpiece but Ben is in a "climb on the table" phase so nothing is safe.  He doesn't really play in here, fortunately, and I don't want to encourage him by placing interesting things on the table. 


Here is the buffet.  I imagine making some sort of seasonal display to correspond with the holidays.  As soon as gourds and mini pumpkins show up in the stores I will put those in that yellow bowl.  That frame is a picture of Ben in his Halloween costume last year.  That wall above the globe could use some sort of high impact wall hanging.  I am waiting to get somewhere to shop for that kind of thing, like Gordman's in Fargo since it is really cheap and has a lot of interesting things. 

 
Here is the china cabinet filled with Fiestaware and other fun dishes.  The plates on the top shelf are the fancy china I chose when we got married.  I was not going to get any since no one really uses it anymore, a lot of it can't go in the dishwasher, and there are already many sets of dishes in our families that will have to end up somewhere.  I liked this stuff, called Mediterra Menorca by Lenox, when I saw it at Macy's.  Here is a close up from Google images.   
 
 
It is not overly delicate and can be put in the dishwasher.  I decided to add it to the registry after finding a stack of the plates, which you see in the cabinet, at TJ Maxx.  I thought, "hey, I will just add it to the registry, see what we end up with, and keep buying it when it shows up at TJ Maxx!"  I should have known that being at TJ Maxx was an indication of what was to come.  We got a few pieces for the wedding, which I left room for on the shelf until I can retrieve it from its spot in a Rubbermaid tote in the hallway of my parent's house where it has been for the last six years.  Well, I never saw it at TJ Maxx again and it got discontinued.  So...oops...I should have used some wedding money right away to fill the set because now it is a strange assortment.  But I still think it is really pretty.  You can find it online, most reliably from my mom's favorite source for years, Replacements, ltd. 

We polished it with some Old English and that chore makes me feel like a servant in some fancy residence in the old days.  It really makes a difference though.  Next I plan on recovering the seats of the chairs but I don't want to commit to a pattern too soon.  I am not 100% in love with the paint color but I don't see us getting it changed in the near future.  Painting a split level house is not the easy DIY job that painting our old house was. 

As I mentioned last week, the first NDSU home game was last weekend.  I was worried about how Ben would handle it since he is a runner, doesn't like to sit still, will hardly eat anything in his own environment and tailgating was during the few hours that he usually sleeps in the afternoon.  We thought he would probably fall asleep in his stroller after a few laps around the lot and hoped he would be civilized during the game and distracted by all the action since Justin's seat is near the front.  We were ready to take turns chasing him around under the stands if we had to.  Well, everything went as bad as it could have.  He didn't fall asleep, refused to eat, was way overtired and completely lost it at the game and we had to leave at half time.  We aren't giving up yet but we aren't sure how to proceed.  Most likely, it won't be 90 degrees at the next tailgating so that should help.  Also the next games are a bit earlier and we arrived in Fargo on Saturday morning instead of Friday night so maybe less time in the car beforehand will help.  I don't know...it sure wasn't very fun.  At least it wasn't the most exciting game to miss.  I feel bad that I didn't take any pictures although it is for the better since I looked like a haggard and sweaty pregnant woman with my hair all over the place from the humidity.  I was looking back and I can't believe that the last time I was a carefree, beer swilling fan was in 2010.  Sigh, the years march on...one day in the future I will feel normal again. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Allan's New Best Friend

Al loved the robins and finches and whatever other birds hung out in our old yard but they can't compare to this guy and his friends!
 
 
We have seen pheasants running around but this is the closest I have seen one.  It was even closer but by the time I got the camera out and went to the patio door he had wandered to the neighbor's yard.  They are so pretty!  Well, the males are anyway.  In the typical way of nature, the females are plain brown.  I don't know why they are around here.  I wouldn't consider this neighborhood to be wooded or on the edge of town or anything but there is a large park full of bike trails and a seasonal theater across the street.  I haven't been down there yet because I don't like riding my bike on arduous hills and I don't think there are any kids playgrounds down there.  I keep telling myself I should drive in there and check it out.  People have weddings in there so it must be nice.  The pheasants must come from over there.
 
We have a different kind of yard than I ever imagined having.  There are two tiers of rock retaining walls with a terraced lawn.  There are plants growing from between the rocks.  Most of them are weeds and volunteer trees but there were certain ones that I had a feeling were supposed to be there.  I researched "plants for rock walls" and came across an online business that sells such plants and looked at the most popular categories. 

 
I discovered that this plant, which there are quite a few of, is a variety of sedum.  We had a sedum at our old house but it was more like a bush.  Sedums are hardy and drought resistant plants and apparently they can grown between rocks. 

 
Here are some of the trees that are growing in the rocks.  Some are pretty well established already so we will have to take care of it before they start damaging the wall with their big roots. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Baby Gate Dilemma

The unpacking process is gradually wrapping up.  Both of our vehicles now fit in the garage after a big push today.  We are TIRED.  I am really slowing down and lacking energy since I have gained between twenty and thirty pounds in the last two months.  I don't know the exact number.  I stay off the scale unless I am at the doctor's office.  Chasing Ben, moving boxes, and being on my feet all day is not so easy anymore.  And that is what I have to do these days.  I feel bad sometimes because I am so excited for when he takes a nap or goes to bed that I feel like my days revolve around those times and then I am guilty for not giving him enough attention.  Oh well, he better get ready for everything to not be all about him!  In his words..."Uhh Ooooooh"...

So anyway, we had to find a new baby gate for our new staircase.  The old one was held up by tension and it doesn't work with the carved posts.  We had to order it and then realized we forgot that Amazon still had our old address, which meant a trip back to the old house which was kind of sad.  Ben was kind of confused when we walked in, like he was home but it wasn't quite right.  I didn't get emotional fortunately. 

Justin installed the new gate on Friday and the posts required it to be hung at a certain height which also allowed Mr. Skinny to slide right under it.  We were all watching the NDSU game in the basement on Friday night after the gate was installed and I was in the kitchen and all of a sudden Ben was also in the kitchen.  He figured it out instantly.  What followed was a very irritating Saturday of trying to get many things accomplished while he constantly escaped to whichever floor we weren't working on to mess everything up.  He is pretty agile on the stairs so the concern was not safety as much as keeping him confined so we could see what he was doing. 

This morning Justin did some research and came up with this DIY pvc pipe extension. 

 
While he had his afternoon nap he made it and attached it with some hose clamps, leaving a gap for Allan.  As you can see from the picture, Ben was at first confused then very mad at us for getting the better of him.  Hahaha we win kid!
 
Here is a video I took of him freaking out about it and then throwing himself at my legs and clinging and whining which is his lastest way of dealing with any frustration.   
 
video
 
I don't want to mock him but it is funny.  It reminded of me of a very hilarious (in our biased opinion) video of how he reacted to discover that Justin had baby proofed our old kitchen cabinets.  I was in Vegas when this happened so it was in June. 
 
video
 
Hahaha...



That's some nice work...

A few other moving pictures...

 
Here is Allan discovering the box with his toys and catnip in it. 


 
Here he is playing on the deck and creeping on the teenager across the street practicing hockey in his garage. 

 
Here we are watching the NDSU v. Kansas game, which we WON!  It was pretty intense! 
 
I feel behind from the move...some other news...
 
-Last Friday I had the Gestational Diabetes test, something pregnant women dread because you have to drink a horrible sugar filled beverage that makes Mountain Dew seem light and healthy and then sit around the waiting room for an hour and then have multiple vials of blood drawn.  I had to fast over night last time I was pregnant but I guess their policy has changed because I didn't have to this time which was a relief because fasting is not something I take well to.  However, I admit that I enjoyed this appointment because I have a new appreciation for having an hour baby free to sit in a chair and do nothing.  I chose to read a book and it was great!  And I don't have diabetes either. 
 
-I wish I had something good to share about our garden but the sad news is that someone has stolen everything we have grown the past few weeks.  It keeps happening and there is nothing to be done about it.  Every pepper has disappeared, a while row of onions (probably about fifteen of them) was taken, a monster zucchini that we were leaving on the vine to see how large it could get is gone, and someone tried to pull up carrots but broke the tops off because you need a shovel to get them out.  I don't even get excited to go there anymore because it makes me so mad but there is nothing to be done about it.  So that is a buzzkill.  All that work for some jackweed to get the benefits.  Ours is right on the edge so I think it is just a visible and easy target. 
 
-I just saw the evening news weather forecast and it calls for highs near or above 90 for the next seven days!  In the past I would have liked that but at the moment I am just too big and tired for that.  Ben wants to be outside all the time and I just don't feel like chasing him around.  I wish the public pools were still open. 
 
-I feel like we live at Wal-Mart and Menards because we have gone to one of both of them everyday since we moved in.  Yesterday we estimated that we walked a mile around Menards trying to find insignificant items including a surge protector, thumb tacks, a curtain rod and some specific kind of screw.  Often the people who worked there didn't know where anything was.  It made me really wish for the old small town Hardware Hank/Ben Franklin combo.  Sadly, I think those days are gone. 
 
 
After reviewing,  I realize that three of these four stories are complaints.  I don't mean to sound negative.  I am not really feeling negative.  After all, tailgating starts next weekend!  Yeaaahhhh!!!  See you soon Fargo!