Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Made It...

through the first two days of school! Although I could have stayed home forever, it was truly nice to see all the wonderful people I work with. So much fun to share summer stories. Some of my co-workers took amazing vacations while others just relished sleeping in. One thing I have noticed upon returning to work, it takes me a lot longer to get from point A to point B. Everyone wants to touch my big preggo belly and talk about baby. It's great to be surrounded by women who love and are supportive of pregnancy. Everyone asks me if the belly-rubbing bothers me. My response is always, as long as I know the person doing the rubbing I don't mind! So far making it through the day is not too bad. I know there will be a point where I really begin to sloooow down. That is when things will get interesting. Although at this point I can no longer participate in PE and will need to sit in a chair during music, rather than on the floor with the kids. This is a pregnancy challenge for me. I want to do what everyone else is doing. Usually I forget about the big, round belly in front of me until I try to do something I used to be able to do with ease.

My mom and I were shopping last week and popped into the Right Start Store. I had been oohing and ahhing over those adorable baby slings before I even got pregnant. Once I got pregnant I knew I had to have one. But it was hard to justify the $60 price tag when there are so many other things we need. Although I knew in the long run the price was not going to stop me, but just make me feel extra-guilty for the splurge. Fast forward to the shopping excursion with my mom. We found the cutest sling on sale for $25 (regularly $60!!!) I love deals like that! It is such a conquest! I found the same one listed on Nordstrom.com for $60. Here is my new baby sling:

I can only dream of being this thin after the baby is born! I love the retro fabric! Plus it reverses to brown. I can't wait to use it!

Maddie's first day of school was today. It just about killed me to miss it. The event just felt like one of those things a mom should be at. But with maternity leave coming up and doctor's appointments on the horizon I had a difficult time justifying it this year (at least to myself, not my school.) Bottom line, I felt guilty for not going, and I would have felt guilty for missing work. After school we talked all about her day. She was so excited to make new friends in her class. This was her favorite part of the school day. I was so happy for her. Nothing warms a mommy's heart like hearing joy in their child's voice. Sigh...she is just such a blessing to our family :).

On the crafting agenda for this week:

*finish curtains in Maddie's room

*organize more craft supplies into storage cubes

*string together Christmas banner

*start working on Halloween banner

*complete one scrapbook page

Must catch up in crafting before the baby is born!!!!!!!!!!!! But honestly, is a crafter ever truly "caught up"?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to Work

That time has come, the first day of school. SIGH....summer is over. So sad! I feel like I should have done something special today. A way of going out with a bang. Instead I went grocery shopping and organized some cupboards. Hmmm...not really the "bang" effect I was hoping for. Oh well, life goes on!
Poor Maddie has her ear infection back. Two days before she goes back to school no less. How unfair is that?! My poor baby! Hopefully it is nothing some antibiotics can't knock out. She is very excited to return to school and her teacher. I knew she really didn't feel well when she was irritable with the dogs. Normally she is so welcoming and loving towards them. Today it was "Tilly! Mischa! Go away!" Said in an uber-cranky whine that I know so well (only because I have the same whine when I don't feel good!) Here is a photo of Maddie with the dogs from the other day. She decided to lie in front of Mischa and cuddle with her.

Our home life is so busy with Maddie, the dogs, and a baby on the way. The majority of the raucous comes from the dogs of course. If you have never seen a husky play you may be in for a shock. They play incredibly rough. They will tear around our backyard, chasing one another. The girls then take turns pinning each other down and gnawing on the each other's heads. They attempt this in the house quite often, only to be shooed out to the backyard. We call them our crackheads. They are so hyper I swear they are on crack! But we love them just the same. I cannot imagine our lives without our dogs. And Maddie's life is so much richer with them. She is just infatuated with "the girls". Todd spent yesterday re-screening our screen door and then reinforcing it with metal grates. We bought a new door in June only to have it demolished by August. Such is life with two dogs! So we brought out the big guns: dog-proof, heavy duty screen, and the two metal grates (one for each side). So far this investment has proven to be worth his while.

I guess the reason I am singing our dogs' praises is because I want to encourage anyone who wants to get a dog to adopt. Trust me, if you want a pure bread they are out there. Both of ours are purebred Siberian Huskies that would have cost us a fortune. Tilly came from the SPCA and Mischa from a Husky rescue. There are a lot of breed specific rescue groups out there. People also question the dog's temperament when they adopt. "How will I know what the dog is like?" The SPCA and a lot of rescue groups temperament test their dogs so they can best match them with their forever home. The rescue groups want to ensure a successful adoption. They want to dog to have a successful home, not bounce around from home to home. We were close to spending $1,200 on purchasing a pure bread when I realized there were so many dogs in shelters in need of a good home. Please give adoption a chance, there are so many wonderful companions out there!
On another note...

I did finish my Halloween banner. One project completed before school! Here is the finished project. Pardon the carpet, I didn't feel like hanging it for the photos.

At eighteen weeks I am feeling this baby move a lot! So much stronger than Maddie. She felt like a flutter. With baby number 2 I am feeling a lot of jabs and forceful movements. I can even feel him/her move their hand or foot across my abdomen. Plus I think he/she likes to bounce off of my bladder. It is now pummeled on a daily basis. So different from the first. I guess this is his/her way of telling me they will not be one of those quiet babies who is content to sit there and play with their toys. Maddie was one of these babies. I now know I am in for a big shock when this active wee one arrives!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Want to Sleep...

...and I can't. UGH! I really hate it when this happens. It is 11pm and I need to sleep. Man, I remember the days when the nights didn't begin until 11pm! . That was before one child, one on the way, a husband, and two dogs. These days I am comatose by 11. In the back of my mind I know Maddie will be up by 6:30 and I will need to let Mischa out to go potty. I can turn on the TV for Maddie and let the dog in, but sleep will be spotty after that. Tilly will get restless in her crate, letting me know she wants out too. Maddie will come in and tell me there is something I need to see on TV. Or she will just sit there and stare at me, hoping her laser vision will wake me from my slumber. Then I will hear Todd in the background scolding her, "Maddie! Let mommy sleep!" It's all downhill after that.
As if the desire to sleep wasn't bad enough, but I am hungry too. Baby must be growing, I have been hungry all friggin' day. And really, I don't want to eat anything our home has to offer. Goldfish? Over them! Graham crackers? Already snacked on those today! Rice cakes? Not appealing lately! What I want is a big, juicy, yellow and red organic apple.

Is this one of those late night preggo cravings I always hear about? I have been coveting apples throughout this pregnancy, worse than I did with Maddie. The irony is that I am allergic to them! Oh the humanity! But for whatever reason, I have less of a reaction to organic apples. But damn that apple looks good!!! Of course I ate the last apple Monday and have yet to return to the store!

Anyhoo... changing subjects and hoping to get the apple craving out of my mind...

I have almost completed my Christmas banner and cannot wait to post it! It is made out of embellished fabric flags (Nikki's banner inspired me.) I began this project last Christmas and have been working on it sporadically ever since. I just need to buy some eyelets and string it together. But I am quite proud of it and eager to hang it when the holidays arrive.

In the meantime I have been working on two other projects. The first is a paper Halloween banner. I just have to buy the ribbon and string it. I made two Christmas banner last year. One I kept and the other was a Secret Santa gift. Here is the Christmas banner I made last year (fyi, this one was actually completed and displayed in time for Christmas!)

My other project is three wooden blocks I am decorating. I bought one for each of us. I covered them in coordinating card stock. Each will have a current photo and a baby photo of us, plus other embellishments. I thought they would look great on the mantle above the fireplace. These will take a little longer. I have to find the right photos and embellishments. Perfection takes time!

Well, it is 11:30, maybe it is time to attempt the sleep thing again. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Family Visit and the End of Summer

My aunt and cousin came to California for a visit last week. It was so great to see them and reminisce over our favorite memories. So many of our family stories leave us in stitches, whether it is camping stories, holiday adventures, our roadtrip to Wisconsin. Inevitably we always talk fondly and share memories of my grandpa who passed away eight years ago. This photo is one of my favorites of Grandpa. He is in his element here: enjoying his morning coffee next to a river while camping. The peaceful chatter of birds and the rustle of the river flowing by. Aside from being with family, these were the moments Grandpa lived for.

The photo above is one of my favorite memories, a camping trip in Oregon in 1983 (as if you couldn't tell from our bad fashion statements!) I am on the left and my cousin is on the right. We had a blast on that trip. One thing that has stuck in my mind from that trip was how we carried our Tender Heart Care Bears everywhere we went. At one point they all lived in Washington and we would meet every summer in Oregon for a camping trip. Now that we are living in different states we don't get to see each other quite as often, but it is great to get together when we can. Nothing beats family!
Maddie is getting ready to return to school, as am I. She is incredibly excited, I wish I could say the same for me. Summer break was so nice and relaxing, I don't want to go back! I have been spoiled with getting to sleep in everyday this summer while being pregnant. It is definitely going to be an adjustment to get up at 6am Monday through Friday for work. Although I dread returning, I am excited to see everyone I work with. They are all amazing people, very passionate about their students and teaching.
The return to school always signified the end of summer for me. But just like all of the years past, I am looking forward to fall. It is one of my favorite seasons (fall and spring). When the air becomes crisp and cool. It is just chilly enough for me to wear one of my fun scarves and a lightweight sweater. Although this year I will be in my last trimester and may be too hot for a scarf! Ugh, hormones! And I am madly in love with our October family tradition. We visit a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay that is nothing short of amazing. I look forward to it all year!
It will be sad to see another summer go, but fall shall bring so many wonderful adventures to look forward to.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our Home

My friend Nikki has been requesting photos of our home for quite some time (thanks for being so patient Nikki!) I finally took some and can now post them. After all, it has only been close to a year! Presenting our humble, little home:
This is looking down our hallway to the front door. I have photos of our beloved family and friends on this wall. The photos are in dire need of updating!
This shadow box is one of the frames in the hallway. I recently completed it. It contains photos from our wedding, one our wedding invitations, two little pinecones, and part of the fuscia colored ribbon from my bridal bouquet. I loved my bouquet. It was all fuscia and tangerine colored dahlias; my favorite flower. I bought the ribbon during a trip to Marin for Mother's Day with my mom.

Here is our entertainment center. Our colors are black, red, and sage green. The deco style I am striving for is country/cottage. Hopefully I am achieving that somewhat! On the shelves I have some of my favorite things: photos of our family and from our wedding, a vase I coveted in the holiday 1996 Crate and Barrel catalogue that my mom bought for me, the Willow statue my mother-in-law bought for Todd and me when we got engaged, some of my favorite books, crystal vases and a crystal bowl that were engagement gifts from the Lopez family (whom Todd has known since he was five), a candy dish that belonged to Todd's Nana, and a sign that says "Happiness is being married to your best friend". If you asked Todd what his favorite possession in this photo is he would say, "the TV!"

Here are some totchkes from the coffee table in the living room. Our wedding photo sits on three books. The bottom two are historical photo books of the city we live and the town I grew up in. The other book is 1,001 Places to See in the U.S.A Before You Die. I love to look through this book and check off all of the places I have been. It also serves as inspiration for new places to visit.

Here are the photos on top of the fireplace mantle. The wedding photo is one our family friend, Noel scanned and Photoshopped. It was originally all color. He did a phenomenal job and is incredibly talented! My in-laws, Noel, and his wife Joanne took us out to dinner and surprised us with this framed picture. It was very touching. The memory still makes me want to cry. The other is a family photo that was taken at Baker Beach in the San Francisco Presidio by Ryan Bates. He is an amazing photographer!

This chair and rooster are next to our fireplace. The chair is an antique that belonged to Mary's (our second mom) father. Todd painted it red and surprised me with it. So sweet. I bought the rooster at a great store in town. He seems to like his new home!

In our dining room we have our hutch. The base is solid maple. Both pieces have been in my family for close to fifty years. It was my uncle's bedroom furniture when he was a child. Then my grandma had it. It was passed onto my mom who later gave it to me to use as bedroom furniture. It had decades of furniture polish on it, as well as six coats of white paint. When we decided to use it in the dining room it became a labor of love for Todd and me. We stripped it down to bare wood and re-painted it. Words cannot begin to describe how laborious the stripping process was! Fortunately our friend, Jerry came to our rescue. He helped us with the stripping and painting. After all of the hard work that went into it, I knew it needed beautiful hardware. So I splurged on Restoration Hardware pulls and knobs. Then I filled the shelves with my collection of Jade-ite glassware. My first pieces were from a trip to Green Bay when I was nineteen. I have mixed old and reproduction pieces. My grandma bought the beautiful pitcher for a Christmas gift. Although new, it is one of my favorites because of the memories.

We have three windows in our dining room. I made these curtains for all three. I am quite proud of them because my sewing skills pale in comparison to my mother's. She is a very talented sewer. The curtains are a black and white gingham decorator fabric I scored a fabulous deal on ($3 a yard!) The red toile was a gift from my mom's fabric stash. The finials I made because I could not find anything I liked.

This farming print is hanging in our dining room. I bought on that same road trip to Green Bay. This was a great $2 find at a thrift store in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It has been with me ever since.

Here is our bedroom. The photo is from the same Bake Beach shoot. I looooove it! Ryan did a great job capturing the moment and making us look good. You would never know Todd and I were suffering from horrendous colds, were freezing in forty degree weather, it was unbearably windy, our feet were numb from the ocean, and our noses were so runny we got snot on each others' faces every time we kissed. But to everyone else, Ryan captured a romantic and tender moment being shared by a couple in love. And they say the camera never lies! Ha! The antique plates were a Christmas gift from my parents. Todd's reaction to seeing the plates on the wall was a dry, "Yay, we have plates on the wall..."

This is our bargain bed from Ikea. It was so pretty and so cheap. I love a high bed. The mattress hits my ribs the bed is so tall. I also love "fluffy" beds. They look so inviting! To get the fluffiness factor we have a pillow top mattress that is a dream to sleep on and a down comforter that was a wedding gift from my aunt, uncle, and cousin. Mmmm...nothing beats burrowing under that comforter in a bed made of fresh, 600 thread count sheets! Yummy! Even Tilly loves to snuggle in our bed!

This is one of my favorite pictures in the house. I found it at an antique shop in Chico, Ca. To me it represents a beautiful utopia. It is as if this boy has accidentally stumbled upon heaven. This picture brings me great peace and smile to my face every time I look at it. Therefore it is on my side of the bed and is one of the first things I see when I wake up.

So this is our home in a nutshell. The kids' room is "under construction" since we are making room for baby. I am also redecorating the downstairs bathroom. Our other home project is the backyard. We are redoing the landscaping. So hopefully I will have some new home photos to share with you in the future!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Been a Year

I cannot believe it has been a year since we got married! July marked our one year anniversary. Time does fly by when you are having fun (and when you have one child, one on the way, two dogs, jobs....) Everyone says the first year is the hardest. We were fortunate not to have experienced that. Todd and I get along so well, we really are best friends. Do we have squabbles and tiffs? Of course! Who doesn't! But we just mesh together so well, words cannot describe it. Aside from our friendship, I think one of our key ingredients for a successful first year was teamwork. If something needs to be done, he just does it. He adapted to the role of Bonus Dad as if he had been with Maddie and me from day one. Driving her to school, chaperoning field trips, fixing her boo boos, guiding her through life, and most importantly giving her love and support. And on top of that he vacuums and does dishes! And I recognize how hard he works to provide for his family. Watching my husband's success at his job make me so proud of him!
During this I am reflecting on how our lives have changed during our first year of marriage:
We moved
Maddie started school
I started a new job
We got a dog
We got pregnant
We got another dog
I am so fortunate to have found the world's most amazing partner in life. I hope our future years are as kind and rewarding to us as our first year has been!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Updates, Updates, & More Updates

We have done so much this past month I don't know where to begin! I guess the biggest update is our new edition (and I don't mean the baby, long way to go for him or her!) We rescued another Siberian Husky (yes, I am a glutton for punishment.) Our new girl traveled all the way from Osan Air Force Bases in South Korea. Her origin has caused everyone to do a double take when we tell them. The question, "how did you do that?!" always follows. Mischa had been at the base's shelter for three to four months when they contacted BASH (Bay Area Siberian Husky http://bayareasiberian.org/ ). The shelter flew her to SFO where she was met by a BASH member. We picked her up at their adoption fair right after she arrived. It really was quite simple given the extraordinary means of how she got here. I have been in contact with Danni, with Mischa's foster mom, who also volunteers at the shelter. I love to give her updates on well Miss Mischa is doing. She has told me so many sad and tragic animal stories that happen on base and in the shelter. Many of the people stationed there buy dogs with little thought of what will happen down the road, especially if they are shipped out. I am so glad we could provide one dog with a happy ending. Here is our girl:
Here are some of the photos of her at the Osan shelter in South Korea:
Fortunately both dogs are getting along very well. This is always a tremendous challenge with two females. Especially since I am not sure Mischa knew how to "be" a Husky. Tilly would try to play and she would just look at her with confusion and contempt. But after a week or so they began to get along. Now Mischa is playing just like a Sibe. They insist on being together the majority of the time. Where one is, the other is not too far behind!

Here are our two girls together:

In July we took a camping trip to the Coastal Redwoods along Highway 101. We camped with some friends who have two kids. Maddie loved it! It was so nice for her to have companions her own age. It was a blast camping with friends. Maddie loved her first camping experience (the first one she can remember at least.) I managed to do great despite being four months pregnant (some had their doubts.) Todd had a chance to relax for once. What a great way to get away! The redwoods always leave me speechless. They are so massive and majestic. It is hard to put into words the thoughts and feelings you experience when you see a tree that is over 2,000 years old. Todd and I have so many fond memories of our childhood camping trips, we want to provide Maddie with the same opportunities. We are already planning next summer's excursions (or at least discussing them!)

Maddie in front of the "Grandfather Tree"

The Fam

Maddie with her morning hot cocoa in front of the campfire

Nature walk

Exploring the tide pools

The lighthouse at Shelter Cove

A week after we returned home we were on the road again. This time to Lake Tahoe. The cabin is always a welcome retreat. My Tahoe favorites are:

spending time with family

sleeping in (I sleep so soundly up there)

the beautiful scenery; you just can't beat it

trail rides at the equestrienne center for me and pony rides for maddie

dipping my toes in the lake

the sound of a peaceful breeze whispering through the trees

pancake breakfasts! the elevation makes them soooo light and fluffy

piper's patisserie; the food is divine!

getting some r&r

This visit was no different. Only Maddie got her horse time this visit. Horseback riding is one of those pregnancy taboos. Just visiting the stables made me ache for a horseback ride! Oh well, there's always next year. To make up for it I found a seafood dish that I could actually eat when we had dinner at Cottonwood. Ocean fish, yet another taboo! But Cottonwood (which is beautiful by the way) was serving basa fish; it's freshwater!!! Soooooo delicious!!!! I miss fish so much.

We visited friends who were staying at Heritage Cove at King's Beach. The water was so low Maddie could wade out beyond the pier. It is quite sad to see the lake so low, but we all had fun walking so far out. Plus the low levels kept the water warmer. It was the first time I did not have to wait for my body to numb up before venturing out above my feet!

Ready to ride! Pony ride with Mom and Nana Gail

You lookin' at me?!

Happy in Tahoe