Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011 is in the books

...and it was a fine, lovely, enchanting Christmas it was.  There's something about watching a toddler at Christmas that brings some of the wonder back into the season for adults.  I don't think C really understood that he'd be receiving gifts today.  Everything is wonderful and fascinating and exciting to him these days that the gifts were no more or less exciting than looking at lights or dancing to Christmas songs or helping to bake cookies, and that awesome little boy was so delighted by it all. As for the gifts, he loved the first one - a wooden truck full of boxes of produce - so much that I thought we'd never convince him to look in his stocking or open his other gifts.  He did eventually get around to the others, and was nearly equally pleased with the other things, even a plate, bowl, and cup set that I thought he'd toss aside was exciting to him.  I hope I can always remember his beautiful, honest reaction...especially when he grows into a harder to please teen. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy holidays!

To all of us, everywhere, a merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Las Vegas Air Show

Last weekend was the Aviation Nation airshow at Nellis AFB.  BB hadn't been to an airshow before and C loves airplanes, so we packed up and went to the show on Sunday.  I've never felt part of this community, but at least for an afternoon I sort of did. 

ps.  We saw a couple of Thunderbirds pilots.  They are so young.  Young and beautiful and lovely, with everything in front of them.  It reminded me of just how much our young servicemen and women are sacrificing for us.  Also of how pathetic it is that this country has turned Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day into reasons for sales and time off work, rather than times of thankfulness and reflection.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Airplane Tray Cover for Toddlers

Having flown many times now with my child, I can tell you that two of my biggest worries are 1. the germs he will encounter/suck in/consume, and 2. that he'll get bored/anxious/restless and freak out. To combat both problems, I threw together a little solution. Not long ago I pinned a brilliant idea I found at Serving Pink Lemonade to create an airplane tray table cover that includes activities to entertain babies (another version is sold here). Fantastic, but my kid is 20 months old and needs more entertaining, so I sort of combined that idea with a number of ideas I'd pinned for a quiet book. Here's the final product:

I strayed from the originals by using elastic on the sides so that hopefully it'll fit any width of tray table, and I made my cover double sided.  Thus, twice the entertainment.

Side 1 has:
-Counting activity - I knotted embroidery floss strung with either 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 buttons on it so you can slide each button up and down. I used tractor, tiger, flower, fish, and ladybug buttons.
-A zipper pouch - this was the worst part. I read up on how to sew a zipper in, but I couldn't iron the fabric I used (a remnant from JoAnn that instantly scorched when I tried. I don't know what the fabric is, but it feels like a coated heavy-duty canvas) and it turned out pretty ugly. I'll put either small books in there or small surprises to be determined.
-Two doors hiding animals - I velcroed a wooden tiger behind the grass (made of felt) and a wooden whale behind the felt water.  Both animals can be removed since they're just velcroed on.  I sewed small buttons on the front of each door and added embroidery floss to create a "lockable" door by winding the floss around the button.  This part is important since the cover is double sided and I didn't want the doors hanging open when flipped upside down.

Side 2 has:
-A felt roadway
-Two vehicle iron-on patches that are secured with velcro and can be removed
-A garage for a toy car that velcros shut
-A felt doghouse that holds a dog keychain I found at Michaels that lights up and softly barks when you push a button.  If it's annoying, I can remove it.
-Next to the doghouse are food and water bowls made of felt and glued on.  C is really into "feeding" his stuffed animals, and I thought he might like to do the same with the toy dog.

So now we've gone on one flight where I used the tray cover.  It was on Southwest, and my cover was wider than the tray, which was fine.  If it's too big for the tray on another type of airplane or airline I'll consider either removing or shortening the elastic on the sides for a snug fit.  Anyway, the flight was supposed to be 2 1/2 hours, but ended up being about 3 1/2 gate to gate because of a delay in take off and a 1/2 hour of circling the destination airport.  We needed extra entertainment.  C loved the cars, the road, and the dog (although he wanted the dog off of the chain and I promptly lost the chain).  The counting beads were trouble.  C wanted to pull them and I ended up flipping it over to the car side right away since C was getting frustrated about not being able to remove the beads.  Maybe he'll appreciate it when he's older.  I think the cover bought us about 45 minutes of peace and quiet.

More Information:
- The fabric was 21" deep x 17 3/4" wide to start with, unfolded (resulting in a finished product, after hemming all around, of 20 1/2" x 17 1/4" unfolded or 10 1/4" x 17 1/4" as you'd see it on the tray).  The elastic bands add an extra 2 1/4" (each peice was cut to about 3") on each side (unstretched).  I could've went smaller, judging from our first use.  If I were doing it over, I'd probably make it 10" x 16 1/2" (after hemming) with 1 3/4" elastic on each side.
- I glued most of this together, but sewed on the dog house, garage, doors (hiding wooden animals), and obviously the zipper pouch and counting game.
The whole thing cost less than $20, with the most expensive parts being the patches (on the roadway side), the buttons used for the counting activity, and the toy car.  It could easily be done for less if you have buttons and velcro on hand and use toys your kids already have.  I found the wooden animals and dog keychain on clearance for pocket change at Hobby Lobby and Michael's and had the thread, floss, and glue on hand.

I'm adding this to the Pinterest Challenge sponsored by:
Bower Power and
Young House Love, with guests
Ana White and
House of Earnest

Go see what they did for the Pinterest Challenge, as well as all the fun projects completed by their readers!  Also, check out my last Pinterest Challenge project - a DIY car seat cooler - here

What are your favorite Pinterest finds?

Monday, October 31, 2011

6 rolls of gauze + 1 t-shirt + 1 pair grey pants = Superman??

Everyone knows someone who waits to do or finish their Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve.  Friends, I am not one of those people.  I started Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago, and although I'll likely be shopping well into December, the head start makes for a more relaxed, enjoyable holiday season.  Halloween, it would appear, is a different matter.  We decided to dress C as a mummy, in a costume I'd make.  No problem, right?  It's just a little gauze and thread.  I started on Saturday night.  Last night at 11p I had yet to start the pants, and I gave up.  As luck would have it, my work load was light today, so I took some time off, hit NINE stores (2 Targets, Babies R Us, 2 party supply stores, Baby Gap, Pottery Barn Kids, 2 Walmarts) and finally settled on a Superman t-shirt at Gap with a velcro on cape.  C doesn't even eat candy or understand Halloween, so maybe it shouldn't have mattered so much, but somehow it does.  The kid needs every chance to celebrate all of the silly, crazy, fun aspects of childhood.  I'd go to a hundred more stores to make sure he does just that.  Now I'm just crossing my fingers that he enjoys seeing all of the other kids dressed up (we're going to a safe event at a mall) and doesn't get scared.

the abandoned mummy top
the Gap Superman shirt

Happy Halloween.

TED inspiration

Everyone's aware of the TED talks, right?  Have you heard this one, by Matt Cutts?

Right.  Not long ago I set out to do something, learn something, or experience something new every day.  That didn't last long.  I ran out of ideas or didn't have time to come up with something or just felt uninspired.  So here's the deal.  Maybe I can come up with just twelve things to try and give each one my attention for one month.  November starts tomorrow...first month-long challenge:  increase the art/craft activities C and I do at home.  He's not terribly interested most days, so I'd like to pique his interest without forcing anything on him.  I'm shooting for 3-4 activities per week (he also has art activities daily at day care).  Anyone else up for the challenge?  Tell me what you're planning.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #13: Mesa Park

Las Vegas Park Review #13:  Mesa Park, 5401 Mesa Park Drive (Summerlin, near Bishop Gorman high school)

- Nice, new playground equipment with two specific age group areas
- A lot of green space (generally used for sports - lacrosse when we were there)
- Lovely playing fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts
- Beautiful views of nearby cliffs
- A real feeling of distance from busy streets and activity. 

- I hesitate to say this, since it's based on just one visit, but there was a group of really snooty moms there that was not interested in playing with, watching, or disciplining their children.  One little kid probably 3 years old or so somehow made it across the large, depressed lacrosse field and up the other side and was about to run into the road before her mom came barrelling over to get her. 

- Noise from construction on nearby houses (but yay for construction resuming!!!) 
- No splash pad

All-in-all, this was a good park.  C had more fun exploring the greenspace than playing on the playground equipment, which was great since the "parents" were lounging there while their kids took over.  We felt completely safe here (at about 2:30 on a weekday afternoon).  I didn't see any security. 

There were restrooms, but we didn't venture inside.  Seemed like a nice building, though. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Patch, Las Vegas Style

Last weekend, BB, C, and I met one of C's classmates and her parents for some fun at the "pumpkin patch."  As always, Las Vegas does things in its own way.  In eastern Nebraska, when you mention a "pumpkin patch," this is what comes to mind:

All photos from

These pictures are from Vala's Pumpkin Patch, probably the most widely-known - and biggest - pumpkin patch in the area, but there are dozens of similar pumpkin patches around Nebraska (smaller versions of Vala's).  They have corn mazes, hay rack rides, haunted houses, food of all kinds, games, rides, campfires, flowers, produce, pumpkins galore, etc, etc.  It really can be an lengthy event, and so much fun.  Here, it's different.  It was 95 degrees, for starters (I bet those overpriced pumpkins are all cooking inside).  Anyway, I'm not saying the Vegas pumpkin patch isn't fun, but it shouldn't be considered a pumpkin patch.  However, it was pretty great for entertaining an under 2 year old for an hour.  We went to Stu Miller's patch at the corner of Rainbow and Warm Springs.  They were very very nice there.  C and his buddy enjoyed the petting zoo (the parents loved the free hand sanitizer for afterwards!), and played a pumpkin game, but mostly just ran around and had fun.  There are a few rides and bouncy things for older kids (one looked like so much fun - it had a climbing wall and slides), but the parents were too old and the kids too young).  Anyway, once I shed my idyllic notion of a pumpkin patch, I had a great time.  Besides, it's kind of nice to not have to worry about mud, bugs, or bundling up the kids.  So go to the "pumpkin patch," eat cotton candy, pet goats, jump on a bouncy, and enjoy autumn, however it comes. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bite of Las Vegas 2011 Schedule

Main Stage

10:30 a - 100 Monkeys
12:00 p - Colbie Caillat
1:30 p - Imagine Dragons
3:00 p - The Cab
4:30 p - Michelle Branch
6:15 p - Mat Kearney
8:00 p - OAR

Restaurant List
Develop your plan of attack people!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall To-Do List

- visit a pumpkin patch
- drain the water heater
- get the air conditioner serviced (or should we do this in the spring?)
- bake something for the nice neighbor and some of B's co-workers
- go on a nature hike, collecting pretty leaves, pine cones, and acorns if there are any
- host a football/poker/dart night and serve chili and focaccia
- donate winter clothes to area charities
- annual donation to the NSPCA in H's honor
- start Christmas shopping
- can homemade applesauce
- bake apples
- plant some cool weather loving flowers
- C's first viewing of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
- hike somewhere leaves are changing
- can homemade pasta sauce while I still have fresh summer tomatoes
- take a picture for holiday cards
- attend a local high school football game
- bake bread with C

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best (Unexpected) Gifts

Once the Halloween candy goes on display at the store, I start thinking about holiday gift-giving.  My family has several birthdays and anniversaries between October and November, so it pays to formulate a plan early.  Isn't it the best when someone knows you well enough to get you something you never knew you wanted or needed, but end up loving?  Here are a few recent gifts I've received and loved, unexpectedly. 

Penzey's Herb gift box, $29.95
     - Penzey's has a number of gift boxes, or you can order a la carte.  This was a wedding gift, and
       considering how seldom I replace my herbs, it was much-needed.  I found the herbs to be of a higher
       quality than I normally purchase, but I loved this gift because it was a nod to the life we were
       embarking upon.  It came with a note about being conscious of little ways to make every day special,
       and something sort of cheesy, but true, about the spice of life.  I thought of it often in our early days of
       marriage, and it reminded me to light candles during dinner and turn off the tv to talk and laugh together. 

City guide book
     - I received a Las Vegas guide book as a Christmas gift from a co-worker shortly before we
       relocated here.  Although it's intended for tourists, we used it often during our first few months here.  I
       found it to be a thoughtful way of getting us excited about a scary step we were taking.  These are also
       good bridal shower gifts if you know the couple's honeymoon destination.

Framed nostalgic photo
     - Last Christmas my favorite gift was a framed photo of all of my cousins, my sister, and I that was taken
       more than 30 years ago on Christmas Eve.  It was perfect for a couple of reasons...a. it reminds me of
       how blessed I am to have such a lovely family; b. it reminds me that the fun of Christmas was not just
       gifts, it was togetherness; c. it reminds me that every day we are making memories not just for ourselves,
       but for our son; d. it reminds me to live in the moment and not get caught up in the stress of planning
       "perfect" events/holidays.  We will remember how we felt, rather than if the food was three-star Michelin
       quality or if the family pictures were perfect anyway.

     - I'm not kidding.  I loved receiving those slippers as a baby shower gift because when I was pregnant I
       felt my job was 100% to take care of my baby, plan for my baby, and take care of myself for my
.  Of course, that was mostly true, but those slippers were a really nice way of telling me that it was
       also a time to sit back and enjoy what was happening and also to take care of myself for myself.  A
       pregnant lady is not merely a vessel.  Now I always buy something specifically for the expectant mother
       that is wholely unrelated to the baby, as well as something special for the baby.

Blue ribbon
     - Yes, another odd gift.  We invited very few people to our wedding, including just one friend each. 
       When we sent the invitations I knew my invited friend wouldn't be able to come, so I wasn't surprised
       or disappointed when we received her regrets.  The real kindness, though, was that she sent a spool of
       blue ribbon with her RSVP and a note expressing how much she would've liked to attend.  The ribbon
       was just in case I didn't have a "something blue," but I ended up using it in my wedding scrapbook, and
       whenever I see it I'm reminded of the people that are not near physically, but are very close in spirit. 

No one ever thinks "oh, how I'd love to receive a spool of ribbon/old photo/rosemary/etc," but sometimes receiving those things mean more than a big tv or a beautiful bouquet. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Music for the weekend

"It's Time," Imagine Dragons

Loving this!!  They're going to be big.  :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bite of Las Vegas 2011

The Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas line-up is complete!  Band Battle for Bite resulted in a pretty great day of music.  In no particular order, you will see O.A.R., Michelle Branch, Mat Kearney, Colbie Caillat, Imagine Dragons, The Cab, 100 Monkeys, and local bands The English Channel, Avalon Landing, Play For Keeps, and Offset Season.

Of course, don't forget the fantastic offerings of more than 40 Las Vegas restaurants.  All items will be under $5.  Awesome, right? 

See it all on October 15 from 10a to about 10p at Desert Breeze Park.  Tickets are $9 (those under age 5 are free), but if you bring a canned food item for City Mission of Las Vegas you'll get $1 off the ticket price!

Chairs and coolers are NOT permitted, but you are allowed bring a blanket and ONE unopened bottle of water.  One more thing to note - there is NO re-entry.  If you leave, you must pay again to come back in, but there's no reason to leave anyway.  Port-a-potties are all over (including those big, nice ones with running water), there's food and drinks a-plenty, there are designated smoking areas (just make sure you use one of them - the event is smoke-free), the entertainment will thrill, and you'll have plenty of company.

More information here, from KMXB.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #12: Davis Park

Davis Park
2796 Redwood St

- Acres of green space
- Trees (and pinecones, which my kid seemed fond of)
- Two baby swings
- A couple of good toddler-size slides
- Picnic areas

- Didn't see restrooms
- No splash pad
- The playground equipment was in rough shape (unsafe even - there was a plastic bubble to look through up on the equipment that had a jagged hole in it)
- Dog poo and one mysterious broken raw egg in the play area
And the big one...
- We did not feel safe (at about 8 am on a Sunday morning)

When we arrived at the park there was a guy rollerblading around the park with an enormous dog, another guy sleeping in the grass, and a lady sitting on top of a picnic table.  While we were on the playground the rollerblader approached us for no apparent reason.  He was outwardly friendly, but something bothered me about the encounter.  While there's nothing specific I can point to about the morning that made us feel unsafe, I can say without a doubt that we won't return to the park (the list of pros is pretty pathetic anyway).  I didn't feel comfortable near any of the people at the park.  We stayed only 10 minutes, and that was probably 9 too long.  We won't return.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #11: Paseos Park

Paseos Park, 12122 Desert Moon in Summerlin

- Awesome splash pad
- Acres of green space
- Walking path
- Large, well kept playground equipment
- Ball fields (for small kids...go too far in the oufield and you hit pretty substantial hills on both fields, one up and one down)
- Awesome offroad bike path for little kids
- Sand to play in **see cons
- Picnic areas and sand volleyball

- No swings
- Crowded (we arrived around 9 am on a weekend and it was quiet.  By 10 am it was packed)
- A couple let their dogs play on the splash pad.  Hopefully that's a rare occurance
- **Sand had several pieces of trash in it.  We wouldn't let C play in it.  It had potential, but wasn't worth it since it was kind of dirty.

Once again, we didn't go in the restrooms, so I can't judge them.  This is a terrific park, and we'd love to go there more often.  The only drawback that would change that is the popularity of the park.  It just got too crowded, to the point of being unsafe on the splash pad for my toddler.  Older kids were darting through the crowd and nearly took out my kid a time or two.  Next time we'll go earlier.

A word about the splash pad:  This is a large splash pad in great condition.  Next time we go there I'll put C in a swim diaper and turn him loose.  Unlike other area splash pads, it is impossible to play here without getting soaked (part of the fun, right?).  My former favorite splash pad - Red Ridge Park - is in considerably worse condition than it was when I reviewed it.  I suspect that they don't do major upkeep until it closes for the season, but we won't go back until it's been repaired (some of the mat is torn up, leaving a large chunk of exposed, slick pavement and a large cup that continuously fills and spills has been broken off).  Conversely, the splash pad at The Paseos is in perfect condition, as far as I could tell.

Dirty-ish sand

view of Red Rock

kids' bike path

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #10: Dr. Harry B. Johnson's Rose Garden Park

Las Vegas Park Review:  Dr. Harry B. Johnson's Rose Garden Park
Somerset Hills Ave. (Southern Highlands) between San Sicily St. and Lago Tierra St.

- Pretty rose garden
- Double fenced playground and green space
- Well-maintained playground equipment
- Little splash pad (though we were there too early to use it*)

- Spiders
- *Splash pad doesn't operate until 10 am
- No swings
- Playground, while rated for kids as young as 2, was really more for bigger kids

This is a really nice little park.  We had it all to ourselves, with the exception of a couple of people playing with their dogs in the green space.  The playground equipment was really nice, if a bit too big for C.  C was disappointed that the splash pad didn't operate until 10 am (we were there around 8), but he loved looking at the birds and running around in the rose garden, smelling flowers.  I loved the trees and flowers, but hated the spiders.  There was an enormous one on a slide and webs all over in the garden.  That probably wouldn't bother a reasonable person, but I'm afraid of spiders and you can't convince me to like them.  There were restrooms available, but we didn't use them.  We felt completely safe, although there was no security.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Band Battle for Bite 2011

Mix 94.1's Band Battle for Bite will be held September 15, 2011 at the House of Blues.  Bands making the top 8 of all entries will compete to be among the top 4 who get to play for thousands at Bite of Las Vegas in October 15!  Local bands, it's not too late.  You have until August 31, 2011 to enter.  Go here for details.  Everybody else, go see the Battle and root on your favorite local band.  Who knows, in a couple of years you might have to pay $150 to see any one of these bands in concert.  Why not see them as they get their big chance?

Stay tuned, the line-up for Bite, with the exception of the local bands, will be announced on Monday morning (08/29/11)!  I hear it's a good one.   

More Books for Toddlers

A few months ago I found a clearanced DVD of children's stories put out by Scholastic at TJ Max (still available for quite a lot more here). 

Each story is under 10 minutes long, and it's great because C feels like he got to see a movie, and he's really only been in front of the TV for a few minutes.  Included on the DVD is The Paperboy, written by Dav Pilkey.  C loves it mostly for the dog, but to me there's something is so lovely and nostalgic about it (it could be that newspapers are rapidly dying, and with them goes the classic childhood job of paperboy).  Anyway, it's possible that much of the allure is in the masterful narration by Forest Whitaker and accompanying music bed, but the illustrations (also by Pilkey) are enchanting, so I suspect the book would be pretty great, too.  This is my favorite line: "...instead he is thinking about other things.  Big things...and small things...and sometimes he is thinking about nothing at all."  And this one, "All the world is asleep except the paperboy and his dog, and this is the time when they are the happiest."  There is something so innocent about it that I love, especially when it seems that children are growing up far too soon.  A boy, his dog, the moon and stars, and a boy's thoughts.  So sweet.

Incidently, The Paperboy won a Caldecott Honor Award.  Fun fact:  Some of the illustrations were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's painting, The Starry Night.

Next up is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (author of another good one, Sleepyhead) and illustrated by Jane Chapman (also an award-winner).

This one is a fun story about a group of animals that take refuge from a storm in a sleeping bear's lair.  They have a party, and the bear wakes up.  It's both adorable and fun to read.  C loves the mouse in particular.  Here is my favorite illustration:


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Las Vegas Park Review #9: Ridgebrook Park

It's been a long time coming, but here's park review #9:  Ridgebrook Park, 3600 Ridgehollow Dr

- nice grass
- well-maintained playground equipment
- tidy
- seriously the friendliest people go there *see below
- toddler-sized and themed splash pad
- shade, glorious shade
- nice looking tennis and basketball courts

- um, is this a neighborhood only park?  is it okay that we were there?
- ants
- *seriously, the snottiest people go there.

* Okay, so right when we arrived at the park two ladies darted by us (they were walking laps) and shot us dirty looks (perhaps this is a park intended only for neighborhood use??) when I said hello.  They proceeded around the park and shot eye daggers at us each time.  HOWEVER, a lady, her mother, and two adorable twin daughters were playing at the park and were delightful.  C and I thoroughly enjoyed their company.  What did they say on The Facts of Life?  You take the good, you take the bad.....

Once again, we didn't go into the restrooms, but the building itself seemed nice.  The park is very much in a neighborhood, with houses all around.  We felt safe (on a weekday morning), though I didn't see security of any kind. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Surviving pregnancy unscathed

I've said before that I was blessed to have an incredibly pleasant pregnancy.  There are a thousand things to worry about during pregnancy, and somehow I was lucky enough to avoid them all.  A few matters, though, I took into my own hands.  I'm no expert, but the following saved me from some of the unpleasantries of pregnancy:

1.  I worked out 4-6 days per week (**do so only under the guidance of your physician**).  I'd been doing so for a few years prior to my pregnancy, and I continued with my workout regimen for several months into my pregnancy.  Around week 28 I reduced my weight lifting (I had been taking BodyPump, with some adapted forms for pregnant women) because one knee started bothering me and replaced it with additional cardio (often an elliptical trainer since my center of gravity changed and I felt most stable on the elliptical).  I also quit playing tennis (BB had been teaching me) right away and stopped riding my bike after about 4 months.
2.  I ate only organic produce and dairy products, mostly organic meats, and mostly wild seafood to protect my baby.  You'll hear a lot of naysayers when you mention organics, but no one can make a solid argument FOR consuming chemicals/pesticides/etc.
3.  I used Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Balm daily.  I can't prove that this did anything other than reduce the itching many women feel when their skin starts stretching, but I ended up with only two small stretch marks that showed up during the last few weeks when the baby dropped.  My belly rarely itched.
4.  I ate Kashi Go Lean cereals every day.  I'm positive that this saved me from some uncomfortable and sort of embarassing problems.  You know the ones I mean.  The taste and texture were fine for me, but could take some getting used to if you normally eat sugary cereals.  I also liked to carry either an apple or Fiber One bar in my bag when we were out and about.
5.  I paid close attention to the ingredient list on everything I ate.  Common sense.  There were a few exceptions, like the fiber bars (I didn't suffer from cravings, but I did have a week or so where I wanted Cheetos.  I had them.)
6.  I went to every doctor's appointment without exception. 
7.  I never let myself think that I shouldn't be accountable for everything I did or ate because of my "condition."  I often hear people blame irrational or irresponsible behaviors on pregnancy horomones.  BS.  Of course pregnancy horomones will come into play, but it's no excuse for lashing out, eating uncontrollably, or otherwise behaving in ways that could hurt the baby or mother. 
8.  I read pregnancy blogs and books and took classes.  Preparation breeds empowerment.
9.  I was easy on myself.  I let myself worry in short doses about the future and untold numbers of terribly possibilities (IN SHORT DOSES, then I moved on). 

All of this, plus some good genes and good fortune led to an enjoyable pregnancy.  Obviously these things won't work for everyone, and yes, bad thing happen to good people, but it worked for me.

There are a few ways in which I could've made my pregnancy easier and more fun.  In retrospect, we shouldn't have been shopping for and buying a house at that time - it was stressful.  I also should've asked BB to help me (he would've been glad to, but I never asked and ended up doing the cooking and cleaning and errand running I always did throught my pregnancy) and should've babied myself a bit with a few massages, etc.  Still, no complaints.

Any tips I missed?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tiffany blue

I've been considering switching from navy to Tiffany blue accents in my bedroom, so of course I had to visit the Tiffany web site.  You know, just to get the color right in my head.  Anyway, I accidently found a few things I may need......

Tiffany Infinity Ring, $125

Tiffany Twist Bow Ring, $250

Tiffany Twist Ring, $475
I regained control after looking at a few rings, though I'm sure I'll be back for more "window" shopping soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DIY car seat cooler

When we switched from a backward to a forward facing car seat that would stay in the car, I started looking for solutions to the inevitable bun burn that occurs upon returning to the car after even just a few minutes on a 100+ degree day.  Here in the desert we have months of 100+ degree days and a few 110+ degree days just for fun every year, and it's easy to get actual burns from seat belts, etc. when you get in the car.  Enter the ladies at eighteen25.  Also desert-dwellers, they posted a tutorial to make an adorable car seat, which I promptly pinned

** Important note:  I'm no seamstress.  I can sew a straight line.  Sometimes.  I don't know proper sewing terminology and I don't like to measure.  If there's a sewing shortcut, I'll take it, however ill-advised.

I used laminated cotton so I could just wipe it down.  The fabric is Nicey Jane Laminated Cotton Lindy Leaf Blue from (currently $15.98/yd). 

Using the car seat as my guide, I cut the fabric to roughly 39" x 56".  I cut it 56" wide so I could just fold it over and save myself one seam. 

the layout

Next I cut six slits through one side (which will be the "back").  These will eventually be the slots for freezer packs.  In order to prevent the slits from fraying or ripping, I made bias tape from some scrap white cotton and sewed it on (I think it could be classified as bias tape.  Am I wrong??). 

Slits to insert ice packs
My car has head rests in the back seat, so next I sewed ribbons to the top inside edge of the cover so I can tie it to the head rest bars so it won't just slump down into the seat. 
ribbons to tie to head rest
 Next step, I basically sewed the whole thing into a pillowcase, leaving a gap at the top (between the ribbons) so I could turn it right side out.  Then I sewed closed the gap.
the back after sewing sort of a pillowcase
 At this point I thought I was some sort of genius.  I'd had no problems despite winging the whole thing.  Ahem.  I'm no genius.  The next step was to sew vertical and horizontal lines to hold the ice packs in place.  All I needed was three vertical lines (one down the middle and one on each side - the ice packs would go between the lines, three on each side) and three horizontal lines.  It turns out the laminated cotton wouldn't feed through my sewing machine.  Apparently a walking foot would've worked, but I don't have one.  I attempted to get some traction by laying down a strip of blue painters tape and sewing over it, but it still didn't feed properly and the tape didn't come off well.  It really loosened my stitches when I removed the tape.    Foiled by straight lines.  In the end I pulled my fabric through, which resulted in ugly, uneven stitches, but stitches that held.  I also sewed the bare minimum required to hold the ice packs (rather than sewing all the way across).

Done, folded, and tied.  Ready for the freezer.

In the car
 Listen, I'm first to admit that this wasn't well thought out, but it didn't turn out to be a total disaster.  It'll work, and it is cute unless you take a close look at the stitches and puckering.  In retrospect, I should've read up on laminated cotton before I bought it.  It wasn't a total bust, though.  C's bottom, back, and arms are oh-so-comfortable while I steer with a kleenex barrier between my hand and the steering wheel. 

Read more tales of pins coming to life here:

bower power
style by Emily Henderson
making a house a home
young house love (which links to a lot of other completed, Pinterest inspired projects)

*Follow-up, August 16, 2011.
We've been using this awhile now, and it's actually pretty great.  I made it wide enough and long enough to cover the entire seat and sides, and that, my friends, was a wise decision.