Tuesday, October 21, 2014

6 Trends I’m Not Buying



  1.  Capsule wardrobe. I’m pregnant. My entire wardrobe is a capsule. I wear the same maternity dresses and jeans plus one pair of gray corduroy pants. Oh and leggings. So you better believe that once I’m done with this being pregnant foolishness, I’m going to wear all sorts of frivolous things that don’t involve elastic waists. (caveat: lots of people seem to really think the concept of a capsule wardrobe is great. And that's really good for them, just not my cup of tea.)
  2. Veganism. Lucan and I ate 7 pieces of bacon last night. Lance had 2. We don’t believe in veganism unless it involves bacon.
  3. Pumpkin everything. I bought one can of pumpkin. I might make a loaf of pumpkin bread and call it good. We went to the pumpkin patch last weekend and I thought it was entirely overrated and overpriced. It should be noted that Lance and Lucan thought it was a lot more fun than I did, so it could be pregnant crabby lady too …
  4. iPhone 6. Duh, I just got my first iPhone 5c over Labor Day, so I’m sure as not getting a new phone for a good long time. Besides Lance won’t let me.
  5. Decorating for Halloween. First off, spiders creep me out. As do scary witches and masks. Second off, who has time to do all that decorating? Or the space? I put out a few gourds, pumpkins and colored leaves for “autumn” and call it good. Lasts me September through November.
  6.  Mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. You can’t fool me. There’s no carby goodness hiding in those “faux-potatoes.” I have no issue with cauliflower. Just don’t try and trick me and say it’s a potato. Momma didn’t raise no fool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Humor: Cloud Dough-Paste Sensory Activity



Lucan is having more and more fun doing “activities,” which is great. He wants to play and interact and use his imagination – all good things. I know that sometimes it’s easiest to just plop him in the living room and tell him to play with his toys, but activities that require a little planning and momma forethought have been really good for us. I’ve been really thankful for Angela at teachingmama.org for ideas. Angela is one of those fantastic moms who always has something fun up their sleeves. Me, not so much. Angela and her family used to attend the same church as us before moving to a new town. She’s fantastic!

Anywho, Angela is one of my go-to resources for things to do with Lucan on Saturday mornings. One of the preschool sensory activities that I’ve seen floating around was Cloud Dough. Two ingredients: flour and oil. Easy peasy. Angela recommended using baby oil as it smells better. No problem, baby oil comes cheap and isn’t hard to find (unlike liquid watercolors, another story for another day). There was a weekday I was home with a sick Lucan (day two of antibiotics so technically he wasn’t “contagious” so I didn’t feel awful about dragging him out in public ) so we decided to head out to Wal-Mart to purchase some art supplies to keep us occupied. Baby oil was an easy addition to our cart. Much easier than the contemplation that took place in the tempera paint aisle.  

But a batch of cloud dough is ½ cup oil and 4 cups of flour and then mixing it up with your hands. No problem. Easy. I got a couple of containers, measuring spoons and a set of silicon ice cube trays (which I bought over a year ago with the plan to make crayon shapes) for Lucan to use to play with the cloud dough. He enjoyed it well enough. It wasn’t exactly life changing, but it was fine. Messy, but fine. We played on the deck so the mess didn’t really overly concern me. 

Cloud dough while it was still "dough."

 However problems started later that day when Lucan went out (unsupervised) to the backyard/deck to play with his water table and water table toys. Generally speaking, no problem. I can see his water table from our kitchen window while I’m washing dishes. On this particular day, Lance and I were trying to finish up some salsa canning and had put our huge vat of canning water out on the deck as a measure to NOT heat up the house even more. Unbeknownst to me, Lucan started transporting copious amounts of water using his watering can into the plastic tub we had used earlier for cloud dough. We all know that flour + water = paste. 

Cloud dough as glue paste. Just add water!

Sticky icky paste. Paste that was everywhere. While I didn’t have the massive conniption that Lance did (because how much harm can come of flour paste that’s being played with outside?), I certainly wasn’t happy that we weren’t going to be able to have a second cloud dough playtime. Lance, on the other hand, saw the sticky paste that was getting all over our wood deck that was going to have to be sprayed off with a hose to get rid of the gunk. This is probably where Lance deemed the cloud dough as the WORSE IDEA EVER. Talk about drama queen. And people say I have a flair for the dramatic. 

So in the future if you want to play with cloud dough, go for it! Just don’t add water.

Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Thankful Things in August and 30 Things in September (and pictures to boot!)


  1. Celebrating the life of our friend, Ron. Witnessing the family’s strength and gratitude at a sad time.
  2. Not dying at the Iowa State Fair. My pregnant body cannot handle 10 hours of walking. Nope, not at all.
  3. Bauders Peppermint Ice Cream bar. Every year it’s the highlight of my State Fair experience.
  4. Finding fantastic furniture for Lucan’s big boy room off of Craigslist. Lance later confessed that he had some reservations about being able to reassemble it correctly as the woman had already started taking it apart when they picked it up and had thrown away the instructions. Lance always acts a little surprised when I tell him that I have zero doubts about his handy abilities.
  5. Regaining some energy that was lost in the first trimester (I’m sure it will be gone again next month as I’m rounding third base for trimester three)
  6. Saving $20 on an Aveda Institute haircut by finding an old, buried coupon.
  7. Holy garden goodness. We were blessed to pick out of one of our friend’s gardens and they had an abundance of raspberries and tomatoes. The raspberries became homemade raspberry muffins and the tomatoes were turned into salsa. Yum!
  8. Sweet ice cream deals ($1.99 for Breyers!!)
  9. Discovering that Lucan likes hardboiled eggs (when did that happen?)
  10. Having a friend and her son stop over for a super low key supper and playdate (that’s you Molls)
  11. Lucan named our baby GIRL “Paco.” No idea where he got that.
  12. Spending time with all of our immediate family (mom/dad; MIL/FIL; BIL/SIL +2 kiddos; BIL/SIL) in the timespan of 10 days. Lucan adores getting to visit all of our family members.
  13. Fun evening out with Jessie and Lincoln at Urbandale’s Night Out. Note to future self: go at the start of the event and don’t wait until the end to go down the bounce house slide. They shut down promptly at 7pm.
  14. Work freebies for Lance. Because my workplace doesn’t believe in freebies. Or fun.
  15. God’s provision for a job for me. The client I work for did not renew their contract for 2015 but I have been promised that I’ll still have a job on another account.
  16. The start of three year-old preschool. Yes, totally missed the memo that Lucan was officially starting preschool this fall. #momfail
  17. Two pintrest wins – toddler glitter bottle and frozen chocolate covered banana bites! (and one fail when Lucan decided to add a gallon of water to his cloud dough and basically make glue on the deck. Lance was super pissed about the mess.)
  18. Days off – one day off because Lucan had strep and two more days off just because.
  19. Fun baby/pregnancy conversations with my neighbor.
  20. Tons of food from Olive Garden for $25 (soup, salad, breadsticks, chicken alfredo and three baked zitis). Gotta love online specials and takeout!
  21. Art projects with Lucan at home. I totally get why pintrest is awesome. He’s so enthusiastic and loves them!
  22. Library books.
  23. Tomatoes +basil = Kara’s everlasting love and the reason I garden.
  24. Our yard looks fantastic. There’s never been a better August for our yard. Probably has something to do with the massive amount of rain we’ve had this month. Good golly pop lolly (taken from Skippy John Jones)
  25. Swimming at my parents’ house.
  26. Sweet toddler kisses.
  27. Lance had a chance to go see the Twins powerhouse hitter play in a local game. And I didn’t have to go and sit through a baseball game. I win.
  28. Lucan learned how to take a shower. That cuts a solid half hour out of bath routines!
  29. Hwy 141 garage sales and making my first pink purchases
  30. Last day in church nursery until baby girl makes her appearance (um, if you’ve been in our shoes, you know this is a huge thing!)
  31. JD Greear ‘s Bible study, Hebrews: Christ is Better.
    We attended Urbandale's "Night Out" and it was a little chaotic to say the least. Advice for next year, go early. We missed the opportunity to go down the bounce house slide and Lu was disappointed. But we had fun with Jessie and Lincoln. And climbing around on the firetruck and ambulance.

    We have a sudden interest in "art projects." It's actually been a really good thing. As long as I take proper precautions, painting keeps him occupied for a good half hour. And make sure he's properly smocked and not mixing black paint into everything (because he's a boy)

    This is the magic cloud dough that we played with out on the deck. Lu and I had fun scooping it and feeling the softness.

    Lucan the proceeded to have more fun later adding water and making soup. Lance deemed this "the worse project EVER." When you mix flour, baby oil and water you get paste. Everywhere. Apparently Lance and his two brothers never made any messes as little boys ...

    Little boy LOVES swimming in Gramper's "big pool." Lu was the only kiddo at the family reunion so he and Lance had the pool to themselves.
    This boy is fearless. And loves swimming.

    Sheer delight.

    There are times (okay more than "times") when I feel bad that Lu is in daycare. But he's learning SO much and has fun. This was the present his teacher "Miss Patricia" gave all of her students on the first day.

    Okay, so I didn't get an actual "first day of preschool" picture. One day after preschool I asked Lucan to sit on the stoop so I could take his preschool picture. This is what I got.


    After a little prompting, I got this picture. Not fantastic, but a definite improvement. Side note: it took a magic eraser to get off my chalk marker. Not impressed.
    Lu's big boy bed. After months of searching, I found a great deal on craigslist for Lu's new bed, headboard and dresser. We've actually decided to keep him with his current dresser and give little sister the other dresser as it's bigger. I also conducted a massive online search to find a more reasonably priced version of the PB Kids quilt I was in love with. $129 is a lot to spend on a kids quilt. I do still want to purchase adorable sheets, but somehow I think Lance will be ticked at the $80 I want to spend ... but I bought the quilt and pillow sham off of craigslist aka: my new bestie.
    30 September Blessings
    1. The birth of a friend’s twin baby girls AND the announcement of TWO other friends who are also expecting twins in the spring! Wowzers!
    2. The birthdays of my daddy-o, my aunt, my sis-in-law and a cousin.
    3. Apples, apples and more apples. Lance’s aunt gave us a ton and Lu had fun with his first apple picking experience. Now onto homemade applesauce and canning.
    4. Finding out that my placenta issue has cleared up – huge blessing and relief!
    5. Lots of family time. Baby shower, first birthday party, family meals together.
    6. A fantastic “Favorite Things” cooking club at my house. The frantic cleaning and staying up to close to midnight 3 nights running wasn’t one of my “favorite things” but it was such a fun party!
    7. 2nd birthday party of this kiddo.
    8. Fall weather.
    9. Rocking out my half birthday to the tune of ½ a gallon of root beer, ½ a gallon of vanilla bean ice cream (root beer floats yo!), ½ a pound of chocolate covered peanuts, ½ a pound of chocolate covered pretzels, ½ pound of Hot Tamales and ½ a pound of trail mix. My husband loves me.
    10. Getting iPhones! Hello 2014!
    11. A super fun Saturday at the Blank Park Zoo. Lucan was obsessed with wanting to ride the train (no big surprise there) while Lance wasn’t really down with wanting to spend the extra $$. But I kindly reminded Lance that these are the things in life that are really special to Lucan and won’t break the bank. But the weather was gorgeous and we ran into our friends, Nate, Molly and Isaac.
    12. The return of “Person of Interest.” Tuesday nights at 9 pm you will find me parked on my couch.
    13. Super sweet hugs from Lucan and super sweet hugs for baby Paco (Lucan’s doing, not mine)
    14. Story time at the library. Lu is at the age where he loves when Momma or Daddy spend the extra time with him there. I’m really trying to cherish our special one-on-one time with him.
    15. Our yard looks fantastic. This also means that it keeps raining. This means we have to mow. That’s a downer.
    16. An Iowa State victory over Iowa. It wasn’t a pretty game, but a W is still a W.
    17. Pregnancy leggings. They are, by far, the most comfortable maternity item I own.
    18. Fun co-workers. Work can be a drag sometimes, but fun co-workers help immensely.
    19. The end of baseball season. Baseball season is like a frickin’ triple marathon.
    20. Parenting class: Working through behavioral challenges God’s way. It’s been really enlightening and helpful. Lucan’s at a really good age for this class – old enough to realize there are things we can do better but young enough to still be moldable.
    21. Winning: a hobo bags wallet giveaway. $88 value! Score!
    22. Vintage Michael Jackson music randomly playing at work.
    23. Fruit infused water. Yum!
    24. Pintrest fails – they keep you humble.
    25. Successfully sewing a cute minky baby blanket for my SIL under tight turnaround time.
    26. Wedding invitations.
    27. Having a light bulb moment and figuring out that I can use my old tripod on my new camera.
    28. Apple cider (or Simply Apple juice that tastes like cider)
    29. Meeting a childhood friend’s son for the first time and having our similarly aged sons hit it off
    30. Air conditioning. Because I’m pregnant and hot, so I deserve air conditioning. 



    Swinging at the "school bus park" after story time.

    All decked out for the ISU versus Iowa football game.

    These two crazy kiddos would dance on tables if we let them. They're going to be wild children if we ever let them be college roommates.

    This was our last day in nursery for Lucan. I won't lie, I'm thankful.

    Sometimes Lance hits one out of the park. He's notorious for excellent half birthday presents. Not so much for Mother's Day. 

    This was my stack from the library one weekend. You can bet that I heard a lot of complaints from Lance about how heavy his bag was coming from the library.

    Evening walk around the block. It was some of the first truly "fall-like" weather.

    Such a cool cat. We're on our way to the DM zoo.

    Feeding the "hungry" goats. Lucan got upset when he couldn't feed the specific goat he wanted to. Mainly he wanted to feed the goats that were smaller because they were "hungry." Precious boy, none of the zoo goats are hungry!

    And at the same time, he wanted to feed specific goldfish and got sad when another fish ate the food.

    Lance was appalled by how gross the koi were.

    Lucan the kangaroo.

    Loving the train ride with daddy.

    Feed the birds. He wanted to feed the birds he thought were the hungriest. Of course these would be the ones farthest away.


    Family selfie.


    His favorite exhibit were the river otters. They would swoop down through the water and pop up. They were pretty funny!


    In true lance fashion, eyes shut.

    Surprise! I'm a joey!

    Lucan derives great joy in being "a big helper." That nights particular task was shucking corn. About 4 more ears than I had originally planned because "big helper" didn't want to stop.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why not: Lucan's 3 Year Stats (written in June)

I wrote this, well, a way long time ago after his birthday in June and never got around to publishing it. So better months and months late, than never, right?



Stats: 32 pounds, 38 inches tall, 51% percentile for height and weight. 

Wearing: Some 3T shirts, some 4T jammies and a lot of his 2T pants and shorts. This kiddo has thinned out some and his baby belly is diminishing. 

Milestones: The announcement of a baby brother or sister coming in December! Being 95% potty trained. We still put him in a pull-up at night, but he consistently stays dry during the day and through naps. We are careful to limit how much he gets to drink in the evening. If we watch fluid intake, he’ll wake up dry in the morning. We survived our longest road trip to date: driving to Michigan last summer. He’s on his third daycare since turning two. That must be some sort of new record. But the daycare center has turned out to be our best decision to date. No regrets. Lucan tells all of his teachers, by name, “bye bye” at the end of the day. Attending his first big screen movie, Frozen.

Eating: Lu loves candy. I can’t say that I’m surprised. He loves grapes and blueberries, chocolate milk, vanilla ice cream with chocolate on it (like Papa!), scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, bacon, peanut butter, frosting, peas, edamame, granola bars, lunchmeat, popsicles, string cheese, blueberry yogurt, mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken noodle soup, veggie beef soup, hot dogs, chicken McDonalds (chicken mcnuggets – GROSS), French fries, popcorn, sweet corn, queso dip, STEAK.  Man, can that kiddo pound steak like no one’s business.

Consistent dislikes: green peppers, onions, tomato soup, salsa, indian food.

Occasional dislikes: green beans, beets, focaccia bread, toast, pizza, non-string cheese.

Sleeping:  One nap. At school naptime is at 12:30PM. At home it’s 1:30PM. Most days he’ll sleep a solid two hours, sometimes on the weekends if we’ve had a busy morning he’ll sleep 2.5-3 hours. At night Lu goes down around 8:30PM and will sleep through the night unless he’s sick. Then all bets are off. Usual wake-up time is around 7:15AM, but sometimes Lucan will surprise us by sleeping in until 8AM or horrify us by creeping into our room at 6:30AM on a Saturday.

Saying: Everything. This kiddo is a talker. Non-stop chatter. And if you don’t respond quick enough, he’ll just repeat himself louder and louder until you do acknowledge him. And because I’m biased, I think his speech is pretty good and that he speaks pretty clearly. Lucan remembers people’s names and will bring them up in conversation. He’ll talk about his daycare teachers, his friends at church, our grown-up friends, our friends at small group, his grandparents, his cousins, his aunts and uncles, people that Lance and I are talking about in a conversation, basically everyone is Lu’s friend. It’s a cute age.

Some of the funnier things I’ve overheard from Lucan: “Grammer (grandma), I love you all the time.” “Mommy, no more snacks!” “I naughty. I hit and push. I do better TOMORROW.” “I’m a genius.” “I’m adorable.” “I don’t smell! You smell Mommy! (trying to convince him it’s bath time)

Loves: his favorite green blankie, construction equipment, farm equipment, trains, Daniel Tiger, Curious George, play dough, hiding under blankets, riding bikes, bounce houses. 
  • Lu also loves to be “a big helper.” Usually this comes in the form of helping me with supper or helping Lance outside with yard stuff. Lucan will tell both of us solemnly “I’m a big helper.” He likes to use about two gallons of water to wash potatoes. But it keeps him happy and distracted, so I’m not complaining about the water bill.
  • Lu goes through favorite book phases: Pigeon books, Thomas the Train books, Goodnight Goodnight Construction site, Daisy books. He loves being sung to; some of his favorite songs are: Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle, Hickory Dickory Dock, Jesus Loves the Little Children, The Wise Man Built his House Upon a Rock.
  •  Lu loves church and the singing. I think Lucan thinks it’s fun to see our friends there.
  • Technology. I know some parents don’t let their children watch television or play with computers or iPhones or iPads. We are not those parents. Lucan loves anything with a screen. He especially loves playing the game “Minion Rush” on the iPad. He’s awful, but not as bad as I am. He calls the minions “marshmallows.”
Dislikes: getting ready for bed or naptime. Sleeping in his bed (he wants to sleep on the floor).  
  • Clocks (he especially dislikes my parents’ grandfather’s clock).
  • THUNDER. Lucan’s terrified of storms. There was a major storm that came through last fall during the day while Lucan was at daycare. I kind of get the idea that our daycare provider had a mini meltdown and caused all of the kiddos to panic a bit. As a result Lucan will watch the skies very closely for any impending inclement weather and ask us if it’s going to rain. We’ve reassured him several times that Mom and Dad will keep him safe, but he still gets really worried.
  • Then there’s the gimmies: listening to Mom and Dad, being told “no” or having to end something that’s really fun.
When I grow up ... I want to be a firetruck. This morning it was a dinosaur.
Playing pretend at school, going to the grocery store: I buy raisins. (everyone else chose stuff like milk, cookies, apples. True to Lucan, he bought raisins. Lance was proud.)