Sunday, March 31, 2013

{Holiday: Easter}

In anticipation of Baby Vang's arrival, my mom flew in to town at the beginning of last week.  To compound the excitement and chaos, my sister is temporarily crashing here to avoid the annoying and expensive (have you people seen these gas prices?!) 30 minute drive between her home and mine while our mom is visiting.  We are still patiently anticipating Baby, but in the mean time we've found plenty of fun activities to distract ourselves.

This year we decided to go big with the Easter egg decorating.  We littered the table with crayons and stickers and set about our plans.  As our kit suggested, we dissolved the dye tablets in lemon juice before adding water to try and dye our eggs vibrant colors.  This seemed to work well for the color pink, but that was about it in my opinion.  I also attempted making a glitter egg, but that mostly resulted in a mess of glitter on my fingers and very little on the egg.

We even tried to dye some wooden eggs, but they float!  Who knew?!  People smarter than me, that's who.  Needless to say, Anders was unimpressed.

After that disgruntled expression, I asked Anders to 'show me his eyes' hoping he would just look at me normally or smile... the result was not exactly the shot I was going for.

Really the activity that Anders found most entertaining was playing with the wooden eggs in his own bowl of water 'dye'.  That way he could dunk them and yell 'dip' over and over to his little heart's delight, which he found absolutely thrilling.

Here he is giving me some Easter 'cheeeeeese'.

Dying eggs requires ultimate concentration.

He wasn't exactly an expert at using the cheap, wire egg dipper, but he didn't let that get him down.

The newest and most exciting Easter egg decorating we attempted this year was silk dying the eggs with old ties and scarves (there are tons of tutorials online), and it actually worked!  They turned out beautifully!  We'll definitely be trying this again next year.

Before and after...

Now for the fun part - hiding them all for Anders to find!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

{Weekend Update: Man's Work}

It was absolutely beautiful outside today, cool but perfectly sunny with very little wind.  I don't mean to boast that spring is already here in Texas, but it undoubtedly is.  My phone reminded me all day that this isn't the case in most places, my social media accounts flooded with pictures of children building snowmen and friends smiling on the slopes.  And while I am grateful for the warmer weather, I must admit that short winters make for much yard work.  I'm still waiting to inherit my parents' green thumbs, so all of the weeding and watering is rather cumbersome.

I can't complain though because my awesome husband takes care of most outdoor work around our house.  Even though his lawn equipment only gets a few short months off during the year, he insists that seasonal maintenance is key.  So today he walked Anders through a proper tune-up before the first mow of 2013.

You have to change the oil...

and gas up.

Feel free to congratulate yourself on a job well done when your project is complete.

It is so much fun to watch Andreas teach Anders (okay let's be real - this was more a demo than actual instruction)!  I can't wait to see what other valuable lessons my sons learn from their Far.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

{Bump Watch}

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant.  The Final Countdown, anthem of the 80's hair band Europe, is on repeat in my head (if you don't understand this reference I urge you to Google and enjoy - disclaimer, it will get stuck in your head too!).  It's totally normal that I'm channelling a Swedish rock band since this baby is half Scandinavian, right?

Anyway, at this point the idea of taking pictures of myself seems like unjust punishment.  38 weeks may look good on some people, but I am not one of them.  To avoid the terror of close-ups and full-body shots, this week I recruited a cuter model to pose with me.

And since I haven't done a Week in Review post in a while, I thought I would give you guys a quick update on our lives. I have no idea how to work these random ideas into a cohesive paragraph, so instead you're getting a couple of simplified Perks and Peeves lists.

-On a couple of different nights last week Anders spiked an abnormally high fever. I couldn't identify any other symptoms, and an initial trip to the doctor validated my confusion. Anders' caring and capable doctors didn't want to send us away without a resolution, which I greatly appreciate. However, this meant that our Friday and Saturday included no less than three doctor visits, a blood sample, a catheter, two shots, and several equally painful credit card swipes towards our deductible. The good news is that it doesn't appear to be anything serious, just ear infections, although we are still waiting on results from the blood culture.
-My OB took the week off to enjoy a luxurious trip to France with her daughter for Spring Break, which meant no update on Baby Vang. I actually had an appointment yesterday though where I learned I'm measuring 42 weeks and showing very little progress. Not exactly the news I was hoping for, but at least we are healthy!  
-The pregnancy swelling is in full effect. I walked Anders to the park and returned without my ankles. It took two full days for my feet to regain any sort of recognizable shape.

-The weather this weekend was phenomenal. We worked in the yard, planted flowers, threw the frisbee, and grilled out twice. Spring is almost here!
-I got my pre-baby pedicure. Now I love a pedicure on a normal day, but a pedicure is pure heaven for 38 week pregnant, elephant feet. I completely believe this aided in the reduction of my swelling. Oh, and the $5 salt scrub that bought me fifteen extra minutes of massaging? Worth. Every. Penny.
-My sister returned from visiting my parents. I am always excited to have her around, but especially appreciated the fact that she stuck around after her flight to babysit Anders so I could go to the doctor and get some work done. Thanks, Hannah!

There you have it, our week in a nutshell.  Who knows how many more of these Bump Watch posts are coming.  He can't stay in there forever...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

{10 on 10}

It's time for another installment of 10 on 10, documenting a snapshot of your life and finding beauty among the ordinary things in your day.  Except in this case, it's 10 on 11.  I didn't realize it was March 10th until it was too late, but let's not get caught up in semantics.

Our day started off bright and early taking my sister to the airport.  Lucky for us, we were going against traffic for the most part.  

Lately we've been working to get the nursery ready for the little guy's arrival (room reveal to come soon), and this weekend that included raising the crib mattress.  Shortly after doing so we were beckoned into the room by Anders, who was extremely proud to demonstrate his ability to crawl into the crib.  Yesterday morning he was ready to show off his bouncing skills again.

Little brother's room has actually become one of the most interesting places to play in the house.  This makes sense of course, because toddlers are magically drawn to areas you've recently cleaned.  So, as I disinfect, wash, clean, and sterilize, Anders does his best to play with every teething toy, pull every blanket out of the dresser, and test the weight limit on bouncers and swings.  Yesterday he decided the laundry basket was far more entertaining than the toys inside.

After all that morning activity, a nutritious lunch was in order.  I mean, what better way to energize your Monday than Trader Joe's blueberry waffles and Justin Timberlake on SNL?  

Image borrowed from
Anders didn't take much of a nap, which I'm sure had nothing to do with his previous syrup intake.  After a nice rest time for him and work time for me, we decided to redeem ourselves with some afternoon 'juice'.  Frozen strawberries + a kiwi + blackberries + a handfull of spinach + Greek yogurt = delicious.  Smoothies are quickly becoming my favorite way to add fresh greens to our diet.

Our afternoon was full of grocery shopping and chores around the house, glamorous I know.  Clearly I bit off more than I could chew fold after washing all these baby clothes.  I folded half of the three loads and deposited the rest in the crib.  This was actually a genius plan because it prevents Anders from bouncing around and hides all the clothes I'm avoiding folding.  Two birds, one stone.

The evening rounded out with a visit from Mindy, my best friend from high school.  Good company and warm weather meant enjoying our shrimp tacos on the back patio and lots of laughs, a perfect start to the week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

{In The Kitchen: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies}

We host home group (our church small group) at our house on Wednesday nights, and usually I provide coffee and some sort of dessert.  On a particularly difficult week, dessert may be as dull as a box of Mike & Ike's dumped unceremoniously into a cereal bowl.  Most of the time, however, I try to actually make something.  This is both an effort to build my baking repertoire and a manifestation of hours spent drooling over Pinterest. 

This week we didn't have a home group meeting scheduled, but I figured I could still whip something up in the kitchen.  I wondered why I don't make dessert for our little family more often.  Shortly after baking these, I remembered it's because there is safety in numbers.  Three people and a batch of cookie dough can only lead to trouble...

I followed this recipe for Thick and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and the final result certainly held up to the name.  These cookies are dense and comforting.  I haven't actually baked all the dough yet, but I would approximate the recipe makes about 20 cookies.

I should note that I made a few tweaks to the linked recipe, but I doubt they were that impactful.  I omitted the salt and used a little less than a cup of raisins.  I also ground hard white wheat berries to make whole wheat flour with a similar gluten and protein content to store-bought bread flour.

Final verdict:  These cookies get four out of five stars.  I'm not going to lie, if I was hoping simply to satisfy a craving for oatmeal cookies, I would look to this recipe's unhealthier and more involved cousin, the Oatmeal Creme Pie.  But if you are looking for a simple, wholesome, and traditional Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, this recipe will do the trick! 

Happy baking!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

{Bump Watch}

This week's bump photo actually falls between 35 and 36 weeks.  A few people have commented that I've 'dropped' this week, although sadly none of them was a medically trained professional.  My doctor says Baby Vang seems content floating high and getting fatter by the day.

In honor of being thisclose to full term, I decided to write a poem in honor of the process.

An Ode to Pregnancy

Thank you Lord for babies,
Small miracles no doubt.
But Lord please say you're willing
To let this baby out.

It started with some nausea,
Those 'mornings' getting sick.
Then all my problems disappeared
With baby's first small kick.

That baby grew, as did my gut,
And now my back it aches.
Each time I rise up from my bed
It feels like I might break.

My baby's doing somersaults.
My belly button's gone.
Stretch marks span from side to side
As proof of baby's brawn.

In seven days, You created
Every living thing.
So forty weeks seems awfully long
To make a single being.

Getting dressed is such a mess.
I think I'll go insane.
My wardrobe keeps on shrinking
With every ounce I gain.

No shoes fit my swollen feet,
Can't reach them in the shower.
And I never feel quite rested
Since I'm peeing every hour.

I want a VBAC oh-so-badly.
I'm trying not to worry.
The doctor says he's measuring big,
So baby better hurry.

Thank you Lord for babies,
Small miracles no doubt.
But Lord please say you're willing
To let this baby out.

*Disclaimer:  Please do not interpret this silly poem to mean that I am not grateful for this baby boy and his gestation period.  I'm extremely thankful to God for the newest addition to our family.  I am simply eager to meet him, and would prefer to do so in a natural manner before he is the size of a small toddler.*