Saturday, May 31, 2008

Indiana Jones (Totally Biased Review)

Last night Ron and I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's been 19 years since the he rode off into the sunset in the Last Crusade, so I can understand why some people are wary of this moving being made in the first place.

However, we both thought it was good. I've read reviews that complain about it, but it's just supposed to be a fun action movie. It's not supposed to be a genius "film", it's just entertainment! There are plenty of good real stunts, (plus a couple scenes with overdone CGI), cheesy humor, cliché villains (don't they all have that to some degree?), and a supernatural element that might be a bit far-fetched... but if you have a good attitude going into it - instead of looking at ways it won't measure up to the first three - it's worth seeing. I mean, it's Indiana Jones afterall. I'd be remiss if I didn't see it on the big screen, since I was too young to have that chance with the originals.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sweet Dreams

So, I think some of you have been checking back to see photos of Lucy's room. Well here you go. I was having a hard time getting the entire room in one shot (I took some with a different camera later and posted them all here), but you get the idea. There are 30 different words written around the room... that they fit perfectly was a miracle. I made a list and when I had a hard time thinking of more words, I got started painting, and apparently I had all I needed. There are also little painted stars and glittery swirls. It took me quite a while to hand paint everything as neatly as I could, and when it comes to this type of stuff I am a perfectionist! We put the trim up last night to finish off the border.

Here's Lucy sitting on her bed... and the new mattress from Craigslist (which is way nicer than the one we bought at Babies "R" Us two years ago). As soon as we get some new sheets, pillow, etc. I am going to try to have her take naps in there, so when the baby comes she will be totally ready to sleep in her new room all the time... and I'm thinking this is going to take some effort on all our parts to get her toddler-bed trained! I'm not so worried about her falling out (she can handle it), but I am sure she'll be getting out of bed repeatedly and we'll have to do the Super-Nanny thing where we put her back in it over... and over... until she gives up! What fun!
I don't know a little girl who doesn't like sparkly things...
Here you can see a closer picture of some of the glitter:

No glitter yet when this was taken, but I still like the picture - Lucy actually goes up and points to this word and says "wish" perfectly! I'm not sure if she's reading it or if she just remembers what it says because we told her... or is that what reading is? Hmmm...


Lucy's new room is all painted (except for a couple minor touch-ups)... and just needs to be decorated now. I know we're ahead of the game on getting this ready, but I was really tired of the OLD look:
This is Lucy at one year + one day old in her "playroom"... I usually like green a lot, and the green paint doesn't look terrible in the photo... but in person, believe me it is the wrong shade! The wood trim was nice - probably when it was first installed - but over time has been gouged up and slopped with various paint colors through the years. I have to point out too, the still-unpacked boxes in there from when we first moved in (probably kitchen stuff that I couldn't use yet because our kitchen was a war zone) and a bunch of new toys from Lucy's birthday scattered all over. She loved her playroom...

Therefore, I primed and painted the trim (which was all caulked to eliminate the gaps between it and the walls), doors, and window (the window took forever!), and registers all white. It now looks nice and clean and bright. Of course the walls are repainted like I had described in an earlier post and I think it looks really cool now. New blinds were installed (the old ones had a broken string and wouldn't open evenly and were dirty, etc.). Unfortunately we are not able to replace the carpet yet (the picture doesn't do it justice but it has a few random stains). Beige outlets and switches/dented brass cover plates were replaced with all white, a new door stop was installed to prevent the doorknob from slamming into the wall, and brass doorknobs on the closet and room doors were replaced with brushed nickel. Over time we will hopefully replace all the doorknobs in the house with brushed nickel...

The past few nights have been devoted to making this room look completely different from how it was and I think we have been successful! Lucy already likes to climb onto her toddler bed and lay down, and she still likes to play in there a lot. We're working on getting her stuff organized in there. She still needs a little white dresser, too.

I have to make her bedding and window valence (which I have tons of time to do) and hang up some various decor, maybe a wall shelf, etc. I'll post an "after" photo shortly... :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day / Ron's 30th

This past weekend seemed very busy - now that it's back to life as usual I almost feel like the week will be a time to recover from the past couple days.

Sunday Lucy did better than ever at church nursery - thank goodness! I can't wait until the day she actually looks forward to it and can't wait to get away from us and go play! I don't get too heartbroken when she starts crying... but I feel bad for subjecting others to her meltdown every week. I know she's not the only one though, and the volunteers don't mind at all. I just wish she'd be her normal happy self! We're getting there though. The next baby will be put in nursery much earlier than Lucy was!

Food news: Lucy has been eating apples for quite a while by herself, so why not try corn-on-the-cob? My mom picked some up for Sunday dinner and Lucy ate just about the whole thing... only stopping because she had already had so much food and the corn was taken away (although she continued asking for "cone" after it was hidden under a napkin on my dad's plate). Later we went to the Ice Cream Garage in Standale, as if any one of us needed more to eat! Lucy also did quite well holding her own baby cone there. Her fork skills are very good too; closer and closer to us not having to feed her at all!This weekend we also celebrated Ron's 30th birthday! Wow - he's getting up there! It happened to fall on Memorial Day this year, and we went to his parents' house in the morning for brunch, and then after Lucy's nap we went to our friends' house to barbecue (with a few other people). We were glad the weather stayed nice - it was almost too hot for a while! I left without my camera battery for that get-together, so I missed my chance to take photos of Lucy and Lauren playing outside. My friend Lisa (Lauren's mom) is due with another girl in about 6 weeks, so we enjoyed a couple black cherry IBCs. We stayed till Lucy's bedtime. It was a long day!

I am putting my photos up here. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


This is the fabric for Lucy's bedding & window valence - I am going to make a quilt but it won't be a "traditional" patchwork style, but I haven't yet determined exactly how it will look. I'm still bouncing ideas around in my head. I wanted to get the fabrics so I can match paint for the walls (the top lavender shade will be the wall color (at least the bottom half of the walls, then a dark blue border with hand-painted words... then white above that).
I had my mind made up that I wanted lavenders and blues, and it was not easy finding fabrics that fit my mental image. I am a little ADD when it comes to decorating, and I get frustrated at the fabric store when I can't find the colors and styles that I made up in my imagination (irrational as that may be). I wanted to incorporate kind of a starry-night type of theme (soothing and not too babyish) but still girly and not too cartoonish. We'll see how it turns out, because we (I) may start painting the room this weekend! We want Lucy to have at least a few months of adjustment to her new room before a baby comes and takes hers away! Plus it will be nice to finally update the 3rd main floor bedroom from its current state.


She wanted my bagel. Doesn't matter that she already ate breakfast... I tried to eat it sneakily while she was watching Sesame Street but I think she heard the plate slide across the counter a little bit. Of course I know that I should have just eaten it while she was having breakfast but that morning I didn't for some reason. I guess an old habit of not being able to eat breakfast while feeding her... It might help but she'd still want whatever I was having. Anyway, this pitiful face needed to be captured (yesterday morning). We must be starving the poor girl!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Ron found on Craigslist a never-used (really) Simmons crib mattress (also works for toddler beds) for $40! We had originally thought of getting a twin bed for Lucy but for now, since her room isn't huge and she tends to move around in bed a LOT, she's going to move up to a toddler bed with partial sides, it's white and looks like this: The cheapest Simmons mattress at Babies-R-Us is $150 (probably more than we would've spent anyway), so I think this is a nice mattress for what it cost! And thank you to Ron who drove all the way to Ada and back to pick it up this afternoon while I was fabric shopping for Lucy's bedding which I'm going to make. Anyway, it's been a while since we've shopped on Craigslist, and I've forgotten how fun it can be.

Halfway Point

Today I am 20 weeks which means the baby is the size of a cantaloupe, and weighs about 10.5 ounces.

It's amazing how easy it is to forget that I am pregnant when I am busy taking care of Lucy. Last time it was on my mind almost constantly, and now I have to almost set aside time to think about it and pay attention to movements I feel (although I feel them all day, and they're getting a bit stronger so I don't have to be "looking" for them)... so usually that takes place when I lay down in bed at the end of the day...

I have an appointment today, but no ultrasound. I know some people have their 20 week ultrasound at exactly 20 weeks, but I think mine will be scheduled for closer to 22 weeks. Here are some pictures of Lucy at 22 weeks. My doctor's office has the "nice" ultrasound machine with 4D imaging so we get to see real-time moving 3D pictures of our baby. Last time they even let us bring our little video camera (if I find the CD-R I'll maybe post a video clip later).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


This is not new - she's been doing it ever since she got these Legos for her 1st Birthday. I think she believes she is being silly, because she likes to get up and run through the house with this on her head, show her daddy, and make me nervous...

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Lenses!

Friday we got our economic stimulus money and I got a fun new gift: two new lenses for my camera! I researched this extensively and concluded that the lens receiving the best raves and reviews (and suits my needs) is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM (a prime lens), aka the "basketball lens", great for portraits, especially outdoors or somewhere you have a little space to back up. I also got the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II (another prime), aka the "fantastic plastic". Although it's considered a cheap lens, and has a couple downsides (less durability, difficult to manually focus - but I like using autofocus anyway since my subject(s) are rarely still), it still takes amazingly sharp pictures, and has a very wide aperture allowing fast shutter speeds in low light. There is a more expensive 50mm available, but this was more like an extra bonus lens since the 85mm was the investment. Neither is a zoom lens, which means the focal length is fixed... so I'm going to have to move around more to get the composition I want. However, from what I read, that is something you quickly become accustomed to (and even after a couple times using it I don't mind it at all... the improved quality is well worth it - as far as primes vs. zooms - unless you spend a couple grand on a certain level of zoom lens, primes will almost always outperform in sharpness).

So, I'm just getting used to both of them, and have not yet put my kit lens back on the camera! Now I just need a slightly bigger case for my stuff!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We Were Just in the Neighborhood...

Last night we had dinner at Ron's mom and dad's place, and afterward we drove down our old street (Taft Ave. in Wyoming) to check out our former home - see if the tulips are still there, etc. Sure enough - everything looks exactly the same on the outside. The new owners already have the pool cover off (!)... which seems a bit early to me, but I remember the first year we lived there, taking off the pool cover way too early too. I hope they are able to keep up on it and enjoy it, because it's a lot of work!

We saw one of our neighbors out mowing his front yard, so we stopped to say hi. After talking for a bit, we decided to get out of the car and see his wife and daughter, plus his new baby daughter who we had never met before (she is 6 months old now!), who were all in the backyard. It was nice to talk with them and see the kids, and Lucy enjoyed playing on their new play set and wandering around their back yard. At first she was a little nervous about an unfamiliar place, but she warmed up (it seems like she is able to do that more quickly these days).

I'm glad we stopped by because it's all too easy to lose touch with neighbors when you move away. I actually believe we will try to keep up our friendship and hopefully have them over to our place this summer.

Sippy What?

Lucy really does a good job with a regular cup all of a sudden! She only dribbles when she has to start tipping it way back. We've tried this a few times but this morning all the sippy cups were dirty, so I decided to give it a shot and see if we can start transitioning her now. I only have these plastic Christmas ones which I think are better for her than a heavy glass... I guess I need to break down and buy some kid cups now. She'll have a Kool-Aid mustache (or beard) this summer!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day / Birthday (27!)

It's been a while since I've posted because I've been away! Ron and I visited Kelly and Heath in Evanston and had a nice time hanging out - Kelly and I went to a cute boutique with jewelry, purses, clothing, home decor, and a lot of really beautiful and unique things to paw through. I ended up with a necklace (a silver chain with the curl of a conch shell for a pendant) and a fun little purse with octopuses all over it... a birthday gift from Kelly (and something I would never buy for myself, but it made me happy and I love it - and I have a lot of orange, and pink clothing so yes it IS practical!).

On Sunday we opted out of the Cubs game we were planning on attending, since it was raining, windy, and very cold. Instead we browsed through World Market, Urban Outfitters, and saw Baby Mama which was really cute and funny. A much better way to spend time than sitting in bleachers freezing and miserable - although we all wished the weather would have cooperated because Ron has never been to Wrigley and it's such a nice park with so much history and character.

We drove home and picked up Lucy from my parents' house, she was all ready for bed (thanks, Mom), and looked a bit older to me than she did a day and a half earlier. The drive home from Chicago wasn't my favorite part of Mother's Day but it was a very nice weekend overall.
Today Ron took a personal day from work to spend my birthday with me, and he made us breakfast and we hung out at home (not doing much of anything) - but in the afternoon we walked down the Buck Creek trail (and of course I took photos) near Wedgwood Park and went home and had some banana cream pie, followed by root beer floats... it's been forever since I've had one of those! He also got me a potted geranium and we rented Charlie Wilson's War, which we are going to watch now!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Wardrobe Drama & Belly

My jeans no longer function correctly if I am sitting. I officially cannot wear anything normal - I am still too small for any of my maternity pants but unable to button my jeans and be comfortable. I could wear pajama pants but that doesn't help me if I have to leave the house. I kind of just look bloated, but not yet pregnant... although I feel a lot bigger than I used to be. This leads to a little frustration when trying to get dressed for going anywhere that I might care what I look like. My other option is wear my jeans unbuttoned with a frumpy shirt... Okay, I sound complainy - so shame on me... but I have to say this is one of the more frustrating parts of this whole process for me (and if that's the biggest "problem" I will have to deal with, I will consider myself very very fortunate). I'm not saying I'm big - just awkward in the fashion sense. I know that before too long this phase will be over. Since I haven't posted any belly pictures - I will go ahead and show you my progress thus far.
Here are pictures at 8 weeks, and 18 weeks:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tulip Time

Yesterday my mom, Lucy, and I went to Tulip Time in the morning, with Lucy all dressed up like a little Dutch Girl. She was so cute - when she got her dress on at home and looked in the mirror she was smiling and twisting around to see herself. She wore her wooden shoes the entire time, and they only fell off once. Adding a pair of socks fixed that, and she was even trying to run in them! She slipped a couple of times, but she never seemed bothered by having them on her feet, and everyone who saw her commented on how well she was walking in them. By the end of the day they had a good amount of mud on them (but then again, that's what they're made for)... and she also started to drag her feet a lot more as she got quite tired (maybe because they're so much heavier than regular shoes), but we had the stroller to give her a break for a while.
Lucy met a boy a little bit older than her, who was also all dressed up in a costume. It turns out his mom is originally from Grandville and her younger sister was friends with my sister in high school. She just moved back to West Michigan, so I got her e-mail address - at least to send her some photos I took of her son.
We had an elephant ear and saw an organ grinder, and just basically enjoyed the beautiful weather and of course the tulps. Ron and I are taking Lucy again on Friday - probably without the costume though. I can't believe she wore the hat, dress, and shoes for three hours without whining at all... she was such a good girl!
See all my photos in a gallery HERE

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beach Bummer

Yesterday Ron, Lucy, and I went out to Holland - not for Tulip Time - but instead to have dinner at Russ' and then head out to Tunnel Park, since it was such a beautiful afternoon.

Here she is trying desperately not to touch the WET sand!

Lucy was already in a somewhat grumpy mood (I think because she has a molar with all the peaks through, but not the middle section of gums... and it's making her miserable. She is also getting over her cold - still just coughs a little). Anyway, turns out she hates the sand, the way it feels, all gritty and dirty on her hands and feet. She also hates cheese puff dust on her fingers (yes she has eaten cheese puffs) and any crumbs on her high chair tray... so this is no surprise. She would hold her hand up with fingers splayed like, "get-it-off-me! get-it-off-me!" We tried to get her to play with her shovel and bucket, and get her used to it, but she just wasn't being receptive. On the way home she was desperately trying to get every last grain out from between her toes...

I hope it doesn't take too long to convince her that the sand is okay and the beach is fun!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dutch Feet

Lucy's feet look huge with her wooden shoes on (especially when she's wearing stretch pants)... but she actually seemed to enjoy practicing with them on Sunday morning. We'll be taking her out to Tulip Time a couple times this week, and she's wearing a costume on Tuesday, so hopefully we end up with some cute photos (and then I'm sure we'll get her changed out of the fussy Dutch girl dress, even though she seemed to like that too: yesterday when she tried it on she was actually twirling in front of the mirror). At the end of the video she has a little wipeout but I'm hoping the grass and the sidewalks aren't as slippery as our "wood" floor...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Photoshop is a Verb

In the past few months I have gotten much more adept at Photoshop (we have version 7.0 but I'd love to upgrade...). Due to some new abilities I didn't have before, I've been going back to some of my favorite shots and editing them. Some of them will have to be left alone, because I just don't have the time to spend "photoshopping" hundreds of pictures. I usually try to keep it simple, although it can be fun to completely overhaul an otherwise basic shot into something artistic. Usually I try to just enhance, however, rather than alter. I wanted to post a before and after (thanks for the idea Aletha!) of one of my all-time faves. We went to Moelker Orchards in Walker for some fall pictures by the apple trees, pumpkins, etc. You can see more here). I may even reprint this one since I have a copy in a frame hanging up...
Before: it was late afternoon with the sun to their backs, and the clouds in the sky looked so cool...

After: I boosted up the colors a bit (notice the sky, Ron's sweater, and especially Lucy's sweater), and added the darkened edges - which also made the blue in the sky appear much richer toward the top.

I believe that digital editing you do is almost as important as the initial picture you take. I do my best to take pictures that are good without editing, but I can almost always improve upon them with software (like Photoshop or Picasa) and end up being much happier with the results.


Lucy has a cold! It's her 2nd cold ever so I'm really not used to dealing with all the snot. She of course hates having her nose/face wiped and is incapable of blowing her nose. On top of that she seems to be drooling more than ever, because she is working on molars... so she is just dripping with fun. I don't feel like taking her anywhere, but that's okay because it's supposed to be kind of a gray, rainy day anyway.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Something's Different...

Last month's background color was dark teal, and I wanted to do something very different this month - so I went with orange. I hope it's not too obnoxious. If you don't like it, you can look forward to June 1 for the next change.


I'm a little slow - those are Hotwheels, not Matchbox. I'm not even sure of the difference, but I think there is one. Anyway, apparently I was sheltered from such things as a child (we spent more of our time throwing naked Barbie dolls down the stairs with "loom-looper" bungee cords). Anyway, I just wanted to fix my mistake on the previous post :)