Saturday, February 27, 2010

Flat Stephanie comes to visit

Have you ever heard of Flat Stephanie and Flat Stanley? I've come across a few, but this is the first project that I got to undertake on my own.

The Flat Stanley project generates from a book that kids read in class. Then, they are encouraged to write a letter, draw/color a Flat Stanley/Stephanie, and then send it to a friend or family member that lives out of state. The idea is for the recipient to snap a few pictur
es of Flat Stephanie around town and then mail it back. I think it's a good project for the classroom that combines english and social studies class.
My cousin Olivia is in
second grade in Arkansas, and sent us her Flat Stephanie. We took a few days to show her what Minnesota is like in February.

Dave took her to the Wild game and then to the Vikings practice facility.

I took her walking on a frozen lake.
We then stopped by the notable Minneapolis places:
The Mall of America, the cherry spoon.

And finally, a quick shot outside of our house to show her the massive icicles that have
been forming. I think she had a good time, but was glad to get back to warmer weather!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Quest for a mini-blind free house

In my severe nesting phase, I've finished up work on the window treatments of my house. If you've ever talked about home decor with me, you know that I absolutely loathe mini-blinds, and since I bought my house I've been attempting to rid myself of decades old mini-blinds room by room.

My hatred of mini-blinds goes back to my time as a teenager when I would clean houses to make a few extra bucks. I mostly cleaned family homes and helped others with spring cleaning projects. These almost alwa
ys involved cleaning mini-blinds. You can use special cloths and tools to clean them. You can take them out to the clothes line and spray them with a water hose and then let them dry. You can clean them in the bathtub and then hang them up to dry. Any way you cut it, it's a pain-in-the-you-know-what to get all of the dust off them.

I'm not sure what designer came up with them and thought they were a good idea, but I think they are absolutely ugly. That pretty much sums it up.
So, room by room over the past year and a half, I've been redoing, taking down, sewing, and sewing some more. I loathe sewing too, but I can do it and it's cheaper than buying curtains.

This is the breakfast nook
of my kitchen, the site of the mini-blinds last stand. I redid the kitchen to reflect a french quarter type of feel with wrought iron detailing, and I'm pretty proud of it. We painted the white kitchen 'tea cake' with white-white cupboards. The curtains were actually shower curtains I found on sale that I sewed a fabric border on. We got rid of all the brass fixtures, handles, and faceplates. When I get rid of the ugly fake green marble countertops, I think it will be complete. I love the way my kitchen looks on a sunny day.

To top off the kitchen, I have a memento from my Grandmother Dale's kitchen. My mom embroidered this
wall hanging years ago, and it hung in my grandmother's kitchen for several years. I took it, cleaned it, and had it reframed to hang in my kitchen where I hope it stays.

Baby Booty

Here are some leftover shower shots from getting the nursery ready post shower. I had a very overwhelming feeling when unpacking all this stuff. It's so heartwarming knowing you have so many awesome friends who are supporting you in such a kind way.

The Hawaiian t-shirt came from friends who just returned from a honeymoon.

Look for finished nursery pics up soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adventures in Pregnancy

I'm not the kind of person to blog about the random things that are happening to my body as it forms and nourishes another person inside of it. There's got to be some personal boundaries somewhere, and I'm private enough to keep most of those to myself. But, I've heard murmurs and questions so I thought I'd share a few thoughts and observations I've made during my pregnant state:

Prenatal yoga. You've never seen so much cleavage and belly in one room in all of your life as when 20 women go from a plank to a downward facing dog in a prenatal yoga class. Dave got me classes as a birthday present, and I've loved it. It keeps me limber, helps me cope and adjust to my changing body, and in general, just makes me feel good. Driving away from a session, my body wants to sing. I'd go everyday if I could work it into my schedule.

Etch-a-sketch legs. While I haven't had problems (knock on wood) with stretch marks, little obnoxious purple veins have been another issue. It's amazing to me to see how when I go into a 10 minute "legs up the wall" where my legs are at a 90 degree angle straight up the wall, the spider veins on my legs simply disappear. (thank you yoga class)

Swim time. Once a week I don a black bathing suit and get in the pool to practice my best impression of a baby beluga. While I do have to rest between laps because I get so out of breath, this makes me feel good and keeps me active.

Beef. It's what I always want for dinner. Some people eat gallons of ice cream or pickles. I want steak or hamburger for every meal. Pork or chicken just don't have the same appeal.

Stuff. It's amazing how much junk babies need and how much more junk baby stores think you need. Since we started signing up for registries and the like, we've been solicited nonstop through mail and email.

Sympathy. Yesterday an apartment complex decided to start burning right before the newscast, so I headed out to cover it in a live truck. I think people tend to be more polite to reporters who are about to pop than they are generally to a pesky reporter. Maybe all reporters should wear a pregnancy pillow from time to time.

Why can't I sleep? Either it's God's way of preparing you for the sleepless nights or a cruel joke. People ask me often, how are you feeling? Honestly, I've generally felt great besides being so very tired. Besides the bathroom breaks, now I have to roll myself up into a sitting position in bed in order to turn over to the other side.

Old Wives tales. It really peaks people's curiosity when I tell them we don't know if we are having a boy or a girl. So far, I've heard I think every old wives tale in the book. They range from what I'm craving to how I'm carrying. Interestingly enough, I often hear conflicting tales like, "you are eating a lot of protein, that means it's a boy" or "you are eating a lot of protein, that means it's a girl."

Vocabulary: Boppy, Bumbo, Moby, Genie, sheesh. I'm concerned about things I never thought I'd be concerned about, and things I certainly didn't know about 2 years ago.

Cloth diapers. Dave and I are going to go down the cloth diaper road. They aren't your mama's cloth diapers, as they've evolved and are once again gaining a corner of the market. We think the benefits of cloth far outweigh disposable, and we've had friends exclusively use cloth diapers so we feel encouraged to do the same. This also has prompted a few interesting "you know you are an adult when" moments. Like yesterday when we had a long discussion over a toilet sprayer and how it would work.....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Minnesota's Games

Minnesota is sending 21 athletes to the Winter Olympics, more than any other state.

In a state that enjoys 6 months of winter weather, this is no surprise. Nor is the fact that this city is buzzing with Olympic fever.

One that I'm following is the guy on the left. His name is Garrott Kuzzy, and he's a cross country skier from the part of the metro I cover. I've been communicating with him via email and we Skyped from the World Cup a few weeks about after he made the team. Our sports guys found 4 seconds of video of him from high school that we used to the max.

Kuzzy has been on the road competing and training since October. After the Olympics, he has a one way ticket back to the Twin Cities to rest up before flying to Europe in the spring to compete there. He's a humble, nice guy who just loves to ski and he has the chance to bring back 6 medals.

Pretty skier Lindsey Vonn is from about 15 minutes from where Dave and I live. Curler Allison Pottinger is from Eden Prairie, where Dave and I used to live. And there are others.

In a state that loves the winter and relishes the snowfall, all eyes will be on Vancouver... who incidentally is experiencing below-average snowfall. Minnesotans are chuckling over that.

Valentines for Journalists

I've always said journalists are their own breed of people with their own unique style and twisted sense of humor. Here's proof of that in a few of my favorite Valentines for Journalists.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can I get a snow day?

Minnesotans wear their ability to endure harsh weather conditions like a badge. Sure, some rural roads and highways might close like they did earlier this week, but the metro area keeps going.

Today when I heard Baltimore and some cities are actually banning all non-emergency vehicles off the road because of the weather, I was envious. Why can't we get a snow day here? What will it take?

Here's a shot of 3 employees preparing for the nasty evening commute. This was during the most recent 48 hours of continuous snowfall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Cajun story in honor of the Saints

A Cajun who died and went to hell...

The devil assigned him the usual punishment...put him in the mass pit where the heat was melting others. The devil came back sometime later surprised to find the Cajun just sitting around, not even misting, much less sweating. "How come you're not so much as sweating here where everyone else is screaming for relief from the heat?"

The Cajun laughed and said, "Man, I was raised in the bayous of Sout Looziana. Dis ain't nothin' but May in Lafayette to me!"

The devil decided to really put the Cajun through it. He put him in a sealed off cave in the pit with open blazes and four extra furnaces blasting. When he came back, days later, the Cajun was sitting pretty, had barely begun to bead up with sweat. The devil was outraged. "How is
this possible!? You should be melted to a shrieking puddle in these conditions!."

The Cajun laughed even harder than before. "Hey, man! I done tole you. I was raised in Sout Looziana. You tink dis is heat?! Dis ain't nothin' but August in Jennings!"

So the devil thought, 'Alright, a little reverse ought to do the trick.' He put the Cajun into a corner of hell where no heat ever reached. It was freezing and to add to the Cajun's misery, he added massive icebergs and blasting frozen air. When he returned, the Cajun was shivering, ice hung from every part of him but he was grinning like it was Christmas.

Exasperated, the devil asked "HOW!? How is it possible?! You're impervious to heat and here you sit in conditions you can't be used to...freezing cold and yet you're happier than if you were in heaven. WHY?!"
The Cajun kept grinning and said, "Dis mus mean de Saints don won da Super Bowl!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Minnesota *really* nice

The Most Awesome Baby Shower in the History of Mankind.

Okay, maybe that's a bit of a generalization, but when a baby shower lasts 4+ hours, attracts 50+ people (half of whom were male), involves video games, hot wings, beer, presents, chocolate, games, and lotsa laughter... I think it just might count.

My coworker Lisa was assisted by two other 12 reporters, Jennifer and Alexandra, in throwing Dave and I a nice baby shower involving coworkers at Dave & Busters in Maple Grove.
Dave and I were quite overwhelmed at the turnout. The only thing in my life I can equate it to is my wedding reception... so many people to talk to with so many good wishes packed in a room and the time just flew by. I was very surprised to see the clock nearing 11 pm when we started loading up our gifts.

After eating snacks of hot wings, pizza bites, egg rolls, quesadillas, and cake, the guys were all business with their games in the arcade. ...

but not before checking out the baby shower games. I was rather surprised to see the level of participation in baby shower games. Usually I totally shy away from shower games, but the men were all into this. One of Dave's coworkers was fairly adamant about winning the baby food guessing contest. He tied with one of my coworkers. How anyone could guess Lasagna baby food is surprising to me.

The other game was guessing how big my baby belly is. A two year old won that contest... her crepe paper guess fit perfectly, and everyone else guessed that I was much bigger than I am. What did she go home with? A bottle of wine. That's a bit ironic, don't ya think? But I guess it was better than the set of Guiness glasses.

It took me quite awhile to open all of the gifts. Since we don't know the sex of the baby, we got plenty of rubber duck related gear. At every shower, there usually is one gift that is repeated several times. For us, it was hooded towels. We must've gotten 15, and Dave had plenty of fun trying them on at home... but I don't have any pictures to prove it.
Dave and I remarked more than once how surprising and touching this whole effort was. We've only lived in this state for three years and we've known several people who attended much less time than that. We never expected to be showered with such gifts and good wishes, and it brings a whole new perspective to the term Minnesota Nice.
Thank you all. The gifts were special and appreciated, but your presence and support meant so much more.

Aren't they cute?

My brother and his fiance' had their engagement announcement posted in the Utica Observer-Dispatch this weekend. The wedding is in May. Aren't they cute?