Friday, September 30, 2011

A trip to the zoo!

B's first trip to the Como Zoo- 5 month old.
Last week, we took Brennan to the Minnesota Zoo!  This wasn't actually his first zoo trip.  That was last summer, but I doubt he remembers much.

This time, he was much more into it- no big surprise there!  Lately he's become obsessed with animals, especially the typical ones that we see all the time like dogs, cats, cows, chickens, and fish.  It was so much fun to see his reactions to so many different animals!

Brennan wasn't the only baby who got to enjoy the zoo with us that day.  Ryan, Brennan, and I went with Ryan's sister, Rachel, and her daughter, Claire.  B's cousin, Claire, is only 3 months younger than he is, so it is fun to watch them begin to play and interact with each other as they are growing up.  We also had the little girl that Rachel babysits for, Baby Vivi (5 months),  along with us.

When we got to the zoo, the bears were our first stop.  We got to see some bears playing/fighting on their hind legs, which was really neat to watch. They also gave us an up close look as they walked right along the glass in front of us. You know, when you are standing only a foot away from a bear, you realize how BIG it really is!

The kids all saw the bears, but no one really got too excited about them.  I think all of us adults were much more interested in them!  I noticed how similar a bear snout and Emmy's snout are!

Next we moved on to see some more interesting animals like the leopards.  Brennan loved meowing at the big 'kitties'!  You can see his 'meow' face in the picture.

By now, he was starting to have lots of fun!  Look at that big smile!

After we were done meowing at the leopards, we went to look at the camels.  I didn't know how uneven and crooked camel humps were!  They sure looked uncomfortable to me!  Also, I didn't realize what crazy sounds a camel makes!  Listening to the older two babies imitating the camels was hilarious!  Now if you ask Brennan what sound a camel makes he says, "WHAHAAWAAA"!

Now the next animal we saw is definitely more common than leopards, camels, and bears (oh my!), but I they were the biggest hit of the day... the goats!  The reactions from all of the kiddos were priceless!  The goats are extremely interactive.  They let you pet them and feed them while climbing all over the cage.  It didn't surprise me at all that Brennan was right in the action.  He wanted to help feed the goats and pet them like crazy.  He would laugh and laugh as they climbed all over and took the food from his hands.

Claire couldn't really decide whether she liked the goats or not.  For a while they were funny, then they were terrifying!  After that, they weren't so bad again.  Baby Vivi thought the goats were HILARIOUS!  They definitely elicited her the biggest reaction of the day!

I think the goats were my favorite of the day, too, purely because of how interactive they were.  Their personalities are so fun and match Brennan's so well.  I think we need a goat for our backyard!  Now I just need to convince Ryan (and probably city hall)!

It was starting to get kind of chilly and rainy outside, so we decided to head inside for a while and walk around the aquarium area.  I knew this would be fun.  Brennan has really been into fish since we got our mini aquarium so I was sure that seeing the big ones up close and personal would be really cool for him.  I was right...

I love this picture!  He thought the fish were really cool, but you should have seen his eyes when the shark swam by!  You can see him pointing up in awe!

Then this next picture cracks me up.  Brennan and his cousin were having a good discussion-

Brennan: "Did you see that shark?!?!!?"
Claire: "You're full of it.  There's no shark in there."
Brennan: "No!  There is!  It just swam by right in front of the glass!  I was pointing at it but you wouldn't look!"
Claire: "That was just a big fish... You boys and your fish tales."
Claire: "You're exaggerating.  Whatever."

After they got over their little tiff, we went on a jungle walk.  They managed to find a big bronze tortoise that was willing to give them a ride.  That guy has a strong neck!  It's common knowledge that tortoises are slow, but I had no idea just how slow they really are!  We didn't even see this guy move an inch the whole time we were there!

 Then my little nerd wanted to take a solo ride.  Look at his goofy face!

With our zoo experience almost over, we had one last animal we really had to see.  After all, what is a trip to the zoo without monkeys!  This little guy was really enjoying his afternoon nap.  I don't remember the actual name for this monkey, but I wanted to call him a skunk monkey. 

And in this last picture, it's pretty hard to see, but there is a monkey on the tree structure.  He was walking and swinging all over and was really fun to watch.  

The zoo trip was a huge success!  We had so much fun and Brennan really enjoyed himself. I'm so glad we were able to make time to do it!  What a great end to the summer.  

Oh, and we've been working on animal sounds A LOT since the zoo trip.  Brennan is doing great!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Free Photo Editing!

Hi there!

I posted a few months ago about how much I love photos and all aspects of photography including photo editing.  In that post, I offered to do some editing on your pictures... FOR FREE!  Here is the link to that previous post if you want all of the details: Photo editing and enhancement

Unfortunately, and to my surprise, no one took me up on my offer!  I'll admit, I was a little bummed!  After all, I love a challenge and it is always fun to create something new and better.  Anyway, that's why I'm posting this again- I would like to re-extend the offer.  You send me a copy of the picture you want edited along with any suggestions you have and I'll work some editing magic and send your picture back to you!  Here's where you can send your pictures:

In the previous post, I included a bunch of pictures that I have taken and edited, but I thought I'd add just a few more for good measure and to make this post more interesting!

There aren't too many, but here we go:

Maternity picture changed black and white with pink ribbon accent.

Corrected levels, shadows, and highlights.

Changed to black and white with pink ribbon accent.  Also increased contrast.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I entered a great giveaway last night!

Hey everybody,

I found a great giveaway yesterday that I just wanted to let you all know about!  It is for a $25 Subway gift card and The Lion King Blu-ray/DVD Combo!  I just love this movie and can't wait until Brennan is old enough to really enjoy it with me.  Plus, who doesn't love Subway?!?!  If anyone else wants to enter this giveaway, here's the link:


Hat Giveaway Winner!

...And the hat goes to (insert dramatic pause and suspenseful music here): Steph Beck!  Thanks to our lovely sponsor, Handmade by Me 4 U, and, Steph won her choice of any hat from Heather's Etsy shop!  Doesn't that sort of thing just make your day! 

I've been told that Steph already redeemed her prize.  She chose to get her new baby boy this adorable wide eyed owl hat!  Enjoy Steph and Baby T!

Be sure to keep a look out for more giveaways on my blog!  If you are interested in hosting a giveaway, please let me know!  I know my readers and I always enjoy them!

Wordless Wednesday #12

It's been awhile, but here's a Wordless Wednesday for you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Super happy with a successful giveaway in progress!

Hi readers!

I just wanted to tell you how pleased and happy I am with the turnout for the giveaway from Handmade by Me 4 U that I've got going on right now!  I'm so glad that so many people have taken the time to stop by my blog and enter.  I'm extremely impressed that several of you are even coming back daily for extra entries!

This is just a quick thank you for spending some time on my blog and supporting our awesome sponsor!  If you haven't seen this giveaway yet or you think you may have a friend or family member that would be interested, here's the link: crocheted hat review and giveaway.  You've got until Saturday at Noon to enter and it only takes a minute!  Thanks again!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Roughie Toughie Turns Any Toy Into a Weapon!

Woah... I believe it is a HUGE understatement to say that my little boy is ALL boy!  He's always been ultra active, super busy, tough, loud, and getting into things, but one of his other personality traits is becoming even more obvious lately- his rough and violent side! 

We've had trouble with hitting and biting in the past and I'm happy to report that although we still have some problems with this, it seems to be improving.  However, Little B has now been turning any toy he can into a weapon!  It's not that he's mad or defending himself against anything... it's just fun for him!  His pushing/ride on toy has become a rammer- look out walls, furniture, other toys, ankles and doggy!  Blocks and balls are morphing into missiles and grenades.  His toy broom has become a dog beater and sword.  The toy vacuum is a steam roller and books are now projectiles.  My yoga ball is now that giant boulder from Indiana Jones.

Though some of his weapon usage is kind of cute, for the most part it is just destructive!  Luckily for Brennan, he has a super sweet side.  When we cuddle up at bedtime with a bottle, his blanket, and the Grinch and he snuggles in deep while continually showering me with hugs and kisses, all the memories of the wild day and the bruises I sustained fade away.  When I tell him I love him and he repeats it back to me I no longer care that he pelted me with 1000 blocks not 2 hours ago.  When he folds his hands, looks at me and says, "All done?"(his version of Amen), signaling that he wants to say his prayers, I forget about how many times he rammed or otherwise inflicted injury on the dog.  He's just lucky he can be so darn sweet and cute.... and I'm so lucky to have him.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review of 'Handmade by Me 4 U' + Crocheted Hat Giveaway!

I've told you all about my love of needle crafts (and my hatred of any medical needles!) and how I always have a list of projects I want to do on my 'when I get time' list.  I love the feeling of creating something beautiful from nothing... or just a ball of yarn.  Well, recently I ran into someone on Etsy that loves needle crafts just as much as I do!  My fellow yarn lover's name is Heather and she owns a shop called "Handmade by Me 4 U". Heather has 2 boys that she says, "inspire her creations." 

Heather's specialty is crocheted hats- mainly for babies and kids.  Along with hats, she also sells diaper covers, infant photo props, and towel bibs.  She has perfect 100% positive feedback from other Etsy users and has sold over 170 items.  It's no surprise, either, after looking at the adorable items in her shop!  I'm so impressed!

I was sent one of Heather's crocheted 2T-3T hats for review.  It is a super cute and hilarious 'Angry Bird' hat!  I'm sure any 'Angry Birds' fans would instantly be in love with this hat (and the green pig hat she also sells)!  The hat was really soft and well made.  You can tell that Heather spent quality time making it.  This hat is definitely warm and will be perfect for our upcoming Minnesota Fall and Winter.  My 18 month old son just loves his new hat, too!  He walks around wearing it... even in the 80+ degree heat!  He even insisted upon taking a nap wearing this hat.  Apparently, he feels so stylish wearing it!

I want to show you a few more of the items that Heather has for sale at her shop- they are just so cute!

There are a few hats that are just perfect for Fall!  Check out these little ear flap football hats!  How creative is Heather?!?  I love all the details from the braided ties all the way down to the football laces.  She also makes them in blue and brown with no flower for the little man in your life.

And what says Fall more than a deep orange colored pumpkin?  Imagine how adorable that little baby is gonna look for your photo shoot this Autumn wearing this... a pumpkin for your Pumpkin!  And besides looking fashionable and over-the-top cute, this little hat will keep those baby ears toasty warm on chilly Autumn days.

If you are looking for something that will really make a statement, you should check out these awesome owl hats for boys and girls!  I personally have a thing for owl hats.  I made my son one to go along with his 1st birthday party theme and I must say, he looked adorable.  I think an owl hat suits any kiddo!

If you are looking for something simpler, there are several different styles of hats to choose from.  And don't forget about her photo props like diaper covers and hammocks to go along with all of the precious hats!

And now, for the most exciting part!  You can win one of these awesome hats, courtesy of Heather at Handmade by Me 4 U!  The hats are available in sizes that will fit a preemie to a 10 year old, so they should be perfect for any kid in your life.  Actually, Heather gives the head circumferences of each size on her Etsy site to help with proper sizing.  According her sizing chart, the largest size would even fit me!  So, if you see something you like for a kid or yourself, you'll need to just take a quick measurement and see if you're in luck!

Here's how to win:
It is so easy!  All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me who you want to win this hat for!  Please include your email so I can contact the winner!- This entry must be completed before you complete any extra entries. 

Extra Entries (Make sure you leave me a comment for each of these you did!):

'Like' Handmade by Me 4 U on Facebook- 1 extra entry
Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect- 1 extra entry
Follow Heather's blog with Google Friend Connect- 1 extra entry
Vote for my blog on Picket Fence (Icon on right)- 1 extra entry (can be done daily)
Leave a comment telling me which item in Heather's shop is your favorite!- 1 extra entry
Share this giveaway on Facebook!- 1 extra entry

Please use individual comments for each entry to make choosing the winner randomly with simpler.  This giveaway is open to USA residents.  Giveaway ends on September 24th, 2011 at Noon CST.  I will email the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!  Please spread the word!!! 

*I was given this product for review purposes.  All of my opinions about this product are solely my own.  Your opinions may differ.  I was not compensated to write this post in any way.*

Upcoming Awesome Giveaway!

Hi everybody! 

I just wanted to remind you all about the giveaway that I have coming up!  I will either post it tonight or tomorrow and it is one you don't want to miss!  You have a chance to win your choice of any crocheted hat from my sponsor's Etsy Shop, Handmade by Me 4 U!  Make sure you check back very soon!  As always, thanks for reading and for your support!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pregnancy Update- Almost 11 weeks!

A lot has changed since the post I wrote about 3 weeks ago announcing my pregnancy.  Some of these changes were good, others were definitely not!  So, here's what's been going on.

At my midwife appointment, I was told that I had been misinformed about the hospital's VBAC policy!  What?!?!  So, if I was going to deliver there, or in our hometown, I would be having an automatic C-Section, and that just doesn't make sense to me.  So there went my hopes of a VBAC close to home with my own doctor and any chance of a waterbirth.  I was also told that as long as I was 'sort-of' ok regarding my morning sickness, I would just have to tough it out until it goes away.  I was sure hoping that it didn't follow the pattern that I had with Brennan, when it lasted the ENTIRE pregnancy!

Needless to say, I left that appointment extremely shocked, upset, mad, and heartbroken!  I just felt like my plans, even from the very beginning, were all ruined.  It took me a few days to get past the majority of this disappointment from this first appointment, which should be exciting and wonderful instead.

My morning sickness was not improving much, and some days were even worse.  Along with the sickness, I started feeling majorly depressed- a feeling I am not familiar with and definitely don't handle well!  Finally, at my low point, I went to visit one of the new doctors we have in town to talk about everything I was dealing with.  This helped so much.  She agreed with me that the majority of the reason I was feeling so 'down' was because I was feeling so physically sick.  She started me on Zofran, which has been working pretty well, and my attitude definitely began to improve.  Now, I think I'm back to my normal self, which is such a relief.

After meeting this new doctor, I decided that I was going to have her be my provider for most of my prenatal care, and then facilitate the plans for a VBAC at Mayo Clinic in Rochester (if only they did waterbirths, too!).  She agrees that this is definitely the best way to go and was very encouraging about my hopes and plans. 

Yesterday, we had our 2nd '1st' prenatal appointment, just this time it was with our new doctor.  Everything seems to be right on track.  I'm not sure what she put down as our official due date, but I believe it is either March 29th or 30th.  We had an ultrasound with our favorite ultrasound tech and got to see our little stinker wiggling around like crazy.  Ryan just loved it, and of course, I did, too.  However, Brennan wasn't really thrilled about sitting still.  The baby measured right on for our due date and had a great healthy heart rate of 164 beats per minute.

I've been feeling better on and off, but I think it seems to be improving a little each day.  I haven't been struggling too much with any other symptoms, so that's nice.  My belly is just starting to pop out and I'm sure it will be noticeable within the next few weeks... if not before!

Let's hope for smooth sailing from here on out!  I'll keep you updated!

Friday, September 2, 2011

30 Days- Day 20- Where I'd love to Travel

Day 20- Post a picture of somewhere you'd love to travel

There are about a million places that I'd love to see and experience before I die, but for time's sake and in order to abide by the rules of this '30 days' game, I had to narrow it down to one.  This one is kind of a given, too.  This is Australia's Great Barrier Reef.  I think finding the words to describe the beauty and majesty of this magnificent creation would be impossible.  The vibrant colors of the reef and all of the plant-life, the thousands of different shapes and sizes of all of the unique fish, and the intricate coral formations must be absolutely breathtaking.  In an amazing place like this, God's unfathomable power, majesty, creativity, attention to detail, and love are so evident everywhere you look. 

I need to see this in person!  Maybe someday we'll get to take a big anniversary trip there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30 Days- Day 19- When I was little

Day 19- Post a picture of you when you were little

Here is a picture of me at my house when I was a little girl.  Apparently, I was sharing an apple with my first doggy, Taffy.  I had a wonderful childhood and remember spending lots of time outside with our dogs and cats, blowing bubbles, riding bikes and my quad, playing baseball, and 'helping' Mom and Dad.