Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year, New Projects...

Well, Christmas is over with and the New Year is almost here.  I'm a little sad to be done with the holidays already.  It seems that the season just went way too fast this year.  However, with my cross stitched Christmas stocking and all crocheted gifts done, it seems that I'll hopefully be having a little more free time to begin a few more crafts!  Here's what I did this year (keep in mind that these pictures only include my cross stitch and crocheted Christmas gifts, not any other gifts or projects I made throughout the year): 

The hugest new project of 2012 will definitely be our newest baby's Christmas stocking.  I've already picked out a design kit and just need to get it purchased and start working on it like crazy.  This is a picture of the kit I'm planning on doing.  My goal, like this year's goal, is to be done with it by Thanksgiving, or at least December 1st.  That leaves all of December free for me to complete other projects, including shopping and gift wrapping, before Christmas.  I'm excited to get started on this project, but know the countless hours of work that I'll be putting into it, as well.  It makes me wish I could work a lot faster, that's for sure!  Fast projects are so much more instantly gratifying, which is why I'm really excited to start crocheting some newborn hats and other stuff!

I'm looking for ideas and suggestions about what cute newborn items my new baby girl needs!  I've seen some of the cutest patterns for crocheted animal hats and matching diaper covers including chicks, owls, giraffes, hippos, elephants, bunnies, etc... Basically any cute, cuddly, or otherwise fun animal.  I'm having the hardest time choosing between them because I know I can't do them all!  I'm definitely making  one of the long-tailed elf hats for newborn photos (*correction... I MADE this already before publishing this post!), just like the one found here at Oodles 4 Noodles.  Isn't this the cutest thing!  I'm also working on a matching diaper cover.  What else do you think I should make?

I'm also tossing around the idea of adding a mini-store to my blog where I would sell some of the stuff I crochet. Of course, this is so dependent upon how much free time I'll have in the coming months, but I'd love to be able to share some adorable hats with other people who love this stuff... and make a little money on the side :)!  Hopefully, I'll have some free time to get to it soon.  Before that I still need to catch up with the pregnancy journal that I've been writing for the baby and finish Brennan's baby book before I need to start another!  Obviously, I'm not a scrapbooker, or I'd enjoy these projects more.  I'd rather be crocheting, knitting, or cross stitching, but finishing the books will mean a lot to my kids someday, so I'll just have to get them done!

I'll post more pictures as I finish up projects.  I'm always so excited to show them off :)!

Oh!  By the way, I'll be posting another review and giveaway very soon!  This one is sponsored by a fantastic Etsy shop that makes handmade jewelry.  You're really gonna love it- especially all of you Moms out there!  Keep your eyes open for it and make sure to enter!  You won't wanna miss this one!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheesecake- A Crowd Pleasing Dessert!

Hi everybody,

I know I've shared this cheesecake recipe with you once before, but it is just so delicious, I thought maybe some of you would want to make it today or tomorrow for your Christmas get-togethers.  It is definitely a family favorite of ours and it isn't hard at all to make, just kind of time consuming.  It's definitely a winner if you're looking for something to wow your friends and family!

Delicious Cheesecake Recipe

I hope you enjoy it!  If you make it, let me know how it turns out!

Merry Christmas, everyone! Our Christmas Card...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I thought it would be fun to share this year's Christmas card with all of my awesome blog readers!  I don't think this year's card is the MOST festive, but I love this picture that my mom took of the 3 of us.  Here's what the back side of the card said: 

Our Top 10 of 2011

10.   Brennan got to meet LOTS of animals including dogs, cats, fish, sheep, cows, pigs, rabbits, mules, horses, llamas, reindeer, ducks, chickens, and even a NASTY rooster. (Grandma Sue and Grandpa Brad’s rooster loves to try to attack people… especially Brennan!)
9.   Emmy (She’s 4 now) and Brennan have become best buddies… or should I say he loves her, and she tolerates him!).
8.   Brennan is still a social butterfly, making friends wherever he goes.  He’s never developed a fear of strangers and I doubt he will.
7.   We remodeled our bathroom (plus redecorated our bedroom) and are so happy with the end result.
6.   Brennan has become a chatterbox- always talking up a storm!­
5.  We purchased a new-to-us vehicle, which we LOVE- a Hyundai Santa Fe.
4.   Our little man turned one year old (and his Mama turned the big 25… ahhh!!!)!­
3.  Ryan officially became a volunteer EMT!
2.  Brennan has finally started sleeping through the night more often than not!  Yay!
1.   We found out that we’re expecting a little girl in March! She’ll be a great addition to our little family.

I hope you all have the merriest of Christmases and that the New Year finds you all happy and healthy.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A box AND packing peanuts?!?! Too good to be true.

It's Christmas time in our household!  Packages are showing up on our doorstep and our anticipation is growing daily!  Though this isn't one of Brennan's gifts, it is clearly bringing him all sorts of enjoyment!  Honestly, I meant to put this box away before Brennan found it, but I just didn't get too it.  Now, I'm glad I didn't.  He found it and immediately started throwing out the peanuts.  At first, I started my 'put-it-back' routine and then stopped myself.  I realized, that though it may take a couple of minutes to clean up all of the peanuts, they weren't hurting anything.  Brennan wasn't trying to eat them- just throw them around (plus they look like the biodegradable ones, anyway).  So instead of saying, "No!", I told him to go for it and have fun.  As you can tell by the big grin on his face, he did!  Now if only these things would hold his attention longer!  I'd get more done around here!

May the joyfulness, peace, and true meaning of this Christmas season bring a smile to your face, just like this one!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Has a New Trainee!

Brennan has big news!  He got to meet Santa yesterday!  He liked Santa so much, he's decided to train for the job to be Santa in a few more years!  He's gonna look mighty cute in that big beard!

You can see in this picture that Brennan and Santa were having a heart to heart about the demands of the job.  Brennan thinks he's up for it...  B even reminded Santa that he MUST laugh with a big 'Ho Ho Ho!' (and I'm not joking.  He just kept on 'Ho Ho Ho'-ing at Santa!)

Seriously, I wasn't worried about Brennan being afraid of sitting on Santa's lap.  He's not afraid of strangers at all and he recognizes all forms of Santa whether on TV, in pictures, as decorations, etc. and just loves him.  I was a little concerned that if we set him on Santa's lap and then backed away to take pictures that he might get a little concerned.  Turns out, that was NOT the case.  He saw Santa and I watched as his eyes grew big with anticipation.  He was pointing and saying his name while trying to escape the stroller.  As soon as we got him unstrapped, he ran right over to Santa and pulled himself up onto his lap.  No fear... that's my boy!
This one was a little blurry, but I liked the expressions on both Brennan and Santa's faces.  By the way, did you know that when Santa is not out 'in the field' he gets to wear Crocs?  I guess that's his business casual look.  Brennan dressed up a little more for the occasion.  He WAS trying to land the internship.

Brennan was thrilled that he made the nice list.  After all, he was a little worried.  In this picture, he's just double checking that Santa used the right stamp on him.  Looks good to me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Police Shooting= A Scary, Sad Day in our Hometown

We had quite an eventful, sad day in our hometown of Lake City, MN today.  Lake City is a very small town- only about 5300 people, yet today the unthinkable happened.  An armed gunman shot an officer, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call, twice- once in the back and once in the head, before barricading himself inside of a house.  To make a long story short, the officer is currently at Mayo in Rochester, MN in critical condition and we are all hoping for a quick and complete recovery.  Things look promising so far.  The gunman apparently turned his weapon on himself and was found dead in the home nearly 10 hours later.  Here's what just one of many articles said about the incident:

"Lake City Officer Shot; Gunman Believed Dead

Officer shot in head, in critical condition

Updated: Monday, 19 Dec 2011, 7:28 PM CST
Published : Monday, 19 Dec 2011, 9:35 AM CST
FOX 9 News
LAKE CITY, Minn. - A police officer is in critical condition after he was shot in the head while responding to an altercation at a home in Lake City, Minn. on Monday. A standoff with the suspect lasted into the evening, until officers entered the home and found the body of a man believed to be the gunman.

Standoff in Lake City

The Wabasha County medical examiner will positively identify the body of the man found in the home, but the standoff ended once it was found.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the shooting occurred after two Lake City police officers were called to the home at West Lyon Avenue to a reported domestic incident involving a handgun.

There were two shots fired, with Officer Shawn Schneider, 32, suffering a head wound at the front door of the home. Schneider was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, where he remained in critical condition Monday evening. The second officer was not injured.

Police confirmed the suspect in the shooting is Alan J. Sylte Jr., 25, of Hager City, Wis. They believe Sylte remained inside the home, armed with a small caliber handgun, after shooting Schneider.

A perimeter was established around the home at 618 Lyon Avenue, but a police tactical team was not able to make contact with Sylte, who has a criminal record that includes battery and disorderly conduct charges in Wisconsin in 2006.

Schools in Lake City
were placed on lockdown at the request of police during the standoff. The school district said all students were safe inside the school, and buildings remained on lockdown until shortly after 6 p.m., when police advised schools that it was safe to transport the students home.
 The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will investigate the shooting."

This has all come as quite a shock to everyone in our close-knit community!  This is something that we see happening in other cities around the country and the world, but can never imagine happening in our own backyard.  The house where the stand-off occurred is only 7 blocks away from my own home. 

We are all hoping and praying for the wounded officer and his family as well as thinking and thanking everyone involved with the situation today- the police officers of Lake City and several other surrounding communities, the volunteer fire department, the ambulance crew, all of the government agencies involved, the teachers and school officials that kept our students safe and calm during lock down, and everyone who stepped up to help in one way or another.  We would all appreciate your thoughts and prayers. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm a little jealous!

I don't really think I'm a very jealous person, overall.  I like to think that I'm genuinely happy when things go well for others and am not too envious.  However, I have to admit that I've been very jealous of one thing lately...

FALLING ASLEEP!  Apparently, I've caught a case of pregnancy insomnia.  I find myself going to bed, feeling more than ready to fall asleep, and then just laying there.... waiting... thinking.... wishing I was asleep!  It's been hard to turn my brain off.  It's not necessarily that I'm stressed or even thinking about the pregnancy.  It's more just jumping from random thought to random thought and not being able to relax.  For example, "I really like how the red ornaments on the tree look.... Did I take the dog's collar off?... I wonder how many times I'll have to watch Mickey's Choo Choo Express tomorrow... Oooh!  That was a big kick!... I should try to clear my mind... So & So's Christmas card photo was so nice..." etc. 

I'll be laying in bed, still wide awake, when I start to notice Ryan breathing heavier and all of a sudden I feel him jump a little, which is part of his nightly falling asleep routine.  And here I am thinking to myself again, "Jealous.  I wish I could fall asleep that fast!"

I've even been very comfortable sleeping/laying this time around, overall, which is different than it was with Brennan.  I'm hoping I can stay comfortable for quite a while longer, because that's just one less issue to deal with. 

For the most part, once I fall asleep, I'm fine until morning.  But if I end up getting up with Brennan, I can count on at least another 1/2 hour of laying in bed waiting to fall back asleep- and that's on a good night.  I'm not used to dealing with this mess!  I normally (unpregnant) am able to fall asleep quite quickly and sleep pretty soundly, so this has taken a lot of getting used to!  At least it seems to come in streaks and then improve for a little while.  I'm sure hoping it goes away in my 3rd trimester, which is approaching quickly!  I'm already 25 weeks and 3 days pregnant (in less than 2 hours)!  Boy, how has this pregnancy flown in comparison to last time!  I guess that's what having one kid already keeping you busy does!

So, does anyone have any tips to help, besides taking Unisom?  I've been desperate enough to do that a couple of times, but I don't like to.  Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A quick smile on a dreary not-so-wordless Wednesday!

It is an awfully dreary day here in small town Minnesota!  Instead of getting the beautiful December snow that we are known for, we're getting a cold drizzle.  Yuck!  I just wanted to send a quick smile to brighten up your day!  Here's my little guy trying to stay warm (or as he says, "cotzy wahm!"... our version of "cozy warm") after his bath!   Have a great day and pass a smile around!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I've Created a Monster!!!

My little guy has recently become a big fan of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show.  It has quickly gone from something he kind of enjoys to a full blown addiction! 

When he first wakes up in the morning, "Ninnie" (his version of Mickey) is one of the first words out of his mouth.  He stands in front of the TV, completely enamored, and dancing and singing along with the characters.  He has become a fabulous 'Hot Dog Dancer' (you'd only get this if you watch the show...) and is absolutely in love with Toodles, always calling for him and even insisting upon having me help to draw Toodles!

Well, once I realized he liked the show so much, I thought that I'd get him one of the movies- Mickey's Choo Choo Express.  I figured that it combines Mickey and trains; two things he really loves.  Now, about a week later, I'm not sure if this was a good idea!  He is addicted to the movie!  He begs to watch it all day long, except for when it is actually on!  I wake up hearing the songs playing through my head and walk around the house humming them...  I actually heard Brennan making quite a bit of noise in his crib the other night and went into rub his back for a minute, hoping to calm him down.  When I listened carefully, I could make out the word he was saying... "Ninnie... Ninnie...."!  Oh my.

I don't love playing the video over and over for him and letting him watch so much tv, so we're slowly working on cutting back on it!  However, I have to admit that I truly enjoy watching him enjoying his movie with a big smile on his face and hilarious dance moves.  At least he's not just zoning out in... I'LL BE RIGHT BACK!.....

SORRY!  I just was pulled off of the couch and away from my laptop to do the hot dog dance!  As I was saying- At least he's not just zoning out in front of the tv.  He's clearly learning and having lots of fun.

The other major benefit I reap from the movie is the fact that it keeps my HIGHLY energetic son entertained for long enough for me to actually accomplish something.  I'm feeling pretty good right about now because I cleaned up quite a bit of the messy house during the last viewing!

I didn't have any idea that he could get this wrapped up in something!  At least I know that he'll loooooove the Mickey Mouse tie blanket I'm making him for Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

6th Month Baby Bump Comparison!

Well, I'm officially 6 months along with our little girl!  Actually.... I'm 6 months and 4 days :)  A friend and I were discussing how our bellies (she's pregnant again, too) compared to last time with our first babies.  She posted some pictures and definitely looks smaller than last time, so it made me start to wonder what my comparison looks like.  These pictures were taken only 1 week apart in the pregnancy and the current pregnancy is on the left.  It's interesting...

Seems to me that my tummy looks almost identical to last time.  I might be just a tad bigger, but I'm also 1 week further along.  I think I might be carrying just a tiny bit higher, too... maybe? 

It was fun to look at, at least!  Maybe it means this baby will be as tiny as Brennan was- 6 pounds 2 ounces!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our annual cookie bake

This year our annual cookie bake featured an up and coming young baker.  He has shown a lot of enthusiasm while developing his baking skills.  His baked creations are rather impressive considering he needs a chair to reach his work space...

Here he is giving a cookie making lesson to an eager student.

 Look at the concentration he possesses!

 He knows how to use almost all the tools of the trade.

Posing for some snapshots for his adoring fans.

You know every good baker samples his creations along the way...

Not only does he have the skills for baking, but his artistic abilities make him a wonderful decorator, as well!

"PLEASE!  Don't touch my creations!"

My sister and her boyfriend are avid followers of the up and coming baker.  They were thrilled when he agreed to take a picture with them...  He was apparently to involved in his work to stop and smile, though.

I expect to see even more amazing creations in the future from this local talent!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Christmas Tree Adventure

Every year, I find myself waiting impatiently for Thanksgiving.  I mean, what's not to like about the holiday?  It is a day specifically set aside for counting your blessings with your friends and family, all topped off with a big piece of pumpkin pie!

But I've got an ulterior motive for loving Thanksgiving.  After it has passed, we can FINALLY get our Christmas tree!  Every year we make the trip to a nearby (sort of) tree farm and cut down our own tree.  My family has been doing this as long as I can remember, so of course, Ryan and I have continued the tradition with our own family, too.

This year was nice.  It was chilly, but not freezing, which made for a pleasant tree-hunting experience.  After a little bit of searching we found the perfect tree!  Here's our family with our Christmas tree.  Brennan is giving the camera the 'big wave' that his Grandpa Brad taught him and Baby Anderson is making herself known though my coat...

This little guy's face always makes me smile.  Those cheeks, with dimples, were just made for pinching!

Time to cut down our beautiful tree.  I'm awfully short (only 5 feet tall) so getting any leverage pulling on the tree for Ryan is harder than you'd think!  We got the job done anyway... though Grandpa Brad came to help me after we took the picture.

Everybody say, "TIMBER"!  Brennan thought it was pretty cool...

As you can see, he thought that Daddy deserved a round of applause.

Here are some more tree hunters.  Auntie Haley took over the stroller pushing for a while while Grammy Sue held the leash.  I was kind of wishing that I could trade places with Brennan for a bit!  He looked awfully comfy and cozy!

They found a winner, too!  Grandpa Brad is cutting down the tree while they pull on it.

Libby looks like a yuppie dog in her coat, but she gets cold so fast!  Apparently she was freezing, because she's not a real big fan of Brennan and the fact that she's sitting on his lap is amazing!  She's kind of scared of him...

Look who we found!  Santa!  Brennan recognized him right away and thought that he was a pretty cool guy.

Brennan NEEDED to give Santa some high fives and some knucks, too.  They're buddies, I guess!

Santa's mules were so friendly!  It was fun to pet them and see how big they were up close!  Brennan can cross another animal off of his "animals to pet" list! 

It was an awesome day!  Our tree is home and beautiful.  I'll take a picture soon of our simple but pretty decorations and post it, too!