Monday, December 30, 2013

Books I Read in 2013

I think, considering I had a newborn baby in August, that I did remarkably well in the book reading department this year! Last year I read 41 books; this year 48, with a handful that I started and never finished (life is too short to waste it reading books you think are stupid). 

Here's what I read in 2013:

1. Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie
2. Then We Came to The End by Joshua Ferris
3. Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy
4. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
5. Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures by Emma Staub
6. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Sieg Larsson
7. The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
8. Bill Bryson's African Diary by Bill Bryson
9. The Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart
10. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
11. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
13. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
14. Run by Ann Patchett
15. What I Did by Christopher Wakling
16. The Age of Miracles by Kate Thompson Walker
17. The Accidental Tourist by Anne Taylor
18. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
19. Divergent by Veronica Roth
20. The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
21. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
22. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
23. The Partner by John Grisham
24. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
25. The Silver Linings Playbook by MAtthew Quick
26. The Rainmaker by John Grisham
27. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
28. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
29. Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
30. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
31. The Racketeer by John Grisham
32. The Chamber by John Grisham
33. Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
34. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
35. Secrets in the Cellar by John Gant
36. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
37. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
38. The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls
39. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
40. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
41. Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian
42. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
43. Sycamore Row by John Grisham
44. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crossley
45. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
46. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
47. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
48. Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

My favorites were, The Age of Miracles, Bel Canto, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, The Bean Trees, The Silver Star, and Cutting for Stone. Honorable mentions to both of Rainbow Rowell's books (Attachments and Eleanor & Park) and Trans-Sister Radio. I also really liked To Kill a Mockingbird. I don't know how I got through high school without reading it! And, if you are a pregnant lady, I highly recommend Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.

Any suggestions for my "to read" list? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Family Ties

This past weekend,  Fiona, Dan & I went to a wedding in Banff.  We also finally met Elsie!

Now Fiona and I are in Lethbridge for a few days. The grandparents that live here are having the time of their lives with these little dolls!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Colour Block Baby

Fiona is growing into some more of her adorable wardrobe! (And also out of some of it, which makes me sad, happy and all verklempt all at once!)

Today she was stylin' in her sweater dress....

And just to prove to you that my baby does indeed cry sometimes, here's the evidence:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday's Dress

I'm gonna take a page out of Elissa's book and post a picture of my cute baby wearing a cute outfit! Of course, because I went to the effort today, Fiona cried in the car all the way into town, then needed to nurse in the McDonald's parking lot while Dan got us some coffee's, and then slept all through church and most of the afternoon. Couldn't even show off her adorable duds to the church ladies since she was in her carseat the whole time!

Good thing we have an extended family dinner tonight so that Fiona can show off her outfit to some of her Aunties!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Six Weeks Later

As of Monday morning, Fiona was 6 weeks old. 

The days can be long, but the weeks have flown by. We're surviving, although I like to think we are turning a corner here (knock-on-wood) and are getting to a place of living as well as surviving. 

She's pretty much the cutest baby there ever was.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Double Trouble Turns Two

Big H and O-Dawg are turning 2 next week. They are still little pip-squeaks - cute, RAMBUNCTIOUS little guys, and what little boys don't need a fort?

I made them a play teepee for their birthday's. They have to share this year, 'cause Auntie just wasn't up for doubling up on awesome crafts this time round! I roughly followed these two tutorials, and was totally in awe of this one. I started this project well before their birthday (actually, on Fiona's due date!), and found I had most everything already on hand, after scrounging through my fabric collection. All I had to get was some PVC pipe for the poles (I got some stares as I walked around the plumbing department at 9 months preggo), which I then spray painted with some leftover paint.

I really liked the idea of using some lace after looking at that third tutorial I linked to, and thought it would kind of be like windows and would let in a bit of light. I skipped the nylon webbing for pole holders, and just sewed some fabric strips instead. I am pretty pleased with how it all turned out!

I forgot my camera at home when we went to the birthday party, but I think H&O were pretty stoked to have a hiding place. According to a text from their parents last night, they already love it! Have fun in there boys!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

August Arrival(s)

Our baby has arrived! Fiona Faye came into the world on August 26, 2013, at 3:59 AM. She was 6 pounds, 9 ounces and 20 inches long.

Brand new!

I was completely shocked to see 1) that cap of dark hair, and 2) that she was a girl!!

I have no idea how long labour lasted, as I was completely in labour land for most of Saturday night and all of Sunday, where time made no sense. I was rejected at the hospital the first time we went on Sunday afternoon, and was sent home again after getting a morphine shot (best decision ever) around 10 PM Sunday night. I was determined not to get rejected a third time, so after my water broke at home around 1:30 Monday morning I insisted on staying home until I couldn't handle it any more.

We got the hospital around 3:25, and Fiona popped out just a few minutes later!

She was born fast and furious, and didn't really cry in the first few minutes of her life. She did wriggle around a little, but no real screaming was happening. The nurses took her to the NICU after 6 minutes of suctioning her and trying to get her to take a big breath. Dan went with her and said that even before they got there Fiona was doing better and had started to wail. She spent a few hours in the NICU, then came back to be with us.

We are of course home now and Fiona is two weeks old already!!

There were two other baby girls born in August in our family as well! On my side, Hillary and Michael welcomed baby Elsie on August 2, and on Dan's side, Matt and Kori welcomed baby Evelyn on August 25, just 9 hours before Fiona arrived! Needless to say, we are thrilled with the girl trifecta!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nursery Reveal

I spent most of today putting the finishing touches on the baby's room. We're more than ready to meet this kid. In fact, I think it should come out NOW!

Anyway, here's what the baby's room looks like. Enjoy!

Colourful Art Cards | Frames | Animal Print - Spruce Collective | "Be Brave" & "Grow Strong" Decals - Spruce Collective | Magnet Board - gift from Hillary years ago!

Book Basket - Homesense

Dresser | Roman Shade Fabric | Bird Mobile brought home from Costa Rica

Lamp - old, but with a fresh coat of paint & new shade! | Whale Bookends - Spruce Collective

Crib Sheet - made my me! | Orange Table - Homesense | Chair - already had, but from Ikea

Zebra - Pier 1 | Pillow - made by me!

(I really enjoyed organizing this diaper drawer!)

Can't wait to stick a baby in this room! Just a few more days!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photo Session

A few weeks ago, Dan & I got some maternity photos taken. I know this is totally weird for some people, and granted it was a little strange to participate in a photo shoot where my belly was the main focus, but we also had a lot of fun together, and we really like the photos we got back! It felt a little bit like our wedding all over again!

We hired Joanne Bos to take these photos. I can't say how I found her...I think Facebook? Anyway, all credit to Joanne for these photos. Here are some of my favorites!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Maternity Leave Report: Week 1

Well, week 1 of mat leave hasn't disappointed!

My daily schedule looks like this:

Just kidding! I have been doing a few things around home and in preparing for this imminent arrival. I know I do better with some kind of plan, so I have been trying to have something to do/go to each day, as well as rest or nap or read or do whatever I want at home.

This week, in addition to my usual chores & errands, I packed a diaper bag (including THE smallest/cutest soothers you have ever laid eyes on), made a couple of lasagnas for the freezer, worked on a baby blanket, and got a massage (saving that gift card REALLY paid off!).

This morning I made some muffins, and have the company of Johnny. This afternoon is looking like a great time for a nap on my screen porch!

Happy Friday, all!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Phoning It In

It's been hot and I'm pregnant and don't feel like blogging. But, here's a pic of me at 36.5 weeks....and wearing a new dress to celebrate my last week of work. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Two Recipes

Last night I made this Thai chopped chicken salad. I saw the recipe on Pinterest. I try to only pin recipes I will actually make/look like they would actually work and be good, and this one was a total winner!

I followed it pretty exactly, although did use a 1/2 bag of prepared coleslaw instead of chopping up cabbages. Also, I just happened to have edamame in my freezer, but you could easily leave it out and not miss a thing. I know the ingredient list is long, but I promise it's not that intimidating!

Dan & I both really liked this salad, and it was delicious for lunch today!!

Next up, good old summer sun tea. I don't know why it took me so long to make this this summer!

Chuck 6 tea bags in a pitcher or big jar. Pour in some boiling water, to fill about 1/4 - 1/2 the container. Let it steep for about 6 hours or overnight.

Add 1 can of lemonade concentrate, and 1/2 cup sugar. Fill container with water and mix it all up.

Since I am a pregnant lady, I decided to make my iced tea with raspberry leaf tea. I also added in some blackberry Torani syrup. Dan's not allowed to drink my iced tea, but don't worry, he just made a batch of beer, so he's covered for summer refreshment!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Sofa

few weeks month ago, I posted about a project I was working on. Glad to say that now it's finished and ready to make all my dreams come true!

I built an outdoor couch, JUST for napping on. Last summer, I wanted a couch outside so bad (someone suggested I get a hammock, but a hammock just wasn't gonna cut it), and after searching everywhere for an affordable option, came up with nothing. I debated just getting an old one from MCC, but considering our climate, didn't think that would be the smartest decision. Plus, moving an old couch is never fun. Or light.

So, plan B was to build one. I found this plan for an outdoor sofa, and modified it slightly so it was easier to build and used a little less material.

My plan looked like this:

Sketch Up skills coming in handy!

In case you too want to build yourself an outdoor couch exactly like mine, here's my shopping list. I just went to Home Depot and got stud grade lumber, as straight as I could find! My lumber came in around $35.
(4) 1x3x8'
(4) 2x2x8'
(2) 2x6x8'

And here's my cutlist (roughly....I may have diverged from this as I built, and the list is in the garage and I don't feel like going to get it right now!)
(2) 2x6 @ 72" (front & back aprons)
(2) 2x6 @ 24" (side aprons)
(4) 2x2 @ 22" (legs)
(2) 2x2 @ 28" (arm rests)
(1) 2x2 @ 72" (back rest)
(2) 2x2 @ 72" (front & back slat supports)
(12) 1x3 @ 24" (seat slats)

I had the 2x6s cut at Home Depot, but made all the other cuts on my mitre saw. I sanded down everything first, then primed it (except for seat slats), then cut it, made my pocket hole screws with my Kreg jig, and then assembled by gluing and screwing all my joints.

I made the seat slats like a mattress support kinda thing on a bed with the help of some polyester belting from Fabricland and a staple gun. Rather than painting these, I sealed them with a few (4!) coats of Varathane (which I already had) to make them weather resistant. We're planning on storing this thing in the garage attic in the winter months, but otherwise it will live on our screened in porch. I don't think much rain will get on it, but better to protect everything than have it rotting in a year or two. The slats come out completely, but are held in place with some dowels that go through the slats and sit in holes drilled into the slat supports at front & back.

The primer & paint I already had on hand. Remember this table? I had pretty much a quart of paint left from that project still, which was perfect since it was already outdoor paint AND would match that table!

For the seat cushions, I again hit up Fabricland (after pricing foam out at a foam store where they wanted like $300 for 72" of foam!) and luckily they had some lengths of 4" foam that was 50% off. I also had leftover outdoor fabric from this project and used that and a couple duvet zippers to make my cushion covers.

When I started this project I knew I'd also need some back cushions. My original plan was to just pick some up at Homesense, which I did, and then returned because $100 for 6 cushions. No. Plus the colours were picked over and not great. In my wandering around the store, I had a brainwave when I spotted some outdoor table cloths and remembered I had a stack of old pillows in a closet at home. (I have a thing about sleeping pillows - I hate when they go all flat and pancake like. Hence the stack of 5 pillows in a closet. A while ago I finally got a good [and expensive] one and haven't had to replace it since!) So, a $20 tablecloth and a few minutes behind a sewing machine, and viola! Back cushions.

I also (finally) sealed & stained our decks (once the rain stopped and summer returned), and we got the house washed too. Now just to get the screen porch up and my little piece of paradise is ready for the summer!