It's the 15th!

It's the 15th of December. To most that means 10 days until Christmas but for us we celebrate, because it's Jerrel's birthday! He said last night he felt old. I told him mind over matter. He will spend his day sleeping for he has to work tonight-bummer but I will still manage to have a nice day for him and fix a nice "breakfast" before he heads off to work at 6. The woes of being a night nurse. Thankfully he likes his job. 

So Happy Birthday to my husband, my best friend, and my baby daddy. You are my forever favorite.



A Little Christmas Decor

Things around these parts have been a little word heavy. But I'm sorry- I love to write. Between writing though I have been decorating for Christmas and besides wrapping presents I think the place is done. It's warm, cozy, and just festive enough. So I've snapped a few unprofessional photos to share with you! Here's the Christmas tour of our house. 

What's the old saying? "Necessity is the mother of invention." Well we didn't NEED Christmas decorations but if we wanted things up I was going to have to do some shopping or creating. I opted for minimal shopping and much creating. First on the list was the cinnamon applesauce ornaments. Our house still smells great because of these babies. 

 I also made enough to give to my kids on my last day of teaching. They loved them. I  just hope they didn't eat it. 

Then I bought some apples for a project that will be revealed in just a minute. Add to the yummy smells.  

The first stop is our chalkboard wall. I love that I made the decision to paint a wall in my rental with chalk board. It is so fun to redecorate. Please don't mind the mess in the bottom left corner. I blurred our address. I have it written then to aid in my memorization. It's not really working though. 

Now we will peek at our dining room. See the wreaths on the windows? Those apples were glued to embroidery hoops and then hung with rope. A pine cone garland made by yours truly is gracing our "mantel." See that brick? I'm still trying to work up the courage to paint it. Either make the faux bricks and mortar all white or try and make them look real and reddish. Any suggestions? Anyway, besides looking at our tree, I like being in this room. It's cheery and Christmasy. 

Our stockings. The middle one was bought for me by my Momma from this Crafter. I made the other two, because I had the burlap and the time. But they were stinkers so I wouldn't blame you if you bought yours. Burlap can be tricky. But they turned out cute, now just to decide whose is whose. 

Another reason I love the dining room. It has the most "old stuff" I bought a Hoosier this summer and quickly filled it with my collections. For Christmas I got out these little figurines my Grandma passed down to me. Aren't they cute? They were my Great Grandma's. The rolling pin was another Great Grandma's piece. If you look closely by the handle it was her name written in marker. "Elda." so sweet.

Now for the tree. I really wanted to have a real tree. I've never had one before. But it just didn't work for us to get anywhere. So mom had an extra so we snatched it up. Jerrel is amazed by the amount of ornaments we have. Well dear, that's what about $4 at the thrift store and a few donations from your mother will get you. We made popcorn and cranberry garland and tada! Total tree cost, maybe around $10-we had to buy lights and a other few supplies.
Disclaimer- Some presents may or may not be props.

But we had no tree topper. Mmmm, I've got a tree in the backyard, hot glue, and twine. I googled a few things and decided to just go with it. And I LOVE my star. It turned out to be the perfect finishing touch. The trick was finding the straightest twigs and then making them proportional. I arranged and rearranged them until I had the right shape of star. 

But my favorite ornament is our Mackinac Island ornament. Such a fun trip. Second favorite? The weird green ones I bought at the thrift store. Everyone needs some whimsy. 

So that's our basic Christmas tour. Once again my collecting/hoarding skills have came in handy. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Season from our home to yours. 

Christmas Blessings! 


Ramblings of a Pregnant Chick

People seem to forget basic social skills when they find out you are growing a human.
"Hey, I can finally tell you are getting bigger!"
"Look at that belly!"
"Oh WOW you are getting bigger" 

Words like "fat" "big" "belly" "tummy" etc, are suddenly totally acceptable to use when referencing a pregnant woman who is already a bit raw and wrapping her head around her new body.

Or maybe it's just me.

Either way I have hair that I (maybe) fixed, a smile that I (probably) shared with you, and a day that I'm dealing with wether good or bad. Lets keep the comments on the bump, the baby, and my body to a kind and caring level. How about we talk about this and the other things happenin' in the world shall we? Not just my size.

I get this is a wonderfully special time and that I'll never experience anything like this again-it's seriously a miracle. However, about 90% of the references I hear have negative undertones even when people don't necessarily mean them. It's the way culture communicates about pregnancy. And as you can tell-it grates on a girl. I was told by a woman that I looked beautiful last week-I wanted to hug her for her word choice.

Pregnancy brain is real.
I lost my phone twice. In one hour. Found it-in the same spot each time.
I opened the mayonnaise. Found a spoon in the jar. We all know Senor Smarty Pants would never do such a thing!
I don't remember what I asked Senor Smarty Pants to do for me. Oh yeah it was to take out the trash.
I tried to unlock my house with my remote for my car.
Then I tried to unlock my parents house with said remote.

Having books and an iPad jump while sitting on your bump is entertaining.

The baby likes citrus. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit. Whatever, just give us some and we will be happy campers.

Overall we are having a good experience. Just needed a little outlet to write. Thank you for your time.



It's a Choice

Jerrel and I have made a different type of choice in choosing our healthcare provider during this pregnancy. To us the choice didn't seem new or odd, for we had been reading about and researching midwives, birth centers, home birth, and varying other options for almost a year. We read these things out of personal and educational interests. While we hadn't ever actually met with a real life Midwife when we did, it honestly felt like a breath of fresh air.

I only wish I could get that feeling across to people when they ask the loaded question, "Who are you doctoring with?" It sounds irresponsible to say "We actually aren't doctoring." and they usually are equally confused when I explain that we are seeing a midwife 4 hours away, at a birth center-not a hospital, and they generally don't know what a birth center is exactly. Once I cover that I tend to get this awkward silence, sometimes it's simply them processing information that they had no clue they were walking into, sometimes however it's a silence filled with an odd emotion. It feels like a mix of judgmental questioning. 

I think people also wonder why. Even though I can explain a midwife is an actual expert in birth. Real-live expert. They see birth as normal and natural. But more than that, midwives actually see normal and natural births- because they let them happen. Midwives aren't concentrated with speeding the process up if it is progressing safely. They aren't concerned with starting the progress if it hasn't started naturally with healthy mom and baby. The vast majority of midwives don't control where and in what position you give birth.  Midwives aren't focused on you following their rules, because generally, you make the rules. They are a guide-a medical professional, yes. But midwives understand the power of women and the God-given right they have to choose their birth and progress through the process naturally.

I also know people around here think we are weird-but I've always been ok with that title.

I think some people may feel like their doctor wasn't good enough in my eyes, like I'm somehow condemning them for their birth choices (If you want to call them that.) But I'm not. There are instances where a doctor is very necessary and thank God we have them. Some women feel more comfortable in a hospital setting, and that's ok too. However, through our research and then Jerrel's rotations we learned so much. We didn't read about and he didn't see choices, empowerment, respect, or honor. Rules, protocol, pressure, disrespect, lack of education, and sometimes very scary situations were the norm. However in the end they all said "All that matters is that you have a healthy baby." With that comment we are just supposed to move on, because how can a mother feel like she can question that phrase when you are talking about her child. And while healthy babies are always top priority I think it's perfectly acceptable to expect and demand more from our providers. 

What I get from some women is that they have no choice. I really wonder if they understand that they have a choice on their healthcare provider, or is it whomever was available for the time slot. I get that from more than just women. You aren't actually working for the doctor or midwife-they are working for you. And if you don't like how they do their job you can fire them. Not see them again, and share with people why they were a crappy employee.

I read once that birth and birth options were the final frontiers women have yet to explore and stand up for their rights. Now I'm far from feeding into and agreeing with the feminist mentalitly-that's a whole other post, but I am agreeing with that fact. We tend to just let it happen to us. We go with what the culture has decided is right for birth. We hunt out the OBGYN or Family Practitioner that all our friends, family members, and colleagues have used, never once questioning their episiotomy rates, induction rates, epidural rates, c-section rates, policy on movement during birth, fetal monitoring, philosophy on birthWe don't care to find out that these things are even options most of the time, not necessities. We just seem to trust the system blindly and if we do make a decision it's out of fear. I refuse to live that way. 

I am not a sick woman, I am a pregnant and soon to be birthing woman. 

Don't get me wrong, if a red flag appears I will be the first to see a specialist-that's what they are there for. But for a normal, naturally progressing, healthy pregnancy and childbirth I will have my specialist of choice-my Midwife.

"Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear." ~ Jane Weideman

“When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change." ~Marie Mongan, Hypnobirthing

"If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any." ~ Diana Korte



What I Learned in the 2nd Grade

I've spent the last 4 months in the 2nd grade again.

I've learned so much about teaching, about kids, and about people. It's been another horizon broadening experience. I've loved my class and honestly I'd be pretty dang sold on this whole full-time teaching thing-if you could guarantee that I'd get them again, or their clone.  Just call me Mr. Feeny. I just loved them so much!

So I've complied a list of things I've learned in the 2nd Grade this time around

-When editing, that line over the period has a very official name: loop-de-loo. And that is what it must always be called. 

-Moms are still Mommy's and Momma's and Dads are still Daddys. It's cute. 

-Lesson plan books are your friend. And making check marks in those silly little squares is oddly satisfying.

-Don't take yourself too seriously, for life is not as much fun when you aren't willing to giggle a little-or a lot. 

-Some kids' parents stink. It's not a nice thing to say but it's the truth. There are some kids in school I want to take home. Because they never asked for nor deserve the crap they go through. 

-Having Art, Library, and Music/PE on the same day is a gift from above. 

-Asking a little boy to spell "lady" is just hilarious because "You should really ask a girl 
to spell lady." 

-Pochontas' dad had 15 wives and that's just an amazing fact! We love getting cultured

-Lice happens. 

-Having a superior educator as a mentor makes all the difference. Mentors are a good thing. 

-Sometimes on a Tuesday you just feel like wearing a crown.

-Kids have the biggest hearts, love the most, and I think should probably run the world. Especially 2nd graders. It would be a lot happier place. Us adults just tend to mess things up. 

If you ever have the chance to go back to the 2nd grade, I'd highly recommend snatching that opportunity up.



We Met A Midwife

We have chosen to see a midwife.
"Because we believe in witchcraft." -Jim Gaffigan

But that's sometimes how I feel people see it when I bring up the topic sometimes.

I have written about the lack of options in Nebraska when it comes to actually having an option in providers and the lack of knowledge surrounding the need for a choice. It's something I'm very passionate about and could probably write for weeks on the topic.

But today I'm going to try to focus on us. Which is actually hard to do when talking about this topic. In Nebraska when you search for Certified Nurse Midwives you will find a pretty short list. Then try narrowing the search down to Western Nebraska? I'll tell you what you get- Nada, Zilch, ZERO. But then there was another criterion. I don't want to give birth in a hospital, Lord willing. I'm not kidding, my first choice would be home. I know, call me a hippie, or from um...the beginning of time? Do it. I'll like it. Anyway, when you add that stipulation-the preferably no hospital stipulation in western Nebraska-you basically go to negative numbers.

That left a midwife in Hastings whom I've heard is wonderful to work with in the hospital setting and the only free standing birth center in Nebraska, (i.e. a place where you go to have babies with Certified Nurse Midwives, Nurses, and possibly a Doula) The Midwife's Place in Bellevue, Nebraska. We felt for us, the Midwife's Place was the first logical step. Take a visit. We couldn't NOT check it out. So we did. Jerrel had to work the night before so I braved the interstate for the first time while he sawed logs and I managed by the Grace of God to get us there in one piece.

First impressions? It's in a strip mall.

Second impressions? It's beautiful, calming, welcoming, relaxing, comforting.

We met with a nurse she asked us some questions, we asked her some questions and I felt like I had come to the right place.

But back to the practitioners. Afterall they are what everyone seems to be extra curious about. The nurse I met with that particular day was funny and I instantly felt like I made a connection with her. And Heather, the midwife, the same. Everyone so very kind. In no rush, you and baby are their priority.

I heard this phrase more than once. "We are here to give you the best information and be your guide. Not tell you what to do." Ah, music to my ears. I didn't have to be worried about my choice in no ultrasound unless there is an issue. I didn't have to worry about being confined to a bed during labor. I didn't have to worry about feeling like a number, adearing to someone else's timeline, following their rules, guarding my beliefs, needs, and desires for my baby and I.

The biggest sign that I didn't want to go anywhere else? I left feeling calmed. I'd been having a wide array of emotions about this whole thing and seeming to have one thing narrowed down-that I wanted to see them for real, and have the baby there put my heart at ease.

So glad we were proactive and made a choice, that we ventured out. No default decisions for us.



Thanksgiving Day

  1. 1.
    the expression of gratitude, esp. to God.
    "he offered prayers in thanksgiving for his safe arrival"
  2. 2.
    (in North America) an annual national holiday marked by religious observances and a traditional meal including turkey. The holiday commemorates a harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621, and is held in the US on the fourth Thursday in November.
So today I will be extra aware of my many blessings. I will give thanks to The Lord for what he has done in the last year, the years before, and what he will continue to do. 

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving. 

Give thanks to The Lord for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1 



Another Thankful Feather

Translation: My house and the warmth of the bed I lay on. I stand on solid ground, but what I think is the best of all things I am thankful for would be the love I spread. 

From the mouths of babes.

Love their little "big" hearts.



A 2nd Grade Thankful Feather


I am thankful for...
my God, shelter, family, four wheeler, food and water so I can survive. I am Thankful for school so I can learn a lot. Shelter so I do not get klunked in the head with a ball of hail. Family so they can help me. 

All good things to be thankful for I'd say.



I'm Baking Again

I was on Facebook. I saw a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies and I thought-maybe I'll make those after school.

Last week I found a recipe for Snicker Doodle Bread here .

YUM right?

I made it and while it wasn't my proudest baking moment it was kinda a moment.

I did something that people do and enjoy doing in their own homes. I didn't just show up plop my things down and ask Jerrel if we could go to my parents house, his parents house- somewhere familiar. Because the place we were "living" had my things and my husband but it wasn't mine.

And for a girl who has a very strong sense of home, I wasn't having it. I was playing pretty nice but inside I couldn't wait for the next opportunity to go home to my parents. The little mole hills in the house were becoming mountains in an effort to justify my feelings.

And while a bat in the house-the mammal, not the sporting equipment, odd smells, creepy crawlies in the attic interrupting dinner conversations, and bad, bad, faux brick are all annoyances, in the grand scheme of things-they are silly.

But with me baking last week and wanting to bake today shows I'm wanting to do things normal people do in the houses they live. It's getting better. It's getting easier. I look forward to evenings home alone with my husband. I don't have to leave to feel better. I can be here and be content.

It's nice. And Jerrel certainly isn't opposed to the baked goods.



A Lesson in Maternity Clothes

Last week we had an appointment with our Midwife. Have I mentioned we are seeing a midwife? I'll talk more about that in a later post. Since we got to the big city and had an opportunity to shop I decided it was time for some new clothes. Jeans aren't fitting, shirts aren't covering, and I'm not comfortable.

I like clothes. I have quite a collection of clothes. My collection is years in the making and includes items from vintage shops, thrift stores, and sale racks. I like my clothes, but many of them weren't working and I kinda like them to fit. The break up between my wardrobe and I has been slow and a bit sad, so many of my favorites just don't work right now. My pants were hurting and my stomach was starting to peek out, making me look like a hillbilly or redneck. Take your pick.

So we went shopping. And while I had been looking online and even bought some things, here's what I learned once I was actually out in the trenches.

-Maternity clothes are all about basics. Basic t-shirts, basic jeans, basic colors, basic shapes, basic sizes. That is, if you want to spend a reasonable amount on maternity clothes. I felt like I was starting all over, but hungering for some interest. A funky print, a lacy detail. SOMETHING. But everybody's trying to get the corner market on "Maternity Basics." The hunt for tops was kinda a snooze fest.

-Horizontal Stripes are considered a "Maternity Basic." Not that I think they look bad on pregnant women, but I'm going to be the widest I've ever been and everyone and their dog is telling me to wear horizontal stripes? Where's a floral when this girl needs one? I could have an entire wardrobe of just stripes, different colors, sizes, but really how many do I need?

-95% of Maternity Jeans feel like Pajama Jeans. If I wanted a pair I'd call the 800 number. I was thirsting for denim. Thank the Lord for Old Navy.

-The full panel in Maternity Jeans is surprisingly comfortable. I actually prefer it to the low waisted jeans.

-The Maternity sale rack is not the same as the regular sale rack. The clothes really aren't "that" on sale. Why? Because women are desperate for some decent fitting clothes and they will pay for them. Selection is slim.

-You feel like a human-or just a woman again when you find a pair of pants that fit. That don't give you a baggy butt, fit your legs, and give you a taste of your shape a few months ago. That was a welcome treat. I couldn't get to the register fast enough with those jeans.

-Not having to constantly pull your shirt down because the top fits how it's supposed to is also a welcome reprieve.

Overall I did find 2 pairs of jeans, two basic t-shirts that will make getting dressed easier and make me look classier, and one blouse that is cute. So I did ok. I just need a little zest in my wardrobe that I can actually wear.

Bless my husband for coming along and being so patient with my whines.

I'm telling ya, the Maternity Market is a tough one.



Second Grade Funnies

I have wrote Second Grade Lovies. This weeks set of sayings aren't quite as sweet.

"Last night my sister stepped in cat poop."

Child: "My Aunt's already at 4!" 
Me: "Huh?" 
Child: "She's having a baby, she wasn't supposed to have the baby until December like my birthday but I think it's going to be November. I sure hope they stop at 2 then we all will have the same number of kids and boys and girls."
Family planning suggestions from a 7 year old. 

"This is just a ball I popped and decorated to look like a cape and put it on."
We had homecoming dress up days and one of the days was "Dress Like a Super Hero" We had Batman, Superman, etc. Then we had Super Rubber Ball Girl? I don't know-that was just the response we got when we commented that she wore a cape today too. 


"My costume is so easy, I just slip on my ninja suit."

Student: "Are you going to have a baby?"
Me: "Why?"
Student (while pointing hesitantly at my stomach): Well, cause it kinda looks like you are going to have a baby."
Me: "Yes I'm going to have a baby."
I haven't told the students yet...looks like I might have to now. Some know because they are family friends but the majority do not. Just didn't know since I'm not a permanent fixture if it was pertinent information. 

First Child: "My mom has some Chinese in her. That's why I want to go to China-I'm part Chinese."
Second Child: "I'm probably part American." 



October 31st

Happy Halloween!
Happy 20th Birthday to my brother Aaron! Another year older and wiser! (Lets hope!)
Good Luck to my brother Evan in his football playoff game!

Whew it's a busy kind of day today!


Yes We Slept In Our Tent

For Christmas Jerrels awesome grandparents gave us a joint gift. Knowing we were getting married in May, had similar interests, and a need. They gave us a tent. But not just any tent. A tent that can sleep 10 comfortably, a tent that is also called a Vacation Home. But location, location, location, is vital when calling it a Vacation Home. In Maui, maybe we can go there. But here? Nah.

But between wedding, reception, morning sickness, work training, and changing of schedules. We didn't get our tent out and my Senor Smarty Pants was none too happy 'bout that. So he has been scoping out a weekend when he is off, and we are free to go "camping." Fall Break was his chance. I got home from school to find my 22 year old going on 10 year old husband putting the finishing touches on the "little" number.

And you know what? We blew up the air mattress. I dug out basically all our blankets. We put a comforter down on the mattress as well as flannel sheets. I layered the blankets on the mattress. We made hot apple cider and we bundled up. We found our way to our tent and talked for a bit in the 30 degree weather. Before long I was falling asleep in the crisp fall air and in true Jessica fashion as of late, I slept all night, like a rock. 

People have drove by and viewed part of the tent like structure in our backyard since the fence blocks  the rest of it. They have asked in bewilderment of what the heck is going on. After I tell them that Jerrel is living out there now, I explain that we camped out. They don't get it. They think he is crazy and I'm in the same league because I said yes. I said yes to sleeping in a tent at 22 weeks pregnant-which I don't really see as a card to play currently. I camped out because he was so excited about it. I camped out because he cooks for me, he makes me tea, he works so hard for us. I camped out because he asked me to. I camped out because it was fun!

And you know what, I'd do it again. Maybe not tonight...but sometime. Hopefully next time we can be at a lake or something. But if we only make it to the backyard for a while that'd be ok too. 



Sugar Bean

One of the secretaries at school had me try on a pair of jeans. She bought them way cheap for her daughter but they didn't work. 

No big deal, right? Not really blog worthy, right? Kinda wasting your time by reading this, right? 

Except these aren't normal jeans. They have this kind of tag.

For a reason.

So yes. Jerrel and I are welcoming a little human into our lives.

At the end of February-early March. Shocked?

Me too, somedays. But then I remember how babies are made. Yup. Married in May, Pregnant in June. Found out in July. Told our families in August. Let the rest of the world find out as they do. It's been a nice slow process. But I figured at 20 weeks I could probably put it on the blog. Avoid making my Sugar Bean have a complex someday.

"MA why didn't you announce my coming to the world?!" OOPS.

So here's my pregnancy announcement.
Praise Him through all blessings flow!

The pants work wonderfully by the way. I knew you were wondering. 



Second Grade Lovies

"You're the best teacher in the whole world."

"I love your dress."

"I think rural living is the best way to live."
"I agree, I totally agree." 

"You look really pretty today."

"Can you give this yarn to Mrs. Gregory?" 
"Yes I can give this yarn to Mrs. Gregory."
Mrs. Gregory was sitting in her desk RIGHT next to me. 

"I would live in a rural area because then I wouldn't have to live by the train tracks. IT SUCKS. I can't sleep." 
"I'm sorry. Let's not say sucks." 

"What's your real name?" 
"That is such a nice name."

Have a beautiful weekend friends. Enjoy some fall weather. 



In The 2nd Grade

In the 2nd Grade we hear stories about Yellow Jackets. Yellow Jackets that sting but that doesn't hurt, really. Yellow Jackets that are babies and hang out on the playground. Yellow Jackets that get smooshed on the sidewalk by your friends' scooter.

In the 2nd Grade we make sure our sentences have capital letters and periods. We make sure that our d's aren't really b's and that our b's aren't really d's.

In the 2nd Grade we name a chair that wobbles, Mr. Wobbles-obviously. Then we argue about who gets Mr. Wobbles every chance we get.

In the 2nd grade a conversation about Grammar makes us think of a youtube video big brother showed us of a guy, with no arms, doing cool tricks.

In the 2nd grade we pull teeth during Math Meeting, before 10 am. Even though we were told to leave it be. And because it's 10 a.m. your teacher wants to hurl by just looking at the blood, the hole, and the tooth. But your priceless grin keeps the heaving at bay.

In the 2nd grade we work hard but we play hard too. Some of us love to give hugs and all think counting by one's is easy peasy lemon squeasy but aren't too sure about words like "enough." Those dang digraphs.

Oh it's quite the days in the 2nd grade.



Been a little absent again. I'm afraid I've come down with a heavy case of "Avoidmycomputericitis." It's been a pretty strong infection this time around.

You see August rolls around and I know that soon, far too soon, I'll be glued to this machine. I'll be reading "pertinent" emails, completing and turning in assignments, and checking grades. And frankly I'm not quite ready. But honestly I never will be. So for a few more days I'll bask in the rays of avoidance.

I'll check in when I need a break from denial.

Besides if I'm being a glass-half-full kinda gal, this is the last time August should make me cringe. Why? Because I graduate in December. Me. Graduating college. Finally and suddenly all at the same time. Well if I step away from the rays of avoidance in time and for long enough.

So what have I been doing? Well I've been picking beans and carrots. I've been reading and working on our flower beds. And I've been working on a little project involving these pretty things.

I've also been feeling the writing bug creeping up so I've started taking notes so hopefully I can start cranking out quality, insightful, and maybe even informative pieces.

For this moment though, I am going to go back to my post on the couch. I feel another wave of "avoidmycomputericitis" coming on. Until we meet again. 



Body Image.

A fun topic or not? For about every American woman I know it's not something we enjoy delving into. And when I look across the world, each culture has their own views on beauty creating their own sense of negative or positive body images. Think one African culture thats mothers force feed their daughters milk because frankly, obese is beautiful.

I found "How To Talk To Your Daughter About Her Body." It was intriguing to me so I read and what I found what something that resinated with me. I can't say I have body image issues. My friends would say that's because I'm thin and always have been. But while my friends were worried about their new hips and not eating carbs for the week, I never had the slightest inkling that my body was "wrong" or that I needed to cut foods to make myself look better.

Was that because my family ate a fairly real food diet? That we ate fresh green beans from our garden in the summer and canned them for the winter months. Or maybe it was because we didn't use nor usually even own a scale in my home- we don't have one now. Food was never a crutch. We ate because we needed to, it was a family affair but never to grieve or cover emotional issues. Celebratory dinners were fun but they were not the end all be all. The fact that my mother never once had conversations about going on a diet or not eating or eating this or that I'm sure helped. Her own body was never a point of contention or even discussion.

I was never told I was too skinny, I was instead approached as unhealthy when I lost about 15-20lbs my freshman year of college. And they were right. Basically my mom got the body image thing right. Because today I am healthy, I am secure, I look for healthful, real, and nutritious foods. Not low fat, zero carbs, sugar free options. I was taught health not an overbearing and condemning way but in an empowering and informal way. It was just what we did. It was just the way we were.

So in a land of magazines, tv shows, and so many other media types the body image talk may seem complicated but it's really not all that big of a deal. No need for a production. Check out the post I linked above. It's worth everyone's time.



About the Girls-For the Ladies

Ta-Ta's. Chi-Chi's. The Girls. Whatever you have affectionately named your God given bosoms lets face it, how to contain them, support them, or give them some shape can be a point of contention. If you know me, you also know that the bosom fairy did not stay long at my house. Being small chested, and I'm not kidding-I dream about filling an A cup, finding a comfortable, stylish, and well fitting bra has been a struggle forever.

I finally resigned myself to the fact that $12 T-shirt bras from Target were just my lot in life. However, they still were uncomfortable and the underwire was starting to get to me but I didn't feel like I was wearing enough with any other kind of bra. Sports bra's make me feel like a 12 year old boy. Enter in my latest find that I am forever changed and grateful for.

Coobie Bras.

WHOA MAMA. You need one, your mother needs one, your sister, your best friend, that lady who checked out your groceries needs one. Seriously. Except they don't need one. They need a drawer full and they need to throw away anything else. Sure, I know nothing of being well endowed but they aren't called the most comfortable bra for no reason. Obviously all shapes and sizes love 'em. And for around $20, I can't ask for much more.

To start with I bought this one in nude.

And this one in white. 

I'm sold. I'm a convert. I don't know where I have been this whole time nor where these gems have been hiding. They are amazingly comfortable. They give me shape and leave me with a smooth finish under my clothing-no underwire viewing! They also look like tanks. So when it's was 102 I wasn't sweating to death in my dress with a cami-eliminate the cami! Next I think i'll get a pretty color, or lace trimmed one. Or BOTH.

Go buy one.

Or Here:

Or wherever you find what you are looking for! I don't care. Just get in one ASAP. Your bosoms and lymphatic system will thank you.
And that's my Coobie Bra Story.



Something Funky

I've been a little MIA. I know. Something funky has gotten into me and I can't quite put my finger on it. At first I blamed it on the hellacious semester of school I just survived (Deans list almost made me believe it was worth it. However, I'm still not convinced.) add in wedding planning and I just thought I'd crashed. But after about the 3rd week I wasn't sure I could blame it on that anymore.

Then a little self pity kicked in. Like, "What am I doing thats of worth?" "Why is everything changing around me?" and a whole lotta other blah, blah, blah.

Then I made a tough choice to quit a job. Because sometimes no matter how much we want things to work, they just don't. And our peace of mind, dignity, and joy are worth more. So that was an adjustment. Because even though I will be the first defend women who don't work outside the home I haven't exactly ever been one of those. So wrapping my head around was more of a challenge than I thought.

But what made my funk worse? I stopped writing. I stopped listening to music. I don't really know what I was doing. Oh wait. Nothing. But then I realized I was missing writing and other things. But THEN I realized I wasn't doing anything to write about. THEN I thought what is going on? I have things going on in my mind. Things of value. I have things to say even when I haven't left my home or it's surrounding area for the day. So I'm back. And feeling better. And do have a few things to share.

My Mom, Dad, Jerrel, and I made a trip to the big city to Junkstock. Where I was surrounded by a wonderful amount of old and repurposed stuff. My people all the way. Food, junk, and music. It was a such an awesome event! 

And we came home with all kinds of goods for our house. It was so much fun.

Then for the fourth we made a trip to K-town, minus Jerrel-saving lives on the fourth was his calling. We went to see some family and some family of family. Now that was a fun day! This picture was taken. It cracks me up every time. Little man wasn't a fan of the whole picture idea.

And then I got to hold this little dolly as she took a nap. She awoke with smiles and cuddles. 

So that's an update of the last few weeks. Funk and all. But I'm coming back. Don't you worry. We will talk again soon! 



A Belated Birthday

Yesterday was a special day.

It was my Daddio's birthday.

But I didn't get a blog post out to celebrate him.

I did make him a homemade German Chocolate Cake. And we ate gobs and hoards of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, mac n cheese, and fruit. Holy gut. It was delicious.

So this post is a day late but that doesn't mean much. Still love my Dad. Still happy he had a birthday. Still glad I'm his favorite daughter.

Happy Belated Birthday Dad!



How to Devour a Turkey Leg

Some people don't know this but my Husband is funny. He's very quiet but when he speaks listen because it'll either be genius or funny. His mannerism can get annoying but lots of times they make me giggle. 

Like the time he ordered a turkey leg as big as my own leg and proceeded to eat it like a Neanderthal in public. 

But then who am I to talk? I took photographic evidence of it and posted it on the internet. 

To start off you just have to dig in. No fork. There is no delicate way to eat a turkey leg. 

You also must show the leg who is boss. So you have to make faces like this:

And make it look really gross. Like you haven't eaten in weeks. I'm sorry I didn't realize how gross that picture was until now. 

After about 20 minutes the leg is gone so you must clean your face. Please clean your face, don't be like Jerrel and walk around with BBQ sauce on your face while trying to find a trash can, while a napkin is laying there. Sometimes I just can't figure him out. 

 So the delicious turkey leg is gone and you are full. But not too full for strawberry rhubarb pie. 

No one is ever to full for strawberry rhubarb pie. Al a mode.



A Party

It's been 3 weeks since our reception. How does that happen? Where has the time gone? But I am finally getting around to sharing with you "The best reception in history of receptions."

Those are the critics words-not mine. That would be rather presumptuous of me to say such a thing. For the record Jerrel and I agree with the much so it's like they took the words out of our mouths. Weird.

It all started about a year ago. No ring, just a glimmer in my eye. Mom and I were at the Holbrook school because they also have a thrift shop there and we snuck into the gym. I knew it was a cool space-I used to work in an office in the school. So I had to show mom. We both looked around and thought "We can do something with this! "

The brick, the stage, the bleachers, the old wood floors, give so much more warmth and character than any big metal community building could ever do in the area. 

So we were sold and we immediately started planning how we were going to fit the people and how we could make it look pretty.

And make it look pretty we did. My years of collection was packed into 4 large totes and hauled east. And when we started unpacking I thought I had totally lost my mind. It looked like a thrift store. But I took a deep breath and started arranging and placing. And just like I knew it would-it all worked.

We made burlap runners. Collected silver trays from thrift shops. Used mom's collection of blue jars. Bought candles with Hobby Lobby Coupons. Covered canning jars with lace, ribbon, bows, fabric, paper flowers, burlap, etc. Made kraft paper cards that had quotes and scripture on them. Scoured the Target dollar aisle. And picked up anything at stores like Hobby Lobby and Shirley K's that looked like it belonged. All to make the collections I was envisioning on my tables. I wanted it to look full, homey, and like it was ever evolving. And we got it.

Because we fancy ourselves to be creative we decided to buy loose flowers and arrange them ourselves in the blue mason jars and mercury glass vases. Thankfully my aunt came and helped us get those together. And then I forgot to get any pictures of them. But the flowers seriously made the place go to a whole other level. It was so beautiful. And we used them all! It was like a flower shop in there, I loved it.

Our dance floor. Recognize the lanterns? And those chairs were for our "Wall Flowers" clever huh?

And those basketball hoops. What to do, what to do? We hung a chandelier from the one by the entrance. 

Oh yes we did! It worked perfectly because as you walked it you couldn't see the hoop, just this fancy dancy chandelier. Classy.

As any event has a hiccup, ours came with the cake. I wanted a square bottom, cylinder middle, and round top.  With buttercream icing in a pretty shade of peach, all using the same tip for frosting application. Well the cake fell on the way to the school, the baker had to go back to get extra supplies. Time was moving quickly and it had to be what it was. So the whole evening the cylinder kept leaning and leaning, until my aunt caught it as it was falling. Good thing for extra sheet cakes. So this is what we got to take home: 

Bucket Cake! Perfect for sitting in front of the Tv with a spoon. 

It was seriously delicious wedding cake though, no matter how it looked. But our other food, Baked Potato Bar with all the fixings, pasta salad, caesar salad, and fruit salad made up for the cake-tastrophe. DELICIOUS and pretty. 

Overall we wanted to people to feel relaxed at home yet celebrating life, love, and the beautiful thing God created-Marriage. We achieved it. In the most wonderful way. 

We owe thanks to so many, Annie and Keri for coming to help decorate. Sandy, Jake, Aaron, and Evan for taking time off work to help get the place put together. And my Mom for keeping things moving and her ultimate creative spirit. She knew what I wanted even when I wasn't sure. Also everyone who helped clean up the next day. Not the fun job. Couldn't have done it without everyone.  

I certainly didn't get enough pictures of the event but I know some other people did. Namely my cousin-who surprised me with her attendance! So thankful! You can check out her photos of the evening on her blog and a link to her shutterfly album here: Prairie Girl Meets Big City. Thanks Nat! 

What a party! 



Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes

After we left Mackinac we traveled to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. I had heard about this place on TV years ago and wanted to see it for myself. 

I'll admit, first impressions left me a bit disappointed. But I thought we will just climb this dune and see the mystery on the other side. 

Then I tried to climb the dune and thought they may be carrying me back down on a stretcher. So very, very steep. Legs burning, lungs burning...ok I got the hint I need to work out. 

But I forgot about that hint when I turned around and looked at where we came from. 

Glen Lake!

But the climb wasn't over so I kept walking and kept breathing.

As far as light goes we came at the perfect time. The sand glowed. But as far as daylight left not so much, it is over an hour walk to Lake Michigan across the dunes. That wasn't going to happen.

We finally got to a high point on the dunes and there she was!

Lake Michigan!

We spent our time at the dunes exploring and playing in the sand. It was the finest sand I'd ever touched.

We learned that the dunes are still forming. The wind that blows off the lake keeps the dunes in motion. Supposedly you could pick a tree or shrub on the dunes, come back a few years later and it may be covered or have more sand around it's base-depending on it's location. 

 Sure we went to see giant hills of sand. But they were awesome giant hills of sand.

The rest of our time in this area was spent shopping in a cute little town not far, on the beach of Lake Michigan (in sweaters), visiting a historic town and learning about the lifestyle here back in it's founding days. So very different from our pioneer heritage. No sod houses or German cabbage farms in this neck of the woods. No, they have docks, ships, trees, and cherries.

But I was delighted to learn about another way of life. Jerrel and I are always up for learning something new.

For the record going down the dunes was much more enjoyable for my legs and lungs. No stretcher required.