Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter at the Freiberg Plantation

With only a few days to prep for our 2nd annual Easter gathering, I did my best to kick my preparations into high gear. With my grandpa still in a nursing home during his recovery, we thought it might be easier to gather there or at their home. A few days before Sunday, I got the go ahead to host. Time to break out the spring décor! I kept meaning to do it, but just didn't have the energy if the only people to see it were going to be the Hubs, me and Pig.

Down to the basement I went to dig out my chicks and bunnies, and off to Pinterest I went to find some new menu ideas (including a vegan dish for the two restricted eaters in our clan). Let me tell you, I used to say that "I can't party like I used to", I can now tell you with utter confidence that I cannot clean like I used to either. Man, cleaning darn near killed me. I could hardly walk by Sunday night after a good, spring cleaning on Saturday and then cooking all morning on Sunday. I'm sure I missed some spots, but from cleaning floors to scrubbing the front of every cabinet in our kitchen, I was beat down. I'm thinking more and more that a cleaning lady, at least once a month, would be worth every dag gum cent, especially with a belly that hinders me from reaching low laying areas and feet that are starting to ache and swell into Flintstone feel if I stand more than an hour at a time. The house looks darn good though. I keep thinking we need to have an open house, like tomorrow, if we're really going to sell this puppy. It rarely looks this spiffy. Just being honest.

And for a little photo show and tell, here a few snapshots of my quick decorating attempt. And for a slightly hilarious and slightly questionable story involving our Peep place cards, keep on scrolling down, friends.

I had a few bowls and a basket of Easter candy and no one was eating any of it. I do NOT need bowls full of candy in my home right now so I kept following the crowd with the candy all day long. I was sort of a candy stalker/peer pressure pusher if you will.
Needless to say, Tim and I have been eating jelly beans for 3 days now:(
I love having a mantle to decorate for each season! If you've never been to our home, the random wheel on the wall may appear odd to you. It ties in somehow, I promise;)
I found this antique bunny tricycle at an estate sale and loved him from the start. His tail was broken off so I rescued him (because let's be honest who else is going to pay for a broken rabbit?) and this burlap lovin' girl made him a new one.
Some of our appetizers. Fresh popcorn from the Popcorn Parlor (always a solid party staple while supporting a local shop) and a new recipe for pimento cheese tarts with hot mango chutney on top. Delish. I had to have some southern flare in there, ya know. Half of them vanished within minutes.
We're quickly outgrowing our table, which is always a fun problem to have.
It was a cozy, close quarters kind of meal, to say the least.

My sweet grass basket also made a southern cameo. We received it as an unexpected gift from my former office manager and I LOVE it.
It's such a neat reminder of my second home and I use it at every gathering.

And who doesn't want a place card that you can eat the head off of?
 I needed something easy and these served a dual, tasty purpose.
Peeps for the win!
And for the above mentioned Peep story, let me preface this story with this minor detail. The Hubs and I call Piggy's male part his "Peep". I'm not sure why, it just happened one day and it stuck.
While the Hubs and I were grocery shopping for our Easter meal essentials, I had a moment of contemplation on whether or not I needed 1 or 2 boxes of Peeps. The box contained 10 Peeps and we had 10 people coming. The wild card would be if my uncle showed up, although none of us had received a reply from our invitation. The tough decision I was faced with was do I buy just 10 and end up short one Peep or do I buy 20 for the 1 extra I'd need and have 9-10 extra? Ahhh, the deliberation that was taking place in my head. Again, I do not need extra candy laying around my home right now so 10 extra Peeps would not be good for me nor Ziggy.
The Hubs, in an effort to solve the problem, said "If Dean shows, I'll just put my Peep on his plate." In that moment, all I heard was "my Peep on his plate" and I looked at him in horror! Was he serious??? Was he trying to be funny? Or gross? Or both? Pretty quickly he realized, based on the horrified look on my face, that I was not connecting the dots on "peep" versus the actual Peeps in my hands. He quickly blurted out "the candies, GEEZZZZZ!" We both had a good laugh in the grocery store aisle over that one. How I didn't connect the dots on what Peep he was referring to, I have no clue. I guess I was too far into my own head on such a crucial decision such a Peeps, but it was awesome.
In the end, my uncle was a no show so the Hubs got to keep his Peep right where it belonged. On his plate, of course. Thankfully for him because it would've hurt like the dickens when I stuck that toothpick place card in it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

He Is Risen!

I loved getting on Facebook yesterday and seeing so many people declaring that He has risen. Even if for one day, even Facebook seemed a bit more hopeful.

I just love Easter. I love the hope it brings. How much more hopeful can you get than man overcoming the WORLD? Not a day, not a daunting task, not a grave illness, but the entire world? The short answer is "you can't". Death could not contain Him. Nor will it ever contain those who believe in Him and His sacrifice.

What happened on a dark and hopeless Friday, was erased for all eternity. And He did it for you. And for me. And for my unborn son and your kids and their kids. We live because He died. I'm not sure when faced with a death as brutal and as horrifying as a crucifixion, that I would be brave enough to do the same. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't, actually.

And when they declared "It is finished" they did not get the last word. It was not finished. For us, His treasured children, it had only just begun.

And so we celebrate. For His love, His mercy, His painful, inhumane sacrifice, His grace, His promise, His forgiveness, and His glory, we celebrate.

At our church there were bright colored streamers that shot out of a cannon and covered the crowd. There was worship and hands held high to the one who came to save us.

In our home there was fellowship, feasting, and prayer. There was time spent together and there was sunshine. Finally, sunshine after a dark stretch of time that felt like everything "was finished" this past winter. When we thought the sun would never shine again and flowers would refuse to rise in their usual place, we were proven wrong. The sun rose along with a feeling of hope and excitement for the days ahead.

My hope is in Him. And as I stood and sang amongst the streamers and believers, I knew that the only hope for my child is also in Him. God gave his only son so that mine may have life eternal. How do you even wrap your head around that? Or how do you say thank you enough for a gift you will never be able to repay?

I'm guessing it's in our words, our actions and how we choose to spend this life He died to give. Let's make it count. Truly make it count.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Is on its Way

For the second year in a row, the Hubs and I will host Easter for any family members who'd like to attend. I like to think of it as a misfit gathering as there isn't really a formal invitation, it's not directed to one side or the other, and it's more so for anyone who would like to come and celebrate our Lord over some home cookin'.

I've planned the menu for the most part, although with two vegans attending, things are getting a tad bit more complex for this meat eater. Thankfully someone invited Google and Pinterest, so hopefully we'll have ample amounts of vegan-ness for them to enjoy that will be fool proof enough for me to make the dishes successfully.

The house cleaning has begun and some of the décor has been laid out, but the real fun will begin on Saturday when it's full on clean fest in our home.

As for décor, here are a few of my favorite pins for inspiration:


I love this one! I will never do this one. I don't have time and time outweighs my love for the cute ombre eggs on a string.

This one makes me laugh. I might need to make him one year. Who wouldn't want a bunny butt as their place card?

Simple, crisp and lush. I might try to recreate this one.

I hope your Easter is full of family, friends, and our risen Lord. He is risen indeed!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This Little Quirk of Mine, I'm Gonna Let it Shine

For as long as a I can remember, I have loved to scare people. Call it a quirk, call it a flaw, or call it a talent (if you ask me). Simply put, I love it. I love the rush, the look on the other person's face and the belly laughs that follow.

As a child, I can remember hiding on the top bunk of my brother's bed awaiting the moment my mom would come tuck him into bed. I'd wait for the exact right moment to pounce. I can also remember finally being told that I needed to stop with the bunk bed scare tactics because my mom was over it.

As I got older, the need for creating fear never waned. Even as an adult, I would still find myself laying under my parent's bed waiting for my mom to crawl in so I could reach for her ankles or creepily drag my finger nails on the box spring until I was heard. On a good day, you could also find me sitting under a co-workers desk as they came back from lunch. The people in my life who have been victims of my pranks can often be overheard asking one another "where is she" before they climb into bed or enter a dark hall. Even the Hubs can be seen slowly rounding a corner in our house when he doesn't see me idling around somewhere.

This Monday after a visit to the nursing home to see my grandpa , my dad and I realized that he would not have time to drop me off at home before he had to pick up my mom at the bus terminal following her ride home from the airport. As we pulled into the dark parking lot I knew right away that I was going to have a little fun with this detour.

Quietly I sat in the backseat and leaned as close to the passengers side door as possible. Thanks to my belly, I couldn't crouch down between the seats, so I flattened myself against the door as much as I could. Smart thinking on my part as the first thing she did when she got in the front seat was to look into the backseat to ensure I wasn't hiding back there. I told you they look for me around many a dark corner.

As my dad got in the car after loading her luggage, I could read his face and was praying he'd be able to hold in a chuckle until the time was right. Once he was in, my mom reached for a pack of M&M's in the cup holder and asked "since when do M&M's come in a white bag?" That was my cue. I quietly leaned forward before my dad could respond and said in my lowest voice, about 2 inches from her ear "since today".

The look on her face and the prolonged scream out of her mouth was amazing! She pressed herself against the passenger window with cat like reflexes. In that moment I was confident that my pregnant bladder might not withstand the laughter taking over my body. All I kept thinking was "poor Ziggy!" All of the adrenaline rushing through me coupled with her horror movie scream was probably the first time this momma has scared her own son. Notice I said the first time. My poor children will most likely be more afraid of their mom hiding under their beds than monsters or creatures. When they tell their dad that somethings under their bed, he can assure them "it's okay, it's just your crazy mom."

Welcome back, mom. So glad I could be a part of your arrival!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That Kind of Day

I've been trying to figure out why I looked so blah today, aside from my lack of sleep last night. On what feels like my 15th trip to the restroom (thanks, Ziggy;), I finally noticed that I had forgotten my eye make-up. How does that happen? How did I manage 75% of my face and get distracted enough to skip the most important part? It's just that kind of day apparently.

Thanks to a blood red, full moon last night, both my children were WIDE awake all night. I had one creating fireworks in my belly and the other one, of the fur nature, wanted to hang out all night. He wanted a drink of water about every hour and when he wasn't standing on me to awake and grab him his beverage, he was sitting 2 inches from my face staring at me. And then, after about 6 different water breaks, he needed to go potty. Of course, he did. I'm pretty sure these two babes of mine conspired for the very first time to pull one over on mom. Thankfully they're both the cutest living beings, so I forgive them. I do, however, blame them for my naked eyes today. If you see me today, just look at my rosy cheeks. I somehow managed to remember those, thankfully.

On top of no sleep, I awoke to this ridiculous sight that had carried over from Monday.

Yep, friends in the south, that'd be snow in mid-April. I'm not sure why I'm upset by it, after all, it is Easter week and we had a snow covered yard last Easter too. I'm sensing a very lame pattern here. I can remember days of yore when I'd shop for a cute new Easter outfit in SC among the new spring lines. Not. Any. More. I am rocking some fleece lined tights and my puffer coat today. Yet again, Mother Nature has won. She's a relentless, wicked woman who has gotten the last laugh after a week of 65+ degree days and 79 degree day on Saturday.

The Hubs assured me it would not snow. I assured him that every news station I saw/read called for snow. He held steadfast to the "no snow" mentality. Then the Hubs assured me it would "not stick" once it did begin to fall. The photo above was taken about 20 hours after the snowfall. The Hubs is a liar. I shall never take weather advice from him again. He's handsome ladies, but if he tells you it's not going to rain, go ahead and grab that umbrella.

The silver lining to today being that kind of day: we're off on Friday making Thursday my Friday, thus making Wednesday my Thursday, thus making today hump day. That's gotta count for something, right?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Happenings

So, yeah, another weekend has come and gone. Way too fast. Like lightning speed fast. Why can't Mondays fly as quickly as Saturdays do? Is that too much ask?

Within the whirlwind of the last 72 hours, we (or at least one of the collective "we") enjoyed a hockey game, 4 hours of volunteering training, biking for 5 hours, running for 2.5 hours, house cleaning, dinner with good friends, a bridal expo an hour and half away, and dinner with family.

And although it ended as quickly as it came, this weekend brought along a few delights worth sharing. Therefore, I bring you a compilation of random happenings of our weekend.

Thanks to the invitation from our financial advisor (ahem, I always feel so fancy when I reference our financial advisor), we enjoyed a night in the club suite along with a few other clients at the Ice Hogs hockey game. I'll admit that I enjoyed the various hockey-esque menu items more so than the actual game, but that's the life and times of a pregnant woman I guess. They even had a few O'Doul's Amber stocked for this non-drinking momma which was a sweet gesture that did not go unnoticed. I took a few sips and pretended to blend in with the crowd.

Thanks to a hail storm unlike anything I've seen before, our cars and roof escaped damage (from what we can tell). Some of our friends weren't so lucky unfortunately.

Also thanks to some crummy weather, I was able to hunker down and knock out some much needed spring cleaning. I'm not sure scrubbing the baseboards was such a good idea, as I'm still sore days later, but they look dang good so I shall suck it up. Feel free to publicly compliment the next time you come over.

At dinner with good friends on Saturday night, I was given a goodie bag of the items my friend loved during her pregnancies. It was so very thoughtful and I'm confident I'll put everything to good use. I know the Hubs is stoked to utilize the coconut foot rub on my tired pups;) Aside from the gifts, the meal was good, the chatting was great and the bartender made me a delicious mango, raspberry faux-rita. It's the little things. Sometimes you just want an umbrella sorta drink.

The Hubs knocked out one of his longest days of Ironman prep to date. After riding his bike for 5 hours. FIVE. He shared with me that he felt like he "could run a marathon after that bike ride and be fine." Rock on with your bad self, Super Hubs, because I couldn't even run a 5K without walking 50% of it and I haven't ridden my bike for 5 hours over the last 2 years combined. He's either nuts or a super hero. Super Hubs, it is!

Sunday brought about a bridal expo in Rock Falls, IL at a sweet, new barn venue. It was very charming. And although our booth was right next to the port-o-potty display, the day turned out well. Thankfully the port-o-john was just for show, although don't tell that to the girl who actually used it in the middle of the packed expo. Hello, awkward. I hope the man who comes to retrieve it figures out someone used it before he hauls it out. I had a small panic attached when I walked into the venue and thought it'd have to use that thing every hour while brides chatted about their nuptial bliss approximately half a foot away all day. #pregnantnightmares

And lastly, as we drew the weekend to a close, we grabbed a laid back dinner with my brother and dad since my mom's been out of town all week. During dinner this conversation happened:
Me: "So have you been talking to mom on the phone a lot or texting everyday while she's gone?"
Dad: "Yeah, sexting."
I pray he was kidding, but it was priceless. I could've bet you a million dollars I'd never hear him  utilize the word sexting personally. Thankfully I'm not a betting woman.

So, yeah, that's our weekend in a nutshell. I hope yours was full of fun outings, catching up with friends, delicious drinks (albeit faux-cocktails), less hail than we saw, and some sexting (if that's how you roll. Just typing that out sort of gives me the willies so I slightly hope you had all of the above but the sexting).

Here's to another week and another dollar. And if you're in Illinois with us, another dang snowflake.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday High Fives

It's that time again. Friday timeeeeeeeeeee! This week I'm thanking the Lord for:
  • Dandy Donuts' minis- I had my first taste of these local treasures yesterday thanks to a co-worker bringing them in as unexpected treat. Oh my word. Delicious. I limited myself as I'm trying to not give in to every craving I have, but I could've killed the whole tray. They were WAY tastier than my green smoothie.

  • Warm weather and sun. Hallelujah! I've been rocking my sunroof and office windows like they're my job. Spring, I love you, please never leave us.
  • Parenthood. If you're not watching this show you're just wrong. Last night was SO good. Joel and Julia, I'm rooting for you! Ray Romano, I'm not sure if I'm on your team or not, but you did win some points last night. Well played.

  • A rapidly growing bump. I feel like I went to bed one night and then poof, I had a belly. I'm definitely embracing it, although I did take a size 2 dress into the dressing room while shopping this week. That particular designer usually runs big so I thought "oh, I bet I can actually wear her dresses now!" Um, no ma'am. Close but no cigar. The best part was the split second I thought "well, maybe if I suck in my belly..." Um, no, no, no ma'am. This is gut you cannot suck in and I'm okay with that.
Please excuse my pale, tired face. It had been a long day of working and then sitting in the hospital. Not my best photo, but Ziggy looks good so I'll take one for the team.

  • More consistent baby moves. From the minute I saw the two lines on at home test, something motherly clicked in me. I felt different right away, plus the nausea and exhaustion also were indicators that my body and life were no longer just my own. However, nothing prepared me for the sensation of a life moving inside of me. I feel 120% more bonded with this child. I went from expectant mother to a MOM in one kick. I would do anything for this life inside of me.
  • My grandpa being released from the hospital this week. Granted, they moved him into a nursing home for the next 10 or so days while he heals, but it's a step in the right direction!
  • "Jaunts" as a family of three. Piggy knows the word "walk" and has a minor heart attack whenever he hears it, so the Hubs and I have to ask each other "want to jaunt tonight" to afford us ample time to gather his harness and leash before he loses his mind. It's been so nice to jaunt amongst the sun and fresh air. And our Pig has been in hog heaven, no pun intended. It's given us some sweet time with our fur child before it becomes a jaunt of 4 and a stroller this fall.
  • Wedding season. We've had a steady stream of new brides with rental orders coming in over the last few weeks.
  • Adding a new couple to our small group this week. It's always fun to change up the dynamic a bit. Hopefully we didn't scare them off too much.

Happy Friday, Y'all!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Most Precious Face


Yesterday, at approximately 2:30pm, my heart changed forever. I'm officially wrecked for the better. We have been given the gift of seeing our son's face for the first time and it was and is by far the most amazing sight. He is precious, even when unseen, but to see his cheeks, his ear, and his pouty little lip is surreal.

Along with his face came the introduction of his feet, fingers, legs, arms, and heart. To say that medical technology is amazing is possibly one of the largest understatements I've ever muttered. I have NO clue how they can move things around enough to view the ventricles of his heart, the curvature of his spine, etc... It's mind blowing and I've never been more thankful for technology before in my 35 years.

We were also given the reassurance that he is 100% boy. For his sake, I shall leave that image off of the Internet, but there's no mistaking that this child will prefer a basketball over pom poms. Although if this momma has any say in the matter, I would love a strong, male cheerleader in the family. Just sayin.

Thanks to an already rambunctious boy, we'll have to go back in a few weeks so they can get the measurements of his head. He was doing a headstand the entire time we were in there which made it nearly impossible to obtain true head measurements and stronger facial images. The Hubs told the technician that we had "asked him to behave before we got there", but clearly he had his own agenda. Even with his head tucked extremely low, he was moving around like a maniac. At one point he jabbed me with an elbow and I 110% felt that bony little elbow. It was crazy to see him using my insides as his personal kick stand! I can't say I blame him though. If my head were lodged that deep, I'd be kicking like crazy too. I wanted to go in there and shift him around myself. The Hubs assures me that he's fine, but he just looked so uncomfortable. And thus begins my life of a worrying mother, I suppose. 

And because I am a proud momma already, I'd like to introduce you to "Ziggy" (still no official name yet although we did get two new suggestions from our sweet niece this week: Cookie or Muffin. If she had only said Donut, I would've been all over that!).

Here is our bouncing, baby boy with his legs over his head and his toes almost touching his forehead. He's a flexible little man! If you need a little help clarifying parts, as my mom did, his head is in the right, lower corner with his body almost upright along the left side of the image. His toes are inches from his forehead.
And here are his tiny feet. Keep on kicking, little one. You kick as hard you'd like, with the exception of during my work meetings. I go all mushy and can't focus on a thing.
And here's our little nugget's face. That pouty, upper lip gets me every time. Every time.
I cannot wait to see those cheeks in person.
I may or may not have looked at our photos 1,000 times already.
I. Can't. Stop.

Thanks to everyone who has prayed along the way for Ziggy. He is already blessed by friends and family who love him and have prayed for him before they ever met him. I know the Lord knows him, formed him and has big plans for him. I, for one, cannot wait to watch them unfold.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Life Lessons from the 80's

I love Huffington Post and all of the wisdom it brings to my day. Today's gem of a post comes to you in the form of the brilliancy of a few 80's cult classics. I pride myself on being a child of the 80's and found this article to be 100% relatable and true.

Give it a quick read. I bet you won't regret it for one minute. Who knew all of those hours spent with ET, Duckie, Molly Ringwald and the Goonies clan would prove to be some of the best life lessons a little girl with hair sprayed, crunchy "mall" bangs could find?

And if I could add a few more, they'd be that:

Money Can't Buy You Love. It might for a moment, but it won't be real, true love until you let your guard down and see if it happens on its own. It CAN buy you bacon McGriddles from McDonald's, which feels a whole lot like love, but it won't buy you the real stuff. Wait for the real stuff. It'll happen when the time is right. 

You should never underestimate a group of determine girls based on their outward appearance or background. If given a challenge, they can do anything they put their minds to especially in times of crisis, all the while looking fabulous as they go. Just ask the Wilderness Girls from Troop Beverly Hills. And when the chips are down, that's when you dig in even deeper and rely on those around you. We're all in this together in the end.

Sometimes you have to stand up and fight the bad guys, even when you're the underdog. Spend hours practicing how to fight fair even if you know your opponents will most likely rely on the cheap shots. You'll come out stronger in the end, although bruised and a little worse for the wear, but good always trumps evil if we're prepared and ready for it, Daniel son.

Enjoy, fellow 80's lovers!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Internal Battle

If you were to look inside of my brain, you'd most likely need a cocktail or a nap or multiples of both. I feel like I have a million thoughts going through my head with absolutely no resolve. I've been asking myself the same questions daily and yet fail to make a decision on anything. It's exhausting really.

I often teeter on whether or not to share my inner most thoughts on this blog and more times than not, the over-sharing wins. I'm sorry or you're welcome, I'm not really sure. Often times, my hope is that if it's jotted down in black and white, a portion of the grayness will be eliminated. Ironically, that's rarely the case. My brain tends to reside in the gray. I'm not sure I excel in the gray per say, but I sure do like to curl up there and call it home.

After about a month, and 3 million days depending on whether you count the emotional toll of it all, we've found ourselves at a place in the home negotiation process where the proverbial ball is back in court. We can pull the trigger and own this home that I've been day dreaming about or we can walk. Two weeks ago, amongst days of tears, I was ready to sell a kidney on the black market if need be to seal the deal. Kidding, slightly, but this text conversation may have taken place at some point last month:

Now, with it essentially being ours to lose, I've suddenly found myself a bit gun shy. And why I'm gun shy has become an internal battle in itself.

You see, for two years now, I've fallen in admiration for a family online that strategically sold their home and moved into a "transitioning" neighborhood. Transitioning might be putting it nicely, as they've chosen to plant their family in a neighborhood where most people would flee from. They wanted to be where they could make a difference, be a light, and be a resource to others. I've fallen for them thanks to the mother's blog and her daily tales from within the neighborhood. I've thought "they're amazing, I'd love to do that!" Fast forward, we've found ourselves in a slightly similar situation and I'm leaning more toward the breaks than the gas. Why?

Granted, you must take all of this with a grain of salt as this neighborhood we're looking at is no where near dilapidated nor full of darkness. That would not be our calling at this point in our lives. However, the surrounding neighborhood is not as nice as where we are now and we would be one of the nicest homes on the street of which I find myself struggling. And I hate that I'm struggling with that. Hate it. It makes me question whether or not I view myself as better than others and more deserving of a white picket fence neighborhood where everyone makes roughly the same salaries and drives comparable cars with little toy poodles that may or may not get pushed around the driveway in strollers from time to time. Do I feel as though I deserve more? If so, why? Or would I feel guilty for being one of the nicest houses on the flip side of this double edged sword? I have no clue, hence the needing a cocktail or nap if you could see inside of my head.

I don't want to struggle with entitlement nor what I do or do not deserve. I don't want to fear my own thoughts. I want them to be genuine, but I'm not quite sure how to sort through them all to find the thoughts that truly matter. I want to eliminate what someone else might think and get to the root of where my heart resides. Gray or not. Indecisiveness could lead me straight out of a home.

Any words of wisdom out there? I could use them.