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Oh, hi there!

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It has been nearly two months since I last posted a recipe! Time flies when you’re having fun. :)

Today, I thought I’d share some pictures of the little guy that I like to blame for my lack of blogging.  We had some professional photos back in March and I thought it was about time I showed off my handsome little man in his suit he got from his Nana D!

This little guy constantly amazes me how much he seems to learn every day!  I think I still expect him to be an immobile, uncomprehending infant, and can’t stop marveling that he now understands and responds to nearly everything I say.

He’s not talking much, though he does repeat things in his own language.  The things he can say that are recognizable are Dada, Mama, Yaya (Jessie), ah dah (all done), yeah, duck (although he says duck duck, never just duck), that that (he does this while pointing, indicating excitement, as with big trucks, or because he wants to know what something is), mo (more).  The only animal sound he will make is a dog panting and barking. Dogs are the only animal worthy of imitation, obviously.

His favorite foods are cheddar cheese (has been since he first had some), corn, tomatoes, fried eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches , my potato and onion hash, and all fruit, especially berries and watermelon.  He gets a kick out of making slurpy sounds while eating watermelon.

He loves to help.  He recently helped me make a loaf of banana bread, sifting the dry ingredients, cracking eggs (with Mom’s help) and stirring…and licking the spatula.  I think licking is his favorite way to help, especially when we make brownies.  He also loves to help clean, and loves to put ice in my cup (our cup) for me.  I’m working on letting him help in more ways.

He got his first burn by touching the mower’s muffler after Dennis mowed, before it had cooled.  He burnt his other hand the next week on my flat iron, and then got his first cut after breaking a porcelain decoration in the kitchen (did I mention the climbing yet? He was climbing on the kitchen chairs and pulled something down off the table) and trying to help clean up the mess.  And the climbing!!!  Oohhhh the climbing. I hope he survives the climbing.

People often ask me if he’s always so happy.  Pretty much!  He is such a good-natured little guy, although he has his daily fits as well, not gonna lie.  Things that set him off are taking something away that he really wants (like Jessie’s leash, he loves walking her), or not opening the door when he wants to go outside (outside is his favorite) or the door to the car (pretending to drive is also his favorite). OR DIAPER CHANGES.  Diaper change = war, in this house.

We joined a new church and we love that there are lots of kids there.  The photo below wasn’t taken at church, but at a fish fry with all our church friends, and it’s so nice to see Joshua playing with other kids.  We will not be able to give him a sibling unless God gives us another huge miracle, so it does my heart good to see him playing with other little kids.

And if you can only have one kid, it’s hard to complain when you get such a stellar one. To this day I still look at Dennis and say, “Can you even believe we have him?”  I think I will die with that amazement still in my heart.  Thank you, God.

Be sure to check back Monday, I do have a recipe ready to share, and it’s a doozy!

Joshua’s Birth Story

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I’m not sure if anyone is interested in this story, especially since it has been nearly 17 months, but a friend recently asked me if I ever posted Joshua’s birth story because she still didn’t know if I’d gone without an epidural, as I planned, how long my labor was, etc.  I figured it was about time I post it not only for anyone interested, but so I can remember every magical, disgusting moment.  It’s quite long, just to warn you. And of course includes all the fun stuff involved with childbirth, so if things like blood and reproductive systems aren’t your favorite thing to read about, I suggest you stop now. :)

I wasn’t one of those “I’m so tired of being pregnant, I wish this baby would come right now!” mama’s. I wanted as much time with my baby inside me as possible and if I wasn’t diabetic, I’d have been hoping for a 41 or 42 week gestation. I wanted more time to prepare (procrastinator) and to have as much “just us” time as possible before things changed forever.  So when I woke up Friday, November 22nd of 2013, a little over two weeks before my due date, and figured out that my water was leaking, I freaked out.  This was not how it was supposed to happen!

My amniotic fluid had been a little low at my appointment the previous day, and my OBGyn had told me to come with hospital bag packed to my appointment the following week because if it was any lower, he was sending me straight over to the hospital to be induced. So at least I had some warning that things might progress sooner than I anticipated.

After waking, I went to the bathroom to pee. When I stood up to flush the toilet, more pee trickled down my leg. I’d managed to make it to nearly 38 weeks without having any bladder control issues, and I wondered if that was now starting for me in my final weeks.  I sat back down but had no more I could pee. But when I stood up, again, I leaked. That’s when it clicked. That I might be leaking amniotic fluid.

I called my mother, and asked her if her water broke before she went into labor. It did with me, but it was a big gush, not a leak like this.  I called Lacey to see what her experience was, and she said hers never broke so they had to break it in the hospital.  So I went a-Googling and decided to do the lay-down test.  Lay down for half an hour with a pad in, then stand up and see if the pad was wet.  While I laid there, I prayed fervently for God to calm my anxious heart and carry me through what was to come.  I felt 90% NOT READY.

Once I determined that I was most likely leaking amniotic fluid and not peeing myself, I considered going straight to the hospital because I knew full well you were supposed to if your water broke (complications can arise from low fluid, such as infection).  But I didn’t want to go without Dennis, who wasn’t due home for another four hours, and since it was a slow leak I thought I’d just wait until he got home.  I hadn’t yet packed a hospital bag (procrastinator, remember?), so I got to packing my bag but mostly chatting online with friends about what was going on.

When Dennis got home,  my bag still wasn’t packed, and I still hadn’t started the postpartum padsicles I’d wanted to make to help me heal after my return (procrastinator to the end!).  I’d started feeling contractions around 4pm, nothing very impressive and not at even intervals.  When he arrived he was floored when I told him my water broke and we needed to go to the hospital. His jaw just dropped, utter astonishment.  At least I wasn’t the only one unprepared for early delivery!  But I felt fairly calm (thank you, Lord) and that kept him calm.  I asked if he could help me pack a bag and if we could go get something to eat before we went, because I knew they wouldn’t let me eat while in labor.

So we packed two bags, ate at West Street Burgers and called my MIL to let her know we stopped for burgers just like she had predicted (she had joked that Dennis wouldn’t recognize the urgency and would probably want to stop for burgers when I went into labor, and we both laughed that it turned out to be me that wanted to stop for burgers).  While we were there, my contractions started being strong enough to qualify as painful.  But I didn’t want to go straight to the hospital. I knew I wouldn’t want to make the padsicles after giving birth and while taking care of a newborn, so we went back home and Dennis helped me make 24 pads coated with aloe gel and lavender witch hazel, which we wrapped in foil and popped in the freezer.

We finally checked into the hospital about 8 pm, seven hours after I first started leaking.  They confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid with a test, and I was admitted into L&D. I was only 1 cm dilated, so they first tried to kick my labor into gear by inserting a foley bulb that inflates to slowly dilate the cervix to 4 cm.  We both decided around midnight that Dennis should leave to go walk Jessie since she hadn’t gotten her usual late-night walk, and my sister, Danielle, came to be with me while he was gone.  He got to be absent for most of the fun lol.

The foley bulb did start my labor going a lot stronger, and my sister, who has never had children and doesn’t ever want to, just shook her head every time I had a contraction and kept telling me I should just get an epidural.  I was determined to try and have a natural birth, and her insistence that I just give up was not what I wanted to hear.

I felt awful, and like I was trapped to that table – I wanted to be up and moving and I really wanted to bend over on my hands and knees to help relieve the enormous pressure & tension I felt in my back with each contraction, but I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors since I was high risk, plus had the foley bulb up my hooha, and just felt like I couldn’t move even though they told me they could unhook me and let me move if I wanted. I should have said YES but I didn’t.  At that point I couldn’t imagine myself contorting into weird positions b/c it would have been so embarrassing. *sigh* REALLY?! What about childbirth isn’t embarrassing?

Momma Donna showed up after her shift was over, about 1 am, and was even more hell bent on me getting an epidural.  Obviously neither one liked me being in pain, which is nice, but it wasn’t helpful to me.  I was in the most pain of my life, but felt I had very good reasons not to get an epidural, and I had two women working against me instead of helping me through it.  While they were both trying to convince me, I had a contraction so bad I vomited from my chest all the way to my toes, all over the bed.  So much for delivering on a full stomach! You think maybe they know what they’re doing, not allowing food during labor?

The nurses got the bed changed and gave me a new gown to change into.  I continued puking and dry heaving with contractions and Momma D was ready with the trashcan and bed pan each time.  I so wanted Dennis there and wanted these women out of the room.  I’m so grateful that I wasn’t alone, but really just wanted my husband.

He finally returned around 2, and not long after Danielle and Donna were gone, I told him I was going to request an epidural and although he hadn’t been there long before I told him that, I could tell he was greatly relieved. Poor guy, lol.  I hadn’t decided on the epidural because of Donna and Danielle, in fact I probably would have never gotten one if they stayed b/c they ticked me off trying to persuade me to do something I didn’t want to do, and my stubbornness might have won against my desire to ease the pain.  But without them there, and with Dennis there ready to support me in whatever I wanted, I couldn’t take it any more.

I was really disappointed in myself b/c I’ve always thought of myself as a strong person, with a high threshold for pain, and it was hard to realize what a wuss I really was.  Nevertheless, it was a huge relief once the pain started to subside.  By this point I’d been in labor for ten hours, though most of that was tolerable.

After the foley bulb had done it’s work, which was finished before the epidural, they had to start me on Pitocin because my labor still wasn’t progressing fast enough.  They checked my temperature every hour and I was running a fever almost from the beginning, so they finally antibiotics to my IV, in case of infection.  I had been on a saline drip from the beginning to keep me hydrated.  (The next day my legs were swollen stiff up to my thighs from all the extra fluid they gave me!) They kept increasing the Pitocin until they reached the max dosage and my cervix continued to dilate at what seemed a snail’s pace.  I could tell when I was contracting because my stomach would turn into a rock hard ball, but I couldn’t feel it internally.  I wasn’t able to sleep at all, even with no pain, so I stayed on Facebook all night while Dennis snored beside me in the chair that folded out into a bed.

Finally, finally, by 3 pm the next day I was 10 cm, 100% effaced, and ready to start practice pushing.  It’s so funny because I’d been so worried about being hungry, when food was the last thing on my mind the whole time and I never felt hungry until the next day.  They called my OB for the delivery and in the mean time we practiced.  Dennis was on my right side, and a nurse on my left.  When each contraction started, they would pull my knees backwards toward my head, and I would lean forward between my knees and push.  I learned quickly that what I thought was strong pushing was not the least impressive, and learned that even more when my OB arrived and threatened to use suction if I couldn’t push any harder.  He also said that Joshua was face up and he tried to move him while still in the womb to face downward but couldn’t.  I asked if that was a problem and he said no, but it was generally more difficult to give birth to babies that were sunnyside up.  Oh goody.

Joshua’s hearbeat was starting to decrease after pushing, so they gave me oxygen after each contraction to help him.  They brought a huge mirror out so that we could see the baby’s head as it emerged, and it was freaky deaky so I didn’t really look that much. I’m sorry but whatever, birth isn’t beautiful. It’s a bloody disgusting mess.  Dennis thought I was going to give birth to a huge hair ball when he saw the top of Joshua’s head, but thankfully didn’t say that until after I’d given birth to a normal human baby, and it was actually funny. LOL

After my OB threatened the suction, I pushed like I didn’t think possible, and funny man that he is, informed me I was going to have some hemorrhoids while he was watching them pop out on my butt.  And finally our baby was born at 4:30 pm on 11/23/13, face-down. Doc had been mistaken, which is good because it was hard enough to deliver him facing the right way!  I had been taken off the epidural (it was a continuous drip through my back) an hour before, and I did feel the birth, which felt painful to me, so I can’t imagine how painful it must be without an epidural at all.  I have mad respect for my mother and all the women who’ve done it drug-free.  Dennis cut the cord in one try, which impressed my OB because guys usually underestimate how strong the cord is and have to try two or three times to get it cut all the way through.  They took Joshua briefly to clamp his cord stump, and then handed him to me.  The little guy I’d waited my whole life to meet.

I wish I could tell you the heavens opened up and I heard choirs of angels singing, and I fell instantly in love.  But, no.  I was kind of in a daze, and overwhelmed. Twenty-eight hours ago, I was still under the delusion that I had two weeks before his arrival, and I don’t deal with change well, even a change I’d been waiting my whole life for. He looked funny to me, I mean come on, babies are ugliest right after birth, and his eyes were flickering and rolling all around.  I worried I had messed him up with the epidural.

My main reason for not wanting an epidural was that it could affect how well breastfeeding started off, and since I wanted to breastfeed due to the nutrition and the cost (free, which is wonderful when you’re planning to quit working and stay at home!), this was a big deal to me.  The nurses helped me position him and allowed him to nurse for an entire hour after birth while the doctors were sewing up my second degree lacerations.  I think they only usually allow half an hour of skin-to-skin time before taking the baby to put gunk in their eyes and all the other fun stuff they do, but they said they don’t interfere as long as a baby is continuing to nurse well.  I wouldn’t say he nursed well, as he actually gave me a hicky on my boob where he’d latched off the nipple, but he was pretty diligent at least. LOL

After they gunked up his eyes, weighed him (6 lb 14 oz), measured him (18 1/2 inches), and swaddled him, Daddy finally got to hold him. That was probably the moment I started to fall in love with Joshua. Seeing his Daddy hold him was so amazing.  He held him like he had been practicing all his life, like Joshua was the thing that was always supposed to be there.  I definitely fell in love with my husband deeper than ever before, which I hadn’t even thought possible.

I had to pee and the nurse said she would bring a bedpan but I could feel my legs and thought I could walk, so she agreed to help me stand to see if I could make it to the restroom.  She helped me to the toilet and was going to stay there b/c she was worried about me falling off the toilet I guess (lol) but I asked her if she could leave because peeing after giving birth felt so scary and I knew I couldn’t pee with her there.  I think it took me like five or ten minutes, but I finally figured out how to pee. LOL!  With the epidural and all the pushing combined, my kegal muscles were probably like, “Seriously, you want us to do what? We’re on vacation for the next month!”

She gave me a huge ice pad and the awesome stretchy mesh hospital underpants and it felt so nice to put that on and sit with an ice pack between my legs. I was so glad I had the padsicles waiting at home!  (Though I will tell you, the ones at home were WAY TOO COLD and didn’t feel nice at all but they were perfectly cool at room temp so that’s how I wore after I about freezer burned myself with the first one.)  I went straight into a wheelchair and I was handed my sleeping, bundled up baby and cradled him all the way to the room we would stay in for the next day and a half.  It was pretty surreal and I was still in a daze and honestly can’t tell you the moment the daze wore off and I realized I finally had my wish come true and fell madly in love with him. It happened without me being conscious of it, during the struggles of becoming a parent.

The first week was very little sleep, lots of stress, tears and heartbreak as he was hospitalized in the NICU for jaundice after having him home just one full day to ourselves, and finally taking him home for good a week and a day after he was born.  I think it was when I had to give him back to the hospital that I realized how much I loved him, because it hurt SO much not to have him with us at home any more, and I was SO scared of losing him (his bilirubin was high enough to cause brain damage).  And the second time we got to take him home, by then he was definitely imprinted on my heart forever.  And I have only fallen deeper in love with him every day since.


Thank you, Lord, for entrusting me with such a precious soul.  I pray I raise him right by You.


A Brony Birthday Party

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My little sister (that’s her with the black ponytail) threw a My Little Pony birthday party for her boyfriend last week.  That’s right, he’s a Brony.  A brother who likes My Little Pony.  I love that he’s secure enough in his masculinity not to have any shame about it!  He was so excited about the party and while she was taking millions of pictures of him posing with ponies, he declared it to be the best birthday party of his life.

Although I’ve sworn off decorated cakes (multiple times), she talked me into making the cake for his party.  (What convinced me was her offering a really strange amount of money – not like $20 or $30, but $32.73.  It was so weird and funny I had to say yes! lol)  It was a super-simple cake and I thought I’d share how to make one if you ever have need of a rainbow or MLP cake.

You only need a round single layer of cake.  If you make it in a 10″ pan, a cake mix will fit in it and the finished cake will serve up to 16 people, although it will be pretty difficult to serve.  I made mine in an 8″ pan and baked the rest of the batter into cupcakes, so this cake only served 8 but with the cupcakes it would have served 20.  You will also need red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and sky blue frosting for the rainbow.  Pack the frosting into disposable pastry bags, preferably fitted with couplers, though you can just slice the tip off the bag to pipe the frosting directly onto the cake out of the bag if you don’t own a lot of couplers or don’t want to buy them. If you are going to make this into a My Little Pony cake, you will also need extra green for the grass (I used a lighter green than in the rainbow). You’ll need some flower sprinkles (I used these) and a grass tip (Wilton #233, and ignore all the other tips – I didn’t end up using them).  If you want to make a pond, you’ll need some clear piping gel and sky blue gel coloring (available at Walmart by the cake decorating supplies in the arts & crafts section).

Slice your cake in half and squeeze/spread frosting onto one side. I made too much red so that’s the color I chose to use.

Sandwich the halves together.

Place the cake cut-side down to your platter or cake board.

Squeeze frosting onto the cake, starting at the middle with the red (I had to build it up a little to make it higher since it dipped down), making stripes in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  I just squeezed it out from my coupler without a tip and I thought this made the perfect width of frosting for each stripe.

Repeat down the other side and fill in the bottom of both sides with sky blue frosting to make it look like you’re looking through to the sky underneath the rainbow.

If you’re going to make a MLP cake, figure out where you’re going to put the ponies, then pipe a blue border to outline where your pond(s) will be.  Using your (clean) finger, spread a thin layer of blue frosting over the platter or cake board so that the silver (or other color of the board) doesn’t show through the piping gel.  Tint enough piping gel to fill the pond(s) with sky blue gel color and spread into the pond, creating some ripple effects with your spoon.

Pipe grass onto the rest of the platter and when you run out of light green, use up the rest of your darker green, then panic and use up your yellow.  Then realize there is no other color left that is suitable for grass so be really strange and spread some orange over the rest of the platter, hoping it won’t look too weird if you write a birthday message across it.  Sprinkle your flower sprinkles all over the grass.

Realize the orange is just wrong, and scrape it all off, rejoicing that you found some extra blue you had set aside in a bowl.  Use it to pipe a border for another lake and repeat the steps to create a second lake.  Rejoice that you saved a little bit of white frosting and tint it green to go around the lake, then steal some of the flower sprinkles to put on the new grass.  Much better.

To serve, cut it in half down the middle, then cut each half in half, angling toward the center.  Essentially, you are cutting it the way you would if it was right-side up, but from the side instead of the top.  Cut each thick slice in half and use a spatula or cake server to draw out one of the bottom pieces (most likely two pieces will come out and you’ll have to pull the top piece off onto another plate.  Once the first piece is out, serving the others is pretty easy as they just start falling onto your spatula.


Whoa. It’s like a rainbow…IN MAH MOUTH.


Joshua’s First Week

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I wanted to post this Monday to replace my weekly pregnancy updates, but…yeah.  First time Mom who got four hours sleep the first week after her son was born…I think you understand.  And thank you to those whose blogs I’ve neglected and who continue to visit mine – I will return as soon as I get a routine established that allows a bit of time for blog reading.

Joshua’s first week was such an emotional roller coaster.  My water broke two weeks , two days early and after the initial shock wore off, it’s been huge highs and huge lows.

As I was falling deeper and deeper in love with this new little man in my life, he was getting sicker and sicker without me realizing it.  Joshua was not doing well with breast feeding and was losing weight so I went into the lactation clinic across from Wesley, which was free for me since I delivered there.  The  nurses were alarmed at his glow worm coloring (we knew he had jaundice but couldn’t tell how bad until we were outside our home with different lighting).  When they weighed him he had lost a pound and an ounce in the four days since his birth, which was another red flag that our little boy was not doing well at all.

We went immediately to our doctor to get his bilirubin tested and it came back at 33, which is critically high.  We had to return to the hospital and admit our precious newborn to the NICU, and they told us he may have to have his blood replaced several times if they couldn’t lower his level quickly.  I was devastated and assumed responsibility since he might not have gotten to this point if I had been willing to supplement with formula.  I thought I had been doing what was best for him, and almost killed him instead.

The NICU isn’t set up for parents to stay there, unless you want to sit in a chair all night, and it was so awful to leave our son after only having him for four days.  He received the best of care, but that didn’t help the longing in my heart to have him home.

After two days under UV lights, we finally got to hold him again when his bilirubin was low enough and the lights were removed.  Saturday night we got to move into a family room with him and it was pure bliss having our baby with us again, even if it wasn’t at home.  And Sunday we got to take home a much fatter and healthier baby!  I took this video at the hospital while Dennis was gone to take Jessie for a walk.

I wasn’t the typical weepy pregnant woman, but I’ve made up for it in spades this week.  Even though my tears have been mostly justified, I cry at anything that makes me happy or upset in any way.  Now I know how my Dad feels – after his stroke, everything makes him cry.

But now that we have our little one home, what makes me cry the most is how wonderful my husband has been.  He has changed so much since Joshua was born.  I didn’t think he could improve, because he was as close to perfect in my book than anyone has a right to be, but he’s become even more perfect than I could have imagined.  He has been my rock, always leading us to prayer during the hard times last week, holding and comforting me when I had to cry sob, and loving our son so much it hurts me in a good way.  I didn’t know how he would be after having a kid he took 45 years to feel ready for, and I have to say he’s surprised me in the best way.

He was beside me during the delivery, pushing one of my legs back (knee towards my head) while a nurse did the other with every contraction, giving me leverage to push against.  He said it was amazing to watch another human come out of me and it just makes me weep to think about how he talks about our son with pride, describing how cute he is when he did something, etc.  Dennis never thought any other kid was cute, so this is a huge deal.  He actually loves to hold him!  I know that seems like it would be a given, but this seems very profound for a guy who has only held babies a couple times in his life (his nephews, and probably because Joan made him – lol).  He even thanked me for Joshua, because if it weren’t for me, he never would have had children, and now he’s so glad I changed his mind over the years.  I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Yesterday was a big day for me, because it was my first day alone with Joshua.  Dennis, the baby-whisperer who I have totally relied on as a partner in figuring out parenthood, had to return to work because he’s already a week behind for his supervisor training.  I was so nervous.  I have been feeling really inadequate and inept as a mother, and this also left me in tears, but I prayed to God through them Sunday night as I fed Joshua, asking for help as I faced motherhood alone.

Well, I only had to be alone at home, because God sent me Mom to go to Joshua’s doctor appointment with me and to mail a package, and Dennis took part of his lunch to meet me at the lactation clinic (and no, I didn’t ask him to.  He has been so supportive of me trying to breast feed, and supportive of our family in general, I just have to cry!).  Everything went so smoothly, it helped boost my confidence immensely, especially how well it went at home without my rock.  (Although of course I was leaning on God, an even bigger rock than my husband.)  Joshua ate and slept well, and I managed to get the dishes and several loads of laundry done.  I’m gaining ground! :)

Maybe I won’t be so terrible at this motherhood thing after all.

Thankful Thursday #121: happy Thanksgiving!

Happy thanksgiving! I hope you’re enjoying your holiday with family and/or friends and that there’s lots of delicious food in your future.

Since time is scarce these days, I have a short and sweet Thankful Thursday today.  Something special happened on Tuesday – all my Moms showed up at our house at the same time without even planning it!  Phyllis came to spend a couple days with us and help around the house, bless her, Momma Donna stopped in on her way to work to meet her newest “grand-baby”, and my own mother, who just arrived in Wichita on Saturday and just in time to meet baby Joshua, came over to spend some more time with him (she also came to the hospital.  And for the record, the excitement finally kicked in – she is so in love with him! So happy for that. :) )And the craziest thing is, even my foodie Mama joined us from California without knowing it, calling me to congratulate me on Joshua’s birth.  I’ve said it before, but God has such great timing.  How wonderful for him to orchestrate this special day. :)

I know you’d have rather seen Joshua than the nursing cover over my chest, but I wasn’t about to break his latch when we’ve been working on it so hard.  And you’re welcome for me not flashing my boob! lol

Happy thanksgiving! May you find many things to be thankful for this year.

A photo session with a reluctant dog

Yesterday I featured a picture of me with Joshua’s big sister, Jessie.  You probably assumed she just plopped down on her butt and smiled at the camera like a pro.  Um, no.  Maybe some dogs love to pose for the camera, but it’s Jessie’s number 3 thing that she hates, after thunder and the power going out.  She is always reluctant to face the camera.

I thought I’d share how hard it is to get a decent photo with this girl, and why I feature her on my blog so rarely.  She came into the nursery while we were doing our weekly pregnancy photos and I decided to try to get her to pose with me.  But first she demanded butt scratching, and once I obliged, she never wanted me to stop.  You can see on her tail where there is missing fur – even on medication, her allergies are so bad in the summer that she’s still itchy.

I finally got her to chillax on the butt scratchin’ and sit, but then she wanted to face me with her head down, which is how she asks for a neck massage.  Spoiled pup much? lol  At first I tried to coax her into posing without a massage…

And this was the best I got.

Why must you torture me, Mama?

Then we had some progress because she finally looked up at me and was smiling.  This would have been a great photo if I was smiling back in a normal way, and not with such an open-wide mouth that I looked like I was ready to eat her.

This one cracks me up because I look like a dog trainer and she’s listening really hard to me.  I wish!

But then the magic finally happened, and voila!  It was all worth it.

Jessie was rewarded with her neck massage. :)

I don’t think I ever shared this “Meet Jessie” video on my blog, so you can watch it now if you didn’t get enough of her in this post. :)  Also, it shows what our living room & kitchen used to look like before we had to empty the office and change it dramatically so that we had a place to put some of the stuff.  I will have to take pics of what it looks like now to share with you.  Soon!

Grandpa’s Hot Pink Stolen Sun Hat

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I’ve used this picture of my Grandpa in his stolen pink hat several times on my blog, because it just cracks me up:

I bought this hat in 1996, along with a matching beach bag, and had planned to be totally cool wearing it on the “beach” (aka at the swimming area at El Dorado Lake) that summer.  Then Grandma and Grandpa came to visit, and he immediately confiscated it on sight.  I found him wearing it one day and just didn’t even know what to say.  He told me he was taking it back to Joplin with him because it made a great sun hat.

I was so mad at him, but what are you supposed to say to an elderly mad man that wants to wear your pink hat?  I was half amused, half furious because he didn’t even ask if he could have it, but in the end I found it more hilarious than anything.  I’m so glad I caught this evidence of his thievery on camera for you guys. LOL!

I never saw this hat again until we visited their place for the funeral in March.  As you may have noticed from how he packed Becky with food, he had a hoarding problem, and the house was almost impossible to navigate.  The back bedroom was stuffed with boxes of vitamins (Grandpa was a health nut) and my littlest sister, Lacey, went back there with Danielle to go through the boxes and take what she wanted (she’s the only health nut left in the family, and Uncle David had given her permission for this).

See the hat to the right of Lacey and Danielle?  It’s hard to tell but that’s actually a stack of several hats, and I noticed some pink in the stack (it was already gone by the time I took this photo).  I asked Lacey to see if that was my sun hat and sure enough, we had somehow managed to find it!

Reunited at last!!

I no longer cared about the hat for the sake of wearing it to the beach (I’m way too uncool for that now), but the hat had taken on a sentimental meaning to me, knowing it had been worn and loved by my Grandpa.  Not sure if I’d ever have a reason to wear it, I took it back home to Wichita.

Then my Aunt Ruby invited me to her second annual garden party and told me the theme was “hats” and there would be prizes for best, most original, and etc.  I knew immediately I had to wear Grandpa’s hat!!

Aunt Ruby (middle) giving a tour of her garden to some of the guests. These two both ended up winning 1st and 2nd place for “most original” hats, and I think they deserved it! :D

With my cousin Racine. I added some flowers to my hat to spiff it up, as did many other guests there! Great minds.

With cousin Michael (he’s so cool, he has dreads down to his butt and often ties them up on top of his head in summer) and Aunt Nadene wearing Grandma Davis’ bonnet–that’s one old bonnet!

I didn’t photograph all the hats, unfortunately, but I think Owen was the only guest who didn’t wear one-so fun!

I ended up winning first place for “most beautiful” hat!  I can just imagine Grandpa’s big amused smile seeing me win for the hat we both stole from each other. :)

With my reusable shopping bag and brooch I won for most beautiful hat.



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