Monday, August 31, 2009

End of Summer Fun

With the end of summer drawing near, we've been trying to squeeze as much out of these days as possible. Here are some pictures of our last couple weeks...

I've been trying to keep our days pretty structured, so I've been doing a "craft time" with her every day! She loves it! These pictures aren't great, but they show a little bit of her artistic creativity! :) She especially loves gluing magazine pictures on paper.

One day this week it was warm enough to head over to neighbor Frank's pool. It only took about 2 minutes to realize that Annabel's interested enough in the water these days that a life jacket is necessary! 

One of the fun things we've done recently is make this "redneck sandbox" :) A friend of mine gave me the idea to use one of these containers, and as we had one sitting empty in the basement, it worked out great! She has so much fun playing in her sandbox and digging for sea shells- its just the right size for her!

One evening this week we went out for Mexican...


Last weekend Derek's brother and his family came up to visit... here are some pictures of Annabel and Morganne playing! (Yes, I borrowed some of these from Holly's blog!)

I love this picture! 

Finally, I thought this was funny... this is Derek catching Annabel going "night night" on the dining room table! Think she naps enough?!?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My First Quilt

So, I completely finished my first quilt this week - quilted it in Iowa and then finished the binding on the car ride home. Then I washed it and sewed on my name label. I love the way it turned out! It's so cheerful and bright. I couldn't decide between the name "cherry pop" or "cherry fizz," because I love the cherry fabric and the circle patterns that look like bubbles. I finally settled on "cherry pop," just because it sounds so fun! 
The front:

I wanted the back to contrast with the front, since there is so much green in the front. I really wanted to bring out the reds in the fabrics. I sketched up this coin quilt variation and tried to make it somewhat reversible...

I quilted it with a simple meandering pattern with loops. Here is some of the detail:

And just for fun I hid my name (and Derek's and Annabel's and Bailey's!) in the stiching...

I just think its a really fun, whimsical quilt. Just like me! :) I'll post pictures soon of my second one, as soon as I finish it!

Vacation To Des Moines

This past week, we headed to Iowa for vacation. Iowa, you say?! Yes, that is where Derek's parents live. And we had fun! 

Here we are on the way there, after enjoying dingdongs in the car! 

It is quite difficult to entertain an almost-two-year-old on a 9 hour car trip! She didn't do too bad, though, we stopped and ran around a lot and she read a lot of books. 

My mother-in-law has a longarm quilting machine, so I took the quilt I made in order to quilt it. I had no idea that so much work was still involved after piecing the top! I still had to piece the back, cut it all to size, prep it for the quilter, then quilt it, cut it to size again, then the binding! Shew! I had another quilt there that I started on back in January of 2006, and have been working on every time we go out. I finished it, too, woohoo! Well, actually, its not completely done, I still have to do the binding, but I'll get to it. 

Also while we were there, we went to the Iowa State Fair. It was huge, of course, and took us two days to walk through. We had a lot of fun. Annabel loved all the animals and hands-on exhibits. 

By the time we got there Annabel was already fast asleep!

These were the coolest little bikes ever. No batteries, just "wiggle power!" I wish I could have got one, or even remember the name of them... so fun! 

"Look, Grandma, a baby cow! Oh, it just licked me!"
Haha... sometimes mommy feels like a milk cow!

My stylish little girl:)

Annabel got to ride a rhino!

The next day, Annabel loved the "baa's"

"Can I play?"

Daddy and Grandpa look on...

It was a nice relaxing weekend, with good food and some much-needed sleeping in :). Derek did some canning, both green beans and spaghetti/pizza sauce.

While Annabel and I made brownies!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home Improvements

A few weekends ago, Derek and I had new windows put in. And for those of you who know me, nothing gets me quite as jazzed as home improvements! I just love updates that improve the look of our house. Here are some before and after pics:

The front of the house before. These windows were painted shut and had the aluminum storm windows which were quite ugly. And after:

Okay, so maybe you don't notice much of a difference, but I do! I think they're beautiful! And they OPEN!
The side windows in the living room and dining room were also unable to be opened. Before:

And above is Annabel's room, which were the worst windows in the house. They were extremely rusted, and one of the panes was broken:

Yuck! So after:

I love that these side windows open out like this. I think it gives it some character, and lets in a much better breeze! I love having open windows! And the insulation value has been great also. Before, Annabel's room has always been the hottest or coldest room in the house (depending on the season, of course!). In the summer you could notice a 5-10 degree difference just walking in her room. Now, nothing. Beautiful! We'll see if we save on our utility bills! 

Here is a picture of Annabel watching Elmo while the window guys were working:

And us, watching Annabel watch Elmo:

Aren't we lazy bums! 
And here's something we've never seen in this house before- curtains blowing in the wind!

Annabel enjoys the breeze, too!

Here she is helping my dad with the bamboo shades:

Doing her "crisscross applesause!" What a cutie!

Graduation Day

Two weeks ago, I finally graduated! That was a great feeling, but I feel a bit like I'm drifting these days. I don't think its quite sunk in that I won't be going to class this fall. No books to buy, no planner to update with assignments, no catching up with classmates...Wierd.

Here are a few pics from the big day. First we had our "hooding" ceremony, which was small and private, and very nice. The lighting was really bad, though, so the pictures didn't turn out well.

Receiving my hood

I was glad my parents were able to come up for the ceremony because originally they were going to be on vacation at the same time!

Me and my dad being silly

Melanie and Wes, as well as my grandparents made it up, too!

During the ceremony:

Receiving my diploma

Afterwards, with my punkin'

And Derek, trying on my cap and gown... he couldn't figure out the hood! :)

Stay tuned.... blog about our Iowa trip to come!