Sunday, June 29, 2008

Maternity Session

I have a friend in the photography business. It turns out that her boss needs a couple of pregnant models for a new wrap they ordered. This means, I get a free maternity session and only pay for any pictures I may want.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of professional pregnant belly pictures, but this sounds like it could be fun. Who doesn't like free stuff? :) We'll see if I end up liking any of them. Check out the photographer's website here. She takes beautiful pictures!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Dear readers:

As most of you know, I truly enjoy blogging, for the mere fact that it keeps many of my friends and family up-to-date with our lives. I wish we could see all of you every day, but time and distance stands in the way. I enjoy all of your comments, even criticism. Everyone has different points of view. However, someone {stranger or not} has recently made a small written attack on our unborn child. For this reason alone, I will be making this blog private within the week. I plan to give everyone in my e-mail address book permission, but if for some reason, I overlook you, please send me an e-mail {at the personal e-mail that all of you should already have} and I will add you to the permissions list! For the safety of our little Bubs, I see it in everyone's best interest.

To the anonymous people who have enjoyed my blog and been nothing but very nice and supportive, I'm sorry you will no longer be able to access my blog, but thank you so much for reading. I hope you've enjoyed my blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I wish you all the best.

Family and friends: Check back, sign in, and see you on the other side!

Green thumb

We've been adding to the rather blah landscaping in front of our house. Many thanks to my mom for the flowers, advice, and expertise. And also, a big thank you to Blake for having a bit of a green thumb of his own. A green thumb is something I don't have. God has blessed me with many gifts, and unfortunately the ability to transplant a plant from a planter to the ground and keep it alive is not one of them.

I do however, have one responsibility with the new landscaping: water the plants. I can remember that {I think. :)}

Our next project is the backyard, but as that has no landscaping at all, we're only in the brainstorming stage.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Blake's birthday. :) We had a little surprise grill out for him tonight with my parents and brother. I forgot to take a picture of the food and fun...sorry!

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cute finds

I went shopping the other day with some friends. I had no intention of finding some cute clothes, but I couldn't resist these two items when I found them. Actually, I couldn't resist the dress. My friends found the shirt first, and then I couldn't resist. :)

Bonus: Also in these pics, my 25 week 3 day belly. This is going by so fast!


Does anyone know what this plant is? It is growing all over our backyard. We also found a lot of it beyond our sod, in the clay/soil mixture behind our house. At first, Blake and I thought poison ivy, but we've ruled that out. What is this and how do we get rid of it?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On the mend

The good news: my hand is not broken! :) Hooray! Just a slight sprain and bruising in the knuckles that will take much less time to heal than a broken bone {you can see a little of the swelling around the big scrape and the middle of my pinky, but most of it is on top of my hand}.

The bad news: I'm supposed to keep it in a splint for a few days longer. I can't help it. The splint is uncomfortable, and I keep getting it wet, so I keep taking it off. My hand already looks a lot better today. You would not have wanted to see it a couple of days ago. My legs and right hand are already well on their way to healing. I can't wait until my left hand catches up!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

There's always something

Just when I think life is starting to settle back down, I am surprised again:

Yesterday morning while checking the mail, I stumbled on the little lip at the end of our driveway and face-planted. In an effort to protect little Bubs {and not fall on my belly}, I reached my hands out to stop my fall. Now, I may have a broken bone in my left hand. I waited over a day to see if the pain would improve, but in one particular area, it got worse and the infection was so terrible that puss was running down my hand throughout the day. We will find out in the morning if I broke anything. But for now, it's in a splint and I have some antibiotic I have to take to prevent the spread of the infection. I had to get a tetanus booster too, so I'm looking forward to a sore arm in the morning. ;) My hands are my golden ticket. As a piano/organ player, I would normally do anything to prevent from falling on my hands. I would probably even fall and scratch up my face before subjecting my hands to harm. However, since there is another little person involved, my hands were the last thing on my mind...until, I realized I have to play a wedding on Saturday, as well as all the masses this weekend. GAH!

I also got a phone call in my office today saying that a gentleman from the FBI needed to speak with me {WHAT?!}. Of course, I was nervous that maybe they caught something from my Taiwan trip {though I couldn't imagine what}, and that I was in some sort of trouble. I tried to think of ways to avoid meeting with him, but couldn't find any. When I got to the rectory, he flashed his badge, told me his name {which obviously I don't remember} and then explained I was listed as a reference for a friend who is applying to work with the FBI and he wanted to chat with me about her {PHEW! Course clear for me}. I know it wasn't my interview for a job, but it was intimidating! A visit from the FBI in small town Iowa: Now that's something that doesn't happen everyday!

Friday, June 13, 2008

I love...

this idea. I'm going to borrow their creative genius for our future little one!

If I forget after the baby is here, someone please remind me of this post!

Getting started

Since Blake and I have only about 16 weeks until Bubs is here, I've finally decided to get started on some of the nursery decorations. We are currently awaiting the arrival of our crib, mattress, crib sheets, and glider. I can't wait to get them and start putting the whole room together.

Do you remember my inspiration for the room? I posted about the cute little polka-dot blanket here {you can also see it below}. Since the blanket is from Dwell Studio for Target, I decided to buy the matching crib sheets online, and after my prenatal check-up today, I went shopping for the wall art project I've had in mind for quite some time. Matching colors was probably the hardest part, and then I happened upon the lovely colored frames {which, gasp, also matched the blanket! Be still my heart!}. Here's the finished project, with the inspirational blanket above it. Once the crib arrives, we'll center the pictures on the wall above. I can't wait! :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I wonder

**FRIDAY UPDATE** Turns out, we didn't have to worry. The water never even reached our property. This morning, we had lake-front property. This afternoon, we have mud-front property. I feel bad for the poor farmer who lost all of his crops in that field. ****

Should we be worrying right now? This is the view of the river that is near our house from our deck. Normally, we can't see it as it usually sits beyond all those trees in the picture.

We were assured when we bought our house that it is not in a flood plain, and despite all the crazy flooding here in Iowa, we've been spared. However, we are expecting more rain throughout the night. I'm hoping that after some prayers, all we'll have in the morning is a nice piece of lake-front property {Inserting a little humor: Will having a lake-front view up our property value too?}.

Please also say a few prayers for everyone in our state right now. There is a lot of devastating flooding going on. I can't help but think of all those affected. I can only hope that everyone and their families are ok.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Three years

Three years ago, I married my best friend. Time sure flies when you're having fun. Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Iowa pride

Obviously, a visit for us to Taiwan is almost always about family. We do however see some pretty amazing sights {by foot, car, and moped} all the while letting our Iowa pride show through {In case you haven't noticed, I think most of Brian's t-shirts the whole trip say something "IOWA" on them}. Can you tell what we're spelling in the last picture?

FYI: This is my last Taiwan post. If you would like to see all 200+ pictures that I've taken, please send me an e-mail and I will e-mail you the link to my album. :)

Yellow watermelon?

Or, maybe you would just prefer a mango, dragon fruit, Asian pear, apple, pineapple, or regular pink watermelon?

Regardless of what kind of fruit they offer in Taiwan, my suggestion is to eat it. I only have one word to describe it all: Delicious!

P.S. Usually fruit comes with a side of freshly brewed tea. Also delicious. :)

Aunts, uncles, cousins

Whenever we go to Taiwan, we are meeting with so many people, sometimes I don't even remember what their "title" is. But, I do always remember my mom's immediate family, my first cousins, a couple of great aunts, and those couple of my mom's cousins who love having us around (we refer to them as our uncles, though they are not). In general, I love the family orientation that seems to embrace that whole culture. Families live with other families, everyone seems to keep in touch, and people seem to drop by at all hours of the day {Maybe it seems that way because we are visitors, but I love it none-the-less}.

I love watching my aunts and uncles chat with my mom, and my cousins are a seriously cool bunch of people. Hanging out with them is fun, and many of them speak English really well. This works out nicely because they are especially helpful when it comes to us learning Chinese. You can see the large family in the pics below. Not everyone is in them, but you get the general idea. They are awesome! :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

The grandparents

I mentioned in this post how adorable my grandparents are, and now you can see why. Not only are they cute in pictures, but in interaction as well. My grandfather is fluent in Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese, but has managed to learn a few things in English as well (Let's Go!, Baseball, Hello, Goodbye). He's always smiling, loves our hugs, and always wants to take us out or accompany us on our trips. He has long eyebrows, and his dentures flop around in his mouth, all adding to his charm. My grandmother doesn't speak much English at all. In fact, she is only completely fluent in Taiwanese. However, she is perfect at communicating with us via hand motions, facial expressions, etc. And her laugh is one that is positively infectious and happy. Seeing them would be a highlight to anyone's day. Leaving them behind that last night was so hard, especially because I watched my grandma wipe tears away from her eyes.

My mom's adoptive mom {our "Buddha grandma"} is now a monk and lives in a city nearly 40 minutes from my mom's hometown. I remember her coming to visit us when we were really little {and I also remember her not wanting to hold me, I'm embarrassed to admit, because I smelled of urine from my sleep the night before}. I'm sure she knew we were coming to Taiwan, but it was still so heart-warming {and a little heart breaking} to watch her tear up as she saw all of us standing outside of her room at the monastery. We visited her a couple of times on the trip. She is very frail, but still has all the spunk that I remember. I like to watch her communicate with my mom, her only child, and then to look at us with such warmth in her eyes. Goodbyes are never easy, and this one was no different. She watched us walk away until she could no longer see us, waving the whole time.

If you are confused as to why I have three grandparents, let me quickly explain. My mom was born an identical twin and then adopted by my grandfather's sister and her husband {who couldn't have kids}. It's custom to share, and all was well. My mom grew up knowing her birth family, but they were cousins to her. Things are different now, as we are all aware of the situation at hand, so we refer to all of them as our grandparents. My mom's adoptive father died when I was very young. I never met him. With all of my grandparents, I try to make the most of every moment because I am not sure if that was the last time I would see them. I'm also more attached to them now because I no longer have grandparents in America. It warms my heart to know that they have always loved their American grandchildren and have always welcomed us with open arms, though I never even met my mom's birth parents until I was 15. What wonderful people. I miss them already.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Modern Toilet

You may wonder, as I did, what is "Modern Toilet?" As we drove by this sign time and time again in Taiwan, I eventually found out that it is, in fact, a restaurant! Leave it to us to scope out a place like this. A place where your seating arrangements are bathroom themed, food is served in bathtubs, sinks, and toilets, and some of the food is designed to look like something someone would leave in the toilet (chocolate ice cream in poo form, bloody ice, you get the picture), but yet the food is very delicious. If you venture to Taiwan, I would recommend a stop here. :)

Of course, we had to have a little of our own fun with the place. :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm back

...Jet lag and all....updates will come very soon {after I kick this jet lag, and stop feeling like a zombie!}.

Until then, here's a small preview:
Grandma in Brian's aviators. So cute!