Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in review

Instead of reminiscing and waxing poetic about the past year, I thought I’d just pick my favorite post from each month and link to it.  OH—and I have three posts scheduled to post tomorrow that are SO MUCH FUN!!!!  Including our big announcement (if, you know, you don’t already know)…I could post them today, but it seemed so fun to leave it until the new year :)

January: Shannon’s Shower—preparing for sweet Theodore last December, and all the fun pictures that went with it.

February:Stopping Drug Abuse…One cold medication at a time—all about getting carded at CVS for buying Dayquil.

March: Theodore—For obvious reasons (Shannon—can you believe he was this small?  Less than a year ago?)

Aprtil: Oliver—some pictures of baby Ollie (or “our firstborn son” back in April—he’s going to be a good big brother)

May: 5 Days—The random things I had to say when we were down to our last few days of school.  It reminds me of the things I like about my job.

June: Anniversary Outtakes—the outtakes from our photo shoot with Lauren…..I picked these over the good ones because this is what life really looks like around here :)

July: For our future children—A post where I informed our future children what their wardrobes will look like.  I was off birth control and my baby radar was going crazy, but of course I couldn’t tell anyone that.  You had better believe I have a little shopping cart ready at GAP and Old Navy….unfortunately, I’m not allowed any unnecessary spending for the next month (to pay for my teeth without dipping into savings)….so it will have to sit and wait.

August: Why I puffy heart love high school students—A post written just before the start of the school year, and a good reminder to me now as I am having a serious attitude about going back to work on Monday.

September: Lollie Ollie—because I didn’t do much of anything in September except make it through the day and throw up lots.

October: Our Lovely Weekend—because any weekend spent with Jon and Carrie is bound to be a favorite….and October looked a lot like September

November: The Part Where we find out—because it’s my favorite of all of the ‘we’re having a baby posts’ and a really honest glimpse into life in our little zoo

December: The Hard Kind of Days—because this is something I need to be reminded of constantly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas: The short version

Since it’s you know, the 29th of December and almost a new year, I thought I should recap some of what happened over Christmas.  Somehow I never took my camera out of the bag….I don’t know why.  But Christmas 2010 shall live on with no photographic evidence. 


We left in the morning to head to my parents house.  We went up the state highway instead of the interstate for a little change of pace.  The old people were out for their Friday drives.  It was painful.  We ate lunch at Taco Bell because nothing says Merry Christmas quite like some hard tacos and chalupas.  Oliver was begging for the ice in Andy’s cup, and they shared it.  It was sweet.  We finally arrived at mom and dad’s and had fun hanging out that afternoon.  We had dinner with my mom’s family at my grandma’s and it was nice to see everyone.  We came back to mom and dad’s and unwrapped presents.  Much fun was had by all…especially Oliver who was able to clean up the mess as my dad and Andy shot marshmallow guns at each other.  Oliver did not sleep well because of all the sugar.


Or the laziest Christmas ever.  I had a nasty headache, earache, and sore throat all day.  Mostly I slept.  I think the others did too.  We just watched some tv and took it easy…and Mom fed us until I couldn’t eat any more.  I’m concerned about stepping on the scales tomorrow after all the eating.


Sunday morning we headed to Indianapolis to Andy’s parents’ house.  We had lunch from Penn Station and unwrapped presents from Andy’s family.  It was then that I realized that our sweet unborn baby had gotten presents from everyone this year.  My parents got the baby some books, a Purdue onesie, Purdue bib, and Purdue socks.  Andy’s parents gave the baby a little lion and lamb toy that winds up and plays “Jesus Loves Me,” Mike and Beth got a little monkey that screams and cries until you feed it (Ollie keeps trying to attack that one), and Andy’s Aunt Kim got a sweet little “lovey” toy that has a rabbit head and a soft blanket body.  We all unwrapped our presents and the dogs played with their robot dogs while Andy and Mike played with the remote control sumo wrestlers.  That afternoon Andy’s Uncle Joe and Aunt Laura and cousins Austin and Alyssa arrived from San Diego.  They stayed at Andy’s parents house too…and we had so much fun hanging out with them.  We spent the whole afternoon talking and hanging out.  More of the Cook family came over that night (much to Ollie’s dismay—turns out he’s kind of an introvert).  We ended up staying up until 2 just talking and hanging out.  I love it when Andy’s dad is with his brothers….they have such funny stories, and they tease each other like they’ve never left the house…even though they are all lucky to see each other once a year.


Monday was more of the same.  We kept trying to figure out when Jim and Laura would arrive.  Their flight had been cancelled on Sunday because they had no crew.  So they were flying out Monday afternoon….and they were still an hour late.   Andy and I kept going back and forth because it was getting late and we needed to head towards home, but we really wanted to see Jim and Laura.  We haven’t seen them since Jim’s accident two Octobers ago, and we really wanted to!  Right as we were about to give up and go (like I had my coat on), the car pulled in the driveway.  So we stayed for another hour, and it was so nice.  I’m so thankful we got to spend some time with them.  The uncles and Andy got Jim’s wheelchair in the house, and the first thing he said was “Weeeee” and put his hands up like he was on a rollercoaster.  He was telling stories and complimenting the room (he hadn’t seen Andy’s parents house since they finished the remodel two years ago) and he told Andy and I both that he was excited about the baby.  It was a blast….almost the entire family was there which hadn’t happened in a long time.  It was nice to see them all together, laughing and talking, and sharing stories.  Most of  them are still in Indy….I think at least one section of the family leaves today…and Joe and Jim’s families will be in town until New Years Day. 

And that’s our Christmas weekend that took four days :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yesterday (or…lots of dumb things in one day)

So yesterday…was an interesting day.  Not really.  But sort of.  The early part of the day was fairly uninteresting.  I’m working on clearing out rooms, trying to get things in order, etc.  It’s a longer process than it should be because Andy is a pack rat and I’m an avoider.  As in, if things bother me, I just shut them off and avoid them.  Which I was doing with an entire room of our house.  So now…now I’m trying to get things together and having a bit of a breakdown over it (quite literally while Andy was home for lunch yesterday…complete and utter meltdown over the state of the house).

Then I had four cavities filled.  And it was awful.  It hurt.  It was uncomfortable.  I felt like I was drowning in a pit of saliva and there was spit running down my face nearly constantly.  And the numbing.  It didn’t take away all the pain, but it did take away my ability to move one half of my face for the next 6 hours.  Good times.

Then when I got home from the dentist at about 5:45, Andy told me that Oliver had knocked over the Christmas tree.  He (Andy) picked it up, but this is how he left it.  (Sorry the pictures are so bad…I was playing with the manual functions for the first time…I’m trying to break myself of my auto-shooting habits…but I really don’t know what I’m doing yet).

Camera Clean 12.22.10 1379  Camera Clean 12.22.10 1381 4 Camera Clean 12.22.10 1383

Yeah…that’s not how I left it.

Then we headed to Clarksville to finish our Christmas shopping.  On the way there, Andy said to me, “I thought you said we were done with Christmas shopping.”  I never said such words.  I knew I wasn’t done.  I’ve been freaking out for the last three weeks because I wasn’t done.  I told him that I had intended to finish on Dec. 2, after my last OB appointment, but he had scheduled a repairman to  come to the house that afternoon, so I couldn’t go. I don’t know where he’s been if he thought we were done. 

We had sushi at our regular restaurant, and our favorite manager was back.  He has been visiting family in India for the last four months and just returned to the US last week.  It was nice to see him and talk to him.  It was a MADHOUSE in there.  I would imagine that it was NOT a normal Tuesday night.  Andy kept making fun of my mouth and it’s inability to move the entire time we were there.  He would mirror my moves so I could see what it looked like when I had soup or a drink of water or tried to smile.  I stabbed him with a chopstick.  But not hard.  Just a love stab.  We also discovered that I can be fiercely protective and sort of hateful when people make fun of my people.  A girl at a table near us made a snotty face and mouthed the word, “Wow,” when she  was eavesdropping on a conversation between A and the manager.  My response (which was really not okay…I don’t recommend it) was less than polite.  When we left, Andy told me he really couldn’t believe I had said what I did.  It was very out of character for me.

We ran our errands and got what we needed (along with half of Clark county) and swore to have our Christmas shopping done earlier in the future.  We are not last minute shopping kind of people.  It was stressing me out.  And making me turn into all sorts of panicked and flipping out.  Then my husband (who was in rare form last night) asked me what we had gotten everyone.  And I told him.  And remember how yesterday I said my gift choices really stunk this year?  He agreed.   I believe his actual response was, “Oh, that’s what we got?”  And I told him he could do the shopping next year.  We had to pick out a birthday gift for his sister…and I don’t think he loved my choice there, either.  But it’s okay.  It’s practical, somewhat cute, and I never know what to buy for her.  It gets harder every year.  And besides, he kept trying to embarrass me at every turn….especially in the toilet paper aisle.

By this point, my numbing was wearing off and I was feeling the raw pain of four teeth that have been drilled.  My fun meter was pegged.  I wanted to go home and go to bed.  So to recap…the dumb things you shouldn’t try to do all at once: have four teeth drilled, then go out to eat; let a goofy husband try to fix the Christmas tree after the dog knocks it over; do Christmas shopping on Dec. 21; and really just don’t go shopping with Andy (I’m kidding on the last part, I promise…I love him dearly, even if he can be a total butthead sometimes).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


-This Christmas break business is just kind of eh so far.  I really need to clean, but I don’t want to, so I’m just kind of lost and wandering.

-I have to get four cavities filled today.  One more appointment and I’ll be all done with my dental torture…until my 6 month cleaning in February.  I’m thankful  that I can get all of this done this year, when I have my Section 125 plan and can get medical reimbursements.

-I taught Oliver to drink water from a glass.  He licks it out.  I think it’s hilarious.  Andy doesn’t.

-Speaking of Oliver, he loves National Geographic animal documentaries.  He’s enthralled by them.  We watched “The Science of Dogs” and he stood right up to the tv, with his front paws on the tv stand watching.  He REALLY loved the baby hyenas on the lions/hyenas documentary we watched the other night.  He barked at the little hyenas and jumped up on the tv stand to get near them.  I told Andy later that we probably should have stopped him, but we were both laughing so hard neither of us could.  This might be a bad sign for things to come.

-I just saw on the IKEA website that the gray version of the dresser I want for the baby’s room is 50 dollars cheaper.  I think I will buy that one instead.  I like the white one more for the baby’s room, but not 50 dollars more (and I’m sort of in love with that gray color right now anyway).

-The ottoman I ordered from Meijer came yesterday, and I have to say I’m proud of the deal I got.  It looks every bit as nice as the brown leather ottomans at Target that sell for 50 dollars….and it was only 21. 

-I think I might want another ottoman or two for the living room.  We don’t have anything with footrests, and I think I might want that ability. 

-I’m really doing horribly at Christmas this year.  I fully intended to get a card out, and that didn’t happen.  I’m not done shopping for presents yet….but Andy and I are going tonight.  I haven’t wrapped anything.  I’m just BEHIND.  I still have to finish my mom’s present, get birthday gifts for Andy’s mom and sister, and buy for Oliver, Keegan, and Ashlee (the dogs).  And Oliver’s almost out of dog food…so we needed to go to Petsmart anyway.  I looked at their website last night, and I’m kind of excited to get Christmas presents for the dogs. Which is horrible because I didn’t even pick out my dad’s present.  My sister did.  I still owe her money.  And I don’t love any of the presents I picked out.  So…if you get a present from me and it’s horrible, I’m sorry.  I love you.  I really do.  My brain is just not working right this year.  I’ll try to better next year :)

-Oliver got a haircut last week and he looks sassy.  He’s also more snuggly now.  So if you’re my dad or sister, you just might convince him to snuggle with you.

-Okay.  I have to clean.  Have to.  I need to get this beast under control.  Also, how does our house get so cluttered so quickly?  I can’t even begin to fathom it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It’s Christmas Break!

Christmas break is here!  Woohoo!  It’s my favorite break of the year—because I know that I get to see my mom and dad and sister for at least a few days.  It makes me very happy!

I was the mean teacher yesterday, the one who gives a test/assigns a speech/makes research drafts due right before break.  I know, right.  It wasn’t so bad, though.  The test was short, and I offered an extra credit assignment afterwards.  I wrote out an abbreviated version of Romeo and Juliet (I grabbed 25 of the kids favorite/most important lines) and assigned everyone a part…and they had to do it until they could say the whole thing in under 60 seconds.  It was stinking funny…and they got really into it.  My fourth period class got down to 59.1 seconds right before they had to leave—and they cheered so loudly that BOTH teachers in my hallway heard it.  The speech kids had to give a speech about their best/worst holiday memory or favorite tradition.  It was a lot of fun to hear (mostly) and I lear.ned a LOT about their families in a brief one-minute speech. 

I have some big plans for my break…hehe.  Not really.  I do, but they aren’t that big.  I want to get the nursery cleared out and painted. I need to see if the Goodwill does pickups or if we can borrow a truck from a friend to get rid of all of the stuff that won’t fit in our house (when you are giving up a whole room, you suddenly become very quick to part with things that you really don’t need).  Then I want to get the room painted.  I might try to make my stencil and get the supplies to work on it.  I need to run to Clarksville and finish my Christmas shopping (and birthday—Andy’s mom and sister).  Andy will want to put the crib up.  I might start arranging some of the furniture in the baby’s room.  And I think we might try to finish our bathroom up.  We have a new faucet and mirror to hang….so we may run to buy a new bathroom counter/sink (ours has never looked clean since we moved in…it’s gross) and install that.  Then I’m going to paint the room to match the kitchen/LR/hallway/eventually office once I’m done in the baby’s room and can paint another room and paint the vanity white (it’s currently a lovely shade of peeling laminate (aka cardboard).

So that’s my next two weeks (minus the five-ish days spent with family—that’s the really fun part). 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nursery Ideas Broken Down

Both ideas are basally the same.  So I’ll split it up where it’s needed.

The color (Valspar’s Jekyll Grand Dining Sea Mist):


I think we will do a cozy white rug  on the floor (in a modern shag or frieze)

Here are the furniture ideas (I really only need to buy the dresser and the storage baskets/ottoman—the chair and shelf are things we already own—Andy and I are notoriously cheap and like to use what we have).  Also…I used the wrong its and now I want to smack my own wrist with a ruler


The girl version is basically identical, with one major substitution—a girlier fabric for the crib skirt.  Both will probably just get a white crib sheet.  I haven’t picked a girl fabric yet.  The other changes will come with the accessories that I haven’t really figured out.  (toys, books,etc)

And the major wall/ceiling decorations.  We will go with bamboo blinds and full length white curtains.  Decoration will be worked in on the shelves (wall and book) in the form of toys, books, etc.


And my proposed budget (I’ll update later and see how I do)(I think I’ll strike out and keep track here for myself…and do an update post later on):

PAINT: $25 dollars at Lowes (I do have a gift card and a coupon…so this could be less) FREE w/ 5 dollar off Valspar coupon and gift card from our debit card points

STENCIL: $20 to get the supplies to make my own


CURTAINS: $20 from Target FREE w/ Gift card

BLINDS: $30 from Lowe’s

WALL SHELVES: Hopefully made by Andy’s dad…whatever supplies cost 7.46 project starter coupon and gift card from Andy’s birthday

POUF/LANTERN MOBILE: $15 for supplies to make (8.48 for lanterns)

CRIB: 100 dollars from IKEA (100 dollars)

DRESSER: 200 dollars from IKEA

KNOBS: 40 dollars from Anthropologie (I need to check Hobby Lobby and see if they have something I like for less)

BASKETS: 75 dollars at IKEA


OTTOMAN: 32 dollars Target ( 23 dollars from

CHAIR: FREE (belonged to one of Andy’s Grandparents)

SHEEPSKIN (for back of chair): FREE (have one from IKEA—stealing it from living room)

PILLOW:  13 dollars Target FREE with Christmas giftcard

CRIB SKIRT:30 dollars

RUG: 70 dollars at Target 40.00 after using gift card

CRIB MATTRESS: 50 dollars, Wal-Mart

LAMPS: 2 for a total of 50 dollars Amazon (40 dollars for two from

CHANGING PAD: 25ish dollars

SIDE TABLE FOR CHAIR: Free (a plant stand from my great grandma’s that Andy is refinishing)


All in all, I think we’re right at about 1000 dollars to redo the entire room.  That’s not terrible considering we needed a crib and all it’s jazz, we need a dresser/changing table (that will be the little turnip’s until he/she moves off to Purdue college), and that we really aren’t leaving anything in that room….we’re basically starting from scratch here  I was looking again at my favorite house blog, Young House Love, and they spent just over 700 dollars redoing their daughter’s nursery last spring, and they were gifted a few larger items, so I feel better about my thousand.  I’m hoping that by having this figured out early, the Lauren Keller method of planning ahead will work in my favor (which means that I’ll watch all of these things…and jump at any sale that I see pop up in the next few months to save some money).

In case you don’t know about the Lauren Keller method—my little sister knew about a year and a half in advance that she would be moving to Chicago this year, and compiled a spreadsheet listing every sing item she would need for living on her own for the first time (she was an RA at Purdue and never did apartment living, so she had nothing).  She then found every single item she would need at Target, Wal-Mart, IKEA, etc. and kept her list on my parents’ refrigerator.  Any time she found something from the list on sale (or my mom found it on sale) (or my dad found it on sale) (or it was a birthday/holiday and I needed to find a gift for her) she would cross it off the list.  When she left for Chicago this fall, she was way under budget and was able to furnish her little apartment with some great and cute stuff.  I was always impressed with her list….so this is my much smaller version

  I’ll keep you updated on my progress as I go. 

Monday, December 13, 2010


-It’s the first snow day of the year.  I honestly don’t know how much snow there is…they called it last night because they were calling for “gusts of wind” and “blustery temperatures.”  I do love me some weathermen adjectives.  For real, yo.

-I’m whispering this because it’s likely to make several people angry, but the exciting thing about maternity leave at the end of the year is that I don’t have to make up the snow days that get tacked on.  My substitute will do that for me.  Isn’t he or she nice?

-I got a new pair of flannel pajama pants.  They are green and pink and oh-so-fun.  I just have one problem.  They are maternity pajama pants and I’m not big enough yet to hold them up….so they slide down my behind when I sit or bend over.

-Actually, all of my maternity pants do that.  It’s a constant battle.  I want to love them because of the friendly elastic waistband, but I’m afraid that sliding down the butt thing is just too much.

-Speaking of maternity clothes, did I tell you about my bounty?  I have an incredible wealth of maternity clothes.  And I paid for very few of them.  I bought a couple of things, but three sweet ladies in our church loaned me bags and bags worth of clothes.  It’s almost ridiculous how many maternity clothes I have sitting in the third bedroom.  So far, I’m only really wearing Mandy’s pants, but I’m sure as time goes on, I’ll be dipping into the rest.

-Mandy gave me the greatest compliment ever yesterday—she told me I look like I haven’t gained any weight at all—just the tiny little bump where baby lives. 

-One of my students told me on Friday that I was starting to look pregnant, and the rest of the class told him that was mean.  So we had a class discussion about how that wasn’t really mean at all, and that J was just thinking out loud.  If he had told me that I was starting to look fat, or like my butt was getting big, or that I was looking pregnant when I wasn’t, or that I had just increased exponentially in belly fat, any of those would have been mean.  But telling a pregnant woman that you are starting to be able to tell she’s pregnant—totally acceptable.

-I ordered paint samples for the baby’s room last week.  They were on sale for a dollar on the Valspar website last week (and they gave me a 5 dollar off coupon).  I’m forcing myself to get the room cleaned and cleared out before I put the paint on the wall.

-I think I need to do a post about my ideas for the baby’s room.  It’s coming together in my head.  I want to go fairly gender neutral, so there are only a few changes to be made when we find out if the baby is a boy or girl.

-I baked cookies for a cookie exchange yesterday (which may be cancelled for snow now).  I could not find my measuring cups, my mixer died, and our oven is horrible.  I melted down repeatedly during this process.  I yelled at Andy and at Oliver, and just got plain cranky.  I may have also quoted “Waiting for Guffman” and told the oven that I hate it and it’s ***face. 

-Our new oven and microwave are supposed to be delivered today, but we haven’t heard anything from Lowe’s.  I kind of want Andy to call them to check on it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

On December 30….

We find out if next Christmas we'll be dressing our very own little Santa Claus


Or plaid princess:


Actually.  That’s not true.  My child would only wear those outfits if I lost all consciousness and had to be lobotomized.  And then fell down the stairs.  And possibly got blinded.  And run over.  Too much?  What can I say…I’m really fussy about what I like and dislike.  I really stole those particular ideas from the very best Christmas card ever (thanks Mrs. Onken—you crack me up!)

In reality, on the afternoon of December 30, we find out if next Christmas Grandma will be seeing a handsome boy in a sweater and khakis:


Or a sweet girl with a dress and tights and boots:


And if you are my sister, and you need to study for finals, please do not go near the Baby Gap website.  It will suck you  in and you will not get out quickly.  Case in point:  it took me more than ten minutes to decide which dress to post here.  There is too much cute.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Hard Kind of Days

Today was a hard kind of day.  The kind of day you hope doesn’t come around too often, but when it does, it hits you where it hurts.  It wasn’t a bad day like “I feel like the whole world is crashing in” or a bad day when something horrible happens.  It was a day filled with lots of small things piling on top of one another.

Things like a bad chain reaction that leads to an ugly cry early in the morning (I sneezed, wet myself—a charming side effect of my pregnancy so far--and spilled Oliver’s water bowl all at once).  Things like the server in your classroom crashing as your students are working on a tight deadline to finish research papers.  Things like finding your water bottles for the day frozen solid, because of course you left them in the car on Tuesday.  Things like spilling hot chocolate all down yourself in the middle of class.  Things like pulling lesson plans for speech class out of your backside at the last possible second because the server is still broken.  Things like finding a favorite shoe that has been partially chewed.  Things that normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but because you are so tired, so worn out, and so frenzied, they become a big deal.

But then there are the other things.  The moments of clarity.  The moments of grace.  The moments where your husband picks you up off the kitchen floor and brings you back to bed for family snuggle time (Mommy, Daddy, Ollie, and Baby) to help you calm down and relax.  The moments where you figure out a Plan B for the messed up classes.  The day spent making students laugh as you try to figure out how to drink the melting drops of water.  The moment after you spill the hot chocolate where your sweet class takes a sharp breath in as they try to figure out how to respond (with laughter, of course—it was best for them and for me).  The moments where the culprit responsible for the chewed shoe drops into your lap with his favorite toy and snuggles up so sweetly that you forgive the shoe error.

These are the moments I want to focus on in life.  The moments of God’s common grace.  The moments when I realize that Jesus’ promises ring true.  His yoke is easy, his burden is light.  So many problems do not seem easy, and are in fact far from light.  But through faith, we can know that we will overcome this world.  God pours grace out into our lives each and every day.  I want to be the type of person who recognizes that grace, the type of person who is thankful for that grace.  Not the person who dreads the day and remembers the bad stuff.  I want to remember that God is with me always, and that each moment is a gift—whether I treat it like one or not. 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Psalm 103:1-5

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby Toys

Over the last several months I have been doing a lot of research on a variety of baby-related products and such.  I know that no amount of research will really prepare us, and that every child is different, so the best laid plans may go awry, but I still like to know what I want to be able to do, to have, to try, and my reasons for doing them.  It’s kind of like my teaching philosophy, really.  I know what I’m comfortable with, and I work from there to meet the needs of my students.  That’s kind of what I’m doing here.  I have a few posts planned, but this is by far the most fun—the baby toys.  Clearly, we won’t have all of these things or use all of them, this is just a smattering of what I’d like to try.

First, a disclaimer.  I don’t like most kids toys.  Being in the toy aisle at Target kind of stresses me out.  Everything talking, moving, and primary colored plastic.  Most of it looks like junk.  And in the words of my father-in-law, “No kids needs all the plastic crap commercials try to sell.”  Andy and I are on the same page here.  We didn’t have plastic crap childhoods.  We were both raised with toys that were real, that served a purpose.  Even now, the toys I remember the most were my John Deere tractors, the large wooden train set, and our play kitchen.  And the books.  Oh, the books.  I find myself being drawn to toys that don’t look terribly modern, that definitely have some throwback appeal.   So without further ado, here are the toys that I find myself smitten with these days.

This rocking moose from IKEA might be one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen.

rocking moose

We actually bought this rattle at IKEA last weekend and Baby C is going to have to fight Ollie for it.  I love the quality of IKEA’s soft toys.  Oliver actually has a small mouse and a large rat from there, and they are some of the only toys he hasn’t been able to destroy.


We got the stacking rings while at IKEA too, because I think they are so much nicer than the plastic kind (and they were only 5.99).


The next several toys are from a company called Plan Toys.  They are seriously awesome (Mom—I think you will love these…and the next company t00).  All of the toys I am linking to are from the website, which has a seriously awesome selection of all things baby.  Andy and I are seriously considering registering on this website.

First up is this baby car.  It’s a nice, basic push toy.


I think this stacking tree will be great when the baby is older. 


This dancing alligator might be my favorite of all.  It’s a pull along toy, and it dances and clacks.


These last toys are from a company called Melissa and Doug.  And I think they could be my BFFs.  Seriously.  These toys are stinking awesome.  They remind me of the toys my mom used to have in her kindergarten room at the school she taught at when I was little.

This giraffe grasping toy is kind of awesome.  Honestly, I think that Andy and I would like playing with it.  I showed it to Andy, he totally agreed.   He likes things you can twist and contort into different positions.  That’s really not supposed to be dirty.  Please don’t make it dirty.


There are TON of these wooden puzzles for sale from this company.  This is just one example.  I love playing with these with the kids in the preschool room at church.


This magnetic wooden alphabet would be totally awesome in a few years too—much cuter than the bright plastic versions.


Who hasn’t played with one these?  Seriously awesome.


Do I even need to tell you how awesome I think this is?  A kids sushi set.  Oh heck yes.  This is a  must have item for the Cook house.


There are others, obviously, but these are my favorites as of right now.  What do you think?  Anything missing?  Do you think I’m nuts for not liking plastic? 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My students were stinking funny today.

There was something in the water today because my kids were hysterical.  I nearly wet myself laughing every class period today.  I have a few examples to share with you…my favorites for the day.

First period, one girl asked me if she could use some of my lotion because she needed to put something on her fingers so she would stop licking them.  When the class questioned her about this, she responded, “Oh, I always lick my fingers when I get out of the shower so I can keep them wet.  I like the way they feel.”

The class told her she was a dog.  (Not in a bad way…mostly because she licks herself).

Later in the day, my ninth graders were reading Romeo and Juliet, and they came up with the euphemism of “playing checkers” to describe what Romeo and Juliet were going to do in her chambers on their wedding night.  They spent the rest of the class period trying to find ways to use the phrase.  Only one person didn’t get it.  Which made it really even better.

And fifth period, a senior girl told me that lately all she wants to eat it chocolate, but it makes her feel guilty.  So she watches an exercise tape while she eats the chocolate, hoping that it will motivate her to do the exercise after the chocolate.  So far, though, it’s not really working for her.  At least that’s what she told me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A few days…

It’s cold today.  Really, really cold.  Like I want a cup of hot chocolate and a warm cozy blanket and Christmas movies.  Sadly, we don’t have any hot chocolate, and B (Andy’s former Little Brother in the BBBS program, and now just 18 year old we love that hangs out with us on Monday) is here, so it’s  a horror movie night.  So I have to settle for the blanket and a bowl full of my mom’s cheeseburger casserole (it looks and sounds disgusting, and cannot be eaten more than once a year for fear of early heart failure, but man is it good and perfect for the first really frigid day of the year.

The last few days have been really eventful and fun.  But now I’m really tired.  Saturday day we went to Cincinnati with another couple.  IKEA+PF Changs+friends=the best day ever.  We bought the crib I wanted for the baby.  This week the little bean is the size of my college roommate Lauren’s favorite produce: the avocado.  And now our little avocado has a bed to sleep in.

70462_PE185759_S4 Photo from

While we were at IKEA, at one point we all walked in to look at a bathroom model.  As we were standing there, Martin said, “Um, guys, the four of us are standing in a bathroom together.”  After an awkward laugh from all, I said, “Well, I think we just took our relationship to a whole new level.”

Andy and I played a game at IKEA.  One of us would look at a set of models (like the kitchens…or the dining room tables…or the countertops) and guess which one the other would like best.  At one point I had looked at the next kitchen ahead and realized that it was Andy’s dream.  Dark wood cabinets, a few glass front cabinets, dark granite countertops, an undermount sink, and tons of counter space.  Our other favorite was an open concept with a great dining space attached and a separate closet pantry.  It was all white counters with a lot of display cabinets (Andy is seriously in love with glass front cabinets…and metal frames….and wood). 

We ended up with a lot of other stuff too, and you’ll see some of it in a few days.  I’m working on getting things hung in the living room, and once it’s all up, I’ll show you the updated living room. 

When we got back from Cincy, we had the small group Christmas party at church.  It was seriously a blast.  We had a taco salad dinner and a white elephant gift exchange.  This is what we came home with:


That’s right.  Our very own salon style hair dryer…from 1960something I’m sure.

It’s kind of awesome.  (Also…I don’t know that I look pregnant in this picture as much as I just look plump…oh sitting down pictures….)

Then yesterday we had lunch with a large group of friends after church, and Andy ended up with a small child in his lap partway through the meal.  I have yet to figure out where said child came from, since he just appeared under our table.  But man was he ever cute.  This little boy seriously loves my husband (he even ran up to the front of the sanctuary before church to talk to Andy while he set up the guitar for service).

Then last night I had dinner with a friend from school and a group of her friends and went to a jewelery showing.  The jewelery is handmade by a woman here in town who is friends with my coworker and she set out her stuff and let us come over and look and buy.  I got some seriously cute earrings and had a good time meeting some new people.  Then Andy and I hung shelves and blinds in the living room (and one in the kitchen).

Now, I have a horribly stuffy nose and itchy eyes and all I really want is a decongestant.  But alas, I don’t think I can take any.  And that was the weekend….now I need a nap to recover from all the fun stuff.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The best night of my life.

I slept last night.  Like seriously slept.  For the first time in a LONG time.  The last several weeks have been characterized by lots of tossing and turning, waking up to go to the bathroom, waking up because Andy or Ollie is crowding my space.  Waking up just because.  Waking up because Andy woke up.  Waking up because Ollie woke up.  Just lots of waking up.  Lots of restless sleep.

And lots of really cranky days.  My brain has been beyond gone.  I walk into things, I fall over.  I trip.  I stop halfway through a sentence.  Basically, I’ve been my mom.  (Not that you’re cranky, mama :)).

But not last night.  I hate to even say this because it’s a little bit horrible.  Last night Andy slept on the sofa because he needed to be upright.  He is still miserably sick right now (he didn’t go to work on Monday OR Tuesday—that has NEVER happened before in the history of his life….probably the last time he missed two days of something was when he got his skull fractured in sixth grade…seriously), so he slept in the living room.  I feel bad for him.  I know he’s sleeping horribly.  I feel even guilty about my joy in his suffering.  As I should—I think I may win Wife of the Year for that one.

But the sleep.  Oh mercy.  I fell asleep at 9:45 last night, and woke up this morning at about 5:25 (way before the alarm).  I felt clear headed.  Rested.  My back and hips weren’t in pain.  I was sprawled diagonally across the bed, taking up seriously the whole thing…and Oliver was tucked in next to me, sprawling out his little legs and snoring a bit. 

When we finally got up, we both had more energy than we’ve had in a long time.  In fact, he’s running circles around the living room right now.  I am rested and excited to go to work today. 

It’s like we’re a new woman and dog.  Now if only Andy could feel better too.