August 24, 2012

Iowa State Fair in the Third Trimester!!!!

This past week, my little sister and brother (well... not so little brother... he's actually freakishly tall compared to the rest of us siblings) came out to Iowa to visit friends and family for a few days. It's crazy how much I've seen my family lately! Hayley, Tyler and Lyndi were visiting a few weeks ago, my younger siblings cam last week, and my mom and stepdad will be here in a few weeks from now - so exciting!
When trying to think of things to do in Des Moines, Iowa that doesn't cost money and that is always good for pictures, the crazy sculpture park always comes to mind. It's a park downtown, amongst all the tallest buildings, that has a winding path going through it, few trees and shrubs other than the rose bushes around the edges, and is full of THEE most random sculptures. I'm not sure what the whole story behind them are, but they are ridiculous and very "abstract," meaning that we can make them be whatever we want them to be, making them as serious or hilarious as we want. Anyway, so Alyssa, Spencer and I took a little visit over there for some funny pictures and came out of it with some pretty hilarious quotes such as, "Spencer has some happy poops" and "Alyssa has the scary ones." This is kind of gross, kind of took me back to being in middle school or younger, but it was actually hysterical when you put those with the pictures below...
There is everything there from random, poop-like figures, to giant spider-looking trees, to potato bug-looking steel pieces, to creepy doll-like girls, to simple cubes. My favorite, and what is probably most people's favorite, is the letter-person as shown below...
Last weekend was the final few days of the amazing Iowa State Fair and, luckily, Brandan was able to break away from his crazy busy school schedule for a while so that we could go to it. Last year we really only saw about half of it but this year, we went to everything we possibly could. I've decided that yes, it's fun to just show up at a state fair and roam around, but it's even more fun to plan it a bit so that you can actually see some good shows and contests going on. We got to see a gator show, an acrobatics show, a car show, sit through a water-free cooking show, listened to a few concerts, watched a part of the horse show, saw all the biggest and prettiest animals, and hit up the delicious (and deliciously bad for you!) food at times that were less busy. NOTE TO SELF: wear extrememly comfortable running shoes to the fair if and when you are pregnant! All of the walking around we did was noticeable the rest of the evening and the next day in my lower back and walking gate. Oh well - I'm glad I didn't have to miss out on anything there!
Something that was really cool for Brandan and I was that this is the last time we will be able to spend an entire day doing something like this without kids that might possibly keep us from seeing everything we wanted to see, walk for as long as wanted to, and be there for however long we wanted. I know that makes me sound like I think kids ruin parent's lives, but I'm simply just saying what I have heard from everyone else who are parents now, haha. Everyone keeps telling us lately to take advantage of going out to eat, seeing movies, taking trips places, etc while we can. I don't imagine it changing immensely once we have kids, but it will definitely be a new obstacle we'll be dealing with for the next 20 years! :)
["World Super Bowl," a 7 yr old Angus weighing 2,646!]
[Reggie, the 5 yr old Champion Big Boar, weighing 1,335lbs!]
I'm not sure why, but Brandan and I have a weird fascination with gigantic animals and plants at the fair, haha. I would post the rest of the pictures, but I'll stop. The largest pumpkin this year was 933 lbs! We were trying to figure out how people decide that they are going to set a goal to have Iowa's largest pumpkin to bring to the fair and came to the conclusion that once we've been out of grad school for a few years, we'll have more time to begin having random ambitions like that. For example, Brandan has a life dream of building a huge, temperature-regulated green house so that we can grow our own food year round. It might happen... it might not... I'll let him seriously think it through again in a few years ;)
Another thing that is unique to the Iowa State Fair is the butter sculpting. This year there was a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs theme. They had Snow White, the evil queen, the Seven Dwarfs, and several other random things like cows and alligators, etc. So creative!
After a full day of touring around and enjoying ourselves while becoming super tired of being on our feet, we ended the day with one of my guilty pleasures - funnel cake. This year they even had red velvet funnel cake! I didn't think it tasted much different from the regular kind, but it sure was delicious!

As for the pregnancy, it's going really great! Two days ago I woke up and, having fit into them even the day before, all of a sudden couldn't fit into ANY of my skirts, capris, or shorts. Pregnancy is funny that way, but it's not very fun not having anything to put on when I have to leave for an activity in the next hour! I finally broke down and went out and bought a pair of maternity pants and two shirts. Those things are sooooo comfortable!! The next two pictures are of the last time I fit into regular clothes (even though I'm wearing a dress, but it was taken the day before I could no longer fit into regular clothes with a belly band or maternity tank top) AND of what is probably the last time I will straighten my hair before I am debating chopping it all off. Most days I feel like a high schooler with it as long as it is and I just don't know if a 23 year old, married and pregnant, future-mommy and med school student can pull it off anymore? Opinions?



August 9, 2012

One Week is Never Like the Next

My older sister Hayley and her daughter Lyndi came and stayed with us for a few days a week and a half ago and it was so much fun to have them around! They have been living a few states away from us and so we only get to see each other once or twice a year. It's funny how much little kids grow up even in a few months' time. Lyndi just keeps getting more of a personality: more whitty, more dramatic, more eager to do things on her own. We went shopping, painted our nails, made yummy food, ate ice cream, and watched "monsters" (Monsters vs. Aliens) a few times over.

This visit with Hayley was even more interesting because we are fairly close in our pregnancies. She is due in early October and I'm due around Thanksgiving! We hope to bless our babies together, two little girls who we hope will be best of friends. She and her husband, Tyler, are about to embark on their first year in Philadelphia where he is starting graduate school and I can't be more excited for them. It actually works out perfectly because Brandan and I will be living near Pittsburg this fall for a rotation and we'll be having both of our babies during that time period.

The week they were here, it was ridiculously hot too and I'm so glad I could have someone else around who understood how heat+pregnancy=no fun and also to have another pregnant belly hanging out at our pool! Before we went swimming, Lyndi said in a sad voice, "Brandan can't swim like my Daddy.." Well, I think after he played with her for a few minutes she was satisfied with his ability to launch her into the air, drag her around the deep end, and go underwater for extended periods of time and she had so much fun. It makes me want to cry tears of happinesss and excitement when I see Brandan playing and snuggling with little kids because we don't have the chance to do that very often and it makes me realize over and over that he is going to be such a great Daddy :).

The Page Family stayed in our hometown for a few days near the end of their visit and, when Brandan and I went up for a day, we got to put all the Jackson kids' children together for the first time in two years. I believe Lyndi has only seen her cousins from my brothers once so it was cool to see the dynamics. I think it took a few hours for them to finally warm up to each other and begin to play. The twins and Dafne attacked my brother Curtis together, Dafne and Lyndi played tag with umbrellas, and they all giggled and ran around the house with their little legs and hilariously smiling faces. One of the funnier moments was trying to get all four of them onto a couch to get a picture of all the cousins together. Basically, it didn't really work so we had to use a strategy involving playing a movie in front of them, hanging each of them something to hold onto, and bribing with ice cream. After about 15-20 minutes, Hayley finally got a decent one of them and we ate our ice cream. Below is one of my favorite pictures of the ladies with their umbrellas as they watch "Despicable Me".

After the Pages left Iowa, I honestly wasn't sure what I would do for the next two months. I had been so busy with Youth Conferences, Camps, Church activites, DMU activities, getting our car fixed up, etc and now that all of that was pretty much over, I now thought I had all the time in the world to do... well... nothing.
The following week I was able to do a bunch of projects I've been meaning to finish but haven't had time for. I FINALLY took a day to scrapbook our wedding, spent two days organizing all my thousands of scrapbooking papers and decor which made it interesting for maneuvering around our apartment since the entire living room floor, hallways and dining room were covered in stacks of pappers, finished painting our changing table and prepped it for Brandan to put the drawer into, bought, cut and sewed on fabric to the bottom of a few dresses and skirts I haven't worn in quite a while because of their length, and baked delicious goodies! And this week, I recieved a nice surprise! A fellow DMU student in Brandan's class has a two month old baby boy who needed to be watched a few days a week in the mornings as his wife started working again and we just happen to live just down the street from her office. It's been so much fun. I have re-learned a few good tips for newborn baby care that I am grateful for as we prepare ourselves for a baby. I get to continue watching him up until the week we move to Pittsburg so again, like I said in my last blog post, everything worked out perfectly since I quit my job earlier this summer (as stressful as that was for me to stop working!).

[The front side of 10 front-and-back wedding album pages]

[just the living room floor, 1 out of 2 rooms that were covered in categorized paper and scrapbook  page decor]

[The VERY organized and VERY compact scrapbooking nook, minus my little cabinet with drawers full of stickers, stencils, stamps, cut-outs, markers, and adhesives in a different place]

[Our changing table, with tools on top to attach the drawer beneath, and already being used on the bottom as my diaper station for the baby boy I watch now]