Friday, April 29, 2011

Fairybook Weddings: Kate Middleton and Grace Kelly

I was delighted when I saw Kate Middleton exit the car this morning to get married. Kate's wedding dress is divine! Classic, romantic, and very much befitting the future Queen of England.

I love the lace arms and detail of her veil... and the white dress her bridesmaid sister wore... gorgeous! 

Now, Kate is no longer a commoner, but a Duchess. Buckingham Palace said in a statement published at 8am on Friday: “The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince William of Wales.
His titles will be Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus. Prince William thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge and Miss Catherine Middleton on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge.”

I love it. Grace and elegance combined. And the little flowergirl pouting in the bottom left is precious!

No one can do grace and elegance better than Grace Kelly.

Although I'm not a fan of the headpiece.

I'm very excited to bore my husband to tears by watching the Royal Wedding later tonight in more detail, and see the small little wedding tidbits analyzed.

I am struck, however, as is most of the world, at all the lovely similarities between Kate and Grace. Both are commoners marrying a prince. Grace Kelly married Ranier III Prince of Monaco in 1956. Her wedding party wore all white, as did Kate's. Grace Kelly was a model before acting, and Kate was modeling at a fashion show when Prince William first noticed her.

Hmm... if Kate was channelling Grace Kelly for her wedding dress design, I think she did a good job. Grace Kelly is the epitome of charm and beauty, not a bad person for a future Queen to emulate.

I love weddings. And I'm so glad that Kate Middleton got her fairybook princess wedding.

However, it makes me a bit sad that I can't wear my wedding dress again and relive my own wedding day. I'll just have to watch the video again and look at pictures. The picture below was taken almost five years ago, and I'm not going to even think about getting my post pregnancy body squeezed into that dress again... I better go to the gym today.

Source of Pics of William and Kate
Source of Pics of Grace Kelly

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Library with No Books-- Is this the future?!

I am a self diagnosed bibliophile. I love books, always have, and hopefully always will.

A few months ago when we moved a huge bookcase into our room to make room for the nursery, my husband said, "Can we get rid of some of these books that you haven't read in years?"

I froze at the suggestion, unable to comprehend getting rid of my precious books. "No." I said finally.
"These books are my friends. I have memories associated with them, like the first time I read them, the people I talked about the book with, stuff like that. The books aren't leaving."

I love books, its true. I'm currently on a quest to read 75 books this year, and blog about as many of them as I can. I've discovered Goodreads, and have joined two different reading groups (because one isn't enough, is it?). My favorite place growing up was a library, and now my office is even located in a library. I love taking five minutes and browsing the stacks when I get a chance.

But that could all soon be changing, as the University's library is soon to be under construction for a huge remodel. The bad news? Only 20% of the books will be returning to the library. The rest of the space will be for studying, offices, a cafe... but not many books.

Since the decision to return only a portion of the books to the library was made by the board of trustees, not the professors or students, much controversy has been stirring (see here and here).

I'm just sad. A library with no books. I hope this isn't the future for every library. Yet, I'm afraid it might be.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beginning Gardening: Starting Seeds Indoors

 I did it. I entered my first spring where I've started some plants indoors instead of waiting until the temperamental weather heated up. The Chef asked that I [try to] grow tomatoes this year, because he's eager to make tomato sauce in abundance. I agreed, scared of the unknown. Tomatoes seem so picky... and growing them from seed, almost impossibly hard.

I remember my Grandma Margie and how she'd start tomatoes, babying them all spring, then when she transplanted them outdoors used wall-o-waters to tee pee around them to help protect them from the weather. Once the tomatoes were larger, my mom would pay us to pull off the ugly slugs (caterpillars?) that seemed to always cover the young tomato plants. The going rate for the slug removal was a quarter, but I deemed it unworthy of the task.

I'm trying not to think of the bugs now (ick!) ... just focus on the young sprouting seeds. That's what I'll do.

In an effort to save time and effort, I bought some Coco One Steps, little pellets you immerse in water, and they swell to make little self contained pots for the seeds.

I soaked, I planted. I watered. Now, I'm just eagerly waiting for some sprouts.

Hopefully I inherited Grandma Margie's green thumb, and not the Black Thumb of Death I fear.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

About Me

I'm having a blog Identity Crisis. I don't want to write just another Mommy Blog, because I am still trying to fit myself into the mommy mold and figure out what the heck I'm supposed to do. My blog can't just be another online rant by a student in law school or a cooking blog. It's all of those and more.

And beyond my blog identity crisis, I feel that I too am struggling to determine who I am.

I’m trying to find a balance between being a wife; brand new mom; career woman; law student; Christian; Daughter; homeowner; writer; gardener; reader, baker; quilter.

Its been a struggle, and I’ve contemplated quitting the blog altogether. I've struggled, as I feel like my blog has no focus, no central theme. Should I have several blogs or none at all? But then I realized that I write my blog for me, and it is a reflection of me right now. Scattered. All over the place. No focus, and a bit frantic.

I feel pulled in so many different directions, and I feel like because I don't have the time or energy to focus on only one direction or role, I feel constantly guilty that I'm failing in every area of my life. I am struggling to remember my identity, who I am, while juggling the many different aspects of my life. But I endeavor to always be optimistic, to be hopeful, and rejoice in my life, because I'm holding to the promise, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength"! (Philippians 4:13)

I am the Cowgirl in the City, and I don’t have one role, but many, and I’m struggling to find balance.

Growing up on a cattle ranch I learned that you have to do the work that you’re presented with. Several times a day ranchers have to change roles, from veterinarian doctoring a sick calf, to accountant and bookkeeper of the ranch finances, from farmer cutting hay to roper catching calves to mechanic fixing the old feed truck. Other roles might include politician, agriculture advocate, marketing, advertising, etc. Like my father and the many roles he has to play as a cattle rancher, now that I’m a cowgirl living in the city, I’ve had to adapt to my many roles that I have to play.

If you’re interested in the life of a part time law student struggling to be a good student and still manage a career, a marriage, a new family, while maintaining some sense of creative outlets, please, continue to read my blog!

Dad used to say, "On the ranch we get more done by 8:00a.m. than most people get done all day."
While my day seems to start the same time as it used to on the ranch, no longer am I getting up early to saddle the horses and ride out after the cows. These days I'm wrangling my baby boy, saddling up my car to hit that hour long commute to the office. While the job is different, I'm still a cowgirl at heart, and I think the only feasible way to fully satisfy the myriad passions and interests in my life, I may need to start getting up earlier in the morning just to get things done.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sick as a Dog

I've fallen to one of the maladies of being a mom... getting a horrific cold from your child. I kept telling Bebe to cover his mouth when he coughed or sneezed, but the little guy refused to listen to me. And well, I'm sick. I was so sick in fact that I took the day off from work on Monday, calling the doctor and started to take cold medicine. Then I felt so bad about calling the doctor for my cold, that I guiltily called Bebe's pediatrician and made an appointment to bring him in to get a check up. Luckily, he's fine, just has a lingering cough.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review: Ladies of the Field

Early Women Archaeologists are profiled in a delightful, quick reading book!

Amanda Adams took seven women archaeologists (or those passionate about archaeology) and did a brief biographical sketch on each. While Adams is an Archeologist herself, she wrote this book for the mainstream public, and I fell in love with the women as much as Adams did herself.

A few days ago I listened to Amanda Adams give a presentation about the book and her process of writing the book. I was charmed as she talked of the Victorian women who shook off the bounds of polite society where women were only to delicate, frail creatures who should keep to the house and housewifely affairs. These women, most financially independent, ventured into the wild, unmapped deserts in search of history.

Reading about Amelia Edwards (1831-1892) and Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) as they traveled and explored history of Egypt and modern day Iraq, respectively, I really tasted the adventure they craved and sought after. Another woman, famous mystery author Agatha Christie (1890-1976) spent thirty years working on archaeological digs with her second husband, all the while writing her famous stories.

This non-fiction book is written well, fast paced, and a great read on a cold spring night! I could almost feel the desert heat creeping out of the book and warming my toes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beginning Gardening-- Spring Cleaning your Outdoor Spaces before Planting

Spring has Sprung, which means its time for spring planting. Last Friday the temperature climbed to the 80's in Denver, but on Sunday it snowed. Welcome to crazy Colorado weather! Yet despite the often erratic temperatures in Colorado, I see the garden centers crawling with people buying plants. This always worries me, because what will happen when a person drops a ton of cash for flowers, plants them, and then two weeks later it freezes?

Its always important to know the last frost date for planting in your area. In my area of Colorado it's around the end of April, although I like to play it safe and not plant until the middle of May.

That gives me six weeks to clean up my garden and prepare for planting!

Last summer I didn't garden at all. I was still overwhelmed from my first year of law school, exhausted with pregnancy, and well, just plain tired! Because I didn't garden last year, my huge garden plot was grown over with volunteer vegetables, onions, herbs, and weeds of all kinds. While the blooming onion stalks were lovely in the fall and covered with frost, it's time to get them cleaned up! 

My Gardening To Do List before May 15th includes:
  • Cleaning, lawn, garden, and open space immediately next to my garden of any debris, branches, and dried overgrowth.
  • Start seeds indoors. This is an new adventure for me, I've never started seeds inside before, and I'm already a bit nervous about it. (And behind, as I should have started my seeds last week!)
  • Prepare garden beds for spring planting by adding organic matter or compost-- or in my case, adding manure. Nothing makes a garden grow better than well rotted and dried cow poop!
  • Clean up the patio furniture and outdoor accessories, and prepare containers for planting.
  • Plant cool-season crops like lettuce and peas.
  • Repair dead spots in the lawn before weeds take over. Fertilize and reseed the lawn where necessary.
  • Talk husband into getting the sprinkler system up and ready for use.
  • Prune roses and fertilize.
  • Apply mulch to landscape beds and borders. Mulch helps cut back on weeding, as well as conserving soil moisture.
Thank goodness the days are getting longer, it looks like I've got a lot of work to do!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quilting Again Despite Mommy Brain

Last night, I sat down and cut fabric, preparing to start quilting again. I had dreams of my maternity leave being full of reading deep books, painting rooms in my house, decorating, and hours and hours of quilting, with my baby sleeping soundly in a basket at my feet.

Not one second of that reflects what actually happened.

The closest I got to quilting during maternity leave was when my mom and I took Daniel to The Quilt Store to buy fabric. I fell in love with Mark Lipinski's line, Winter's Grace, and since it was on sale, bought a ton of fabric to make a full sized quilt. That fabric, along with several unfinished projects sat in a bag in my office closet for months. But finally, I had the energy-- and creative juices-- to start cutting fabric.

However, that decision was risky. People always said that after you have a kid, that you're brain shrinks, that you become super forgetful. It's true.

On Saturday I tried to make brownies, and despite reading the directions only seconds before, instead of measuring 1 cup of oil and 1 cup of water for a triple batch of brownies, I measured out 2 cups of oil and 2 cups water. Oye. And I'm a baker! (I went ahead and cooked the brownies, they were only ok, and very oily, but the chocolate covered up a myriad of mistakes.)

This morning I tried to unlock my office door by pushing the unlock button on my Toyota car keys.

I also poured my cold cereal in my coffee mug with coffee creamer this morning, not in the bowl sitting next to it.

So when I go back to my fabric, I hope that I made my fabric cuts right. At this point, anything is possible!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Baby Buckaroo's Nursery Revealed!

The one downfall of not finding out the sex of your baby until he's born is that you can't decorate the nursery before he actually arrives. That being said, I have had a blast over the last three months working on Bebe's nursery.

The theme, of course, for our Baby Buckaroo is Retro Cowboy.

My favorite thing about the nursery is the crib. I fell in love with it last May, just weeks after we discovered we were pregnant. While this crib was more spendy than what we wanted to spend, I couldn't find another that seemed to work. In the end, we compromised, buying this lovely crib, and not purchasing a bedding set. Instead, I spent about six hours trying to figure out how to make a dust ruffle for the crib, using Michael Miller's Yippee Cowboy Retro fabric.

That fabric was the basis for the whole nursery, soft denim blue, salmon, and a cheery yellow. Grandma Connie made a soft flannel quilt echoing those same colors, which I've hung on the wall. The rocker is a hand-me-down from my Grandma Margie, and when I rock my son to sleep, I think of her. My mom made another quilt, which I have draped over the back of the rocker, ready for us to snuggle under.

The changing table below is another hand-me-down, a gift from my mom, who used this same dresser for both my brother and I. She stripped the old wood, refinished it, relined the drawers with cheerful paper, and found gorgeous metal cowboy star drawer pulls to finish it off.

In the weeks to come, I'll show more pictures of the nursery, in more detail. I don't want to be accused of being a mommy blog (or do I?) so I'll end the nursery tour here for now. Stay tuned for more!
However long the hours of my decorating labor, Bebe does not seem impressed. Maybe in six months or so, he'll appreciate it. But then again, he is a little boy. He probably won't care one way or the other.

Google's April Fools Day

It's that time of the year again, when Google releases a new, totally awesome feature that makes our lives much easier, and within days we forget how we ever lived without it.

This time, it's Gmail Motion, which allows a person to be able to "write" emails without a keyboard or mouse, but by simply moving.
My thoughts? Totally awesome!

Happy April Fools!


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