Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The "pregnancy card"

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends!

Hope this finds you happy and healthy (a pretty fantastic feat this time of year...the healthy part, I mean)!

I realize my posts as of late seem to have a theme (...it starts with a "p"), but that's because this is all new for me, and new life experiences are some of the things this blog was originally created to share.  ☺  

I've been trying hard not to play the "pregnancy card" too frequently, and never unnecessarily, the past few months.  Others encourage me to do so more than I care to, as it is!  haha.  My sweet husband is on the receiving end of this excuse more than anyone...he's often the one who takes the figurative card from me before I can even pull it out...and he's been so wonderful about it!  

Anyway, the other day, we started our baby registries (no, we don't know what we're having, yet)!  While this was really exciting and fun, it was a little overwhelming and tiring for this child-carrying girl.  It wasn't a problem - just giving you a little back story here.  We were in a part of town we don't often frequent...and a part of town that is home to The Cheesecake Factory.  You know my love of cheesecake, of course, but due to my lack of sweet tooth, lately (I know...I don't even know who I am), I was more excited about taking advantage of being so close and getting some actual food there (rather than just dessert)!  Upon approaching the hostess counter, however, we discovered it would be over a 30-minute wait.  Normally, this would be fine, but we were both quickly getting more and more hungry, and hungry and pregnant don't mix well.  So, we decided to try again another time and pick up something a little faster this time.  As we started to pull out of the parking lot, though, I started to cry...just tears, at first, but the snot and sobs came rapidly once my hubby started asking what was wrong.  There were a lot of contributing factors to this meltdown, but at the time, the only explanation I could muster was, "I just wanted some Cheesecake Factory bread."  (I've always loved their bread - that wasn't new.  But the apparent urgent "need" for it?  That was new.)  Next thing I knew, we were back in a parking spot and that man I married was headed back into the restaurant.  I kept crying, but this time, because he was being so nice.  And I KEPT crying when he came back with warm bread and butter a few minutes later, because he told me they gave it to him for free!  He'd played the "pregnancy card," and they took pity on me...or maybe him?  Who knows, but either way, they gave us free bread!

Speaking of having babies...I'm going to be an aunt so soon!  My brother and sis-in-law are ready and waiting for the arrival of their baby boy.  Thought I'd take a moment to share a little bit about the shower I got to help throw for them.  It was so much fun!  ☺  
Can't take credit for the book theme idea, but sure enjoyed helping execute it!
I'd made these (with the help of that awesome Cricut owner I know) almost immediately after finding out they were expecting, and was so excited to finally be able to give them to them!

Would love to hear any pregnancy stories you'd like to share!  And we're always open to suggestions about baby things we shouldn't try to live without.  ☺

As usual, thanks so much for reading, and enjoy your day!

More cool-calm-and-collectly than the other day,

Favorites of the day:
Girl Scout cookies!
flexible work schedules/students
annual Valentine's Day roses ☺

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My brain on pregnancy...& a DIY update!

Hello, hello!  Can you believe February is right around the corner?  Crazy.

I have a few things to share with you today:

The first is an up-close-and-personal look into (my) pregnancy brain.

I haven't been super affected by this (pregnancy brain), yet (knock on wood), except that I've been a little more forgetful lately, which was/is to be expected.  A recent dream incident took me (and my husband, I'm sure) by surprise, though:
The other (early) morning, I woke up before our alarms in a panic.  I'd had a dream (more like a nightmare) during which another country invaded the US and started setting up their battle stations (is that even what they're called...?) right across the street from where I was.  There were grenades, bombs, plans to sneakily shoot their general ourselves (maybe they wouldn't shoot back at a pregnant woman?), etc., etc.  It was waaaay more detailed and vivid, but I'll spare you the lengthy explanation.  I didn't spare my husband the explanation that morning, though.  Don't worry - I waited till his alarm went off...and until then, I was awake worrying about all the "what if's" related to war time and how we'd cope...and making mental lists of all the things we needed to stockpile in our basement...including a place to go to the bathroom in case the plumbing goes out. 
Anyway, as I was telling him about all this, I started to cry...for no reason other than I was scared the same foreign soldiers were going to start setting up camp and we'd be trapped in our home and the pets would run out of food and, and, and...  I don't even think I was concerned about the longevity of this dreamland war and potentially having to give birth in our safe room.  Who knows.  All I know is it took me way too long to bring myself back to reality...but once I did, it was so funny and ridiculous to me.  Which is why I'm choosing to share it with you.  You're welcome.  ☺

Anyway, moving on...

As I've mentioned before, we've been super busy with various house projects and we're so excited about them all!

A recent project that came to its culmination was a collage wall between our upstairs living and dining rooms.
All these pieces came from different places at different times, and we were really pleased with how it all came together!  I'd love to share where these all came from - starting from left to right:
-The black frame on the left came from a former coworker's husband's business' moving day.  They were moving to a new space, but not taking many (if any) furnishings with them, so were just giving stuff away!
-The "Amazing Grace" cross was an after-Easter-Hobby-Lobby-clearance find.  I figured it was appropriate for any time of year!
-The clock was made by an super-talented-and-creative person who wishes to remain anonymous.  It's similar to one Bryant and I had seen in a shop and loved, but couldn't afford.  This handmade one is so unique and special!  (It's 30" in diameter, to give you an idea of scale.)
-The green window frame was a gift that was originally raw wood.  I had some paint left from the mason jar sconces (I don't think I ever shared about that project on this blog...hmm..or maybe I did?), so decided to paint it to match!
^Those are the sconces we made!
-The piece below it with the black frame was a recent "transformation" project!  It was a wall hanging I'd found on clearance (yes, at Hobby Lobby) when I was living in the coop.  It had hung at the coop for a long time before moving with me to KC and hanging in our first home together.  I still liked the size and shape, but wanted to freshen up the sentiment and color.
didn't really have a design plan, but I already had lots of coordinating paper, a paper cutter, and Mod Podge, so I just went for it!
Thank you, stamping/card-making hobby, for my extensive paper collection...and thank you, also, to those of you who have contributed to this collection over the years!
I went all the way to CA to cut those words out on a Cricut that now resides there (with the help of its awesome owner, of course).  ;-)  Will have to tell you more about the rest of that trip another time.
Anyway, I was really excited with how it turned out!
So, there you have it!  I think that's all I have, for now.  Again - I have several more posts I'd like to share...all in good time...thanks for being patient!

Craftily (and dreamily, I guess - haha),

Favorites of the day:

Raspberry Ice Crystal Light
coupons and great deals!

Amazon Prime

Monday, January 2, 2017

We're having a baby!

This is not a drill.

I know you've been "burned" by me before with sharing pretend big news, but this time, I'm not pulling on your leg.  (I promised I wouldn't do it again after that one post...)

We're actually having a baby!

Here are some common questions we've received upon sharing this news with people in person, along with our answers:

When are you due?

Will you find out the gender?

How have you been feeling?  
Eh.  Ok...haha.  I keep telling people I definitely know there's something different going on, because I haven't wanted to eat anything, really, for the past month+.  Who am I?!?!  I'll leave it at that, for now; more details upon request.

Are you excited?  
Duh!  haha - jk.  Yes, we're so excited!

Have you started prepping the nursery?  
Kind-of.  We (and by "we," I mean my amazingly-handy husband) are in the middle of finishing up several house projects.  Once they're done, we'll be able to (finally!!!!!) move things downstairs, including the guest room.  Then, and once we find out the gender, we'll be able to focus more on the nursery.

What have you been craving?
This is what I always like to ask expectant mothers - I think it's so interesting!  Come to find out, though, my experience with "cravings," so far, has not been so much what sounds good on top of my normal diet, but rather, it's been the only things that sound good, period.  And they change daily.  (Bless my sweet husband.)  Some "regulars" have been cereal, fruit juice popsicles, grilled cheese/fried egg sandwiches, and banana/PB/marshmallow cream roll-ups (these were already a thing for us - not a crazy pregnancy creation).  But really - these are just a few of the "Yeah, I think that sounds good..." items.  More extensive list upon request.

Any questions we forgot to include?  Ask away!

In case you missed it, this was our official announcement for the world of social media:

I thought I'd treat you, dear readers, to some behind-the-scenes shots of this gem.  ☺
Sometimes, neither of them looked.

Sometimes, Charlie looked.

Sometimes, Pepper looked.

And sometimes, she stuck out her tongue.

Sometimes, they got tired of waiting for treats...

Sorry to not have video documentation of this ordeal...I'm sure it would've provided even more entertainment.

Anyway, that's our news!  Thanks to those of you who have shared in our excitement!

More later...


Favorites of the day:
pineapple juice/ginger ale/orange sherbet/vanila ice cream NYE punch!
Christmas pictures/letters/correspondence (we didn't send one out this year, for the record)
my hard-working husband ♥

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

29 for the first time

Over 2 months ago, I celebrated my 29th birthday.  As you know, I've had a hard time remembering how old I was the past couple of years.  Don't worry - it won't be a problem this year...

My sweet husband made my day super special.  Here are a few of the things he did to make the beginning of the end of my 20's so great:
He made 3 flavors of cake balls, and they were all soooo delicious!
Pan-seared steak.  Yum.
Can you believe this?!
One of my very favorites!
Gift not pictured: a gift certificate for a massage with the appt. already made for my birthday afternoon!

So many friends and family, near and far, thought of me and called and/or sent texts, messages, cards, and gifts.  How kind and thoughtful?!  They all know me so well!  Here are a few of the tangible items I received:

You know how much I love a good deal, and in the weeks surrounding my birthday, we got to take advantage of several awesome birthday offers.  Here are just a few:
Free appetizer with an entree purchase at Granite City.  We shared both and still had leftovers, and our sweet waitress even sent home a special birthday treat, since we were too full for a b-day dessert!
Free Gigi's cupcake!
(We ate it before we remembered to take a picture...woops!)
Free pizza from Pizza Shoppe.
This didn't photograph super well, but it sure was yummy!
Free stack of pancakes (any flavor) from IHOP.
This one was white chocolate raspberry!
It was a really good day...and week...and month.  Haha.  ☺  29 is going well, so far - life is good.

Anyway. just thought I'd share with you...finally.  Thanks for reading!

More to come soon.


Favorites of the day:
quality family time
my cat-shaped lap warmer ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A new kind of goodbye

Oh man - I am so behind on blog posts!  I've literally been working on this one for a month.  Yikes.

Here's my to-do list where future posts are concerned:
new job
new additions to the home decor, etc.
cooking/Pampered Chef things

But first, I need to share some sad news and heartfelt thoughts...

About three weeks ago, I said goodbye to the family I've nannied for since moving to KC...because, they moved...to California.

Words can't really express how/why/to what extent this makes me so very sad, but I'm going to try:

First of all, I love them to pieces.  Really.  They're such wonderful people and those boys are simply the sweetest (and cutest).  From the moment we met, they immediately embraced both Bryant and I into their family, and they've been there for us ever since.  For the most part, we saw each other a few times a week for almost 2 years, whether it was just the boys and I, or all of us together for some occasion.  They became part of our "normal," our routine.

Secondly, this goodbye is different than ones I've said before.  I have babysat/nannied for several families - a couple for many years on end - and "goodbye" is never easy.  When I said goodbye to the family I cared for in Topeka, due to the fact that I was going to be spending summer breaks (and then graduating and living) in Lincoln (where I was attending college), it felt very strange.  I had known that family for 8 years - long enough to hold two of the three kids as newborns, help all three through potty-training, start helping them learn to read, etc.  Not living 5 minutes from them and spending time with them, together with my own immediate family, on such a regular basis just didn't feel right.  When I said goodbye to the sweet family I nannied for in Lincoln, because I was getting married and moving to KC, it was so, so difficult.  That family had welcomed me into their hearts and home and provided a level of genuine love and comfort in the home-away-from-home I found myself craving after graduating college and truly stepping out on my own.  I wrote about those sweet, smart, funny kiddos often in this blog!  They were a huge part of my life in Lincoln.

I'm comforted by the fact that I have continued to keep in touch with these families, both virtually and in person.  Even though some of the kiddos have grown taller than me, one is visiting colleges (*gasp*), and all are out of diapers and reading on their own (still hard to believe, though this has been true for several years, now), they still hold such special places in my heart, and I'm glad to call them friends.

What was different about this recent goodbye was the fact that I wasn't the one doing the leaving.  My life was not the one in transition, this time.  As a result of their departure on a new adventure for their family, though, my life did enter into a time of transition.  That job title had become part of my KC identity - it was the first thing outside of the home I found to do here, and it was something I absolutely loved!  Yes, there are several other pieces of my identity here, and I celebrate and embrace those, too.  It's a tough reminder, though, when people ask what I do; I no longer say, "I'm a nanny for twin three-year-old boys," because they're gone.

(Of course, this also means a dear friend (the boys' mom) is also moving away.  Good thing I've had practice maintaining long distance relationships!  Though, it's difficult to lay by the pool together, share meals, craft, and do each other's nails over the phone...)

These pictures of the boys trying to pack me in a box to take with them (I think they really thought it would be possible to do so) pretty much sum up how we feel about each other and the fact that they were moving away:
(It was too dark to take pictures inside the box, but at one point, I really was all the way in with the flaps closed.  Upon me mentioning how dark it was, one of the boys handed in his beloved Daisy Duck to keep me company.)

Of course, we had to come say goodbye to Charlie and Pepper.  (There was too much movement with sweet Pepper to catch a good picture.)

I sent them to CA with one of my beloved stuffed cats.

Our final goodbye was so hard, but so sweet.  I was crying, of course, and as I leaned into the car to give one last hug to the boys in their car seats, one of them just held my head - gently, at first, then squeezed tighter and stroked my hair.  I can't make this up - it was so, so precious.  The other was too busy wiping his own silent tears.  Though it was so difficult saying goodbye, I will cherish that tender moment for a long, long time.

As sad as we were to see them go, we're thrilled for their family and all the new opportunities and adventures to be had in CA!  Praise the Lord for technology and how easy it makes it to keep in touch!

Sadly but glad-for-themly,

Favorites of the day:
I don't think I've posted since I've been able to announce that
My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby boy in March!  WOHOO!!

the time I was able to take to finally get this post finished up this morning (with a candle lit and a cat warming my lap, no less)

my sweet husband who regularly makes breakfast for me, because he's way better at mornings than I am
(Also, it's the 3-year anniversary of him officially asking me to date him!)

Friday, September 2, 2016

More glad than sad. ☺

Seriously?!  It's been over a month since my last post?!  Goodness gracious.  For the love of Pete.  "You've got to be pulling on my leg!"  *all the sad and/or surprise-faced emojis*

I said a long time ago I wasn't going to apologize for any lapses, so instead, I'll just THANK YOU for sticking with me and for reading.  ☺

Today's post is going to be more introspective than informative.  So, if you're looking for a play-by-play life update, a new recipe to try for supper tonight, or a guide to all the awesome things KC has to offer, you'll probably need to wait till a later post...or you could just read this one, anyway.  ☺

I recently took a trip back to "the good life;" more specifically, Lincoln, NE.  (Calm down - I'm not saying life isn't good in MO - it just says "the good life" on the NE state signs...also, it's true.)

The trip started with a baby shower for a couple former coworkers and quickly developed into a fun-filled, action-packed 24 hours...which actually consisted mostly of "catching up" over food and/or drink.  (Lincoln friends - please don't be offended if this trip didn't include visiting YOU.  Will hope to catch you on a future one!)
Some of the "food and/or drinks" pictured here.
A brown-bag lunch packed just for me?  Be still my heart. ♥

The introspective piece that came of all this - which was mostly developed over the 3-hour journey home - is this:
It was very refreshing to go to a place I am so familiar with and spend time with people who I am also so familiar with...and who are familiar with me and who I am.

Here's why (I think):
As much as I love meeting new people, exploring, building relationships, and trying new things, it's sometimes very exhausting!  Even though I'm more of an extrovert than introvert, there's a large part of me that cherishes the familiarity and ease that comes with established relationships.  Being able to "pick up where we left off" and already know background/"getting to know you" details makes sharing life happenings much easier.  And knowing the path someone has taken to get where they are makes for a unique, deeper perspective on current situations.

If I wanted to be poetic about it, I'd explain it this way:
There are many, many people who have played important roles in various chapters of my life.  You could even say they helped write some of those chapters.  It fills my bucket when those same people are anxious and excited to read the new chapters I am, and have been, working on.  Some prefer a summary, others want to read every word.  Either way, they're more interested in continuing to read than just putting the book down because it doesn't include their name as often as it used to.

I think I've taken that analogy as far as it will go, so I'll say it this way:
Friends are awesome - new and old.  But when distance separates you on a regular basis, old friends have the power to show how much they truly care by the effort they put into maintaining the relationship.  This doesn't mean calling every week, writing occasionally, visiting, or even texting every so often.  It could mean all those things and more, but it doesn't have to.  What means the most is the genuine care and interest shown in what's happened during your time apart, no matter how long it's been.  As I write this, I'm realizing this is also true for new relationships.  What sets the old ones apart, though, is the understanding the two parties have of each other that only comes with time and shared experiences.

Anyway, it was a really great trip, and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to make it.  I've been asked if going back makes me miss Lincoln more and/or makes me sad.  There was probably a time in my life (in the first few pages of the KC chapter - ha) when I would've said, "Yes."  This time, though, the answer was, "No."  I was more glad than sad.  I was glad to have so many people I wanted to visit...and so many who were excited for me to visit!  That may sound a little conceited, but I don't mean for it to.  It's just nice to be "wanted" by so many in such a short amount of time, I guess ("I want you to want me...").  I was glad for my time in Lincoln - past and present.  I was glad to spend time with several people who had a large impact on my life then and who care so much about what's happening in my life, now.  I was glad to be reminded of how easy it is to go back...and I was glad to get home to KC.  ☺

Speaking of - I'm excited to share some of the awesome things we've been doing in and out of the house!  Will hope to be able to share sooner rather than later, this time!

Until then,

Favorites of the day:
This girl warms my heart.  She's so genuinely funny and cares so deeply about those she loves.
I just love spending time with her!
He isn't embarrassed to greet me with a huge hug in the middle of his school lunchroom.
I think that says a lot about this handsome, growing-up-too-fast guy.  ☺
 the new Pampered Chef products that came out yesterday!
My most favorite (or, at least, the one I was most excited about)?
The stoneware deep dish pie plate!
I grew up using my mom's, but it had since been discontinued (happens every so often when they change stoneware glaze colors), and I'd been patiently waiting for them to bring it back - hooray!
Check out all the other new products here: www.pamperedchef.biz/kensybyers
Let me know if you'd like any for YOUR kitchen!  I'm offering a 10% discount on any new products ordered this month.
Also - check out (and like!) my PC Facebook page (Kensy Byers - Pampered Chef)!
Tell all your friends!  ☺