Re-usable Water “Balloons”

It has been a LONGGGGGG time since I have posted on here.  I don’t know how it is even possible, but it has been over 3 years!  A lot has happened  My life has changed drastically in that time.  Some of the major changes include having a baby with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Mar 2016), putting one of my kitties to sleep (Oct 2016), a hospitalization on a psychiatric floor (Nov 2017), selling our house and moving into one newly built (Mar 2018), starting a new job (June 2018), the kiddos starting daycare (June 2018), my oldest starting Kindergarten (Sept 2018), undergoing gastric bypass surgery (Sept 2018) and multiple complications that followed in the months since, and most recently losing our first dog (Apr 2019).  Those are just some of the big ones that have shaken things up quite a bit!  Over time I may try to do some posts detailing some of those big events, but for today I want to talk about a new item I crocheted.


As a kid, I loved running around during the summer time playing with water balloons!  It was not so fun filling those water balloons up.  It seemed to take forever, and it seemed like in less time than it took to fill them, they were all popped!  Then there was the pain of picking up all of the little pieces.  Fast forward to adulting…it is still a pain to fill them up individually, and I’ve always been too cheap to spring for the devices that fill many up at a time.  Cleaning up all of the pieces of balloon is even less fun as an adult.  Plus, maybe its the nurse in me, but I’m afraid a small child will put a piece in their mouth and choke.  I may be trained to save someone from choking, but that is not something I want to practice!  I stumbled across a pattern for crochet water balloons over at Left in Knots.  I made up a few (pretty quickly I might add), and I cannot wait for it to warm up a little so I can send the kiddos out to try them!  (Who am I kidding, I’ll probably throw a few at the adults in my life too!)  There is no waste using these; I’ll be able to throw them in the washer/dryer when they get dirty, and then re-use them.  I won’t have to spend hours filling balloons, only to have them all gone in a matter of minutes.  And I don’t have to worry about Raylan kids or animals putting pieces in their mouth and choking!

Here are the first few I made (my little buddy picked the yarn color).  I’ll probably make some more in different colors soon!378bPcC5Ssy1DgYAukrWGQ

Once we test them out, I’ll update with how the kids like them!


Raylan’s Birth Story

During both of my pregnancies I was monitored frequently because of pre-existing high blood pressure that required meds to control.  Starting at 32 weeks, I had NSTs (non-stress tests) two times a week, and my fluid was measured by ultrasound once a week.  I was scheduled for an induction when I hit 38 weeks.

Sunday January 24, I felt decreased movement from my little one.  My husband was working, so I took Savannah to stay with my sister, and my mom drove me to the hospital so the baby could be checked.  Once I was on the monitor, the baby started moving like crazy, which was typical for him.  It was clear by his heart rate that he was happy.  All that was left was to measure my fluid, and I would be on my way.  When the midwife started measuring the fluid with ultrasound, I could see there was a lot less than there had been just a few days before.  She said she was going to talk to the doctor and would be back.  Within a few minutes, we were told that we would be staying, and my induction would start that day.  I was 37 weeks 5 days.

At about 1:30 in the afternoon, I was moved to a birthing room so we could start the induction process.  The official induction started at 3:45pm.  My cervix was 1cm, 25% effaced and the baby’s position was high.  A cervidil was placed and was to remain in for 12 hours to help “ripen” my cervix.  The whole week prior to the induction process, I had frequent contractions that varied from just uncomfortable to painful.  On Saturday and Sunday, the contractions had basically stopped.  I was having less contractions those two days than I had been having since 28 weeks!  Fortunately, a few hours after the cervidil was placed I started contracting again.

My sisters were super sweet and brought Savannah up to see me since we hadn’t anticipated staying.  She was a little nervous to see mom in bed, but she was excited to hear her brother’s heart beat on the monitor.  She also got to play in the game room.

At 3:45am, the cervidil was removed.  The doctors discussed placing another cervidil vs placing a foley bulb.  The thought of a foley bulb scared me because during my previous induction an EXTREMELY painful attempt was made to place one that ended up being unsuccessful.  I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of another cervidil, either.  I didn’t want to sit for another 12 hours waiting for it to work.  I agreed to having the foley bulb placed with morphine prior.  At 5am, I had morphine, and at 6:15, the doctor successfully placed the foley bulb.  At that point I was 2-3cm, 50% effaced and the baby was at a -3 station.

The foley bulb hadn’t fallen out by 8:40am, so the doctor checked me to see where we were.  She found that I was 4-5cm, 50% effaced and a -2 to -3 station, so she pulled the foley bulb.  We were making some progress.  The next step was pitocin.  I had been dreading pitocin for weeks because I wanted to make an attempt at laboring and delivering without an epidural.  I feared that having pitocin would make that much more difficult, but I was realistic and knew my body likely needed that push.  After getting a new IV placed (my veins are terrible with IVs), the pitocin was started at 11:20am.

All day I sat on the birth ball, stood at the side of the bed, walked around the room, and took some time laying in bed.  At around 4pm, I requested to be checked.  I was discouraged to hear that I was still only 5cm, 50% effaced and a -2 station.  At that point I decided to get in the tub to labor for awhile.  My contractions had become pretty painful, so I wanted to see if the tub would allow me to have some relief.  I was only in the tub for about 45 minutes.  It was nice, but it was tough to keep the water warm enough for comfort.  We had to keep draining water to add more hot water.

At 7:55pm, the doctor came in to see if I was making any progress.  I was 5-6cm, 75% effaced and a -2 station.  I was frustrated that baby didn’t seem to want to descend.  The doctor felt that breaking my water would help speed things up, so she did.  When the first contraction after that hit, my plans for going without an epidural went out the window.  The pain was intense!  The funny thing is just before they broke my water, I told my mom I thought I should be in more pain, and now I was!  The anesthesia team came pretty quickly to place the epidural.  It was torture sitting through the placement.  Anesthesia tried for a full hour to place the epidural without success.  I finally asked for another person to try.  At 9:08pm, I felt I couldn’t sit any longer.  I was feeling tons of pressure, so I was checked again.  I was still only 6cm, 75% effaced and -2 station.  I agreed to let anesthesia keep trying.  I was given morphine to try to help me during the epidural.  I tried to sit for the placement, and I just couldn’t do it.  I was able to get through the contraction pain, but I started feeling a new tearing pain that didn’t come and go with contractions.  I remember saying I felt like I was being tore apart inside.

From this point on, things are a little fuzzy and went fast.  I was screaming that something was wrong.  I was begging for a c-section.  I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t lie down.  My poor mother and sister were in the hall (they couldn’t be in the room while the epidural was being placed), and all they could hear was my screaming and crying.  My husband was wonderful as he stood by feeling helpless, trying to help me get through the pain.  At one point they placed an FSE (fetal scalp electrode) because I couldn’t stay still enough to keep the monitor on, and it was important to be able to monitor the baby’s heart rate.  I would hear the heart rate drop, and I would panic, but I was assured that the heart rate would come right back up.  I remember hearing my husband ask if my mom could come back in.  The nurse said in a few minutes.  At that point I blurted out that I NEEDED my mom.  When she came in, she got right by my ear and was able to calm me down.  Prior to her being there, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  She brought me back to what was going on.  At 9:44pm I was 7cm, 100% effaced and 0 station.  I kept feeling the urge to push, and my body was even pushing involuntarily.  The doctors gave me a pudendal block (a lidocaine injection in my cervix), and at 9:53pm I was 9cm.  At 10:08pm, they said I was 10cm and could start pushing.  They doctor said I could do a practice push, but if she told me to stop, it was because they needed to break the bed down.  I pushed, and she said to stop.  While they were breaking the bed down, I was yelling that he was coming.  My body was pushing on its own.  They gave me the green light to push again.  At 10:14pm, after just 3 pushes, Raylan was born.  I heard them say he had a nuchal cord, but my mom and sister say it was wrapped across his face.  My husband cut the cord, and after being placed on my belly briefly, he was taken to the warmer.  I saw the nurse tapping on his feet, and I never heard him cry.  His apgars were 6 and 9.  The first one was only a 6 because he never did cry, but he was fine otherwise.

Weighing in at 7lb 7.6oz and 19.5 inches long, Raylan was brought to me.  He was eager to nurse and latched at 35 minutes old.

We are so happy to have a healthy new addition to the family.

Gender Reveal Party

There are many differences in opinion when it comes to finding out the gender of a baby during pregnancy.  I respect everyone’s individual decision, but personally, I could not wait until the baby was born to find out.  We didn’t do anything special to announce we were having a girl the first time.  This time, my sister-in-law mentioned that we should have a gender reveal party.  It sounded like a fun idea, so that is what we did.  When I went for my big anatomy scan ultrasound, the technician asked if I wanted to find out the gender.  I told him I didn’t want him to tell me, but I asked him if he could write it down and seal it in an envelope for me, which he did.  I wanted to be surprised with everyone else!

I took the envelope to my mom’s house, and from there she would drop it off at the bakery we got our wedding cake from.  It was such a tempting ride to her house, being alone with the envelope next to me.  I knew I wouldn’t be cheating anyone but myself if I looked, so I resisted the temptation.

It was a long 2 and a half weeks waiting for the party, but the day finally came.  It was a small party, with just immediate family and a few close friends.  I had a wives tale list circled with my experience this pregnancy.  I then asked people to write their name on a sticker and guess what the baby would be.  If they thought it was a girl, they put their name under Team Pink, and if they thought it was a boy, they were on Team Blue.  Before we found out, we took a picture with each group.  The majority was Team Pink.

Dessert Table

Dessert Table




Team Blue


Team Pink

Team Pink




I am so thrilled we are having a boy!  I was so surprised; I was convinced until the minute I heard someone yell boy that it was a girl!  Now the struggle is coming up with a name.  We keep the name a secret until the baby is born, although this time we may not even be able to agree on a name until he is here!  For now we will call him “squirt.”

A Sofia the First Birthday Party

Last year for Savannah’s 1st birthday party we had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme.  There were lots of homemade decorations that were adorable (thanks to my mom and her cricut).  It took quite a bit of time for both her and I to make the decorations and put them together, and they were only up for a few hours.  This year Savannah loved Sofia the First, so we decided to have that be the theme for her 2nd birthday, but I toned it down a little to save on time and stress.

We did put up some decorations, and my mother-in-law made adorable cake pops for the occasion.  I am so glad we didn’t do as much with decorations this year because the party was just as much fun, and I wasn’t as stressed!  I did make Savannah’s outfit again this year.  With more sewing experience, it wasn’t as stressful, although the embroidery portion was new to me!

Here are some pictures from the day

Reversible skirt and embroidered shirt made by mommy

Reversible skirt and embroidered shirt made by mommy

Embroidered Shirt

Embroidered Shirt

Sofia the First background scene

Sofia the First background scene

Gift table

Gift table

Savannah 2nd bd party 2015 06 14-3169 Savannah 2nd Birthday 2015 06 c-11

Cake pops

Cake pops

Walmart Sofia the First cake

Walmart Sofia the First cake

It down-poured that day, but fortunately most of the tables were set up in the garage.  We still had fun despite the rain.

At the end of presents, we had a special surprise for everyone.  It just happened to work out that Savannah wanted to sit with her grandmas by the time she got to her last few presents.  I embroidered a couple of shirts for her gift, so my mom helped her open them.

Grandmas helping open the last present

Grandmas helping open the last present

Grandma looks surprised, what could it be??

Grandma looks surprised, what could it be??

The other grandma is catching on

The other grandma is catching on

Showing the rest of the group

Showing the rest of the group

A baby is on the way!

A baby is on the way!


Savannah's embroidered shirts from mommy

Savannah’s embroidered shirts from mommy

Thanks so my sister-in-law who was in on the secret, she was able to capture some great pictures of my mom and mother-in-law’s reactions.  I had my cell phone taking pictures as well, I just wish that I would have done a video instead!  The reactions from everyone were priceless!

Due with baby #2 February 2016!

Taquamenon Falls Camping Trip

It seems like it has been AGES since I last posted.  I have been super busy working overtime, getting ready for our camping trip, taking the camping trip, unpacking from the camping trip, opening the pool, and now working more overtime.  Whew! I’m tired typing that out! 😉

Memorial Day weekend was my holiday off from work, so we planned a camping trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with some of hubby’s family.  We went up on Thursday, and we came back on Tuesday.  I have mixed feelings about the trip; we definitely had fun, but there were also some negatives.

We stayed at the Taquamenon Falls State Park lower falls campground.  There was electric hookup, but no water or sewer hookup.  My only previous camping trip in our camper had full hookups, so this was a learning experience for me (more about how quickly I learned later).  For this trip, we didn’t take the dogs because hubby had heard there was some issues with wolves attacking dogs in the U.P.  I didn’t want to ride in the car for 8 hours with a whining, panting dog either.  We dropped the dogs off at grandma’s on the way, and we were off.  The only snag we had on the way up was the RV refrigerator not running on propane.  We stopped at the RV dealer, thinking the tank was empty, only to find that we had to play around with something or other to get it to work (hubby I’m sure knows what the “something or other” is, but I have no clue!).  I slept almost the ENTIRE car ride!

When we got to our campsite, setup went rather smoothly.  We had a really nice site, but we didn’t use it much because we were always at one of the central family sites.

campsite collage


The only snag we had while setting up is when Scott asked me to run the hot water to prime the hot water tank.  I went in, turned on the faucet, and then I went back outside to put tablecloths on the table.  About 15-20 minutes later, I asked Scott if I could turn the water off.  He looked at me with a horrified expression; I emptied about a third of our fresh water tank, and filled our grey tank about 2/3.  Fortunately a family member had a tow-able portable holding tank they let us borrow on the second day so we didn’t have to pack everything up, empty at the sanitation station, and then unpack and set up again!



It was pretty chilly the first two days.  (We would later find out we preferred the chilly weather over the warm or wet weather)  The lower falls were a short bike ride from the campsite.  We could actually hear them at our campsite, that is how close we were.



lower falls collage



Day 2 we went to Crisp Point to see Lake Superior and the lighthouse.  The drive seemed to take forever!  To get there, we had to take a county road that turned into a sandy road.  It was so narrow it was almost a two-track.  I fortunately slept on that car ride too, or I am sure I would have been extremely car sick from all of the curves!  Savannah was super cranky once we got to the point, so it wasn’t the most enjoyable visit.  A highlight for me was climbing to the top of the lighthouse.  To get up there, you had to climb a winding staircase that got narrower towards the top.  To get to the very top, you had to climb a ladder.  Before working out and losing weight, there is no way I would have climbed to the top.  It was still tiring despite being in decent shape.  I am so glad I went to the top!

Savannah & Scott climbing up the lighthouse behind me

Savannah & Scott climbing up the lighthouse behind me

crisp point collage


The third day, the weather started warming up.  We went to Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry.  Here is their website:  Savannah really enjoyed seeing all of the bears.  She can actually say “bear” now after visiting!  We took a family picture with a cub while some of her cousins fed the bear.  She wasn’t sure what to think about that!

bear ranch collage



Later that same day we went to the upper falls, where we saw some more gorgeous scenery.  To get to one of the viewing areas, there are 94 steps going down.  When we camped there in 2011, I remember going down those same steps.  On the way back up, I had to stop multiple times for a break.  This time I had to climb slowly, but I am proud to say I didn’t have to stop once on the way up!

upper falls collage



Overall, we had a good time on this camping trip.  By the third evening, the mosquitoes hatched, and they were brutal!  The fourth day we just hung around the campground.  The fifth day it rained all day long, so we hung out in campers, played games, and took a nap.  The sixth morning we pack up and headed home.  There is quite a bit to do in the Upper Peninsula, but everything is VERY spread out.  A lot of driving is required to see different places, and since we have a toddler who throws a fit when riding in the car, we were limited on the amount of time we could spend driving to different places.

taquamenon fun collage

Our First Camping Trip

When my husband and I were still dating, we went camping in a tent a few times.  Most often it was rustic camping, and I would have to drive myself to the bathroom (I have never been able to pee outside!)  There were no showers, and we spent most of our time canoeing and drinking.

This past winter, we bought a camper.  It is a 24 foot Coachmen.  It has no slides, 1 bedroom, a set of bunks, a bathroom with a tub, a kitchen and a dinette.  Here are some pictures of the camper.


Kitchen area

Kitchen area





More of the bedroom

More of the bedroom





While we would love to have a little bit more space with a bigger camper, this one is just big enough.  If it were any longer, we would have to pay for storage.  I made the divider curtain for the bedroom, the curtains for the bunks, and the sheets for the bunks.

For our first trip, we went to a private camping resort.  When we bought our camper, we received free nights of camping at the resort.  They of course attempted to sell us a membership which is required to camp there, but it comes with a big price tag!

We left on Friday morning.  We brought the dogs with us and had to figure out how we were all going to fit in the truck.  The plan was to have one in the back seat and one in the front seat.  We didn’t even make it off of our street before we realized that wouldn’t work.  Neither dog was willing to lay down when they were in front which meant my husband couldn’t see the trailer in the mirrors.  We stopped and squeezed them both in the back.  It looked like it would be tight but it ended up working out.  We had given our white dog Maverick an anti-anxiety medication from the vet before we left because he has so much anxiety with car rides.  It was the first time we had given it to him and they said to start with one.  It did not help at all.  (We ended up giving him 2 on the way home which worked much better!)  We had some trouble during the drive.  We had a guy pull up in a trunk and honk.  When we rolled down the window, he told us our bike was dragging!  Hubby pulled over and said the bike rack was broke (it was the first time we had even used it, and we only had 2 bikes on it).  Hubby put one bike in the bed of the truck, and the other inside the camper.  Fortunately, my bike was okay despite dragging on the freeway!

wpid-20150501_095334.jpgAt this campground, you pick your site when you get there.  There weren’t many people there when we arrived, so we had almost too many sites to choose from.  I saw a couple of young kids running around near a few campers, so I suggested picking a site near them.  We also needed a site with the one next to it available for my husband’s cousin and her husband.  For our first time setting up, it went rather smoothly.  After we thought we were hooked up to power for an hour, we realized the fridge wasn’t working.  It turned out the breaker we were hooked to didn’t work.  I then realized that hubby had plugged in to the wrong site’s power.  We switched it to the one that was for our site and the power worked.  I had to use my critical thinking skills to hook up the awning tie-downs since we couldn’t find the directions.  Hubby was proud of me for figuring that out! 🙂  We brought a big screened in tent to put the picnic table under.  After setting it all up, we realized it wouldn’t fit well anywhere on the site.  It was also pretty windy, so we were getting frustrated.  Hubby decided that we just weren’t going to use it, and he took it down.

Surprisingly, we only forgot a few things (hubby’s deodorant, baby sunscreen which we actually did have but hubby couldn’t find, and second stake for the dog tie outs).  Fortunately for us, my mother-in-law doesn’t live far from the campsite and she was coming to visit anyway, so she offered to stop at the store for the things we forgot.  We also had to have her pick up bigger trash bags because the ones we had didn’t fit our outdoor trash.

Once we were all set up, we had a great weekend!  The weather was incredible: sunny and warm with a light breeze!  We had friends and family come visit, we went on walks and bike rides, went fishing (we didn’t catch anything), played tennis, ladderball, and euchre, went on a paddleboat, and went swimming in the indoor pool.  We also spent each night around the campfire. Here are some pictures from the weekend:


Savannah got to meet a state trooper.  He gave her a sticker and coloring book!

Savannah got to meet a state trooper. He gave her a sticker and coloring book!

Savannah trying her first s'more.

Savannah trying her first s’more.


I gained a pound and a half after the weekend.  I am not super upset about it because I know I didn’t follow the program 100%.  Overall I did well, but I wish I had done a little better for the sake of the competition.

I learned a few things from this first camping trip:

  • A toddler is always going to be dirty while camping.  We just made her use some hand sanitizer before she ate.
  • Use the least amount of dishes possible.  Washing dishes in that teeny tiny sink isn’t fun.
  • If the bathhouse is nice, plan to shower there.  The shower in the camper is super tiny.  And it is impossible to shave your legs in it!
  • We need to get something to make our bed more comfortable.  The mattress is awful!  My back hurt so bad from sleeping on it!

I can’t wait for our next camping trip!  We plan to bring a little bit less stuff this time though!

What are some tips you can share that you have learned from camping?

Baby Signing

A lot of parents-to-be say they are interested in teaching their new little one “baby sign.”  I’ve heard many parents of toddlers say “Oh, we were going to teach our baby to sign, but we forgot about it.”  I am so lucky that I am not one of those parents.  I am not in any way saying those parents are wrong or bad, but my life would be so much more frustrating if I hadn’t followed through with baby signing and encourage the other caregivers in my daughter’s life to do the same.

My almost 2-year-old has a minor speech delay.  We saw a speech therapist for an evaluation a few months ago, and she was a little behind, but she wasn’t delayed enough to qualify for speech therapy.  Like any toddler, Savannah throws her fair share of temper tantrums.  Many tantrums come from frustration.  I can tell you, if she did not know how to sign, the number of daily tantrums thrown would probably be tripled.  Savannah “says” quite a few words, but many of the words are hard to distinguish.  Approximately 75% of the words she currently says I would not understand without a sign accompanying it.

Going from the top of my head, here are the signs Savannah knows:

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Grandma
  • Grandpa
  • Aunt
  • Baby
  • Sign
  • Horse
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Bird/Duck
  • Bear
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Please
  • Thank You
  • Sorry
  • Yes
  • All Done
  • Bubbles
  • Bike
  • Car
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Grapes
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Cry
  • Hat
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Cracker
  • Cereal
  • Tree
  • Leaf
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Play
  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Water
  • Dirty
  • Pretty
  • Sleep

There may be more, but that is all I can think of right now.  Most of those signs she knows really well.  There are a few that she needs a reminder before she’ll sign, like grass, car, tree, shoes and socks.

So, you want to know how we taught her to sign, right?  It really wasn’t too hard.  Baby signing is based on American Sign Language.  I had a very limited knowledge of ASL from college; really, the only thing I could remember was my alphabet.  Our success came from starting when she was young.  She was about 6 months old when I really started using certain signs consistently.  I started out with just a few that we could use everyday, like milk, mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa.  She didn’t sign them back for several months, but she got to the point that I would sign something while saying the word out loud, and she would get excited.  Once she understood those few signs, I borrowed some DVDs from the library.  The DVDs I have had the most success with have been the “Baby Signing Time” series.

This program shows the sign, says the word, and usually shows a picture of whatever the word is.  They then go on to show babies and toddlers using the signs.  Watching these DVDs with Savannah has been the key to learning sign myself.  There is lots of music in these DVDs, and she LOVES watching them.  She frequently asks to watch them.  There have been times she will pick up a sign that I do not know, and all I have to do is go back and watch the DVD with her to figure it out.  We haven’t moved on to the “Signing Time” DVDs yet, but I’m sure we will soon.

There are a few things that Savannah loves that “Baby Signing Time” doesn’t cover.  For example, she loves yogurt, cheese and grapes.  To learn those signs myself, I visited  I would then teach her the sign.  This website has an extensive dictionary.  When you find the word you are looking for, click on the word, and it will take you to a page where there is a short video showing how to sign the word, a description of how to sign the word, a picture showing the sign, the usage for the sign and links to related signs.  It uses multiple learning styles, which is really nice since we all learn in different ways!  I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on the website, but there is a shop where you can purchase different things like books, charts, flashcards, DVDs and kits.

Baby sign has saved us so much frustration.  The key to teaching your baby is repetition.  Also, it is really important that you teach other people who spend a lot of time with your child basic signs, or they will experience the same frustration you are trying to avoid!

If you have any questions about how we taught Savannah sign, please feel free to ask!

*All of the opinions about the above materials are my own.  I have no relationship with the companies, and I am not receiving any commission.  I am recommending them because I love them!