Sunday, December 7, 2008

Almighty Deer Season...

Every year at this time, Mitch gears up for his fabulous weekend of deer hunting. Above is the kill from last year that is so proudly adorning my wall. At least he lets me add some festive decorations to it :)

The tradition with this weekend is very drawn out. Thursday night before opening day, all 16 of the hunters are required to show up to the person's house that will be allowing the trophies of the season hang in their garage. Once that is all done, beer drinking can occur. Although I'm sure that it helps out with the cleaning as well. Friday night is typically their "planning" session where, yet again, beer drinking assists. I know, is it really safe that all this beer drinking is happening? As far as I know, there have been no mishaps as a result. This year has proved these boys are a little older than they think and events have commenced earlier than in the past. Oh, and before I go into more Friday night's activities, I'll also mention that there is a meeting three weeks BEFORE deer season to go over the spreadsheet of landowners they need to ask permission.

This year some wives planned to do things a little differently. Typically we've had a family potluck on Saturday night but last year we waited for them all to get back 'til 7pm and then were ready to leave by result of sleeping by 8pm. So we decided to do the potluck on Friday night. There was a little resistance from the better-halves as we were cutting into their planning drinking but all must say it worked out fabulously. I have had the potluck handed down to me from the veteran wives. Although I think most of us are in that category any more. I had 28 adults and 18 children, give or take, at my house and it was not a problem at all. The kids stayed in the basement with the toys, wives in the dining room around the table and guys in the garage. We got the hint around 9:00 they were ready to have their uninterrupted male-bonding as they started hauling food in from the garage and putting tables up. They were off to do what they had to do. They wives and kids stayed at our place 'til about 10. We had some scheming of our own to do. First and foremost...should we just consider having the women "hunt second season", next year or not? Leave the kids with the boys? We're considering it and finding ways to extend it as much as they do. Another part of the scheming was done by those wives that had older kids...they got the kids home and then went to the newly tagged "man-shack" and moved vehicles that had keys in them. (mind you this is a small town and keys are very rarely taken out of the vehicle let alone locked) So some got moved and I guess it caused a little chaos for the evening. I had no part of that.

So Saturday, before dawn, they all rose to meet at the house of one of the older wives for breakfast and more strategies. I did hear from Mitch later in the day say that one of the fearless hunters did end up having an accident but no worries...just a few stitches above his eye from falling in the bathroom that morning before breakfast. Seems he didn't turn the light on and slipped. Good Lord, I would at least said his gun backfired on account of him shooting at a huge buck...I mean, c'mon!

Another reason we changed the night of the potluck is because five of us wives spent the night at hotel with a water park. It was really fun and actually relaxing to do that. I motion for doing it again next year. The kids had a blast and I must say I did too. It was nice to have our own thing to do rather than sit around and wait for them to get home. I think some of the dads missed their families but knew that they just wanted to go to bed after a day of walking through the cold Iowa winter weather so it was OK.

Today we got up and let the kids swim again until we had to check-out, ate some McDonald's on the way home and then crashed when we arrived. Margo is currently still sleeping and it's 4:30. She settled down about 1:30. Meredith took her typical nap and I rested during that time too. Mitch should be arriving home some time around 6:00 and will likely eat supper and head off to bed. Unlike some of the other more dedicated hunters, he has to go back to work tomorrow and they will be finishing out the season until Wednesday...then he has to spend his Saturday cutting up the meat and getting it ready to be processed.

I say two prayers every year...First and foremost, make them safe. Don't let any accidents happen. Although we raze them about the spreadsheets, aerial maps and syncing up of the watches, they really do make things pretty clear about what they should be doing. Second, don't let him shoot anything I have to hang on my wall. From the photo above, you can see the second prayer was not answered last year. I guess God listened to Mitch more than me that year.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Little Winner!

In addition to all the other things we had going on, we also experienced Margo's first tumbling meet. It was awesome!

I tumbled when I was a kid. I wasn't great but I enjoyed it and actually stuck with it until I was 14 years old. My family traveled around Iowa to meets and a lot of my favorite memories as a kid are those weekend trips.

I discovered that a gal that coached when I was a kid was doing it again in nearby town. I take Margo over to the gym two nights a week and stick around to add any of my "expertise" to the cause. I must be doing OK since the head coach announced today that all the double-mini competitors that I coach got 1st or 2nd place. Not bad for someone that never competed or got on one herself as a competitor!

But enough about was Margo's day! She was so nervous! We went to pick her and Meredith up at Grandma's (they stayed over while we had our soup supper) and Margo kept saying she didn't want to go. I was so nervous of what could happen beyond that. She asked if I could be down on the floor with her and I told her I would see if it was OK. When we got to the meet, I asked the coach if I could, since I coach too, and she said "No". Margo immediately welled up with tears. I got her calmed down and at least let her know I would be right in front to watch. OMIGOSH! She did so well. I couldn't be more proud of her! Although she was nervous and told us all the way down she didn't want to go, she did perfect. I just wanted the day to be about the experience, I didn't expect her to get 2nd place out of eight! I know, how awesome is that. The cute thing about it was that now Mitch is hooked! Not that he ever was against the whole thing but now that he sees how good she is, he's so proud of her he's already making plans for Nationals next summer! It was a great day!

Soup Supper

For the last three years Mitch and I have hosted our friends in the fall. The first year it was just a random weekend that felt like good chili weather and we invited a few friends it's a full fledge party!

I took Friday off as did Mitch to do some last cleaning and decorating for the get together. Above is a close up of the centerpieces and I really wish I was thinking when I took this and went from the other side. The covered jars had a more appealing appearance from there. Anyway here are a few pictures of the decorations:

I wanted a fall theme of course but wanted to be little more bright and cheerful rather than the usual. The paper that I used around the jars were my inspiration. Because our garage is lighted on one side pretty well, I draped the lights on the other end and then made tissue flowers and hung them above each table. I got rave reviews from the guest and even got asked to help with another party that has been in the works for, um...three years! My friends Cathy and Missy have talked for awhile about planning a prom for all us ol' foggies and would like me to be on the decorating committee. (Oh, the memories that would bring back!) 80s theme and fun! I think we came to the conclusion that if it happens the invites would read: "Get Laid on Prom Night" and possibly have "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as the theme song. How can we go wrong with that one!?

Everyone enjoyed the chili, chicken tortilla and potato soup. All the guests, all 40 of us, brought wonderful munchies to go along with the soup. Lots of bread, dips, was all delicious. Not to mention lots of good wine and other beverages :) Mitch also made Hot Apple Pie...

We also played a game that was so fun! Mitch and I got together with our friends, Kevin and Andrea to come up with the ultimate scavenger hunt. We broke everyone up into teams of five and each team received an empty six-pack carrier with only one bottle that had the first clue attached. Andrea and I went around town and hid the bottles. Since the party was at night, we even supplied them with flashlights! I heard after the game that everyone was discussing during supper that they couldn't wait to hear what the game was, who's team they were on and so on...I think we did good this year although the winning team solved it in a mere 20 minutes! We even tried to make it hard! Here are the winners and a picture of the bottles:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Family Photos!

I know it's been a long, long time since I blogged last but I've been so busy! It's actually been a good thing because I've been doing some freelance work on my spare moments. One step closer to my dream. I'm without work right now and hopefully I'll get called for somethings soon. (and get paid for those ones that are completed!)

One freelance job I had was to design a logo for my friend Cari. She's wanting to start up her own photography business and since I know all about wanting to start up my own business, I was happy to help. She offered to pay me but instead I chose to swap services. Since Meredith has been born we've had no photos really of all of us together. So one Saturday afternoon we headed to the golf course and had a few taken. If you're interested in having your photos taken by Cari, contact me and I'll get you in touch with her!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Off to kindergarten

Margo started kindgergarten this morning. If you're wondering how I did, I was fine. In fact being among the sea of sobbing mothers, I wondered if I was missing that part of my heart or brain that made me emotional about this day. I tried and tried to cry but really, I wasn't really sad or emotional about anything. Sure, it's something to think that Margo is getting so big and doing so much with out holding my hand but I was more happy for her rather than blubbering about my first born growing up. Meredith might be different on the the other hand. She seems to be far more attached to me than Margo ever was. She's just my independent kid. Never wanted my help not needed it. I know she's capable and she'll be just fine.

Hopefully it's a good year and I know it goes fast...I revealed in every moment of her last day of summer as well as her first step into the school years.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Not so little anymore!

So today Mitch and I got home from the fair to pick up the girls at my in-laws. My mother-in-law took Margo on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart for some back-to-school clothes. Much to my surprise the first thing my five-year-old had to show me were the sport bras she had to have. Grandma of course can't say no and I took it in strides thinking, "how bad is it really?" We just all smiled and figured a lot of it was the influence of her best-friend that is ten and more suitable for that sort of thing. Again, no big deal. I just couldn't help but laugh at the conversation Margo and I had on our afternoon bike ride.

Margo: Man, this bra itches me!

Me: It does?

Margo: Does yours ever itch mommy?

Me: Yep! That's just part of wearing a bra.

She was satisfied with the answer but it really wasn't a conversation I thought I would be having with my first-born until at least six or seven more years!

Dropping her off to her first day of kindergarten tomorrow, I'll have a report to how that goes.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mamma Mia!

I went, I saw, I LOVED IT!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Family Reunion

Every year on the last Sunday of June, the Wooldridge family from Knoxville get together for a reunion. This would be my paternal grandma's sisters and brothers. Although she's gone, my grandpa still comes along to visit with family. It's pretty interesting that a family of 15, a few of which have passed on, only draws four siblings and their families. This probably is a strong visual of how bull headed this family is! I love them though, they are down home, small town, interesting group of people.

I tried out a new recipe and it went over pretty well. Leave a comment and I'll post the ingredients. It was called "Chicken Pecan Casserole".

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Karen Katz

I migrate Karen Katz books when I'm wanting to buy baby books. We have a number of them at our house and I just love the simple illustrations and the short thoughts on each page. Plus my girls love them :) Aren't they cute!?

House updates

So with warm weather comes work around outside. I'm pretty comfortable with the way things are on the inside and now ready to move to the out. Although there are a few things I'd like to do in a few rooms, they are fine the way they are for now.

We have been getting water in our basement pretty much since we moved in. A fix the previous owners assured us was taken care of. My dad is a contractor and first told us that he was certain that the large bushes in the corner of our house by the breezeway was likely the issue. He thought that the old roots may be helping water travel to where it's coming in. So taking Dad's advice, we ripped them out, spent $500 and laid a nice brick patio. We love the patio...hate the water that continues to come in. I wanted to update the front doors to something a little more "classy" and dad's next thought was helpful in that aspect. Next it could be that rotted threshold from the breezeway door causing the problem. So, a $1,000 and two interior and screen doors later, we still have water! Ok, so I'm not too frustrated since I got my new doors but now what? Believe me, I don't ever doubt my dad. He is the knower or all but I'm just hoping that the next idea doesn't go up in price from the last one. As you can see, we doubled from the first...I'm not sure we've got $2,000 to invest in the next maybe. But since the water is coming in through the bottom of the stairs in the basement, our thought was to take a few steps out and see what we could find.

The bushes that line the front of my house underneath the bay window along with the tree on the corner are to be taken out soon as well. I'll probably wait to replace the space until next year or maybe even this fall. Just depends how green my thumb appears by then :) The main reason for taking them out is because our next project is painting...the other, I hate them! What a stressful decision. Our last house was easy but this one just scares me. I don't know if it's because it's bigger and has more things to "match" but I'm nervous about my choices. My thought is to go with a dark warm gray for the peak. Mostly to cover the dirt from our lovely oak trees and because Mitch really wants dark. Then a shade lighter for the main part. I think it will work well with our burgundy shutters but I'm still undecided. I also thought it might be nice to stay in the color palette and paint the trim a cream color of the warm gray. I'm planning to take a picture of the house when the last door is put in and do some photoshop work and see how it looks. Our neighbors' houses are playing a large role in what color as well. To the south, avacodo green and the north...although white now, have told me that "paper bag" is the color they are going with. So my reason for staying away from green or tan. We'll see!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Long time, no read...

It's been awhile since I last posted and I can't say that it's because of anything juicy other than typical motherhood!

Now that the weather has gotten nice we're either outside until the last moment of the day or just plain being lazy. After a week of laying around on the couch after supper, I finally got fed up enough with the house and stayed up until all the dishes were done, laundry was sorted and started and most of the house is picked up. Now I can only hope that it stays that way all weekend. But with rain in the forecast, I think it won't last.

My main reason for wanting to get a handle on the house is because my purse business has been lagging. I've got umpteen people wanting bags from me and I can honestly say you can't see my machine from all the heaps of stuff! I'm hoping that maybe a rainy day might get me into the craft room and get cracking on some of my orders.

We had a garage sale a few weeks ago and the remainder of the organization needs to be done...maybe I can get to that over the long weekend as well.

As for now, I think I'm going to get me a nice big glass of ice water, curl up on the couch and see what's one TV. Tomorrow brings a short day at work. Mitch and I are going to cheer the PCM boys golf team on at the state meet tomorrow. Long over due for us to hang out and just be Melissa and Mitch.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm a FREAK!

OK, so I've never been a "die hard" American Idol fan but this season...I've got a huge crush on David Cook! I'm mean, his audition was pretty dorkie (although he sang my favorite Bon Jovi song EVER!) But man, I never thought he had this in him!

I'll be the first to admit, I love rock stars. I know, I know, I really married one didn't I!? Mitch just shakes his head whenever I go on and on about Vince Neil, Jon Bon Jovi, the infamous Nelson twins and now David Cook. He knows I don't have a chance in hell with any of them, so I guess there's not much to worry about. At least the rock star shrine hanging on my desk doesn't out weight his presence there!

I don't know what it is. I grew up on country music and still love it. Give me some of that vintage Alabama and I'm singin' along and slappin' my leg and line dancin' like a good small-town Iowa girl should...but rock-n-roll, I'm not sure where it came from. My mom's into the songwriters stuff...her collection is a lot of Carole King, Carly Simon, stuff like that. My dad's a sucker for the Bellemay Brothers and pretty much anything playing on the country stations. But somewhere in the last ten years I can't listen to anything other than rock. New rock, hair band rock, 70s rock, anything rock-n-roll. In fact, I've also been exposed to some great Christian rock. I love it all!

Mitch isn't much of a music buff. If it's music from his high school days he's game but anything else, he knows nothing. Talk radio is his station of choice.

I don't even look like a rocker...whenever I tell anyone that my secret crush is Vince Neil from Motley Crue and my favorite book is The Dirt by Motley Crue, I get some pretty surprised looks. My hair isn't wild, I have no tattoos, only my ears are pierced and I had a pretty quiet and "well-behaved" childhood and teen years.

Maybe it's my wild streak that hasn't ever came out...but this rocker mom has to say I'm pretty pleased when my girls are boppin' their heads to all my good tunes :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The "Hannah" cake

On Saturday we had a family get together for Margo's birthday and this is her cake from that day. I hope I don't run into copyright infringement but I created it from the "Hannah Montana" logo.

My "Rock Star's" FIVE!!!!

Margo turned five today! Woo Hoo! She's had so much fun with this birthday and Mom and Dad are exhausted...and we have more to come!

This was the first year that we had a "friend" party. Mitch and I felt that all we could handle was four little girls and Margo. We had a Hannah Montana theme and it was very fitting. The four little girls: Jacki, Abby, Celeste and Hannah (not Hannah Montana ;) all arrived at our house ready to party. We started off with opening presents of course. Margo recieved a lot of cute things from her friends and I'm sure they had fun picking them out! Once that was over, our friend Jill, who is going through Cosmetology school, came over to do make-up and hair. I guess you could say we started the party off as Miley and ended it as Hannah! While the girls waited their turn, they decorated Chinese take-out containers filled with girlie stuff like lip gloss rings, nail polish and candy...every girl loves candy :) After all the girls were made over, we got a picture and just let them have fun. At one point one of the girls arrived upstairs and said Margo wanted to know if they could take off their clothes! HUH!? Well, how can you possible dress up if you have your street clothes on! (and not to mention either my daughter is bossy or she's figured out that if you send a friend, mom will likely say 'yes') At any rate, they all came up with fancy dresses and clickey-clack shoes carrying musical was priceless! Two hours of fun came to an end and now it's on to next year!

Having girls is like "The Best of Both Worlds"...I love Hannah Montana!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Change of Mind

Well, I had once said I wanted to keep my living room "electronic-free" but I went back on my word! It's seemed lately that it would actually make sense to have a TV in there. We always miss the news because we're either fixing or eating supper, I feel lonely when upstairs cooking or cleaning and everyone else is downstairs, and plus it would be nice if Margo could sit in the living room while watching Hannah Montana rather than back in our bedroom.

So last weekend Margo and I went TV shopping! Isn't that what the guys are suppose to do? Well, Mitch kind of did the shopping too. Although he was home with Meredith, we used the internet to compare prices and find the best one for the best price. I think we got a good deal!

Now that I have everything arranged, I'm looking for something to fill my new TV stand with. I gathered some of my "art" books and stacked them but now I need a few more things. I'm leaning towards this vase I found on I love the colors...very vivid. But I love the Pottery Barn look so I've been skimming the old catalogs I've kept to get ideas too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nine years together...

From this moment life has begun
From this moment you are the one
Right beside you is where I belong
From this moment on

Mitch and I have been married for nine years. Wow! What a nine years it's been. We've been though a lot. A lot of laughs, a lot of tears, a lot of arguments! Last night we really didn't do much as far as celebrating but I decided to get out my keepsake box full of our wedding stuff. It was fun to go through cards, our wedding registry and brochures from our honeymoon. As I went through it all, I was reminded about how our love is different. I can still see myself growing old with Mitch, living in the same house we do now and enjoying grandchildren there.

But we've been through so much! I can't even begin to tell you about the tears, laughter and heartache we've had. But you have to go through it. You just have to. I was recently told by a friend of ours that is having marital problems that they never fought, NEVER! I just can't believe that! How can you be married for a number of years and never fight?

Mitch is my best friend. I can tell him anything. We agree on how to raise our children. We both know that God is important in a strong family and we also know each other better than anyone else in the world. He supports me in all my endeavors, I love that even though he's not a "jack of all trades", he's a great father, golfer and cook.

I love him...and always will. No matter what anyone says, he fits me :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My newest creation!

Here it is! My newest pattern for purses and I hope to do a few more. I love it! I saw it somewhere and figured out how to make it all on my own! It wasn't as difficult as I thought and I'm pretty pleased!

It's for sale out on

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sweet Dreams

The first hand-me-down that caused a meltdown happened tonight! Meredith just got out of the hospital this past weekend with a bout of pneumonia and the hospital had her sleep on a pillow. Since I didn't have any here at the house that were full-size, I snagged Margo's small pillow she used when she was in the crib. Of course she pays no mind to the little thing until she realizes that Meredith now has it! The pillow usually resides under Margo's quilt rack and honestly, I think she probably forgot she even had it until I put Meredith to bed tonight. Oh sisterly love!

So I decided that we'll make a full-size pillow just for her and she could pick out fabrics that I had in my craft room. She really didn't seem too excited about it until it was finished. Now I can only hope that she proves her love for it by needing to have it with her at all times.

On another note, CHIPPShandbags is now officially on etsy! I'm so excited and have sold a purse already and have a new one on the way. Be watching for the newest design coming soon. I've got one last stitch to perfect and it will be there. I'm hoping tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I wanted a space of mine own and I pretty good at taking what I have and putting things together for minimal cost. This cart was left at our house when we moved in. Too big to move up the stairs so we figured we could use it. I'm hoping to paint it but quite a big job for a mom of small will happen, someday!

It's just an area in a big room in our basement but it works. I can't wait until after my garage sale in the spring so I can clear out alot of the stuff I've been hanging on to and are trickling into the area. Monday I'm off from work and I'm planning to spend the whole day in there.

Margo loves spending the day in there too!

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Year Goes By...

Tomorrow is my baby's first birthday. I can't believe we made it...especially a year ago I didn't think we would be so blessed. Meredith was born by c-section and developed Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension during delivery. It's where the heart goes into a hypertension because it's trying to transition the oxygen into the lungs and the blood vessels going into the lungs aren't relaxed to do so. Not to mention one lung was very full of fluid.

It was scary. I delivered her in Newton, got to see her for a few minutes and luckily her big sister and grandparents got to see her too before she was transported to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines. I had to myself and wonder. Will she be OK? Will I ever get to see her again? Did I make the right decision to have a tubal ligation? So many thoughts running through my head and so many hormones trying to make their way back to their place (not sure they've made it yet...but I'm hopeful it will be soon :)

Thankfully my doctor and friends of family helped get through that first week and got me up to the hospital to see her. And what a shock that was! Tubes, bandages, everything hooked up to this helpless baby...but man was she strong!

Mitch and I spent three weeks up roller coaster emotions up there. Not just trying to take care of Meredith but also to be with Margo and hope that at her young year of three, she could understand.

She got better, with a lot of prayers, great doctors, nurses and friends and family to help her pull through. On Super Bowl Sunday we brought her home! It was so surreal but nice to be there...all together!

The last year has been fast and healthy. We had to really be careful with her health and hope that a little cold didn't develop into anything else. We succeeded and so far this winter, we have too.

I love her so much. She's such a fighter, lover, and the thing that really made me realize how strong I am. It was an experience that made me realize what a great husband I have, how much people really care about us and most of precious life is. She's been blessed with a wonderful big sister too! A better one than I've ever been.

I can't believe we've made it this far! I'll probably be in tears most the day at work tomorrow just remembering how lucky we are to have her, how far she's come this past year and how my faith in God is so much stronger than it was a year ago.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Dream...

Everyone should have a dream, right? Here's mine:

I want, more than anything, to be a stay-at-home mom but not just to be with my girls, but to have my own business. The first asset of that would be my handbags. I started sewing these a couple years ago for friends and family. With the encouragement of my husband, I'm trying to build a business around them. Every one of them are unique. I've not done any that are the same and I try to include the customer in on how they look. Because face it, it's theirs!

The other area of this business is to do freelance graphic design. I'm a graphic designer by trade but I'm growing very bored with corporate brand. There is just no creativity...sorry Dave, don't care how much you try to convince me...I'm bored! I've done projects for my community, wedding stationary and many, many other side projects. But there is a little thing called money that holds me back from getting that up and going. The programs are expensive and I'm just getting used to paying for this MAC!

I have one more area that I'd love to explore...helping with interior design. I've been an adviser for many friends but I of course don't ask for any money...maybe I could?

That's my dream in a nutshell. I know I can do it, many people do but I have to remember to be patient with time and know that it will all come.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Warm up!

Today it was warmer so the snow was melting. A perfect day for a snowman and some sledding! Margo and I spend some of the late afternoon outside rolling snowballs and sledding at the church. Hopefully tomorrow will be the same so my inner-child has a chance to come out again...I love having kids :)