bits & pieces

I'm not an expert on any single subject, but I'm opinionated about several.

I Caught the DIY Bug. January 4, 2012

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy — nemecke @ 2:05 pm
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As if Food Network, TLC and HGTV weren’t enough to make a DIY-er wannabe’s head explode, Pinterest had to come sliding in and completely overwhelm the crafting world with an endless to-do list. Thank God for that virtual bulletin board because I’m not sure my desktop could hold all the virtual sticky notes necessary for my list of “must-do” projects and “can’t wait to try” recipe ideas.

So, like I mentioned, I caught the DIY bug and I don’t think I’ll be getting over it any time soon (no matter how many homemade chicken noodle soup recipes from Pinterest I try).  Since we do live in a day and age where your business is my business and my business is your business, I figured I’d share my recent projects with you. That’s the thing about DIY-ing, you get a real sense of accomplishment and you’re so proud of your work it seems almost against the rules not to share your outcomes with the world (even if the world is only the 15 people who may actually read your blog).

First project: Redo my antique ice box. My mom found this ice box at an antique store in Door County years ago when we had a cottage in Bailey’s Harbor. Even when I was 10 I “called” this piece and told her that as soon as she didn’t want it anymore (I knew she wouldn’t want it any more eventually – she loves to update and redesign every few years) I would like it. Fast forward seven or eight years and I was proudly displaying this beauty in my bedroom (still at my mom’s house, but it was mine!).

Funky and quirky but badly scratched ice box.

So this ice box is an antique and then it lived in our cottage for a few years, then it lived in my mom’s house and waited for me while I was in college. Finally it moved into my first apartment and has since come with me through five different moves. Needless to say, this guy was in rough shape. Although I thought the original (original to us anyway) colors were fun I decided he and I would grow up a little bit and we went with something a little less flashy. (By the way, yes that is my 1 year old in the picture chewing on a hinge).  I took all of the doors and hinges and legs off, brought everything outside and spray painted. First thing I learned – I love spray painting. For someone who wants immediate satisfaction out of their DIY projects, spray painting is the (only) way to go. And the finished product looks like…

Ta da!

Next project: Wrapping paper & ribbon holder.

I saw this idea over at 33 Shades of Green and it was immediately added to my list.

It actually looks a lot better now because it is hanging on my wall and has Christmas paper on it (I’ll have to insert an updated picture). Anyway, instead of buying a new frame I found this one for $2 at the local Salvation Army. It looked like this:

So what did I do? You guessed it! SPRAY PAINT! I just taped off the canvas and spray painted the frame and, once that was dry, I taped off the frame and spray painted the canvas.

Next step was adding cafe rods (I found mine at Menards – and taught the friendly high school boy trying to help me what they were). At this step Scott had to give me a quick tutorial on the power tools and then I was on my own! In hindsight I wish I would have added more rods and may go back and do that someday as this frame could hold a lot more than 5 rolls of paper. But I’m happy with the convenient storage and think it looks pretty on the wall in my craft room (a.k.a. spare bedroom).

And then…my favorite and most recent project:

I MADE MY OWN NURSING COVER. And by made I mean I sewed it all by myself! I hated the nursing cover I used with B because it did not have any of that boning on top that allowed you to actually see your child but that kind retails for $30 or $40 and, as someone who loves a good deal, I know that is not a good deal. A friend sent me an online tutorial from the Mama Monster and I got to sewing!

First I found this fun fabric in the clearance bin at JoAnn Fabrics.

And then the fun began. You guys, I DID NOT HAVE TO CALL MY MOM DURING THE SEWING OF THIS NURSING COVER. That. Is. Success. I did have to get my seem ripper out once or twice (ok three times total) but there were no angry, frustrated, fix this now phone calls to my mother. She is thankful. I am proud. This is not a tutorial (that’s why I linked to Mama Monster) so let’s get to it, the finished product!

Look closely, this thing has boning, straps and D-rings!

My first ever straps (Adjustable with D-rings!)

Can't wait for my baby girl to get here!


Hey, they forgot to invent a word for this. September 26, 2010

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy — nemecke @ 9:55 pm
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It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, it’s been over 4 weeks in fact. In the past time would pass and I’d think of it in terms of a “few” weeks or a “couple” of days. But once a baby is introduced into your life you start counting time much more specifically – it has been exactly 4 weeks and 1 day since Brayden Thomas was born. Therefore, it has been over 4 weeks since I’ve exercised the blogging parts of my brain. It feels good to be back! (It also feels good to have a happy, peaceful, sleeping baby next to me).

So are you wondering what they forgot to invent a word for? I’ll tell you. There is no word in our current, English language dictionary that adequately describes what it feels like to have a baby. I don’t mean what it physically feels like (for me that word would be “hell”), I mean what it feels like emotionally. I really like jeans that fit well. I love ice cream. I really enjoy going for walks. I think shooting stars are amazing. So when I try to describe what I feel about Brayden it doesn’t seem right that I say I love him, that I really like him, that I really enjoy him, that I think he’s amazing. Shouldn’t there be a special word that is designated just for this? There should be something you’re not allowed to use for anything else. Like if someone actually tried using this word to describe how they felt about pizza everyone else in the room would go completely still and quiet and they’d stare at the culprit with their mouths wide open until it was so awkward she would just turn and leave and think about what she’d done all the way home.

So it might be best to either just make a word up or combine some of the best options we already have. Fabulous is a pretty good word. And so is incredible. So we could describe this feeling as fabible. I also like super and splendid. Maybe having Brayden makes me feel supdid. I actually really like supdid but maybe not for this particular situation. That may actually be better for pizza and ice cream.

The point is, I’m head-over-heels in love with my son and I wish I had more words to express that with. All everyone talks about before you have a baby is the complete lack of sleep you’ll get. First of all, that’s not the case for us at all ’cause we have the best son ever. But the other thing is, when I have to wake him up to eat at 4am (yes, I have to wake him up to eat) I love it. Yes, I would like to be sleeping but instead I get to pick up the cutest baby in the world and cuddle with him while he fills up his little belly. I get to hug him and kiss him and rock him to sleep and tell him I love him and there are no other distractions. My computer is shut down, the TV is off, my phone isn’t ringing. It’s just the 2 of us hanging out for 15 minutes before we both go back to bed and get ready for another day. But what’s the word that accurately describes that??

But lets talk about something on a bit more of a serious note because I think this is important and I wish I would have talked about this more before having a baby. People say the moment the doctors put your baby on your chest for the first time is a moment you’ll never forget. People say when you have your baby it’s unbelievable and you’re completely in love immediately. People say there’s nothing like it. You know what I say? People are lying.

When you’re 9 months pregnant you start dreaming about getting your own body back and finally not being pregnant. The hours and days after you have a baby you feel so much worse than when you were pregnant you’d give anything to have the huge belly and the swollen ankles back. The last thing I felt capable of doing was taking care of a little, 9lb human being. I hadn’t slept in over 40 hours, I hadn’t eaten in over 24, I was sitting on ice, I was bleeding – I was in pain. So no, I didn’t feel head-over-heels in love at first sight. I felt like I needed them to finally give me the dinner they’d been holding hostage for hours and I felt like I needed to sleep for a few days.

When I got home my postpartum hormones were so strong I could cry at any moment and was barely able to hold back the tears no matter how hard I tried. Now I was home and still exhausted, sore, sitting on ice, bleeding etc. but I didn’t have nurses teaching me how to take care of my son and giving me pain medication every 4 hours. I didn’t come home to the euphoria they show you on TLC’s A Baby Story. I came home to reality. No one talks about reality.

Please don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby from day 1 but I want other moms to be realistic about it. I want other moms to know it’s OK to still have feelings besides intense love for your baby. You’re still a woman who just went through a very courageous and tiring 9 months of pregnancy and hours of childbirth. The more I have started to share my feelings with other women the more I’ve started to learn that I’m not alone. But no one talks about it. I called my mom crying because I felt like a horrible person for feeling these things. I wanted my old life back. I wanted to go to bed when I wanted to go to bed. I wanted to sit and watch TV in peace and quiet. But it’s OK, it’s normal! It’s a huge life adjustment and women are allowed to take time to do that. Every day life with Brayden has become more and more normal and after just a few short days with him, my euphoria finally did set in. My moments I’ll never forget started happening every single day. Now I agree, there isn’t anything like this. Every day I fall more and more in love with him. But I didn’t feel all of this immediately and I’m not a bad mom because of it. I want other moms to be aware that they may feel the same thing and that it doesn’t make them a terrible person or a terrible mom. Being a parent takes a lot of patience and I think that is one thing you do start learning immediately. Be patient and your sense of normalcy will come and with it you’ll also get the head-over-heels in love feelings that they haven’t yet invented a word for.


Ready Or Not Here Comes Parenting! July 30, 2010

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy — nemecke @ 11:22 pm
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Simultaneously I am both shocked that parenthood is a mere 3 (maybe?) weeks away and relieved that this 9+ month process is coming to an end and we are finally allowed to move on to the next big adventure.  The adventure, also referred to as parenthood, is coming at us fast and furious and at this point we have no choice but to be ready. I’m wondering, is it even possible to really be ready? Scott always says, “if you wait until you’re completely ready you’ll never have kids.” He’s a wise man. I mean, how could you ever know with 100% certainty that you’re ready to be a parent. This is a big deal. A really big deal.

I am, without a doubt, ecstatic about the fact that we get to meet our baby boy in a few weeks but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. Nervous about the fact that Scott and I will be responsible for this little human, nervous about the fact that life as we know it is about to take a complete 180, nervous about the fact that everyone keeps on telling me that my next full night of sleep will be when I’m 40.

Emotionally I realize that I have absolutely no idea what I’m about to experience. Friends have told me the feeling you get when you hold your baby for the first time is indescribable and when they make eye contact with you it’s breath-taking. At this point I can only imagine what that actually feels like yet I know my imagination won’t even come close to reality. I remember a friend saying, “you think you love your husband – wait until you have a baby.”

And I really love my husband.  As excited as I am to be a mom, I am equally, or possibly even more, excited to witness Scott as a dad.  Simply put, he will be amazing. Since I’ve known him he has been a natural with kids (at least once they’re at an age when they do things besides sleep and eat). His behavior has given me glimpses into what I imagine he’ll be like with his own children and I’m so excited to watch that relationship play out. In our future I picture daddy building forts out of couch cushions and card board boxes, buying a baseball glove as soon as our little guy’s hand is big enough to hold it and practicing throwing a football before we’ve even mastered basic speech. I picture piggy back rides, airplane rides and wrestling sessions on our bed. I imagine our little guy balancing on dad’s lap while he checks his email, sitting next to him on the couch yelling “Go Packers!” and standing by him in the backyard with his little, plastic set of golf clubs while dad practices putting.  This little boy doesn’t know it quite yet, but he’s lucking out in the dad department.

The nursery is ready, the baby clothes are washed and put away, the stroller is assembled, the car seat is in the car.  As far as the “necessary” gear, we’re covered. So now we wait and we sleep because ready or not, here comes parenting!


Did you pick out a name yet? July 4, 2010

Filed under: Pregnancy — nemecke @ 10:57 pm
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No. Not really. Ok? We had no problem picking out a name for our dog. Me: “I want to name him Newport.” Scott: “Yep, that works.” Had the ultrasound tech told us we were having a baby girl, no big deal. Lyla Ruth would be arriving this August. But tell us we’re definitely having a boy and suddenly we are truly living on extreme opposite sides of the name-game spectrum. At first there was plenty of time to figure it out, or in my case try holding out until my name won. But now we’re 6 weeks out and not only do we not believe in the “wait until you see him” theory (because we are well aware that we’d have a baby without a name for days) but what are the two questions that everyone asks you at this point? “Do you know what you’re having?” and “Did you pick out a name yet?” I’m thrilled I have an answer for question number one but for a lady who’s not suppose to be under a lot of stress right now, the answer to question number two is seriously reeking havoc on my blood pressure. Here’s the main problem, this kid is equally mine and my husband’s and so we should really both have a say. He will be my son and my husband’s son for the rest of our lives and he will have whatever name we choose to give him for the rest of his life. This is a daunting task. How do people do this? I have a couple of names I’m head-over-heels in love with.  Scott has not fallen in love with the names as I foolishly thought he would. He has, on the other hand, fallen in love with a much larger selection of names – most of which I am having a hard time even liking, much less falling in love with. I’ve got to give the guy credit, while I have about 3 names on my list, Scott has come up with at least 20 he could handle – it’s just that we don’t overlap at all. But I’ll admit, he has definitely been the flexible one while I am unable to move past my top 3.  At this point we have narrowed it down to a couple of names we both like – but is it ok if we choose a name neither one of us loves just because we can’t agree? Is it better to just pick one that at least one parent loves? Did I mention this is a decision that lasts a lifetime?

People keep telling me that my vote should count more. After all, I am doing most of the work at this point and my guess is labor will be a bit more difficult for me than it will for my dear husband. I’m not going to lie, I’ve used that argument but Scott’s a pretty smart guy and not a whole lot gets by him. Tonight at a neighborhood get together we were, once again, asked about a name and when my fellow moms jumped on my bandwagon and said I get the final say Scott came up with this: “See, girls plan their weddings from the time they’re 4. And so I let her get whatever flowers she wanted, pick out the dresses whatever…I didn’t say anything (this is where I interupted to make sure everyone knew this part isn’t true, unless ‘it’s ridiculous to pay that much for that’ doesn’t count as saying something). Anway, he continued…”well, this is my future quarterback and I’ve been planning this since I was 16. This is my big deal. It needs to be a name that looks good on the front page of the papers, on the news etc.”

Slightly dramatic I know, but the point is Scott is REALLY excited that he’s having a son. I mean really, really, really thrilled that he gets to experience fatherhood for the first time by raising a little boy of his own. And I certainly can’t blame him for that and I am equally as excited that he’s getting the boy he so badly wanted. And so I don’t blame him for having a (strong) opinion about the name. That being said, it doesn’t mean I’m ready to give in either. I’m excited to have a son too – and the names I like would look fantastic on the front page of the paper!

So that still leaves our baby nameless. “Nameless Baby arrived on August 17th at 3:04p.m….” That’s just not going to work for me. Perhaps in six weeks I can transition from liking a name on our list to loving a name. Either way we’re both going to love our baby more than anything else in the world, so I suppose his name isn’t going to seem like such a big deal at that point, right? 

For the sake of our marriage and of my blood pressure, please pray that we have a girl next time.


Baby Shower Time! June 27, 2010

Yesterday my Mom and two sisters threw me a wonderful baby shower at my house. It’s amazing how many people are already in love with our little boy. My husband and I are so blessed and so grateful. Family that I hadn’t seen in years came to celebrate, my fantastic mother-in-law and sister-in-law drove 5 hours each way to be there, friends who could have been at home watching World Cup Soccer showed up – it was amazing! A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came to celebrate with us. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. . .

Everyone got a tiny diaper pin - one had a surprise in it. . .

The Very Hungry Caterpillar cupcakes my sister and I made!

5 oranges, 4 strawberries, 3 plums...

and the 2 pears and 1 apple that he ate through.

Mom displayed the book and fruit as a center piece.


We had a list of story lines and had to guess which books they came from, and then I got a copy of each book!


25 Weeks and Counting… May 4, 2010

Filed under: Pregnancy — nemecke @ 5:48 pm
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Today I hit the 25 week pregnant mark. My belly should be 25 centimeters from the bottom of my pelvis to the top of my uterus (although it feels more like 25 feet) and, according to, my baby is about the size of two juice boxes stacked on top of each other. His little lungs are finally starting to develope and he can already recognize my voice . I think his first words will either be “Newport (our dog) No!” or “Scott (my husband), are you listening to me?”

 This being my first pregnancy, I’ve spent the past 6 months sorting through a vast array of emotions and have currently landed at “I’m terrified of labor so could I skip that part please?” And “Wow, I am so excited for us to get the chance to be parents and absolutely cannot wait to meet our baby boy and to begin this adventure.”

Although it seems as if my generation has hit baby making mode at full speed, I still find myself in awe that God has blessed my husband and me with the opportunity to have a child. When it happens to other people I find it wonderful and special and all of the happy emotions most other people feel. But when it happened to us it felt miraculous, astounding, completely amazing and absolutely terrifying. Miraculous because we are among the lucky ones who get to experience the creation of a child and terrifying because somehow we have to figure out how to be parents (good ones hopefully) by this coming August. There is a deadline for this kind of thing.

Somehow people all over the world figure out how to be great parents but, let’s be honest, there are a lot of people who have missed the boat. I don’t know how that happens, but I certainly want to make sure I’m on board when this baby arrives.