Monday, August 31, 2009

What a STEAL!

Every morning (at least we try to make it every morning) Katie and I take a 2 mile walk around her neighborhood. I have 5 pairs of workout pants but here lately 2 of those pairs have become a little too snug around the belly. I don't want to squish the poor little guy/girl so I decided this weekend was the time to get a couple of new pairs.

Rusty decided that T.J. Maxx was going to be our best bet for a good deal and off we went. After trying on 9 different pairs, I finally narrowed it down to 2 that were very comfy and very well priced.
Before heading out, we browsed the shoe section. Nothing really jumped out and the ones that did just didn't seem to be the greatest bargain. Then, Rusty found the CLEARANCE section!!! I didn't even know there was a clearance section (for shoes at least) at T.J. Maxx. At first there weren't very many cute pairs but then.... I can hear the music in my head right now and the cloud forming around them.... I found a pair of black and gold Liz Claiborne pumps. I flipped the shoe over to see what they were going to cost me and almost fell over, right there in the isle. SEVEN DOLLARS!!!
I thought I had hit the jackpot with those babies. Then I spotted them, on the highest shelf they had, a pair of snake skin (faux of course) Franco Sarto sling backs. It was love at first sight. Please hold onto your chair for this one... the price... TEN DOLLARS!
That's right folks... I paid $17 dollars for two.. yes, I said two... pairs of name brand shoes!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I couldn't resist getting the baby a little something today! I know, I don't even know what it is yet. I was trying so hard to hold off but I came across these cute bibs and and adorable giraffe while browsing with Rusty at Target.

The giraffe winds up and plays Brahms lullaby while moving its head back and forth.... it is so cute! I had to get it because when I was a baby I had a wind up teddy bear that played the same lullaby.

Then there was this pack of bibs. They had both an "I love daddy" and and "I love mommy". I was sold as soon as I saw that!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

16 Weeks!

Here I am, in all of my glory! I'm trying my hardest to keep the weight gain to a minimum. By the looks of things, it may not be going the way I want!!

I am just super happy that I am 16 weeks and doing well. We had our doctors appointment yesterday and heard the strong, healthy heartbeat. What a relief it is to hear the sweet sound. It actually brought me to tears. So far, everything is healthy and on course. Our next appointment is on September 24 and that is when we will find out what we are having!! YEAH!

I never worried about anything with Abigayl and I seem to be a little more so with this one. So, to hear that the heart is still going strong is very reassuring.

I do not experience much sickness anymore (thank goodness!) but, this pregnancy took it easy on me in the nausea department. I have high energy in the morning and then crash mid morning and late afternoon. I have not really experienced any cravings. So far... so good!

I will try to do better about posting belly pictures. I just didn't start in as pretty of a place as I did with Abigayl. Now that it is expanding, I will take one every 2-4 weeks. (Most likely every 4, when I have a doctors appointment)

Monday, August 24, 2009

High End Taste

My husband always says that I have expensive taste but, when it comes to his taste in dessert I think it is the other way around.
One of Rusty's favorite desserts is, "Neiman Marcus Bars", thanks to our Sunday school leader's wife. One evening she made us dinner and brought the bars over for our dessert. They were delicious and unique. I badgered her until she gave me the recipe and now I am going to share it with the rest of you.

Get ready for it to knock your socks off!

It is gooey....

and crunchy and delectable.

Neiman Marcus Bars

1 box yellow cake mix

1- 8 oz. package cream cheese

1/2 C butter (1 stick)

1- 1 lb. box powdered sugar

3 eggs

1/2 C flake coconut

Beat 1 egg and butter. Add cake mix. Press into 8 x 12 inch pan (I used 9 x 13). Mix cream cheese and 2 eggs. Add in sugar. Add coconut. Spread over cake. Bake in preheated oven at 325 for 45 minutes. Cut when cool.

I hope you all enjoy them as much as Rusty does. They are really good and pretty addictive. If you are on a diet, I maybe would hold off on making them for a little while!


I had a perfect weekend. Those happen so very seldom but when they do... magic!

It started off Friday night when I was able to sleep soundly in my big, comfy bed all by myself. Rusty was getting up (far to early) to go fishing and that means couch or spare for him. I was super well rested all day Saturday.

That afternoon I met my friend Kimberlee for lunch at The Pink House. I had never been there and she had told my how WONDERFUL the food was. The Pink House is only open for lunch and tea time. They had the largest tea selection I had ever seen. I couldn't not order tea. I went for the decaf peach tea and then they brought my a huge cup of ice to dump it over (it is still to warm for hot tea).

They have a simple menu but I think everything on it would be out of this world. But, I went for the quiche because it came with EVERYTHING! Not only did I eat a nice slice of ham and cheese quiche but, I also had a cup of... hold on to your pants... broccoli, cauliflower and cheese soup. It was DIVINE, I wish I could eat it every day. Also, the meal came with banana bread and fruit cup with the most amazing pink sauce over the fruit.

Aside from the AMAZING food. I was also in very good company. Kimberlee was my boot camp buddy and I am so happy that we have become friends. I see this Pink House thing happening once or twice a month. It would be a crime not to!

Then, that evening we went to our friend's house, Jill and Tom, where Jill provided us and another couple (the Smiths) with a delicious dinner. She made beef and chicken enchiladas, beans, yummy potatoes, salsa and a chocolate cake! She was a busy woman. It was very good and once again, the company was GREAT. Rusty and I are so lucky that we have been surrounded by so many new, wonderful friends. It has been such a blessing for us both through the last year.

Sunday was great because I spent the WHOLE day hanging out with Rusty. It doesn't happen often and I enjoyed every minute. We had breakfast, we played a couple of penny machines at the casino (they just turned it into a Hard Rock and I wanted to see while it would not be smokey), we browsed and shopped at a couple of places. Then, we came home and cleaned out the cars.

All-in-all, I had a great time with a lot of people I care about this weekend. I am blessed.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Last Sunday (I know... I'm a bit late!), Rusty and I went to the wedding of Matt and Chelsea at a beautiful ranch in Sperry. I would have never known this beautiful place existed... but it was a great place for a country wedding.

Matt and Rusty lived down the street from each other while growing up and Rusty and Matt worked to together for a while. It was really great to get to watch him get married to such a beautiful girl.

I always love weddings. The love. The food. The decorations. The cake. Just such a happy place to be.

Speaking of food, I was quite hungry when we arrived but knew I could make it through the ceremony. Once the beautiful ceremony was over, Rusty encouraged me to go get some food before the line got to long. Well, I am quite shy when it comes to dishing up in front of a bunch of strangers. Rusty went up with me so I could get some food in the belly (I think he was more concerned with not starving the little baby growing in the belly!). I have to tell you all (once again) how wonderful my husband truly is, I was finished with my first plate of food but didn't feel very satisfied; My husband went up and got me another plate! But, I still wasn't full. So, the brave man he is, went up and got is ever growing wife another plate!! All because I was to shy to go up and do it myself.

Matt and Chelsea

That little girl standing there with them is SO adorable. She was the flower girl and instead of dropping the flower petals, she through them up over her head so they would rain down on her before settling on the floor. And, she was standing there because she was ready for her slice of chocolate cake!

I love the cake topper. It was a brown/rust horse shoe and a bejeweled horse shoe! How cute is that?

We have had a lot of rain in the last few days and this is what I spotted one morning while there was a break in the showers.

The neat thing is, Rusty saw one the other day when he was close to the cemetery and he went to visit Abigayl. Then I got to see one the very next day.

God is good.

I spotted a big bird out on our brush pile yesterday and used my zoom to see it as close as possible. I think it is a hawk but I don't really know my birds that well.
(you may need to click to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thank You

I just want to say "thank you" to everyone for helping me with a successful party last night. We have decided to wait until Friday to close out my party for those who still want to order. So, if you are wanting to get an order in before Friday, you can either do it through me or online (following the directions here).

Thank you again. I had a great time last night and it was because of all of you that we were able to laugh and have fun!

For anyone who tried placing an on-line order and had problems, I misspelled the URL. To order, go to:

Click "shop on-line" at the bottom, left of web page
Enter my name (Raychel) as the host
Click on my name when it shows up and follow the directions from there!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Things You Should NEVER Say to a Pregnant Lady...

This being my second time down this road, I thought I might throw out some friendly advice on what is absolutely rude to say to someone who is pregnant (and probably already dealing with some dissatisfaction with the changing body):

1. Oh my, you've gotten SO BIG
2. Are you having twins? (any thing about twins is OUT... unless the person has already said they are having twins)
3. Does your doctor say it's okay for you to be getting so big?
4. Oh.. your really out there!

Basically, anything that insinuates that the person is getting fat. Getting bigger is what you are supposed to do. That is what pregnancy is.

A more appropriate choice would be:

1. Look at the cute belly!
2. Oh... I love the little belly (it doesn't matter how big the belly is... always stick with the words small, cute, sweet, etc.)

I'm not trying to be rude, but I am so tired of hearing how big I am and I don't want to hear it for the next 5 months. In all honesty, I don't know how many times I'll be able to hear it before I explode at someone with this pregnancy. I felt like a punching bag when I was pregnant with Abigayl.

Would you walk up to someone who has gained 10 lb and say, "oh my, you've gotten big!", I don't think so.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pampered Chef

I am hosting a Pampered Chef party on Tuesday at 6:30pm for those of you who are interested in coming, and live near by, please feel free to come. Dinner (and dessert) will be served and Dawn does a drawing for those who bring a guest.

If you are unable to make it but still would like to order something, you can follow the directions below:
Click on "shop online" at the bottom
Under option 1, enter my name to search for me as the host
Then, follow the instructions from there!

I ordered a few of their gadgets at a party a month or so ago and absolutely love everything I have used so far!

On an absolutely different note, I have only gained one pound since I have been back from Alaska! I am so happy that my walks with Katie have helped me keep the weight gain to a minimum. I would prefer not to have to lose 45 lb. this time around!

Anyway, I hope to see those of you who can come on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Layout

My dear friend Carrie has re-done the layout at Abigayl's memorial website. It looks SO beautiful and she did such a fantastic job.

Thank you Carrie. You are such an amazing, selfless friend and I thank you for all that you do for me.

Please everyone, go check it out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Motivation: Found!

Well, after a few rough days (maybe weeks) I have finally found motivation to clean the house and get things done. I think that what really jump started everything is that I have started walking in the morning with my friend, Katie.

Katie and I started walking on Thursday and that afternoon I completed so many tasks around the house and I was even able to get some of the front porch painted. I have been feeling pretty good the last couple of days and I think being active has really helped. Not only is it great motivation to get things done at home but it will (hopefully) help keep my weight gain to a minimum!

Having a husband that is so great helps me a great deal. He is so reassuring and wonderful. I'm just blessed to have the friends and the family that I have to help support me when I'm down.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tough Times Call for a Strong Husband....

It is amazing to me how much Rusty is willing to take on. He is our sole provider and my sole supporter. He deals with his own grief every day, works HARD at his job (which is physically demanding), takes care of all of the outdoor house chores and provides such a great support system for me. I have a wonderful husband.

I know that I don't make it any easier on him either. Since I returned home from my trip I have been EXTREMELY emotional, some days not feeling well, very tired and for the most part, useless (except for the whole growing a baby thing).

Rusty never criticizes that the house hasn't been cleaned or that I forgot to thaw out the meat for dinner. He reassures me when I feel bad that the house isn't cleaned or dinner isn't ready. He puts up with a lot from me and still chooses to love me each day (or so I hope!).

Last night is a great example of everything I have just wrote about. I had a VERY tough day yesterday. I was missing Abigayl A LOT and very emotional. I didn't feel well all day and I did not get much done around the house. When he got home he hugged me and did his best to comfort me. Then, he made dinner! It was such a relief to not have to cook last night. It was incredible to have him step up and tell me to go sit and that he would handle dinner.

He grilled hamburgers and fried up some zucchini and it was the best meal. He did such a fantastic job. I am so thankful to have a husband that can support me in every way. God is good and he blessed me with a wonderful man and a great marriage.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Darrin....

I just want to send out a happy birthday wish to my big brother, Darrin. Darrin was the strong male influence in my life and I am so thankful to have him as my brother.

I love you Darrin.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Home Improvement

This weekend was FULL of home improvement projects. My project was to paint the white wicker furniture black while Rusty did some house painting, pond fixing, mowing, weed eating and drive way fixing. Needless to say, Rusty had it much harder than me!

We are on our way to new looking furniture

My sweet hubby took some pictures while I wasn't looking
Smile for the camera!


After. And what an improvement. It is like having brand new furniture out there.
Our entry way. I am looking forward to being able to post the finished product. Soon, the front of our house will look like we have a brand new house!
We both worked super hard this weekend and I am so happy that we were able to accomplish as much as we did.

Next up on my to-do list is painting our white shutters black and hopefully Rusty will finish the entry soon so that we can have a completely new look for our house.

The rest of the trip.... in a nutshell

So in my last posts, you've seen how I spent 5 days out of the 16 I was gone. Those were the events that I remembered to take my camera.

Before flying to Alaska, I had an over night layover in Seattle to visit my friend Erin. While I was there she and Bryne, her boyfriend, took me back to Brown Bag Cafe (which I wrote about here). This time I stayed away from the cinnamon roll french toast because I knew it wouldn't hold me over with it being all carbs. So, I opted for an omelet and a side of corn beef and hash. It was very good and very filling. For the rest of the day, we walked around the mall and just hung out, it was nice not feeling like we had to cram a bunch of stuff into one day.

Erin is so sweet and took me to the airport nice and early for my 6 am flight!

In Alaska, mom and I walked the coastal trail 3 times while I was there. The distance varied from 1.5-3 miles each day depending on how I was feeling. We also swung into Nordstrom for a browse and a jean hem.

We headed down to the Saturday market for some killer shrimp and I finally talked them into giving me the gist of the recipe. Now, I just have to try it at home until I get it "perfect". Once I do, maybe I will share with you!

There was a lot of playing with the kids and we even walked them down to a park to let them play for a while. One night, Darrin and Rachelle took us all out to eat at a REALLY good Chinese buffet. The food was AMAZING! I told Darrin I had been craving Chinese and boy did he deliver!

All-in-all I really had some great family time while I was there. It is the most time I have spent with Darrin in a long time. It was nice to get to hang out with him and the family.

Then, it was back to Seattle for some more Eri time! Erin picked me up and we headed to Taco Time for some yummy crispy burritos... SO good! We took our lunch down to the Kirkland water front and had a little picnic by the lake. After that we took a walk and reminisced about high school. We spent many summers laying on the docks in Kirkland. Lake Washington and the Kirkland area are so beautiful. Before leaving Kirkland we went to her dad's to say hello and visit. It is always so nice to see her parents. I practically lived there when I was in high school... I'm glad they put up with me then and I'm glad they still are willing to see me now!

That evening Bryne and Erin treated me to a Mariner's game. Let me tell you about the greatest seats I have ever sat in. We were 4 rows from the field, on the first base line and 40 feet from all of the Mariner players in the dugout! AMAZING! What a day to forget to grab my camera... I was not a happy camper. It was a blast though.

My last day of travels (or so I thought) ended with lunch with Joyce (Erin's mom) before Joyce took me to the airport. It was such a nice time getting to visit with Joyce. She has always been like a second mom to me. My trip was made perfect getting to see all of my family and all of my second family, all in one trip!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

4-Wheeling in Knik

When Rusty and I were in Alaska 2 years ago my brother took us 4-wheeling in Eureka and it was one of the most fun things I have EVER done. Since I was finally back in the summer my brother said he knew of a place that was not very bumpy but had plenty of water puddles to ride through.

Off we went for a one day 4-wheeling adventure with the whole family. We went to Knik, which was only a 45 minute drive from Anchorage. Thankfully the weather in Knik was far better than Anchorage! We drove out of rain and into sunshine!

The kids are ready for a fun ride!

Jaycob went with my mom

Josh went with his mom and dad
Jordan went with me

What was crazy about this time is having a kid with a big helmet on! Every time we went over a slight bump my chin and Jordan's helmet would have a little meeting. There were a few times I stood up to give my chin a break and to avoid a bruise!

I'm a chicken so it took me a minute to get through this one!

I was afraid I was going to topple over with Jordan on there... sounds like a bad aunt to me!

After making our way through some paths we headed down to the water. It is SO much fun to drive through big puddles/rivers and get wet or muddy.

There is my mom headed through!

My turn!!

Once we got down to the beach, it was crazy to look across and see a glacier! Darrin said that you can ride to the glacier but it was 3 hours one way. Once you get there though, you can actually walk on it. Maybe next time!

A close up of the glacier

Back to the puddles

The kids and I took a break from riding and played on the beach. Jaycob really enjoyed climbing to the top of the hill.

Josh watching Rachelle, Darrin and my mom ride around on the beach.

Jordan got right down into the sand. She liked scooping it around and digging in it.

My mom, Rachelle and Darrin getting ready to go play on their own.
It is amazing to sit on a beach and look out to a glacier... Alaska is so beautiful.

Jake has his own 4-wheeler and after some coercion from his dad he took it for a spin.

He went down to the tree and came back to us. He did GREAT!
While at the RV we grabbed some lunch before heading out for a little while longer. It was fun to explore the different trails that people had left. There were a few times that we hit a dead end and had to turn around. It is really neat to go out and just explore.

Back to the beach we went... it is just to pretty to pass up!

And through a mud puddle that was a little deeper than I had originally thought!

But, we made it to the other side with no problems and a smile on the face!

Here is one of the dead ends... it dead ended at the river with a great view of the glacier.
Here is the whole family after a really fun and dirty day of 4-wheeling.