Banned Books Week 2012






Seward County Courthouse


Banned Books Week 2012 was September 30 to October 6 this year. Our community organized a Reading Invasion on the Seward County Courthouse lawn, where people were invited to bring a picnic blanket and a book and participate in a “read-in” celebrating the freedom we have to read what we like.

I was eager to bring some of our favorite books, Where the Wild Things Are and A Wrinkle in Time, because they have been banned from reading in the past. I can’t imagine if Shepherd was not allowed to read these childhood favorites.

It may seem silly, but protecting these small liberties is so, so important. The freedom to read whatever we like is what makes our country so good. Choosing how we respond to what we read honors that freedom.

And for all my pride in civic engagement, Shepherd was pretty disinterested in hearing any stories. He mostly wanted to chew on the leaves and crawl around the good grass. Oh well, maybe next year!


Roca Berry Farm’s Pumpkin Patch


One of my favorite things about fall is going to the pumpkin patch and finding the perfect carving pumpkin. Last Sunday afternoon (October 14) we drove to the Roca Berry Farm pumpkin patch and spent a few hours walking around the farm, visiting baby animals in the petting zoo, taking a hayrack ride to the patch and enjoying rootbeer floats.

It was almost 70 degrees, and the weather was perfect for strolling the farm. We agreed it will be even more fun next year when Shepherd can walk and run and actually enjoy all of the things offered. Visiting made me want to open my own pumpkin patch here in Seward. You can’t not have fun when you see the joy and anticipation all of the kids (and their parents’) had as they walked through the entrance.

Of course, the real reason we were there was so we could pick out a pumpkin for Shepherd. Pumpkins were $0.35/pound, and we ended up with our perfect Jack-O-Lantern-to-be for $2.70. We will carve him when my mom is visiting next week. I can’t believe that it has been a year since I was pregnant and carving pumpkins!

I should have bought a few more, but I did end up buying mini pumpkins and gourds for inside. Roca Berry Farm has strawberries in spring and summer, and I look forward to taking the 45-minute drive again to pick berries in season.

I think taking a trip out to the farm will become a family tradition. I want to take a picture of Shepherd by the corn stalks every year to see how he grows.

Happy Birthday, Jillian


Today is my little sister‘s 21st birthday. The poor girl is celebrating by studying for and taking biochemistry and genetics exams today and tomorrow; fortunately, she has a fun weekend planned with friends, and my parents are going to College Station for the game on Saturday, too.

I am so proud to be Jillian’s sister. Our whole lives we have been close, not necessarily best friends, but allies and confidantes and playmates. My sister is creative, selfless, kind, cautious and smart; most importantly, she has the biggest heart for Jesus and, as such, a heart for others. She is Shepherd’s biggest fan, and that makes me so happy; I love seeing her as an aunt. She also is an amazing baker and a marathon runner. Basically, she is who I want to be when I grow up.

Jillian, I love you so much, and I am so excited to see where this year will take you. Can’t wait to take you out for margaritas next time we are at home!

Nursery Chair + Progress

We originally purchased an Ikea Jenny Lund chair and planned to convert it to a rocker using this tutorial from Mrs. Wigglebottom. Once Shepherd was born, I was spending a lot more time in the living room than in his nursery, so the chair stayed in the living room. Shepherd’s nursery,  the living room, and our bedroom were literally ten feet from each other, so we didn’t need a place to sit in either our bedroom or his nursery.

The same week we found out Aaron got the job in Nebraska, we stopped at a garage sale and I spotted a rocker that I liked and thought could work in the nursery in the new house. I bought the rocker for $5 (yes, $5!) and we loaded it up and took it home. The fabric wasn’t in great shape, but I liked the chair in general, especially for that price. Aaron was not exactly thrilled to be adding more furniture two weeks before we moved, but since we had a huge truck, it wasn’t a big deal.

I knew I needed to find fabric to recover the chair ASAP, so I went back to the original design I had for Shepherd’s nursery. I still loved the herringbone fabric, and it was still available, so I bought about nine yards and a yard of white denim for the piping. The fabric ended up costing me nothing because I purchased it using a gift card from the pregnancy and melatonin medical study I was in.

The upholsterer Ashley and Jen recommended was amazing; he turned the chair around in less than a week. The movers were literally loading the moving truck as I drove back to our apartment with the newly upholstered chair.

Currently, the chair isn’t even in Shepherd’s room… Aaron likes that it reclines, so (sigh) it is in our living room. The rule is he can’t eat or drink on it, though, so it may end up going to Shepherd’s nursery sooner rather than later. I have my eye on a pair of chairs at our local thrift store that could be amazing if recovered. Now, if only I could find a good local upholsterer!
The nursery is still a work in progress, but my mom is visiting next week, and I’ve got big plans to put her to work to help me finish it before Shepherd turns one. 🙂 Here is the scheme I’m going with:
Obviously, the fabric on the top is the rocker; the zig zag I still need to order; and the Doggy Days fabric on the bottom I have just under three yards of.
I have to tell you the craziest story about the dogs. At the same time I was deciding on fabric for the rocker, I saw the dog print in person and loved it. I pinned it a while ago, and in person it just seemed so fun for a little boy’s room. Though it cost more than I wanted to spend, I still had it measured out just to see how much was available. The salesman came back and sort of apologetically told me that since there were fewer than three yards of the print, it was considered a remnant, but he told me he would reduce the price…I eagerly scooped all of it up for $3/yard; almost three yards for $10!
Now, I am working on the room layout, finding a fun rug that doesn’t scream baby and can be used as Shepherd gets older, and hanging art. I originally wanted Shepherd’s room to be done before he was born, but since that deadline has come and gone (and gone and gone), I am glad I have waited; I wouldn’t have been able to get such good deals otherwise.
I will keep you updated on the progress I make in the coming weeks.

Two pumpkin weekend

This was one of the last weekends of our town’s farmers market, so Shep and I walked down to the courthouse to see what we could find. We got two pumpkins, zucchini and beautiful lettuce from Pekarek’s, and then we went to the thrift store, where I found three books for Shepherd for a whopping $0.25 each.

We walked around town afterward, looking for garage sales, and found a couple but no treasures.

This week is homecoming, so Aaron has been working a lot of extra hours to capture all of the events going on. He also caught the cold Shep had earlier in the week, and he’s felt bad all weekend. He’s spent most of the time he’s been at home napping, so I know he doesn’t feel well.

The last few weeks have been really busy and exciting for me. After babysitting Shep and a two- and five-year-old all week the week before last, I had my first project site launch this week. I worked a lot, and (due to his cold, I think) Shepherd took great naps all week. I am so thankful and feel really blessed for this opportunity, and I am just so happy that it worked out. I know our family needs my income right now, and it’s a privilege to do what I do. This opportunity was exactly what we prayed for, even before Shepherd was born, and the fact that it it is being realized just makes me want to work harder in praise.

Yesterday we met Jamanda in Lincoln as she passed through on her way to Omaha, which was so special to me. I loved getting to introduce Shepherd to her. It’s like nothing’s changed from our Neihardt days every time we meet up, and that’s a good thing! 🙂

• In trivial updates, I am hunting for a dining room rug. Preferably something I can clean easily, because my baby is a messy little eater. Any suggestions?

• After Shepherd was born I got dark spots on my knees that haven’t ever gone away. Pregnancy is so weird.

• I miss our Tallahassee pediatrician. He was the best, even though the office was the worst.

• I’ve noticed so many indie biz bloggers noting their products being knocked off by Target. That disappoints me a lot. Good luck to them as they fight the good fight , and shame on those big corps for stealing other people’s hard work (and potential profit). Sucks because it is these people’s livelihood, how they support their families, and it’s being blatantly ripped off (OK, rant over).

Hope you’re having a jolly weekend!