Friday, December 30, 2011


December 29 was my mom's 50th 60th Birthday! To celebrate we had a party at my house with my sister's family, grandma, aunt, uncle and cousin!

December 30 is Tommy and my 10th 3rd wedding anniversary! To celebrate we waited patiently for our baby furniture to arrive from Nebraska Furniture Mart; patiently  waited on hold with medicom to fix our dvr service and internet service, had a argument discussion about whether to make the bed up in the spare bedroom; and washed, dried and folded four loads of laundry. It's not even Noon yet! Who knows how we'll spend the rest of the day!

Here are some photos from our wedding day:

Tommy's eyes are closed in this picture because he is trying so hard to hold back tears of joy and excitement. This is not a problem for him today!

Funny Conversations

Me: "I cannot believe that I am not looking fatter at 8 months pregnant."
Anne (the receptionist at my office): "Yes, my daughter went through that stage of denial, too."
Me: "No, really! People tell me all the time they cannot believe I do not look bigger!"
Anne in complete disbelief: "Who tells you that?!"

Me after grabbing a big piece of birthday cake: "I think my eyes are bigger than my stomach."
Dad: "Uh.... I don't think so...."

Hickory Park waiter to himself after singing Happy Birthday to my mom with two other waiters who were not singing as loudly: "Wow. That was a great solo."

Tony while visiting me at work: "I want to go to Auntie Dawn's house!"
Grandma: "No, Auntie Dawn has to work."
Tony: "I want to stay with Auntie Dawn at her office."
Grandma: "No, Auntie Dawn has to leave her office and go downtown."
Tony: "I want to ride in Auntie Dawn's black car with her."
Grandma: "Tony, you are coming with me!!"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone, and in less than ten hours I will need to return to work. It does not seem like I should have to go to work tomorrow, but I checked my calendar three times today, and all signs pointed to yes.

I planned on working only a half day on Friday, but as usual, I ended up working until 4. Tommy had to work on Saturday morning, so I went with my mom to pick up my Grandma and bring her to my parent's house. On Saturday night we had a nice church service (how many times have a mentioned that O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song? The only time it gets better than Jessica Simpson's version is when we sing it at church with the candles lit).

On Sunday, my parents, grandma, and sister's family came over for Christmas. I must say that I was extremely impressed with my family's gift giving this year. My parent's got Tommy a new basketball hoop (he loves shooting hoops in the driveway, but our backboard broke in a storm this past summer). They also got us a new deep freeze (due to my recent understanding that breast milk can only be stored in your kitchen freezer for thirty days. Who knew?!). BGT was the recipient of some cute outfits as well as Sophie the Giraffe (I'll post more about this later- under "A Very Pinterest Christmas!"). I had not put as much thought into my gift giving this year as I had in years past. I did score lots of points from my nephew with the gumball machine I got him!

Also, the other day Tommy and I were out to breakfast and saw this sign and knew we had to get it for me mom. It fits our family humor perfectly! It says "Remember, as far as everybody knows, we have a nice normal family."

Our Christmas Meal was absolutely delightful. Tommy had suggested that we make prime rib. I was worried that it would be disappointing compared to the prime rib we had in Vegas over Thanksgiving, but it was not. It was wonderful! If you have a special occasion that you want to cook something different I will provide you this recipe. So easy and so delicious! We also made our famous Cornbread Stuffing, rolls with honey butter, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a few other random side dishes/appetizers. My mom made her excellent cheesy vegetables. My sister found an excellent pecan pie at Costco. I must say, it was one of the best meals we have ever had!

Initially, Tommy and I had decided we were not going to get each other anything for Christmas this year. Between the laptop, camera, snowblower, and all things needed for BGT, it seemed like we had more than we ever could ask for. (And I was too lazy to wrap any of these items up to put under the tree). However, as Christmas neared and the tree looked to bare, we decided to each spend $100 on one another and totally surprise the other person with the gift. This task proved to be much more difficult than I had originally imagined. For one, most items that cost less than $100 we just go out and buy if we really want them. Also, we generally discuss EVERYTHING that we purchase. It was difficult to know whether he would really want any of the items I was thinking, but I also did not want to ruin the surprise. I was somewhat happy with the items I found for him (DVD- Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas; basketball net for his new back board; pair of nike sweat pants; shoe grippers for when he is removing snow on the driveway; a new caphalon pan; and a Calvin Klein tie). Yes, I got that all for $100! I think he appreciated the items I got for him, but I do not think he was totally impressed with the gifts. Tommy also had a problem picking out a gift for me. His problem was twofold: failing to stay within the budget and failing to surprise me! I suppose I did say that we were to spend $100 per person, I just was only referring to myself and not to BGT. I am very pleased with what Tommy got me (he asked for my approval before he placed the order), and I know they will come in handy! But mostly, I was impressed that he was able to order them independently and have them shipped in time for Christmas. Tommy has been sick for the past several days, and I knew ordering my gift may not be on the top of his to do list- so I was quite surprised when they arrived via UPS at 2pm on Christmas Eve! He even wrapped them himself!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful it's Thursday.

I'm thankful that my trial on Thursday is the last big thing at work before I go on maternity leave.

I'm thankful that I'm prepared and ready for trial.

I'm thankful for my generous bosses who passed out some gifts at work (Note: I am still thankful for their generosity even after one of my bosses stated that I should name my kid "Ocho-Chinco." Seriously, this person is in management!?)

I'm thankful I've mastered a nervous uncomfortable laugh when people say inappropriate things to me (see above).

I'm thankful that my ultrasound is on Friday. I cant wait to see BGT again. Its been 15 weeks since I saw her last!

I'm thankful for all my awesome blog friends who have been so good at updating their blogs and giving me lots of fun things to read about!

And more than likely, I'm thankful for you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Maternity Pics!

(I hope this link above works! This is the third time I tried, so I apologize for those of you who may have gotten notice that my blog updated so many times! Technology is not my forte.)

On Sunday, my friend, Caprice, came over and took some pics of Giuliana. Tommy and I were allowed in the pics too! This was not an easy task, and I am so grateful for Caprice. I did not care to have professional photos taken, but I felt like if I did not have any photos, I may regret it. While I hope that I have more than one child- I never know what God has in store for me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Magic of Christmas

Today could have been really average and in many ways it was. I didn't sleep well, was behind on work, stressed out by an upcoming trial this week, disappointed by people's actions and worked later than I wanted. But as I drove home I could not help the feeling of happiness I had inside. My favorite Christmas tune filling my car (O Holy Night). As I got out of the car and into the house, I continued humming the music. ("A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices"). I could have been disappointed that Tommy wasn't home from work yet, that I did not get all my house work done over the weekend that now needed to be done, or that my US Weekly magazine still has not come in the mail eliminating the prospect of having a nice warm bath with a good magazine read this evening ("For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn").

Instead, I continued to hum my Christmas music ("Fall on your knees! Oh hear the Angels' voices!"). I wrapped Christmas gifts, I changed into my comfy jammies (you know the ones!), enjoyed the soothing movements of my daughter moving around in my belly, baked, yes baked, a yummy Christmas snack,

and enjoyed the new view outside my front window:

Look who fixed their Christmas lights today! (Cue nervous laugh as we all wonder if my neighbor reads my blog or if it was pure coincidence that after three weeks of not having all the lights working on the house they suddenly do today).  I think it's the Magic of Christmas. ("O Night, divine!").

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Life Lessons....

I am trying this new Blog Title because I often find little lessons I learn or am reminded about in life.

Here are a few life lessons I have been reminded about recently:

"Why Be Something That You Are Not?"

One thing (among many) that I am not is a baker. I generally acknowledge this but in my heart I hope that I am more of a baker than my head tells me I am. Tommy told me that he needed to bring treats to work on Friday. What I should have done was immediately drive to Costco and pick up one of their wonderful desserts. What I did was sat on the couch and procrastinated all night. Tommy told me that he wanted me to make puppy chow, but I did not have all the ingredients. Instead of driving the .3 miles to Dahls to get the ingredients, I instead looked up recipes for items we did have. (If you saw my kitchen pantry you would understand that this was the second poor decision of the evening). At 9:55, when I realized that I did not have ingredients to make ANYTHING, I drove the .3 miles to Dahls. (Note to self: Dahls closes at 11pm, not 10am. Next time change out of pajamas when going in public before 11pm). I grabbed the ingredients to make scotcharoos. I had been craving them ever since my friend, Laura, made some in August. As I drove back home, I realized that since I went to Dahls anyway, I could have gotten the missing ingredient for Puppy Chow as my husband had originally requested. I think the whole experience of trying to be something I am not made me lose all my common sense.

Here is another example: My neighbor, should not be a Christmas Light Decorator:

Here is another Life Lesson:

"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."

I have many friends that constantly remind me of this lesson. It is not that they repeat it to me- they just live it. The ironic thing is, many times I remind others of this lesson, but do not apply it to myself. Case in point: I was buying a gumball for my nephew. Of course we did not know what color he was going to get, and he kept telling me that he wanted a yellow one. I looked down at him and said "You'll get what you get. Just be happy I spent 25 cents on this overpriced gumball."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful that the weather has been nice, and I have not had to make my way through the snow (although Tommy is not thankful as he would love to try out our new snowblower!).

I'm thankful for the fun weekend I had last weekend with my lovely friends and their lovely husbands. I keep thinking back to the guys playing Rock Band and cannot stop laughing!

I'm thankful for some fun projects I have found on Pinterest. I'm going to take a stab at some more this weekend and wrap them up as Christmas gifts. (Isn't my family lucky?)

I'm thankful that BGT is just growing right along.

The first photo is me at 28 weeks:

The second photo is me at 33 weeks!

I have an ultrasound on the 23rd. My belly is measuring a few centimeters big. Nothing to be too concerned about. I think the doctor was just sick of me complaining about not getting another ultrasound.

I'm thankful that my Christmas shopping is almost done.

Check out this cute outfit I found for my niece:

My dad said it looks like a little outfit a girl would wear in Mexico. I found it at the Gap. I think it was made in China. And, no, my dad has never been to Mexico.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Funny Conversations

My conversation excitement never ends! Here are some more:

While Erin and I are looking at my newly acquired breast pump, Tony sees the following piece and asks "Is that for hearing?"

Dad to the MidAmerican Employee after experiencing a power loss: "The lights go out more here then they do in Baghdad."
Me to Dad: "You've never been to Baghdad."
Dad to Me: "Well, I've talked to people who have been there."

Tony: "Auntie Dawn, I love the new [ball] you bought me. Where did you get it?"
Me:  "Michael's"
Tony: "No, it's not Michael's, its mine!"

My Boss: "When are you going on maternity leave?"
Me: "When my baby is born."
(Conversation ends).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What's In A Name... Part 2

I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous to post some of our baby names on the blog yesterday out of fear of what people might say. Either Tommy and I did a wonderful job picking out some names or everybody was really respectful in responding to the names we picked.

Are you interested in knowing the general consensus on the names? Sofia was BY FAR the favorite pick. Many of you mentioned that you liked the idea of spelling with "f" rather than "ph."  I was surprised that many of you were not concerned by the popularity of that name. In a three way tie for second is Emme, Claire and Giuliana.

Lilian received zero votes. And Isabella, Chloe, Gabriela and Valentina all fell in the middle to end.

Tommy found this really interesting website. It can be found here. Basically you type in a baby's name in the website and it provides a ton of information about the name including how often its misspelled, mispronounced, common nicknames, opinions of people who have that name and so on. So, let me tell you what I learned about the top 4 choices:

Sofia:  "Wisdom."

Of the people who took this survey who are named Sofia, they responded as follows:
- 80% of Sofia's would recommend that somebody name their child Sofia.
- Its pronounced correctly 68% of the time.
- Its spelled correctly only 20% of the time.
- 80% of people were never teased in particular because of there name. Some of the complaints of the 20% that were teased included being called "Sofa" for a fat little kid. (laughing so hard about this right now).
- 83% of Sofia's really like their name.

Emme: "Blessed with Beauty"
* Note that "Emme" was not in Survey so I had to use alternate spelling of "Emi."

- 76% of Emme's would recommend that somebody name their child Emme.
- Its pronounced correctly only 50% of the time.
- Its spelled correctly about 50% of the time.
- 84% of people were never teased in particular because of there name.
- 80% of Emme's like their name.

Giuliana: "Down-Bearded Youth"  HUH?!

- 84% of Giuliana's would recommend that somebody name their child Giuliana.
- Its pronounced correctly about 60% of the time.
- Its spelled correctly only about 5% of the time.
- 73% of people were never teased in particular because of there name. If they were made fun of, it was because They would be callled "Guiliana or "Giuliana Banana."
- 84% of Giuliana's like the name.

Claire: "Clear, Bright, Famous"

- 76% of Claires would recommend that somebody name their child Claire.
- Its pronounced correctly about 85% of the time.
- Its spelled correctly about 40% of the time.
- 81% of people were never teased in particular because of there name. If they were, they are called "Claire Bear."
- 70% like their names.

I'm so happy that I posted those names yesterday because it has helped Tommy and I gain some confidence in some of the names that we like. Also, we have a good 3 names that we will keep in mind. People keep telling me that I will know when I see her what her name should be. I do not think I'm going to try to narrow it down to one before she arrives, but don't be surprised if a post shows up the day she is born that reads "Does this baby look like a "Name A" "Name B" or "Name C?" :-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's In A Name?

T less 59 days until BGT's arrival. We still have not agreed on a name yet. It isn't so much that we haven't agreed, we are just not satisfied with the few that we are tossing around. Here are the names that get thrown around the most (and in no particular order).

Isabella Takekawa
Giuliana Takekawa
Claire Takekawa
Sofia Takekawa
Chloe Takekawa
Valentina Takekawa
Emme Takekawa
Gabriela Takekawa
Lillian (maybe just Lily) Takekawa

I know that you all know what our last name is, but I think it is important to put our last name with the first name so you can notice that it appears any more than a five letter first name appears to be just too much. Tommy and I LOVE Giuliana but it is way too much with the last name Takekawa. If our last name were Smith- It'd for sure be Giuliana Smith.

Also, I was reading on the internet that if your last name ends with a vowel then the first name should not. Great....

I was surprised to read that this website recommended that you name your child a popular name because the child will feel like they fit in more. A suggestion they had would be to spell the child's first common name in a unique way (Sofia rather than Sophia). But really we like the hispanic version of Sofia better thant he white man's version.

Of the names I posted above, I believe that Isabella, Sofia and Chloe are all top ten names for 2011. I know a few Isabella's under the age of 4. I do not know any Sofia (or Sophia). Do you? I like Valentina, but I prefer my kid's nickname to not be Val or Tina.

I have always felt like her name should be Emme. Tommy doesn't care for Emme that much. Interestingly, Emme is also a Japanese name when spelled Emi. I think I like the spelling Emme better though.

I have been surfing the net to find other names to add to the list, but I just cannot find anything I like. Who knew naming a baby was so complicated? (Who also knew finding a daycare that takes new borns would be too- but that is for a different post).

If you want to have an opinion about it, I'd be glad to hear it, subject to the following rules: You cannot email me and tell me you hate any of the names because my kid may have that name in the future. You can email me and tell which three names (in no particular order please) are your favorite. or

Also, if this factors into your opinion at all, the baby will probably have a really common and simple middle name... think Marie, Dawn, Joy....

Here is hoping she does not come early!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas By The Lake

Saturday was Christmas By The Lake in Clear Lake.

Tommy and I headed up to Clear Lake on Friday afternoon after work. We rented the movie Crazy Stupid Love (or as Tommy said when he was asking me what I rented and reading it upside down "Crazy Stupid Story). It was actually very good.

On Saturday we went to our favorite Cerro Gordo County hotspot, Mason City HyVee, for breakfast. I totally got cut in line by two old people. I called them out on it, but they didn't care. They were kind of just confirmed what I thought about people from Mason City in general.

In the afternoon, we headed to the events for the day. This included a Chili Cooking contest where the public tasted, a hot cocoa stand, carriage ride, Santa's Workshop, S'mores, Trolly Rides, a Christmas Parade and Fireworks. We left the house around 1pm and didn't get home until 6pm. We didn't get to all the events, but we sure had a great time. There were Charles Dickens characters roaming the streets. With the fresh snowfall and small city square, you couldn't help but feel you were living a Christmas Carol. The fireworks display was very impressive. I was surprised about how close people were to where they were being shot off, but nobody else appeared to be alarmed. There was a scary moment when one of the fireworks appeared to blow up improperly. You could feel the heat from it. I was ready to run, and I think I even heard my brother-in-law scream "RUN!" but apparently that was just part of the show?!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day:

Now I'm cozied up with in some warm jammies getting ready to sample a new recipe I got off Pinterest. Yep, after hearing so much about Pinterest I finally got on to that website today. I can see why its so popular. I'm addicted!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grand Canyon Adventure

Last Sunday whilei n Vegas we took a road trip to Hoover Damn and the Grand Canyon. We left Las Vegas aroun 630am and hit the Hoover Damn first. It was nice being there so early because there was no traffic or people. We were able to take our time looking around before moving on to the Canyon.

The trip from Hoover Damn to the Grand Canyon was only about three hours. It was a bit more confusing when you factor in switching from Pacific Time to Mountian Time and trying to decide whether we were or were not observing daylight savings.

Of course, in true Takekawa Road Trip fashion, Tommy drove while I napped. I felt somewhat guilty for complaining to him about going 85mph in a 75 zone after witnessing my father-in-law going 85 mph in a 55 zone! Now I know where Tommy gets it. Tommy was asleep in the back seat. We were on a two lane highway going that fast, passing people left and right. I thought about speaking up and saying something, but I realized the only spanish word I knew involving speed was rapido. Looking back I suppose I could have said "No Rapido" but while in the stress of the situation that did not occur to me.

Nonetheless, we had a WONDERFUL time at the Canyon. I am glad that we went to see it. Sometimes I wish I would have never seen pictures of things before I see them. While the Canyon was beautiful and amazing, it was totally what I had expected. Can you imagine how amazing it would be if I had never seen a picture of it previously? I remember the same feeling while traveling in Europe.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Funny Conversations

Me to Tommy while walking around at the Grand Canyon: "Honey, will you carry my water, map, phone, coat and camera?"
Tommy: "Aren't you going to carry anything?"
Me: "I'm carrying your baby. I think that's enough."
Tommy: Silence

Tony running up to me after not seeing me for a few weeks: "Auntie Dawn! Is that a baby in your stomach?!"
Me: "Yes, it is!"
Tony to my stomach: "Hi Baby!!"

Me after reading a letter a customer wrote my mom wherein he complains about my mom and mistakenly refers to her as Pam: "Wow, that Pam sounds like a real b!tch!"
Mom: "Takes one to know one!"

Me to client: "do you have any other questions?"
Client: "do you know the lord as your savior?"
Me: "yes, I do. Thanks for asking."
Clients wife: "I knew it. I could tell just looking at you!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful it is December! All we need is a little snow on the ground, and I will really be in the Christmas spirit!

I'm thankful that this week at works has been relatively quiet. I have been able to get a lot done. I'm hoping to finish up a few things and then really clean out my drawers and filing cabinet. (Nesting?!)

I'm so very thankful for my mom who not only painted the nursery while Tommy and I are in Vegas, but she is at our house right now painting the master bedroom before our new furniture is delivered tomorrow! Yes, this is the second time she has painted both of those rooms since Tommy and I moved in! She is so wonderful! I'm also thankful I recently found some pics from when Tommy and I moved in because I still have dreams of posting before and after pictures on the blog!

I'm thankful for exciting news from my friends! I have a few friends who I recently found out are expecting, and I am overjoyed for them and their families!

I'm thankful for some time up at the lakehouse this weekend with my family.

I'm thankful that it appears my nursery furniture will be here this month afterall! Also, I just finalized the purchase and set the install date for new carpet. It will be installed later this month! It will be nice to have everything somethings in order before the end of the year!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Heart Las Vegas!

Those of you who know me well know that I masquerade as a very adventerous person, but I really am the most content in the comfort of my own home. I usually think I like to travel, but when I travel, I am usually missing home. This is NEVER the case with Las Vegas. I love the hundreds of restaurants to eat at within a mile. I love the lights, the shows, the days you can spend walking around the casinos and still have never run out of things to see! I love the over-the-top glamour. The overdone casinos. The quarter Roulette machines. I love it all!

Tommy and I arrived late on Wednesday night. (Love the direct flight from Des Moines to Vegas on Allegiant Sure its annoying not having a reserved seat and paying $2 for a can of coke on your flight, but you cannot beat the $109 direct flight price). We visited with his parents before heading to bed. We stayed at the MGM Signature. It was a great hotel to stay at. Seriously, how many hotels do you know that come with a Chinese Baby Gender Predictor? That's what I thought!!

On Thursday, we wondered around for awhile. You would hardly know it was Thanksgiving Day because EVERYTHING was open. The only sign of a Holiday was that the Mexican dudes that hand out the prostitution cards on the side of the street were not there on Thursday. I thought it was nice they spent the holiday with their families.

We ate at the Bellagio Buffet for Lunch/Dinner. I say Lunch because we got in line at lunch time but did not actually eat until dinner time. Yes, it was about a three hour wait to eat, but it is like a once in a lifetime opportunity, right?

The food was fantastic. I actually took time to take some pictures of the food (well, of two of the probably six plates I had). We had prime rib, turkey, beef wellington, crab legs, sushi, potatoes, yams, stuffing, more prime rib and more crab legs. Oh, and did I mention I had eight different types of dessert? I know that seems excessive, but they had over 30 to choose from!

Officially I am telling people the baby grew a lot while in Vegas. Unofficially I think I ate too much!

Note to Self: Do not wear maternity clothes to buffet!!

On Friday Tommy and I went shopping early. We really did not find much for ourselves (other than what we had already purchased online). We did find some great things for BGT including a purple tutu skirt and some cozy jammies! Isn't amazing how different your life is with kids? We do not even have our child yet, and even our shopping habits have changed. We are now most excited to go to the Children's Place and Baby Gap!

On Saturday we saw the show, Le Reve. Amazing!!!! It is from the same producer of Cirque du Soleil, but a million times better than the Cirque show we saw in April. The seats were amazing (there is not a bad one in the theatre), the performance was fantastic. I highly recommend this show to anybody!! I am not a typical show person, but Tommy and his parents wanted to see something, and I was blown away! The theatre is built around the circular stage. The stage is basically a pool that ranges in depth throughout the performance from one to twenty-six feet. The performers are all scuba certified. They did high flips, dives, synchronized swimming, the works. I am not doing this show justice with my explanation. It was simply just Amazing!!! At one point in the show I thought "Wow, I wish I could take the baby out so she could see the show too!"

Saturday morning Tommy and I had breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi, which is a restaurant in front of the Paris Hotel which over looks the Bellagio Fountains. The food was amazing. As I sat there and enjoyed my hubby's company, I couldn't help but savor the moment as one of our last vacations together before we become a family of 3!! (Note: Even though Tommy and I were in Vegas in April, I wanted to go back so soon again because it did not strike me as a place I wanted to bring young kids. While in Vegas I was stunned at not only  how many people brought there young kids with them to Vegas (think age 3 and under) but how late they were out, how they had them in the smoke filled casino, and help them while they gambled. I'm still not convinced Vegas is a kid friendly vacation city, but it appears most visitors would disagree). 

On Sunday we rented a car and did a day trip to Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. I'll post about that later. Notice how there is nobody by this famous sign but Tommy and I? That is what happens when you leave for a road trip at 6am! Brilliant!

On Monday afternoon we headed back to Iowa. I was disappointed to come home. Vacation went too fast. It was just not enough time with my husband. And as Tommy says, only nine more weeks until BGT is here and that is just too soon! I'm very excited for BGT's arrival but am savoring these last days of our "easy" life.

I am just not sure I have ever had this much to be thankful for...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Asian Heritage

Most of you know (because I think I blogged about it and am mildly obsessed over it) that I have been trying to come up with a formula to determine the gender of an expectant baby. For me, both the heart rate (over 140 = girl; under 140 = boy) and the Chinese Birth Chart told me that I am having a girl. I had to alter the formula when my sister was pregnant and the heart rate was over 140 but the chart said boy. Easy enough. Chart trumps heart. I am somewhat concerned that this formula is not sound proof. I am anxiously awaiting to hear of a few friends who are expecting to find out if my formula needs to be altered. That is, what if one o my preggo friends finds out the chart is wrong?!

Problem solved!

Tommy and I are in Vegas right now. I was helping myself to some snacks in the gift shop when a nice Chinese Lady walked up to me and asked "When is the baby due?" I said February 4 (hoping if she was judging by the size of my stomach I added the exact date). She then asked "How old are you." I thought the question seemed a little personal, but I complied and told her I was 28. She then asked when I will be 29. I told her April. She said "Oh, how wonderful! You're having a girl!" What?! Did God himself send this Chinese lady to me to resolve my problems- I was curious so I told her about my sister. She is 31 now, will be 31 when the baby is born and the due date is March 27 (I think- its end of March- I"m a shitty Aunt- I digress). She said "Its a girl too!" I apologized to the Chinese lady that her formula was wrong. It is a boy. The lady then told me "She's not having the baby until April. Then it is a boy." I texted my sister with this wisdom, but I'm not sure she appreciates it as much as I do.

So here is the formula:

Add Mother's Age at birth to the month in which the baby is born. (January is 1, February 2, March 3, and so on). If this results in an even number (like me: 28 + 2 = 30) then it is a girl. If it results in an odd number then it is a boy. HOWEVER, if BOTH the baby and the mother's birthdays are after June then you must add 1. I was so glad she clarified this rule because Anthony was born August 3. Erin was 26 (turning 27 just 10 days later). 26 + 8 = 34. However, since they both have birthdays after June then I added the one to equal 35 to find it is a boy!!!!

Now that I spent all the time typing this blog I just calculated my sister and my birthdates with this predictor and realized that we are both boys.... Hmmm.... back to the drawing board.....

Black Friday?!

How was your Black Friday Experience?

Mine went something like this:

Computer - Check. Did a last minute change and bought one from Sam's Club online instead of Costco. Tommy and I decided in our old age it is better to get a 17 inch screen rather than a 15.

Camera - Check. We found this at American TV. We were going to buy it online but found out it was $30 cheaper in store and came with a $25 gift card and memory card if you bought in store. Thanks to my mom who picked it up for us while we are out of town. And happy they still had the camera at 8am!

Snow Blower - Nope.

Unnecessary Items - Check. We, of course, went out at 6am to join the crazies in Vegas. However, there were not as many crazies as in Des Moines. The stores were relatively quiet and easy to navigate. When you are seven months pregnant its hard to find anything to buy. I did get some new jammies (admittedly not as cool as the sushi jammies) and some cute new outfits for BGT and BBA (Gap and Children's Place). The mall we shopped at was giving 10% back on all your purchases over $100 at the mall; however, we didn't even manage to spend a Benjamin.... there.

Given the nature of the violence of the Black Friday Experience in Des Moines (per, I wonder if I'll go out next year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I am T minus three hours from spending the most non-traditional Thanksgiving with my in-laws that I can imagine, and I CANNOT wait.

In just a few short hours Tommy and I will be boarding a direct flight to Vegas, staying in the beautiful MGM Signature, eating Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bellagio and finishing up our last minute plans for our Friday shopping.

I read an article online that stated that the sales are supposed to be up several million dollars this year for Black Friday. The only reason I can imagine they would be is because everything cost way more this year than in years previous.  We had three big purchase items for this year. We are definitely purchasing a new laptop on Friday at  It is a bit more than we wanted to spend, but it has all the bells and whistles that we want. We are probably not going to buy a snowblower. Mostly because they really are not on sale. They were 10% off a few weeks ago at Lowes. In the meantime we picked up another 10% off coupon to Lowes, so we could get nearly 20% off on any day of the week. This appears to be better than any deal for Friday. I am hopeful we still find a camera to purchase. We have been a little more particular about finding one just because we plan on taking lots of photos of BGT and if she is a quick mover then we want to have a camera that will be good for kids photos. With so many options its hard to determine what features we need and what we do not. I leave the electronics to my savvy Asian husband. Fingers crossed we find something. Other than that, Friday shopping will just probably be a quick trip to the Fashion Show Mall (Probably 5am to 8am) and pick up a few things we do not need.

We also have plans on going to the Grand Canyon. I am very excited about this! I am excited to see my in laws (hard to believe, right?!) and I am excited to spend lots of time with my hubby!

Today I finally ordered new carpet for the upstairs bedrooms which will be measured while I am in Vegas. I picked up the paint for my bedroom (Behr's Polar Drift) and BGT's nursery (Behr's Lilac Champaigne). I am excited to show you before and after photos. Here is hoping the crib arrives soon! I am glad things are coming together since BGT's arrival is only ten weeks away.

Above all, I'm so thankful for wonderful family, healthy pregnancy, a job that provides well for my family, my truly wonderful and amazing friends, and my very patient and kindhearted husband!! Remember to be thankful for everything you have!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Tommy and I are headed to Vegas on Wednesday and will not be back until Monday. The following weekend we are headed to Clear Lake for "Christmas on the Lake." (Note: I think I am taking the "on the lake" too literal because it seems that the lake wont be frozen. I'll let you know). Anyway, telling you all of this is supposed to excuse the Takekawas from putting our tree up before Thanksgiving. We would have put it up today even if we were not going out of town.

Last year we used our 6 foot tree that we had at the townhouse previously. It looked ridiculous in the new house. I was going to buy a new tree last year after Christmas but then I found out my mom was throwing away her tree. Many of her lights did not work, and she did not have the patience to fix it. My mom's tree is beautiful so I was appalled that she was tossing it. I asked her if I could have it instead. It sat in our basement until Tommy lugged it up the stairs on Friday night.

I had a plan, and it was a good plan. (The original plan was to cut off all the old lights and replace with new strings of lights. When we plugged in and saw how many lights did work (about 3/4) we decided to alter the plan. We went to Home Depot and purchased a bunch of replacement lights. (We went back two more times because I forgot to do my math of what is 25% of 800 lights). We ran into a snafu in hour two. As we plugged  a new light in, the entire strand went out. My determined husband continued to work on the strand for an additional 2 hours dispute my frequent pleas to move back to my plan of stringing the section with new lights). We went to bed with not much done. We woke up this morning and continued our work. 

The next two sections did not give us too many problems, but Tommy kept insisting in making sure EACH and EVERY light was lit for the most perfect tree (and you thought I was obsessed with details?!) While he worked on these two strands that would not stay lit I managed to change out all the lights on the working strands. (As my mom noted about us: It sucks to be stubborn and cheap). Two Four hours later, here is the result:
 I would say it turned out pretty good! Because we had tree half the size previously, we do not really have enough ornaments to fill the tree. We went to Hobby Lobby and Sams Club to find more, but we didn't find anything that we loved. So this is the finished project. I am really glad that we worked hard to make this tree work because as we shopped at Hobby Lobby and Sam's, I could not believe how much these trees cost. Besides, who knows if we will go out to a tree farm next Christmas once BGT is here (I asked Tommy if that is a tradition he would want to start. He said "What's a tree farm?")

At Sam's and Hobby Lobby I did find this cute wrapping paper,
Tommy did not want me to buy the pink paper. He said it did not look like Christmas wrap. I reminded him that it said "Seasons Greetings" and "Happy Holidays." He said "But what if we have non-English speaking/reading people at our house." When he failed to name one person we knew that was non-English speaking or reading, I placed the paper in the cart.

Merry Christmas!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Funny Conversations

Here are more funny conversations I have heard or been a part of recently:

Tommy: "Wow, it smells like dog sh*t in here!"
Me: "Dog sh*t or dog urine?"
Tommy: "Does it really matter?"

Me: "Isn't it crazy how obsessed people can get with their dogs?"
Mom: "What's crazy is when they bring the dogs into the car with them and then don't buckle them in."

Me: "Why does dried beef taste so salty."
Tommy: "Honey, its because they make it like the Pilgrims made it. You should know this."

Mom: "Menards has car seats on clearance."
Tommy: "I don't want a clearanced car seat for my daughter."
Me: "Its not like they remove safety straps so they can clearance it."

Homemaker's Employee: "Do you want me to tie this mattress onto your vehicle?"
Dad: "Does a bear s**t in the woods?"
Homemaker's Employee: "Huh?"
Dad: "Yes!!!"

Me insisting to my dad for 2 minutes: "You can check Fareway, Walmart and Target, but I'm telling you, only HyVee sells Cinnamon Ice Cream."
Dad calling 5 minutes later after going to Fareway instead of HyVee: "I found Cinnamon Ice Cream at Fareway."
Me: "It should taste real good with that s**t eating grin you have on your face."

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Have you ever wondered what your kid is going to look like when they are born? Have you ever wondered if they will look more Caucasian, Asian or Hispanic? I have!!

I have high hopes for BGT because she has two cousins who are absolutely adorable.

Here is a picture of her cousin, Anthony, my sister's child. This is from 2010 Halloween. I know it is outdated, but it was my favorite picture that she has on her facebook page that I could copy.

Here is BGT's other cousin, Farah. Farah is Tommy's brother, Yoshi's, child. Tommy and Yoshi look a lot alike. Yoshi's wife is Caucasian, has blonde hair and very blue eyes. Farah is all Yoshi if you ask me!

If BGT were born today, she might look something like this. These are pictures of Mindy's babies that were born at approximately 28 weeks, which is approximately where I am at in my pregnancy!

I'ts hard to believe that BGT's feet are only this big. Sometimes she feels a lot stronger than that. Last night Tommy wanted to feel her move. She was not cooperating so I suggested that he rock my stomach a little bit. He was quite surprised when she gave a few hard kicks back! It was pretty funny!

And just for fun: here is a picture of Tommy and Yoshi when they were young. Tommy is the older child. The lady in the picture is their Uncle's wife.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for daylight savings. I have been going to bed around 9pm all week, and it has been great! Also, I love waking up before my alarm and staying snuggled in bed. (I do not enjoy that it is dark before I leave work, even if I leave work at 5pm).

I am thankful that I had some time off today to get caught up on some things. I had quite the list of things to do today. Although I did not get it all done, I feel good about the amount of work I did accomplish. I am also thankful that Friday is a holiday so Tommy has the day off. My plan is to take Friday afternoon off too! (Though things usually do not go as planned).

I am thankful that I have already found (but not purchased) two of my "big ticket" Black Friday items. I found the computer at Costco that is offered online starting Thanksgiving Day. I also found the camera I want to get at Costco, though its only on sale through November 21. I am pretty confident about the computer. I am somewhat confident about the camera. I have not found a snowblower yet. I think it is because I plain do not care. It is hard to get Tommy interested in finding a snowblower. He doesn't like to think about the snow. Also, he doesn't have much experience with the snow because it is generally too painful for me to watch him shovel the driveway that I go out and do it myself (oh how times will be changing very soon!).

I am thankful that Tommy and I have worked out our holiday plans again this year. Luckily we are on a rotating Thanksgiving schedule. We have been going to his family in odd years since 2007. Since it is an odd year, we are meeting up with his family. This year, however, we are meeting them in Vegas. Yes, we were just there six months ago, but we couldn't resist. One of our favorite vacation spots during our favorite time of the year! Of course we just bought our tickets yesterday. Hotels are SO cheap compared to April that we are really feeling spoiled now! I am thankful this getaway is only two weeks away! PS- Aunt Nita or Aunt Bonnie- could you be so kind to extend an invite to my parents for Thanksgiving? In odd years Erin and I are both with our in-laws and it breaks our hearts to think of them alone on the holiday.


I have had a few small panic attacks over getting stuff done at my house. With September and October being so busy at work, it is hard to believe its mid-November already. I wondered if my new desire to get so much done around the house was due to the phenomenon of nesting. I decided to google it. I think my desire to get so much done has to do with my OCD personality more so then it does with nesting.... or at least I thought.

On the website I was reading about how expecting moms would do things like take all the screws out of walls and wash them with soap and water. I also read that these nesting symptoms would be accompanied with sudden bursts of energy. Well, I knew then and there I was not nesting. In fact, as I enter my third trimester, it is amazing how tired I have become again. Also, I could cry at the drop of a hat. I can hardly watch any tv or movies without holding back tears.

Most of my "To Do" list is organizing closets, making a run to donate clothes at Goodwill, cleaning out the pantry, finishing my FALL/WINTER projects (I think I have 3 left?!). I do have a few extreme things on my list like getting new carpet for the upstairs bedrooms and painting two bedrooms (Sorry, Mom!) but those things were on my list long before I was pregnant. In fact, those are on my list to get done yet this month, as my furniture purchases are set to be delivered December 2. I did notice my desires getting somewhat out of hand when I started a discussion with Tommy about changing the ceiling fans in the bedrooms around. I suddenly remembered the article I had read after googeling nesting and realized that I was at risk of becoming crazy crazier.

I did take a tip from one of my friends who states that if a task takes less than five minutes then there is no reason it is not done immediately. It is surprising how so many tasks seem overwhelming but can really be done quickly. Now, back to work!

Date Night

For months now Tommy has been asking to go to Stimulus Tuesday. Before you get carried away, let me clarify that this is an event held at the Wynnsong 16 movie theatre in Johnston. Every Tuesday all movies are $6 and soda and popcorn are $1. I was having a moment of panic earlier in the week realizing that my child was going to be here soon, and we should do things now that we will not be able to do (or at least as easily) come February. (See upcoming post regarding our Thanksgiving vacation we booked this week).

So last night we both hurried home from work, put on our best sweat pants and sweat shirt, headed for a quick dinner at Texas Roadhouse, and sat down just in time for the start of the movie MoneyBall. Considering Tommy didn't get home until 6:15, we were in a huge hurry to eat and make it to a 7 o'clock showtime. We made it to the theatre by 7:10 and still sat through 10 minutes of previews. The movie was excellent. Time with my hubby doing something he always wants to do was amazing. And dinner was delicious. Being the dutch girl that I am, I was most pleased by the fact that our date night cost only $30. We shared a steak meal at Texas Roadhouse so our bill was only $15. Our tickets to the movie were $12 total. We shared a popcorn and each  got our own soda.

If you are looking for something fun to do with your special someone during the week, I highly suggest Stimulus Tuesdays. Tommy is already asking me if I want to go again next week. :-) Maybe we'll see you there...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for my sushi pajamas. In my effort to acclimate to my husband's culture I picked these up at Dillard's last year. It doesn't matter how bad of day I had, when I can come home and put these jamies on, I instantly feel better. I also love that after a year of having these, Tommy still smiles every time he sees me in them.

I'm thankful for the morning I choose to stop and get this:

I stop and get one of these once a week. I usually get the White Chocolate Mocha made with skim milk and no whip. A tall is a perfect size. It is also nice that since I've been pregnant I've cut back on these which could explain why my weight has not increased and my bank account has not decreased.

I am thankful that I passed my second glucose test. I was also going to be thankful that my belly wasn't looking huge, but I asked my secretary to take a picture of it for me and was quite surprised by my belly size. Here she is...

I laugh so much when I see this picture because I have been telling so many people how I don't even look that pregnant. LOL. No wonder they don't agree!!!

I'm thankful that when I checked the NFM website today there was another sale posted, and I got some more money off my furniture purchase!

I'm thankful tomorrow is Friday. Tommy doesn't have to work this weekend. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time together. (ie- carpet shopping, mattress shopping, costco, grocery store, tj maxx.... the usual).

I"m thankful that you can sample songs on Itunes so I didn't waste a cent on Justin Bieber's new Christmas album. I'm thankful I get to play Christmas music soon! I'm a sucker for Jessica Simpson's Oh Holy Night. Best Song Ever.

Monday, October 31, 2011

10 Things...

(I feel somewhat guilty about writing about the amazing weekend I had. One of my best friends, Mindy, had to rush one of her triplets to the hospital after performing infant CPR. Her daughter is scheduled to go to surgery tomorrow. If you do not follow her blog click HERE.)

Here are 10 Places I went this weekend:

I stopped at my two favorite places in Pella:




I ordered some dried beef and dried beef dip at Ulrichs. At Jaarsma's, I picked up some dutch letters. They now dip them in chocolate- its like they knew I was coming! Seriously, picking up treats like this for my hubby adds years to my marriage.

After our stop in Pella, we headed to see her:

On our way to see my grandma, my Uncle Don and Aunt Bonnie called. They had just closed on a new house, and we begged for a tour. My Aunt and Uncle have lived on the farm for nearly 40 years. The house they bought is on a golf course in town. Its absolutely beautiful, and I am so happy for them. It is so crazy to think that this is their new home because I have only known them to live on the farm. I could see the joy in their faces for the new home, and it was truly wonderful to see them so happy.

After we left Oskaloosa, we headed to Williamsburg. My mom needed to stop in that part of the state for business, so we decided to shop as well. I bought all of this for BGT and then some:

Actually, this doesn't include all the things I bought her. I know that seems overboard, and it was, but let me tell you how this only cost me $31.  First, I picked up a pink hooded sweat shirt with sweat pants, three piece pj set and bow shirt at Carters. My mom had a coupon for 25% off of $40. Her and I combined our orders (She was picking up things for BBA (baby boy aldridge). She picked up my part of the tab too for BGT. Then we headed to Gap. I had a 25% off of a $75 purchase. I picked up a winter coat thing, owl top, jeans and a pair of socks. My mom picked up the exact same items but in boy colors for BBA. I had a $35 store merchandise credit for my half of the tab. Then we headed to Children's Place. I had 25% off my purchase. They had on clearance summer items for $2.99 a piece. I picked up two dresses, five onsie top things (i really need to learn this baby lingo), a sweat shirt and a purple sweatsuit outfit. With my coupon it was only $31. Amazing!! For those of you concerned that I am unaware of my daughter's due date and why I have a turkey top- its not a Thanksgiving shirt. Its a short sleeved shirt that says "Spread Peace" on it. I tried to buy different sizes that will match the seasons. It was fun to pick up so much for such a great deal!

After I had done enough damage for the day, I headed home.

I had been eyeing the Nebraska Furniture Mart add all week because of my need want of some items. I called my mom at 10pm on Saturday and asked her if we would be nuts if we went to NFM on Sunday. She said we were nuts anyway so why not. I am SO GLAD I went. I did some serious damage- but I got some great things.

I had been trying to find this master bedroom set that I had seen previously. I was under the impression that they only had the bed and not the dresser. To my pleasant surprise, I found they carried the bed, dresser and night stands I had been wanting- and it was on sale. We purchased that. We also purchased a rocker for the baby's room and a baby mattress. I would post pics but most of my items aren't being delivered until December 2. Good thing because I have a mattress to purchase yet, get new carpet, and paint two bedrooms. I cant wait to post before and after pics (didn't I promise some of other rooms like last February?!).

In Omaha, we stopped at one of our favorite places to eat:

Have you ever eaten at Five Guys? Its fantastic!

I got home last night around 8pm. I could have probably used a nice calm weekend at home to catch up on some sleep. But I had a fantastic time, and I am so excited about my purchases!

And for those of you worried about whether I really went 10 places... let me count them for you: Ulrich's, Jaarsma's, Grandma's, Don and Bonnie's, Carter's, Gap, Children's Place, Home, NFM, and Five Guys.