Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quad Cities Getaway + Random iPhone Pictures

We decided that another weekend trip was in order... so a few days before we left, we booked a hotel in the Quad Cities where Iowa and Illinois meet. Neither of us had ever been to Iowa before (and really have no desire to return), so we added another state to our lists. Our main reason was to get away... because staying at home can be a real drag when there is nothing. to. do. besides the ol' distraction projects that we're pretty much burnt out on. Plus, that's what the next four days off work are for. Our second piece of motivation was this show:
It just so happens that their warehouse {Antique Archaeology} is 2.5 hours from our doorstep just over the border of Iowa in Le Claire. The husband is a fan of the show so we headed out to check it out. The place was no more than 1,000 square feet and basically housed about 100 things you could buy and various pieces of fame from the show. Otherwise, it was all about the merchandise. Of course we are now owners of a hat that I sure hope my husband doesn't lose. He has a thing for losing hats.

You may recognize these if you watch the show...
Outside the warehouse
Video of the interior.

Our next stop in the Quad Cities was to check out the John Deere Pavilion. We really wanted to take a factory tour, but sadly they don't offer those on weekends. Instead, we headed into the pavilion where they have a bunch of their machines and various history about their brand. Basically, it was a madhouse of various little ones all over the place because they are able to sit on the equipment and inside the huge tires for cutesy photos taken by Mom and Dad. J.e.a.l.o.u.s.
Big machine made entirely out of canned goods! This is the back.
This is a bit out of order as it occurred last Sunday, but I'll speak to it anyway. There's a small Army Base on Rock Island, IL that we were able to drive on and check out their huge machines and museum (Rock Island Arsenal Museum). They aren't responsible for much, but they do have a working foundry and supply some of the niche items to the U.S. Government.
I saw Smokey the Bear inside the museum. Did you know that Smokey (now retired) was the longest running public campaign in United States history? He was started in the 40's and I believe ran until the late 80's/early 90's. I vividly remember these commercials and his voice.  

"Only you can prevent forest fires."
The highlight of the entire trip was our experience at a women's roller derby game. When planning the trip, Ray looked online to find attractions in the area. Not only was he immediately sold on the idea of a roller derby game, but he bought advanced tickets! I can assure you, the tickets for this game were not selling out in this lifetime. And as a matter of fact, we're pretty sure every single person in the audience (besides us) had a personal relationship with at least one of the players. So yeah. That's what you get for watching Whip It. But don't worry-- we had an incentive to purchase those advanced tickets. We saved $1.50. Hahah.  And yes, it was totally one of those arenas that served nacho cheese out of a can and various other little league favorites.

By the end of the game, we'd Wikipedia-ed all of the rules and were practically experts. Even better was our dinner prior to the game. We were wearing jeans and sweatshirts because we planned to sit on bleacher seats inside a cold warehouse for the evening watching a bunch of women trying to cut one another. I found a great Thai restaurant on Yelp in Moline, IL and walked in to find that the $10/plate restaurant had a bunch of men with sports coats and women in fancy garb. Ray told me how he felt under-dressed. We had to wait for a table because, coincidentally, there was a symphony starting about the same time as our roller derby game just down the road. We laughed at the thought of those other diners enjoying a night of pretentious music listening as we sat among the toothless and other random folk.

She's one of the more slender players, but dang are those women tough! I would get knocked around like a ragdoll with my 5'3" frame. They were fierce and it was very entertaining to watch.
A little derby action on video...

For those of you who know me well, I love a good deal! I get excited when I see those little red clearance stickers at Target just hoping I can pair them with a sweet coupon to score some huge savings. I am not a big shopper, but I can tell you that I currently own more cleaning supplies than what is currently in stock at your local grocery store. Hah. Okay, not that many, but let's just say I have to stock them upstairs in our guest bathroom now because under my kitchen sink is too full. I'm picky, too. I like the all-natural stuff and try my best to score amazing deals on those. Hence the photo. I don't know why it says "as is" because it's just a regular clearance item, but I scored ten of these bad boys for $1.26. Yeah, $12.60. I know, what an obsession, right? I just love J.R. Watkins and Mrs. Meyers. But don't worry, I have a fair share of Seventh Generation products under my sink as well. I keep telling myself that someday, someday I'll actually have a little messy one who insists on making sure we're cleaning the floor nonstop after spaghetti night.
While at Target, I scored my favorite pasta and had to take a photo so I could remember the name. :)
I made these amazing roasted brussel sprouts I found at Whole Foods in a bag and then sliced and seasoned with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cracked pepper, and sea salt. Then I roasted on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes on each side. I love them. Finished product not shown... but you can follow this recipe if you'd like. I served them up with some amazing pasta (see above) and roasted garlic marinara with some seeded and Italian rolls from Whole Foods. I seriously love that place. Too bad I feel so broke when I shop there. Can of soup, $5? You people are cuh-razy!
Starting to get this crap in the mail and I'm not liking it one bit. :( And hey, thanks for the discount on toddler formula! Maybe I'll follow this blogger's lead and write a little letter of disapproval to their marketing departments. Thanks Geoffrey. Sometimes giraffes can be real jerks.
On the first birthday front... I have amazing friends who have offered so many wonderful tokens of celebration and have voiced them to me. Overwhelming love. I'm so grateful. 

And the final random iPhone picture I have to share is a photo from this morning. I checked my MyPanera account and saw that I had a free pastry and free smoothie! And that would be breakfast this morning:

We'll see if that was a good decision or not! Glucose test coming very soon. Gah. And I'm also proud to say that I've somehow made it 2/3 through this pregnancy and will be giving birth to a baby at some point within the next 100 days. It's still so hard to imagine him coming home with us, but I want it so bad. Keep growing, baby boy! Also, I was at work the other day and one of the ladies asked me when I planned to work until. I have no reason not to work until my induction date. I think I'd drive myself MAD if I were at home just waiting for a baby. Shoot, I already do that and I have a full time job! Her reason for asking was because she wanted to know if/when to schedule the baby shower for the three women (who are pregnant with boys and due within 1 week of one another). She asked if I'd be okay with them throwing me a shower.

I politely declined and said a forward, "No." I explained that it's very emotional for me and the very thought of sitting in a room while people talk about babies and get excited makes me super apprehensive. I explained that I am honored they were thinking of me enough to offer to throw me a shower, but that I cannot handle the emotional side of it. I told her that I wouldn't be able to attend the shower for the other women either, but that I absolutely wish them well in celebrating. All of these babies deserve the love, attention, affection, and celebration-- but it's not like I'm not celebrating this baby despite not having a shower! We talk to him everyday and praise his little kicks. We cherish every single moment we have with him and want to shower him with love and affection. It's not like he'll know about the shower happening/not happening anyway. The woman was surprised I didn't want a shower and told me she was really happy she asked because she just assumed it would all be well and I'd be fine with a shower and everything. It does just go to show that people don't understand loss on the outside. It's not their fault and they don't deserve blame, but many people just don't understand how emotionally taxing these events can be to a bereaved, hormonal, pregnant, paranoid mother. I feel so thankful that people want to celebrate my babies... but I'm still not at a place where I can handle that sort of thing.

I'm also happy to report that I haven't had any breakdowns in seeing the Christmas crap in every corner I turn. While I'm apprehensive about Andrew's birthday coming, I'm just hoping time is kind and carries on its merry way into the new year. I've got a baby to meet! Please oh please be healthy and alive, little one. I've never wanted something more in my life.


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

So many things I want to say...

1. Love Pickers! Well, David loves it most. He'll be jealous of that little excursion.

2. Love brussel sprouts! Will have to try that recipe.

3. Love clearance at Target and the J.R. Watkins counter spray that is lemony-scented is my favorite.

4. I want to watch the girls roller derby! How fun. Glad you found a way to make the time go by. I can't believe you're 2/3 of the way through. So happy.

lissasue3 said... [Reply to comment]

Yes, I love American Pickers!!

Never had brussel sprouts but they look delish.

You look fabulous!

LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

Love the discounted products. :)

I can't believe it's <100 days. So crazy. I want this for you, too. :)

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Ugh - I got that damn card too. Twice. Don't know how, but lucky me right?

Glad you had a nice little getaway and so, so glad you are 2/3 of the way there!

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

Hooray for 2/3 of the way done! The roller derby thing sounds awesome!!!

Melissa @ A Dozen Years Later said... [Reply to comment]

I am glad you had a fun little getaway. I must say I am slightly jealous of your Panera breakfast today... it is my favorite place to go... sadly there aren't any super close by our new house. I could eat there every single day if I had the chance. I cannot believe you have less than 100 days left :)

Shauna said... [Reply to comment]

Happy Thanksgiving to you :)
Love, Shauna from

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

Hey lady, will you shoot me an email. I need to ask you a question. :)

Cassie said... [Reply to comment]


I'm a stranger but I've been reading for a while. I am really happy for you and this pregnancy. I live in Chicago and love your blog- your honesty is great.