Sunday, November 25, 2012


I swear, for a "blogger," I'm not very disciplined. I'm working on it, though :) 

Aside from feeling like the earth spins on its axis way more quickly than a full 24 hours each rotation, life is pretty good. Thanksgiving wasn't too shabby, despite the fact that I've got this bundle of joy growing inside me, and no loving hubby to share it with right now. (I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm just stating how I feel in a matter-of-fact kind of way). 

Well, my brother and I started a new tradition- at least I'd love to think it's a new tradition- of going to a particular restaurant the week of Thanksgiving to gorge on something other than casseroles and pies. This particular restaurant is a haven for shameless gluttony on some of the world's most unhealthy foods. It's actually been featured on Man vs Food but I'll let you figure out what menu item scored its place on the show ;) It's a lovely hole in the wall restaurant/bar called The Vortex. It's really a great place to take anyone who may be new to the area, or driving through, looking for a cool spot in the city to be with other Atlantans. 

Below is a pic of my brother and myself just as dinner was served!

Anyway, we had a great time just hanging out in the city, decompressing from day-to-day duties. 

On this day, I was 23 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I'm still chugging along and getting bigger each day, it seems. My sleep patterns have changed- I now wake up at 6 AM most days- and my back is feeling pretty weak due to the position of my stomach. The flutters in my lower abdomen have progressed to what feels like a tiny something rolling around in my stomach, right at my belly button! Sometimes it gives me a sinking stomach feeling, and other times I'm just taken aback by how much force this little girl already has!! I sure hope she keeps it up (although sometimes I could really use her activity during the day, and not as I'm trying to sleep, haha!). I'll take what I can get! 

This is what I looked like, pre-gorging. Unfortunately, I don't have an "after" pic, but there's a huge difference when I eat!

Anyway, I just wanted to do a quick cap from this night while I had the energy... I've been doing dishes for over an hour, cleaned the dried up paint out of the sink in the downstairs 1/2 bath (finally) and emptied out waste baskets, along with lighting a lovely candle from Kirkland's! After a little bit of work today and coming home to clean, I'm pooped once again! I think it's time to call it a night. 

Until soon! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Progress in the Home

Oh goodness. Where to begin? 

I researched how women get that "nesting" bug in pregnancy, when it usually occurs, and what forms it usually takes. I learned a good bit! Apparently, if you're later in your pregnancy- like towards the tail end- "nesting" can actually be a sign that you are about to go into labor. (Part of me thinks this is silly, because if you're at the tail end of your pregnancy, that's enough of a sign you're about to go into labor). But all in all, women at any stage of pregnancy can be stricken with this nesting bug! And it can take many forms like cleaning baseboards and organizing, to an extreme of rearranging furniture and remodeling the home (or at least finding a need to). 

Well, my friends, I have the latter. I have never been more motivated to get this house in shape! I have been inspired to do so many things with it, and have accomplished a good bit in the past two weeks (thanks to family and friends!). 

As I mentioned in a much earlier post, we had ripped up our carpet and been living with concrete floors in our living room. It looked like we were in the middle of construction for 4 months, but prior to that, it looked worse because our carpets were so ragged and torn. So, we decided to get more wood floors in place of the carpet but agreed to take some time with picking everything out and paying for such a big project. I'm so happy to say that they are finally done!! 

Our awesome floors and sweet little Weezy Weez!

So, this is a picture of the foyer leading into the living room, with 2 different brands and colors of floors, matched as well as we could possibly match them (considering the floors in the foyer were discontinued). 

Because they don't jump out as being very different, fortunately, the space feels much larger and warmer than carpet and concrete! 

Another task has been painting. I had a painting party with a couple of friends, Mom, and my brother, and we accomplished quite a bit! But second coats are necessary and my mom is the bomb at trimming the walls with her steady hands, so we just take it week by week and when she gets in town she does trim so I can roll! 

This is just a snippet of the colors that are going into the foyer and living room. The foyer is a "Lyndhurst Timber" and the living room is a couple of shades lighter, called "Lyndhurst Beige." 

I went darker in the foyer because of the chair rails. I figured it's safe to be a little more dramatic there, and then lighten it up a couple of shades in the living room, since it's a much larger space! I look forward to completing the foyer with a few pictures (I don't know of what, just yet) and maybe a long console table to the left, centered on the wall. 

I just wanted to show a pic of the fireplace because the color of the walls kind of bounces off the fireplace better than in the other pictures. My next (surprisingly cheap!) project is to put up crown molding in the living room that matches the foyer. I have matched the trim paint at Lowe's and I'm just ready to make the living room look polished! I have no idea when that will be, but I'm so thankful that it's a really affordable project!

Ha! And this last pic just cracks me up. Mom visited last night and a good portion of today, with the intention of painting. What's funny is that she saw the condition of the windows- cobwebs, trapped flies, dust, hair- and she suggested we just clean for a bit. Hey, I'm not going to turn down help with cleaning, and I humbly admit, there are things I miss and/or just prioritize differently with my schedule. She cleaned and steamed floors, I did 2 loads of dishes, and then she did a bit of trim work while I helped sweep and dust. By the time she had to head home, I was bouncing off the walls, feeling so good about the house! It smelled so fresh, the dogs were super tired from playing outside, so I wasn't distracted by them. I just decided it was time to go through the fridge and take yet another humble look at the food that had gone bad, and the many poor fruits and veggies I didn't get to in time. I sure learned my lesson this week! 

After I took everything out, cleaned each shelf and drawer individually, and placed things in an orderly fashion, I just had a moment to my dorky self that I just really wanted to remember. So I grabbed the camera once more. 

Anyway, I could go on and on. This Monday, painting should be complete. This includes the kitchen, which I will take more photos of once it's finished! 

In addition to this week, I will be going through a lot of clothes and items in our bedroom and garage and donating them. I just want to get all of this crummy clutter out of the house before I'm too big to comfortably tackle this stuff, or simply before my daughter arrives and has her own belongings taking up space (which I have to admit, I'm more than happy to give up!). 

Anyone else feel the same as I do about getting the house completely ready for the future and all it brings? It's an overwhelming, lovely feeling. I could nest forever. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Where is the time going? And what am I doing with it?

Ahhhh, Sweet November. 

Wait, What?! It's November already?!

Yep... it is indeed. And I've gone way too long without posting on here. But, that's going to change. I've got more ideas and more energy to boot! So what's been happening since my last entry? Below is a list of my main schedule, and what keeps me so out of the loop these days: 

Working. I work between 4-5 days a week, unless I've requested time off for any particular reason. I really enjoy work right now, and as long as I feel good, don't push myself so hard that I get sick, and keep a level head (despite fluctuating hormones, and my overall forgetfulness), I'm going to keep working. However, because I work in a restaurant, it means that I give up nights of family dinners with my in-laws and weekends of pumpkin patches and yard-sales because those are our peak hours. Oh, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are work days, as well, but I feel like I work with another family, so all is good!

House work. It sounds silly as much as I talk about house work and the things that I do around here. Some days really are better than others in regards to how much I actually get done. (For instance: I can sweep, mop, dust, and clean the shower, but the dishes are still piling up, and the laundry still sits in a heaping pile at the bottom of my closet!). I have been picking out paint samples, putting them up on the walls and living with them, trying to see which ones I love. I've priced the cost of replacing baseboards for when the floors get replaced (tomorrow!!!), and I've looked at ways to make the bathrooms and bedrooms way more organized and efficient for future guests- especially guests who plan on helping me at the tail-end of this pregnancy and/or when Anneliese arrives. Not to mention, the regular upkeep of a 4 bedroom house with 2 1/2 baths is really overwhelming right now. I am getting really close to getting it all just as it should be, though. 

Socializing. Between grabbing lunch or dinner with friends, having friends over (only the good ones who don't mind my house in its condition, haha!), and even trying to tutor one day a week, I stay busy on my 2-3 days off each week! I try my best to put myself out there and just go out in town, even if it's by myself, just to run into people that I know, and make a connection each day. In 4 days, Justin will have been gone 2 months now. It's still going well on my end, but I have to say, it's only because I make plans. There's only so much you can watch on Hulu before you just break down and need a personal connection with another human. Oh! And some days Justin catches me on chat, and we talk for an hour or so. Everything stops when I see him online. If I had plans to wax my eyebrows before work, it goes down the drain :) I don't answer my phone or get out of bed. I just lay there and chat with him until he says he has to go. 

Doctor Visits. Okay, so this doesn't really take up much of my time. I just threw it in there because I happen to have 2 this month. The 20 week check-up went as well as it could have with what Anneliese would show us. But there were still some measurements that needed to be taken which simply weren't going to happen that day. So, I'm scheduled to go back on Nov. 8 to hopefully get the rest of them. Thankfully, I feel her moving really well this week, and by the way it feels, I am convinced she's doing somersaults 24/7. So I'm hoping we can get her to do a LOT more on the ultrasound this next Thursday! I was reassured by a friend that it's really common to have to come back for additional measurements, and my doc said nothing jumped out at him as abnormal, he just needed to see more. 

Pinning. I now admit that I have a Pinterest addiction. I have been using Pinterest for quite some time now, but I have just carelessly pinned outfits and decor that I really love as inspiration with no direction. Anneliese's arrival honestly gives me tons of direction! It may sound silly, but I know that lots of baby things will be taken care of by my mom, in-laws, friends, and family. I already have 7 boxes of beautiful clothes for her. I have no idea when she will have the time to wear all of it! So, I'm relaxed about her needs as of right now. I really think that I'll be happy to shop for her after the baby shower. That way, I can hunker down and really focus on getting things that were missed, just before she gets here. Plus, I still have a ton of ideas for her room, which are all just budding at the moment. So Pinterest has really helped me with other things, like making my own laundry detergent (in another post!), shower cleaner, wreaths, and all of those simple organizational tips that I'm now really interested in using! I've even been so excited, I've reorganized my boards. It's ridiculous. But it certainly helps me feel a little more squared away with future projects and getting things done before motherhood :) 

Anyway, I have many more topics I'd like to touch on, whether it's today or tomorrow, or whenever. Stay tuned for my cleaning recipes, updated floors (!!!), painted walls, and my review and experience with prenatal yoga :) 

Until Soon. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oh So Tired!

Ok, I have spoken at length with people about just how tired I still am. I feel like I ride this roller coaster of ups and downs with regard to sleepiness. My ups consist of feeling like I have an average amount of energy on an average day. My downs literally consist of exhaustion to the point that I'm emotional about it. When I'm at work, I just want to sleep upright in my chair in the office for any given amount of time. I have to delay my paperwork until the beginning of my next day, simply because the end of the shift brings fuzziness and sleepiness with lots of emotions. Sometimes I'd love to complain, but overall, I know it's all for good reason! I'm so happy for the catalyst to my exhaustion (little Ali), but I sometimes wonder if I'll be gliding through the second trimester just as tired as I was in the first. 

Anyway, most days, I wake up with the help of Pinterest. I check my emails on my phone, check for Facebook messages from my husband (since that's his easiest way of communicating with me), and I browse Pinterest! For some reason, looking at those insane ways to clean things with half the effort, or some mother's home management organization binder, helps me gain enough motivation to get out of bed. 

Once I get out of bed, my teeth are lucky to be brushed right away. My hair is just thrown right back into a ponytail without brushing through the tangles. My face usually has day-old makeup because I went to bed too tired to take it off. And my clothes are covered in dog hair because they have replaced Justin in the cuddling-while-sleeping department. In other words- just you try to stop by my house before noon to check on me or say a quick hello. I will not come to the door- but it's not to avoid you. It's to prevent you from seeing me this way! 

I remember back in high school when I'd have such tedious attention to detail with organizing my belongings. I lost it sometime when I began to feel the all too familiar "senioritis" that so many of us experience as we get close to graduating. Since that time in my life, I have this repeat pattern of letting things build up in the house- laundry, dishes, dirty carpets- until one day I just have this huge burst of energy and I tackle it all until I'm totally and completely exhausted. I love to clean the baseboards, sweep and mop the floors, and scrub toilets, but only on the days when I've just had enough of the mess. After that, it just builds back up to an unbearable state, and I do it again. 

Well, the good thing about Justin being gone, is that I'm forced to confront this pattern, and I have to make (good) changes. The bad thing is, I never see the burst of energy where I get it clean in the first place, for me to begin practicing keeping it that way. So... it's just the dogs and myself, cooped up in my time off, together and not answering the door for fear of a stranger even seeing my raccoon eyes and hairy wardrobe! 

I guess this is where I need to suck it up and clean anyway. But I'd much rather be a two year old with a temper tantrum and say, "Nooooooo!!!!" ... at least that's the dialogue in my head. 

I sure hope this energy comes around. I feel like if I could just. wake. up. I'd be able to get through this messy home and get myself to a point where I could start fresh and reintroduce those good habits I used to keep to prove that I do value my belongings :) 

Until soon! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Experiences during Pregnancy

Every pregnancy varies from woman to woman, and if a woman has multiple pregnancies, they can also vary from one another, as well! Most ladies know this, especially if they've ever read an article or researched symptoms. It's pretty much stated everywhere. 

This is a cool fact, although it can be extremely annoying when you just want to relate to someone and know that anything and everything you may be going through is normal. 

In 2008, I had a miscarriage when I was between 5 and 6 weeks pregnant. From then on, I have probably had about 3 pregnancy "scares" each year up until now. And by "scares," I simply mean the pregnancy would have been unexpected and surprising! :) 

Ironically, in contrast to my opening statement, my pregnancy has been pretty darn typical! I downloaded the What to Expect app for the iPhone, and also the BabyCenter app, and they provide daily tips and insight to what I may be going through at the time. I also get emails and updates on online articles as well. It's been great reading along day by day, as a supplement to my books, just to know what to expect (go figure) and how to handle situations as they arise. 

My first 6 weeks consisted of nothingness. I thought I had taken a faulty test, so I kind of hoped for a little nausea to make the news more real! Ha! Well, I got it! I threw up about once a day, had aversions to everything except potatoes- starches of all kinds, really- and I felt emotional at my disconnect from food. I had no idea it'd make me so sad that I could crave something, only to eat it and find out it was going to be upchucked in minutes. It really is true- you're super lucky if you don't experience nausea, which about 25% of women are blessed enough to say! ... Oh, and I surely can't forget to mention how Justin loved to stand over me and giggle every time I hugged the porcelain throne. I know it just made the pregnancy a reality to him, and thus, the giggling ensued. But I used to have snot, watery eyes, and pretty hardcore burn in my throat as I'd fuss at him to stop laughing and get me a cold towel! 

As time went on, I mainly experienced bloating, gas, fatigue, and  nausea. So typical. I felt like a wuss, leaving work early from vomiting, or just feeling like I couldn't keep my eyes open. Financially, it wasn't great for us for me to be giving up shifts, but I really just felt like crap, 24/7. 

My baby bump (or should I say, Food Baby) showed up around 8 weeks. It truly was mostly due to gas, but I have always had a stomach that has concentrated gas and weight in my lower areas. So, it's almost like it stretches out easily anyway, haha! So, I quickly became uncomfortable in my jeans and felt like a whale most days, and I rushed off to get maternity jeans way early in the trimester. I even had the thought of how sad it would be if I miscarried again, only to have invested in some clothes so early on. It felt foolish, to tell you the truth. 

The second trimester came- some people define it as starting after your 12th week, and some say it starts at week 14. Either way, I definitely felt relief from nausea at that time, and fell in love with food again! I loved tastings at work, smelling food being cooked, and I looked forward to my meals! I was able to eat more veggies and food with more flavor, and it was just an eye opener as to how much I couldn't have in the weeks prior. 

Today marks 17 Weeks 0 Days! I'm feeling small flutters in my stomach at night when I lay down and all is quiet, and I am slowly getting my energy back. It has been a roller coaster of good days and bad days when it comes to my energy, but I think a lot of it is determined by how much I look forward to doing in a day. Being alone makes it easy to be a sloth and watch Hulu all day. There's no one to come around and judge. If I don't make plans to work or be with friends, I usually find myself in a rut unless I am just super motivated by a particular task (such as putting together the kitchen table/island/counter that I mentioned in my Home Improvement(s) post!). 

My ultimate goal in this time alone, is to not only get the house so cleaned, organized, and decorated, but to find my way in my kitchen. I work at a restaurant that makes wonderful home-style food, and it's so good, that 4 days out of the week, I'm fed! I don't worry about doing more than making cold smoothies at home or throwing together salads and sandwiches. So, my cooking skills have not been put to use in quite some time, and I feel as though it's something I want to change. I'd like to have some staples for our family as Ali grows, and for them to be healthy and relatively timely to make. I'm hoping that Pinterest can help me in this area, and I know that is pretty great with that, too. I just don't have that discipline when I work 4 days out of the week, eating well. I don't seem to mind sandwiches on the other days :) 

Anyway, as I am now about a month into the second trimester, I now have slightly more energy and have no excuse not to get myself back into a healthy lifestyle that consists of more exercise and healthy eating habits. I want to treat my body and baby well for the rest of this 23 weeks, and now, I have ample opportunities! 

If anyone has suggestions for great recipes- pregnant friendly and/or family friendly- just chime in! I'm all ears! 

Until Soon!!

Home Improvement(s)

Buying a home was exhilarating, as you might know from one of my first posts. We were so hopeful for this home, and it could not have been an easier transition into home ownership, as opposed to many stories I've heard. 

The house was new, as well, so we just hopped right in and felt like we were living in a palace! (If you'd seen the small apartment we lived in, in San Clemente, CA, you'd completely understand!). Of course, no house is perfect, even new! We were warned by the lady who managed our "walk-through" to get as much noted as possible, but that we'd inevitably find little things here and there over time, that show the home's imperfections. It's just part of the experience, ha! 

Of course, I really cannot and will not complain. What I'm mentioning in this post is not reflective of my dissatisfaction with our home- only a reflection of our overall experience as new homeowners. 

The first thing that really caved, was the builder-grade carpet. We have two dogs and Georgia red clay in the back yard, and it just couldn't hold up- at least not in the living room. So, after Weezy hit a stage of separation anxiety and ripped up some carpet in our living room (ultimately leading to crate training, which has been a lifesaver), I honestly had to say I was thankful for the segway into making it go away! :) Of course, it's not an immediate fix we could afford right away, so we've been living with concrete floors for a while now- but at least it looks better and is easier to clean. Below is a picture of the damage I came home to one day: 

Anyway, the next issue we had came about when we called the company who originally did our flooring for the contractor. We just wanted to replace the carpeted area with the laminate wood flooring that we already had. Well, it's a discontinued product (which the contractor probably installed due to a discount for this very reason). So, we were advised that we may be able to find some spare flooring via warehouse websites, but to be cautious because they could be the leftover, less "matchy" pieces of the batch. So, we decided to just go with something drastically different. To be honest, I haven't loved anything I've picked out so far, but I don't want to pay for the leftover existing flooring, knowing that if anything ever happened, we'd have to start over with something different anyway. Why not make the living room flooring different, and replace the rest of the house with the new flooring if we ever feel the need to? All I know, is I just hate feeling like the house is "undone." But, I'm so so grateful for what we already have. Oh, and we're not doing carpet again. With animals, potential allergies of family and friends, and the upkeep, it's just not worth it.

Once the floors are done, I'll be THRILLED to host dinners and have people over and really celebrate our home, making it warm and inviting, just as I've always hoped to. 

The next thing that I noticed (actually my mom noticed- Thanks, Mom), is that some of the fixtures in the bathrooms just don't match. We have bronze door knobs, brushed nickel light fixtures, and shiny silver faucets. Of course, the bathrooms are nice and clean, and serve their function, but those little details are certainly ones that we never even thought of when we were in awe of our new home. One day, inexpensively, we can fix those features to be designed more cohesively, and ultimately, for future resale. But that's nothing compared to the joy we have of living in our neighborhood and knowing that we've accomplished the task of buying a home in the first place. Again- I'm just speaking of my experience. I'm sure everyone learns this when they have lived in their homes for a while! 

And finally, the most recent project I've tackled, was just last night! Our kitchen has a dining area (the only dining area, since we opted out of a formal dining room as a necessity), and the cabinetry in the kitchen is gorgeous, yet they are all quite shallow. If I had chargers or larger plates, they'd have no place in the kitchen unless we created shelving, or gave up space in the pantry. So... Ikea came to the rescue! 

I found this beauty there, and once I realized it'd fit into our little nook next to our table, I just couldn't pass up extra counter space and storage, so that when little Ali gets here, we have more room for bottles, plates, and her serving ware. 

Here's what I built all by myself last night!! 

This sucker took me 3 hours to build, and was super heavy duty. Don't worry, I used discretion when I was building it as to how to lessen the load of moving it from place to place. I did not overexert myself and kept thinking, "Man, I'm a handy-woman!" 

So for a really inexpensive project, I added 74 inches of counter space, 3 drawers and 148 Inches of shelving to our kitchen space. And all I can think about is using this bad boy for a buffet over the holidays! 

Well, I'd better stop while I'm ahead! I still have so many more posts to update, but I needed to talk about the house for once!

Until Soon!

A is for...

is for Anneliese! 

Okay, obviously, as most people reading this blog have already heard, Justin and I are having a baby girl! Ahhh! It's just the most exciting news I think I've ever EVER received! 

The name picking was kind of a silly story. Justin was so sure we were having a boy, that he just called my stomach "Liam" any time we talked about it, or the baby. It never failed, I always said to him, "You better watch out, because I think it's a girl!" And I'd always think about how sad it was that we couldn't come up with a girl's name because we just loved the name Liam so much, that we hadn't found one for a girl that compared to how much we liked our chosen boy's name. So, we decided to tackle it whenever we had time to sit down and really look through some names! 

Well, I went up to Indiana to see Justin just before he deployed, and he insisted we find a Barnes and Noble to get a good "Dad-To-Be" book for him to start reading while traveling. We went over to the Family section of the store and found more than enough books. Of course, Justin chose a small book that was more on the humors of becoming a dad, and claimed that it would be a "fun read" for his traveling, and that I can send a more detailed book about Fatherhood whenever he was finished with this one. (That's my hubs)

We came across a really great baby names book that I sat down with, and Justin looked at what I had in my hands and said, "I guess we need to pick out a girl's name, just in case." So... we sifted through, made a few jokes about some of the names- they get so crazy.  I'd say names loudly as I read ones that I liked, and he'd mostly say, "Nope!" to them. He suggested the name Ali, after a while of debating. I love that name, but I kept thinking, "What if she can't stand this name because people will say, 'Oh! What a cute name! What's it short for?' " So, I presented the argument to Justin and he said to just keep the name as one of our options. 

Then... we came to the name, Anneliese. I don't know why, but it jumped at me. I kept saying it over and over, and I loved it every time. It's great for nicknames when she's young, and she can choose to use her whole name when she gets older, to feel more mature if she'd like. It wasn't on the lists of any of the popular names of the past few years, which was something I had been trying to avoid the whole time with any name we picked. (Growing up a Brittany in the '80s and '90s was hard enough, okay?!)

Justin really liked it, but he really loved Ali. So, after some deliberation, we decided on Anneliese, but we would nickname her "Ali." 

I think some people won't get where we came up with "Ali," but that's the story behind it. Justin and I got the best of both worlds and we couldn't be happier! 

Stay tuned! I've got more posts on the way!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recap from the Recliner

But seriously, I really am sitting in my recliner, writing. I cannot seem to wake up for the life of me! 

Ahhh, so it's been an eventful 10 days since I've last written. Justin is still enjoying his new gig, and he's made tons of buddies to make the most out of the next year. I'm still so happy about that. I got a little visit with him in Indianapolis, which went really well, but was all too short. Huge thanks to my brother, who was able to house-sit for those 2 days :) 
Here's a few pics from Indianapolis that, I think, really show how pretty that city is! 
We went paddle-boating on the Canal Walk that goes through the city! It couldn't have been more beautiful, and since it's a college city, there were tons of people out running, biking, and just soaking up the amazing Fall breeze. 

I am not someone who enjoys picking up and leaving on a whim to fly stand-by to a destination where I haven't gotten a hotel or means of transportation, but I wanted to see my hubs. I don't know if I don't enjoy that because I'm pregnant and just generally feel too tired all day, or if I just had anxiety about leaving the house on a whim. Either way, the trip turned out really well, and I'm thankful for a good time with Justin! 

When I returned, my grandparents were staying in a beautiful little cottage in Serenbe, called the Mimosa Cottage. I called them when I got in, and they just raved about the amazing french toast they had for breakfast and the fact that they could watch a wedding from the front porch of the cottage. I don't think their stay could have been any better. They spoke to so many people out on the property and really connected with the serenity in Serenbe ;) That's obvious, though. 

I snagged a pic of them eating dinner in their cottage, and my chicken pot pie from The Hil, earlier that day!
And finally, what's been going on this past 10 days? To be honest, I'm still bumming around for the most part. I have been enjoying work so much, and although I'd love to take some time and visit family out of state while I'm feeling up to it, I have too much going on with the pets and the house. And every single day I go to work, I realize how happy it makes me. I see people I care about, sharing in my joys and offering company. I also eat really well (let's not overlook the obvious!), and I have something to do that takes my mind off living alone. 

Pretty soon, I'll be working on the house- finally getting some paint on these barren walls- and starting some other projects for... well every single room. The nursery is on my list, but jeez, it's like we just moved in. I have a ton of ideas and no desire to execute any of them at the moment. Fortunately, I have an awesome momma who is pushing me in that direction with every phone call: " Did you check out floor samples?" "Did you get some paint swatches?" " What do you want to do with window treatments?" 

Man, if I didn't have her, I'd be sitting in a house with concrete floors and things still in boxes. 

So, to end this post, I have yet another set of photos that reflect this past week: 
My belly is growing (although really, half the time it still feels like gas), my dogs are lazy in the back yard, and my cat is getting weird in his old age. 

OH! And I find out the sex of the baby tomorrow! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quick Travel

Tomorrow, I'm going to see my hubs for the last time before he officially leaves. We had a talk about what we can disclose online, or really, to anyone. Unfortunately for friends and family, I can't give specifics because it jeopardizes his job if I do. I don't want to even explain that part, but given the nature of what he'll be doing and where he's going, I think it's clear why I can't divulge. 

My grandparents are coming in town to stay in Serenbe this week! I will unfortunately miss the first day they are in town, but I'm hoping to catch up with them when I get back from seeing Justin. I'm definitely hoping in the near future I can take a quick trip to Florida to see them in my own time, now that things will be quite lonely here. 

Anyway, things at home are getting better. I feel very unmotivated to clean and organize, but knowing that my brother will take care of the animals and house sit while I'm gone gets me off my butt. Today has been an errand-running kind of day, with laundry, dishes, and organizing the office as my tasks. I am working a conference later this evening, so I can't put off all of these responsibilities until later like I always do. It'll be a good thing :) 

I'll be flying stand-by tomorrow and Thursday morning, so I hope and pray that I get on the first flights out. It's such an impromptu trip that I'm nervous about directions from the airport to the hotel, and getting an available rental car and having things go smoothly back here. I'm already an anxious mama! 

I know this post is boring. I'm sure that when I'm waiting in the hotel for Justin to get off work and be able to visit, I'll have much more interesting things to write about. I have many ideas for future blog posts, but for now, I have my priorities to get through first! Blah!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Pick YOUR Brain

I am totally partial to the self-improvement themed books out there. I don't know why, but ever since my middle school years, I have been fascinated with the idea of improving myself. It led to a phase of perfectionism when I was still in middle school and on through high school, which made my teenage life much more emotional than it already had become from just... growing. But, thankfully, much of that perfectionist and "need to please" mentality has waned throughout the years. 

But every time I feel down or overwhelmed, there's a site that I love to go to that has lots of professional blogger guests who contribute really great posts in regards to self-improvement and the overall struggles associated with being a normal human being.

It's called

I've had a ton of setbacks when it comes to college. That move to California was worth every struggle I've had with the University, but it still gets me down from time to time. I get down about people who feel compelled to talk about me, and most especially if I consider them any kind of a friend. I get really down thinking about some of the things my family has been through, because sometimes I really think that we've had more hardships than the next family, but that's certainly narrow-minded. I usually catch myself with these downward spirals of thought, but it doesn't mean that I don't have a mini-breakdown from time to time. 

This website touches on so many topics. It's certainly a quick pick me up for anyone who likes the subjects of psychology, neuroscience, health & wellness, writing, reading, and philosophy. There are over 1500 archived articles dating all the way back to 2006, so check it out if you are curious! 

Until soon!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Week Down

Yesterday I really realized just how much I miss Justin. I have been on a "high" from my neighbors being so great, friends and family being so supportive, and just keeping busy. I've felt so strong and relaxed, and I've honestly embraced the extra responsibilities of living alone. 

Yesterday was also my official day off from school and work, and there was nothing to do but clean, hang with the dogs, exercise, cook... all that jazz. I've been tidying up the house a little more, but I think a part of me keeps it in limbo, as far as never quite being clean enough, so that I'll always have something to think about doing. If the house is clean, what will I do with my spare time? None of that spare time will involve hanging with my hubby, and that's a huge bummer. But if the house always needs some sort of organizing project or cleaning project done, then I'll always wake up with a to-do list. How's that for a little analysis? 

Justin is almost in the same boat. He misses me, Mags, Weezy- and secretly, Fred- yet he's enjoying the fresh environment, making friends and being around guys like him. He hasn't found very much of that since we've been home, and I know that it's been difficult to try to make friends with a bunch of people who don't quite understand you. They get you, but not on certain levels, I guess. I can appreciate that. And hearing him say those things really does make me feel good about his job and what he's trying to do for us. But we both agree that sleeping alone really blows.

Currently, the hardest part about being here alone is taking care of our zoo by myself. I love these animals, but they dominate my life right now. If I work or go to school and I'm gone for more than 8 hours, I feel horrible about the dogs being locked up in their kennels. What's almost as bad is when they have all this pent up energy that they can't calm down for a bit after I get home. They don't run through the house or anything, but they can't just fall asleep with me when I get home from work. I'm trying to be better at walking them, but one is 52lbs and the other is 73lbs, and I have to walk them separately. After they walk with me, if they still have tons of energy, I let them take it out on each other in the back yard. So far, it's going well, but it's more time-consuming than when Justin and I could split up those duties between our schedules. Either I'm going to get in really great shape from taking care of these dogs during pregnancy, or I'm going to pull my hair out :) I imagine I'll be in really great shape and love this process. It's just been an eye-opener in this first week by myself. 

Other than that, I am so grateful that I hit my 2nd trimester last week! It's true for my pregnancy- I really do feel so much better! I took each dog for a walk, challenged the hills in my neighborhood, and jogged as well. Justin called in the middle of my second walk, and I was so out of breath he couldn't figure out what I was doing, haha! But I told him I was really proud of myself for finally getting to a point where exercise and eating well were feeling really good again. No more nausea-friendly starches for me! I ate a bowl and a half of fresh sauteed collard greens and I couldn't have felt better. This trimester feels like a blessing! My heart really goes out to those ladies who had to deal with nausea/morning sickness and other 1st trimester woes well into the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. It's no bueno :(

Until Soon!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Hubby has a New Job

Okay, so I've been a little aloof with a public announcement of my hubby's new job. There are many reasons for this: 
1. Our plans could have bottomed out for any number of reasons, so why get everyone worked up? 
2. We have and will receive negative comments for this decision and its timing. 
3. The hiring process moved so quickly, we really didn't have much time to talk about it. 

Justin is contracting in Afghanistan for a year.
There. I said it. Judge as you may... I'm sure there are thoughts like, "You're pregnant!" "He's going to miss everything!" "Is he really going to leave at a time like this?!"

Yes, I know I'm pregnant, and it's unfortunate that we youngsters let ourselves be surprised by this pregnancy (this very happy, huge blessing of a pregnancy). Justin and I were very happy to find out we are pregnant. But if you've seen my other post, you'll know that a mere 9 days prior to finding out this news, I had convinced him to leave his job. 

Justin will not miss everything. He is involved in this pregnancy, and even calls my stomach "Liam" when he refers to "him," haha. Of course, I'm sure that means we are having a girl, which we will be thrilled to have, no matter what! :) But back to missing everything- he won't physically be here, but he will be constantly updated with my blog, Facebook, emails, letters, pictures, care packages, and Skyping. Thankfully, he'll have internet access in his own room, with his own computer, with a webcam. Of course, it's not nearly the same as running out at 3am for my strange cravings, or rubbing my swollen feet, or seeing the ultrasounds at the very same time that I do. I fully understand there's a difference. And trust me, it hurts. It hurts us both. We don't need people asking such obvious questions or making equally obvious statements. We already feel the sting of our decisions, but there's a much bigger goal in mind here, and that's to create an incredible financial support system for our future little monster. 

Justin likes to remind me that he's just in the "vetting" process. He likes to whimsically declare that "anything can happen" so that I could get the idea that something could always go wrong and he'll be headed home from Virginia rather than heading out of the country. I simply don't believe that. I know that he's in his niche. I know he's happy to be around guys like him, and all of them are highly motivated by the potential income when they deploy. It's uplifting to hear his voice on the phone, talking about the crazy 50-something-year-old man who smoke checked the whole group of younger guys by pulling a 9 minute 1 1/2 mile run! Well, that's pretty intense, so I like the story, too. But what I really love is that he's entertained and feeling good. He deserves that. It makes these first couple of lonely days so worth it. 

But I certainly miss this face.

It's poor lighting, but such a reminder of a wonderful night <3

I love seeing him happy. It makes my heart smile. 

Anyway, Justin is currently in Chesapeake, VA, continuing the vetting process before he heads out for training, and from there, Afghanistan. I certainly hope I'll be able to see him before he officially deploys. Right now, we are just taking the whole process day by day. 

Did I mention how incredible I think he is, for wanting to be so supportive of his future child, that he'll give up a year of his life  to be in the desert so we can have a stronger foundation for our family? What a good husband I have!

Until soon.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

We Have a Zoo.

It may seem, through my social media outlets, that I'm a tad bit obsessed with my animals. Truth is, I am- Justin and I both are. You would likely think that we are quite strange as you find out how we narrate our dogs' and cat's actions and thoughts (what we think are their thoughts, ha!) all the time. 

For example, Weezy gets a really high-pitched, cracked out voice when either of us narrates her behavior. We definitely play around with her the most because she really is off her rocker. When we call her and she comes running, or she makes really strange faces, one of us says something in our "Weezy voice" that is somewhat reflective of what we honestly think she thinks. I'm sure we are totally off. The picture below may give you an idea of the voice we deem appropriate.

Mags gets a sweet voice. Innocent, thoughtful, kind. She's the best dog you could ever ask for. Yes, there's a voice for that. 

Unfortunately, I can't show an individual pic of Mags, because she's terrified of anything that remotely looks like a camera. She was so photogenic as a pup, but one day, she decided to shake vehemently and pant uncontrollably after I took a picture of her. I have no idea where it came from, but any time I pull out my phone (black and rectangular like the camera) she walks right out of the room. That goes for my Kindle, too.

And then there's Fred. 
To me, he has a normal, teenager voice. He's got attitude, wants very little to do with his Momma, but is as sweet as can be when he wants something. So, in my head, Fred's got teenage angst. 

Justin gives Fred the whiniest voice you could ever imagine. He thinks Fred is weak, annoying, and nerdy (because he's got allergies and sneezes, which translates to nerdy, in his book). 
My hubs pretends to hate the cat. (Is this a guy thing?) He tells Fred he's stupid. He calls him names and acts like he's a waste of space, but at the end of the day, Fred ironically chooses Justin as his cuddle buddy. It's ridiculous and unfair in my world of animal love, because I've had Fred longer than I've known Justin, and quite frankly it offends me. But you know cats. They do what they want. And Justin secretly loves him.

Every day we wake up to two dogs in the bedroom. Ideally, they'd stay on their large makeshift palette on the floor. They do, but they've also mastered somehow getting on the bed ever so softly, so that we honestly do not notice until the wee hours of the morning. For that, they are spoiled and pretty much impossible to train differently. We don't mind for now. But tell me: How could you not adore waking up to this?

Or this?

Or this??

Anyway, we have some serious love going on in this house. In a later post I'll show you what we're dealing with currently, as I humbly admit our beautiful house fell prey to this ridiculous love. Yes, I have pictures for that, too. 




12 Weeks and a Day


Reading my older posts has me giggling a good bit. For me, fluctuating between baby fever and no baby fever has been pretty consistent, it seems. I know when we got the house, I initially thought that it would be a great time, despite the fact that we're both college kids and don't quite have our careers going. But, Justin and I would have long talks and come to the conclusion that we simply weren't prepared for bringing a human into this world...just yet. We don't want them to need for anything, and we simply couldn't guarantee that. But you know, not a whole lot of people can guarantee these things, anyway. We should certainly try by properly planning, though.

Well, to say the least, this post's headline is reflective of our current pregnancy! If you've read past posts, you may have seen that I had a very early miscarriage back at the time Justin and I were married. I would have embraced that pregnancy just as well, despite being too young and way under prepared. We have been able to take this last 4 years and grow together, move closer to family and friends, buy a home, and be slightly more prepared for baby. I'm very thankful for that time. 

Ok, so above is the initial picture I took of myself and sent to my mother first thing- after I told Justin, of course. I couldn't be more surprised! According to previous posts, you'll know that I was careful to cut out caffeine and other restricted items during pregnancy, during occasional pregnancy "scares." This time, I thought I was wasting a perfectly good pregnancy test. Little did I know. Plus, this provided some much needed comic relief after I got over my heart's incessant racing ;) 

Here is a snippet of the calendar we have on our refrigerator. July 10 is when we found out, but what you'll see below is conducive to the "WTF" you see above:


So, I hope all of you reading have seen Anchorman. If you haven't you won't understand this picture. I convinced my husband to leave his job (of 3 years), which was around the time of July 1st. He called me while I was having a coffee break at the Blue Eyed Daisy in Serenbe (check this place out, if you haven't!). He vented to me about management and just all of the daily problems he's had with this place, and honestly, I couldn't take anymore. We've had a super busy summer at work, and I've been working enough to handle a few short months of Justin's peaceful hiatus from work, if he would so choose. So, after instilling some confidence in him to chase after some peace- on his lunch break, mind you- he drafted his two-week notice. He handed it in that afternoon and I honestly have to say I was really proud of him. I wanted him to take a break. I wanted him to be happy. He's a wonderful man, a hard worker, and deserves to enjoy where he works, considering he, along with the rest of the world, will spend a majority of his waking hours at his job.

Thankfully, Justin quickly nabbed a part-time job and we didn't have a huge gap of unemployment (as I knew he would not rest until he found something- that's my hubby!). Nonetheless, we are still completely and totally taking life day by day, trying to plan for the future which is seemingly moving at lightning speed- well, except for this challenging first trimester, but I'll get to that in a later post. 

So, right now, I'm inching toward the end of this first trimester, and looking forward to what the second one brings! I hope it's all it's cracked up to be, and I certainly cannot wait until I feel more like my normal self again. Really, I just want a little energy boost ;) But I can't wait to see what life hands us, and how we'll face this new challenge of being parents. I'm beyond freaked about pregnancy and all of it's out-of-my-control-surprises, but I'm on board with it, regardless. I sure hope you'll enjoy reading this blog and keep me company- especially if time calls for commiserating! 

Until Soon.