Thursday, December 26, 2013

The 10th Christmas

I'm a sucker for anniversaries. I love celebrating the day I first met my husband. I remember when we got engaged and make a big deal out of it and of course, our wedding.

This year marked our 10th Christmas together. I still recall exchanging gifts before Christmas day back in 2004. I was so nervous. We had been dating just 4 months and I didn't want to get this man any stupid presents. Each year saw our traditions change as he joined my family on Christmas Eve and after we were married, I woke up Christmas morning at his parents house with him next to me to celebrate Christmas with his family.

Christmas Eve 2013 was a bit chaotic! My mom was in New York City on vacation and schedule to arrive back home late on the 23rd. But her plane was delayed and that caused her to miss her connection in Houston. She had to spend the night in the airport and landed in California at 11:00 a.m. Christmas Eve. Scheduled time for the Family Festivities to begin? 11:00 a.m.

After suffering from major pregnancy brain in the morning, I got to her house at 11:30 and started prepping the food and preheating the oven for the food that we would eat. I also made sure to turn up the heat since she had been gone for a week and it was a similar climate to the North Pole in there!

My husband, sister, brother in law, nieces and dad all arrived and we snacked, listened to Christmas music and visited, waiting for my mom's arrival. When we heard the garage open, we were so happy! She arrived! After a quick shower to wash the airport off of her, we ate and prepared to open presents.

The little ones went first, tearing into the wrapping paper and opening nearly every gift they received to check out how it worked and what it did. Their excitement was adorable. Diana asked if she could hand out the presents she purchased at her school Holiday Store next. This is by far, my favorite part of Christmas!

 Uncle Chris:  World's Greatest Uncle magnet

Au Bob: A teeny tiny mug that says "Awesome Aunt." LOVE.


We moved on to the Secret Santa exchange and had a great time guessing who our secret santa was and opening gifts. Baby D also received some items from Aunt Angela.



I have a wonderful family. I am lucky to live close enough where we can gather frequently (but not too frequently) and enjoy each others company. My husband's family also lives close and the ability to drive 20 minutes and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both families is priceless. We had a wonderful two days celebrating the holidays and I always feel a bit sad when I wake up on the 26th but as I told Chris last night, we have another exciting milestone to reach together in just a few months! 


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you all end 2013 on a positive note and begin 2014 strong, happy and full of wonderment! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Funny Pregnancy Observation

I still remember the first time it happened. I was 21 years old and working at Sports Chalet during college. I didn't know many of my coworkers because I only worked a couple days a week and spent all of my time at the front of the store, working the register.

A female employee was buying something during her break and said to me, "I didn't know you were pregnant!" First of all, you wouldn't know if I was pregnant because you don't know me. And second, NO. I blame the thick polo shirts we had to wear, tucked into khaki pants. I hold some weight in my stomach but I never thought it was that much.

I was wrong. It happened again as I was Christmas shopping one year. Again, my choice of clothing may have contributed but I really thought people knew not to ask or assume! It happened at a Jamba Juice once. Only a few weeks after a young male employee was clearly flirting with me, the same dude approached me as I was waiting for my smoothie and said something about being pregnant. STOP IT ALREADY! Another time a student of mine congratulated me on my pregnancy. HUH? The funny thing is that she actually had two kids that I had NO CLUE about even though I spent an entire year working with her.

And then there was this time that actually made me cry. In retrospect, I think perhaps this lady thought I was someone else because she was very convinced that I was pregnant.

Do you know how many times strangers have made comments to me about being pregnant over the past 5 months*?

ZERO. ZERO TIMES.

This was my bump last week, at 22 weeks:






I have had one "in context" comment. While waiting in line to use the bathroom at work the other day, the lady in front of me commented how strange it was to have a line in there. She turned and saw me and said "you must really have to go!"

So that was it. I have now come to the conclusion that strangers must just think I'm really proud of my stomach fat. I can't explain how 5-6 times in my life, I have been assumed to be pregnant with a much smaller stomach and now, I'm clearly sporting a bump and I get nothing. Although, with all of the ignorant statements I hear people say to pregnant women, I'm lucky to be in that camp!

*5 MONTHS. I am 4 months from my due date today. My goodness. Time...where does it go!?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Traditions #1-4

As a person who loves schedules and normalcy, December was meant for me. I know there are events that occur each December that I look forward to each holiday season!


#1: The first home games of the basketball season! My sister's husband is the women's basketball coach at the local community college and this past weekend kicked off the home games! I only made it out to the game on Friday night but I was so happy that they won the tournament. What a great way to head into the regular season!!
 Thank goodness the girls are mostly occupied during the game with toys or a pen and notebook. Amy wanted to play second shooter and sat next to Mommy for a few minutes. 

#2: Wreaths Across America. If you don't know about this program, you should look it up! It is usually held the second Saturday in December in VA cemeteries across the country. Volunteers lay wreaths on the grave sites of each and every headstone in the cemetery. The hour long ceremony prior to the wreath laying is very moving and emotional. As someone who bleeds red, white and blue, I love being surrounded by Americans who love their country and take time to thank the men and women who served in the military. 

I live 7 minutes from a National Cemetery and there is no way I'm going to miss this event each year. I can't wait until Baby D is old enough to lay wreaths of her own. It is amazing how quickly the job gets done with several hundred (perhaps more) people get to work and lay 17,000 wreaths!



#3: Cookie Baking! I used to go nuts and make many, many sugar cookies at Christmas. That was when I was young and didn't know better. One year, I made 70 cut outs and after frosting about 20 of them, decided I was in over my head. I always intend on doing more baking during Christmas but never find the energy. But there is one occasion that gets me in the kitchen. And that is tradition #4......



#4: 5th Annual Cookie Exchange! My friend Lindsay hosts a small cookie exchange each year and I am one of the lucky ones who gets to attend! I think this year was my favorite. The group was small (just 7 of us plus her husband who dipped in and out of the party to add some testosterone!) and the cookies were all delicious! I love all the cute containers and hearing about each cookie. And of course, voting for winners in several categories. I won "best container" this year with the glass jars! I was hoping for a win in that category! When I got home, I placed  all 36 cookies in storage containers and put them in the freezer. Let's see how long these cookies will last!


Tradition #5 is fast approaching.....Cookie Decorating with my family!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 Highlights

I might be alone in this but I love end of the year retrospectives. BEST DRESSED! BEST MOMENT! BEST HAIR! I'm cheesy like that. I'm that person who loses track of time reading old blog posts because I want to remember the past.

As another year comes to a close, I can't help but think way back to January and how many things in our lives change in an instant. Obviously, the biggest moment of this year for me is being pregnant. Wanna know a secret? I'm still in disbelief. When you tell yourself for so long that it just isn't going to happen and you have mentally prepared yourself for a life without children, it can come as quite a shock when those plans change!

But to me, the biggest changes that happen over a year are the small things that occur on a random evening or weekend. Here are some of my favorites:

*Seeing my dad learn how to walk again, just months after his stroke. He is hoping to have his drivers license back by the end of this year. Fingers crossed!

*Hitting a double during one of several softball seasons. A double! That was a big deal to me!

*Spending a few hours in Wine Country with my husband and enjoying a wine tasting WITH my husband, who doesn't drink wine. First time for everything!

*The conversation we had in February regarding our plans to try IVF. That conversation gave me a renewed hope and removed so much anxiety and sadness regarding our childless situation. I was able to live life in such a positive way after we made that decision. It was truly a blessing that my husband decided to paint that bedroom and embrace a topic we both had avoided for months.

*Taking a road trip to a new destination! We drove 3.5 hours to the Mendocino Coast in June for our anniversary. The drive was long and very boring until we hit the ocean and then I was in love! Despite a growing head cold, we had a great time soaking up the view from our ocean view room and falling in love with the charm of a small coastal city.

*After years and years of wanting to do it, I finally completed our wedding album. I don't look at it enough and need to make a point to sit down and remind myself of that day more often.

*We had the best 4th of July this year. Yes, it was horribly hot (108 was the high) but both of our families spent time at our house in the evening. We had dinner and sat outside (dumb) and enjoying watching water fights, games of catch and blowing up fireworks. It was such a great reminder of what is important in our lives-family!

*This year was a slow year on the old blog. I wrote just 66 posts compared to 150 in 2011. A lot of that radio silence in August and September was due to keeping my mouth shut about the pregnancy. I didn't have a lot else to write about during that time since my life seemed to be consumed with exhaustion and barfing. I've been on a bit of a roll the past few weeks, blogging some thoughts and fun projects we've been working on. In fact, between October and this second week in December, I have 15 posts published-that is more than July, August and September combined! I hope to keep things going and finding inspiration in both my life, this pregnancy and the outside world.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas (and Pinterest) Inspired Art

I pinned this picture a year ago and I never got around to trying to replicate it. So lazy. But while I was in Walmart this week, I wandered into the art supply aisle and decided to spend time on my Sunday afternoon painting! I figured since my husband was busy upstairs painting the closet in the nursery, I should do something more than stare at the television for hours on end!

 I started with a black squiggle.....


 And alternated colors to make the bulbs. I tend to over do it with my arts and crafts so I refrained from adding anything else to the white space on the canvas. I think it is lovely just how it is.

 With my second canvas, I wanted to paint some Christmas trees but not just one big tree. So I went off to Pinterest and searched "christmas tree art" and found an inspiration photo!

I kept the picture up on my ipad while I painted since I have no artistic talent or vision and needed to copy.


I kind of love how it turned out. I placed this one on my dresser in the bedroom and the light strand painting in the guest bathroom. I'm not sure how I should store them after Christmas. I don't want them to get yellowed or ripped. Perhaps I will put them in a closet and not in the storage bins in the garage. It would also be fun to paint a new picture each year and create a Christmas art wall for the holidays. We have plenty of space in our house for that!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

21/19

Today, I am 21 weeks pregnant. I have "19" weeks to go. I use quotations around that because I believe 100% that due dates mean nothing and this baby will arrive when it is meant to arrive. Early, late, whatever. It is out of my hands.

I love waking up Thursday mornings to read my two pregnancy apps (which always have different information on how big the baby is!) and my weekly newsletter from my healthcare provider. That newsletter always manages to cover at least one topic that I am currently experiencing. One week, it answered questions about dental care during pregnancy on the day I was due to go to the dentist! Today, it covered heartburn and I've been having major issues with heartburn the last few weeks. Time to cut out the chocolate!

The last 2 weeks have been pretty exciting. Since we found out we are having a girl, I've been doing my best not to go crazy buying adorable clothes. I did make a couple of purchases from Gap but the items were on sale and too cute to pass up. Her room is turning into a construction zone with the closet being remodeled and wood floors being installed later this month.

I'm continuing to research the best baby equipment and I think I have settled on the best crib, car seat and stroller that is affordable but also safety rated by the experts. I plan to spend my Christmas break looking into daycare facilities. It seems like a daunting task but I just need to go into it knowing that it is 1) a necessity and 2) expensive.

For the most part, aside from that pesky heartburn, I've been feeling pretty good these days. I feel the baby rolling around throughout the day. No real kicks or jabs yet, more like muscle twitches. I can't wait until Chris can feel them from the outside!

I'm trying to spend more time talking to her but it feels a little silly. Chris puts his face against my stomach in the morning and says goodbye and that he loves her. I sing Christmas music super loud when I'm in the car, hoping she can hear it and start to love those tunes sooner rather than later.

As for a name, we are considering two and keeping them to ourselves. I'm not a fan of hearing opinions of other people. Remember-I spent 98% of the time looking for my wedding dress alone and purchased it without anyone taking a look first to confirm I was making the right choice. No one needs to opine about the name of our daughter, thankyouverymuch. I'm in no hurry to make the final decision and will happily wait until I am holding her in my arms to decide. I'm not sure my husband feels the same way but I don't feel right naming her until I meet her.

Each month continues to fly by and I know with Christmas approaching, it will be January before I know it. The actual year that I will give birth to my baby will be here. It is all still so surreal!



Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas is UP!

With only 3.5 weeks until Christmas, I knew we had to put our Christmas decorations up by December 1. I got to work Friday morning and spent a couple of hours making sure everything was in the right place. What made this day extra special were the items I purchased after Christmas last year that I never got to display. I had a couple of pillows to throw on the couch and most importantly, the pre-lit 3 foot Christmas tree I got at Walmart for $5. I was most excited to display that tree somewhere special!

I placed it on a media cabinet in our loft. It is visible from the street and makes me happy when I walk up and down the stairs each day! So far, Kitty has only knocked two ornaments off! 


After I decorated our mantle, I noticed something was missing. I usually have 4 tall objects placed on the mantle and with those gone, the wall around our clock that hangs on the wall seemed so empty. I scoured Pinterest for a picture that would serve as inspiration. I also needed a new idea for how to display the Christmas cards we received and lucky me, I found the perfect idea that would fulfill both needs!

Red Ribbon from Walmart, extra sticky glue to hold the pieces together and some tape at the bottom of the "tree", I'm all set to display the variety of Christmas cards we get in the mail AND fill the empty wall space above the fireplace. Instead of gluing each card to the ribbon, I will be using tiny clothespins that I have used to display the cards in the past. I can't wait to see the ribbon fill up!