Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I think our cat Bones has entered into a destructive teenage phase. Suddenly, she is attacking furniture, ripping sheets off the bed, and just generally being a pain. She especially likes to try and run through your legs while you're walking in an attempt to trip you. Or to climb up on you pretending she's being all nice and loving, only to suddenly start biting your chin. But last night, she was actually quite sweet. In this picture, she had crawled up onto the ottoman, under the blanket, and burrowed herself against J's leg for the whole time we were watching a DVR'ed episode of Lie to Me.
Today, I wanted to share an article that I found on About.com by Mary Fairchild called "5 Steps to Building Your Christian Marriage". It's an interesting article with lots of good points--though I will be the first to admit that J and I don't do everything on the list! I wish that we did...
Step 1: Pray Together.
My husband and I have found that first thing in the morning is the best time for us. We ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit and give us strength for the day ahead. It brings us closer together as we care for each other every day. We think about what the day ahead holds for our partner. Our loving affection goes beyond the physical realm to the emotional and spiritual realm. This develops true intimacy with each other and with God.
Perhaps a better time for you as a couple might be just before you go to bed each night. It's impossible to fall asleep angry when you've just held hands together in God's presence.
Step 2: Read Together.
This might also be described as a time of devotions. About five years ago my husband and I began setting aside time each weekday morning to read the Bible and pray together -- a couple's devotional time. We read to each other, either from the Bible or from a devotional book, and then we spend a few minutes in prayer together.
We've had to commit to rising from sleep about 30 minutes earlier in order to do this, but it's been a wonderful, intimate time of strengthening our marriage. It took 2 1/2 years, but what a sense of accomplishment we felt when we realized we had read through the entire Bible together!
Step 3: Make Decisions Together.
I'm not talking about deciding on what to eat for dinner. Major decisions, like financial ones, are best decided as a couple. One of the greatest areas of strain in a marriage is the sphere of finances. As a couple you should discuss your finances on a regular basis, even if one of you is better at handling the practical aspects, like paying the bills and balancing the check book. Keeping secrets about spending will drive a wedge between a couple faster than anything.
If you agree to come to mutual decisions on how the finances are handled, this will strengthen trust between you and your partner. Also, you won't be able to keep secrets from each other if you commit to making all important family decisions together. This is one of the best ways to develop trust as a couple.
Step 4: Attend Church Together.Find a place of worship where you and your spouse will not only attend together, but enjoy areas of mutual interest, such as serving in a ministry and making Christian friends together. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25, that one of the best ways we can stir up love and encourage good deeds is by remaining faithful to the Body of Christ by meeting together regularly as believers.
Step 5: Continue Dating.
Once married, couples often neglect the area of romance, especially after the kids come along. Continuing a dating life may take some strategic planning on your part as a couple, but it is vital to maintaining a secure and intimate marriage. Keeping the romance alive will also be a bold testimony to the strength of your Christian marriage.
These 5 steps require real, committed effort on your part. Falling in love may have seemed effortless, but keeping your Christian marriage strong will take ongoing work. The good news is—building a healthy marriage is not all that complicated or difficult if you're determined to follow a few basic principles.
Monday, September 28, 2009
-Thank you to the bloggers that have tagged me recently! I promise that I'll try to get to doing the awards sometime this week!
-I don't know whether it's a cold, or my allergies are bad due to all the smoke from the fires (the air was designated unsafe for everyone last week), but I am in bad shape. Still, I'm hoping that a hot shower, a box of Kleenex attached to my hip, and some daytime Tylenol Cold will help me get through the day. Do NOT want to take any more vacation time right now!
-Due to the aforementioned, I only slept about 4 hours last night. And when I DID sleep, I had awful, awful pregnancy nightmares. In one of them, I dreamed that my water broke today. I woke up before I found out if the bambino lived or not. In another, I dreamed that I died giving birth. In a third, I dreamed that the doctors told us that either the baby or I would make it, but not both, and we had to choose. Awful, awful, awful. I just want some sleep...you know, the kind where you wake up and actually feel rested?
-I need some ideas for dinners for this week. Any suggestions?
-Next doctor's appointment is on Wednesday. As always, both incredibly nervous, and excited.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Off-Center Shots- Composing off center shots can be difficult, because you want the shot to look intentional, not as though it was an accident, or like you shot without looking through the viewfinder. One way that helps make this look intentional is the "Rule of Thirds". Now, there are many different interpretations of the Rule of Thirds, but the basic premise is that you want to divide the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Some cameras have a setting that will do this for you, but essentially, it would look like this:
Some people say that the "Rule of Thirds" means that the focus of your shot should fall on one of those points of intersection. So basically, other than the dead center of the frame, there are four alternate points that you could use as the center of the shot. This is a good starting point. But I don't like "rules" and so personally, I find myself looking more for the bulk of the picture to fall into any four adjoining boxes. In the above picture, the center of the shot isn't one of those intersection points, but because the bulk of the photo is in at least four adjoining boxes, I feel that the picture still looks pretty well balanced. Sure, they could both be moved slightly to the left to make it better, but overall, it's pretty good.
Consider Light and Dark Balance- Over the summer, DH's band played at this absolutely beautiful outdoor amphitheater. Basically, it was a stage that had been cut into the side of a mountain. It took your breath away. Most of the band wanted me to take some promo shots there, but I had to tell them that it just wouldn't work. Can you tell why from the picture below?
The rock in the amphitheater, the band members' skin tone, and the band members' clothes are all in the same tonal region. There really wasn't much contrast, aside from Chuck's green hat, and the focus of the picture wasn't mean to be Chuck's green hat. When I'm taking pictures of someone, I often ask them to bring along several shirts--one light (but not white), and one dark. This helps me to control the contrast based on the surroundings.
It's also valuable to think about quick ways that you can balance contrast on your own. Take for example, the below shot:
This was a shot that Renee requested when I was doing their family pictures. Now, I don't have a studio, but I knew that finding a way to build contrast would be important in these shots to get the look that Renee wanted. So, I took a navy blue blanket, threw it over our bedroom door, and had them pose in front of the blanket. Even though it wasn't a black blanket, I knew that I was shooting these in black and white, and the navy blue would read dark, which was all that was important. Consider doing a bit of shooting in black and white--it's easier to see contrast that way, and it's a good way to train your eye for what will provide good contrast even when shooting in color. When you're shooting, keep an eye out for things that can provide contrast--dark green grass can contrast well with skin tone. Sky contrasts well with dark clothes. Things like wheat will also lighten up a shot, while bodies of water tend to give the darker contrast.
The one exception to needing contrast, in my humble opinion, is when you're shooting newborns or very young children, but that's a story for another day.
Change Levels-My niece and nephew are so used to me taking pictures of them that they hardly bat an eye anymore. The one for this example is one of my favorite pictures ever of Logan, and it was totally candid. One of the reasons that I love it so much is that you feel like you're right there with him. And that's because I was laying on the floor on my stomach across from him. One thing that I am almost ALWAYS doing when taking pictures of them is getting down on their level. I would ALWAYS suggest that for taking pictures of children.
But aside from getting down on the floor with kids, the idea of changing your level of perspective comes in handy in all sorts of ways. We're good friends with the photographer who did our wedding, and he is always carting around a ladder with him. In fact, one of my favorite wedding photos that he took is a prime example:
Keep in mind that it's almost always more flattering for a photographer to shoot down at a subject opposed to shooting up at them (double chin, anyone?). So, the next time you're taking pictures, don't be afraid to have people lay on the ground and stand over top of them to take your shot! Just play around with your shooting heights, and see what you come up with!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Total weight gain/loss: About 5 pounds as of my last OB appointment. Probably 10-15 now.
Maternity clothes: Mostly. Still some regular shirts, but not for much longer.
Stretch marks: Yep. But then again, I've had them since I was in high school.
Sleep: Yeah, not so much. Nothing is comfortable.
Best moment this week: Hmmm...I'm just enjoying feeling the kicks. Registering was pretty fun too!
Movement: She quieted down for a few days, making me nervous, but seems to be back on her regular kicking schedule lately.
Food cravings: Hot fudge and Marshmellow sundaes. Also Pickapeppa sauce and cream cheese with Wheat Thins.
Belly button in or out?: In.
What I miss: Wine.
What I am looking forward to: Getting the nursery finished. *cough* Justin *cough*.
Weekly Wisdom: Grocery shopping can most definitely equal daily exercise.
Milestones: Viability day! With the marvels of modern medicine, by the end of this week, the little bean has a 57% chance of survival if she were to be born. I'd like her to stay right where she is for now, but it's incredible how quickly the percentage of babies that survive rises just from week to week.
In other news, my major pains lately have been my allergies, and heartburn--even water gives me heartburn. I constantly feel like I'm going to throw up again because of it. I'll have to ask the doctor about it at our appointment next week. I also still feel like I could probably sleep for 3 or four days! Luckily, we have nothing planned this weekend!
I've also been trying to get J to talk to Lizzie, but he still thinks it's pretty bizarre. I totally understand, I think it's kind of bizarre too!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This is our dining room table. It's actually the dining room table that J grew up with. His parents were kind enough to give it to us when we got married and had no table. But the truth is, the table is not my style. Justin loves it because it's old and wood. And if it's old and wood, he loves it and never wants to part with it ever.
Although the shape really isn't my style, even more than the shape, the color of the wood matches NOTHING else in the house. And we have quite a few pretty significant wood pieces--the table just does not match any of them. Not the hutch, not the buffet (that J insists we MUST keep even though it doesn't fit anywhere in our house), not the cabinets (which I also want to paint white, but that's a story for another day), not the wood floors.
What I really want to do, is paint the sucker white. My dad has a paint sprayer that I'm sure I could borrow, and coupled with some no-sand primer, I'm thinking this wouldn't be THAT big of a project. And because the wood isn't in great shape and there are butt-marks on the chairs, there's a small chance that Justin might actually go for it.
But honestly, I'm a little intimidated....I don't really paint furniture that often because my husband tends to think it's a mortal sin to pain wood. What do you guys think? Do-able?
Head over to Marital-Bless to check out more Wedded Wednesday bloggers.
"There is nothing like the deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons. It was that good." -The Perks of Being a Wallflower
When was the last time that you and your husband or wife just laughed? Not a little giggle. Not the hah-that's-funny-now-let-me-get-back-to-blogging kind. The oh-my-god-I-am-going-to-pee-my-pants type of laughing. When was the last time?
It's not nearly enough for us. Which is funny, because it was A LOT while we were dating. But I was reminded last night, after we both just started absolutely cracking up at something, just how important it is to take time out of our booked schedules just for some child-like fun. To forget the dishes or the laundry for a little while. Sometimes, you fall into this cycle of work, cooking dinner, doing dishes, laundry, fixing something around the house, church, visiting family, rinse, repeat. Even if those things are actually enjoyable, they become so repetitious that they're just NOT enjoyable anymore. And neither is the marriage.
So....yeah. This post today isn't terribly profound--just an encouragement that taking time just to have fun and to laugh can be such a positive thing!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
-I finished reading Friday Night Knitting Club over the weekend. I thought that I'd hate it, because even as someone who knits, I didn't really want to read about knitting. Plus, I'm kind of a renegade knitter (I taught myself), and so I don't read patterns. Hey, at least my scarves and blankets are now straight! Anyway...I actually ended up really enjoying the book, and would definitely recommend it!
-I am very proud of myself. I successfully found a used DVR that hadn't been stolen off eBay, hooked it up all by myself, and then did some troubleshooting all by myself. I even found the secret code you need to make our new remote work with our older DVR. The only bummer right now is that we only have one line in, which means I can't watch and record at the same time. Not sure if I can run the coaxial cable myself, or if I really need to pay Direct TV the $49 to do it. Depends on whether there's an open slot at the satellite or whether they have a multiswitch burried somewhere in our wall. Justin may be the handyman in the family, but I am definitely the one in charge when it comes to electronics. Thanks dad!
-Isn't it supposed to be fall? It was over 100 degrees here yesterday. No me gusta!
-I need to lay off the marshmellow and hot fudge sundaes and get to walking again. It has just been so stinking hot, and I am so stinking tired. We cancelled our gym memberships, and so I'm battling the fact that once I'm home, I'd rather sit on the couch. And have I mentioned how hot it is?! Still, I know I'm about to run the equivalent of a marathon here in a couple of months, and I know that I need to start doing something. Does walking around our big warehouse grocery store for an hour count? 'Cause it feels like it!
-I'm in a meal planning slump. Nothing sounds good to me right now.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
-About 8 oz uncooked spiral or tube pasta. I use half a box of whole wheat tubes.
-1 pound ground beef
-6 strips of bacon, cooked and diced. OR, you can be a slacker like me and use 3/4 of the package of bacon pieces (not bacon bits) in the salad dressing aisle.
-1 can (10 and 3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup, undiluted.
-At least one cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a medium to large size skillet. Drain the fat off the beef. Add the can of soup and bacon to the beef, and turn the heat down to low. Once the pasta is drained and ready, add the pasta to the bacon/beef/soup mixture, and stir together. Sprinkle with cheese, cover, and cook on low until the cheese is melted.
Alyssa (right?) from My Husband's Watching TV asked: What was the first thought that went through your head when you found out you were going to be a dad?
I was just very happy. I've been wanting to have kids since before we were married.
Megs from She Wasn't Pretty asked: Have you ever installed a toilet where there was radiant hot water heating? How do you prevent the wax ring from melting? The toasty warm tile floors are nice in the winter but now I'm starting to see a little of the melted wax around the toilet base. Not good, I'm guessing! :(
Your radiant tubing is too close to your toilet. It should have been installed at least 8 inches away from the toilet. Fortunately you can go to a hardware store or Lowes or Home Depot and buy a non wax ring. Or if you had a plumber do it you can call him and have him come and install it for you.
Kait from My Crazy Unpredictable Life asked: I want to know if Justin still wants to buy a duplex? And when he's going to convince my husband to get the heck outta the military and move home so we CAN buy the duplex?
Yes I do want to buy a duplex but that's when we get old. In the meantime, after Jesse gets out you can come buy the house next to us and we can be neighbors. But when we get old and our kids move out we should definitely buy a duplex or build one on some acreage. Just as long as you and Meredith put us back in our own rooms when we fall asleep drunk on the front porch. Or you could just leave us where we are.
Kait also wanted to know: What's the one thing you are looking forward to the most about having a little girl?
Being her superman.
Allie from A&E's 101 asked: Any tips on installing a new counter top/sink combo to an existing bathroom vanity?
If you're concerned about it not turning out the way you want it, then hire someone to do it for you. Personally I have never done it.
Emily from Imperfect asked: What's your favorite thing about your job?
I like doing something different almost every day. For example: one day I'll be on the excavator all day, and the next I'll be installing gas piping, and the next day I'll be installing radiant floors, and the next day I'll be running parts all day or helping our service plumber and doing some drain cleaning calls. Its just nice to be doing something different all the time. I was a drywaller out of high school and there are only a few aspects to drywalling . Don't get me wrong, I loved it but there's not a lot of money in it and the economy tanked right before I was going to get married. But there are so many parts to plumbing that I'll be learning all about it for the rest of my life. And I also have the knowledge for when I build a house of my own.
Taryn from The Colorado Desert had lots of questions! First up, she asked: What is your favorite thing about your wife?
She balances me out. We are exact opposites and I think that we work really well together. When we met at 16 she was the one that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life together with and that still stands today.
Then: What is your favorite animal, color, food, tree, house plant?
Dog, blue and green, bacon, maple, and plants belong outside.
And: Shower or bath?
Bubble bath most definitely.
Alright it's really shower.
And finally: What is your favorite part of being in a band? Your least favorite part of being in the band?
I love playing music. And for the most part I enjoy playing with my family. But sometimes playing with family can get really annoying. We get off topic all the time and we knowingly inconvenience each other more than we should because we are family and we'll tolerate it more.
Lisa from Little to Big asked: How would you feel if you met someone for the first time and they humped your leg?
I don't know LISA what did I do? Now, I'd probably ask you to even it out and do it to the other leg.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
(443): you tried to scramble eggs in my dryer last night. i want you here in 15 minutes to clean this shit up
(314): I convinced her san diego was a state. all the proof I needed was saying, why do they call it san diego state university?
(920): in spanish class. the girl next to me asked what Galapagos were. i told her they were islands. now she thinks Galapagos means islands in spanish.
(403): I want to poop on a bird, just to show them what it's like.
(480): You were running around the house covered in syrup, with shredded down pillow feathers on your body screaming "AFLACK!" at everyone
(760): my iphone just auto-corrected drink to drnknghhhg...
(773): I wonder why dictionaries dont have indexes to help find the words easier.
(716): holy crap !! There is a MIDGET FAMILY in one of my rooms today !
(1-716): How much trouble would you get into if you were to stomp down the hallway while loudly saying 'Fe Fi Fo Fum...'
(516): He is drunkenly eating my teddy grahms and making little growling noises as he bites the head off of each one.
(345): so... my grandma just told me i should be a stripper
(574): well at least shes not calling you fat anymore
(978): im dressed up like a present. waiting for someone to unwrap me ;)
(1-978): this is your brother
(434): KATE. I JUST NOTICED THAT LOWERCASE D'S LOOK LIKE SLIPPERS.
Remember--today is the last day to Ask Justin Anything!
The theme of this week's pregnancy post is "Pictures and Confessions". I've got a bunch of pictures that are overdue, and also a bunch of pregnancy related confessions.
First up, the pictures:
One of the two baby blankets I'm working on. I don't know if you can really see the pattern, but I LOVE this stitch. It's absolutely my favorite.
-I am eating waaaaayyyy more pizza than is healthy. I have to force myself to eat healthy at all.
-I am terrible about actually doing Kegels.
-I still kind of think it's a boy.
-The more I read, the more terrified I'm becoming about delivery and post-partum.
-Our house is pretty much a disaster. I just don't have the energy.
-Despite the fact that I'm feeling major kicking, every once in awhile, I'll freak myself out for no good reason. I'll realize it's been a couple of hours since I felt a kick, and drink a soda or something to make her kick. But then she won't for awhile, and I'll freak out. Then I will feel a kick, but then spend the next half hour trying to decide whether it was really a kick, or all in my head.
-This is probably a stupid question/concern, but with all the flipping around babies do in utero, I've always wondered why more babies don't have cord accidents in the womb. Is the umbilical cord being wrapped around a baby's neck not really a concern until it comes time for delivery? No one can ever really seem to answer this question, and it stresses me out for no good reason!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
So, in the meantime, I thought it might be kind of interesting to do an "Ask Justin Anything" post. Want to know his favorite food? Ask away! Curious why he thinks painting wood is a mortal sin? By all means, ask away! Want to know what he does for fun besides playing Final Fantasy? Ask away! Want to know what he thinks about becoming a dad? Ask away! Have a plumbing or dywall question? You get the picture...ask away.
I'll see if I can get J to answer these questions over the weekend, so let's say that the deadline for questions is 10pm on this Friday, September 18th.
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,
anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.
Find other Wedded Wednesday bloggers at Marital-Bless.
"Day 3- Love is not selfish.
We live in a world that is enamored with "self". The culture around us teaches us to focus on our appearance, feelings, and personal desires as the top priority. The goal, it seems, is to chase the highest level of happiness possible. The danger from this kind of thinking, however, becomes painfully apparent once inside a marriage relationship.
If there were ever a word that basically means the opposite of love, it is selfishness. Unfortunately, it is something that is ingrained into every person from birth. You can see it in the way young children act, and often in the way adults mistreat one another. Almost every sinful action committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people, but justify in ourselves. Yet, you cannot point out all the ways your spouse is selfish without admitting that you are selfish too. That would be hypocritical....
When a husband puts his interests, desires, and priorities in front of his wife, that's a sign of selfishness. When a wife constantly complains about the time and energy she spends meeting the needs of her husband, that's a sign of selfishness...You cant be acting out of real love and selfishness at the same time. Choosing to love your mate will cause you to say "no" to what you want so you can say "yes" to what they need. That's putting the happiness of your partner above your own...When you relinquish your rights for the sake of your mate, you get a chance to lose yourself to the greater purpose of marriage.
Whether you like it or not, you have a reputation in the eyes of those around you, especially in the eyes of your spouse. But is it a loving reputation? Remember, your marriage partner also has the challenge of loving a selfish person. So determine to be the first to demonstrate real love to them..."Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).
Today's dare: Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It's hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says 'I was thinking of you today.'"
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
-We got a DVR from eBay....WOOOOOOOOOOO! I cannot wait until it arrives.
-I am absolutely exhausted. I think I've slept about 3 hours each night the past couple of nights due to allergies and just generally being uncomfortable. Consequently, I'm super emotional for no good reason. Some Benadryl or Tylenol PM is probably in order tonight.
-J has jury duty today, and I'm jealous. He always gets called--I would LOVE jury duty, but the only time I ever get called was the day before our wedding, which they nicely deferred. But then I never got called again. At least, not that that I know about....it's really bizarre, the court keeps sending the notices for jury duty to J's parent's house, even though we've changed our addresses twice with the DMV and post office. He's even changed his address on the postcard he has to send back to the court FOUR TIMES. But still, it goes to his parent's house, not ours. It's weird.
Monday, September 14, 2009
My brother’s football coach is in the news lately, because he is requesting to do random drug tests on the players. Drug and alcohol use, particularly marijuana use, is completely rampant among the high school students and the town in general—I would know from experience. In fact, more than one of the players on the football team received citations for Minor In Possession and Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (marijuana) over the summer, and ended up being suspended for the first few games of the season. To put things in context, growing up, I was one of two of my circle of 15-20 friends that didn’t receive an MIP—and my group of friends would NOT be considered “partiers”. It was not uncommon for many of my classmates and friends to actually smoke weed with their parents. More than one teacher at the high school was busted for supplying students with weed.
Anyway, the coach suspects that most of the team is drinking and smoking marijuana on a regular basis (he’s probably right), and this spurred his request to begin random drug testing. The coach has received a donation of a season’s worth of drug tests, so there would be no cost to the school. All but one player’s parents have signed consent for their children to be tested. The player whose parents did not consent would not be tested, and would not be penalized for not being tested.
The first occurrence of a positive test would result in the player’s parents being notified, and probably some hefty extra conditioning. If the player tests positive a second time, they would not be allowed to play again until they had completed a drug and alcohol treatment program.
This has created a BIG uproar in the hippie town that I lived in, and many of the citizens (who are not the parents of the team members) are screaming that the testing violates the students’ civil liberties, or would open the door for other liberties to be violated. They are concerned that the player whose parents won’t consent to him being drug tested really will be penalized, no matter what the coach says. They say that it’s unfair that only the football team has to submit to testing. The issue will go before the school board in the next few days to see whether or not they will allow the drug testing to occur.
Personally, I am typically pretty leery of policies that may violate civil liberties. However, in this instance, I am in complete support of the drug testing given the fact that the parents have consented to it. For me, that fact (coupled with the fact that there’s no cost to tax payers) makes it a non-issue. Further, I believe wholeheartedly that marijuana use is an epidemic in the town, and to keep ignoring the fact that it’s an issue does a disservice to every one of the children in the town. Yes, we could argue all day about whether or not it should really be illegal, but the fact of the matter is that it IS illegal at the time being, and if they disagree, they should lobby to change the law, not just break it. Lastly, extracurricular activities are a privilege, not a right. Often, a higher level of academic achievement is required to participate in extracurricular activities, and I don’t see any reason that asking players to agree to a higher level of drug and alcohol enforcement is any different.
But what are your thoughts?
-The good news is that I get to go in late to work. The bad news is that I have to work until 8pm.
-A couple of my pictures of my bro's football game were featured on our local paper's website. It's a small victory for me! Now I just have to find a way to get paid to do it...
-A pair of pants that I bought off Ebay arrived. First of all, I'm excited about scoring a pair of long Gap pants for $20, but I'm also REALLY excited to have pants that fit!
-Speaking of clothes, I put away the rest of the clothes that won't fit for awhile and are out of season for my sister's consignment shop. I'm not gonna lie...it was 5 Space Bag's worth of stuff. Most of it was gym clothes--I still have sweats from high school! I think I'll probably have another bag here in a couple of months. It's actually nice to have fewer clothes, though I do need a few more maternity shirts.
-J and I have been making some big and difficult decisions lately about work, business, and where we're headed in the next year. And now that we've made some decisions, I feel totally at peace...which is crazy, because I thought that officially committing to some of these things would make me worry and stress even more.
-I am so ridiculously excited for the season premiere of Bones this week!!!
-I lost the eBay auction for a DVR. Sad day!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I am tall, and also have quite long legs. My legs are so long, that once (before I was pregnant) when I asked a sales associate at Macy’s if they had any dress pants in my inseam, she laughed at me. Most pants came with a standard 32 inch inseam to 33 inch inseam, or maybe a 34 inch inseam if I was able to find a “long”. Because of this, I was essentially only able to order pants with a 36 inch inseam online from the “tall” section of various stores such as Gap and Old Navy.
When I became pregnant, I was happy to see that many different retailers including JC Penney, Old Navy, Gap, and Motherhood Maternity carried maternity pants in “long” or “tall” sizes. However, I quickly became disappointed to discover that when it comes to maternity, “long” and “tall” didn’t mean what they once did pre-pregnancy.
What I quickly discovered was that in maternity clothes, a regular length inseam varies from between 30 inches, to 32 inches if I was lucky. Apparently, clothing manufacturers believe that women shrink in height during pregnancy. In maternity sizing, a “long” or “tall” inseam typically means 33 inches, very occasionally 34 inches.
Now, you can certainly find 36 inch inseams from brands like Paige Premium Denim or Rock and Republic, but I just can't afford to shell out $150 on a pair of maternity pants. I don't plan to be pregnant for 12 years of my life people! Plus, I need dress pants for work, not just jeans.
For over our first year and a half of being married, J and I had no cable of any sort. Even before antennas were made obsolete, we couldn't pick up any signal whatsoever in our apartment. And mostly, it was fine. We watched a lot of movies, took advantage of TV shows that made full episodes available online, downloaded shows from iTunes, etc.
After moving into our house, we decided to spring for cable when Direct TV offered us a promotional package of the basic package (maybe 200 shows?), which included our local stations, and Bravo. I believe Dish Network was technically cheaper, but to get the channels that we actually watch, we would have paid a lot more.
What we didn't spring for, and now I'm kind of wishing we had, was a DVR. But it looks like the cost to upgrade is insane. I'm considering buying one off of eBay, after verifying that it doesn't have an additional balance attached to it. Then again, most shows are available on the internet, but our connection seems to have a hard time streaming shows.
For us, it's definitely a luxury, albeit one that I'm hoping to keep around for quite awhile--for me, coming home and watching a half hour or so of mindless TV is one of the quickest ways to de-stress from my job! Plus, there are a couple of shows that J and I really enjoy watching together...
Edited to Add: I forgot to include how much we're actually paying, which is $29.99/ month.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Well, I am now either 5 or 6 months pregnant, depending on who you ask (some say you change at 22 weeks, and others at 23). I feel like so much has happened pregnancy wise lately between the nursery, and the new baby developments! Here are a couple of updates from the week:
-I am now definitely feeling movement, and Justin was even able to feel a kick or two the other day.
-Most people can tell that I'm definitely pregnant. Though I have to say that when people say "You're hardly showing!" I'm never quite sure whether that's meant to be a compliment, or what, because um, my stomach didn't look like this before. I am pretty obviously showing. On the other hand, I do appreciate the "You look great!" comments, which affirm that I am showing, but haven't totally ballooned yet. Although I feel like I have!
-I am enjoying being able to eat pretty much whatever, and not gain much weight, even with minimal exercise. This was NEVER the case pre-pregnancy. Since high school, I've had to work hard to stay at a reasonable weight. I better not get into the habit of this though! Let me tell you...I am hungry all the time. Especially for pizza. If pizza's on the table, I WILL eat pizza anytime.
-We've received some incredible gifts, including our first giraffe outfit, which Kaitlin thrust in my direction with an, "I'm sorry, but I HAD to!" By the way, I love it. I just didn't really want to go for a giraffe themed nursery! Lisa also sent me a belated birthday/early baby present in the form of an Old Navy gift card with the instructions to buy some maternity clothes, which I have ordered and can't wait to share. It was great timing because most of my regular shirts aren't long enough anymore. Also, Lisa knows me too well--the gift card was not in one of the "typical" amounts, and my total was exactly ten cents over the amount on the card. Perfect! Such blessings!
-Elizabeth is approximately the size of a papaya, or about 10-12 inches, and 12-20 ounces. She's also settling into a sleep pattern of about 12 hours a day. Luckily, she doesn't keep me up too much during the night at this point.
-Lastly, for the first time during the pregnancy, I really feel pretty good! I'm tired all the time, but what's new?!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,
anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.
Check out the other Wedded Wednesday bloggers at Marital-Bless
Justin and I have been "off" lately. Do you ever sometimes start to feel like you're just ships passing in the night, or that you're more roommates than a married couple? It's not necessarily anyone's fault, it just happens sometimes. Especially over the weekend, we were both busy with different projects, and when those were completed, we both wanted to decompress. Justin wanted to play Nintendo, I wanted to sleep or knit. Our sleep schedules were also off, so often when I was awake, J was asleep, and visa versa. It was probably needed individually for us to both take the time to relax in a way that was meaningful to us, but we didn't do a good job nurturing our marriage in the process.
Needless to say, last night was a great opportunity for us to reconnect, and to talk about something more than the weather, work, money, or food! I wanted to share part of the handout that was given to us--I'm not sure where it's from to give credit to the author....but I think I remember reading this in either The Love Dare, or The 5 Love Languages.
Proverbs 8:6- Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.
Conversation reveals the inner person. When we're dating, we absorb every word our date utters and file each precious comment away for future reference. Some of our dates disqualify themselves the moment they open their mouths, but then we find the right one and marry, largely because of what that person said. A few years later, we stop listening. We know our spouse so well that his or her comments are predictable, and we've heard them all before. We stop talking about hopes and dreams and beliefs, and limit our conversations to the weather, work, and children. It doesn't have to be this way. Listen to your spouse with as much attention and affection as you listened while you were dating, and you may find your love is deeper than you ever imagined.
Genesis 26:12- Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year a hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.
When God told Isaac to take his wife and make his home in Egypt, Isaac obeyed, even though he was afraid for his life. In return for faithfulness, the Lord blessed Isaac, increasing his investment a hundred times over in one year.
Discuss: What is God telling you and your spouse this year? Should you be doing something else, or even be someone else? Is your current job, or your current lifestyle what God is calling you to do? Do you want to argue the point (or pretend you didn't get the message), or are you willing to trust God's guidance?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I also never really bought the fact that I'd use things like algebra, calculus, and trig in real life. In fact, I never had until today...when I was trying to figure out what size my knitting needles were. Most of them are labeled, but these weren't.
So, I used a piece of yarn to measure the circumference, and then used the circumference to determine the diameter, and then converted that to milimeters, which gave me the approximate knitting needle size.
Who knew that algebra could be beneficial in knitting!?
Monday, September 7, 2009
Although I'm not sure you can tell here, the paint color is actually just a half-shade darker than the color of the turquoise striped fabric. I tried to take a picture of the paint up on the walls, but so far it was photographing as a robin's egg blue, when really, in person, it's pretty true to the above color (don't you HATE that!?). So you'll just have to trust me on that, and that a room so "blue" can actually be a cute as heck girl's room!
9/8- Oven Pancakes
9/9- Roast Beef/ French Dip sandwiches with leftover beef
9/10- Black Beans and Rice (I might try to make a Yumm Cafe Bake out of it)
9/14- Fettuccine Alfredo
9/15- Raspberry Balsamic Chicken
9/17- Full Meal Deal
9/18- Burritos, with extra ground beef I'll brown the day before.
I also have some chicken breasts that I want J to grill when he gets home from drywalling to use for lunches, salads, etc. Also, our fridge is STOCKED with fruit, which I love--we have nectarines, grapefruit, organges, strawberries, and blueberries right now!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Me: Hi, I'd like to get some paint mixed. I need the paint to be maybe a shade or two lighter than this sample, but not as light as this color.
Home Depot Guy: I can't do that.
Home Depot Guy: No. It's all in your eye's perception. We can't match like that.
Me: You can't just add more white to the dark color's mix, and verify that it's not more white than the lighter color has in it?
Home Depot Guy: No. If I add more white to the paint, it throws off the whole balance of the paint. It would run off your walls like water! It probably wouldn't even stick to the walls!
Me: Well, I haven't heard that before. So, you can only mix the colors that are displayed? You can't adjust them at all?
Home Depot Guy: No, I can't adjust them at all. Only what's displayed. If I change them, it wouldn't stick to your walls.
LOL! Needless to say, I went to Ace instead. They were very helpful...they even helped me make sure the paint would match all our fabrics!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Why does the division happen the way that it does (i.e. work, preference, etc)?And most importantly, are you happy with the balance?
This is an interesting question for us. We've had several tiffs over the last couple of days about this very topic. Basically, the short answer is that I do the majority of the tasks around the house, but Justin really does do quite a bit too. Justin cleans the bathrooms, handles the litter box, does his own laundry (and sometimes mine too), makes sure his cell phone bill is paid, and occasionally cooks dinner or does dishes.
Justin also works an INCREDIBLE number of hours each week--it isn't uncommon for him to work 12-14 hour days. And he's most often doing physical labor like hand-digging trenches all day. Also, because of the nature of his job, sometimes when a water pipe bursts at 4:45pm, he's going to end up working late at the last minute. So, depending on him to get the car payment to the bank before 5pm isn't always feasible. Especially when the above situation happens multiple days in a row. Yes, I am speaking from experience!
I work far fewer hours. I'm off each day at around 3:30, and unless I get stuck in court, I really AM off each day around 3:30. It makes sense that I should be the one doing the majority of the cooking...especially since I enjoy cooking. For me, it has a lot of the same feeling as working in the photography darkroom--mix this, that, and try to time it all so you have a beautiful and enjoyable result. Anyway....tangent!
I hate cleaning the house, but the honest truth is that that's something that matters to me, but doesn't matter to Justin. I walk in to our disaster of a house and think, "Oh my GOD the house is a pigsty!" Justin walks in to our disaster of a house and thinks, "Oh! There are those shoes I'm missing!" There's no judgment here...I think what I've just learned after being married a couple of years now is that Justin is more than willing to help me clean if I ask for help, but because having a spotless and organized house isn't all that important to him (he's a social creature and would much rather be playing baseball or meeting people for a movie), cleaning isn't something that he's self-prompted to do. And that's okay. He doesn't mind helping, it just doesn't often occur to him on his own.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the money side of things--I am overwhelmed in general by math and numbers, and I wish that we sat down more frequently and talked about money. I think we both have a good grasp on how much of it we have, but not always where it all went. For example, I might see a purchase of Justin's from the hardware store, but have no idea what it was that he actually purchased. He might see a purchase from Target and assume that I'm buying shoes (which IS a fair conclusion), when really it's 409 Cleaner, toothbrushes, and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Especially since we're trying to live pretty darn frugally right now, I think it would be good for us to have a more open dialogue about not only where the money was spent, but what it was spent on, and WHY it was needed.
So again, what does the division of labor look like in your house?
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Okay, so for those of you just joining the game, go here to see our nursery decorating game plan.
So, we did order the un-upholstered glider from that previous blog post. I had been looking around for another slipcover, since the ones meant to go with the chair had been out of stock for about 6 months, but I was having a hard time finding anything that would fit properly without tons of adjusting. And the chair DEFINITELY needs a slipcover. I was hoping that I could get away with just the muslin, but I can't.
I logged on this morning, and just happened to check to see if the slipcovers were in stock. They were! But only in pink:
I originally wanted the light brown/beige color, but that one isn't in stock. I went ahead and ordered the pink one, figuring that any slipcover is better than no slipcover, and that if beige comes in stock, I'd return the pink and go with the beige.
But now I'm having second thoughts about even looking for the beige. Maybe the pink would be a nice way to bring some "girl" into the otherwise turquoise and white room. I was planning to bring in some small pink accents in terms of sheets and accessories anyway. Nothing else in the room would be beige, so maybe a beige slipcover would look odd anyway. But let's be honest, having a pink piece of furniture kind of scares my non-girly-girl self.
I have had suggestions that if I don't like the pink slipcover, that I could bleach it white, which would match the rest of the room, but isn't a color option even if they were ALL in stock. Bleaching might be an option, but (a) I think it might be microfiber and (b) the idea of bleaching it scares me. What if I shell out $60 to then have a non0usable slip cover?!
So. Should I stick with pink? Keep looking for beige? Or try to bleach it to white?
Pie Crust (or "Board" as my grandpa called it)
-3/4 C flour
-dash of salt
-1/3 C. shortening
-3 or 4 tablespoons Ice Water
Cut shortening into flour and salt using two knives to resemble a scissor motion until small beads form. Add about 3T ice water. Mix to form dough ball. Use flour to roll out the size of a pie pan. Prick well with a fork.
-3 to 5 fresh peaches or a 29oz can of peaches
-1 cup of sugar
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-2 and a half Tablespoons flour
-1 tsp almond extract
First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If using fresh peaches, peel them and slice. If using canned peaches, drain them. Place peaches cut side up in the pie crust. Make a mixture of the remaining agreements. Whisk together until well combined. Pour mixture over the peaches. Try to stop yourself from licking the bowl.
Bake the pie at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower the temp to 350 degrees, and bake for 45 minutes longer. Raise a peach to ensure that the pie isn't runny. If so, return to over and bake until done. Remove from oven and cool. Serve warm, or cold. I prefer cold.
The original recipe calls for some almond flavoring/extract. I absolutely LOVE the pie this way. However, my weird husband hates almond flavoring. So, I've also made the pie using vanilla extract/flavoring with good results. I've also used vanilla flavoring, and added some cinnamon to the top of the pie in the last 20 minutes or so. I've also not had peaches and used blueberries or blackberries instead. Both are good, but as in most instances, the original is king. Are you getting the point that one of the things I love about this recipe is how flexible it is?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Yep, that's right...the doctor and u/s tech both think we can now officially begin calling the baby Elizabeth! Seriously, I'm really surprised...I would have bet boy for sure! I guess "Mother's Intuition" isn't always right! I told them (half jokingly) that I might not fully believe them until another ultrasound or two confirms it's a girl--I keep hearing, "if it's a boy, you can be pretty sure it's a boy; if they say it's a girl, there's always a chance it's a boy!" Either way, we are blessed and happy.
Other than that, the doctor said that all measurements and blood work look good. The only thing they couldn't rule out (due to the baby's positioning) was a club foot, which isn't life threatening anyway.
In other news, I stayed home from work today. I'm not feeling terrible, but I still have a killer headache and a stuffy nose. And I'm exhausted. I was asleep by like 7pm last night (Justin was a wonderful, sweet husband and went grocery shopping by himself so I could go home and hit the hay)! But, since the cold/flu seems to be seriously going around my small office, I'm hoping that by staying home and taking it easy today, maybe I can prevent myself from getting the full-blown bug. After my 12 hours of sleep last night, I already feel much better, but I am just not going to push it. I can afford to lose one day of paid time off, but not an entire week like some of my co-workers have.
By the way, I was surprised at my doctor's advice regarding colds/flu, which was that I could take pretty much whatever worked for me before I was pregnant, especially Tylenol based products. He said that taking them for one or two days isn't going to harm the baby, and he'd rather have me take what works and knock the cold/flu out more quickly than not taking anything and being more miserable for a longer period of time, which would then lower my immune system even more.
He also recommended that I get both the regular flu shot, and the H1N1 flu shot, as there are LOTS of confirmed cases in my area, and the danger to pregnant women is pretty elevated. I usually don't get flu shots, but it isn't all about me this year. Plus, I trust my doctor--he seems to have a pretty good gauge about when things really aren't worth the worry (avoiding turkey and sleeping on your back for example) and when they are worth paying attention to. He told me that without a doubt, he'd recommend the H1N1 flu shot. I don't have the best immune system to begin with, y'all.
They also confirmed that I am feeling some of Elizabeth's movements, but not all. She had the hiccups yesterday all through the ultrasound, which I didn't feel at all!
Oh...and I've gained 5-7 pounds (it varies by the day). I knew I wasn't going to get away with no weight gain for much longer!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
B- Bed Size: King. It was given to us, and now we can’t go back!
C- Chore you hate: Cleaning the Bathroom.
D- Dog's Name: We don’t have one L But our cat is named Bones!
E- Essential starts to your day: Allergy Medicine.
F- Favorite Color: Turquoise
G- Gold, Silver, or Platinum: REAL silver. Not sterling. I also likewhite gold.
H- Height: 5'10” I- Instruments you play: I can pluck out some guitar. Nothing serious. I played the bassoon in high school and HATED it.
J- job: Working with kids in foster care.
K- Kids: Incubating.
L-Living Arrangements: Our own house. Finally.
M- Moms name: Joyce
N- Nicknames: Mer, Mere, Mere-Mere, Stretch, Giraffe.
O- Overnight stay in the hospital other then Birth: Once. Had my appendix removed.
P- Pet Peeve: When people judge others without knowing the entire situation.
Q- Quote from a movie: "The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.” Moulin Rouge
R- Right or Left handed: Right, but I can also do most things with my left hand.
S- Siblings: one sister, one brother, two brothers-in-law, and three sisters-in-law.
T- Time you wake up: Weekdays 6:45am; Weekends 8:00 or so.
U- Underwear: Um, yes.
V- Vegetable you dislike: Cauliflower
W- Ways you run late: Spending too much time online in the morning.
X- X-rays you've had: Chest, Lungs, Ribs, Ankles, Knees…just to name a few.
Y- Yummy food you make: I make a mean Peach Pie and/or Vodka Pasta. And the boys like my Jalapeño Poppers.
Z- Zoo Favorite: Dolphins
PS- I'd love to see the ABC's of YOU!