Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Family Bed

There is a place in our home where everybody is welcome. Man, dog, cat- it doesn't matter, come on in! This special place happens to be our bed. For some reason, our animals always seem to find their way up onto this magical spot. The cats spend most of their day lounging on it while we are away at work. As soon as I open the door in the early morning, they are both waiting outside, ready to start their day on the bed. When I come home in the afternoons, they are both usually asleep on top of our quilt. I don't know what it is about this bed, but they love it!

Now, the dogs are a little different. Charlie does not jump up on anything unless he has been "invited". That being said, if Jason and I are lying on the bed talking, Charlie will usually start his "I'm right here, don't forget about me!" whine to let us know he'd like to join us. Poor little Flippy is too small to jump up on his own, so Jason and I always give him a boost up. Our spoiled little children are not allowed on any furniture in the house except the bed. Which is why they are so obsessed with being on it ALL the time. No they do not sleep with us at night. That is a BIG no no. Except when Jason is out of town. Then it's all hands on deck. I have to have my boys with me snug in the bed when daddy is away.

This brings up the debate, should baby sleep in bed or not? I am a firm believer in not. I think a child should learn from as young as possible that they should sleep in their room and their room only. The baby will sleep next to our bed for the first few months due to late night feedings. But, I am hoping to get him/her acclimated to their own crib as soon as possible. I have a very close girlfriend who feels opposite. Her son slept in their bed since the day he was born. He is nearing 18 months and has never slept in his own crib. They really enjoy having him in bed and he is not a problem, as he falls soundly to sleep between the two of them. I do not think I could do this. I really like my room when I sleep and would be very afraid of rolling over on top of the baby! Do you think this is too harsh? Is it okay for the baby to sleep in our bed for a few months? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, I guess we'll just keep sharing our bed with our furry little ones!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My First Award

I was pleasantly surprised in the last few days to find that two of my blogging friends, both coincidently, gals I have known since those awkward Junior High School days, have nominated me for the Honest Scrap Award! I would like to sincerely thank Ms. Tudor Rosy and Ms. Musings for nominating me for this blogging award. It makes me glad to know that somebody is interested in what I have to say!

Here’s how the award works:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog.
2. Share 10 honest things about yourself.
3. Present this award to 7 others whose blogs you find brilliant in design or content. (I notified my blogger friends through email)
4. Tell those 7 people they have been awarded. (Again, done through email)
5. Don't forget to post the "Honest Scrap" award (below) on your blog.

So, here goes... 10 Honest Things About Me:

Honest Thing #1: Ever since becoming pregnant, I have really thought about having a larger family. My whole life I have been asked if I, like my parents, would consider having a larger than average family. For those of you unaware, I am the 4th of 7 children. My answer had always been "'God, no!". But, I guess with my hormones raging and the overwhelming love I have for this little bundle in my belly, I have been giving it some thought. Not 7 children, but possibly 4. Will this happen? Most likely not. I am sure once my hormones are under control and my sanity returns I will definitely be second guessing myself on that one.

Honest Thing #2: I miss Ohio. Not the people I left behind in Ohio, but the state itself. (Of course I miss the people, too!) I can honestly say that this surprises me. If you had told me a year ago that I would miss Ohio I would have laughed at you. I spent my entire childhood and the early part of my adult life wishing I could be anywhere else but there. Now that I am living 1400 miles away, across the country in the shadows of a giant city, I yearn for the Buckeye state. I miss the beautiful leaves in Fall, the smell of the winter air anticipating its first snowfall, hiking in the abundant parks, farmer's markets, the drive on the turnpike to visit my brother and sister, Lake Erie islands, Cedar Point, and the general familiarity that comes with living in one state for almost my entire life. The sad thing is, I do not ever see us moving back there. Not unless the economy changes drastically and the job market blossoms. I have fond memories that I will keep with me always though, of "the heart of it all".

Honest Thing #3: I never dreamed I would find somebody as wonderful as Jason. I am still surprised that we have found each other and have created such a happy, lasting foundation built on support, trust, love and mutual admiration. He means everything to me and I fall more and more in love with him everyday. I look forward to him coming home in the evenings and spending time together. We really do have a relationship to envy.

Honest Thing #4: I would do anything for my pets. ANYTHING. If one of them needed a kidney, I'd give them mine if I could. They are not just animals, they are my furry children. One of the most devastating days of my life was when we had to euthanize our dog, Diego, because he had inoperable cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. Animals bring us such joy, yet it is heartbreaking to know that in the grand scheme of things, we have such limited time with them on this Earth. I value each day with my pets and make it a point to spend one-on-one time with each of them everyday.

Honest Thing #5: I do not know what I want to be when I "grow up". I have been attending college on and off for the last 9 years, being a full-time student for the last 3 1/2 years. It has been a long and sometimes trying road at times. There have been some snags when transferring classes to new schools, especially when we moved down to Texas. So far I have earned an Associate's Degree in Real Estate and am currently taking classes towards my Bachelor's Degree in Business Mgmt. But, I am still unsure of what I want to do once I have my degree. I would like to minor in History, in case I decide I would like to try my hand as a teacher later on in life. There are so many things I want to do, that it makes it hard to narrow my future profession down to one thing. I guess this is why I have changed my major upward of 5 times and why I am still in school. There's nothing wrong with continuing to challenge yourself and to continue learning. I crave knowledge, it is power and one of the only things we have that cannot be taken away from us.

Honest Thing #6: The night that Jason and I met in a bar we talked for a moment and he told me to "stay where I was, he'd be right back". Well, he never came back. I actually had the thought that I should go find him because I never knew "he could be the one". I voiced this to my sister Natalie, who was with me that evening. Mind you, I had just gotten out of a difficult relationship and had gone out that night with no intentions of meeting anybody, let along finding "the ONE". So, I found him later on in the bar, we talked the rest of the night and neither of us ever looked back. I guess my intuition was right. When you know, you know.

Honest Thing #7: I am a guilty Catholic. If you are Catholic, then you know what I mean. There are things embedded in you for life that you can never let go of and never ignore. I have not practiced my faith in almost 1o years. I sometimes yearn for the comfort of Sunday Mass, the papery taste of communion, the scent of incense and the peace of the familiar hymns. I feel that there is something missing in my life, and I know it is the presence of faith. I believe in God. We talk on a regular basis, I have just not worshiped him in quite some time. I struggle with many of the values the Catholic church believes, but on the same token, I think it would be very hard for me to accept another religion. This is what Catholic guilt does to you! Jason and I would like to baptize our child, and I cannot imagine it being baptized anywhere but in the Catholic Church. He is open to the idea of attending Mass with me to see if it is something he would be interested in. I guess there is no time like the present to open your arms to something you have left in your past.

Honest Thing #8: I have dreams about High School Band atleast once a week. I know this sounds bizarre, but it is the truth. Usually I am late for a show or cannot find my saxophone. This was such a huge part of my life in High School, I guess it is something I cannot let go of. I still have my sax, tucked away in a closet in its dusty case. I often think about joining a Community Band of some sort, just so I can get it out again and remind my mouth, lungs and fingers of what they were once capable of.

Honest Thing #9: I would like to become a Girl Scout Leader after I have the baby. I was a Girl Scout for 12 years as a child/teenager and I loved it. Well, to be honest, I loved camping. I had looked into becoming a co-leader before I became pregnant, although it would have been rather hard with my hectic schedule. I am hoping once I have the baby, I will have a little more time to devote myself to a good cause. What better cause than guiding young girls and women through the hardest years of their lives? Plus, who doesn't love those cookies?!

Honest Thing #10: My mom is better than your mom. Period. She is superwoman. After having 7 children she went back to school at the age of 43 (when my youngest sister was 3 years old and with 4 other children in the house under the age of 12) to get her degree in Nursing. It took her 8 years, but she graduated Magna Cum Laude, third in her class. At the same time she had her own business and was balancing the lives of 5 young girls living under her roof, as well as two children in college. She coordinated chores, birthday parties, sports, field trips and a million other things, all while ensuring we were all happy, well-rounded children. There were times growing up when we had our rough spots. But, now that I am a grown woman and not living under her roof, she is one of my best friends. We can talk about almost anything. I value her opinion more than anybody's (other than Jason), and I admire her strength, wisdom and courage. I miss dropping by her house on the weekends to chat about our lives. She is my hero and I love her more than words can express.

I hope you enjoyed my "10 Honest Things"!

~Emily :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

All Signs Point to Baby

As we plan to "Fall back" this coming Sunday, it hardly seems like anything is falling backwards for us these days. Everything is full steam ahead, and all signs point to baby. It seems like June 8th was just a few short weeks ago. That fateful day which began when I decided to buy a pregnancy test "because my period was irregular", and ended with three pink positives that yes, we were going to be having a baby! All pregnant women know, you can't just take one! Since then, the time has flown by. We have seen the Summer come and go. Now it is well into Fall, although here in Houston, it doesn't quite seem that way. Now with November closing in on us, it's hard to imagine that in three short months, there will be a new addition to our family.

We have bought the books, each of us trying to stay a month ahead of the pregnancy, so that we know what to expect. We have registered for the gifts at Target. One baby shower has been planned by two of my sisters in Ohio, one in Houston is in the works for January being planned by our friend Holly.

The nursery is painted, with the bedding and window covers all ready waiting to be put into their rightful places. We just need the furniture. Here is a sample of the valance, it's from the Beatrix Potter Collection at Pottery Barn Kids. I couldn't resist hanging it up as soon as it arrived in the mail, although as you can see it is badly in need of a good ironing.

Also, this little guy below was hanging from the window in the future nursery when we bought the house. It must have been a sign!

I have registered for a prenatal yoga class that will be starting next Monday. We are all set to take Infant CPR, Baby Basics, Breastfeeding and Lamaze classes at the Hospital where I will be delivering. I bought the baby's first CD over the weekend at Target, Lullaby by Jewel. Everytime we went they never had any copies left, but finally I was able to snag one. I listened to it while making dinner this evening, and it is fantastic! I enjoyed listening to it, and I know it will be soothing for baby.

One of the only things we have not decided on is a baby name. Yes, our unborn child is without a name. We have a list, but have not definitely decided on one boy name and one girl name. We both feel that when the baby is born, we will just know what name fits our little angel. But, it never hurts to be prepared with a list in hand at the hospital. I'd love to hear anybody's opinion on a baby name. But, like the gender, we have decided to keep our choices a surprise until the baby is born!

Every night we both pray for a healthy, happy child. Boy/girl, large/small, fuzzy head/baldy- in the end nothing really matters except that our child has a safe delivery and arrives to us safe and sound.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The weekend, relaxing and a big baby!

It's funny how when you are chatting with your coworkers on a Monday morning, catching up on what you all did over the weekend, you seem to forget what you even DID over the weekend! Okay, maybe it's not you- it's me. I admit it. Even if I have a fantastic weekend, I cannot always remember what we did on which day. I don't know why... maybe it's because my mind is just relaxing over the weekend, and it can't seem to keep track of which activity was done on which day!
(Charlie Brown ready for the weekend!)

This weekend was nice. I had to work Friday evening, so when I got home we just took it easy and went to bed relatively early. Saturday morning I also had to work, but luckily got out at a decent 1pm, so we still had the majority of the day left to enjoy. Saturday happened to be moving day. The end of an era, as Jason said. After 6 months of staying with us, Holly moved out. She only moved 5 minutes down the road, but I'll miss having her around! She really is family to us. We loaded up her truck and Jason's SUV and hauled her stuff to her new apartment. Her apartment is a nice, new building in a convenient location close to her work. It is also on the third floor. On two different occasions I also lived in a third floor apartment. Oh, those were the days. Loading as many grocery bags as you could onto your arms, running up the stairs and dropping them in a heap when you opened the door. Lugging loads of laundry down two flights of stair and across the building, only to discover that all of the washers were occupied. The occupants of the apartment below you banging on your floor (their ceiling) because your cats were making too much noise while they were playing. I remember it all so well. That being said, I love our new one-story, ranch home. Stairs are just a fond memory to me now! Saturday evening we relaxed at home, watched some TV and just enjoyed each others company. We also took a trip to our favorite browsing spot, Target, where I finally caved in and purchased my first maternity top. I have such a hard time buying maternity clothes- it seems so silly to have to buy clothes that I will only wear for 4 months. I guess I don't have a choice though!

(Flippy stretching out for the weekend)

Sunday was all about football! I made us a brunch of apple pancakes and bacon (so delicious and easy to make!) and we snacked on that while watching the Texans take down the Bengals. Unfortunately we do not get any Browns games down here. Even though they are not exactly playing their "best" this year, we both still love to root for our home team! After the game we attempted to head out to a pumpkin patch to get our annual pumpkins for the yard. While on the way there, I was checking out their website on Jason's blackberry. I discovered they were charging $11/person to get in! Neither one of us could justify spending that just to get into a pumpkin patch, especially since baby isn't even born yet. We turned around and were headed home when I remembered I had seen signs for another patch closer to the house. We pulled into their parking lot, smiled at the free admission sign, and started checking out their crop. That's when we were informed by one of the employees that they had been closed for 45 minutes and would open up next weekend. So much for that! We gave up our search and headed on home! (I did end up getting some pumpkins today at a local Garden Center. I hope we can carve them next weekend!)

Later on I whipped up some beer cheese soup and wings for Sunday night football. Yum! We really love to relax on the couch on Sundays with good food and football on the TV. We both also play Fantasy Football, and are in the same league. This past weekend Jason and I were playing each other, so there was a bit of smack talk going on as to who would win. FYI: I won our entire league last year and came in second the year before.... Anyway, poor Jason was defeated 159-84. He can't help it that I am so talented at picking my team!

Monday morning was our October doctor's appointment for LBN. I am 24 weeks, so that meant time for the pre-gestational diabetes screening. I had to eat a specific breakfast of egg, meat, bread and cheese and only drink water. Once we reached my doctor's office I had to drink a horrible 10 oz. carton of dextrose (orange flavored syrup) in 5 minuets and the one hour after that they took my blood. I get the results back tomorrow, so hopefully everything tested out okay, and mama does not have to go back in for further testing. While we waiting the hour for me to have my blood drawn we had our appointment. Turns out that even though I am only 24 weeks pregnant, baby is at week 26 of development! This means that we are going to have a larger baby, and that I may deliver earlier than usual. I should mention that Jason was a tiny baby at only 6 lbs. 14 oz.,while I was a larger one at 8 lbs. 12 oz. My sister Natalie was the largest out of all 7 kids in my family and weighed in at a whopping 10 lbs. 14 oz. I hope to God that LBN is not as big as she was! When I told my doctor how large Natalie was she asked me about 4 times if my mom had gestational diabetes. No, she did not, she just had a big baby!

Here is baby at 24 weeks, and starting to get big VERY quickly! All ready 1 1/2 pounds and over a foot long!

Hey, I guess I remembered this weekend afterall! :)


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sick Days

This past week Jason was out of town on business for about 4 days. I always miss him when he is gone, but I understand that he has to travel for work and so it doesn't bother me too much. With his new position he will be traveling one week a month out-of-state to visit clients and sales reps and a few days a month down to a town about 5 hours South of us for the same reason. That being said, this week I became ill. To be honest, I thought I was getting the swine flu. Eeek!

I have not yet been vaccinated for the seasonal flu, as Walgreens would not give me the vaccine until I brought them a written letter from my doctor stating if I was able to get the vaccine with preservatives or not.(Feels a bit like elementary school, if you ask me!) They told me this after I had paid and was sitting with the Pharmacist who was prepping my arm for the shot. It was all ready Friday and after business hours, so I would've had to wait until Monday to call my doctor.
Jason left Monday afternoon, after working all morning, for his trip. I came down with a low grade fever and a sore throat on Monday evening after I returned home from work.

Then Tuesday Holly (who just moved out. She only lives 5 miutes down the road, but I sure will miss her!) came home with the news that one of her co-workers had been diagnosed with swine flu that day. That did it! I think I went into hypochondriac overdrive and probably started to feel worse with that knowledge in my back pocket. I called my doctor's office on Wednesday and they advised me to find a PCP as soon as possible and get in for an appointment. By this point I was feeling very feverish and could feel those lymph nodes in my throat swelling under my skin. I'll admit that I was very scared. I called Jason to let him know what was going on. He was in a conference, but kept taking my calls, as I knew he was concerned and he knew that I was upset. He urged me to get to a doctor as soon as possible, that the baby and I were too important to let this wait another day.

All we hear on the news these days are stories about this vaccine. Is it safe? Nobody really knows. Should pregnant women receive it? Absolutely! What happens if you don't get vaccinated? Well, obviously the media wants you to think that you could possibly die. I have had every intention of receiving this vaccine up to this point. I had based my decision on the fact that my all ready weak immune system is even weaker now that I am pregnant, making me even more susceptible to illness. I get sick pretty often, and it seems to stick with me for awhile. I did not want these factors to harm myself or the baby in anyway with the swine flu that is floating around amongst us.

I was unable to get in to see a doctor, so after work Wednesday evening I took myself to the closest Urgent Care Center and plopped myself down in an uncomfortable chair in the waiting room, hoping to see a doctor within an hour or two. As luck would have it, I only had to wait an hour! (A miracle at these places!) The Doctor took my temperature, it was back to a normal 98.5, even though it had been consistently over 100 degrees since Monday. Maybe my thermometer is broken? Maybe I am so paranoid that I made my body have a higher temperature? Who knows? He said my lymph nodes were extremely swollen and that I was probably on the verge of a very bad cold. But, since I was pregnant he wanted to run a Flu Test and a Strep Test just to be safe. Both tests were negative, and I was sent on my way with advice to get lots of rest, drink plenty of fluids and take it easy. Phew! I can't tell you how relieved I was. The entire time I was waiting for those tests results I was praying the Flu test would come back negative. My mother, who is an intelligent and fantastic nurse, had told me that when a flu test comes back positive at this time of year, they immediately treat it as swine flu, since the seasonal flu doesn't come into "season" until January.

I took Thursday off of work, rested at home, took a Managerial Accounting Midterm (no way around that one!) and waited for Jason's arrival that evening. I was so happy that he was coming home. He makes me feel stronger and things don't seem as bad when he is around. It is now Sunday, and we both have sore throats and phlegmy coughs resonating from our lungs. We are feeling a little under the weather, but since we're together, we can handle it! Here's to a healthy upcoming week!

Here is a picture of Charlie Brown (a.k. World's Largest Baby!)getting lovin' from his Aunt "Ha Ha" (Holly)!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

A few pictures

Here are a few pictures of the "orchard" in our backyard:

Navel Orange Tree- they'll be ready for picking in December!

Plantain Tree- in our neighbor's yard, but it hangs over our fence.

Close-up of the plantains, yum!

Giant rosemary bush, it smells so aromatic!

Aloe plant, there are three around the yard.

Fig Tree- no figs yet!

Papaya Trees- there are three in total, not sure if they will produce fruit or not.

Apple Tree- not sure if they're edible.

Key Lime Tree- still a little sour, but great in Jason's beer!

And finally, baby at 23 weeks (and a view of our living room!)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Unexpected

"Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me". ~ Carl Sandburg

I am a planner. I love to buy calendars and journals in all shapes, sizes and colors. Parties, vacations, routes to and from wherever we happen to be going, weekend days, you name it and I have to plan for it. I set my dates, I write my lists, I prepare and I make these things happen. I have a great sense of personal satisfaction whenever I am able to cross something off of my lists. But, I have learned that no matter how much you want to plan, and might I say control, things you can never plan or be prepared for the unexpected. As the above quote by Carl Sandburg states, I truly do believe that all of the best things that have happened in my life have been unexpected, unplanned, and have caught me by surprise.

If somebody had told me that 4 1/2 years ago I would have met the love of my life in a bar the night of my girlfriend's Bachelorette Party, I would have laughed at them. Afterall, who meets people in bars, other than the stereotypical one night stand that we have all heard about the next day from our friends? Was it fate that we both happened to be there by chance? Fate that he walked right by me and I grabbed his arm, after which a conversation ensued that ended in me typing my number into his phone and he calling me the next afternoon? I believe it was. Fate is truly something that is not planned, not expected, something that you cannot rely on. It just happens.

Now here we are 4 1/2 years later, still together and falling more and more in love with each other everyday. And now we will be adding a little one to our mix. Yet again something completely unexpected at this point in our lives. Something unplanned, but an extraordinary gift and miracle that we love more everyday. We are captivated by this small being growing inside of my body, or "baking" as Jason likes to say. The baby is a night owl and loves to grace me with its presence every night now before I fall asleep. We both lie there, each with a hand on my stomach, waiting with anticipation for those little kicks. Waiting for the baby to greet us as we drift off to sleep. It is an amazing feeling and something that I look forward to every evening, even though it prevents me from getting enough sleep! All ready I would do anything for this baby, and so would Jason. I want to protect, nurture, love and care for it as best I can before it makes its way into this world.

There are so many other things in my life that I could touch on that have been unexpected and changed me in some way or another. But, I believe these two have been the most profound and life altering thus far. I never imagined I could be this happy, but I am and I cherish every moment of my life with these two amazing people. Never be afraid of the unexpected, you never know what fantastic, unplanned experiences are waiting for you around the corner.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Visitors and Life's Little Kicks

Jason's parents came to stay with us this past week for an extended weekend. It was a relaxing time for the most part, although unfortunately I still had my school and work schedules to juggle around their visit. They arrived late Wednesday evening, and I was woken up by Charlie Brown and Flippy going nuts because they knew people were home. So, I tossed and turned for almost an hour before Jason came into bed. By this point it was after midnight and I was less than thrilled to be awake, especially when I had to be up in 5 hours for work. Not good when you're pregnant! But, while I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I felt LBN kick for the first time! Not only one kick, but five kicks. These were not those little "butterfly flutters" that you hear about, this was a full fledged "here I am!" kick. It felt like somebody was punching me from the inside. It truly took me by surprise. I held Jason's hand to my stomach and when the baby kicked for him he pulled his hand back in shock and gasped. It really was that strong! I am glad that I was awake to experience this for the first time with our baby, it was definitely worth the sleep loss.

Alan and Donna happened to be here for his dad's 60th birthday, so we celebrated with a birthday feast of smoked BBQ ribs, beer cheese soup in sourdough bread bowls, grilled asparagus, and an ice cream cake that lasted us the whole weekend! The food was fantastic and I know Alan really enjoyed being able to spend his birthday down here with us.

We took them down to Sam Houston park in Downtown to tour the Historical Society's outdoor museum. Jason and I have been here quite a few times and we really enjoy it. They have 9 different buildings you can tour that were apart of Houston's history and have been moved to this location. The park itself is beautiful, with lots of greenery, flowers, trees and a beautiful pond with a fountain in the middle. It's a peaceful respite in the heart of this giant city. The sky drizzled a bit while we were there, but definitely did not dampen the day. Afterwards we visited a restaurant that Jason and I have been wanting to go to for months. The Flying Saucer has an expansive beer list and serves some great German food. Alan and Jason really loved trying the different beers, and Alan was so impressed by their selection that he took home a list as a souvenir! Sshhh... It was safely smuggled out in Donna's purse.

Alan lent Jason a hand while he was here as well, and they were able to put up a ceiling fan in the nursery and fix the hot water valve on our washing machine! Also, while they were here the nursing bedding came that my brother and his wife purchased for the baby! I cannot wait until we get furniture in the nursery and everything is put together. This bedding is gorgeous (from Pottery Barn Kids), and I am so thankful that they were so generous as to purchase it for us! The colors match perfectly with the paint that we chose for the nursery.

My camera cord is missing, so I am unable to download any pictures that we have taken so far, but I will include some that Alan took while he was here.

22 weeks down and 18 to go.... how the time flies!



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