Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's officially Christmastime.

Because the Christmas tree is up! It's not Christmastime until the tree is done.

We had wanted to go cut our own, but that wasn't in the cards this year. Maybe next year! To Home Depot it is.

We debated between a Noble Fir and a Fraser Fir which looked really similar. Hans liked the stronger branches on the Fraser, I liked the thicker feel of the Noble. We ended up going with the Noble after finding out that they (supposedly) last longer than the Frasers.

In the past, we've always just wrapped the Christmas tree round-and-round with lights, which Hans hates doing. I saw on Pinterest (of course!) that there's another method, where you hang them vertically. You section the tree off and work up and down. A little tricky to get the hang of at first, I think we both like this method better.

I was squinting at the lights because it helps me see where the dark spots are! Hans thought this was very funny.
And, of course, we went and picked out our annual keepsake ornaments. Hans went with Christmas Darth Vader (who makes sound when he sees movement - how long before that gets old?) and I went with a claymation classic (I LOVE claymation christmas movies!) We also brought back a starfish ornament from Hawaii that blends in nicely with our tree.

Last year I really wanted to add some kind of bows and ribbon, but was a little too wimpy to give it a try. After seeing it done so successfully all over the place this year, I decided to dive right in. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out - only thing is, next year I'll wrap the ribbon and THEN hang the ornaments, not the other way around like I did this year.

And not bad for my first bow tree topper, huh? It looked pretty gross after I finished it, but once we attached it to the top and fluffed it, it's not so bad.

Now I just need a new tree skirt. Our old one is too small. I'm considering DIY-ing one, but don't have any good ideas. Suggestions?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nursery update

It's time for a little nursery update! This has actually been several months in the works - we didn't realize what a project it was going to be.

Previously, this bedroom was blue with white beadboard around the bottom (er... white-ish. It was very yellow!) But the odd thing was, and I don't know if you can see it in the bottom picture, the beadboard didn't go all the way around. It was like whoever put it up just never got around to finishing. And the beadboard that was up was pretty dirty, nasty and ripped up. We weren't sure whether our best bet was to try and repair the current beadboard and finish off the last wall, or tear it all off all together.

We tried to find matching beadboard at Home Depot to finish it off, but alas, couldn't. So down it comes. Much to our horror, we discovered it wasn't sheets of beadboard that you can just pop off. No no... it was individual slats of wood. That took the wall with it as it was pried off. This left the walls pretty ripped up.

So we had to attack it with joint compound. A couple layers worth. It was messy and nasty and took forever, but helped repair the walls. Then we tried to paint it... but the bottom half of the walls just looked too... smooth. Showed every little stroke we'd made with the compound. It wasn't pretty.

Our solution? This guy. Well, four cans of this guy. Hans did this one on his own since we figured the fumes weren't good for baby. We probably could have used a couple more cans to build up to a good level of texture, but it was expensive and smelled bad and we just wanted to be done at this point. It got the job done, at least.

And here we are! Several months, lots of elbow grease and many many hours later, we have a soft, gender neutral nursery.

Source list:
Bottom half of walls (and chair rail): Glidden Cafe Latte
Top half: Glidden Muslin White
Door trim, as well as the brand new crown molding and bigger baseboards: Glidden White on White
Crib: Graco Lauren (we found it cheapest from Walmart!)
Nightstand: Pottery Barn Outlet
Glider and Ottoman: Craigslist
Dresser: Ikea (Hemnes)
Shelves: Ikea (Lack)

We struggled with how to arrange the furniture in this room. Because both the dresser and crib are rather long, they take up a lot of wall space. And the glider  needs to be fairly far from the wall so it has room to rock. Everything we tried was not working, so we decided to nix one of the two closets and turn it into a little reading nook! We removed the doors, painted the inside, added two shelves and (not shown in this picture) added spotlights to the inside of the closet for easy reading. Now we have so much more room in the nursery and a cozy spot to sit with baby.

Now it's time to decorate! I can't figure out what to do for curtains and/or a bedskirt... I'm debating trying to make something myself. And we have tons of wall space to fill! I'll be working on that over the next couple months - for now, it's nice to just have a calm, clean blank slate to work with.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

27 weeks

How Far Along: 27 weeks
Size of the Baby: Cauliflower, 14.5 inches, 2 lbs
Weight gain/loss:  We'll find out on Thursday
Sleep: getting rough. I'm feeling tired all the time but I can't get comfortable so I wake up often. I often wake up on my back and that worries me, even though the doctor said it's ok. I keep trying to wedge a pillow under me to keep from rolling on my back, but it only works maybe half the time.
Best Moment of the Week: This week was amazing. Thanksgiving was amazing. Rob and Danielle's sealing was amazing. Having our new appliances installed. Getting our Christmas tree and putting up decorations - all amazing!

Movement: Oh, so much. Still. Sometimes I beg baby to settle down a little at bedtime because it hurts. I've started doing the kick counter thing on my phone (because I'm supposed to track those) but I don't really feel like I need to. You're supposed to start the tracker and see how long it takes to get to 10 kicks. If you don't have 10 in a two-hour window, you should call the doctor. It's never taken me longer than 20 minutes. Mostly it's 4-5 minutes.
Symptoms: I think they're all coming back - nausea, fatigue, heartburn. Blah. The second trimester was such a nice reprieve. And a new one - I'm getting these horrible rashes/dry patches. My hands are in pain, cracking and bleeding. I slather lotion on them several times a day, but I can't keep up! It's miserable.
Food Cravings: Sadly, none come to mind. In fact, I even seem to have lost my craving for milk!
Gender: Several times this week (including two yesterday alone!) I had total strangers tell me it's a girl. Last night we were standing in Walgreens getting some Christmas lights when this older lady (a sassy black woman with 10-inch, crazy-painted nails) looks at me and goes "oooooh, honey, how you feelin'?" followed by "Is it a boy or a girl?" and then after hearing it's a surprise she nods sagely and confirms "Oh, it's a girl."
Belly Button in or out: In, but I keep thinking it can't be for much longer!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Yes. Leftover turkey. All the grossness that was under the old oven and dishwasher. Car rides. Various food smells.
Labor Signs: None
Wedding ring on or off: On
What I miss: Being able to wash my face in the morning/at night without my stomach getting soaked. I'm having a hard time leaning over the sink (it's in the way!) and so I end up getting completely wet.
What I am looking forward to: Kind of looking forward to my doctor's appointment this week - love getting an update on LO's progress and hearing the heartbeat, but NOT looking forward to that nasty glucose test. Send good luck thoughts my way, please!
Nursery: We found a great deal on a nightstand during Black Friday so now we have all the major furniture in the room. All painting and molding is done! So we're ready to start decorating.
Emotions: Very emotional. I cried so much Saturday (mostly at the temple) that I had a headache on Sunday. I also started crying during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, though I can't figure out why! Today I'm feeling pretty irritable... everything annoys me. You've been given fair warning.
Stupid things I have done: Nothing major. I found some dishes in the wrong cabinet the other day so I think I put things in wrong places when I unloaded the dishwasher, but nothing like finding my phone in the fridge or anything. I also can't seem to remember if I shut the garage door when I left the house this morning....

Monday, November 26, 2012

New kitchen day

A few posts back, I mentioned our awesome deal score at Home Depot on appliances. Well, today was D-Day... delivery day!

They are so beautiful I keep going into the kitchen to stare. And so you can enjoy the shiny, too.... a few before and afters!

Before and After: We picked this model for the oversized oven window 
We also love that this one has a convection bake option and all digital controls
And it has a fifth burner - woot!
And the new dishwasher... Also a Maytag. 
Our old dishwasher was so old that the prongs were rusting in the middle and breaking off (you can count three missing in this pic!) I also hated the utensil basket in the middle of the bottom tray - it took up too much space. I like that the new model has a utensil basket that can move around. And no agitator that comes up through the bottom of the middle tray!
And top controls that don't show when the dishwasher's closed :)
The kitchen when we moved in 
What a difference it makes!
Now please excuse me while I go stare at my shiny some more :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The past few days for Thanksgiving have been truly wonderful, filled with much happiness, love, and laughter. I hope that each of you had a wonderful holiday as well and much to be grateful for.

  • We were joined by our lovely friends Andrew and newlyweds Jonny and Deb. We had our normal fare, but I think I'm getting used to the timing of everything - it was all done at the same time and I didn't burn anything! Everything was delicious except my pecan pie... I don't know what happened! Same recipe I always use, same preparation and everything, and it came out soupy and no matter how much longer I kept it in, it stayed soupy. Sad.
  • Why does Black Friday keep starting earlier and earlier? I loved when it was a 3 am thing... I don't like this 9 pm Thursday thing. We waited until Friday to go, hoping that maybe the crowds would thin by then. We went to the San Marcos outlets, the mall, and Target and while we were able to get a few things on our list at great prices, I was underwhelmed by most of this year's "deals." Some of the outlet deals didn't seem any different than normal prices! But it's still fun to go and be a part of. We were home by 5 am this year, which is way better than previous years ;)
  • Also this weekend, we were able to go to the temple sealing of our good friends Rob and Danielle. It was such a beautiful and special occasion and the joy in the room was overwhelming. I sobbed like a baby - I blame the pregnancy hormones. We are so happy for them and for their eternal family.
  • I also went to the most beautiful baby shower I've ever seen this weekend. I don't have any pictures of it, but I think the girl who put it together should be a professional party planner.
We've got another great week ahead - a doctor's appointment, a special delivery from Home Depot, and an upcoming trip to Houston. So much to give thanks for.
"Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God's love” - President Monson

Monday, November 19, 2012

26 weeks

How Far Along: 26 weeks
Size of the Baby: large cucumber, 14 inches, 1.75 lbs
Weight gain/loss: feels like gained a pound or two
Sleep: getting enough, just starting to feel really fatigued again. It went away for a while, but I think it's coming back.
Best Moment of the Week: So many good moments this week... hitting double digits, ordering our crib, our anniversary, seeing all kinds of new movement going on, relaxing with a good book, getting ready for the holidays... I like that it's been both productive and yet relaxing and fun. It's just put me in a really good mood and it's hard to pinpoint to one "best moment"

Movement: New this week - both Hans and I can SEE the movement! All through church on Sunday I just sat there and watched it move. It's pretty crazy seeing little punches and kicks and nudges. I can even see some that I can't feel. And I think tonight I felt the first hiccups! Lots of movement going on in there.
Symptoms: heartburn, fatigue, nausea, the usual. My hips have been hurting a little bit too, but I hear that's pretty normal. Swelling was pretty bad this week - not a huge fan of that and trying to down a ton of water to counteract it. And actually, I think Hans is having sympathy symptoms! He's been having cravings of his own - pineapple and milkshakes (not together...)
Food Cravings: chocolate with almonds, hamburgers, string cheese
Gender: Surprise!
Belly Button in or out: In, but so freaky looking. It's really weirding me out.
Anything making you queasy or sick: After I am done with a meal, I can NOT smell it anymore, or I start feeling sick. We had Chinese food Saturday night and when I opened the fridge Sunday the smell of the leftovers made me want to get sick all over.
Labor Signs: None
Wedding ring on or off: On
What I miss: Normal meal times, haha. Sometimes I'm not hungry at meal times but I make myself eat because I need to but then an hour later I'm randomly STARVING. There's no way to make sense of it, no rhyme or rhythm to the hunger coming and going. I am thankful for awesome friends who purposely pack peanut butter crackers in their purses because they have a sneaky suspicions I'll get slammed by hunger during the second hour of church (Thanks, Mandy!)
What I am looking forward to: Starting the third trimester next week! That's a big milestone. And putting up Christmas decorations later this week. I'm not allowed to do it until Friday :)
Nursery: We put together the crib tonight!! That was so exciting. Hans is finishing up some crown molding as I type, so in the next few days or so I'll have to do a post about progress in the nursery.
Emotions: Pretty happy. I'm enjoying that I'm at a point where I can just enjoy my pregnancy... the symptoms are fairly mild compared to last trimester and I feel pretty good.
Stupid things I have done: I don't know how pregnancy related it is, but it was still pretty stupid. I got sucked into a book Friday night (one I've read before even!) and stayed up until the wee hours of Saturday morning so I could finish it. I reeeeaaalllly shouldn't be doing that when my body needs all the sleep I can get it - it was just such a good book!

He's got the moves

My youngest brother, AJ, was in a talent show this weekend for his ward at BYU. It's just too good not to share. Enjoy!

(If you're not sure, he's the one in the dark blue shirt and brown pants, second from left most of the time).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

10 years

The cute boy from the band bus asked me out on a date (after several weeks of not-so-subtle flirting... come on already!). We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Skeeters, and then we went to the movies to see Sweet Home Alabama. It wasn't anything particularly special, but it will certainly go down in history as the best first date ever.

Yesterday, we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of that first date. I'm pretty sure that when we sat in that theater, neither one of us imagined that 10 years later, we'd be married, have two dogs, a house in Austin, Texas, and a baby on the way.

We had a perfect day of celebrating. I woke up to some beautiful roses and I gave Hans this framed print for his office (it has all our important dates!). We went to Home Depot where we bought each other a spontaneous anniversary gift (we were NOT planning on doing this, but those Pre-Black Friday deals are too good to pass up!). Then we went to bum around the Domain, checking out the tree and the new H&M. We finished the day with dinner at our favorite - PF Changs - and a trip to the Alamo to see Skyfall. Because it wouldn't be our anniversary without dinner and a movie.

It's been a wonderful, blessed 10 years and I'm so lucky to be married to my very best friend. I'm looking forward to the next ten years, and the next ten years, and all the many more to come.

Double Digits!

According to the baby app on my phone, we're down to double-digit days til our little one arrives.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Pregnancy FAQ

Are you sick of hearing about baby stuff yet? You were warned. To be fair, I feel like it's just about all I talk about these days and I'm sorry if I'm boring you. It's just hard to think about much else!

But, I do find that I end up answering the same questions over and over again.  People see the bump, they ask the questions. So just for funsies (and maybe because some of you actually care to know!) I put together a top ten list of questions I get asked often and what the answers are. Maybe I'll just print it out and hand it to people when they ask :)

1). You're not finding out the gender?! WHY?!?!

Whew. I never knew this would be such a hot-button issue! It's getting everyone all bothered. Truly, all we've cared about is that the baby is healthy - it hasn't really mattered to us whether it's a boy or girl as long as its major organs work and it has all its fingers and toes. And there were some other practical issues as well - we wanted to decorate the nursery once and be able to use it for subsequent children. We also saw not finding out as a way to curtail our family members (I mean you, Malinda and Karina) from going crazy buying things, as well as myself. Every time we go in BabyGap, I want to get cute little skirts or football footie pajamas. Instead, I don't get anything and we go pick up a pack of diapers or something else we actually need. It's helping us focus on preparing for baby needs, not wants.

2). But what do you THINK it is?

Well, we've both always had a gut feeling it's a girl. Can't say why, but it's been there since the moment we found out we were pregnant. And pretty much every old wives' tale indicates it's a girl, too. I'm carrying high, I was super sick the first trimester, the heartbeat is over 140, most of my cravings have been for sweet things, and both the Chinese gender prediction calendar and the pencil test both say girl. (Dude, the pencil test is crazy. Look it up on youtube if you've never seen it. And I've asked just about every mother I know, and they all say it was right for theirs). So if you hear us refer to the baby as "she," we don't actually know, that's just what we call it.

3). Have you picked out a name?

We've narrowed it down to a few, but again, we're not sharing. It's just that people have some pretty strong opinions on names and we don't want to have a name we love ruined. There's always comments like "Oh, I had a drunk, kinda handsy Uncle named that" or "There was a girl in my high school with that name... she sniffed spray paint and got pregnant at 14." I'm not saying that people won't have those thoughts AFTER the baby is born and they find out the name, just that maybe they won't voice them aloud in an effort to change our minds. And even though we have both a boy short list (down to two names!) and a girl short list (2-4 depending on whether you ask Hans or I), we really don't have clear cut winners. I kinda want to be able to look at the baby and make sure that the name *feels* right.
(*Note: I'm pretty sure Hans already has a baby girl name set in stone in his head. I think he secretly refers to the baby by this name when he's thinking of her. I love the name, I'm just not 100 percent sold yet).

4). Ugh. Aren't you worried you're going to get a lot of green and yellow clothes at the baby shower?

Not really. There's a lot of great gender neutral options out there without going blah green or blah yellow - we registered for a lot of grey/yellow combos, red, some variations on blue that don't look to boy-ish, and lots of tan/white (thank goodness its winter and this seems fairly popular). And honestly, people are giving me gifts, so who am I to complain? I'm secretly hoping that I'll get less clothes if people don't know. Not that I don't love clothes or appreciate gifts, I've just heard from all my mommy friends that they get SO MANY clothes that baby only gets to wear things once or twice each before they grow out of it.

5). Speaking of gifts, are you registered anywhere?

You're so sweet for asking. We are registered on Amazon's Universal Wish List and Babies R Us. The two lists are actually very similar and have many of the same items. I realize this means that we're looking at some duplicates, but believe me when I say there was method to our madness! We know some people like to pick gifts up in person - thus the Babies R Us option. But we also have many friends and family members that live far away, making Amazon a great option. Plus, we've noticed some major price differences between the two - Sometimes BRU offers the item cheaper (hello, Pack N Play!) and sometimes Amazon's cheaper (like for the stroller). And we really love Amazon's Universal Wish list option - it allowed us to add a few items from Target, a few from Pottery Barn, a few from Baby Gap. If you see something on the Amazon Registry you like at Target, you can pick it up in-store and then just click the link next to the item that says "Buying this gift elsewhere?"

6). Does the nursery have a theme?

I've been meaning to do a nursery blog post... I'll get around to it. Really. We're going with a hot air balloon theme. We found a cute balloon line at Pottery Barn that we kinda used as our inspiration. The bathroom has a whale theme :)

7). Where are you delivering? Do you have a pediatrician? What's your birth plan? Signed up for Lamaze classes?

This is where I start getting overwhelmed. I'm trying to take deep breathes and work it out one at a time. I'm delivering at Seton on 38th Street. I'm using a doctor and I love her. She's great. We haven't found a pediatrician yet, but we're working on it and have a few in mind to interview. I have no idea what I'm doing about my birth plan, but I don't have strong feelings against induction/epidurals/c-sections/anything my doctor might deem necessary. My doctor and I will be discussing my options at the next appointment. More power to all you ladies who do the at-home in a tub thing - I just don't think it's for me. Birthing classes start in January and we're all registered for that, so at least I can cross that off my list.

8). How are you feeling?

Pregnant. Sooo.... pretty much what you'd expect.

9). Are you going to keep working after baby comes?

We haven't worked out the details on this one yet, but the short answer is yes. I count myself so amazingly blessed in that my job is incredibly flexible. 95% of my job can be done from home, or in the middle of the night, or on weekends, and doesn't involve other people that I need to collaborate with. And my office is incredibly baby friendly (there's only two other people in my office and lots of space), so right now Hans and I are hoping for some combination of work-from-home and bring-baby-to-work. I love my job and feel challenged and stimulated by it - I'm not quite ready to give that up. And we're not ready to say goodbye to the extra income either. This could change down the road, but this is what we're looking at right now.

10). Can I touch your belly?

You're in the minority just for asking. Most people just go for it. And while I've heard that this drives some women out of their mind, it really doesn't bother me. Go for it. If you're lucky my hyper little child will kick you (she probably will. She does it all the time. See? I call her she). Especially being in Young Women's, I feel like there's someone wanting to touch my belly every day. I'm glad it doesn't bother me. I have yet to have a stranger do it... that may be another situation entirely.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Planning Day

I love lists. Hans makes so much fun of me for this, but whatever. I love lists. I make them on notepads at work. On scrap paper on the kitchen counter. In my notebook during church. I often feel like I'm being pulled in about ten different directions at once and want to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. If I don't write it down when I think about it, I WILL forget it.

And it's that time of year when there's a lot to keep track of! Throw in an impending baby, and I'm feeling more than a little scattered these days.

So yesterday was my "I'm going to get organized" day. I used free printables I found off Pinterest and blogs I read and will include the links if you'd like to get organized, too.

Our home message center, which may need an overhaul in 2013:
We've got our ongoing to-do list, separated into general errands/to-do, stuff for baby, and house/crafty stuff. (Buttoned Up Laundry List of To-Dos)
We've got a Christmas planner list to write down gift ideas, where to get them, and keep track of our progress. (Ellinee Christmas gift planner)
And We've got a Thanksgiving meal planner with what dishes, a time table for when to prepare them, and what I need to buy for dinner. (TipJunkie Thanksgiving menu plan)
And for good measure I threw in recipe cards - our T-day recipes come from all over (BHG, Pioneer Woman, Williams and Sonoma, and I always pull them all open on my laptop in a big mess of tabs everything Thanksgiving. I figured now I can just pull these out every year and go). (Food Art Party Thanksgiving Recipe cards)
How's your planning going? Any magic tips to help stay organized at this time of year?

What to do with extra burlap?

After my banner craft, I had a ton of burlap leftover. It seemed such a shame to just let it go to waste...

And I had this Halloween pillow that I figured I could do *something* with.
So I found some clip art offline. Cut it out. Taped it down. And sponged on some paint.

I'm sure there's a better way to do this... but I just wrapped it around the pillow and safety pinned it in back. It's just for decoration, so I don't think anyone will ever see the back of the pillow. I didn't want to sew it because a) it's burlap and that sounded hard and b) I want to take it off next year to use for Halloween.

But for now, it works for me!