Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pregnancy Update - Week 8

Welcome to week 8! While Jarrod insists that I don't look fat, I am convinced that I'm showing a baby bump already. I doubt anyone outside our circle that knows would ever guess that I'm pregnant. I haven't gained any weight and I still fit in my clothes...most of the time. I am so bloated by the end of the day that my pants get very uncomfortable. I threaten to get a belly band every time we go to Target. I even tried to talk Jarrod into thinking it was a good idea for me to get maternity clothes this weekend because they were on serious sale. I'm still not convinced it wasn't a good idea... a good deal is a good deal!

What’s Happening This Week: Your baby is now 5/8 of an inch long, about the size of a kidney bean. Webbed fingers and toes are poking out from your baby's hands and feet, his eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his throat to the branches of his developing lungs, and his "tail" is just about gone. His arms have lengthened, too, and his hands are now flexed at the wrist and meet over his heart. His knee joints have formed, and his feet may be long enough to meet in front of his body. In his brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways.

How far along?  8 weeks
Weight: Goal Weight - 1.5 lbs. (Still no weight-gain, which SHOCKS me!)
Stretch marks? Not yet, still applying cocoa butter every morning and evening.
Sleep: I'm not having trouble falling asleep, I can do that with the TV blaring curled up on the couch. But because I'm going to the bathroom every 15 minutes, I'm up throughout the night, making it challenging to get a full night's rest.
Best moment this past week: The relief of telling people!
Movement: nope. I'm not even sure when to expect this.
Food cravings: Fruit. Fruit snacks, orange juice, apple sauce, apples, smoothies, etc.
Labor Signs: none.
What I miss: Energy. I get so worn out very quickly, especially because it's so hot outside!
What I am looking forward to: People recognizing that I'm pregnant. I hate just feeling fat and bloated!
Anxieties: I am worried now that things won't go smoothly. It's difficult to plan for the worst but assume the best at the same time.
Weekly Wisdom: I don't know that I got any advice this week, but we did get a lot of people offer to watch our baby for us. That's pretty cool. 
Milestone: No longer an embryo, we now have a fetus!
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Monday, May 30, 2011

What to do about an UGLY light fixture

When we moved into our new (rent) house, we knew there were going to be things we'd want to change. I'll write a post all about the things I want to change, reasonable or not, soon. We knew that a few things would need to be updated immediately. For example, our bedroom did not have a ceiling fan. My husband cannot sleep without a ceiling fan. This became a high priority on our list of things that needed to happen within a few days of moving in.

While we were purchasing a ceiling fan for the bedroom (and living room!) I decided that we also needed a nice light fixture for above the kitchen table. It's not that the light fixture was not functional, it certainly was. It was just ugly. It was standard-cheap-brass-salad-bowl ugly.

See what I mean? This is what hit you between the eyes when you entered our kitchen. After 3 days, I was done. So off to Loew's we went and found this beauty for about $70.
 Installation wasn't that complicated. I simply took down the old light, had a lightbulb explode in my hand, and installed the new light fixture. Easy peasy!

This is all the pieces of the new light fixture before I removed the old one. Things are still relatively calm.

This is a little bit of chaos. I should mention that I did stand on our kitchen table to do this project and my husband was not at home.

The first thing I did, even before taking the new light fixture out of the box, was turn off the electricity for the whole kitchen. This was two breakers and was worth it knowing that I would be safe. After the power was off, I went to work taking down the salad bowl.

Once the old fixture was down, it was a simple project of attaching like-colored wires and drilling holes for screws.

As you saw in our house tour post the light fixture is in place and looks awesome! It's really amazing what a little brushed nickel can do for a space! 
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House Tour

We're having Jarrod's family over for Memorial Day today so the house was FINALLY ready for pictures. I know most people aren't quite as moved in as this in just 2 weeks, but I'm a little crazy about getting unpacked and making our house a home immediately. We both worked very hard and the house we're renting definitely feels like home. This was especially important to me because I started work last week and I knew things would be a little crazy. Jarrod and I are both doing some traveling over the next few weeks and I wanted to be sure that boxes were unpacked and cleared out before things got super busy.

Here's a floorplan I whipped up at www.floorplanner.com to give you a better sense of our new house.

We're going to start at the beginning - the front door. Here is a view of the entryway if you were standing with your back to the front door.

Immediately across from the front door and to the right a bit is the guest bath.

It's simple, but functional! 

Directly across the hall from the bath is the office. It has gorgeous windows across the front. I know we're going to love this room. 

The blue couch/chair is actually a pull-out sofa bed. It is just a twin, but will be perfect for guests! 

The 3rd bedroom hasn't changed much. Right now it serves as Sophie's sanctuary. 

Someday we will get around to decorating it. 

That's one side of the house. From there, you move to the living room. It's open and airy! Here's the view from the entry way.

The living room is connected to the kitchen, which is awesome. There's a low bar for bar stools and watching TV while cooking. 

The kitchen is large and opens up to the patio. We didn't think there would be enough countertop space or cabinets, but with the HUGE pantry, we're making do.

With our dining room table in the kitchen there's more work space, making it easier that we lack countertops.

Leaving the kitchen, but separate from the other bedrooms is more storage and our bedroom.
The first door on the right is the water heater. The second is an awesome hall closet/linen closet!

Across the hall from the closet is the master bedroom. It's large and the high ceilings make it feel even bigger. We have a huge closet and a nice sized bathroom. 

The house feels like a good use of space - big enough for us but not HUGE. We love the fenced in backyard and garage. The cat box and food is in the garage and the door to the garage is equipped with a cat door. Convenient! This also means we aren't storing our cars in the garage, which is fine. There's plenty of room for Trash, recycling, and Christmas decorations out there.   

So there's our new house! Time for visitors!  
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Moving Adventures

As you know, Jarrod and I moved back to the Dallas area to be closer to our families. We were very lucky to both receive incredible jobs that we know will fulfill us and make us happy. We are excited about new challenges and our new adventure.

The act of moving is not fun at all. While we’ve been looking forward to the adventure for several weeks, we’ve not been looking forward to the 10 hour drive in a 26’ moving truck, loading and unloading boxes and finding our way around a new town. But moving day arrived and the adventure began.

On Sunday morning we woke up early and loaded up the last few things in the truck. We dressed for church, shed some tears, and got ready for church. Jarrod drove the moving van to church and I stopped on the way to get Starbucks because the coffee maker was already packed.

After two beautiful services, a meaningful reception, and an 10 hour drive, we arrived at our new home! Our new church had placed a HUGE sign across the garage doors welcoming us to Texas. They cut out letters, music notes, and the state of Texas on huge yellow paper. Sadly, we opened the garage doors before taking it off and it ripped. It did make me cry when I pulled up and saw it, though!

My sweet riding companions.

My view for 600 miles. 
Because we arrived at nearly midnight, Jarrod and I only unpacked the essentials – mattress, animals and stuff, toiletries, and clothes for the next day. And then we crashed for a few hours, with the alarm set for 7am. Our move-in crew was scheduled to arrive at 8am.

After we woke up, I grabbed my camera and started snapping away. I wasn’t careful about white balance or settings, but I did get some decent before pictures.

Here’s our little house tour:
Of course I neglected to get a picture from the front door, but basically you walk into a short and wide hallway with a guest bathroom directly in front and the door to the garage immediately to your left. Walk towards the bathroom and immediately on your right is the office.
Don't you just adore those windows? There's a large closet to your left.

Exit this office and there's a door to your right to the 3rd bedroom.

It's smaller than the office, but still has a very nice sized closet. For now, this will be the only room that doesn't change much. We're keeping it almost entirely empty for the time being...until we decide what to do with it!

Outside this bedroom is the hall/guest bathroom.
Pretty basic. Nothing too flashy, but will definitely be useful when we have overnight guests!

If you come out of the hall bathroom and leave that side of the house, you'll walk straight into our living room!

This picture was taken from the wrong side. The front hallway is just out of the picture to the left. 

The living room opens into a large eat-in kitchen! The two above pictures fit together pretty well, but there is some space (behind Oliver) before you get to the kitchen. Plenty of room for a large couch and bar stools pulled up to the bar in the kitchen. 

Through the door to the right in the picture above there's a large pantry/laundry room. At first I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the combination, but now I love it. The room is very large and has shelving that lines every inch that isn't taken over by washer and dryer. It has been the perfect place for our kitchen gadgets, pantry food, and laundry supplies. 

If you follow the bar between the kitchen and living room you'll walk straight into the master bedroom hallway.

 See the bar and windows ahead? That's the living room on the left and the kitchen on the right. That door immediately to the left is to the water heater, but immediately next to that door are two more doors to a double linen closet! I think it's supposed to serve as the hall closet as half of it is set up with a tall rod and the other half has shelving, with a partial wall in between. I'm not sure how we're going to use it now, but it's nice to know we can grow into it! Right now it's storing random sheets, towels, and winter coats.

And that's where all the magic happens. You can tell I took these pictures in the morning because our bed mattress made it in from the truck for us to crash for a few hours. The door in the top picture is to the bathroom. It's a nice, long and narrow bathroom. Double sinks and a toilet on one side and a garden tub (no jets...) and separate shower on the other. Plenty of storage under the sinks and above the toilet, but pretty generic.

On the wall just outside the frame to the right in the bottom picture is a huge closet. It has double doors and has two rows of shelving all the way around. It's not very deep, but it's deep enough for us. It's easy to split it right down the middle, Jarrod's on the right and I'm on the left. Even my storage drawers fit under the lowest shelf!

So there it is! Obviously it's been almost 2 weeks since these pictures were taken and things look DRASTICALLY different now. Putting this post together was so affirming of the hard work we've already put into the house! I'll take pictures this weekend and publish a post with what our house looks like currently sometime this weekend or next week. It's homey, warm, and very us.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leaving Louisiana

Had you told me 2 years ago that I’d be devastated to leave Louisiana, I would have thought you were making stuff up. I moved away from Dallas kicking and screaming. I didn’t want to move, I didn’t have any desire to make new friends, and I quickly fell into a terrible job and a life that I did not enjoy. Being married was awesome, but Jarrod and I both had serious health complications within a month of our wedding day and I disliked my job incredibly. I had trouble making friends and didn’t feel at home.

Over time, I developed incredible family, found a very fulfilling job, and made Louisiana home. I love our church, adored my job, and am impressed with how many deep relationships we made in such a short amount of time. I spent the last few days crying at the drop of a hat and cried most of my drive to Dallas because I’m so sad that this chapter in our lives is ending.

Of course I couldn’t be more thrilled to be moving closer to family. My new job is something I’ve been dreaming about for many years. I’m excited to work for the conference office and am thrilled to be back in youth ministry. I love that my nephews are just a short drive and we love our new home. Lucy has a backyard and Jarrod and I have more space than we need – which is awesome.

Our last few days in Louisiana were filled with food, celebrations, and warm hospitality. We celebrated with our staff family, our dear friends, and the family that we’ve cultivated in this little town.

I have enjoyed my job and our church more than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned more from supervisors, youth, and friends. I taught Sunday School with the best teacher and the best group of girls I can imagine. I will miss them every Sunday at 9:40am and am so thankful for our time together and the relationships we built. I was blessed to have the best boss on the planet and am so thankful for the things he taught me.

I was so blessed to have been included not only in the staff of my office, but also with the staff at our church – Jarrod’s office. They took us to lunch and presented us with helpful and thoughtful gifts. (one gift in particular helped buy everything we needed for our new house from the Super Target up the road!)

One thing I’m going to miss is the children that surrounded us while we were in Louisiana. I know we’ll meet new little ones, but that always takes time. Our nephews will have to serve as the only little ones in my life for a while – which is fine!

A few days before we left, our young adult group threw us a going away party. It was the best party ever because it was a gathering of our most dear friends. The food was incredible – my favorite white chocolate bread pudding, boiled shrimp, dips, and desserts.

It was a bittersweet night, knowing that this would be the last time to really hang out with our friends. When we got in the car that night I commented to Jarrod that I never thought we’d find such awesome friends in Louisiana. When I first moved here, I had no idea we’d develop such a beautiful family of people around us. We are so blessed.

On Sunday morning, after the truck was sufficiently packed, Jarrod and I headed up to church. I cried most of the morning and we celebrated with our church family with a beautiful reception. We were hugged and sent off in the most incredible way. Cake, flowers, punch, cookies, gifts, tears, and a room full of love. It was a difficult morning, but it was heart-warming at the same time.

After church, we hitched up the truck to the moving van, ate lunch, packed up a few last minute things (like Sophie, Oliver, and Lucy!) and hit the road!

More on our new house, getting moved in, and the amazing hospitality we received when we arrived in Dallas!
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