Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grateful 16/365

Grateful for Landon, Janae & Alex

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grateful 15/365

Grateful for new cozy, cuddly baby items that I can't wait to use!

...And for the friends and family members who so generously gave.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grateful 14/365

Grateful for pregnant friends!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grateful 13/365

Grateful for a surprise in the mail that made me smile...

...And got a chuckle out of Major Cutie's daddy.

Organizing Challenge: Week 2

Well, suffice it to say that Week 2 is going to be combined with Week 3. A really sweet friend is hosting a baby shower for us in our home this week, so I thought I should be a good little mommy and have our little nursery in viewable condition. So I set about cleaning and organizing the corner of our house devoted to baby, which happens to double as a laundry room (eek, did I just say that out loud?!) and is connected with the master bedroom. In other words, preparing the nursery also means organizing the laundry room and our bedroom. Kind of like killing 2 or 3 birds with one stone, hence the combining of weeks. Plus I was feeling all pregnant and lazy this entire last week. Lovely excuses, wouldn't you say?

So cross your fingers in hopes of progress and pictures to brag about in a week from now!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grateful 12/365

Grateful for sunshine!
...and for the miracle of this Gerbera plant surviving as long as it has under my care!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Grateful 11/365

Grateful for good bargains for the nursery!

Grateful 10/365

Grateful for tea!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grateful 9/365

Grateful for rain......or trying to be. This is an overflow pond out back for the run-off of our apartment's parking lot. They just got done pumping it dry so they can dig it bigger for the three new buildings they're adding. Yesterday it was empty. Today it's filled to the brim and it's still raining... And you're only seeing a small portion of it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grateful 8/365

Grateful for WATER!

Praise and Coffee

If the title caught your attention then you're really going to love where I'm going to send you now. But first a sweet little story.

Once upon a time (I know not when or how) I stumbled across a blog bearing that title. Praise and Coffee. I loved the sound of it. What's more, the author had a fun writing style and her encouragement to women was so inspiring. I loved her challenges to wives for their marriages. I loved, loved, loved her passion; which means I love her website, I love her ministry... yeah, I pretty much love her.

Our paths managed to cross somehow on that lovely social networking site known to the world as Facebook (once again, I know not when or how). I soon learned this dear gal had a patriotic heart as she offered her support and prayers to me as I struggled with the loneliness of my husband's absence.

One such way she demonstrated that was when I commented on how cute, cute, CUTE! the coffee mugs she had designed for her ministry were. The next thing I knew, there was one delivered to my door step along with a packet of coffee and a sweet little note. Her kindness meant so much to me. She is who she says she is.

{And they all lived happily ever after. The end.}

So take a moment and visit what must be the most welcoming site on planet earth -- Praise and Coffee -- and be inspired to be the woman God created you to be. You won't leave without a good heart-warming. (For best results, enjoy a cup of coffee while there.)

[Insert disclaimer about this not being a really-super-cute-coffee-mug give-away site.]

{Oh. Hello, Me! #badphotographer}

Some day I'm going to go to one of her Praise and Coffee nights.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grateful 7/365

Grateful for excuses...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Organizing Challenge: Week 1

Remember my personal organizing challenge? I kind of doubted my abilities entering into it, but I have the first week down and it is with great pride that I admit to having a much more functional kitchen. I love it! I learned a few things this last week.

  1. Start with a smaller project and complete it to perfection before going on to the next. That way, when you're threatened to be discouraged in your endeavors, slide open that little drawer and try not to drool in it as you relish the amazing sense of satisfaction. You shut the drawer with the attitude of I can so do this!
  2. Out of sight, out of mind. It's true. And when it comes to kitchens, it's also bad. Not a good thing to not be aware of the food you have around the place. The stuff that had to get thrown out was sad... But on the other hand, I don't have to do a whole lot of grocery shopping for awhile, aside from the normal perishable items.
  3. Cleaned, organized kitchens are ah-maaaaz-ing!
So, without further ado, let me show you the after product of my endeavors for the last week. No, it's nothing fancy or magazine-worthy, but it's certainly functional and so far everything in the kitchen has a place and everything in the kitchen is in its place! (That says something, doesn't it?)

Under the Sink:

My soaps, cleaners, scrubbers, plastic bags, paper/plastic cups & plates and napkins are all easily accessible and viewable. I also love having hooks for throwing damp towels and wash cloths on so they don't clutter up the sink and counter area.

Island Cupboard:

I have plenty of space now for things like canned goods, condiments, cooking oils, chips and cereals.

All-Around Cupboard
The photo actually makes it look more cluttered than it really is. I don't have any of those little lazy suzan shelves and never really knew what I thought of them anyway. But I do have very defined spaces now for yucky vitamins, vinegars, coffee stuff, snacks, crackers and the surplus of flours and sugars that didn't quite fit in the canisters.

Next up:

Say hello to baking supplies and pasta.

Look at what I uncovered:

Yes. An entire empty drawer. I'm sure I will find a purpose for it in the near future...

Above the Stove:

Sugars, flour, oatmeal, rice, pinto beans, croutons! I have a love affair with clear plastic jars.

Spice Cupboard:
Nothing fancy, I know.


What's a kitchen cleaning project without cleaning out the fridge?
Yeah I know, I'm out of milk...

The Pantry:
slash utility closet, slash storage closet, slash CHALLENGING PROJECT! This was my biggest challenge probably. I really didn't know how to follow the whole "place for everything and everything in its place" rule with this one since it has to double (triple... quadruple...?) as an "everything else belongs here" space.

So there you have it. Week number one and a suhweet comfy kitchen!

(Yes, my kitchen does happen to have dishes in it, but if you will believe it, all those cupboards were in tip-top shape. Including my tupperware lazy suzan! Impressive, I know)

Grateful 6/365

Grateful for Chocolate!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grateful 5/365

Grateful for 33 down, 7 to go!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grateful 4/365

Grateful for Changing Seasons

Friday, September 17, 2010

Grateful 3/365

Grateful for FRUIT!! It's my craving these days...

All In Due Time

Lined up according to due date...
November, November, November, January

Pregnancy that can be shared is twice the fun--make that quadruple the fun. Look at all them babies!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Grateful 2/365

Grateful that all is well.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grateful 1/365

So grateful my hero is home. He served his country, he makes me proud.
One of these days I will pull together the heart to wipe this clean. The chalk is all faded, the sentiment is outdated, but the memory of his homecoming is relived every time I see it.

My Personal Organizing Challenge

Knowing I'm going to be all-consumed with my baby in a shorter-than-I-realize time, I'm not real interested in the idea of cluttered disorganized spaces in our apartment. My nesting instinctual goal is to have a place for everything and everything in it's place and every place easy to be maintained.

I mentally calculated the number of rooms in our small home and came up with the great total of SIX (one being the man cave, so I more than likely will not be touching that one)--not including closets and pantries.

I further calculated myself to be a grand total of 32 weeks pregnant which gives me 8 weeks to go--give or take. That means that if I set aside one week per room, I should get it all done in time for little Baby Boo Boo to settle in to his new home and for us to be able to more focus on settling in with him.

The question therefore remains to be asked--can she do it? WILL she do it?


Compliments to a certain malady I didn't anticipate, I had a sad and slow and late start at it this week. Said-malady also had the nerve to go and swallow up the-many-good-intentions-of-my-homemaking-heart whole! So, while sitting on ice packs I used my sweet new 17.3" computer (complete with a quad-core processor!!--Big Guy tells me that's a pretty big deal) to peruse through various blogs I have stumbled across that offer just the inspiration I need. I started intermittently tackling drawers and shelves between ice-pack/incentive-packed-blog sessions.

There are many, and I should just be a dear to the authors and you and share all of them. But that would take too much time out of my organizing schedule, and I'm on the clock! Perhaps at a later date I will reveal all sources of inspiration, but for now I will highlight one such blog, and that is I love how practical her tips are. Those amazing women who somehow just throw together for two bucks magazine-worthy pantries lined with pretty glass jars and adorable chalk labels make me drool with jealousy. But alas, I am not so creative and possess miniscule resources to attain to such coolness.

That is why I loved the gist of Small Notebook--Why buy more stuff to hold your stuff? Amen, sister. Now I'm all excited. I'm going to kiss some trash bags goodbye!

Announcing to the world wide web my personal organizing challenge is a set-up for humiliating myself, I know... But it could also be the extra incentive I need to accomplish my goal. We shall see. So maybe at the beginning of every week I will reveal what I accomplished the week prior. And just a head's-up--Don't expect "before" pictures; they embarrass me.

If I never refer to this again, you will know I ultimately failed, but you will probably be so nice that you'll never let me know that you know. You know?

[Photo: My junk drawer after I pretty much filled up the kitchen trash can with all the junk that was in it. Do you think it will stay looking this nice? Time will tell...]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Didn't Anticipate

From the moment that second line appeared on the pregnancy test, I knew I was going to love and cherish every moment of pregnancy; even the discomforts. After my last pregnancy ended so abruptly, I actually missed every little bit of misery I felt and the other various aches and pains and complications I never had the opportunity to feel. I had a hard time not resenting the pregnant women who seemed to view their pregnancies as a drudgery. I ached to be in their shoes.

This pregnancy shaped out to be a dream of an experience. Yes, I spent the first trimester on the couch wondering if I would ever feel awake again. But I know that I am among the lucky who only had to surrender to the porcelain bowl once. Knowing my discomfort meant that my baby was well I embraced it with joy.

My second trimester was a breeze. Feeling my baby growing inside of me was an experience I wondered if I would be willing to give up at 40 weeks. But towards the end of that period I learned that my cervix had softened prematurely and started to dilate. Up until that point I had been trying to remain active--exercising regularly and keeping up a schedule filled with social and work activities. Now I needed to take it easy. I was constantly worried about my baby. I laid off the brisk walks and cut back on my calendar of events. I didn't like that my toned legs began to get squishy, and not being able to move furniture around or lift heavy objects made me feel like an invalid. But I gladly did it for the sake of my baby.

As I hit this third trimester I settled into a routine of better understanding my body. I knew where the boundaries of over-doing it were, and the premature labor threat level began to drop. Meanwhile, Baby continues to grow. I'm starting to feel like a big unattractive beach ball, but I try to believe my husband when he tells me otherwise. While dreading what those feet in my ribs were going to feel like at 39 weeks, I was still loving every minute of being pregnant. I knew I was having a dream of a pregnancy and really did have very little to complain of--except for that outie of course. I considered myself blessed beyond measure, especially since I was still willing to fully embrace all the aches and pains and stretch marks and other discomforts that are normal for this stage of pregnancy.

And then It hit.

being a breakout in a hives-like raised rash all over my lower torso and legs. It was so bad that at times I writhed in agony of the burning, itching, on-fire inflammation that was creeping all over my body. At first they thought that perhaps I was having an allergic reaction to something. When it continued to worsen no matter what I did or tried my midwife sent me to the doctor. The verdict was not what I wanted it to be.
"Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy" also known [or more easily pronounced] as PUPPP.

If you're like me and had never heard of such a thing, that's because less than 1% of pregnant women are afflicted with this ailment. Of those less-than-1%, it usually occurs in a first pregnancy or women pregnant with twins. And oddly enough, 70% of that less-than-1% are carrying boys.

Nobody really knows what causes PUPPP. Skin stretching and therefore become irritated, male DNA in the baby acting as a skin irritant and fluctuating hormones are among the various reasons that studies have so far been able to come up with.

There is no cure for it. There are methods of relief (I have spent probably 75% or more of my days on ice packs, no lie), and when it becomes as severe as mine (I wasn't sleeping at night, my skin was on fire, and it got to the point where ice packs could barely take the edge off) there are prescriptions for oral antihistamines and topical steroid cream.

PUPPP indicates no underlying condition, nor does it put your baby at risk. It goes away all on it's own... After your darling baby is born.

So as you can imagine, this is one preggo malady I wasn't anticipating and certainly was not eager to embrace. I felt like a horrible mommy as sweet visions of induction pleasantly flitted through my rash-deranged mind. I was already feeling like a horrible wife as I accomplished 100% of nothing and my sweetheart's very touch sent fiery itchy tingles racing through my body. If I could just have this baby all would be well!! Well, not really well seeing his first weeks of life would be spent living the life of a preemie while I could adjust to my new life of comfortable skin and feeling human again.

Ugh. What a selfish person I am.

I am happy to say that while normal is a long ways down the road (like 8 weeks, give or take) the medication has kicked some comfort in. I can get a half-way decent night's rest, I am able to accomplish things (the whole nesting thing is delish!) even if I have to take breaks frequently to apply ice packs, and my baby continues to warm my heart with his delightful kicks and uncomfortable feet-in-my-ribs maneuvers. My brain has lifted from the fog of PUPPP mayhem and I am more than willing to carry to term.

I am so grateful that I have a healthy active bouncing baby boy. I'm finally starting to adjust to the idea of learning how to joyfully cope with this condition knowing all is well with him.

(On the other hand, I'm not so sure I'm eager to experience him being one of those 42-weekers.)