December 31, 2012

It's currently 1:18p  on the very last day of 2012, the hubby is out running errands and kiddo is 1hr into his nap which is typically 3hrs long.  I'm just chillin' here in the sweet silence enjoying all that this year has been, it's been a little bit of a wild ride but I'm thankful for it....all those crazy moments (both good and not so good) contribute to who I am and I'm darn proud of the woman (wife and mother) I've become.  God is so good.
I hope each of you (all four of you, lol) have a fantastic and safe celebration tonight.  As for us, we'll be safe at home with take out and a movie.  Here's to a wonderful 2013!


Much Love,
Jen

December 29, 2012

Running in the Cold

If you knew me in real life you would know I'm not a big fan of winter.  I don't snowboard, ski etc because I don't like to be cold and don't warm up quickly.  Too bad I've spent almost my entire life in the pacific northwest eh?

Anyway I wanted to toot my own horn today.  I've been working out at the gym for a few months since the cold weather hit our area, even running a few miles a couple times a week on the treadmill (which is similar to Chinese water torture if you ask me!).  This morning Liam slept in and I couldn't pry myself out of bed in time to make it to my bodycombat class that I've been loving so much.  The three of us just enjoyed a lovely lazy Saturday morning and before we knew it Liam needed a nap, aka workout time for Momma.

After Liam went down I went back and forth on what to do for my workout, I'd missed all the classes and really only wanted cardio since I can still get strength workouts in later this weekend.  I kept checking the weather channel, ugh below 30*.  Finally I just got dressed and even posted a facebook status "too bad I'm not hardcore enough to run outside in the cold, off to the gym I go".  I went outside to get my car out of the garage...hmmm it's not too bad out here.   I got the car our and went back inside to change.  V had gotten me a base layer for Christmas and I already had warm pants, gloves and a hat...I'll just go a little ways and see how it feels.  I got out there and it was awesome.  So awesome!  I did my 'ol 4.5 mile loop that I love so much and even made really great time!!

I don't have to start training for a few more weeks, but I'm excited to know that I can still get in a good outside run every now and then!!  Yay me!!

And just for fun, here is a pic I found on the web, this was an actual sign along the half marathon route last year!! Too funny!!!


December 27, 2012

Christ-mas Recap 2012

Our little world sure has been busy!  Have I ever mentioned that V's family is huge, huge-huge!  Thankfully after 6 Christmases I have everyone's name down, such was not always the case, yikes! :)

This year we started establishing our own traditions and I made sure to inform V's mom, I love her but she would certainly eat up every free second we have if I don't set some boundaries.  Christmas Eve we got up early as usual and ate, I had lit a tree scented candle and put on some Christmas music while setting all of our gifts in the center of the living room for Liam to rip into.  He had such a blast pulling bows and ribbon off, he even pulled the wrapping paper off (something he's never had much interest in it before).  Because V's family is so large we didn't over indulge Liam, we bought him a few outfits, some jammies (tradition starting), a little toddler chair and a magna-doddle all of which were a huge hit with him so mission accomplished.  V and I did gifts and played with the little guy until nap time.

While Liam napped I made some green beans as my contribution to Christmas dinner at V's paternal grandparents house later in the day.  (They turned out just a little spicey but everyone seemed to enjoy them as there were no leftovers, also no one noticed I used turkey bacon!)  Dinner was fun, then we all went to our respective church services which was a challenge with no childcare, Liam only sat through half of the
Christmas morning V got up with Liam and let me rest since I hardly slept the night before, after a short nap we all scurried around and got ready (while making a egg side for brunch) to head out to V's parents for the day.  Brunch was fun and tasty then we opened gifts.  It was nice to have both V's paternal grandparents and maternal grandma there with us again.  Although I have to admit I was getting nervous as we were passed Liam's nap time again, it was a recipe for disaster, but he did ok through gifts and loved opening anything anyone would let him.  He's such a little ham when surrounded by family, it's obvious that he is so love which just warms my heart to watch!  He was spoiled with more toys by each and every person (almost).  Thankfully after that he took a nap and so did I!

The rest of the day we lounged around, more family streamed in and out, lots of snacks were had and white elephant gifts exchanged.  V and I went home earlier than planned so Liam could have a relaxing bath before bed and all of us could get much needed rest.  Even V turned in early.

All in all it was super busy but very fun.  Next year I really want to focus more on building our traditions and making it less about stuff and running around and more about the true meaning that it should be.  I'm hoping since we'll be in our new home that some of the celebration can be had there.

I hope each of you had a fantastic Christmas!
Much Love,
Jen

December 18, 2012

Unimaginable Saddness for Newtown, CT

I feel weird even writing about this, I just wish it were all a horrible-horrible dream.  The pain of the whole town of Newtown, CT is unimaginable.  I've been strategically avoiding the media coverage, it just hits a different place in my heart now that I'm a mom.  Unfortunately you can't avoid it forever, I started listening to little bits of President Obama's speech last night while I folded laundry (and Liam unfolded it, lol).  I cried hearing him speak the names of the 20 children lost (I changed the channel so I don't know if he spoke the 6 lost adults names).  I cried on the way to work as they discussed the funerals of those little children.  It all just breaks my heart.

It's unfortunate that tragic events like this happen, and it seems like this one has shaken us all a little deeper.  I refuse to think about it in too much depth....I just can't.  Often times, when something like this happens I get a bit consumed and read/watch everything I can get my hands on, like much of America.  (Personally I think this is a bit of the problem)  Not this time though, I'm acting on gut instinct like on Friday night when I abruptly cancelled Liam's sleepover at G'ma's.  I just needed him home, much more than I needed a date night.  Instead our evening was full of toddler giggles and random hugs (Liam's new thing) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

This horrible event has had a seemingly universal effect on all of us, we're all grabbing our loved ones, no matter the age, and pulling them just a little closer for a moment longer.  On Saturday afternoon as I was putting Liam down for his nap he rested his head on my shoulder and instantly fell asleep, instead of laying him down I sat in the rocker in his room and just held him, it was so peaceful as he pressed against my chest I could have stayed there for three hours (and I considered it).  I slowly lay him down after a good 20 minutes, he peaked open one eye and smiled before falling back to sleep.  It was priceless.  And instead of scurrying off to the gym while Liam napped I snuggled in V's arms while he watched his man shows.

We've all been taken back, we're all making vows to be kinder, gentler, more patient and more present....I just wish it didn't have to come as a result of this unspeakable tragedy, and I hope we are all still living by these vows in three months.

I hope and pray that this madness ends, that our eyes fewer and fewer of this horrible events until there are no such things.  I realize full well that the likelihood of all this is essentially nonexistent but I a girl mom can hope and dream.

Much Love,
Jen

December 13, 2012

I Can't _____, But I Can ____

Today I was just sitting at my desk, enjoying a much needed silent little break.  I was think about a couple friends who are pregnant and the fact that, yes, I'm jealous.  Not big angry/bitter jealous just silent, slightly sad jealous.  Then another friend messaged me (I had replied to her status about how she enjoyed her birthday)...she went on to tell me that it had been six years since she enjoyed a birthday because six years two weeks before her birthday she went into premature labor and gave birth to her son at only 16 weeks gestation and he died.  For the last six years she hated, dreaded and sometimes couldn't bear her birthday.  Understandably so.

I was sitting in the silence of my office just reflecting on that.  I obviously can't (and won't try) to explain why God allowed her to go into labor so early and why her son couldn't have lived.  I'm not going to say "everything happens for a reason" because I'd punch someone straight in the face who said that to me.  Instead I'm choosing to be thankful that she has two beautiful healthy daughters (19 & 8).

I remember so well when V and I were trying for a baby, month after month I hoped and prayed to be pregnant.  But I also secretly prayed that I would rather never get pregnant if God planned on taking my baby from me.  I feared miscarriage with every inch of my soul (as most mothers do).  I am so thankful that I got to have just one pregnancy that resulted in my beautiful, healthy, funny, sweet little boy.  Unfortunately I only get that one pregnancy, we won't even try (and are actively preventing) future pregnancies because it's what's safest.  I have one wonderful miracle baby and I'm so thankful to have him.

Which brings me to my title.  This whole thought process got me thinking, I registered for my 2nd Half Marathon this yesterday (Yikes!)....I can't have more babies BUT I can run races.....and I love running (or as real runners would call it jogging).  I'm choosing to be thankful for the blessing of Liam and the blessing of a supportive husband who will go all the way to Portland to watch me run.  I have so much to be thankful for....today I feel just crazy blessed.  I can't give Liam more biological siblings BUT I can (and hopefully will) foster a child that needs our love desperately and though this Liam can be a big brother.  I can't do a lot of things BUT I can be the best mom ever to Liam and any child(ren) that we are blessed with through fostering.

Much Love & Thanks,
Jen





December 12, 2012

Rock & Roll {Half} Marathon Series 2013

Today (on 12/12/12) you can save yourself $20 off the registration cost of Rock & Roll Series Races.  Today I bit the bullet and registered for my 2nd Half Marathon...Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  Yikes!  Looks like I'm actually doing this!

I actually told V that I wanted my registration fee for the race to be at least part of my Christmas present since I thought it would be over $80 (I paid $66.50 with today's discount).  I'm blessed to have his total support and the support of my amazing friends.

I have at most 6 weeks before I start training and cleaning up my eating!  I'll post my training plan soon!  This will also be part of my 2013 Goal List I'm working on (and also promise to post soon).

Yikes, lots happening soon quickly!  I also need to post about the flooring I picked out (I pick out other finishes tomorrow!  Lots of posts coming soon, promise!

Much Love,
Jen

December 8, 2012

My Body 18 Months After Baby

This post is full of TMI so if the thought of that makes you qweezy turn back now, you've been warned.


First I'll start with the elephant in the room, or lack thereof.  I've lost 63 pounds since having Liam.  I gained 49 of those while pregnant.  I had a lot of swelling but it still took a lot of effort to loose the weight.  I've kept it off now for just shy of a year.  At first I just lost the weight, I was skinny fat.  I looked thin but had little muscle to speak of.  I counted calories {using MyFitnessPal.com}for over 9 months straight, almost every day.  Last Spring I took up running jogging, this improved the condition of my body immensely.  It also kept me sane while I dealt with my Autoimmune Disease.  Although I'm now what many people call skinny (I prefer healthy) I'm not as confient as you would think.

First I have stretch marks, the worst of which are on my breasts.  Most of them have faded greatly....except on my breasts.  I got those nasty purple ones that are deep as the grand canyon on my breasts.  I tried hard to breast feed Liam for the first three months of his life, during those three months 90% of my milk was in my right breast, it was literally a solid D and the left one was a small B.  I'd also like to take a moment to say not all women get stretch marks just on their breasts and bellies, I have some in the oddest of places.....I'll leave it at that.

Which brings me to my next topic; my breasts or lack thereof.  You know how some women joke about their breasts resembling tube socks with sand in the bottom after having a baby?  They weren't joking.  For a wide variety of reasons (including my weight gain and loss) my breasts are a very small B on a good day (you know those days when you had too much salt the day before?).  They also are empty feeling, I don't know a better way to say it than that, it's odd at best.

And lastly my stomach.  While it's flater than I would have imagined it would ever be I still have some loose skin around my belly button.  It's not horrible but it's weird sometimes.  I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get it even sort of tight again.

These things leave me uncomfortable even sorta naked, even around my husband.  He doesn't seem to mind but I dunno, I guess I'm still just a little uncomfortable in this body.  It still feels a little foreign to me.  Please don't think I'd trade Liam for my old body because I would NOT.  I'm proud of this strange new body, first and foremost it gave me Liam that in itself is a miracle I would not trade for anything.  This body made it through the crazy experience which was (and unfortunately looks like will be [more on this later]) my Autoimmune Disease.  Last but not least this body did a Half Marathon in 2 hours and 42 minutes.  I really am in the best shape of my life, it's just superficial stuff that bothers me.

I guess my real point is I'm not as confident as you would expect me to be, even though I'm certainly in the best shape of my life.  I have a co-worker who is on her journey to loosing some weight, she constantly says things about wanting to look like me and sometimes I think to myself "you don't want these boobs or belly trust me."  I suppose the real lesson here is to not compare ourselves to others, no matter what they may look like etc. Don't judge a book by it's cover.

Much Love (and Honestly)
-Jen





December 5, 2012

Speak to me

Some days 18 months seems so little then some days it feels like life is speeding by me at immeasurable speeds.

It was this time last year Liam was just figuring out how to roll over front to back now he's climbing every piece of furniture we own like a well skilled mountain goat!  It was just before Thanksgiving last year that we tried rice cereal for the first time....last night he had pizza for dinner! What?!  He's also picking up on words we use (or phrases like telling the dog to "GO!").  Apparently that time he said "Doggie" perfectly was a fluke because he's never said it since BUT he's currently working on a list of D words: Dog, Duck, Down....I'm sure there are more he's working on that escape my short term memory.  He's long mastered Deer (sounds like Diah), he will even look for them out the windows of my in-laws home where they are common place.



On weekday mornings Liam already helps with our routine bringing me his shoes (matching ones even!).  He's pretty easy going about having his teeth brushed after breakfast, getting dressed and out the door even in his big coat.  He really loves his buddies at Nanna's house especially now that a little boy is going there too.

Thankfully Liam still loves sleep, he goes down at 7:30p and gets up about 6:50am on weekdays and on weekends we allow him to sleep until he wakes which normally is about 7:15am-ish.  He's also fully transitioned to one nap usually around noon for 2.5-3 hours.  He still sleeps in his crib, we don't plan to convert it to a toddler bed until we move at which point he'll be 21 months (we'll see how the move goes it may be closer to his 2nd bday).

Eating has been interesting lately, he has days where he is just picky and won't even eat meals he usually loves.  Very strange.  But we are committed to not being short order cooks so if he doesn't eat his meal then he'll have to wait until the next.  Liam has already picked up on this and will usually eat at least some of whatever his meal is.  We still offer him snacks but not his favorite ones, we don't want him to learn that he can skip healthy meals and still get his favorite treats.  This appears to be working....so far.  He's certainly growing so we know he's not missing too many meals.  He's currently fitting into 18-24 month clothing perfectly, 2T runs just a little big but isn't horrible (he doesn't seem to mind).

Liam is such a good and sweet little boy.  I feel so very blessed.  I'm so thankful that we were able to have him, he's truly a miracle.  It's still hard for me to fully accept that we aren't able to have more children but it's gotten significantly easier...on the more challenging days I just focus hard on devoting all my energy to being the best mom to Liam and when all else fails I go to the gym cuz that always helps! :)

Much Love,
Jen


December 2, 2012

Lazy-ish Weekend

With all the stress I've been dealing with over the last ~2 weeks I was a bit over whelmed when it came to this weekend, we had a lot planned and I started to get anxious, I just didn't see how we could really get it all done....so I started canceling whatever I could.  More than anything I needed down time with my family (and maybe a workout).  May I just say, Mission Accomplished.

A brief overview of our weekend:

Friday Night: Dinner with V's parents & a Movie on the sofa after Liam was in bed (Men in Black II, very good btw)

Saturday:
Shortly after we all got up and had eaten breakfast V insisted I head to the gym for my favorite BodyCombat Class and I listened, it was wonderful and I needed it
Liam and I did Parent-Tot swim lessons, so much fun!
Lunch & Family nap time
Liam and I ran a couple errands (I found an adorble shirt at The Gap 50% off!)
Liam and I grabbed smoothies (his first) before heading home for dinner with V and play time
After Liam was in bed V and I did our own thing, I finished The Last Lecute (I highly recommend it!) and went to be early...V played video games


Sunday:
Liam slept until almost 9:30am, two hours later than normal which means we all got to sleep in....it was glorious (we also missed church again, oh well).
After a lovely lazy morning we all got ready and ran over to have Liam's picture taken with Santa (I had cancelled our appt with the photographer we usually use and decided to just get an affordable one which turned out great!  10 mins in and out)
Liam is currently napping while V watches tv and I mess around on here, later Liam and I will volunteer in the nursery at church for evening service.

This weekend was exactly what I needed, I could really use another two days like this!  My stress level has dropped significantly (Thank God!) and I feel as prepared as I can be for the week ahead.

Much Love,
Jen

November 30, 2012

Countdown

Yesterday we had another appointment with the developer of the subdivision our home will be built in.  V and I both expected this to be a "pick out your finishes" appointment.  Not so much, we reviewed the blueprints (again), asked for one small change that won't affect the blueprints really and basically gave our approval.  Ugh.  Two weeks wasted.  You see the developer didn't put in a request for our permits yet, he'll do that now and it will be 2-4 (or more) weeks before they break ground.  As it pours rain right now.  It's a miracle it hasn't snowed yet and there is no frost to break so I'm anxious (to say the least) for them to break ground.  So far this *shouldn't* effect our move in date which is now a firm March 29th 2013.

I know this process is going be a big test in patience for me but right in this very moment it's just adding to the enormous amount of stress I'm already under. For the last week I've been right on the verge of throwing up.  I would love nothing more than a long hot bath right now, something that is not an option in our current home.  I'm counting the days until I can at least start packing and truly day dreaming of settling into our forever home.

The countdown is on, even if I spend more than a few days stuck at some numbers.

Much Love,
Jen

November 28, 2012

Happy Things

Today I'm forcing a smile, I can't lie....I'm under a ton of stress right now.  I'm doing my best to manage it but I need a break real soon.  In an effort to make it through I'm focusing on happy things.

Without further ado:

-Liam, enough said?  He's growing up so fast.  He's so fun and funny.  This weekend we went to a local sporting goods store and just looked around.  I put him down and let him walk around and he had the best time!  He also had his first sucker recently, the kid was in heaven!  Ah the simply joys.

-V and I are doing great especially considering all we have going on.  That alone is pretty darn awesome.

-My MIL & FIL agreed to watch Liam in May while V and I get away for a few days to celebrate our 5th Wedding anniversary/ My 30th Birthday  AND I'm going to do another Half Marathon!!!

-Speaking of my second Half Marathon I can not wait!  I have already scheduled the time off work, I still need to register (I'm waiting because if I register on 12/13 I get $13 off, it's a promo), and book our hotel which I'll probably do tonight.  It's such a blessing to have something so positive to focus on right now.

-While no progress has been made our house (they haven't even started digging our basement, boo!) we do get to pick our our finishes tomorrow night.

-I've been wearing my hair back in a ponytail a lot lately which is very unlike me (my hair is almost always straightened and down).  The thing is I'm starting to really like the ease of having my hair back and I'm finding simple ways to make it feel not too frumpy.  (and the extra 20 mins sleep is nice!)

-I've been getting into this new class: BodyCombat...it's a bit crazy but I love it.  I go once per week in the morning (5am) and on Saturdays when I can.  The "me" time is amazing, I can't wait for another class!

-I bought myself a new pair of jeans and running shoes.  I got great deals so I splurged on myself (both were less than $70 which is less than the retail of the jeans alone!).  I rarely do things like that for myself and since we're building our house I won't be doing it again any time soon.

-When you google "happy things" this pic comes up, adorable!!!


Whew, that actually worked!  Thank goodness! I hope each of you are having a wonderful day/week!!
Much Love,
Jen


November 22, 2012

ThankFUL

This week has been a little crazy, V's uncle was admitted to one of the local hospitals on Tuesday night after having a "mild" heart attack.  Long story short they found two semi-blocked arteries that required three stints.  Stress-full.  This uncle is by far both of our favorites, he's always positive, always encouraging, always nice.  I'm thankful to say he was discharged from the hospital today, just in time to enjoy some family time on Thanksgiving.

I consider myself a fairly thankful person, I had a pretty horrible childhood so I know what I have and I know to appreciate it.  But the last two weeks have made me even more thankful.  While V and I certainly aren't perfect we do love each other and work really hard at our marriage.  I have the most amazing little boy in the whole world who is healthy, a blessing I don't take lightly.  I could go on and on but I'll stop and just say I have a full heart that leaves me thankFUL this Thanksgiving.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by people that leave you feeling loved and thankful.

Much Love,
Jen

November 20, 2012

The Difference Between Men & Women

Last night as our little family was eating dinner V says "I have something to talk to you about".  When he prefaces things this way it's not usually a great thing (for me anyway, it usually has something to do with him playing more video games or hunting/fishing more).  I have to admit I gave him the side eye before asking him to go on.

Since officially signing on to build our first ever home we've been thinking and planning much more into the future than usual.  Currently we're scheduled to move into our home two weeks after our 5th wedding anniversary, which is also two weeks before my 30th birthday and just less than 6 weeks before a half marathon I'm hoping to do out of state.....the timing is interesting.  It feels like we have a lot of balls in the air (hehe I just got a horrible mental picture, not those kind of balls!!!!)

With all that said V and I have been talking about our paid time off schedules, both of us accumulate a good amount each year but both of our employers have a "use it or lose it" policy.  I have carefully scheduled the hours I am required to use and I will hoard the rest for: the move, our get away (aka anniversary/my bday celebration/ half marathon trip) and heaven forbid one of us gets sick.  Then there is V, I love him-I really do.....but he doesn't see things anything in the same manner as I do.  He's decided to go almost broke on paid time off and start fresh at the beginning of the year.  Sigh.  While in some ways this is good, we'll save over a week in daycare cost BUT should Liam get sick (or the woman who watches him) it will all rest on me to take time off....me, the one who is hoarding my time off for other scheduled events.  Oh men.

I just couldn't help but laugh a little, we see things so differently.  And I get it, I do.  V just took a day off recently because work was so slow and spent the day with Liam, both of them had a blast!  I can see where V is coming from wanting to spend that time with Liam again, I just wish he'd carry over a little safety net.

Can I get an Amen?
Much Love,
Jen 

November 17, 2012

Building Our Home: Earnest Monies & Decor

We officially accepted the builder/developers counter offer on Friday afternoon.  Our realtor emailed us a big congratulations and asked when he could get our earnest money.  Wow that made it real, the money is already being handed out, at least these dollars go to the house.  Well I guess it all goes to the house but I have a running tally in my head of the things we have to buy and are planning on upgrading, ek!  Not an easy task for this saver!

Some of the items we are looking at: (from both my pinterest accounts ect)

November 15, 2012

Hold Your Babies Extra Close Today

Last night a little boy died in our community, he had been fighting aggressive brain cancer for more than half his short four years and couldn't battle on any longer.  His parents did all they could, even the most aggressive treatments, then when the cancer came back for the third time their son said to them "no more pokes" and they agreed, they treated him at home.  I followed their journey through his mom's blog and on facebook never actually meeting any member of his family only attending fundraising functions here and there.

This morning as V and Liam were eating scrambled eggs I read the news of this little boy's passing and I physically crumbled in tears, my heart breaks for this family.  I can not imagine his mother's pain, the sorrow his whole family feels.  Tears have been near all day.  Then I saw people start to post hurtful things on facebook this afternoon.  Here's the thing, his parents made the best choice for THEIR family, why in the world would you judge them after their child JUST passed!??!  It's been less than 24 hours!!!  My heart breaks.

Lucky V, it's been a slow week at work so he had already taken the day off to spend with Liam.  Liam was super happy to have an extra ~45 mins of sleep and woke up in cheerful jabber.  I took a little personal time at lunch to go home and snuggle him extra close (he seemed super happy about it too!).

My plea to you is to snuggle your babies extra close today, they are a true gift and blessing from God.

RIP Sweet Child, you are with God where there is no cancer.

November 14, 2012

Building Our Home: Offer Accepted

Oh my tummy turned a little as I type that, in a good way of course.  I literally just received an email from our realtor that our offer will be countered in the morning, the developer will pay 70% of our closing, good enough for us!  I called V and we agreed we would accept his counter......holy cow, we are really building our first home!

So it begins, I can not wait for all the things we get to pick out, I know it will be totally overwhelming at times but I think I'm ready!!!   I know I'm more than ready for Liam to have more room to run and play!


November 13, 2012

Building a House: The Waiting Game

Perhaps God is using this experience as another opportunity to teach me to be patient.  I wonder how that is going.....cuz I'm not a patient person.

Something I didn't expect about building a house; because we are building in a subdivision we picked a model and some upgrades and I thought you just paid the listed price, like buying boots at Target. 

Apparently not, the developer even told us "let me know what your offer is".  Later in the conversation he also mentioned the builder wanted permission to build a spec. home through the winter to keep his crew busy.  Two key things that led us to believe there was some wiggle room on the price.  Here's the thing though, I don't want to offend this guy, he seems very on the straight and narrow.  After speaking to our realtor he suggested that we ask him to pay our closing costs and use that money to purchase upgrades to our home (we planned on the upgrades anyway)....so we did.  We officially placed our offer this morning....so the waiting begins.  The developer has until Thursday to get back to us, I wish he'd just accept the offer as is so we can break ground!!

I'm so ready for this whole process to get rolling!!!

November 10, 2012

Building a Home: Selecting Our Lot

Last night after work V and I scurried over to a meeting with the developer of the subdivision where we plan to build our home.  Our realtor is out of town so one of his associates went with us, unfortunately we arrived before her.  BUT fortunately the developer was waiting for us and one of the nicest people I have ever encountered! He even shared with us a story about how he came up with the names of a few of the floor plans, the cheapest one was for his father and when he told his father about that he said "that was alright" with a smile....the floor plan we like is after his mother because she would have liked all the storage and the vaulted ceilings!

Once our stand-in-realtor arrived we began discussing all of our options.  V and I already knew what floor plan we want because it's the same as the home we made the unaccepted offer on.  We  will make a few changes to differentiate our home from that one.  Then we reviewed the upgrade options and were given a list of options for our lot.  We all agreed that V and I would drive out over the weekend and select our lot then we'd write up our buy-sell with a closing date roughly 120 days out.

This morning V let me sneak away for a workout, I got home just in time for Liam to snuggle and go down for a 3hr nap.   Once Liam finally woke up we all ate lunch and headed out to look at lots.  Since we had reviewed them the night before I *thought* I knew which one I liked but we both wanted to look and make sure.  I am SO glad we did!  We drove up and down the street, through the ally, parked and looked at the homes surrounding each lot and took into consideration distance to the park.....and we BOTH agreed on one.  Can we just take a minute to soak up the fact that we both agreed on something with ease?!  Whew!  I have a lot of peace about it, I really (REALLY) like our lot.

So now we just need our realtor to get home and write up our buy-sell agreement so they can break land!  Good thing he gets home tomorrow because it's snowing as we speak!

After that we'll have a million decisions to make on decor, so far V says it's all in my hands but I don't buy that for a minute, he's too opinionated! 

November 9, 2012

Juggling

Some days I think I rock at this whole super-wife, rockstar-working-mom gig.  Then there are weeks like this one.  Oy vey!   I'm sitting at work sipping a much needed latte and I could easily fall fast asleep right here, right now.

Some weeks I can rock out five or six healthy dinners, get lots of quality time in with Liam, have the whole house fairly well organized, all the bills paid early and even get a workout or two in.  Not this week, it's Friday morning and I haven't gotten a single workout in, there is hope for tomorrow...kinda.  The bills that are due this week are paid but I'm not ahead of the game like I want to be.  Some of the house is clean and I made....one healthy dinner.  In all fairness with Liam's fever that lasted Monday-Thursday morning I was just making him things I knew he would eat so he would eat something (homemade mac and cheese with peas).  I haven't skimped on the quality time with Liam because it's always at the top of my priority list. I only straightened my hair today because we have a meeting with the builder right after work, otherwise I'd be rocking wet-hair-pulled-into-a-ponytail style.

I'm exhausted.  I feel like I'm just barely keeping up and no where near getting ahead.  I feel like I'm juggling but I keep dropping all the balls.  I don't feel like a failure though because I'm still trying, you only fail if you give up.  All I can do is make a list and start checking things off one-by-one.

I'm sure all moms feel this way at times, maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves, who knows.  I don't think I'll ever be a "whatever" kind of mom, I'm always going to want to have it all; tons of quality time with Liam, clean house, healthy dinners, finances in check, happy family, career....I want it all and damn it I'm going to bust my ass until I have as much of this dream as I can.

Not entirely sure if there is a point in there, just a healthy dose of honesty about this week.  I'm just glad the election is over, we all know the result know so maybe people will keep a few more opinions to themselves, one can hope!

November 5, 2012

On House Hunting and {Potentially} Building

The house hunt has been.....interesting.  A few weeks ago we went out with our realtor and saw four homes, three of which were foreclosures.  It was slightly depressing to see these homes and know that someone had lived in them, loved them and lost them.  But if we found the right one we were ready to do some work and love it ourselves.

Unfortunately we didn't find one that was love worthy.  I must admit there was one I really wanted V to love, the backyard was to die for!  This was nearly twice the size we'd get with any new(er) construction and backed to undevelopable property (simply because of location).  But the house needed more love than either V or I was really willing to give.  The other homes weren't really worth mentioning here.

So a few weeks have gone on, V and I have been doing a lot of research and have been looking at every real estate site under the sun.  But nothing new popped up, nothing worth looking at anyway.  There are only a couple of subdivision here, one of which that you can build in....but V and I are using his Veteran loan and bank in our area aren't doing VA construction loans.  We felt stuck, at least for the Winter, maybe something would come on the market in the Spring? We hoped.  On a whim V emailed the developer of the subdivision where we put an offer in on a house that wasn't accepted, he explained our situation and asked simply if they planned to build any more houses of the layout we liked.  One hour later the developer emailed us back to tell us that they have worked with VA loan people before and will carry all the building cost until the house is built then we can buy it!  We can even pick out several variables, we'd sign a contract before they break ground with a closing date of about 120 days out.  V and I spoke with our realtor to make sure he'd be paid (yes, through the developer like the sale of a already built home) and discusses some other concerns and everything came up roses!  It's almost too good to be true!

So that is where we are, we meet with the builder this week.  It's pretty likely that we will sign our contract this week and break ground next week.  It's hard to believe that we will likely be building our first home, the home Liam will grow up in.  I'm totally in shock!

Has anyone else out there built?  Advice?!

V Plays Stay at Home Dadda

Liam was acting off yesterday, we chalked it up to the time change.....but boy was he grumpy!  Flash to this morning, Liam woke up crying really hard.  This is not normal for him at all, usually he happily wakes and calls out to us (in mumble-y 18 month old chatter).  Not today, today was full of loud cries.  I hadn't gotten up for the day yet (my alarm was set to go off in another 5 mins at 6:10am), so I told V that I would change Liam's diaper.  When I picked poor little Liam up he was physically on fire, I laid him on the changing table and started about stripping off his pjs, changing his diaper and taking his temp...... 102.5, yikes!  V didn't miss a beat, he called off work to spend the day with Liam. 

I quickly got ready then ran to the store for some juice and bananas (and bagels for V and I).  I'm so thankful to have a husband that is willing to stay home with our sick child. I know a lot of men wouldn't even consider staying home and some women who wouldn't let their husband stay home to care for an ill child.  I'm glad either of those things are true in my marriage.  (Even though V' boss thinks it's totally nuts that V will stay home with Liam he still allows Vic to use sick time to care for Liam.)  I called to check on Liam several times, each time V reassured me Liam was getting better and better.

Finally my work day was done, I rushes straight home and Liam was so very excited to see me!  V reported that Liam hadn't eatten great but was snacking and his temp had some down a little.  We spent a lovely evening of just chilling, eatting a little dinner and relaxing.  I gave Liam a second dose of infant IB profrin and now his temp is just slightly over 100 degrees.  A few minutes before we would have normally put Liam to bed he picked up a blanket off the floor and walked into his room, he was clearly ready!  We did our normal routine of; clean diaper, jammies, sippy of water and sit on my lap while Dadda reads and when we put Liam into his crib he rolled on his side and was out before we turned off the light!

November 3, 2012

Running for the Health of It

As fall descends on our city opportunities for a run become fewer and fewer.  I managed to squeeze a run in on Friday because I had taken a half day of paid time off for some much needed "me" time.  It's gotten pretty cool here, most days are cloud covered and below 50 (at best).  Friday's run was good, not great but absolutely worth it.  I had planned (and paid for) a race on Saturday morning but wasn't entirely sure I'd really do it.

Then Saturday morning rolled around.  Liam's been getting up at 6:00 am every-single-day. Normally he gets up at just shy of 7am on weekdays and almost 8am on weekends.  To say I was tired was an understatement.  We ate and played while the morning ticked away.  I himmed and hawed over whether or not I'd do my race.  I really wanted to, especially because I'd already paid for it.....at least it was another charitable race so the money hadn't gone to waste if I didn't run.  Then V pointed out the obvious; You know you will feel great after and be glad you did (and if you don't you'll be super grumpy later).  Point taken, I dressed and laced up at the very last minute.  Poor little Liam gets all upset when I start gettting ready, he was {surprisingly} still up when I left, which I hate but I could tell he needed a nap and would be down any minute.


I arrived at the race just in time to get my bib, put my goody bag (which had a cute hat! Yay!) in the car and warm up a little.  I couldn't have timed it better!  The course was a bit windey which I didn't love but at least they had plenty of volunteers to tell us where to turn.  I wondered if I'd think a lot about my Autoimmune Disease while doing the race since the race was for the local Oncology Nurses (the money went to benefit those who can't afford testing and treatment) but I didn't and I'm glad.  It was a cool morning, maybe mid-thrities.  I don't really even remember hearing my music while I ran, I was trying so hard to keep my pace steady.  I had to walk several times (stupid asthma!) but felt like I was able to run longer stretches.  Before I knew it I could see the end, once I had a straight path to the finish line I put it in full gear and ran as hard a I could.  There were two little girls cheering people on and they thought that was awesome, they started jumping and shouting even louder which encouraged me to really push!  There was a photographer right at the finish line, I remember smiling SO big because I realized I'd done my personal best and was able to be under an 11 minute miles.  I couldn't have been happier, here I was healthy enough to do this and help others and I'd gotten my personal best!

After confirming my official time I grabbed fancy coffees and bagels for V and I on the way home.  At home Liam was fast asleep one hour into his nap (usually between 2-3 hour now).  V and I ate and snacked after he took a pic for me.  I'm so very glad I did the race, V was right again.  I'm so sad that my running season is over, it's just too cold to continue (and I don't want to run in rain and snow).  I'm going to miss it so much!

October 26, 2012

It Still Stings

This has been on my heart for a while and it's time to get it off.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time you'll know three things about me: I'm a fitness nerd, We had a difficult time getting/staying pregnant, and I had an Autoimmune Disease for just under a year.  The last one was a bit intesnse but I feel like it really shaped me, taught me some things and I'm blessed beyond measure that it went away (after I was told it was a chronic and lifelong issue).

My baby toddler is a miracle, an absolute miracle....it's a miracle I got pregnant, stayed pregnant, delivered him safely into this world without a c-section.  He's healthy, easily the happiest person I know and just an absolute joy, even when teething.  During the 11 months I dealt with my ITP V and I came to the forced conclusion that it was best I don't have more babies.  It hurt, a lot.  I felt like the decision was taken from me (even though we weren't sure we'd try for more children before my diagnosis).  Eventually, aka about two weeks before I was told I was in remission, I came to terms with it, I even felt at peace with it.  Then on Aug  20th, nearly 11 months to the day after I was diagnosed I received news I never expected; I was in remission.  My heart lept and one of the first questions was "Do you think, if I am able to get pregnant again, that it will trigger my ITP to come back?"  Unfortunately the answer was "yes, although we have no way of knowing until it happens."  As you can imagine V wants me to stick around, Liam too.  V is not open to me getting pregnant and playing "Russian Pregnancy Roulette" as he calls it.  Who can blame him, I mean I don't want to leave him or Liam....nor risk loosing a pregnancy/baby....or my life.

But...I yearn for another child....truth be told another pregnancy.  I haven't morned the fact that I'll never feel the little flutters of a baby in my belly, never see my stomach grow and grow with life inside again.  I tear up at the sight of a beautiful pregnant woman.  And yes I get jealous of pregnant friends just as I did when we were struggling to get pregnant with Liam.  Recently someone gave back some of my maternity clothes, she didn't remember that I told her we would be unable to have more babies.  Gosh did that hurt.  There in my hands were these clothes, items I invested in with hopes of at least one more pregnancy....clothes I lovingly wore as I joyfully carried my Liam.

I know what you're thinking: Then adopt!  Or foster!  Both of those things are potential options in the future but neither of them replace the longing I have, nor will they ever.  If you don't understand that is fine, you probably didn't have to try to get pregnant or maybe you never feared you'd loose your pregnancy/baby.  Thank God for that for you, it's ok you don't understand.  I don't know how much time will have to pass before my soul finds true rest with this....maybe it never will but I know it's the right decision.  Like I've said before if I could have just one thing for sure it would be more time with those I love.  I won't risk loosing all the time I could have for the chance of another pregnancy/baby.

I guess my point is it still stings, I wonder if the day will ever come when it doesn't anymore.

October 25, 2012

Goodbye Morning Nap, Hello Molars!

Holy Smokes, it's true when they say your child(ren) grow up so fast!  It feels like just yesterday Liam couldn't hold up his own head how he's a running fool!

A few weeks ago Liam started to transition out of his morning nap and like all other things so far we've let him take the lead on being ready or not.  He was clearly ready, so we had Nanna (who watches him 4 days/week) encourage it a little.  Within just two weeks he was fully transitioned, we had one little set back when he wasn't feeling so great but now we are clear on the side of no return.  And ya know what?  I'm so happy!  I know a lot of parents morn the loss of the morning nap because they fit in more "me" time or clean or whatnot and I certainly did use it as "me" time on Saturdays.  BUT this whole single two hour nap in the middle of the day is delightful!  We can leave the house for more than two hours at a time, why hello going to church!  Liam is clearly happy with the change as well.  It makes fitting a weekend workout in a little trickier for me but it's ok, I'd rather have the extra time with Liam anyway.

And in similar news the kid has a mouth full of teeth!  Seriously!  I had no idea this is how teething went!  He started in March and it's been pretty much back to back teeth!  Now he's getting molars! Molars! What?!  He doesn't seem old enough for this business!  The poor little guy, man they tell you molars are a b---h and they are!  I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he'd been so incredibly grumpy lately then I stuck my finger in his mouth, because that is what moms do....and hello THREE molars trying to come in (one had at least broken through the skin and two others are super puffy).  Duh Jen!  Gosh I felt like a bad mom, all my kiddo wanted was teething tablets!!!  And he was a saint after I gave them to him.  This whole parenting thing sure has a learning curve!

October 12, 2012

Doing Good & Running

I've wanted to get a few more races in this fall before the snow starts to fly and I'm trapped inside for months on end.  I  SO was excited when my bestie wanted to do a local 5k that benefited women who can't afford breast cancer screenings and treatment.  Last weekend we ran that 5k together and it was awesome!  We arrived bright and early, I had hoped to run the 5k with Liam in the stroller but he had started to get a cold and it was only 25 degreed that morning....no race for little Liam.  There were 1,100 women almost all of whom were dressed up, Bestie and I were Batman and Superman respectively.  We had a good time considering she recently had jaw surgery and currently had a cold (final time 34:15).  After the race we took our turn in the photo booth, got some snacks and just hung around.  What a lovely Saturday morning!

The next charitable 5k I have planned is in chilly November and it actually put on by the nurses from the Oncology Center I had to visit for my Autoimmune Disease.  The proceeds go to different types of cancer treatment etc.  It feels good to go running but it feels even better knowing the ~$25 registration fee is going to a good cause.

Now if I could just kick this cold and fit in a good run this weekend (probably not going to happen).

Happy Friday!
Much Love,
Jen

October 11, 2012

Something to Blog About

Gosh, I just haven't been making time to blog lately.  Pretty often I'll have something run through my mind and I'll think that would make a great blog post!  But with everything I've been juggling lately it rarely happens, clearly.

It's a lot to be a working mom, heck it's a lot to just be a mom!  I've always had a lot on my plate, I've always liked being busy...heck I had three jobs while in college full time AND I'd volunteer somewhere regularly AND date V.   All of that seems like cake compared to working full time, managing a household and smashing as much Liam time as I can get into a day, not to mention some "me" time.  Oh yeah then add in looking for a house to buy.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

However I'm not complaining at all.  I have so much to be thankful for.  V and I have come a long way in the last few months, I would never have imagined having a child would be such a challenge to our relationship (especially when we tried hard for that child) but it was, most of the first year was really hard but we finally turned a corner and are doing great again.  Thank God.  We certainly aren't perfect but we are really good together, we love our family and are truly blessed.

On the house search front, we'll it's still a search that is for sure.  You know all those things I mentioned a few paragraphs up about working full time etc?  Well they also happen to make going to look for a house hard too but this weekend we've lined up four more contenders so fingers crossed!  If I remember right two of them are foreclosures which V isn't thrilled about but you never know until you look!

In more upbeat news Liam is amazing!  He's growing up so quickly!  He's a professional walker now, he loves to be outside in the crunchy leaves!  We just had family pictures done and I couldn't be more in love!  We all wore super hero shirts per V's demands request. Liam was Spiderman, I- Wonder Woman naturally and V was Batman (again).  Currently Liam is getting even more teeth (current tally is 9, yes 9 since March!)  Right now his other molar is trying to pop through.  On top of that he and I have been sharing a cold, the poor little guy.  I think we've both about kicked the cold, the next few days should tell.  He's trying really hard to master some new words but his main focus has been books lately.  He will go get a book, wiggle his way into your lap and recline while you read to him (he also likes to turn the pages) then when the story is finishes he'll get up and get another book and repeat.  99% of the time it's adorable, then that 1% of the time when you have to read the same 4 page book 13 times in a row (seriously) not so much.  BUT I'll take it, I'll take whatever I can get from my little guy, every moment is special and fleeting.

Ok well at least I wrote about something.  Now if only I could get a workout in tonight....hmmmm.

Happy Thursday!

October 4, 2012

We Didn't Get the House

So we submitted an offer on Tuesday evening with the parameters that we would hear back in 24 hours or our offer would become null and void.  24 hours came and went, our realtor tried reaching the seller's realtor over and over saying this was "very odd".  I knew we had gone in low but expected a counter, that was the advice we were given so I was confused when we simple got no response.  Frankly I'd never heard of someone just ignoring an offer (especially when I know we are the only activity on the house).

This morning (Thursday) our realtor awake to a email from 1:30am from the sellers agent, odd indeed.  The seller is choosing to ingore our offer entirely, they gave us an itemized list of "updates/upgrades" the home has and informed us that they value the house $10k above the list price.  WTF?  I could list several reasons why that simply isn't true but the most important one is that our market simply won't command such a price for a home with only a few upgrades (some of which aren't included in the sale of the home).  And apparently the seller got the $8k first time home buyer credit 3 years ago, the rules of that credit say you have to live in the house 3 fill years or repay the $8k, so he's factored that into the price of the house.....yeah we aren't going to pay for your decision to sell.

So V and I are walking away.  I'm sad because we do really like the house but like I've said before it's not even worth the list price and certainly not worth $10k over that (at least not in it's current state with an unfinished basement, no a/c etc etc etc).  That house will set the standard for others we look at and I feel like our journey to home ownership is going to be much longer now but it is what it is.  The chances of us being in a new home before the end of the year at super slim.  But the silver lining is that we will continue to build up our savings and pay down my student loans and everything will work out in God's perfect timing.

Much Love,
Jen 


October 3, 2012

Home Buying Nervs

This whole process is so crazy!  I've gone between being totally sick to my stomach, to being oddly calm and now back to the sick part.  Our first offer was put in last night about 7pm, it's currently almost 3pm...the seller has four hours (FOUR HOURS) to respond or our offer become null and void.  Why, oh why hasn't he responded!? 
Gulp.

October 2, 2012

We may have found Home....

I have researched and researched, asked question after question and know almost all there is to know about this house, it's all in line with what we want and can comfortably afford.  V fell in love immediately, I fell in love when we walked through it a few weeks ago.  I look at it online....a lot.  We've prayed a ton and feel like this is the one for us, now we just have to start the negotiations. Last night after work Liam and I met our realtor at the house, I just wanted to stand in it with Liam.  It was so sweet, he was immediately comfortable and quickly starting cruising around the house (which is a one-level plus unfinished basement).

 I've talked it over with those who have far more knowledge about this stuff than I do and they all seem to think we can get it for what we want (which is less than the list price).  Our first offer is on the lower end, we are anticipating a counter and as long as it's about in the middle we will be homeowners by Thanksgiving.  I can hardly believe it.  My only worry is if the seller doesn't need to sell it and can wait it out for a asking price offer, it's a nice home and we sure do love it but it's priced above where we feel is rational (and comfortable).

I've daydreamed of our first holidays there, of walking to the near by park, of having friends over for bbqs/dinners (something we have never done in our rental).  I dream of how we can finish the basement (bedrooms, a family room and spare bathroom as well a the laundry area). My heart leaps a little at the thought of Liam knowing it as the house he grew up in and calls home.  *cue tears*

If you have any spare thoughts/prayers I'd love one for us during this journey!

September 27, 2012

That time Liam said "Doggie" Perfectly

I will confess, this is the most challenging time I've had has a parent.  Liam can make sounds but not words (other than; Dadda, Momma, Nanna, Yum).  I feel more lost now than ever before when trying to uncover what he wants.  Part of that is what he wants changes every .09 seconds.  I love that he can walk and giggle, he points very well which helps but the lack of verbal communication, coupled with his frustration and whining, its a challenge for me.  I want so much to know what he wants, to help him.  After 17 attempts (milk? walk? blocks?) we usually discover his want/need, but there has to be a better way.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, studies show boys develop slower verbally and faster with motor skills, so how can I help Liam to show me what he wants?  What can I do?  I racked my tiny, exhausted brain for days.  We never did the whole baby sign language thing, I had read somewhere that it can delay verbal development further in boys so I decided it wasn't for us, but maybe now a few signs would help?  I was torn. 

Flash forward to this morning; V, Liam and I are all chilling in the living room playing before we all leave for the day.  It was one of those rare non-rushed mornings, we were all smiling, Liam was giggling with ultimately makes V and I laugh like crazy.  Liam looked over at his Dinosaur walker toy, looks up at me and says "Doggie" perfectly.  V and I looked at one another in shock so much so that Liam thought he'd done something wrong until we started to laugh and say Yay, Liam!!!   I could care less that it wasn't really a doggie, it was perfect and a memory I will always cherish!

Another fun thing Liam says is "Dadda, N'mmmmm" when he likes his meal which is almost all meals, even when he's eating with me.  Momma is Liam's emergency word, he only uses it when he gets hurt or is upset.  Haha.  He has a handful of other noises that single when he wants up or is happy, he's such a funny and happy boy.

I have to say I think it's God's perfect timing, he shows us that all things work out perfectly in his time if we just let them.

Much Love,
Jen

September 24, 2012

Our First Time Looking at Homes

Oh my gosh, had it been an episode of House Hunters it would have been the funniest episode ever!  V picked out the first house (my first choice sold, boo) and I selected three others one of which was a foreclosure because hey why not?

V's cousin's husband is a successful realtor so we asked him to be ours on this journey, boy am I glad we did.  For starters he has educated us every step of the way and handled our multiple emails with such grace and he was fun to look at homes with, I totally understand why he has been so successful even though the recession.

We looked at V's #1 pick first and both fell in love.  The home is essentially move in ready.  The main floor has a open concept living/dining/kitchen, a bedroom and bathroom that will be Liam's as well as a great master suite.  The backyard is almost complete minus a little sod and covers for the egress windows.  The yard is smaller than I'd like but there is room enough to play, patio with room for a bbq is already installed.  The two car garage already has an automatic opener in stalled as well.  The house also has an unfinished basement with room for two more bedrooms and a bath (or a master suite, and large family room), there is also an existing laundry area.  It's a really nice house that is comfortably in our budget.

The next three houses are were the comedy comes in.  I just have to say that realors are sneaky with their pictures!  Or maybe I need to pay closer attention to what isn't pictured!  The second house had a fantastic yard but the kitchen was so small, SO small!  it was galley style with only two inches on either side of my hips!  And the livingroom was more like an entry way.   The third house was occupied by renters (though they were not home as we scheduled the viewing), those renters were clearly 5-6 guys, the house was nasty dirty and while the layout was amazing....it was on the edge of a drainage ditch!  Um, in the middle of town, what?!  Not only that the ditch ran along the side and back of the house with no fence, and no room for a fence! Can you say rejected?!  The last house was the foreclosure......and a mobile home on a basement, I didn't even know you could do that!  Ugh.  The pictures were so sneaky with a big deck and mature maple free, also the layout of the pictures was confusing, sneaky!  I kept singing "queen of my double wide trailor" to V. Haha!

After the final  house V and I went for some frozen yogurt (the grandparent's were enjoying some Liam time).  We talked over our options and basically came to the conclusion that we both really love the first house.  Crazy.  We agreed to take a little time to pray on it before making any more decisions.  I really hope the answer comes to us soon, this house could sell really fast and I think I'm getting attached! Ek!


September 19, 2012

Searching for Home Decor

Ummm.... I am having THE BEST time looking at houses, day dreaming about paint and decor.  I realize that once we find "the house" it will be a ton of work but I'm so excited.  When I moved in with V he had a lot of bachelor decor, a fair amount of it has stuck around and then we bought a sofa while I was very pregnant....note to self do not buy furniture while pregnant.....We now have a very comfy but not so cute sofa that isn't going anywhere any time soon.  It's ok though, we've already agreed to a few pieces of new furniture we'll get once we have the new house, I'm certain I can make it all work.

I have my eye on a few really cute items that I may just have to pick up before we actually get "the" house. :)   You can also follow me on Pinterest HERE and my fitness Pinterest HERE.

Any decorating pointers?  I'm all ears! 

September 16, 2012

We're Buying Our First Home!

Well, soon we will be! V and I were just pre-qualified for our first ever home loan!  I couldn't be happier!  We are in a really good, stable place where home ownership is within our reach, I never thought we'd get here.  We live in a area where incomes are lower and the cost of living is high, but the recession and current low interest rates have given us an amazing opportunity!

via google images
I've been looking at homes online for well over a year, it was my hobby and just a daydream.  This weekend we went to a few open houses, looked at the newspaper and had some really great talks.  It's so exciting!  V's cousin is a realtor so he'll be helping us on this journey.  Ideally we'd like a three bedroom, two bath single-family home.....by the end of this year.  We'll see!

Homeowners, past and present, advice PLEASE!

Much Love, Jen

September 11, 2012

One of Those Tough Moments

I've said it a thousand and one times...Liam is such a easy baby, now a easy toddler.  He started sleeping through the night around 6 months, on his own with no sleep training.  One day we stopped giving him bottles (around 12 months) and he didn't bat an eye.  We didn't even know when he teethed for the first time.  He's an easy going, happy-go-lucky boy.

But over the last few months he's had a rough time when I drop him off at Nanna's in the morning.  Usually he'll just fuss, once in a while he cries big 'ol alligator tears (cue my breaking heart).  Nanna has always tells me he stops by the time I'm to my car (so maybe 30 seconds).  It's rough on me, I won't lie I've teared up too.  Thankfully it's not everyday, some days he hardly seems to notice becuase he's playing with his buddies.

Today though.  Oh man.  Nanna reached for Liam and for the first time ever Liam wrapped his little hands around me and pressed into my chest and shook his little head "no". Can you hear that? It's my heart shattering.  I rubbed his back and talked with Nanna for a moment before she tried again, Liam gave the same reaction.  Ouch.  Soon enough I had to go, I reassured him that I loved him and he'd have a good day and I'd be back very soon.  He seemed more ok with me leaving but still wasn't happy about it.  Nanna's daughter was there and made sure to tell me that even when Liam is really upset it really lasts less than a minute.  I thanked her, told Liam I loved him and waved "bye-bye" and headed to work. (I don't believe in "sneaking out", I think for my child it would make the whole situation worse so I always wave).

Needless to say today was one of those tough moments.

Much Love,
Jen

September 7, 2012

Sometimes I'm All Puppies and Rainbows

And today is one of those days!  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I've gotten a lot of physical activity in this week.  Two days this week the smoke [from nearby forest fires] had cleared out enough for walks and last night V convinced me to go to the gym You always feel so great afterward and always regret it when you don't go.... He was so right.  Oh the endorphins, glorious endorphins!

When I'm feeling this good I always try and take inventory Why do I feel sooo good?  I guess part of it is to be thankful and perhaps remember these good things when things don't seem so great. 

Today's Happy Things Inventory (in no specific order)
-Work is good, I recently had my mid-year review and it was fantastic (dare I say I'm sure I'll get a fantastic raise this year?)
-Liam is amazing, as usual.  He's walking, right on the cusp of completely shedding crawling, holy moly! 
-I have gotten in four days of physical activity! (Since Monday was a holiday I took a Spin class while Liam napped, walks on Tues & Weds with Liam and a 30 min run last night.  GLORIOUS!)
-Our car is officially paid off, very much ahead of schedule!
-I had a pretty interesting situation arise recently, while it didn't work out it has sparked a interest in me that I'm going to go after. Yay for adventures!  (More details on this as soon as I get them worked out!)
-V and I are doing pretty good, which is a far cry from a few months ago so I'll take it.  Progress is progress.
-I'm wearing a new and adorable dress that makes me feel pretty.  This is the dress.
-It's FRIDAY!

I'm sure there is much more but these things alone make my heart over flower today.

Much Love,
Jen

August 31, 2012

5 Question Friday!

I'm copying off of Mallory over at Truly Thompson today and giving you my first ever 5 Question Friday!

1. What do you enjoy doing the most with your spouse?
Hiking, hands down.  We both love being outside, summers are short here so we try to enjoy them as much as possible.  He took me on my first backpacking trip about 2 years ago (I think, Momma brain is getting me right now) and I can't wait to go again!  I also love when we just sit and watch a movie.


2. How do you eat your taco? From the top or from the side? 
From the side, and on a side note tacos sound awesome! :)


3. Have you ever shut off the basement light and ran like a fool because you knew someone was down there and would get you?  Haha, yes!  Sometimes when I'm home alone (with Liam) for whatever reason I suddenly turn into a scaredy cat that hears every-single-noise!

4. If you could change one thing about you what would it be and why?  
There really isn't much, I wish I would have gotten a different degree in college.  I like the way I look physically (because I eat right and workout!) and like my personality so I'd say: I wish I had realized my passion for health and fitness before I had completed my Marketing degree and I wish I would have changed education paths and gone after health/fitness with my whole heart.


5. What age do you think is appropriate to have the "bird and the bees" talk with your children?
Honestly I think you should be the first one to talk about all that with your child or children, and if you start early you can create an open dialog that hopefully will last.  With that said, each to there own, every child is different (as is every parent).


Have a lovely long weekend everyone!
Much Love,
Jen






August 24, 2012

A Day In the Life {of a Working Mom}

I saw a post similar to this on a stay-at-home-mom blog and thought it would be fun to compare.

A Typical Day;

6:10 am I get up after hitting the snooze once, I can hear my coffee brewing and I want to be out of the shower before it's done (I have a coffee maker with a timer that I load with grounds the night before it is HEAVEN!)

6:33 am I'm out of the shower, dressed, sipping coffee and putting on make up. Fingers crossed to have my hair done before Liam is up, this is rare.

6:45 am V gets Liam up, brings him into the kitchen and feeds him, today's breakfast is cut up banana and vanilla yogurt with some milk and a few honeynut cheerios.  I'm sssoooo close to being done with my hair, darn it!

6:50 am I'm finally done getting ready, I take Liam into the living room and play with him on the floor while I sip some coffee and eat my breakfast (vanilla yogurt with vanilla/almond granola and a few dark chocolate chips).  We always have the national news on but I rarely hear much.

7:20 am V starts to prepare for work, I dress Liam for the day, brush his hair and teeth, then continue playing.

7:38 am I pull together anything Liam will need for his day with Nanna and my leftovers, we load up and head out.

7:56 am we pull up to Nanna's, go in chat with her about anything necessary, I leave for work (Liam typically cries a little when I leave now, it's hard but Nanna has told me it never lasts more than 30 seconds, I choose to believe her).

8:10 am-4:30 pm I work. 

4:55 pm I pick up Liam at Nanna's.  I always ask if he took both naps, ate well, poo'd etc.

5:15 pm Liam and I get home, Liam likes to eat immediately so I put him in his highchair with a snack which today was watermelon and begin on dinner (note to self get better at using crockpot).  Today I baked some chicken breasts and prepared salad (Liam's dinner is a small portion of whatever we eat, I also made some peas for him which are one of his favorites!)

5:35 pm V is working late so I eat with Liam, we are all done with dinner so we head to the livingroom for playtime.

6:04 pm V gets home from work, he eats and showers since he had a long day.

6:20 pm-7:20 pm we play with Liam, practice walking, play with blocks etc. Sometimes we'll go for a walk but V is extra tired and I'm certainly not well enough yet.  We only do baths every few nights if it were a bath night we'd do one from 7:00 pm to about 7:20ish.

7:30p we start bedtime routine; Tonight I change Liam's diaper, brush his teeth and put him in jammies while V fills his humidifier, picks up the toys in the livingroom and straightens his bedding.  Liam sits in my lap with his monkey and sippy while V reads two stories from  Liam's children's bible, kisses and into the crib. We tell Liam we love him and "night night"

7:40-9p Time with V, we typically watch TV and just hang out (I often go running during this time or twice a week V plays video games). I usually put out my clothes for the next day and prepare leftovers for Liam and my lunches as well.  I might do some light cleaning during this time...sometimes.

9:30p I often go to bed, I've always been a morning person.(with how sick I've been lately I've gone to bed as early as 8pm, sad.)


So there you have it, a typical Thursday in our lives.  It's pretty organized, because it has to be but honestly I like it that way. 

Much Love,
Jen

August 20, 2012

I'm in Remission...


Monday morning I had another scheduled appt with Dr T (Hematologist Extraordinaire).  The day felt different from the very beginning.  For one thing I've been very sick the last week and half.  I ended up with walking pneumonia and pink eye. Fun (not).  Needless to say I was too tired to get up extra early to prepare, I slept until the last possible moment then got up and got ready as quickly as possible.  I dropped Liam off and headed to the hospital.

At the hospital I got my labs done in record time, not even enough time to worry about what I anticipated to be a rough appt.  I didn't have time to think about how I'd been in the emergency room a week before (long story, I was so sick I started throwing up and got very dehydrated) and was already told my numbers were below where Dr T wants them.  I checked in at the Cancer Center where Dr T's office is and sat with my kindle fire after a friendly chat with the world's nicest receptionist.  Moments after I found seat in the lobby three people checked in behind me, one of whom was frail thin and was trying to hide her hair loss under a cute cap.  I felt a flood of emotions for this woman and a flood of emotions surrounding my condition... what have I been whining about?!  Look at this woman, she is clearly fighting for her life and I whine about a small blood disorder! I felt like the world's biggest jerk.  I couldn't focus enough to read my book.  I was ashamed of all the fear I've had over the last 11 months, totally and completely ashamed.

It wasn't long before I was called back, weighed, had my blood pressure checked and was waiting for Dr T.  This wait took longer than usual.  I sat alone in the exam room attempting to read my new book "Wild".  Time seemed to drag on, but apparently it was with good reason.  When Dr T came in he almost immediately said Your number is 308k!! (Normal is ~150k, I had been at 70k just one week before)  He looked at me, seemingly waiting for me to be jubilant.  My reaction?  Huh. Wait, WHAT!?!? What does that mean?!   Apparently your immune system can go haywire or bounce back very suddenly.  Our discussion was short and sweet while he did a routine exam.  I don't need follow up, people in remission don't need further care, I am no longer considered to have ITP.  He expects my numbers to level out and stay normal.  I just kept saying this is not at all how I expected today to go! My husband is going to have a heart attack!  Dr T walked me out, shook my hand and told me I looked great.  On the way out of the hospital I called V balling to tell him the news, he was as shocked as I was.

Unfortunately I had to head straight to work, I shared the news with my co-workers and boss.  It was neat to see the shock on their faces.  All throughout the day I tried my best to process this.  I took time to thank God and tell him I wasn't ungrateful but surprised, very surprised.  That is the part that makes me saddest.  I never ever expected this to happen.  I never asked for it, my reasoning was that God doesn't always heal people, even when they ask.  I told people that I was thankful to not look sick, or feel sick and I was ok living with for the rest of my life.  It never occured to me that it was even an option for me to get better, but why not?  Why wouldn't God heal me?  I can't explain why I felt this way but I'm sad about it.  In retrospect it really bothers me that I never considered it an option for God to heal me, even when friends and loved ones suggested it as an option I quickly countered with what I thought was "reality".  Ye of little faith.

Being free of this disease changes a lot of things, it opens the door to possibly trying for another baby, someday.  I feel like I have a new lease on life.  I'm so thankful, so very thankful.  All the praise, honor and glory to God!


-Jen

August 11, 2012

Calmness and Peace {Dr. Appt}

Last week I had my first annual exam with my ob/gyn since having Liam....you remember Dr. Wonderful, yes?  Dr. Wonderful is an amazing doctor.  I know far too many women to dislike, even hate their ob/gyn and it saddens me.  The person who brings your child into this world should be wonderful to you, I wish everyone had a doctor like mine.

I sorta looked forward to my check up.  Crazy huh?  Compared to my visits with Dr. T (Hematologist extraordinaire) an annual is a walk in the park!  Plus I'm nearly 15lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight, I've managed to maintain this weight for around 6 months and I'm darn proud of myself for it.  Also I love Dr. Wonderful's staff, they are equally as wonderful!  I walked in and the receptionist immediately says to me "You cut your hair!"  I was shocked that she even remembered me let alone my hairstyle after a year.  Love.

After confirming all my info and signing in I sat with my kindle fire hoping to read a bit of my newest book (Wild by Cheryl Strayed) before being called back.  Two clearly pregnant women were called back and shortly after so was I by my favorite nurse.  Happiness.  Nurse D and I caught up while I was weighed and had my blood pressure taken, she told me to strip down to nothing but the cape she pulled out and Dr. Wonderful would be right in.  I picked up my kindle after stripping down hoping Dr. Wonderful would have to do a few ultrasounds and I'd get a few pages in.  No such luck one page in and knock-knock.

Perhaps I have a strange bond with Dr. Wonderful but I was glad to see him.  He's older than both V and I, at least old enough to be either of our parents, maybe mid-50s?  He's easy to chat with but gets right down to business.  Boob exam, ugh I hate them but they are a necessary evil.  I brought up my ITP diagnoses and Dr. Wonderful delicately said "Hmm do you have future pregnancies planned?" I twisted my mouth a little and said "no..."  He seemed ok with that answer.  I couldn't help myself "I can't help but notice you didn't argue with me on no more babies, it's for the best isn't it?"  Dr. Wonderful "Well.  It's a bigger decision for you to possibly expand your family.  But it's a tough decision to be taken from you.  You could have more children, we could treat you and manage your ITP but it means more steroids.  I have some articles for you, I'd like you to be educated before you make a final decision.  I like that you are on Mirena, it's a good birth control for you as it prevents periods since you risk heavy bleeding."  The rest of our conversation was about my half marathon and how proud of my Dr. Wonderful is.  He kept saying "You look great!  Your working out, your organized, you're WEIRD!"  I just laughed.

After my exam I dressed and met Dr. Wonderful to get the article he mention and a rx for an inhailer for my asthma.  He again congratulated me on doing so well, told me I looked great and said "Well, see ya next year!"

After I left I could have returned to work for an hour but decided to take that time for myself, well kinda, I wanted to get some stuff cut up for dinner and change into comfy non-work clothes.  I wondered around my silent home picking up things and thinking about my appointment.  I had this wonderful sense of calm and peace.  I was thinking to myself while cutting up ingredients for dinner "If I could have one thing, anything, what would it be?  More time.  More time with Liam and V, with my friends and loved ones.  If I do get pregnant and my ITP goes haywire I truly could die and I would not get more time with anyone.  I would make a choice that would screw up the one thing I want most; more time with those I am already blessed to have.  Yeah, no more babies is the right choice for us.  Hopefully one day it won't sting as much but it's the right thing."  There were no tears which is rare.  In my hearts of hearts I want another child...a sibling for Liam, but more important than that is cherishing what I already have.  I put all the prepped ingredients in a bowl and headed off to pick up my sweet Liam.  I hugged him extra close and thanked God for him with tears in my eyes.  I am beyond blessed just to have him and get to be here to be his mom.

In about a week I have my next appointment with Dr. T (Hematologist extraordinaire), I'm anticipating treatment since I believe my platelet numbers have held the same pattern they have since being diagnosed last September.  Right now I feel good about it, I feel like I know what to expect and I have a lot of pride about accomplishing my first half marathon. 

Much Love,
-Jen

August 8, 2012

Summer Reading

My sweet hubby bought me a Kindle Fire for our 4th Anniversary/My Birthday/Mother's Day.  Can I just say I am obsessed with it!  I really wanted one, and confessed that to V but didn't want to spend the money....in case you hadn't yet noticed I'm cheap.  V on the other hand loves to spend money, it doesn't even have to be on himself!  When I told him I really wanted a Kindle Fire he simply said "Ok, well buy one then!"  (Needless to say I hand our finances.) Within a week of confessing that I wanted one I told V not to spend the money. (I'm making us sound poor, we are by no means poor, like I said I'm cheap!).  The day before my birthday V was late getting home from work, when he finally did arrive he presented me with a shiney new Kindle Fire (and two year warranty), not only that V told me to "buy books and a case, enjoy it, you deserve it!"  I've never looked back!

Since April I've already read four books and I have one just waiting for me!  So I thought it would be fun to start posting my reviews of said books.  I'm probably not the typical reader, I much prefer memoirs and true stories to fantasy and fiction.  I have no desire to read the Grey series nor anything about Vampires.  I have a subscription to Self Magazine on my Kindle Fire (once my physical subscriptions to Runner's World & Women's Health Magazine run out those will be on my kindle too!)  While we're at it I'll just confess to checking facebook, using myfitnesspal and generally screwing off on it instead of reading. :)

With that said I'm open to suggestions!  I'd love to know what others are reading and if your reviews!  So be on the watch in the coming weeks for reviews of books I've read so far: Kisses from Katie, Girl Walks Into a Bar, Bossypants & Where You Left Me.


Happy Wednesday!
Much Love,
Jen 

August 2, 2012

Just Call Me: SuperMom/SuperWife!

I generally consider myself an organized person, having Liam has improved my time management skills like nobody's business!  But I'm still a person, things slip though the cracks sometimes.....

thanks google images
But not today!  I am so on it!  Today I paid almost all of our bills (hi, incase you hadn't noticed it's only August 2nd).  Most of our bills aren't even due for two more weeks, at least!  I also signed Liam up for Fall/Winter Parent & Tot Swim Lessons at the YMCA, in addition I signed myself up for a new fitness class at the Adult Learning Center in our town!  I love taking classes at our adult center, they are high quality but super affordable, 8 classes for $25?! Yes Please!  I've taken regular yoga but never the heated vinyasa so I'm pretty excited!  I might be overly excited because having this class also means it's scheduled "me" time (in case you are wondering it's after Liam is in bed, difficult to come by but not impossible).

All this while getting all my work  plus some done at the 'ol desk job!  (Bosslady is out of town so I've been able to juggle a bit extra today).  Not only all this but we have manage to pay off most of our car!  By October we will have no car payment and I'll probably lower our insurance to save even more!

I feel like supermom/superwife!  Today I could concur the world!  Or at very least organize it's schedule and perhaps balance it's bank account!

Ohohoh! And one more thing, I have dinner planned for tonight!  That's right, I'm awesome!

I hope you got a few giggles out of my silliness today!

Much Love,
Jen