Saturday, March 26, 2011

Almost there!

Well, after several weeks of boxing, purging, Goodwill-ing, pitching, storing, cleaning, rearranging, etc, we are almost to the point of putting our home on the market. In fact, Monday is the day.

For now, it is getting easier. I don't cry daily like I used to. I have recently gotten excited about some housing possibilities in Muncie, and I also am thrilled by the good news we received about a mortgage loan for another house. So...things are looking up.

I am really, honestly, truly going to try to remain positive during this time of transition and uncertainty. I really think that a positive outlook goes a long way, and I know that the right "thing" (I hate using that word) will happen for us. I know that we will find a great home in Muncie and that the right buyers will come at the right time for this house here. I know this my heart, so I am trying to trick my brain into believing it.

We have plenty to keep us busy in the meantime. Luke's graduation is coming quickly, and we have a lot of fun festivities leading up to it. Spring is here (even though you can't tell it by the weather), which means time outside, walks as a family, and our beautiful trees should be blooming shortly.

We have a lot to be happy about and thankful for, Noelle being number one. Last night, she was SOOO funny. She was giggling up a storm and doing some of the most hilarious things (there's that T word again). I feel like she has aged another year in the 2 weeks since her party! She babbles and "talks" all the time, she is crawling like a champ, and she does some of the most comical things (grrr) with her body.

Noelle reminds us of what is important, and that a few months of inconvenience and uncertainty will be much more bearable with her making us laugh.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pioneer Woman, I want to kiss you.

I just made an awesome dinner, and I wanted you to have all the instructions if you wanted to make this awesome dinner, too.

Spicy Dr. Pepper "Pork Butt"
Restaurant Style Smashed Potatoes
"The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever." 

All courtesy of the Pioneer Woman!

P.S. I should have worn my maternity jeans.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Last year, this date was Noelle's due date! Now, we all know she came a little early on the 11th, but March 23rd was the day we counted down to and prayed for and anticipated for 9 long months! In honor of this special day, I wanted to take a second to write down some of the things I have learned about growing and raising a baby.

1) Don't buy or wear maternity clothes too soon. You might think you are "huge" at 12 weeks and that you need the elastic pants, but you don't. In fact, you will feel really silly thinking you are "huge" when you look at yourself at 38, 39, or 40 weeks. This would be the definition of huge. Until then, enjoy your little waistline as long as possible. The bump will come.

2) Buy or rent a fetal doppler. It is amazing for your peace of mind. 

3) Unless you are like those women on the crazy TV shows,  your baby will most likely not arrive in 20 minutes. If you go in to be induced at 7 a.m., don't expect a baby by noon. If you get a baby by noon, that is a bonus. 

4) It will take a good 2 or 3 months for that dark line going down your belly to fade. 

5) It is totally normal to cry A LOT in the weeks following the delivery. I did, and I totally thought I was heading toward the whole postpartum depression thing, but after about a month (which is the normal time frame), it all went away. If the "blues" don't go away after a month, talk to your doctor. 

6) It will take the entire first year of your child's life for your body to return back to "normal" and for you to feel "normal." Unless you live in Hollywood. In that case, you will return to "normal" 3 days after the baby is born.

7) As for getting your baby to go to sleep, I wouldn't try to put the baby on a schedule in the first 6 or 8 weeks. Hold the baby and do whatever the baby needs to go to sleep. However, after that, start paying attention to the signals that your baby is tired. Noelle rubs her eyes, and we know it is time. It doesn't matter if it is an hour earlier than normal, she is going to bed when she rubs her eyes. We also put her down awake more often than not. She has learned to fall asleep on her own without us rocking her or holding her.

8) Do not fall into the trap that if your baby is up later, he or she will sleep in longer. No. No. Nope! The opposite will be true! The baby will not sleep deeply and wake up now you have just been up later and will wake up earlier! Not good!

9) Even though you will, do not try to compare your child with other children his or her age. Do not get jealous when another child crawls before yours. Unless your doctor is worried, don't give a second thought if your child isn't matching up to the milestones in those little weekly emails you get from Baby Center or Pampers.

10) Above all else, use common sense. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Whoever you are...

Dear Future Owners of Our Home,

Hello. It's nice to meet you. I would like to let you in on a little inside scoop regarding this home you will soon purchase. Just as any other house, it has its quirks, secrets, and dirt (literally and figuratively). Here we go.

We bought this house three years ago after living in an apartment for a year. We found it by pure luck. There just so happened to be an open house here that day...and we walked in and fell in love.

To be honest, I had NO idea 96th Street even existed prior to finding this home. I knew about 116th and 82nd, but I had no clue anything called this street home. Little did I know that I would soon be making hundreds of trips to the Meijer around the corner or thousands of trips through the drive thru at Mexi-Donald's down the street. Some advice...the Mexi-Donald's (McDonald's for you, newbie), is great. Very efficient. I can typically get my large diet coke in the morning before school in about 4 minutes, start to finish. Be warned, though. Always take a sip of your drink before you pull away. I got Sweet Tea'd once, and it was awful. I think you will find all of the amenities on 96th Street to be highly convenient for you. Starbuck's, Subway, Wal-Mart, Meijer, Marsh, every fast food restaurant ever created, banks, salons, etc. You would never have to leave this road if you didn't want to...and if you head will run into Geist and all the rich people over there. We like to go eat at restaurants down there just so we feel special. We recommend Scotty's Lakehouse. It's real good.

So, about the house you will purchase at $20,000 over the asking price (thank you for your generosity). The spare bedrooms changed purpose as our needs changed over the years. At first it was a guest bedroom and an office. The guest bedroom had a mattress in it that we lovingly referred to as "bedrock." No, not because of that, you pervert (should have done a background check). It was called that because it was hard as a rock, and our few guests to experienced it woke up the next morning walking with a limp. It had to go.

The main reason we ditched the bed was because we decided to have a baby. Yes, that beautiful room in there with the branch & blossom decal over the crib and the stylish vertical orange, brown, and cream stripes on the apple green walls...that's our girl's room. We put love into every single detail in that room. We painted it a shade of green and then realized that we hated it and then painted it a different shade of green. We bought her furniture at an antique store and rehabbed it ourselves. The decals on the wall came from Russia via Etsy. Do you know how many hours I spent looking at all 65 pages of wall decals on Etsy, finally settling on these little birds, blossoms, and a branch? I spilled orange paint on the carpet, but I have strategically put the bookshelf over it and you won't find it until after our stuff is out. Sorry. Each night before our daughter was born, we would sit in the glider (that we fixed up after pulling it out of our old apartments dumpster) and dream about our future baby. Please love this room as much as we do (and don't do something disrespectful like painting it lavender).

The kitchen? The cabinets used to be butt-ugly old wood. You're welcome. That beautiful ivory color? It didn't just magically appear. We labored over painting those cabinets for days. Ohhh, it was the worst job ever! However, I think it really paid off. Again, you're welcome. We have saved you hours of labor and a potential divorce from your spouse. One of my favorite features of the kitchen is the ivory chandelier. I found that at Goodwill and painted it myself. I think it really makes the room. Make sure you pull out the stove and the refrigerator so you can see how clean it is back there. I cleaned that especially for you.

The master bedroom is amazing (duh-- you're buying the house, so you know this). The high ceilings and huge space sold us the house on first look. But don't go around thinking that hazy gray color was there. Ohhh, no sir. It was a great faux finished taupe monstrosity.

I know our master bath doesn't have two vanities. I know that is all the rage, and you are probably thinking, "Well where will I brush my teeth when my husband is brushing his teeth?" Listen, unless your husband is my brother in law who is an orthodontist and brushes his teeth for 10 minutes (no joke), you will be just fine waiting the 60 seconds until your hubby is done brushing his teeth. Plus, who wants to be together ALL the time? You can't separate for one measly minute while he brushes his teeth? (All this in assumption that you do, in fact, brush your teeth. If not, I suppose you won't care what type of vanity you have.)

We have had a number of different celebrations in our home...for birthdays, holidays, baptisms, and more. We brought our daughter home from the hospital to this very address. We have filled it up with as much love as we possibly could have. We hope you see that in the way we have taken care of it.

One of my favorite features of the house is the bradford pear tree in the front. When it blooms, it is spectacular. It has lost some branches a couple of times due to heavy storms, but it still looks amazing in the spring and provides great shade in the summer. We also planted a tree of our own. In 2008, we lost our first child due to miscarriage, and our family purchased the cherry blossom tree along the side of the house. This tree represents not only the child we never met, but also the healing that took place. When it blooms, it represents hope. It represents healing. It represents family. It represents the baby girl we have now, too. Please take care of our tree.

I don't want to have hard feelings about turning the house over to you. I want you to love it the way we have and always will. I want you to make your own traditions and memories here. I want you to invite your family and friends over often and enjoy what it means to have your own home. I also want you to understand that I am allowed over whenever I want, and nothing inside of it is to change.

Thanks (and enjoy!),


Monday, March 21, 2011

McFatty Monday!

It's been a couple of weeks since I talked about being a McFatty...and in case you were wondering, I am still, in fact, a McFatty.

The good news is that I am not any heavier than I was when I last posted about being a McFatty.

The bad news is that I am not any lighter, either.

I am still very proud to admit that I have not been to a fast food restaurant or drive through since 2010. Luke pointed out that I have gone a 1/4 of a year without that stuff. Remarkably, it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be...kind of like not finding out if Noelle was going to be a boy or girl-- not as hard as it seems, and SOOOO worth it in the end.

I think my overall appetite has decreased. Some days, I don't eat lunch....which I know is bad, but I find that I am not starving the way I used to be. I am really trying to just listen to myself and see if I am really hungry or if I am just eating because I am bored or sad or anxious or whatever.

I listen to XM radio all the time, and my radio is always on the Cosmo channel. In the evenings, there is a lady named Dr. Jenn who does a love and relationship show, and it replays in the morning at the ridiculous hour I am traveling to school. Dr. Jenn is a therapist, and she helps people in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is with overeating. She has a "hunger scale," and she said 1 is if you are absolutely starving and would eat your arm off, and 10 is if you are seconds away from barfing you are so full. She says you should eat at a level 3. She also said something I thought was good...she said, "If you don't know you're hungry, you're not hungry." I think what this means is your body gives you signals such as a growling stomach, that churning feeling, that empty, hollow feeling...and that is when you know you are actually hungry. Other times, you're probably filling a void with food.

So...with Kiawah only a couple months away, I am really needing to buckle down and get it together.

Starting tomorrow--- because I just ate ice cream. And it was darn good.

*P.S.-- no graph today. Sorry.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello Again

It's amazing how much energy I put into running from my thoughts these days! It seems that whenever Luke tries to ask me something like, "Babe, what can I start to put away in boxes today?" (in the smallest, weakest, I'm scared shitless of you voice), I instantly grab a handful of my hair, straighten my whole body, and respond with something totally logical such as "I don't know....can you get me something to drink?"

Even though this is a 100% GO, I am still in such denial! Luke's Match Day was Thursday, and yes, he did match at Ball, as we had expected. We are happy. YES, we are! We are very thrilled that Luke received his #1 choice, and that they wanted him so much, and that it is a great program, and that the grandparents will be in the same town, and that my job (providing I am not one of the 8 teachers they want to RIF this year) is there. For these reasons, we are very happy.

But for other reasons, we are sad. Mainly-- I am very sad. Growing up in Muncie, I don't really know what I would classify myself as...a city girl or a country girl. I went to Wes-Del...that should automatically put me in the country girl category, but I don't touch farm animals and I only own cowboy boots because they look cute with a couple skirts I have. I loved country music when I was younger, and I still do, but I suppose I don't hear it much when my XM radio is on the Cosmo channel 24/7. I like a good tenderloin as much as anyone...

...but I would say that over the years, I have become much more "big city" oriented. I love the lights, the buzz, the shopping, the people, the noises. I love the ACCESS to everything. I love that we can be downtown in 20 minutes. It doesn't have to be a big "plan the whole day" experience to go to Indy. Moving back to Muncie, where the Old Navy even went out of business in the mall and the Target isn't a SUPER scares me. It also scares me that I sound really shallow right now, but, people, if I don't start airing these grievances at some point, I will in fact go nuts.

I survived there and loved it there for my first 23 years on Earth! I can do it again! I just feel like I am reinserting myself and that I will feel a little like an outsider for a while.

However, the good news, is that I am really excited for an opportunity to create a home studio in our next house. I already have lots of ideas and plans made, so that is one of the stipulations we must look for in our next house-- a room we can dedicate ONLY for a studio. My heart skips a beat just thinking about it.

So anyway-- I am on spring break this week, which means I will have lots of time to catch up and write about being a McFatty and all that good stuff.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We did it!

There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with celebrating your child's first birthday. Kind of like..."Look at us! She is one year old and not messed up yet!" Maybe the better way to say that is, "Look at us! She is happy, healthy, and has a full life ahead of her." Either way, we feel like it is a big deal.

Friday was the day, so I took a half day because I wanted to spend the afternoon with Noelle and Luke. Noelle celebrated her birthday at daycare with her "friends" as they are all called. The ladies even gave her some cake. I took Noelle out to Wes-Del to surprise my mom. Judging by the way she squealed when we walked in, I would say the mission was completed! I had fun taking Noelle around our old school. I also had this pit in my stomach as I saw all the middle and high school kids, thinking to myself that these kids used to be Noelle's size, and somewhere their parents are sad that they aren't little anymore. It made me cling tighter to my seven-toothed wonder.

Luke, Noelle, and I met for lunch at O'Charley's and then took her home before her 1 year doctor's appointment! Noelle had a great check-up with Dr. Woodworth, who we absolutely love as our pediatrician. She is so laid back and always reassures us that Noelle is as perfect as we think she is! Noelle is absolutely healthy, weighing in at just under 23 lbs (around 75th percentile). We do question the measurement of her height, because we measured her last week and got 27 inches, which according to a growth chart we found online, it put her around the 10th percentile (which had us concerned). The nurse measured Noelle at 30", so that had her in the 90th percentile. The way they measure is by putting Noelle on the paper on the table and then marking a line at her head and her feet, then measuring the distance on the paper. When we laid Noelle back down on the paper when it was time for her shots, she was definitely shorter than the distance between the two lines, so we are going to say she is somewhere between 27-30" in length, which is somewhere between the 10th-90th percentiles! Either way, she is great. She even showed off her ability to stand alone and take a few steps by herself, which was great! We will see Dr. Woodworth again in June for Noelle's 15 month check-up.

Later that evening, Elizabeth and Liz came over to help with the assembly of the bird pops for the "bird-day" party. We had a lot of fun putting those things together. 

The next day was spent cleaning and preparing all of the food for the party. At 4:00, we were ready for guests, and we had plenty of them! Our house was FULL of people, ready to celebrate Miss Noelle's first year of life. We had yummy food, and Noelle enjoyed a cupcake from The Flying Cupcake. She REALLY enjoyed it! She almost ate the whole thing! The candle on Noelle's cupcake was the same candle my parents used for my first birthday. Noelle needed a little help blowing it out, though.

Noelle received a lot of great gifts, and surprisingly, she was REALLY into the gifts. She wasn't your typical child, wanting to play with the boxes or just throw the gifts behind her. She was into looking at each one, touching them, holding them, and playing with them. This made it nice for the people who gave her the gift-- I feel like her sincere love of the gift was a great thank you for their generosity.

We had a really good time with family and friends at the party. Noelle wore herself out and was in bed by 7:00. She has been falling asleep well before 8 for about a week now. She is sleeping very well at night. She woke up the next morning with a little first birthday hangover. ;-)

I am working on a video montage of her first year in pictures, but as soon as I start on it, I get emotional and quit. This has been my M.O. lately. If something makes me sad or scared, I shove it to the back of my mind and forget about it for a while. Now that the party is over and we have an official ONE year old, I have to address other issues in my life...first and foremost, Match Day on Thursday and all that comes with it. I am trying so hard to be positive and enjoy this incredible time in our lives, but I have never been one for change. All I can hope is that I am in fact a lot stronger than I think I am, and that I will tackle any challenge ahead of me.

Anyway-- Happy Birthday to our sweet, lovable, wonderful Noelle...our reason for breathing. It's impossible to look at her sweet face and NOT want to be a better person. She will do great things for this world. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

One year ago!

Let's try to forget about how it is March 9th and I haven't written something yet this month. I have been really busy and overwhelmed, and every time I sit down to blog, I end up shutting my laptop and taking a break. I have so much I want to write, but I am finding it hard to grab all of the words.

However, I owe it to my daughter to write about how one year ago to this day, I had my last OB appointment before she was born. At this appointment, I learned that I was dilated 7 centimeters and my doctor was worried that I would go into labor at any moment. I was told to stay home from school the next day and that we would induce at 7 a.m. on the 11th!

I will never, ever forget the way I felt when I left the office that day. I was totally in shock and couldn't believe that we would be meeting our child about two weeks earlier than expected. We were so excited and  yet so scared. It was really happening! The baby we dreamed about for so long would finally be here, and even though we were prepared as could be, we still felt totally lost!

I can't believe that one year later, I have a sleeping baby girl in the next room with her booty up in the air and her doll under her arm. This has been such an incredible year for us as a family. The meaning that Noelle brings to each day is the greatest gift to us.

We are definitely preparing for her first birthday party. We have a lot to do, but it will get done, and we will have a great day with our sweet baby girl.