Sunday, December 19, 2010

Full Schedule

Christmas stresses me out. I hate change and rearranging and so decorating for Christmas gives me a headache because my "stuff" is out of order. Christmas shopping wears me out because I'm so worried about making sure that I get things that people will like - I'm very thoughtful in my gift selection and so I guess I just want that thoughtfulness rewarded by the person thoroughly enjoying their present.

My mother is the easiest person for me to shop for - because if I like it...there is a good chance that she will like it as well. Craig and my father are the two most difficult people to shop for because they're "guys" and don't really ever say that they WANT anything and they both have difficult hobbies to buy for. My dad is an auto body repair man who loves cars and Craig's two favorite things to do right now are travel and collect baseball cards. Hmm.

All last week at school the teachers were talking about how much they couldn't wait to RELAX over the holiday break. "Relax?!" I thought, "I don't have time to relax! I've got too much to do!" Before last week was over, my calendar was already booked up. Here is a quick overview:

1. Monday 12/20: Haircut for Locks of Love at 9:30 with my friend Emily, her sister-in-law Jennifer and Emily's two nieces, Claire and Mary Kate. We are all chopping our hair off to donate it and I am so super excited to get rid of this mane that is occupying my head right now. I LOVE having long hair because it is relatively easy to take care of, but it's getting out of control and heavy. I'm ready to have it about shoulder length. Tomorrow night Craig and I are going over to my parent's house for Christmas with my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law and nephews since my brother Mike and his wife are in town from Maine. We are doing the whole big Christmas dinner and present unwrapping and so Craig and I have been wrapping presents fast and furious this weekend because as of yesterday...I had NOTHING wrapped.

2. Wednesday 12/22 - Friday 12/24: Craig surprised me with a trip to Nashville to stay in the Gaylord Opryland hotel complete with tickets to see Garth Brooks perform one of his benefit concerts for the Tennessee flood victims of last summer. I LOVE Garth Brooks...I know all the words to every song on "Ropin' the Wind" and I can't wait to see him perform. While we're there we're going to go to their ICE show, get massages and try out this famous pancake place that a coworker of mine demanded we go to.

3. Friday 12/24: With having both of our families close by, Craig and I are able to celebrate the actual DAY of Christmas with everyone so we have chosen to celebrate our family Christmas with each other on Christmas Eve. This might change in a few years when we have to play Santa but for right now it works out really well with everyone's schedule. We always cook a good dinner together (this year it's steaks, potatoes and green beans) and watch a holiday movie (usually Elf or Love Actually) and then open our presents to each other...and Angie's presents too of course.

4. Saturday 12/25: We're getting up early on Christmas morning for breakfast and gift opening with his family at his mother's house which is just a few neighborhoods away from us. We will open and receive presents from Craig's mother, sister, Memaw and Aunt Kay. Since my family will have already done the Christmas present thing earlier in the week, my mother decided that she would just make a lasagna and have us over for dinner around 5:00.

5. Tuesday 12/28: Through the grapevine I think I might have found a child care place for Natalie at the end of the school year and next year! She is a woman in our neighborhood that keeps 3-4 kids at a time during the day and she comes highly recommended by a coworker of mine as well as a good friend who used to have her own son taken care of by this person. We're going to go over to her house at 10:00 to meet her and her family as well as take a tour of her house to see what kind of facilities Natalie would be in everyday. I'm really optimistic about this woman because she is so super close to our house and she sounds wonderful. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

6. Wednesday 12/29: Craig will be turning 37 this year! I have a birthday surprise planned for him at 10:30 that morning followed by a Stars game with his friends in the evening.

7. Friday 12/31: Stars game for New Year's Eve.

8. Saturday 1/1: TCU bowl game party at our friend Doug's house whose daughter attends TCU.

9. Monday 1/3: Go back to school!!!

And somewhere in there, our good friends Dana and Brian are going to be having their baby girl, Jacklyn and therefore we will be going up to the hospital to visit them and meet Natalie's future best friend!

Whew! That's a lot of stuff...but I'm hopignt hat since I really only have a few things planned everyday that maybe I will still find some time in there somewhere for some much needed napping.

What's in a name?

First of all, I need a new blog title. I originally chose "Being the Cheese" because of the Farmer in the Dell the end of the song, the cheese always stood alone and that's what I was doing when I first began this blog. I was the sole single woman out of all my friends and I was carefully (and sometimes not so carefully) navigating the dating world. Well, obviously I'm not standing alone anymore because I have Craig, Angie the pup and a baby girl on the way. So what to rename this blog? I don't want it to be anything like "The Nelsons" because no offense to my dear husband...this blog isn't always about US, sometimes it's just about me which is how I like it, thankyouverymuch. It gives me a space to kind of sound of or express things that are going on in MY brain or MY life which I think will be very helpful and necessary when Natalie arrives and most of MY life is devoted to taking care of her. I know I have some very creative thinkers out there and I welcome all of your suggestions!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


After I found out that I was pregnant, mymother bought me a book entitled "100 Questions from My Child" byMallika Chopra and inside, Chopra answers all the silly, tough, insightful and absurd questions that her two youg daughters ask her on a daily basis. I started reading through it this morning as I was trying to make Angie patiently wait to wake up her Daddy in the spare room (he has snoring issues sometimes) and as soon as I read some of the questions, I wanted to get my answers down in writing. So here it goes...

"What does my name mean?"
Natalie is traditionally associated with Christmas time but that meaning has absolutely no correlation to why I chose it for you. I like alliterations "Natalie Nelson" and I like how classic, timeless yet still relatively unique it is in this current time. It is also easily translated into Italian - Natalia. I was never called "Laura" by my beloved Italian grandma...she always said my name how it would be pronounced in Italy "Lau" (think alLOW) "ra" (roll that r!) and I want my daughter to have that same special connection to her heritage. Your daddy chose Teneile as your middle name because it means "champion" and "passionate," both of which are characteristics that your parents hold near and dear to their heart and hope that you someday inherit.

"Am I the most beautiful girl in the world?"
Yes. And your big sister Angie is the most beautiful puppy dog in the world.

"Will I be different when I am 27 years old?"
How ironic that I write the answer to this question at my current age of 27. I hope that you are not completely different from your little girl self...I hope you carry with you the imagination, determination and enthusiasm of your youth with you your entire life. I hope that you are very different when you are 27 - different from other people in a way that sets you apart and makes you successful in work and your personal life.

"Mommy, why can't you take my pain away?"
Without even seeing and holding you little girl, I am already frightened of the day you come home heartbroken and in tears over a friendship, a boy or anything else that life throws at you. Because I will not be able to fix everything; I will not be able to hunt down everything that harms you and cast them or it out of your life. I will have to sit patiently, holding back my desire to hug you close and never let you go but instead talk you through your own feelings and guide you towards a resolution. My deepest desire will always be for you to experience a life full of contentment and peace but I understand that my role as a mother will sometimes be to stand back, allow you to experience some pain so that you may grow into a strong, healthy and competent young woman.

"When you get old, will you get sick and die?"
Yes I will. And so will your Daddy. But we will never leave you. On a cold fall night someday in the future when I am gone and you step out onto your back patio completely broken and lost, you will look into the sky and see the stars and I will be there, comforting you like I always have. My grandma does it for me and someday my mother will join her as my guardian angel as well.

"Who is your Prince Charming?"
Ahh...the princess complex that Disney has manufactured in our little girls. Prince Charmings come in many forms and more often than not are not riding on white horses charging in at the last moment to rescue you from an imminent danger. Prince Charming is that man you makes you laugh everyday, the one that always seems to know exactly what to say...even when you don't want to hear it, he will never fight your battles for you but instead always be by your side in any form of combat, and he will always tell you that you are the most beautiful girl in the world. Your daddy is my Prince Charming and Momma sure did have to kiss a lot of frogs to find him.

"Do I remind you of someone?"
This is the question I can't wait to find the answer to. I am so ready to meet Natalie and dissect her features...and then eventually her personality. Being pregnant is like one big science experiment - what kind of person are we going to create? Craig and I have such differing features: he has blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin while I am dark haired, brown eyed with olive color skin. What will she look like? What personality traits will she inherit and pick up on from us? I can't wait to meet her.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adventures in Middle School

From 1:45 to 2:15 I am in charge of 300 7th and 8th graders in the cafeteria while they study, work on homework or read books...all silently. Yesterday in anticipation of an emergency drill that is this afternoon, I was asked to review all the emergency procedures with the students in Advisory should an emergency ever occur. After I finished explaining the proper behavior and expectations in the case of a fire or tornado a 7th grade boy asked me what would happen in a lock-down...if an intruder came into the cafeteria with a gun what should the kids do? I answered him honestly and told him that I didn't know and that I would ask the principal and get back to him. The student, being one of our more witty young men, asked if they should all run to me so that I could protect them. Knowing this child well, I looked at him and rubbed my belly while saying "No offense, but I'm protecting myself and this baby before I protect you." He and the other students laughed and then got back on task to studying and reading...more or less. Later during the class as I was walking around monitoring a young man in the 7th grade asked me very politely "Coach, are you having a baby?" I was a little surprised that he didn't know because I figured that gossip and news travels pretty fast throughout a middle school. I just answered him that yes, I am going to have a little girl in March. He grinned sheepishly at me and said "Oh. I just thought you ate too much at Thanksgiving."

And that's why I get paid the big bucks to teach middle schoolers. Ha.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Secret Fears

I feel like there is a part of pregnancy that no one talks about. I've heard and talked all about morning sickness, aching backs, bizarre dreams, weird cravings...but what about the emotional part? What about the part of pregnancy that makes me want to run as far away from this thing as I can? No one talks about the anxiety, the fears, the worries...I might even go as far as to call it a "pre-partum depression."

Angie had a meltdown last night which ultimately involved washing the comforter and the bath mat, Lysol-ing the bathroom floor, Craig consoling Angie and me upset that I'm going to be the "bad guy" for the next 18 years. How did I get from rubbing Angie's belly on the bed to having an anxiety attack because of how I will inevitably one day get mad at Natalie and how I'm afraid that my temper will somehow negatively impact her life?

Of course I pray that she is a healthy, beautiful, smart and athletic little girl, but most of my prayers have consisted more of...

"Dear God (and Grandma), I have been given such a pure and perfect gift. Please don't let me screw her up. Amen."

My grandma was an Italian Red Cross nurse during World War II and she always spoke of how on their deathbeds, the soldiers did not ask or call out for their wives or girlfriends...but it was always for their mothers. I am overwhelmed with the prospect of being that important of a person for another human being. I look at myself in the mirror and don't see anything particularly special...but yet I am going to be the end all and be all for this child's life in the first few years. And the impact of my decisions, actions and words will possibly impact her for the rest of her life. How can someone so imperfect and sometimes utterly ridiculous as me be given such a great responsibility as caring for and raising a child?

I love Craig dearly but I don't think I fully comprehend the type of love that I will have for a child that I have carried for nine months. Maybe I'm afraid of the love that I will have for her because I know that with such a great love there will come great pain as I watch her throughout her life. Through the broken hearts, the busted friendships, the failures, the disappointments...I don't want my daughter to ever feel any of the pain that I felt and I can't imagine the helplessness that will devour my heart when I have to sit back and let her make her own decisions; decisions that I know might lead to heartache. I think about my own mother as she watched me through all my disastrous love affairs and how torturous it must have been for her to see her (in her eyes) beautiful, smart, funny, caring daughter be so careless with her life and her heart. I told Craig the other day that I part of me doesn't want her to be born because while she is in my womb, I can protect her from everything that is bad and evil in this world but once she is born...the process of her leaving me and experiencing life on her own, the good and the bad, begins.

And again, I will reiterate that I love my husband dearly, but I don't think he is truly grasping the tidal wave of emotions that are coursing through my body on a daily basis. He hasn't expressed any nervousness, anxiety or fears about becoming a father which makes me feel like I'm very much alone emotionally in this journey. Everyone that I speak to about pregnancy and motherhood only talks about the positive things...which again, makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills for feeling these things. I just want to hear someone say that yes, this is normal and it's okay to feel these things, that it doesn't make me a bad mother and not brush me off by telling me that everything will work out and how I'll be a great mom.

I'm afraid that I'm just not going to be any good at this "motherhood" thing and I keep asking Angie if I'm a good mom and she just licks my face. I'm not sure if that's a "yes" or if I have the remnants of dinner on my cheek.

Saturday, October 30, 2010 update!

Well, I am most certainly a terrible blogger. And a combination of lazy, tired and emotionally spent. Growing a baby, coaching volleyball and trying to not throw up and/or fall asleep all at the same time has made for the most difficult two months of my life thus far. Don't worry - I know that all this will A) be worth it when I meet my baby and B) be nothing compared to late nights spent feeding and cuddling a crying newborn. There's a lot to catch up on so let us get started.

- Volleyball season ended a week ago Thursday night with my 8th grade girls losing in the first round of the District Tournament. I was a little shocked by the ending of our seasons - at the beginning of the year I did not expect my 7th graders to be much good but yet they surprised me in their District Tournament and we finished in the top four of the district. On the other hand, coming into the season, I believed that I had some pretty athletic studs on my 8th grade team (they won 2nd in basketball, 4th in Cross Country and 3rd in Track last year) and therefore believed that we would have a winning record this season combined with going far in the District Tournament. This has by far been my toughest season to coach - not only with being pregnant and sick for the majority of the time, but dealing with an assistant coach who was very slow to catch on to the nuances of coaching 7th and 8th grade girls indoor volleyball. So what did I learn throughout this season? First thing, just because someone is incompetent doesn't mean that I have to take on everything myself. In mentoring my assistant coach, I realized that I really am in my job for the right reasons - I truly care about these kids and there is nothing more that I want than to see them happy, healthy and successful. I learned that I have an incredible husband who will remind me to take care of myself when I'm off taking care of the rest of the world.

- On Saturday, October 16th Craig and I hosted a "Gender Reveal" party where we invited our close family and friends over to find out if our little nugget is a "pink" or a "blue." We had lots of food and good snacks and Craig made the mistake of allowing me to go to Party City by myself - so of course the house was drenched in everything pink and blue that I could find. Everyone arrived at 7:00 pm and we ate and chatted for awhile, but by 8:00 Craig's grandmother was beside herself with anxiety and we pulled everyone into our front dining room for the big reveal. Two of my very talented friends, Heather and Amy, had created a cake in the appropriate gender color (either strawberry or blueberry) and had carefully iced the cake so that none of the color showed through. On top were two edible Converse shoes (one pink and one blue) made by Heather and on the side of the cake, a naked baby with a censored bar across it's genitals...this was courtesy of Amy. Craig and I let our mothers cut into the cake (with my father behind them for support) but before we revealed the gender, I went through all the gender guesses of our guests - most of our family thought we were going to be having a boy! Except for Craig's sister Sherika - she's a high school girls basketball coach, I think she is hoping for a 6'2 post someday. Our moms cut into the cake and pulled out the piece and there were lots of tears, cheers and laughter as it was revealed that we are having a little girl! It was a lovely party and a lot of fun to keep our secret from our families for a few days! I know there are pictures on our friends and families cameras floating around out there...once they send me some pictures, I'll be sure to get them on here. I was too busy playing hostess to take any pictures for myself.

- Since we now know that we are having a girl...this opens a whole new range of topics for the blog. First off, we do have a name for her: Natalie Teneile. I chose the name Natalie because I like how it is a classic name that a teacher will be able to pronounce when calling role, but it is also fairly uncommon these days (I've only had a few Natalie's in my five years of teaching) so she'll stand out with a relatively unique name. I also love the alliteration of "Natalie Nelson" and I think that her name will sound great being announced at the beginning of a basketball or volleyball game, but will still sound professional when she is introducing herself at a job interview. And it's easily translated into Italian (Natalia) so my mom can speak Italian to her just like my Grandma did with me. Craig chose her middle name - he was very proud of it because Teneile means "champion or passionate" which are two things that Craig pride ourselves on being. I like the idea that someday when we're telling her about our pregnancy with her, we'll be able to tell her that her Daddy chose her very special middle name because it stands for two characteristics that we would love for her to inherit. Secondly, the day after the big reveal, my mom and I headed up to Lonestar Baby and Kids in Frisco and were able to find and purchase the bedding that I wanted - the very same baby girl bedding that I posted pictures of in an earlier post. A week ago Craig and I woke up on Sunday morning feeling surprisingly motivated and we ended up cleaning out the closet of the spare room that will be Natalie's room with me dumping out a TON of trash and things that I just didn't need anymore while Craig painted the room a warm turquoise color! He worked all day and did a fantastic job - Angie even tried to help out but just ended up getting turquoise paint on her butt. I feel like we've got a big chunk of our To-Do Before Baby list taken care of and now we just need to clean out the rest of our closets, register, buy a glider and crib, take a tour of the hospital, teach Craig how to change a know...nothing too major. ;)

Sorry for the lack of posts in the past month or two - I think with all the stress from volleyball season combined with being so sick, I was really depressed and in "survival" mode...just trying to get through the season to November when I could relax and begin to focus on the even bigger task at hand - getting ready for a baby.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 14

September 6 - September 12

How far along?
13 weeks and 4 days along and baby is about the size of a lemon (or about 3 inches long). Apparently this week the baby is growing by leaps and bounds and is starting flowing, continuous movements...but none of which I can feel yet. What I can feel are the random aches in my abs that FEEL like I've been working out too much (which certainly is NOT the case) but are actually my abdominal muscles moving and stretching to accomodate my growing belly.

What's circulating in my brain?
Volleyball, volleyball, volleyball. I've been having dreams about volleyball and my girls this week. I have a group of very talented 8th graders, but for some reason I can't seem to get them to gel on the court and so we've lost our first two games. I had to bring out the "mean" coach today and we had a silent practice - no talking except for calling the ball and encouraging your teammates. There were also lots of pushups and running as consequences for dropped passes and missed serves. I don't really enjoy being the serious coach and pushing the girls in this manner, but they have to understand the importance of focus and discipline. Although they're a fairly athletic team, they can't just rely on their athletiscm and there has to be a focus on the technical aspects of passing, hitting and serving. And then there is the "trusting" each other on the court aspect - I got really tired of seeing two people trying (unsuccessfuly) to pass a ball last night. Hopefully I have gotten my point across and after a few more practices like this morning, they will have a greater understanding of what I expect and we can strike the delicate balance of having fun and maintaining our focus. After all, when we focus we can win and what is more fun than that?

I have been struggling with keeping track of my "real" emotions and my "baby induced" emotions. So many times I have had to check myself with other people - is what I'm frustrated about a valid reason to be a little peeved, or am I acting irrationally? I feel more frustrated at this point in the season than I did last year and I'm not sure if it is because of external reasons or the internal reason that is residing in my belly right now. No one wants to be labeled the "crazy pregnant lady" so I am trying very hard to distinguish between what I SHOULD be frustrated or upset about and what I am just overreacting about because of my hormones. I can't tell you how many people have had to answer the "am I crazy for feeling this way" question and to all of their great character, they all answer very calmly, respectfully and most of the time agree with me...that I'm NOT being irrational.

Or maybe they're just trying not to upset the crazy pregnant lady.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
I married a good man. He came to the games last night and agreed - my team did not play up to their potential and I think he knew that I was very frustrated. It was so great that when I got home after a VERY long day (for more reasons than just volleyball) I was greeted so enthusiastically by a tail wagging Angie and a hot dinner on the table from Craig. He is so patient in listening to me in the evenings these past few weeks when I've been dealing with some issues at work...and he doesn't pretend like he always has the answers but instead confirms that yes, this is something I need to address, or no...maybe I should let this thing slide. I'm probably driving him crazy with my obsessiveness on certain topics but I'm just the type of person that can't let go of a subject until there is some sort of internal or external resolution.

This week's weigh-in was a little disappointing for Craig as he didn't lose as much weight as he was hoping, but I think it inspired him to hit the gym everyday this week to speed up his metabolism so that he can continue to lose bigger chunks of weight from his total weight loss goal.

What's Angie up to?
Not really that much this week - she is definitely more settled into her routine. I'm hoping the weather cools down soon so that on the weekends and the nights that I'm home a little earlier from school Craig and I can start taking her for walks again around the neighborhood. I think it would do us all some good to get out of the house in the early evenings and get some light exercise.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Baby Gear

Yesterday I woke up feeling really great and so I convinced Craig to venture out to Frisco to look at baby stuff so we can get a good idea of how much money we'll be spending in the next few months while we prepare the house for the baby to come home in March.

Our first stop was the Stonebriar Mall where we ended up buying Craig a pair of new athletic shoes but didn't really find anything that we absolutely had to have for the baby. From there we had lunch at Applebee's (due to their special Weight Watchers diet) and then headed to Lonestar Baby which I had heard about through a friend. I was a little nervous because I thought it was a very upscale and fancy baby boutique where the prices were going to be astronomical, but it turned out to be my favorite place we visited yesterday because the prices were reasonable but the merchandise was very unique and much more suited to my tastes.

For example...

The baby girl bedding that I found and fell in love with:
Dahlia by N Selby Designs
We are going to be using the white dresser and bureau that my parents purchased for me many years ago when I got my "big girl" bedroom so that the only large pieces of furniture that Craig and I will have to buy will be a crib and glider chair. With the above bedding I would probably paint the walls a shade of lime green a little bit lighter than the lime green in the pattern. We'll be putting light brown/gray carpeting in the bedroom and I would find a chocolate brown rug to throw down in the middle of the floor as well.
Boy Bedding: Bali by Cocalo Couture
I know that the color palates are similar with the girl pattern above, but I can't help what colors and designs I am drawn to! I would also paint the walls in the babys room a light green to match this bedding as well and I think the bedding would go with white furniture too.

After Lonestar Baby we headed back south and stopped off at Babies R Us so that I could show Craig the items that my mother and I looked at last Sunday when we were shopping. She and I found a crib that is totally convertible from a crib all the way to a regular size twin bed which I knew Craig would love because it's hopefully going to save us some furniture money in the future. Our plan is to have the baby sleep in the room with us for the first few months before moving him/her to their own bedroom at the end of the hallway. BUT I didn't want to pay over $100 for a bassinet that the baby would only sleep in for three months or up until it weighed 15 lbs. Mom and I discussed other options and figured out that since Craig and I were going to buy a pack n play anyways, why not use that as the "bassinet" for the baby in those first few months?! Craig was sold on this idea (especially after checking out prices on the bassinets) and so yesterday we purchased a Graco pack-n-play in the Hamilton pattern. It is brown with green and turquoise dots (suitable for a girl or boy) but it also will match our bedroom and living room. Next month we're going to go back and get the swing for the baby as well. I don't think we'll be buying the matching stroller or high chair because the stroller looks too bulky and I am going to use a high chair that just attaches to the regular kitchen chair.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 13

August 20 - September 5

How far along?
12 weeks and 4 days along and baby is about the size of a peach (or about 3 inches long). This week baby's intestines are forming on the inside of it's body and the vocal chords are aslo developing!

How am I feeling?
It's been an up and down week for me which I guess is better than last week which was mostly down. I feel like my body is taking two steps forward and then one step back. Yesterday was rough because I had my first 7th grade volleyball game night and it was an away game. Between running copies, checking things off my "to take with me" list and corraling the girls, I didn't get a chance to put much food into my tummy and therefore I was pretty sick when I got off the bus at the end of the night. But what's been fun is watching the little belly expand just a smidge...but I'm not sure if it's baby or Arby's curly fries.

What's circulating in my brain?
My assistant coach from last year and good friend Jill gave birth to her beautiful baby girl named Joley on Friday evening. All day Friday I was getting update texts through her husband about the progress of the delivery. I must admit, after a long week at work...being in the hospital about to give labor and subsequently meet my baby sounded a lot better than teaching 6th grade students how to play Capture the Flag. I've had lots of friends give birth and I've even visited one special one in the hospital not even 24 hours after the delivery but for some reason this birth hit a different chord with me. Obviously I think it's because I am pregnant and in six short months Craig and myself will be in a similar position where he is sending out updates to our friends about the status of Baby Nelson. And the promise of staying home with baby for a little over a month doesn't sound too bad either.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
Again this week he is being absolutely awesome and making sure that I'm feeling okay and that stuff gets done around the house. Today (Sunday) has been particularly rough and I've been in bed for most of the day. Imagine my surprise when I ventured downstairs and found that he had attached a solar light fixture to the fence so that when Angie goes out at night to potty she will have some light to help her navigate the grass! So far so good with his Weight Watchers diet - in two weeks he has lost a total of 8 pounds and he is excited about weighing in tomorrow to see how much more he has lost.

What's Angie up to?
She's getting into her routine, but she's not happy about it. We wake up and she follows me into the bathroom where she pouts in her bed and I take a shower. Afterwards she has her most enjoyable moment when she gets to "wake" Craig up in the spare room because he most likely got kicked out of bed sometime during the night for his snoring. Then she gets to sleep in some more when Craig comes back to our bedroom where he sleeps in until 7:30 or so before going to work for the day. She is still being a super awesome nurse...sitting next to me in the bathroom when I get sick and then licking my feet after I'm done to let me know she loves me. I hope she is as protective and loving with this new baby as she is with me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Week 12

August 16 - August 22, 2010

How far along?
I am halfway through week 12 and baby has doubled in size since last week and is now the size of a plum. According to What to Expect, the baby has developed most of the important internal organs and now the intestines are going to start doing their job. If the amount of food that I ate this week is any indication, I believe that baby has a voracious appetite. This week baby liked Arby's curly fries and donuts.

How am I feeling?
School started this week and I always kick off my school year with a 11 hour day on the second day of school - starting with 8th grade volleyball try-outs at 7:00 and culminating with 7th grade volleyball try-outs ending at 6:00. Needless to say, my general goal ever night wasy to stay awake at least until the sun went down. There were a few rough mornings and evenings this week as far as nausea goes and I unfortunately had to revert to using the anti-nausea medicine to help me get through the day. But...the good news is that this morning (Saturday) I was able to wake up with no discernable nausea, eat the leftovers of my PF Changs and drink a Sprite for lunch with NO problem! AND...I even feel like putting away laundry and cleaning out my car. Hurray! I'm not sure how long this feeling good will last but hopefully it's the beginning of the second trimester and therefor the bouts of nausea will be few and far between.

What's circulating in my brain?
I haven't really been thinking about the baby this week but instead focusing on choosing volleyball teams and then dividing those girls up into divisions. I love volleyball season because it does challenge me - how do I play my girls so that I can maximize the success of the team overall,but still make eah player feel appreciated on the court?! It's a tough puzzle to figure out and I spent the majority of Thursday during school running through several different scenarios of line-ups, switches and substitutions. I've got a fairly talented and athletic group of 8th graders this year and if this is going to be my last year coaching I want to make sure that I end on a high note.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
Craig has just finished up his second full week of working the Weight Watchers plan and he has done really fantastic. He is weighing himself every Monday at school and the first week he lost 5 pounds! We took my parents out for dinner last Saturday and his mother out to dinner last night and before we went to either restaurant he made sure to look up the menu before hand and calculate his remaining number of points as well as the points of the dishes offered. It takes a little more work and planning on his part, but I think he enjoys seeing that his determination is paying off. Next week we're going to be using a service called The Dinner Station for our meals. All you do is look at their monthly menus, choose the meals you want to eat and they cook everything for you and then you pick it up and freeze until you're ready to eat! They also offer all the nutritional information so Craig can make educated and healthy decisions about dinner as well. I know it seems a little lazy of us, but with me working 11 hour days ad coming home so exhausted I really think it will help both of us to eat at home, save money and stay healthy.

What's Angie up to?
I think Angie is getting back in the routine of school, although she still isn't quite thrilled about it. Every morning I leave her and Craig curled up together in bed and when I come home she is curled up beside him on the bed while he watches television after school. She is very excited because tomorrow she gets to go play with the cousin dogs, Andy and Annabelle while I go shopping with my mom.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Week 11

August 16 - August 22, 2010

How far along?
I am halfway through week 11 and the baby is as big as a lime this week! It is also developing hair follicles, nail beds and the body is supposed to be straightening out as well. And although we won't be able to officially tell the sex for about ten more weeks, the ovaries and testes are developing depending on whether it is a girl or a boy.

How am I feeling?
Tired, tired, tired! I started back to school this week with inservices from 8:15 until 4:00 each day and it's been a struggle to stay awake and not go to bed for the night until at least the sun goes down. I have been consistently in bed and asleep by 9:30 every night this week. And I'm certainly not complaining because I know that I need all the sleep and rest at night I can get so that I can make it through the next day. The nausea has subsided a bit, although I'm having a bit more heartburn...which I guess is the lesser of two evils?! I was able to eat full meals on Monday and Tuesday without feeling a twinge of nausea and that made me really happy.

What's circulating in my brain?
I'm starting to get nervous about volleyball season, but not because of the team, the girls or anything like that. I just want to be able to be up here at 7:15 each morning and last until 5:30 (or later on game nights) every afternoon. I want to be able to give the girls 100% of my time, effort and energy this season because they deserve that in a head coach and I'm worried that if I keep feeling ill, I won't be able to perform my job at the level that they deserve.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
Craig has embarked on a major personal journey this week - losing weight. He had a doctor's appointment before we went to Europe and the doctor told him, in no uncertain terms that he needed to lose a substantial amount of weight before this baby is due. So this will be an interesting adventure - he will be LOSING weight while I am blowing up like a blimp!! I told him that we should have a weekly update on both of our progress, complete with belly shots of the both of us. He quickly nixed that idea which kind of bummed me out. Regardless, I'm proud of what he's trying to accomplish and I told him that whatever healthy recipes he finds, I will do my best to cook them for him.

What's Angie up to?
Oh Angelina Marie. Have mercy on this little dog this week. Having both her mommy and daddy go back to work and leave her at home all day has absolutely been torturous for the poor animal. From diarrhea to destruction, she has been acting out all week, trying desperately to get our attention that she is, in fact...quite miserable.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 8

July 26 - August 1, 2010

How far along?
Just finished 8 weeks - listened to the baby's heartbeat on Monday at the doctor's office!

How big is baby?
This week baby is as big as a raspberry, or about half an inch long. I had to show Craig what a raspberry looks like when were were in the grocery store last week.

What am I creating this week?I was a slacker this week...I didn't look anything up about baby. I think I was so enamored with the fact that I heard the actual heartbeat that I didn't really care about anything else.

How am I feeling?This week was much better than last week. I was able to get some anti-nausea medicine from the doctor and that has definitely been helping. It took a few days to get approved by my health insurance company, but it was well worth the wait. I feel much more confident about going to Europe now that I have this medicine. I've also been much more productive with this medicine in me which helps my emotional state of mind. I thought that I would really love sitting around, doing nothing while Craig took care of things around the house, but it was actually really horrible. We function as a team and work together to keep the house running and I hated feeling like I was letting him down. Now that I feel good enough to get up and do things, I'm much happier because I feel like I am contributing more to the housework.

What's circulating in my brain?Nothing of too much importance. Obviously hearing the heartbeat was a pretty big moment in our lives and I am so glad that we got to share that "first" together. I think it hit him a little harder that we are going to have a little human in just a few short months. I find the whole science of it absolutely crazy - this baby is going to be totally unique because it will be the only person in the world to have a particular mix of Craig and my DNA. Even if we have another child, they each will have different characteristics of both of us...yet will be solely their own person. It's just unbelievable that this little creature that is only 1/2 an inch long will someday be a grown adult like me. It's incredibly mind blowing and I don't know how people can have children and not believe in God and His love for us.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
He has been dealing with his own personal crazy because he just finished up his BIG NCAA certified basketball tournament, the Girls of Summer. This was the first year that I actually got to help work the tournament because in the past two years I've either had appendicitis or volleyball camp. I was in charge of checking in college coaches and I must admit, I was a pretty proud little wife when the University of Texas recruiter came in and paid his money for the coaches packet. Craig ended up having 82 teams participating in the tournament as well as approximately 80 college coaches there recruiting. It was a lot of work for him and his two buddies, Ron and Ricky, but I am so, so, so proud of him. Building this tournament into a "big deal" is a huge goal of his and what made me even happier was that when he came home with his payment from the tourney, his first comment about the money was "I'm going to pay off the Best Buy bill and then put the rest in savings for the baby."

What's Angie up to?Angie has had a stressful few days. Craig stayed up near the tournament on Friday night to hang out with some of the college coaches he is good friends with and since it was the first night for me to take my new medicine, I was a little nervous about staying alone. My mom came up around 6:00 on Friday night and we had the best time eating dinner at Chili's, chatting with my friend Emily, walking the dog and talking about Baby. Angie on the other hand, was VERY confused as to why her Nonna was staying at the house and not her daddy. Her befuddlement grew as my mother and I started laying out clothes for our trip to Europe. She knows that something is different and she has her worried face on...a lot. But she will get through this with the help of her cousin dogs with whom she will be staying for the two weeks that we will be gone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week 7

July 19 - July 25, 2010

How far along?
Just finished up the 7th week and looking forward to our 8 week appointment (complete with sonogram hopefully) on Monday!

How big is baby?
Baby is the size of a blueberry.

What am I creating this week?
The arm and leg buds are starting to show up this week - hopefully long legs for basketball and volleyball!

How am I feeling?
This week was pretty terrible. I worked the high school volleyball tournament from 8:00 until 3:30 everyday and it wore me out. I had a lot of morning (and evening) sickness and getting up and ready in the morning took a LONG time. I'm so thankful that I am in my first trimester during the summer and that I don't have to get up and go do a job during this time. I don't mind having a head cold and being stuffed up, but I absolutely detest being nauseous. Ugh. Tuesday night was pretty bad so I ended up taking Wednesday off from volleyball camp and stayed home to take care of myself. I felt a little bit guilty leaving the other coaches short staffed, but I had to put my health first.

What's circulating in my brain?
I've been pretty overwhelmed this week between volleyball camp, feeling sick and the prospect of our two week Europe trip looming over my head. And then as soon as we come home from that, we immediately start school again. It's a bit much to take in, but at least I know that my school year will essentially end in the middle of March when I have this baby.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
Oh Craig. He has been phenomenal this week. From bringing me chicken noodle soup, water, grapes and apples to waking up at midnight to help me up off the floor of the bathroom when I feel sick. He has really stepped up to the plate and has made me realize that he "gets" it now. I think now that I'm really starting to feel the effects of this baby, he is doing everything and anything he can to make life easier for me. I don't have a lot of energy due to just being pregnant in the first trimester, but also in addition to my tummy never feeling quite right. He is totally taking care of the house and making sure that the messes stay contained, the bills get paid and Angie is fed. Love, love, love him this week.

What's Angie up to?
Angie is earning her wings up in heaven. If I'm up at night, she's up at night. The other night when I was in the spare bathroom at midnight, she was right next to me on the floor and putting her head on my lap when possible. I can tell she is worried about me and I think that she definitely "knows" that something is different about Mom. She really has been an angel to me this week by being the best little nurse.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 6

July 12 - July 18, 2010

How far along?
Five full weeks so I'm starting my 6th week.

How big is baby?
By the end of the sixth week, Baby will grow to be the size of a pea.

What am I creating this week?
The baby's face is starting to take shape and the lungs, kidneys and liver are all starting to develop.

How am I feeling?My sleeping schedule is totally fried - I can't sleep well at night for whatever reason and so during the day I crash during the afternoon and if I don't have a proper nap I get pretty cranky. I haven't had any nausea lately but my tummy isn't processing food as fast as I would probably appreciate. I definitely am examining my stomach a lot more frequently than I ever have before. I don't think to the common person I'm showing at all, but I can tell that I'm thicker around the middle. Maybe it's due to the larger amount of food that I'm consuming, but I definitely feel fatter and bigger. I haven't had any weird cravings or aversions to any food. Pretty much anything and everything looks and sounds good to me. Unfortunately, although the majority of the cup tastes good, when I get to the bottom of my ONE single cup of coffee in the morning it makes me gag a bit. I'm really hoping and praying that Baby doesn't take away my joy in the morning. I've already resigned myself to no Starbucks for awhile (at least the really good caffeinated kind) so I hope that I don't have to pack away my Keurig for the next eight months.

What's circulating in my brain?
I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment because Craig is currently in Tennessee for the week, next week I have volleyball camp, then Craig has his big summer basketball tournament and then we leave for Europe August 1st. Two days after we come home we start inservice for the next school year. My goal for this week is to get the trip more or less planned out as far as the itinerary goes and then I can focus on packing and such for the next few weeks. I have accepted the fact that I'm going to have a belly and I feel great about it. I don't worry as much about how I look in a bikini because I know that I'm supposed to get a little bigger at this stage in the game. It's very freeing to know that regardless of my diet or work out regime, I'm going to get bigger so why not just sit back, stop fighting it and enjoy indulging in a late night (at least moderately heathy) snack of crackers and cheese? I'm still anxious about making sure this baby makes it to the "safe" 12 week mark but I definitely feel much more comfortable in the idea of being pregnant. I don't know how to explain it. I'm not walking around the house anymore just in complete awe and shock that I'm pregnant. It's already become a part of my life for the time being and I'm actually already tired of answering the same questions...and I haven't even told that many people!!

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
Craig witnessed two breakdowns of mythical proportions this weekend - one on Friday and one on Sunday. I told my brother Mike about the baby on Friday night and it was just really emotional because he lives in Maine and misses his family here in Texas like crazy. I think seeing me at the wedding and then hearing the baby news just makes him realize how much he is missing out by living all the way up there in Maine. I cried a lot that night. Last night (Sunday) Craig and I got in a fight over some way that I overreacted and I just cried and cried and cried. I let out every single fear I have about this baby and how I hate not having control over my emotions. It's really hard to sort out WHY I get upset about something. Is it because it's really justified and I actually feel this strongly or is it all just brought on because of the crazy insane amount of hormones that are racing through my body? Either way, Craig handled it like a champ once he realized that I wasn't trying to make his life miserable on purpose. Craig has a pretty good poker face and tries not to let anybody see him nervous, upset or flustered which is exactly how he's approached this pregnancy thus far. I, on the other hand, was instantly scared and nervous the minute we found out we're pregnant and I wanted him to share in that with me. I just kind of felt like I was overreacting by being nervous and I wanted him to say that yes, he was nervous as we're in this totally over our heads...but at least we're together?! Does that make sense? Regardless, he just reiterated that he's totally excited but it's hard for him to really visualize everything because I'm NOT showing (just a little pudgier) and that he'll probably start to get really nervous about two weeks before I'm due. I have a feeling his nerves will show up when he gets handed that baby for the first time...because our baby will be the first baby that he's ever held which I think is really neat. I think that he'll also have a newfound respect for me after I give birth...I don't think he thinks I'm tough. Well, I'll show him.

What's Angie up to?
Angie had a great time on Sunday when we went to a little get-together at my parent's house because she got to run and play with the cousin dogs as well as wear her t-shirt for the big Baby reveal to our close friends and family. She was exhausted and total dead weight for the rest of the night. Right now she's keeping me company because Craig is gone for the week so it's just the girls in the house. We're going to the dog park on Wednesday with my mom and the cousin pups so she can run and get some exercise. I don't think that she's going to be a major problem with the baby - she was around four little ones on Sunday as well as many little ones the week before AND around a one year old today and she does pretty good. She sniffs them out because she's curious but she's not aggressive...if anything she's terrified by them and slightly confused when they start crying. I think she'll be fine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Week 5

July 5 - July 11, 2010

How far along?
Four full weeks and two I'm starting the fifth week.

How big is baby?
According to my What To Expect app on my iPhone, at four weeks and two days, baby is as big as an orange seed.

What am I creating this week?
The circulatory system with the most basic of hearts - it will only be made up of two channels for the time being. The precursor to the brain and spinal cord is also forming.

How am I feeling?
Overall...pretty good. I know compared to a lot of the horror stories that I've read online I'm not doing that poorly at all. Or maybe the hormones really haven't had time to kick in. I haven't had any really intense sickness - but I have been waking up anywhere from 3:00 am to 6:00 am feeling a little nauseous so I keep rice cakes and water next to my bed as well as a good movie in the DVD player to keep me occupied while I wait for the nausea to pass. I've been tired...not that tired where I'm falling asleep all over the place, but the kind of tired that sits behind your eyes and everytime you blink you wish you could just leave your eyes closed for awhile. Whether it's from the shock of being pregnant or the baby consuming my thoughts are foggy. I'm having a hard time keeping up with conversations as well as remember where things are and what word I was about to use. I've had a pretty voracious appetite...but isn't that fairly normal? What's not normal is the tears. I cried at the thought of how this baby was going to affect Angie's life. Ridiculous. Hold on Craig...I think the crazy train is about to depart and take you on a pretty intense ride.

What's circulating in my brain?
Sweet Lord Jesus...what ISN'T circulating in my brain? Maybe part of the reason that I've been having problems sleeping is that my already overactive imagination has been in hyper drive covering all aspects of this pregnancy. I'll try to contain the clutter for you:
- Love: Obviously I love this baby already. I remember when I was younger how my mom said that she loved me before she knew me and I couldn't understand that concept. I've been praying for my babies since before Craig and I got married. I know they're up there just waiting to come into our lives and I can't believe that in eight short months I'm going to get to meet the first one.
- Anxiety: This is probably the most prevalent emotion that I feel during the day. I'm anxious at everything that I eat, how hot the water in the bathtub is, and how I move during a volleyball game. I almost burst into tears when I lunged for a pass and then thought "Oh no! Did I knock Baby loose? Should I take a pregnancy test when I get home just to make sure she's still in there?" Yes. These things are actually going through my head. And at the all seems so...rational. I was so anxious about getting pregnant (what if I was Charlotte from SATC and didn't know it all these years?) that I figured once I got pregnant things would be smooth sailing after that. Not even close. There's a whole new arsenal of anxieties waiting for you after you see that X on the pee stick. Now it's about KEEPING me pregnant and making sure that the baby doesn't grow an extra arm from the middle of it's forehead. These are the things that keep me up at night.
- Fear: Sure, a baby is all fun and games when it's a theoretical object and not something that is growing in your body. It's fun to toss around names and imagine taking kids to the zoo, but when there is a specific timeline associated with this baby that is looking you in the face, all those fun things turn into terrors. Are we really prepared for all this? I don't think we really thought this process through. I mean, we love our friends' kids and our nephews but we aren't responsible for turning those precious darlings into productive members of society.

How is Craig dealing with the crazy?
Craig and I had to have a pow wow. Just because I don't LOOK pregnant doesn't mean that I don't FEEL pregnant. I'm not taking a nap because I'm lazy, I'm taking a nap because there is a parasite in my body that is sucking the life out of me. I'm not asking you to go get me cheese and peanut butter crackers at 11:00 at night because I'm lazy and am taking advantage of you. I'm asking you because my above mentioned eyelids are throbbing with exhaustion, and as my friend Beri said...if I could eat and sleep at the same time, I would. So be a dear and fetch me my crackers so I can effectively accomplish my goal. No, his life hasn't changed that much because there isn't something tangible for him to focus on and it's hard to connect over this pregnancy at the moment because EVERYTHING has changed for me. Every decision I make as far as resting, activites, focused on what is best for Baby and because I have ovaries and he doesn't at this point in time I'm the only one that this has happened to. Now don't get me wrong, he is definitely thinking ahead - he has already mentioned setting up a savings account that will morph into a college fund. And his first words when we figured out that the due date would be mid-March? "Oh good. I'll have money from tournaments by then." So Baby will be paid for and will have a nice cozy room to come home to. But right now, as I told him, there really isn't anything we can buy for Baby and therefore he needs to provide for me emotionally for the time being.

What's Angie up to?
Angie got a t-shirt. It says "I'm going to be a BIG sister." It's how I'm announcing Baby to all my friends this summer that frequent my swimming pool. Funny story: My maid-of-honor and all around BFF Amy was on the treacherous journey of peeing on the stick the night of July 4th and when I got a "plus" and then two definitive PREGNANTs. She told her daughter, Emma the flower girl, that Laura was pregnant and Emma groaned "Oh no." Amy asked her why she said that and Emma replied "The dog." Yes, it's true Emma. I'm worried about her too. In fact I cried about it Monday night. How did I do this to my sweet baby girl? I've effectively pushed her to second fiddle thus ruining her life. How could I be so cruel? Again...looking back, are these thoughts rational? Absolutely not, but looking into her big, brown eyes I felt nothing but pure guilt.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Beginning of Summer

I can't believe June is almost over but yet I'm only starting my second full week of summer. My school district didn't get out of school for the summer until June 10th and despite our lengthy school year, I don't think I can say our students are anymore academically advanced than anyone else. The last few weeks were filled with dodgeball tournaments, field trips and field days, yearbook signings and LOTS of fun games in PE. Good thing I learned how to babysit large masses of children when I worked at the daycare during college.

But Craig and I have been having a pretty productive summer thus far. We've made a concerted effort to get up and do something either around the house or out in the community every single day. Craig has been focused on getting the yard taken care of - we recently had St. Augustine sod put in our front yard and he is concentrating on watering, edging and mowing to make sure that our grass firmly takes hold in our yard and doesn't die under the sweltering sun and heat.

My main goal for this summer vacation is to get our house organized and with a few visits to Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target, it's amazing what a difference I've been able to make already. We have GREAT built in shelving in our laundry room above our washer and dryer but over the course of the year and a half that we have lived in this house, they've gotten increasingly messier and more cluttered. I bought six cream fabric covered baskets and with my label maker in hand, I was able to sort everything out according to category (laundry materials, lightbulbs, cleaning rags etc.) and now there is a place for everything...and everything is in it's place which is a neatly labeled basket. Sigh. And now that I've seen the video evidence of Craig graduating high school, I know that he can read and therefore return all above mentioned objects to their proper organized spot. I did the same thing in our pantry by filling up all my wonderful storage jars with different items such as pasta, rice and pistachios thus opening up so much more room to see everything that I have in the pantry. I'm the type of person that if I can't see it, I forget about and therefore when things are cluttered in the pantry, there is a very good chance that there is a loaf of bread that is molding way in the back. My next goal is to devise a system of organizing the sheets in our linen closet upstairs in the hallway. Two out of three beds in our house use plain white sheets but one bed is a King and the other is a Queen which, I assume, leads to confusion for our wonderful twice a month housekeeper Martha when she is trying to change the sheets on our beds. I'm also going to tackle our trophy room where we have a big hutch full of our table linens and such but also has accumulated lots of crap that we had no other place to store. Don't even get me started on the wedding presents that are still congregating on the table in there.

Something VERY exciting is happening tomorrow! Our bathrooms are getting painted!!! Hurray! We had a company come last week and make a quote for all those rooms that mentioned in a previous post (House Tour I and II) and after some discussion, Craig and I decided that we're going to do the painting in two parts: the bathrooms first and the foyer second. So tomorrow our house will be invaded by the Carnival painting company who will be stripping the downstairs half bath of the terrible brick red wallpaper which will be replaced with a coat of "Serene Sky" by Behr paints. Or a light icy blue in lamens terms. Upstairs our maroon bathroom will be coated in "Marina Isle" also from Behr paints, but if you wanted to picture it...think of the sagey, calm and light aqua that you might find in the lobby of an upscale spa. Yesterday for Father's Day, our present for my dad was to have him help take down our movie star light fixtures in the bathroom and replace them with something softer and more modern.

Don't worry, he also was fed a delicious lunch of hamburgers, beans and mango salsa as well as gifted with an organizational system for his art supplies.

I can't wait to have it all done...I'm excited but also a little nervous because I am hoping that the picture that I have in my head as to how things will turn out...will actually be how they turn out!

But summer vacation hasn't been all work and no play of course. We have also been filling up the long summer days with...
...lots and lots of sunshine lying in and and around the pool. So far, I've finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett, gotten a few chapters into Wicked by Gregory Maguire and I'm halfway through My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster. Quite an eclectic group of summer reading thus far. Having a pool on a 100+ degree weather day is a hot commodity (pun intended) here in Texas so each day I've been having different people come over and either swim or lay out with me. Buying a house with a pool was probably one of Craig's better ideas.
But as I mentioned, we have been having excruciatingly hot days lately and therefore I can't possibly spend the ENTIRE day outside so I try to come in around 1:30 so that I can catch the latest games of the...

I hate soccer (too much running) but I LOVE the World Cup. I think it's kind of in line with why I love the Olympics - people competing for their country. Emotions tend to run a bit higher when your national pride is on the line and plus...the guys take their jerseys off after the game. Can't get much better than that. Although I've enjoyed watching the matches and seeing all the upsets that have occurred (Switzerland...I'm looking at you) but unfortunately my teams (Italy and the US) are not faring as well as I would prefer. As a general belief...I don't like to be even or "draw" as the soccer world might say. I like to win. Period. There are always losers and winner and although people keep telling me that all the draws that are occurring during Group Play are just adding to the drama of the event, I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that not having a loser or winner is acceptable.
We tried that with the Koreas and look how well THAT turned out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This weekend

Obviously I've had a lot of free time on my hands - hence all the postings - but I have actually been pretty busy and fairly productive!

I did sleep in until 10:00 and then lounge around watching television and playing games on the computer until noon but this was only because I was so exhausted from the day before with all the Field Day nonsense that I had to take care of at school. Craig was off tournamenting for the day so I didn't really have anyone to make me get out of bed before I really wanted to. Last week was a crazy week for us between school and outside commitments that neither of us had ever felt like cooking so we kind of ate out every night. Oops. Yesterday I knew that I didn't want to eat out again...but I also knew that Craig wasn't going to be home in time for a six o'clock dinner. So I called up my parents and invited them over for dinner at my house to keep me company but to also show them the new St. Augustine sod that we had installed in the front yard and the curtains that Craig hung in the living room. The afternoon was spent grocery shopping for ingredients for dinner as well as finishing up the laundry that Craig had started earlier in the week. My parents arrived promptly at six o'clock and this is what we had for dinner:

Pork Chops:
- one bottle of white wine vinegar
- a very generous helping of brown sugar
- three pears sliced and cubed
- four pork chops

Combine the vinegar, brown sugar and pears in a large skillet and cook on high heat until the mixture is simmering. Add pork chops and smother them with the pears and liquid. Periodically flip pork chops every so often to ensure they are evenly cooked.

Oven Baked Potatoes:
- one packet of onion soup mix
- 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 4 Idaho potatoes

Wash and peel the four potatoes and then cut them into cubed pieces. Combine mix, oil and potatoes and mix thoroughly so that the oil and mix evenly coats all the potatoes. Place into glass pan (I use my big Pyrex...not sure of the size?) and bake at 450 for 40 minutes. I like mine with ketchup!

Lemon Garlic Broccoli:
This is a pretty basic way to spice up the broccoli that I love so that Craig will eat it...without dousing it in cheese and butter. I just cook fresh broccoli (just the "tree" part, not the stem) until it's just a little bit crisp and not totally soggy and limp. Drain the broccoli and add a few douses of lemon juice with one or two small scoops from the small jar of minced garlic. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper and serve!

It was a totally easy dinner to prepare, but everything sounds and looks a lot fancier than it really is!

Craig came home around 9:00 and actually brought a guest with us to stay for the night! One of his coaches that works for his select basketball finished at the tournament late and had to be up there VERY early this morning and he lives WAY far away so he decided that it would be better if he just crashed at our house for the night! Obviously Craig cleared this with me way earlier in the day so I had time to straighten up the house and wash the sheets and comforter in our spare bedroom.

So far today has been fairly uneventful. I woke up at 8:00 with Craig to say goodbye to him before he left for the day to the tournament. Angie has been alternating between chewing on the bone, playing ball and napping....well mostly just napping. I would love to go lay out by the pool...but it's just so hot out there (and not even June yet!) and I have to be dressed and ready to go see Wicked at the Dallas Fair Park this afternoon with some of my former work buddies. We're meeting at a friend's house at 4:30 and then carpooling to Dallas for dinner and then the show. Craig was nice enough to let me get third row seats and I'm excited because I hear the show is spectacular. I hope it's better than the book because I tried to read the book a few years ago and it was pretty terrible.

Tomorrow will be another rather uneventful day - we're just planning on sleeping in and I think I'll make pancakes and eggs for Craig since he's worked so hard this weekend on his tournaments. We might have some friends over for swimming and eating but either way I'm going to make potato salad and macaroni salad. Then we will just get ready for the final push towards the end of the school year! We have this week (four full days) and next week (three full days and one half day) and then we're out until August! It can't come soon enough.

A few of my favorites

One of the things that we splurged on for the wedding was our photography. Included in our package were my bridal portraits, our engagement pictures, a full day of filming with two photographers, an album for us and then for each of our parents as well as full rights to all the pictures that were taken during the day. One major thing that I was looking for when we were interviewing photographers was personality. I didn't want someone that was mushy or too sweet - I wanted more laid back but with a little bit of edge and artistic creativity. So...this is what we got! All photos were taken by Static Sixx Photography.

In our package we recieved a certain amount of money that could be spent on pictures professionally printed by the photographer or even printed on a canvas. I told Craig that he could choose one bridal portrait of me for us to put on a big canvas and this is the picture he took. I was inspired by my friend Jennifer who did a similar picture before her own wedding two and a half years ago. I'm thinking of putting the canvas on the stairway wall, Scarlett O'Hara style and if Craig ever gets mad at me he can throw his drink at it a la Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind.

This moment was a little bit...intimidating.

Sigh...I love this picture, but it was a little bit awkward to smooch in front of everyone. Especially our coworkers and former students that were there!

This picture if full of sweet, sweet relief for me. The ceremony was done and over with and I could start to relax...just one step closer to the honeymoon and a week on the beach. This is also the moment Craig told me that I "look beautiful." Aww.

Love this picture. We bought it in black and white and it's going in our front hallway.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

House Tour Part II

The Kitchen:
Our kitchen is really open and it is totally connected with the living room and that is part of the reason we initially loved this house - I don't have to be sequested from everyone when I'm cooking dinner. The previous owners painted the cabinents themselves which doesn't look too bad in pictures but in real life they probably need a touch up...or a complete demolition. The walls were originally mustard yellow and when we initially looked at the house the counters were bright blue tileds! Yuck! I guess the owners got lots of negative feedback on that part of their house because they put in the granite counters prior to selling the house to us.
I would love to get a new fridge in stainless steel with the refrigerator part on top and then the freezer down below. The side by side doesn't work for me because I feel like everything is so squished in there and I can't find everything that I need in a timely manner. I would also like our new fridge to be a bit bigger than the one we currently have, but then again...we got this fridge free from his mom when she moved and we really can't beat that price.
For a long time we didn't have the island in the middle (it is on wheels) but when we started registering for the wedding I knew that it needed to be brought out from exile out in the garage. Not only does it provide a large amount of storage underneath for my serving dishes but as you can see, there isn't a lot of prep room in the kitchen without it.
I like the basic layout of the kitchen but if we're talking about "dream kitchen" then there is a lot of stuff that I would change. I would put in totally new cabinets (but more or less in the same layout) with all the new built in fun storage gadgets and I would probably get them in a cream color because it would offset the chocolate wood flooring I would love to install. The general theme colors of my stuff for the kitchen are turquoise and chocolate, love, love those colors in my kitchen.
This is the dining room portion of the kitchen and it's a really good space, but I would like to get rid of the country style table and get one of the taller bar style tables that are in style right now. The rug we also inherited from Craig's mom and it works great because it has the chocolate brown combined with the turquoise of the kitchen and the green of the living room.

A look of the kitchen in general. Do you see the complete LACK of counter space? Over to the right there is a lot of counter space, but it isn't really usable because of its distance from the cooking area. We use that mostly for my beloved Keurig coffee maching as well as bills and other mail and paperwork that comes in. I wish there was something we could do to better utilize that space so that it doesn't look so cluttered all the time. Or maybe if Craig wasn't such a packrat and keep anything and everything in complete disorganization. Sigh.
Living Room:
See how open it is from the kitchen to the living room? We love, love, LOVE this aspect of the house because I can cook and catch up on television at the same time. Or I can watch tv and ignore Craig at dinner when he gets mouthy. Ha!

Our living room is probably the most "finished" room in the house - there is only really one big thing left for me to do and that is...
paint the wall behind this shelving unit a light green to match the accent color of the living room.

See? Almost all finished! We even got curtains - this was part of my rationed house money from last month. I can't tell you how much warmer, cozier and pulled together our living room looks now that we have curtains. I didn't know how big of a difference they would make!

Originally when we moved in we didn't have this set up for the couches and instead the big couch was directly in front of the tv and the smaller couch was against the wall to the left in the picture. We had to rearrange furniture last summer when Craig had a knee surgery on his left knee and said that he needed the couch to be moved so that he could lie on the couch and watch tv without having to turn his head. I'm not kidding. We started moving things around the day before the surgery and this is what we ended up with and I think that it works much better for the size and shape of the room.

"Mom? Are you done yet? I'm kind of hungry and I'd like to play ball."

House Tour Part I

Since the wedding we have added so much stuff to the house because now we A)don't have to save up money to pay for the photographer or the flowers and B)we got so many beautiful presents from our friends and family that we (well, I) have been inspired to do more and more to the house. Craig has the handle on the credit cards though and I've had to ration my spending but we've got a lot of great ideas for what we want to do around our house.

Guest half bath downstairs in the foyer:
I despise with a passion the crappy wallpaper that the previous owners have put up in this small space. The room isn't very big and it has been made to feel smaller with that dark maroon wallpaper. They also did not put up the wallpaper properly and therefore it is coming off in some spots and bubbling up in others.

My plans for this room include taking down the awful wallpaper and painting the walls a very light and icy blue color. Craig also wants to take out the faux wood flooring and put in some sort of gray tile as well as redoing the terrible caulking job the previous owners did. Above the toilet I will put one of those shelving units that you can find at Target so that we have some sort of storage place for toilet paper and other bathroom necessities. The mirror will also be replaced and I would like to find a white, lacquered style hanging mirror to fill that space.
We have a beautiful grand entrance but unfortunately it's a little marred by the mustard yellow paint job, the terribly worn carpeting on the stairs as well as the dated railing. The light fixture isn't too bad, Craig's not a real big fan..but I think I could work with it to create a spectacular entrance.
Oh hello Angie...I know you're confused:
"Why is Mom running around taking all these pictures of my house?"

My plans for this space include changing the paint color to something warmer in the beige family and eventually taking out the tile and replacing it with dark chocolate engineered wood flooring. I'd like to replace the banister with something more solid - maybe a mixture of metal that matches the chandelier and the dark wood of the future flooring. The carpeting on the stairway needs to be replaced very badly and we'll most likely do that pretty soon and we'll use the same beigey-gray color that is in the master bedroom. On the last picture is the most prominent wall in our foyer which is the perfect place to display pictures of our family accompanied by the "Laura and Craig Nelson, established 2010" sign that we received as a wedding present. BUT...I need a black or dark brown wooden occasional table to fill that space below the pictures so that it doesn't look so blank. This has proven much more difficult than I ever expected because all the tables that I have found are either too country, too gaudy or too expensive. I like plain and clean lines combined with unique features as well as functionality too. Apparently I'm asking for too much because so far my search has yielded no results.
Formal Dining Room:
This space is probably one of my favorite aspects of the house because it really is a dramatic room with the tall ceiling and the floor to ceiling arched windows. This room is in the front of the house and is easily distinguishable from the street. The green paint color was left by the previous owners and it's one of the few colors in the house that I have actually left alone because I love it so much.

Luckily for us were were able to inherit some furniture from Craig's mom who was in the process of downsizing her house at the same time that we were purchasing our home. The pieces work great in the dining room because they match the green as well as the metal work in the chandelier. Although I love this room in it's current state and I doubt there will be any major changes made anytime soon (besides maybe the flooring) I did have a brilliant idea for a "dream" room the other day. Please keep in mind that this idea was quickly vetoed by both my friend Emily and Craig. Paint the walls a deep red (but not maroon) and the railings gray. Take out the pale flooring and put in a dark gray engineered wood floor. White and black rug underneath a laquered black dining room table surrounded by black chairs with cream upholstery. Brilliant chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Sigh...I know it would be beautiful but it is a bit unreasonable.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Just a little bored

1. Spell my name as it sounds: Loruh

2. Am I a worrier? Absolutely and without a doubt. I go through every conceivable outcome of every situation just so that I can be prepared for whatever might happen.

3. What’s my favorite CD? Kings of Leon - Only by the Night. It is the first cd in MANY years where I have to listen to every single song. There is such a raw angst in Followill's lyrics and voice.

4. Favorite color(s)? Light green and turquoise. But not together.

5. Does my home have an attic? Yes...but there really isn't anything interesting up there.

6. Have I ever been to Canada? Yes. I went on a cruise up the Inlet Passage to Alaska with my parents when I was 11 and we stopped off in Vancouver on the way home and stayed a few days.

7. Have I ever gone fishing? Nope. And I don't have any plans to go anytime soon.

8. Have I ever seen a celebrity? Yes: Bay Bay Bay from Charm School on VH1, Michael Irvin of the Cowboys and I hugged ALL FIVE of the New Kids on the Block.

9. Have I ever been on a motorcycle? Not with it turned on.

10. How much money do I have on me right now? None - all my money is in my wallet which is across the room.

11. How many cars have I owned? Four: 1998 white Chevy Cavalier (named Diablo), 2003(?) champagne Kia Optima, 2006 gray Acura TSX (named Delilah) and a 2010 GMC Acadia (named Ginny...short for Genvieve). Don't ask about the names.

12. How many jobs have I had? Lifeguard at NRH2O (three summers), Daycare worker at YMCA (Senior year), one terrible Christmas break at Abercrombie, Daycare worker at Children's Courtyard (four years in college), teacher and coach at three separate middle schools.

13. How tall am I? Six feet flat.

14. Last person to call me: My friend Emily called this afternoon - I need to call her back.

15. Last thing I yelled out loud: I have no idea...probably something about Angie.

16. Last person I was in a car with: Craig

17. Last time I ate at McDonald’s: Last week - I was on a fast food binge. I love a good Big Mac.

18. Last thing I bought: Can't really remember, but it was nothing exciting or interesting that's for sure.

19. Last person I saw: Craig when we were washing Angie in the bathtub.

20. Last time I cried: Driving home from the hospital on a Friday night after I had left Craig in the hospital room for the night with complications from his knee surgery.

21. Last time I laughed: Washing the dog with Craig - Angie has such an expressive face and she was totally pissed the entire time she was getting bathed.

22. What is the temperature outside? Too hot to be out there...even at 10:00 at night.

23. What time of the day did I get married? I think the ceremony was at 5:00 pm.

24. What did I do two nights ago? I was playing two hours of volleyball with my Wednesday night ladies league. My arm was crazy sore the next day, but it's always worth it.

25. Who’s birthday is coming up next? Mine is up next in August! And Craig's mom's is in July and his sister's is in August too. And Jennifer's is in July.

26. What time did I go to bed last night? Way too late. I couldn't fall asleep because I was so worried about Field Day today.

27. What was the first thing I thought this morning? What do I need to do in order to be ready for four hours out in the heat with 200 sixth grade students?

28. What are my plans for this weekend? Not a whole lot on Saturday - mainly some yard work and laundry. Sunday I'm going to see Wicked with some girls from my old school and then we're going to attempt to barbeque on Monday for Memorial Day.

29. Lemonade or iced tea? Easy. Lemonade.

30. What do I dislike at this moment? That the wonderful school district that is keeping me employed during this rough economic time is keeping us in school longer than any other district in the entire universe. Summer still seems so far away.

31. What did I dream about last night? Nothing that I can remember. The other night I had a great dream that I was sitting on my bed catching up with an old friend. Made me want to reach out and contact her.

32. What’s the last TV show I watched? Millionaire Matchmaker episode that I had skipped during the season.

33. What is my favorite piece of jewelry? Duh. My engagement and wedding rings.

34. Am I a dancer? Um. Not a good one. But after a few drinks, I'll give it the ol' college try.

35. Have I ever cut my own hair? No. That wouldn't have a positive outcome.

36. What is my favorite treat? I love Tiramisu.

37. How many piercings/tattoos do I have? My pierced ears and the word "passione" (passion in Italian) on my left hip. Eventually I would like to get "resistenza" (strength in Italian) on the other hip. Maybe after childbirth the thought of the needle going in and out of my skin causing great pain...won't be so painful.

38. Where’s my favorite place to be? On vacation with Craig because we are such good travel buddies...we know we're both out for relaxation and not necessarily trips packed full of events.

39. Is there someone I haven’t seen in a while and miss? Obviously my deceased relatives but also my middle brother Mike who lives in Maine. I also miss my friend of many years, Kristin. I did her wrong and I've grown up and I would like to know her as an adult now...instead of as a selfish, ignorant child (myself...not her).

40. Who was the last text I sent to? Craig - I asked him if he wanted to come upstairs and watch Criminal Minds and cuddle. He said that he would rather watch his tornado show. Hmph.

41. Do I care what strangers think about me? I want them to see me as kind, generous and authentic.

42. Last person I talked to on Instant Messenger: I don't IM. I have enough technology that keeps me connected with the world.

43. Last person to make me cry: Craig being in the hospital...and the prayers that I was sending up to my Grandma to watch over him when I couldn't be there.

44. Who can I tell anything to? Probably Craig or my mom. But definitely Angie - she never tells my secrets.

45. What am I doing tomorrow? Sleeping. Sleeping. Sleeping.

46. Do I have alcohol in my home? Just my favorite wines. The Pinot Grigio and the Riesling.

47. Do I like ketchup? You should see me and Jill (my assistant coach) at the drive through at Chick Fil-A. There isn't enough ketchup in that entire restaurant that would satiate our insane need for that particular condiment.

48. Do I think I will be on a vacation this summer? Absolutely. Two weeks in Europe for my birthday.

49. What color is my master bathroom? Not the color I would paint it. It's currently a maroon color but I would prefer something MUCH lighter.

50. Do I wear a bikini at the beach? Yeah, but I'm terribly self-conscious about it.

51. Have I ever been to the Grand Canyon? Flown over it on the way to Vegas.

52. What is my favorite fruit? Pears.

53. What did I really want to do today? Be on our summer vacation away from children and early mornings.

54. Am I always cold? I am more cold than hot and I HATE being cold. Love the heat.

55. Does it annoy me when someone says they’ll call or text, but don’t? Not really. I get more mad at myself when I don't call or text people back when I'm supposed to because I know that it is annoying to other people.