Sunday, November 29, 2009

FULL of Thanks!

We have so much to be thankful for, including the exhaustion I am now feeling from all the family, friends, and food at our house over the past few days. We hosted Thanksgiving for our parents, my grandmother, sister, and nephews, and of course, us. The food was fantastic, much of it was brought in by our guests, and we chowed down!

Carson was a big helper setting the table:

The living room and dining room are combined in our house which makes it nice for hosting larger dinner parties b/c we can just make one huge table for everyone to sit at:

Brian, me, and Upside-Down Boy getting ready to eat:

No Thanksgiving is complete without the men watching football:

Everyone digging in:
Can you spot my child?? Yes he is the one posing...I have trained him well:

After dinner, while I was browsing the Black Friday ads, the boys decided to attack Joni in a wrestling match. No one intervened, we just sat back and laughed, thankful it wasn't us:
I of course took pictures. Yes, she is in there somewhere:
Ethan thought it was safer to hide behind a fort of tables and chairs. I don't blame him:

Next up: "Friends"-giving.

Three years ago we decided to start a new tradition at our house for Thanksgiving with all of our friends. Every year you are guaranteed to see your whole family a couple of time at the holidays, but we love our friends too, and the older we get, the harder it is to get together. In this, Friends-giving was created: a potluck Thanksgiving dinner at our house either the Saturday before or after Thanksgiving. Turn-out is usually anywhere from 20-40 guests.

This year we had about 25 fabulous friends arrive with their tasty casseroles, sides and desserts!

I am usually really good at getting a bunch of group and candid shots, but I guess I was too busy I only got pictures at the end when the guests were leaving.

Emily brought the yummiest mac & cheese! She and I have been friends since high school, so like 11 years...goodness we are old!

Corey, Brian's best friend, getting ready for lift off! (Notice a trend here?? Our son has issues with hanging upside down...I think every male in the house carried him around that way some point last night.)

Lindsey is my oldest friend! We have known each other since 5th grade, so like 18 years!! Here she is with her adorable, Gerber-baby, Hunter...who will soon be Deacon's best friend!

Carson & I cheesin' it on the couch. (Wow, I look BIG and he looks stinkin' adorable!)

Tracey and I were roommates in college. I really think she is the only female I can live with, without wanting to kill before the lease is up. It is all b/c of her temperament, not mine, I assure you. I'm well aware I am not the easiest person to live with. :)
Sorry to everyone I didn't get pictures of!

We are so thankful for all of the blessings in our lives this year, and can't wait to see the new ones in store for next.

Friday, November 27, 2009

7 Months

We are seven months into the pregnancy! Deacon can open and blink his eyes which are now sporting newly grown lashes. He has grown to about 15 inches from head to heel, and weighs about 2 1/2 lbs (the weight of a Chinese cabbage).

I am in my third and final trimester, which typically is the most uncomfortable. So far most of the swelling has disappeared in my feet, but has been replaced with a little bit of back and pelvic discomfort. Overall I can't complain, I really do have great pregnancies! Starting now, I am visiting the doctor bi-weekly instead of monthly.

Posing in Deacon's newly painted nursery

How far along? 28 weeks
Weight gained: 21.5 lbs. (Already VERY close to the total amount I was hoping to gain for the whole pregnancy. We'll just blame it on the holidays... )
Mood: A little overwhelmed. The clock is ticking and I am getting nervous we won't have everything ready before Deacon's arrival.
Maternity clothes? Obviously still sporting them, a few of the smaller pants are getting a little snug around the belly.
Sleep: No problem here! :)
Energy Level: Not bad, although I am enjoying more naps on the weekend.
Best moments in the last month: Carson feeling the baby kick, registering for the baby shower, sharing the excitement with my students who are always asking questions about the pregnancy
Movement? He is getting to be a strong little kicker! I woke up the other night thinking someone had broken in our house and punched me in the stomach...nope, just Deacon saying hello. He also really gets excited when I drink orange juice.
Cravings: Not as bad this month - Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt, ice water (I am like a camel with all the fluid I am drinking)
Belly button in or out: Getting flatter, but still in
Baby purchases this month: Paint for the nursery, crib bedding, rocking chair
What I miss: Honestly, not much...maybe the lack of back pain.
What I am looking forward to: continuing to prepare the nursery, the baby shower, Christmas

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Sunday night, when Brian got off work, we went and registered for the upcoming baby shower (it's not until January, but I was excited). At the beginning of 2009 we went through the whole Dave Ramsey program (you can read about that here), and one of his big ideas is to have a garage sale getting rid of anything you don't use to start an emergency fund. We went all out. We raided the attic and sold a TON of baby stuff. Six months later I found out I was pregnant. With another boy. Due in the winter, just like Carson. lol

We did keep a lot of the big stuff, so we don't completely have to start over. But it is nice to be living in a house, instead of an apartment like we were when Carson was born, so we can fit his bouncy and a rocking chair without feeling cramped.

I think I enjoyed our trip more than Brian, he despises shopping, and in his opinion this was shopping. I let him have control of the scanner, which helped to entice him to participate a little more. Here he is being honory with the scanner:

We spent about an hour browsing the aisles and scanning our purchases and came up with a total of 60 items. Here are a few of my fav.'s
I could never figure out how to use a sling with Carson, so it is my goal to get Deacon in one. I talked to my mom's group and they said this one was comfy and easy to use. I always see moms out and about using these and looking so hands-free, so it can't be rocket science, right? (There is even a youtube video on how to do it)

Every registry should have that one item you don't expect to get, but register for anyways, just in case. Ours is this cozy rocking chair that Brian and I both loved.

These bottles are the BEST!! I always buy a package for new moms, because in my opinion there isn't anything better and they are some of the cheapest bottles out there. They lasted forever with Carson & never leaked.

How cute is this diaper bag?!? I had to convince Brian of this one b/c he didn't think it looked to manly. I beg to differ.
This mobile is SO cute! And the best feature is that it has a remote, so you can sneak in to turn it back on without baby realizing you are there. Hey, anything to keep a baby asleep, I am game.

To Brian's excitement, we were finally finished. I came home to look online at the items, and only the 14 I had registered for beforehand were there. I called for 2 days to find out the reason, and was helped on the fourth phone call, when the girl working at the store found someone living in Washington with my same name, who they had put our stuff on accidentally. We had to go through the whole list over the phone so that she could transfer the items, but we got it done.

Now, to start preparing the nursery & get a baby in it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday Night Football

For Brian's birthday, he wanted tickets to the Texans vs. Titans football game. Me, knowing nothing about football, thought I could just post a message on facebook asking to buy tickets from someone and spend a couple of hundred dollars, at most. That was when I was laughed at by most, and offered seats for $500. (Thanks Kristen, but we are too cheap, well at least I am, I'm sure Brian would have been willing to fork over the mula...)

We thought it was a lost cause.

Brian managing in the restaurant industry has some downsides, like the crappy hours, especially at night and on weekends, but sometimes has perks as well: free food when I don't feel like cooking dinner and connections. A few phone calls were made to their vendors and like magic free tickets appeared! Brian was a happy birthday boy, especially because the game fell on his birthday, it was being televised on Monday Night Football, and it was between one of our major rivals the Titans. Look how happy he is:

Brian's parents got him a Texan shirt for his birthday, so I went and bought one as well so we could both represent. The weather was great, a little cool so we needed long sleeved undershirts, but no jackets.

Luckily the game also fell on Thanksgiving week, so I was already off work, allowing us to get there early and tailgate! I'm not sure if you heard, but Houston recently won the award for Best Tailgating...we take our tailgating VERY seriously!

The owners of Brian's store usually tailgate at each game, so we tracked them down and hung out at their tent until the game began. They go all out on the food and refreshments, this time boiling some spicy shrimp and sides:
Brian kept warning me about how spicy the food was and that I probably wouldn't like it, but after that nasty glucose test earlier in the day EVERYTHING tasted wonderful in comparison, but neither me or Deacon thought it was too hot, it was perfect!

Once it was time, we headed inside to our FABULOUS, FREE seats! They were club level, on the 45 yard line! Here is a view of the players coming out from where we were sitting:

We ended up right next to another store owner, and they were super nice and took a picture of us in our seats:
The game was SO close. I know NOTHING about football, so Brian spent the game educating me. I now know what a first down is (even though I think the 2nd first down should be called a SECOND down, and then a THIRD down, and so on...but nope, they are all just first downs), and learned what the defense & offense do. He tried to explain more, but my brain just kinda shut down after that point...

We ended up losing. They tried to make a field goal (worth 3 points, hehe) with just a few seconds on the clock to tie up the game, but missed. I still thought it was a great game, and that's saying a lot since I usually just people-watch at sporting events.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh Glucola, How I Hate Thee

What you are looking at is 10 ounces of pure hell. I know it looks all cute and innocent in its miniature bottle of what appears to be orange soda. Don't be fooled. It is nausea inducing on its first sip. This is what they use to test for gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and I swear it is the worst thing about being pregnant.

General knowledge will tell you, being nauseous comes with the territory during the 10 months (don't let them fool you telling you pregnancy is 9 months...40 weeks/4= 10 months, not 9) of pregnancy, but then they throw this little curve ball in to make things more interesting. Alone, the beverage wouldn't be completely horrible, it's just all the extra stipulations that make the test torturous.

We are already nauseous constantly to begin with, then they make you fast for 12 hours, so you have to take this crap on an empty stomach. When you take the first sip, you begin to wonder how you will make it through the rest of the bottle. This is when the receptionist takes the opportunity to lean over the counter to remind you that you have only 5 minutes to finish it off and if you throw up you will have to come back another day and try again. Determined, you have flash backs of college frat parties, and just chug the rest while praying it doesn't come straight back up as the bottle leaves your lips.

Once you are finished, you must then wait an hour while still not eating (okay, hungry preggo at this point is STARVING)or drinking anything to wash the nastiness out of your mouth, while vowing never to drink another orange soda again. Last comes the bloodwork. By this point pregnancy nausea, empty stomach nausea, and glucola nausea are all trumped by needle nausea. Needles and I are not friends, but I have made it this far, so there is no turning back. I will not throw up. I will not throw up.


I am now praying I passed. If not, I am supposed to go back to the doctor for the 3 hour version of the same test, for triple the fun. I have already decided I am SO not doing it if I fail. (I know, I am every doctors dream patient...)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spongebob Invitations

Parties, especially birthday parties are my thing. Having kids gives me a great outlet to create elaborate birthday parties, which I start planning months in advance. For Carson's 1st birthday it was "Winter Wonderland", 2nd birthday "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and 3rd birthday "Bigtop Circus." He decided months ago that this birthday would be Spongebob, (and when he is 5 he wants a snake party like his cousin Jakob had). So Spongebob it is!

I started browsing the internet months ago for ideas for his Spongebob party. (sidenote: I am not super creative, but am very good at finding other peoples creativity off the internet and either straight up plagiarizing or tweaking it to fit us) My favorite website to research for parties is, where people write in about what they did for their children's birthday, and it lists EVERY kind of party theme you can think of.

So the first event is invitation making. No party is complete without completely adorable invites. I decided to put Carson's invites on yellow sponges, for the whole spongey feel. Little did I know plain yellow sponges without the green scrubby stuff on the back is hard to come by. I went to Target, Wal-mart, Kroger, Home Depot, Auto Zone, and Hobby Lobby before finally tracking them down at Dollar Tree for 4 for $1.

Next I started with the easiest part: labels for the envelopes. I found a cute picture of Spongebob in his birthday attire for the clipart and my WONDERFUL friend Brandi helped to talk me through downloading Spongebob font from I copied down the list of kids in the 3 year old class (where Carson is now) and the 4 year old class (where he will be moved in to) and came up with over 30 names!

The next night I searched for pictures off the internet of Spongebob's face to hot-glue to the front of the sponge. It took a few tries to size it just right on a Word document, but turned out super cute when finished, and I just printed it on regular white printer paper.

The last step was to come up with the wording for the invite, which I printed on yellow cardstock bought from Office Depot in the Spongebob font.

It's kind of hard to read it from the picture, (to the tune of the Spongebob theme song):

Who’s having Spongebob Birthday Part-y?
He’s turning 4, and a big boy is he,
Cake, a treasure hunt, and jellyfish,
You joining the party is his biggest wish!

Where: Bikini Bottom
"Our Address"
Cast Off: December 6, 2009
Dive Time: 3:00pm

Last night they were stuffed into envelopes and sealed with a Spongebob sticker. Carson was so proud to deliver them to school today! Because people never respond I don't bother with the rsvp, so who knows if 3 or 30 kids will show up...hopefully some happy medium.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Puttin' on the Dog!

Every year I hear about the Nutcracker Market, which is a fundraiser for the Houston Ballet. To be honest, I thought it was a market that just sold nutcrackers up until last year. It is actually a huge craft show, selling home decor, Christmas decorations, toys, clothes, food, and more, and has a HUGE following. It runs for 4 days straight, Thursday-Sunday, with different themes each year, this years theme being "Puttin' on the Dog."

My mom posing by the dog artwork

Doggie Decor
Upside-down Christmas Tree

My mother, sister, and I decided to go, and thought we could beat the crowd by going on Friday...boy were we wrong! The market is held at the Reliant Center, and opens at 10am. We woke up early so we could buy tickets, get a yummy breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and stop by my doctors office so I could get my H1N1 vaccine. We arrived just a little after 10:00, and it was already packed... Not just a little packed, Black Friday packed! It was chaos, and the hordes of women kept coming and coming. They had lots of booths with beautiful and creative crafts, jewelry, and decorations, but as the place continued to fill the more people you had to navigate through to see anything. I have a little issue with claustrophobia, and the fact that my back is starting to hurt more with the pregnancy made me a little bit of a Debby Downer, but we did have a couple of great finds, making the trip totally worth it.

My favorite booth had picture, plaques, and plates with bible verses that they would personalize for a minimal fee. I am a huge fan of personalization, so I got excited. Here's what I got for our house:

This plate got me choked up b/c it had each of our family members name on it, including our newest member

My sister got the same one for her house

Another booth we found had all food items, and a line of people waiting to walk through the buffet of their samples. We made our way around tasting the free yumminess and I picked up Pecan Pie in a Jar.
They advertise it to be poured into pie crust and baked, but I thought it would be tasty to pour on top of cream cheese and serve as a dip at Thanksgiving. (I'll let you know how it turns out!) Joni picked up an advent calendar & chocolate wine. (I obviously wasn't able to sample this, so hopefully she will save some for me until after Deacon arrives.) My mom found a beautiful centerpiece for her coffee table as well; so we all left with bags in tow.

I know many women who make this excursion an annual tradition, taking off work each year to do their holiday shopping with friends. I was very happy with my purchases, but doubt I will be venturing out to fight the crowds again next year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nightly Ritual

When I first became pregnant with Carson, my mother-in-law got us a wonderful book:

The way the book works is you start at the back, writing in your due date and work your way forward filling in all the dates, until you make it to the beginning of the book which is the date of conception. Then, each day you have a little blurb about what is going on with the baby that day, what day of your pregnancy you are on, how many days are left in the pregnancy, and just fun facts about pregnancy/childbirth throughout history.

For example, a summary of today:
*I am 165 days pregnant, with 101 days to go.

*Over the next 4 days, brain wave activity will begin for Deacon's visual and auditory systems.

*Worldwide, 98% of people alive today were born at home.

Reading the book every night turned into our pregnancy tradition with my pregnancy with Carson and has now continued with Deacon. It is nice to be up-to-date on what is going on inside my body and also helps Brian to feel connected to my pregnancies.

This time around, we have also added another tradition: foot rubs from Carson & Brian at our nightly reading using this yummy lotion from Victoria's Secret.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Boo Bash

How long has it been since you went to a junior high dance?? One of the fun parts of being a teacher is some of the stuff that goes on after school. We have an awesome Student Council at our school that puts on our dances, and for the first year they decided to have a halloween dance with costumes and all. Most of the students dressed up for the occasion, but what I found even funnier was the TEACHER'S costumes!! (I went as an unoriginal mouse, but how many costumes can you really find for preggos??) Due to confidentiality and permissions, I can't post their adorable pictures on here, but I did still get a few that were blog worthy.

This is Suzanna (dressed as an "emo"), she was my 8th grade math teacher when I was in junior high, and then my mentor my first year teaching:

Carson really loves to dance, so I couldn't go chaperon a dance and NOT invite him! Especially when costumes were involved! My parents brought him & my nephews up there for about an hour to join in the fun. Carson immediately got busy dancing:

He was happy as a...well...FROG! :)

Before they left my parents snapped a picture with Austin, me, & Kermit!

Libraries...Not Just for Language Arts

I didn't realize until I became a teacher, how much money is spent out of pocket for things in our classrooms. A lot of the really fun math lessons we have in class require supplies that are not covered in school budgets, so many days on the way home from work I find myself stopping at the store to pick up stuff for "tomorrow's lesson."

Two years ago I went to the National Middle School Conference, which was my first conference as a teacher. They had workshops all day that you could go to for your specific subject areas, and while you weren't learning, they had a place reserved to shop for stuff from vendors. Finding fun, new ideas in math can be challenging at times, but at the junior high level it becomes even more difficult. I would say only about 5% of the vendors that day had anything related to math at the 8th grade level. But, I did find a fabulous table that caught my interest that day and stuck with me two years later.

A company called Mainstay Math had a booth set up, which sold literacy libraries with over 20 fun books that are aligned with everything we teach at the junior high level, with cute titles like Zachary Zormer Shape Transformer, Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, and Twizzlers Percentages Book (where you use twizzlers to teach the lesson).

Each kit is a little over $200, which isn't bad for the amount of books you receive and the amount of use you will get out of them year after year, but still exceeded the out-of-pocket amount I am willing to spend.

The great thing about the district I work for is our Education Foundation, which donates thousands of dollars each year in scholarships to graduates AND thousands of dollars to teachers who write grants. This year was my first grant writing experience, and with help from my fellow veteran teachers and research from the company themselves (who were very friendly and accommodating), I eloquently begged for my literacy libraries!

Yesterday was the big day where winners were announced. The "Prize Patrol" paraded around our school with noise-makers and awarded GIANT checks (think: Publishers Clearinghouse) to all the grant recipients. I kept my fingers crossed as they came on the speaker to announce their arrival...

I GOT MY GRANT!!! I was THRILLED and so were my students!
I am so blessed to work in a school district/community that does so much for their teachers! I can't wait to get the books in my classroom and start using them!