Monday, December 29, 2008

Melissa is.... beginning to think that she's the only one reading her blog...and updating her blog... hint! hint!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday John!

Happy First Birthday John! (My cousin Amy's adorable little boy turns one tomorrow... this is a picture of him having a blast at his birthday party on Saturday!)

Christmas Festivities

We had a very busy - but fun Christmas this year. We were pretty much on the go non-stop. We started out Christmas Eve with a wonderful gift: we got to hear our baby's heartbeat for the first time! Then we spent the rest of Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas morning at home then on to Mike's family for the afternoon, and then to my grandparents' house that evening. My sister was home from Denver, so we spent lots of time with her as well as with Mike's family who was in town from Michigan over the rest of the weekend. It's nice to have both of our families be local, but it did mean we were available for every single get-together. I'm not quite ready to go back to work tomorrow!

Unfortunately, this week also turned out to be my worst week to-date with pregnancy sickness. It was hard to keep much of anything down, and I was feeling pretty rough most of the time. Yesterday was my one "good day" but I ended up running myself a bit too hard and had to recover by sleeping in and missing church this morning. Anyway, we did still have lots of fun... We enjoyed a final Christmas that we got to still be "the kids" but my parents did sneak in this one baby gift! It ended up being Mike's favorite gift!

Monday, December 22, 2008

To Cradle or Not?

Have any of you used a cradle for your baby? We have a bit of a dilemma: apparently I have a cradle that was handmade by my grandfather for me as a baby, and Mike has one that was handmade by his dad for him. Of course they were both offered to us this weekend. I haven't seen Mike's, so I don't even know what it looks like. I do like mine. Even so, I don't even know if I picture myself using a cradle? I'm wondering if I should just tell both sets of grandparents to set them up in their houses and we can use them whenever we come over. How else am I supposed to pick? My parents would totally be cool with that, but I get the feeling Mike's might be a little hurt. But I also don't want a country-cradle that I might not even use... thoughts? :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ultrasound Picture!

Here's our baby... somewhere between the size of a large grape & a small plum. :)

An eventful day...

I had some unusual bleeding this morning, and though it wasn't a lot, I was still concerned. I called my doctor and they said I should come in. So... I did. And boy was it worth the peace of mind! Baby Wellington is doing great. I got another ultrasound which was so amazing to see little hands, feet and most importantly, that heart beating strong. The baby was rather active and moving around quite a bit, so it took the Ultrasound tech a few minutes to find a clear picture of the heartbeat. (So as I sat there, not seeing the screen and trying to read her perfectly straight poker face... I tried hard not to freak out and assume the worst). Finally, she said "Okay, here we go..." and turned the screen toward me. And there was our little one, arms & legs moving around and heart beating strong! Whew!

So it turns out that right now, the placenta is just positioned very close to my cervix and they'll just want to watch it to make sure I don't keep bleeding. I go in for a follow up on Christmas Eve, and then again for my normal 12 week on the 30th. The baby is measuring 9 weeks, 2 days... so as I thought, I'm more likely due closer to the 22nd of July (instead of the 15th).

Anyway... I've gotta run, but just thought I'd update everyone! I'll post more later... and hopefully scan in the ultrasound picture too...


Monday, December 15, 2008

Things that make me go....

Things that apparently make my tummy say "Noooooooo!!!!":
Shrimp, Chicken Noodle Soup, Applesauce, Chocolate, Chicken, Potatoes, Saltines, Apple Juice

Things that are okay (so far):
Chik-fil-A, Cheese, Apples, Orange juice, Cheerios, Salsa, Italian food

I guess I'm glad I'm not gaining too much weight yet, but I sure do miss my appetite! Although I'd rather gain weight for a healthy baby... but I guess he/she will be okay. I'm doing what I can!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good news... and a little confusion!

Thanks for all the well-wishes and tips! :) I really think someone must have just been praying for me though, because I did nothing different, and last night I got a great night's sleep! What a difference! I think I'm finally back on the upswing!

But just for my sanity-sake, what is everyone's understanding on medicines you can/can't take during the first trimester? I'm a little frustrated because my doctor/midwife's website gives an extensive list, but it says all of those listed are safe beginning in the SECOND trimester.. and yet when I called and talked to the nurse & she confirmed with one of the doctors, they said it was fine even though I'm only 9 weeks. (Stuff like Tylenol, Robitussin, Sudafed...) I'm a little bugged that they say one thing on the phone and another on their website. I know there can be lots of different opinions... but it would be nice to hear just one from my doctor! So what have all of you mommies been told?

Fortunately I think my current cold/cough is on its way out and I never took anything, but it would be nice to know what is really okay. :) I feel like most people affirmed the thought that you shouldn't take any drugs during the first trimester.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And I thought I was tired last week?! That was nothing! For the past 5 days, my nights have consisted of dry, painful coughing attacks that last from about 10pm to 4am. I've basically gotten no sleep during those hours, because as soon as I get comfortable, I start hacking away. Somehow by about 4am, I think my body gives up and I'm able to get a little shut-eye... but I'm basically running on about 3 hours sleep every night. It'd be one thing if I could just bum around the next morning, but trying to get up and function at work is a challenge to say the least. So I've been trying to take all the tips I can... but so far, I'm not getting any better.

Solution #1: Humidifier: We got this super-cute elephant humidifier at Target this weekend... it actually had better reviews than all the non-cute ones and what the heck, it's our first baby purchase. Well... no complaints, but no improvement in my symptoms yet either.

Solution #2: Neti Pot: I had never heard of such a crazy contraption, but after several people recommended it, I figured it was worth a shot. Well... besides feeling like I was drowning, ending up with a bit of an earache, and feeling like there is still water sloshing around in my head somewhere, I didn't get much from this. I may give it one more try... maybe I just don't have the technique down yet... but so far, this did nothing for me.

Solution #3: Hot Tea: My gracious co-worker fixed me a cup of hot tea this morning, and so far, this one is the winner. Granted, my coughing attacks are mostly during the night when I'm laying down, but at least it's soothing on my throat this morning.
Solution # 4: Recliner: Apparently I need a recliner. I think if I could sleep standing straight up, I'd be great. But we have no recliner, and I don't think the latter will work... so I'm at a loss. I hate to complain, but I'm just feeling pretty terrible right now and would welcome any relief. On a good note, my nausea has taken a back seat to the cold. Still there, but not quite as intense. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rough Few Days...

So somehow I caught a nasty cold/cough a few days ago and it's no fun! I left work early on Friday and have been trying to lay low all weekend. I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to take any medicine during the first trimester (I'm at about 8 weeks) so relief has been hard to come by. Anyone have any suggestions?

We did go get a humidifier yesterday and used that last night. I guess that may have helped as now I can at least feel some stuff starting to break up in my chest. But I'm even getting blood when I blow my nose. Am I okay? I got "morning sick" for the first time yesterday... but surprisingly had a big appetite right afterwards! Who eats creamy corn chowder and Taco Bell after losing their breakfast? Apparently me! Weird... Anyway, I'm not feeling much better today yet, and I'm just hoping I'll be well enough to go to work tomorrow. No one there knows I'm pregnant yet, so it's harder to explain why I need to stay home for just a cold. Pray for us! Mike's been doing a good job of taking care of me, but I'm afraid he may be catching what I've got this morning. At least we can drug him up! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This week, we've been pulling out all of our Christmas decorations and as I look around my house, I just can't figure out why we have so much STUFF! We have lots of closet space, but they are all bursting at the seams! My guest room is basically a big storage room with a bed..surrounded by boxes. My office is overflowing, and everywhere I turn there is stuff...stuff...stuff! You would think that 2 adults and a dog in a 3 bedroom home would have plenty of space... but now as we start thinking about making room for our baby... I don't know what to do with it all!

I am a bit of a pack-rat by nature... I'm sure there are some old clothes I could purge. And the closet full of Princess House products could surely be sold. But it sure is nice to be able to go up and find any platter or cookware or glasses I might need at the last minute...

As I think about it, I am getting motivated to just go crazy and organize it all... but by the time I get off work, I'm sure the only thing I'm going to want to do is take a nap! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Fun

Well, this was definitely an eventful Thanksgiving! Besides Mike being super excited about frying a turkey, (In honor of his Uncle Moe, he had a Coors Light while he monitored the frying bird!)
we got to spill the beans that we're having a baby!!! I'm 7 weeks along, my official due date is July 15th, but I think the 19th or 20th is more accurate. It's been hard to keep a secret for the last 3 weeks, but it was worth it. Our families are super-excited and we got to see our little one's heart beating strong on the ultrasound last week! For now, the most noticable change has been my complete lack of energy. I've also been trying to keep the nausea away by giving in to my unusual cravings... healthy food! I guess my body knows what this baby needs because I haven't been interested in anything chocolate or sweet! Just lots of fruit, salad, meat and water! I guess that's a good thing! :) I'll keep it up as long as it lasts!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Flip Flop!

So if there's anyone who actually reads my blog somewhat regularly, you've been exposed to my indecisiveness in the last week. I was toying around with different new blog designs and trying to find the perfect fit. I guess I'm back to my first choice now. It's a little cutesy, but it works.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm Famous... Almost

So besides all of your great blogs, there really are only a couple others that I check out daily, including my favorite semi-famous one: "This Young House."

Well, take a look at the posts for today and see if you notice anything familiar... Yep! That's my kitchen on the before-after shot! It was featured today and there may be another before-after from my house in the coming weeks! How fun is that?! This blog has been featured on HGTV and some design magazines... so it's kinda fun to have some of my amateur design alongside of theirs!

A Visit to Raleigh

Well, I took some pictures this weekend... but they were with Suzanne's camera, so I don't have any! You'll just have to check out her blog to see a few of Mike with Lily and more cute Lily moments. We really enjoyed spending an extended weekend with the Hortons and hope they got at least a little more sleep this weekend than usual. Lily is a little cuddle-bug and we really enjoyed being with her! Mike even got to babysit early on in the weekend - poor guy, we kinda sprung it on him quick and assured him Lily would sleep the whole time we were gone... instead she woke up hungry and her oxygen monitor alarm went a bit nuts. He did great though... after he got the alarm off and her out of the crib, he managed to get her settled and happy until we could make it back so she could eat. :) He was rewarded though with getting to go to an NC State football game with Aaron on Saturday... that couldn't have worked out better ~ college football always makes him happy!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our birthday memories are bittersweet this year. We celebrated last Saturday at Northwest River Park. It was an amazingly beautiful day and we had so much fun with family, friends and furry ones. The next day, Uncle Moe passed away unexpectedly. He had spent the day with us at the park and we are all so thankful we had that day together. Life changes so quickly. I am reminded of how brief our time here on earth really is. And how often we spend so much time worrying about the things that don't really matter... we must be ready! God has us here for a purpose - to bring glory to His name and we do that by loving Him and loving others. I know that for me, it's so easy to spend time loving myself... looking after my own desires and needs... but I am grateful that God has made this life so much richer than that and that He allows me to look into the mirror and see things as they really are... and then He enables me to change. He is so good. Here are some pictures from our day at the park.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Barack Obama :)

No camping...but it was a great weekend! We were going to go camping with some friends from church, but the weather just didn't hold out... so instead, we drove up to Northern Virginia to visit Marie, John & Anna Friday night and Saturday, and then Brad & Rebekah Saturday night and Sunday! I think this was a much better plan!

We had lots of fun with the Childress family. We got to walk around Old Town Alexandria, eat lunch at a yummy spot in D.C. and Mike even got to watch some college football once the rain drove us back home. Marie tried to fatten us up with some yummy breakfast and she even got us a cheesecake birthday cake! Anna was lots of fun to read to and dress up and cuddle with. We got some good laughs when Mike asked Anna who she was going to vote for and she quickly answered "Barack Obama!" John, what a terrible thing to teach your innocent 2 year old! Haha! We had a great time and only wish we got to see them more often!

Then we headed over to Annandale to visit our friends Brad & Rebekah Rollins. This was the first couple we met at CCC (our church) and we really formed a quick friendship. They moved up to Northern VA in August so Brad could attend Marymount University, and we've definitely missed having them as part of our Care Group. Two other couples from our group (Nick & Debbie and Steve & Stephanie) met us up at the Rollins' new house and we had a great time making smores, playing Apples to Apples, Password & Cranium.

The drive home was BEAUTIFUL as all the leaves seemed to be at peak color. We of course stopped at Ikea (but I was good - I didn't buy anything!) and then at Famous Dave's BBQ in Richmond. Yumm! I love Fall weekends!

Monday, October 20, 2008

All Mine!

As of today, my car is PAID OFF! What a great feeling. And the even more amazing news... it's worth exactly as much today as what I paid for it 3 years ago!!! Not that I'll be selling it anytime soon... this has been the best car I've ever purchased. It's a 2005 Mazda 3 Special Edition and after 3 years, I still love to drive it! I searched high and low for this exact car, and ended up driving out to Roanoke to get this one because I found exactly what I wanted, with 8,000 miles and about $8000 less than a new one on the lot! Zoom-Zoom :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October days...

Ooops! I haven't posted anything in almost 3 weeks! Lots going on... I'm excited that baby Lily is here! And I have been so excited that now in the second half of October, the Fall weather has finally shown up! I gladly busted out my sweaters & fleeces this weekend. I love the cool days!

It was a pretty yucky day on Saturday for the Race for the Cure, but I was reminded that morning of the thousands of women who get up and face a bleak outlook everyday as they battle cancer, and yet they get up, and they walk through it. Temperatures in the high 50's and misty, windy rain are nothing in comparison to the hardships that these women fight, and I was actually thankful for the tangible illustration that God gave me.

It was an honor to walk and raise support for them. I found myself unexpectedly choked up and emotional as I watched the survivors' parade. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with thoughts of my own grandmother who lost her battle to breast cancer at the age of 53 and a college friend who is battling it in her 20's. It was quite sobering. Fortunately, some teams had some crazy funny t-shirts and that brought some much needed humor and fun to the day! Let's just say that "Save the Ta-Ta's" was one of the more subtle slogans! So anyway... thanks to everyone who supported us!!! And please continue to pray for Dr. Datyner.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Race for the Cure

A good friend of Mike's family was diagnosed with cancer in June 2007 and we will be participating in this year's Race for the Cure on October 18th to support her. We'd really like to be a blessing to her and her family, so we're trying to raise as much support as we can. Would you consider sponsoring us? Even a small gift is a help and really appreciated! You can donate right here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It was Self-Inflicted

Several months ago, a friend told me I should post pictures of my house on Rate My Space. My first thought was: "why would I want a bunch of strangers telling me whether or not they like my decorating? I like it, that's all that matters." But then I found myself checking out other posts on that site for design ideas... and last night, since I had cleaned my house from top to bottom for our Care Group to come over, I decided why not just take some pictures and try it out. Within 20 minutes, suddenly my house was open to the world. I'd had over 100 visitors and quite a few nice comments! How fun! So this morning, I couldn't wait to get to work so I could check my email and read more fun comments... well it rained on my parade. Bleh! Apparently in the wee hours of the night, all the mean people came out and decided to tell me each and everything they thought I should change about my spaces. One even said "I would like to see you do.... blah blah blah" as if I were decorating just for her! Seriously??
Well, my first reaction was to just delete the pages and stop this self-inflicted misery. But I guess there's a part of me that is still a bit intrigued... so we'll see...I think I'm a bit too easily offended, so maybe this will be good for me. It's rather humbling... even though I think the positive comments far outweighed the negative ones.

If you want to check out my living room, kitchen and master bedroom - take a look... just remember, I have wine taste on a beer budget... maybe even a water budget. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where'd it go?


This month has probably been the fastest one I can remember! I've been pretty out-of-routine all month and I'm sure that's why I'm feeling like it just flew by. We started the month by packing for our trip to Vermont, only to be stopped by our A/C dying. We spent a few days camping out at my parents' old house to avoid the heat. Then, the day before our trip, an old friend of Mike's came over and after a few hot hours in the attic, they fixed it! (for FREE!) So that was the first week. Then we were on vacation the 5-14th. Meanwhile, Justine had decided to come home to visit the 13-20th, so when we got home, we spent every free hour we had after work with her. And on top of that Mike started a new part-time job. So then the day Justine left, I came down with a nasty cold and am still trying to fight it off... so here we are: September 24th, and my favorite month is almost over with not a single "normal" day so far! Oh well.. I guess that keeps life interesting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our First Anniversary

We're back from our first anniversary trip ~ lots of great memories!

  • We outran Hurricane Hanna as we drove up to NYC. We stayed with an old friend from MWC (Tricia) and trudged through Manhattan for a couple hours in the intense muggy humidity before we gave up and just went to dinner at P.F. Changs in New Jersey while Hanna rained down on the Northeast.

  • We had a beautiful drive up to Vermont, stopping in a few towns along the way.

  • In Vermont (which is BEAUTIFUL), we went to the Cabot Cheese Factory, Ben & Jerry's Factory, an Apple Cider Mill and saw lots of beautiful scenery.

  • We hiked Vermont's highest peak: Mt. Mansfield

  • We drove into Canada, attempting to read the highway signs in French, and spent the day in Montreal - a city I highly recommend visiting!!

  • We spent the day of our anniversary in Burlington, Vermont - along Lake Champlain and then had a wonderful dinner after seeing the beautiful sunset pictured above.

Here are the rest of our pictures!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fun Fun Fun!

Take this design style test!!! So much fun! :)
My style came back: Family Modern.

Politics & Religion

I have been very interested in the upcoming elections, although I have yet to vow my support to either candidate. I have been trying to be open-minded as I wade through the drudge of political news and ads and speeches. If you haven't yet listened to the interviews that Rick Warren of Saddleback Church conducted with both Obama & McCain, take (a few hours) and listen here. Personally, I started out liking Obama... but that quickly faded as he stammered and did all but give a straight answer regarding Pastor Warren's question "At what point to babies become eligible for human rights?" (Which, by the way is one of the most poignant and thought-provoking ways I've heard someone address the issue of abortion.) Anyway... Erik's blog basically sums up my reaction to those interviews verbatim, so I'll save myself some typing and just send you to his page.

Nonetheless, I have been challenged in the last month as a good friend and I have passionately discussed and questioned and reconsidered our political differences. She, like myself, is a follower of Christ, and develops her political opinions out of her spiritual convictions. Yet she is a liberal, and on many issues I am conservative. I have been able to share with her honestly and to offer my humble, yet consistent convictions as I try to develop my own political opinions. I think my honesty and consistency have spurred her on to look at things with an open mind and not just through the eyes of a Democrat. At the core of my beliefs is the inerrant Word of God, given to us by an omniscient, wise and good God who speaks to us through the merciful and gracious life and death of His Son, Jesus Christ. God is consistent and He is ALWAYS good. His law and His ways can be trusted and should be submitted to. That is my foundation.

But as far as who I'll vote for in November, I have yet to determine. I'm having an easier time eliminating options than finding one.


So I listened to Michelle Obama's speech. Overall… I thought she did a beautiful job. It wasn't particularly deep or specific… but she presented herself very very well and if I could only believe that she & Barak were truly committed to what she said…(in ALL areas, not just the economy, education & health care), I would say that based on that speech alone, she would be a great example as a first lady. I appreciate her role as a mother and a wife first. I really keep trying to like the Obamas...

But here's my issue… direct quotes from her speech:

"Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is - even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves - to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story? It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms - people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had - refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals. "

"The world as it is just won't do. We have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be."

(referring to herself & Barak): "We listened to our hopes instead of our fears…We committed ourselves to building the world as it should be."

They ARE fighting for fairness in education, economy & healthcare. I respect that and I don't deny it. Her quotes are true IN THOSE AREAS, but when Barak says that
· He personally, but not politically is not pro-abortion, he isn't fighting for the world as it should be…
· He personally, but not politically practices same-sex marriage, he isn't fighting for the world as it should be…
· He is a follower of Christ personally, but he compromises and does not follow Christ in EVERY area of his political career,
then he is SETTLING for the world as it is, not FIGHTING for the world as he says he knows it SHOULD be.

My question is where does the Obamas' conviction come from as far as how the world "SHOULD BE?" Is it from a belief in Jesus Christ as the Creator of the world and the Supreme Authority on life, His Word being TRUTH, not suggestions? If so, then how do they fight for human rights in regards to economic equality, but take the cowardly route of settling without fighting for the human rights of unborn children? God's Word is not multiple choice. If you truly follow Him, you follow all of Him. You don't just pick the issues that everyone will agree with you on. You take a stand for those who don't have a voice. That's not just the poor single mom on welfare. That's her unborn baby too. So I believe that Obama should say: I am a Christian, but I don't agree with everything in God's Word. That would at least be honest. But don’t just say you're a Christian, and talk about being a family man and lean on your faith as credibility that you are a moral and decent person unless you're going to back it up with taking a stand on the things that are central to God's heart. All of them. I could probably write just as much about McCain just on different issues. I don't think you can defend just some of the weak. McCain might be more passionate about defending unborn children and less about minorities or the poor. But it has to be BOTH. But again, I'm not picking between McCain or Obama. I may not pick either - they have to EARN my vote. :) I just feel very strongly that saying you are a Christian is a responsibility, not a title. You are saying that you are FIRST a follower of Christ, then a Family man and finally a candidate for president (or whatever career you're in). I think politicians often say their family is first, then the presidency, then their faith.

So…. that's my political soapbox.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is GREEN even my color?

I have to admit I have been quite slow to jump on the "Go Green" bandwagon. Sometimes it's simply easier to ignore than to change. And frankly, sometimes I'm downright skeptical of the commercialism aspect of "green" goods. Do I really need to switch to reusable sea sponge tampons?!! You've got to be kidding me! But even without going to the extremes, there seems to be an organic version of just about everything on the market! And I don't even know where to start! If I change all the lightbulbs in my house to eco-friendly bulbs and buy organic milk, but I still use plastic grocery bags and I use plain old Colgate toothpaste instead of the all-natural brands, am I really making a difference? I know I shouldn't ever ever microwave in plastic (although I still sometimes forget) and surely all those cell phone waves can't be good for us, but how do you radically change your lifestyle enough to really make a difference? This Young House has an interesting and informative post here and there is tons of helpful information on When I think about the future for my children one day and even for the longevity and health of Mike and I, I definitely want to start making some changes... ignorance in this department is not necessarily bliss. I'd love to hear your thoughts or any ways that you and your family have "Gone Green" without going crazy or too crunchy-granola! :)

Out of Excuses...

Am I the only one who finds it soooo hard to start exercising regularly? I come up with every excuse imaginable:

  • a gym membership costs too much
  • it's raining
  • it's hot
  • it's humid
  • i'm tired
  • it's that time of the month
  • i feel bad exercising inside when i really should take Shelby for a walk
  • i don't have time
  • getting up earlier before work is too early

But I SOOOOOOO need to do something! I have gained 15 lbs since I got engaged last April, and while I haven't gained anything in the last 6 months... I haven't lost anything either. Any tips?

Monday, August 11, 2008

So Pretty!!

I want this room.

Harbor Light

Well... we couldn't wait for suggestions... so we just went out on our own and picked a color: Harbor Light. It's great! It's quite a bit lighter than it looks here on the sample, but we like it. And it should work great with our furniture and black & white bedding. So 1 borrowed ladder, 2 gallons of paint and 3 coats later...the room is transformed for just $35! Now we just need the finishing touches!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Design Ideas

This is basically what our master bedroom looks like now (except with modern B&W lamps & a black framed B&W picture above the bed). We'd like to redecorate our room, but the things we have to keep are the furniture (which is a bit traditional for my taste, but workable) and we have three bedding options: Solid White, White with black floral pattern (like picture) or Black bold with large white graphic lily.

Since we're trying to keep the budget minimal... things we're looking to change are PAINT, ACCESSORIES (wall art) and ACCENT PILLOWS.

Any ideas?? We want something modern, chic, luxurious feeling...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Play on Words

I guess I'm easily entertained... but how cute is this?

You can go to Wordle and create one of your own!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clean-out the Fridge Meal

I was trying to not waste some of the leftover food in our fridge, so I planned to just make up some concoction out of them last night... well, it turned out to be one of the best meals I've ever made!!

Things in my fridge that needed to go:
1/3 link keilbasa sausage
1 uncooked chicken breast
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 head of broccoli
1/2 block monterey jack cheese

Things I always have on hand:
parmesean cheese
canned diced tomatoes
lots of spices

Things I bought at the store:
10 shrimp

So I decided to attempt making a spicy Creole Pasta dish. I was going to just make it up in my head, but then I found an Emeril recipe that I managed to modify (quite a bit) and man, was it yummy?!

If anyone wants to try it... you'll just have to come have a dinner date with us and let me make it for you!! :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More FREE Food!

If you still haven't signed up for e-VIC at Harris Teeter, you're missing out! This week the special is FREE ice cream! No purchase necessary! (But your card has to be signed up for e-VIC.) And today through Saturday are Triple Coupon days... I guess that's where I'm headed on my lunch break :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Almost 1 Year! :)

As hard as it is to believe, our first anniversary is in less than 7 weeks! To celebrate, we are going to spend a week at a resort in northern Vermont with a day in New York City on the way up! We are so excited and are looking forward to hiking, shopping, eating and all the other good stuff! :) If anyone has favorite places in Vermont that you think we should see... let me know! We know that samples at Ben & Jerry's and the Lake Champlain Chocolate factories are a must. And we're also going to check out Simon Pearce handblown glass store & restaurant and we have to find where they make these great Maple Cream Cookies!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh yeah!

We have gotten some clarity and peace and direction with what to do with our house/ job/ family!!! We have decided that we will stay put at least until next summer! Mike will stay with the Red Cross and continue getting good experience there... and will feel better about being there at least 18 months instead of half that time. We'll have time to work out some of the issues that have recently arisen with leasing options for our condo, and if we decide to sell, we'll put it on the market late spring 2009 and hopefully the market at least won't be any worse than it is now, even if it's not better.

We've been saying for over a year that there just aren't jobs here for Mike... but we've realized the carnality in that statement. In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. We really need to just be where He leads us, and if He's not leading us to something new right now, we can rest that He has a plan, even if we don't know how it will unfold. Pretty exciting, actually!

The Best Deal Ever!

I am enrolled in E-VIC (Harris Teeter's weekly e-mail that tells me what's on sale with my VIC card). Wednesday, the e-mail said that with your VIC card, you could get a jar of H.T. Traders Salsa FREE - no purchase necessary! Mike got off work early and said he'd stop at the store to pick up Tilapia (which is also on sale at H.T. this week) so I told him about the free Salsa and he planned to pick one up. Well, when he went through the line, used the VIC card, it didn't ring up free. He explained to the cashier and she even said it rang up free for someone else earlier, but wasn't now. The manager came over and wouldn't honor it. So he left, and called me to tell me. Well, I read the email again, checked all the fine-print and we should have gotten it free, no question. So I printed the email and later that evening, we went back. I asked for a manager and explained the situation. They told me to go ahead and get a jar of salsa and they'd take care of it. Well... it's regularly priced $3.99. They had it on sale for $3.29. So they rang it up, it gave me a $3.99 discount, which meant the cashier owed me $.72!! And then, they gave us a $25 gift card for the trouble!!! We told them that wasn't necessary and they certainly didn't need to give us $.72 change on top of it all, but they insisted! So I spent $0 and got a jar of black bean salsa, $.72 plus a $25 gift card!!! That's some seriously productive shopping! :) If you're not signed up for E-VIC... you should be... apparently this was not advertised in the store, just online!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Needing Something New

I miss designing. Sadly, my current job neither requires nor allows for much creativity and I am realizing how much I miss that artistic outlet. So using my very limited resources, I felt the urge to do a quick redesign on my blog. What do you think? :)

I love opportunities to be creative, so I jump on them whenever I get the chance. My latest indulgences have been coming up with baby names for whenever that day comes, (yes, I admit it... I have narrowed it down to 5 that Mike likes too... I'm just praying none of my many pregnant friends beat me to them!) planning a baby shower for Suzanne, and hopefully soon, helping my mom pick paint colors, kitchen counters, and furniture for my their new house. (That's the best when I can help spend someone else's money!) :) Sometimes for me, the need to be creative can get expensive, so I'm sure Mike is glad I'm not redecorating any rooms in our house or redesigning my wardrobe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm Back :)

I haven't updated this in a few weeks... partially because I have no new pictures to post, but also because I've had so many other things going on that weren't necessarily simple to blog about!
  • My work hit a dramatic all-time low point a couple of weeks ago, but then God faithfully answered my prayer to work in His power in our midst. I know He has changed MY heart, and the last couple of weeks have been significantly better.
  • Meanwhile, we were wrestling with whether or not we would really consider moving to Iowa if this job opportunity for Mike progressed. After much praying and discussing and thinking, Mike decided no, and I agreed. (What a relief!)
  • Even so, we are still preparing for a move hopefully sometime this year. So the next big decision we've wrestled with for months is whether to sell our condo or to rent it out. Lots of pros & cons for both options... but I think we're going to go ahead and put it on the market this summer and see what happens.
  • So now we have lots of work to do to de-clutter and do minor repairs, replace carpets and's rather overwhelming to think of all we need to do...and it's almost July already!
  • And meanwhile, Mike's job hunt continues... we'd like to focus on Virginia, North Carolina & Maryland... but we're open to going further if need be. There's an ideal opening with a company he currently does work with in Denver that he applied for this week! He would LOVE the job & I would LOVE to live in Colorado... so would you pray with us for doors to open there! It's far, but this one would be worth it.
  • I've been meeting with a woman from church every other week and we are doing Beth Moore's Believing God study... I'm excited about growing through that.

Other than that, my sister comes home tonight for about 10 days. We have a wedding to go to this Saturday and Shelby becomes an "it" on Tuesday. :)

What's new with everyone else?

Monday, June 9, 2008

God has been FAITHFUL

I can't help but be grateful when I consider how faithful our Father has been to us. It's amazing how He pulls together a family. 11 years ago, he gathered a bunch of teenagers from across Virginia: Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, Roanoke and Fairfax and put a desire in us to go to Mary Washington College. He even led almost all of us to choose to live in an all-girls dorm. And then He drew us together and began to knit together this beautiful tapestry of friendship that grew both stronger and larger as our families expanded. When I think how much we have grown in the 7 years since we left Fredericksburg, I wonder what the next 7 years will bring. Certainly more children... but even more than that, hopefully more eternal fruit as we are each led by the Spirit to bring Him glory wherever we go...

North Carolina
New York

I am thankful to be part of such a beautiful picture of the family of God.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I can't get no... sat-is-faction.

My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Prov 3:1-2

I find it interesting and refreshing this morning that it is not a change in my circumstances that will make my life satisfying, but rather remembering all that the Lord has taught me and storing His commands in my heart. I had a particularly rough day at work yesterday, and for months I have found myself really frustrated with my job as a whole... it is certainly less than satisfying.

I often envision that when I am able to have children and focus my energy on raising them rather than on the stresses of the corporate world, I will find great satisfaction. I tend to long for the day when my circumstances will change and I won't have to deal with this job. And yet this morning, I have been gently reminded once again, that my satisfaction with life is the result of a different matter entirely. It is a matter of my heart. It is directly correlated to the Word of God. In His Word - particularly the Living Word: Jesus, I can find true satisfaction.

I'm looking forward to chewing on that today. What does it mean to find satisfying life in Jesus, regardless of my circumstances? How will that impact my circumstances? What an amazing Lord we have - that cares so much about our hearts and our souls. Apart from Him, there is no hope, no joy in the tough things of life. My heart is grieved to think that those who don't know Him are lacking that. I find peace just in knowing that I have a way to find satisfaction beyond my control/circumstances... the world doesn't have that. Its only solution is to change your situation... move on to something new, but the cycle continues.

I hope I can share this lesson learned with someone who has never even met this wonderful Jesus I know.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun in Austin...

We had a great trip to Austin to visit the Clements family. We enjoyed Julie's yummy cooking, Josh's crazy driving and Abby & Luke's cute entertainment! We drove around the city quite a bit (thanks to our personal policeman tour guide), saw some of the parks around Lake Austin, ate great Mexican food & Texas BBQ, watched the new Narnia movie & P.S. I Love You (both were great), shopped at the outlet mall when it was 98 degrees out and even checked out some model homes! Your money goes much further in Texas than it does here in Virginia! We found a huge beautiful new home that we loved for the same price as our condo! Too bad Texas is so far away! But anyway, it was a really fun trip and we enjoyed getting to spend time with such great friends.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Beautiful Day at the Park

Here are some pictures from Tuesday night. It was a beautiful day so we went down to our favorite park and had a picnic and a photo shoot :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Rainy Day...

A couple of weeks ago, Mike and I were headed with my parents to the baby dedication of my cousin's little boy, John. It was looking like a nasty day for a 3 hour drive as it was dark and rainy. But then we spotted a rainbow. At first we just saw half of it, but then, as we were driving over the high-rise bridge on I-64, we drove right under the arch! It was awesome. We could see the entire thing, including the bottom of BOTH sides of the rainbow (and for those who are wondering...sadly, there was no pot of gold and no little green leprechauns). But it was a beautiful moment and a great reminder of the Lord's promise and His faithfulness.

No rainbow sightings yet today... just rain, rain, and more rain!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Justine & I have always said our poor children will surely inherit red hair, since my dad was one of 4 redheaded siblings and on my mom's side, there are lots of strawberry-blondes. It may have skipped our generation, but we've always known it'll surely surface again in our children. Justine is so afraid, she's determined to marry someone latino or dark-skinned in hopes to trump the redhead gene! Well sometime last year, we were looking into it, and thought we discovered that a blonde and a brown-haired couple had zero chance of producing redheads.... yipee! Mike & I would be in the clear! But then I was looking at my little cousin John... whose blonde hair is quickly turning red (or at least strawberry blonde) and I realized: his mom is a blonde and his dad has brown hair. Crap! There goes that theory! Oh well... I still think he's cute! And while normally I'm not a big fan of redheaded boys... so far the ones that have been born to my cousins have been super cute. :)
(This is my cousin in Florida's little boy, Sean.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Last weekend...

Here is Shelby in our backyard...
And a few of the many plants we planted...
A beautiful day at the beach:
And... my cousin Amy's little boy, John (the one who was almost 12 lbs at birth!). He's 4 months old now and a very happy baby: