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Friday, December 28, 2012

12 days postpartum thoughts & stats

There's just no nice way to put it... I'd rather have 10 vaginal births in 10 years than 1 c section ever.

This major surgery has knocked me on my butt and then some. I suppose some people have "easy" surgeries and recoveries. I, on the other hand, endured natural labor, intense attempts at positioning JT after my water broke (I can best describe this as a doctor and midwife doing chest-compression-like maneuvers on my stomach), and then general anesthetic emergency c section where the doctor actually had to turn JT breech to "pull" him out because his shoulder was so malpositioned into the birth canal. You can imagine the havoc wreaked on my midsection muscles and organs.

Recovery has been tough. I'm not a fan of medicine, so that's been hard to handle (physically, my belly doesn't like the extreme amount of foreign things its being forced to digest). I can't play with my bitsy girl, can barely sleep (oh how I'd love to lay on my side), and nursing isn't very comfortable (but thank God JT is a good nurser).

There have been moments where I'm pretty sure I should have just died on the operating table. There have been days when I couldn't imagine going forward, because it seemed like the pain and fear would endure forever.

I don't think it's supposed to feel this bad. I thought it'd be hard, but I don't know why mine has been particularly harder than peers I've heard from.

Sitting in my mid wife's office, with tears streaming down my face, I said to my husband, "I feel like I'm staring up this giant mountain and I don't think I can get up it." He, as those of you who know his endless love for me might expect, said... "you don't have to get up it, I'll carry you."

I love him so much. He has literally seen it all and taken on so much through this whole ordeal. I could never repay him and only pray God rewards his compassion in heaven.

So, the good news is I'm finally starting to feel better today. We came up with a better pain management plan and the referred pain I had been feeling in my shoulder is subsiding (it was some of the worst). I'm able to breathe a little deeper and do more things. My pain has always been in my lower right quadrant and is down from a 8ish to a 2-3ish with constant pain medication.

It's been just the four of us for 24 hours now and we are chugging along just fine. JT has been having a tough time breathing at night for the past two nights...so my husband and I are both exhausted. G has been behaving probably a little better than the average 22 month old who's world just got turned upside down--but still very clingy and crabby for her normal behavior. She's thrown more fits and acted out more. But she's also been very sweet and helpful. We take the bad with the good.

At his two week check up (only 11 days old though), baby J was 9 pounds 1.5 ounces, 20.75" long and his head has stayed steady at 15". His stats land him in the 70s% but his head is still 98%. He's doing great, aside from his small nose and breathing troubles. I've 'lost' 26 pounds since 12/16. Not trying or caring, just reporting the stats.

Specialist appointments come in January and we won't have an official diagnosis until then.

Thanks for all the prayers and support.

Love to all & merry Christmas a few days late







Monday, December 17, 2012

Baby JT is here

Our son arrived yesterday evening, 12/16/12 at 9:48 pm. He was born at 8 pounds 15.7 ounces, 19.25" long with a head circumference of 15".

Clearly I am alive, so that fear was abated.

However, the large amount of fluid I had written about caused some trouble.

I will write the full birth story later, but I labored naturally with no medicine the entire time...then the water breaking experience was done as best as possible. Our midwife was so amazing and did everything right, but baby JT just wasn't going to come vaginally. He ended up presenting shoulder first and even through they wreaked havoc on my unmedicated belly (painful) trying to turn him... His heart rate dropped and he needed to come out. It was a scary situation, and very painful being prepped for a c section with no pain block. I had to go all the way under and hadn't had an epidural, so I felt everything up to the cutting. Details I will spare you. I was so scared I was going to lose him or die myself. When I woke up back in our room, and saw my husband skin to skin with JT, I wanted to be happy but my pain was too unbearable. It got under control a bit and I was able to nurse him right away (about 30 minutes after he was born).

He's got a smushed in nose situation, as we knew he would, but scored 8-9-9 Apgar and the nicu team didn't have to do anything! He is perfectly healthy beside his nose situation so we will see a children's mercy specialist about that.

I, on the other hand, have been having quite the rough time trying to recover. It's been 30 hours since I ate anything and my pain is just now starting to cooperate. I recently stood and walked for the first time (about 10 steps), so I'm really proud of that.

It's not like it was after G, but I'm alive and so is he.

Rejoice! Gaudette!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Life lately in photos

So here's #1 lately :)
We've been having a lot of fun!
Playing outside, looking cute, and going to the free zoo (aka the pet store)















Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Let's play catch up

First, yes, I am still alive. Second, no, you probably won't ever get a final moving journal...instead I'll just do a bit of catching up in this blog--encompassing all things.

We moved into our new house, a little over a week after closing (due to work and belongings' travel). Things went wrong immediately. My poor husband made it back on Sunday, but locked his keys in the car, with his things in the car too. It was quite the disaster. He didn't call anyone to get them out, and since I was 6 hours away...he just waited it out. He also had to stay in a hotel that evening because our water heater was broken, despite it being functioning at the inspection. To make a long story short, he had a horrible day, and I wasn't around to help or take on some of the stress burden.

G and I had a miserable first part of the drive (it's 6 hours) up to our new house from my parents, but after a nice Panera lunch and smoothie, she slept a decent part of the rest of the way. We arrived to a still stressed-out hubby/daddy and tried to help as best we could. Everyone was pooped and ready to be settled in. The house problems inhibited us from relaxing at all.

The main issues are/were plumbing related, but are on the mends now. Our home warranty has paid for the new water heater and we did get some of our inspection cost refunded since we were fairly dissatisfied with how that all went down. So, to make a long story short, the house is becoming a home, but at a cost.

I think my husband still has a good deal of anxiety about all the things that need fixing (mostly little things, like closet doors, mismatching things, and squeaking), but I've kind of let it fall on the bottom of my worry list--because we are super close to the baby coming. I think the thing that annoys me most about the house is the amount of dust that is just circulating. I had the house professionally cleaned, and I am a super-clean-freak...but the air ducts must just be horrible or something because it is so dusty in this house (as in, I dust and then later that night there's evidence of dust back on the items).

Almost all of the walls are the color I want them, and almost everything is hung. They baby's room is ready to go and my mom and sister got me a glider--so excited for that! I've settled into the kitchen, and nearly everything has a place throughout the house.

I got my husband an awesome anniversary/birthday/Christmas present, in the form of a family room set up in the basement, complete with big TV and loveseat/couch combo. We added the yard sale coffee/end tables that we sanded and refinished...it looks so great down there now! I was so excited to surprise him with it, and though he was a bit "mad" that I spent money without talking to him about it...he deserved it! He got a moving bonus, and money for driving cross country...so while we could have used those bonuses to pay off more student loans... One has to live a little bit, because you never know when your time is up. Plus it makes it so much easier to relax at night, rather than the main level living room that echos right into G's room (thus, tv and conversation have to be quieter than down in the basement).

I've posted a good amount about my stress with the pregnancy, so if you haven't caught those posts...be sure to check those out for the baby's updates. I hope he comes soon. I'm so uncomfortable! Tonight I take a new mom from church a meal, and that was my last responsibility before the due date...so therefore, I'm pretty sure my water will break right as I'm pulling out of her drive way :-) They always say, right when you get the last thing checked off your to-do list, the baby will come.... I certainly hope so! (ps. we will get 5-6 meals of our own in January--love our church's mom's group!)

Speaking of the new church--it's very nice. A lot of young families go there, and I've already gotten in with a play group. All the moms are wonderful and the kiddos are so fun for G to interact with. She's pretty much the youngest, but it's good for her to see the older kids and learn from them. She loves friends and knows what going to see friends means :-)

She is also very intune with the new baby. She has seem him on the ultrasound monitor several times now and totally makes the connection that that is who is in my belly. She gives him kisses and hugs and love pats. She knows where his room and bed and car seat are. She promises she will be a good big sister and help momma with the new baby--so we'll see how that all plays out. I have a plan to make sure she gets alone time with us too, and to also include her in as many of the baby's routines as possible. That's really the only time she gets crabby...is if she can't help with something. She loves to help and be involved, so that's always fun when I am doing chores or cooking :-)

She's also great at playing music (for a nearly 2 year old, she's got serious rhythm) and dancing, coloring, and building. She loves "doing tools" and following Daddy around when he's doing "his" house-work-things.

Her words have increased exponentially since the last time I wrote about her. I don't think I could list them all, but it's much easier to communicate these days. I, obviously, understand her better than anyone because I'm with her all the time, but she's getting better.

Another one of my favorite things is getting snuggles and hugs from her. She's a real sweet heart. Just this morning she was snuggling up to my shoulder and I was just overwhelmed with this amazing mom-love. It's great to be her mom, and I can't wait to share that love with her baby brother as soon as he's ready.

Some of G's favorite things lately (21 months) are; 

playing Nativity Scene with the little people set that my friend Rachel got her
eating Teddy Grahams and drinking juice boxes....try to limit those!
watching Caillou ... which is what her next birthday will be, she LOVES him
going for walks, playing with the soccer ball, and playing chase :-)
playing "get you/me" aka tickle monster
setting the table (forks/spoons only at this point)
turning on the Christmas lights and tree
helping put away groceries
reading Little Bear's Little Boat
singing nursery rhymes
making "number" soup
anything "kah-chat" (chocolate)
doing anything that makes her look like a big girl ... she's like a 8 year old trapped in a tiny body


In other news, our marriage is doing great and we celebrated our 4 year anniversary on Thanksgiving. My husband is seriously so amazing and I thank God for him constantly. He is so helpful, patient, caring, and compassionate. He doesn't complain, isn't greedy or selfish, and is such a good dad.

I hit the jackpot there.

Don't worry, I try my hardest to reciprocate.

My birthday was last weekend and he surprised me with pearl earrings, and also went all out on a fancy homemade dinner and semi-homemade (re:box) cake. Surprised was italicized because he can rarely pull that off.

My sister has been spending a good amount of time here, which has been really nice--especially seeing her and G interact. They've got a great relationship already :-)

Christmas is planned to be at our house this year, due to the baby's impending arrival, and I can't wait to play hostess...though depending on his age at the time, I may be more of a delegating host than a true hostess.

Love to all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pregnancy #2 at 38 weeks

I feel SO over being pregnant. If you are facebook friends with me...I'm sure you are tired of hearing just how over it I am.

Yes, I am still anti-induction and still plan to have the baby whenever he wants to come out....but more so than with my first pregnancy, I am beyond done.

Baby boy has {currently} 33 of some unit of amniotic fluid. The normal range is 8-25, with 21-25 being on the high/tad bit concerning side. His number two weeks ago was 26, and one week ago was 24.5. I asked my midwife how "off" these numbers can be, since 26 to 33 over 2 weeks is such a huge jump. She said, in general the lower numbers might have been off, based on his position, but if the ultrasound tech is seeing 33 now...that's "fairly" reliable. (the more likely scenario is that he's created more fluid over time) One-er-full. {sarcastically spoken, wonderful}

He is also on the super chunk side...and if I haven't had him by next Tuesday, I'll have a better "estimate" of his weight for you--as we are scheduled for a bio physical profile (aka BPP) on 12/18. Increased fluid does make for some really neat sonograph photos, though, if there is a "bright" side.

I am so heavy and ginormous in the front. Last week my sister (among others), said that you can't really tell I'm pregnant from the back, but the side and front are like VAVAVOOM. I'd say that's an accurate statement. I've gained 50 pounds (+counting?) with this pregnancy!! I gained about 45 with G, and I was much more puffy/over all bigger with her.

I do not sleep well at all...not that I did with G's pregnancy either, but lack of sleep has taken on a new meaning. With G, it was more insomnia; whereas now I am straight up exhausted and tired, but too ginormous to get comfortable in any position. I've possibly cried about it at night. Part of the time I try to sit on the birth ball (re: big exercise ball), leaning over the bed, with my head on some pillows. It's the most comfortable position I can figure out, but I'm too scared I'll fall over/off the ball, that I get light sleep at best. I'd say I get about 4 hours of sleep, broken up into small fragments. Having a newborn will mean more sleep for me, not less. So there's another bright side.

I've been having regular contractions for a week. So that's fun. I wasn't dilated any last Tuesday, but didn't have my midwife check today because even if there was progress, it doesn't mean much. With G, the hardest part of my labor was getting to a 2 or 3, and after that I focused internally and survived through an extremely hard posterior labor. Therefore, I really doubt I am dilated any now...despite the week of discomfort, cramping, and contractions.

notice his smushy nose and uber chin rolls!
My best guess is that until my water breaks (and there will be a huge amount), labor won't move forward that much, or be too painful. But after that glorious event, I imagine labor will be hellacious for about 2 hours, then he'll be here. One can hope.

I pray he stays healthy through everything, and that I survive too. Death is a lot bigger fear than it was last time. I know that's not very positive, and I try to push it out of my head, but I am truly concerned that something bad will happen. Down Syndrome is honestly looking pretty good among my other fears.

I hope today is his birthday so that I can find some peace, comfort, and kiss his super chubby cheeks.

Love to all.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Green Giant Seasoned Steamers Review & Giveaway

 
 With all the hustle and bustle of our move to Kansas over the past two months, I nearly forgot about the exciting opportunity My Blog Spark gave me. Green Giant recently released a new product in the frozen veggie aisle-- Seasoned Steamers. These are one of the first non-sauced, but still seasoned & flavorful, packages of frozen vegetables that can be steamed right in the bag.

Faithful approach

With all of my anxieties and with my impending labor and baby boy's birth, this is what I told my husband last night;

Even if we had an elective C-Section... If God wants this baby back in heaven {or to have special needs}, He'll find a way to make that happen regardless of our meddling.
Hard to swallow, but true and faithful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The intersection of Faith and Science....part II

Part I

You may recall our worries of genetic abnormalities with our son after our 20 week sonogram. I also wrote about taking a fairly new blood test that checks maternal blood for fetal DNA & claims a 99% accuracy rate for detection of chromosomes 13,18, and 21 trisomies. Our Harmony test results came back 1/10,000 risk for down syndrome and even lower for the other two trisomies.

Did we feel a weight lifted? Sure...but not enough to completely rest easy. I wrote a bit more about my anxieties in a non-promoted post (though not private), feel free to read it, here.

Moving forward, I let some tensions go, but some remained muddled in the back of my mind. My mother so kindly passed on the worry gene to me. I really try not to, as my favorite bible quote contains: "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." (Matthew 6)

The worrying just creeps up on me, and when it's validated, I can't help but let it run away from me some.
still a tiny or absent nasal bone, but a cute little button nose

We had a sonogram scheduled for today to check on baby boy's growth, position, and our hope was to also see how his nose bone had progressed. I was not apprehensive at all, and in fact had been internally counting down the days and hours until we got to see our precious baby. I woke up for the second time last night, to use the rest room, of course, around 5:30 am and thought to myself--only 5 more hours until I get to see him!! I had no doubt things would look good, and just wanted to see how chubby his cheeks were. The answer to that is VERY!!!

His measurements were great--just really large. He's on average in the 88% for fetal growth, and his head is >98%. I sure hope he's a smart cookie.

After the sonogram we had to wait to see my midwife for more results and to have my group B step test done (lame-o).

Upon meeting with the midwife we learned that the amniotic fluid is higher than it should be. Of course we know that having too much is a better problem than not having enough...but it's still not typical.

Nothing with this pregnancy has ever appeared to be typical. It really takes a toll on my mental strength and emotional durability. (not to mention the other joyous news in our life right now that relates to our new house and expected costs to fix some major issues)....

I haven't questioned God at all, but I've certainly questioned why me, why our baby, why now.... what human wouldn't?

So perhaps you're asking; "Too much amniotic fluid? So what?"

Good question.

In general, about half of the pregnancies with too much amniotic fluid really don't have a medical reason. 

That baby simply just made more than normal fetuses.

In the other half of pregnancies, the reasons are:

  • gestational diabetes, which I tested negative for about 10 weeks ago -- though it can develop later on, so perhaps that's an explanation (Especially since there was high sugar in my urine at the doctor today)
  • genetic abnormalities.....there it is again :-(
  • fetal infection
  • birth defect, like a problem with the baby's swallowing
  • problems with the baby's heart (which we haven't seen on any ultrasounds)
  • blood mismatches & twin to twin transfusion syndrome (both shouldn't be possibilities for this pregnancy)

Potential complications from too much amniotic fluid:

The only one my midwife discussed with me today was the possibility for the baby's umbilical cord to prolapse (that means it could come out before him, and cut off blood flow to him...which ultimately leads to brain problems or death). She said it's not very likely to happen, especially since he is in a head down position, but if it does occur I should put my head on the floor and booty in the air to attempt to take pressure off of the cord. Oh, and I'm supposed to call 911, because I'll need an emergency C-Section.

I also did my own research, of course, and found that other complications are;

  • premature birth
  • premature water breaking
  • still birth
  • placental abruption
  • postpartum hemorrhage
So, I mean....those are just awesome outcomes and problems.

On the other hand, it's unlikely anything is wrong and it's unlikely that anything bad will happen.

But there's still a bigger chance than typical pregnancies have. Ironically, some pregnancies appear typical and they have non-typical outcomes. So there's always that reassuring fact, except it's really not reassuring.

Apparently 1% of pregnancies are diagnosed as having too much amniotic fluid, .8% of births are still births, and wikipedia states that .14%-.62% of births have a prolapse cord and 11-17% of those babies died.

Barer of bright news, today, eh?

How does this relate to faith?


I've got to find a way to spin all of the crap from this pregnancy into a positive vibe. Why? Because that's just me, and it's better for the baby. Perhaps you are agnostic or even an atheist. I am not. I am an intelligent woman, who believes in science and God. And I believe he has given us all of this information through this pregnancy so that we can stand strong in our faith. Am I sad about the lack of 'normal' news we've gotten this pregnancy...sure, but it certainly doesn't make me trust God any less.

I believe he has a purpose for my life, my son's life, and my family's life. Whatever will be, will be, and it's my job to accept that. I am only human, though, and I really, really, don't want to lose my son or see his health suffer in any way.

It is my prayer that this labor and delivery goes quickly and smoothly, and that my son is born healthy and happy.
If that doesn't happen, God help us handle it, for we are weak and he is strong.

St Gerard, St Gianna, St Joseph, pray for us. <3

Monday, November 19, 2012

Raising a Catholic Toddler

When G was born, her second outing was to mass (the first was to get more blood drawn to make sure her jaundice was going away naturally--it was, despite what doctors may tell you, keep breastfeeding through it if no other issues arise). She was baptized on April 2, at about 2.3 months old. I choked back tears as my baby girl was fully welcomed into the church. She's named after a fairly new saint who is a pro-life role model , and her middle name is after a long-time saint who lived a life of deep poverty in an effort to be more holy...I hope that her namesakes inspires her to be faithful in a secular world.

Raising our kids in the church will always be a priority, and modeling a good Catholic lifestyle is very important to us as parents. Kids aren't going to respect what you say, unless you back it up in practice. This is hard for humans, because we are sinful...but the goal is to keep trying, admit mistakes, and have open dialogue with your kids on your own journey of faith so that they can have a good role model at home for which to develop their faithful lives.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Anxiety for our Son

I know I am far behind, and haven't posted about our new house and the official move-in process....but I've been busy settling into that house and also trying to get involved in our new area.

I have a lot of anxiety right now, though, and have chosen to write about it, in hopes that it relieves some of my fears.

I know that I believe in God, and I know that he has a plan for my life...and the life of our new baby. I constantly struggle with letting go of control and accepting whatever will be, will be.

I just can't shake a feeling that something is off with our baby. I truly hope I am just making this feeling up, and that it is for nothing.

I just keep seeing children with disabilities--and it scares me that it is God's way of letting me know to expect something.

As I mentioned in the Down Syndrome blog, I know that my husband and I would/could be great parents to a child with special needs....but until we are in that situation, I have such a hard time wrapping my head around how we would do that. There's a quote I've seen posted on a friend's facebook page that says, "You never know how strong you can be, until you have to be..." And I have such anxiety that if I had to be strong, I wouldn't be strong enough. It's only human to have doubts, right?

Do I trust the test results we had? I say that I do...because why else would I have done the test, if I wasn't going to trust them? But what if something else goes wrong?

I know that my friends and family would tell me that I can't live my life for the next several weeks with that thought looming over my head, because I can't control everything....and I agree...but I am really struggling right now. And, truthfully, no one's life is ever for certain. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. But who wants to live their life dwelling on that? No one. I really try to live more in the present than ever, but it's so hard as a mother...to worry about your child.

I've been in denial, perhaps, for the past several weeks, busying myself with moving, traveling, settling in, and preparing a nursery.... Now that his birth is getting closer, and I am marking more and more off my to-do list, I can't help but notice things around me that point to something being amiss.

Then I wonder, would I have these same concerns if our ultrasound had been 100% 'normal?' Probably not. So then why wasn't it "normal" if everything is "normal?"

Thanks for 'listening.'


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

20 month old sleep crazy


Here's a fun story for you all;
G has had issues falling asleep on her own for months. I don't know why it started, but back in California it could take her several times of us going in to calm her down before she'd fall asleep...even though she had previously been able to fall asleep on her own!! Nothing had seemed to change on our part. Also, for the most part, nap time was okay.

Then the move happened, and as I mentioned, we started staying in her room until she fell asleep--trying to ease her anxieties. Once we got to the new house we stopped that to re-sleep-train her to fall asleep on her own. Naps weren't as bad, but were affected.

Two weeks later, she'd still scream for an hour or so, with us going in every ten minutes or so... It was pretty miserable, and our evenings weren't very relaxing. No one likes listening to their kid cry, so even though she was in bed...we felt tense. So then we decided to do full on cry it out, but that's not for us--especially with concern her diaper might be poopy. I'm positive she'd cry the whole night, she's beyond stubborn. My husband has gone into her room and G would be standing in her crib, eyes closed, screaming bloody murder.

So then we went back to staying in her room until she fell asleep--thinking that after doing that for a few weeks we could retry leaving. This didn't work either, for the few nights we tried it. She'd be asleep, but then wake up crying a bit later. Plus it'd take her upwards of 20 minutes to fall asleep.

So then I figured out a method for her to fall asleep peacefully, but I'm not sure how long it'll last.

One of us stays in her room for a little bit to reassure her it's ok, then we go over to her, cover her up and pat her back, then say something like, "I'm going to go take a shower," or, "I'm going to go get a drink."
Then we leave the room and gently pull the door behind us. Thus far she has fallen asleep happily after that charade. 

Someone tell me what this all means??? I just want her to sleep well and us to have a little alone time to relax after putting her down. How long will this method work? What do we do when it stops?

Ugh!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Life Lately - Wordless Wednesday

running in the warm fall weather 2 weeks ago at my mom's house
loving the 'Halloween' tunnel at my mom's school's party
 
She's started asking for her picture to be taken 11/3/12

Me and baby boy at 33 weeks!!

one of the best parts of moving back, much closer to our BFFs!!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Moving Journal Part 4 {week at my parents}


Catch up on parts 1,2,3 Yes, I realize I'm far behind! We've been super busy settling into our new house, with plenty of stories of home ownership to come.

Monday, 10/22

This morning we woke up and G helped her grandma make breakfast--pancakes :-) She loves helping in the kitchen, and Grandma has a step stool perfect for her to stand on. While the breakfast cooked, G played with her aunt's old doll house and watched some TV with Grandpa. After breakfast she went outside for a little bit with her grandparents and I laid down since I was (am) really worn out. Then they came back inside and we all played some. Grandma made us an awesome shrimp pasta lunch and I got things packed up. G was getting really tired, and I wanted to utilize nap time while driving, so that I could have some peace and quiet; so our plan was to leave just before nap time. It worked out pretty well. She slept for nearly two hours and we made good time.We had a brief diaper change/snack stop and continued on our way. She whined/cried the rest of the trip, but we arrived at my parents in one piece, and I can't complain (looking back).

Friday, October 26, 2012

Moving Journal, part 3

part 1 and part 2 are also available for your reading pleasure

Friday, October 19 -- the day we bought a house!

So we woke up, feeling much more refreshed after the previous day's craziness. The hotel had a decent hot breakfast buffet, and we headed out on some errands after that. We went to our bank to get a cashier's check for nearly $9000. That's always fun, no? We got some cash and a roll of quarters (to do laundry at the hotel), too. Then we went to the paint store to get paint for our new house (yay!). After that, we went to our title company's office to CLOSE ON OUR HOUSE. They were really nice there, and even had an area for kids to color and play with toys--thank goodness because G need some distracting. After some painless signatures (it really isn't as bad as some make it sound), we got the keys to our new house!
G is holding our new house key!

The day really had just begun, though, because we had a full afternoon too! We grabbed some rare-for-us fast food, Taco Bell, and headed to our new house. The paint guy was already there. Yes, my husband agreed to pay (thanks to a living social deal) someone to paint the hideously red-orange kitchen into a nice shade of perfect green. It's technically called Garden Sage, and we chose it from 20 or so swatches, without fully knowing how it'd turn out. When I envisioned the green kitchen I wanted...this shade is absolutely it, I couldn't be more pleased!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Moving Journal part 2 {Thursday Chaos}

Thursday, 10/18

G didn't sleep well overnight, either, waking several times, crying from 3-3:30 am, and getting us all up 30 minutes earlier than necessary at 6:50 am. We ate breakfast at the hotel (not free, unfortunately), and packed up again. We had planned the easiest way to get the car, car seat, 6 bags plus a diaper bag and backpack, toddler, and pregnant woman (plus husband) to the airport. We decided that my husband would take the car with two bags and backpack (and car seat) to the economy parking lot (so that it'd be there upon his return). I took G and diaper bag with me on the hotel shuttle bus, since the driver would help me load the other 4 bags. This was great to begin with. My husband didn't have any trouble getting his light load to the airport, and G and I did fine on the way there. The driver unloaded our bags, but the trouble began with trying to get us across the 6 lane road separating us from the drop off point and the door. Eventually, my husband ended up running away from his bags sitting outside the airport door (I know this is a TSA violation to leave bags unattended, but they were always in our sight, so don't tell on us). He met us at the cross walk, grabbed G and two bags, while I ran/rolled the other two toward the doors.
Getting from the doors to the counter was the biggest circus. No one offered to help, so that's nice. We eventually made our way (remember, 6 bags, a car seat, a diaper bag, a back pack, & a toddler) to the counter, where there was PRAISE GOD no line. 

Moving Journal part one


In order to preserve some memories of this eventful move, I'll be posting a kind of diary so you can all follow along.

Monday, 10/15

I kind of panic that there's too much to do and things are going to be too stressful....what else would I do but bake? G and I decorate the cupcakes together, we take some to our neighbor and her kids, and the rest to the gym play-center ladies. Everyone appreciates the gesture and delicious butter cream icing, colored purple and orange for Halloween. My husband gets a haircut and I entertain G alone since he doesn't get home until nearly 8. We eat up leftovers and pack more. We try to relax before the chaos starts.

Tuesday, 10/16

The packing crew arrives. I'm still in my pajamas and don't care. I show them around and request they do the kitchen last, so G and I can have breakfast. I also run the dishwasher one last time, and work on packing our separate things more.
G and I take the CRV recyclables to the place where we get money back. (If you aren't familiar with CRV, look at your bottles and cans, many say "CA cash refund" or something to that effect. California charges you a 10¢ 'deposit' when you buy items that are labeled as CRV...and while it's great if you toss them in your weekly recycling collection, you don't ever get that money back. Thus, for the seven months we lived in CA, we watched our stash of CRV items pile up in a big box in our garage. On our final day in California, we turned them in for a 'refund' of about $18.)
We return to an increasingly barren house, as our belongings get packed away. The crew finishes around 1 pm, so I am able to put G down for a nap around 1:45. After nap time, we go to the shoe store. She tries on some ridiculously cute winter boots, that I can't bare to pay $35 for. She also falls in love with a pair of rainbow slip on shoes that don't come in her size...poor thing has tiny wide feet. I buy myself a pair of boots (brown leather, very nice) for the first time in years. We also go to Kohls to buy another suitcase because I need more room to pack...but they are too expensive there, so we head to Target. G picks our her first suitcase, a pretty blue roller one with front and back wheels.

Straight from the Husband - Wedded Bliss Link-Up

This week's Wedded Bliss Wednesday Link up gave the husbands a chance to write about their wives. My husband is really, really busy right now, tying up his current position in California--and preparing to drive across the country. We are in separate places, taking care of separate pieces of our lives, so this week's 'assignment' took on a special meaning. It warmed my heart to read his answers this week. I haven't seen him since Sunday, and while we are both busy, I certainly miss him. I appreciate him taking time to sincerely answer the questions; it's nice to have them recorded :-) I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

What was the first thing you noticed about your wife?
Honestly, I noticed her being in my way. Without going into the whole story, I think the first thought I had was “What is this chick doing here?” I soon came to realize that she was not in my way at all, but put there to show me a whole new world. We talked all through the night and she called me out and challenged me in ways no one ever had. We still continue to challenge each other to this day and I would be lost without her.

When you first started dating your wife, what kept you calling/asking her out?
Her most unique personality, quirky humor, and {our} uncanny similar views on life. From the start it seemed like we had the same plan and goals. We have complementing personalities, skills, and views.

What is your wife's best quality?
Her ability to succeed in everything she does. She does everything wholeheartedly with nothing left to chance. I admire her motivation and work ethic. (She is also a great cook----Don’t take it from me, just ask my co-workers, friends, and family)

What is your favorite thing to do with your wife (ahem, keep it clean!)?
Try new things. I am lucky to be able to have someone that enjoys the things I do and is with me to experience them.

What are you most excited for in the future with your wife? 
Currently I am most excited to settle into our new house and make it a home. We are currently both living out of a suitcase/suitcases and staying 30 hours apart. We will be back together soon with a whole new life to start.

How do you make your wife feel loved?
Talk about my thoughts and feelings. She knows that I do not share much with anyone, and when I share my thoughts and feelings she knows that she is pretty much the only one that gets that from me. The non-material things are always fun to give and receive to show love, but the best things in life are free.

Monday, October 22, 2012

G at 20 months

Twenty months old! And the past month has been the busiest, and fullest month of her little life...at least that I can recall.
nearly 20 months old
 G has made some fun intellectual leaps. I would like to credit myself with teaching her, but I also know a lot of the credit has to go to her amazing brain.
G can identify an item of the correct color when asked, including choosing the correct crayon -- as in, she knows her colors (she actually learned them about 2 weeks ago)!! I'm so proud. (Sometimes she gets confused with similar shades; like a very purplish pink, etc...)
She can also identify a few letters and knows most simple shapes, too.
She is getting really good at coloring. She has made attempts to stay in the lines on color pages. My husband said once, "I think she's better than some 3 year olds!" I don't think that's really true, but she's certainly better than most 1.5 year olds. I ask her to "color cookie monster's hands" and she does, "color cookie monster's feet" and she does! Impressive, no?
I've not tried painting with her yet, after the debacle that was finger painting Christmas 2011. Perhaps soon.
She's still a puzzle master, and figures out peg puzzles for two year olds almost instantly. My mom got out a jigsaw type puzzle for three year olds, and that's still a bit above her. I assume she could figure it out if we practiced a lot (how to put pieces together, not that they'd make the right picture or all fit together, though, that takes some serious advancement).
She has a good imagination, especially for a kid so young. We play pretend a lot, and she loved playing with a doll house that my mother-in-law got out for her while we were there on Sunday. She also plays well independently.
I love watching her make connections around her, and understanding more and more about the world. She learned the word different this month, and from it's original use ('mom, I'd like a different song on the radio, please'), she's started using it for other things (different diaper, different drink, different toy). It's nice to see her translate meaning in appropriate situations.
G can predict what's coming in her favorite stories. This is indicated by making sounds, noises, or saying one of few words that she uses. For instance, in her book "Caps for Sale" she knows when the caps are about to be taken by the monkeys and she does this "where'd they go" motion, says "doh-day-doh" (where'd they go?), and pretends to look around...I encourage this by prodding her to tell me what happens next.
She understands all directions (has been doing so for a while) and has recently started pushing buttons to see how far she can go...so we've implemented time out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Marriage Advice - Wedded Bliss Wednesday

This week is about marriage advice. Something that my husband and I feel called to minister in as our kids get older. We want to counsel engaged couples in the church...but we have a few more years to become seasoned veterans ;-) (I think 7 is the magic number, to which we need 3 more)

If you could give one piece of advice to any married (or soon-to-be married) couple, what would it be?
One piece of advice is hard, because a marriage is a lifestyle; not just a part of your life. Hmm... maybe that is my advice? You have to look at marriage as more than a partnership. Even if you are not Christian, and don't believe the whole "...and the two will become one flesh..." it would serve you well to buy into it.
Marriage is a way to go about living one life that involves two people. I do nothing important without thinking how it would affect my husband (and figuring out what important means to the other person is part of this). We think of each other first, and know that getting through struggles is what builds the strongest fibers of a marriage. You should not get married if you are selfish when it comes to the other person. Sure, you can be selfish toward other people or situations....but to achieve the greatest marriage, you must be selfless with your spouse (and for this to work, he must be selfless to you, too).

What is an absolute MUST for any marriage/relationship?
My husband and I are Catholic. Not the make-it-when-we-can-and-half-heartedly-committed type of Catholic, either. We're in it for real...and when we did our Engaged Encounter weekend prior to getting married, we took a lot away from it. I know some couples don't have the best experience on theirs, because it has a lot to do with the leadership at the retreat, but ours was amazing. The absolute must for any marriage that we have always focused on....is that a marriage will NOT always be happy. You shouldn't even strive for an always happy marriage (strange but true). You should focus on having a UNIFIED marriage. Unity is an absolute must for any marriage. Within that unity comes honesty, partnership, love, and unyielding compassion.

What is the #1 no-no in a marriage?
Lying. Clearly, many things stem from lying (like cheating), but the matter of fact answer is...do not lie. Honesty is the best policy. If you are honest with your spouse and others, you will be trusted, you will have integrity, and your character will be morally sound.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your marriage?
 Forgiveness is a dish best served fresh.
Do you like that? I just made it up (if you find it quoted elsewhere, earlier, please let me know, I didn't google it).... and by that I mean that you cannot hold grudges or cling to past wrong doings. It's obviously easier said than done...but talk things out, mend the pieces, and move forward in sincere forgiveness.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Some of G's Coloring Pages

For posterity...because I know the pages won't survive

She's gotten so good at trying to stay in the lines--and knows to color body parts :-)

I'm very proud of her lines and 'abstract' coloring on blank paper too.





Thursday, October 11, 2012

Discipline with a Toddler

Well..... the time has come... Discipline time. (train of thought...I wonder if all of my posts will start with these short little phrases, because they have been lately, no? I think I should change my blog title to..."Momma's Train of Thought)

No means No.

Let me back track a bit by saying that I introduced "no" to G at around 6-7 months. My mother warned me not to make it a popular word, or she would learn to say it back. So I typically resorted to shaking my head when things were a no-no, but not a "NO." My Parents as Teachers parent educator explained that to make NO mean something, I had to physically remove G from whatever she was doing. Then she would learn to equate hearing NO with "stop doing that right now." I have to say, it worked wonderfully. I think because I was very consistent--and encouraged my husband to be so too--and because we started it so "young;" G fully understood NO to mean... I better stop this right away because mom says so.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Progresso Soup Pack Winner

Thanks to all who entered my recent giveaway from Progresso Soup and My Blog Spark.

There were 1165 entries and 126 unique entries.

The winner is Chrissy N. Congratulations!

Giveaways will be on hold until we get settled from the move--but I hope to bring you more fun items after the hustle and bustle of our next few months calms down!

$35 for $100 worth of photo products

Just wanted to let you all know about a great deal out there for photo product addicts like myself (I order several photo books a year)....

From living social, you can pay $35 and receive a $100 credit to Picaboo.

I usually use Shutterfly...but at such a savings, I'm willing to try a new service; especially because I plan to make photo birth announcements for baby boy...and know I'll be buying another photo book after the holidays.

You can also use your credit on holiday gifts, like calendars!

Date Night ~ Wedded Bliss Link Up



How often do you and your husband have a date night?
This question is open to interpretation, in my mind. Perhaps the askers meant it to be that way, because most married-with-children people know that a date night is not all about wearing heels and make-up, and being waited on at some fancy restaurant. I can count on one hand the number of "date-nights" that went like that. That's okay, though, because we enjoy doing things as a family--or count non-typical things as date night. My hope is that we can have a few more real "date nights" now that we are moving back closer to family...and I'm not so intimidated by hiring a babysitter--though the free family type is much better. I hope to aim for once a month, though that might not happen until baby boy is a few months old. A fun note--we have never left her alone for a night; though my husband has gone away on business sometimes. I mentioned to him just last week that for the past nearly 20 months, I have seen G every.day, and vise versa. I haven't decided if that's a good or bad thing.

What did you do on your first date?
Figured out I was going to marry him. Honestly, though, our real first date almost never happened because he was too "scared" about falling in love with me...by the grace of God he agreed to take me out. ;-)
I met him at a Sprint store (he needed a new phone, since he ran over his last one), where I learned that he was still on the phone plan with his ex-crazy-girlfriend, so that was fun. Then we went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse, where we actually ordered the same thing, except my steak was 2 oz smaller. Then we drove around, talking and listening to music. Then he took me to this little pond, that was definitely not a public pond, and we were looking at the stars when he leaned over to kiss me and, I kid you not, it started sprinkling and lightning. He also picked me some wildflowers that I kept for over a year. Yeah, movie magic x 10. He used to be a real romantic. sigh

What is your favorite kind of date night?
Honestly, the kind where I do get dressed up, wear potentially dangerous shoes, and don't forget to put on lipstick (I own one color, lol). Also, the kind of date night where my husband says...you know what? Let's get an appetizer, drinks, entree, AND spring for dessert :-)
I do love movie theater dates, but my favorite would be the kind where we actually do or experience something.

How do you do date night on a budget?
Lately, our only date nights are putting G to bed and eating dinner on our living room floor while watching a show or movie. Occasionally, we'll do something dorky like a Sudoku, logic puzzle, or crossword puzzle together instead of vegging in front of the TV. For date nights out--groupons/living social coupons and family donated babysitting time!

What is the best kind of date your husband could surprise you with?! 
Specifically--an overnight away from the toddler before baby boy comes. It could be the same town, that's fine, but a night in a hotel with some other fun activity too, like dinner or bowling or hint*melting pot*hint....or something else that's a big surprise. He knows me :-)

Monday, October 08, 2012

29 Weeks

Well. Here we are. Fully into the third trimester. Wow!

I feel like there's a basketball under there!
Time, at points, has stood still; yet at others it has flown by. I suppose that's how life will be from here on out...as a mom...somethings go too quickly (hugs and kisses, snuggles, smiles), and others seem like they'll never end (like a huge meltdown while brushing teeth).

Baby boy seems to move way more than G did, but maybe I'm not remembering accurately. I'm also feeling very heavy at times, and super pregnant, even though I don't think I felt that way with G until like 33 weeks. Maybe it's from caring for a toddler while being pregnant; and not just caring for, but seriously playing with! G is so interactive, and I love it, but it certainly takes a toll on me.

I'm not craving anything in particular, except the usual sweets like chocolate and ice cream. I've been eating a lot of Sargento String Cheese--it's seriously the best, anything else is kind of gross.

The move is moving along, we'll be in Kansas next Thursday. So don't expect a lot out of me for a while...haha...I'm assuming you've figured that out by now, my posting is seriously dwindling.

To my baby boy,

I hope you are doing well, baby boy, and growing strong. It's really important that you stay healthy, and go easy on me for these last few weeks! Everyone is really excited to meet you, especially me and your dad. We love you very much and know that you'll be a good little brother to that firecracker big sister of yours!
Love--momma!

Friday, October 05, 2012

My husband ~ Wedded Bliss Link Up

Table for More and Life After... are hosting a new Wednesday linkup: Wedded Bliss Wednesday.I've clearly been slacking on Wordless Wednesdays (re:blogging in general), so I suppose I'll join in this fun...on a Friday... haha

Chances are, your readers know all about you! But what about your husband? Lets give our men the spotlight this week and introduce the blog world to your other half! 

nearly 4 years ago!
Introduce us to your husband! (What's his name? How old? What does he look like?)
His name has never been revealed on my blog, because he thinks it's too public, and I respect that. I'll suffice it to say it starts with a J. I actually call him Fred more often. I've explained it before, but it's because once when we were dating I said, 'ready freddy?' and he said, 'who's this fred person!?' It's stuck ever since. I actually say it without thinking now, in place of his real name. It's awkward in front of other people, sometimes, because they must think I'm crazy, calling him a totally random name! LOL
He's 24.7--a full year and a month younger than me, which was totally out of character for me to date a younger guy.
He looks like me, only in guy form. HAHA...seriously though, I feel like we look like we belong together. He's about 6 inches taller than me, blonde hair, blue eyes, average build.
My husband is my partner in life, and we truly did become one when we got married. We are absolute soul mates. Any one around us would agree, there's no one better suited. You can read more about our story (And how we got married at 20/21, while still in college) here. (if you haven't read it, please do...I love inspiring others with out love story)

What does your husband do Monday-Friday? 
More like Monday-Saturday, since we've been in California, I can count on my fingers the number of 'full' weekends we've had. My husband is an electrical engineer for a power construction company. He has been an estimator and a field engineer. He looks at electrical design drawings and makes them happen in real life (through the labor of union electricians). Basically, he's smart about power and things. His days have been long on this job site, and it's taken a toll on his stress and health (IMO), so I'm looking forward to more regular hours when we move back to Kansas and prepare for baby boy. Since my husband plans to take a decent amount of paternity leave, it's better for him to do that in the office anyways, since he's more expendable there.

What was the FIRST thing you noticed about your husband when you met?
His SUPER shaggy blonde hair. He looks back at pictures and wonders what he was thinking....I do too, LOL. Looks are only a small part of the attraction picture, and I'm glad I gave him a chance, because it turns out he was mostly just too cheap to pay for a hair cut. Funny story.... about a month before our wedding I basically "incepted" (as in, made him think it was his idea ;-) )that he needed to get a hair cut.

What is your husband's BEST quality? 
He is patient to a fault, if that's possible. My worst quality? I'm impatient and get anxiety when things can't happen right away. We completely balance each other out. I have ALWAYS admired his patience. He doesn't get caught up on little things, takes the 'wait and see' approach, and calms my nerves. He can do things that I would typically curse at, without breaking a sweat. Another way of looking at his best quality is that he LOVES me. Because I am often in a hurry, or don't like to wait, or get flustered at things that take patience....he deals with that in a way no one else could. He is my perfect match in all aspects of life and I love him even more for it. Oh, and he's a great dad and truly appreciates all that I do as a SAHM :-)

What is your husband's biggest pet peeve? 
Not much! Probably the Kardashians.
Sometimes our daughter's whining or screaming gets to him, despite his patience, he's admitted she can unnerve him (though it's gotten better as we've both gotten used to it)

How does your husband feel about blogging? 
He likes it as long as it doesn't stress me out, or I don't get too 'personal.' He loves the 'free' things I've gotten through it, or when I get sponsored posts. I think we both like blogging a lot more, now that I've reduced the amount of time I spend on it. Before we moved, I spent way too much time trying to grow it into something huge...but that's just not for me right now, mostly because I don't want to pay to get it followers, and I certainly don't network like I 'should.'
He likes that it makes me happy to write and share stories.

What is something you do/can do that makes your husband feel loved?
Rub his feet. LOL
Make his lunch, watch shows that I don't typically enjoy, let him help me (re: ask him to do something that I'd normally take on when I already have a lot going on)

Monday, October 01, 2012

Our Sunday Fundays

Generally, Sundays are the best day around here, because it's typically my husband's only day off from work.

Last Sunday we went to a Giant's game, courtesy of my husband's company, and G behaved really well, despite it being during nap time. We all had a lot of fun, ate ballpark food, and danced/clapped along with the music. We had bleacher seats that worked out really well, since G could move around easier. (we went to mass the night before to make the morning go more smoothly)
Yesterday we had a "lazy" day at home after going to mass (G behaved very well, except towards the end, but she's been crabby in general, due to canine teeth that are causing her a world of pain). Our lazy day included going through G's baby clothes and pulling out all the gender neutral things (we had a lot of since we waited to find out her sex at birth). I also organized everything and straightened up. My husband worked on fixing his computer that has a yucky virus (do people seriously have nothing better to do with their time!!! leave us be!)...
and G colored a lot, played in her tent, ate snacks, and whined a substantial amount because she wasn't the absolute center of attention (and her teeth hurt).
so you're wondering why there are 4? G, Daddy, Baby Boy, Momma ;-)
We all got a nice reward for our hard work--and had FroYo for dinner (although G and I both had snacks later on) :-) (I had done a lot of house cleaning on Saturday, so all that was left for Sunday was laundry)

It was lovely to have such a day of "relaxation" with all the hustle and bustle of moving going on around here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Progresso Light Soup Review and Giveaway

I've written about my history with Progresso soups before, and I've been given the opportunity to review two new flavors through My Blog Spark. These two new flavors are rich and creamy, but light on calories. Light Creamy Potato with Bacon and Cheese and Light Chicken Pot Pie Style each have 100 calories per serving (2 PointsPlus on Weight Watchers). They're created to make you forget about guilt when eating rich, indulgent, and flavorful soups.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baby Wish List (current on 9/20)

I just snagged a used stationary side crib, waterproof mattress, and changer/dresser combo for 230 on craigslist. Not exactly cheap, but cheaper than buying new or consignment. It's quality stuff too, in pretty good shape. I just ordered his car seat on amazon and got a quality walk through baby gate for the stairs.

I don't think we'll be having a shower, though that'd be fun...a boy themed baby shower!! So this is my place to list things he needs / we need. I'm not trying to ask for donations or anything, but if some one asks....

hey, what do you need? 

I'll direct them here, and keep it updated with anything given to us. I'm not above gently used items that you may have similar to things listed below.

Big Layaway Giveaway at Kmart

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kmart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
My personal experience with layaway is limited. I tend to buy with credit cards instead...which is sometimes not the greatest idea, but as I've aged I've gotten a great handle on spending versus shopping :-)
My only layaway purchase to date was when I was about 13 or so. I put a fancy (in the eyes of a kid) jewelry box on layaway for my mom's Mother's Day gift. It was from a local store, and I made payments as I went. I felt SO accomplished when I paid it off and gave it to my mom. I think she was proud of me too, even though she always says not to spend money on her. Yeah, yeah, yeah ;-)
Kmart Layaway is nice because you pick out your gifts or personal items and make payments on them as you go (down payment plus biweekly contract payment). You can lock in today's low prices, rather than wait until you can pay in full to get the items (when prices may have gone up, or the item may be unavailable).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our recent acquisitions

I've been scouring craigslist lately, and we went to some good garage sales this weekend. I just had to share what we've recently acquired.

Free. Day Bed frame. Mostly to use in our new home's office. It's in good condition and is sturdy. (value, around $200)
 $10. Two end tables and one coffee table. All solid wood and in good condition, but do need sanding and staining to make them look classy again. (value, close to $400)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chocolate Cookies

Several weeks ago, I was on a cookie-making bender (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and white chocolate chip macadamia nut over the course of 2 weeks). G love it because she got to help mix and then her favorite, help put the cookies in the cookie jar. I made them during the day, and wasn't able to wrangle her + take pictures.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

G's First Math Lesson

Before her first birthday, my husband made it his mission to teach G that she was going to be "one." She learned to stick her finger up to indicate how old she is. I don't think she ever understood what one means (as in a mathematical representation of how many of something you have), but he has since moved on to teaching her that she will be "two" on her next birthday.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Busy, Tired, Pregnant.

Those are my excuses for lack of blogging lately.

I am busy --- we are in the middle of a contract on a house in Kansas. If you have bought a house before, you know there's a lot that goes into it. I knew that going in, so I was prepared, but it doesn't change the fact that there's a lot to stay on top of. Electronic paperwork certainly helps though! I also think we've got a good real estate agent, lender, and realtor mother-in-law looking out for us (don't worry, they are 3 separate people). We've got the contract down, the inspection done, and are waiting on the appraisal.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Our House Hunting Labor Day

We are currently under contract for a house back in Kansas! It's a four bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, two story home. It's a bit higher than we had wanted to go, but the sellers are paying nearly all of the closing costs, so that helps. We feel very fortunate to have the ability to buy a home, especially one with room to "grow" into. I love that it is a two story, and look forward to Christmas morning when the kids run downstairs to see the tree, presents, and snow falling out the window. There's a lot I want to do with the house, but it's nearly impossible to do it all now and for a planner/impatient person such as myself, it's definitely hard to wait. I've actually got my notebook next to me with sketches of the room sizes and plans for how things will go into each room (plus what we "need/want" to fill them with). I have to do lists, eventually to do lists, to buy lists, to buy eventually lists....buying a home is exciting!