Saturday, October 25, 2014

Festivober

I officially am petitioning to have October renamed as Festivober. The amount of festivals squeezed into one month is outrageous. And exhausting. And fun.

This year we only managed 4 festivals in Festivober, but that's because we spent one weekend of October at the beach. We easily could have made it to 6 this year had it not been for that pesky trip. Can't believe I picked the ocean and perfect weather over hayrides, tons of people and pumpkins. I'm obviously not thinking right.

Anyways, so the first festival we went to this year was our second annual trip to the Anne Springs Close Greenway Fall Frolic - because anything with a name that long HAS to be fun. And well, it was fun last year so I figured it'd be fun again. Spoiler alert: it was.

And since it was the second annual, comparison pictures to last year are a must. MUST. It's in the rule book. [Rule 14.a. Any activity visited for consecutive years, photographed in a similar nature, and shared on any type of social media must include side by side comparisons with prior year(s).]

I even took the rule one step further when I saw the same dress (in a different color) Charley wore to last year's festival in her current size at a consignment sale - I went ahead and purchased that dress for her to wear to this year's festival for the ultimate in consistency.


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We even kept the helmet crooked year over year to ensure consistency.

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Much safer now that she can see over the steering wheel.

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Hmm, this last one is odd. Those pumpkins are the exact same size. 

So that was festival number 1 in Festivober. We knew that one was a favorite so we did it early in the month so the crowds wouldn't be as bad. We then took the next weekend off for that beach trip I mentioned. If I was really serious about Festivober I would've found a festival AT the beach, but oh well. We have to leave ourselves a cushion to improve upon next year.

The next festival we also visited last year and is my wallet's favorite one. It's just a little one at a shopping center near me and everything is FREE. Well, 99% of it is. So naturally, more crowded but it really isn't that bad. We still were able to do everything we wanted to do except a couple things that we protested based on the wait time alone. (face painting and balloon animals.) 

Here's a list of the free stuff though: free pumpkin and free stickers with which to decorate your pumpkin, free cupcake and free icing with which to decorate your own cupcake, a free child's pizza they are able to make themselves, from Home Depot - a free apron and kit with which to make and paint a toolbox, free bounce houses, free horse and carriage rides, free samples from various restaurants (cider, cookies, cheese sticks, chicken wings, etc) free games, free massages, free, free, free, free, free! Awesome, yes? 

Only non-awesome part is that last year the only picture I took was of the face painting and this year we did NO FACE PAINTING. No consistency here except for the fact that I only really took ONE picture this year too. 

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Festival 3 was a last minute change-up. Originally the plan was to go to the Hot Air Balloon Fest we normally go to each year but at the last minute due to some family members with the sickies and others (me) not wanting to make the long drive to the festival, Charley and I decided we would just do the Fall Festival at the local theme park Carowinds instead. We have season passes to this park so this one was also in the low end of the $$$ spectrum. 

Everything was free here too. Free pumpkin, free petting zoo, free Halloween show, free balloon, $3.49 lollipop. Ok, so not everything.

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Festival 4 was today. We met some friends at the Carolina Renaissance Festival in our best Renaissance garbs. 

Just kidding - we just kind of did our best people-watching-but-not-quite-staring at those people. So, um, fascinating that so many people take this festival so serious. We were really there for the turkey legs and the beer (well, not ALL of us) and the entertainment for the kids. Well - just our kid I guess because the other two were still pretty tiny. Next year though! Next year they'll be big enough to fit into a Renaissance costume and we will all get into it!

And my camera was on the wrong setting for about 75% of the time we were there. Darn exposure. Photoshop helped some of them but many were not in focus. BOO HOO. 

But some were pretty good!

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John does not actually have blue hair, and I actually do not have the energy to color correct.
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I know there are still 6 days left of this month and therefore plenty of more time for festivalling, but I'm going to go ahead and call it. We still have a costume to make and a pumpkin to carve so that should successfully finish out our Halloweeny month.

Oh, and if I get around to it perhaps I'll change my header to an October header before the end of the month too. I can't have 55 months of monthly-header-changing consistency and ruin because of some busy festivalling and beaching. I need to get my priorities in order, that's for sure.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Great Clean Out

My mom was (and still is) a stickler for keeping things clean and organized. Once a year she would reorganize everything in the house and she would call these annual feats THE GREAT CLEAN OUT. Yesterday I found myself doing the same thing - and I was oddly excited about it. We're a lot alike, she and I.

The plan was to take advantage of the morning because I usually feel better in the mornings than the rest of the day. (Yes, still not 100% over here. Puked up a BAGEL yesterday morning! A bagel! The epitome of safe pregnancy carby eating!) Charley's room was out of control both just clutter-y wise and organization wise. I knew that before we could even think about doing anything to the spare room for the future nursery that we would a) have to get her toys out of there as she's currently using it as a playroom and b) get her room organized. So we'll call this great clean out 'Nesting: Part I'.

I set foot in her room with the sole purpose of just cleaning it up. And maybe finding a couple of reorganization solutions. It turned into a full day where I hired (with hugs) my handy husband to rebuild her entire closet. Well, not the entire thing. Just 75% of it.

This was her closet before:

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There are also shelves on the left side as well that we built to take advantage of the nooks on either side of the closet. The stuff on top of the shelf is all clothing and shoes in larger sizes and all that we hang up at this age are coats and jackets. However, we have a coat closet so as soon as I can pare down (or move into my own closet) some of my own many coats or jackets, we can move hers in there and would no longer need the hanging space. And while I love the IKEA Expedit, shelving all the way across would make the space more functional because getting to those bottom floor shelves is pretty difficult and the Expedit unit can be used either in the nursery or in the basement one day. So, shelves all the way across he built. (We plan on rebuilding the closet to include hanging space again whenever she gets older.)

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Which left me with these few things to organize and fit back in there.


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But that would have been too easy and wouldn't follow the rules for THE GREAT CLEAN OUT. Basically, during the great clean out you go through it all. The junk box, every game to inspect for any/all missing pieces, sift through Legos to make sure a rogue Lincoln Log hasn't joined the Lego party, etc. YOU GO THROUGH IT ALL. So that's what I did.

(I will admit I'm not as great as my mom. As she did her GREAT CLEAN OUT she would have the vacuum with the hose attachments on it next to her so she could vacuum out the boxes and baskets and shelves as she went. I....did not do any of this. I hope she doesn't think I'm a failure.)

We are missing one Buzz card from Toy Story Yahtzee and 4 sticks from Kerplunk; both of which games were acquired second hand so there is a chance we never had these pieces. If found, please send ASAP.

Once all that is done and everything is in exactly the box it should be in, you empty the baskets and other storage solutions to make sure everything is being used optimally. And then you place it all back in there. And also, go ahead and pull everything from the playroom too to make sure it will all have a place when that room is ready to be used for someone else in the near future. It fits! (minus a giant doll house and a Dora house - those we will deal with later.)

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Watch out for dangling purple sparkly spiders.
It really didn't take as long as I thought and even though my mom always did this while we were at school so we wouldn't protest about her throwing away our favorite happy meal toy or whatever, I was able to get it done with Charley home and even with her help from time to time. She was fine with tossing/donating/saving for a sibling a bunch of stuff out of the junk box or toys she no longer cared for. Although I would be shocked if she had hoarder tendencies as both John and I are tossers and not savers.

I kept all of her books on the Expedit shelving thing that is now housed in the spare bedroom/future nursery. I need to come up with a better solution for book storage and I haven't done that yet. Charley still has a lot of "baby" board books which we will put in the nursery, but to be honest she still likes reading a lot of those so I hesitate to take those from her. (and lets be real: tiny board books are really short and I consider that a huge win when she chooses those to read at night!)

And sure, her closet would look better with uniform baskets and cubes and all, but ehhh. It's a kid's closet that has doors that close. I just don't see the point in wasting the money. Things are labeled and organized and she can still get to most of her favorite things herself. And being able to see it all has her playing with things she forgot she had when it was tucked into the nook shelving we had before. Yay!

I plan on continuing THE GREAT CLEAN OUT (is anyone else saying those words similar to how THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ is said on The Wizard of Oz or just me?) with the other rooms of the house. Because THE GREAT CLEAN OUT doesn't stop at one room. Well, I say that. We'll see how my energy is looking and we'll go from there. I'm on a organization high so I need to keep it up or I'm going to lose my momentum. Or maybe I'll hire my mom (with hugs) to come do the rest. I'm sure she won't mind. I mean, she made me like this! She's going to have to make up for my shortcomings! It's only fair!

Friday, October 10, 2014

FIFTY NINE WEEKS


13 weeks with Charley.


4 weeks with a chemical pregnancy in January 2014.


And 12 weeks so far with a HEALTHY PREGNANCY here in October 2014.

For a grand (depressing) total of FIFTY NINE WEEKS. That's how much time I've spent in the first trimester in my life, and I hope that this next week is the LAST week I'll ever spend in a first trimester. I may have considered more than two children earlier in my life, but I am stating right now that I don't have it in me to TRY to get to this point ever again. It's been a nightmare which looks like it may finally end up with a happy ending.

This first trimester has been pretty awful for me. I know it's no where near as bad as some have it, but the morn-after-ning sickness and puking and exhaustion and inability to eat for so long has gotten old. Most have told me it's a good thing to be sick; that maybe that means a healthy pregnancy this time. But on the flip side I was lucky enough to be sick with each and every pregnancy whether they turned out healthy or not. So yeah. Fun times over here.

Enough with the depressing part though. I THINK I'm finally ready to put the skepticism and negativity behind me. A successful 12 week appointment yesterday where I heard a solid heartbeat of 158 has inched me closer to the believer's camp and out of the skeptic's camp. It is such a change of pace for me, who is usually Mrs. Positivity to an annoying degree, to have a hard time accepting congratulations and the excitement of the friends and family that we've told. I just couldn't believe that this was really going to happen this time. I'm so used to it not happening. It looks like this is happening though on or around April 22nd, 2015. Whoa.

So, that should explain some things. 1, why this poor blog has gone dormant for the past 6 weeks. For one, I couldn't talk about the thing on the forefront of my mind so it made it difficult to talk about anything else. Also, I usually do my blogging in the evenings and with only a desktop at home (because Lord knows I'm not using the Blogger app on the iPad. Just no.) and with the desire to only be in the laying-down position in the evenings, that wasn't happening. Last night was the first night in a couple months that I didn't a) go to bed at 9 something and b) need to be laying down for the entirety of the evening. I uploaded some long overdue pictures to Facebook and did some laundry and packed for a weekend trip. It was amazing to be a productive member of my household again. (I can see John laughing and rolling his eyes that I included uploading pictures to Facebook as part of productivity.)

It should also explain (one of the reasons) why Charley's birthday party was so scaled down this year in terms of guests. I just really wasn't sure how much I'd be able to get done so I didn't want the added pressure of feeling like crap and trying to get things done if I had guests coming over. My family doesn't count - they would have showed up with boxes of Bojangles chicken and a decorated grocery store cake and ate it at a dirty kitchen table if I'd asked. Luckily I was able to do some party prep so that turned out okay. I'm sure removing the pressure of extra guests helped me relax and get things done too.

This also explains why the gallery wall project is STILL not complete. Frames are painted and hung, but most remain empty of art. As soon as that second trimester burst of energy hits I'm on it!

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It explains why a box of Kraft Mac n Cheese has been the entirety of my dinner quite a few times over the last few weeks.

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Explains why I had to button my cardigan all the way to the top on this day where a very red smoothie violently came back up and splashed on me at work. Wahhhh. That was the last smoothie I've had too.

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Also, I DO have a new job and will not meet the 1 year requirement for FMLA coverage when this baby is born. That was NOT in our plan, but you know how plans go. All this trouble to get pregnant and stay pregnant when we were trying and then we try NOT to try and boom. Healthy baby. Ultimately, my plan was to stay at my old job and take advantage of their good maternity leave policy for baby #2, and leave some time after that. But after that last miscarriage in March I decided to scrap that plan and get out of there and figure out the "plan" as I went. New job doesn't have as good of a maternity leave plan but the overall happiness factor makes up for it. I'm so much happier at my new job that we will figure it all out as we go. 

I was going to wait until the anatomy scan to share the news so I'd hopefully have a baby bump picture to share as well, but we all know how much of an oversharer I am. I have lost 7 pounds so far and am still wearing my regular clothes that still button up so no bump to speak of. (which, if I'm being honest, does make me paranoid too that something's not right. Why am I not bloated yet!? And yes, that does sound as ridiculous to me as I'm sure it does to you.) 

We will be finding out the sex of the baby and since the doctor's office was going to make us wait until mid-December, we took things into our own hands and scheduled an elective ultrasound for November 2nd. That's only twenty three days!! TWENTY THREE DAYS! Holy moly canoli!

I'm really feeling girl, John wants a girl, and Charley is adamant about wanting a sister (with no prompting from either of us, I swear!) Having sisters is so special to me (not that my brother isn't special, but it's just a different (and still wonderful!) relationship) so that's the main reason I want Charley to have one, but of course we will be thrilled with whatever this baby is. And you know how crazy I am about this specific Chinese Gender chart, and it also says girl. So, naturally, I'm sure this is a boy.

Anyways, what else could I possibly share? I know I've left stuff out because I've been writing this post in my head for WEEKS and it was much longer in my head. Ask questions! I am just so happy to talk about it now. And I'll take all the hopes and prayers that this pregnancy continues to be a healthy one and my paranoia subsides. I could really use any and all of those.

Thanks for still checking in on me! I've missed it around here!