Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day.  Tomorrow, the Hubs and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We got married young, the summer between our Junior and Senior year in college.  We were both 21.  We felt it fitting to mark our 10 year anniversary with this decision.

The past 10 years have been nothing short of exciting and to say we’ve both grown immensely would be an understatment.  We’ve had opportunities to do some amazing things, we’ve taken some great vacations and we’ve been through some serious rough patches, albeit very recently.  The majority of the past 10 years has been nothing short of amazing.  I don’t really have much to complain about.  But there’s been something missing.  There’s always been something missing.  Tonight, the sun will set on the life we’ve known for the better part of those 10 years.  The sun will go down, for good, on a seemingly predictable and safe future.  The sun will rise tomorrow marking not only a new day, but a whole new life for us.  One that we both believe has been in the works for a very long time, but only began to reveal itself to us over the last 18 months or so.  The Hubs will be resigning his current position which he’s held for close to 4 years.  He’ll be leaving the employer he’s been with for almost 8 years.  It’s a HUGE step.  He has not and will not be accepting a position with another employer.  He will be delving in, full force, going balls to the wall to make his small company a success.  Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new era.  I will continue my role as a stay at home mom, raising our 2 girls until the time is right for me to launch a small business of my own.  We won’t have any income coming in (until he starts making money on his own) and will be living off money that we have saved over the past 3 years.  Money that we couldn’t have saved if it hadn’t been for Dave Ramsey’s class, Financial Peace University, almost 3 years ago which I was firmly against.  I’m so very thankful for my husband’s gentle but firm stance that we needed to attend this class; he was aware of my sensitivity to the subject of money, but never relented.  It has changed the course of our lives.  We didn’t know what we were saving for, we were simply…saving.  There have been several big-ticket items we’ve wanted to purchase recently yet neither of us could pull the trigger.  I’m thankful for gut feelings and discretion and wisdom.  We’ve created and agreed to a budget that will allow this savings to carry us for many months and give him ample time to ramp-up his business.  If, at the end of the agreed upon time, the business is not performing as we desire, he will then seek full-time employment elsewhere.  In the mean-time he’ll be self-employed.

There is, of course, a certain amount of nervousness to all of this.  I keep telling myself there would be something wrong with the person that WASN’T nervous.  If you say it out loud, what we’re doing, it sounds crazy.  Truthfully though, we’ve looked at this every way possible.  Multiple times.  This is not a decision we’ve come to easily nor has the decision been made light-heartedly.  We have also sought the counsel of many people we respect in our lives.  We recognize the many sacrifices it will require.  If we want to make a go at this, this is how it has to be.  All in.  No questions.  One job and only one job.  He can’t make it work on a part-time basis.  Not with his travel schedule and the demands of his current position.  Not to mention he’s been increasingly unhappy in his current position and while he didn’t do anything wrong (it’s on permanent record with the company that he’s in no way violating company policy) by starting a business on the side, his current manager was less than thrilled when she learned about it.  There are also many signs his current division is in trouble.  All signs point to this being the right call.  While the seed for entrepreneurship was planted long, long ago, we started to see its growth while on vacation last summer, after the twins died.  If it hadn’t been for them dying, I’m about 99% sure we wouldn’t be where we are now.

So this is my last post as the wife of a traveling salesman.  As the stay at home mom while my husband brings home the bacon.  Going forward, it will be a joint effort to make this ship sail.  Granted, he’ll do most of the heavy lifting, but I’m sure I’ll be needed somewhere.  And before too long, I’m hoping to start my own thing that’s been in the works.  I know this isn’t true, but this really feels like my first experience with true faith.  I don’t know what’s on the other side…the unknown has always been scary to me.  But there’s something nudging me forward, something telling me to press on and to stay the course, and amidst all the nervousness, I recognize a peaceful feeling telling me this is the right move.  Although it’s often shrouded in the fear.  I’ve accepted the fact that even though this is the right move, it may not turn out how we want, but that’s not for us to decide.  All we can do is act and work our tails off.  To the life I’d grown too comfortable in yet provided me with so much to be thankful for I’d like to say, “Thanks.  It’s been an awesome ride.  I’ve had ups.  I’ve had downs.  I’ve had more ups than I’ve had downs.  I’ve made lots of mistakes, some of which were fun and I’ve grown into a woman who would be unrecognizable to the young bride I was 10 years ago.  I’m thankful, for it all, but I’m ready to move on.  To see what’s on the other side.  I’m ready to close the curtain and see what happens next.”

I’ll see you all on the other side.

xoxo,

B

 WMFlorida 2009 013

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Here’s a conversation I never thought I’d have…

First, a pregnancy update.  I had my 36 week check-up yesterday (even though I won’t technically be 36 weeks until tomorrow) and I’m very thankful that my doc was able to confirm Baby C is finally head down.  It looks as though I’m able to table my concerns about a scheduled c-section due to a breech baby.  Weekly internal exams started yesterday and I’ve made basically no progress and Baby C is still riding high…which I kind of knew based on the butt and occasional foot in my ribcage.  I go back again next Friday, which is the same appointment with A I learned I was already 3 cm dilated.  We’ll see what happens over the next 10 days.  While I’d like for Baby C to bake as long as she needs to, I’ll be thrilled with some amount of progress at my next appointment.

The Hubs’ travel schedule has been INSANE.  Even he says so.  He was home Monday and Tuesday though and he came home from work Monday night with flowers for me and A.  He got A a potted Hyacinth plant that smells wonderful.  It’s in her room now, but we’ll put it in the ground eventually and I’ll do my best to keep it alive.  For me, he layed a dozen dark pink/light pink roses in my lap.  I was lounging in bed when he got home…no big surprise there.  After a few minutes he said, “My only request is that you take 2 of the roses and…” then he gestured to the top of our chest of drawers where the urn containing the twins’ ashes sits amongst our wedding photos.  I was speechless for a few minutes.  And I was surprised…which is almost impossible to do.  The fact that he even had to think about getting flowers for the twins is heartbreaking, yet, at the same time, why wouldn’t he think to get ALL his girls flowers on Valentine’s Day?  The whole conversation caught me off guard and made me equally sad and proud at the same time.  On one hand, there’s the realization there is no ending to the twins’ story.  There will always be Christmas, Valentine’s Day, their birthday…days that are special and meaningful to us where we want to honor their memory and the part they’ve played (and will continue to play) in our lives.  And I was immensely proud to be married to a man who is so very thoughtful and unafraid to show his love and devotion to ALL his children, even those that didn’t join our family in the way we had intended.  It made my heart swell; one of those “I think I just fell in love with you all over again” moments.  And if that wasn’t enough emotion for one evening, A pipes up and says, “I sure wish Baby C had a flower.”  Oh, the logic and the love of a 3-year-old.  And so, of my 12 roses, 2 are in a vase in our bedroom for Megyn and Whitney, 1 is in a vase for Baby C in her room and the remaining 9 are in a vase on the kitchen table.  And I’m okay with that.

twins' flowers

Megyn and Whitney's roses

c's flower

Baby C's rose, waiting for her in her room.

a's flowers

A's flowers

Photography Class #1

I say #1 because I fully intend to take more.  I just had so much fun, learning, and I want to do it again.  I’m also thinking about looking into a local photography group to join…in all my spare time.  Here are a few shots that I took after the class was over.  I was at a great location and didn’t have anything else scheduled, so I stuck around and for an extra hour or so.  We had worked on metering, talked a lot about exposure and practiced under and over-exposing things (who knew one may DESIRE to have their photo be under or over-exposed?) to see the different effects (affects? I can’t decide at the moment) and also worked on my focus issues.  Turns out, I have a depth-of-field issue and not a focusing issue.  Most people tend to back away from the object they are photographing and use their zoom.  My natural inclination is to get close, too close it seems.  So, I’m working on taking a step or 2 backwards and adjusting my aperature setting accordingly, which until yesterday, I was using way too wide open.  I’m also jumping into manual ISO settings.  Up until now I’ve left my ISO on auto, but Julian and I can’t seem to agree on what the correct ISO setting is, so onto manual I go.

vines

waterfall

rosemary

potted plant

water lily

butterfly

water fountain

poppy

Don’t let anyone tell YOU what is beautiful.

bird in flight

Birds in flight are not my forte.  Nor is it something I’m particularly interested in photographing.  But I got home and saw this one and thought it was kind of cool.  A little post-processing and not too bad for a quick shot as I was trying to keep my child from falling into the murky water (that I’m almost positive was snake-infested) while feeding the ducks today.  Also, I had a quick flash of what I would do if said child fell into said snake-infested waters…I may have thought a little too long and really hard about what might happen to Julian if I had to go in after her.  Parenting 101 people, parenting 101.

This is the best photography advice I can give; Don’t let anyone tell YOU what is beautiful.  Advice I’m still trying to learn myself.  That’s the beauty of photography, it’s art, and that makes the beauty within the eye of the beholder.  I love pictures taken on an angle.  Most purists probably find this annoying because of composition, rule of thirds, blah, blah, blah.  I like the way angles look behind the lens.  They make me stop as I’m scrolling through the shots I’ve taken and go, hmm, that looks cool.  I’m currently on this sun-flare kick, which inspired this post.  Most people would suggest a lens hood when shooting outdoors, but I kind of love the uniqueness a sun-flare can add to a photo.  I would share the one in question, but it’s a pic of A at the park today and I’m just not brave enough to post her pic all over the Interwebz.  I haven’t even posted it on facebook (with which I have a hate, hate relationship) because I’m afraid it would be looked down upon by some of the pro-photogs out there.  It got me wondering though, “Why should I care what another photog has to say?  It’s my spin on what I think is beautiful.  Surely someone else out there could appreciate the same beauty I do.”  I dunno, these pregnancy hormones are making me very wishy-washy these days and they seem to be eating my backbone at the same time.  I discovered today I’m still having some issues with focus.  Not near as many as I was…but some all the same.  It takes practice, especially when photographing a child.  I don’t have much trouble photographing a still object…just the constantly moving almost 3-year-old that INSISTS on looking away from the camera the moment I snap the photo.  Every.single.time.  The back of her head is well documented should she have any questions once she reaches adulthood.  I have a certificate for a one-on-one photography class given to me by my mother, I think I finally feel ready to sign up for it.  Now I know what questions I want to ask.

Welcome, 2012.

First of all, 29 weeks as of this past Friday.  Hard to believe and if I’m being honest (which I always am here) I’m still not convinced we’re having another baby.  She moves quite a bit these days and is making it very difficult to sleep at night.  Sometimes I get so excited about meeting her and holding her tiny body in my arms I can’t hardly stand it.  I don’t think about it often because I’m still afraid of something going wrong.  But so far, things are going splendid.  Passed my 3-hr glucose test with flying colors and we’re rounding the corner into the home stretch.  Baby C has a place to sleep and a car seat so as long as we swing by the store to pick up diapers on the way home from the hospital, we should be good.  I kid, I kid.  Sort of.

29 weeks

At first glance, 2011 was a truly awful year. I mean, for months I’ve been thinking about how glad I was going to be to see 2011 end. How much relief I would feel to put the year behind me. Upon closer inspection, however, I’m starting to think 2011 may be one of the best years of my life. Not without its hardships and difficulties, of course, but the start of something. Hubs and I have discussed 2011 at length. He says 2011 was full of emotional extremes…I agree. There is no denying it was a year that changed us. Drastically. Forever. You see, there were 2 people who were simply living their lives, unencumbered by tragedy, that died in a hospital room right along with our twins in March. 2 new people were born. 2 people with a new passion. 2 people with a burning desire to change their world. 2 people who were no longer satisfied with saying, “someday” or “what if”. 2 people who were no longer going to simply dream, but were going to DO. 2011 has been a year of reflection. A year of thinking. 2012 will be a year of doing. There is a lot of work ahead of both of us. We each have ideas that have formed in our minds, in our souls, and we share a long-term vision for our life together. We’ve been given an inkling about how to get there. For the Hubs, he formed and founded his own company. It’s small, on the side for now, but has the potential to grow into an enormous beast. I’m not sure how long it will take to get there, but it will eventually be what he does for his living.  I know it like I know the sky is blue.  I’ve got my own little business idea brewing. I’ve had it for a while, but only recently had the courage, mental capability, whatever you want to call it to put my thoughts into action and see where it goes. My husband is fully supportive and actually has a greater vision for my little biz than I do right now. I’ve also taken steps to advance my photography. That’s a totally personal hobby/passion, something I’ve never really spent time on but I’m finding it important. It just feels good to be behind the lens. Once I pick up the camera and start clicking, I can’t stop. It fulfills a place in my soul I didn’t know existed. This little blog here was born out of the tragedy of 2011. I’m not sure where it’s headed either. I love having a place to express my thoughts and share a few of my pictures, but I’m certainly not attracting thousands of readers. I haven’t told anyone in real life, except my husband, that this blog even exists. Maybe someday, but not right now. I just feel like I need to keep writing, need to keep sharing. Hopefully my story, my journey, will help someone else through a difficult time. At the very least, I can read through some of my older posts and see growth, which was really my intention all along.

We rang in the new year last night laying in bed, with me struggling to keep my eyes open until midnight. It’s never been a big party night for us, and last night was no exception. Save the fact we got all the Christmas decorations taken down and put away…that deserves a little celebration, right? Except I think both of us wanted to see 2011 off last night and take a deep breath, look 2012 in the eyes and say, “bring it on.” I’m still not sure where this little life of ours is headed, but I do think 2011 was the start of something big; so it seems wrong to just write of 2011 as a big pile of crap and move on. And I think 2012 holds a lot of potential so long as we’re willing to put in the work. The general fear of failure or fear of the unknown isn’t so great once you experience a loss such as ours. It makes you more willing to take risks, knowing that if you can get through something like losing the twins, you can get through pretty much anything. Teaches you that fear, or not knowing, isn’t a reason not to try. That’s a tough lesson to learn, one I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. So we’ll start 2012 just like any other Sunday. Up early, groaning, as we hear A banging around in her room. We’ll head to church soon and we’re spending the afternoon working on A’s new room so hopefully Baby C will have her own room once she gets here in a few short months. Either way, the Hubs and I head into 2012 with the knowledge that if we work hard enough, if we dig deep enough, if we stay the course, our true purpose and visions will start to become our reality.

I think I’m in love.

I’ve loved a lot of men in my life. Maybe not in the same way, but loved them all the same. The one I love the most is my husband, of course. Well, maybe not “of course” since the older I get the more I realize a lot of people are stuck in loveless marriages and relationships. I don’t understand it and it makes me sad, but I digress. I may not be giddy and silly in love with my husband all the time, but there is always an all-consuming love for him present in my life. The kind of love that recognizes what we’ve endured and recognizes there are greater things for us to do together. The kind of love that leaves me never wondering if I’m truly with my soul mate.

I also love my dad. As most of us do, we look to our parents as examples of how to raise our own kids and then we change a few things. Overall, my dad is a great father and I’m lucky to have him in my life. A few months ago he randomly called one Sunday just to say he was pleased with me. Even at 31, married with (almost) 2 kids it meant a lot. Sometimes only the approval of your father will do.

I have a handful of friends/family from college that I love. A different category of love than the 2 previous paragraphs, but men I would grieve if lost and men I enjoy having in my life. Men that helped shape my college experience into what it was.

Now that the sappy stuff is out of the way, let’s move on. Sidebar: I have got to liven up this blog. Frankly, I find myself hilarious. I’ll add that to my 2012 goals…to make you laugh more. Anyways….I’m also in love with several “men” in my life. See what I did there? I tend to become fairly attached to inanimate objects. My child seems to have inherited this trait which is currently played out by the ridiculous number of stuffed animals she possesses. If I really like said object, I give it a name. Does this make me crazy? Let me introduce you to a few of the “men” I love. Yes, they all take on a masculine form. Probably says something about my insecurity but, whatevs.

Number 2
Over the years, Hubs and I have acquired home-improvement items as gifts from his parents. We’d ask to borrow something then Hubs would get a replica as the next Christmas/birthday gift. At first it was useful. Then it was comical. Then it was irritating. Then we just stopped asking to borrow stuff. We don’t have a garage you see, so by borrowing the item, we didn’t have to find a place to store said item. His parents didn’t seem to get the hint, so we just stopped asking to borrow anything. The last thing they get him/us though, was a shop-vac. The thing is glorious. I adore him. With 3 dogs it’s the only way my baseboards get really clean. Even my Dyson can’t compete. I get such a sense of satisfaction sucking up enormous amounts of dog hair and dust and whatever else I use it for. I truly enjoy using Number 2 to clean behind the fridge, beside the washer and dryer, etc. I named him Number 2 as in, Hubs is Number 1. I don’t get to use it often since it’s so loud, and also because I won’t get it out of the scary shed.

Cosmo
The dog is a complete ass. He makes my life significantly more challenging. He sheds, he doesn’t mind, he still chews up things even though he’s almost 9, barks constantly, won’t walk on a leash and insists on having my spot on the couch in the evenings, I suppose because it’s warm. But I love him. Dearly. It’s like an abusive relationship, honestly.  I can’t leave.  He can’t leave.  I just don’t feel like he’d survive without me and I’m not sure I could live without him. I secretly love nights when he curls up beside me on the couch…which is hilarious since he’s 80+ pounds and convinced he’s a lap dog. Very rarely he’ll sleep in my bed when Hubs is out of town. The truth it, he’s our guard dog. I feel more safe here by myself when Hubs travels and I fully expect Cosmo to do his job should the need arise. It helps he’s easy on the eyes.

Ol’ Sarge
Our new Keurig. It’s maroon. And we (proudly) added an A&M decal. And Ol’ Sarge is an Aggie reference. I’d wanted one last year but couldn’t justify spending the money. We drink a lot of coffee around here so it will actually cost us more money in the long run. This year, we spotted the maroon one (it’s actually being discontinued) and just knew he had to come live with us. Plus, we’d just been gifted some money from Hubs’ grandfather to buy our own Christmas gift so it was a no-brainer. He’s beautiful, makes splendid coffee, and just makes me smile when I see him on the counter. He also makes cider, hot chocolate, hot tea and has the ability to brew cold tea and iced coffee beverages. Haven’t tried it yet given the temperatures, but I plan to give it a whirl once it starts to warm up. I hate, hate, hate reheating my coffee in the microwave. It just tastes gross and burnt to me. I’m thrilled at the idea of a fresh-brewed cup any time of day once Baby C gets here.

Julian
Ladies and Gents, I’ve saved the best for last. I’d like to introduce you to Julian.  Julian arrived on Friday around lunch time and I’ve been completely smitten since taking him out of his box.  He’s so sexy.  Lots of buttons and dials and a HUGE LCD display screen.  You see, I’ve been researching cameras for some time now.  I knew I wanted to purchase a new lens, but I also had the intent of purchasing a new body, just farther down the line.  I did tons of research.  Then I did more research. Then I decided on one.  Then I changed my mind.  Then I did more research.  Then some more.  Then I made another decision.  Then I announced to Hubs I had no idea what I actually wanted and had no idea what to do.  After breaking down in tears for the 3rd time, the Hubs had had enough and announced we needed to find a way to buy the new body NOW.  I wasn’t able to get any clear shots of Christmas and that just breaks my heart.  Not having a working camera was like missing an appendage.  We couldn’t even locate our point and shoot.  I knew my kit lens was broken.  I had an inkling I’d also damaged my camera body, but wasn’t sure.  Either way, all my images have been blurry, or the focal point was off.  Shooting indoors is hard enough since I’m not usually working with a ton of natural light.  Also, I loathe the on-board flash and I don’t own a speed light so….the results aren’t pretty.  Anyways, I was determined not to make a purchase until I could pay for it, IN CASH, and I was able to do just that.  Some birthday money combined with Christmas money and redirecting a few cash flow items allowed me to purchase this beautiful new kit and even get it shipped 2-day air!  I’m normally such a cheap-skate that paying extra for shipping felt really extravagant.  I decided to go with the whole kit which got me the Canon 7D along with the 28-135 lens.  I’ve got my eye on an L-series lens, but that will have to wait until I save up some more mula.  I’ve already had Julian hard at work and so far I’m very pleased.  I’ve got TONS to learn as this camera can do things I can’t even describe, but I’m thrilled to grow into him.  Isn’t he lovely?

Julian

And PS. Please do every photographer you know a favor. Whether they be amateurs, hobbyists, professionals or somewhere in between. Don’t ever make the comment that their “camera will take great pictures.”  It’s insulting.  It’s not the camera that takes the pictures, the person using it has a little bit to do with the final image.  Mmmkay?  Thanks.

A Texas Winter

I know most people are experiencing actual winter weather right now, but here in Texas, it looks like what I expect the rest of the country looks like during fall.  The trees are turning colors and just starting to lose their leaves.  Last week we had a few days with temps in the 20’s and 30’s…even a few snow flurries.  That’s about as cold as it gets around here…and I truly almost froze to death.  I just could not get warm enough.  I keep our thermostat at 70-71 at night, but turn it down to about 68 during the day…as long as I’m not here.  68 still seems warm, but I don’t want the dogs to get cold.  We’re a warm-bodied family around here.  I wouldn’t do well in a colder climate.  Anyways, because of the cold snap, some of the trees in our neighborhood lost ALL their leaves at once.  And thanks to the slope of the ground near our house and the way the wind blew, we had tons and tons of leaves in our yard and next to our curb that needed to be cleaned up.  Thankfully the sun was out on Saturday and while it was chilly out (30’s and 40’s) it was actually a nice day to do yard work.

I snapped these pictures of the oak tree in our front yard.  We didn’t plant it, but he was just a little guy when we bought our house and we’ve enjoyed watching him grow.  I really like to see the leaves change colors.  It’s one of my favorite parts of being a stay-at-home-mom.  I feel like I never saw the colors change when I was working.  Just happened to notice that one day the trees had leaves and then they didn’t.  I also just recently got to start experiencing my Bradford Pear tree blooming in the Spring, another plus of being at home and not leaving before the sun rises and coming home when it’s already dark.  I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season.  I’m so close to being done Christmas shopping I can almost taste it.  I’m really trying not to get stressed out because Christmas will be here and gone before we know it.
leaves 3

leaves 2

leaves 4

leaves 1

My Top 5 Fave Ornaments

I have lots of trees in my house.  The one that sits in our den is considered the “family” tree that houses all the meaningful ornaments that have been either purchased, gifted, handed-down or, more recently (given the fact I have a 2 year old in preschool) made.  I love putting this tree up each year and re-visiting all the memories each ornament holds.  One of my favorite parts of the year is getting the ornaments I have purchased that year out of the linen closet where I store them until I can put them up with the others.  I love adding to the tree each year.  To be fair though, I also have what I like to think of as my “redemption” tree in the living room.  It’s the pretty tree…and I adore it.

Here are my Top 5 (in no particular order) Favorite ornaments from 2011:

I have since acquired many of these beautiful blue boxes…more than any one girl should have (Dear Hubs, Please don’t think this means I don’t want anymore blue boxes.  I do.  Lots.  Mmmm K? Thx.  Love, B) but this was my first and holds a special place in my heart.  It always adorns this spot of honor at the very top of the tree…right under the Santa hat that our “family” tree wears.

tiffany's

Long ago I started collecting Christmas ornaments anytime we traveled somewhere. I love this one from Crested Butte, CO in 2003. I thought it was an adorable ornament at the time and I still think so. Also, that was a fun trip to Crested Butte, one of several we’ve taken and we plan to return in a few years.
snowballs

Again, keeping with the traveling theme. Hubs and I have visited NYC twice. I adore NYC. ADORE it. I love just about everything it has to offer, right down to the rats in the subway…I find them kind of fascinating. I would love to go back soon, but I don’t think it’s on the agenda for a while. Purchased this one in 2006. I apologize for the blur…I’m still very much a newbie, though I’ve learned enough to know I want to shoot in manual instead of getting that gawd-awful pic from using the on-board flash.
nyc

These little guys were purchased my senior year in college. The pink one for me, the gray one for Hubs. Now, we have a whole tree dedicated to A&M ornaments, but these guys are special. You see, A&M seniors are referred to as elephants. I won’t bore you with the details of why, but these little guys have hung on our tree, together, since our senior year. They’re very special to me. My mom has no idea what they mean, she just thinks I love elephants.
elephants

These were purchased this year. The most special of all the ornaments, I’m sure. Hubs and I talked about how public we wanted to be about memorializing our twins. We decided to keep it fairly quiet, but we of course wanted to do something the 2 of us would always know about. These were difficult to purchase, but I’m glad we have them and will have them, hopefully, forever. It’s a small token, a small reminder. I have them hung towards the back of the tree, at eye-level, so I can see them clearly whenever I sit on the couch. This year they bring me a level of sadness, in years to come I hope they bring me joy by remembering the small time we had with them and by watching how their story has positively affected our lives.
twins

And finally, an ode to being pregnant with our 4th daughter, who has decided to make her presence known quite early. May I present swollen, pregnancy feet resting after a long day of decorating.
swollen feet

Thanksgiving Pics

So, Thanksgiving is long past and we’re all in full-on Christmas mode, right?  Sorry these pics are a little late, but hey, what do you want from me?  I promised to share a few of the frustrations from our Thanksgiving…here ya go.  Let’s start with the fact that staying with family ranks about the same as a root canal in terms of what I would choose to do with my time.  I MUCH prefer a hotel.  But that’s not an option, no way.  Not with Hubs’ grandma.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the woman dearly.  She was the first to love me and accept me into the family and has always been consistent in her treatment towards me.  I just like things a certain way and it’s really hard for me to stay in someone else’s home; especially while traveling with A.  The first thing we notice upon our arrival is her procurement of 2 goldfish that she has so smartly set up on the coffee table.  Those fish were dead where they swam, and we told her so.  We spent the majority of the time we were at her house telling A not to touch the fish.  Sigh.  Eye roll.  My child is pretty good about not getting into stuff, but you can’t put a fish bowl on the coffee table and expect a 2 year-old to leave it alone.  Especially when it’s the first thing you show her when she walks in the door and tell her she can feed the fish while she’s there.  Her house has 3 bedrooms, she and her “friend” occupy one.  That left a room with a twin bed and a room with a double bed.  Ideally we would have put A in the twin bed and Hubs and I would have slept in the double, but there was no way A was sleeping by herself in a weird, unfamiliar setting so Hubs took the twin bed and A and I took the double.  No one, and I mean NO ONE slept well.  Mostly thanks to the obnoxiously loud grandfather wall clock that chimes every hour and half hour and resonates off the walls throughout the entire house.  Also a big thanks to the neighbors 2 doors down that have an effing chicken farm in their backyard.  Roosters crow NON-STOP at all hours of the night; single-pane windows people…the outside noise TRAVELS.  I was honestly surprised Hubs didn’t kill them all and cook them up for lunch.  That was Wednesday night.  How about Thursday?  Thanksgiving day…and the massive spread of food we begged not to have.  You see, Hubs, myself and the sister-in-law were planning to spend the afternoon tailgating and begged not to have a huge lunch.  Sucks to be us apparently.  A kept hearing a big, silent screw-you as each new dish appeared.  My favorite part (insert sarcasm here) was when Grandma actually asked Hubs and I if we wanted sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes.  Um, neither?  I thought you got this memo.

How about lunch when all the family is gathered around the table including my father-in-law, Grandma’s “friend” and his niece when my mother-in-law decides to have the conversation with me about how I refer to my female anatomy with A.  Walter. Tango. Foxtrot.  Modest I am not, and I’m not afraid to have this conversation, but I prefer to discuss my breasts and vagina (yes, both these words were used…at length) when I’m NOT in the presence of the majority of people at the table.  It’s hard to shock me…but I have to admit, I was shocked at that conversation; I heard tires screeching to a stop, or perhaps a record scratching to a stop…I can’t remember.  Dumbfounded is a good word.

How about Thursday night, when Hubs’ parents also stayed the night at Grandma’s house?  That equals 7 people, 3 bedrooms and 1 (very small) bathroom…it also equals 1 person that doesn’t understand the concept of air freshener when they lay a deuce in the (very small) bathroom.  We were tripping over each other, especially the next morning when we were all trying to get the hell out of town ASAP.  I found Hubs in the twin bed on Friday morning.  He’d gone from the double with A and I, to the air mattress in the living room and ended up in the twin.  He couldn’t get out of bed fast enough once I told him A was up so we could pack up and bail.  If you didn’t read my earlier post, A woke up Friday morning about 3am begging to go home.  We were halfway tempted to oblige.  Ok, more that halfway, but whatevs.

The trip wasn’t all bad though.  Wednesday was awesome as we took A around campus and we had a blast with her at the tailgate.  She has an A&M book about campus so we took the book with us and visited several of the spots illustrated in the book.  Here are a few of the pics we got while we were gone.  Enjoy everyone, and I hope your Thanksgiving was as memory-laden as my own!

Here’s the clock tower:
clock tower

And the Academic Building:
academic building 2

We’re a school deeply rooted in military tradition.  Flags are everywhere, and they are taken down (properly) each evening and put up (properly) each morning by members of the Corps of Cadets.
academic building 1

A and Hubs headed to the Century Tree.  This pic is blurry, but I still love it.  Some day she’ll visit the Century Tree with some other man, today though, she was with her daddy.  Sigh…tear…
century tree 1

This beautiful tree is in the center of campus and MANY a couple have been engaged under this tree…right here on this bench.  It’s another beautiful tradition in Aggieland.  In fact, there was a proposal going on that day just before we arrived.  It’s a normal occurrence to see a man on 1 knee while his soon-to-be fiance is seated on the bench.  My favorite are the Corps boys, fully dressed, proposing.  I’m a sucker for a uniform.  If I was to ever get re-engaged to Hubs, it would be under this tree; I’d even say yes. 😉
century tree 2

Like my new lens? 🙂
leaves

I was quite the sight getting this shot, being pregnant and all.  Hubs and sis-in-law were kind enough not to laugh at me.  At least, not loud enough for me to hear.
flag pole

A had a BLAST tailgating.  She and Hubs and sis-in-law ran around non-stop for about 2 hours:
boots

This was my view during the tailgate.  Nice 🙂
my view

24 Weeks

Ahhh, home sweet home.  There really just isn’t anything quite like coming home.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling.  To nice places.  With my husband…sometimes my kiddo.  Traveling to someplace that caters to me, makes my bed every day, picks up my messes and basically demands I do nothing but relax and enjoy.  I think we all know holiday travel meets none of the former criteria.

We’ve made it home safe and sound after a whirl-wind trip to College Station for Thanksgiving and for the football game.  We had a fine time, I especially enjoyed Wednesday.  Hubs was nice enough to run me by the local camera shop and I was able to purchase a brand new 50mm/f1.8 lens to use while we were gone.  I had originally intended to purchase the 50mm/f1.4 but I HADN’T originally intended to drop my camera forcing me into replacing my kit lens.  So, I opted for the lens that was still a major improvement but about $300 cheaper than my original intention.  My next purchase will be made soon, I just don’t know when.  Also, I’ll be replacing my camera body when (WARNING:  Following words may be offensive to some) I can budget (AHHHH!) and save-up (GASP!) for the pricey piece of equipment.  Anyways, we finally headed out-of-town around noon (our goal was 10ish…eye roll) and once we made it into town, had a ball.  Purchased some new Aggie swag (because we can never have enough), took a little tour around campus, watched little A run and have the time of her life around said campus and she was a trooper and even stuck it out for Yell Practice.  She even got to pet Reveille.  I got it on video; she doesn’t realize it now, but that’s a very special thing.  I ended up sleeping with A while Hubs slept in the twin bed in another room.  I hate, hate, hate finally being in the same city as my husband and not sharing a bed with him.  BUT, I felt awful asking A to spend the night alone in a strange place.  I knew she’d be scared.  I slept ok until about 4am when she started squirming around.  Thanksgiving Day proved to be the chaotic and frantic day I predicted it would be…lots of stories I will share with you shortly.  I’m sure you all have stories of your own.  Thursday night was a late one for Hubs and I and when the 2 of us finally crawled into bed with A, we were absolutely beat.  Needless to say, 3 people in a double bed didn’t work very well.  I finally kicked Hubs out around 3am so at least he could get some zzzzzz’s.  I don’t think it happened thanks to his grandmother that insists on rising at 4am and the neighbors roosters, but I digress…Around 3am my child woke up crying and BEGGING to go home.  Cue heartbreak.  She was awake, and so was I, for a few hours.  We hauled butt out of there as soon as we could this morning.  Pulled into our driveway about 1pm, had A in bed for a nap around 1:30 and Hubs and I also crashed for a few hours.  I actually JUST NOW took that shower I’ve been needing since last night.  The Christmas decorations we were going to get started on today are waiting until tomorrow.  I’m absolutely beat, and my body aches thanks to the massive amounts of walking I’ve done over the past few days.  Also, I wanted to take A to a parade tonight but I just couldn’t muster the energy…and the other 2 members of my family seemed more than ok with it but I’m still slightly bummed to have missed it.  So, all in all, a good time was had, but I am so very thankful to be home.  The dogs are happy to be home too.  They stayed with the vet and all 3 of them are absolutely passed out right now.  In fact, I don’t even know where Maggie is, I haven’t seen her since she got home.  They always come home tired…I don’t think they sleep well away from home either.

In other news, today is 24 weeks, which means that if Earl(ette) had to be delivered, she has a chance of survival outside the womb.  Things look much more promising in terms of her survival each week that passes, but there is a slight, and I mean very slight comfort in knowing that she has a chance.  24 weeks also means I have a self-imposed ban on travel until after her safe arrival.  We’re lucky enough to live in an area with several Level 3 NICU’s and I don’t plan to be more than about 10 minutes away from one until after she’s born.  I’m sure that gets me a few eye rolls but, eh, I don’t really care.

So, I promise to be back to play out the hilarious and unbelievable details of our Thanksgiving holiday.  In the meantime, I’m going to plant myself on the couch and watch some mindless tv.  A good night’s sleep is in order for all the decorating that has to take place tomorrow and Sunday.  I’ll leave you with my 24-week self-portrait taken yesterday.  I’m not actually as large as I appear in this photo, but I thought it was cute none-the-less.

24 week belly shot