Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Biggest Loser Season 8...

...the Biggest Loser Season 8 returns to my life! Remember back in May when I ran the Indy Mini Marathon and met Allen from Season 8? Well this week I'm off at the Lake at conference and the keynote speaker was Danny Cahill who won Biggest Loser Season 8 (and is also the BIGGEST loser of all time!). Here's a picture of Paula and I with him (uggh, speaking of Biggest Loser look at those cheeks on me!):

He had a good message which was summarized in "Give up your QUIT!" Stop making excuses, stop regretting things, give up your quit and get things done!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Carpet!!!

...our basement has been partially finished since I moved in. It has this yucky wood paneling and it had fake wood-looking carpet with no padding underneath. If the dogs ran down the stairs going 90 mph then the carpet would always flip up and it would just be concrete. In an effort to make the basement our new family room, we ripped up the ugly "wood" carpet and indulged in some new carpeting and padding. So far this has been the biggest expense in the remodeling projects.

Here is Matt and Andyflipping the carpet:
A pile of new carpet:
Stretching it to reach all corners:
Ta-da!!! Finished!!! Still not cute walls but that's a project for another day!
Who doesn't love a man with a vaccum in their hand?
Now in reverse order, here are the before pictures:
Hard, concrete:
It's so soft now to walk on! I absolutely love it. We haven't moved anything back into the room yet so I just want to lay on the floor. The doggies haven't been on it yet. We're hoping to add some more lighting and then move everything in.

We're having a garage sale on March 3 so hopefully after that then everything will get back in order for the basement. I'm gone next week at conference so I'm hoping to come home to the house all ready for me to get to nesting!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shower 1 and 2 of 5!!!

...and so shower season has begun! In the upcoming three weeks, I've been invited to FIVE showers! One bridal and 4 baby! This past Saturday was my friend Stevie's bridal shower. It was held at Moonrise Hotel in the Loop in STL. The girl throwing it rented out a suite and we each brought some food and just hung out. I left around 8ish to head home (sorry ladies, prego lady is not up for sharing a bed or sleeping on a couch/floor but I still love you all!) but the ladies headed to dinner and drank LOTS of wine.

It was a great idea because dinner was within walking distance and they all had a place to crash so no drinking and driving. It was also Mardi Gras weekend and there were some drinkers on the interstate which made it scary to drive home.

When we arrived, some of us bridesmaids got there before the bride to decorate and set up. There was some track lighting and one of the girls went to hang up a lantern with a metal holder...only for it to spark and short out all the lighting-oops! Twenty minutes later though and we were back in business!

Here is the beautiful bride with one of her gifts:
I got her a can opener and a pot that she'd registered for. I also threw in some bags of rice to make in her pot and some canned goods to try out the can opener. Unfortunately, those items were on top so she opened my gift and was like " beans..." Guess I should have packaged it better, huh?

After the gift opening was done then the wine drinking began!!!
I was invited to a baby shower on Sunday too but it was in Cape and I couldn't go but I still love you Jess!

Side story: After I got home from the bridal shower, I laid down for about an hour then headed down to our friend's bonfire he was throwing for his wife's 30th birthday. By the time I got there, everyone was double-d DRUNK but it was great to see everyone. At midnight, Matt and I left to come home as we still had a big day ahead of us on Sunday. We were waiting to officially wish the birthday girl a happy birthday but seriously, she was 2 minutes short of making it. Yes, she passed out so we headed home.

We got a phone call the next day that some of the neighbors brought over their 4-wheelers about 12:45am and everyone started riding around. Tell me how 4-wheelers, bonfire and beer sounds like a good idea? Oh it's not. Our friend, the one throwing it for his wife, flipped the 4-wheeler and it landed on him breaking 6 ribs, puncturing his lung and I think he also broke his collarbone not to mention bumps, bruises and a big 'ole knot on his head. The ambulance had to come and get him and take him to the hospital. Matt talked to him later in the day and he was feeling okay, not great, but better than we expected. Thank goodness he's not as bad as it could have been! Please send up a prayer for his family especially since they've got 4 kids. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Mural Completed... the mural is done...kinda, I'll explain later. But first off, let me share our inspiration with you all. After Matt shot down my Dr. Seuss idea, on Christmas we set down and explored Pinterest together. He was really loving the tree, nature look and I've always loved the turquoise and white tree that Meredith decorated Lizzy's nursery. So this was the official inspiration we decided on, unfortunately/fortunately this is nursery in Norway which is good because it's not anyone we know but at the same time, the whole blog was in another language so we couldn't read any tips or directions!!!
Another view (note the frames above the crib, will discuss later):
Since we aren't finding out the sex, we both really liked this idea because it wasn't the green or yellow, Winnie the Pooh or anything too cartoonie or babyish. We figured it was better to go with blue because blue is WAY easier to make girlie than pink is to make boyish. Side note: my camera has NO lighting at all, his cousin took some pics which turned out great so I'm hoping I can get a copy of those to share too. So on to the pics, right? Here you go:
Another view, the far right will be over the crib so that's supposed to be the momma bird and there's a
small baby bird in the bird house.

This was my idea and I was really excited about it! On the bottom part of one of the trees, we painted this. It's supposed to look like a carving in the tree. It says A + M for Alyssa plus Matt. We're going to add the baby's first letter of their name once s/he is born after the equals sign and then we put 8.26.11 because that was the day of our transfer. I really love this personal touch. The crib will cover this up so it won't be seen to the visible eye.
Katherine hugging was a LONG weekend. I love sneaking pics like this.

Katherine with her squirrel that she made specially for me because squirrels are the mascot of my sorority.
Matt watching paint dry...seriously. To speed the process along, we brought out the hair dryer.
Jenifer with her owl creation. She said he looked sad and I said, no he looks sleepy which is good because then that will make the baby sleep and not a night owl-ha, ha!!!
The fabulous artists with their finished product!
The view from the doorway:

First off, sorry about all the weird alignment...blogger was being weird. Now to describe why it's not officially done. Well, we don't know if we're having a boy or a girl!!! Right now it looks more boyish, right? Well, if the baby is a girl then we'll be adding pink wings on the birds and the owl will get some painted pink toenails and some long girlie eyelashes. :)

The second inspiration pic had some frames above the crib which we were planning on doing and then adding pink prints if it was a girl or some blue prints for a boy. However, after seeing the mural done and the space of the room, we may not do that due to lack of wall space. We may do it on the wall opposite of the mural above the changing table but that can all be added later. The floor is hardwood so if it's a girl, we're going to get a pink rug and if it's a boy, we're going to have a darker blue rug (we have both pink and blue carpet in our basement right now to make that rug that we got for free-thanks Andy & Julie!).

I was a little worried about doing a mural because you know how you see things online and visualize in your head and then it turns out NOTHING like you expect? Yeah, I had that fear but I have to admit, I absolutely LOVE it especially the couple personal touches that we added. You can't tell in the pics but the trees aren't exactly straight but they were also painting on raised wallpaper so it bleed through a little with the tape. We decided to leave it and let it look more "natural" like tree bark rather than make ourselves crazy trying to straighten it all out! Once we clean up the room, and get the furniture in place, I'll do another post but needless to say, I think it's safe to say the nursery won't be done until AFTER Baby G arrives.

A huge thanks to my painters for their amazing work!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let the Mural Begin!!!

...bright and early this morning, Matt headed out to his cousins' house to pick them up for a fun-filled day of painting! When they got back to the house, they feasted on pancakes, bacon and we tried out the deer sausage we made. It's almost noon and we're all still stuffed!

After breakfast, they got down to business:
Matt said it was like paint by number.

Katherine is the artist in the family and an art major so she's the boss!
I'm trying my best to stay out of the room but I'm so excited for the end product! Luckily, I'm about to go get my haircut and then heading to a bridal shower so hopefully it'll be done when I get back. I'll post the final pics later. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult...

...I recently finished "Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult. This was only my second Picoult book and I was pleasantly happy, read on for my review.
Summary: "One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child."

Review: Shay has been convicted of the murder of June's daughter and husband. He's been given the death sentence. While on death row, he learns that June's other daughter, Claire, needs a heart transplant and he's made up his mind to donate his heart after he's executed. However, June must first accept his heart and his lawyer must fight for him to be able to die in a manner to still be able to donate his organs. When this becomes public and many other things that happen, many people begin to think he's the Messiah.

This book, as the other Picoult book I read, was written from many perspectives...June, Shay's priest, his lawyer, his neighbor in jail. I really enjoyed this book and I like the different perspectives because you don't get tired of the same person telling the story and you get to hear all sides. However, with so many different narrators, there was also a lot of side stories going on. When I tried to tell my mom about the book, especially how people think he's the Messiah, she said, "Wow! Seems like there's a lot going on," which there was! As with the other Picoult book I read, I felt like she spent a lot of time on what she felt was an important part of the story but in my mind, I was more interested in other areas that she didn't spend as much time discussing. There was supposed to be a big "twist" towards the end of the book but it was pretty obvious and hinted at throughout the book. Once the twist was brought out, not a lot happened with it either which I think was the point. I really enjoyed the book and couldn't wait to continue reading it. However, towards the end, I was just ready to get to the verdict and find out what was going to happen!

What is your favorite Jodi Picoult book?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Recap...

...I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day whether you had someone to celebrate with or not, I hope you all felt loved! I know that I sure did. Here in STL, it snowed...a lot on Monday night. I had to work until 10pm and when I got home around 10:30, Matt was out pushing snow. I snuck the pups upstairs to keep me warm and fell asleep. Mattie got home around 3am and when I got up to let the doggies out, I was surprised to see this on the table:
As a real fat girl, I only noticed the card and chocolates. It wasn't until second glance that I realized the beautiful roses!
I headed to work after that and felt the love there when a couple of my part-time staff brought me MORE chocolate to snack on. Woohoo! After I got off work, I ran around to use some coupons and score some sweet baby wipes and diaper deals. When I got home, Mattie and I got ready and headed out to our annual trip to Shogun-mmm! I had Matt snap a belly shot before we left so I could show you all. So here is Baby G and I at 27 weeks:
After dinner, we came home for dessert. Get your head out of the gutter! I had stopped and picked up a s'more pizza from Papa Murphy's....mmm!!! Before we got home though, we stopped at the grocery store because you can't have s'more pizza without milk...and I also picked up some more wipes! I'm addicted to deals!!! Overall, it was a great Valentine's Day and crazy to think that next year, we'll have an almost 9 month old baby!

Monday, February 13, 2012

We Have a Crib!!!

...yes, the crib is put together minus a matteress but otherwise, we have a crib! This was Haley's old crib and it will turn into a toddler bed. I'm happy to say that we did this in less than an hour and we didn't even yell at each other! My job was just to hold the pieces while he screwed them in. Here is Matt deciding which side goes where:
Shad snuck up from downstairs so he came in to sniff around:
Woohoo-finished product!!!
You can't tell but the wall is painted a very light blue. His cousin is coming this weekend to paint the mural. Hopefully, he'll have the dresser together by then. It's coming together my friends!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Freezer FINALLY February!!!

...well, here it is mid-February (what!?! Where has the time gone???) and we FINALLY got Matt's deer (from November) all butchered and the freezer filled. I kept complaining long enough that he finally just did it! I hadn't bought meat at the store in forever and spending $10/week on ground beef was really screwing up my budget!

Normally, this process takes about 4-5 hours out at the farm but we also normally have 5 people working and are butchering two deer. This time around, it still probably took us 4-5 hours but it was only 3 people and one deer. Back in December, SIL came over one night to help. Her and DH cut everything off the bone. Then a couple Saturdays ago, she came over and helped us grind the meat into what I like to call "burger" AKA ground venison. Here is the start of the process, luckily, being pregnant, I didn't have to actually touch any raw meat, I was the wrapper:
This year, we tried something new since we were around civilization and better able to prepare. I bought a pork butt and we mixed it with some of the deer. Then we added some salt, pepper, rosemary and, umm....some other seasoning I can't remember. We mixed it all together in an effort to make breakfast sausage. I was very pleased with the end result of the whole process:
On the left is all the "burger" and on the right is all the steaks we cut out and the sausage that we made. This will definitely keep our tummies full until next November when deer season rolls around again. Thank you Mattie for getting us a deer and thanks SIL for helping us with this whole process!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Post about the Puppies...

...I wanted to do a post with our plans of what we are going to do with Em Dog and Shad once the baby arrives. So let me recap our pups for you, explain our situation and then give you our reasoning. Here it goes...

First off, we have two LARGE dogs. Shadow, a 100 pound black lab and Emma, a 60 pound whatever you want her to be (seriously, everyone who sees her has an opinion what she is!). These two are like my children. Emma has been around longer than Matt. Notice, I say MY, not our. I'm the major dog lover in the family. I always grew up with large inside dogs; Matt grew up with large outside dogs. Being that Emma was around before Matt, there wasn't much discussion as to whether the dogs would be inside or out.

I love having them in the house especially when Matt is gone hunting or working late, they make me feel safe and ALWAYS make me feel loved. Sometimes I think they can read my emotions and feelings better than Matt! However, there is some drawbacks...they shed...a lot...year round. They also bark at every person, animal or strange sound that goes by the house. Plus our house is not huge, it's a one-story ranch and with large dogs, at times, we can all be walking on each other.

Shadow actually came from a home that had 2 small children. The little girl learned how to walk with him because she'd stand up and hold on to him until she was ready to take those first few steps. He's so funny because it's like he knows how to act around different people. If an adult comes to our house, he's a jumper but if my niece or a small child comes over then he's gentle...still in their face but just out of curiosity. My niece always spends a week with us each summer and Shad always sleeps in bed with her.

With Emma, children or adults, if you're a stranger then you're going to stay a stranger. Someone comes in the house, she barks and runs to the other room. If you stick around for awhile, she'll eventually come out and visit. She let's my niece pet her and lay with her but she's a momma's girl and would much rather be with me than anyone else (Matt is a close second).

As stated above, I'm also a HUGE dog lover! I refuse to be one of those moms that has a child and then the dogs get no attention. That's why I REALLY want new carpet in the basement so we can spend time with them in the evening (the carpet now is thin and gross and been there FOREVER). We kennel them during the day while at work and I do NOT want to keep them "locked up" (meaning not in their cage but still just in the basement with no contact) all night too.

So our decision to move the dogs downstairs to our basement was a reluctant one on my part but a no brainer to Matt. I know it'll make Matt happier and I know it's best for the baby with the dog hair and noise plus it'll hopefully keep our upstairs (where people actually see!) cleaner which is good since I know having a baby limits your time to do daily tasks like vacuuming, dusting, etc...

I also want our baby to grow up with dogs and have that love for dogs, the friendship (I know that sounds silly but those of you with pups know what I mean), and not fearing dogs. I also wanted to transition the dogs before the babies get here so they don't resent the baby if we did it when s/he arrives. I have a feeling that Baby G and I will be spending most of my maternity leave downstairs with the pups (it's SOOO much cooler there in the basement) or taking walks with them (one at a time!) if the weather permits (MO summers get pretty toasty!).

I really didn't do any research on this topic. I wasn't told to seperate the dogs or anything. Matt and I just made the best decision for our family. It was more or less based off how we know our puppies and their behavior. I think every family has to make the right decision for their family and you're the one that knows your pets best.

Now before you go feeling sorry for the dogs, as I type this post, Shadow is sprawled out over the couch in the basement while Emma is curled up next to him!

Friday, February 3, 2012

25 Weeks!!!

...I had my 25 week appointment on Wednesday which included the dreaded glucose test! Honestly, the test wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I'm happy to say that I passed-woohoo! I was REALLY worried about this so it's a relief to know that is done and all good.

Other than that, it was a pretty routine appointment. Baby G's heart rate was 140. I'd slowed down my weight gain but I am SO over eating carrots for lunch! I go back in 3 weeks and then I start my every 2 week appointments which I already scheduled out through May 17. Since I couldn't eat before my appointment, Matt took me to Denny's for breakfast afterwards where I inhaled my food!

So we are at T minus 15 weeks to get everything done before the baby gets here! Eek! Even though the house isn't ready, I am so excited for the baby to get here so I can hold and kiss him/her!!! I'm really hoping that the nursery is ready by March 1 and then I'll feel sooo much ready. Matt has informed me that I'm already nesting to which I informed him just wait until that nursery is ready and then you'll REALLY see some nesting!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Flash Burnout" by L.K. Madigan...

...I recently finished "Flash Burnout" by L.K. Madigan:

View the full version of this book online

Review: I have to be honest, while this was an easy read, it did not keep my attention at all. It was typically high school drama...girlfriend vs. girl friend. While it did deal with a deeper subject, Marissa's meth addicted mom, Blake handled it like a high school student...not really wanting to get involved. The author did not make Shannon, Blake's girlfriend, likable at all in my opinion but Marissa was very likable and her and Blake had more in common so it was easy choice to root for Marissa over Shannon. I'd only give this book 2/5 stars.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Giveaway Winner Is...

...thanks for everyone's feedback on the girl name, we still haven't decided. Our leading G girl name (and one time chosen girl name) was Gracyn or Grayson then I decided I didn't want that name because I didn't want her to be called Grace or Gracie. Then I changed my mind but then Matt didn't want the name because it was a boy name. That's weird to me because I grew up knowing a girl Grayson so it's always been a girl name to me but recently it's become a boy name. So we're still comtemplating...who knows, we may not decide until the baby gets here and we know for sure that she's a girl!

So without further ado, I've already ado-ed enough, the winner is Britni!!! So please contact me and let me know how to get your your prize. Thanks again to everyone for your input!

Rabbit, rabbit!!!