Kelly's Korner is one of my favorite blog to read and this week is her "Show Us Your Life - Christmas Traditions". I thought I would use this as an opportunity to reflect on the four Christmases that Jeff and I have shared together as a married couple and to look forward to this Christmas, by far the most special to come. I feel like our Christmases have been shaped by a lot of monumental events in our life since we have been married. It seems as if a lot of milestones in our marriage have all occurred around the holidays. Let me explain.
Jeff and I were married in August of 2005. Our first Christmas together was so special. We were living were in Jeff's home, our first home as a married couple, and I wanted to make it special by throwing a fun holiday party for our family and friends. I remember I bought out Target, JoAnn Fabric's, and any other holiday decor store I could get my hands on. I was starting from scratch as a married woman and needed some really festive holiday decorations.
CHRISTMAS 2005 - OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS TOGETHER:
CHRISTMAS 2006 - OUR SECOND CHRISTMAS TOGETHER: Christmas 2006 and brought us our first pregnancy loss and the start of our very long journey with infertility and loss. Christmas of 2006 certainly had a dark cloud over it, we had planned on telling our families that we were expecting our first child and ended up having a miscarriage and d&c on December 10th. We were really not feeling the holiday spirit but were thankful that we had each other and looking forward to trying again for a baby in the new year. Looking back at my New Years Resolution, it amazes me at how far we have come from that point. I was already dreaming of a new home and a sticky baby, at least one of those dreams came true in the upcoming year for us.
CHRISTMAS 2007 - OUR THIRD CHRISTMAS TOGETHER:
Christmas 2007 was nothing short of craziness for us. We FINALLY moved into our new home on December 22, 2007 after six months of going through the building process and moving three times that year. We signed the contract with the builder July 2007, we sold our house in September 2007 and then moved into a vacant friend's house which was also for sale. Our friend eventually sold their home and we had to move in with Jeff's parents for a month until our home was being completed. After a very long and crazy fall which consisted of several moves and daily visits to our new home under construction, moving day was finally here. Right in time for Christmas! Needless to say, I didn't do a lot as far as Christmas decor was concerned and only displayed a pre-lit mini tree in our front living room window. I could barely find our Christmas decorations amongst all of our boxes, let alone, find the time to decorate!!! Even with all of the chaos of building a new home, selling our first home, and moving several times, our hearts still dreamed of having a baby. It had been a year since our first miscarriage and we were on the horizon of seeking infertility treatments.
The big move, we didn't even have a concrete driveway that day! Note the empty lot next to us, the whole cul-de-sac was empty except for our home. How our neighborhood has grown.
Our Christmas card picture that year:
CHRISTMAS 2008 - OUR FOURTH CHRISTMAS TOGETHER
Our fourth Christmas together was by far the hardest. If you followed our journey, back then, we were in the middle of an emotional roller coaster for most of the month of December. We found out we were pregnant in November of 2008 after going through a year of infertility treatments, tests, and a laproscopy surgery. We were so thrilled when we found out that our prayers had finally been answered. We sadly found out in December that our baby might not make it. Several emotional weeks later at our next ultra sound, we had a healthy heartbeat and it looked like our miracle was finally going to happen. We tried to remain hopeful and pray for our baby, but again it was another loss. I didn't even have the heart to send out Christmas cards that year. We still managed to decorate and I tried to distract myself from the uncertain fate of our pregnancy by decorating our home. I had a d&c on December 26th, the day after Christmas.
A few photos of our holiday decor that year:
CHRISTMAS 2009 - OUR CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
This Christmas chapter in our lives is still unwritten but we are so full of excitement and hope for the arrival of our little girl. We love her so much already and I can't believe that we are finally going to be parents!!! Our dream has finally come true and it couldn't be more fitting that her arrival will be around the Christmas holidays. What will next Christmas bring for us?
I ended up getting this baby bag!!! My MIL was nice enough to hit the Myrtle Beach outlets while she was on vacation this week and found a great deal on this one. I am so excited, I can not wait for her to come home with it! It feels good to have that decision made, now I can pack it up for delivery day!!!
Jillian is going to be here before I know it and I am still struggling with what kind of diaper bag I should get. There are so many options out there, the whole decision process is a bit overwhelming!!!!! Here are a few of my choices that I have narrowed down from all ends of the diaper bag specturm. I would love to hear from you Mom's. I really value your input. Do you love your diaper bag? Wish you would have/ wouldn't have splurged on yours? Is there another one that a Mommy friend has that you wish you would have purchased? Any input is welcome, I am trying to find a stylish, yet functional bag.
I love this from Coach, they had it at our outlet but in brown, I would prefer black:
This one is cute from JP Lizzie. I love the bow on the front and all of the little compartments inside:
This diaper bag from Skip Hop received great reviews on diaperbags.com:
This one from Kate Spade is just adorable but it's in brown, I want black:
An adorable Kate Spade bag in black:
I have also heard a lot about the Petunia Picklebottoms bags.
Thanks for all of your help, I greatly appreciate it!!!
So our bed arrived on Friday and what a site we came home to. Jeff and I took a half day off of work that day and all morning I kept receiving texts from my neighbors saying that we had some insanely huge boxes waiting on our front porch. I would have to agree with them! They were huge!
Jeff had to take apart the boxes outside because there was no way he could lift those inside by himself. Fortunatly for us, we had the help of a friendly neighbor to help us lift the massive headboard and footboard inside the house and up the stairs.
The head board waiting to be set up:
It is done!
My review so far of the Canopy line at Wal-Mart is exceptional quality and value. The bed looks beautiful!!!!! If I didn't share my little secret with you, would you have guessed that this was purchased from Wal-Mart? So to answer my own question, the bed is as nice as it looks on-line and in pictures. I would recommend this set to anyone trying to save a few dollars and want a nice looking master bedroom.
Next steps for our bedroom are to order the matching dressers. It will be so nice to have a finished master bedroom!!!! We also found out this weekend that Jillian's furniture is due to be delivered next week!!! I am so excited!!!! It will be such a great feeling to have her room set up and ready to go.
Hello all, I just wanted to share with you a story that warmed my heart so much this week. Sweet Melissa, over at Stafford Stories, just announced her pregnancy after dealing with a two year journey with infertility. After several failed IUI's and a failed IVF with ICSI, she and her husband were able to conceive on their own after their doctor gave them only a 5% success rate. It truly is a miracle from God. I will never take for granted what God has given to us and truly believe every baby is a gift from God. I hope this story gives all women praying for a baby hope.
OK, I am going to be honest here. I love to try to paint my home in a light of cleanliness and order. I turn my nose at clutter and hate dust and dirt. That is how things usually were until I became pregnant. Since then I feel like I am constantly playing catch up with the house work. I was a paranoid freak the first trimester due to our history so I didn't want to over exert myself, I was better the second trimester when my energy returned, but now in the fatigue and heavier times of the third trimester, things are slacking around here again. It's hard to keep the house clean when you are so tired half of the time. I do not have a lot of motivation after a long day of work. On weekends, I find myself getting caught up on baby to-do stuff when I do have the energy. Cleaning is also very hard work when you are almost 9 months pregnant. Things have certainly slipped around here and I just couldn't take it anymore. Warning: if unclean bathrooms gross you out, do not read any further!!! Please tell me I am not the only one!
My master bath has turned into the nastiest room in the house. It's probably the most used and least cleaned. Probably because it takes so darn long to clean and the most energy. Jeff went to the Monday Night Football Browns game tonight so I decided I had to do something about the nastiness that has become our master bath.
The embarrassing before:
After a crazy Monday morning getting ready for work:
Nasty sink, the plunger doesn't even look silver anymore:
Jeff's nasty and cluttered side of the bathroom:
Nasty hairballs (sorry ladies, so gross, I know!):
Nasty soap scum and calcium deposit on the shower doors:
Finally after scrubbing the bathroom for over an hour, normalcy has returned:
My side is finally clean and uncluttered again:
A freshly vaccumed and swiffered floor and base board:
A clean, unclutter sink. A fresh towel hanging from the towel ring:
I feel like I am turning into a weekend blogger lately. Our weekdays have been so busy between work, baby prep classes, and other random outtings that before you know it, another weekend is here. With days flying by like this for us, Miss Jillian is going to be here before we know it!!! As of today, I officially have 40 days left. I can't believe it. So many milestones have been reached this week from a personal and professional perspective. First, I was approved to go part-time once the baby is there! I will be working 3 Nine hour days, I am so excited!!!! I get to have the best of both worlds, a career and will be able to stay at home two days a week with my little girl. The other three days will be split between daycare and Jeff's Mom. I also submitted my FMLA request to HR on Friday!!!!! I am so excited! I am offcially going to be off for 12+ weeks once she arrives. This is going to be a huge change for me, I have been working ever since I graduated from college, um, 13 years ago? Wow. I am really looking forward to this time off with my baby girl. I think I counted only 25 workdays left. So excited!!!!! My co-workers also gave us a wonderful baby shower this week. We are so blessed to work with such wonderful people.
On the Canopy Bed front, we received the side slats this week!!! So I guess Walmart was not playing a cruel joke on my at all. The header and footboard have also been shipped and are hanging out somewhere in Virgina the last time I checked. They have to be huge so I imagine they are going to take a few more days than the slats. I can't wait to post pics of the bed finally put together. Speaking of bedroom furniture, we are still waiting for Jill's furniture to arrive. I expect it will be a few more weeks but I am really itching to finish up her room!!!! My parents surprised us this week by brining over her curtains as an early Christmas present. They are so adorable, I can't wait to hang them.
We have the silk green panels:
with the pink polka dot sheers:
A few more 34 week details:
Total weight gain/loss: 30 lbs. I pretty much reached my limit to where I wanted to end up, and I still have 6 weeks to go. Let's just hope that this is it.
Maternity clothes? Of course, even though there are a few occasional non maternity items I can still get a way with.
Stretch Marks: Still none! Woohoo!
Sleep: Still getting up at least 1-2 nights to pee. It's so funny how I will crawl back into bed and then Jill gets up and thinks it's time to start moving around. It amazes me how my schedule affects her. She is such a little person already. I notice she will even respond to when I am in the shower, drying my hair, or talking to Jeff in the morning. I really wonder how much they hear and pay attention to while they are all snug in there.
Best moment this week: Her hiccups. I was laying in bed one night and I started to feel her move around and kick her feet like she normally does but I also noticed some activity going on where her head is which I never really felt before. I had Jeff feel her and he was the one that realized she was having the hiccups. It made so much sense, she would twich every 30 seconds. There have been a few nights where it has woken me up so I just lay there and rub my belly hoping she is OK. I feel terrible sometimes when she has them really bad. Poor thing!
Movement: All the time now, her feet are always resting to the left of me, if I want to make sure she is OK, I just press on her feet and get a reaction out of her.
Food cravings: Nothing in particular, just a little bit of everything! Ugh, my appetite has really kicked in, lets just hope it is going to her and not me.
Labor Signs: I have had some weird cramping which I think has been Braxton Hicks. Not 100% convinced yet but we will call it that for now.
Belly Button in or out? Still out.
What I miss: this week it's normal fall clothes and tall boots. I have seen so many cute fall styles on women lately that I really wish I can participate!!! I am ready to burn my black patent leather flats that I have been wearing since the summer.
What I am looking forward to: meeting our little girl and holding her in my arms. I can't wait to show her the nursery!
Weekly Wisdom: None I can think of this week!
Milestones: Getting approved for part time work and submitting my FMLA request. Getting approved for part time is just so wonderful for me. It just helps everything that we have been planning that much easier.
Hello everyone! How are you? I couldn't believe it today when I saw that I had 92 followers. Wow, how the heck are you? How did you find my blog? Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our daily lives. I have really enjoyed blogging lately and it's been so nice to receive so many positive comments from you. I have been having such a great time preparing for our little girl and decorating our home. I love documenting how far we have come from our struggles with infertility and loss and all of the changes we have made to our home. All of your support means a lot to me. I just wanted to take a moment to say hello and thank you for following our daily lives. Please leave me a comment and introduce yourself. Please let me know where you found me. I also added a button to the right of my blog, please add it to your blog if you choose to do so. Have a great weekend everyone!
I have been wanting to complete our bedroom set ever since we bought the Wal Mart Canopy nightstands almost a year ago. On line, this set looked fabulous, and all of my friends from the Decorating & Renovating Board on The Nest who have tried this line of furniture have all raved about the quality. So I ordered the nightstands just to see what I thought. We really needed a bedroom set and I really didn't want to spend a lot of money considering we have practically a whole house to furnish. So I ordered the nightstands and we loved them, great quality, great color, an all around good product. And from Wal-Mart!!! So I decided to order the rest of the set and soon realized the sleigh bed we wanted was out of stock!!!! I kept checking Wal-Mart's website for months to see if it was available! I was really starting to get nervous, what if this was a sign of the bedroom set being discontinued? I started to think of what I should do with the two night stands that we had, should I put them in another room? Use them as end tables? Ugh! I didn't want to start from scratch again and have to look for another bedroom set. This one really fit our needs perfectly and it was beautiful and so reasonably priced! I decided to check Wal-Mart's website again this week just by chance that the bed was back in stock. I really wasn't holding my breath, but did try to check the availability at least once a week. So I checked it on Tuesday and holy lord, it was there!!!! I even sent an email to my sister so she could confirm that I wasn't seeing things. I told Jeff that night that I really think we should order the bed before it went back out of stock again and he gave me the go ahead. The next day, I went on line to order the bed, clicked on the link that I had saved in my favorites, and a big fat red OUT OF STOCK stared at in the face. What the heck? It was only in stock for a day? I was so ticked, I couldn't believe it! Now what was I going to do? Was this really that hot of an item? So I emailed Wal-Mart's customer service and they gave me their basic response that the item would be back in stock eventually but they couldn't commit to a date. Of course. So I tried again the next day just to see what the status was. A beautiful green AVAILABLE! I couldn't believe it, so I ordered the bed immediately. Today I received an email confirming that our bed had already been shipped. Yay!!!!! I can't believe we are finally going to get our bed after months and months of chasing this thing down. Do you realize if you were to check the bed on line just now it is still saying it is out of stock??? I will post pics once we have it, let's pray it arrives in one piece and it is the actual bed that I have been wanting after all these months and that their website is not just playing games with my head!
This room has been two years in the making and I am happy to say it is just about complete! We have had the furniture and drapes for almost a year but it has taken me awhile to find end tables. I decided that I really just wanted this room finished so I purchased the Avington end tables from Target. I have to say they look great and now my room is finally furnished! The two lamps I purchased at JCPenney this winter and they have been sitting in our basement just waiting for me to pick out end tables. With the arrival of our baby just 7 weeks away, it has really put my unfinished home decor projects into over drive!!! It feels good to finally have another room done.
I am thinking of hanging these mirrors above the couch eventually for some wall decor and would like paint the room a warmer brown color.
Total weight gain/loss: 28 lbs. Do I still need to answer this question? It is my blog though, and I do want to document EVERYTHING about this pregnancy, we'll just hope she is a big girl! :) All the Halloween candy I have eaten this week certainly does not help matters! It's all coming to work with me on Monday, it needs to get out of the house.
Maternity clothes? All I do wear is maternity clothes. I am in that stage where I am longing for all of my old clothes and shoes and will be happy if I never see maternity clothes again! At least until the next pregnancy. I miss my stilettos, I miss my tall boots for Fall, I miss my Seven jeans. Most of all, I miss my Ann Taylor and professional looking clothes!!!! I have become "casual Karen" at work lately but it's comfortable and it gets me through the day. Thank god our company has a business casual dress code. Target maternity has become my new friend these past few months and it's hard for me to even justify buying anything else maternity even from there with only 8 weeks left when there are so many other wonderful baby items to buy!
Stretch Marks: Still none to report! My mom and sister didn't have any so I am hoping that it's just great genes working to my advantage.
Sleep: I get up around twice a night to pee and have twice experienced a funky nerve issue in my neck recently that has woken me up from a dead sleep. I have read about some pregnant women getting a sciatic nerve thing from the baby sleeping a certain way. I am assuming this is it!
Best moment this week: Interacting with her. I can push down on her feet and she moves them away from me. She will then put them back and I start pushing on them again. I can play games with her now. I wonder if she realizes it's her crazy mom picking on her?
Movement: Just feeling her whole body move around has been so much fun for me. I love just feeling around my belly and finding out where she is at. She is easy to find now and I love just waking her up when I want to make sure she is OK. Some days she is really active and I can see little body parts pushing out of my belly. I love resting my hands on her little butt, especially at work when things are going crazy. I am really going to miss having my "little buddy" at work!
Food cravings: Really nothing significant unless you want to count the Halloween candy. I have also been wanting Panera a lot too, I just love all their different soups for Fall. They have recently built a Panera right across the street from our office so I have been occasionally grabbing a Asiago cheese bagel with sun dried tomato cream cheese or a reduced fat blue berry muffin in the morning before work. I have been doing this at least once a week latey. Yum!!!
Gender: Girl! After all of the ultra sounds we have had, this has remained the same! Thank god, what little boy would want a pink room???
Labor Signs: Thankfully none so far. I have had only one or two braxton hicks contractions that really haven't been anything to speak of.
Belly Button in or out? Still out.
What I miss: diet pop! I broke down and had a few sips yesterday of Jeff's and it was heaven!!!!!!
What I am looking forward to: finally meeting her, I am in the final stretch and these last few weeks are going to drag I have a feeling!!!! Work has been nuts lately and just knowing I don't have to deal with it for around 12 weeks is really keeping me going!
Weekly Wisdom: My neighbor was telling me last night at our neighbor's Halloween party how this is the time where everything starts to hurt and my hip's really start to spread out. Ugh, can't wait for that! Luckily I have been still feeling pretty good, no major aches or pains to complain about.
Milestones: Making it to almost 32 weeks, my niece Nicole was born at 33 weeks in March. I have been watching this video all weekend just amazed that our little girl looks like this now! In the beginning, she looks small, but you do not realize how small she is until my sister's husband puts his hand out and it takes up practically her whole body!!!!!
Hello and thank you for visiting Karen At Home Blog! I hope you will relax, kick back, and make yourself at "Home". I am a former Corporate Accountant turned Stay At Home Mom to two year old Jillian, 7 month old Nicholas, wife to my best friend Jeff and a Thirty-One Gifts Consultant. My blog is about everything that I love from Home Decor, DIY projects, and Recipes to Homemaking Tips and our own family life.
As a busy Mom, I am always looking for better ways to clean, organize and decorate our home. That is how Karen At Home...Homemaking Made Simple came to be. I love sharing my Homemaking and Decorating tips with you! My goal is to make your life just a little bit easier and a lot more inspired!
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