Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nicholas Alan is here!

I am so excited to introduce to you our Son, Nicholas Alan!! Nicholas was born 8:50pm on March 19th weighing 7lbs 10oz. He is a healthy little guy and we couldn't be more in love!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tidbits and Trends Thursday & Baby Update

Hello friends! I hope everyone is having a good week! What a glorious Spring week we have been having here in Cleveland. It's 72 and Sunny here today. Wow!!! That just never happens so I have been enjoying every moment.

  • I wanted to provide a Baby #2 update since I just returned from my weekly doctor's appointment. The sad news is, is that I have nothing to report!! Praise God he is doing well, just a little too comfy at the moment it sounds like. I am still 2 centimeters and 50% effaced. Today is my last day in the office which is quite bittersweet for me.  It just hasn't set in yet that I will not be returning to a Corporate office for a VERY long time.  My decision to become a SAHM feels good, it's just going to take some getting used to after all this time!!!  I am so lucky that we are able to do it and really looking forward to the next chapter in my life.  At this point, I am just playing things day by day.  My doctor does not sound like he is in any hurry to induce me since Jillian came on her own so it's just one big waiting game for now.  My next appointment is next Thursday, March 22nd, in which we talk induction at that time.  

  • So do you get excited for March Madness??  I know I do.   A big shout out to Ohio State who I have going in the championship game!!!!!  Woohoo!!  I participate every year in a bracket pool and am really excited about this years tournament.  I actually take my brackets pretty seriously and put time and effort into the researching of low risk upsets.  It's paid off for me in the past so I am hoping this year will be just as fun and exciting!

  • Just a reminder that the first Karen At Home Parade of Homes Tour begins on Monday, April 2nd!!! We have a lot of beautiful homes to show off and I couldn't be more excited.  My main goal for this parade of homes tour is for me to take a little bloggy break since I will be in the midst of newborn boot camp, however, I know my you will appreciate a little home tour eye candy in my absence. Who doesn't love looking at beautifully decorated and staged homes?  There will also be a linky party on the last day of the tour for the rest of you to link up your home tour too!
Here is a sneak peek at our participating bloggers:

Week 1
Decor and the Dog - April 2nd
Hamlett Daily Dose - April 3rd
Unskinny Boppy - April 4th
EmyselfandI - April 5th
Magnolia Lane - April 6th

Week 2
MyGotFam - April 9th
Coleman Chronicles - April 10th
Sixty-Nine Oh Four - April 11th
All in A Day - April 12th
Tiffany - April 13th
Looking forward to seeing every one's beautiful homes!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

All Things Loved in February

Hello friends, I hope you are all having a great week.  I am still hanging in there, my contractions seemed to have slowed down a bit.  Right now I am just playing the waiting game and trying to accomplish as much as I can on my to-do list.  I am slowly checking things off here and there which is a good feeling.  If I could have just one more week, I could probably cross of everything which would be wonderful!!!  I guess your to-do list is never really a to-done list, right???

February seriously flew by for me.  First of all, this Winter has been amazingly mild, even for us Clevelanders.  Jeff only had to use the snow blower twice this year.  Twice.  That is just crazy.  Usually this time of year just drags for us as we deal with one cold and snowy day to the next but not this year.  It's been heaven and I am extremely thankful that I didn't have to drive in a bad snowstorm this year pregnant. 

I actually had a tough time coming up with 5 items I loved in February.  My mind is just drawing a blank these days probably because I feel like I have been torn in several different directions trying to wrap up things at work and at home.  Nevertheless, here is what I was lovin' in February!!!

{Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener}

I have an on-going love/hate relationship with my hair.  It is naturally very thick, wavy and sometimes course.  Being 9 months pregnant, it is especially thick and wavy right now.  I prefer my hair stick straight so I am constantly spending a lot of time trying to get it to the way I want it. It takes 20-30 minutes just to blow dry, 10 minutes to flat iron, and then another 15 to fiddle with it to get it to the way I want it to look.  If it's a humid day, forget about it.  Nothing short of a miracle will get it to stay straight.  To sum it up, my hair is extremely high maintenance which is why I wear it up more than half the time.  I wish this wasn't the case, but in reality, I don't have the time these days to spend on it and I refuse to chop it off.  The last time I went to the salon for a haircut, my hairdresser used the Aveda Smooth and Sleek Glossing Straightener on me and I loved it!!!!  I really feel that it makes a big difference in the look and feel of my hair.  If you have hard to straighten hair, I highly recommend trying out this product!!! 


Printables seem to be everywhere on Pinterest these days and I have been taking advantage of them.  I just love how Pinterest has really expanded our horizons and options in home decor and blog design.  I have pretty much used them this month for both.  I am really loving my new chevron blog header.  The chevron pattern would not have been possible without the talented Sprik Space and her Chevron Pattern Pieces.  I also plan on printing these out for the little man's room and framing them.

I also printed out these Moroccan Tiles for my Great Room art work.  Remember my recent Pop Tab post and looking for scrap book paper or printables to go in the empty frames?  I finally made a decision and used these printables from Mel Stampz in red and gold to add some color to my great room. 

I also love my DIY Birth Announcement printable.  I can't wait to make one for our little man's room!!!!

{Favorite iPhone App - Tweet Caster}

It's no secret that I love Twitter.  In my 'All Things Loved' post for January,  I mentioned that I was loving the Osfoora Twitter App that my co-worker had recommend.  Well, another Twitter App has made my monthly All Things Loved list again and I think that perhaps this is a sign that I am obsessed with finding fun, new Twitter Apps?  I personally love Twitter for the constant social interaction, updating my friends and readers on new blog posts, and for all of the breaking news alerts.  It's an amazing tool and would recommend it to anyone. 

This month I came across a new Twitter app called Tweetcaster.  I love the look and feel of it, however, my favorite feature that I found with this particular app is to update the List feature.  I was not able to find this feature with my Hootsuite or Osfoora Twitter App's.  Sure, you can add people to a particular list, however, I was never able to remove anyone from a particular list.  I am extremely particular about my Twitter list management so finding this feature was wonderful for me. 

Do you have a favorite Twitter App?  What do you particularly like about the App?  I would love to hear from you, I am sure there are even more Twitter App's that I have never even tried. 

{Favorite New Blogs in February}

One of my goals as a Blogger is to attend a Blog conference at least once in my life.  I became familiar with blog conferences in 2011 and really hoped to possibly attend one in 2012.  Unfortunately as a mom of a 2 year old and a newborn, that will most likely not happen this year.  If I had to pick one Blogging conference to attend, it would be Blissdom.  Blissdom seems to appeal to me more than any other conference and I would really love to go in 2013.  So what's a girl to do to get her Blogging Conference fix?  Follow along on Twitter.  You will find so many bloggers tweeting from a particular conference, that you may actually feel like you are there yourself!!!!  Just follow the #Blissdom.  Blissdom seems to appeal to me more than any other conference and I would really love to go in 2013.  So what's a girl to do to get her Blogging Conference fix?  Follow along on Twitter.  You will find so many bloggers tweeting from a particular conference, that you may actually feel like you are there yourself!!!!  Just follow the #hashtag that a particular blogging conference has set up for their event and your Twitter stream will blow up with excited blogging attendees.  I found a few new favorite blogs doing this and have been enjoying their posts ever since.  Here are a few new blogging favorites that I discovered just by following the #Blissdom feed on Twitter. 

{A Big Thank You to My Top Referrals in February}

I have a section to my side bar which features my Top 10 Referrals of the Month. What is a Referral you ask? According to Google Analytics, these are the top sites that have brought me traffic throughout the month by either having my blog listed somewhere in a blog roll on their site, a linky party that I have joined on their site, or if they have featured me in one of their posts. I sincerely appreciate all of the referrals that I get and want to take a moment to thank you!!!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

38 Weeks - Baby #2

I had my 38 week appointment today and I really left feeling like it could be any day now.  I know that only time will tell but things are really progressing for me which is blowing my mind!  I had my 37 week appointment last Wednesday and was only dilated 1 centimeter.  I came back today and am already at 2 centimeters.  I have been experiencing mild, sporadic contractions since Thursday and apparently they were doing something in there!!!  They come and go and are not time able yet but there is certainly something more going on in there than just Braxton Hicks.  They are about as painful as period cramps, not as awful as I know they can be, but certainly more painful than Braxton Hicks.  I keep comparing this pregnancy to Jillian and I am a lot further along at this point than I was with her.  It's starting to get exciting and a little real!!!  I can't believe he could really be here any day now. 

How far along? 38weeks - 2 more weeks or less!

Total weight gain/loss: OK, I am going to be real here because I want to be able to look back and hopefully one day say I lost all the baby weight.  I started off at 120 pounds and stepped on the scale today at the doctors office and hit 170.  Oh my word!!!  How many french friends and bowls of ice cream have I eaten this pregnancy?  Apparently several.  I am at the point in my pregnancy where I am not that hungry anymore and the cravings seemed to have stopped. I am hoping my appetite and weight gain will stay in check these last few weeks.   

Maternity clothes: I wear only pregnancy clothes and am pretty much limited to just a few outfits right now.  I am starting to pack up the clothes that no longer fit me.  There are so many maternity tops in my closet right now that could pass as half shirts, it's ridiculous!!!!  Nothing seems to fit these days.

Stretch Marks: None at the moment and I never developed any with Jillian.

Sleep: I am in that uncomfortable stage of pregnancy but am still getting decent amounts of sleep.  Simple tossing and turning takes a lot of effort and can be a bit painful in my hip area.  I started to develop mild contractions on Thursday which will also wake me up a few times at night.  Once I am up, I usually then waddle to the bathroom and cross my fingers that I can fall back asleep quickly.  Sometimes I am successful, other times I will lay there thinking of all the things I need to do before our little man comes!
Best moment this week: Jeff and I were laying in bed this weekend watching TV when all of a sudden a foot started protruding out of my belly.  This little guy has long legs!  Jeff and I just looked at each other in shock!!!  It was amazing!!  He kept doing this for about ten minutes.  We had so much playing with him that night, it was such a fun moment between just the three of us. 

Movement: Our little guy moves pretty strongly when he is moving.  His movements have slowed down a bit because I think he is running out of room and resting up for labor.  Jillian did this at the end to a point where I was so nervous I went to my OB's office to get her checked out.  I am fortunate enough that my doctor puts me on the monitor each week and our little man is doing fine even though his movements have slowed down a bit.  He still tends to get the hiccups at least once a day.  I always feel so badly when my babies get hiccups, I wish I could somehow help them!!!
Food cravings: Like I said, I really am not craving much of anything anymore.  My stomach is squished and I seem to just graze throughout the day on small meals. 

Gender: BOY!!! Our little guy is still nameless. We are still stuck between Jeffrey or Nicholas.  I honestly don't think at this point we are ever going to come up with a name!!!  Jeff and I were talking in the doctor's office today about what to name him.  I think we have just been so stuck between these two names for so long, we don't know what to do with ourselves.  We seriously need help.  I don't know if seeing him will help or what but I am starting to give up on us coming up with a name before his birth!!!

Labor Signs: This little guy is really confusing me.  I was 1 centimeter dilated as of last Wednesday and already at 2 centimeters at my appointment today.  The mild contractions that I have been having these past few days must have been doing something in there.  I experienced almost 24 hours of HARD contractions before even going into the hospital with Jillian.  Once I arrived, I was ONLY 2 centimeters.  It's crazy how much I am progressing with him than I did with her.  I imagine it's because it's my second pregnancy but oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting this.  I am so confused, I feel like at this rate it could be any day, although I know I could also stay like this for several weeks now.

Belly Button in or out: Out.

What I miss: Feeling normal.  I am so thankful to be blessed again with another baby and am trying to embrace what could possibly my last pregnancy, but I have hit that point where I am ready to be done and feel like myself physically.  I am ready to take the next step in this journey called motherhood and meet this little guy who keeps kicking me! 

What I am looking forward to: Meeting my little man, wrapping up work once and for all, having my energy back, and wearing normal clothes!

Milestones: Reaching 2 centimeters dilated -- wow!

I am started to cherish every day with Jillian likes it's our last as a family of three.   Last night the three of us sat on the couch and watched one of Jillian's favorite Disney movies, "The Great Fairy Rescue."  It was such a special night and hope that Jillian knows how much we love her!!!

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Looking for Bloggers for A Parade of Homes!

I am so thrilled to announce my very first Parade of Homes guest blogging event!!! I am looking for bloggers who are passionate about decorating their homes and even more passionate about showing off them off! And who doesn't love a good home tour? I know I love looking at beautifully decorated homes!

I am looking for ten guest bloggers who are interested in guest posting on my blog and showing off pictures of their homes. Once I receive ten volunteers, I will assign your day to participate in the tour. Please email me at karenathomeblog@yahoo.com for more details.

The tour will begin on Monday, April 2nd and go through Friday, April 13th. On the last day of the parade, I will be hosting my very first linky party for everyone to participate.

I hope you are excited about this as I am. I can't wait to see all of your beautiful homes!!!

Tidbits & Trends Thursday

Good morning friends and Happy Thursday!  Today is a pretty significant day for me because it marks the last day of daycare for Jillian.  Can you believe it?  I can't.  As happy as I am about starting this next chapter in my life, it is a bittersweet time as Jillian says good bye to the little friends she has made over the past two years.  I am so happy that I am friends with a few of her friend's Moms and hope to arrange playdates in the near future.  We have certainly had our ups and downs with daycare but in the long run know that she will be happiest at home with me and her brother.  Jeff and I have planned to pick up Jillian together tonight on her last day and I know I am going to end up an emotional, teary-eyed mess saying good bye to everyone we have met. 
  • I have some pretty amazing news to share with you!!!!  I received an email today and also heard on Twitter that there is going to be a replacement for Picnik!!!  According to the email, a few of Picnik's employees have teamed up and created a new website called Picmonkey.com.  I really hope this new website is just as good, if not better, than Picnik!  Perhaps this is the answer to all of our prayers?  Let's hope it's up and running by April 19th when Picnik is planning on closing it's doors. 

  • I had my weekly doctor's appointment and my first internal exam yesterday.  No baby yet, however, I am dilated 1 centimeter.  I wasn't expecting anything so 1 centimeter surprised me!  I know it's not much but it's the start of something, that is for sure.  I have been experiencing a lot of Braxton Hicks and light contractions this week so something is certainly going on.  I was also hooked up to the monitor for a stress test on our little man.  So far all is well!!!  There was also talk of possibly inducing me on the 18th when my doctor is on call so we shall see.  It's all up in the air and ultimately up to my little man!!!!

  • The nursery is SLOWLY coming along!  Here is a little sneak peek at the paint color we chose, Tradewinds by Sherwin Williams.  His crib has also been put together this week and his dresser is partially assembled.  This has certainly been the slowest project ever.  I still have not bought his bedding yet either, I just can't bring myself to do it.  I am not sure why I keep dragging my feet on this.  I love it so much, I just know how little he is actually going to use it which is why I keep going back and forth with it.  Am I crazy for thinking this way? 

  • I am sure by now you have all heard about the horrible tragedy that took place on Monday at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio.  Chardon is about 15 minutes from where we live and this whole situation hit very close to home.  If you are from this area, I am sure you are shocked that this could affect a cute little town like Chardon.  Chardon is known for it's old fashion style town square and is the epicenter of the snow belt in Cleveland. Please pray for the friends and families who have lost loved ones in the Chardon shooting and with those whose lives were changed forever. Events such as this one scare me to death as a parent. Our kids should be safe at school, not terrorized. I don't think a day has gone by this week where I haven't cried watching the news. 
Hope you are all having a good week!  Thank you so much for stopping by!

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