Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ketchup

Okay, so here I am catching up again from several events that have happened recently. When our faithful readers last left off, I was on my way to another Christmas party.

Friday night we had our family Christmas party with the Rileys hosted by Jenn and Matt. I again, failed at taking pictures. But dad got some good ones! It was a lot of fun, as usual, and I ate way too much, as usual.

Saturday we spent our first day off together in 5 or 6 weeks by organizing the house. We Stephen moved a ton of stuff out of the guest bedroom that is to become the nursery, and moved it into the other upstairs bedroom and the attic. I laboriously went through some of my zillions of books to see which ones I could part with long enough to box them up and put them in the attic. We met up with Granny and Granddaddy at 4:00 to go to dinner and a show in Fayetteville. We went to the Haymont Grill for dinner, and then hopped over to the theatre (theater??) to watch The Best Christmas Pageant Ever on stage. This is officially an annual event for us, because we did it last year as well. We also stopped and looked at some Christmas lights on the way home.

Sunday, after church, we realized how much free time we actually had. Choir practice was canceled, which meant we didn't have to be back at church until 7:00. Whoa!! After spending the day cooking, eating, organizing more nursery stuff, watching a movie, and generally being lazy, I realized why so many people skip night church. It felt like we had been at home for ages!

Monday was our December doctor's appointment. I knew it was going to be a real nothing appointment, but good grief, I hardly even saw the doctor's face! We were definitely in the waiting room much longer than in the room with him, although I guess that is the norm for doctor's appointments. All they did at this appointment was weight and blood pressure, listened to her heartbeat, and measured me for the first time. I wasn't privy to her heartbeat number or if I'm measuring correctly, but based on the quick, "Everything's perfect!" I got as Dr. B raced out the door, I think that's a good sign.

So now it's Christmas Eve! We will celebrate Christmas with Stephen's family tonight, which is always fun because we do the White Elephant/Chinese gift exchange. Tomorrow we can relax because we don't have anything until dinner with my family at 5:00. That means I will cook a delicious breakfast and I plan on staying in my pajamas until I feel like taking a shower.

I am so grateful that for the past couple of years both mine and Stephen's families have decided gifts are overrated. Our family picks donations instead, and you can give any dollar amount you can afford. With Stephen's family, we have tried different things over the years. One year we picked two names and got gifts under a certain amount. One year we had to give a $20 bill to two different people in the most creative way we could think of. This year we just drew one name each, and our gift(s) has(have) to be able to fit into these small boxes we have. That is going to be one hard task, considering I drew Stephen's name. What I got for him is definitely going to have a hard time fitting in there. We haven't bought each other Christmas presents in probably four years or so, so I was actually really excited to be able to buy him something just for fun. I don't think he's ever read this blog except for when I make him ("I live our life - why should I read about it?!") but I don't want to put what I got him just in case.

I will be very slack about updating for a while because on Friday we leave for Georgia, where we'll be until after New Years. So, Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!!! Be safe, eat a lot, take lots of naps, and be blessed!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Favorite Holiday Recipe

My favorite holiday recipe for 2008 is Wassail! I made it for two Christmas parties and it was a big hit, so I'm just going to post the recipe here.



Ingredients:
8 lady apples or Gala apples (I have used 8, but three is PLENTY for decoration)
8 cups water
2 (12-oz) cans frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
1 (12-oz) can frozen OJ concentrate, thawed and undiluted
1 (11.5 oz) can apricot nectar (I used a small can of apricot halves and dumped it all in)
1 (6-oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted (I used 12 ounces)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
15 whole cloves
6 sticks cinnamon (or however many you feel led to throw in)
3 cups sweet white wine (I used white grape juice)

Peel the top third of each apple. Place the apples in a shallow baking dish; pour water to a depth of 1/2" into dish around apples. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 50 minutes (or less for less apples) or until apples are slightly tender. Remove apples from dish, set aside.

Combine 8 cups of water and next 7 ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered 30 minutes or so. Remove and discard cloves. Stir in wine/grape juice.

Serve in a Dutch oven, heatproof punch bowl, or slow cooker. Float baked apples in Wassail.

Accept compliments politely and drink up!!

Milestones post

Three milestones have been hit all in one week. So this has been a very active week in reference to Baby Bri. (Does anyone think it's weird that I call her that? It just rolls off the tongue.)

Milestone #1 - Tuesday night, I had just sat down to take a break from cooking and blogging when I felt Brianna kick like a professional. Now, I have been feeling her kick for some time, but this was massive enough that I really thought Stephen would be able to feel her. Of course, she had already kicked, so it was too late. So I didn't say anything that time. Or the second or third time. I just thought it was a fluke! So I promised myself if she kicked one more time that hard, I'd get him over to handle the merchandise. Within just a few seconds, there it came!! So, trying not to move or breathe any differently, I told him he better get over to where I was if he wanted to feel his daughter trying to kick her way out!! It took another minute or two of us sitting there with four hands splayed across my wide belly, but she finally let loose. She kicked hard enough for him to feel more than a handful of times and then quieted down. He was so excited. He couldn't believe that's what I feel every day.

Milestone #2 - Wednesday night, I wore a T-shirt to church, and for the first time, you could still see my belly even though the shirt is a little big. Everyone was amazed at the bigness of my stomach. I have never in my life had my stomach pointed out so many times using the words "big", "growing", etc. Fortunately, it doesn't bother me to hear this! I always wondered if I would mind that or not, but I guess not.

Milestone #3 - Last night was the first night since we've been married that we've been in the same place and had to sleep separately. My big belly doesn't bother me every night, but sometimes it really gets in the way when I'm trying to fall asleep. The first time it happened, I told him I thought I'd have to move to the couch eventually because it really conforms to my body. He said if I moved in there he'd move to the loveseat so we could at least still be in the same room. Thoughtful!! Anyway, last night I finally got into a good position after about an hour of reading, tossing, and turning. I had just drifted off when ... WHAM!! I took an elbow in the schnozzle. Of course the offender attached to the elbow was still quite unconscious and unbothered. So, muttering to myself, I grabbed my book and went to the living room. I finally got sleepy again after about 45 minutes of reading. That couch isn't as comfortable as I remembered, oh, and it didn't help that Brianna started kicking well after midnight (what was she doing up!? This doth not bode well.) Finally, sometime around 4:15, I moved back into our bedroom and slept well until Stephen left for work at 5:30. So the night wasn't a total loss.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tuesday night we had the night off, so I cooked a vegetable chowder for mom and dad for Wednesday's lunch, blogged, and cleaned up around the house while we watched The Dark Knight. I thought it was just okay, but I have a feeling Stephen would have watched it again immediately after if we could stay up that late. In fact, him and this guy Battle at work have this weird obsession with it. Wednesday at work, Battle asked Stephen what he's going to have Brianna call him, like Dad, Pop, etc. Stephen said, "I'm going to have her call me by my real name. Bruce Wayne." Of course, because Battle and Stephen have the same sense of humor (or lack thereof, it could be argued), they thought this was hilarious.

Wednesday night we had our December birthdays party at youth group, which was just for me and Drew. So, after eating chips, cookies, cupcakes, and Mountain Dew for an hour, we also had a dinner afterwards for a girl at church whose husband has gotten sent back to his home base in Virginia. I'm not big on snacks, so the dinner was what I was waiting for. Imagine my surprise when we got home from that around 9:00 and Stephen asked what was for dinner. Are you kidding me!? I ended up making him mac and cheese and had to finish it for him! One of us is a piggie, and I ain't sayin' who.

Last night we had our work party for Carpet One. It was at one of my FAVE local restaurants and was absolutely delicious. Last year I won a door prize, but this year, NO LUCK. Oh well. Only 364 days to try again. Tonight is another Christmas party, so hopefully I will actually utilize my camera at this one!

My toe is coming along in its healing process. It is going back and forth between itching and pain. So weird. I've been lotioning it just in case the itching is for real and not in my head. But I always correlate itching with healing, so that's good. It's still blue but of course it's not going to heal overnight.

Annnnnnnnnnnd, I just got some very good news! I don't think I ever blogged about this, but most of the people near and dear to me knew Stephen and I had finals last week. Yes, in the middle of this, we were taking exams and writing papers. Well, he had two exams, I had one and a 15-20 page paper that I kept putting off because we were so busy every night. I ended up somehow writing it over Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday in between stuff. I finally told Stephen that I was resigning myself to getting a B in the class because I just didn't have the time or energy to put a lot of effort into this last paper, and B's on two earlier papers had brought down my average. I just checked my final grades, and I got a 98 on my final paper, bringing my final grade to a 95!!! Wooooo! So out of all my classes in the summer and fall terms, I still have a 4.0 GPA for now. I am bragging while I still can, because the classes are starting to scare me now!


This is funny, though. I was trying to search for my final grade (the website is really confusing) and I came across my graduation prediction information. Notice what it says (if you can see the picture): Student Information effective from Summer 2008 to The End of Time.



Geez.... I mean, I knew it feels like I won't finish school until the end of time, but I didn't know they felt the same way... I think that is so funny!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where have I been?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Here is the short version of what I've been up to in the past week. And by short, I mean massive overload of pictures and information.

Monday, December 8 - This night was our Christmas party for our ladies group at church. We revealed our secret sisters and ate tons of food. I left with about 10 slices of cheesecake - YUM! My secret sister turned out to be my friend Renee. Her Christmas gift to me was this Willow Tree statue:


Tuesday, December 9: We got our new entertainment center delivered. We also were invited to Emma's Christmas concert for orchestra. The following pictures are our before and after pictures of the entertainment centers, pictures and video of Emma's concert, and an art craft Emma made that was on display in the school.






video





Wednesday, December 10: We went caroling with all the kids at church. I don't have any pictures of this, so I'll put up a craft I did last weekend instead. All I did was paint it, but I think it's so cute!



Friday, December 12: We were supposed to have our adult Christmas play at church this night but it was canceled. So instead, we had mom and dad over for dinner and to look at all the baby items we've accumulated this far! We had lasagna with a great salad that mom made, and garlic bread. Delicious!! We had a fun time looking through everything and it was nice just to get together and chat with no regards to time.
Saturday, December 13: We had our annual Christmas party with Joy and Jamie, hosted by Jenn and Matt. There was sooo much food. It was a great party, but I was so involved with talking that I only took four pictures. Can you believe that!?!?




Sunday, December 14: Jackie, one of my former clients and present friend, came to church with us. Then her and I went to Friend to Friend for our Christmas party there. There must have been 70 or more people there. There was so much food. I'm seeing a pattern here. Santa Claus came to give the kids presents, but he brought presents for the moms too! We had so much fun we ended up staying for almost three hours. That night, we went to our kids Christmas play at church. I absolutely regret not bringing a camera to record some videos. We have some HAMS in that age range!! We had two kids that probably have future careers as backup dancers. We laughed the entire play, even though it really wasn't supposed to be that funny. It was awesome!

Monday, December 15: I started off my day by tripping and falling on my way into work. So before it was even 8:00, I was already having a bad day! I stubbed my toe on a concrete curb and literally saw stars as I crumpled to the ground. Fortunately, I was able to drag myself to the freezer for ice, and the medicine cabinet for medical tape. I taped my toe to the one next to it and immediately applied ice. Then I made a doctor's appointment for the afternoon to make sure everything was kosher with baby Bri. After a couple of hours I canceled that appointment because I felt fine, but in the beginning I had gone with the motto of better safe than sorry. Bri was fine, but I couldn't say the same for my toe. I got home and hadn't taken the tape off all day, but I just knew it would look normal and I'd get no sympathy from the hubby. Well, after taking the tape off, and even he was grossed out, I knew I had it in the bag!!



These pictures really don't do it justice. It looks much worse in real life. And hurts worse too. But I'm just gonna keep taping, icing, and propping at night. What a day, huh?

Last night we went caroling at Tara Plantation (a nursing home) with church, and did a short play for them. We had about 25 residents show up. I got sucked into a conversation with one lady somehow, and bless her heart, I learned so much about her family. She could have started with In the beginning... and probably had a shorter conversation. But I know a lot of those residents really need someone to talk to and visit them, so I was happy to oblige.

That catches up until now. Maybe I can keep this updated so I don't have to do such a long post next time! Congrats to anyone who finished reading all this!

Monday, December 15, 2008

To the consumer

Dear lady in front of me at Food Lion:

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I appreciated our conversation last Saturday. I have to admit I was a little bit confused when you didn't leave right after your transaction was done, and instead watched all of my items being scanned. Then, I wondered why you were so concerned with asking the cashier if I had bought the eggs that were on sale...

"They were only $0.89!!!" you stage-whispered to me frantically.

I shook my head. No, I'm an idiot. I didn't see the eggs that were on sale. Instead, I bought the ones that were $1.39. Noooooooooooooooo!

When I assured you that it was okay, I really wasn't excited that you told the cashier that I "must have plenty of money". I was a little peeved that you had let it slip that I am astoundingly rich, and I hope no one else in the store overheard, or they might have been upset that every other item in my cart was store brand. I especially appreciated it when you told me that "one day I would learn to count my pennies".

Now that I know how rich I am, I can quit doing Rite Aid rebates and shopping with triple coupons. I can't tell you how valuable this information is to me, and my husband will be quite happy to realize we can both retire at a young age and stay home with our children.

Sincerely,
The Girl Who Somehow Nodded Graciously and Walked Out of the Store Without Saying a Word

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pregnancy survey

The last time I did this was at 8 weeks, so probably a lot of stuff has changed since then!!

How far along? 21 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 7 or 8 pounds
Maternity clothes? I have one pair of black maternity pants that I do wear to work. Otherwise, I am not into shirts yet, and don't need more pants thanks to the miracle of the belly band!
Stretch marks? not yet!
Sleep: I am still just as tired as I was at the beginning of this pregnancy. Thankfully, I have only had two nights where I really haven't slept at all. If I don't sleep well it's usually due to bladder issues.
Best moment this week: I have a few of these. Feeling her kick (although I'd appreciate not being kicked in the bladder thankyouverymuch) is one. Since I found out that she should be able to distinguish my voice now, I read my devotions out loud to her before bed. Then I lay in bed while Stephen rubs my belly and calls her name to see if she'll kick for him (she doesn't.)
Food cravings: still nothing
Gender: girl!
Labor Signs: no, thank the Lord!
Belly Button in or out? still in for now
Wedding rings on or off? on for now
What I miss: sleeping on my stomach, wine
What I am looking forward to: being big enough that people are sure I'm pregnant and not just bloated, and of course just meeting Brianna!
Weekly Wisdom: Sleep whenever possible (I give this advice but don't follow it unfortunately). Learn how to politely refuse advice when given. Learn to tune out the phrase, "She's going to change your life" or "You have no idea. Your life will never be the same." Learn to love hand-me-downs (although I am cheap enough that I really don't have to learn that!)
Milestones: Finally being able to read out loud to Brianna and knowing (hoping!) that she really can hear right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh Christmas tree

It seems like just a year ago we were doing this. Oh, yeah. We were. Well, here we are again! Fully decorated and the house is a pigsty because of it! Stephen's favorite time of the year! I thought I would post some of my favorite ornaments on our tree this year.

This is an ornament that I got from mom years ago (she gets us an ornament every year). I love it because I love the piano!

Every year we've been married we've bought a special ornament. This is our 2007 ornament.

I have a small collection of breast cancer awareness ornaments that I love!



These are our newest "name" ornaments:


These are also new this year (on sale last year). There are six different ones that say things like "Lord", "Jesus", "Emmanuel", etc. I love them!


Stephen has an entire collection of Sesame Street ornaments. Cute!

This was our 2006 ornament. It's actually made out of nails.


Our really favorite new ornaments this year!! Gail gave us the second one!!



Finished product:



What was I up to?

I just wrote this exact same post. So. I am like the film makers who just do remakes and sequels. I am dull!! I can't believe it.

I am hoping to post some pictures later and give you some real reading.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The wait is over

I've been waiting forever for this post so I can tell everyone....

Well, click on the link so you can find out!

Where is that?

Stephen just dropped by to see me at work. I, being the positive thinker I am, assumed he had the rest of the afternoon off! Cool, huh?? Not.

He is being shipped off like an object to Nova Scotia for the night. That's right, Nova Scotia. Could they BE any more random? He has to do some repairs up there and there's only two electricians in the shop that are qualified to go, so it's his turn. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous. I mean, I've been to Canada, but never Nova Scotia. But he's never even been further north than Ohio, so this should be a real treat for him! Right now it is 8 degrees there, and tomorrow's high is 4, so he will probably never want to go back to Canada with me.

I hate sleeping alone, so I may sleep on the couch tonight - it's more comfortable for my bulging belly right now anyway. I know there are people who go much, MUCH longer than one night without seeing their spouse, but it gets me everytime!

Maybe I'll actually get some of my homework done...

*Edit - Stephen just called and his services are no longer necessary. The trip has been postponed indefinitely. Yippee! I get a Christmas tree tonight after all!*

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Post

You've been warned. This may be all pictures of baby-related stuff. This is going to be a very random post because I'm just trying to catch up on all these pictures!!

This is me at 19 weeks. Sorry it's so blurry - just imagine it as "art".



An outfit my girl in-laws bought for Baby Bri: I love the footsies!!




Another one they got us. This is Stephen's favorite one!!




Friday we went to lunch at 195 with mom and dad. Afterwards, we wanted to hit the Coalition and Moore Music. But as we drove past Doodlebugs (a children's thrift store), we saw a really cute bassinet sitting out front! So after we racked up at the Coalition (lots of baby clothes hangers and two dresses for Brianna), we went back over to Doodlebugs. The bassinet that had caught our eye ended up being pretty fragile and not really what we were looking for. But as we stepped inside, another one made us stop and look! So much so that we grabbed Josh's iPhone to compare prices online and make sure we were about to get a good deal. Once we were assured that $60 was a good price, we bought it! It's a 3-in-1 bassinet. It turns into a rocker, and has a changing table. The mobile has a nightlight, music with lights, and toys. The whole bassinet vibrates on a couple of different speeds. (I love that!) It also straps to the bed if you want it to (which I doubt I will.)

Just some Thanksgiving pictures of me and Stephen:






These are my 20-week pictures. Sorry they're blurry again!


I am really starting to feel huge, but I also know I should be really proud of my body right now! My beautiful baby girl is in there, flipping around to her heart's content. So I have to make sure to have good accomodations for her!

Rebate Addict

I just had to post this. This is my best month of Rite Aid rebates thus far, and I am so proud!! As you can see, I will be getting a check back for $48.42 this month! Woot! This month, almost every single thing I bought was fully refunded. So, I got pads, moisturizer, 2 shampoos, mascara, face wash, nail polish, Dentabursts, and a toothbrush totally free. The only thing I paid for was one bottle of lotion, which with the rebate was $1.69. Not too shabby!



I will post more interesting stuff about Thanksgiving and such at a later time. When I can post pictures!