Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mauneyland's First Christmas

Christmas in Mauneyland came and went, but it seemed to be more of a week-long event this year than just a day. Instead of recapping the entire week, I think it might be easier to just hit the highlights.

With Christmas Eve came our little church's very first Christmas Eve service (actually two) and we saw a great attendance of 400 people... not bad for a campus that has been around for only three months! God is oh so good to us! The service was incredibly moving and one of my favorite gifts is seeing my husband doing what he loves and what he was made to do. The service was topped off by singing "Silent Night" by candlelight, which is always my favorite part (isn't it everyone's?). It was perfect.

When we got home, we had our second annual exchange of pajamas in which Josh gave me the most comfortable (yet super cute) maternity pj's that say "Baby Love" on the front and I gave him pj pants that match a sleeper for our sweet Baby Jake. We just need baby here to match them up together... I'm sure there will be a picture of that on here in the future!

After a good nights's sleep, we woke up to find that Santa had come indeed and filled our stockings! Even Jake's little teeny tiny stocking had a few surprises in it as well as PLENTY of loot that did not fit inside.

We leisurely swapped gifts and opened some from the family. I was particularly fond of the monkey hooded towel from my aunt for our little monkey on the way.

Josh and I both decided that we really did not need anything this year as we've been so blessed, so we were so very thankful for our many gifts. He oohed and ahhed over his new down vest and Craftsman toolbox and I have a beautiful new diaper bag to fill as well as some other fun toys and trinkets, too!

Even the pups were spoiled (as usual) and Minnie even opened her own gifts from her cousin Rascal. We did make the mistake of not paying close attention and she ended up eating most of the bag it was wrapped in, too! At the end of the festivities, we could not decide who did better: the dogs (who got a very expensive and labor intensive fence) or Baby Jake, who isn't even here yet. Either way, we enjoyed our first Christmas where we were able to spoil all of our kids!

After a day of doing absolutely NOTHING (which was probably our favorite gift to be honest), we set the table for two and enjoyed our very last quiet Christmas dinner together. Next year there will be a high chair in this picture and possibly some food items flung across the room... but oh how we can't wait! And what you can't tell from here is that we were still in our pajamas when dinnertime rolled around... absolute bliss!
After a yummy meal and six or seven movies, we turned in for the night, geared up for our weekend services at Crossroads. Even though the 25th had already passed, I spent the next morning trying my hand at frosted Christmas cookies for church that weekend. Although they were not quite up to par with my dear friend, Cookie Chick, they were well received. I'm not planning on dropping everything anytime soon to pursue a cookie career though!

After church, Josh and I took a drive around town to admire God's gift to our town... the whitest, fluffiest, most pristine blanket of snow all across the Midwest. With blue skies and shiny white landscape, the world truly looked peaceful and perfect.

With another successful weekend behind us, we left the weather above and boarded a plane for sunny Florida to celebrate Christmas Part II with the family (which will be a separate post that I will get around to eventually!). Actually, the blogging hiatus is partially do to the fact that we are in Florida as I type this and let's just say that blogging does not take priority on this relaxing getaway! Instead we are enjoying time spent with family, warm weather, and quality time with one another. It does not get much better than that.

From our house to yours, we do hope that you had a spectacular holiday season filled with many blessings. God bless you all and we'll see you back in Mauneyland soon!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Angel

Yes, I married a good one. I can't tell you how many times I think that same thought every single day and I hope that all married women can relate. And even if they can... I can't help but think that I am the luckiest out of us all.

Being married to my husband has been wonderful and amazing and I learn everyday that it's so much more than just having a partner. Having a loving husband is coming home from a business trip and having the house decorated for autumn because he knows you'll love it and thought it might be silly to spend the money. It's going to the store and coming home with silly Santa Claus slippers because even if he thinks they're slightly ridiculous, he knows you'll think they're awesome. It's making a perfect pot of chili because he knows you love the way he makes it, a post-it note on your desk that reminds you that he loves you, a smile in a crowded room that lets you know you're the only person he can see, and most recently...

installing a fence in the middle of the winter because he knows how much easier it will make life for you.

Joshua, I know that the fence has become the bain of your existence and I know the work has probably been tough enough to make even a preacher cuss. I know that drilling 48 fence post holes into frozen (yet muddy) ground was gruelling work. I know that you froze your tail off as the snow soaked you to the bone in 30 degree weather. And I know that I am incredibly blessed to be married to a man who did the job without complaining one time. You truly are my angel and you make me the happiest woman in the world. Thank you for everything you do for me... big and small. I hope I am not too much of a pain in the rear in return!

Oh, and of course, thanks to Randy and the rest of the guys, too. You all are far too generous to give up your time to help with such a nasty task. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends out here in Small Town, Illinois.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Survived

The "blizzard" of 2009 blasted through here last week, but I think the weatherman may be kicking himself now for calling it the "worst storm in 30 years." Was there lots of snow? Yes. Were there negative degree temperatures? Yes. Did school get cancelled? Yes, for 2 days. Did some folks lose power? Yes. Was it worse than any other snow according to every person we asked? Ummm... that would be a no. Apparently, we need to get used to last week's weather, because that is what we can expect all winter long.

All in all, we ended up with about 8 or 9 inches on the ground. The strange part (to me anyway) is that it's a week later and the ground is still completely covered and it's solid ice. Every place that I've ever lived with snow, it was generally gone the next day, but that does not seem to be the case here. The dogs enjoyed it when it was soft and fluffy, but now when they go outside they have to walk slowly as the footing is very uneven for them. Sometimes they will lift one paw off of the ground at a time because it is so very cold on their little paws. We tried to take a video of them running around out there, but of course, they did nothing spectacular on film so it is not worth posting. Hopefully we'll get a good one next time... and I'm sure we won't have to wait long for that.

So in case you were worried, we survived the great blizzard of 2009. I will say that I experienced the coldest weather I have ever felt in my life, but I mostly stayed indoors so it did not bother me too much. And oh how beautiful the world looks underneath a blanket of white! I don't even mind that it's all dirty and piled up on the side of the roads now because those few gorgeous days, before it was all plowed and played in, made it all worth it. And nothing is cozier than a cup of hot cocoa at the end of a winter's day.

Oh, and in baby news, our last appointment went well and they bumped us up yet again to the March 22nd due date, which makes us skip ahead to the 26 week mark this week (are we overachievers or what!). Granted, we've now seen 3 different doctors plus a midwife and we get a different answer every time, so it's clear that Baby Jake will just come in his own time. And all three of us are perfectly content with that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Season of Joy

This weekend and last weekend were like night and day for me. The events were the same for the most part, but the feeling was completely different. You see, last weekend a very exciting thing happened for our little church family here... we had seen so much growth that we launched our first Saturday night service and saw numbers over 400 come and join us for worship. Two services for a three-month-old church campus is pretty remarkable and shows that God has been with us on this journey, blessing this ministry in amazing ways. But last weekend, for me, it only meant one more day of giving up my husband. I was perfectly fine on Saturday night, willing to help out and enjoy myself, but on Sunday morning I was a mess. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and could only think that having two services was "stealing my weekend" away. When would I ever get my Sabbath? When would Josh and I ever have the same day off again? Why did we have to find a way to make our already busy lives even busier? Take these thoughts, throw in some pregnancy hormones, and by the time I got to church it was obvious to everyone there that I was not having a good morning. And on top of it, I felt guilty for even feeling this way, knowing that two services is an amazing opportunity for us and this church, and that I should count my blessings. Sunday passed (with many little dramatic moments from me about one thing or another) and when Monday rolled around, I seemed to be back to my old self.

So along comes this past weekend, which was the second weekend for our two servies and the message, appropriately enough, was all about JOY. As a bonus, my wonderful husband preached the message in both services which is always something we look forward to. So just like the week before I showed up on Saturday night with a much better attitude and no begrudging feelings, which was a good sign.

Before each service, Josh has a meeting with the worship team and tech team, and since I run slides during the Saturday service, I am in the meeting. He tells us what the message is about, the different elements (music, video clips, etc.) that are a part of the service, and as usual, how there should be no "dead" moments and everything should run professionally and flawlessly. The plan for the Saturday service was as follows: the worship band would be playing 2 songs, then Josh would come up and make a few announcements, and then we'd play a short video from our kids program. During the video, the kids would come in and get on stage and sing two more songs, at which time we would play pre-recorded tracks off of the iPod for them to sing along to, and we would film them and project the images on the big screen so the people in the back could see. The kids were then going to march out while everyone sings "Joy to the World" together. Then we'd go to the message, two more songs from the worship team, and then we'd be done. Okay, got it... I even took notes. This should've been easy as pie.

But this is what actually happened...
The service starts with no problems, and while I am scrolling words for the first song, I catch a glimpse at the notes for "Joy to the World". I recognize a verse that I have never seen before about joy unspeakable. I quickly check my version of "Joy to the World" that is saved in the computer and as I suspected, I have the wrong version in the computer and the words won't match. I have a moment of panic, but then realize that since I am a fast typer, I can make new slides for that song during the announcements and kids' program. Awesome. The second song happens without any problems, I put the Crossroads logo on the big screen as Josh comes up to make announcements, and I start typing away to create a new song in the five minute window I have been given. And then I hear it... the "dead" moment that Josh always warns us about. The silence is deafening and people are shifting uncomfortably in their seats. I tune into what is going on and for the third time, Josh mentions the "kids' video" as Todd, the guy who runs the sound board, taps me on the shoulder and whispers, "kids' video"! Oh no, this is my fault! I click the video and it starts to play as I take a deep breath and silently scold myself. I then finish making the slides for "Joy to the World" and regroup for whatever is next.

As rehearsed, the kids are now standing on the stage ready to sing, so Todd presses PLAY on the iPod. The kids start their performance and the music stops. The kids stop, too. Todd presses PLAY again and the kids start dancing. The music stops. The kids stop, too. I stifle a giggle, relieved that it's not just me messing up today. Finally, the music starts up again and continues. Todd is laughing a little bit, too, now. The first song ends and it's time for the second song, at which time we have the same issues with the iPod. The performance starts and stops about three more times as we try to figure out how to make it the device work properly. The kids are not phased at all, but seem trained to start and stop their performance every time the music goes on and off, which I find even more hilarious. Finally, the second song gets started and Todd and I both share a laugh of silent relief. As I focus my attention on the cutie-pie kids who are singing and dancing their hearts out, I hear something fall beside me and then see the video screen on stage go blank. I look up at Mike, who is standing on a ladder filming, and he looks down toward the ground. I look down, too, and notice a remote control, which must have landed on the button that turns the screen off. I reach down to pick it up and the batteries have popped out. At this point, I lose it. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong in a five minute span has gone terribly. I get down on the ground to search for batteries in the dark, but mostly to hide so that nobody can see my fits of hysterics. Once we get the screen fixed and their performance is over, the three of us were completely useless, laughing uncontrollably because we knew how bad it all looked and how we were all responsible. But for some reason, it was just funny. Funny to the point that I had tears rolling down my cheeks... but I'll come back to that in a minute.

After the chaos, Josh got up there and once again delivered an incredible message. In a nutshell, it was about how our outward circumstances do not have to affect our inward attitudes. He gave many examples such as instead of complaining that your husband is home from work late, thank God that he has a job. When your kids are driving you crazy, rejoice in the fact that you have a healthy family who loves you. When your wife asks you to do the dishes, find joy in the fact that you can give the woman who committed her life to you a well-deserved break. It's all about perspective, and that resonated through my entire being. I consider myself a pretty positive person, but like everyone else, I can get it twisted around. That night at church, as I shared a laugh with the rest of the tech team and everything seemed to go wrong, God filled me with so much joy that tears rolled down my cheeks. You see, He doesn't expect everything to go perfectly... if He did, we wouldn't need a Savior and He would've never sent us His son. No, God understands that as humans, we mess things up and things go wrong. We make bad decisions, we let others down sometimes, and cause mayhem during a service that's meant for worship, but God understands and offers us grace. And I think that it's in these moments that God sits back and puts His feet up, knowing full well all of the chaos that is about to happen. And He enjoys the show. Because if God created joy, don't you think that He must have His fair share of it, too?

On the way home as we talked about all that went wrong and how great the message was, I told Josh that I found much joy during the service, because of all of the mishaps. And in that moment I realized that I find much joy during every service. Our church is a wonderful place filled with the most sincere, genuine, caring people you will ever meet. Seriously, I have never been around people with such kind hearts in my life, and those of you who have visited us out here would probably agree. So yes, maybe our weekends just got busier and maybe our days off together will be fewer, but how great is it to be able to open our doors for just one more day of joy during the week? I could be sitting at home on the couch watching mindless TV on a Saturday night, but now I get to be surrounded by friends, hearing great music and a great message about God's love, and it's about twenty-times more fun than anything else I usually do on a weekend. This church has brought me such great joy and I consider myself to be pretty darn lucky to be a part of it. So instead of it being one more thing that we "have" to do, I reailze that it's something that I "get" to do, and that makes all of the difference in the world. When Sunday morning rolled around this week, I happily got out of bed and looked forward to my Sunday routine. And you know what? Even though I had heard the same message the night before, it was so much better the second time around.

My challenge to you is to find joy in this week that lies ahead. It may only be Monday, but let's celebrate the season and remember that this life we get to live here is only temporary, so we must not waste it on worry. Instead, find joy in all that you do, especially during this holiday season of joy. Just watch what it does to your life.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Confessions from the bump...

We are already 24 weeks into this thing and aside from the daily dilemma of what to possibly squeeze this ever-growing belly into, here are my confessions from the first 24 weeks:

I finally started working out again (after about a 2 month break). After a workout, it's hard to decide whether I'd rather sleep for the next 100 days or eat every last morsel in the kitchen. If you find me passed out on the kitchen floor surrounded by open containers, please do not be alarmed... I probably just returned from the gym.

One ice cream cone is never enough. Sometimes two isn't either.

As Josh puts it, I "sleep like a tornado." We've stopped making the bed due to the fact that I'll just rip the sheets out of their nice tucked-in spots

My love for Mexican food has finally returned! Oh how I missed you chips and salsa! In fact, I may or may not be shoving them in my face as I type this. These days I am also loving fresh pineapple and my love for milk has only diminished slightly.

When the baby book says that your prescription and eye shape can change- believe it. Sadly I've been saying bye-bye contacts and hello to my old trusty glasses. It's just one more way to make a pregnant lady feel less attractive.

I have had to stop myself several times from signing up for any sort of marathon or road race but I am having a serious withdrawal. I just hope that this desire continues when I do actually get to run my next race.... whenever that may be.

I'm not even in my third trimester and a middle-school aged child has already told me that he thinks I might be having twins. I barely restrained myself from hitting him.

I'm not sure if I'm freaked out or intrigued by the amount of hair growing on my belly. I know it's cold up here in Small Town, Illinois, but is a winter layer really necessary?

If you hear a strange sound at our house in the middle of the night, don't worry. It's just me, shaking out yet another dosage of Tums. To the makers of Tums, you are my heroes. Seriously.

I'm pretty sure a stretch mark is forming on my right side. After I found it, I rubbed myself down with more cocoa butter and then went to the kitchen for another ice cream cone.

While watching TV the other night, I didn't feel good so I took my pants off. My husband looked at me as if I was crazy, but even though I couldn't explain why, I felt so much better!

Speaking of pants, I love my "fat pants", or yoga pants, or stretchy pants... anything with elastic. My husband is worried that I may never go back to the regular kind after this (and I have a sneaky suspicion that his concerns are warranted).

I'm finally feeling baby Jake kick all of the time. That little stinker is happy to do so until I put my hand on my belly and then he stops. My son is clearly in control of deciding whether or not anyone but me can feel a kick.

I know that I am not drinking enough water in a day because I still make it through the entire night without having to get up to pee.

I would really love a frosty beverage. Just one would be nice.

I am a belly rubber... I love to rub my growing belly all day long and it brings me so much joy to know that our son is curled up in there, happy and warm.

I already know that I am going to miss being pregnant when this is all over. For now I'm just enjoying every day.

Things so far have been pretty easy and smooth sailing! We have our next doctor's appointment on Friday and from what I understand, we will be scheduling the dreaded glucose test for January. Boooo! Only a few more months until we get to meet our Sweet Baby Jake!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And it begins...

I really shouldn't be surprised. The year I moved to Florida we had the first hurricane in 20 years. The year I moved to Small Town, Illinois they call for the worst blizzard in 30 years. Although I am a big fan of the snow, the word "blizzard" is not something I'm familiar with and it has me a little bit on edge. Six to eight inches is one thing... it means snow days and just enough to play in, but blizzard? That sounds more like we'll be trapped in the house for a few days. Regardless, it's sure pretty to look at and the pups seem to enjoy going outside and running around in it (although they like it so much that they usually end up in the neighbors' yards and circling half the block before bounding back to the house). And as for me, if we are going to be cooped up in the house for awhile, at least I'm stuck here with my handsome husband and baby Jake in my belly... it sounds like the perfect remedy to keep me warm on this long, snowy night. We'll keep you posted on Blizzard Watch 2010, but here is what we're expecting to see in the next couple of days:

Today: Snow. High near 32. Breezy, with a east wind between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of around 2 inches. (Dearest Weatherman, I can already assure you that we have WAY more than 2 inches on the ground at this point).

Tonight: Snow and areas of blowing snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. Low around 29. Breezy, with a north wind between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of around 6 inches. (Breezy? Makes us sound like we live in a tropical paradise. And at what mph is the limit to describe the conditions as breezy?)

Wednesday: Snow and widespread blowing snow before noon, then snow likely and widespread blowing snow after noon. Temperature falling to around 16 by 5pm. Wind chill values as low as -5. Windy, with a northwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to between 25 and 30 mph. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around 1 inch. (I will officially have to watch the thermometer tomorrow. I have never seen that little mercury line dip below zero. Oh who am I kidding? Nobody has a real thermometer anymore. Hopefully we'll have power so that I can see it on

Wednesday Night: Widespread blowing snow and a slight chance of snow before midnight, then areas of blowing snow after midnight. Mostly cloudy and breezy, with a low around 0. Wind chill values as low as -20. Chance of precipitation is 20%. (Blowing snow? That's a new phrase to add to my weather vocabulary. And please don't bring attention to that -20 part... that has to be a joke)

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 11. (Ooooh! A warm front!)

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 1. (So what you're saying is, this will be three days in a row that I don't step foot outside.)

Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 20 (Warmth and sunshine, just in time for the weekend... ha! Looks like I should get used to seeing this white stuff on the ground because it looks like it might be here awhile)

On another (kind of) unrelated note, I was on the phone talking to my friend Crystal last night about the impending blizzard. By the end of the conversation, the weather talk had ended and we were instead contemplating whether we should meet at Dairy Queen to get an "actual" Blizzard. Yes, we're both pregnant.... all roads lead to food.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Small Town Christmas

For six years of my childhood, we lived in a tiny town in Louisiana. Everybody knew everybody else, all of the kids went to the same schools, and it was not uncommon to be in the local paper for some reason or another. Life moved a little slower, felt a little safer, and excitement came in the form of the parish fair, rodeo, circus, or local parade. The Christmas parade in those days was always a big event and my sisters and I usually ended up participating in some capacity whether it be for a sports team, dance studio, marching band, or girl scouts. There was even a year that I was not going to be in it at all, but my sister's float needed kids dressed up like presents and so I happily obliged. In those days, dressing yourself in a wrapped cardboard box with a bow on your head was worth it if it meant being in the parade. It was the small town life, and I have such fond memories of those times.

Fast forward twenty years later and I sometimes feel as if I'm having moments of deja vu. This small town in the middle of Illinois stirs so many of those memories that I had long forgotten about, and a piece of me feels as if I've rediscovered snippits of my childhood that had been buried away for awhile. As Josh and I stood on Main Street (in the freezing cold mind you)watching our little town's parade go by, I couldn't help but smile as my brain was flooded with fond childhood memories. The parade was short and sweet (which I was actually thankful for due to the fact that my toes were frozen), but the two of us stood there with wonder as we enjoyed a perfect holiday moment. As I stood there cozied up to my husband, I was overcome with how sweet life can be. Through all of the chaos and craziness, all of the nights of working late or being frustrated with mundane everyday activities, it's the moments of sheer happiness that remind you how good you've got it. And this Christmas, man we've got it good. And it's even sweeter to think that next year at the Christmas parade, we will stand and watch as our sweet baby Jake's face lights up when the floats pass by, full of a brand new wonder and excitement. And in that moment, I'll be reminded once again that life just doesn't get much better than this.

Of course, no post would be complete without some highlights:

(Seriously, can anyone see Santa anymore without wanting to shout that out loud? Oh how I love Christmas movies!)

And wish us luck this week... we may see up to a foot of snow by Wednesday with a HI of 17 and a LO of 5! I may need a reminder as to how much I love this small town after that! BRRRR!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

The holidays are HERE which means Christmas parades, twinkle lights, gingerbread houses, gift wrapping, caroling, and of course the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus has officiallybegun! And to make it even more special, it's our very first married Christmas, which makes it merrier than usual!

To kick off the holiday season, the first order of business was to find the perfect tree. Growing up as an Army kid, it only made sense for my family to have a fake tree, so I was super excited about the prospect of a live tree and even more so about getting to go out and chop it down. Something about it just sounded so... rustic maybe? Traditional? I wasn't really sure what I felt, but I was like a four-year-old on Christmas morning all the way there.

Since the family was all still in town, we loaded into 2 cars (complete with the pups as well) and headed out to the farm! Once there, we grabbed a wagon and an axe and set out on our search. Having never done this, I had no idea just how overwhelming tree hunting can be (or how many stumps you can trip over in a span of five minutes for that matter)! Each tree was unique in its own way, but some had big bare spots in the back or were not quite tall/fat/full enough for what we were looking for. Josh would point one out to me and I would just look at it and try to picture it in the house with lights and ornaments, but mostly it just looked like a tree in a field at that moment! Finally I gave him a little bit of direction when I said, "I like the fat ones." Hmmm... maybe it's because I'm pregnant.

Eventually, there it was. Josh stumbled upon it before I did, and I came running (well, if it could be described as that) over to where it was planted. And he was right... it was perfect. We all stood around and gave a few ooh's and ahhh's before Josh and his dad set to work chopping it down. The rest of us all looked on, took pictures, and enjoyed the brisk, winter air. We finally got it loaded up onto the wagon and put the little ones to work as they tried to pull the wagon all the way back to the car.

We watched them wrap it up with their super-nifty machine, strap it to the roof of my car (which has probably never had anything on it until now... my car just got a little bit tougher!), and off we went to take our beautiful new tree to its new home.

When we got it up and decorated, it was PERFECTION... the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. And oh it smells so good, too! Here in Mauneyland, a new tradition has been born, and I will forever be a "real tree snob" from here on out.
Our Mighty Chopper

Down she goes!Fun family time

Child labor... good job pulling the wagon, boys!

The tree-wrap machine was awesome!

Loaded up and headed for home

Finishing touches (and a lovely face from Josh)

Happy Holidays to all! Enjoy your Christmas season and remember that Jesus is the reason for it all!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday

Black Friday: the day that all chaos ensues at retail stores all around the nation. People get mauled, trampled, and there have even been deaths all because crazed shoppers are after that one good deal. Whether it be a Tickle Me Elmo or the Wii, each year there seems to be something that everyone wants, and Black Friday is the day to go after it.

Sounds like fun, right?

In all of my 28 years of life, the idea of Black Friday never really appealed to me. My sister, Angie, was in town and mentioned that she had gone last year and found some really great deals and so this year I thought "why not?" and went with her. Then, for some unexplained reason, I got really excited about the idea of shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I wasn't after anything in particular, nor did I really have any specific ideas in mind for anyone in my family, but yet I couldn't help to look forward to the mayhem.

Seeing that we live in Small Town, USA, our pickings for retail stores are few and far between, which made mapping out a plan easy. My alarm went off at 4:38 am, but I had been awake for hours before that. I sprang out of bed (which is usually pretty difficult for a woman who is 5-months pregnant) and was dressed in no time. I bounded into the room where my sister and mom were staying and they both wondered why in the world I was so chipper. Folks, I am not a morning person, nor will I ever be. The only time I ever happily get up early are race days... marathons, half marathons, heck- even a 5K will do, but rarely is there another morning that ever sees this much energy from me. Perhaps it is because I am on a race-hiatus due to pregnancy that Black Friday excited me so much... in some weird way it may have filled a void.

We were in the car on the way to Wal-Mart before 6 o'clock. When I pulled into the parking lot, never in my life have I seen it so full. I dropped Angie off, who was after something specific, and Mom and I circled around looking for a few minutes. EVERY spot was full. I don't think I even knew that there were this many cars in this town! We finally stalked a shopper and pulled into their spot, which was possibly the farthest I have ever parked from a store.... which makes me wonder, what ever happened to the Expectant Mother parking? Granted, I think it was probably abused and those spots would have been full, too, but that was short-lived parking method that I never got to take advantage of. *Sigh*

Once inside, it was absolute MADNESS! People were everywhere, aisles were jammed with traffic, and the "hot" items were flying off of the shelves. Being new to town, we apparently missed the memo on how our local Wal-Mart does it because certain sale items were being distributed in certain areas of the store. They had Rock Band for $50 in the frozen food section and flat screen TV's in the shoe aisle... clearly these people had some sort of inside information because we constantly had to ask around for what we were looking for! In the end though, Angie found her hot deal and we all walked away with something or another, whether we had intended to buy it or not. The only downside was the check-out lines which took about 30 minutes of our valuable shopping time.

After Wal-Mart we hit up a few other stores including KMart, JC Penny's, and Bergner's. None were as crazy as the first though and I am not sure if that's due to the fact that we were there when the sales started or if that's just the best place to go in town. Regardless, the three of us racked up quite a bill at the other stores as well and I found my Christmas gift for Josh, which I cannot wait to give him! All in all it was successful, and strangely a lot of fun, but I think I'd do a few things differently next year. Here's my advice to those of you who are new to Black Friday Shopping and would like to check it out in the future:

  • NEVER go alone. If you do go alone, do not get a cart. Carts are next to impossible to maneuver through the throngs of people. If you travel in 2's or 3's, however, one person can man the cart and the others can be "runners". This is what ended up working best for us. Besides, the chaos is way more fun to enjoy with others.
  • Drop off everyone at the door and only take one person to park. Some of the "hot" items are one per person so if you need more than one of something, it's best to have multiple people with you. Otherwise you may have to wait in a line twice.
  • Check the local ads before you go if you want something specific. As I mentioned, Wal-Mart had set up specific locations for some items and it would have saved us some time if we had known right away where these locations were.
  • When checking-out, utilize the check-out lanes in other departments. We found one in the sporting goods section that many people hadn't yet discovered. This could save you a lot of time and keep you out of the impatient crowds.
  • Drink coffee before you go. We just jetted out the door, but it was hours before we were home. Lucky for me, I now function without caffeine, but my sister was hurting a little!
  • Wear comfy shoes.
  • A cell phone is a MUST if you are shopping with friends. We got separated for quite awhile in KMart (due to no cell service, not due to forgetting our phones) and looking for each other ate up a lot of good sales time.
  • Seriously consider going next year.... some of the deals were OUTRAGEOUS! We saw down comforters (any size) for $20.00, digital camera binoculars for $29.00, all kinds of kitchen appliances for way below market value, and so much more! In this economy, a little sale never hurt anyone.
  • Make it fun... plan to go to breakfast afterwards or start a new annual tradition. A lady at church was telling me that she meets up with her sisters every year and they really go shop just to go out to breakfast without their kids every year.
  • Keep your eyes peeled... you may get a glimpse of Santa! I guess he needs to Christmas shop, too!
  • Feel free to comment with any tip you may have... I'm just a rookie so I'm sure my list will be tweaked year after year.

It's a good thing that this day comes around once a year... it was fun, but I think that's about all I could stand until 2010! Happy Christmas shopping everyone!

And just for good humor... I'm guessing that Santa was shopping for Mrs. Claus's present???

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"I thank my God...

...upon every remembrance of you."
~Philippians 1:3

There are some days in this life that make you realize that you couldn't count your blessings even if you tried because there is simply just no number that reaches high enough. In this life of mine, I have had some fantastic Thanksgivings. Most were spent with my immediate family around the table with all of the trimmings, two were spent in Mexico with an odd array of rice and beans mixed in with the usual fixin's, one was spent with only my sisters when the three of us were all in college, but this one was absolutely something special. This was our first Thanksgiving at home as a family... in OUR home as a family... and it will forever hold an incredibly special place in my heart.

The festivities truly began the day before. By then, my mom, Josh's dad, and the Van family had all arrived in town and our home was bursting with activity. People were sleeping on couches and air mattresses, jackets and shoes were everywhere, there was not a quiet spot in the house, and I loved every minute of it. Our home is too large for just the two of us, as we knew when we purchased it, and to hear laughter and noise from every corner filled my heart because that's how a home should be... messy, lived in, but mostly full of love and activity. On Wednesday the girls made just about as much food as they could manage including stuffing and pies and the boys enjoyed the brisk winter air with a few games of football in the backyard. Looking out the kitchen window and seeing them all have such a good time was awesome and somehow made the inside of the house feel warmer. For the past five years I have been in sunny Florida for Thanksgiving, and while the warm weather is a blessing, there is something just a little festive about the cold. Everyone should be able to see their breath on Thanksgiving if you ask me.

That evening, most of us went over to the Crossroads Youth Building and took part in feeding some folks from our community. We had over 50 youth kids, from 6th-12th grade, participate in serving the meal. We served about 170 people and the atmosphere was full of a light, carefree energy that could put a smile on anyone's face. We had invited anyone who wanted to come... whether it was for economic reasons, being away from family, or just to get a good meal, and it was very well worth it. The greatest part was watching the kids come by and ask (repeatedly) if someone wanted more lemonade or another piece of pie, each one of them enjoying the role they got to play. It was the perfect kickoff to Thanksgiving weekend.

Due to some houseguests sleeping in the living room, Thanksgiving morning felt a little more like Christmas. Since most of us got up early, we gathered in the kitchen, drank coffee, and talked to let the others get a little more sleep. By the time everyone was up, almost everyone was hanging out in the kitchen together, which was nice considering that everyone pretty much dispersed for the rest of the day. The little guys were out back playing in the clubhouse, the guys watched football, and the girls finished used most of the morning to finish the cooking. Almost everything was done by noon, so we took over the couches and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade thanks to having a DVR! We all oohed and ahhhed over the floats, the bands, the balloons, and the Broadway show snippets and fast forwarded through all of the commercials. Around 2 o'clock, we brought out the appetizers and a cut-throat game of 4-on-4 boys vs. girls gin commenced... and we won't mention who won.... it's a holiday, and therefore not important. Unless the girls win of course. Shortly after that, the guys all headed outside to fry the turkeys and between setting the table and last minute preparations, it was dinnertime before we knew it.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to finally fill up our entire table. By the time we all sat down, there were 10 of us as we were joined by Josh's worship leader and his girlfriend and there was enough room for everyone all at one table. It was awesome. Before saying the blessing, Josh asked that we all go around the table and say what we were thankful for, which is always something that sounded like a neat idea, but I've never actually done it. The answers were all about family, new babies, good marriages, good health, and Kevin told everyone that he was thankful for our troops serving overseas to "protect our nation." By the time Josh's turn rolled around, I was pretty much in tears... oh how blessed we truly are!

For hosting our first Thanksgiving, I have to say that the food was incredible! A major thanks goes out to my mom for pulling most of it together and to Angie for making some of the side dishes. Somewhere along the line, I deemed myself the "pie lady," perhaps as a tribute to my Grammy who passed away a few years ago, and this year the pies were out of this world delicious (thanks to a few friends who passed along recipes!). But in the end, the food was the least important part of the holiday. The day was all about the faces around that table and those that were missing and couldn't be with us, the trials that we had faced this year and how far we had come since, the people in our lives who hadn't been around very long but had already made a huge impact on us, and the love that we shared as we cancelled out all of the distractions in our own busy worlds to stop and enjoy each other's company. This one was special, that's for sure, and I am so very thankful for the enormous amount of joy in my life.

I hope that yours was just as special, no matter what the day entailed. And let us all be thankful everyday for our blessings are too numerous to count.

More photos to come... but this is all I have for now: Down, set, hike!

Two of our turkey fryers... looks like hard work!

Set and ready for food and folks

3 Delicious pies... pumpkin, apple, and pecan. YUM!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Adventures in Air Travel

I'm finally home! Hallelujah! After a total of 32 hours in cars, airplanes, a hotel room, and airports, nothing was as sweet as coming home to my husband and puppy dogs. My adventure began on Thursday morning for what should've been a nice easy day of travel. My sister picked my mom and me up at 6:30am and drove us to the airport. We checked in quickly, grabbed a coffee (decaf for me) and a muffin, and boarded our plane with plenty of time to spare. And then the announcements began...

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, due to a nationwide outage of the FAA's air traffic control system, we have been delayed at the gate until it is up and running. At this time, we do not know how long it will be."

*Groans from the cabin*

"Good morning again, this is the captain. The system is still not up and running, so please be patient while we wait for the next status update. If you are wondering why other planes are landing, they were already in the air when the system went down and still need to land somewhere. All in-state local flights have also been cleared to fly. All other flights nationwide have been grounded. Please be patient and we will let you know what we find out."

*More groans and a few choice words*

"Hello again, this is your captain speaking... the FAA has asked that we update you every five minutes, but I'm afraid that you will begin to throw things at the flight attendants if I do that. But with that being said, we're still delayed until further notice. If you would like to get off the plane, please feel free to do so and we will reboard as soon as we have clearance to take off. Please make sure to bring your boarding card with you."

Uh-oh... that can't be a good sign.

So what did almost everyone do? They got off the plane. What did mom and I do? We decided to stay on-board since we had one of those sweet planes with mini-TV screens... which turned out to be a great decision. Our stellar captain, being the sweet dude that he must be, bought everyone left on-board donuts and they handed out free headsets to those who needed them. So I may have caught some sort of illness now (hopefully not... in fact I feel fine) from the stale airplane air, but hey, I'll go for a free donut anyday!

Two and a half hours later we took off. The flight was smooth and they assured us that most connecting flights were delayed as well. Good news. So when we deplaned in Atlanta, we went to the nearest "Departures" board and our flight (nor any other to our destination) were listed. Awesome. We were directed to customer service, and while I waited in the very long line of disgruntled passengers, Mom went from gate agent to gate agent in search of answers. Before I even made it halfway to the counter, she physically yanked me out of line and said we needed to high tail it to Terminal C. My dreams of eating a Chick-fil-a sandwich (located in terminal A, where we were) were dashed as the two of us hurried through the crowds of people, only to find that our airplane was not at the gate. So far, as my mom pointed out, the free donut was still keeping us both in good spirits... I really should write Delta a letter about that guy... who knew a donut could keep someone so calm?

Not knowing what to do next, a helpful passenger (who had obviously been through the same thing that day) told us to scan the bar code on our ticket at any kiosk and a new itinerary would print out. We followed directions and voila! our new itinerary had us on confirmed seats the next morning at 8am. WHAT??? Isn't there another flight home today??? A wave of panic washed over me, so mom suggested that we go bug another gate agent for more information. I'm sure they were all having a lovely day at work.

After a little more research we did find that our names were on a standby list for the 4pm flight and that if we did not make that one, we could use our confirmed flight the next morning. We technically did not have to wait around, but we just wanted to be home and didn't really want to spend the night in a hotel. So we ate Moe's, read our books, and waited some more. And when that plane boarded, we were not on it again. This is at the point at which my pregnancy hormones began to kick in and a mixture of missing my husband, frustration, and exhaustion almost brought on a fit of hysterics. It could have been bad, people, but I managed to hold it together. The gate agent then told us that we could wait around to see if we could make it on the 9:00 flight that evening, but we would be on stand-by once again. This is when I told her where she could shove her little microphone. Okay, so that part didn't really happen, but I definitely thought it. The magic happiness of the free donut was gone.

Seeing that my face now had a dazed look on it and that I was clearly not going to stay sane until that evening, Mom made the executive decision that we should definitely get a place to stay for the night. Smart woman. Even though we spent the rest of the evening doing more waiting, reading, and watching TV, at least I could stretch out on a luxurious double bed rather than sitting in an airport terminal for the rest of the day. It was definitely a good decision seeing that I was asleep before 9pm and would not have been awake to wait around for the evening flight anyway.

The flight the next morning had absolutely no complications, and after a decaf white chocolate mocha at the airport I was in good spirits again because I was finally going home! After retrieving our luggage from the little glass display box it had been held in overnight, nothing was sweeter than seeing my husband pull up to give me a big hug and welcome me back. I may have looked like a raggamuffin, but it was so good to see that smiling face after the entire ordeal. It truly was the icing on the cake.... errr, donut.

And just because every not-so-great experience should teach us a lesson, here are a few things that I learned from our fun trip home:
  • No matter how excited you are about showing your husband the cute baby clothes and gifts you got on your trip, do not pack them in your carry-on bag. Surely he can wait until you are physically in the house and can unpack them from your suitcase to see them, and an infant-sized sleeper will be no help to you if stranded overnight.
  • Just because your visibly pregnant does not make you any more of a priority on the standby list. Clearly the lady was willing to risk her life by not bumping me up.
  • If your flight is delayed due to a "nationwide problem", the airline probably won't do squat for you. Although, one lady did get a free t-shirt to sleep in. Wow, how generous.
  • Lunch at Moe's will fill you up for the rest of the day. I already knew that, but was reminded when for the first time in 5 months, I was able to skip dinner without feeling like I was going to die or possibly hurt someone if I did not get some food RIGHT NOW.
  • If you ever pass by one of those in-airport manicure/pedicure places and wonder who has time for that kind of thing, bite your tongue. We used to think they were dumb, too, until we realized that we could've spent a nice relaxing hour getting pampered rather than the hours we spent just sitting. You live and you learn.
  • Thank God for my mom... she's wonderful. Thankfully she had decided to fly back with me since she was coming for Thanksgiving anyway and I couldn't be more grateful for the company.
  • Dorothy said it best when she said "there's no place like home." Oh how I truly agree now more than ever. It doesn't matter where home is for you, what it looks like, or how big or small, home is where you can find the person you love the most. And man, it's good to be home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bring on the craftiness!

For those of you who don't know, I absolutely LOVE to throw a party. Love it. My first couple of jobs involved event planning, but now that I work in sales (from home in my pajamas mind you) I get my kicks from my own personal social events. I am the type of person who finds no greater joy than to make a spreadsheets to track RSVP's and expenses even though only I will see it, using Tahoma 10 font and filling the whole page in with a white background so that it hides those ugly gridlines. Quirky? Absolutely, but I am who I am and it seems to be what I was made to do. I would much rather sit around planning parties and events for myself and for friends than just about anything else in the world.

So around comes my sister's baby shower this past Sunday. Normally I would go to a cute website and order pretty pre-printed invitations, but that just didn't seem good enough this time. You see, for my bridal shower my sister created the most gorgeous hand-made invitations I have ever seen! Seriously... she should sell them. We're talking so pretty that I still plan to frame mine and hang it on the wall at our house. Unfortunately I don't have a picture or else I would definitely post it, so if you really want to see it I'll dig one up and put it up here eventually. So between that and my new goal to become more "crafty" as I mentioned on Monday (because everyone- and I mean everyone- is crafty in the Midwest... it's as if they were born with a gene that the rest of us didn't get whether it be knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, cake decorating... you name it!), I decided to return the favor and create my own invitations for her party.

Since craftiness is a fairly new thing for me, I spent a fair amount of time on Google looking at pictures of other people's creations. What in the world did we do before the Internet? I finally decided to try to make something that looked like a diaper and would act as a sleeve for the actual printed invitation. Based on my Internet findings, my first brilliant idea was to wrap the inner invitation in white felt, which I can assure you will not end up looking like a diaper at all. While a good idea in theory, it looked more like an old-fashioned nurses hat than a diaper. With this in mind, I knew it would have to be paper all the way. So without further to do, here are the steps on how to make some super-cute (and fairly easy... hey, even I could do this one!) baby shower invitations:

First, here is what you will need:

  • Printable cardstock for the inner invitation (1 per 6 invitations)... I used light green since she doesn't know what she's having yet. I also used white and glued the two pieces together to make it fancier, but this is just an option
  • A glue stick (if you decide to go with my method above)
  • Cute printed paper (8x11) for the diaper (1 page per invitation). I found that white was just too plain so I went to a scrapbooking store and found paper with butterflies, flowers, and swirlies on it. If you know the gender of the baby, there is A LOT of cute pink and blue patterned options
  • Scissors - regular and craft scissors for the details. If you have a slicer, that will save you some time, too
  • A hole puncher
  • A felt tipped pen
  • Large safety pins- I searched for actual diaper pins but did not come across any
  • Invitation envelopes
  • A cute baby-themed stamp and an ink pad (optional)

To start, take a diaper pattern (which can be found here) and use it to cut out all of the "diapers" on your patterned paper. If the pattern goes one direction or the other, make sure that the flap that faces front shows the pattern right-side up. Below is the pattern I found online (left) next to one that I ended up cutting out (right)... I opted not to cut all of the frills out and used craft scissors in a later step instead to make it a little faster. Either method works.

Next, fold up the "diaper" and secure the front with a safety pin. To fold up the diaper, fold it in half vertically and then pull the side flaps in. The one shown below has been folded, and then as I mentioned earlier, I took craft scissors and cut the frillies on the leg holes.

I set that part aside and started on the inner-invitation. Using Microsoft Word or Publisher or any program really, type the information using only 1/6 of the page. The space will be limited, but the diaper sleeve ends up being about the size of your hand. You can either use one side or both sides of the paper depending on how much information you have. In our case, we put a cute little phrase on one side and then all of the information on the other. I also printed one on the green cardstock and one on the white cardstock, frilled up the edges of the white one with craft scissors, and glued them together for a bit of a fancier look. Lastly, punch a hole in the top and tie a ribbon in a bow through it to make it easier to pull out of the diaper sleeve. Below is the components of my finished product as well as one put together:

There are so many ways you can go with this. If you have cute hand-writing you could probably just hand-write them all, but I'm not there yet in my craftiness. Or you could glue the insert into the diaper sleeve since almost everyone I talked to said that they undid the safety pin and opened my invitation up, not knowing that they did not have to go through that extra step. But regardless of what you choose, I think they turn out to be super cute.

Lastly, if you're still wanting to personalize it a little more, take your stamp and the ink pad and use it somewhere on the invitation envelope. I think it adds a nice touch.

So that's about the extent of what I can share in terms of being crafty today... I'm still a work in progress, but they were a big hit! And this posting only assures me that I should never start a cooking or a how-to blog unless I plan to have REALLY LONG posts. Because honestly, I could have added WAY more details than I did, but hopefully this is more than enough to get my point enough. Happy crafting!

And PS - a post about her actual shower will soon follow, too!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home

After 5 months of living in Small Town, Illinois, I have returned to sunny south Florida for a week-long visit. Even though the weather is beautiful and I am enjoying the visit with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and all of my friends, it is definitely no longer home. Everyday that I'm here I long for my husband's smile and hugs, his jokes and antics, my cozy spot on the couch next to the radiator, those two silly dogs that bug me to death, a backyard so covered in leaves that I can't even see the grass, roads with no traffic, my pink fuzzy robe and "house shoes", and that old creaky house that is so warm and cozy inside. My heart officially now resides in the Midwest... I guess it really is the heartland of America.

On an upside, Baby Jake is certainly keeping me company while I'm away from the hubby as he's been doing some serious acrobatics in there! I've been waiting not-s0-patiently for some little nudges and he's officially decided to start saying "hello" to mama! Thank you very much, little one, you make my day every time you decide to do that. It's by far my favorite thing about pregnancy.

And on another note, we did luck out with an incredibly beautiful day yesterday for my sister's baby shower. Hopefully I will have some pictures to post of that soon as well as a blog to show off my craftiness... the invitations that I made were just oh-so-cute and I just have to share! One of my goals is to become more crafty (probably a silly goal I know, but what's a girl supposed to do during the long winters?) so that will be my first venture into a how-to blog post.

More to come soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

What a GREAT day we had yesterday here in Mauneyland! Although we did not come home with a sonogram picture of the entire little one, we did get the money shot that told us that we are officially expecting a BABY BOY!!!

Even though it is so very cool, the ultrasound appointment is quite stressful to say the least. The technician was super nice, but as she took measurements of everything, we just both sat there in anticipation that she would tell us that everything looked good and healthy... that was the most important thing. She started at the head and took several measurements, we saw the brain, the upper and lower spine, all four cavities of the heart (as well as the heart beating... very cool!), arm bones, leg bones, the kidneys and bladder, two little hands, to adorable little feet, and of course, Baby Mauney's business. Funny enough, that was the hardest thing for her to get a good shot of! He was sitting like a little pretzel and since his legs were tucked under him, she could not get a good view of the goods. Finally, he uncrossed his legs and all we saw was a little hand reach down and cover it up! The little stinker was trying to keep it a secret! He's a little troublemaker already! When she finally got a good picture and showed us what we were looking for I said, "I knew it was a boy!" and she let us know that a mother's intuition is right about 70% of the time... I think that's pretty neat. Maybe the Moreland's will have their girl afterall!

After we were done with the fun stuff, we had a regular doctor's appointment, too. Like always, the nurse directed me to the scale and as always, Josh's eyes lit up with delight. You see, since we started going to the doctor together, this has always been his favorite part. He finds much joy in calling my maternity jeans "fat pants" and saying "c'mon biggin" whenever we're going somewhere. For those of you who think that's mean, it's really not... you just don't know my husband's sense of humor! I just wish I didn't laugh at these things. So anyway, I get myself up on the trusty ol' scale and ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SIX POUNDS???!?!?! Shock, horror, disgust, confusion, and over a million thoughts ran through my head at that moment... "what have I been eating? How did I gain so much in one month? Where is all of that weight? I look about the same, don't I?" And then I heard laughter behind me... come to find out, my loving husband had his foot on the scale the whole time. Now I know why my son is already such a little stinker!

After a successful appointment, the two of us headed out to Wal-Mart to buy our baby boy a couple of presents and came home with a blue blanket, some bibs, a stuffed elephant (no worries, the Vol stuff will come rolling in eventually, too!), and the tiniest, most adorable pair of cowboy boots ever... they are IDENTICAL to the ones that Josh wears pretty much everyday. We called friends and family, posted some pictures and announced it on Facebook, and went to Kelly's (our favorite local Irish-Mexican Pub... seriously!) for a celebratory dinner. Oh what a great day that we'll remember forever!

So now the question remains... does he have a name? So Josh and I are proud and excited to announce that sometime in March you will all be meeting....

Jacob Stephen Mauney
(or Little Baby Jake as we've already started to call him)

He'll have the same initials as Daddy, as well as the same middle name, which is Grandpa's name, too! Oh how we cannot wait to meet him! Until then... we have some work to do!

Monday, November 9, 2009

20 Down, 20 to Go

We have reached the next milestone in Baby Mauney's journey and the little one is halfway here... time sure does fly when we're having fun! The "bump" has not only gotten bigger, but it's getting rounder as well... could that mean a girl you think? And I'm officially trading in my jeans for good ol' stretch maternity pants from here on out!

I looked back on the 17 week picture today (which by the way, may or may not have actually been the 16 week picture since we're a little confused about our count... and if that's the case, perhaps I was a little big for 16!) and oh yes, it's definitely way more out there already. Seeing these pictures makes it really hard to believe that I still have 20 more weeks to grow! Tomorrow we'll find out how much I've gained since that last appointment, as well as whether we need to stock up on pink or blue, so it's an incredibly exciting week for us here in Mauneyland! We've been counting down to that day for awhile now.

As for the classic "how are you feeling?" question, everything has been pretty smooth sailing so far. If I wasn't growing around the middle, I probably wouldn't even know that I was pregnant! My energy is still good for the most part, bed time has gotten a little bit earlier, and aside from one day of bad heartburn (the baby has hair!), I feel great. I am still eating any dairy product I can get my hands on, but thank goodness the Italian food phase has passed! I did have two days in a row, however, that I just knew that if I didn't have an Arby's Beef 'n Cheddar sandwich RIGHT THIS MINUTE, someone was going to get hurt. Thankfully, I have the world's greatest husband and he made it happen. There may not be much in this town, but thank goodness there's an Arby's! And believe it or not, despite the belly, I'm still waking up on my stomach. I only hope that I'm not squashing the poor little one!

As for the status of the little one's room... well, let's just say that it's still a work in progress. After putting one coat of paint on most of the walls, I was informed that my spackle job was not really done properly *sigh*. So we're moving slow, but getting there nonetheless. Thankfully we still have plenty of time.

So that's about it for baby news these days! I am sure there will be a post at some point tomorrow, but please be patient as our appointment is in the afternoon and then we have some phone calls to make. We promise to share the news with our Mauneyland readers as soon as we can, and by then, most of you will already know anyway! Even though I've been feeling boy since day one, I'm can't say I'm so sure anymore. Maybe it's the reality of actually finding out, but my confidence in that prediction is non-existent. Josh, on the other hand, is 100% convinced it's a little girl, and thankfully he's coming to terms that he can handle that news! Either way, we're both going to be so thrilled. But more than anything, we are just praying for a healthy baby tomorrow... ten fingers and ten toes with no health concerns. And no matter what we find out, that child will be perfect, just as God intended.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sweet November

Although it's not generally one of the more exciting months for us here in Mauneyland, this November will be quite the exception. This year November means...
  • Finding out whether we need to load up on pink or blue for Baby Mauney

  • A trip back to Florida for Kim to visit friends and family and host her sister's baby shower

  • Thanksgiving houseguests including Josh's dad, Kim's mom, and (hopefully) the Van family

  • Yummy food, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and lots and lots of pie... yum!

  • The launch of the Crossroads Youth Program

  • Finishing the many projects in the baby's room

  • Christmas shopping (and wrapping... my favorite!)

  • Christmas decorating... we have the perfect house for it now!

  • A new fence for the backyard (well... here's hoping anyway!)

We are certainly enjoying the fall (but not the raking... hence why our yard is covered in leaves!) and the pups love this cool weather. Even the hubby got festive this year and decorated our house with cute fall decor. He knew that I secretly wanted to go all Martha Stewart on this place, but couldn't bring myself to spend the money on decorations. But when I came home from one of my business trips this month, he sweetly decorated the mantles and added little autumn touches here and there. Isn't he the best???

Winter is right around the corner and the folks here say that they usually get snow right after Thanksgiving and it's on the ground through the end of March. I guess we better soak in what's left of this season while we still can!