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!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Happy Halloween

I'm not sure if it was the cooler weather, the vibrantly colored leaves, or maybe because we live on a busy street, but I was more excited about Halloween this year than I have been in a very long time. As a kid, nothing was more fun than dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door to get free candy, and now that we own a house and are officially "grown-ups" it thrilled me to be on the other side of that tradition, providing candy for the youngsters that came knocking on the door. When my best friend came to visit a couple of weeks ago (which will be an entirely different post when I get the pictures from her), we all sat around, ate chili, watched college football, drank apple cider, and carved pumpkins together, so our house was properly decorated for October 31st. I did not realize how expensive candy was until I decided to load up on jumbo bags of Snickers, Twix bars, and M&M's (only the best for our visitors of course) every time I went to the grocery store. But seeing as it was our first Halloween here, I had no idea how many little superheroes and princesses to expect at the front door.

On Saturday evening, I filled up a big bowl with the candy we purchased, lit up our pumpkins, and turned on the front porch light for the festivities. Only... the front porch light did not work. After switching the bulb and trying again, there was still no luck. How would kids know that we were a candy-friendly household if our lights did not work? Between the dogs going nuts from all of the people walking by and the broken porch light, my only option was to sit on the front stoop and freeze my little rear end off. Wrapped in a blanket and wearing a cozy sweatshirt and slippers, I sat outside for 2 1/2 hours as the multitudes of kids came by. Sure, it was a tad frigid and not everyone could see that I was out there, but seeing the smiles on those little faces made it all worth it. And even though I WAY overshot the amount of candy we needed to buy and have tons leftover, it's a safe bet to say that I will do it all over again next year... and it's even more exciting to think that we'll have a little pumpkin of our own to dress up in costume!

As a sidenote, we originally wanted to have a pumpkin carving contest when we were carving these. I won't reveal who carved which one (or what each one is supposed to be!), but what I can say is that we may need a little practice before next October! A winner has yet to be determined!

We hope you had a fun, safe, and festive day, too!