Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday--January 31

So I was doing so well at the start of the month getting back in the blogging groove, and now it's been...what?  Two weeks since a post?  Not for lack of thinking of ideas to blog about, but I've definitely been a bit tired this month.  Anyhow, this morning seemed like a good time to be thankful for a few things--

First, I'm so thankful for J's job and for my appreciation of it.  Early in our relationship I hated when he would be on a weeks long bent of working every day.  These days, though, when so many folks are unemployed or underemployed, I'm thankful that there is enough work in the firm to keep J at work late into the night.  Now, will I feel the same way in a couple of months when I've been hanging out with a baby all day and would really like to pass her off to someone else?  Maybe not.  And knowing that makes me even more thankful of the 'right now' blessing of it all!

I'm thankful, too, for this pregnancy.  We're officially 35 weeks in, a fact that is a bit hard for me to grasp.  Sometime in the next month or so, our lives will change in ways we can't even begin to imagine.  I told myself at the beginning that I wouldn't ever be one of those complaining pregnant women, and I've been blessed with a pretty easy pregnancy that has left it easy to stick to that promise.  That said, it's getting harder to not complain, so I'm doubling my efforts to just be thankful for this amazing process again.

Finally, I'm thankful for the emails I've been getting from my folks for the last week.  They have been on a trip to the Holy Land, and I've loved reading the snippets of their experience!  I really look forward to hearing the full story when they get home, but in the meantime, I am thankful that they have the opportunity to take cool trips like this together and to share the experience with us!

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Almost done collecting furniture...

So as of today, we're seven weeks or so from adding a little person to our home, and as you may have noticed in last Wednesday's post, little people come with lots of stuff.  We'd already bought a baby bed, and we've moved two chairs we already owned into the nursery.  A bookshelf/future dollhouse is in the design stages (thanks, Dad!), and a hope chest has been identified (J's grandfather's grandmother's cedar chest!).  Really, all we have left (we think) is a dresser to hold the ever-growing pile of itsy-bitsy diapers and socks and onesies, etc.

I had a picture in my head (y'all know this never ends well), and had visited several retail establishments in town and online searching for an option.  The options generally fell into one of two camps--too expensive and too modern--though many also fell into the 'cheap, fake wood' camp, an option shared by both the expensive and modern dressers, though those descriptions also apply to real, solid wood dressers, too.  My mom and I visited a used-furniture store where I mused that perhaps I could find something like the picture in my head and paint it.  She pointed out that the picture in my head might be too ornate to paint.  She was probably right.

Monday, I popped into another used-furniture store right as they were closing and asked about dressers.  The lady didn't have anything like what I described, but commented that if I was willing to paint, I should "check out Uncle RayJay's".  Who? Where?  Uncle RayJay's, it turns out, is a relatively new used furniture/appliance shop in town that seems to deal a lot in solid wood used furniture.  I had time, and it was kind of on my way, so I drove over.  And found this:

Now, it's not as ornate as the picture in my head, but it has some pretty, girly lines to it.  And, should I decide to paint it, it's not so ornate that I can't easily do that.  I probably will paint it, as it is fairly beat up and has an ugly burn on the top, but the burn mark will be living under a changing pad for the next couple years anyway.

Also, it came with a mirror attached that won't fit in this room, but will be nice in some other room in our house.  Oh, and we will be swapping out hardware, which works well because I think those four drawer pulls across the top two drawers will work really well in the library on our built-ins!

The best part?  The entire dresser, plus delivery, cost us $130 (Uncle RayJay starts negotiating when you pull out cash).  As I told J, the mirror alone would have cost that at our local big box hardware store, and the dresser would have been twice that at any other used furniture store in town.

So that's the story of how we've finished collecting furniture for the nursery!  I think we'll end up with a basket or two for blankets and toys, as well as a small table and an ottoman for the reading corner, but it's so nice to have the big things out of the way!  Next up for the nursery: painting!

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Goals

Okay, so I'm finally getting some goals posted for the MP this year.  If they sound a little repetitive, well, they are.  I'm nothing if not dedicated to accomplishing goals, even if it takes years of talking about them to make them happen...

Inside the house:

  • Get the library all put together
  • Clear the pool table out of the family room and create kid-world
  • Create a nursery
  • Maybe do a little work to the living room (like tear down a wall!)

Outside the house:

  • New deck!
  • Move the storage building to a less in-the-way spot in the yard
  • Planting bed out front
  • New mailbox
Our word for 2013:  Patience
  • First, we figure these last two months of waiting for our baby girl will certainly require some patience, particularly at the end as we balance impatience with a desire to let her 'bake' as long as she needs.
  • Second, J needs a healthy helping of patience to survive two more months of me with 'pregnancy brain'.
  • Finally, and perhaps most obviously, as we enter the world of parenthood, we know that a reminder to ourselves to be patient--with the little one, with ourselves, with each other, and with well-meaning family and friends--will be much needed.
So there you go--our Melton Point goals for 2013!  Check back in a year or so to see how we do!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday--January 10

So I was looking back at old posts and realized that I typically have a post in late December or early January that looks back at our goals and accomplishments of the previous year.  Since we're still technically in the first third of January, I figure I'm not entirely late to that party this year, right?

Here's the deal.  Usually, the way the calendar falls between Christmas and New Years (together with jobs that close for those seven or eight days) gives me a week or so of peace and quiet to reflect and recharge.  This year, the calendar and our schedule was not my friend.  We spent what amounted to three days traveling, followed by two days at home and a day in the office, followed by three more days traveling.  While I thoroughly enjoyed visiting family and friends during all that traveling, the week just wasn't conducive to reflecting or recharging, much less for writing blog posts about goals.  When you add in the fact that the week since the year started has been less than stellar (furnace issues, our loss last week, some other stuff I don't even want to get into here, and oh by the way, being eight months pregnant which apparently comes with a pretty heavy dose of discomfort and exhaustion), I think it's understandable that we're in a bit of a funk around the MP.

But JE, you're probably thinking, this post title says it is a Thankful Thursday post.  What are you thinking?  Well, here's what I'm thinking.  When I'm in a funk (I thought of it yesterday as feeling like I'm trying to walk through caro syrup), I tend to want to curl up and do the things that come comfortably.  Blogging, even though I've not done as much in recent months as, say, a year ago, is one of those things.  So is stopping to count my blessings.  So, in light of that, let's look at what we've been doing around the MP and count those blessings!

So, last year I described our goals for the house this way:  In terms of goals around the MP, well, they look a lot like last year:  put new gutters on the house and replace our deck.  Other smaller projects, like finishing the library and my craft room redo, are also on the list, but the gutters and deck are definitely the most expensive (and most important) items for us to think about.

I am so insanely thankful for the new gutters!  Not having to think about them this winter, or about what further damage we were doing to the house as a result of not having replaced them, is a real blessing.  We also made awesome progress on the library, and I'm finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel there!  My craft room redo went well, and I love all of the organization work I put into it last winter.  I still have a few hours of work to do there to make the room a bit more functional.  We also painted the shutters this year, and I love knowing that the door, shutters and lighting all match around the exterior of the house.  We definitely still need a new deck, so that's on the list for 2013.

MP Our family word/phrase for 2012 was "open".  Here's why we chose it:  First, I mentioned in a Thankful Thursday post a couple weeks ago how much I appreciate J for being open and honest.  We've had several conversations lately that seem elevated by his (our) commitment to being open and honest with each other.  While not necessarily easy, approaching tough conversations that way seems to lead to a respectful and loving discourse.  I hope that we'll continue to be open with each other throughout 2012.  In addition, we're not sure what 2012 has in store for us.  We hope, though, to be open to the possibilities.  Open to the God-whispers and the God-beatings-about-the-head.  Open to new adventures and to things that don't go our way.  
You know, I think this was a great word for us in 2012.  It guided us (me, at least) through fertility issues, which certainly didn't go according to my plan.  It guided us through the stressful first trimester of pregnancy, and it's guided us through the fears and worries that come with the realization that "oh my gosh, we have to actually take home and keep alive an actual baby at the end of this".  We were able to trust each other with our feelings and feel really good about the strength of our marriage.  I am so thankful that five years into our marriage (and eight years into our relationship now), we still love each other as much (and more) than we did on our wedding day.

So that's what we did this year.  Built some things, painted some things, took lots of drugs and endured some slicing & dicing, lived through two-thirds of a pretty amazing pregnancy, celebrated five years of marriage and were blessed with our last full year with Zeppelin.  As the sum of it's parts, 2012 was a good year for the MP.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Blank slate

Back in 2008, when J first bought the MP, we knew that the smaller of the two rooms upstairs would be my office/eventual craft room.  We didn't really have a purpose for the other room.  When J received a bunch of UK-related framed art, I hung those on the walls.  Over time, it became an 'overflow guest room', with an air mattress or two ready to blow up as needed.  Finally, at some point, I started to think of the room as the future nursery, and eventually I pulled together an idea (a picture in my head) of what it might look like.

As time continued to pass, I finally broke down and started to fill the mostly empty room.  Left my 'real job'?  Well, those boxes from the office need to go somewhere...  New part time job comes with boxes and catalogs?  Well, there's room upstairs for that...  Don't feel like sorting through Christmas decorations to make new for the new ones?  Just store the new ones upstairs and pretend the old ones don't exist anymore!

You can imagine what the 'nursery' looked like once it was actually time to use it for real.  Lucky for me, my mom was in town this weekend and offered to stay over an extra day to help me sort through things.  Actually, she ended up serving as a runner while I touched each and every object in the room.  Do you remember that old show on TLC where they set up a Toss, Keep, Sell/Donate pile?  It was kind of like that, except I had a donate box, a trash bag, a box to send to my new office, a box to send home to mom and dad, and boxes for each level of the house.  Other than a break to run to Goodwill and the county electronics recycling facility, we spent most of the day sorting and cleaning.  By the end of the day, this is what we had:

Actually, at the very end of the day, this is what we had:

I'm kind of excited to have baby things in the baby room, and nothing else!!

Thanks, mom!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday--January 3

Wow, another new year already here?  The way Christmas and New Years fell this year robbed me of my typical week off to tackle projects around the house. Instead, I got two days, one of which I spent brainstorming a project and the other of which I spent working on currently existing projects. Those days (plus another one I spent almost entirely in the office) were book-ended by lovely trips to visit both sides of parents and dear friends.  A girl really can't complain.

Anyhow, that's not really what I want to talk about today, so I'll try to come back and do a post about the holidays another time.  As well as a post about what we accomplished around the MP last year.  And a post about our hopes and dreams for 2013.  Stay tuned for those come... summer?

Today, I want to talk about this guy:

This is Zeppelin. I know I've talked about him before, I want to tell his story, part of it at least.

Zep was born on tax day, 2001.  In mid-June of that year, thanks to a nasty sunburn (mine) and a farmer who decided to put a box of puppies outside Wal-Mart in an effort to give them away, Zep became mine and I became his.  At that point, he was a ten pound ball of black fluff, and he had the most energy I'd ever seen in a dog.  A mix (I was told) of Chow and Springer Spaniel, Zeppelin the puppy came to me seemingly potty trained (he even 'pointed' to pee), willing and able to chew anything and everything, and intensely stubborn.  By six months old, he weighed in at about 50 pounds--his full-grown size--and continued to be certain he was a lap dog.  His puppyhood lasted until he was three or so.  Just about the time I couldn't imagine him ever calming down, he started to. And then we met J, who insisted that he calm down a bit more, but who assured me on an early date to the dog park that he knew we were a package deal.  While J will still tell you that he is only "the guy who feeds me" to Zeppelin, I get to see his reaction when he hears J's car in the drive or steps in the hall.  While I may still be his 'person', Zeppelin absolutely adopted J into our pack.

On Friday, J dropped Zeppelin off at the kennel, a place he's gone to since we moved to Lexington more than ten years ago.  As usual, he was excited to visit Keshlyn and was happy to be left there. Yesterday, while I waiting in the long line of folks picking up their pets, I pictured Zep running out to meet me as he always did--tail wagging, bright clear eyes, and a bounce in his step.  That isn't the dog who greeted me.  I immediately knew something was wrong, though for a moment I thought perhaps he'd just woken up from a nap.  He seemed rather groggy.  Since our vet is on the way home, I decided to pop in and have his vitals checked to reassure me that all was well.

Long story short(er), the vet expressed concern about a fever, rapid heart rate and enlarged abdomen.  He suggested x-rays and bloodwork to diagnose the problem, and returned quickly to tell me Zeppelin's stomach had twisted on itself, an emergency situation, and that I needed to take him to the emergency vet immediately.  We headed there, and J met us.  It took the vet there very little time to review the records our vet sent with us, have a quick chat with him, and then give us the news that our boy was in rough shape.  We talked, we cried, we called our priest and prayed, and we made the gut wrenching decision to put Zeppelin to sleep.

I am so thankful to Zeppelin, who taught me in a way no roommate ever could, for teaching me not to leave piles of classwork on the floor.

I'm thankful to J, who loved us as a package, always supporting my affection for my first 'baby', and who came to love Zep on his own, as well.

I'm thankful for the folks at Keshlyn, who for ten years provided a safe and happy home-away-from-home for Zep, and I am thankful that I never once questioned or worried about dropping him off there.

I'm thankful for the folks at Tates Creek Animal Hospital, who provided top notch care for Zeppelin for more than ten years, especially in the last six months.

I'm thankful for the folks at the emergency vet, who gave us time and information to make the best decision we could, who assured us that it was the best decision after we'd made it, and who gave us quiet time with Zep before, during and after his passing.

I'm thankful for 11 and a half really good years, with a really good dog.  I'm thankful for the opportunity to 'parent' a dog who was as fiercely protective and as sweetly loving as Zeppelin.

I'm thankful for Zep, who was a good boy, and whose mama loved him very much.