Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween on the Quick

Besides Christmas, I am not really one for decorating for the holidays.  For Halloween I usually crave a jack-o-lantern and call it a day.  With the monster being born at the beginning of the month, I really did not have time to do anything until... well, the day of Halloween.

I meandered out to Michael's, where I knew [what was left of] their decor would be on super super markdown.  I grabbed two paper mache skull head for ninety-nine cents each.  They were brown, so when I got home I hit them with some white spray paint.  They looked a little too perfect, so I glossed over them with a little gray spray paint that I had sitting around.  I added my faux pumpkin from last year.

Because I love me some old-skool webbing, I decked the porch with cobwebs that came in at $1.40 for the bag.  My big splurge was the 100 spiders for $4.  I didn't love the price, but what are cobwebs without spiders?

Since I didn't have time to carve pumpkins, I improvised.  I have a collection of mason jars that are 20+ strong, so I decided to put them to good use.   I have seen other bloggers decoupage the jars and use them as jack-o-lanterns luminaries (like here).  Since I used my mason jars for a variety of events, I didn't want to do anything super permanent.  So I cut out scary faces from construction paper and taped them to the jars.

Here they are illuminated:

Not the most long-lasting idea ever, but they will only be out for 24 hours.  I'm not concerned about their longevity.  

For $7.40 and a couple items laying around the house, I did a quick dress up of our house before the trick-or-treaters started rolling in.

I know you are wondering if we dressed up Hunter.  Of course we did.  He was a cozy little owl (did you expect anything less?)

Happy Halloween!

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apples and Chops

I have been on an apple kick ever since week 38 of my pregnancy.
Let's blame it on the season.  That, and my insane consumption of pumpkin- flavored baked goods.

(Hell, if I can't blame the pregnancy on any of these cravings, I'm gonna find something else to blame it on.)

Anyway, I had to come up with dinner the other night and I was tired of eating chicken.  I remembered we had pork chops in the freezer.  I saw the bushel of apples I had just picked up at the super market the other day and after a quick search via the Almighty Google, I found this great recipe.  This comes JEGs approved, too.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

4 Pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoon butter
2 tart apples- peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons pecans (optional.  I opted out because I just didn't have them at the house.  Maybe next time.)

1. Preheat oven to 175 F.  Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally or until done.  Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.

3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples.  Cover and cook until apples are just tender.  Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops.  Keep warm in the preheated oven.

4.  Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly.  Spoon sauce over apples and chops.  If you are wild and crazy and did the pecans, go ahead and sprinkle them over top.

5.  Forget about conversation during dinner.  You'll be too busy shoveling food into your gullet.

Always & Forever,

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Nursery Reveal

Now that the monster is offically here, I guess I can show you the nursery.

If you remember, in June I shared my original moodboard:

 Here is the final product:

I ditched the IKEA curtains, and instead settled on these green curtains from Target that provided more shade from the sun and matched the green in the bumper perfectly.  The wall next to the window is art-less at this time because I am still trying to figure out what I want to go above the crib.

I stuck with my idea of a vinyl wall art and snagged this tree for under $70, after asking the artist to not send the bird or the grass.  Instead of my original idea of teal, I went with an ice blue that coordinated with the bumper.  I am a little sad because I thought the green leaves I ordered were a softer, sage green, and not the neon green I got.  Whomp whomp.

To save some money (and not over fill our house with furniture), we reused the dresser that was in our bedroom as a dresser/changing table.  I replaced the original flower-laden handles with oil-rubbed bronze knob from the clearance section in Lowe's.

My favorite part of the room is the rocker next to the window.

This rocker was a gift to my mother from my father when my brother Tim was born in December 1973.  I grew up listening to my mothers soft lullabies as the rocker creaked back and forth.  I have been using it to nurse Hunter (hence the burp cloth on the arm), and I love having this bonding time in something that has been in my family for almost 40 years.

During our daylight nursing sessions, I have a great view of our backyard where I can watch the squirrels.  And they are merry.

I wanted to do an owl theme without going completely over board.  I didn't get the bedding in the mood board because it was hella expensive, and wasn't going to use any of it ( note: for those of you who do not have children, blankets and padded bumper are big no-no's for babies).  Instead I opted for a statement piece in this owl lamp

I removed the black shade it came with and replaced it with a simple white shade.  It was a little plain, so I dug out some ribbon from my endless supply, and trimmed the edges of the shade to sass it up a bit.

 I had four RIBBA frames leftover from this project and used them above the dresser.

The upper left is some DIY art I did with the monster's name.  Next to that is our first ultrasound picture that I plan to replace with either a family portrait or maybe his silhouette.  Below the ultrasound picture is a card my bestie Connie made with her Cricut and gave to me at my baby shower.  Finally, we have a onesie that I was brought home from the now defunct Frankford-Torresdale Hospital.

The closet is filled with clothes, toys, diapers and other things our very generous friends and family gifted us.  I am so happy with the overhaul we did on this closet in July (more on that project here).

There are things that I would like to do down the line, like add crown molding, have a really fantastic ceiling fixture and perhaps a new rug, but since we had so many other projects going on around the house, we needed to do this on the cheap:

Here is the cost breakdown:
Paint: Free with gift cards
Crib and Rocker: gifted from my parents
Bedding: gifted
Dresser: Free (reused from another room)
Knobs: $5.64 (6 @ $.94 each)
Lighting: $34.99 for owl lamp and $14 for new shade
Art work: $19.96 for 4 RIBBA Frames; $70 for vinyl decal
Curtains: $18.99 for two panels
Rug: $15
Pillows: Free (reused from other rooms)
Diaper Caddy: $1.99 from IKEA As-Is Section

Total: $180.57

Adding in the cost of the closet overhaul and molding along the floorboards, we are looking at about $300 to change this room from a walk-in closet to a nursery for our perfect little monster.

Always & Forever,

Monday, October 17, 2011


... is kind of the most amazing thing EVAR.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fear of Commitment

Confession time:  I have a fear of commitment.  If you walk around our house, you will notice we don't really have anything hanging from the walls.  The only art hanging has been placed on a pre-existing nail.

I knew I wanted a collage above the couch, ala YHL's hallway o' pictures.

I went out and purchased a buttload of frames from IKEA and added in a couple of frames I had sitting around

I filled the frames with pictures and mementos of years past and placed them in a  measured out the space I wanted to use on our kitchen floor

 I even made little templates to hang up and check the space

...and then I just sat there and stared.

...and stared some more...

my walls can talk-- and they are extra sassy
I was so afraid to commit to this.  What if I messed up?  What if it didn't look right?  THE PRESSURE WAS TOO MUCH.

So the frames and templates stayed stacked in our kitchen for weeks (not even kidding) until one Saturday evening, I bucked up and grabbed the hammer and nails.

I added a lot of things that I had been keeping over the years.  The red parking pass was from our first vacation to Ocean City, MD.  Below that are sauce packets from Taco Bell (an inside joke between us) and a picture of JEGs' grandfather looking devilishly handsome.  The middle of the set up is one of our favorite pictures from our wedding and a sonogram of the little monster (which we hope to replace with a family picture).

Subway art is super hot right now, so I created a smaller version with locations and dates that held special meaning to us

I even included our contract renewal-  another joke we had from our first year of dating

There are a couple of pictures I really like as well as the keys to Falconhead-- our first place together.

I see this as the bare bones of a project that will take years to flesh out.  As our family grows and we collect things that are special to us, I would like to fill in the spaces and even expand on the sides.

But for now, it's a baby step to help in my fear of commitment.

Always & Forever,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Be Our Guest

My very enthusiastic mother just made us nine pies has offered to come stay with us this week to help get me  settled now that JEGs has headed back to work.

Now I know you guys have noticed the mess the guest room has been while viewing my weekly bump pictures.  Don't act like you didn't slide your eyes to the left and think "what hell exploded in there?!?!"

Our crap, that's what.

Between our lack of storage space (which includes our pain in the ass to access attic, seen here) and turning our walk in closet  into a nursery, this room became our dumping ground.  I would "organize" it every two or three weeks and it would just go back to being a mess.  Some days weeks it was so bad we would just shut the door and pretend it didn't exist.

However, I could not ask my 60some-year-old mother to shack up on the couch.  I needed to give her a  proper room with privacy, a place to stash her clothes and.. well, I guess a bed of some sort to sleep on would be nice too.  So we sucked it up and got to business.  It took us the better part of a month, but I think it can pass as acceptable staying accommodations

We cheated a little on the "bed" part of the room.  We didn't have the cheddar to spring for a new box spring and mattress (and I am NOT about to get something off Craigslist) so we busted out the aeromattress that I slept on during the hurricane.  It's pretty comfortable and a double, so my mom doesn't have to squeeze onto something the size of a pool float.

I wanted a place for my mom to be able to put her glasses at the end of a long day, so I snagged a small table from our patio and set it up next to the bed.  She has a touch lamp next to the bed so she doesn't have to do that annoying stumble-through-a-dark-and-unknown-room after she has turned off the overhead light.

She's also expressed a desire to have her own photo album from our wedding, so I included a copy of our proof book with stickies, so she can mark what pictures she wants in the album.  Or she can just toss it on the floor and has plenty of room for her own book of leisure.  What she does off the clock is none of my business.

We originally had two bookshelves in this room, but with the addition of the office nook in the kitchen, we were able to pair down to one.  I also paired down my book collection, and found a nice corner to place the book shelf.   So Momma, if you forgot your own book, feel free to borrow one of ours;  JEGs recommends the Eric Clapton Biography.  Me?  I say Confessions of a Shopaholic.

During DresserGate 2011, my hope chest got shuffled out of our bedroom and into the guest room.  It is currently housing all our linens, but it also have a small television, if my mom wants to peruse the Channels of ABC, CBS, or NBC.  Sorry, no pay-per-view in this hotel.

As much as I hate that the room is still Buzz Blaster Blue, I didn't want to settle on a color.  Our bigger plan for this room is to make it into a man-cave/playroom for JEGs and the Monster.   Instead of the aerobed, we hope to score a pullout couch-- something that JEGs can comfortably sit on and play XBOX, but we can still host a guest or two if needed.

I am really psyched that we spent very little money to transform this room.  Everything in here was something we already owned except for two things:  The IKEA LERBERG shelving for our DVDs (2 @ $5.99 each) and we did spring for a new ceiling fan

The fan/light combo in this room was big and dark and a clearence issue for anyone over 5'9, so we took it down and replaced it with the Harbor Breeze Cheshire II fan.  It's much slimmer and makes the room look so much bigger.

...and if anyone else wants to come and help with the baby after my mom leaves, I won't turn you away.  I'm just sayin'...

Always & Forever,

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Formal Introduction

Say hello to Hunter Fillmore

Our little monster arrived at 10:16 am on Saturday, October 1, 2011.  He weighted 6lbs 14 oz and is 21 inches long.

Friday afternoon I had my weekly appointment.  I went in a little bitter because I had been wishing hoping praying that I wouldn't make it to the appointment.  I got more craptastic news when I was told I hasn't dilated anymore.  My OB wanted me to try to make it through the weekend on my own, but scheduled for me to be induced on October 4.   In the meantime, she had me head over to the hospital for a Non-Stress Test to make sure the little guy was ok in there.   He passed with flying colors.  I, on the other hand, had blood pressure that was through the roof and they wouldn't let me leave until it had come down.

After an hour or so of observation, the nurse came in and said "Change of plans.  Since you are here, your are over due and your blood pressure is so high, we are just going to induce you tonight.  No point in waiting".  So I called JEGs to tell him the news, and waddled over to a delivery room to get changed.  This was about 3:00pm.

The plan was to give me Cervidil to soften my cervix for 12 hours and then I would get Pitocin to start the actual labor.  I  got the Cervidil around 9:30pm (by a male doctor who had the hands of a construction worker.. ouch!), but it had to be taken out around 2 am because I was getting very strong contractions.   I was still hooked up to a machine that would take my blood pressure every 15 minutes, so between the cuff going off and the contractions, I wasn't getting a lot of sleep.   I was given Benedryl to help me sleep and something for the pain of the contractions.

Around 5:00 am I felt something dripping on my leg.  I woke up JEGs, who was sleeping on a cot next to me, and said I thought my water broke.  The nurse tested it, and said she didn't think it was.  I asked to go to the bathroom, and as I stood up, there was suddenly a puddle of water on the floor under my feet.  THAT was my water breaking.  My cervix was checked, but she said I was still not dilated very much, and it was posterior.  An hour later the contractions were were really strong and a solid 5 minutes apart.  I was given more medication for the pain, but it wasn't helping at all.

Around 9:00 am, I felt like I had to do some business in the bathroom, so I asked the nurse for help getting up.  She said before I went, she wanted to check my dilation.  At this point I was fully dilated and the feeling of having to use the bathroom was actually the baby heading down the canal.

I asked about an epidural, but I was told there wasn't even enough time for a local anesthetic.  Before I knew it, a nurse grabbed one leg, JEGs grabbed the other, there was a spotlight on my vag and I was told to start pushing.  Twenty-five minutes later, the little monster was born.

My blood pressure continued to be super high after the birth so I was given magnesium sulfate and a catheter.  Let's talk about how that was THE MOST miserable 24 hours of my life.  The magnesium sulfate makes you very groggy and hot, and I couldn't get out of bed because of the catheter, so I basically felt like I had the flu. I was so useless;  I couldn't breast feed, I couldn't change him, even just holding him took all the energy I had.    JEGs was such a superstar though.  He took care of all of the feedings, changings, and rocking him to sleep.  I didn't think it was possible, but I have fallen even more in love with him.

I didn't get my drugs, and I didn't get my September baby, but let's be honest-- nothing about this pregnancy was well planned.  This little man is the epitome of life happening while you are making other plans.

But you know what,  I wouldn't give up this little monster for anything.  I love him so much.

Always & Forever,
  ME (and Hunter)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fabulous September

Pumpkin Food

I know spicy food is said to trigger labor, but do you think pumpkin-flavored stuff has the same effect?  I hope so with the amount of pumpkin I have consumed over the past couple of days.

Alexi comes home
I mentioned in a previous post, that my cousin Kerith gave birth to a daughter at 30 weeks.  At the time, I asked for thoughts and prayers for my cousin and little Alexi.  I am so very happy to announce that at 10 weeks old she and Momma are doing great-- in fact Alexi has even come home from the hospital.  She still has some obstacles to overcome, but she has proven herself to be a strong little girl!

Fall television

 I love it when shows start again in the fall-- it's like revisiting old friends.  I missed the crew and Glendale Community College.  It's nice to see that Ted Mosby still believes in love. Of course we can't forget the 5-time Emmy Award winning Dunphy/Prichett family.  I also love the possibility of picking up new shows.  This season I am continuing to enjoy the late-season replacement Happy Endings, and I've also become interested in the late-night soap that is Revenge.   The first two episodes have me intrigued...

Yoga pants.

Like these from Old Navy.
..the only way I got through this last month of pregnancy.

Alright September, you gots to get movin'.  October is here, and that's my favorite month!

Always & Forever,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Watch Me Grow!

... Hunter Fillmore ...
b. October 1, 2011











....Tessa Louise...
b. March 26, 2015