Tuesday, May 28, 2013

36 Weeks & Nursery Sneak Peek

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Yes, you get to see this momma in her pajamas, but this is just the most comfortable attire for me right now.  By the time I get ready in the morning, I am too exhausted to take pictures, and by the time I get home, I just want to get as comfortable as possible.  So here I am!  And yes, you get a little peek at the nursery progress.

With just about 4 weeks to go before Mattie's due date, I think Daddy has started nesting.  He was determined to get a lot done on this long holiday weekend.  Mommy also worked on some special projects for Mattie the last couple of weeks, and she thinks they turned out as well as she planned.  Mattie should weigh close to 6 pounds and may be as long as 20 inches.  We hope she continues putting on the pounds (um, ounces) the next few weeks. 

Weight Gain:  I think I'm done with this one.  I'm just big.  Ha!

Maternity Clothes:  Oh yes...and pajamas!  Wearing primarily dresses and skirts for work and enjoying shorts and tanks on the weekends.   

Sleep: About the same.  Still pretty rough because of pretty intense back and hip pain.  I wake up every few hours to change sides.  I haven't had any severe leg cramping lately though so there's some good news.  It is harder to get out of bed though, and I feel like I am so stiff when I get up that I can barely move.  

Best Moment of this Week:  Enjoying coming home earlier every night and just spending quality time with my boys.  We also enjoyed the progress on the nursery although we were all exhausted from the hard work. 

Making Mommy's belly do some weird things now like she's got an alien trying to come out.  Ha! I know that her environment is getting a lot more cramped though.   

Food Cravings:  Ice cream and other cool treats on these much warmer days. 

Food Aversions:  Nothing really although Zantac is my best friend lately.

What I Miss:  Energy! 

Gender:  Sweet baby girl to join a house full of boys!

Symptoms: Heartburn, back and hip pain, and some Braxton Hicks contractions are the primary symptoms.

What I'm looking forward to:  Getting through the next few weeks so we can meet this little one!

And I'd be so mean if I didn't give you a few sneak peeks of the progress although I don't want to reveal too much yet:

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Daddy and Evan work on a special project. 

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And Evan got to use the staple gun.  Yikes!

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Painting some pink!

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Hair bows and a sweet bow holder handmade by Mommy, Daddy, and Evan!

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A sweet little chandelier to cast a romantic glow in the room. 

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And some bunnies found their way in for a special project. 

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A sweet free printable Mommy made online. 

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Since we put the new car seat cover on the car seat, Brody's baby has resided in it.  He likes to kiss her goodnight. 

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And then he tries to sit on her.  Oops!

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Putting her bow back on.  Such a sweet big brother!
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Celebrating Mother's Day

I am finally getting this post up a couple of weeks late but better late than never.  Since Mother's Day was the day after my graduation, it was a pretty busy weekend, but Mother's Day is definitely a special day for this mommy.  I don't take this blessed job for granted, and I know I am truly blessed to be these boys' and little girl's mommy.  My boys have always made me feel so loved, and Mother's Day is just always an extra special day to spend with them.  This year, we were able to spend the day with both of our mothers too since they were up here for my graduation.  After church, we took the grandparents out to eat lunch at Outback, and then, Mommy wanted to go over to take a few graduation pictures at her school.  We got some sweet pictures of me and the boys for Mother's Day too and then went home to enjoy a little fun time in the backyard.  The weather was nice so Brody finally got to try out his new water table, and yes, Evan enjoyed it as much as he did.

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Mommy with her sweet boys, and Mattie is in the picture too. 

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Sweet baby kisses. 

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Brody was in a very happy mood. 

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Laughing with mommy.

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Trying to get a picture of both boys kissing mommy.

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Evan cooperated for a picture with Nana and Papa.

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And some shots of our big boy by himself with his big city  behind him.

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He's looking so big these days. 

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They both loved playing on this fun bike rack. 

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What a cool tunnel!

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Climbing is definitely one of his favorite activities lately. 

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And water play is always a favorite. 

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Trying out the new water table was a big hit with both of them. 

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Lots of splashing. 

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Cute water baby.

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It was a good day for all!

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May I never take any of these precious days for granted!  
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Friday, May 24, 2013

How Can We Celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary and New Baby?

I am racking my brain here for something special I can do for my husband as June 21st marks our 10 year anniversary and our baby girl is due to arrive on June 24th.  I would love to take a trip together, but alas, that will have to wait a while.  With new baby on the way and me starting maternity leave, we are definitely on a budget, and I am not going to be up to traveling.  After the last four exhausting years, I do feel we both need to enjoy this special time together.  I am seeking any advice, tips, suggestions, etc. on how we can celebrate this special occasion.  Thanks a bunch, blog pals!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

38 Signs You're from NC

This kind of made me smile today so I thought I would share.  In an attempt to better familiarize you with some of the funny quirks of being from NC, which I have to admit has its share of quirks that set it apart from other parts of the southern U.S., I thought I would share this post that I came across today with a few of my own comments and experiences.  Yes, this post may be written for folks like you, Natasha, and you, Natalie, since NC is probably so different from your parts of the country and world.

1.             You have very strong feelings about Duke, UNC, and NC State.

Um, yes, you could say that although I have definitely toned those feelings down in recent years.  One of the biggest differences between NC and other southern states is that while most southern states are huge college and professional football addicts, NC is very serious about its college basketball.  I attribute this to our schools being in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference Division) as opposed to other southern states who are in the SEC (Southeastern Conference).  The SEC is primarily made up of schools that put more into their football programs while the ACC schools love basketball.  Growing up, my family was very pro-UNC so I adopted that love from them.  When I went to college at a small all women’s college in Raleigh, NC, I developed a love for NC State as I was right across the road from the campus and spent much of my time there.  (And of course, this had nothing to do with boys!  I mean, come on, what kind of girl do you think I am?  Haha!)  But yes, I did just happen to meet my future husband there.  Eddie is actually more of a football fan than a basketball fan because NC State has been notably better at football.  We are both pretty ANTI-DUKE though!  Haha! 

2.             You know Cheerwine is not actually wine but one of the greatest carbonated beverages ever.

Well, I am familiar with Cheerwine, and although I do try to stay clear of carbonated, caffeinated, sugary and unnatural beverages (sweet tea does not count), I have enjoyed this beverage once or twice.  Yes, it was “born” right here in my current hometown of Charlotte, but you can thank our wonderful state for many of the beverages you know and love (Coke and Pepsi drinkers, that means you!). 

3.             You have gotten into fights about what style of barbecue is better.

Okay, not actually physical fights, but maybe a few arguments.  There are many different meanings behind the term barbecue so perhaps I should explain further for educational purposes.  NC is divided into three distinct regions (Eastern Coastal Plains near the coast, middle section called the Piedmont, and the western Mountain area).  Although I can say I was born in the western part of the state, I was “raised” in the eastern part of the state for most of my young life.  I do have to agree with the author of the post, eastern is the best.  In NC, when we talk about barbecue we mean pork.  Yes, we love eating pigs around here.  Haha!  We barbecue the whole pig (you’ll see more about this down the list) on a big grill and then cut the meat off.  Now is where it gets tricky.  If you are in the east, you’ll want to finely chop the barbecue and for my taste remove as much of the fatty parts as possible (doesn’t that sound yummy?).  Then, we cover the chopped meat with a yummy concoction of spices in a tangy vinegar base.  Trust me, it is the best!  In the western part of the state, you find what is called pulled pork barbecue.  They don’t chop the barbecue but instead just pull it apart by hand into large pieces and then cover it in a traditional tomato based barbecue sauce.  Of course, if you are like my husband who could eat anything smothered in mustard, you may prefer South Carolina’s “yucky” mustard based sauce.  Haha!  Of course, if you go to Texas, you’ll find a totally different meaning to the term barbecue and other places will use the term to loosely refer to anything cooked on a grill, but we are pretty picky about our use of the term here. 

4.             You know it’s no fluke Asheville has been named Beer City for three consecutive years.

Well, actually, I didn’t know that, but I did know that our state loves its beer.  We actually do have many local breweries around here.  I have been to the Weeping Radish Bavarian Restaurant which was NC’s first brewpub and is located in Manteo on Roanoke Island (home of The Lost Colony).  We lived in that area during our first years of marriage, and we celebrated Oktoberfest there one year.   

5.             You know ya’ll is a perfectly grammatically correct way to refer to a group of people.

Yep, it is, ya’ll!  Haha!  Okay so I don’t really use this term professionally, but I get it and love it! 

6.             You know tea is always better sweetened.

And with ice!  Haha!  Hey, we live in a hot and humid climate so there is nothing better than a cold glass of sweet iced tea on a hot day.  However, I have actually had to start asking for half unsweet at many establishments in recent years as many places do overdo it on the sugar.  Seriously, it should not taste like syrup, folks!  Sigh, it is seriously a work of art to master the delicate balance of making this delicious beverage.  I have actually mastered it at home and taught my husband so we usually have a nice concoction waiting at home in the fridge whenever you come for a visit.

7.             You have a favorite NASCAR driver.

Sigh!  Seriously, I could do without this one.  Well, actually, my family did teach me an appreciation for the beloved Dale Earnhardt (#3) until he died in 2001.  But really, I could never sit and watch one of these races all day.  I guess the only way to do it is to get really drunk.  Ha!  I mean you are just watching a bunch of cars going around a track like 500 times, and the only excitement is when someone wrecks.  Moving on, folks.

8.             You’d happily live off of Bojangles’ biscuits. 

Seriously!  I love Bojangles!  I know it sounds like a cajun restaurant, but it was born right here in Charlotte as well and has spread across the south.  It is a chicken fast food chain, but unlike the more widely known KFC, Bojangles does have a cajun flair, and their chicken has a spicy mixture in the breading.  The yummy biscuits are also a treat that kind of make you think of our grandmothers’ homemade buttermilk biscuits although nothing could compare to those. 

9.             You know the proper pronunciation of Appalachian.

…as in the mountains.  Yep, it is App-a-LATCH-un! 

10.          Grits and/or biscuits are staples of any good breakfast. 

Yes, and I don’t get a “good” breakfast very often.  Grits are good with a little salt, pepper, and butter although some cheddar cheese melted in them is also a treat.

11.          You still have beef with Ohio.

This one just made me laugh.  First in Flight.  Thanks, Wilbur and Orville, for choosing to fly that plane on the NC Outer Banks! 

12.          You know what it means to have a burger “all the way.” 

Yes, I guess I do, but no slaw for me, please!  Ha!

13.          You know no holiday or big family dinner is complete without greens.

Collard greens that is.  Well, this was the case when my Granny was alive!

14.          You’re a closet “leaf looker.” 

Haha!  I do enjoy a drive in the mountains to see the beautiful fall colors on display although my susceptibility to car sickness doesn't make this very practical. 

15.          Seeing a Florida license plate drives you into fits of rage. 

I don’t know about this one, but bad drivers in general will do that.  Ha!  It sounds like this is a mountain area thing because all those snowbird retirees like to head to the mountains to see those leaves changing color. 

16.          You watched the ACC Basketball Tournament in class.

Maybe once or twice depending on who my teachers were.  March Madness, baby!   

17.          You had a snow day…without any snow.

In our defense, our weather has been notably unpredictable.  They predict snow, we probably won’t get any.  They don’t predict snow, we’ll get dumped on.  Ha!

18.          You have an appreciation of bluegrass.

Um, not so much.

19.          You’ve attended a pig pickin’ or two. 

See number 3 above.  This is a social event where we all get together and cook the pig and make our wonderful barbecue.  It is awesome, ya’ll.  I haven’t actually done this since living in the eastern part of the state though.  We can feed lots of folks with a whole pig.  Ha!

20.          You like to brag about the NC music scene. 

Seriously, ya’ll, James Taylor will win anyone over to this state.  Just google Carolina in my Mind. 

21.          You have friends who have done some cow tipping. 

Um, I probably do, but I’d rather not know about it.  Yes, I grew up in a very rural small town. 

22.          The Lost Colony fascinates you. 

Seriously, ya’ll, we do have the best history of any state! 

23.          So does Blackbeard.

Yep, we have a history of notorious pirates.  What’s not to love?  And our coastline is eerily called “the graveyard of the Atlantic.”  Spooky, huh?

24.          You’ve jumped off Jockey’s Ridge. 

Um, no, those people are crazy.  That thing is huge.  I love watching people windsurf off of it though. 

25.          You have a favorite swimmin’ hole. 

Oh, I’ll take a cool dip in a mountain stream or a refreshing dip in the ocean on any hot summer day.  We are lucky to have both here within a few hours driving distance. 

26.          You know the best time to visit the Grove Park Inn is during gingerbread house time. 

This is referring to the Biltmore House estate in Asheville, NC, the 8,000-acre estate created by George Vanderbilt and known as America’s largest house.  You can stay at the Inn although we haven’t because it is pretty expensive, and we haven’t been able to justify a visit yet.  With its elaborate gardens, I could see this as a great vacation destination for you, Natasha! 

27.          You know the importance of preferring light blue over dark blue. 

I am intentionally leaving out the vice versa here because who in their right mind would prefer dark blue?   The light blue means the UNC Tarheels and dark blue refers to the Duke Blue Devils.  We say there is a reason God made the skies Carolina blue, folks. 

28.          There was a plastic jug of moonshine in your freezer. 

Um, no.  Must be a mountain thing.

29.          You know the Cook Out tray is the best deal.  Ever. 

Um, maybe for broke college students.  Cheap greasy burgers and fries…perfect college food, right?   A corn dog as a side, really?  Ugh!  No wonder people are so unhealthy these days. 

30.          Christmas Town , USA, is the bane of your existence. 

This is a little town just west of Charlotte and just off one of the major interstates in our state, Interstate 85.  I have never had the need to head this direction during the Christmas season so I have missed the traffic problems this causes every year on the interstate as traffic backs up for miles with people wanting to drive through the town and look at Christmas lights.  Hey, I love Christmas lights as much as anybody, but I have my limits. 

31.          You were eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts before they got all popular and trendy. 

Seriously, I was.  I actually took them for granted as a kid.  We just happened to live in the town that has one of the oldest stores so I’ve been around this treat since I was very young.  Stores have really started popping up everywhere lately and becoming more popular.  It is a treat to go into the store and look through the glass to see those circles of dough going down a moving assembly line, turning golden brown under the heat of the oven, and then being drizzled with yummy sugary glazed goodness.  And if you are lucky enough to get them hot off the line when the light is on, they will melt in your mouth.  Sigh!  I am giving myself a craving typing this.  Ha!

32.          “Wagon Wheel” will never, ever get old.

Ooops, I don’t really know much about this one.  I mean, I’ve heard of the song, but I don’t get the craziness. 

33.          The sight of this brings you joy. 

Yes, they just announced that the Charlotte Bobcats (our NBA team) will go back to being the Charlotte Hornets.  There is a whole crazy history about this one, but the team was the Charlotte Hornets back when I was a kid, and the name definitely has more sentimental meaning for our area than the Bobcats which apparently was ingeniously derived by the former owner of the team who also owned BET and wanted the team named after him or something.  The team is now owned primarily by Michael Jordan.  I don’t know if changing the name will help the team win more, but we welcome the change.

34.          And the sight of this reduces you to tears.

Sigh, again.  Oh Panthers.  This was the year we almost won the NFL Super Bowl championship (and in retrospect if they had been able to review the play back then, we would have won).  Oh the taste of disappointment! 

35.          You had no idea hockey was an actual sport until this happened. 

Yes, we really weren’t big hockey fans until we got our own team, the Carolina Hurricanes, and they won the Stanley Cup.  I still am not a big fan though.  The sport seems brutal! 

36.          Speaking of hurricanes, you’ve lived through one. 

Oh, several actually!  I have fond memories of hurricane survival through some of the roughest storms to hit our area.  One named Fran hit on my 16th birthday…what a wonderful way to celebrate, huh?  We usually know that if a storm bypasses Florida and the gulf and continues north in the Atlantic, the warm waters of the Gulf Stream are going to direct it right into our coastline which does kind of stick out there into the ocean. 

37.          You’ve figured out some creative ways to get around blue laws and the lack of happy hour in the state. 

Um, no, I have not. 

38.          And when the state disappoints you, you still ardently defend it. 

It’s kind of like family.  You can criticize it, but you won’t stand for any outsiders doing it.  Haha! 

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Law School Graduation

Well, isn't that a creative title to a post?  Ha!  So yes, Mommy finally graduated after a long and grueling four years of night classes and hours away from her sweet boys.  These boys have been so good to me through this process, and I owe them many hugs and kisses for being so loving and patient.  The graduation affair was as much to honor their sacrifices as mine.  The graduation was held at the Charlotte Convention Center which is attached to the new Nascar Hall of Fame complex (Yes, you read that right...Nascar as in the southern sport of racing.  It was a lot classier than it sounds.).  The Convention Center is a beautiful and spacious location in uptown Charlotte with beautiful views of the city skyline.  It was necessary to use one of the largest ballrooms for the affair because of the large size of our graduating class.  Our night student group doesn't really get the feeling of belonging to a large class though since our small group has been together throughout the whole four year process.  I am glad that my parents, my in-laws, my boys and husband, and my brother's family with the exception of the two youngest children could attend.

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A picture of me with my non-existent degree.  I won't get that until after final grades have posted. 
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Our large class of graduates ~ I circled myself in red because the only way I knew it was me was because I knew where I was standing.  Talk about a sea of faces!

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The one decent picture Daddy was able to get of me walking into the ceremony.  I guess I will have to purchase pictures  from the event photographers. 

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Me and my boys

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A slightly better picture of the boys

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Me and my family

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With the in-laws (Grandma and Papa James)

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We enjoyed a little champagne and cake reception following the ceremony.  It was meant to be a mix and mingle event so no chairs were available.  Of course, with kids and cake and drink, we had to improvise.  

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The big boys loved toasting with their wine glasses.  

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They thought they were so big. 

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And Brody had to join the big boys. 
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Daddy had to get Mommy a special cake to commemorate the occasion. 

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On Sunday afternoon, we went over to take a few pictures of the school before Mommy had to turn in her cap and gown.  Sadly, this is the last year at this campus although the building is only about 5 years old.  They have outgrown the space and instead of adding more buildings, they decided to move the campus into a location in the center of the city.

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The pregnant graduate

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Me and my boys with our city behind us
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