2011 In Review

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Got pregnant. Gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Last year I resolved to try a new vegetable recipe every month. I did this for about 5 months before getting distracted and stopping. But I did end up working more vegetables into my diet throughout the whole year, which was the overall goal of the resolution, so I’m going to go ahead and chalk this one up as a win.

My primary resolution for this year is simply to be the best mom I can be.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My best friend Amy had a gorgeous little girl 5 days before Alexander was born.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit? We stayed in the states all year. But in 2010 we visited 5 countries on our Mediterranean cruise. In 2011 we were too focused on selling the old house, moving into the new house, and growing a baby to do a ton of traveling.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? I’d like a calmer year this year. Last year we sold a house, bought a house, moved, and had a baby. That’s a lot of major life changes for one year. This year, I’d like to just sit back and enjoy all the wonderful things we have.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 2, the day Alexander was born. And, although the calender dates aren’t etched upon my memory, I’ll always remember the moment we found out we were having a baby, and then the moment we found out he was a boy. I always thought I wanted a girl, and when Tim and I talked about how many kids we wanted, I’d say “2, unless we have 2 boys, in which case I might want to try one more time for a girl.” I never knew how much I wanted a son until I found out I was having one. Now, having lived with my baby boy for over three months, I feel like I could have a house full of sons and be immeasurably happy.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Giving birth, no question.

9. What was your biggest failure? I wasn’t as focused on my dance classes as I could have been and, as a result, had a couple of performances in which I made several mistakes and didn’t perform as well as I could have.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing major, though I was completely caught off guard by how difficult it was to recover after Alexander was born. I assumed that since I was in good shape, the physical recovery would be a breeze, but boy was I ever wrong. Exhaustion and hormones aside, it was a full six weeks before I had all my energy back and could return to any sort of normal workout routine.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new house.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Tim, hands down. He has been my rock through all the craziness and emotional instability that comes along with pregnancy, childbirth, and new parenthood. I couldn’t have done it without him, and no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to adequately express to him how much I appreciate everything he does for me. I’d be completely lost without him.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The Realtors who sold our old house. They were mostly useless and unethical, and working with them was a nightmare.

14. Where did most of your money go? The new house. Worth every penny, though!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My amazing baby boy.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) Happier or Sadder? Happier. So much happier. Not that I was unhappy last year, but I was stressed about selling the old house, and I hadn’t yet experienced the life-changing happiness that comes with having a baby.
(b) Thinner or Fatter? Fatter, but I’m only about 15 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, so I don’t mind it so much.
(c) Richer or Poorer? Probably about the same financially (I think? I got a raise last year, but I’m also just coming off the un-paid portion of my maternity leave, and our mortgage payment is bigger, so I don’t really know.) Definitely richer in the non-material sense.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of? Slept, especially toward the end of the year.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of? Cried. Pregnancy and post-partum hormones made me cry so much more than I normally do. I’m not a big crier, so this really bothered me. And then I cried about how much I was crying all the time. It was no good.

19. How did you spend Christmas in 2011? We went to Virginia to see Tim’s parents, then flew home Christmas Eve and spent Christmas with my parents. It was a busy couple of weeks, but lots of fun!

20. Did you fall in love in 2011? I fell head over heels in love with my son. And I fall more in love with my husband every single day.

21. How many one-night stands? What a married man and woman do in the privacy of their home is none of your business.

22. What was your favorite TV program? How I Met Your Mother. We finally discovered how hilarious this show is and watched all six seasons on Netflix before getting caught up with the current season.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Not even a little bit.

24. What was the best book you read? I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Night Circus. The Best Birth was great for preparing for labor and delivery.

25. What did you want and get? A new house. The most perfect baby boy.

26. What did you want and not get? A quick sale of our old house at a good price. But it eventually sold in the end, so I can’t complain too much.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 28, and went to Ft. Collins and did a tour of my favorite Mexican restaurants. It was a delicious, burrito-filled weekend!

28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Elastic. Maternity clothing is a study in uncomfortable layers of elastic, and I’m so glad to be done with it.

29. What kept you sane? Tim. Also, being able to eat all the cheese and burritos my heart desired. But mostly Tim.

30. Who was the best new person you met? Alexander, obviously.

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Nothing in the world can prepare you for the incredible joy that comes with being a parent.

Playing Catch-Up

So, it turns out I accidentally went a super long time without writing anything new over here. Stuff kept happening that I kept wanting to write about, but then other stuff happened and I got distracted and then I couldn’t decide what to write about and then suddenly it had been 2 months. Ummm…sorry about that. Anyway, who’s up for a quick recap? Ready…set…bullets!

  • To pick up where we left off, SangriaBaby still has the same name he did 2 months ago. I think it’s safe to say we picked a winner. But we’re still not telling what it is. Luckily, he has about a million nicknames already, so we are not without adorable things to call him around other people. My parents usually call him Tiny Tim (for obvious reasons), but lately have started calling him Zachariah (kind of an inside joke). At the dance studio, he’s Baby Mack (our performing group is called the Mack Divas, and we each have our own “Mack” nicknames…mine is Big Mack [again, obvious reasons]). My boss calls him Fred Astaire Jr. Another woman at work just calls him Junior. To my sisters-in-law, he’s Pablo. Tim’s parents alternate between calling him Little Peep and Tiny Dancer. I can’t wait to see which nicknames stick after he’s born and what new ones we come up with once we finally get to meet him.
  • I’ve been so focused on all things baby lately that I totally forgot to tell y’all when we finished landscaping our back yard. And, you guys. It is so gorgeous. 90% of the credit goes to Tim, who spent his entire summer vacation digging and planting and sprinkler system-ing and mulching and sodding. I helped with the sod a little, but he and a few of our very generous friends did most of the work. After fighting for 6 summers to make our mess of a yard at the old house somewhat presentable and still not being satisfied with it, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have this yard finished and beautiful and requiring only basic maintenance in the summers to come.

DSCN3410

  • In also-yard-related-but-totally-deserving-of-its-own-bullet news, we also managed to build a spectacular deck this summer! And when I say “we,” I of course mean “Tim and my parents,” because once again I didn’t help much beyond providing moral support. We weren’t anticipating being able to build a deck until next summer, but we managed to find room in our landscaping budget this year, and I am so glad we did. Spectacular as the new house is, the one thing it was missing was a nice place to sit outside with a cold beverage and good friends. Thanks to about a week of hard work from three of my favorite people, we now have the nicest deck (and yard, in my humble opinion) in the neighborhood.

DSCN3424

  • Tim finished the bulk of the yard work about a week before his summer ended, and he spent that last week of summer playing with his new grill that has a built-in smoker. That week, I came home from work every night to a different smoked meat, and every day was more delicious than the last. We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and seriously considering smoking the turkey.
  • I am having a small love affair with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.
  • We had a couple of truly wonderful baby showers thrown by the most amazing family and friends. This child is so loved and spoiled already, and it warms my heart to know he’s going to grow up surrounded by so much love.
  • One thing about pregnancy that has caught me by surprise is how uncomfortable I am going to the liquor store. I feel like I need to walk around announcing “It’s not for me! It’s for my husband/friends/deck builders! Stop judging me!” I can’t remember the last time I felt so self-conscious, and I don’t like it.
  • We’ve been working hard on the nursery, and it’s officially the cutest room in the house. But that’s a topic for another (picture-filled) post. Which I will hopefully write sometime after we get all the finishing touches in place but before the room explodes from having an actual baby in it.
  • I’m still dancing a couple hours a week, but I’m officially done performing until after the baby arrives. I danced in my last show about a month ago, and it was pretty much the best thing ever. We dance at a lot of local community events, so there’s not always a guarantee that we’ll get a decent stage or an enthusiastic audience, but this particular performance was in a real theater, on a real stage, with the most incredible audience. They were there to see live music in tribute to the woman who ran the local Cotton Club 50 years ago, and we got to come on stage during a 30-minute band break. We had no idea what the audience would think of a bunch of white girls tap dancing, but (excuse me while I brag a moment) they freaking loved us. It was the best performance we’ve had in a long time, and it felt incredible to go out on such a high note.
  • Remember the dogs? They’re still adorable (laser eyes and all). And completely oblivious to the fact that their entire world is going to turn upside-down in about a month. (And here they thought moving to a house where they’re not allowed on the couches would be the most traumatizing event of the year.)

Dogs!

  • In conclusion, here’s The Baby Bump at 35 weeks. At my last appointment, I was measuring about a week ahead of schedule, so either the boy child is going to arrive a little early (we’d be okay with that), or he’s going to be rather large (less okay with that). Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the former, shall we?

35 Weeks

And Then We Were Home

We’ve been in the new house for almost a month. It took about a week to unpack and get everything in its place, and there are still a few things we need to do, both short-term (install cabinet hardware, get curtains for the living room, landscape the back yard, set up the nursery) and long-term (get a buffet for behind the couch, get a cute little cabinet for the powder room, put some color on the walls, build an amazing deck). But from the very first night we moved in and sat on the floor eating pizza because the table was covered in boxes and who knows where our chairs were, it’s felt like home.

A lot of that feeling could have to do with the fact that we’ve been coming to this house at least once a week for the last six months during the construction process, so we already knew every nook and cranny long before moving day. Sure, we had a few days of playing “Find the Light Switch,” but other than that, we have known this house inside and out for quite awhile.

There’s more to it than that, though. More than anything, this house feels like home because it is home. It’s the home we plan to stay in for the next 50+ years. It’s the home where we’ll raise our children. It’s a place we can really settle in without nagging thoughts about resale value or when we can move on to the next, better place. This is it. We’re home.

Home

About a week after we moved in, I turned to Tim and said, “Remember that Saturday last summer when we didn’t have anything to do and you suggested we go to the Parade of Homes? That was a really good idea.”

So Long, Old House

We moved into the new house on Friday, and if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know that it’s the best house ever, I love every last inch of it, and I really can’t stop talking about how much I love it.

For a minute, though, I am going to stop talking about the new house. Because in all the craziness that was packing and getting ready to move and then moving during the busiest possible time of the month at my job, I didn’t have much of a chance to bid a fond farewell to the old house. While I’m not sad to have left that house behind, it was a very good house for us for over six years, and I feel it deserves a moment of reflection.

While I was very ready to move on and won’t really miss living in that house, there are three things that I will miss quite a bit:

1. My 5-minute commute, which allowed me to go home for lunch. My new commute is only 15 minutes, which isn’t bad at all, but it’s just a little too far for me to justify coming home for lunch on a daily basis. I loved being able to take a break in the middle of the day, go home, snuggle the dogs, and cook up a yummy lunch. Now I have to get back in the habit of packing a lunch, which is something I’ve never been good at. It’s a small price to pay, though, for the privilege of living in this beautiful new house.

2. The decks. Tim and my dad (with help from my mom, Tim’s dad, and a few friends) built a couple of really nice decks at the old house and, man, did I ever love those decks. They made hanging out in a somewhat pain-in-the-ass back yard very pleasant, and we spent a lot of wonderful summer evenings out there, grilling burgers and brats and roasting marshmallows in the chiminea. Tim and my dad are already discussing plans for a deck at the new house, and I know it’s going to be really great, but it’ll probably be at least a year before we have the budget to build it. I am thankful that last Thursday, on our last night at the old house, the weather was nice enough for us to take a break from loading the moving truck and enjoy one last dinner on the deck. It was the best Last Dinner at the Old House we could have had.

3. The bar. Remodeling the kitchen was our first major project at the old house, and as part of the project, we installed a beautiful solid wood bar that we’d found at a thrift store months earlier for a ridiculously low price. The bar has built-in cabinets and a wine rack, and we hung wine glass racks above it to add a little extra sparkle (and, let’s face it, we really had nowhere else to keep wine glasses in that little kitchen). It’s a gorgeous bar, and I am still a little sad we couldn’t bring it with us to the new house. However, the old kitchen would have looked weird without the bar, and we really don’t have a place for it in the new house, so it would have been stuck in the basement, alone and unused, for years until we got around to finishing the basement and finding a good spot for it. And, really, it fits perfectly in the old kitchen. I am sad to have left it behind, but deep inside I know it belongs in that kitchen where it hopefully will be used and loved for years to come.*

The old house is finally under contract and scheduled to close at the end of this month. We put a lot of love and hard work into that house, and I hope it’s as good to its new owners as it was to us.

*Do you think it would be wrong to ask the new owners of the old house to call us if they ever decide to get rid of the bar?

Not Just Another House Update

We move in to the new house at the end of this month, and things are really coming together quickly over there. We have lights, sinks, cabinets, counters, tile — pretty much everything except the floors. It’s been so long since we went to the Home Gallery and selected everything for the inside of the house that I’d forgotten how great everything was going to look. Now, every time I go visit the new house, I fall a little more in love with it.

For example, is this not the most beautiful fireplace you’ve ever seen?

Fireplace!

The stone is the same stone that’s on the outside of the house, and I absolutely love it.

And don’t tell me you can look at this master bathroom tile and not fall in love.

Tub!

Not to mention the pretty faucets and giant soaker tub!

Despite the awkward corner cabinet, this is pretty much the best kitchen ever. Am I right?

Kitchen!

Just the way Tim likes me: Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

As you can see, our new house is going to be incredible, and I think you’ll agree we have a a lot of great reasons to be so excited about it.

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