Monday, December 12, 2011

A Lazy Post

This blog has really gotten put on the backburner. For those who still care to follow, I apologize! Life has gotten away from me, especially during the busy holiday season.

So all I really have time and/or motivation to post right now is our Christmas card picture. Hopefully it's cute enough that you'll forgive me. Emma is 20 months and Kate is 2 months. Crazy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Long Time, No Post

I'm still here, promise. I've thought about posting several times and have then gotten sidetracked. But here I am with my little 19 month old and a 1 month old.

Yep, Kate is already past the 1 month mark. She is now 8lb 6oz and 21" (was 6lb 12oz/18" at birth).

Sleep continues to be a challenge. While Kate sleeps a lot during the day, she has the typical newborn fussy period in the evening and then is up pretty much every 3 hours throughout the night (at this point with Emma, she was giving us 5-7 hour stretches; perhaps we were spoiled). But the biggest challenge is that she will not sleep in her bassinet, and, unlike Emma, refuses to sleep in the carseat. This means that most nights I end up holding her the entire night.

We have found one way to get her to sleep in the bassinet and, horror upon horror, it means placing her on her stomach. Which is like the worst sin a mother can do, at least that is how it is made out to be. I've really struggled with it, which is why I usually just hold her. But honestly, that is probably less safe than putting her on her stomach. Sigh, we'll see.

Here are a few recent pictures...

Kate went as Piglet for Halloween.

Emma was a piggy, her favorite animal, at least for right now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

She's Here!

Introducing Miss Sarah Kate Elder...

Kate arrived on Saturday, October 8th at 2:39pm, weighing 6lb 12 oz and measuring 18" long.

This delivery was TOTALLY different (much more painful) than Emma's. Kate arrived within an hour and a half of us arriving at the hospital and was done pretty much drug-free (not my choice!) because it happened so fast that they hardly had time to track down an anesthesiologist. It was crazy, but the end result is this precious girl, so I'm content.

Emma is so in love with baby Kate, probably a little too much, that I spend the entire day saying "gentle" and fending off ferocious hugs.

Now I think comes the even more challenging part, figuring out how to successfully juggle a newborn and a very active 18 month old. My heart breaks thinking about missing out on even a second of Emma's life while I tend to Kate's needs, and it is very hard for me to see Emma trying to adjust to such a shake up in her world. While she certainly loves her little sister, Emma is clearly out of sorts at this time. I'm praying that the adjustment goes smoothly on ALL of us.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A bunch of miscellaneous

Just like I'm currently doing in my life - trying to wrap up loose ends before the baby arrives - I want to do that on my blog. Post about all the random things going on to make sure they are properly captured.

So here goes...

Emma is 18 months old! I still can't believe how quickly the last 6 months have gone by. Oh my goodness, she is at a fun age. She has a fun personality, is talking so much, is so affectionate, and we can actually play together with the interactions going both ways. I think I must tell her that "Mommy loves her SO much" about a hundred times a day.
  • I love all of her expressions and silliness
  • She loves to sing and has quite a repertoire of songs that she knows
  • She adores baby dolls and has gotten into changing their "stinky diapers"
  • She doesn't watch much TV but does enjoy Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Bubble Guppies
  • She's getting quite independent and wants to do things herself, like put her shoes on, which is just fine with me
  • She can follow multi-step directions, like "take your socks off and put your shoes on" or "take this to the trash and throw it away"
  • She is developing very good manners, saying "thank you, mommy" and "please, mommy" without prompting (melts my heart!)
  • She acts like such a big girl...just yesterday, about 8 neighborhood girls ranging from 2nd to 5th grade came over to get Emma to play with them. It was just too sweet. I don't think Emma realized she wasn't their age.
  • She talks a lot about Baby Kate (she says "Kate" so sweetly) but I'm sure she has no clue what is about to happen! We're working hard on teaching "be gentle!"
Here's Emma in her Virginia Tech gear for football season...go Hokies!

And another sweet one from last month. I think she's up to about 12 teeth!

The House! As you may recall, we made a big move this past March back to where our families live in Virginia. Since then, we've been slowly settling in and doing things around the house. The house had an unfinished basement that we JUST finished. I'm so happy to have that over with - took about 2 months! We've also added in new deck steps, changed out a lot of light fixtures throughout the house, and gotten a new refrigerator and microwave. New leather living room furniture is getting delivered tomorrow because I realized that the dark grey furniture we bought when we moved in is NOT cat friendly and WILL NOT be kid friendly.

The new baby! If baby comes when scheduled, we have 8 days left. Crazy! At my dr's appointment yesterday I was almost 3 cm dilated (that is a topic I never thought I'd voluntarily talk about!). I've gained 32 pounds so far, which is already 3 pounds more than I gained with Emma.

While I'm fine with baby staying in for as long as possible, I am done with this sciatica pain and just feeling big and blah. It's not that I'm not anxious to meet her, she's just much easier to care for in utero!

Here I am at 38 weeks.

I think that's about it. I'm guessing my next post will be a "baby is here" one so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kate's Nursery

As promised weeks ago, here are some pictures of Kate's nursery.

Now all we need is a baby to go in it. 16 days (or so) and counting...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Baby in 3D

Yesterday we went in for an ultrasound, to check fluid levels and my fibroid, and were treated to a surprise 3D/4D ultrasound. There was a new tech who wanted to practice and we were willing volunteers. We never had this type of ultrasound with Emma so it was a real treat.

Can't believe we'll get to meet her - for real - in about 5 weeks!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I hope that I don't look back someday at this record of our family (this blog) and feel guilty for how little I've captured of this second pregnancy. Or look back at this time, in general, and regret not capturing it to the same degree that I did with Emma. Only one belly shot. No journal. No blog posts. No displaying of ultrasound pictures. I guess I already do feel a little guilty.

So here you go, baby #2, my attempt to make up for all that I've let slip.

Baby #2, our little girl, should make her grand debut in the next month in a half. I have 45 days to go until my due date. This has been, thankfully, an uneventful pregnancy. But it has been a bit harder than Emma's. While I never had to deal with morning sickness, my body is definitely more tired. Perhaps due to carrying around a 17 month old in addition to the extra 25lbs I've already gained. My back and feet and hips hurt more and I haven't been able to exercise as much as I did with Emma.

As many of you know, this pregnancy was a total surprise. After going through IVF in order to conceive Emma, we didn't think there was a chance in the world that we'd conceive naturally. And as many of you know, I had a really tough time adjusting to mommyhood - obviously loving Emma beyond belief but also struggling with the work/life/baby balance and the frustrations of dealing with a baby.

It definitely took me awhile to come around to the idea of having 2 babies within 18 months. But I am so happy to say that I am finally excited to soon be a mother to two sweet little girls. While I'm happy for #2 to stay in as long as possible, we are definitely getting excited to meet her. I have her room all decorated - will post pictures another time - and have clothes already hanging in her closet.

AND we've decided on a name. Sarah Kate. We are going to call her Kate. We talk with Emma a lot about Baby Kate, though I think it just goes over her head at this point. She does kiss my belly when I ask her where Baby Kate is. It's very sweet.

So, there you go, a real, actual update on Baby #2. Over the next 45 days, I'm going to try my best to make up for the lost months of not appreciating this little miracle. What a shame that I wasted this special time. I'm sorry, Kate, and I love you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Our Vacation

We survived Disney and steamy Orlando in mid-August and actually had a fabulous time.

The diciest time came on our flight home when a 1.5 hour flight turned into a 3 hour flight because we had to be diverted due to weather. Emma completely missed her naps that day, so I can't really blame her. I didn't even feel guilty about her temper tantrum and what other people around me thought...she's 17 months old and overtired. Get over it!

Here are a few pictures from our trip. We spent one day at the Magic Kingdom, which I consider a success because we were able to ride 9 rides! And that's even with leaving mid-day for a nap. Other than the park, we went outlet shopping, swam in the hotel pool, went to the world's biggest McDonalds' indoor playground (!), and spent time at Downtown Disney.

I generally hate the paci during awake time, but it was so hot and it was a comfort to Emma, who is also cutting 4 teeth at one time

Riding Dumbo with Daddy

It's a Small World

Passed out tired at Downtown Disney...little hint that it was time for a nap

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mickey Mouse!

On Sunday, we leave for Orlando...aka the home of Mickey Mouse!

We want to squeeze in one last family vacation before we become a family of 4 (and most likely become trapped at home for months learning to survive). Flights are not cheap out of our local airport, but there is one airline - Allegiant Air - that flies solely to Orlando for about $30-$50 each way. What a bargain.

Emma isn't really into TV characters yet, but she definitely knows Mickey and Minnie. I don't suspect that we'll do a full fledged Disney vacation, but we do want to spend one day at the Magic Kingdom. But we are going to take it totally laid back and go at whatever pace we can for an almost 17 month old and a 7 month pregnant old lady like myself.

If anyone has tips on doing Disney, or any vacation for that matter, with a little one, please share! I figure we'll go to the Magic Kingdom in the morning. Leave around lunchtime for the hotel and hopefully all get a little nap in. Then head back in late afternoon. Other than that, I see some relaxing by the pool and some outlet shopping in our future. Any other ideas on what to do?

On a side note, Emma is in the process of dropping her 2nd nap. Crazy timing right around vacation, but maybe it will be to our benefit. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Favorite Books

Emma is just now getting to the point where she'll sit still for longer than 2 seconds and let you read her a book. It's a nice place to be.

We definitely have some favorites in the household. Emma has some favorites. And I have a few that I particularly like to read because they are so catchy.

Emma LOVES "Snuggle Puppy" and "Pajama Time" by Sandra Boynton. If you say "It's pajama time" she immediately replies "yeah, yeah." She also loves lifting the flaps while I read "Dear Zoo" by Rod Campbell.

I love to read to her "Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom" by Bill Martin, "Llama Llama Red Pajama" by Anna Dewdney, and "Let's Dance, Little Pookie" by Sandra Boynton.

We definitely hope she grows up a lover of books.

What are some of your favorites?

Friday, June 17, 2011

IVF Frequency On the Increase?

I am utterly amazed at the number of people in my life who have done IVF. While the topic seems to be kept on the down low, time and time I've come across someone who conceived through IVF.

Two cousins. A friend at church. An old high school friend. A former colleague. It's truly amazing, and pretty awesome.

I'd be interested to see statistics on the rate of conceptions through IVF. I assume the numbers must be increasing - not just that the procedure is getting more successful, but that more and more people are turning to it as a last resort (versus believing that a baby is not in their future because they cannot conceive naturally).

Is it because the science is getting so good that couples, who in the past may have tried and tried for many years with no luck, are turning to IVF sooner?

Is it because it is covered under SOME health insurance plans? Yes, I know, the rate of coverage isn't nearly where it should be.

I wonder about our own scenario. We tried for about a year and a half before turning to IVF. I know that many of my blog friends tried for much longer than that. In the past, was IVF just for those who had tried for many, many years? And now it is an option sooner in the process?

I don't know, I'm just brainstorming on this Friday because I'm so intrigued by it all.

Feel free to leave your thoughts.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Am I Taking A Break?

That's sure what it feels like. It's been over a month since my last post. Almost daily I check the blog and read the blogs of the friends who I follow, but I've just not gathered the motivation to write a piece of my own.

Why? I guess I don't know.

I always looked at this blog as a way to, first, chronicle my struggles with infertility, and then, to document my journey to motherhood. And, finally, to capture all the milestones in my little girl's life. But now, with work, and just plain life, I don't have a lot of motivation. I hope that changes.

I will let you know that we found out on Monday that Emma is going to have a baby sister in October. Yep, another girl in our household. Hubby is getting dramatically out-numbered. Finding this piece of info out definitely makes it seem more real and I've even started poking around online looking at nursery bedding.

As far as Emma, she's full blown walking, really starting to walk well on her 14 month birthday. She's also talking up a storm, able to repeat back almost any word that you say (might not be intelligible, but it's a try). She completed her first set of swim lessons and she clearly loves the water. While most of the other babies were tentative, Emma showed no fear and was happy to be dunked completely under or to blow bubbles. Our neighborhood pool just opened so I foresee a lot of hours spent there.

And then one other thing. Hubby and I are going to the Bahamas next week to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. This will be the first time we've both left Emma overnight (will be a total of 4 nights). I know she'll be in good hands with our moms, but I'm still a little nervous.

Ok, so in the midst of typing this piece about not having motivation, I got a little motivation to provide a quick update. It's a start.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


That's how I've been feeling. Both Emma and I have had a cold for the past few days. She's pretty much over it but I'm still feeling the effects. Hard to function - meaning take care of a baby and a house and work - when feeling way less than 100%.

I don't really have much to write. As for a quick update on Emma...
  • I think she's really close to walking. She loves to push her shopping cart around the playroom. And she so purposefully will let go of whatever she's holding on to and gets thrilled with being able to stand without holding on. She falls a few seconds later, but it's really cute. She does a weird thing with her foot, though. She walks fine on her right one but always on the toes of her left foot. Hopefully it sorts itself out and doesn't interfere with her walking development.
  • Naps have been crap recently. Usually an hour or so around 9:30am and an hour or so around 2:30pm. I know it could be worse, but I really feel she needs more sleep than that. She's pretty much a mess by 5:30pm, but I try to hold off until at least 6pm to start the bedtime routine. Not sure there is anything I can do to fix this issue.
  • It is so fun seeing a personality develop. Two words I would use to describe Emma are observant and strong willed. She is always taking in the word around her. And she definitely knows what she wants. While I generally think this is positive, it also raises some challenges.
  • A few favorite words. Emma babbles a lot but her two favorite things to say are "Da-da" and "Jo-jo," which is the name of our neighbor's dog. She'll also repeat words after you, which reminds me of the episode of Friends when Phoebe tries to teach Joey French. If you've seen it, you'd understand.
So, I guess that's about it. Just didn't want to go so long without posting again, but nothing exciting to report.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm so out of it

Has it really been that long since I last posted? And so much has happened that it feels a bit overwhelming trying to capture it all in a single blog post. Please forgive me for resorting to bullet points and pictures.
  • We moved out of our condo in Alexandria, Virginia and into our house in Southwest Virginia (about a 4 hour drive). It was bittersweet leaving the place we lived for the past 8 years and Emma's first home. It's going to be quite a while before the new place feels like home.
  • Emma turned 1 the day before the moving truck arrived.

  • I had an ultrasound 2 weeks ago that showed a little one on track to make his/her debut October 14th. Today we go in for the first trimester screening, which includes another ultrasound. Almost through the first trimester. Still struggling, more on that in another post.
  • We received the proofs from Emma's 1 year photoshoot and there are just too many cute ones to choose from; a good situation to be in but not good on the wallet. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • We had Emma's birthday party once we were settled in the new house, so about 2 weeks after her actual birthday.

You have to click on the last picture to really tell what it is, a collection of all of Emma's picky sticky pictures from the last year.

I think that captures the highlights from the past 20 or so days. I'll try not to disappear again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Who Am I?

No, this isn't going to be some philosophical or existential post. It's just me deciding to give my blog friends a glimpse at who I am in real life (whether you actually care or not).

What's your real name? Kristin

So, where did "Hope" come from? When we were trying, month after month, to conceive our little miracle, each month, hubby and I would joke that we had "high hopes for" whatever that month was. So, for example, "high hopes for May." It became a cute joke between us. And, thus, I became Hope. And I live in Virginia. Duh!

What's hubby's real name? Michael

What's Emma's real name? Emma (haha, you thought I'd been tricking you on that one)

Tell us about your family. I have two older brothers, and I'm the youngest, and only, girl. My parents divorced when I was very small, and I was raised by my mom who did an AWESOME job being both mommy and daddy to us. All my family (but not my dad), as well as hubby's family, live in and around the town we are moving to in Southwest Virginia. Hubby is an only child.

What's your personality like?
Hmm, not sure on this one. I am pretty type A - organized, detailed, and, unfortunately, a worrier. I always considered myself to be outgoing until I got to college. And realized that the "outgoing" kids were much crazier than me! I'm not an introvert but I don't love being around tons of people. I'm pretty mellow. A good night for me includes pizza, Doritos, and a good movie!

I LOVE sports! In high school, I played basketball, volleyball and tennis, and considered playing tennis in college. Definitely grew up a tomboy, having two older brothers. I'm hoping Emma will be, too! Though a tomboy who plays sports with cute bows in her hair :)

Where'd you go to college? University of Richmond. Go Spiders! Watch out NCAA b'ball tourney!

What do you do for a living? I have to preface this answer by saying I love politics. I moved to Washington, D.C. right after college to work on Capitol Hill for a Senator. From there, I lobbied for a health care association and worked on several campaigns (including a presidential in 2008). Right now I work for a public relations firm doing "competitive intelligence" for a Fortune 8 company. Thankfully I get to work from home! While this isn't a purely political job, it is stable and I appreciate not living election cycle to election cycle any more. I also have my own research consulting company on the side that keeps my hand in political campaigns.

About your blog...does your family read it? No, my family does not read my blog. I've mentioned a few times that I have a blog, and even printed out a blog post for a few of them to read one time. But I view this as my private forum to talk about frustrations, hopes, etc. Hubby doesn't even read it!

So that's probably enough info about me for the time being! Kind of feels good to "come clean!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

So, what's new?

The answer, not much.

Moving date is set for March 21st and not a single box has been packed yet. Hubby's work schedule is insane right now. He hasn't been home before midnight in the past two weeks, working weekends, and off to work first thing in the morning. Pretty poor timing. Hopefully we'll get a little done this weekend, and then the following weekend, both grandmas are coming up to watch Emma and help. So hopefully in the end, it will all get done before the moving truck arrives.

Lots of work going on at the new house. The entire place has been painted and new carpet has been laid in the bedrooms. It will probably look like a totally new place from the last time we saw it. Oh, and did I mention that we sold our condo? Hooray! Perfect timing! We'll close just a few days after we move out.

On the 1st birthday front, preparations are underway. We are planning a little get together with friends in Northern Virginia the weekend before we move to say good-bye and celebrate Emma's birthday (it will actually be the day of her birthday). Then, once we move, we'll do a party with family, which will be her "main" party.

And did I mention that we have 50+ family members in town between the two of us (well, mostly on hubby's side)? Obviously we can't do a party that big so there might end up being some hurt feelings. But I'm ok with that. Better that Emma have a fun, manageable party than her parents lose their minds and baby be overwhelmed. Just my opinion.

We are going to do a pink and green theme for the party, with some cupcake decorations sprinkled in. I've bought several things from Etsy for the party, including a Happy Birthday banner and some cute favors.

I also bought this little onesie for Emma to wear to announce our news about the new little one to our parents next weekend when they come to visit.

Guess that sounds like a little bit more than "not much" going on.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

11 Months Old

One teeny, tiny month short of a full year.

New things in the past month...
  • Knows what a cow ("ooooo") and dog ("oo, oo, oo") say, though they kind of sound the same
  • Loves to "honk" mommy and daddy's noses
  • Pats her head upon command
  • Waves at absolutely everything and everyone, which has gotten me into awkward conversations at restaurants and the grocery store where I want to say "No, ma'am, you aren't special, she waves at the wall..."
  • Standing up very steadily. Sometimes lets go and then realizes she's not holding onto anything, promptly falling to the ground
  • Just today started making the "m" sound. Thought this day would never come. Come on, girl, give me a good, loud "mama"!
  • Starting to turn into a cuddlebug after 11 months of pushing us away all the time
  • Pats us on the back when she's giving us a hug
  • Loves to blow kisses and once in awhile will give you a proper kiss on the lips
  • Cries when told "no" and seems to know when she's doing something she's not supposed to do
  • Shakes her head "yes" and "no" but not always at the right time
  • Drinks well out of sippy cup and eats most any table food you give her
  • Starts dancing as soon as music comes on (unfortunately she seems to be copying mommy and daddy who are not good dancers!)
Those are the highlights. I just can't believe the next month post will be the big 1 YEAR!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I'm going to try to put into words all the emotions swimming around in my head these days. I'm in a whole new place right now and it feels weird, scary, overwhelming.

Disbelief: As an infertile who had sex a gazillion times with no resulting pregnancy, and who had to do IVF to have our first little miracle, I am in disbelief that I could have sex one time and get pregnant. I've heard that it can happen, but never thought it would be part of my story.

Scared: Emma just turned 11 months and I am just FINALLY feeling like I'm bonding with her. She has not been an overly affectionate baby up until now and I always felt I was giving out without getting much in return. Of course there are the sweet smiles and funny antics, but really it was just daily routine with a laugh here and there. In the last month, Emma has become so much more fun. Playing with me. Hugging me. Acting like she knows I'm her mommy. And it's been great. I had a very easy pregnancy the first time around, but months 1-8 were pretty tough once she was here. I am scared thinking about starting all over with another baby.

Overwhelmed: It also scares me somewhat thinking about having a 18 month old and a newborn. I know that people manage all the time in similar situations, but I've felt overwhelmed with just one baby. Not sure how I'll handle two.

Trying to plan the future: My husband and I were happy with one baby but thought we'd definitely try for a second since we have one embryo frozen. I never thought I'd have three children and obviously that is not a done deal, but it does have my mind thinking about our little frozen embryo. Of course we could give a FET a try and it wouldn't work out so I probably shouldn't worry about it at this point. But just another thought on my mind.

Guilty: I feel a sense of shame and guilt for not being 100% excited. Guilty for not being as excited as I was when I found out I was pregnant with Emma. Guilty for the fact that I know I have a lot of blog friends who read my posts and would give anything for a natural pregnancy. Guilty for not immediately loving this baby as much as I loved Emma. I even feel guilty about having another little one and that taking away from being able to share time with just Emma while she is still so young.

Ok, so there are all the negative emotions I'm feeling right now. What a downer post. I apologize if you actually got through the whole thing and now think I'm a total jerk or unappreciative person. I know that God has a plan for us, and this baby is part of it. It can just be overwhelming when God's plan is quite different than your own plan. But infertility was never part of my plan and it was part of God's. Guess he works in mysterious ways.

I promise my next post will be a little more positive.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The News...

October 14th. Apparently that's my due date. It feels so strange just typing that. But, yes, I found out yesterday that I am indeed pregnant. Wow. Still taking it all in. I'm sure I'll post in a few days a little bit more about it.

On the house front, we closed on the house yesterday. Hubby couldn't come in for the closing so I had to sign for him, which made it kind of anti-climatic because, when I was done signing, it was just me with a set of keys. I got a little cleaning done yesterday and will make my first of I'm sure many trips to Lowe's tomorrow. We plan to officially move around March 21st.

Crazy, hectic, stressful, exciting week, that's for sure.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Really Big Week

Most weeks of my life are pretty much the same. Work. Taking care of Emma. Figuring out meals. Running errands. Church. Cleaning. Laundry. You get the idea.

But then some weeks are really big. Those weeks hold something to which you are really looking forward. Well, I have two huge things this week.

On Thursday, I go to the doctors to find out whether I am pregnant. Wow!

On Friday, I will sign the papers to officially close on our new house. Wow!

No wonder I'm not sleeping well this week. Too much on my mind. This is a really big week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why I'm Wordless

I know it might seem weird that I just posted the picture with my last post and didn't put any commentary. Here's why I did that:
  • I'll be perfectly honest. My emotions are all over the map about this. Excited. Scared. Overwhelmed. Beyond surprised. I need to time to sort through all of this if indeed we've been blessed with a little miracle.
  • That test was taken 3 days after my missed period. Way, way, way early. I don't go to the doctor until next Thursday. So different than with IVF where I got to see increasing betas every two days. I'm still not convinced it could be possible.
  • I've heard of other people getting pregnant naturally after IVF and infertility (Yay for AP, Waiting for our Child, and Hope) but I was absolutely, positively convinced that wouldn't happen to me. In fact, I was laughing with another IVF friend just about a week ago when she told me that I better be careful since we weren't using protection. "Ha! Ha! Yeah right! I'm infertile remember?" It's like winning the lottery. You know someone will win it but it won't be you.
  • And perhaps in the TMI category, when we were trying before IVF, we literally had sex every day during my ovulation period. This past month, we had sex once.
So there you go, friends. I guess I'll be hanging tight over here until next Thursday and will let you know how this all turns out.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monitor Watching Haiku

Napping, watching, breathe
Baby laying still for now
Red flash, awake, sigh

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Double Digits

Miss Emma is a whooping 10 months old. She's actually 10 months, 5 days, but I just returned from a work trip so was just able to snap my monthly picky sticky picture today.

And, goodness, it took me 27 pictures before I got one decent one. Emma spent the other 26 trying to pull the picky sticky off her onesie. Sure was easier when she was just a blob, though I wouldn't trade that smile (or the two pearly whites on the bottom, thanks for noticing) for anything.

Things haven't changed that much since 9 months, other than the full emergence of the aforementioned mentioned teethies. And today I noticed that I must have a woodchuck for a daughter, because there are bite marks ALL OVER her crib. Guess I need to get a protector of some sort.

Emma continues to be extremely mobile - crawling and pulling up on everything - but no steps yet. My guess is that she'll walk before 12 months, but we'll see. She's able to move around pretty well while standing up by using the furniture for support. Her favorite thing is to crawl as fast as lightening over to my purse when I've forgotten to zip it up and pull as much as she can out before I can get over there to rescue the purse.

Naps continue to be bad for us. Today it was two 1-hour naps. Last week I thought we'd made a break through as she was taking close to two 2-hour naps. But I should have known that all good things come to an end. But at least her night sleep is good, and she's regularly going at least 12 hours without waking.

Feeding wise, Emma is increasingly loving table food. Today for lunch she had some puffs and teddy grahams, followed by yogurt, some pureed veggies, two full slices of ham, crust off my pizza, and some more teddy grahams to top it all off. We still do baby food but try to work in table food whenever we can. And still at 3 nursings a day.

And I've started thinking about the first birthday party! What fun! We will hopefully be moving in to our new house around that time so it will be pretty chaotic. I'm thinking a cupcake themed party since someone already gave her a birthday dress with cupcakes on it and, well, I love cupcakes.

That's all for now, folks. Can't believe January is quickly coming to an end. Take care.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Long Anticipated House Post - Part 2

If you missed the riveting Part 1 of this story, you can read it here.

When I last left you, the closing had just fallen through on a house we'd been anticipating moving into for the past three months. We were definitely disappointed.

That evening, I decided to do a quick search to see what the current inventory of houses for sale looked like, something that I'd been doing regularly even with a contract on a house (I just can't help myself). Lo and behold, a listing I hadn't seen before popped up.

It was for a 5 bedroom/2.5 bath house that would be close to 4,700 sq ft once the basement is finished (as a comparison, we currently live in a 1,000 sq ft condo). It is in the most "exclusive" neighborhood in the city - which we're talking about a small town here, folks, so that's why I put that word in quotes. But, the few $1 million+ houses in the city are in this neighborhood.

But this wasn't a new listing. So, you ask, why did it just now appear within my search terms? Because it had just been reduced by $80,000! And, when it first went on the market almost two years ago, it was over $125,000 higher than the current list price. Holy cow, that's a lot of money. Guess we should be thankful for a bad housing market!

Hubby and I decided to go see the house. What's the harm, right? Hubby reminded me several times beforehand that we were just looking and that we should still be in the mourning process for the old house. "Right, right," I replied.

So, we go see the house. And we fell in love! The house is just perfect for us. While there are definitely some upgrades that we'll do (mainly the kitchen - it has great cabinets, but needs new countertops - and then finishing the basement), it is in perfect move-in condition. It has space for hubby and me to both have an office. And a GIGANTIC room over the TWO CAR garage that will be an unbelievable playroom for Emma.

Everything we were "giving up" with the old house - a garage, an eat-in kitchen area, a big master bedroom, a big master bathroom, closet space, an extra bedroom or two - is just perfect in this house. And, unlike the other house where we were going to spend at least $35,000 just to get it ready to move in, all we'll do is change out the carpet in the bedrooms and paint. And, voila, we'll move in.

Other pluses of this is about a 3 minute walk from where Emma will go to Kindergarten through fifth grade. Yes, folks, I'll be able to walk my daughter to school which charms the pants off me. The school has a great playground, which we'll get a lot of use out of. And the house is about a 5 minute walk to the swimming pool that we'll join. While it isn't right off the main street like we wanted, it is only a little over a mile away, so still walkable.

And the other upside to this story is that we made an offer on the house around 8am the next morning and the whole negotiation was done by about 4pm that day (and we got it for even less than list price for a total of $135,000 less than when it was first listed). So totally opposite from the long drawn-out process we'd just gone through. The appraisal and inspection are already completed and we are scheduled to close on February 18th.

We are so excited about this house. For some reason, I guess because of the weird process with the other house, we never let ourselves get too excited because we felt like it could fall through at any minute (and we were right). And while something unexpected could still happen, the odds are really good that this will be our house in a month and a half. Yay!

Now, we just need to sell this darn condo (but that's another plus...if we had closed on the first house over Christmas, we'd already be paying two mortgages. But now we have a little bit longer to try to sell our condo. Glass half full!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Long Anticipated House Post - Part 1

Please try to contain your goes.

As a recap, we had a contract on a house in Salem, Virginia that was in the perfect location for us. Just steps from the main street, shops, restaurants, etc. The house was a nice old one - built in 1928 - and had loads of potential but was going to take quite a bit of money to shape it into what we wanted. We figured we have to put in close to $35,000 right from the start and probably around $100,000 over the whole time we lived there. But we expected it to be our long-term house so that was ok.

It had been For Sale By Owner for 2 years...that should have been the first clue.

We first put the contract on the house in September and were scheduled to close a few days before Christmas. I won't even get into how long and drawn out the process was and how it seemed like the sellers could care less if the house ever sold. Just take my word for it. Very strange process. Very strange sellers.

We got a call a few days before the scheduled closing from the closing agent (who also served as the sellers' lawyer since neither side used Realtors) saying that the sellers needed a few more days to move their stuff out. Ahh, ok. As if three months wasn't enough. But we went with it.

We then got a call on the Friday before Christmas saying that it was taking a really long time to get the information from the sellers' bank as to what he owed to pay off his mortgage. And the settlement statement couldn't be written without it. Closing would probably have to be delayed even further. Ahh, ok.

Well, I will make a long story short for you. Ends up, the seller had STOPPED paying his mortgage in 2008. Hadn't paid property taxes during that time either. AND had two liens against him, each for $30,000. Can you believe it? We found this all out the day before we were scheduled to close. With all of that, there was no way the seller could close and pay off his mortgage. Which means his only option is a short sale and we want nothing to do with that. It can take 60-90 days just to find out whether your offer is accepted. And we're done dealing with this seller.

So we walked away. Tears definitely flowed. Not so much even for losing out on the house. But for after months of frustration to have it fall through at literally the last second. Really unbelievable.

Stay tuned for Part #2 with a happier ending!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry (a few days after) Christmas

We had a nice visit with the family over Christmas. Loads of cousins equals loads of fun, noise and craziness. And we even had a white Christmas which is rare in our neck of the woods. Here are a few pictures we captured of Emma's first Christmas.

Crawling down the hall first thing Christmas morning at Grammy's house

Emma's one present from Mommy and Daddy...wonder what it is????

It's a...Rocking Horse!

Family Portrait

P.S. I have a big update on the new house front...will save for a post in the very near future. Let's just say when God closes a door it's awesome to see him open up a window!