Monday, January 31, 2011

"C" is for Celebration

Last week John and I spent four days at my favorite place on earth, Texas.  I love Texas.  Anywhere in Texas.  Especially Dallas, Houston, or Austin where we have lots of family and friends.  John and I took off work Thursday and Friday for an extra long weekend, since it takes about 8 hours to drive to his parents' house.  We drove into Austin on Thursday to buy a mattress at Babies "R" Us.  One of their mattresses was on sale for $100 off, so it was actually cheaper than a less expensive one we bought a couple weeks ago.  I had checked the Tulsa store on Wednesday before we left town, but they were completely out of the mattress that was on sale, so I had them check inventory in Texas.  The lady looked at me like I was crazy, since she thought I was going to drive to Texas just to buy a mattress.  Thursday afternoon we also grabbed lunch with one of John's buddies in Austin and then headed out to Marble Falls where my in-laws live.
Hiking along the stream
Friday morning we went hiking on some land about an hour away from the house with John's parents, sister, and the two dogs, Bailey and Zach .  We tried to follow a creek to hike, but we kept coming across areas that had too much water, so we'd have to navigate through the woods with lots of brush.  The dogs had no problem, but it didn't take us long to figure out we weren't going very far through the woods.

When we were done hiking the dogs were wet and covered in dirt, so we wanted to towel dry them before putting loading in the car to make the hour-long drive home.  There was a house on the land about a half mile from where we parked the car to hike, so we had the dogs run behind the car back to the ranch house.  I think they really liked it--zig-zagging behind the car, running full speed.  It was quite a sight to see.  We didn't hear a peep from either dog for the rest of the day, as they spent hours napping after our little adventure.

There were also a couple donkeys at the ranch house that we fed carrots.

Feeding the donkeys, Jack and Jill.  Zach was very curious.
When we got home John's sister made some Hello Dolly bars for my 29th birthday.  About half the pan was gone the first night, and I think I was responsible for eating 90% of what was missing.  Calories don't count on your birthday, right?

Although I really enjoyed hiking and eating large amounts of graham crackers, coconut, and chocolate, the best part of my birthday happened late on Friday evening.  John received an email from the daughter of the lady who adopted our sweet pup, Logan.  Last year we decided it would be best to find him a new home (See "C" is for Canine).  We checked in with Logan's new mom a couple times after his adoption, but we had been meaning to call her again after Christmas.  There's no way her daughter could have known it was my birthday on Friday, but her email update with photos of Logie Bear was the best birthday present I could have asked for!!  She assured us that both her mom and Logan are happy, and based on the pictures I can tell they are spoiling him sweet.   He looks perfectly content snuggled up with his new family.  It warmed my heart to know that he is well cared for and loved.

Logan and his new little brother, Rue
Saturday we did another little hike with the fam through the trails around the lake house.  The weather was too gorgeous to stay inside.  John and I also tested out our skills with the camera in the manual settings.  There wasn't much along the lines of color to photograph, but we found some little tid bits here and there.

Random Tree
Working on my depth of field

Cactus Heart
Please ignore the t.u. shirt.  We didn't realize it was going to be almost 80 degrees, so John had to borrow it from his dad.

My response to John's t.u. shirt.  Burn it.  Saw 'em off.  Something.

I also got to see my friend, Laura, to celebrate her upcoming wedding.  Her bachelorette party was in Austin on Saturday night, so I joined the group for dinner before they hit the town.  Congrats, Laura!

Dinner At Trudy's

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"C" is for Class Project

We made it! Today is our last photography class, and we (mostly) finished the final assignment.  The objective was to take 15 photos of a list of items.  Since the sun is usually down before we get off work, it was difficult to shoot everything we needed.  We were able to take the night photos a couple nights ago, and John took the daytime shots during his lunch hour yesterday.  It would have been nice for both of us to take daytime pics over the weekend, but I was in Dallas shopping for baby Tully.  (Muy importante, right?!)  So anyway, here are my favorite pics.  We're by no means professionals, but I really think we learned a lot in the class.  Most importantly, I'm happy to be be able to take decent photos in the manual modes on my camera.

American Flag


Neon Sign

Tall Building

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"C" is for Convex (cont.)

Another month down and less than three to go!  I've officially hit the 7 month mark.  We're getting lots of stuff done around the house (See "C" is for Completed Tasks), and the child birth classes we started a few weeks ago are going really well.  Right now the class is focused on nutrition, so I'm making sure my rear-end diet is well-rounded.  I feel like it's nearly impossible to get everything on the food list into one day, but I've done OK so far.
Last weekend John and I watched The Business of Being Born, and it was actually a decent movie.  Graphic...but informative.  They say all modesty goes out the door during labor and delivery.  They aren't kidding.  I've also started reading Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

I started feeling Braxton Hicks contractions about two weeks ago, so that has been an interesting change.  When they happen my stomach gets all tense, but they're not painful at all.  Also, for the third trimester my doctor appointments have increased in frequency: since last August we've been going in monthly, and now we're on a bi-weekly schedule.  Thank goodness we don't have to pay a co-pay every time we visit.  Geez.  We'll be scheduling a pre-admission visit and a hospital tour soon, and somewhere between child birth and photography classes I need to take a breastfeeding class.

We've also started scheduling interviews to find a nanny for li'l Tully.  This is SO overwhelming.  We posted a job ad on several months ago and received a very positive response.  We are planning to spend the next couple months talking to many of the girls who applied.  It's a little odd to be hiring someone, since I'm technically at the house all day, but clearly I can't work a full-time job and take care of a baby.  After Tully arrives, I'm planning to take a few months off work and then go back full-time.  Hopefully, in addition for caring for the baby, the nanny can help with errands and household tasks, like laundry and dishes, which will allow me to spend more time with my family in the evenings and on weekends.  Fingers crossed that we find the perfect match for our family!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"C" is for Compression

In December, John received a gift certificate at his company's Christmas party, which he generously gave to me for a prenatal massage at the Skin Care Institute and Medical Spa here in Tulsa.  I told myself I could have a massage every time I hit a month marker for my pregnancy.  I'm not in any pain at all, but these past few months have been the longest months of my entire life.  I've tried not to complain, except to John and my mom, but I've quickly discovered I am not one of those people who enjoys waddling around with extra weight, acne, or any of the other glorious side effects of pregnancy.  I know that bringing baby Tully into this world will be amazing, and I will love him more than life itself, but I'm pretty sure there's no rule that says I have to like this whole process.  Am I wrong?  Maybe, but I'm sure there are other moms and moms-to-be out there who feel the same way.  Unfortunately, the only moms talking to me are the ones who either don't mind or really enjoy pregnancy, and everyone else seems to think this is going by really fast.  News flash: it's not.  Oh well...back to the story on my "reward" for successfully completing 7 months of nurturing little Tully in my belly.

Paul, my Ukrainian masseuse, started out with some serious pressure on my toe joints and heels, followed up with some vigorous shaking and major thumb work on my calves.  The craziness proceeded all the way up to my neck and shoulders, where he found my tension knot on my left shoulder that I hadn't even mentioned.  Brownie points for Paul.  I guess I'm used to the relaxation-type massages with long, slow movements, where I tell the masseuse multiple times throughout the session that they can, in fact, push harder.  I've never had a massage where I've been on the brink of pain but still felt relaxed.

On the downside, I did have to listen to some some pretty far out stories about his energy healing for one client with gangrene and another who wanted to be the #1 ranked 800m runner instead of #8.  According to Paul, after several massage and energy sessions, the gangrene was healed, and the runner did move up to #1.  Wikipedia says the world record holders for 800m from the last 30 years have been from Kenya, Denmark, and the UK, so maybe a) I misunderstood due to Paul's accent or b) he has no idea what he's talking about.  Either way, I'm going back for an 8-month massage, and I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you the same stories, if you want to visit him too.

Update: 8-month prenatal massage.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"C" is for Curious Dog

Last year we heard our pup, Zach, howl along with a fire truck for the first time.  When he hears sirens, he begins to howl and looks at us like he wants to stop but just can't control it.  It's pretty funny.  So last week we tried to get him to howl along with a fire truck on YouTube.  No dice--he only likes the real thing.

Our next idea was to see if he would react to a howling dog online.  Zach didn't bark or howl, but he was very interested in the computer.  I wish we would have gotten the camera out sooner.  At one point when we first started playing the clip, I thought he was going to turn his head completely upside down.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"C" is for Completed Tasks

We kicked off the new year with a bang and made some serious progress on household projects after we returned from vacation.  Here are our 11 completed tasks for 2011:

1. Toilet fixed.  This leaky thing had me losing sleep at night.  $3 and a few minutes of TLC was all it needed.  Thanks, John!

2.  Light bulb replaced over toilet.  I couldn't reach it, even on the step stool, and I can't lift the 50+lb, 22' ladder anymore.  Another John project: done.

3.  Hole in wall patched.  I'll spare you the story about how mad I was about the leaky toilet and burned out lightbulb.  (That poor toilet paper holder...)

4.  Shelves and cabinet doors installed above toilet.  This is a project we started last January.  We have a TON of storage in a tiny area now, and, most importantly, the medicine cabinet is out of Tully's reach.  John is 3 for 3.

5. Drapes hung in office

6. Drapes hung in master bedroom (Could someone please come steam all my drapes now?  The wrinkles aren't falling out on their own.)

7. Family photos hung in hallway.  The collage has officially started.  Two years down, many more to go!


8. Installed magnetic door stops.  We have two doors that liked to close themselves.  $12 later and my door problems were solved.  Ashley 2.  Doors 0.

9.  Organized hall storage closet.  Put away Christmas decorations and moved garage sale items from closet to boxes in garage.  I really hope the neighborhood garage sale isn't in April when Tully is due, so I can participate this year.  My mom and I both have lots of stuff to sell (again). 

10.  Fixed miscellaneous broken items in house like large wall art hanging in bathroom and wooden blinds throughout house.  Everything is functional for now, but I feel like our house is a never-ending project.  (I can only imagine what John thinks about my honey-do lists.)

11. Organized hardware and tools.  This project totally surpassed all of my OCD hopes and dreams.  We sorted tools to make primary and secondary toolkits for upstairs and downstairs and sorted hundred of nuts, bolts, nails, screws, and other miscellaneous hardware into plastic bins.  Oh happy day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"C" is for Construction

I wanted more space on the blog for my thoughts and for larger photos, so I decided I needed to modify the width of my template.  Simple enough, right?  Wrong.   I know a little HTML, but I really didn't want to scroll through pages of it on the template designer and then teach myself what to adjust or, more importantly, what NOT to adjust.  So I gave in to the pre-made templates on blogger to make my life easier.  I knew these templates would mess up my header alignment, but I also thought I could make a new header pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, Adobe had other ideas for how I would spend my evening.  Fingers crossed that I receive the serial code to update my trial version of Photoshop to the real deal tomorrow...I mean, they have my money.  What else do they want?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

"C" is for Copter

While we were in Colorado over Christmas, John got to fly a little remote control helicopter.  I think he played with that thing more than the 2 year-old there played with all of his toys combined.  When we returned to Oklahoma, John made two trips to the mall to find the perfect remote control helicopter for our home.  Apparently every kid in Tulsa got one for Christmas this year because there were none to be found in Woodland Hills Mall.  We ended up ordering one online, and John asked me about 10 times throughout the week, if it had arrived yet.  The day UPS delivered it was the day John left for the Cotton Bowl, which I thought was funny because I'm pretty sure he would have left two hours later for the game had he known it his toy would make its appearance at our house that day.

Here's a little clip of him playing with the helicopter.  I apologize in advance for the poor quality of this video.  I should have used our camera instead of my iPhone, but the iPhone was on the couch with me, and the camera was not.

"C" is for C25K Week 6

According to the baby, "Couch to 5K" training is officially on hold until further notice.  The jogging was good while it lasted.  Stay tuned until April...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"C" is for Classes

Less than one week into the new year, and I have A TON of homework.  "How?" you might ask.  Because I signed up for not one, but two classes a week.   The first class is for child birth.  The second, photography.  Two things I'm very interested in right now.  (Obviously the first a little more than the second.)

The child birth classes are called The Bradley Method or Husband-Coached Natural Childbirth.  John heard more the first night than he wanted to, including a story from one of the girls there about peeing when she sneezed or something, but I told him that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Funny story about our first class--we went around the room introducing ourselves, and John and I were the first ones to go.  John starts out with, "Well...I've been sober for 8 days..."


Obviously, I get the joke and start cracking up, so we laugh about being at the "wrong" meeting.  I don't think the other students have any idea what they're in for with John in the class.

All joking aside, I really think we will learn a lot, which is my whole purpose for taking the class.  My goal is to have a natural child birth, but I know myself well enough to know that plans change, so the real goal is to be able to make educated decisions to ensure I have a healthy baby.

On to the photography class.  The first hour wasn't too exciting: when we got home, John and I both said we looked at the clock about 40 minutes into the class.  But the second hour FLEW by.  The class is exactly what we were looking for: tell us about all of the modes on our camera, and then focus on manual settings.  After just one class I know what adjusting the aperture, shutter speed, or ISO will do, whereas before I would just push buttons until something turned out OK, or I could always default to the fully automatic settings.  I know it will take way more than 4 weeks to learn about my camera, but this class is a great start.

So clearly the downside to taking these classes is homework.  Between work, exercise, travel, and getting the house ready for the baby, I don't have a lot of free time.  But the upside is that I get to spend quality time with John, which I really enjoy.  He's way more into learning about the camera than I am, but I'm happy just to be there with him.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"C" is for C25K Week 5 Repeat

5:00 jogging
3:00 walking
5:00 jogging
3:00 walking
5:00 jogging

Total Distance: 4.7 miles (- 2.8 from previous week)
Average Distance: 2.3 miles (- 0.2 from previous week)
Longest Distance: 2.46 miles (-0.07  from previous week)
Average HR: 132-141 bpm
Average Pace: See "C" is for C25K Week 1

Cardio-wise this week was no problem, even after taking a week vacation, but I did have to cut back, since I can feel some tightness in my lower ab muscles after my jogs.  I substituted two days of walking, hence only two runs this week.  In any case, we're moving on to Week 6 of the program.  I plan to keep doing what I can and cutting back when needed.
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