Sunday, May 26, 2013

San Antonio Wedding

Last weekend we flew to San Antonio to join in the celebration of my brother-in-law's wedding.  The wedding wasn't until Monday the 20th, but Chris arrived on Thursday to help out and I arrived just before the rehearsal dinner on Saturday, where I met the bride for the first time. We were so glad we could be a part of it and spend some time with my husband's family.

I played the lazy card for much of the weekend, spending time playing with my nieces and catching up with my sisters-in-law who were overseas. Everyone was home for the wedding which was really special. It was probably the most relaxing a family wedding could be for me . . . when my sisters were getting married there was not a moment to sit down much less take a nap!


It was an outdoor wedding at a vineyard/restaurant and the weather was just perfect. A little breezy but warm and once the sun started to go down it was really beautiful. The reception and dance were inside a nearby tent; the tables beautifully decorated with linens and wild flowers.

I wasn't really a part of the wedding so I just snapped photos the whole time, which is really my favorite thing to do. Above is Chris and his brother Brad before the ceremony. I had to make sure we got one of the brothers!

And the siblings! They were debating what to do for their "silly" picture for the photographer. Love the collaboration! 

Baby B had to make an appearance too! 

There was plenty of time before the ceremony to take some snapshots of Chris with his family, above is him with our niece Amelia and below is her younger sister Samantha.

And Grandma!

When the wedding got underway, I found myself near the front which gave opportunity for some nice shots of the groom while he waited for his lovely bride. 

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Babiak!

The cake was absolutely delicious and I mention that because Chris's sister made it!! She did a fantastic job - especially considering the Texas heat!

The dance was a lot of fun too. I didn't get to see much of the dance floor since my groomsman-husband was detained with wedding duties, but I did enjoy seeing the bride and groom enjoy themselves!

It was a beautiful weekend and a wonderful time with family. It was fun to welcome another sister-in-law to the family (I'm not the only one anymore!) and we even share the same name! Yes, that's right, there are now two Emily (she spells it Emilee) Babiaks!  Hopefully this won't cause too much confusion at the next family function!

Baby B: 21 Weeks

How far along: 21 weeks

How big is the baby: about 11 ounces and 7 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics)

Sleep: After adding a few more pillows, I'm sleeping a little better than I had been. I'm still trying to figure out if a maternity pillow is really necessary . . .

Best moment of the week:
Going to our ultrasound appointment and getting see Baby! So glad Chris was able to come too.

Worst thing: my nose has started bleeding quite regularly... not sure if that's really pregnancy related though.

Symptoms: Feeling more normal these days, or maybe I'm just getting used to everything. Very little nausea, some fatigue and a growing belly.

Movement: I feel the baby move several times a day now and there is no mistaking it! Feels like butterflies and sometimes like someone's trying to tickle me.

What I miss: Staying in bed all night long (not needing bathroom breaks)

Food Cravings: Chocolate milk

Food Aversions: not much at the moment!

Maternity Clothes: I've had to use the hair-elastic trick to expand the size of my jeans. The button just doesn't quite fit in the whole anymore. Also, I wore leggings for the first time last week which was pretty comfortable and may I add quite fashionable (at least I thought so).

Things People Say: I hear people make comments almost daily about how I've just started to "pop out" and show more. More people reach for the belly now and ask if I'm feeling okay. An older man from our church said "Getting bigger, that's good!" this morning...

Exercise: Riding a stationary bike three times a week and walking a mile or two every day, cut back on my core exercises as they cause some tension in my gut. Really want to get back to yoga and pilates again. Stairs and hills wind me.
Last Appointment: 20 week ultrasound on May 23 -- I think everything is okay although the baby was very shy and made it hard for the technician to see what needed to be seen. No pretty profile photo for me as his/her hand was covering most of the face and was facing the wrong direction.

Next Appointment: check-up with midwife on May 30

Friday, May 24, 2013

Diaper Ideas: Help!

So, this post is more of a cry for help. And specifically directed toward moms of small children.

As I dream and plan about our future with our child I have found myself knee deep in information about diapers. I imagine months and years of being up to my knees in actual diapers but right now, I have to decide what kind of diapers those will be! And I need your help. Desperately.

I have a few questions for those of you who have tried cloth diapering, please leave your answers in the comment section below, or email me if you're not into that.
  1. What brands and types of cloth diapers have you tried? 
  2. Which ones worked? 
  3. Which ones did you hate?
  4. Any advice for me as to where to even start? 
  5. Do you think I'm insane for doing this while in an apartment with shared laundry?
I've been thinking about doing this as affordable as possible and then I see all the cute all-in-ones and want those too, but they are much more expensive. And then I think of more questions!

Do the one-size diaper really fit the baby from newborn to toddler? Should I get different sizes? How long do they really last . . . would they make it through more than one child?

Seriously, any tips or suggestions you can give will be helpful. I am at a loss.
Thanks ~ NewbieMom

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Love and Marriage

And another thing. Love is temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second of every minute of the day. No, don't blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being "in love," which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two. 

                                        -- Excerpt from Corelli's Mandolin
                                            A Novel by Louis de Bernieres.

I haven't read the book, but the quote was shared with us during an early-marrieds session at my church.  It's a new group of couples that have been married ten years or less. We've been meeting once a month hearing testimonies from other couples who have been married much longer than we have. It has been very interesting -- and helpful.

Last week, they quoted this excerpt from Corelli's Mandolin and it just caught my heart strings a little bit. "We had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two." Isn't that the neatest visual of love? of marriage?

If I could draw, I would sketch this out for you. But I can't draw a stick figure much less a tree. The idea that my husband and I are growing, intertwining, and becoming one as we make the effort to learn about each other, spend time together, and go through the tough stuff together is precious.

Isn't that the point of marriage? To become one. That can't happen overnight. It takes time and even effort. I know there is much more that could be said on the topic of marriage but I really just wanted to share this quote with you, so I'll leave it at that for now.

To love and marriage . . . and inseparable and intertwined trees

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Jungle

I heard about this book back in high school, where my English teacher told us we would never want to eat a hotdog again if we ever read it. I didn't read it.

But a few weeks ago I was trying to think of  a few free books I could download to my e-reader app on my phone and this title came to mind. I'm not sure why but I thought, "I should read that." Maybe I was just finally tired of hotdogs?!

Let me just say that the whole story is sad. I was heartbroken reading about the immigrant family moving from Lithuania only to find life in America much harder than they thought possible. The working conditions were awful. I mean awful. Living paycheck to paycheck seems like an understatement. And the things this family had to go through in attempting to own a home were so painful to read. Seriously, I told Chris I never wanted to own a home after reading this story. The family never catches a break . . . and it breaks them.

The book is more well known for its revealing the lack of sanitary practices in packaging meat products in the early 1900s. Which trust me, it did. Even with today's standards you have to question what is really done to packaged meat. But that seemed like the back story to me. Sinclair did actually go undercover and work in a meat packing plant in Chicago while writing the series for a newspaper. Later it was turned into a novel. The real issue and reason behind his story was the lack of care for the workingman by these big corporations and the government. There was a huge gap between the upper and lower classes. The corporations often being corrupt and exuding power over the lower class in every way possible.

The end of the book takes a different turn as the main character gets more involved with politics and gets to see things from a different perspective. He becomes very active in Socialism and that is where we are left. This man who has lived through so many awful things and lost everything dear to him is given a hope that things can be different and better.

Isn't it amazing what can change in 100 years? Or not change? There are still families trying to make it in America. There are still large gaps between the classes and corruption everywhere. There is still talk of Socialism verses Democracy.

I never felt like I was reading a historical story, it very well could be happening in today's factories. Although unions seem to be a bit stronger than they were back then. The idea of living paycheck to paycheck to pay for what you dream of owning, like a home, is still very much a reality for many Americans.

Have you read The Jungle? What were your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Let the cookies do the talking

When I found out that we were expecting, I wanted to find creative ways to tell people. We ended up telling everyone in different ways. I think the way I told my co-workers was the most creative by far.

I purchased the cookie cutters in the shape of a onesie and a baby carriage from Amazon, made sugar cookies and then decorated them with blue and pink frosting. Most of them made it to work without too much damage.

I've never been very patient with frosting but I decided I wanted to give it my best shot, and take up the whole night if I had to. And it actually wasn't that bad. I watched a video online which helped calm my nerves, and other than my frosting getting a little too thin (I think it was too warm) at the end, it went very well. I have to say they turned out better than I could have hoped.

My co-workers loved them! And I didn't even have to voice my announcement, they could guess just by looking at the cookies! And they were thrilled.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baby B: 18 Weeks

Here it is, my first pregnancy update! I cannot count the number of mom blogs I've read in the last year just hoping that one day I'd be able to write my own . . . experience my own pregnancy and be a mom.

That's really what I wanted to do with my life . . . be a mom.

Anyway, back to the update (with great joy and gladness in my heart). And since this is my first time writing one of these, feel free to let me know if forgot anything!

How far along: 18 weeks (the photo above was taken last week; sorry it's not more up to date)

How big is the baby: about 5 ounces and 5.5 inches (according to those lovely Internet statistics)

Sleep: I've been sleeping alright; not great but not horrible. I am uncomfortable on my sides so I end up on my back most of the time (I checked with my doctor, that's okay for now). I have more energy now than I did a few weeks ago, so I'm very thankful for that! And I haven't had to take naps like I did during the first trimester.

Best moment of the week: Visiting my midwife last week and hearing the baby's heart beat. I could listen to that for hours! Also finding out that the baby can hear me. I haven't started talking to Baby B yet, but once I figure out what to say (and no one else is around) you can bet I'll talk his or her little ears off! This news made my week.

Worst thing: bloating/gas

Symptoms: Last week I felt absolutely great, really nothing to complain about. This week, I've had more disrupted sleep, bathroom breaks, and bloating. Even more nausea. Feeling more like week 11 than week 18. Come back magical Week 17! My lower back and hips have also been very sore for the past few months.

Movement: I may have felt Baby B move once the other night, but I wasn't sure. Looking forward to feeling those little legs move more!

What I miss: Wine and my bike

Food Cravings: Chocolate (but that was even before I was pregnant) and salmon.

Food Aversions: Nuts, avocado sometimes, my gluten-free crackers and orange juice

Maternity Clothes: I've purchased a few things but have only had to wear the belly band twice so far.

Things People Say: "Look at you, you've already lost your waistline" (I think one is enough; I say very stupid things to my pregnant friends, so I can't get too upset that it's my turn to hear it.)

Exercise: I no longer ride my bike but I do walk everywhere that the bus won't take me. I also still go to the gym and aim for 3 days a week. In the first trimester, I attended a few prenatal yoga classes and one prenatal Pilates class, which I loved. I hope to do those more often.
Last Appointment: Last Thursday (17.5 weeks)

Next Appointment: 20 week ultrasound on May 23
**We won't be finding out the gender of our little one until he or she enters the world in October**

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yes, I prayed for furniture

Last month I shared my hopes of changing a few things in our apartment to be better organized and maybe even add some "decor" to our living space. I started praying for these things shortly after that post; praying the Lord would guide our decisions and our budget as we looked at different options, praying that we would find something that would work in our limited space and meet our needs. I hope that doesn't sound silly, but this was a source of anxiety for me and I felt I needed to bring it before the Lord to bring peace to my soul as well as guide me as I was looking to spend our hard earned savings (something I actually hate doing).

Well, last Thursday I came across a listing on Craigslist for a china hutch with the perfect dimensions. It would actually fill the space I needed to fill and it looked very similar to what I had been hoping to find. There were a few things that I didn't necessarily love, but overall, it would work great. And it was less than what I had budgeted for!

The downside was it was an hour's drive outside the city. I was headed that direction on Saturday anyway (more on that later) so I thought I should stop and take a look and see if it really was what I wanted before dragging my husband out there with the truck. Sure enough, it was perfect.

I made arrangements to pick it up on Sunday with Chris and the truck. We had a nice drive and were thankful the rain didn't come as was predicted. Chris was very meticulous in how he secured the hutch in the truck; this took a while but I tried to be patient and know that he was really trying to make it safe and secure as we would be driving on the interstate.

The drive back went perfectly and we arrived home and called friend to help take it up the one flight of stairs. I had left Chris to manage the heavy lifting and went upstairs to get the space ready. A few minutes later, Chris rushed in the apartment and said something about the hutch falling and the glass cracking. I ran out the door behind him to take a look myself.

My spirit was crushed.

The glass on both doors of the hutch had cracked in multiple places and a chip was taken out of the wood. I was stunned and speechless. Chris apologized and told me how it happened and I just stood there thinking What do we do now? I started to think Why even try to find something we can afford if we just break it? or Why be so careful in transporting it just to have it break in our garage? I could have let my mind go to much harsher places, but I tried to nip those thoughts in the bud. I didn't want to be angry about a mistake, something no one wanted to have happen. I forgave him. I was sad . . . but I forgave.

We took the doors off and set the hutch up in our apartment and will use it as it is until we can get the glass replaced. It fit perfectly in our space and I think it will work out great for what we need it to do. And once we get the doors back in place, I know I'll just love it.

We were both reminded not to put our hope in the treasures of this earth, but in the Lord who is the provider for everything. Even though I want our place to look nice and use the space well, I have to remember that possessions really aren't important. My marriage is. How I responded to my husband in forgiveness matters. So, yes I prayed for furniture . . . but more than that I pray for our home and our family and the people who come into our space, that all would be blessed and covered by grace.

I promised a before photo in my early post so here is what we had as our "pantry" for the past three years:

It really wasn't bad, but I was a little tired of my collection of canned goods being on display whenever we had someone over.  It was a bookshelf we found at a neighborhood garage sale the first weekend we moved in. Only $30.

And below is what we have now. Doors to be installed at a later time.

We moved our dishes to this hutch and are using our cupboards in the kitchen for our pantry goods. I hope we find space for everything but so far, it seems like a good change.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Another Step in the Right Direction

Most of you probably know that my husband and I are budget people. We've been following Dave Ramsey's baby steps to financial freedom  in order to get out of debt, start saving and now start investing. We're moving up to Baby Step #4!

If you aren't familiar with these baby steps, you can check out Dave's website or read the brief summary I've included below:

The first step was to have an emergency fund of $1000
we were able to do this sometime shortly after we moved to SF (to our amazement)

The second step was to pay off all your debt (other than a mortgage)  
 we were able to do this in 2011 (much quicker than we ever dreamed)

The third step is to set up a savings of three to six months of your expenses
so far we have three months set aside which we will reevaluate as necessary; we managed to do this right before my husband lost his job in 2011

The fourth step is to start investing 15% of your income for your retirement
this is where we are now 

The fifth step is to set up a college fund for you or your children

The sixth step is to pay off your mortgage early

And the last step is to build wealth and give like never before

The end goal is really what keeps us motivated. To give like never before. So many of our friends are in the mission field or working for organizations that need support and we want to help them all so badly. We do what we can now, but thinking about being able to do more one day is really exciting and inspiring!

Anyway, back to Baby Step #4. We started a retirement fund a few months ago, but haven't been investing as much as Dave recommends. Honestly, we'll have to see what that looks like in our budget. Fifteen percent seems like a lot. But it is so important to start investing now when we have years ahead to accrue compound interest.

I don't share this to brag about our financial situation (The Lord knows we have no right to boast!) I write this to share our goals, our plan, and our hopes for our financial freedom. And maybe to motivate you to take a look at your own situation. These baby steps take time, but it's worth the effort! I promise.