Monday, June 20, 2011

sewing creations

These are some of the things that have kept me busy the last few weeks:

Caitlin encouraged me to make these letters & numbers!  They are for when I take photos of the baby: to mark how old he is at different points during the first year.  To be honest, I was about to give up after attempting the "S", but my mom walked in the room and encouraged me to keep going.  I am glad I did!  Here is the link.

I was about to get my hair cut at the salon a few months ago.  Wandering around the adjoining gift shop, I giggled to myself when I saw "Pee Pee Tee-Pees", for moms and dads to protect themselves while changing boy diapers.  I took a cell phone pic to show Steve.  Later, I stumbled upon this blog where she created her own: "Wee Wee Wigwams".  They have fun fabrics on the outside, with a soft fleece on the inside, and can be put in the washing machine :)

This was the real troublemaker.  I committed to making Steve a chef's hat for his skit during VBS week, later in July.  The VBS this year is called "Shake It Up Cafe"--all kitchen themed.  Steve will be Chef Basil, and that will transform him into some kind of celebrity to the kids, as he was at 2009 and 2010 VBS's, haha.  Anyways, after a few failed attempts, the chef's hat finally came together!

This is a nursing cover that I found on this site.  It was easy, but took me quite a while.  I spent a long time choosing the right fabric at Joann's, and this particular home decor fabric had a sale sticker that said "7.00" on it.  I had 1.5 yards cut, and got in line, where it rang up to $30!  Apparently it was $19.99 a yard, and the 7.00 sticker meant how many yards were on the roll.  Luckily, the cashier pulled a 40% coupon out of her pocket and saved me some money.  (This was before I learned how to be a Joann coupon connoisseur.  A couple weeks later, spending three mornings at Joann's, I was able to buy $74 worth of merchandise for only $13!)  I will never buy anything there without a coupon again!

and then I've used some extra fabric to make headbands :) 

-Rachel.

Monday, June 13, 2011

June thirteenth

Today is Steve and my 2nd anniversary!!  I am waiting for him to get home from a long day of painting ceilings so that we can celebrate. :)  What a wonderful day that was, 2 years ago!
 
We started our day off today (at 5:30) driving my mom and stepdad to their bus.  They went with their tour group to the airport in DC, and as of three minutes ago, their plane took off for PARIS, France!!  I am really thrilled that my mom is getting a chance to see Europe, finally.  It really is the trip of a lifetime for her.  But I am a little jealous since I am staying here, and I'm little fearful because she won't be able to call me internationally.  It's the farthest we've been apart!  Anyways, I'm praying for a safe flight and no complications throughout the entire two week trip!

I have done quite a bit of sewing the past couple weeks, and I need to take some pictures of my new creations to put on here!  I have come very far from buying-my-sewing-machine-and-not-knowing-how-to-use-it.  

The baby is very active inside.  I'm still not big (I was even the smallest in our prenatal education class on Saturday, though a couple other first-timers had same/later due dates than me).  He is nearing 3 pounds and 17 inches!  I feel like my organs have definitely shifted inside to make room.  He has 2-3 names picked out for him, but we won't be announcing anything until the big birthday.  I am a little nervous he could be born early, because Steve was a preemie at 32 weeks, and only 4 pounds.  Hopefully Steve's fetal stress was not a genetic thing.  We now have appointments with our new doctor every two weeks.  He may not be as friendly as my doctor in Erie, and the hospital may be a lot less nice than the one in Erie, but it feels good to finally see where we'll deliver! 

and it's time to get ready to go to eat!  
XOXO,
Rachel



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

bye erie


As of yesterday, we are officially moved out of our Erie apartment.  Steve and his brother Josh were amazing movers--bringing all of our furniture and boxes from the 3rd floor down to the U-Haul.  I teared up as we locked the door for the last time and relinquished our keys.  As much as I am ready for the next step, I do not like saying goodbye to four walls which I have called "home".  It was my first real adult residence, facing (and growing from) challenges of post-school life.  It was Steve's first place away from his parents and 4 years of dorm life.  It was where we grew so close as a married couple, where we brought Ivy puppy home to, and where I spent over half of my pregnancy.  I will keep those memories close.

We wait in anticipation of our new apartment.  We signed the lease today, but the landlord is unsure if we can even move in before August 15!  This has caused me quite a bit of frustration, but I'm trying to remain hopeful.  For now, I'll keep myself busy with the warm weather and summer projects. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

week twenty-five!

Steve's Master's graduation from G.U. on May 7th :)

me at 24 weeks :)

on Monday night on the border between New Hampshire and Maine!

A little background story to the Maine picture... 
Last summer, Steve's parents gutted their kitchen and dug a big hole in the backyard to begin an addition to the back of their 1890 house.  Steve's full-time summer job was to help build the addition.  On the side, we made three trips to pick up "vintage" or "antique" pieces for the house.  We drove to Revere (Boston) Massachusetts to bring back a wood-burning stove.  We made a trip to Youngstown, Ohio for a back door.  And we visited the suburbs of Detroit for a set of French doors.  

This week, our destination was Providence, Rhode Island for twelve white oak window sashes (wood frames) that were new, made specifically for the house.  I decided if we went to New England, I was going to see my friend and old roommate, Emily, in New Hampshire.  So on Monday, we drove 9+ hours to New Hampshire, and we spent four hours with sweet Emily and her new fiance Andy. We had a delicious pizza dinner in downtown Portsmouth, and we saw where Andy works on the border of Maine.  From NH, we drove to Massachusetts to spend the night at a hotel, and of course watch the season finale of our favorite show, "Castle".  (What a sad and intense finale!  Kate is so alive, by the way.)  Then yesterday morning, we drove from Massachusetts to Providence and picked up the windows.

I had heard via Facebook that my very close family (Aunt Tina, Uncle Paul, and cousin Tim) from Nebraska were in Connecticut, vacationing for a few days with my aunt's relatives.  At the last minute of our trip, I pieced together that Steve and I would be driving right past them.  And amazingly, we were able to have a two-hour lunch feast with them at an Olive Garden outside Hartford!  I used to live just a couple blocks away from them in Nebraska, and now we live a 2-days drive apart, and only see each other once or twice a year.  So of course, it was wonderful to see them!  (If only Katie had been with too!)  Steve and I made it back home at 10 PM last night, 38.5 hours after we left. :)  It was so worth it.

As for being twenty-five weeks, I feel great.  I'm definitely growing, although so far, it's been at a very slow rate.  The bump is not always visible, depending on what I'm wearing.  I feel hungry almost every hour (ahh!)  The best part about the pregnancy is feeling him move, which happens a few times a day, especially if I'm at home relaxing.  How exciting, right!!?  Pinch me, is this all real?  ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011

this is the week I've been waiting for.

We find out the baby's gender tomorrow!! (provided that the baby lets us see.)  It is crazy to think this is the last day that I will not know this vital fact about my firstborn child.  I cannot wait to see what he or she looks like now!  and I pray that everything appears healthy and normal.  :)

and after the ultrasound in the afternoon, Steve defends his thesis in front of his board!  Then he graduates with his Masters on Saturday!!  This is the week I've been waiting for, for months!

Last week was not the easiest, as my expectations for the upcoming summer have not been met.  I had a couple overly emotional days as we have made some tough decisions about housing and work after we move out of Erie within the next month. God will provide for us, I know.

I need to go to the store to buy a special edition PEOPLE of the Royal Wedding.  I, for some reason, am a little obsessed about it. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

must get out.

here is me last Wednesday!  as much as there is a definite bump, I've been told on the street, "You can't even tell!"  and the kids that I teach don't notice.  (which is incredible, because this baby is supposedly 7 inches long, and nearing 1 pound!)

We were just listening to an old Maroon5 song called "Must Get Out" that I used to listen to in high school.  One line of the chorus is, "This city's made us crazy, and we must get out."  As I was mouthing the words, Steve says to me, "Is this your theme song?"  Today, at 34 degrees with a mix of snow and rain, I answered "Yes!"  Aside from our actual apartment, I feel no strings pulling me to stay here.  No one is going to cry when we leave.  I will be sad to say goodbye to these four walls that we've made our home for the past two years.  Steve and I have spent so much time together in this apartment!  But I know that our next place is going to become even more special, as it's where we'll bring home our first baby. 

I am excited for Easter: to celebrate Jesus' resurrection, relax with my mom, get my hair cut for the first time since last July, hear Steve sing in church, play with my 9-month-old niece Natalie whom I haven't seen since Christmas, make layered Jello, and unofficially start looking for a new home, in a new town.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

week nineteen

This morning, it is finally sunny outside, with a high of 57!  After a week of 30-some degrees again, I am craving some nicer weather so that I can go out and walk comfortably.  We even had snow flurries more than once this week!  When Steve gets home from his Saturday morning class, we'll head to my mom's house for the day (a 2.5 hour trip).  We are going to an all-church birthday party this evening, for all the months of the year.  Both of our moms are praying that more than 5-10 people show up after all of the work they put into it.  My mom writes the Facebook updates for our church daily, and I think that is a great form of advertising, so we'll see what happens.

Steve and I are noticing that I'm growing a bit more this week.  I can still hide my stomach, but if I put on a tight shirt, it definitely looks like I've gained the 8 pounds all in my middle.  I am slowly on the lookout for a new-ish maternity wardrobe, although I still think it'll be a while before I outgrow everything I own.  Baby continues to kick quite a bit, including right now.  On the days that I work, baby doesn't seem to move at all.  I think all of the kids must sound really scary, or my stress level gets high and the baby gets nervous or something.  Last night we got another delicious pizza (I finally found a good pizza place here at the end of our time in this city), and a little while after I ate it, the baby was really dancing in there!

I am trying to be the best version of myself, to really knock out all of the negative feelings that I have, and to watch my words before I say them, but at least once a day, I still embarrass myself or get disappointed in how I have managed my time and my energy.  I am such a work in progress!  And as much as I would like to rewind 2 years back to college and change some things, or rewind 6 years back to high school and make some different decisions, I think that is life.  In 2 years, I'll probably want to redo what I am doing now.  Right now I just have to do the best that I can. :)

Steve just texted me to say that he is the "Outstanding Grad Student" in the English department this year!  Yay!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

week seventeen

I just bought this beauty this afternoon.  I was debating what new hobby I should start, and I knew it had to be some kind of art or craft.  I've always wanted a sewing machine.  My mom's was never in operation while growing up, and all I really sewed were tiny pillows by hand.  So this "Singer Stylist" is a luxury that I splurged on, in hopes that I will create really cool things.

This week was a milestone week in my pregnancy because since Tuesday, I can feel the baby moving!  I am still stunned that on Monday, I couldn't feel a thing.  Then all of a sudden on Tuesday, I felt every flutter, kick, and punch!  It is so reassuring to feel those little movements because it is a consistent daily reminder that the baby is okay :)  I didn't expect to feel him/her quite so soon, as I'm still not very big, and it can happen anywhere from 15-26 weeks.  I am so glad I can now!  It is amazing to feel spontaneous movement coming from inside, from some tiny little legs or arms.

Steve has been limping around yesterday and today with an injured foot.  He isn't sure if something is broken, sprained, or if he has an infection, but he really can't walk.  So I've been worried.  (I worry much more than he does about anything).  If it's not one thing, it's another, right?

and to finish: a little bio of Ivy puppy, who brings us so much laughter.
favorite people food: popcorn and goldfish crackers.
favorite activities: going for long walks, running as fast as she can in giant circles, waiting in the driver's seat for us to return to the car from a store, playing ball, watching out the window for us to come home, and chewing Nylabone.
best quality: unconditional love.
most anticipated event: becoming a big sister.
favorite color: green, of course.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

week sixteen!

I subbed three days for an 8th grade language arts teacher.  The 8th graders were very easy and self-sufficient.  I taught 6th and 7th grade grammar as well.  The most difficult part about subbing is that I feel like a stranger in the room.  I was sooo tired by Wednesday afternoon.  But I guess the kids liked me, as I had two students attempt to add me on Facebook.  :)

On Wednesday night, we went to Texas Roadhouse with one of Steve's coworkers and her husband, who have been married since October.  They are a lot of fun to be around, and they are in a similar stage as us:  they're preparing to move to Boston at the end of the summer so she can start law school.  On Friday night, we went out with another couple and their 3-year-old girl and 8-month-old baby girl.  After dinner together, they invited us back to their townhome for coffee and a game.  Steve and I left their place saying to each other, "Why are we finding these good friends right before we are moving away?"

The dinner that we had on Friday night was a Lenten fish fry at one of the Catholic churches.  This is my year as a pretend Catholic, I suppose.  I have been to my first Catholic wedding, three masses, I sub exclusively at a Catholic school, and now I am attending Friday night fish dinners.  Haha.

For St. Patrick's Day, I made a green cake with green Cool Whip mint frosting (that tasted like a shamrock shake) and a layer of fudge topping in-between.  It was really delicious.  However, this week my weight spiked a little bit more than I wished, so I am learning to be more cautious.  At the beginning of the pregnancy, I was really picky with what food I wanted.  And I was lenient with myself because I knew my appetite would eventually return and I could eat healthier fare.  But now, I'm realizing I need to step up my game a little and start forcing some vegetables and whole grains down.  Yesterday I gave up fries and bacon as well, as they've become a slight problem.  ((Side note about bacon, we made a couple trips to Subway this week for BLTs, and I found out that Friday night, our Subway (in a good neighborhood nearby) was robbed at gunpoint.  This just adds to my paranoia about how unsafe this town has been.))

I am trying to teach myself how to sleep on only my left side or my right side, because back and stomach are now bad for the baby.  This week, I can feel where he/she is, and I hope one of these days, I'll be able to see the bump!  We have our monthly appointment tomorrow afternoon, so that's exciting :)

(my St Patrick's Day cake)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

chicago, preschool, vitamins, and charlie's angels

Our trip to Chicago was so well worth it.  We were able to see everyone that I had the goal to reconnect with, even though two days went by speedily.  My friendships were really solidified.  And now I can go on feeling more confident that these relationships will withstand time and distance.  One thing Steve and I really enjoyed was spending time with two young, Christian, married couples who understand us and relate to us so well.  It was refreshing.  And it was fun to see three of our friends as parents, knowing we'll be joining that club soon.

Today, I subbed in 2 year-old preschool.  I wasn't quite willing to go this young (I had done 3 & 4 year-olds reluctantly already).  But I was asked, so I'll try anything once.  I somehow managed to make it the whole time without having to change a diaper.  But I won't be that lucky on Friday, when they asked me back.  The best part of today was a little boy named Ryan, who bonded with me when I sat down to play cars with him.  I was flattered because even though he was a boy's boy, he wanted to stay by my side for the rest of the day, holding my hand and sitting on my lap at times.  He called me his friend and got jealous if other kids tried to sit on my lap or steal my attention.  So this adorable Ryan, and many of the other boys in these preschool and kindergarten classes that have really liked me, reassure me that if this baby inside is a boy, I will be so thrilled.  This is surprising, because for a long time I didn't know what I would do with a boy, having grown up without males in my house.  There's a quote on one of the ending episodes of "Friends" where Monica says to her baby boy, "I am going to love you so much, no girl is ever going to be good enough for you."  I feel this way.

I just got home from CVS, where I purchased 8 boxes of prenatal vitamins.  They only last 30 days, so these will carry me through the pregnancy.  They were $7 (about half off), instead of the $16 One-A-Day name brand.  I feel like I got such a steal!  I hope the baby is enjoying my Cool-Whip & Jello love right now.  I made pistachio Jello salad and a berry Jello/Oreo pie yesterday which have been extra delicious to me.

On to watch some Tuesday night TV, and maybe an episode of Charlie's Angels when Steve gets home from night class.  We are almost done with watching the original first season from 1976--I love it.  Farrah's hair, their cars, their clothes, female crime-solving: fantastic.

Monday, February 28, 2011

hometown visit

Today, despite the rain and fog and possible snow, Steve and I are making a "spring" break for it: to Chicago!  Tonight we'll stay with my aunt in Indiana and dine on Chinese food with my grandpa, stepgrandma, my mom's two sisters, and my uncle.  Tomorrow morning, we'll drive into the city and start finding friends to catch up with. :)  I haven't been to Chicago in almost two years (since graduation), which is the longest I've ever been away from my home city.  I often dwell on how time and distance have changed my relationships with so many friends.  So it's time to go back for two days, have fun, restore friendships, and eat a lot of my favorite pizza.   Mmm!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

crayon hearts

I made these for Valentine's Day to stick in the window.  Unfortunately we live on 3rd floor, so I don't think anyone has really gotten to enjoy them but Steve and me :)

 I used a pencil sharpener to shave crayons onto wax paper.

Then with the crayon shavings sandwiched between the folded piece of wax paper, and a piece of brown kraft paper over the wax to protect it, I ironed the crayon shavings on a low setting which instantly melted them.


Once I had used four crayons, I cut out hearts freehand.


Then I punched holes in them, and hung with them with a thick red thread.

 They look really pretty when the sunlight hits!

Martha Stewart's sample looked way better than mine.  But my hearts are cute and elementary.  :)

new blog

I've been following a few blogs for months now, maybe even a year.  Every so often I draft my own post, then I go back and delete it.  This is why I don't journal actually.  I can remember trying to start journals: writing a page, feeling satisfied, maybe writing another page.  Then I'd go back to it, hate my handwriting or hate the way I sounded, then I'd tear it up.  So here is a promise that I'm not going to press the delete button on my blog.  This is it.

I suppose the biggest reason why I am ready to blog for real this time: I have a topic to write about!  As of today, I am 13 weeks pregnant, which means I'm officially graduating to my second trimester!!  This is really good news, as the first trimester is probably the least exciting of the three.  I am not showing yet, and have not gained any weight (which is good!), but I am ready for people to tell just by looking at me that this baby is on its way!  I am excited to start feeling the baby move inside.  When we saw the sonogram on February 8th, we could see his/her little arms and legs flapping, and I can't wait to feel the movement! I still can't believe that this is working, that I am capable of growing a baby!


We heard the heartbeat for the first time on Monday.  We went in to officially meet the doctor, who is really really nice and had a smile on his face the whole time.  I am disappointed actually that I won't deliver the baby with him.  (I'll mention why later).  Then he put the doppler on me to search for the heartbeat.  When at first we didn't hear anything, I got nervous.  But he moved it even lower (I didn't know babies were that low!) and we heard a fast, loud beat that Steve says sounded like bongos.  How cool!  Right now my only major symptoms of pregnancy are that I require extra sleep and extra food.

Steve has applied to 11 PhD programs, and so far has been accepted to one, and denied from one.  Everyday we anxiously await the mail in case something from one of the schools comes.  At this point, in the fall when baby arrives (around August 31st, my birthday), we could live in Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, or in a different town still in Pennsylvania.  I could let myself get really nervous about this, but at this point, I'm trusting God that it's going to be an adventure, and he will put us in the perfect spot.  I have been ready to move for a long time.  We've been living here for 19 months without many friends, without a church home, without a steady job for me, in cold weather, in an apartment where we don't know our neighbors.  So basically any of the places we could move sound dreamy to me :)  In May or early June, when I'm 6 months pregnant, we'll pack up this cute little home, toss Ivy puppy in the car, and see where life takes us...

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