Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My classroom...

is hot. as. hell. Right now, it must be over 90 degrees in here. 35 machines on, plus 37 little kids, and add to that my core body temp being roughly around 103 F. all the time? I'm in hell.

And yeah, do the math. 35 computers. 37 children. Yaaaaay.......

It's only been mildly chaotic thus far. If I can at least get a few extra chairs, we'll be in business. I love the kids, but I'm seriously on fire right now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Weekly Update: 25 Weeks

How far along? 25 weeks, 3 days. Holy sheet!

How big is baby? Approximately the weight of a rutabega, and about 13.5 inches long. And this week it defintiely feels like it!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I'm thinking I've gained a pound or two now. I've been trying to increase my caloric intake now that work is in full swing again. I'm getting hungry faster and earlier!

Next Appointment: Soon.

Maternity Clothes: I need to find work clothes. My comfy maternity jeans aren't "work appropriate".

Sleep: Doing okay. It's easier to sleep when my cat isn't walking on me at 4:30 a.m.

Best Moment This Week: Graham got to feel the baby kick on Saturday night! She was rolling around and kicking pretty hard, so I thought we had a brief window of time for him to feel her before she stopped. Sure enough, after a few seconds she gave me a pretty powerful kick to the upper stomach, and Graham said, "Was that her? WOW!" It's been one of the best moments so far.

Annoyance of the Week: Getting a lesson on healthy fruits and vegetables from a few women at work who don't eat healthy themselves. One coworker tried to shove an orange on me the other day. I like orange juice, but I can't eat oranges--it's a texture thing. I told her no, and this other lady in the office--who doesn't even work for my school, btw--starts up with, "Are you eating healthy? You have to eat fruits and vegetables!" I insisted that I do--I have been, I swear! And she gives me the eyes that say, "I clearly know more about this than you," and she asked me if I could name what I've been eating so she could appropriately judge if I've actually been eating healthy. Unfreakingreal.

A close friend is going through chemo right now, and we both like to complain about our public signs of a very private and personal issue. For her, everyone comments on her hair or lackthereof. For me, everyone wants to know if I'm taking care of myself. And the best part? It doesn't matter who!! I can be at the grocery store and I'll get stopped by strangers. She can be pumping gas and someone tells her that she'll beat cancer (which she doesn't have, ironically). We're both struggling with not getting stabby on people who stick their nose in where it doesn't belong.

Movement: Plenty. Hannah's still a big fan of standing on my cervix and dancing. Liz, I think we've got a ballerina on our hands here. Heaven help us!

Planning/Preparation: Doing lots of research on baby products before the register-palooza this weekend.

Belly Button In/Out: It's flat. I don't have much time left.

Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: A pain-free cervix.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Getting her bedroom done.

Contractions: Nada.

Milestones?: Being told I've "popped" finally! I feel huge, but everyone says I'm small. Hearing that I've popped makes me feel a little less bloated and a little more human. I know that I'm small and in a few weeks I'm going to wish I was still small...and I don't mind being on the tiny side! I just hate feeling like a VW bug.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly update: 24 weeks

How far along? 24 weeks, 3 days. Whoa.

How big is baby? About 1 1/4 lbs, and about the length of an ear of corn.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Still up 4 lbs. since last month.

Next Appointment: Maybe next week...that's still up in the air.

Maternity Clothes: Or, whatever fits.

Sleep: Better, even though I keep waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Strangely enough I've been sleeping heavier and more often as school approaches. Is that a sign?

Best Moment This Week: Feeling my mood elevate. Even though I'm being put under a lot of stress at work, I'm trying to not let anything non-essential bother me. It's really helped with my mood.

Annoyance of the Week: Hannah is bouncing up and down on my cervix this week. It took me a day before I could figure out what that pain was! It's not too bad when I'm sitting, and almost undetectible when I'm laying down. Standing, though, is another story. I may never complain about period cramps again if this gets worse!

Movement: Yep! She's kicking me right now, actually. It's rare that she's this active during the day (that I can feel).

Planning/Preparation: Still reading some books and doing some research on post-partum & the baby blues. Hooray for being high-risk for those! Yee haw!

Belly Button In/Out: I don't want to talk about it.
Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: My yearly "End of Summer" bottle of wine....

What I'm Looking Forward To: Getting into more of a routine now that school's starting back up.

Contractions: Nada.

Milestones?: Feeling her hiccup during the day. It's the weirdest feeling! I wasn't always sure if it was movement or hiccups, but the more rythmic and timed movements make me confident she inhaled a little too much amniotic fluid and has a bout of the hiccups.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekly Update: 23 Weeks

How far along? 23 weeks, 4 days. Whoa.

How big is baby? Still hovering around 1lb, and a whopping 12 inches long! That explains A LOT.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Up 4lbs since last month, which means my "10 lb" weight gain a few weeks ago probably wasn't accurate. Oh well. My dr. isn't concerned, so I'm not.

Next Appointment: Saw Doc Holliday yesterday, and will probably be back in 2 weeks for a special appointment. My glucose test is coming up, too. Woo-freaking-hoo.

Maternity Clothes: Or, whatever fits.

Sleep: A bit wonky now that we have Jane. Hopefully we'll all adjust to one another sooner rather than later.

Best Moment This Week: Well, it's a toss up. Just getting through this week was an effort in and of itself. But also getting to talk out some of my concerns with my doctor made me feel a lot better.

Annoyance of the Week: Being told by a few people to "be careful" until I reach 30 weeks. A secretary at work had her baby at 23 weeks, so now she's super concerned I'll go into labor early too. And anyone I met while I was out running errands told me to be careful because they all know someone who had a baby in the 20 week period. Thanks guys, you're making me feel AWESOME. Keep up the good work.

Movement: Plenty! She likes ice cream, which makes me happy. We're going to get along just fine if this keeps up!

Planning/Preparation: Still no change from last week. I need to call my "special nurse" back and start checking in with her.

Belly Button In/Out: I have this weird ridge on my belly button when I'm standing up. It's like it's trying to stay in for me, but it's fighting a losing battle.
Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: Not being touched.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Weird as it sounds, talking more in-depth with Doc Holliday about this pregnancy-depression thing.

Contractions: Nada.
Milestones?: She can feel movement and hear music more than ever before, so being able to dance and sing and move around and feel her moving in response (or protesting to the music of Glee) has been fun.

Things I've Learned While Being Pregnant

Before you get the priviledge of sharing your stomach space with another human, there's a lot to learn. At 23 weeks, here's a short list of things I have learned thanks to the people around me.

1. Everyone who has ever had a baby is suddenly an expert on you and your body. And they all want to share their birth stories, too!

2. Babies breathe through your belly button, so standing in water over your belly button or showering facing the shower head will make your baby drown.

3. Bathing in warm water will boil your baby and give him or her warm water burns.

4. Drinking peppermint tea will ensure a baby girl.

5. Eating spicy foods (specifically Indian or Mexican) will give my baby colic.

No, really. So far, I've heard all these things (though I suspect only #1 to be true). ;-) Keep 'em coming! This stuff is gold!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meet Jane!

As long as I can remember, I've wanted a cat. When I was in college, I even tried to figure out how I could hide a cat in my dorm room because I so desperately wanted one! When I got my first apartment I was devastated to find out I couldn't adopt a cat (or small dog; to be fair, it was a small apartment). When we signed the lease on our first place together, Graham asked all the technical questions while my first (and probably only) question was, "Can I have a cat?" When the landlord said no--denied again!--I cried. I just wanted a damn cat!

When Graham got worms, the deal was that he could get worms if I could get a cat. He's not a cat person. His parents and siblings aren't really "cat people." I'd probably be more of a dog person if I hadn't been attacked by my great-aunt's poodles when I was 2 or 3. (No, really. I was attacked by poodles. True story.) But because he was able to get his worms, he made a promise to me that "someday" I'd have my cat. Once we bought our home, I could almost feel a little furball in my arms. And after we moved? I asked quasi-jokingly each day for about 2 weeks. Finally, Graham promised me that my birthday gift this year would be my kitty. Well folks, my birthday was in May. It seemed that one thing after another kept popping up and we weren't able to get to a shelter to rescue a cat. On days when we were available, we usually had plans that took us out of town the next weekend--I didn't want to be cruel and adopt a cat, only to board it after 4 days in its forever home. Well, once things calmed down...it was August. Poop.

This weekend, we went to the Animal Welfare League in the 'burbs and after a few hours "test driving" some feline friends, I was smitten with this one. She was one I ignored at first in favor of some of the more entertaining kittens. I knew we'd probably walk out with an adult cat (Kitten chasing + pregnancy + eventual baby? No thank you!) but I still had fun playing with the baby kittens. And once I started meeting some older cats, I was hoping to find one that was friendly, a little playful, and affectionate. I heard this one mewing loudly in the cage just above one I was hoping to meet and take home. Her card said she was "Very playful and affectionate!" When I walked up, she was curled up in her litter box, giving me the stink eye. Instead, I asked to see Jane (named Donna by the the staff at the shelter) because she was sticking her little paws out of the cage and making noises. She seemed really interested in who we were, so we took her into the "Get Acquainted Room" and played with her a bit. I brought a toy along, just to see how different cats reacted to playing with us, but initially she wanted nothing to do with it--she climbed right into our laps and let us love on her. After that I was totally smitten--all I've ever wanted is a cat that's willing to let me play with him/her and one that will curl up with me when its tired. Jane does both! Here are some photos of the new little one...


Her first night home. It was a long day (and ultimately a long night).

Showing us that she can blend in with my chair if necessary.

Being stoic.

Sniffing the stick end of a toy, just to be sure.

Considering a pounce.

Watching TV after getting fur all over my skirt.

Getting distracted by a bird hopping on the sidewalk outside.

Two seconds later? Out cold.

I thought her sleeping was cute, so I kept snapping pictures. She disagreed, so this is what happened.

Her first night with us was okay. She was just getting used to everything and both yesterday and today she did a lot of hiding under the dressers in the bedroom. We were able to get in an active play session with her before we went to bed, and she still woke us up at 5:30 this morning. Not cool. Yeah yeah, "It's good practice for when you have a baby." I won't love getting up at 5:30 then, either! She wasn't hungry or asking for food, she just wanted to play--at least, I hope that's why she started eating my hair...she didn't eat much yesterday since she was getting used to everything here, so we left a bowl of food out for her all night and she was coming and going in the bedroom and snuggling with us when she felt like it. Is that the best habit to start now? Probably not. Oh well. But we know she ate and found her litter box overnight, so she was eating when she was hungry. Today she felt more comfortable so she was eating and drinking, but still needs someone in the kitchen with her--she feels more at ease if someone's eating with her or at least standing guard. Weird, right? Whatever. If that's what she needs to feel comfortable here, I'm all for it. At least for now...not sure how I'll feel about it come January...

So far, so good. She's very gentle and even though the shelter said she was a stray, she's clearly comfortable around people and has been for quite some time. We both think she lived with a family for a while, and either she was abandoned or a runaway. Even so, she probably wasn't out alone for very long. She's very comfortable being handled, and her natural hunting skills are just so-so based on some of the games we've played with her so far. It could be a product of the shelter, but she's a master with a litter box. When we opened her carrier after bringing her home, the first thing we did was plop her in the box and let her dig around so she knew where to find it (though she's had moments of confusion after Graham decided to move the box...hopefully that will clear up soon).

All in all, I have high hopes! We're all still getting used to one another, but I have a feeling this is the start of a great relationship. She's already smitten with Graham....and don't tell anyone, but he's a big fan of her, too.

Weekly Update: 22 weeks

(I'm posting this a little late because of everything that happened last week. Oops.)

How far along? 22 weeks

How big is baby? I think this week she's as long as a spaghetti squash.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: No idea...I'll find out at my appointment "next week".

Next Appointment: Visit to Doc Holliday "next week".

Maternity Clothes: Yup.

Sleep: I need to be dragged out of bed each morning. I'm so screwed when I go back to work.

Best Moment This Week: Being puke free! Still sick to my stomach each morning, but not throwing up has drastically improved my overall mood.

Annoyance of the Week: Saying goodbye to all the plans we'd made for things we'd do before a baby. This week has been really hard and I'm not ready to give up on all those plans, even though the plans need to change.

Movement: Plenty. When I'm relaxed, she's relaxed, and when I'm happy she's kicking like crazy. Makes me wish I was happier more often--maybe I could guarantee a more relaxed baby.

Planning/Preparation: Not much more than getting the name and nursery plans finalized (and those will probably change a lot before we get started). We need to get the dining room painted first.

Belly Button In/Out: It's getting flatter all the time. ::sniff::

Gender: Girl. Definitely a girl.

What I Miss: Having more energy during the day.

What I'm Looking Forward To: Cleaning out her bedroom and making some babyish progress in there.

Contractions: Nada.

Milestones?: Getting to August without passing out in all the heat!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Windows!

A few weeks ago, we made a major purchase: windows. Not exactly the most exciting purchase a couple in their mid-to-late 20s can make, but definitely one that's going to pay off in the long run. They were delivered this morning and I was definitely impressed with the hard work the crew did, and with our great taste! I love the end result.

Naturally, I documented the event. Why? Because everything must be documented.

Busting out the front 3 windows in the living room. These were the worst--we couldn't find screens for them so we haven't been able to open the windows all summer. G-R-O-S-S.
Removing the two wooden posts that framed the picture window.
Equipment that could take off my fingers. Probably best I stay away.
One completed bedroom window! This was the first one finished.
The other bedroom window. Still a big hole in the wall.
Another hole in the house, this time without the wooden posts. The cross breeze coming through was great!
Ladder not included.
Basement window-to-be. These were steel framed windows that were original to the house and had the concrete foundation poured around them. They were a pain in the ass for them to rip out.
The finished product from the outside! I love the way they look, and the grids/window panes add a lot of character to the house.

So now, our bank account is a little depleted, but the house is officially worth more than it was this time a year ago. Cha-ching!

These window guys are serious

They arrived early this morning and aside from a short lunch break these guys have been at it all day. I'm impressed. Most of the windows are in, and I really like how they look! Pictures soon....after the window guys are gone and the house has been put back together.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I Wish I'd Known Before I Got Married

A blogger friend of mine recently posted about the day her husband stood up to her for the first time and the challenges and (ultimately) good things it brought to their marriage. She ended by saying she wished she would have known that making changes to her language and the mindset she brought to their relationship was something she knew about before her wedding, not a few years after.

This got me thinking. Our marriage is by no means perfect, but I like to think we're pretty perfect for one another. We bring our own brands of weirdness to the table and we mesh pretty well. On the other hand, we're both pretty stubborn and when we each get passionate about something, we're bound to butt heads and exchange some words, a.k.a. shout at one another and get mad. I just wish that I would have known a few things before the wedding--though I probably wouldn't have listened anyway! That brings me to...

Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Got Married

1. No matter what, there's nothing I can do that will make my husband hate me, resent me, or leave me.

This sounds silly, but I guess I've just had a series of bad relationships, mostly with friends. Too often I had misunderstandings with friends that led to a falling out or parting of ways and what I once considered a close friendship unraveled quickly. Especially during our first year, I'd do or say something that would make Graham mad--not for very long--and he'd leave to go on a walk to clear his head. After the dust settled I usually sat on my own for a few moments, trying to clear my own mind, and I would start to freak out a little. "What will I do if he comes home and says he wants out?" My heart would race slightly and I'd really start to fear all the what ifs that plagued my mind. Instinctively, I knew that thoughts like these were silly. Deep down, I really and truly knew it. But something would just come to the surface--probably the product of some of those broken relationships--and I'd start to fear that the man I'd come to know would decide to throw away our history and the love we had for one another and just walk out. I know these thoughts are ridiculous, but it really took me most of our first year together to get over the fact that he's better than those unraveled friendships and he's not going to walk because we had a fight about something stupid.

2. We need to work together on financial matters.

This sounds pretty simple, but it's something I have really struggled with. I don't have very much self-confidence when it comes to anything involving math. (Heaven help me if our kids need help with their math homework!) It's never been a subject in which I've had confidence or been able to succeed. I notice even now that when a student asks me for help with math, I catch my breath and hesitate because I don't have confidence in my skills, even when it comes to simple addition or division or multiplication. I have some basic skills stored away in the back of my head, but the fear of being wrong really gets to me. This has spilled over into our finances, and I'm not gonna lie: I'd be more than happy to hand it all over and just be told what I can spend on food, shoes, etc. each month. I can follow directions, but when left to my own devices or when I'm expected to contribute, I get the shakes and feel like I can't do it. Graham, thankfully, has more confidence in my abilities than I do and he's refused to play Ward Cleaver to my June. He won't handle all the finances on his own and he forces me to sit down with him and work on the budget each month. He makes sure we sit down and discuss every financial decision (small ones not included). If it weren't for him, I'd be living in ignorance. I don't like to have a part in all of that because I'm afraid I'll do something wrong, but I do appreciate his...push...to make me a full partner and shareholder in all our finance discussions.

3. Family members can be a huge cause of stress.

Someone could have sat me down before our wedding and told me about every single instance in which a family member would cause us stress, and I wouldn't have believed them. "No! Our families are great! We're not gonna have any problems!" :

:pause for chortle::

The fact of the matter is that our familes are great and have been a wonderful source of support for us, there's no denying that. But there have also been times when one set of parents--in a few cases, both--or another family member has caused one or the both of us to catch our breath and bite our tongues. It's really true when you marry someone that you marry their family too. Suddenly their problems are your problems. Woo! It's like a two-fer. Some parents and family members can be very hands-off, others very hands-in. It's been a learning experience for both of us, learning to be married and balancing learning the dynamics of the other person's family. This has been especially challenging because we didn't live together before we got married so our first year was full of juggling all sorts of things.

We're still trying to figure things out, and I think it's resulting in a lot of good. Especially with a baby on the way, knowing how to deal with our families and what makes each person tick is a good thing.

This list could get longer, but I've got some things to catch up on. See you later, taters.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mary's Graduation

A few months ago, my sister (-in-law) Mary graduated from college. This was a big one, not just for Mary, but for all of us, especially me. I realized that I've been present for all of Mary's graduations: Eighth grade, high school, and now college (And I crashed her high school graduation ceremony, too!) So I missed her Kindergarten graduation! Big deal. I was probably in second or third grade at the time and couldn't have spelled "Graham" if I tried. Thankfully, I didn't have to try.

As always, Graham and I had the camera. We're big picture takers--mostly of other people because they're more interesting than we are. But this was a special event, so naturally we had the camera, and darnit, we were gonna document these memories if it was the last thing we did! A little late, but here are some photos of the weekend.
Mary entering for the baccaluareate service. A little dark, but she's the one in the yellow sash.
The creepy new Lincoln statue at IC. Look at that face! Tell me that's not super creepy.

The book he's reading has actual text from an actual textbook from the 1840s. The story goes that Lincoln was supposed to attend IC but didn't after his girlfriend died. The statue shows him reading a book that he "would have" read at IC in the 1840s or so. The college also likes to share that he got an IC education by proxy through his friends who attended. Don't know if that's true or not, but it's a neat thing for them to say.
Creepy Lincoln wanted to graduate, too!

Those eyes!!! Ack! They shiver my timbers. ::shudder::
Onward to graduation! Mary's standing up, ready to get her hard-earned diploma. ::sniff:: MY BABY'S ALL GROWN UP. Oh, wait....not my baby. Heh...carry on.
We didn't get a great photo of Mary actually getting her diploma, so the best we've got is Graham and Mary with a favorite college professor: Dr. Rellinger-Zetler. Funny story: Mary was studying for Dr. R-Z's final when we told her she was going to be an aunt. She didn't expect to do as well as she thought she'd do on the final, so she told her professor that Graham was going to be a dad, and the professor squealed. Then Mary broke the news that her final might suck, so she wrote, "Little Graham babies!" at the top of each page of her final to remind the professor that she got a little distracted during her study session. And Mary still probably aced that final. She's a viking like that.
Creepy Lincoln and I got into a staring contest. You win this time, Creepy Lincoln, but I'll be back!

Robyn and Creepy Lincoln got along swell.

Mary with her favorite siblings. (Note the hoodie, Mac friends.)

The whole family, plus Mary's boyfriend Josh.

Graham and Mary with "the swing". It's some sort of IC tradition or something. Always a big hit with the kiddos.

A switcheroo of sorts

First of all, the new mattress? Fabulous, absolutely fabulous. It's a miracle, really. When I wake up at least twice a night to use the bathroom, having a mattress that doesn't creak and squeak and wake the dead is awesome. I'll need to post pictures soon, because this sucker is high up off the floor. Worth it? Absolfrigginlutely.

No windows today because a storm broke out last night, right above our house, apparently. Window guy called at 7:00 on the nose to tell me it wouldn't be a good idea to have a crew out to take out all my windows and put new ones in their place. Really? You think? Our next goal is Thursday because it's supposed to rain buckets between now and then. Here's hoping Thursday is clear and sunny with a chance of windows.

Additionally, our water heater has been giving us a run for our money. When Chicago got a million drops of rain over a week ago, we were out of town. Unfortunately, the basement took on a decent amount of water--approximately 5 inches. How do we know? The damage to my bookcases is clear.

(Sad face.)

Bookcases can be built and replaced. What really scared the crap out of us was the water heater. The water rose high enough to put out the pilot light. We relit the pilot light, and an hour later it was out again. Try, try again? Sure. An hour later, pilot light was out. Craaaaaaap.

We called a trusted heating and cooling wizard, and twice they came out to look at it and tinker. I was fully prepared for a "Yer ghana need a-nudder water heater, ma'am," We even discussed the idea of going tankless--it's a long-term goal, but if long-term was sudden thrust into our laps, why not take the chance on it now and save the world a little bit at a time? Thankfully, we're not going to need a new tank. ::happy dance:: Heating and cooling guy came out today and replaced an eensy weensy part--no bigger than the plastic chunk on a thumb tack-- and BAM! Hot water! I tell ya, tonight's shower is gonna be epic. Epic!

Now, we're going to look into pricing some waterproofing options for our basement. We get seepage all. the. time., especially in the spring and summer when it rains like a mofo. And then we use the shop vac to clean it up and we'll mop the floor, and 2 weeks later we're at it again. Not exactly my idea of a good time. If we can afford it now/this summer, we'll get a huge monkey off our backs. Waterproofing the basement will save us time and energy, and we'll save a lot of money because we'll be able to put things down in our basement and not worry about them floating away or being ruined in a short while (excepting an epic flood situation involving an ark or kayak). On top of that, we'll be able to turn our basement into a livable space, ::gasp::!! The very idea of using my basement as a place to work out, get things done, and host parties is sublime.

So, that's where we are now. Pictures of things to come.

Monday, August 2, 2010

...And, we're back!

If only that hiatus had been brought to you by my sponsors, eh?

On Thursday, we got back from a week in upstate New York. Pictures will be posted soon, but it was GLORIOUS. It was a fabulous getaway and really helped put some things in perspective, especially when it came to my job.

The Adirondack region is just gorgeous--everywhere I looked I was blown away by the beauty of the mountains and trees. We went to Fort Ticondergoa, Mt. Defiance, Lake Champlain, Lake Placid, and Cooperstown--home of baseball!

While we were gone, Chicago got nearly 8 inches of rain. Our basement took on about 3 inches, maybe a little more. The water got high enough to put out the pilot light on the boiler and damage the thermal couple. When we got home we had to relight the pilot light, and the damn thing just wouldn't stay lit. So I called in a small favor from a friend of the family and he had some of his crew members come out to fix it. Ideally, that small repair is all that's needed, but there's a chance the whole heater is busted. If that happens, we'll know--we'll have no hot water again. Hopefully we can avoid that repair, though. I don't know if our hearts can take it!

Tonight we're also getting a new mattress! We ordered it about a month ago and it came in while we were gone. I'm so excited. We've been using Graham's mattress since our wedding, and that thing is older than dirt. It's creaky and uncomfortable. When we painted the bedroom and moved the mattress to the dining room, we both had springs in our back and we tossed and turned all night. Our little egg crate foam pad just isn't doing it anymore, so we broke down and got a new one. I'm so excited---for the first time in our marriage I'll be sleeping on a firm surface! Wahoo!

And tomorrow...oh boy....new windows! One of the first structural improvements we wanted to make on the house was to replace the old windows. During the winter we could feel the cold air blowing in and we covered the windows with plastic sheeting kits. One of the upstairs windows had a crack in it and we could hear and see the plastic sheeting blowing in and out with the wind. The other upstairs window was frozen and busted open--in the spring we had to hammer it shut!

New windows became an extreme priority once we found out I was pregnant. The upstairs is where the baby's room will be, and it's just too cold during the winter to put a child in there. Now the summer has been hot as hades, but hopefully with new windows we won't be losing the air conditioning up there.

This whole week and the weekend leading up to it has been a whirlwind, but it's a good whirlwind. We're finally getting some much-needed improvements taken care of, and by the end of the day tomorrow we'll have added some value to the house! Sure painting and minor fixes help, but if we were in a bind and needed to sell ASAP we'd at least get a little more than what we paid for the house now. And best of all? We'll be able to open the windows in the front room! Our current windows have storms in place of the screens, and during the spring we couldn't find the screens for the storm windows out front. Needless to say, some days it's been HOT in here.

Overall, these are good changes coming our way. I'm excited about what the coming months will bring us!