Friday, November 5, 2010

A Change of Plans..

It's been awhile since I last posted. Being pregnant, preparing to sell your home, and trying to get things "perfect" before the arrival of our daughter is very emotionally and physically tolling.

The house is finished with the exception of handrails on the deck and new kitchen cabinets. But the credit cards are maxed, and we have run out of time and money. A couple weeks ago I approached David with the idea of keeping house and refinancing to take advantage of all the equity we have built by fixing her up. We owe about $115,000 on the house, and believe it is worth between $170,000 and $180,000. I was hoping then, we could get a loan for enough to pay off the $25,000 in credit card debt that we accumulated making repairs.

It hasn't been as easy as I had hoped. Right now banks will give you a loan for about 80% of the value of the property. Which, at $170,000 (banks are being conservative in their appraisals due to current market conditions) is only $136,000. That only provides $21,000 and would not cover the entire debt load. Still, we had banks try to get us a good interest rate for a $136,000 loan (to refinance the mortgage and lump it with our credit card debt at a low interest rate). We were hoping for between 4 and 4.25% (our current mortgage rate is 6.75%). Unfortunately.. a good credit score isn't what it used to be and even though we are both between 720 and 745, our credit is only good enough to warrent a 6% loan.

It's a catch 22. Our debt load is too high to have a "good" credit score, and we can't lower the debt load because we don't have a good enough score.

We haven't given up trying to consolidate our debt at a lower rate. We are now in talks with a mortgage company and are waiting to see what they can offer us. It is very frustrating however. We've put a great deal of effort into being financially responsible. We do not default on loans, we pay our bills on time. The debt on the cards is about 90% home repairs and interest. In the past year, our interest rates on the cards have gone up and the available credit limits have come down. Part of me can't help but feel like a failure. Like I made a mistake choosing to take on a fixer upper.

When I get too down though, I think of January and how we'll be holding our daughter soon. God has already provided us with everything we need to take care of her and I am very thankful for that. We have our health, and her health and even the health of our critters, so I can't complain about our situation.

Still, pray for us and keep your fingers crossed that we can set ourselves up to be more finanically secure before Sophie arrives. I need that weight off my shoulders.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bradley Classes

Yesterday was David and I's second Bradley class so I thought I'd share a little bit about that.

For those of you who don't know, the Bradley method of birth is different than Lamaze in that it's training you to keep your body and muscles as relaxed as possible during contractions, instead of teaching distraction methods of patterned shallow breathing. Unlike Lamaze, which has you pant while in labor, since humans do not pant naturally, the Bradley method focuses on deep belly breathing and relaxation of your muscles, such as when you are in a deep sleep. You can read more about it here.

What I love about the Bradley method is that a lot of the focus is on having your husband be your coach. David is my rock, and there is no where I'd rather have him by my side then when I am in labor. Our classes teach him massage and relaxation techniques that he can use to help me stay calm and relaxed during contractions. He is already a natural at calming me and massage, so this labor thing should be a piece of cake! ;)

Bradley method also puts a lot of focus on healthy pregnancy nutrition, excercises that prepare the muscles important to labor, and on aiming for a natural drug free birth experience.

Our biggests goals in taking Bradley classes are to learn to manage pain and stress during labor and to ultimately use those skills to avoid medications or interventions during the birth of our daughter. I have faith in my ability to trust God, David and my body to lead me to the unmedicated and natural birth that I am envisioning. I believe a natural birth is the best possible scenerio for my health and Sophia's.

At class our teacher said that you can really make birth your own when you realize the contractions are yours, are your body doing what it needs to do and when you work with them instead of against them. This really stuck with me and I hope that I can keep this in mind and in my heart when the time comes for me to embrace the contractions instead of struggle against them.

Thinking ahead to the birth is so exciting and scary at the same time, and I can't wait.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Looking forward to another weekend of working!

So, Sophia is making herself well known this morning. I'm imagining that she is picking up on my excitment to get more projects completed this weekend.

We finished siding the front of the house yesterday. That leaves one side remaining and Verizon should be out today to remove the box so we can get that side done too.

Also on our list of this weekend's projects are replacing the kitchen lights, boxing in the electric in the kitchen, and starting the railing on the back porch.

I can't wait to see that for sale sign in the yard!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Started looking at new houses

Victory seems so close. We have only a few more things to do before the house can be put up for sale. With that in mind, I started skimming the MLS for available properties in our price range (more fixer-uppers of course). Found a handful that were under $150,000 all in the same area. Drove around there after work and really liked the area. It isn't ritzy or glamorous, but it will definitly do.

Hopefully I'll be a position to actually start putting in offers soon.

Here's our current to-do list:

Patch kitchen cieling (these wires became exposed when we took down an old cabinet)

Remove and replace kitchen cabinets (hope to order these in the next few days)

Finish Drylocking basement walls

Finish removing old nasty insulation from basement cieling

Finish siding on front and side of house

Have masonry repaired around house and stairs under x-door removed (getting a professional to do this)

And I really can't think of anything else. Hooray! Almost time to get a new home!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sophie's Closet

Although we have made tons of progress since my last post, not many of the changes were huge; just a lot of odds and ends have been completed.

The crown molding is now up in the bathroom, and the floor trim is complete. This means the bathroom just needs a coat of trim paint and its finished!

But... my favorite project completed this week was Sophie's closet. Since we are hoping to be in a new house when she is born, we aren't working a nursery into this house. So, David refinished a dark dirty closet into one just for Sophia's things.

It is beautiful!

Here it is, already with some of her things in it. I also bought 3 more used gdiaper covers from craigslist this weekend. I'm so excited to try them out in a few months.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Project : Siding the House Day 2

So day two started out well. By 10:36 a.m. the back of the house was completely finished:

By 10:57 a.m, the side door was completely removed and ready to be patched up:

At 1:36, the side door was framed out and ready to be covered.

Here is my dad (my parents have been sweet enough to come lend a hand this weekend)and Dave waiting to put the particle board up over the old door frame.

By 5:30, there as a lot of siding up on the side of the house. But we decided to stop before doing the top part because our legs were ladder-tired and we thought it would be best to move to the front of the house.

Unfortunately... upon removing the siding under the front door... we found this:

We are not sure if it is water rot or termite damage. Unfortunately, it stops us from finishing the front until it is repaired. I have a call into the company that did our termite inspection so hopefully we will have a gameplan on how to repair it soon and we can get the siding finished.

Today we hope to complete at least the half of the front unaffected by the damage, the top of the first side and finish some work to the porch we have yet to do.

I'm bummed we can't finish the front today, but it is important to do things right.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Project : Siding the House

Here's what we got done so far:

Yesterday morning 8:16 a.m. - taking down the old yellow siding from the back

Yesterday morning 10:57 a.m. - old siding is gone, putting up window sealing tape and J-channel siding around the windows

Yesterday 6:33 p.m. - new siding is going up. It doesn't seem like a lot changed from the last picture, but the detailed cutting takes time and practice. We definitly got faster as we went, and only made two mistake cuts, which I think is pretty good.. especially since we were able to use most of our mistake pieces for other places.

Last night 7:50 p.m. - This is the last shot of the day. A few more pieces went up on the left hand side of picture before we called it a day, but we didn't have enough light for more photos. All in all, we didn't get as far as I had hoped, but it looks flawless, so I'm still thrilled.

Today we are hoping to finish the back side and one of the sides of the house. Will be super elated if we can get the front started before we call it a day today. The side we are going to be working on has a door that we are removing, so that will slow us down. More pics tomorrow :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nursery Ideas!

Love the colors in this room. Wouldn't go with the flowers though. Definitly a tree.

Sticking with my forest theme, I'm going to have forest critter decals on the walls throughout the room. I think I'm going to go with this set by "Forwalls" because I love the squirrels:

I love the colors in this, and would love to use all of these colors against the cream walls in the first picture:

Also love these bookends.. unfortunately they are $80 A PIECE

I also fell in love with this framed verse of "You Are my Sunshine." I sing it to Sophie all the time already.

Now its off to help David work on the house..

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I have been sitting in the waiting room of my OBGYN for over an hour, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to catch everyone up.

I am now in my 21st week of pregnancy, more than half way! Sophia has been making herself known often by kicking and moving which I just love.

Our bathroom is almost finished the remodel and our siding has been ordered and will be ready for us to install over the holiday weekend. Once that is finished, only the kitchen remodel is left before the house goes up for sale! Very excited to sell this house and pay off our debt and start raising our baby girl. :)

I also can't wait to get in a new house so
I can start working on Sophia's nursery. We have picked out many little ideas and hope it will all come together quickly once we have a room to put it in. Moving is going to be hard pregnant (or with a newborn) but less debt means less stress and ultimately a better situation for Sophie.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Built-in Bookcase

I'm very proud of this project. It was mostly my plan from start to finish, Dave just helped me execute my vision ;)

Before: We had this creepy hole in the wall lined with cedar. It was a lot of storage space, but most was inaccessible because it was too deep and too high. So it functioned more as an ugly clutter-collector.


At this point I had removed the old trim, and installed one of the new bookcases.


I think the pictures speak for themselves. You can see a little knob in the left bookcase. This is a door so that all that space behind them can still be used to store items that don't get used often.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ultrasound photos

Finally got a chance to put these up :)

This is our Sophie just before sucking her thumb.

And here is our little lady showing off her long legs.. it must be an optical illusion because she isn't getting long legs from daddy or me.

We are going out to buy a new mattress tonight because my lower back is suffering. I wake up sorer than I go to sleep, and I'm just not used to that. Hooray new mattress! Boo unexpected expense!

Also, we have begun looking into childbirth classes. After reading his book, we are going to go with the Bradley Method, which focuses on having the baby as a couple, with your husband acting as your coach and main support. We are going all natural baby!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's a girl!

Had our 19 week anatomy scan ultrasound yesterday :)

Sophia looks healthy and is growing right on schedule. She weighs in at a whopping 10 ounces.

I heard that a little caffiene or sugar helps the ultrasound tech because it gets the baby moving so they can get good angles during the scan. So our little Sophia was all hopped up on Mountian Dew ;) Not too much of course.

It was great to get good news yesterday. This weekend did not treat us well.

We tried to go camping on Saturday and after a bumpy car ride on a dirt road, we are pretty sure I knocked a kidney stone loose and within an hour I couldn't walk or move for the pain. Spent the night in the ER.

I had what they assumed was a kidney stone attack a few weeks ago too. Most painful experience ever, both times. I don't have a history of them, but they can't confirm their prescence while I'm pregnant because they would normally do a CAT scan and we don't want to expose Sophia to radiation.

Basically, I have to either hope it goes away on its own, or deal with it once Sophia has arrived. Hopefully I can avoid anymore of the painful attacks.

At least I got to listen to Sophia on the heartbeat moniter in the hospital for several hours. I love just being with her. When we can hear her heartbeat or see her on the ultrasound screen, I feel like we are spending time with her. :P

Friday, August 13, 2010

Just checking in. Have gotten a lot accomplished in the house recently.

Dave finished the tub drain last night so I got to take a warm relaxing bath :)
It was heavenly. I must say, nothing is nicer than a brand new clean bath tub.

I have been working on completing the built-in cabinets in the kitchen in what was the "hole". I'll post before and current pics when I get home tonight. I'm quite happy with our progress.

Pregnancy symptoms have gotten weird. Still have indigestion, a lot. Now though lower back aches have started to plague me, which is quite distracting at work. I read that as your uterus expands, your center of gravity changes and that can cause your back to protest. Little Sophia wants to by my center of gravity, which is only fitting because soon she will be the center of David and I's universe.

Here is the weird symptom though: I itch. Big time. Like, going out of my mind itch. The bottom of my feet and the palms of my hand itch something terrible. Hopefully this symptom goes away soon. It's maddening sometimes.

Also, I think I'm going to have to do away with my contacts. My eyes itch too and my contacts are becoming more and more uncomfortable. My darling husband took me to order glasses yesterday. Hopefully they are ready soon, I can't wait to give my eyes a break.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving being pregnant. I can't wait to start feeling Sophie :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Marriage Advice

At the wedding we got to add to a list of advice for the bride and groom. Here was ours (basically):

Remember that you are both on the same team. In the game of life, your spouse should be the best teammate you ever have and you should be the best teammate he/she will ever have.

When you disagree it isn't about who wins or loses, because you're playing together, not against one another. It is about coming to a decision you can both live with. Sometimes you can compromise, but don't be sour if you don't take anything from the decision. The victory isn't in getting more of your way, it's in working together and staying on the same team while you reach your and your spouse's goals.

If the topic of disagreement isn't incredibly important to you, let it go, let your spouse have his/her way if it means the world to him/her and you can live with it without any grief.

Don't fight over the unimportant stuff, and most of the day to day quarrels between couples who fight are over issues that aren't big enough to be issues at all.

If your hubby wants you to go to his softball games, go, cause it will make him happy, even if you hate spending hours in the hot sun. If your wife wants that new pair of expensive shoes, let her splurge every once in awhile, cause it will make her happy even if isn't necessarily in the budget.

It isn't about being right, it's about working together so that you're both happy most of the time. :)

Good luck Benji & Christina!

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Since it was brought up a few times this weekend and since so many people have given me weird looks, I'd like to explain our decision to use Gdiapers on our baby.

Gdiapers are a cloth disposable hybrid diaper. The system consists of a waterproof diaper cover, a plastic waterproof liner, and an insert ( which can be washable cloth insert or a flushable/disposable insert ).

You can read more at GDiapers101

We found this system after tons of research into cloth diapers. We want to use cloth diapers for several reasons including:

1) We are uncomfortable with the amount of chemicals found in conventional disposables.

2) Disposables are very expensive and washing/reusing cloth will save us money.

3) Disposables are not good for the environment. It takes hundreds of years for them to breakdown. Gdiapers disposables break down in a few weeks if thrown out or composted.

4) Diaper rash is far less common in babies who wear cloth diapers.

5) Gdiapers are just so darn cute.

Dave and I have a personal belief that in US, convenience is often the reason people choose to do things the way they do, even if it isn't the healthiest or most environmentally friendly choice. (like eating fast food instead of cooking a homemade meal).

We believe that just because a solution is the
most convenient doesn't mean it is the best choice. Sometimes the best solution involves hard work or consumes more time. That's ok with us ;)

I'll keep everyone posted on how this works out for us!

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Getting more excited by the minute!

I'm on my way home from Dave's cousin's wedding in Beaver Falls, PA (6 hr drive.. Yuck!).

My favorite part was all the babies! Dave is one of the youngest of ALOT of cousins and most of his cousins have several kids. They are all beautiful and smart and hilarious. Each time one said something clever I got more and more excited that our little one will be joining us soon.

Sophia, (or Oliver if my intuition is wrong), I can't wait to hold you in my arms and kiss your face. I can't wait to show you to the world and to see your smile. I've never been so excited in my life, and I love you so much already that I can't imagine how much my love will grow when I first see you.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Waiting for 12 weeks

... Because everyone keeps promising that at 12 weeks this nausea will leave. I'm sick all the time, even with medicine.

I am still very excited. We have chosen names.. Sophia for a girl, Oliver for a boy!

I'll try to write again soon, but I feel very queasy right now..

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's a real baby!!

We are gonna have a baby!!

Saw a heart beat on our little tic-tac sized bundle!

So happy I can't explain it!

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On my way there..

Feels like I'm holding my breath and back tears. Never been so nervous.

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Bag of Nerves

That's me.

So to fill ya'll in on what has happened since my last post, I continued to get sicker.

Over the weekend, I couldn't keep down anything, solid or liquid. I spent all weekend praying to the toilet for the throwing up to end. And to the front yard, and to the back yard, and to the K-mart parking lot...

Anyhow, by Sunday night I was weak, exhuasted and worried. I called my OBGYN, she told me to go to the ER (which was what I had been hoping she'd say) and David whisked me off to Kennedy Hospital.

They gave me two bags of fluids and some medication for the nausea. I was so relived to finally not feel seconds from puking, I slept most of the time. After a few hours, blood tests and a urine sample, the Doctor told me all results pointed to bad dehydration. (I'm praying that since he didn't say anything else looked off that may be a good sign for this pregnancy). He also said some girls have to be a medication for morning sickness, after that he said and for you, it's time.

So he prescribed me Zofran. Which has been a life changer. I can eat again. I can sleep through the night. I can actually spend time doing things other than tossing up everything I try to force down.

He only gave me enough to last til tomorrow morning, I'm hoping my OBGYN called in a refill to CVS. o.O

So, big event today. Terrifying or exciting.. Dream making or breaking. The ultrasound. It's scheduled for 6 tonight.

Please God, let it be different than last time. Please let us see a baby's heartbeat on the screen. I'm not sure how I'd deal with bad news again... the first time was impossibly hard. If it happens again.. I'm gonna feel absolutly cursed.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

So sick..

I am so nauseus I can't enjoy anything right now.

The doctor told me to eat more, but even the thought of food sends me to the toilet.

This is terrible...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pickles and Toast

Sorry I haven't posted in a few day.. but soon after the positive pregnancy test, morning sickness began to kick my butt.

Not just in the morning either, for the past few days I have been sick for most of the day and I also have developed a headcold. So I've been trudging my way through work at the office and sleeping when I get home. Haven't gotten much done.

Dave and I are very excited we are pregnant again, although it comes with a lot of tension this time because it's hard to let ourselves get too happy until we know this is a viable pregnancy, and not like last time. We have an appointment May 27th with the OBGYN. Until then.. it's like holding our breathes and praying this miracle really is a baby and not another heartbreak. I hate to be negative, but each happy thought seems plagued with a "what if".

Today I finally feel like I have gotten some of the nausea under control. I had my doubts when the woman who sits behind me at work told to try pickles to calm my stomach, but after some research found that vinegar neutralizes stomach acid, so I had my mom pick up a big deli pickle for me. I ate it, kept it down, and do feel much less nauseus. This is great, cause I love pickles.

At home, Dave has started work on the hole in front of the door. The old drywall has been removed, all insulation that was wet has been removed and replaced and new drywall has been installed. Now all there is left to is spackle, sand and paint. Although, spackling is the hardest part.

This weekend I have a small adventure in parenthood simulation planned. I am babysitting four boys. Our friends have a 10 year old (who is mildly autistic), a 12 year old foster child and a pair of four year old adopted twins. We are watching them from noon on Saturday until 9 ish on Sunday evening. Should be quite the circus.

Hopefully I'll be well enough to post soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

We're pregnant!!!!!!!!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

The "To Do" List May 3rd Edition

#1 Fix leak in bathroom sink drain.

#2 Discard old 2x4's in basement

#3 Replace sheetrock on the entryway ceiling.

#4 Add stairs to the new deck

#5 Fix door casing on office door frame.

#6 Finish trim in second bedroom.

#7 Replace doors to second bedroom and office.

#8 Build bookcase in "the hole".

#9 Close up the side kitchen door.

#10 Finish bathroom cieling.

I'm giving myself 2 weeks. I'll explain more as I tackle each project.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Done for the day!

Finshed laying the decking.

Now we are celebrating at the diner :)

Hopefully by Friday we can get the two sets of stairs installed. So far, so good.

Time to relax for now.

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Those photos I promised

Here are some pics of what the deck looked like this morning when we woke up:

You can see we made a little path for our dog Jak to come and go from the backdoor. Those aren't attached yet of course.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Exhausted after a long day

Well, the porch is a lot closer to finished but you still can't sit a chair on it. The framing is done and the decking should go on tommorrow. I'll post more pictures then, but right now I am absolutly exhausted from all the heavy lifting, hammering and drilling.

Early in the day (the posts went in before bed last night)

My hubby and lil' brother workin hard while I take photos :p

Framing starting to come together in this shot.

I'll post photos of the finished framing tommorrow. We expanded the width and depth of the deck, but recycled much of the old framing to save time and money.

Hope we can finish tommorrow!

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