I think it's probably not a coincidence that I've had this burst of reorganization energy at the same time as I've been getting myself healthy. I have so much more energy than I did a few months ago, and it makes me want to get things done.

I've been watching what I eat and exercising at least three times a week for 6 weeks now, and I'm down 16 pounds! My fairly lofty goal was to lose 20 pounds by Halloween, and now that's looking like it will probably happen! When I started this I was a size 20 and even those were getting tight. I'm now in an 18, and those are loose. Yesterday I put on several pairs of size 16 pants just for the heck of it, and I could definitely get them all on, though they were way too tight to actually wear. But another 10 pounds and I will definitely be wearing those pants. That's exciting, and incredibly motivating. I have a long way to go, though. I want to lose a total of 60 pounds, which would get me back down to the weight I was when we started TTC. Infertility put 60 pounds on me, and I'm really ready to put that part of my life behind me! I'm 25% of the way there.

Okay, on to the garage. This was something I've been wanting to do for a long time, and when it finally got a little cooler a few weeks ago, it seemed like a good time to start this project. It took us two weekends to get it done (really two days spread over two weekends). Here are the before pictures. )

So we bought some shelving at Lowe's, went through boxes, threw a bunch of stuff away and hauled several carloads of stuff to Goodwill. Getting the shelves up turned out to be a harder task than we'd anticipated. Carter played while we worked and generally stayed out of the way.

The results! )
Carter will be 4 in January, something that kind of blows my mind. He's very much a little boy now, not remotely a baby or a toddler. And so we've been slowly taking down some of the barriers we put up when he became mobile.

One of the things I really wanted to do when he was a baby was to create a safe space he could play in and explore, without me having to constantly hover or police him or tell him "no". That worked really well for us, though it definitely made the house less than stylish, heh. I've seen so many HGTV shows where a team of designers goes in to re-style a house on the market, and they remove all the things that were so clearly put there to protect toddlers, often tsk-tsking at the poor homeowners utter lack of taste. I always think, "Well they don't have kids, do they?"

Anyway, one day last week we realized that Carter could open all the remaining baby gates in the house and was already going through them whenever he pleased, so keeping them up seemed sort of pointless. I took them down, and then realized that I wanted to reclaim another space in our house that had been bothering me for a while: the Foyer.

Before pictures under here )

I had a budget of about $150 to work with, so I couldn't do much. I basically rearranged furniture and re-purposed some things. I spent a little money at IKEA and Target, and will hopefully have met my $150 budget once the items I put on Craigslist sell.

Here are the after pictures )

I've really been in a de-cluttering frame of mind lately, and I'm looking forward to doing even more around here. The next big project is the garage, but that has to wait for it to get cooler. :-P
A massive storm is passing over Austin right now, and we had some insane hail!

Pictures and video beneath the cut )
I get nostalgic in the fall; I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the approaching holidays that remind me of my childhood, or maybe it's the cooler weather that makes me yearn for comfort foods, which in turn reminds me of times gone by. But every fall, I find myself wanting to do things differently, to return to the simple traditions I knew as a child: making jam, canning vegetables, baking, knitting, sewing.

Last night we had fried chicken and collard greens for dinner. How southern is that? :-D I wasn't happy with how my greens turned out, and I am going to work on that. I have some ideas for replicating the unbelievably yummy collards at Stubbs BBQ. Anyway, I also made some cornbread to go with those dishes. I don't have the right sized cast iron killet, but I do have a bunch of mini iron skillets. And so I present: mini-corn pones. :-D )

Another thing I've been thinking about in the last six months or so is how to cut back on my energy use. It seems like a no-brainer for someone like me, but I'd gotten lazy. I'd stopped thinking about switching off lights or turning up the thermostat. We've been much better about those things since Carter was born.

But one we hadn't thought much about was laundry. We have an HE washer and dryer, and the dryer is natural gas-powered, so we haven't thought much about energy or water use with laundry. We cloth diaper, though, and so that means a few more loads of laundry every week than we would do otherwise. I feel fine about the water use -- what we really need to do is change out our toilets to double-flush ones. But those diapers take a looong time to dry, at least two cycles on high. And geez, that's crazy!

So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to start line drying my diapers. I put some of the natural fiber ones in the dryer for a short cycle to soften them up (they are pretty crunchy otherwise), and then hang them outside, but the fleece pockets and microfiber inserts go straight on the drying rack. Wipes (which I had stupidly been drying and then re-wetting to go back in the warmer!) get folded, wet a little more, and put in the warmer again.

This has benefits other than saving energy, I've found. Sunlight is an amazing disinfectant and bleach. Stains just disappear, like magic. My diapers have smelled a lot cleaner, to my surprise. And there's just something cool about hanging them out to dry. )

New toys

Apr. 18th, 2008 02:59 pm
Doug and I have been wanting to get a big TV for the living room for ages. The house came with a beautiful built-in cabinet that had a slot for a TV -- but not for a modern wide-screen TV. People with built-in cabinets everywhere are having this problem, of course, since the old cabinets are not compatible with current TVs.

So we knew we were going to have to hire a carpenter to come out and tear out our cabinet and rebuild it, and we just kept putting that off. It was something we were going to do before the baby came, thinking that we'd be spending a lot more time at home. We decided to go ahead and get it done, and it's AWESOME!!

Pictures here )
Mom came to visit this weekend, along with my Uncle Scott, Aunt Pam, and Cousin Ryan. Mom and Pam helped me turn the room with some scattered baby furniture into Boo's nursery. I was really amazed by the difference!

Video and pictures under the cut. )
It's been a few days since I updated, and I actually have a lot to post about!

Friday's appointment )

The crib has arrived! (Pictures) )

And the kitchen sink. Or, The Epic Tale of the Hot Water Dispenser. )

So today we can hang out and relax a bit. Amnio is Thursday, and I'm ready to get it done. Happy October, everyone!
Is it too early for food cravings? )

I've picked out a crib. )

Last progesterone shot! )

So how many shots have I had? )

Watching Return of the Jedi. )

Happy Saturday!

Edit: Oh, and I'm ten weeks pregnant today. My little gummy bear is now officially a fetus. :-D

Diet update

Apr. 2nd, 2007 10:42 am
Weight loss at eleven pounds and holding. And that's not bad at all, because I stopped being really careful in the last week. Actually, after Doug came home Wednesday, I wasn't really careful at all. :-P

Considering that my goal was to lose ten pounds before IVF, that's pretty good. I'm more interested in making sustainable changes in my diet than I am in losing another twenty pounds at this point. I'm hoping to be pregnant in June, so losing a lot of weight in the next couple of months would be a bit pointless. But if I can be a little healthier by the then, all the better, and that's definitely happening. My clothes are all looser, and I can even squeeze into jeans the next size down, which is cool. (They aren't wearable yet, but I can zip them up. ;-))

In other news (and perhaps contradictory to the above), we finally bought a BBQ grill! We haven't had one in almost five years, and spent a lot of time going back and forth on where we'd put it, how nice of one we'd get, whether we'd have it hooked up to the natural gas or just buy a propane-fueled one. We decided to just buy a medium-priced one and see how much we use it. If grilling out becomes a big part of our life, then maybe we'll save up for the awesome outdoor kitchen set-up in another five years.

We found our grill at Home Depot a couple of weeks ago. (It's amazing how much the prices on grills have come down since the last time we bought one!) It was delivered while Doug was OOT, and then this weekend it finally stopped raining long enough to move it out of the garage. We have it out on the patio by the pool in an out-of-the-way spot. So last night we grilled and ate out at the table by the pool, something I've wanted to do for almost five years. Hee! Tonight we'll grill hamburgers and watch The Game. See how my diet is about to go wrong?

Cryptic message to a family member. )
jenn_unplugged: (Resistance is futile)
It has rained here almost every day for the last three weeks, and on many of those days it didn't just sprinkle all day, but rained hard for hours on end. And bizarrely, we're still technically under drought conditions.

We live near Lake Travis, which has been really low all winter, the lowest I've seen it since moving here. Before the recent rain started, it was at 647 feet, so low that there were islands popping up all over the place. After three weeks of rain, it's now at 654 feet. That doesn't seem like very much, but then, it is a big lake. (It's full at 681 feet.)

As much as I like the lake being full and pretty, the grass green, and the wildflowers popping up everywhere, it could seriously stop raining any time now. But no -- it's predicted to continue for as long as they dare to forecast. And you know what really annoys me? By the time the rain stops, it will be 90 degrees and massively humid from here on out. Straight into summer. No spring whatsoever. :-(
We have a Harry Potter closet, and for the entire time we've lived in this house, it's been a disaster zone. We've just shoved stuff in there without really organizing it for years. It was so awful we both hated to even look inside!

For a while now I've wanted to clean it out and reorganize it, and I woke up Saturday morning with a determination to make it happen that day. And wow, what a difference!

Before and after pictures. )
Today was a glorious day. Today, I discovered the wonder that is IKEA. I went to check it out over lunch, and two hours later, was still wide-eyed and amazed.

Wow. Seriously, wow. That is probably the biggest single store I've ever been in, ever. I got lost several times. And around every corner, there was more! And halfway through, there was a restaurant, where I had lunch. And then continued on my IKEA expedition. There was an entire apartment in there, measuring only 600 square feet, completely furnished by IKEA stuff. it was so cool. Seriously, anyone who has to live in a tiny apartment or a dorm room, or heck, anyone who is setting up a household at all, should seriously save their pennies to outfit their home there.

I didn't intend to buy anything, but of course I found something I'd been wanting and hadn't expected to find. Pics under cut. )

But yes, IKEA was cool. It just kept on going and going! And at the end, there was a Swedish food shop, and they had cookies and jams and many different herrings, and OMG THEY HAD DAIM. :-D Only the best frickin' candy in the whole world, which I have previously only found in Europe OMG!! Now I can get it whenever I want, and not just in Duty Free shops!!

Okay, calm now. IKEA!
We had some water damage in the room that will become the nursery, and it also affected the ceiling below that room. We've decided to go ahead and get it fixed this spring, and the estimates all include repainting the nursery and the bathroom attached to it. So that means we have to decide how to paint the nursery and the bathroom, long before any baby is in the picture. This is both frightening and exciting, as you might imagine.

Pictures of the room under the cut )
Well, the snow didn't materialize, unfortunately. Instead, we got ice, which is far less pleasant. And it's still coming down, probably through this evening.

Pictures )

SNOW!

Jan. 16th, 2007 12:58 pm
We're having a crazy ice storm here, and it's been SNOWING off and on all morning! In many places, that would be yawn-worthy, but in Austin, it's really rare! They're predicting that we'll have this storm through Thursday and will get 4-5 inches of snow. As you can imagine, the city is pretty much shut down.

Pictures under cut )
We have a rather big laundry room, mostly because it has a niche for a second refrigerator or standing freezer. We've never really made good use of that space, though. What I finally decided I wanted to do with it was make it a space to dry clothes that need to be line-dried or laid flat to dry. (I'm not as careful with those items as I should be, but mostly because I always had to hang them up in the bathroom, which was annoying.)

Elfa to the rescue! )

On another topic entirely: Is your sister's sister-in-law your sister-in-law too? I don't care what the answer is, because I'm claiming her anyway. Lori, I am so, so sorry that you have to go through all of this again. It's horrible and completely unfair. My experience has been different from yours in many ways, but I do know what it feels like, and I'm devastated for you. *big hugs*

COFFEE!

Jun. 19th, 2006 12:28 pm
So, I love coffee. For those of you who know me well, this is hardly a surprise.

For a few months now, I've been thinking about getting a one-at-a-time hot drink machine for my office. I have a regular coffee maker, but I usually just want one cup or something special and I end up spending far too much money at the local Starbucks. So I decided to look into the pod machines, just to see if they'd be an option.

After a bit of research, I settled on Tassimo. It had gotten some great consumer reviews and it pairs with Gevalia and Twinings for its pods, so it seemed perfect for me. (I have been a faithful Gevalia customer for about 12 years now.)

So I bought my Tassimo machine about a week ago, and OMG I love it! I'm seriously all, Star-who? I can make an incredible mocha at home for so much less, hah. (Well, the machine itself was expensive, so it'll actually take a while before I will be saving real money -- but hey, having a coffee shop in my own office is quite cool.)

It's at home this summer, but I'll probably take it to work this fall. *sips*
Getting parts of the house painted turned out to be a much bigger deal than we anticipated. We thought, hey -- you pick out the colors and the guy comes and paints. Well... sort of.

Two weeks later, I have before and after pics. )

And that's that! We're going to think about the dining room again and maybe paint it later this spring. I'm just so glad to have my house back!!!
It's finally all done! Well... almost. But the big stuff is done!

Photos: The rest of the outside stuff )

A lot better! The next post will show the inside stuff.

March 2013

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