Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We celebrated the four days of Christmas this year. Now that it is all over, I can look back and think it was a success. There were a few moments in there when I just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep a little longer. I'm really glad I didn't!

We started our holiday celebrations at my parents' house on Saturday. The Watts Family Christmas was a good time. I'm still amazed at how we all fit into my parents' living room; but I do love the coziness of the experience! I also really like the time to spend with my sisters and my parents. It's not often you can get all six of us in one place!

Of course, every family gathering has its casualties. This year poor Cathy was the victim of a monkey to the forehead. She had recovered by Christmas day though, so all is well.

Next up on the Christmas Countdown was the Barrett Family Christmas. This year we had Steve's Dad, Anne, Shayna, Dick, and Shane all over to our house for brunch. I love brunch. There's just something about fruit, eggs, coffee cake and orange juice that just makes me happy.

We were visited by the Red Power Ranger for most of the day, which was very entertaining. Steve also got to use his foosball table with someone other than his talentless wife. Although I don't think he was much more forgiving to Shane.

That celebration capped off nicely with a Bears win over Green Bay. I'll just leave it at that. You can fill in your own Green Bay joke.

Christmas Eve took us to the City (that's right... all the way to Chicago!). We picked up Steve's Mom and met our friend Kurt and his girlfriend, Amanda, for dinner. What says Christmas Eve better than endless plates of meat. Fogo de Chao was awesome even with my ever shrinking belly. They also have the best ginger ale, which isn't actually ginger ale but something very similar only better. I don't remember the name, so you will just have to go to a Brazilian restaurant or store and ask for ginger ale.

Christmas Morning was nice and quiet at the Barrett Compound. I made coffee cake; Breyer and Steve relaxed; it was a very nice morning. We also realized that next year at that time we would probably be doing the same thing, except it would be after a morning filled with opening presents and Santa amazement. We spent Christmas evening at my aunt and uncle's house in McHenry. The Unger Family Christmas is always exciting. This year, the Carlson's got a Wii, so there was much video game playing. I think they even broke a glass while bowling.

So that is the Christmas update. I know this reads like a Christmas letter, so I put all of the pictures first. If you have actually read to here, thank you. You would think a journalist could keep these entries a bit shorter and more to the point. However, I'm a bit wordy and can't always distinguish between which details are necessary and which aren't.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Short Update

We've done it again. We celebrated Christmas early. I already posted about the camera Steve bought me for Christmas. But this weekend, my parents and I gave Steve his Christmas gift.

My family helped me out (all sisters and parents included!) in buying Steve a Foosball table. Our basement is a little bare. There are the loveseats and the baby strollers, but we didn't spend too much time down there since there wasn't much to do other than sit and push an empty stroller. I thought it was time for Steve to have a little fun.

I found the Tornado table at The Great Escape, but I knew I couldn't get it by myself (weight limits or not, that box is unwieldy!). So my parents were nice enough to meet me at the store to help me make the final decision and then get it home.

Steve was pretty excited. He and my dad got the legs put on while I showed my mom the baby furniture upstairs (and it doesn't take very long to look at a crib and gilder!).

We played the inaugural game this morning. Steve won even though he spotted me 8 points (you play to 10). In my defense, I did make him play to 11 since I scored once and you have to win by 2. I have some practicing to do.

Well, I will post some pics later. Right now, I'm exhausted. I've slept most of today, but I'm still pretty tired. I also think Jack doubled in size today. I'm looking forward to carrying him on the outside. All of this weight around my belly is beginning to take its toll! Not to mention that it would be way more fun to see him kick on the outside when I can see him smile or coo.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Baby Linens

In our birthing class this Saturday, we learned details about the 1st stage of labor. It was really informative. I never realized exactly what happened during dilation and effacement. And no, I am not going to relay that information here. If you are really interested, feel free to pick up a book and read about it, or get pregnant and take the class. What I will tell you a little more about is the relaxation techniques. It's basically yoga, which is nice since I already like yoga and know some of the basics. We learned how to tense and relax different limbs this week. It turns out I am not so good at relaxing. Steve was not surprised by this. We're going to practice though.

Last week, we learned about signs of labor, one of which is nesting. I thought nesting meant getting ready for the baby: setting up the room, putting away clothes, playing with the toys, etc. It turns out nesting also means an intense desire to clean and organize your entire house. I have decided that once this nesting instinct occurs, both Steve and I will be ecstatic. I feel like I am pretty useless lately and I certainly do not have any desire to clean.

So, I promised updated pictures of the nursery. Here they are! I took these tonight. I tried to get a belly picture of myself in there too, but that didn't work out well. Either there would be a weird shadow in the background or I would be incredibly unphotogenic (too many double chins, weird smile, awkward stance, etc). So, no pics of me tonight.

Okay, so beyond baby stuff, here's what's happening.

Steve is quite handy around the house. Today, he removed the sinks and counter top from the hall bathroom. We are one step closer to getting that renovated. Really, the vanities, the tub and toilet need to go and then it's time to rebuild!

He's also been busy with grad school planning. I think the plan is to have applications done pretty soon.

Me, I've been sleeping and working. I thought I was doing better with grading, but it turns out I have not. I've really got to buckle down this week and get back on track though. The last thing I want is to give birth before all of the grading for this terms is finished. That would be a huge stressor I just don't need. Of course, in order to do this, I have to stop spending energy on other things, i.e. socializing. I feel like one of my students. I'm spending too much time having fun and not enough time getting my work done. I'm going to try to be a better example though.

Well, I think this has gone on long enough. It's almost nine, which is my desired bedtime. Until next time!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Baby room update

The baby furniture has arrived! Well, actually, it arrived last Thursday, but it's definitely here! and put together!

Last Thursday, Steve and I had some fun (although I think Steve was humoring me, but I'll take it!) washing all of the bedding and putting it on the bed, putting all of the stuff away in the dresser, and taking turns trying out the glider. I was nesting. Now I'm even more excited for Jack to get here.

Other than that, we've been busy with work. I collected research papers yesterday, so I am starting the biannual fun of grading large essays. As usual, I do have a plan.

The typical third trimester symptoms are hitting me pretty hard lately. For instance, right now, I'm totally exhausted and can barely think straight. This is after 8 hours of sleep last night and a 2 hour nap this afternoon. If you've spoken to me lately, you have probably heard about the heart burn. If not, I'll summarize... it sucks. I'm also not finding very many comfortable positions to lie down in. I'm still trying though!

Okay, so here's the fun part. Here are the photos of the baby's room. This is before I "nested" because right now the room is a little trashed with empty boxes and wrappers and stuff all over. I'll get around to cleaning it and taking new photos soon though!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Way past my bedtime

It hurts to sleep at night right now. The heartburn is just killer. So instead of sleeping, I'm updating my blog.

It's been a busy holiday weekend and I've got some cool photos to share. We started with Thanksgiving, our first party in the new house! We had 14 people for dinner and 23 for dessert. However, everyone kept commenting that it didn't feel crowded at all. Steve lit a nice fire that kept us toasty all evening.

From there we went on to Christmas preparations. The Nustra Family was very kind in letting us join their holiday tradition this year. We went to Richardson's Farm in Spring Grove and chopped down our Christmas tree. Well, actually, Steve did the cutting. I did help by pulling the tree while he was cutting, but really, it was all Steve. So the tree is up in the living room. I'm going to try to get it decorated this week some time.

We finished off the weekend with a baby shower for Susie and Peter. My mom and Cathy did an awesome job of throwing a party. Cathy made chocolates for all of the tables and guests, and they were a hit. The present Bingo game went over pretty well too as soon as we figured out what a toy bar was and that blankets are not Rocking Horses (sorry Aunt Jen!).

Overall, I am exhausted. It was a lot of fun packed into four days. I just don't know how I'm going to do all of this once Jack gets here. I'm having a hard enough time right now!

Well, I think the heartburn is starting to let up a bit, and I do have to work tomorrow. (For those of you who are worried, don't be. I got a nice long nap this afternoon!).

Enjoy the photos!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This is for you, Susie!

So my sister has become a way better blogger than me. She has been awesome about updating those of us who love and adore her about her pregnancy, the new house she and Peter just bought, and all of that fun stuff.

However, I am not one easily defeated. So I am returning and hopefully rising to the challenge, at least for a little while.

So this weekend, Steve bought me my Christmas present early. It's a long story as to why, but I am excited, and who am I to turn away an awesome, early Christmas present. He bought me the Nikon D40, the digital camera I have been wanting. So, now I have pictures to put up here, which makes blogging way more fun for me and more interesting for you.

I am not so good at regular mail, so we never sent out change of address notes. That would have been cute and nice, but I was bust getting and staying pregnant. Of course, that also means that we haven't had an official house-warming party either. So I took some photos of our house yesterday for those of you who haven't been out to see it yet. We've redone all of the bedrooms now (we're just waiting for the baby furniture) and we've furnished our great room.

My personal favorite part of our house is the screened-in porch overlooking the north end of our backyard. It's awesome to sit out there in the spring, summer, fall and eat dinner or grade papers or just sit.

Now on to the more fun stuff... our pregnancy!

We were officially 29 weeks this past Friday. At our last doctor's appointment (last Monday), we had our last ultrasound photo taken. He smiled for us, which was cool. However, he's getting a little big for good ultrasound pics. His umbilical cord got in the way of most of the good shots, and when that wasn't in the way, his put his little arm in front of his face. I think he's like his dad: he just gets sick of pictures after a while.

Anyway, we have tons of great ultrasounds from earlier in the pregnancy. Here's one of my favorites!

As far as pictures of me, well, I have an old one. But I think I look different now. This afternoon we are going to celebrate the engagement of my cousin Rob to his girlfriend (now fiancee) Vita. I'll try to get a good photo there and post it later. I also have a really good story about our prenatal class (good as in the class was awful so the story is funny). I'll post that later too.

Well, Susie, I hope this updates you enough for today. And look out, I have a camera and I am going to be good at this again!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Belated Update...

Life has been REALLY busy lately. Steve and I moved into our new home at the end of April. Then, I finished out the hectic, crazy school year. Then we lead a very successful Relay For Life. And then we went on my dream vacation, Ireland. To say that life has been hectic is actually an understatement.

Oh yea, and we're pregnant!!

That's been the coolest part of the last few months. And I use coolest in a very contextual way. See, morning sickness has been brutal. As excited as I am about being pregnant, the first trimester is hard. I was sick the whole time (literally sick several times a day), and I don't look pregnant, and the due date is still really far away. We are due Jan. 26, 2008.

Now that we are moving into the second trimester, things are getting better. I still don't think I'm showing very much; it really depends on what I am wearing. But I'm no longer getting sick several times a day. In fact, I have gone several days without getting sick. It's a wonderful thing.

Okay, so that's the big news. I'll try to be better about this. But we all know I always say that and I still go through my good phases and bad ones. We'll just keep our fingers crossed.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I think we are gluttons for punishment.

Steve has started his GMAT preparation class on Sunday evenings. Those of you who know my husband, know exactly what a big deal it is that he is giving up his Sundays to go to class, all the way downtown, for three hours. It's taking a little getting used to, Steve going to class and me staying home, but I think we're getting a handle on it. I'm super excited that he's moving forward on the grad school stuff... it's nice to share the stress of grad school with someone.

Speaking of grad school, I'm busy working on my journalism project class. Two weekends ago, Steve drove me around Chicago to visit and photograph 4 parks. Despite the dumping of snow the night before, we put on the boots and made the rounds. It went pretty well despite the white blanket on everything. Now, I wait to go back after winter has really left us.

Work has certainly not let up any since we buckled down on the studies. There's really not much to tell here; we feel like we work all of the time. If there's not something to grade, there's something to plan (although, there is ALWAYS something to grade). And Steve is busy doing that computer stuff that he does.

So we thought, grad school and work, that's really not that much. There are lots of people who work and go to grad school. We need more to do. So, Relay For Life planning is picking up. The informational kick-off went off well on Wednesday. Now, we have to make sure the event plans all get done. We signing up teams now, so if you are not on a team yet, or haven't signed up your team... do it now at Relay For Life of Wheeling.

Since Relay isn't actually until June, we thought we'd add one more thing to our list of activities: House hunting. That's right, the Barretts have begun looking for a new, larger home. We at the beginning of the process, so there is no rush on a decision to move. That's making the process fun. We've already seen a couple of houses that we like, so we're getting an idea of what we want in a house. We're also exploring different areas to get a better idea of where we really want to live. Since the getting the Nustras to Palatine is looking like a long shot, we're keeping our options open. We've also started the process of getting the townhouse ready to sell. So, if you know of anyone who wants a really nice townhouse, have them call us.

So I think that's it... Until next time!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What happened?

The last month has been a bit overwhelming. It started with the passing of my Memere. While that was somewhat expected since she had been sick for about 2 months, it still was not easy. The family went down to Texas to say our goodbyes, and it was overall a positive experience considering the circumstances. It is always nice to see my cousin and her boys. They are so much fun!

From there, I returned to chaos at work. And it hasn't really relented since. I have considered finding a new job. For now I am staying though. I like my students and my colleagues too much to let one little month of chaos ruin it all. I also started my new grad class, which just adds to the work load. Steve took his GMAT test, and in my opinion did very well. However, he wasn't completely pleased, so he has started a GMAT class in order to do better next time. To say we are busy is an understatement.

On a positive note, we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday this weekend. It was a nice little party on Friday night. I think he had a pretty good time. I also went to dinner with my sisters this weekend. It's been a while since we've had a Watts girls night, and I REALLY enjoyed it. There's just something about hanging with my sisters that puts everything into perspective and makes the world right again.

I think the crowning glory of the last month has been the garage door. Steve installed a keypad garage door opener this weekend. It is really pretty cool. I no longer worry about forgetting my keys. And in a strange way, it makes me feel like an upper class home owner. I think Steve is pretty proud too.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Not much is new

The winter doldrums have set in. Steve and I are happily keeping up with life right now. Our most exciting venture lately has been Steve's attempt to install a new thermostat (we couldn't get the unit to turn on though. Hopefully Peter can figure that out!).

Basically, we are doing all of the "new year" activities. We are trying to eat healthier, to work out more, to spend more time with Breyer, and to watch the Bears. Go Bears!

Our life sure is busy though. Relay For Life is starting to heat up. Kick Off is at the end of February. Finals week at Wheeling is next week, so I should be grading right now (I'm just taking a break though). Steve is going to take the GMAT at the beginning of February, so he is studying for that. And my next grad class starts at the end of January. Although, I have to finish my last grad class before that (I got an extension on a story).

Actually, now that I look back on what I just wrote, we don't have the winter doldrums. We are enjoying ourselves! And I was wrong about the thermostat being the most exciting thing... We have booked our trip to Ireland for June! That's way more exciting than a programmable thermostat any day. So, maybe I just need to make sure I keep up with this blog so that I don't lose sight of all of the fun things we are doing :)