January 30, 2011

Storage!

One of my biggest complaints about living in the city is the lack of storage. My first apartment was a studio which had a regular sized closet that housed my dresser and vacuum, so after my clothes and shoes, it didn't leave much room for anything else! My second apartment I got a walk-in closet, plus it was 2 rooms (living room and bedroom) so I was able to "hide" a lot more stuff! Then when I lost my job I had to move to the burbs and well that doesn't really count...I had so much space I felt lost in each room. Now that I am back in the city again, Jason and my biggest complaint is lack of storage. We live in a 2 bedroom condo with a closet for each bedroom, very very minimal storage in the kitchen, a utility closet which holds our washer/dryer and we have one storage locker downstairs. (think Christmas and other holiday decorations, gold clubs, blow-up mattress, etc.) With such limited storage we have to get creative on using every tiny bit of space we have. I shared last week that my dad and Jason installed a humidifier, well that forced us (ummm, in all fairness it was more Jason) to clean out the closet, which in turn forced us to create a way for us to use all of the closet. I can't take any credit for this, it was all Jason. He designed the space so it has shelves, baskets and even put our mini-fridge (aka, beer fridge) on a cart so we can pull it in and out so we're able to make use of the what was wasted space in the back. What most people spend a large amount of money on having someone else create, he designed and installed himself. He was even cutting up the shelving last night at Home Depot by himself. (Home Depot, leaving those tools out is just a lawsuit waiting to happen!) After a couple hours his project was complete. We have so much space in there now we don't know what to do with it all! (I'm kind of particular about storing cleaning chemicals with anything that could be used for cooking or eating.) So this post went from how excited I am about our newly designed closet to how awesome my husband is...and since I just said that a week ago, I'll have to take a break on posting Jason awesomeness for a while! I just appreciate how handy he is, and how quickly he gets a job done when we need it, kind of the polar opposite of the procrastinating me. Back to the subject...our closet rocks!! I wish I had a "before picture" because this picture alone doesn't do it justice -- Look at all that space!!

January 29, 2011

Introducing the Newest Lockwood, Cooper!!

What a fun day! As you probably know, we had plans on Saturday to pick out our puppy at noon. After thinking about the trip and the fact that our puppy was 3.5 hours away we ended up booking a hotel through priceline.com. We headed out right after work on Friday and somehow managed to miss all the traffic! We stopped a few times, once for some pizza and again at Mars Cheese Castle. (yes, both are allowed on Weight Watchers with my weekly allowance points!) We got to the hotel around 10:30. After a good nights rest, we both woke up pretty early and obviously had some time to kill so we had breakfast and ran a few errands. When we got to our puppy's home, we were greeted by who we later found out was our puppy's mom's sister. She was a goldendoodle and was SO sweet! We were then brought to the room with the puppies and had 6 to choose from. We were 3rd on the list to choose, so 2 were gone and since we were getting a boy, she took the two girls out as well. At first I thought it would be impossible to choose which puppy we'd get, but after taking them out and playing with all of them for about 30 minutes we both had it narrowed down to two. However, Jason had a preference for one and I had a preference for the other. After about 10 more minutes we both agreed on the one in the blue collar. Jason promised he was good with my choice. This little guy wouldn't leave me alone, was either crawling on my lap, or chewing on my toes, he loves to be held but also loved to play. As soon as we decided on him and told him he was ours and that his name would now be Cooper he went and laid down. It was almost like he knew he had to put on a show to win us over and now he could go rest. I took a bunch of pictures once we knew he was ours. Needless to say, we're both really excited and talked about him most of the way home. I was like a proud mother and sent pictures to many people bragging about how cute he was! We wish we could have taken him home that day but this way it does give us more time to prepare. Plus, we're still trying to figure out the best way to introduce Cooper to Sam. I'm confident they'll get along after a while but I'd like for the transition to be as smooth as possible for both animals! Only 20 more days until we bring him home!


Tiny little peanut!

So patient while I take his picture!




Took this one to show how small he is...full grown he should be around 40 lbs and 24 inches tall :)

January 24, 2011

PointsPlus

I'm officially back on Weight Watchers. I should be happy because I know it works but in reality, I also know how much work it requires. I obviously want this to be a life commitment of change so can not only lose the weight but keep it off years after I'm off the diet! I'm very interested in learning about the PointsPlus system which is very different from what I was on in the summer. I'm very excited because I know this will encourage to to get to the gym, my schedule is getting busier and busier, so it's all about setting priorities and sticking with them. I'm ready for my jeans to fit again and not be so self conscious about how I look - I can do this! The most exciting part about this new "way of life" is that Jason's joining me with watching what he eats too! It will be so much easier to cook and eat out with him when he's fully on board with making healthy food choices. Say a prayer for us, we're going to need it, especially these first few days as our bodies go into shock from cheese and fat withdrawal!!

Weekend Fun-ness with the P's

This weekend was a lot of fun. As I shared on Saturday, my parents and dog, Sophie, were here for the weekend. How we didn't manage to get any pictures together boggles my mind. My mom and I were able to find some great deals on some decorative pieces for our condo and had a good time catching up. The Bulls game on Saturday was lots of fun and they even won! Jason and my dad were, in fact, able to get the humidifier in, so much that when we got home from the Bills game it was like a sauna in here, the windows we're dropping with water! Sunday we went to church which was fun because it was my parents first time visiting our church down here. We had a delicious lunch at one of our favorites, Gage. Then we came back to watch the miserable Bears game together. :( Later in the evening, Jason and I tried a new chili recipe, which was very tasty! Not sure it's as good as my favorite chili recipe of my mom's but it was nice to have something a little different from the norm. Thanks again Mom and Dad for coming down and helping us to breathe a little easier and for all the memories of a fun-filled weekend!

January 22, 2011

Handy Men

My husband and dad are the handiest men alive (except my late grandpa, of course, who could also fix, make or install anything.) My parents came down last night so my dad and Jason could put in a humidifier. We had one but for some reason that I still don't understand it didn't work and in winter its so dry in here. So my dad being the HVAC guy that he is decided he'd work his skills and put one in for us. Now, there's a lot of drilling, sawing and every other imaginable construction site sound going on here, and there's several holes in our walls that I am hoping will be filled but I'm very proud to be my dad's daughter and my Jason's wife. Clearly this is no place for a girl, so I guess it's time for my mom and I to do some window shopping and have a girls day before we all head to the United Center to meet my uncle and Marilyn for a Bulls smack down.

January 20, 2011

One of the Eight

This is one of the 8 puppies we could get. Are you kidding me, how cute is he!?! We are definitely getting a boy and we're going in 9 days to Wisconsin to pick him out. We don't get to bring him home until February 19 but can't wait to see who we actually end up picking out. I think it will make the waiting even harder but at least there will be a face to a name!! For now, this is absolutely my favorite of the group and I am secretly hoping he has to personality to match his adorable cuteness!

January 18, 2011

So Busy!

Yes, I'm alive. I have had so much going on the past couple weeks and haven't had time to write. I did have some exciting and fun events the past couple weeks! One is that I babysat for Kaylee for the first time 2 Saturdays ago. Shawn and Tiffany had a wedding in the city so they dropped he off on he way. We had so much fun with he and I have to say Jason was amazing with her. He helped watch her while I made dinner (in hindsight it was a really dumb night to make a new recipe), he was SO cute with her, playing with her, tickling her. What a great uncle! After Kaylee left, the house felt lonely for about a full day. Weird how she was only here a few hours but I missed her so much for so much longer!

My cousins, Karrie and Kristi and I got to go out to lunch with my grandma a couple weeks ago which was really special. I try to go out with my grandma as ofter as possible so over my break I was able to go twice. The second time I thought it'd be fun if all us girls could go. I think she had fun, but she did mention that she didn't get a word in...which for the grandma that talks more than anyone I know, that probably wasn't the best for her. I'm so thankful that she's in good enough health to be able to meet us out for lunch in the middle of winter. I really appreciate our time together!

I started classes again last week. It's completely different going to class during the day. The students are much different which makes the class environment much different. One of my biggest complaints about the learning aspect of grad school has been that so many of the students are already working in the school system at some capacity so when the teachers are explaining things, they tend to breeze right over what may seem like basic principles. But for the average student like myself who doesn't work in a school, there's so much to learn and I wish the teachers wouldn't just zip over it so quickly. Well in the last week, I've learned that the students aren't in the school system (obviously, since they're in class with me, they can't be at a school teaching as well!) So our teachers aren't just flying through topics and terms that current teachers are already aware of. As with any industry, acronyms are BIG in the school setting, so it's refreshing to hear that just about everyone is at the same level as me in my day classes and have no clue what 99% of them mean. Needless to say, I feel like I am learning so much more in these classes in just the week and a half I've been going than any of my night classes!

My book club/small group that I have been a part of since the end of October has finally finished the book we've been reading. It's was a book by Shauna Niequist called "Bittersweet." It was one of the most honest, refreshing books I have ever read. And to be part of a small group with a bunch of amazing girls experiencing a lot of the same trials that Shauna experienced and shared, we've all been able to grow a lot together personally and as a group. I thought numerous times that only God could bring such an amazing group of girls together. We really cliqued on a deep level, which with girls can be very hard to do. It was a very safe place that I looked forward to going every week. I highly recommend the book to all you girls out there! (It's worth mentioning that her first book, "Cold Tangerines" is probably better to read first...it's more about life in your 20's and Bittersweet is about life in your 30's...and for me, I think I am still experiencing a lot of what she already did in her 20's...) Our book club/small group is going to continue through April and read "Cold Tangerines" together. I'm really looking forward to growing individually and as a group!

Last weekend we went to Iowa to visit Jason's mom, Judy and stepdad, Mark. We wanted to visit her for her birthday since we weren't able to visit over Christmas but that weekend we're going to WI to pick our our puppy. (ahhh! 10 more days!!!) It was a short trip since we couldn't leave until after (Jason's) work on Friday and came back on Sunday. We went and saw some eagles along the Des Moines River then drove to Fairfield to see the Amish and went to a store in town. We went out for pizza and even got to go to the movies. (added bonus since it's like pulling teeth to get Jason to the theater...although to his credit he's been really good since we discovered the reduced tickets from CostCo.) Sunday we went to church before heading home. It was great time visiting with them!

I've started running again. I eased back into it by incorporating the elliptical and bike but after a short but good run last night I'm already having back pain tonight. I am going to hit up the chiropractor ASAP and get back on the bike tomorrow but am really hoping to nip this in the butt now. I love running so much, I hate that I can't go for a run without any pain!

There's lots going on this weekend so hopefully I'll find some time to blog about all that in individual posts...until then I hope you have a great week and stay warm!

Kaylee the night we babysat

Kaylee laughing as Jason tickled her

January 7, 2011

2 Week Picture

One of these little guys is ours!! :)

January 6, 2011

Bittersweet...Another Life Lesson

Well after 7 months of being with Brandon every day until October when it went down to 3 days a week…our time together will come to an end as today is my last day with him. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better baby to watch. As a newborn, he didn’t really sleep, he’d take short little cat naps so it was a LOT of time spent playing with him but even with what I thought was lack of sleep, he was ALWAYS smiley. Now that Brandon is 10 months old he still rarely takes long naps…they’re usually pretty short, about a half hour each. He’s super smiley, a great eater, and is just all around perfect. I feel like I have learned so much about parenthood in this experience. When I first took the job I couldn’t really figure out why this all came to me, I didn’t necessarily want to work full time knowing I was taking classes in the summer full time and planning a wedding, along with all the other summer activities that come with living in Chicago. But I really believe this was all part of God’s plan in slowing me down with life and helping me to appreciate the “here and now.” Right after Jason and I were married, I immediately felt like it was time to start having babies and that we were already so far behind, but by spending every day with Brandon I’ve realized how difficult parenting is, (and he is an easy baby!) plus I get to go home every night and sleep ALL night waking up refreshed every day. It didn’t help that facebook was really starting to get to me. Every time I checked it, someone my age was pregnant, another was revealing the sex of their baby, or someone would be expecting twins, or there would be a post about their baby cutting his/her first tooth, the first time they rolled over, took their first step, another’s baby is going to kindergarten or some are entering their first year of high school, another was complaining about having to work instead of being home with their newborn. Whatever it was, I was feeling the pressure and felt like I was SO LATE in the world of kids. When I took the time to think about it, it was comforting to realize that plenty (most) of my friends aren’t married and aren’t having kids yet. All along, God has had a different plan for me and marriage and I want to go with that plan. I want to spend this time with Jason getting to know him as my husband and time learning how to be a good wife. I’m quickly learning what everyone meant when they told me the first year (or five) of marriage are the hardest and require a lot of compromises, and I want to spend the right amount of time figuring us out as a couple before brining kids into it. While I have always known that babies are a ton of work, I really believe that God put Brandon in my life to show me just how much work they are. I won’t know exactly the amount of work until I have them myself and haven’t slept in weeks or months but this opportunity was a great eye-opener of how your life is completely taken over by your children’s needs and wants. I think that now that Jason and I are spending time on “us” and learning each other, we’ll be much better equipped when it’s our turn to be pregnant and have our first baby, and that time isn’t today or as I thought…months ago. This experience has also helped me to form better opinions on all things baby. Now that I’ve been around it, I have more thoughts of my own on things like baby carriers, diaper brands and cloth vs. disposable, car seats, breast feeding or formula, and which brand formula, bottle warmers, swings, diaper genies, strollers, high chairs, bottle nipples, bouncers, organic baby food, sleep training, TV vs no TV, diaper bags, bumbos, and the list goes on. It makes me very excited for when I do have kids and get to experience it all as a first time mom! With Brandon, though he was an awesome baby, he's still a baby...I still had issues with him not wanting to eat at certain times, him crying when I had no idea why, days when naps were impossible, even when he was clearly exhausted, the car seat that he arches his back and doesn’t want to go into. The closest to a “mom” feeling was this past Tuesday. It was my first day back to work after a week off for the holidays and obviously my last week here. For the baby that never sleeps, it seemed to be all Brandon wanted to do. He slept for almost 3 hours and then when he woke up it wasn’t even an hour later that he was falling asleep while playing. After another 2 ½ hours of sleep he finally woke up. His parents thought he was just going to give me an easy last week. When he woke up I gave him his bottle and then some solid food, it wasn’t much longer before he had thrown up his whole bottle and all the food I just gave him. After comforting him and cleaning up, I was on the phone with his dad explaining all that had happened and out came the rest of the food he’d eaten the past 24 hours…in my hair, all over my shirt, down my pant leg and covering the floor. (I’m still trying to figure out how it missed my slippers!) I have had plenty of experience with adults throwing up near/almost on me working at the hospital, but this was different. This was Brandon, my favorite Brandon. He was my top priority and all I wanted was for him to feel better and loved. We got him changed into some comfy pajamas and he slept on my chest (the non-sleeper or cuddler that he is!) until his dad came home. Once I was finally able to change into a clean shirt and get into my car to go home, it dawned on me just how gross that all was and how yet again, Brandon tried easing me into the motherhood that I’ll soon experience. By no means do I think that any bit of my nanny/babysitting experience has prepared me for parenthood, it may have even done the opposite and made me a little afraid to have kids, given me a little more realistic approach than I would have had years ago. I won’t just see the pregnancy as a little baby growing inside and baby showers and little ones with little pink bows in their hair and trendy little outfits (can you tell I’m hoping for a girl someday?) Instead, I’d like to believe that at least when I am a mom, I can cry about it and talk to all the people who have been there to get me through the tough times, which I know there will be a lot of...babies require more patience than I think we were born with. I’m so thankful that God provided this opportunity to me for the obvious reasons of job security and money but also to help wake up the na├»ve girl I may have been going into motherhood not fully understanding what that meant. Now Jason and I can grow as a couple and we’ll see about when we’re ready to have kids…I’d have to laugh if after posting this I find out that we’re pregnant in the next couple months! But for now, let’s plan to wait at least a year before that post! (I also hope and pray that we don't have problems getting pregnant when we're ready, which we know is a strong possibility in this world) I love you little Brandon, it’s been so much fun watching you grow these past 7 months, thanks for going extra easy on me and being the happiest, “smiliest” little guy ever! I will miss seeing you grow on a weekly basis and always be praying for you and all that God has stored for you! xoxo

January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

In years past, I have written out in chronological order of all I've experienced and think it's so much fun to reflect on to see how fortunate and grateful I am, but when I think about the past year there's three huge events; I started grad school, Kaylee, my niece was born and Jason and I got married and ! Those are 3 things that many times in my life I wasn't sure was going to happen! I still can't believe I am in grad school, there's nothing I like about school and even less I like about the amount of debt it's is putting us in but am so excited for the opportunities it will hopefully bring me in the next year. And now there's Kaylee, born to the parents who thought they never wanted children, therefore making me think I'd never get to be an aunt and now I am! As for marriage, if you know my life story, you know the heartache I've experienced in the world of love and relationships. It's like I wore a big sign on my forehead begging men to break my heart. (okay maybe I took that a little too far, but it's certainly how I felt after the most recent ex.)

In March, I started taking courses at National Louis to be a teacher, a special ed teacher. I've had my fair share of career changes but this final one was not one that was by choice and I'd have never had the opportunity to even realize this passion if not for the not-so-unfortunate loss of my job in 2009. I'm in grad school, the girl who we all thought wouldn't ever get her bachelors degree...and now I'm about 1/3 way through my masters.

Kaylee, I'm so excited to be your aunt!! When I was wrapping her present this year it dawned on me that a year ago this time when I was wrapping her parents presents, I had no idea she was going to be here this year. Look how much changed in a year! Sweet girl, I am so excited to see you grow in 2011 and hope you'll always know how much you're loved!

Every day in 2010 seemed to incorporate wedding plans of some sort, whether it was registering at one of the three stores, a day spent at bridal stores looking for "the dress" and then another 20 trips back and forth for fittings, a trip to Mexico to meet with the wedding coordinator and check out the resort, a day with our photographer taking engagement pictures, one of three bridal showers, another trip to Jos A Banks to pick out the groomsmen attire, the bachelorette party or the 28th time to Michaels or Joanne Fabrics for yet another roll of purple or orange ribbon to match the dresses or whatever else those stores would lure me into buying. And then after all the wedding festivities there was the local reception in October! It was the year of all things wedding and I loved every second of it. The actual wedding day in Mexico was the best day of my life and being married to Jason has been more than an answered prayer, he is my best friend and love of my life.

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As I said last year, rather than New Years Resolutions, I like to call them "positive changes." First, I posted my 2010 "positive changes"...then commented after it with the actual progress.

"Positive Changes" for 2010
  • get a job!...Babysitting Brandon wasn't quite the job I was hoping for but has been a great expereince and has taught me a lot about life and what to expect as a future mom
  • less wine...always a work in progress on this one!
  • Run the Disney 1/2 marathon in Jan '11 (or something before)...Wish I could, my back still won't let me, yet!
  • find a new serving opportunity at the church I can serve in...I began serving as part of the Guest Ministy as a greeter/usher
  • lose 10 lbs...preferably by 9/18!...yay, I did lose 10 lbs and by 9/18, too bad I put almost all of it back on again...add this back to the list for 2011! ;-)
  • begin grad school for Special Ed teaching...check!
  • Read the Bible, starting with the new testament...and finishing with the old...I read (via audio) the old and the first four book of the new
  • Cubs make it to the World Series...there will always be next year!
  • Be comfortable praying outloud...not 100% comfortable but getting there!
  • Keep a clean car (bring my mugs/cups in every day)...it's been much cleaner this year!
  • Marry my best friend...check!
  • Move back to Chicago...check!
  • convince Jason to let me get another cat ;-)...yeah, not so much...but we are getting Sam a puppy!
As always...constantly improve myself by keeping God first and respecting Jason as he needs to be respected. This year it is especially important to remember to keep God first in all of our wedding plans and as we start our lives together

For 2011 I decided to make some more personal "positive changes" which I am only writing in my prayer journal but I am also really working on the eating right, working out and drinking less wine. I have gained most of the weight back and since I really do love working out (its getting myself there that I hate) so I need to get in the habit. The gym part will be much easier with my new schedule beginning on Monday...eating and wine drinking, well that's always a challenge. :)

Happy New Year to you all, I pray it's a blessed year for all of us!