Blogger identity crisis!

You guys… I am in the midst of a huge blogger identity crisis. I’m asking for some feedback and advice below.

When I started this blog over five years ago (!!!), it was solely a book blog, and it remained that way for over four years. Then this past January, I was feeling slightly burnt out on the reviewing front so I made some big changes to the blog. While I still enjoy reviewing books, my life is nothing like it was when I started this blog. Back in 2009, I was a college student living at home with my parents, working part time. I spent almost all of my free time reading because at that point, I hadn’t gotten into fitness yet or anything. But life has changed drastically for me. Now I’m married, I have a career, I own a home, and I have a baby on the way. Prior to this pregnancy, I spent a lot of time working out and running as well, which I plan on picking back up again after the birth. All this said, I don’t have quite as much time to read and review as I used to. I also have a lot of other huge things going on in my life that I feel like writing about and documenting. Also, I just plain old love to write, and book reviewing doesn’t let me get as creative as I like to be.

Don’t misunderstand me though; books are still and always will be my biggest passion and hobby. I still spend as much time as possible reading, but my numbers are way down from when I was a college kid with basically no responsibility. I also still enjoy reviewing books because I love to go back and remember my feelings about certain books years down the line.

That said, I do still like to post book reviews and other bookish things on this blog from time to time when I can, BUT this blog has morphed, changed, and grown a lot with me. I plan on always posting book reviews, but I only get around to maybe two or three a month these days. I post more personal things now, and this blog has kind of grown and evolved to be a general lifestyle/personal blog for me. It has included and will continue to include posts on: marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, home ownership, fitness and weight loss, general life updates, AND books. It’s kind of gotten to be a lifestyle blog about all the things in my life, which still include books, but also include a lot of other things too. I feel more free now with what I can write, and less backed into a corner as I am officially declaring myself as no longer a book blogger but just a blogger who writes about any and everything.

So since my blog has changed and morphed, I’ve been wondering about my blog name and design: Steph The Bookworm. I am and always have been a bookworm, so I don’t think this is inaccurate, but does it pigeonhole my blog too much? Does it give off a vibe that this blog is solely a book blog? Does the bookish design imply that too? I love my blog design, and I’ve been known as Steph The Bookworm online for over five years. It’s kind of become my identity so I don’t necessarily want to change it. Not to mention, this blog design cost me a pretty penny. I have no idea what I would even call my blog if I decided to go that route and rebrand but maybe I need to. I really don’t know what to do.

So I have some questions for you, my readers:

  • Do you think I should change my blog name?
  • Do you think I should change my blog design?
  • Do you like the way my blog has evolved, or do you miss it being about all books?
  • Do you prefer the personal / life posts, or the book posts?
  • Do you think blogs need to be “niche” blogs or are general blogs okay?

Ultimately, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing with the variety of posts, but I feel weird not having a “niche” blog and I worry about my name and design. I like having the creative freedom I’ve given myself since stepping away from the book blogosphere a bit. Sometimes I miss being exclusively a book blogger, and I feel like I don’t really fit in with that community anymore since my blog has veered into other directions, but at the same time, I’ve grown and changed, and my blog has needed to do some of that as well. One thing I plan on doing is adding some more pages to the top to include things like “Our Love Story,” “Caleb” and “Fitness.” So maybe if I keep the name and design but expand on some of my tabs, that could help? Maybe not? Maybe keep the name but update the layout and tagline? I’m so confused. I’d love to have some of your input!

Also, I’m always looking for new personal blogs to read. There are a handful of blogs that I have found and love, but if you have any favorites, please let me know since I’m newer to the whole personal blog thing!

Home improvements and feeling productive!

This past weekend was the opposite of relaxing, but it was so productive that I almost didn’t mind! I LOVE relaxing weekends that include no plans but reading, watching movies, and sleeping, but those are few and far between for me since I work Saturday mornings then usually have a lot of other things to accomplish before the work week starts again. Most weekends I can fit in at least a little bit of relaxing, but this weekend was go, go, go and I didn’t take a single nap… a rarity for this pregnant lady.

The biggest thing accomplished this weekend was that the baby’s nursery got painted! Woohoo! Since I’m pregnant, I decided to steer clear of the paint and its fumes, so my mom painted the walls and Jerry painted the baseboards. This room kind of needed an overhaul. The hardwood floors were scratched and stained, so we got a carpet installed a few weeks ago. It also had no lighting, so we got a ceiling fan/light installed as well. The last step was painting, and now that it’s finally done, we can begin moving his furniture in and setting up! We went with a light gray color, because it’s part of his nursery theme, which I will reveal at a later date with pictures. :) While they were painting, I busied myself with other things around the house, like cleaning and attempting to re-organize our kitchen a bit. We love our house, but we HATE our kitchen. It is too small for us… not to mention it looks like it came straight from the 1970’s. At any rate, I moved some things around and declared once and for all to stop using the table as storage! We generally eat in the dining room, and rarely at our kitchen table, so it’s been used to store crap for awhile now. I decided to clear it all off and add a centerpiece to try and motivate us to stop.

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(L: The nursery with its new paint, new carpeting, and new ceiling fan. R: The clean kitchen table!)

I also cooked TWO meals on Sunday! I am NOT a cook at all, but I’ve been cooking dinners in the Crockpot over the last few weekends so I can try to learn before the baby comes. It makes me feel like a better wife too. So I cooked chicken chili for dinner in my Crockpot, then borrowed my mother’s Crockpot and made chicken and stuffing at the same time to bring to work for lunches and such this week. It worked out pretty well. I was feeling like Suzy Homemaker over here.

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I got to have a little bit of fun too, this weekend. As you may recall, last week Jerry and I celebrated our first anniversary. As part of his gift to me, Jerry decided to work overtime and then give me that extra money to go shopping with. To no one’s surprise, I chose to go shopping for primitives! I LOVE primitive and country decor… I’m obsessed with it, in fact. Before we had a mortgage and therefore had extra money, we were hitting up craft and antique co-ops on a weekly basis for a couple of months there. But alas… we are now responsible, mortgage-paying adults and I have not been prim pickin’ lately, so this weekend was it! I picked out this adorable red hall table with heart cut outs on the side, most of the decorations that are on it, and a few other decorations that are elsewhere in the house. I do consider this to be productive because ya know… I love beautifying my home! My hubby is the best and sweetest, and this totally made my week!

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We’ve got quite a few more house projects to complete, hopefully before the baby arrives, but ya know… money. We kind of have to do a little bit at a time and are taking baby steps to fixing up our house just the way we want it, but it is SO rewarding to get things done and make it our own. Simple things like decorating the house and painting a room really improve the look of our home, and I am so proud with every single thing we accomplish. We’ve gotten quite a lot done already since moving in, but as it is with older houses (ours was built in 1961), as soon as one project is done, there are a million more waiting in the wings. So far, the major home improvement projects we’ve done include: a lot of painting, a lot of wallpaper peeling, replacing a toilet, fridge, and dishwasher, completing a small bathroom makeover, installing two ceiling fans/lights, hot water heater repair, bathroom tub plumbing repair, and carpeting the nursery. There is so much left to do, but we are careful to save up our money and do only what we can afford at the time. It sure would be nice to win the lottery so we could remodel the entire kitchen (our biggest dream!) and re-carpet the entire downstairs floor, but these are two big projects that will have to wait many years. Our more attainable goals for the house before the baby arrives in January include:

  • Getting two more ceiling fan/lights installed (in our bedroom and the spare bedroom).
  • Replacing three light fixtures with more modern ones (front foyer, kitchen, and dining room. Good news – our front foyer light has been purchased and is getting installed on Thursday!).
  • Completing the crown molding in the upstairs bathroom and touch up the paint job in there. My dad started the molding this past weekend and will be finishing this upcoming weekend, we hope! This will complete the mini bathroom makeover we did, which I will share soon! We did a few things in there to remodel a bit that weren’t TOO expensive. A full remodel will have to come later.
  • Replacing the downstairs toilet. We just replaced the upstairs toilet because it kept running after flushing, and lo and behold, the other toilet is now doing the same exact thing. Go figure.
  • Replacing the mailbox. Ours is a sad sight.
  • Replacing the doorbell. Ours no longer works.
  • Finish cleaning out the garage so I can park my Jeep in there in the winter so the baby won’t have to be out in the snow!

So I think these goals are pretty attainable if we’re smart with our finances over the next few months. I love updating the house… it gives me a certain sense of pride that comes only with being a homeowner! Things like new toilets and lights never crossed my mind as exciting… until now! Funny how life changes as you grow older and more responsible. My book money has now become my house project money! Like I said, we have a few expensive projects that will have to come MUCH later (particularly an entire kitchen remodel and overhaul), but these are some things we can do for now that will spruce things up!

"Mom, what the flip is going on? Will the chaos never end?"

“Mom, what the flip is going on? Will the chaos never end?”

Bumpdate: 26 Weeks

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I am 26 weeks today! Our guy should now be about 14 inches and just under two pounds!

First, I want to say thanks for all of your baby item suggestions last week! Some of the items I already had on my registry, so I’m glad to hear so many of you love them, like the Boppy! Some of the items you suggested I hadn’t even thought about and promptly added to the registry. The baby shower invites went out yesterday and I am so looking forward to November 16th!

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately! Just the same old back pain and fatigue, but now my heartburn is getting worse. I’ve been taking Tums every night. The heartburn is annoying and is causing my mouth to always be dry so I feel like I can never get enough to drink, but it’s not painful, just uncomfortable. Other than that, I feel a-okay!

I had two different co-workers tell me yesterday that I finally look pregnant. This makes me laugh. I explain to them that when I’m wearing maternity clothes, the bump is pretty well hidden. Yesterday’s shirt was also maternity, but made out of a kind of clingy material. I tell them that when I’m wearing a regular shirt (like I do in my bumpdate pictures!) my belly looks HUGE but they don’t believe me – haha!

I set a goal of taking three walks last week and only took two. I’m setting my goal for three again this week. I already20141012_193257 did my first one this morning. My back was hurting on the walk today, but I keep pushing on!

The baby’s nursery has finally been painted! The carpeting and light were installed awhile back, and this was the last step to preparing the room. Now we can finally start moving in his furniture and decorating, which we’re shooting for this weekend! I can’t even wait, OMG. The walls are a light gray and I LOVE IT! Thanks to my momma for all her help with it this weekend! I’m going to start washing his itty bitty clothes now and sorting them into his dresser. This is probably the first time I’ve been excited about doing laundry!

My mom and I went to this big annual Ronald McDonald House garage sale last week, and yes, we got a few more things for the baby. We got some hooded bath towels, bassinet sheets, stuffed animals for his nursery that match his theme (can’t wait to show you guys when it’s done!), a knitted blanket that matches his nursery colors, and a carseat cover. Great deals on all of these – love it! On Friday, I also had a super thrilling night out with two of my best girlfriends, Taylor and Katie, where we went to dinner then Target to get diapers and diaper cream because I had coupons that were expiring. We actually had a fun time and I am so grateful to have friends like them… friends who will go diaper shopping with you on a Friday night. I will totally remember this when they are pregnant themselves! One of the girls lived about an hour away for awhile and we weren’t in touch very much while she was gone, but ever since she moved back (I think it was right before my wedding?), it’s been like old times with us and I am so happy about that! Us three girls were inseparable growing up and I love having our little gang back together again. She even gave me diaper cream advice since she used to work in a daycare… thanks, Katie! :) These are lifelong friends and Caleb will have some great aunties! Also have to shout out to Taylor who is my maid of honor / bff / soul sister for life and Sheena, my sister-in-law who is more like a sister. Yay for aunts! I love being an aunt.

Would you all believe me if I said I can still lay on my stomach? Now, granted, I’ve always been a side sleeper, so I am sleeping on my side 99% of the time, but occasionally I find myself on my stomach or back and baby boy does not seem to like either since I get a good kick-kick-kick from it. In fact, I lay on my back for a few minutes every night and every morning so I can feel him moving. Other than that, I’m on my side though. I’m probably able to lay on my stomach still since I used to be fat and am used to having a belly from then – ha!

Tomorrow is my 26 week appointment, and on Thursday I am going to the lab to get my gluocla testing done. Wish me luck with that… I hope it doesn’t taste too nasty! More importantly, I hope I don’t have gestational diabetes. Tomorrow is my last monthly appointment and they’ll be switching to every two weeks from here on out. That is crazy to me… holy cow. Baby boy will be here in just over three months… we can’t wait to his sweet face!

Question for moms… how long did your baby wear size one diapers? Size two diapers? I’ve been stocking up and want to know how many of each size I may need! Any brands to avoid?

Review: The Harm in Asking by Sara Barron

Title: The Harm in Asking: My Clumsy Encounters With the Human Raceharm
Author: Sara Barron
Genre/Audience: Memoir, humor, adult
Publication: Three Rivers Press, 2014
Source: For review

The Harm in Asking is an odd, bizarre, and pretty funny book of anecdotes and stories about author Sara Barron’s strange life. I’m a big fan of memoirs and quirky people, so this book fit the bill quite nicely! I’m a bit quirky myself and could find myself relating to her in strange ways.

The stories range from her childhood up to the present, and cover a huge variety of topics, some funnier than others. The topics include things like roommates, dating, college, and work, amongst many other things. I definitely found some funny moments that caught me chuckling or smiling. I also found some moments where I was kind of saying “wtf?!” Some of her stories are just downright bizarre, I have to admit, and not quite as funny. I didn’t find anything in here to be laugh-out-loud funny, but as I said, I did find quite a bit of humor in reading this. I definitely liked her casual tone; it makes you feel like you’re sitting and listening to an old friend.

All in all, I’d say this was an enjoyable read, but not a favorite nor one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It was funny enough though, and I would definitely read her writing again.

My Rating: 3/5

Our anniversary weekend!

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Jerry and I had a really nice anniversary weekend together to celebrate our first wedding anniversary which was on Sunday! Typically, I work Saturday mornings, but I took the day off so we could finally have a whole weekend together. It’s tough with him working nights during the week and me working days. We don’t get a whole lot of time together, so this was something we had really been looking forward to.

I realized that things don’t always go according to plan, and that’s okay. Ever since our honeymoon cruise last year in which we had the absolute time of our lives, we had planned on taking an anniversary cruise trip. I requested the time off from work and we were making plans. Then Baby Caleb came along and we decided that the money we had saved would be better spent on our baby and my maternity leave come January… or whenever he decides to be born. Anniversary downgrade number one! So then we decided a little weekend getaway to a bed and breakfast was in order. Then my hours got cut at work due to Obamacare and ya know… goodbye to a good chunk of money every month. Anniversary downgrade number two! So it ended up being a low-key anniversary, but we spent a lot of time together and enjoyed each other’s company, and that’s what it’s really all about, so no complaints here… okay, maybe a few minor gripes, but it’s okay! ;)

So Saturday started with us going to a local bakery. Jerry saw some cinnamon rolls posted on their Facebook page so we got him one of those for breakfast and picked out dessert for that night (a cannoli cake… yum). After that, we ended up doing our baby registry at Target. Not super romantic, but we had a lot of fun picking things out for the baby. After that, we went out to lunch to a barbecue place called 58 Main Street. We had been there once before and I had this to-die-for pulled pork macaroni and cheese. We had a coupon so we went there again and it was delicious again. We came home and relaxed for a bit. I made some chicken and stuffing in the crockpot for dinner (cooking more is part of my mission to be a better wife), and watched Friday the 13th Part 2. We love horror movies. It was one of the first things we discovered we had in common (aside from the massive weight loss thing), so it was fitting for us! We also exchanged our gifts. Jerry didn’t want to wait any longer. We went really small this year because ya know… baby coming! I got him some new sweatpants which he’d been wanting, and he got me an owl scented wax plug in that I’d been wanting; I love it!

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Sunday was the big day… woohoo! We had breakfast with the family at Carmines, one of our favorite restaurants. We then had to run a couple of errands which included Target to pick up our free registry gift that they forgot to give us and to add a few more things to the registry, the mall to pick up the cookie cake I surprise ordered for Jerry at Great American Cookie, BJs to get a chicken, and the gas station to get coffee and the Sunday paper for coupons. Not a thrilling morning, but it was nice to just be in each other’s company.

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We <3 cookie cake and served it at our rehearsal dinner last year so this was only fitting!

I ended up getting really bad pregnancy back pain during all that running around, so when we got home, I ended up taking a nap. When I woke up, I felt much better and it was time for dinner. So last year, we got married on 10/5/13 at this place called Rick’s Prime Rib House. The year before the wedding, we had already booked it, so we also went there for our “-1″ anniversary on 10/5/12. We of course planned to go back again this year, but apparently they’re closed on Sundays! So were our next two choices, two of our favorite Italian restaurants… bummer. We ended up finding an Italian restaurant called Fazool’s that was open and that we had a coupon for. We were very pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our meal… I had alfredo because it’s my favorite. So dang good. The restaurant even sits on a canal so we had a water view while dining. We’ll definitely go back there. I even rocked my new maternity dress that I bought for the occasion because I thought it would be fun to get dressed up. After dinner, we went to see Annabelle. As I said, we’re both horror movie buffs. We really liked it and thought it was freaking terrifying!

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We finally got home around 10:00 and discovered we both had the same idea… to dance to our first dance song, “Crazy Girl” by the Eli Young Band. Neither of us are dancers, but it was really nice and brought back some great memories for us. We agreed to dance to it every year in our living room. :) We even said that in a few years, our children will probably be groaning and saying, “UGH! Mom and Dad, you are SO LAME.” Ha! We finished the night by cutting into our wedding cake topper. In case you think we’re gross, this is a real tradition in which you freeze it and eat it on your first wedding anniversary. It had been wrapped up really well in the freezer for a year. It tasted really good still, especially the frosting, but was just a little dry. The bakery who made it actually shut down, sadly, so we were glad we could enjoy some of their cake one last time.

So that was our first anniversary. I look forward to many, many more!

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Bumpdate: 25 Weeks

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I’m 25 weeks today! Caleb should be about 13.5 inches long and more than 1.5 pounds! He is also apparently growing hair (or so I’ve read) which is too funny to me. Jerry and I have been talking a lot over the past few days about what he’ll look like, and we keep saying we’re dying to see him. Seeing as he will be 50% Mexican and 25% Italian, I’m thinking that he will have dark hair, dark eyes, and a dark complexion, though we’re both pale. We just can’t wait to find out!

This past Sunday was our first wedding anniversary, and we had a fun, full weekend spent together. I’ll write more about this tomorrow, but our weekend included doing our baby registry! We are all registered at Target. My friend who made my invitations gave them to me on Friday (I LOVE THEM), so my mom will be getting ready to send them out this week… yay! I can’t wait for my shower to celebrate our little guy. We had a lot of fun registering and picking things out for him. I was kind of annoyed though because when we registered there for the bridal shower, they gave us a packet of coupons and such, but we didn’t get any this time. So we went back on Sunday, and I was right… we should have gotten something. They gave us our free gift which ended up being awesome and well worth the trip back. It included a bottle, pacifier, diaper/wipe samples, coupons, and a few other things. Very cool! I love Target.

My sister-in-law and I also started couponing a few weeks back, and I started buying diapers and wipes this past week. I know we’ll be really short on money when I’m out on my maternity leave, so the more stuff I can stock up now while I’m still in work, the better. So far, I’ve gotten a small pack of Pampers, and a large box of Luvs, as well as some small packs of wipes. I used coupons and saved money on all of these. I’ve got some more coupons to use this week for more diapers too. If you already have a baby, how many diapers do they go through a day? I’m guessing a ton!

Next week is my 26 week appointment and glucola test, then I switch to appointments every 2 weeks instead of every 4! That means things are getting VERY real! We are also doing our hospital tour on Sunday. I also met the pediatrician from the office we toured last week, and decided to sign Caleb up there, so that is another thing off my check list. Woohoo!

I did pretty good with my exercise last week. My goal was to walk 5 times and I walked 4 times (twice in one day for 2 of those walks), so not too shabby! I’ve walked once so far this week (this morning), and am planning on 2-3 more walks this week. As for how I’m feeling, I’m feeling pretty good! I’ve had slight back pain, slight fatigue, and some occasional heartburn, but otherwise I’m doing pretty well. I had some intense back pain on Sunday morning, but I ended up lying down before our anniversary dinner and felt much better after. It could have been from doing too many errands that weekend, could have been from the walking, could have been from not wearing my maternity support belt enough that week… I’m not too sure. Once in awhile I get BAD back pain, but usually it’s just a slight nagging.

Lastly, I think it’s hilarious and adorable that every time Jerry has felt Caleb move (which has only been a few times so far), he goes “whoa! What was that?!” Ha!

And that’s all I’ve got this week! My question for you is… what are some essential baby items I should register for?! Of course I’ve registered for the obvious things, but what are some not-so-obvious things that you’ve used/needed for your baby? Some things he already has: crib, mattress, crib bedding set, dresser/changing table, changing table mattress and cover, bassinet, diaper caddy basket (to hold diapers in his room and carry around), a baby carrier you wear, tons of clothes and books. We are also getting a rocking chair and bookshelf soon. All the other stuff I THINK we need is on our registry… we’ve got almost 60 things on there! Hopefully I didn’t miss anything too important!

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These were taken on Saturday. at 24 weeks, 4 days!

It’s been a year!

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“Have I told you lately, I love you like crazy?” {our first dance: “Crazy Girl,” Eli Young Band}

How is it even possible that a year has already gone by since we got married? Today marks our one year wedding anniversary, and I am in awe!

I have to admit, Jerry and I defied the odds a bit. If you’ve read our love story, then you’d know that people were skeptical. I’ll be the first to admit, our “courtship” was a little bit on the strange side. We met online, on a fitness website, and were 3,000 miles apart for the first few months of our relationship. During that time, we managed to fall in love… over the internet. When we decided to meet in person, everyone was wary and nervous, but once they saw us together, they changed their minds. From the moment I first saw Jerry standing in that airport, June 15, 2012, to this very day, my love has never wavered. I knew in that very first instant that I loved him and that I would never stop. So what if no one else believed it?

On October 5, 2013, my life changed forever when I became Jerry’s wife. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am that I have a man who picked up his entire life and traveled across the country to be with me. He moved 3,000 miles away, to a place where he knew NO ONE, to give us and me a chance. He left beautiful California for snowy New York because he loves me THAT MUCH. How can I be anything but lucky? I know it’s easy to take others for granted, and sometimes I do just that, but when I really stop and think about it, I know how truly fortunate I am.

I’ve always believed that Jerry is my soulmate. I know this because there is a reason that we were brought together from opposite sides of the country. There is a reason for everything and we were truly supposed to be together. Our wedding solidified everything I already knew about us to be true.

The day we got married was, by and far, the best day of my life so far. I know this day can and will only ever be topped by the birth of our children. And speaking of children, what a first year it has been! In our first year of marriage, we bought our own home and got pregnant!

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While life is going great, and we have so much to look forward to in year two, I will say that I’ve learned a lot in our first year. It really is true that marriage can be tough; I won’t sugarcoat it. When you combine your life with someone else’s, there are obvious challenges… but we do our best to compromise and help each other however we can. Sometimes, life is a struggle, money is a struggle, and we can’t always do and get everything we want, but at the end of the day, we have a roof over our head (one that we get to call our very own), a baby on the way, and each other… so what more do we really need?

To Jerry, on our first anniversary: I hope you know that I still feel the exact same way about you now as I did the moment I first laid eyes on you, and the moment I said “I do,” easily two of the greatest moments of my life. I know it’s easy to take people for granted, but I also know how lucky I am to have you as my husband: one of the sweetest and most caring men I know. You are genuine, thoughtful, and sensitive. I hope you never change these things about you. While I know that not every day can be perfect, I hope that every year can be filled with at least some of the joy, fun, and love that we felt on our perfect day. I hope that every week is filled with the laughter and exuberance we shared at our wedding. I am proud of the man you have become. I know you have had some obstacles to overcome in your life, but you continue to make me proud by all the growing you have done and continue to do on a regular basis. You work so hard and make me feel so loved. You take care of me and for that I am so grateful. I can’t wait to see you become a daddy in just a few short months; I am confident you will be an amazing father, just as you have been an amazing husband. Your son is as lucky as I am!

There are a few things I want you to know on our first anniversary:

I want you to know that there is nothing I would change. Not one day, not one second, not even any of the stresses or the struggles. You are still the only one for me, and the only one I would ever choose, for the rest of my life.

I want you to know that the best moments of my life are the moments we spend laughing over nothing, and that I will spend the rest of my life continuing to make you laugh at all my crazy antics (thank you for finding me so funny, by the way).

I want you to know that all of my days are better because I know that I have you. Even on a crappy day, nothing can be that bad because I know that I am loved.

I want you to know that my love is unconditional. NOTHING will ever change that or take it away. We can and will get through anything that life ever throws at us.

I want you to know that my whole entire world changed because of you. Everything. All of it for the better.

I want you to know that I will always strive to be a good wife. We’ve done a lot of growing up in the past year, learning to be spouses, learning to be homeowners, learning to be responsible, learning to love more, and now, learning to be parents and full blown adults. I still have a lot of learning to do, but I’m glad that it’s with you.

And one last thing I want you always to remember, and never to forget: “I love you bigger than the moon…”

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“Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like I’ve had long enough with you… marry me, today and every day.”

{Jerry’s surprise for me with rose petals and “Marry Me,” Train}

Review: Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick

Title: Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Picturesparenting
Author: Amber Dusick
Genre/Audience: Nonfiction, memoirs, parenting, adult
Publication: Harlequin, 2013
Source: Library

Parenting is a pretty hilarious illustrated book. It chronicles many of Dusick’s adventures in parenting two young boys, all broken down into various chapters and categories on different parenting topics. All of these hilarious stories are accompanied by even funnier illustrations that look remarkably like stick figures but with a little more “oomph.”

Dusick is pretty blunt and straight-forward, which I like. She’s not afraid to swear and doesn’t sugar coat parenting at all. In fact, some of her stories made me a little scared and got me thinking, “what am I getting myself into?” It’s all in good fun though, and I appreciated her honesty about what being a parent really entails. I appreciated her humor even more, and liked that she looks on the funny, bright side of things. I think when you’re a parent, sometimes all you can do is laugh or you might go crazy, and she isn’t afraid to do just that. The dialogue is funny, and the stories are easy to read. I also want to note that you should pay attention to the details in the illustrations – they are hilarious. One that I particularly enjoyed accompanied her story about re-reading the same book over again to one of the kids, and if you look at the title of the book in the illustration, it says “Annoying Book,” or something along those lines.

This was a quick read that I flew through. I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I think this book will strongly appeal to parents, as well as expectant parents (such as myself) that have a sense of humor.

My Rating: 4/5

So long, September. Hello, October!

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September was a pretty crazy, busy, and exciting month. We got quite a bit of housework done, and I celebrated quite a a few anniversaries. My September in a nutshell…

  • Found out we are having a baby BOY (Caleb Manuel)!
  • Had my five year blogiversary!
  • Had my three year adoptiversary with my Dakota dog! <3
  • My book club turned one year this month! We held our first meeting in September 2013 (with The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey) and I am so pleased that we’re still going strong and I’ve made some awesome new friends.
  • We got the baby’s room carpeted. His dresser and bassinet were also put together.
  • We got a new refrigerator and dishwasher after a major fridge leak. We’ll be paying the bill on this one for awhile, but overall we are very happy with it. Freezing cold drinks for the win!
  • We had an expensive plumbing job done in our upstairs shower to fix it. Our bank account is not happy, but the hubby sure is. He can now reclaim the downstairs shower as his own again…
  • I’ve been enjoying the fantastic fall weather (though this past week it got hot again).
  • Some “fun” things about the month: had brunch with the family at Tillmans followed by some co-op shopping for my beloved primitives, started couponing with my sister-in-law to save money (we’re baby couponers, amateurs still), went to an alpaca farm with Jerry, my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew!

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Hey alpacas… I like your bangs!

So those were the big September events. I’m just getting better from a crappy cold, and am SO ready for October, which is probably my favorite month! I just LOVE the fall. I am not a hot weather kind of girl and fall is so cozy, especially here in New York where the temperatures drop, the leaves fall, and pumpkins are everywhere you look. I love walking into stores and being bombarded by all the fall-ness. It makes my heart so happy. Also, Halloween. I love Halloween for some reason. I love reading scary books, watching horror movies with my hubby, and decorating the house (as you can see above and below, I did that this past weekend! We even have a blow up, light up pumpkin monkey outside… bahahaha.). We’ll be skipping one of the things I look forward to all year though… haunted hayrides and houses. I LOVE getting scared, even though I hate it in the moment. I wait all year for these things, but I’m not sure me getting stressed out like that would be good for the baby. There’s always next year, and we will enjoy some other fall activities to make up for it though!

There are so many things to love, but the best thing about October? The best thing is that Jerry and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary on October 5th. I cannot even believe it’s been almost a year since we got married. I am in awe over that fact. I can’t wait to celebrate our first year together in just a matter of days. Our anniversary is Sunday and I have a three day weekend to celebrate. We’ll start by picking pumpkins on Saturday, then celebrating the whole day Sunday. I’ll definitely recap it more afterwards. Yay, October, Halloween, and anniversaries!

Pumpkin lights! Love my decor this year.

Pumpkin lights! Love my decor this year.

Bumpdate: 24 Weeks

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I am 24 weeks today! I have to admit, this photo was taken yesterday though since my work schedule is all wonky this week and I have to go in early today while hubby (aka the photographer) will still be sleeping. Baby Caleb is about the size of an ear of corn or cantaloupe, a foot long, and over a pound! Big boy!

It was a pretty uneventful week baby-wise, but we did get one major thing accomplished: Mom and I booked my baby shower! Woohoo! It’s at an Italian restaurant we recently discovered that has a party room. The prices are good and the food is good, so what’s not to love? The shower will be on November 16th and I cannot wait! Jerry and I will be going to register at Target this week (woohoo! Love that store. Our bridal shower registry was there too). My good friend, Angela, also made us these absolutely AMAZING and adorable invitations that go along with his nursery theme. I LOVE THEM! Thank you so much, Angela! I’ll post some pictures of them up here once we get his nursery set up and revealed on the blog. I am also doing one of those diaper/wipe raffles at the shower. I’ll be putting together a gift basket and if anyone brings diapers or wipes, they will get a raffle ticket for the basket. Have any other fun baby shower ideas or games? Let me know in the comments please and thank you!

We visited a pediatrician’s office last week and were very impressed. The office manager showed us around and talked to us about their practice. We are meeting with the actual pediatrician who we selected this Wednesday, and if that goes well, then we will have found our pediatrician! That’s one thing to check off the big old baby to-do list!

We are getting ready for fall in the Cervantes household! We got our Halloween decorations up over the weekend and I love them. I’ll have a couple of pictures up tomorrow on the blog, so stop back. It’s wild to think that everything will be our “last” without the baby: last fall, last Halloween, last (and first) wedding  anniversary coming up this weekend (!), last Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. In addition to decorating, I also decided to be wifely and cook on Sunday. I am not big into cooking. Jerry is much better than I am so he usually does the cooking, but sometimes he wants a break. Now granted, due to his night shift, we only get two nights a week together anyway, but he usually cooks. I have decided to cook at least one of those nights each week from now until the baby comes. I need to learn since I’ll be cooking for our children once they are old enough to eat real food. It also makes me feel like a better wife too.  :) I made chicken thighs in pesto in the crockpot over linguine, and also brownie sundaes. If you know of any cheap, easy meals, please feel free to share. I am big into the crockpot, but am open to other things too like casseroles!

I still get a huge kick out of the baby movements. Every time I feel it, especially from the outside, I definitely laugh. Jerry has only felt him a couple of times so far, but pretty soon, he should be able to feel him more regularly. Now that I am 24 weeks, it also means that the baby is viable. I have been anxiously awaiting the 24 week mark so I could feel some relief over this fact. Basically, it just means that at 24 weeks, the baby could be born and would have a good chance of survival outside of the womb. Earlier than that, the chances are basically zero and doctors generally don’t and won’t intervene with a fetus born before the 24th week. It’s a good feeling to know that my baby is finally viable, and even though we DON’T want him to come for another 16 weeks, he could survive from this point forward being born. But please stay in there, Caleb, and keep on growing!

Lastly, now that my cold has finally let up almost entirely, I am back on the workout grind (as best as I can be what with the back pain). I went for a nice walk outside yesterday morning for about 25-30 minutes. I plan on doing this four more times this week since my work schedule is weird and I only have two early mornings this week. I will usually be aiming for four walks a week. I really need to stick with this plan. I am not happy with the amount of weight I’ve gained so far, and I know how beneficial it is to stay active during pregnancy. Not to mention, I feel a lot better after. As soon as I got back from my walk, I had a burst of energy where I put away all the laundry, and tidied up the kitchen and upstairs bathroom… all good things!

So that was my week in a nutshell! Moms, did you/do you have an active pregnancy? Any advice about how to stay motivated through the discomfort?