Review: A Taste Fur Murder by Dixie Lyle

Title: A Taste Fur Murderfur mur
Author: Dixie Lyle
Genre/Audience: Cozy mystery, adult
Publication: St. Martin’s, 2014
Source: Library

Deirdre Lancaster, AKA “Foxtrot,” works as a personal assistant and all-around house manager for an eccentric old millionaire, Zelda Zoransky (“ZZ”). After Foxtrot spots a terrifying and huge animal-like ghost in ZZ’s on-property pet cemetery, things take a turn for the weird… and spooky! Suddenly, her dead cat, Tango, appears… and she’s talking. Along with Tango is a talking, ectoplasmic dog, Tiny, who can also change breeds on a moment’s notice. When one of Foxtrot’s coworkers dies under suspicious circumstances at the mansion, Foxtrot and her new ghostly animal companions are on a mission to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt. They are helped along the way by a variety of other animal spirits that Foxtrot can now see and communicate with in the pet cemetery.

I liked this mystery, but I didn’t love it. I enjoyed all of the talking animals and spirits, and found that they added both a spooky and humorous factor to the story. At the same time, I tend to struggle with paranormal stories on occasion, as I find myself to be a bigger fan of contemporary and realistic fiction. I think that was the main thing that prevented me from loving this story, to be honest, and I had a slightly difficult time getting into it as a result. Despite that, the mystery was well written and not easy to solve, and the characters were interesting. I do plan on continuing on to the next book in the series because I did find the book to be enjoyable, but it bored me at times and could drag. Again, just my personal feelings. Sometimes I’ll find myself really loving a paranormal book if I can get into it properly, but at times I just struggle with the unrealistic aspect of it all. That was kind of the case here.

My Rating: 3/5

Five on Friday (1)

This is my first time doing this Five on Friday link-up so hello and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I heard from my neighbors that we don’t get many trick or treaters on our street, so I was bummed but have made other plans instead. I am working until 5:00 then going to dinner with the family. After, a couple of girlfriends may be coming over to watch some scary movies since Jerry has to work. Here are five things on my mind this week.

ONE. I had a woman come in to my work the other day and ask me where she could pick up her emails. Oh. Um. Ya know… on the INTERNET? Sometimes, people just amaze me. That was definitely my laugh for the week.

TWO. Here is my big old Caleb belly from earlier in the week. My belly has definitely popped lately. Everyone at work has been saying I finally look pregnant. I think I’ve had a big belly for awhile now, but I wear maternity clothes at work which typically covers it up pretty well. Anyway, they were not convinced. Here is the Caleb bump. It seriously looks huge in this dress in particular… not sure why. It looks much smaller in other clothes!

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THREE. Over the weekend while we were doing some laundry, we had some major basement flooding. Turned out to be a drain pipe backing up and we couldn’t shower, flush the toilet, wash dishes, etc. My dad came over and he and Jerry spent a long while trying to fix it, using Draino and snaking, but no luck. We resigned to having to pay a plumber some big bucks out of our maternity leave savings but when I asked for a plumber recommendation on Facebook, my friend told me to call the town’s Department of Public Works. Her husband works there and she said they typically look at these issues for free. Now, I work for the town and had no idea about this but I called them anyway, even though I was skeptical. Long story short, they were at the house within 15 minutes and had it fixed for FREE in another 10. It was something about the drain leading to the street… I don’t really know, but I was so relieved, I almost cried.

FOUR. Jerry and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night at our absolute favorite Italian restaurant where we haven’t been in AGES! We’re going to order our favorites and have been looking forward to going out all week. We used to eat there all the time, but after buying the house, we had to rework our budget and dining out was one of the first things to go. We decided to splurge a little bit since we DIDN’T have to pay a plumber and we want to enjoy some more date nights together before baby arrives!

FIVE. Some of you know, I’ve had a bit of a blogger identity crisis. I’m no longer identifying myself as a book blogger, and have become more of a personal blogger over the last year which I’m loving. I have rediscovered my blogging passion after having been at this for over five years. I blog about everything in my life (including books, but only on occasion now), so I’ve been working a bit on revamping the blog. I’ve started adding new pages up top that aren’t all bookish (with a few more to come that I’m working on… “Baby C” and “Weight Loss and Running”), and I reorganized my blog categories. I love my current design, but it pins me down as a book blogger, so I’m planning on getting a re-design done by my same designer. Jerry is going to work some OT and save up to pay for it for me for Christmas… isn’t he sweet?! But in the meantime, I’m excited about the little changes I’ve started to make around here. So far, I’ve condensed all my bookish pages down to one tab with sub-pages including a new page (“Why (and What) I Read“), and made a new page of “Our Love Story.”

5 on friday

Bumpdate: 28 Weeks

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Today I am 28 weeks and finally in the THIRD TRIMESTER… WHAT?! Crazy how time flies. We are now in the last stages of pregnancy and officially in the “panic” stages. Less than three months until we finally see his face! He is probably around just under 2.5 pounds, and just under 15 inches… crazy that he actually looks like a baby now, just teeny tiny.

Not a whole lot going on in Caleb’s world over the past week which is good after spending LAST Tuesday morning in the hospital. A calm week is a good week in our books. Our 28 week appointment is tomorrow and we’ll be back every two weeks from now on. I’m looking forward to hearing how big he may have gotten and hearing his heart beat.

For the first time last night, I actually SAW him move in my stomach. I felt really big rumblings and when I looked down and flashed a light, I could see my stomach moving around like ripples. I didn’t see any baby body parts, but just the fact that I could SEE him moving finally… wow! Guess he really is getting big! I then played “All About That Bass” to see if I could get more movements, and did see a few more bubbles in the stomach. My nephew likes dancing to that song, so I thought I’d give it a shot. ;) His movements really are getting bigger by the week and I love it. I always wonder what exactly it is that he’s doing in there when I feel him.

Still feeling pretty good but pretty big. I’ve had a couple of co-workers tell me that I am now waddling. Eeek! I don’t feel like I am, but I suppose it’s only natural. I’ve had some occasional knee pain and back pain continuing, but nothing I can’t manage. My sleep is fairly decent, except for all the middle of the night bathroom trips.

We received Caleb’s first baby shower gift over the weekend from a family member who can’t make it to the shower and are VERY grateful. We got a diaper pail, a dog toy that makes sounds, a blanket, snowsuit, and some other little goodies! She also wanted to participate in our wipe/diaper raffle, so we got a couple packages of wipes and a package of diapers – yay! Love adding to my stockpile and knowing that we will be pretty well prepared. We really appreciate that we have so many great family members and friends who are eager to meet Caleb and help us out!

My mom is currently working on a curtain for his room. We went and picked out the fabric at JoAnn’s last week. I’m looking forward to continued progress on the nursery and seeing it when it’s all done. I can’t wait to share pictures here!

I’m looking forward to Halloween. I wanted to wear something creative with my belly, but haven’t had the time or energy to put anything together. I might try and find a pumpkin shirt still. I have to work until 5 the day of, then I’m going to dinner with my parents since Jerry has to work. :( They don’t get any trick or treaters, and my neighbors say we hardly get any here either, which is disappointing. Afterwards, a couple of my friends may come over to watch some scary movies. I’m realizing that this will be my last Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s without Caleb. Life is going to change so much in just a matter of months! And on that note, that’s all I’ve got for this week!

I’m a nesting machine!

Becoming pregnant has really changed me as a person, and in good ways.

Even though I am tired, sore, and busy, I’m the most productive I have ever been… all because I’m nesting to prepare for baby! This is both good and bad. It’s good because I am getting so much done and accomplished before our baby’s arrival. It’s bad because I rarely take the time to relax, and when I am taking the rare time to relax with a book or a movie, a million things are running through my head that I need to accomplish. Add this to the fact that I have a career, and you have one crazy lady on your hands who is full of anxiety. I really should try and get some relaxing done before we have a newborn though, huh…

But I digress. I’m quite happy with what we’ve been doing here in the Cervantes household. I have felt this strong need to get as many house projects done as possible before Caleb makes his big debut. There are SO many things we want to do the house, and my goal lately has been finding ways to get as many done as possible before he’s born because I foresee us not having the energy, time, or money when he first arrives and I’m out on maternity leave. I am trying my best every week to make our budget work so that we have a bit of money left each month or week to do something else to the house. While our ultimate dream is a newly remodeled kitchen and new flooring on our whole bottom floor to get rid of the old and raggedy carpeting, these goals are not financially attainable at the moment. It may be years before we can do these two things. However, we have done quite a bit of smaller, more affordable projects so far with a few more in mind before the big day.

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Light in front foyer before and after. Loving my new mason jar looking lights. We’ll be replacing the kitchen light with the exact same one and the dining room light with the same one but it has 8 jars.

I’ve also been nesting in other ways by learning to be more productive around the house. I find myself cleaning and tidying up on days off and obsessively making sure things are put away. I hate seeing any sort of mess now, and I’m trying to be super organized. I’ve been cooking every weekend in my crockpots (yes, I have two now – thanks, Mom!), and doing dishes like it’s my job. I used to save the dishes for Jerry because they’re gross – haha, sorry, Jer! So, I’ve been trying to learn how to cook and be better at getting things done around the house. I’m really coming into my role as a wife and now a mother (at least I think so!). I’m sure Jerry appreciates it too, and while I still don’t love cooking, I’ve been quite proud of all the meals I’ve made thus far!

I’ve become very interested and invested in our finances. Though we don’t have a lot of extra money to play around with and we live on a fairly strict budget, we try our absolute best to put at least a little bit of money into savings every week. This is for my maternity leave and other emergencies that may arise. Even if it’s only $10 or $20 on some weeks, it’s something! A little bit goes a long way, they say. I’ve also been monitoring our retirement funds on a near weekly basis. Yes, I’m a little obsessed, and yes, I’m only 25, but I’m a planner. Lastly, I’ve been trying hard to get our debts paid down. Most of our debts are of the normal variety: mortgage, car loans, and student loans, but we do have a Lowes bill courtesy of our leaking fridge that needed to be replaced. We have 18 months interest free financing on that, but we are trying to pay it off even quicker, if possible. We also pay a smidge extra on our mortgage each month in hopes that it will be paid off before 30 years.

Speaking of money… I’ve also started couponing! When I got my hours cut at work, I immediately texted my sister-in-law and told her we needed to start. It’s something we’d been thinking about for awhile so we finally dived in. I am not hardcore by any means, but I try to buy the Sunday paper most weeks so I can get the Sunday coupons and the ads. Then I meticulously go through the ads with my coupons and match up the sales. I also follow a lot of couponers on Facebook, though a lot of the deals they post are really labor intensive and confusing… I’m just a newbie. I’ve been able to save on quite a few items though, and have started mini stockpiles on things when I can get a good deal on them. I’m pretty sure we are set on laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner (for both Jerry and I), and razor refills for him for a few years – ha!

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I paid $3.00 TOTAL for these six Pantene shampoos and conditioners.

Lastly, I have been preparing like crazy for little Caleb himself, the star of this show! I’ve been doing my best to make sure we will have everything he needs, and have already washed and sorted his clothes by size. I also have a small stock pile of diapers and wipes going, courtesy of couponing.

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Baby laundry! Is there anything cuter?

Now we wait for our guy to get here, though hopefully not too soon. We still have lots to do around the house, and little man has lots of growing to do before he comes. For now, I’m enjoying my new roles and nesting!

Bumpdate: 27 Weeks

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Today I am 27 weeks! The baby should be about 14.5 inches and weigh in at around 2 pounds!

I just got back from the hospital so it’s been a very scary morning. I’ve had back pain for WEEKS, but yesterday it suddenly got intense and has been accompanied by lower abdominal pain. I called the doctor’s office just to be safe and was hoping for them to either say “oh, it’s fine, no worries,” or maybe even, “okay, just come in to double check,” so imagine my surprise and terror when they said they wanted me to go to the hospital for monitoring. We were there from about 10-11:30 and I was hooked up the whole time to something that was monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. I was seen (and asked the same questions) by a nurse, a PA student, a resident physician, and the attending physician who works at my office and who I’ve seen before. I also got an exam which was no fun… no worries though… still closed up and the baby is safe and sound. His heartrate was fine. Mine was a little high at first, but they think it was just from nerves. The verdict is just round ligament pain, they think. So, that’s a huge relief. When they told me I needed to go to the hospital, I burst into tears as soon as I hung up. I kept imagining they were going to tell me he needed to come out today and I was going to have this tiny little 2 pound preemie. Thank God that all is well! On to the rest of the update….

My 26 week appointment went pretty well last week, although the doctor was not happy that I had gained 8 pounds in a month. To be honest, neither am I. I know I have gained a bit too much and have been trying to slow it down, but as I told her, my body is used to running and doing intense exercise. Right now, I am not capable of much more than walks. I am too tired and dealing with too much back pain to do anything else but walk. She was glad that I am walking, but also suggested cutting back on my sugar and carb intake. Not going to lie, that has been hard because I could live off of sweets and pasta, but I am making an effort to make healthier choices but still indulge at times. This weekend, I made greens and beans with sausage in the crockpot, and turkey chili in my other crockpot, after looking up low carb meals on Pinterest. Her concern is just that he will grow to be large and that his delivery will be difficult. At my appointment, I was 26 weeks and 1 day, and he was measuring at 27 weeks. She said this is normal, but it makes me wonder if he will either come a few days early or be large. As long as he is healthy, I’ll be happy. I had my glucose testing done, and haven’t heard anything yet, so fingers crossed that means I don’t have gestational diabetes!

Speaking of exercise, my goal was to talk three times over the week and I managed only two walks. I was planning on my third walk yesterday, but got hit with my most intense back pain to date while doing dishes. While I know walking is good for me, I weighed my options and decided that resting my body was more important since I was dealing with a lot of pain. Other than that, I really do feel pretty good and feel that I have been blessed with a fairly good pregnancy, aside from the migraines I had and the two weeks of bleeding (threatened miscarriage) in the first trimester. I am setting my goal for three walks again this week and hoping my pain subsides enough to get this done.

Caleb’s movements have become notably stronger, more frequent, and more intense this week which I am loving. Jerry got a good double kick last week and immediately ripped his hand away and shrieked “Ahh! That was scary! Feels like an alien inside of you! Both feet!” Ha – if only he could feel it from the inside like I do. He cracks me up.

Lots more baby laundry has been done, sorted, and put away in his dresser. This all seems so real now! I am so excited to see his face and have him here with me, but some days I get completely terrified, thinking, “am I ready for this?” I have so many questions about raising a baby but I suppose we will learn as we go along, right? His dresser has been moved into his room, so that was exciting! Next up will be his crib. The last pieces of furniture for his room will be a gliding chair and book shelf, but we are hoping to get those for his shower, and if not, then buy them with gift cards, so there will be a wait on those. The crib still needs to be put together, but hopefully in the next week or two!

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My cravings are still for the two main things I’ve been craving for months and months: sausage biscuit breakfast sandwiches and Ovaltine. This has been my breakfast every single day for months now… yum. I’m not usually a big milk drinker, but I do love me some Ovaltine, and it’s good calcium for me and the little guy.

I’ve got my 28 week appointment next week… they are every two weeks now HOLY CRAP!

So my question for you mommas this week is about baby clothes. Now that I am sorting and prepping his clothes, I am debating big time on his going home outfit. I am torn between two. Anyway, he’s got about 4-5 newborn outfits but quite a lot of 0-3 months. I held off on a lot of the newborn stuff because of course we don’t know how large he will be when born. How long did your baby wear newborn size, and how long were they in 0-3 months? Thank you in advance!

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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