Tuesday, May 20, 2003


Last time I left off without talking about Kansas. We went to Kansas for my Grandma’s 93rd birthday (the famous “Clara” of Kayci Clara). My mom rode with us. The doctor had no problem with us traveling, and just warned us to stop every 60 or 90 minutes and walk 10 minutes. Okay, I just erased about 15 minutes of writing about the trip, about how uncomfortable the traveling was. It was uncomfortable, I don’t recommend traveling this late in pregnancy to anyone, and I have a new set of varicose veins because of it. We’ll leave it at that. As for the weekend itself, it was great to see all of my family. We had a great visit, and my Grandma was in good health and good spirits so she had a good time, too. It was really important to me that we go this time (even though we couldn’t really afford it, I was way too tired, and we should have been moving out of our house!) because I wanted to see my Grandma. It’s hard knowing that I won’t be able to see her again until September. But, what a great time we’ll have to look forward to—I’ve prayed for years that Grandma would live to see my baby, and knowing that she’ll be holding Kayci Clara soon is such a blessing (and an answered prayer!). 

Childbirth Class
Our “Preparing for Childbirth” class has really brought it home—we’re not just pregnant; we’re getting a BABY. It’s really made it all real. And those labor & birth videos are not for the weak at heart, let me tell you. I’ve really enjoyed the classes, and I think it was money well spent because I feel like I know 300% more about labor than when we started. The breathing and relaxation things we’ll do in labor aren’t that far from my yoga practice, so I feel like I can DO this. My goal is to go without an epidural (only because I had a spinal tap a few years ago and have absolutely no desire to ever repeat the process of somebody sticking a needle into my spine, not because I think I’m strong or anything). So, that makes it very important that we’re a team going into this and that James will help me breathe and relax, and basically get through it. We have a lot of decisions to make pretty quick—how long & hard do I labor before I’ll accept an epidural, forceps or cesarean if it comes down to it, if James will be the only person in the room with me…tough stuff. James has a lot more fears about labor & delivery than I do. At this point, I’m not even not trying to think about stuff—I’m just focusing on getting through it and getting a baby. I hate that he’s going to have to watch me be in pain; I know that feeling helpless to help me will be terrible for him. That’s why I’m excited about what we’re learning in class, because James has a VERY important job as my labor coach, and he’ll have to focus on keeping me going if it’s going to work. He’s not “just” a daddy waiting to see a baby; he’s the guy that’s got to keep us on track and in the zone. I think he’s going to be great! :)
EXCEPT for one little thing…James was too excited to sleep after our first class, and he had a really rough night. He was READY for a baby! So, week 2 comes and he’s pretty jazzed up again after watching the videos. At the end of the class the instructor has us get on the floor to practice some relaxation techniques. As we’re getting the mat set up, James says “Man, I’m not going to be able to sleep again tonight!” He sits down, we get ready and as soon as Shirley (the instructor) starts the exercise, I notice that his breathing slows down and becomes very even (usually he SUCKS at breathing, so I was very impressed). I’m focusing on breathing and following her directions, and the next thing I know something plops down on my head. Yep, it was James’ head. He fell asleep 30 seconds into the exercise and slept the ENTIRE time. He denies it, of course, but I’ve had to tell a few people. It wouldn’t have been so funny if not for his declaration right before we started. And for the record, he slept fine—even after the excitement of his class AND his 20 minute nap. 

Showers of Love
Backtracking again…when we got married 5 years ago, I wouldn’t let anyone throw us a shower. I just wasn’t comfortable with being the center of attention and having people bring us gifts for the sake of GIVING us stuff. Let me say that I LOVE showers, love to go to them, love to give them. But I just didn’t know how to be the “shower-ee”. So, when Kayci came around, some of my friends insisted on giving us showers. I couldn’t say no for lots of reasons:
1. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
2. I want people to be able to celebrate Kayci with us.
3. Frankly, we’re poor and we need all the help we can get.
So, it turns out that we’ll be having several Kayci showers. Our first was this weekend. You can go to the PHOTOS page to see pictures. The people that hosted it are Teresa & LeAnn, friends from when I worked at Havard, and Lauren, another Havard friend who is also Kayci’s godmother. Lots of people were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts, but we had a pretty good crowd. I think there were about 25 people, maybe more if you count babies & kiddos. It was a great shower—it was perfect for us, very laid-back and comfortable. People brought their kids. Some people hung out in the backyard and watched the kids play with bubbles and stuff, and some stayed in and just visited. All in all, it was a fun evening. It started at 4:30, and I was surprised that we still had company after 8. I think people just had fun visiting and hanging out, which is what we hope for when people come over to our house. Coincidentally, this was also the first time we had people over to our house on Laguna (no pressure, we just gave ourselves 3 weeks to get totally moved in AND party-ready. No pressure at all…). I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought I’d be; I was kind of awed by the fact that so many people love this little one so much already (and us, too). Kayci is very blessed! Kayci’s nursery is in good shape, thanks to our friends! We are very grateful for everything Kayci received, as well as the thought that went into each gift. 

The Home Stretch
We’ve been sooooo busy since we decided to move. First it was the stress of buying a house. Then it was the stress of moving out of our house, and into the new one (and squeezing in a trip to Kansas). Once we moved in completely (4/30), we had to work HARD to get everything ready for the shower on May 17th. It took us to the very last second (we had floor to ceiling boxes in the guest room Wednesday, picked up the furniture from Mom & Dad’s on Friday, and had a complete guest room—pictures and all—by 1:00 pm on Saturday the 17th). But it was all worth it, because now our house is as done as it’s going to be until we get a lot more time, money, and energy J. Kayci could come any day now and we’d have a HOME to take her to, not just a house. So after pushing so hard for so long to get things done, you can imagine how TIRED we all are. We’ll make it through, but I’m wanting another burst of energy like I had in months 4-7 of this pregnancy. Right now I just feel LAZY.

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

MOMMY'S JOURNAL - 7 May 2003

Okay, so I’ll be a better Mommy than a journal writer. :) 
So much has happened since I last wrote, it’s hard to know where to start. So I’ll just start…

A Day in the Life (the NEW life, when James has lots of free time!)
James surprised me by contacting BESS, the internet filter we use at school, and having them “open” his website so my friends & I can view the site at school. That was a great surprise! He came to school today to photograph my class doing our science fair project. It was verrrrrrrrrrrrrry scientific—we did an experiment with different shaped bubble blowers. Shock of shocks, no matter what, the bubbles are round. But it was fun “proving” it! It was nice to have James here during such a wild time—Elaine was absent today, so my kids were just freaking out. But to have an “outsider” made it easier to laugh at their antics and see the humor in it. So, thanks to my boy and his visit, I’m having a great day!

Home Sweet Home
We now officially live at 13213 Laguna. I won’t say we’re settled, but it’s nice to have all of our belongings in one location. Things are slowly coming together. James surprised me by unpacking the kitchen Monday night while I was at the District Awards Ceremony (I didn’t win anything, but I did get a $200 check for working 5 years in GPISD. I felt like a winner!). After a long search for the Pop-Tarts this morning it’s clear that I’ll need to do some reorganizing…eventually…but it’s sure nice to have things put away. What a boy! I think I’ll keep him :).

Mom is coming over tonight to put the finishing touches on Kayci’s crib; she finished the bedskirt and bumper pads. We’ll do curtains, etc. this weekend. Our goal is to have her room finished by the shower on the 17th. That’s our goal for the whole house, but we know people will especially want to see Kayci’s room. My $200 bonus check will buy her an IKEA dresser; guess we’ll make that trek this weekend. After the dresser and curtains, her room is basically done. Except for all of her stuff, and that will come in time. 

And back to the Mom thing, so far it’s been great living so close to Mom & Dad. They’ve been VERY helpful in setting up our house. Dad’s helped James with the manly stuff, and Mom has helped me with unpacking, etc. It’s great knowing they’re just around the corner and it’s not a big deal to drop in or have them drop by. And, the food is definitely better at their house :). We’ll try not to mooch too much, but it’s shrimp & crab time, so all bets are off for a while!

To defend myself, I think I was very patient and worked my butt off during the move. James did his share (for the record, his share was mostly moving the boxes that I had packed out of my way). And he did pack 2 boxes of knick knacks. And he did clean ceiling fans and polish the wood floor. And pack the refrigerator. And help with carpet cleaning. And piddle in his office, because that’s what it looked like to me. He just didn’t do things on MY schedule, and that was ticking me off. Thank goodness we’re through it. This week he’s really worked hard on unpacking things (the kitchen? I’d have never guessed!) and clearing out the guest room so we can bring in the furniture. He’s having fun with the backyard; he surprised me by planting sunflowers (my FAVORITE) and the fun daisy bushes, as well as some wildflowers. The sunflowers are coming up fast—I can’t wait! He’ll be embarrassed, but I have to tell you about James’ evening last night. After Bible study he wasn’t tired, so he went out and sat under the stars and ate peanuts in the backyard. Yes, peanuts. I thought he was crazy, of course, but it fulfilled some need he had. He came to bed a happy boy :). 

Down Time
This has definitely been a wild and crazy couple of weeks. I’m exhausted inside and out, but I can’t stress enough how BLESSED I have been through this whole pregnancy. All of our family & friends are soooooooo supportive (James’ mom packed my dishes for me—and wrapped every piece individually. She’s practically a saint!). My friends have been great at offering help whenever I’ve needed it, and just letting me vent at other times. Being pregnant has really shown us what a wonderful support group we have between our families, friends, people we work with, and our church family. We’ve felt nothing but loved, and we can’t wait for Kayci to meet all of the wonderful people who have been waiting on her. It’s hard to believe the wait is almost over!
Next time, remind me to talk about Childbirth Class and our trip to Kansas.

Thursday, May 1, 2003

How to Buy A House Without Actually Having A Job

As I’m writing this it’s early May and the time since my last journal entry has been a blur, but I’ll try my best to remember what’s been going on.

How to Buy A House Without Actually Having A Job
March was a crazy month. It started out with me getting the news that Goodson, my primary client, was dissolving their in-house ad agency and moving all their TV and radio production to Arkansas. So, basically I had lost my job. But, being a freelance artist, that’s one of the risks so I began feverishly putting together my website and portfolio to try to sell myself to local ad agencies and production houses. That was a huge undertaking. This all ties in to Kayci because the timing couldn’t have been worse. I’m not complaining. I just wouldn’t have chosen for things to happen as they did. Losing your primary source of income isn’t something you’d chose to do with a baby due in three months. But regardless, my cheese had been moved, so I decided to make lemonade (to totally botch a couple of metaphors.)

Also, our lease on our house was up at the end of March, so we had a big decision to make. Do we stay in our house in the Heights and try to tough it out paying a whole lot of rent or try to find a modestly-priced house to buy that’s closer to Kristi’s school and our church (the two sources of most of our driving)? It didn’t take us long to decide that even though we didn’t to, it made sense to move.

I was supposed to go camping in Big Bend with my Uncle Phil over Spring Break, but as luck would have it, he couldn’t go do to a job opportunity. That actually worked out really well for us because it gave my and Kristi time while she was on Spring Break to begin looking at houses. We knew the general area where we would look- on the east side of town near Kristi’s school and our church (and also where Kayci’s babysitter will be.) We also knew that parts of the area we would be looking in were heavily flooded in June 2001, so we wanted a realtor from the neighborhood who would know exactly which areas had flooded and which hadn’t (as it turns out, that was a really good decision because a lot of the homes we looked at online listed no flood damage or no defects when we knew for certain that they were flooded- completely- in one case.)

God must have been watching out for us. We knew of a real estate agent at our church and we contacted her. However, she had recently quit real estate and let her license expire, but she referred us to another agent in the area whom she knew. We contacted the agent, Irene, and began going around looking at houses in the price range we wanted. We probably looked at fifteen or twenty houses in the course of a week. We drove right by several. Most of the ones we looked at were “fixer uppers” that would require quite a bit of work. But they were cheap, and that’s what we thought we needed. One house we saw needed to just be burned to the ground. It was just that bad.
By the Friday of spring break, we were beginning to get discouraged. We had seen some houses that would work, but none that really jumped out or that would feel like home. Now is when the God part that I mentioned earlier comes in. At this point we were looking at houses that earlier in the week we had not even wanted to see. There was one house on a street called Laguna that was kind of a dark avacado green color that was listed in our price range. Right next door was a cute little house that was for sale, but was SO much nicer than the avacado house that we figured it wasn’t even worth looking at because we figured it was well beyond our price range. 

But our agent insisted that we look at this house on Laguna. We said we weren’t interested, but she insisted. So we went to look at the house next to the avacado house. It was a cute little house. The front yard was very well manicured and it looked very well taken care of. We went inside and knew immediately that the house was in MUCH better condition than anything else we had seen. We took the tour of the house, getting more and more excited as we went. It had three bedrooms, a large living/dining room, a good size kitchen, a garage, a large room for me to use as a studio space and then… We went into the back yard. Stepping into the back yard, the first thing you notice is that there are no trees -- only green grass. Next, you notice that the yard slopes gently toward the house. Finally, you notice a tin-covered building, perfect for a pit smoker and some chairs. I could see having barbecues and crawfish boils and birthday parties in this back yard. And a swing set and a barefoot little girl running around in the grass.

We tried to contain our excitement until we got back into the car with the agent. We knew this house would go fast. But why hadn’t it gone already? It has been on the market for about a month. It turns out that reason it hadn’t sold was because the people who lived there were friends with another agent in the office where our realtor worked. They didn’t want to pay a full commission, so they worked out a deal to pay half commission, which meant that the house would only be shown out of that one office and wouldn’t show up on a web search. So only the agents in that office could show the house or even knew about it! We didn’t see it until later, but it was the hand of God working, looking out for us- I’m sure of it.

We made an offer that very afternoon. After a few counter offers, we finally agreed on a price. We were going to be homeowners- and have what I really wanted- a back yard for Kayci to play in.