Date Nights With Baby

I’ll be honest – Jackson is two months old and Corey and I have yet to go on an actual date since he was born.

Those of you with kids probably understand this. It’s almost impossible to find time to go anywhere without him, and quite frankly we aren’t super interested in leaving him alone with anyone else just yet. We’re hoping to go on a real date at some point this month, but over the past two months we have found other ways to set aside time for one another, and in the process we created a new tradition that we are kind of obsessed with.

Game night.

Corey and I have tried to have weekly at-home date nights for as long as we have been married, but over the last year or so they had kind of fallen off our radar. It wasn’t a big deal because we had plenty of time together, and never really felt like we were missing out. But! When Jackson came along we very quickly realized that we needed to start setting aside some specific time for one another again, and thus game nights were born.

Every Tuesday evening Corey grabs a Papa Murphy’s pizza and we eat that while we play some games. We don’t watch television, we don’t zone out at our computers – we just have some good quality time together. It’s a super fun way for us to connect and it’s way more fun than just watching television like we do most other nights.

We’ve gotten really into board games now, and are always on the lookout for new ones. We’ve learned some really unique games and have been introducing them to people we know so we now have lots of friends that will play with us! I still think that 1:1 dates that actually involve leaving the house are important (and our goal is to have at least one a month, starting this month!) but this is such a perfect way to connect a little more at home, and we’re hoping to keep it a tradition even as Jackson gets older. In a few years we’ll probably be playing Candy Land instead of our current repertoire, but we already get excited thinking about teaching Jackson all of our favorite games and having this as a tradition for the long haul.

How do you stay connected with your significant other when things get crazy?

Three Years

What?

How did that happen?

Corey and I have been married for three years as of today. We’ve been together for 8.

We’ve been so focused on Monster’s impending arrival (and Christmas, and a million other things) lately that we haven’t taken the time to truly appreciate the fact that we’re having an anniversary. We’ve never done much for our anniversaries (see year one and year two), and this year will probably be even less – we have a giant hospital bill looming over our heads and a tiny human joining our house soon, so celebrations will be very small.

(She-N-He Photography)

We decided to skip the gifts this year in favor of going out on one last pre-baby date. On Saturday we went out to dinner, just the two of us, which we haven’t done in a shockingly long time. It was fabulous and I’m hoping it won’t be too long until we’re able to do it again. We have an annual tradition of writing one another anniversary letters (we write the letters the year before and wait to exchange them – so we’ll open the letters we wrote last year and write new letters for next year), and I’m greatly looking forward to doing that tonight!

Of course, our anniversary always falls right around the return to school. Today is our first day back with students (we both had work days yesterday, but the kids were still off), so we’ll be exhausted tonight. But we’ll make something fun for dinner and we’ll enjoy a nice, calm night at home. I may even indulge in a (small) glass of wine!

(She-N-He Photography)

The last three years married to Corey have been an absolute dream. He is the most wonderful husband I ever could have asked for, and I’m so incredibly lucky to have him. I’ve fallen even more in love with him as we’ve prepared for our new baby over the last nine months – he is going to be an amazing dad and I can’t wait to see him in action. He has taken such great care of me as I’ve dealt with all the woes of pregnancy, and he never fails to make me feel special and loved. He’s so amazing and I can’t believe I get to spend my life with him.

I love you, love! Happy 3 years!

What We Accomplished in 2013

Wow. I have a hard time believing 2013 is over – this is the year we will have a BABY! Hell, this may be the MONTH we have a baby…I’m due at the very tail end of January!

Most years, Corey and I have set out at the beginning of the year with a little “to-do” list. Not necessarily a list of resolutions, just a list of things we’d like to take care of. We made one for 2013 but, if I’m being honest, I don’t think we crossed off a single thing. This year definitely ended up taking a very different turn than what we originally expected.

So, instead of focusing on what we didn’t cross off our list, I’m going to take a different route and chat about what we did manage to do this year. So, in no particular order, here are the top 10 things we accomplished this year.

1. Renovated our garage.

This room is still far (FAR!) from done, and neither of us are completely happy with it yet. We still need to do something to fix the awful flooring, add some finishing touches like baseboards and new outlets, and add in some accessories and art to make it feel a bit more home-y. However, this room has come a long way this year, and I’m so proud of us for getting it done.

This new room has been so much fun for us to have, and we love the extra space – I’m excited to see what we manage to do to it over the next year – I’m hoping we get it even closer to completed!

2. Took our last vacation as a two-person family.

We loved our family vacation this year, and it was pretty bittersweet knowing that it was our last vacation ever as a childless couple. Corey and I are both super thankful that we were able to take one last big trip before Monster joins our family, and it was a pretty flawless vacation.

3. Participated in Creating With the Stars.

 

We had so much fun participating in Creating With the Stars earlier this year, and I’m pretty damn proud of us for getting third place. I never would have thought we were capable of competing in (and doing well in!) a competition that difficult, and I loved seeing how far we could push ourselves. I’m still so proud of all we did in that competition, and I’m so grateful we had the chance to participate.

4. Met John and Sherry.

I know, we’re dorks. But it was a pretty huge deal to both of us to meet our blog idols and imaginary BFFs earlier this year when John and Sherry Petersik were in town for a book signing. We had a blast going out to meet them, and it was definitely a highlight for us this year! Especially when John commented on the blog a few days later (and they featured our recap of the signing on their blog!)

5. Completed an entire room.

HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT, HERE! When the year started, this room looked like this:

And it actually went through two makeovers this year, which is pretty impressive.

I’m so excited for how the nursery is looking (still needs a few finishing touches, and I still have a few things I haven’t shared yet!) and I can’t wait to have our little Monster actually sleeping in it!

6. Successfully had three dogs.

Doesn’t sound like much, I know, but I’m pretty proud of us for taking care of three dogs, especially when two of them are 70+ pounds and full of energy. I love our little (big?) family and can’t imagine it any other way, but sometimes it’s not easy having almost 160 pounds worth of dogs running laps around our living room.

7. Went to an A&M football game.

It was SO exciting for us to get to head back to College Station in September and watch a football game. It had been two years since we had been in town, and it felt so good to be back. We loved watching the game, and I can’t wait to officially turn it into a tradition – we’ll definitely be doing this every year!

8. Got new windows.

I LOVE OUR NEW WINDOWS. We have had them for a while now and I can safely say it that upgrading our windows was one of the best renovations decisions we have made thus far. I absolutely cannot wait to finish updating the rest of the house with new windows too!

9. Got rid of cable.

This was such an awesome decision for us. We had been considering it for a very long time, and we finally took the plunge this past spring and dropped our cable. We’re saving a ton of money each month by just using Hulu and Netflix, and we still have access to basic cable channels with the digital antenna we bought (though we very rarely use it). We haven’t regretted the decision for a second, and we are so much more purposeful about watching television now – it’s super rare for us to just have the television on in the background anymore, and if we’re watching television it’s because there is something specific we want to see. I love that, and we’re enjoying television so much more now that it’s not on all the time.

10. Created a human!

We didn’t get very many house projects checked off the list this year, but I’m going to give us a pass since I spent three-quarters of the year growing a baby. That’s hard work, people!

If you would have asked us at this time last year if we thought we’d be having a baby right now, we’d probably have laughed at you. We went from zero to baby fever in just a couple of months, and it all happened a bit faster than we thought it would – but I’m not complaining…we’re thrilled for the little boy that will be joining our family in a few short weeks, and I absolutely cannot wait to meet him!

What did you accomplish this past year?

December Bucket List

For the past few years, Corey and I have done an activity advent each December in order to ensure that we do some fun, Christmas-y things in the days leading up to the 25th.

Last year, we had an activity for every day in December – it was a blast, but some days we felt pressured to do the activity, even if we didn’t have time, and we didn’t get to do a lot of the activities because the weather didn’t corporate (for example, it was 80 degrees on the night we were supposed to light a fire!). So, this year I decided to just create a general bucket list for the month instead – it accomplishes the same purpose, but is a little more flexible. We can pick and choose which days we do different things, and we can cross out multiple items in a night/skip some nights if we aren’t feeling it.

So far, it’s been great – we’re feeling the Christmas spirit, but we aren’t stressing out about getting it all done. In the end, the purpose is just for us to have fun, so we don’t want to worry too much about actually crossing all of them off…as long as we feel like we get the most out of our holiday season, I’m happy!

I really enjoyed updating on our activities last year when we did this, so I figured I’d do the same this year – this week I’ll share everything we’ve crossed off the list so far this month, and next week I’ll try to pop back in with a quick update on the other things we accomplish. Hopefully we’ll get all (or most!) of them done by the 31st.

The above photo was taken earlier in the month, so we’ve actually knocked off a few more items since then – in addition to what you see crossed off, we also:

- Had breakfast for dinner
- Made gingerbread houses
- Went out to eat

We’ve had several fires already this year – we had quite a cold spell earlier this month, so our fireplace was basically always going.

We also have watched our fair share of Christmas movies already – we’ve been in the mood for cheesy Hallmark-y movies, so we’ve been streaming some of them from Netflix and basking in the incredibly cliche plot lines. They’re definitely not high-quality movies, but they make you happy every once in a while, you know? Of course, the dogs are loving all the movie watching – it means more cuddles on the couch for them!

We also did gingerbread houses with my family this past weekend. It’s turned into a yearly tradition and I LOVE it. It’s so much fun and has definitely become one of my absolute favorite nights of the whole Christmas season.

This week is the last week for both of us before our Christmas break, and we’re hoping to cross a few more things off the list throughout this week and over our two week break. It’s been a super stressful past few weeks at work for me, so I’m counting down the minutes until work is no longer a worry and I can start truly enjoying the rest of my holiday season!

What do you like to do in the weeks leading up to Christmas? Anyone else have a bucket list going?

Summer Vacation (aka: Our Babymoon)

A couple of weeks ago, Corey and I headed off on our last vacation as people without children.

Pretty weird, right?

We originally hadn’t planned on taking a cruise this year – we were going to do something different, but when we found out that I was pregnant we knew we didn’t want to miss out on the chance to take one last pre-baby cruise. We went with my sister and her family, as we have done several times in the past, and it was fabulous.

We went to Galveston two days early so we could get some relaxing in before we actually left. We’ve found that’s a great way to do it because we don’t have to stress about making it to the pier on the day of (how much would it suck to get a flat tire on the way to your cruise ship?) and it extends the vacation a bit. We’d prefer to only go up one day in advance, but the hotel we usually stay in requires a two-night stay so we decided to make the most of it.

Friday evening we just walked around and explored the little town a bit, and grabbed dinner at a local diner. It was a very relaxing night, and it definitely helped me get in vacation mode!

On Saturday we went to the Galveston aquarium for a bit, which is always one of Corey’s favorite activities. He adores aquariums.

That afternoon, my sister and her family joined us (they decided to only use one of their nights). We all hung out, grabbed dinner, and eagerly anticipated the arrival of our ship in the morning.

The cruise itself was magnificent, as usual. I was worried about possibly getting seasick because, even though I never have before, strange things have been bothering me since I got pregnant. I’ve had to drive anytime Corey and I go anywhere because I now get carsick (and I’m usually the type who can read in the car with no issues), so I was definitely concerned. Thankfully, there was no seasickness at all, and there was just one day that I felt bad, and it was just because I failed to follow my strict small-meals-only diet that I’ve had to adopt to avoid nausea.

One of the best things about consistently taking cruises for vacation is that we’ve gotten really good at them, and I feel like we learn a little something new every year. This year we landed on the perfect schedule – pool in the morning before it gets too full, and then enjoying other activities later in the day while everyone is at the pool. Sometimes, we’d head back to the pool in the evenings after dinner as well. We rarely had to deal with more than 4-5 other people in the pool at the same time as us, and we always secretly laughed at the people who were jammed in there like sardines later in the afternoon.

The first port we went to was Roatan – and we were actually doing the same excursion that Corey and I had planned on doing on our honeymoon, but we never got to because of bad weather. Corey and I were excited to get to see one of the ports we had originally missed out on, and we were really excited to try out the excursion we never got to do.

We took a chair lift over to the small beach and checked in to get our private cabana (that sounds so fancy, right?). It was so cute, and the area we were in was separated from the main beach so it was much quieter and less crowded. The weather wasn’t awesome, so most of us didn’t actually get in the water, but I had a fabulous time reading, laying out, and doing absolutely nothing.

Oh, and we had a waiter who would get us food, and their menu was very pregnant-lady-friendly.

Yeah. I was happy.

The next day was Belize and we had a more scenic excursion this time. We took an hour-long van ride to some ancient Mayan ruins (which doesn’t sound nearly as awesome as it was – I always love taking the long car rides and seeing what the country actually looks like), and then we had some time to explore and walk around.

It was gorgeous and so interesting to learn about. I always love trying to take at least one excursion like this where you really get to see a part of the country that you can’t see anywhere else. I also feel like it’s a great way to learn things about the country and culture that I’d never learn any other way.

After the ruins, we had some lunch and then went on a boat ride down a beautiful river. We saw some crocodiles, tons of lizards, and even a few manatees. This was definitely my favorite part of the day – it was so breathtakingly beautiful and so fun to see a little more of the country.

The next day was Cozumel, and we’ve been there many times and aren’t huge fans, so we spent the day on the ship, like we usually do. It’s always one of our favorite days – the ship is mostly deserted so we have the pools and water slides to ourselves, and we always spend a ton of time making the most of it.

After that was another day at sea, which was a super low-key day for us because we were all exhausted, and then the trip was over. It was a fabulous vacation and we loved every second of it. We tried to soak it up as much as possible because we know we probably won’t be going on another cruise for at least a couple of years, and I think this was a pretty perfect way to spend our last baby-less vacation.

Anyone else go on a great vacation this summer?