Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Baareman's Top 11 of 2011

We had a great year! We sat down together and decided these were some of the best highlights (*HINT* Click on the photo titles to read the full blog posts). Here's to 2012!!!! 

3. Jason's First Mission Trip to Ecuador

9. Amy's Bachelorette Weekend & Wedding in Colorado & Teresa's Wedding in Savannah, GA

Thanks for following us on all of our adventures! Can't wait to see what's in store for 2012!!!!! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12 Weeks (Dec. 19-25)

Right after getting back from our Anniversary trip on Sunday, I was back into the swing of things at work on Monday morning. Monday - Wednesday were all pretty quiet days around the office with lots of people gone and everyone in the Christmas spirit. We had our last company caroling session and had lots of goodies to go with it. I was frantically trying to finish everything I needed to get done for the company database transfer to Avionte - since the transfer would be occurring while I was out of the office on vacation. So, the quiet office allowed me to get a lot done.

On Tuesday I had my second doctors visit and it was totally different than the first! While I had been there for about 2 hours for the first visit, I was probably only back in the back a grand total of 10 minutes this time - although I did have to wait almost an hour before - since the whole waiting room was jam packed with people. All she did was listen for the heartbeat - which was 165. I was really excited to hear that everything was still going okay - since at this point I really wasn't feeling or looking pregnant at all. I think the whole pregnancy thing is becoming more and more real to me as time goes on. I know that the Lord wants me to trust in him through this whole process, and I will admit it definitely is something that requires faith. Most of the time I feel absolutely powerless to making sure that the pregnancy is going A-OK. There is just so many miraculous things that are happening everyday inside of me, that it is hard to believe that everything is going fine - without a hitch. I try to reassure myself that God's will will be done no matter what - and I do know and believe that, but somehow, I always have this nagging "I hope nothing goes wrong" worry all the time! Sometimes I think I am trying to protect myself from future heartbreak too, by not letting myself get super excited yet. However, I've talked with a few people about this and they tell me to just be excited because I have no reason but to expect a healthy outcome. Also, I've come to realize that there is a big temptation in pregnancy - for a person like me - to worry about every little thing. Like, if I feel something funny to automatically think - "Oh no, something must be wrong!" Or another few examples - I picked up a really heavy jug of water at work a few weeks ago. I didn't really think anything of it - but my co-worker was like - "Aren't you not supposed to lift heavy stuff?" - I still wasn't too worried until I looked it up online, read a few horror stories about other women's pregnancies, and was sufficiently worried the rest of the day! Then, this past week, my little brother hugged me super tight - something he just likes to do, normally I don't think twice about it. But of course now, since I am super-paranoid, I was again worried that something bad had probably happened to the baby as a result. I am learning that there is a fine line between being a responsible pregnant woman, and being a crazy-worried pregnant woman. I am trying (with God's help) to be the former. All I can say is that if there is a healthy baby at the end of this, it will be the greatest miracle I have ever experienced and it will be another example of how God is faithful to the end - despite my worrying. I truly can't understand how people can believe that there isn't a God when they see the miracle of pregnancy and birth. I really desire to honor God by not worrying even when there are many temptations for me to do so.

On Wednesday, I had my last day of work and we invited Angelyn and Michael over for Papa John's pizza so they could help us film the video trailer that we used to announce the pregnancy on Facebook! We had a lot of fun filming both at our house and at Target. We also shot a few scenes with my little sister's baby dolls in Atlanta.

On Thursday morning, we spent a few hours packing and getting everything ready to go. We got to Atlanta in time for lunch with my parents at the club. It was nice to get some time to hang out with them while the kids were still in school. After that, we came home and David Chen and his girlfriend Chrissy came over. It was really good to see both of them and catch up. On Thursday night, we just had a normal family dinner and watched Captain America with my parents. As always- I fell asleep during it!

On Friday, Latonya came over to work with my mom and she found out and was super excited about the baby. Right after that, I went on a walk with my mom, Lucas, and Summer, and Roxy of course. We got back just in time for me to get ready (barely) to go to brunch at J. Christopher's with Julianna, Catie, and Laura - my old roommates from college. It was so fun to catch up with them and we got to hear all about Laura's engagement that had happened just a few days before. I also got to share our news with them which was really fun. We ended up staying for a while after we had eaten and it seemed like our waiter wanted us to leave, so we headed over the Chick-fil-a to continue hanging out. It was so funny because about 15 minutes after we got there, in walk my dad, Jason, and the kids! It was fun because Jason got to see everyone, and after the girls had to leave I stuck around with the fam. They were in the middle of getting some last minute gifts for my mom. I left that gang to go with my mom and sister to the club to check out their space for her bridesmaids' luncheon. We also drove up to North Point Mall to get some Christmas presents from the American Girl Doll Store for Summer. While there, we also got some last minute presents at Sport Authority and Michael's. It was fun, although I think the day wore me out because by the end I was getting really tired and feeling sick in the car :(  When we got back, I made sugar cookies with the kids and all 6 adults went out to dinner at Mirko Pasta (super good!). We had lots of fun hanging out and talking. When we got back home, we played Phase 10.

The next day - Saturday - was Christmas Eve, always a busy day! We hung around the house for most of the morning. We went to the grocery store to get supplies for the chili, cornbread, and Christmas food that we would be making over the next two days. We made a gingerbread house with the kids, exercised a little, I took a nap and read a little, and then headed out to the candlelight service at church where we met up with Kristen and Ben. After the service, we came home, enjoyed our delicious dinner (I think we will make the chili and cornbread a tradition, since it was ready as soon as we walked in the door!), took some pics and opened some presents. I overheard my little sister S asking my dad, "Some kids at school say that Santa isn't real, they say that parents are the ones that bring presents. Is that true?" My dad had some cop out answer like "Santa is the spirit of Christmas," or something like that lol. This was not the first time she had asked, and it seemed like it was kind of weighing on her mind. After the kids went to bed, we were like - I think it is time to tell them the truth about parents - especially my mom, looked kinda sad, like they didn't want the fun to be over for everyone. Then we all discussed when they should tell them - before they opened presents in the morning? after? Nobody could decide. Then, we all watched "It's a Wonderful Life" our family tradition. For the first time in a long time we made it through the whole movie and nobody even fell asleep!

The next morning, we got to sleep in until about 8:30. The kids got up and were super excited, talking all about what Santa had brought them. They said the "Santa" word enough to discourage my parents from saying anything. We had a great morning - Jason got money to buy a putter and a cute little Georgia Bulldog to put on top of his driver and I got a crib! I'll post more about Christmas "loot" later. After opening presents, we made sausage cheese eggs and scones for breakfast. At the breakfast table, my dad decided to break the news. He asked S, "Do you remember the question that you asked me last night?" - and of course she couldn't even remember so we all started second guessing if it was really time to tell. But my dad went on, "Are you sure you don't asked something about Santa." Then she said, "Oh yeah, I asked about how could Santa fit down the chimney and not get dirty?" And my dad was like "Remember when you asked if Santa was real?" Then S was like, "oh yeah..." Then my dad went on to explain that yes, it is indeed true that parents are the ones that give presents to kids, that the reason we celebrate is because Jesus' birth was the greatest gift God could ever give us, etc. There was some awkward silence. Then we asked the older two siblings, "Didn't you already know? Hadn't your friends already told you?" And there were both like "No! They did, but we believed you." :( Then, my little bro L said to my little sis - "You shouldn't have asked the question - you took the fun out of it," or something like that....

The rest of the day, they didn't seem too phased by the news, they were all pretty happy to have gotten their presents. However, my little bro, L is the most sensitive of the three, and even at Christmas dinner, he actually started crying a little and said "Christmas is ruined!" and was still upset at my sister for asking the question. A few funny things happened though. We heard the kids talking about Ernie, the Christmas elf, and L said, "He's a fake." Then, we overheard L talking about Santa to S, and S said "Get over it!" hahaha.

As for the rest of Christmas, we spent the day cooking, hanging out with my grandparents, who came over for dinner, then we all went to see "Tin-Tin" in 3D. I highly recommend it!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Today, my beautiful wife Laura and I celebrated 3 years of marriage together.  We have spent 94,608,000 seconds together and every second has been enjoyed.  I couldn't ask for a better life companion than Laura.  She is just fantastic.  Yes, I like to brag on with it :)  So how do you celebrate three years with the most amazing woman on the planet.  I'd say, take her to one of her favorite cities in the South.  So that's what I did.  We had a wonderful weekend in Charleston SC last weekend to celebrate our anniversary because the actual day fell during the week.  There is just something about getting away from everything to really help you relax.  We had a fantastic time together and made some fun memories!

We left on Friday afternoon because Laura had a half day from work.  I'm am still on break from P.T. school.  We packed up our bags and headed off on I-20 to head toward the lovely, picturesque town of Charleston.  It's not a far drive from Augusta so we arrived to check in at our hotel in about two and a half hours.  We actually stayed in North Charleston, not downtown, at the Hyatt Place.  It is a super nice hotel and we got a good deal on the room.  Ironically, it is the same hotel line where we stayed the night of our wedding before flying out to St. Lucia for the honeymoon.  So the place is super nice and decently priced.  After arriving and checking in we got some...a lot of brochures.  Laura loves them.  But she does not like to carry them.  My pockets were full and bulgy.  But the information was valuable as it helped us decide what to do while we were in town.  We decided we'd start be visiting downtown Charleston.  So we hopped in the car and drove on in to town.  I learned real quick that there is zero parking downtown except in public garages which cost like 3 dollars an hour.  Needless to say we spent several of our trip dollars on parking fees.  It was evening on Friday night and there was a bustle and an excitement downtown as the street lights were light and people were shopping on King street or exercising by the bay.  We just strolled around for awhile to get moving after our car ride.  We walked down King St and did some shopping.  We walked down many of the streets with the magnificently restored period homes.  And we walked by a starlit bay looking out towards Fort Sumter.  All the walking started to make us hungry so we walked back to a Mellow Mushroom to get some pizza since both Laura and I love having pizza on Friday nights.  It was so hot and delicious.  Perfect.  The only thing left to do on this night was to cap it off with a movie.  Dinner and a movie just sounds better than dinner.  So we GPS'ed a theatre and decided to see Sherlock Holmes.  I really like the movie and thought it was fun and entertaining.  I think Laura liked it less especially as I looked over and she was catching some zzz's.  In her defense, the theater chairs were the most amazing chairs I have ever sat in.  The were the perfect blend of soft and firm and contoured.  And they rocked back and forth.  They really could put you to sleep!  By the end of the movie both of us were tired so we drove back to our hotel.  Not before getting pulled over by a N. Charleston police officer, however.  Apparently, the intersection of the highway and the street our hotel was on has several signs that say do not turn Right on red.  So being a visitor to the area, in a new area late at night and tired, I did not notice the supposedly "many" signs that officer Perkins said I declined to heed.  We played the "we are visiting on our anniversary" card and were very polite.  Fortunately, officer Perkins was merciful to the weary visitors and let us off with a warning.  Literally, 45 ft further, I turned into our hotel parking lot.  Evening one with beautiful bride = success!

The next day we actually slept in a little bit!  It was miraculous.  We had a very lazy morning sans the fact that we decided to work out together in the hotel fitness area.  But after a workout, some continental breakfast and showers, we were ready to get our day started.  The hotel is strategically located right across from the outlet malls and that is were we started.  Laura got some great new clothes and I actually participated in buying a new sweater for myself.  After shopping, we headed downtown and had a late lunch at a very good restaurant we had walked by the night before called, Toast.  It was fantastic.  We were going to try and not eat to much because we had reservations for a nice restaurant called Hank's at 6:15.  But we were hungry and the food at Toast so good, that we just ate.  After Toast, we walked through the downtown market and bought a cool ornament for our Christmas tree.  We then walked up to the big park where a local festival was taking place.  Did I mention that we had beautiful weather the entire trip.  Well we did.  We drove back to the hotel to relax for awhile and rest from all of our walking.  We ended up just hanging out in our room for hours just watching tv in bed and since neither of us were hungry, we cancelled our Hank's reservation.  We had heard and read about this cool Christmas light event in Charleston so we decided to go and check it out.  We still weren't hungry yet and it was about 7 so we decided to go to the Christmas light display before dinner.  Well, we learned that this display is ridiculous and super popular because as we drove to where it was located, traffic was way way backed up.  Since we still weren't hungry we were like "hey, let's just wait in line and eat afterwards."  But as the fates would have it, we got really hungry about 45 minutes into us waiting in stand still traffic.  We had no choice but to turn around, give up our position in line, and eat at this little place we drove by called Melvin's BBQ.  The food was actually super delicious and probably kept us from getting really annoyed at each other as we just sat in traffic.  By the time we finished dinner, the line for the display was pretty much over and we drove through miles of Christmas light displays before heading back to our Hotel.

Sunday morning was also a relaxed morning, especially since we didn't have to get up early and teach sunday school.  So we had some liesure time and devotion time together to get the day started.  We sadly, had to pack up our suitcase and get the room back in order to check out.  We checked out just before our deadline at noon and we went back downtown one last time to eat at this little brunch place we had heard about called Fleet Landing on the water.  Again, a small establishment, but amazing food!  It used to be an old navy supply building, but was renovated to be a restaurant.  However, the kept the Navy/nautical themes.  After brunch/lunch we had to make one last stop at the outlet mall before heading home.  After that last stop we headed home to Augusta.  It was fantastic trip with a fantastic woman.  And I am excited for the years and experiences to come with Laura!

The End!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Thanksgiv...wait...

So a very belated Happy Thanksgiving post.  Where does the time go?  Laura and I were watching a Muppet Christmas Carol last night (yes, that may or may not be a favorite Christmas movie of mine...don't judge) and suddenly we realized that we did not blog about our Thanksgiving adventures.  So while it is almost Christmas, it is never to late to give thanks and in fact it's pretty cool to give thanks at Christmas time.  So Laura and I re-enter the blogosphere with some catching up to do starting with Thanksgiving.

This year it was our turn to spend thanksgiving with my parents in Mississippi.  So Laura got off of work a little bit early, on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day.  When she got home from work, we packed up our suitcase and what ever else we could think of to bring like work out clothes, games, etc.  The one thing we forgot to bring was the Wii.  I wanted to show my parents the Wii because I thought they would get a kick out of it and we could play the game that they got us which is Just Dance 3!  After loading the car and filling up the tank, we set off on our 6 hour escapade to the prairie-lands of Starkville.  The trip gets kind of long so we made a few stops along the way to get out of the car and stretch.  But I think what made it seem so long this time was the fact that we left and it was already about dark.  So the whole trip was at night.  I mean, we arrived at like 11 pm CST but it felt like we were driving all through the night.  But we made it safely and arrived at my parents house just in time for bed.

The next day was Thanksgiving Day, and we got up and pretty much just had a day at home.  We watched some of the Macy's day parade, talked and hung out with the 'rents, and prepared our dinner.  We were planning on actually eating the food for dinner, but we all got hungry early and so we ended up eating at a weird time like 3:30.  But the food was really really good.  This year my parents actually smoked the turkey, well they themselves didn't smoke it, but there's a meat guy in Starkville that will smoke any meat you bring him.  So my parents bought the turkey a couple of days before, dropped it off at the meat guy, and he smoked it for hours.  It was amazing.  It was so tender and juicy and smoky.  I don't know if I can go back to regular turkey now because that was just fantastic.  With full bellies and tryptophan taking it's toll in our blood stream, we all hunkered down for a relaxing evening.  We watched an old Christmas movie, I think it was Christmas in Connecticut, which was fantastic.  We also played our new favorite game, Telestrations!  We all got some good laughs out of that one.  Eventually, heavy eye lids won the battle against awakeness and we all turned in ready to do some black Friday shopping.

Now, I for one don't really care for shopping, much less on a day when a bajillion other people are acting crazy just to get stuff, but me dear, lovely bride really enjoys shopping and being out in the crowd and finding good deals, so we were going to go shopping.  The question was where?  There is really nothing in Starkville and I'm pretty sure the General Store was closed for the holidays.  So we decided we'd all take a brief trip down to the 'burbs of Jackson MS where all of the modern conveniences for purchasing power were located.  As much as I don't really like this shopping day, we did find some good deals.  We bought some great toys for the kiddos back in Atlanta.  Laura got some new digs which was handy, because while we were eating lunch at a cafe called Newks, my Dad noticed a gaping hole under the left armpit of Laura's cozy green sweater.  But since she had just bought some new comfy clothes, a quick trip to the bathroom restored Laura into good fashion standing and the shopping day could continue.  My dad was actually the big winner of the trip, ironically.  He found a basketball hoop that was like $400 off.  Unfortunately, we drove to Jackson in the civic so arrangements had to be made to pick it up the following week when he could bring his truck.  Dad also found some plants on sale at his new favorite plant nursery, which I helped him plant the next day.  That evening after returning from the land of things to buy, we had some left over thanksgiving dinner and hit the hay literally (just kidding...Starkville may be in the country but it is not that country!)

The next day, Saturday, it was time to once again hang out so we went on a walk around the farm enjoying the beautiful weather.  As I mentioned early, I helped my dad do some yard work and other things that he needed a strong young man's help for.  And then we carved out time for the Georgia/GaTech game, which the dawgs won!  That night we got BBQ from a  famous BBQ place and watched some more football and lounged around.  We went to bed that night after packing up and the next morning loaded up the car for a return trip home with a brief stop in ATL to visit Laura's family before arriving back in Augusta town.  It was a lot of traveling but it was a very fun and relaxing trip.  Merry Thanksmas, and to all a goodnight!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

11 Weeks - Part 2 (Dec. 11-18)

So, I think I got my weeks mixed up...blame it on the pregnancy brain right? Or it could be due to the fact that I am writing these during Week 12? Oh well...

This past week can be summed up with:
  • Lots of work at MAU getting ready for the switch to Avionte, our new company-wide database. 
  • Feeling better and naively thinking I was "out of the woods" ha! 
  • Jason and I frantically making like 80 Chocolate Crinkle Cookies for the MAU Cookie Exchange. Then experiencing Oreo Balls for the first time - yes, we will be making those! 
  • Last Bible Study of the year - we finished up our study of Romans. Marie made some amazing homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and grilled cheese for us to enjoy together before Bible Study started. She also had some of this Chocolate Cake for us, so check out her blog to find these great recipes and more! The previous week, Anne and Charlie made some meatloaf for everyone before Bible Study too. Maybe we have started a trend! 
  • On Friday, I took a half day to travel to Charleston with my hubby to celebrate our 3 Year Wedding Anniversary! We had so much fun! Jason actually wrote an entire post about it - so click here to read more and see some pics

Joy To The World Remixed

So it's the Christmas season yet again.  I do like Christmas, especially in the south.  Where else other than like Miami can you literally be outside in short sleeves during the holiday season?  The south.  I also like decorating the tree, watching my favorite holiday movies, and christmas lights.  Last year Laura and I showed you some lights from around our neighborhood.  This year I actually participated and put up some exterior lights of our own.  They came out good after several attempts to hang/get the lights to work/not burn the house down because I didn't read the instructions which said not to attach more than two to three strands in a row.  Thank you blown fuse for protecting my home from the craziness of like 10 interconnected strands on one plug.  Ohms my! (science  Anywho, there is one other facet of Christmas that I enjoy and that is Christmas music.

Christmas music just makes me happy.  Well not just any Christmas music, but old Christmas carols and especially jazz arrangements.  I believe that jazz was indeed invented for Christmas.  So with so many great songs and great arrangements, I thought to myself, "Self, why don't you arrange on old Christmas carol."  So I did.  This was not actually my original intent.  I had some time off from school and a few melodic ideas in my head which I began to write down in hopes of creating a cool jazz fusion tune like the last song, but after awhile it became apparent that the melody of Joy to the World would fit quite nicely with everything else going on.  So after a few melodic and harmonic corrections, several hours on the mac and on the keyboard, and a little shot of my feeling like I wanted to dance that day, the Joy Remix was born.  It's short because I didn't want it to become boring just repeating the melody, but the arrangement definitely makes me happy and makes me want to dance.  Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

11 Weeks (Dec. 5-10)

I realized that I was a little off with my dates - but since I left off at the weekend of Dec. 3-4, I'll pick up there.

This week can be summed up by a few events:

  • Getting up super early on Tuesday and Wednesday to help out with the OSHA classes. I helped out by getting breakfast food and make sure it was set up by around 7:45am for the students. I'm not normally a morning person, and especially not now! But somehow I managed! 
  • Jason and I met with Sue Reimer from a local law firm and she helped us get our LLC, Blue Prism Investments all in in order. We are now completely set up correctly! Turns out you can't really trust Legalzoom! Tomorrow, we are going to do the final step of meeting with a local CPA so she can help us get our taxes in order for 2011. 
  • I got to enjoy two days of caroling at MAU - it is a tradition that is really fun. We all sing a few Christmas carols together during the morning and enjoy breakfast together. The first day I totally pigged out and had a sausage biscuit from Chick-fil-a (by the way, totally didn't know that they had sausage - I thought they only sold chicken?!?), and also enjoyed some Cinni-minis. Yum! The next day we caroled, Travis brought in some homemade breakfast casserole and fruit which was equally delicious. 
  • On Thursday night, Jason traveled to Atlanta to visit with one of his friends, Drew. He also had some time to hang out with my family too. While he was gone, I did what I do best - wasted lots of time online, primarily on Pinterest. I think I also went to the gym a few times - a good activity to do when your home is empty! :( 
  • On Friday, I hung solo and watched a movie via Amazon on Demand. I really wanted to watch The Preacher's Wife - a great Christmas movie which features an amazing soundtrack by Whitney Houston - but unfortunately the closest I could get was watching the original, The Bishop's Wife, starring Cary Grant. That movie was also good. I was glad to get a Friday night to completely relax...ahhh... 
  • On Saturday, I ran some errand, cleaned the house, and prepared to have Stephanie and Kristina (work friends) over for dinner and a movie. We had lots of fun preparing our Asian fare (I used our wok for the first time and made fried rice - take it from me, leave this task to the experts, they do it best! While my rice was good, it was no where near as good at the local Chinese restaurant...) I also made teriyaki chicken and was quite proud of myself, since Jason normally takes care of the meat when we cook. Plus, I even marinated it! To cook, I just used the Cuisinart Griddler and it took less than 5 minutes! Kristina made two different types of Asian salad, which were both delicious and even made me a smoothie - to make me feel better for not being able to drink alcohol, lol. She's actually inspired me and I have made two smoothies on my own since - neither quite as good though... Stephanie came with the goodies and brought some really cute reindeer cookies and and chocolate bark. Yum! We had a great time and finished the night by watching Christmas Vacation. When Jason came home, he found that we had accidently clogged the drain while preparing our fancy dinner. 
  • On Sunday, we ran our errands, cleaned, laundry, the usual. We also did some preliminary investigations on our clogged drain. We didn't get to far on Sunday, so unfortunately, Jason had to spend most of the day on Monday figuring out the problem. I'm so proud of him that he fixed it himself and we didn't have to pay a plumber!!!! 
  • As far as pregnancy symptoms go. I started to feel like I was out of the woods on Saturday and Sunday. We will see how long that lasts... 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

10 Weeks (Nov. 28 - Dec. 4)

So we have made it to 10 weeks! Yay! After a pretty crazy week, we crashed over the weekend. On Friday night, we didn't do much, just stayed around the house - or at least that's all I can remember. *Side note* a few weekends ago, we watched all three of the Back to the Future Movies in one weekend, one on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Angelyn and Michael even joined us for #2 I think - - I love those movies!

On Saturday, we had a jam packed day. That morning, we had to run some errands: I exchanged one pair of exercise pants at Target, and then immediately bought some better, cheaper ones at Old Navy. We went to BBB to get a last minute wedding gift for Mary Beth and Ryan, got some amazing Christmas candles and other random make-up stuff at BBB too. I can't remember all we did, but do know that we were out and about right until lunch.

After lunch we changed and headed to Mary Beth's wedding that started at 2 downtown. The wedding was really pretty and fun. It was so good to see the two of them finally get hitched - we are so excited for them! During the wedding - which was held at First Pres, there was a little rambunctious toddle right in front of us that kept us laughing (or trying not to laugh) the entire time. The day was beautiful out, pretty sunny and warm for early December. They had lots of wonderful food at the reception, and instead of just one groom's cake, they had like 5 fancy flavored cakes from a bakery there - like white chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut-butter cup, hummingbird, and others! We sat at a table with lots of Jason's PT friends. We had to squeeze a lot of extra chairs in so everyone could sit together. I really enjoyed their wedding slideshow, first dance, etc. We left a few minutes into the UGA-LSU Game (SEC Championship), once we heard that UGA was actually leading the game at 3-0, so I don't know what we missed...

We got home, and I laid on the couch while we watched the football game. UGA did us proud- especially during the first half, when they led the entire time! Unfortunately, LSU came back with a vengeance  during the 2nd half and beat us fair and square. It was a good thing I had a rest/nap during the game because at 7:00pm we headed to Stephanie and Nick's Christmas party. I brought Mint-Chocolate brownies, that are really good - except that I think I made too much mint topping and chocolate icing, yes - there can be to much of a good thing. Or maybe I don't like it because I am pregnant - too much sugar? Because Jason loves it and has eating most of the pan himself. Believe it or not I don't really crave sweets or diet coke at all anymore. I have wondered - did my Diet Coke habit fuel my constant need for sweets? Or is the salty pregnancy cravings just taking over completely? Well I was really proud of my pregnant self because I had energy the entire party and made it until about 10:45 when we decided it was time to go (Jason had to teach in the morning). The party was really fun and we enjoyed hanging out with some MAU folks and meeting people from Nick's work.

After such a crazy busy Saturday, on Sunday we went to church, then I spent the afternoon on the couch, sleeping and reading. Jason did most of the Christmas decorating for us - thank you Jason!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

9 Weeks (Nov. 24-27)

I am actually a few days into 10 weeks, but I couldn't forget to document how week 9 went down...

The last few days of Thanksgiving break were lots of fun. The day of Thanksgiving, we did a lot of relaxing. Jason's mom did all the cooking - which I think next year I'll volunteer to help her out some, but I'll be honest, this year, it was great to just sit on the couch and read all day - then enjoy a delicious meal! I took advantage of the free time I had to just lie around, read, sleep, and visit with family. We did talk a long walk after the Thanksgiving meal around the farm land behind the Baareman's house. It was really fun to get outside, move our legs a bit, and even pet the horses! The farmland is actually owned by the University of Mississippi and is a research farm, but there are tons of trails and paths to walk around on. It is really funny because many times you can actually hear cows "moo-ing" from inside their house!

On Friday, we decided to venture out to Jackson, MS to participate in the annual Black Friday shopping. We didn't get there until about noon, but I did snag some pretty good deals on presents for family, and a few clothing items for myself at Target! We had lunch at this place called Newk's that was really yummy. I ordered soup and salad, and the cup of soup was gigantic! It was about a foot across, and very shallow, but still I hardly made a dent in it- thanks to first-trimester queasiness - ugh!!!! When will it stop!!? After lunch, we spent some time at Dick's Sporting Goods, where Randy got a Basketball Hoop marked WAY down from like $600 to $200! It was crazy! We also got some plants at a local nursery before heading home. After the drive home, we went to downtown Starkville and enjoyed some delicious pizza at Old Venice Pizza Co. We got the John Wayne pizza - which was really good. Side note- I think that my biggest pregnancy craving so far is pizza. I could really eat pizza every day if I could. I can't tell if this is real craving, or just the only thing I want because it is mainly bread - I tend to only want to eat bread these days. A lot of other things don't appeal to me because the smell of everything has increased like 10 fold. I normally love red onions, but tonight I couldn't stomach them.

That night, when we got home, the plan was to watch a movie together, but instead I went right into the bedroom, laid down and half read/half slept. I think the full day of shopping wore me out! lol.

The next day on Saturday, Jason and I went on a long brisk walk. The weather was beautiful - it was sunny and crisp outside, but not cold. Exercise does energize me, so I really enjoyed our walk. When we got home, I took a shower, and then again was tempted to just lay back in bed and read. So you can see what an exciting life I've been leading lately *sarcasm*! Good thing is, my book is really intriguing - it is the sequel to the Other Boelyn Girl - it's called The Boelyn Inheritance. I have this thing for historical fictional books. We also watched UGA beat Georgia Tech! That day we just hung around the house and then had BBQ for dinner. We also watched a really cute movie called Christmas in Connecticut.

All in all, I was really grateful for my relaxing trip to MS. I think I really needed the time to just do nothing for a few days - it was glorious!!!!

On Sunday, we left pretty early in the morning for the long trek home. We stopped in Birmingham at Panera Bread - primarily for me to get bread- haha. We stopped in Atlanta around 3:00pm and visited with my family. We had a few hours to just stay and chat, so that was really fun. They told us about their trip to Houston that they had taken with the kids and Kristen and Ben. We also got to see photos of their trip. After our brief stay, we hit the road again and made it home around 8 or so I think. I made shrimp, rice and veggies loosely based on a recipe - I'll never do that again! It didn't turn out very well and I couldn't really stomach it. I've found that in the evenings, I really can't eat much other than bread and cheese, or bland stuff like cereal.

We went to bed, didn't clean up or unpack at all (leading to a very CRAZY start of the work week) and were ready for the next week - Week #10!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

8 Weeks (Nov. 19-24)

It's the week of Thanksgiving! I have been waiting so long for a few days off from work and regular life! Jason and I left Augusta around 5:45 yestereday and got into Starkville, MS around 12:30 our time (11:30 their time) last night. Luckily, Jason did the driving and I got to sleep for a lot of the drive. I got so much sleep that I woke up at 6:30 this morning wide-awake!

For the last few weeks, I haven't been feeling all that well - but not horribly either. I just haven't really felt hungry, but instead feel kinda queasy for most of the day until all of a sudden I am starving! Then, even though I am starving, I don't really want to eat anything. I keep telling Jason that it is so weird to be hungry and yet not desire to eat any food! I have gotten to be really picky about the food I eat. There were a lot of days in November when I packed my lunch from home, got really hungry around lunch time, looked at my lunch, and had no desire to eat it. So, needless to say, I've spent more on eating out than I normally do! My focus has just been eating my 3 meals a day, no matter what - even if I don't really feel like eating. Sometimes when I eat, I feel some relief to my stomach, then other times I don't - it is really hard to predict. I think that sometimes my pre-natal vitamin is to blame. I've discovered that if I have that thing without a lot of food, my stomach will get upset.

Another symptom I have had is extreme thirstiness at all times! Sometimes it seems that no amount of water will solve the dryness in my mouth! It is really annoying. It has caused me to drink A TON of water though - which I guess is a good thing. Plus, I have totally stopped drinking soda of any type (and haven't since about week 5), mostly because it made my mouth even more dry and made me extremely gasey/burpy - ewww!

This past weekend, I was so excited that we had a weekend at home (Nov. 19-20). The previous weekend (Nov. 12-13), I had spent a busy, fun-filled weekend with my mom and sister for our annual Girl's trip to Atlanta. Well one sign of my tiredness following all that fun was that I didn't clean the house or even unpack my suitcase the entire week! So, this past weekend, we spent some time unpacking, doing laundry, getting the house back in order, running errands, shopping, etc. I was feeling pretty tired and spent a few hours each day laying down on the couch (either napping or reading). On top of my tiredness, I got sick with a typical cough/cold. My nose was running like crazy and I felt pretty bad. On Sunday, to keep up with the fitness challenge at work, I went to walk on the treadmill and that actually made me feel better - surprisingly. So after a pretty sickly weekend, I was pretty worried about this week. I made sure to get a TON of sleep over the weekend so that I could survive work. Then, to my surprise, I felt better than I had in a few weeks on Monday-Wednesday of this week. I had more energy, more normal appetite, etc. I even had energy to do something other than lay on the couch when I got home! I started to have hope that my pregnancy and sickliness wouldn't ruin the Thanksgiving break that I had been looking forward to!

On Tuesday, we had our first Doctor's appointment. I was actually really nervous about it becuase I thought that it would involve lots of tests, which I have never been to fond of. I was especially worried about the vaginal ultrasound - which some other people had described as a little painful. I was starting to think "what have I gotten myself into? I'm too big of a wimp to have a baby!" Well turns out God answered all my prayers again and everything went perfectly fine! All my tests went off without a hitch - and no it wasn't painful! Plus, we got to see our baby for the first time, hear its heartbeat, and even see its heart beat. It was really comforting to hear the nurse say that everything looked as it should. With the ultrasound, she looked all around my insides and said that everything looked good. We found out that we are only having one baby - no twins - which is a good thing since I plan to work until D-Day! At the visit, we also found out that my official due date is July 1st, but that measuring the size of the baby, my due date is July 3rd - the very same day as Jason's board exam! How crazy ironic is that! We are hoping that the delivery won't conflict with the test. So we praise Jesus for a healthy baby so far! We are very thankful and feeling very blessed right now! We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Introducing our gummy bear! 

Right now we are hanging out the Baareman's on a beautiful Thanksgiving day. The sun is shining, there's a high of 70 degrees today, and we are just relaxing together. I can't help but think how different this Thanksgiving is from last Thanksgiving when I ran my first half-marathon. I actually remember thinking to myself that I should run it last year, in case I was trying to get pregnant this year. Crazy what a difference a year makes!

Oh, a few other things happened this week! I want to make sure that I don't forget anything! Jason ended up telling his co-workers at Trinity Hospital that we are expecting. He said he told them because all they ever talk about at work is babies, babies, babies! So eventually after they asked him enough questions, he spilled the beans! Meanwhile, my parents, the kids, and Kristen and Ben are in Houston right now visiting extended family. My mom asked if she could tell some of her family and her friend Diane about the pregnancy - especially since we had a little bit more confidence telling people at our doctors visit and ultrasound. So I told her she could tell. Then yestereday, I was at lunch at Subway with Stephanie, and a related topic came up and I decided to fess up to her. It was really fun getting to talk to a friend about it though! She said she won't tell a soul until I tell the whole office around the end of the first trimester. Hopefully I can hold this secret in for another month!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

7 Weeks (Nov. 14-20)

So I started this separate blog so I could be completely open and honest about what's been going on.... I've been feeling okay - not completely sick, but definitely not my normal self either. The best way i can describe it is semi-off/queasy. And I feel like this almost all the time. Luckily, I feel good enough to function like I did before. I can work, and even exercise, like I did for the first time in awhile today!

My hunger senses are kinda off too. Like most of the day I feel like I just ate a huge meal. Then, I will suddenly feel hungry and then eat. But then after that, I don't feel relief, I just feel super full and bloated like I did before. I think my main pregnancy symptoms are feeling tired/lethargic, feeling WAY bloated ALL the time (REALLY ANNOYING!), being burpy (eww! ) I feel like I always have air circulating through my body - so much so that I stopped drinking ALL sodas about a week ago. That did help significantly, but didn't get rid of the constant bloated feeling. The tiredness leads to a lot of weird stuff. For instance, my life has pretty much become all about boiling life down to the basics: working, eating, and sleeping. Everything else has just fallen by the wayside - things that used to be super important to me -  like having a clean house, clean clothes, etc. I have just accepted can't happen all the time. Also, in order to get myself to do anything other than working, eating, and sleeping - it takes a HUGE amount of effort. It was really funny today because I was determined to go the gym - it had been awhile. So I got there, and it was raining, and instead of just running in, I laid back my seat and just laid there for like 20 minutes- totally unlike me. It literally took me like 20 minutes to get up the gumption to walk into the gym! Another thing I haven't done that I did before - blogging! I think it is because I don't feel like I am being completely honest - when I try to write about things (like going to the fair, or having girls weekend with my mom and sis) without mentioning the pregnancy at all. I'm not very good at keeping secrets - this is the longest I have ever kept anything to myself!

I should also talk about semi-awkward things about being pregnant and not being able to tell anyone. Let's see if I can remember everything. The first night we found out was a Saturday - and we had planned to go to the Aiken Brewery with some of Jason's PT friends. Well of course everyone at a brewery has beer - except me - I had to nonchalantly decline that one. P.S. I think I did make a few mistakes in my early early pregnancy - before I even knew that I was. First off, I had two glasses of wine for my birthday dinner at Kristen's house - at that point I was probably only 1 week along. Then, I went on a few hard-core runs, which I have decided that I won't do any more of - after lots of reading online and soul-searching about running while pregnant. But anyways, back to the awkward moments. The day after I found out - I had to go to Atlanta for the NMSDC Conference. While there, I got to hang out with my dad and kids, since my mom was in Atlanta with some of her friends. While at the conference, Kevin- a guy I work with asked me how long it would be until I would have kids - I don't even remember what I said, i just thought that was pretty ironic - lol. Then, a random pregnant lady at my conference lunch table asked me if I had any kids - also ironic. The next thing I can remember is that one day I was wearing a pink sweater dress that I had ordered from Target - it isn't a maternity dress - but had some room to grow in it. Well my friend Paul at work told me one day that he liked my dress and that it would make a great maternity dress...clarification - he wasn't trying to be rude, his wife just had a baby, and I think maybe now he knows what maternity clothes look like...also, ever since him and his wife had their baby, he has been telling me at work how awesome kids are and how Jason and I need to have one soon. So anyways, right in front of my other co-worker Stephanie, he brings this weird maternity clothes discussion up and I start blushing and just trying to get out of the discussion by saying we aren't ready to have kids yet! The whole time I was wondering if Jason had told him the news - because why else would be tell me my dress looked like a maternity dress? Also he had a very insinuating tone to his voice. Unfortunately, since I couldn't find a way out of the discussion and i was bright red, I threw poor Stephanie under the bus and told Paul - "well you should give Stephanie a hard time about getting married instead of me a hard time about having babies!" - well I really regretted that... poor Stephanie then had to defend herself too...Next random moment, after the Summit, Stephanie and Adam and I were about to leave and were talking in the parking lot. He was saying something about how cute his little boy is...blah blah, then I asked, "When is he going to get to be a big brother?" Then Adam said - well actually, in May! So Stephanie and I were really happy and excited for him and started asking how his wife Courtney was feeling, etc. We asked him why he hadn't told us yet and he said that they had kept it under wraps and were a little gun shy because they had a miscarriage on their first pregnancy at 10 weeks. Adam said that they had heard the baby's heartbeat and everything and still lost the pregnancy :( . Of course, that was NOT something that I needed to hear - haha. But anyways, it just felt weird to all be talking about Courtney's pregnancy while I was standing right there, pregnant too - but not saying anything.

Unfortunately, the miscarriage story led me to spend the whole night researching miscarriage rates and stuff - not the most fun way to spend the evening! It basically has led me to feel like I can't really get excited about having a baby until I get past the 10 week, or even the first trimester mark of  13 weeks - when the rates of miscarriage fall way down. I realize that I really need to put my complete faith and trust in God that everything will happen as he has planned it - but I still think I will feel somewhat relieved after the 10 week mark!

Last week, we had our Wellness Checks at the Marion Hatcher Center, and I was right there among my colleagues as I'm filling out all the paper work about my health. The screening consisted of taking blood, flu shot, basic check up, etc. When I was about to get my flu shot I had a fleeting thought that maybe my pregnancy would mean I shouldn't get a shot. I whispered to the nurse - so none of my co-workers could here - but I just found out I'm pregnant...should I get the shot? Then I said, but it's a secret - I haven't told anyone! She just smiled back at me and said congratulations and said that the shot would be good to have.

I also went and got fitted for my sister's bridesmaids dress. Her dress got discontinued on Nov. 13th, so I knew I had to order it before that. Knowing I HAD to order my dress was actually what prompted me to buy my pregnancy tests. It was kinda fun because I got to talk to the lady at the store about being pregnant, and how I just found out and all. She was excited for me. I guess I have told more strangers than friends at this point! Side note - of course, she happened to choose a dress that was completely fitted around the mid-section, so that dress should look absolutely dreadful on me come the end of next March! Oh well!

Finally, today at work - we had our company Thanksgiving lunch. As a tradition, we form a large circle and talk about the things we are thankful for. Well tons of people started talking about how they were thankful for babies. Adam announced that he was going to have his 2nd in May, Thomas from Finance announced he was going to become a first time dad in January, and a few others announced they were going to be grandparents soon. The whole time, I just thought that I was really thankful too (for the same thing)- even though I couldn't share it at the time :) .

So that's about it. I did call the doctor this week and will probably go in for my first appointment sometime next week or the following week. I really don't think I believe that I am pregnant yet - maybe going to the doctor and getting a real ultrasound will help me believe it more. When i think about the fact that a year from now, I could have a 4 month old, I get so excited and happy, that I then immediately think - that can't really be true, something might go wrong, don't get too excited... these are the thoughts that are constantly circulating in my brain. I really think I will have to start majorly showing - then I might "believe" it! I can sum it up by saying that in my 7th week I am extremely gassy, burpy, bloaty, sleepy....yeah that's about it!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

6 Weeks (Nov. 7-13)

Originally Written: Nov. 7th, 2011 

So as of yesterday, I am 6 weeks along! I'm still trying to figure out how I want to post on the blog about everything. I'll start with the things that are obviously going on. First off, here's my first preggo pics! Gotta start somewhere - now the whole world knows what I look like at home after showers in the evenings! Photos taken in the middle of Week 5 - Wednesday, Nov. 2. 

Thoughts: On Saturday, we went to the Columbia County Fair with Angelyn. Normally I would have been really excited about going to the fair, but this time, all I could think about was how I couldn't eat the greasy food - partly because of the fitness challenge that my company is doing, and partly because I am trying to eat really well. Also, I started to think about all the fair rides. Typically, I'd be the one to ride ALL the rides, no problem. Well this time, given the new circumstances, I found myself thinking twice before boarding any ride. The first ride we road looked absolutely harmless - the Tilt-a-Whirl.  I knew I could handle that one, so Jason, Angelyn, and me boarded the ride. But once it got started, the little kid ride actually spun around really fast! I knew I could handle it, but I was wondering about the little baby inside of me. Could they handle it? After that, I started getting worried and wondering if I had made a mistake. The next ride was the giant swings. I knew that one would be calm, so I got in my swing without a second thought. Once we were flying high in the sky, with the beautiful sunset off in the distance, I was suddenly filled with more doubts and worries like "How safe is this thing?" "What is holding me up anyways?" - this is very uncharacteristic of me - given that I am normally pretty fearless on rides, roller-coasters, etc. I sat out the third ride as anxious thoughts went through my brain. I am starting to realize that I really need to trust the Lord with this pregnancy and leave everything in his hands. i can't eat perfectly, live perfectly, etc. in order to have a healthy child - I just have to trust Him that everything will go according to His master plan.

Another thought I have had is, "Am I still pregnant?" - I know this one seems funny, but I haven't had it doctor verified yet. So far it has only been verified through 2 Dollar Store tests- lol, and a period that is now a whopping 2 weeks late! I actually almost stopped at the store again to pick up another test today, but realized that my temptation to worry was again taking over and that I needed to place this one also in God's hands. Honestly, everything does seem very surreal still - not as surreal as the first day or second day, but still very surreal. I think this is partly due to the fact that I haven't told a soul at work, and that is where I spend most of my time. I'm pretty determined to not spill the beans there until the first trimester is complete, on Jan 1st, 2012!

Feelings: Up until this weekend, I felt 100% my normal self. Full of energy, etc. On Friday night we went to Secret Church from 7pm-1am (actually it didn't end until more like 2am!). I have attended Secret Church before no problem, but this time, I was absolutely freezing the whole time since they had it in the gym, and also extremely tired. I could have slept through a good two hours of the program since I had been up early and worked all week, or maybe it is some first trimester sleepiness kicking in. On Saturday, I felt completely fine, but on Sunday morning, on the first day of my sixth week, I did feel a little weird. It is hard to put my finger on it, but I felt a little sleepy, a little weak, a little sick, all rolled into one. That lasted from the time I woke up, until around 10:00 after I had had some orange juice and a muffin in Sunday School class. Today at work, I felt the same way. Also, I think I will stop drinking my daily Fresca or Diet Coke, because every time I drink one, it feels like I have drunk like 5 of them and I can't stop burping! I know- gross!

I think I had my first real pregnancy craving on Sunday when I really wanted some Zaxby's fried food. I can't remember the last time I had Zaxby's chicken strips, Texas toast, and french fries - I almost always opt for their Black & Blue Salad. But this time all I wanted the Zak Snack...

Again, I think the main update is that I REALLY can't believe that this is happening! It did become a little more real when we told our parents and siblings, but it still feels more like a dream than reality. I guess it will either take me physically changing - which hasn't happened yet- for me to believe it, or maybe an ultra-sound would help. That's next up on my list, choosing a doctor and setting my first appointment!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Night at the County Fair

I guess one thing that I really really like about fall, other than the awesome weather, football, bonfires etc, is the plethora of events that are planned during the season.  I, for one, love fairs and it seems that the change in season tends to exponentially increase the prevalence of these traveling fun zones.  They are like circus's that you can actually be a part of.  Anyway, I really really like going to fairs, which my wife attributes to my bold and brash inner child that frequently overpowers my maturity.  So when I heard that the Columbia County fair was coming to town this November, naturally I got excited.  But, alas, the feelings of excitement were not mutual within Laura, for she did not hold fairs dear to her heart.  Fortunately, after much badgering (I guess fairs do make you kind of childish) Laura agreed to go to the fair with me. Yay!

I don't know what it is about the fair that I like so much.  I mean, honestly, they are kind of gritty and old and dirty.  But I guess that's part of the appeal.  I mean, where else on earth can you pay a few dollars to get double fried breaded chicken on a stick with a side of mayonnaise from a vendor trailer that looks like it would barely pass a health inspection.  Nope. Only at the fair.  And that is a big factor in my enjoyment of the fair.  You walk through the fair and here the sounds of chatter and screams while being bombarded with the smell of greasy fried grease.  Oh, you also can get funnel cakes.  Yum.  Sorry arteries, at least it's only once a year (or less in my case)!  When I'm at the fair, I also feel like a take a step back in time.  It's like I'm at some gypsy/vagabond-esque live museum complete with game operators, animals, yelling vendors, and precarious looking rides.  But the best is when all of that ambiance comes together at night and you hear the sounds of the pipe organs playing, the joyful screams of kids on rides and the glowing, colorful lights.  Yes, the fair is a truly cathartic experience.  So I'm really glad that Laura and I decided to go this year with our friend Angelyn.

We arrived at the fairgrounds and parked in a pasture parking lot just about the time to eat dinner.  After paying our $5 to get into the fair, we all just looked around and soaked up the atmosphere.  We began to walk around the fair to see what kind of games we could play, the shows that would be going on, and the rides which interested us.  While doing that, we all got hungry so it was time to make the ever important decision of what and where to eat.  We settled on a little 4 wheeled trailer with a sign on it that said "Big Momma's Soul-food."  With a name like, you can't go wrong.  I had a BBQ dinner plate complete with potato salad.  This was probably one of the better choices at the fair, actually.  With our bellies full of delicious soul-food, it was time to tackle some rousing games while our food digested.

I was enticed by a Skee-ball booth where you could win a stuffed animal if you rolled 200 points or better.  I thought to my self, "Self, you can do that and then I can win Laura a cute little stuffed teddy bear holding a heart!  Plus it's only a dollar."  Turns out, getting 200 points is harder than it seems and the Skee-ball booth is kind of addicting.  Fortunately, with the help of Laura, I realized that I did not have the required skill and/or luck to win that teddy.  And for the price I paid to play to try win it, I probably could have just bought one.  Oh well.  I had more fun than just going to the store.

Ready to win!
Focused on Trying to Win!
Epic fail...but Laura still loves me!

Next we found a cool Pony Race game.  It's kind of like Skee-ball meets the Kentucky Derby.  You would roll a little ball and based on what hole it fell in, your horse and rider moved on this little track.  All three of us set out to play this game, and Angelyn won!  She got a little white/glittery bear for her husband Michael, who was working like a 30 hour shift at the hospital.  After that game, we really didn't feel like playing any more because they can kind of be expensive and we wanted to ride some rides.  So we disappointed an enthusiastic game vendor who desperately wanted us to play his pick-up-a-glass-coke-bottle-with-a-ring-attached-to-a-wooden dowel game for a 6 foot tall stuffed banana when we declined his sincere offer to play.

Now, the rides only cost about 3-4 dollars per ride so we were able to ride a couple of them.  I really like fair rides even though I really don't like roller coasters. I mean, I still don't ride any of the upside down fair rides, but the classic thrill rides like the tilt-a-whirl have a special place in my heart.  Probably from riding them in my childhood.  Needless to say, I got pretty excited when we rounded a corner and saw a rickety old tilt-a-whirl just beckoning us to take a ride on it's sadistic spinning ladybug seats.  It was AWESOME!!  I captured the entire ride in the video at the bottom of the post.  Man, that was just good 'ol classic fun.  If you go to the fair, find and ride the tilt-a-whirl.

Next, we went on some spinning swings and tried this interesting ride called the Himalaya which was just like a fast spinning train.  What made this ride fun, though, was the sweet jams they were playing and the smooth jazz vocal toned ride operator trying to get everyone excited about the ride.  He would say things like "Who's ready to go faster and hear some sweet tunes on the Himalaya tonight" in this deep, rich late night jazz DJ voice.  Hilarious.  After finishing up with the rides, it was getting pretty cold because it was already dark, and realizing that we shouldn't spend anymore money, we all decided to head home and warm up with some hot chocolate.  It was a great night of childish fun!  Be sure to check out the video diary of the experience below the pictures!  And Happy Fall.  I hope that you too can experience a local fair to satisfy your inner kid.
The awesomely retro sign of the Tilt-A-Whirl
 The Ambiance of the Fair at Night
 On the Himalaya with DJ Jazzisoul.  Laura thought she would get too dizzy.
Our Video Diary of the Evening

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Mere Mortals Thoughts on Occupy Wall Street

It certainly is interesting times that we live in.  Sometimes, when I talk with my Dad, he mentions that what is occurring right now seems similar to the late 1960's to early 1970's.  Given that I have noticed so many landmark historical local and global events and protests, I decided that I should write down my thoughts about them, namely, Occupy Wall Street (OWS).  I believe that the philosophies, ideologies, and sentiments that are occurring right now in our own country and around the world are fixing to radically change the world.  I don't know how, or in what direction, if it all, but I think I should write down my thoughts, so that when my kids look back in history about the social unrest that is occurring in our day, I can give them my thoughts as it was occurring.

A brief history leading up to the start of the OWS protests on Sept 17, 2011, which has now spread across the country and the globe includes revolution sentiment stemming from the middle east in the recent overthrows of Egypt, Libya and other countries.  Add that middle east sentiment of anger at corrupt governments, to the collapse and sustained depression of the US economy with a corrupt government that no one trusts...and we arrive at a perfect storm.  A perfect storm and a perfect opportunity for a large scale protest, largely organized by people in positions of power and influence in our country that idolize the recent overthrows in the middle east.  Oh and even as I say "largely organized" I understand that some will still contend this is grass-roots sentiment.  The jury is still out on that one based on your political ideological position.  So what is the big deal about this protest?  Why would I take time to comment on it? What is it all about?  Many different answers are out there but here's what I see and hear.

First of all, there seems to be a sentiment of hatred towards corporations and the profits they make.  The argument is maintained by signs that explain the top 1% of America is neglecting the other 99% of Americans.  Essentially, this appears to me to be a "collective" argument.  That the wealthy are not paying their fair share into the system for everyone to benefit and because they are wealthy they are obligated to prop up others.  Now understandably, in recent American economic history, I can understand the disgust towards some of these financial corporations, because many of them were crooks and did take advantage of the disenfranchised.  But this argument does not excuse hatred towards the top 1%.  Also, the "collectivism" argument has led many in recent days to discuss the question "would Jesus approve of the protest?" citing individual scripture that lend support to social justice.  There are also other reasons that people are protesting like proposed cuts of government pension plans, etc.

So what do I think?  I think these protests are interesting and I think if they continue and gain momentum, they could potentially change our country and the globe forever.  But, I have to say, I don't necessarily agree with or support the protestors.  Many of you will shut down right now and say "He's just a heartless conservative who doesn't care about people!" But let me explain my thoughts.  First of all, if you live in America, you are already in the top 2-3% of the world's wealth.  In fact, in an article recently published in the Washington Post, the poorest American is still in the 62 percentile globally.  In other words the poorest American is till better off than nearly 2/3 of the world.  So I don't think the "99%" are suffering.  Are their disparities? Sure.  Has the history of man ever been fair? No.  Do I believe that we should help those in need and take care of the poor?  Absolutely.  Especially as a follower of Christ. We'll get to that in a minute.  Another problem I have with this is that fact that the people essentially want the government to "fix" the disparity through taxation.  When you look at the tax brackets in the IRS tax booklets the wealthy are already paying a higher percentage.  But the answer, if social justice is the goal, should still not be to have the government steal your money and decide how to use it.  I don't trust politicians or government agencies to actually take care of the "99%" effectively.  It can't do it.  That is not the role of government from a biblical perspective.  We've all been complaining about government waste, so is the answer give more money to wasteful people?  Would you continue to give toilet paper to child who just kept flushing it for no reason?  Also, I think that government is currently in support of these protest because they know that if it is successful they will have much much more power to wield.  And they will have the consent of the people to wield it.  The final disagreement I have with this protest dovetails on the taxation issue.  My wife and I, because we are follower's of Christ, already impose a "self tax" to support the homeless/needy in our community, country, and globe.  So we are doing our part actively.  I hope those protesting are doing the same things.  It is one thing to support and chant for social justice and collectivism, it is quite another to actually do it and help.  I'd rather be a champion of actuality versus a champion of rhetoric.  PS if you're rich and want to pay more can!  You can donate money to the IRS/US treasury.

Now, I've also seen the epic battle arise trying to answer the question "Would Jesus support the protesters?"  And of course there is an answer for both sides of the ideological coin.  Stated simply, the question becomes "Is Jesus a liberal or conservative?"  What a heinous, self absorbed question.  Do we actually think that we can align the Almighty God with our political ideology.  If you are a Christian and have used this argument for political affirmation, then shame on you.  You know what this shows us?  We have an idol...called ideology and we want to fit God into our way.  The answer to this question is simple.  No!  Jesus is neither a conservative or a liberal.  He is the Son of God made man to provide redemption for a fallen, undeserving people out of God's infinite mercy.  Period.  So I don't know if Jesus would support this protest or not.  Clearly, God has a heart for the poor (Ps 113:7, 140:12) and clearly Jesus taught to take care of the poor around you (Mt 19:21, Lk 14:13) especially for a true follower of Christ.  But scripture also teaches against slothfulness and laziness (Prov 10:4).  It even goes so far as to say that if you do not work, you shall not eat (2 Thess 3:10, 1 Thess 4:11).  Scripture teaches we are to respect the officials over us because they have been placed by God (1 Peter 1:13-17).  Is the rhetoric of the protesters in which they actively attack and berate police officers character of respect?  Is the language they are using respectful (Eph 4:29)?  That is why Jesus can't fit into this box.  He transcends the box and in doing so points to our selfish depravity (Sorry Maslow, we are not inherently good beings).  Jesus and the Gospel is the great balance.

It comes down to this.  I think the crux of this protest is greed.  Greed all the way around.  Greed from the top 1% and greed from the 99% that don't have what the top 1% has.  Greed and pride are the motivators.  We are seeing right now the effect of a people who exchange the truth of God for a lie, and think the State is god, but we don't know the outcome yet.  All I know is that every "successful social revolution" has ended in mass murder and tyranny.  Just look at the French, Russian, Chinese revolutions or the rise of the Nazi party coming out of the Weimar republic in Germany.  Even the recent revolutions in the middle east!  There is no free republic that has emerged yet and I doubt we will.  We will wait and see what the world looks like when all of this is said and done.  In the meantime I will continue to love Jesus and obey his commands.


Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Blogiversary Time!

It's been a full year since we started blogging! The date is easy to remember since I started posting when I turned 25 years old - and yup, I am now a entire year older and had my 26th birthday yesterday! My how time flies!

So what have we managed to accomplish in one year? 

  • 121 Posts (so about 10/month)
  • 32,548 Page Views (!!!!!!)
  • 37 Blog Followers 
  • 54 Feed Subscribers 
  • 15 of the Original 30 Day Blogging Challenge Posts completed.... 

How Blogging has changed Jason and Me:

  • I feel like I have to blog about everything we do - or else it will be forgotten and it's like we never did it...This is the reason why I constantly feel like I am behind by approx. 15 posts. 
  • Jason loves to check our blog stats :) 
  • We get really excited when someone tells us that they read one of our posts! :) 
  • We want to think of cool projects to do so we can "blog" about them 
  • I'm actually going to be held responsible for my News Years Resolutions, because they are posted on the blog. 
  • Whenever I cook something that hasn't already been blogged about, I feel the need to take photos for a blog post. 
  • I have much more respect for my favorite bloggers - I mean HOW do they post SO OFTEN!?!
  • We take photos so we can put them on the blog 
  • We take videos so we can put them on the blog 
  • You get the idea....
In Honor of our Blogiversary, I'm going to do something I have never done every day for an entire week! Get Ready for Blogiversary Time!!!!! 

Thanks for Reading!!!! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Make A Rustic Fall Wooden Wheelbarrow

Well, it's Fall Y'all!  And such a wonderful time of year it is because the blazing heat of the summer is subsiding for cooler temps.  Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons...the crispness of the cool air, bonfires, county fairs, tasty apple and pumpkin treats from the kitchen (which I'm sure that Laura will tell you about in the near future), and of course outdoor fall decor!  Last year we showed y'all some ideas we had for indoor fall decor, well this year we wanted to take y'all outside for some great outdoor ideas to create that warm inviting fall entry way.

I had the idea for an outdoor fall mini-display, but I was trying to figure out a unique and rustic way to do it so that it didn't look like pre-made things from China were just stuck in the front of our house.  I wanted something with character.  So, since fall is kind of indicative of harvest time, I thought to myself, "Self...what if I make a wooden wheelbarrow to put some fallish things inside so that way I can contain the decor design and create an outdoor space."  Fortunately myself agreed.  The problem I was running into was that everything I found online was like new designs and I really wanted something rustic.  The online plans were not satisfying my mental plan so I decided to design me own.  The first step was finding some wood.  I called some lumber yards to see if they carried re-claimed wood, but no one carried it in Augusta.  So after a trip to Lowe's with my creative juices flowing, I found all of my supplies and got to work.  The following is a description of what I did with step by step pictures so you can capture a quaint rustic harvest at your porch.

Supplies: 2 pieces of cedar split rail fencing (found in the outdoor section of Lowe's), 4 rough cut fence slats (also found in the outdoor section of Lowe's), an 8 foot pressure treated 2x2, an oak dowel rod (either 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch diameter), 1 steel wheel with a 12" diameter (you may not be able to find one in town so I had to order mine from this website), 1 box of 4D 1 and 3/8" long, 10 2 and 1/4" wood screws, a box of 1 and 1/2" wood screws, and some wood glue.

Step 1: The "A" Frame
So to start, you will need to make the frame for the bucket portion to sit on.  This is where the split rail cedar fencing comes in.  Look at your split rail to determine a good piece to cut 2 pieces that are 44" long.  The cool thing about split rail is that it looks really rough cut but usually at least one side is fairly flat.  Split rail fencing also already has a pre-cut notch where the rail is supposed to go in the fence post.  I made sure those ends lined up at the front so there was a good area to mount the wheel to eventually.  So after you cut your to pieces to serve as the main beams, it is time to make the "A" frame.  I did this by deciding on a 10 degree pitch from the midline of beams.  Next, you have to cut your cross beams out of the split rail cedar.  I decided to put my first cross beam 13" from the front tip of the foundation beams.  This allowed me to have enough room for the wheel and the slight 10 degree pitch of the bucket.  So since the first cross beam is 13" from the front, that meant that the length of the cross beam was 9".  Measure out 9" on the split rail and the cut each end at the 10 degree angle.  Remember...the front edge will be 9" and the back edge will be longer due to the 10 degree angle!!  Next, cut the second cross bar.  I placed my second cross bar 22" from the rear of the first cross bar.  This made the front edge length of the second cross bar 15 and 1/2" with a 10 degree angle cut on both sides.  Next place the pieces out and just fit them together to see the fit.  When you're satisfied with the fit, drill pilot holes from the side into the cross beams and the drive the 2 and 1/4" screws through.  I used 3 screws per cross bar.  2 on one side and 1 on the other.  In the pictures you can see how I try to line up the flat surfaces of the split rail to make a smooth top to attach the bucket.

Step 2: The Bucket Base
After I completed the "A" frame, I measured across the entire length of where the first cross beam was attached.  That was 12 and 1/2".  That was the front edge length of my first base piece which was cut out of the rough cut fence slats.  Disclaimer...where work gloves and save your fingers.  I learned this the hard way! Splinters = no fun.  Anyway, so the first base piece front edge is measured at 12 and 1/2" and is cut with a 10 degree angle outwards on both sides to follow the angle of the A frame.  The rest is easy.  You use the back edge of the first piece as the measure of the front edge of the next piece so you don't even really have to measure. After 4 slats have been made, use the nails and just nail them straight into the A frame to create the base.  That part was easy!

Step 3: The Bucket Side Panels
Now comes the tricky part.  Making the actual bucket.  To start, I made six 10" high pylons with a 10 degree cut on the bottom and a 45 degree cut at the top to taper it down.  Then I did some test fittings to determine that the pylons must be place 3/4"off the edge of the base all the way around to allow space for the side panels.  So I measured 3/4" all the way around the base and drew a line using my long level.  After that I placed the pylons where I thought they needed to be, drilled some pilot holes, and drove 2 of the the 1 and 1/2" wood screws through each of the pylons into the base.  Finally, I added some wood glue to the joints for extra strength and stability (let it completely dry before moving on.)

Now I had to create the panels.  This took me awhile to figure out, but it will be easy for you because I can tell you exactly how you need to cut the wood.  The math is done.  You're welcome.  Since the A frame is at 10 degrees and the pylons are angling out at 10 degrees, you must use a compound angle cut.  Now if you have a table saw or power miter saw it will be a piece of cake.  If you have a circular saw it will require a few more line measures but it is still pretty easy. (I did it both ways trying to crack the code).  Here's what you need to know.  The side base panels will each (left and right) be 21 and 1/2" long at the bottom (where the panel will meet the base).  From that mark you will have to cut a compound angle of 10 degrees and 40 degrees.  You must do this because the bucket is basically going to be a like a pyramid and if you don't the joints won't quite line up.  Which even if it doesn't, it doesn't really matter, because this is all rough cut wood for a rustic feel!!  So the base front panel then is 11" long with the same 10 and 40 degree compound cuts.  This means that you turn your miter saw to 10 degrees at the base and then tilt the actual saw blade at 40 degrees.  You'll see in a picture.  The good news is you only need to cut the base side panels and then you can use the same copy over method as described in making the base.  Once the pieces are cut, place them to see how they fit, then just nail them into the pylons.

Step 4: The Wheel and Feet
Now the hard part is over and you're almost done!  You just have to attach your wheel.  Use a 1/2" or 5/8" spade bit depending on the diameter of wooden dowel rod you got.  I gave you two options because the inner diameter of the steel wheel is 5/8" but mine had some soldering bulges so I had to use a 1/2" rod to make sure it would go through and still turn.  Drill the hole for dowel rod straight through both front ends using the spade bit. Then cut the a piece of dowel rod to 9".  Push it through the beams and the wheel till the rod runs all the way through everything.  I anchored the wheel in the middle using to little screws that I drove into the rod at the edge of the wheel axle on both sides to create a boundary so the wheel doesn't go everywhere.  Finally, add a little bit of glue to the dowel rod joints to reinforce it.  Last step is cut some of the remaining cedar split rail fencing into 2 pieces that are each 12 and 1/2 long.  Place them just under the bucket and just in front of the back cross bar on the bottom.  Drill some pilot holes and then drive 2 of the 2 and 1/4" screws through them into the main beams.  Add a little glue to reinforce them and let it dry.

Ta-Daa!! You've finished a very rustic wooden wheelbarrow!  Congratulations!  Now you can fill it with whatever kinds of fallish things you would like.  Laura and I used hay, mums, and pumpkins.  This created a very harvest rustic/welcoming fall porch!  And it's pretty affordable too.  The cost of the all the material was around $50.00 and all of the fall foliage was about $50.00.

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to post and I will answer them!


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