27 August, 2014

Wine Not a Wine Night?

Saturday morning we had plans with another couple to tour a local brewery. Justin and I had been before a few years back, but we were psyched to go again and bring our newbie friends. I mean, what's better than cheap craft beer and a good time?

Being in the middle of a kitchen renovation, we have been at the mercy of our tile, granite, and paint guys. So when they said they needed to come back to do some work on Saturday morning, the brewery took the back seat. Yeah yeah, we're bad friends. But to make up for it, we decided to have them over for a laid back wine tasting night.

I bought 4 bottles of decently priced (hey, I'm not made of money here) wine that I had never tried before and several snacks and appetizers that coordinated with each.

Justin had some black butcher paper from his school that I used as a tablecloth. I used a white colored pencil to label each appetizer and which wine it paired with. This idea is all over Pinterest, so I can't really take any credit for it.

It was so much fun, and something I would definitely do again. We're thinking of trying it with different beer next time to switch it up.

Some of the snacks were still being prepped when I snapped these photos. Hence the sad dry crostinis on the top left.

Oh, and by the way! I've fixed the comments so now anyone can comment, not just those with an account.

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25 August, 2014

Kitchen Chronicles: Primed

I don't think I've ever been do excited about primer! Since we're having our cabinets painted white, the primer gave us an idea of what the finished product would look like and it has already made SUCH a difference. Brightening up the kitchen really opened up our entire space.

New cement board went in over our damaged drywall.

Next up: the countertops get the boot!

21 August, 2014

Kitchen Chronicles: Before

Back in June when we found out we were going to have a baby, we immediately thought of all the preparations needed to be done before he/she got here.  We wanted to get everything done around the house that we had been putting off before we had a little one crawling around (and the disposable income to do it).

We've always known it isn't our "forever" home, but I figure if we're going to stay in this house a few more years and start our family in it, we might as well make it a house we love. Plus, updating the kitchen should help increase our resale value when it does come time to put it on the market.

Our "before" kitchen.

The kitchen is pretty much the center of the house since we have a very open floor plan. I've never been crazy about the oak color builder grade cabinets or the very traditional backsplash. And I've watched enough HGTV to know that our laminate countertops are a no-go for most potential buyers. So these updating these things will be our focus for now.

As we all now know, there's no baby coming just yet, but we're still well on our way to getting our new kitchen. We started demo-ing the backsplash, which turned out to be a LOT more difficult than expected. Since the tile was applied directly to the drywall, slow and steady is really the key. You can see my "lovely" work over on the left. Let's just say, patience is not a virtue I completely understand. The drywall now has holes all the way through to the insulation. Oops.

We eventually plan to upgrade our appliances to stainless steel.

We also plan to add a tile backsplash to the island.

Stay tuned for the next step: primed cabinets!

18 August, 2014

Summer Pesto Penne

Let's get this straight: I'm not a foodie. I'm not a food blogger. In fact, I can, and usually do, find a way to mess up any recipe I try. But like millions of other people, I often participate in the world-wide phenomenon of taking pictures of my food. So that's what I'm sharing today.

We Justin cooks dinner almost every night, weekends usually excluded. Sometimes we find recipes on Pinterest or in magazines, but other times he gets an idea and makes it up as he goes. It's a talent I do not possess. We cook to not only save money, but to stay healthy, so we often search for things like "clean eating" or "healthy dinners" and things like that.

At a way-overdue hair appointment last weekend, I came across this recipe while flipping through Good Housekeeping. So of course I added it to our weekly meal plan. For the recipe, click the link above. It hit the spot, but I will say that next time we will be adding grilled chicken and more lemon.

If anyone has a favorite healthy recipe, leave a comment and we'll be sure to try it!

06 August, 2014

"How Could This Happen?"

Just a few days after deciding to begin blogging again, something unthinkable happened. Something I thought, at first, that I would not even begin to be able to discuss publicly until some time had passed. But here I find myself at my keyboard, wanting to share what happened with our friends and family who we've kept in the dark so far.

Keep in mind that our wounds are fresh, so this might come across as super dramatic and way TMI (too much information). But of course, that is how I roll.

Just to give you some background info, Justin and I had been trying to conceive for almost a year when I scheduled an appointment to see my OB-GYN about our next plan of action. We really wanted to start a family and with us both being young and healthy, we were a little curious why it just wasn't happening for us. My appointment was scheduled for a month later on July 9th.

I had a surprise birthday party for Justin in mid June, so I attributed the stress of party planning and having to keep secrets to the fact that my cycle was a little late. By June 19th, I had missed it completely and my co-worker jokingly teased me that I must be pregnant. A quick stop at the grocery store and a pee on a stick later, it was confirmed that I was, in fact, pregnant! I took another test to be sure, then changed my appointment to a pre-natal visit.

Yay! We did it!

The nurse calculated my due date as February 16, 2015. We were OVER THE MOON. I guess it's just like they say, once you quit trying so hard is when it happens!

At my 8 week ultrasound, we saw our little blueberry, but it appeared we had miscalculated when I ovulated because it measured about a week behind. We thought, no big deal, due dates change. What's 1 week?

We came back in at our "official" 8 week appointment to see a gummy bear that had doubled in size with a strong heart beat. It was amazing. Finally it felt real. And it looked like a real baby with arm and leg buds and everything! We started placing bets on the sex of the baby: I voted girl and Justin voted boy.
Our little gummy bear at 8 weeks. He/she doubled in size in 1 week!

Justin and I opted for the Panorama prenatal screening to find out our risk for genetic abnormalities and even to find out the gender. To some people, this seemed unnecessary/impatient because no matter the result, we knew we would love and care for our child just the same. I went in at 10 weeks to have my blood drawn and off it went to the lab. At 12 weeks, we would know if we were having a precious little girl or boy. I began planning a little gender reveal get together for our family (and like-family).

This is also when we took some photos with AshleyKay Photography for our pregnancy announcements we would be sending out soon. It was the hottest day of the year so far, but we powered through it!

Since we won't be sending them out, I thought I would share a few of my favorites.

FYI, this is at the Heard-Craig house, where we got married. We were SO hot and sweaty, but HAD to get this shot in.


A week later, around 11 weeks, I began spotting and having mild cramping, that just didn't seem right to me. Of course, I've been super paranoid and overanalyzing every single symptom I've felt, so part of me knew everything would be okay. To be sure, I had my doctor squeeze me in for an ultrasound, mainly to ease my fears. Once she began to look for the baby, I could see it in her face that something was wrong. She never even had to say the words. The rest of the day was sort of a blur, but basically we learned that even though I hadn't miscarried yet and the baby was still there, it's tiny little heart wasn't beating anymore.

We scheduled a D&C, that I would never make it to. I began to miscarry naturally; something I physically and emotionally did not want to endure.

I couldn't stop asking, "How could this happen?" "Why would this happen?" "How DID this happen?"

Today I got my answer. The doctor called because the Panorama test results, something I had disregarded at this point, came in. According to our doctor, there was a type of Chromosome 18 abnormality, which is inevitably fatal to a developing baby. It is not genetic so neither Justin or I caused this to happen, so we shouldn't have to fear that this will happen again. The doctor did leave me with one last bit of information: our baby was a girl.

We now realize how truly lucky we were to have this happen so early on in the pregnancy rather than later. My heart breaks for those who have had to suffer that unimaginable loss. We're still sorting out feelings and figuring out where to go from here. We don't know how soon we'll try again, but I plan on following doctor's orders while letting things happen naturally.
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