Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Home Stretch

I can't believe I'm into my 3rd trimester! Didn't I just find out I was pregnant yesterday? Sometimes it feels like I've been pregnant forever, and other times I can't believe how fast this is going.
I brought back a bunch of adorable, loaned maternity clothes (THANK YOU Jennifer!) from the trip and spent Monday storing away everything that no longer fits. I mean it, everything: shirts, skirts, pants, dresses, you name it. I'll put them back for motivation after she comes, but until then I love being able to to walk to my closet and know that I can wear anything in it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back from Vacation: Part 2

After an already packed weekend, we left for the beach on Saturday morning. We had torrential rain all the way down, which was both unusual and sort of depressing, plus rain all day Sunday, but the sky cleared and we had gorgeous weather for the rest of the week.
  Thanks to my sister, I did have a maternity swimsuit to wear.
While still in manuscript form, my mom's book has been bound into several copies, so just about all of us spent the week reading through and doing lots of discussing. Let me tell you, it is a fantastic story.

We did a lot of fighting over this little one too.
There's no denying that she was the center of attention this year!
Why yes, those are burgers the size of a man's head! Ross and Sam decided this was the year to challenge a Jetty Giant each. I'll spare you the gory details, but here's how it went down:
Feeling motivated. 
Making progress.
Slowing way down.
The cold sting of defeat. After the one hour time limit, they managed to finish all but the bun (which was actually a whole loaf of bread).
But they made up for it by digging an enormous tunnel...
..and then crawling through it...
...and destroying it.
There were also movies, card games, ice cream nights, more reading, relaxing at the pool, dinner out at our favorite beach-side and harbor-side restaurants, playing with kiddos, sunset walks on the beach - basically perfection.

Last night at the beach.
Goodbye until next year!
After getting back to Georgia, we had dinner with Sam's family and older brother who was back in town from the Middle East, then were lulled to sleep that night by the sweet sound of cicadas and crickets outside our bedroom window.

I was NOT happy to leave. In fact, I may or may not have had an emotional breakdown as our plane took off for Utah. Every year it just gets harder. I want so much to live near family and call the South my home again.

Also, flying is terrible now. The ugly truth about air travel while pregnant: 
Ankles become nonexistent.

After getting a surprise work holiday today for Pioneer Day, I've been happily unpacking lots of adorable baby things and loaned maternity clothes and looking forward to the fall. Since I have her arrival to look forward to and prepare for, it makes the slow end of summer so much easier.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back from Vacation: Part 1

Minus a few hiccups (and more than a few hiccups in baby girl's case), the last week and a half has been a dream come true. We flew into Georgia last Thursday night. Our bag was lost in Atlanta as all the baggage from our flight was mixed up in Denver, and I ended up wearing the same outfit I came in for my baby shower the next day, but it all worked out.

After getting in, we went straight to the movie theater for a double feature of Harry Potter 7 Part 1 & 2 with Sam's family. It was a lot of sitting, but really cool to have the first part fresh in my mind for the midnight showing of Part 2, which more than lived up to my expectations. It was amazing! All the cheering and clapping throughout the theater also made it much more exciting. It really was a great way to end the series.

We then got home at 2:30 am. That was a long day.

Friday was my baby shower that some wonderful friends of our family threw for me. It felt a lot like a reunion and I loved seeing so many familiar faces! I cried when I walked in, because it was so beautiful and evident that so much work had gone in. They planned a Shabby Chic/Antique theme down to the last detail.
Baby rattle cupcakes!
Jennifer with my new precious niece (and baby girl's future best friend), Elise.
 With Stephanie and Carson!
So many cute clothes! This girl already has a better wardrobe than me!
All the Wilcox girls.
My wonderful hostesses. Thank you Laree, Cindy, and Michelle for all your hard work! It was a wonderful afternoon and I feel so blessed for all the love that baby girl is being welcomed into.

That night we went with Sam's family to the Braves game, which also happened to be their 10,000th franchise win. We loved getting to do the tomahawk chop and cheer for our Braves live for the first time in many years.

 Go Braves!
More about our vacation and our week at the beach to come!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sweet Vacation

In two days we're off to Georgia (and Florida) for a glorious week and a half! A few things that await us: seeing all our family and meeting my new niece, "Harry Potter 7," my baby shower, singing around the piano one last time before Ross leaves on his mission, Zaxby's, Braves game, the beach.

I. am. so. ready.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What I've Learned About Saving

OK, so it's been about 5 months since my first stab at finding ways to save and I think it's time for an update. Not because I'm now an expert at this, because I'm definitely not, but to share what I've learned and to kind of keep a record for myself. So here's what I've learned:
  • Homemade bread is a great idea...when you don't have morning sickness. That was the first thing to go from my weekly menu. The powerful yeast-y smell that was once intoxicating suddenly became torture. I haven't really picked it up since, but we still make homemade whole wheat tortillas, pizza crusts, pancakes, and pasta, and we've switched to a cheaper brand of bread (that's actually a lot softer than mine, I have to say.)
  • Coupons are not the best way to save! I can't stress this enough! Back in February I signed up for a million coupon sites thinking I was getting such a deal. The sad truth is that buying off brands is usually cheaper than a name brand with a coupon. That's how they trick folks. Fortunately, after a lot of experimentation, we've been able to figure out that almost everything - with a few distinct exceptions - is just as good when you use the off brand version. I like Great Value (Wal-Mart) and Market Pantry (Target) a whole lot. Not so much Western Family. 
  • Price matching is only sometimes useful. We shop at Wal-Mart and find that their produce is often sold at the same price as nearby farmer's markets and other discount stores. They do a pretty good job of offering the lowest prices. It's most helpful for produce we can buy in bulk like onions, potatoes, and apples.
  • Homemade laundry soap. Remember that one? STILL haven't gone through my first batch after almost 6 months. At this rate, we're looking at $2.50 per year for the stuff. Also, homemade cleaning products using vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, among other things, is a huge saver. 
  • Groupon is great for saving on dates, we just have to be careful not to go crazy otherwise we end up spending more money. 
  • And finally, I'd say the #1 trick in saving money at the store is meal planning. Just plain and simple. We look at what we have, we plan around that, stretch what we can, and voila; shorter list, bigger wallet.
What tips or tricks do you have for saving money? Costco, other methods of coupon cutting, etc.? I'd love to know so I can add to our list. :)

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    24 Weeks

    The bump is feeling very real these days! I can't believe I'm more than halfway done!

    Baby girl seems to be growing a whole lot, since she has started jabbing me far in the side and way at the bottom at the same time. Is it possible she has a limb in every corner of my insides? It doesn't hurt, thankfully, it's just kind of fun.

    Also, we were lucky enough to be passed down a bunch of baby girl clothes from a family friend and they are soooo cute! It feels so real to see these little bitty onesies, dresses, and hoodies, and to think she'll be here wearing them in just a few short months. We can't wait to meet her.

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    July 4th or the Day I Miss Georgia the Most

    Oooooooh Georgia. I can't wait to be back next week! Fireflies (aka Lightning Bugs), cicadas, golf cart rides, "bless you's" and "hey y'all's", muggy evenings, pine trees, family - it's heaven on earth.

    Fourth of July 2007 - the last time I celebrated it in Peachtree City.

    Every year I ache to be here, sitting on our golf cart by the lake with thousands of other southern families, eating our fried chicken, playing games, and watching the sun go down before the big fireworks show. All my family is there now enjoying this day together. One day we'll be there again too.

    As for our 4th, it's been pretty good. We made blueberry pancakes this morning, then I read, did some online shopping for a maternity swimsuit, then we enjoyed the warm evening weather grilling outside (and invented a new patriotic dessert: strawberry shortcake napoleons.
    Then we totally forgot to light sparklers as our day-of fireworks (since Provo decided to have the Stadium of Fire show 2 days before the actual holiday. Explain that one to me.) Either way, Happy Independence Day to all!

    The next big thing on the agenda is the MCAT Wednesday. I know Sam will do great, he's been studying his brains out for 4 months, but prayers are still appreciated as every little bit helps. :)