Friday, November 23, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

Every year we make the drive over to Cory's grandparent's house on the St. John's River for Thanksgiving. It is seriously one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. 

We get there Wednesday night, and eat dinner and hang out until everyone falls asleep. I'm always one of the first to go. And these days I don't even have a chance. I'm out like a light around 8:30 every night. The bonus to this is I'm up early. I love the quiet mornings.

I peeked out the back window when I got up, and couldn't resist this amazing sunrise.

I slipped on my shoes, and walked through the wet grass to the little citrus grove on the side of the house. I found some nice juicy oranges, and sat on the dock while the sun rose. 

 It was one of those moments that make you say, "Seriously? Is this my life right now? Because I am in love with it."  It was the perfect start to Thanksgiving. How can you be anything but grateful when you're watching a perfect sunrise, sitting on a peaceful dock, eating an orange you just picked from a tree?

The icing on the seriouslyitcan'tgetanybetterthanthis cake: I didn't throw those oranges up. A Thanksgiving miracle!

Then everyone woke up, and we started the traditional peeling, boiling, mashing, and roasting. The parade was on, and we watched it. We looked up black Friday sales.We braided each other's hair. Oh Thanksgiving. You are so great.

 We ate our Thanksgiving feasts (Cory's family always serves it up buffet style, and uses these disposable lunch trays...clean up is a BREEZE. Keep your fine china, place settings, and centerpieces thank you very much. This is the perfect way to feed 25 people.).

They live on a wild life refuge, and everyone kept seeing all this crazy wildlife. Wild turkeys, sand hill cranes, fox tail squirrels, etc. After lunch and a nice nap, Cory took me for a walk so I could see these crazy animals.

This is the most exotic thing we found:

Yea. I guess we missed the crazy animal train. But he did show me this Indian Mound they used to play on as kids. Apparently before the road was paved you could just find pieces of Indian pottery all over the place. Aunt Keri and Uncle Neil used to buy arrowheads, hide them in the road, and tell the kids, "Ohh look over here! I think you might find something really neat!" And the kids would come running.

When we got back from our walk, the sun was going down, and we found grandpa fishing with some of his girls. It was a little bittersweet this year without Great Grandma Kathleen to keep us company on the dock, and show us all how to really fish.
Anyway, that's how I watched a sunrise and a sunset from the very same place. 

And then we drove home with a broken radio, so we had no choice but to tell each other stories for a few hours. It was a good Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Big Reveal

So, we all went in on Friday to take a look at this little baby. 

I went to Party City and Target on my lunch break to pick up some mustaches and hair bows for everyone to wear before we went in. I brought them back to work, and my co-workers really needed to make their official guesses.

Then we had everyone wear their guesses just before we went in for the ultrasound.

Little baby Nathaniel was really hoping for a boy cousin. I'm really impressed with how well he pulls off the facial hair look.

Then we went into the room, and projected this little cutie's picture onto the wall. They had me doing all kind of crazy rolls and stuff to get the baby to flip over and show us the goods. We were really worried for a while that we wouldn't get a clear shot!

Look at the little tease. Waving to us while we tried everything we could think of to get a good shot!

Finally, we got some really clear shots, and this little baby gave up the goods! Guess what....

Knowing that we're going to have a little lady  in just a few months makes it seem just a little more real! We saw her sucking both of her thumbs, and caught a few adorable hick-ups. Now taking name suggestions :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Question

I think this wee baby is a girl baby. Cory thinks we're having a boy (well, he calls it a "man-child").

We went ahead and scheduled an appointment at a 2D/3D ultrasound place for this Friday, and they say they can determine the gender for us then. This place (the PreNatal Experience) lets you invite up to 6 guests for your ultrasound, so Cory's family is going to come along and we'll all find out together.

I'm mostly just excited to see that there is really a little baby in there. And to see his parent's and sister's reactions to having a live streaming video of this baby projected onto a wall. I'm at 15 weeks and it still seems so surreal to me.

(P.S. I know a lot of people think the Prenatal Experience is a waste of time and money. I pretty much agree with them. I never thought I'd want to do it before. We'd find out in 3 weeks at the doctor, and honestly I could wait that long. But, the idea of bringing Cory's family with us, and finding out together, is so, so exciting. So we decided it was worth it. And we get the bonus of saying it's Cory's mom's birthday present. now that we're doing it, I'm really looking forward to it!)

Anyway, I had some fun looking up old wives tales on baby gender determination. What a bunch of marlarky. But, 4 out of 7 myths say this baby is a lady. So maybe there is something to it...

Here's how it's staking up so far, so you can submit your educated guess. We'll find out who was right on Friday :)

1. If you're carrying high, break out the pink. If your bump is low, it's a boy.

At the last doctor appointment (last Friday) they said it was really low. So, I guess that means its a boy. But, I don't really have a visible bump yet. So, we'll see what happens.

2. Heart rate: 140+ beats per minute indicates a girl, and below 140 a boy.

Last time we checked it was 157 beats per minute. So, its a girl. Obvi.

3. The Chinese Calendar.

I was 22 in August, so it must be a boy.

4. "Legend has it that the Mayans determined a baby's sex by looking at the mother's age at conception and the year of conception. If both are even or odd, it's a girl. If one's even and one's odd, it's a boy."

Well. Like I said, I was 22 in August 2012--so, the Mayans say its a girl.

5. "If you're breaking out like crazy, blame it on your girl babe. The belief goes that girls steal their mother's beauty."

All signs point to girl on this one.

6. "Pop off your wedding ring -- if you still can! -- and tie it to a string. Hang it over your belly. If it swings in a circle, a little guy's in your future. If it goes back and forth, you've got a girl."

It circled. So, boy.

7. "Sick as a dog during the first trimester -- or still? Signs indicate you're having a girl. Little or no morning sickness points to a boy."

I don't know how sick qualifies for "sick as a dog" but Cory nicknamed me "Old Faithful" so, that's got to count for something. I guess that means its a girl.

So, what do you think it'll be? We'll find out who was right this Friday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Big Two-Five

We celebrated Cory's 25th birthday this week. (We do "Birthday Weeks" with each ends up being mostly an excuse to get out of things we don't want to do (take out the trash) or get away with things we really do want to do (Ice cream for dinner!!). Who can argue with "'s my birthday week!")

Anyway, I've learned to keep it low key with Cory. He really, truly doesn't need/appreciate hoopla.

Our first birthday outing was the Greek Foods festival with our friends Danny and Joanna. Perhaps we should have made more hoopla on this one, because he didn't realize that was "for his birthday." Either way, good times were had all around. We listened to music, ate gyros, seasoned fries, and Greek salad. And touched so. many. people. Seriously. That place was packed.

After Sunday dinner, we sang happy birthday and ate dessert (Chocolate Delight--an Allen family favorite. Flaky pastry crust, with layers of cream cheese, chocolate pudding and whipped topping. It truly is delightful. Recipe to come soon!) with Cory's family. And everyone was happy.
I woke up a little earlier than usual Tuesday morning (his actual birthday morn!) and set out surprise donuts, and other assorted treats. And, for an extra special touch of sentimentality, wrote 25 things I love about Cory on a chalkboard. I even did a quick celebratory tidy up of the apartment that morning for him. What's better than waking up to a semi-tidy house? Nothing comes to mind.

That night, we had Cory's favorite meal for dinner: Steak, roasted asparagus, baked potatoes, green salad, and rolls. I even got all fancy and sauteed mushrooms to place ever so gently on top of the steak. I'm pretty baller.

We had a quick intermission while I went to some planning meetings at church, and Cory did some homework. But, when I got home, we lit the cookie cake on fire and  ate 1/4 of that  delicious circle of chocolate chip goodness all by ourselves.

 If you want some cookie cake, come to our house asap. Else we'll have to eat it all up ourselves. And that just can't be good for anybody.

Another great year, my dear. Here's to many, many more!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Little Announcement

In order of appearance: Tiny kicking legs, little barrel chest, arms crossed, and one giant head.

Our little peanut will be 10 weeks along this Wednesday! At our ultrasound today we saw the little heart beating, and those little legs kicking all over the place. Peanut is an inch long now. It was amazing.

As for how I'm feeling... Let's just say the toilet and I have become very close these days.

Needless to say, with Cory's graduation on May 4th, and Little Peanut's due date on May 8th, we're REALLY looking forward to the month of May.

P.S. Cory spent 2 years living in the Netherlands on a mission for our church. We had the clogs around the house, so we decided to use them for our little announcement :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lately, and not so lately.

 Cory is back in school after a long lazy summer. I think we both forgot how demanding his school work can be. I miss him sometimes, but then I remember that its his last year!!! Less than a year, really. He'll be graduating in May. Just 7 months away! I'm definitely excited to see what changes the next year brings for us. These are the thoughts that keep me company while he's solving complex equations, and doing price comparisons on solar panels for his Senior Design Robot.

Anyway, 7 months seems like the far side of forever right at this very moment, but when I blink my eyes time speeds by so fast! I mean really. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were all just kids running around wearing superhero costumes on a random Tuesday, and rocking sweet 80's print pant suits? Here's to life.

Hanging out with my brothers in their cowboy hats, circa 1992

Me on the ranch, circa 1993
This was not Halloween.

Watching an eclipse with my sisters. We all made our fashion choices that day. Some better than others...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

J&T Maternity Shoot

Jesse is my older brother. We're about two years apart. He teased me mercilessly growing up, and in return I was tattling little brat. Somehow, through it all, he became one of my best friends (I can't speak for him, but I'm pretty sure he likes me too.)

 I met Tanya shortly after moving to Tallahassee. When I met her one of my first thoughts was, "Jesse would like her." We were room mates for a few months, and I told her several times "You should be friends with my brother."

 I'm not going to say I got them together they're having a baby. You do the math.

I totally called it. ;)

Anyway, they let me practice my amateur photography on them for a little maternity photo shoot last weekend. It was so much fun (for me, at least.). Here are a few of my favorite shots:

I can't wait to meet my newest little nephew in November. Hurry up Nathaniel Spencer! Auntie Lindy wants to love you! (Who could resist that siren call?)

Check out Tanya's blog for a few more of the millions of pictures that we took (click here).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to: DIY Ice cream Bar (for the cheap and somewhat lazy)

I've been meaning to give step by step instructions for our DIY Ice Cream bar since we first came up with the idea two years ago, but I left the pieces with my parents, so I couldn't show you how all the pieces fit together. I finally had them after Kristen's Nautical shower a few weekends ago, so I took some step by step pictures for you. Let me know if you have any questions!

When we got married, I really wanted to serve ice cream at the reception.

I wanted to serve ice cream. At an outdoor wedding reception. In the south. In July.

I scoured the internet for just one idea that would make this possible. Just one! Aside from renting a huge softserve machine for a few thousand dollars, I found nothing.

I wanted something relatively inexpensive, because I'm cheap, and that wouldn't be very hard to pull off/clean up, because I'm lazy. Cheap and lazy. Always a winning combination.

 I talked with my dad, and this is what we came up with:

To make the container:
  • A small barrel, crate, or tub. 
  • A piece of plywood large enough to cover the top of your barrel/crate/tub/what have you
  • A hand saw/electric saw
  • Chalkboard paint (optional)
  • Flour sack cloth (optional)
To serve:
  • 1 block of dry ice
  • Ice cream that comes in a round container (Might I recommend Blue Bell?)
  • Decorative glass lid a little larger than your ice cream container (optional)
1) Find a barrel/crate/tub. (You can find these in basically any gardening section anywhere.)

2a)Cut the plywood in whatever shape/dimensions will cover the top of your barrel/crate/tub. 

2b)Cut a little donut hole out of the middle, the size of your tub of ice cream container (we cut outs to fit Blue Bell Ice Cream). 

2c)Paint the top of your little wooden donut with chalkboard paint, if you so desire.

 3) Just before you're ready to party, layer the sack cloth into the barrel (cloth optional). Plop your dry ice on top of it.(Publix, our local grocery store, sells dry ice for about $6.00 per block. 1 block of dry ice will keep the ice cream frozen for about 3 hours.)

4) Put the lid on, slip your ice cream in, and you're ready to go!

So, that's it! We've used our little crates a few times now, and they are always a hit! People are always SHOCKED when they find that the ice cream is still frozen after its been sitting out for a few hours. Quite the party trick.