Thursday, April 5, 2018

Here's what's happened since November...

Here's a super quick, down and dirty account of what's been happening since I last updated! I'll probably make some posts expanding more on many of these events soon.

We added a new family member the week before Thanksgiving - no, not the one we were expecting to add in March! A sweet kitty cat had been hanging around for weeks, and we finally decided to put in the effort to see if she had an owner. So, long story short, she no longer had an owner, and we decided to adopt her!

We arrived in Minnesota on November 27, just five days after adding the cat to the family.

Trevor interviewed at his Dream Air Line on December 7, and received a job offer. There was a voicemail from the realtor when he turned his phone on after the interview. We had a full price offer on our house!

We spent 10 days in North Dakota for Christmas.

Trevor received his official class date with Dream Air Line on January 19 - the same day we closed on the sale of our house in Georgia.

Just like with Hudson, I woke up on the morning of my due date leaking amniotic fluid. And just like with Hudson, it was a long, slow labor that last into the early morning hours the next day. Unlike with Hudson, though, I was given oxytocin and ended up pushing for just a few minutes, not the three hours I had to spend pushing Hudson out! Porter arrived on March 8 at 6:23 am. At 12:30 pm that day, we closed on the purchase of our house in Minnesota! We've spent the last few weeks adjusting to be being a family of four people and three cats in a new house. Porter is a perfect baby who nurses well and sleeps wonderfully!

On April 2, Trevor began his career at Dream Air Line! He will spend two weeks in the classroom, have about 3 weeks off, and then spend a month in simulators and flight training devices before doing some real training flights. I've got a lot of fantastic help lined up for this time.

Today, Hudson is hanging out with his grandparents, so it's just Porter, me, and our cats! I'm taking a little time to do what I enjoy before I start cleaning up the disaster area that Hudson has created over the past few days!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

We're on the Move!

The other big news is that the baby will likely be born in Minnesota!

After eight years in Georgia, we're feeling a strong call to move back to our home in the Midwest. It's tough to travel with a toddler. Non-revenue travel is tougher each time you add a family member. We're usually lucky enough to get three seats together, but when the time comes to add a fourth seat, we know we won't be able to sit together. Two pairs of seats on the same flight might be more than we can expect, and unfortunately, Trevor's airline only flies one flight a day between Atlanta and Minneapolis.

And of course, right now, we have a lot of reasons to visit family more often. We have Hudson and a new baby on the way, and my sister and brother-in-law welcomed my first niece in August. There are some milestone birthdays happening on both sides of the family next year, and obviously, spending holidays with family will be wonderful!

We are planning to build a home not too far from Trevor's parents' current home (they are retired and considering their options right now). We put down earnest money, chose a floor plan, and have chosen interior design schemes for the house. However, if our home in Georgia does not sell, we cannot afford the home in Minnesota. We simply won't have the down payment we want to make, and we're not sure we would qualify for the home loan if we still have the debt from our current home, even if we had a fantastic renter in it. Fortunately, we think we have until January or even February to sell our house and still be able to purchase the one we are building - in the worst case scenario, anyway.

Though our house has not sold yet, we plan to move to Minnesota within the next month. We will be living in Trevor's parents' house for the winter while we wait for our new home to be completed (and our current home to sell). Trevor's parents will be in Arizona most of this winter, but they will be in Minnesota in December. That will be a huge help as we plan to fly to Minnesota with Hudson and our cats. Trevor will return to drive a moving truck with my car towed behind. Trevor's car will stay in a secure lot near the airport until he can come back for it.

We are all sad to be leaving. We have had so many good friends during our time here, and we wish we could see everyone before we leave. However, with the unpredictability of the airline industry, we may end up deciding we're leaving with little time to spare. Trevor will get his December schedule just before Thanksgiving. If he doesn't have much time off in December, we will be leaving around 11/28.

We would appreciate your thoughts and prayers over the next few months as we work out the details of our move and possibly adjust to the wintry life again!

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Big Promotion!

Hudson has been promoted to Big Brother! His baby brother will be arriving in early March (or maybe even late February). I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant. This has been a surprising pregnancy so far, even though it was planned. I use an app based on natural family planning, and the app told me there was a pretty slim chance it would work that month. I realized that that time was approaching, but I didn't feel anything at all. With Hudson, I felt nauseated for several days before I took the test, and it really just confirmed what I already knew. This time? I saw a faint second line and thought it was a faulty test. I took two more over the next two days before I fully believed it.

Everything has been the opposite of how I felt with Hudson. I'm more tired, but I'm less nauseated. The sciatic pain and stretching soreness were on the left with him; this time, it's all on the right.
I had a strong feeling that Hudson was a boy from the moment I found out, but this time, I had no strong feeling in either direction. We all sort of suspected a girl because things had been so different, so we were pretty surprised when the ultrasound tech put the image on the screen and we instantly saw "boy parts." We've had another scan since then, so we are certain that he is a boy! We have a first name picked, but we are really struggling to come up with a middle name this time around. We're trying to avoid using a J name for the middle name, so many of the classic middle names for boys are out.

Just like when I was pregnant with Hudson, my cats have been more cuddly, sleeping with me most nights and wanting to be on my lap if I'm not with Hudson. I definitely don't mind! Hudson is in a less cuddly stage right now, so I'm happy to take cuddles where I can.

And as if adding a baby to the family isn't enough by itself, we have another big announcement! Come back on Sunday for that news. :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Have you seen my mojo?

I'm trying to get back into this blogging thing, though I don't think I've ever been too regular about it. With Hudson starting school again in about a week, I'll have six more hours a week to be productive (and that really translates into more like 18 hours because I'm three times more productive when Hudson isn't here). 

We've got a lot happening in our family in the next few months, so I'm hoping this blog will be a way for me to document what's happening and for everyone else to try and keep up with us! 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dear Hudson, at age two

Dear Hudson,

Last week, you turned two. I started writing this letter to you more than a week before your birthday, and yet, here I am, still working on it more than a week later. I feel like maybe typing this isn't the best way to go about writing your second birthday letter, but it is what it is. I think a handwritten letter would be more personal, but also probably a big mess of revisions and extra notes.

Today, I cannot imagine what my life would look like without you in it. No one would be announcing the presence of "poppies" or "geeee-tees" every time a dog or cat passed our house. No one would be pointing out the "panes" flying overhead when I was in the backyard, which would admittedly be very rare if you weren't here. No one would be snuggling with me in the afternoons and watching "Planes" or "Cars" or "Finding Dory." With Daddy having just become a captain and spending more time away from home, my life would be very lonely without you in it.

You love everything right now. When I went to order your birthday cake last week, I ended up having to say I wasn't ready to order because you would have been thrilled with any option I chose. Batman, Curious George, Dory, Elmo, Lightening McQueen, and Thomas the Tank Engine were all options, and all of them regularly grace our television screens. Dory finally won out because we watch that the most, and the movie is still very popular right now.

Bubbles, Duplo blocks, small stuffed animals, and crayons are some of your favorite things to play with. You will easily spend an hour or two at the playground, and I know you're going to love having the pool open again in a few weeks. You love to color outside with chalk, so it's a good thing that the Easter Bunny dropped off some new colors last week. I know it would be the best day of your life if the cats would let you hold them, but right now, you've got a little too much energy for them to feel comfortable around you.

You are very tall for your age. You somehow missed out on any baby chubbiness. You've always been long and lean. People sometimes think you're closer to three or four years old, but I assure them, you're just very tall. You've been wearing 2T clothing for about six months, but many pants and shorts in that size are too loose around your waist. Your shirts in that size are starting to get a bit short. I keep hoping you'll end up at a more normal height and weight because I'm nervous about finding you clothes you'll like and that will fit you when you get older.

You talk a lot. When you are awake, it's rare for you to be quiet. You even lay in your crib and talk to your animals or yourself sometimes. Mostly, you repeat things right now. "A cat! A cat!" or "A mommy! A mommy!" You do surprise me sometimes with sentences, and sometimes, it's a few sentences strung together. "Yay! I did it!" is a favorite of yours right now. You ask for your favorite foods or TV shows, and you sing the Batman theme song. You can kind of hum along to "Itsy Bitsy Spider," too. You can finish the simplified Bible verses from your preschool class, though there are times you want to finish all of them with "yight." I think the most touching thing you say right now is "I need my mommy!" right when you wake up in the morning. Often, you ask for Daddy first, but if you know he isn't home, it's Mommy.

Daddy is your favorite right now. I know it's because you miss him so much when he is gone. It usually doesn't bother me. I would be lying if I didn't admit there are moments when I feel a little jealous because I'm left out. Seeing the two of you together is so sweet, though.

Happy second birthday, Hudson! I can't wait to see what your third year of life has in store for all of us!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Slow Cooker Sunday: Thai-Inspired Slow-Cooker Tilapia

Sunday is the busiest day of our week. The alarm clock goes off at 7:00 so we can get the three of us up and out the door by 9:00 and to our church by 9:15 to check in Hudson before the 9:30 service. At the end of April, this service will be at 9:15, making our day start a bit earlier. We usually get out of the service no earlier than 10:45, and if we are lucky, we are out of the parking lot by 11. Often, we stop by Publix on the way home to pick up deli meat and cheese, a loaf of bread, and a side dish for our lunch paninis, making our return home another thirty minutes later.

We have a few hours at home to eat lunch, take care of household tasks, and let Hudson take a nap before our small group meets at the other church campus at 5 PM. We rarely get home from our small group before 7 PM, and we are all usually starving.

In December, I decided to start making Slow Cooker Sundays a part of our meal plan. Most of the recipes are quick to put together either right before or right after church, and they are generally ready to go with little to no extra preparation when we get home. I can't tell you what a difference it has made to have dinner taken care of when we walk in the door. I generally don't cook when Trevor is out of town, but Slow Cooker Sunday is the exception.

However, my first recipe was an epic flop. Even though I knew I wanted to do a blog post about our first Slow Cooker Sunday, I didn't even take a picture of it because it was so ugly and terrible tasting. Thai-Inspired Slow-Cooker Tilapia was a recipe I tried out of desperation in early December. The tilapia had been in the freezer for two months, and I pulled it out to thaw for dinner earlier in the week. I realized it was too much fish for the original plan, so I made a quick swap to this meal. We had everything on hand except for the fresh basil and the Thai red curry paste. We had just replaced the coil in our HVAC system, so we were tight on money. It had to be cheap - and it was. I spent about $4 picking up the extra ingredients at Kroger. Factoring in the ingredients we had on hand already, I would say this meal probably cost around $10 and made more than the four servings the recipe claims it makes. Trevor and I each ate it twice before tossing the leftovers because they were kind of bland. It definitely isn't a make again meal for us!

Have you ever had a meal flop? A Pinterest fail? Share your story in the comments, and join me next week as I share a Slow Cooker Sunday meal that we all loved.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jenny!

The last time I shared a card on this blog was two years ago today - the day after Hudson was born. I had made the card a few days earlier, and I set up the blog post to publish that Friday because I knew the card would have reached its recipients by then. Once again, I'm setting up the post in advance, but thankfully, I am not anxiously sitting around the house waiting for a baby to be born! Instead, I'm waiting for a toddler to wake up from his afternoon nap.

Fun fact: Hudson and his Aunt Jenny share a birthday. Hudson was due a day earlier, and my water did break at noon on my due date, but he still didn't make his arrival until early the next morning.

I made this card quickly about a week before the shared birthday so we could get it in the mail in time to reach Aunt Jenny in Minnesota. I used some cut apart tags from Elle's Studio that I've had for a long time, and a pre-made card base from MAMBI. I pulled the brown paper from a Pink Paislee 6x6 paper pad and trimmed it to 2.5" wide and 5.5" inches tall. The cut apart elements were mounted on foam tape. I've had everything for at least a year, if not longer. I actually suspect I've had the tags for 8-9 years, and I'd never cut them apart.

Here's hoping this is the beginning of more regular crafty sharing on the blog!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Reflections on 10 Years in Commercial Aviation

Ten years ago today, Trevor began his career at Atlantic Southeast Airlines. We've been through so much in that time. We were long distance for over two years before our wedding in 2009.  In 2011, we bought a house and ASA merged with another airline, becoming ExpressJet. In late 2013, we added our two cats to the family, I was offered a job at a middle school, and Trevor was offered a position at Spirit Airlines. He began training in February 2014, and six months later, we found out we were having Hudson, who was born in April 2015. This spring, Trevor completed training to become a captain at Spirit, and he will be officially signed off later this week. During all this, each of the companies he has worked for have had intense contract negotiations that went on for years. It's been going on for about two years at the company he is currently working for.

In the past ten years, we've had the opportunity to travel to Chicago (where Trevor proposed), Jamaica (our honeymoon), Hawaii, New Hampshire, Houston, Omaha, Jacksonville, Dothan, Maine, Connecticut, Michigan, Philadelphia, Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Some of these less exotic vacations were times when I (and later Hudson) joined Trevor on his overnights, some were visits to family and friends, and some were traveling just for fun.

While most people look at Trevor's schedule and think, "Wow, he's gone a lot," the truth is, he is home a lot, too. He missed just two of my prenatal appointments when we were expecting Hudson, and both were circumstances where either his schedule changed at the last minute or the clinic had to reschedule my appointment. He was home with me for over a week before Hudson was born, and he didn't return to work until nearly a month after Hudson's birth. Trevor is home with us four days a week, so he has missed very few of Hudson's firsts.

Relationships outside of our family are sometimes tough to maintain, though. I often have to tell friends that I can't join them because Trevor is out of town and there's no one to watch Hudson...or I have to tell them that Trevor IS home, but I don't want to squander his one or two days that he is home (this is actually quite rare because he generally has at least four days off between trips, but there are times when this contract provision doesn't apply). I'm finding more and more that it's difficult to relate to people whose husbands are home every night.  When we are able to get together with friends, the first ones that come to mind are the friends in the aviation industry, and our long-time church friends who understand our lifestyle because they've been doing life with us for so many years that they know all about the joys and struggles of being married to a pilot.

Trevor will turn 35 later this year. That means that he will spend 30 more years in the airline industry, as long as nothing changes (mandatory retirement age is 65, and it literally was an act of Congress that set this age limit). I'm looking forward to what the next 30 years will bring. I have no idea what adventures await us. We could be traveling more. We could make a cross country move. Trevor could end up at another airline. We could even see Hudson begin an aviation career in the next 30 years. After all, Trevor was 24 when he began his airline career. Who knows?

Friday, April 7, 2017

The 100 Day Project

 "If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is the result of good work habits. They are the nuts and bolts of dreaming." -- Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit 

The 100 Day Project is a pretty simple concept: choose a creative practice and do it for 100 days. The idea is to do something small each day and record it. That's it.

An online round of the project began on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. I found out about it on April 2, so I didn't really have a chance to gather supplies for a big crafting project. Instead, I decided I would write for sixty minutes a day. I had decided earlier in this spring that I wanted to refocus and get this blog going again. When I found out about this project, it seemed like the perfect time to get back into blogging. So, from April 4 through July 11, I'll be carving out at least sixty minutes a day to write, even if I have to type it in the notes section of my iphone or scribble it on the blank pages of my planner. I initially planned to do thirty minutes, but I realized that Hudson or the cats will interrupt me approximately 75 times each minute. Taking an hour to write assumes that I'll be distracted for about half the time I'm at my computer.

I'm not sure what this project will look like to outside observers. I know that not everything I write will end up published on the blog. I wish it was that simple, that I could just spend 100 hours writing 100 blog posts. I don't know how many finished products I'll end up with. I usually have 10-20 draft posts that are in various states of completion. What I do know is that writing has brought me clarity for more than twenty years, and when I am not writing regularly, I'm a hot mess. I don't think I know how to be introspective without putting my thoughts down in front of me,whether they are on a computer screen or in a notebook.

So, here's to 100 days of thinking, planning, and writing. If you're doing a 100 day project, please share with me in the comments!

OLW 2017: Complete

Since 2009, I've been participating in a project called One Little Word from designer Ali Edwards. Today's post is meant to be an introduction to the project and an explanation of my process for choosing my word and direction for 2017. Later this week, I'll share about my progress and action steps in the first quarter of the year. 

This year, for the first time, I have chosen to participate in the paid workshop through Ali's website. I receive monthly prompts, pdf handouts and videos to help me in the process. The project encourages participants to choose one word that sums up what they hope to accomplish in the coming year. The word is supposed to live with you and help shape your journey through the new year. Some people start thinking about their word in late September, some people impulsively choose a word on January 1, and others need the month of January to firm up their choice.

I personally spent a week at the end of December scribbling in a notebook about the things that went well in 2016, the things that didn't go so well, my goals for 2017, my habits that I wanted to adopt or change, and where I hoped to see myself on December 31, 2017. I ultimately settled on the word complete.

There were a lot of reasons this word resonated with me this year. Since Hudson was born, I've felt pulled in a million directions at once, which makes it tough to feel complete. I have always been great about starting projects, but I often end up neglecting them or not completing them at all. Having a child means I have even less time to finish those projects. And, with everything else taking up my time, I haven't focused on my health at all - the mental, spiritual, and physical aspects that make up complete health. Finally, the saddest and most embarrassing thing is, we never really completed decorating and painting our house! With the exception of our master bath, Hudson's room, and an accent wall in the kitchen, everything is "builder beige." I've been wanting to add color for years, but we just haven't taken the plunge yet. I feel like our house still kind of looks like a rental because we haven't put much of a permanent touch on it. 

Once I settled on my word, I started looking for my supporting scripture. In 2016, I started choosing a a Bible verse that references my word. With the Bible app, it's pretty easy to do because you can search for a word and see it in multiple verses across many translations of the Bible. This is great because a word may not be in my favorite Bible translation, or it might not be listed in the index at the back. It didn't take long to find my verse for 2017.

Nothing and no one will change overnight. Patience perfects us and leads us to completion. I am trying to be patient as I start making the small changes that will ultimately lead to me feeling more complete as a person, as mother, as a wife. This is a slow process, but I think I'm approaching it with the right amount of patience and perseverance to stick with my word through 2017.