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Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Fred Korematsu Day!


Please read more about Fred Korematsu on Time.com.  Here are just a few reasons why he's awesome:
  • American born citizen of Japanese descent who fought for his constitutional rights and refused to be ordered into the internment camps set up for Japanese Americans in WWII
  • Sued the government for violating his rights, lost, still continued to fight, and eventually "won" 4 decades later
  • He's so awesome and inspirational that 3 schools in California are named after him
  • California passed the Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution Bill, creating the first day in U.S. history to be named after an Asian American -- woot, woot!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tummy Reveal

I bet you guys are wondering how my tummy looks.  The baby has transformed my body, and it's really amazing how it can accommodate a little tiny being.  I have been slacking and usually don't take weekly photos.  At first I was afraid to document the pregnancy because I didn't want to have a miscarriage and have these photos as evidence of my failure.  (Yes, I was super scared of having a miscarriage.)  Then I had my ultrasound, and all of a sudden I had reached the end of my first trimester.  Phew.  The lack of weekly photos is due to my frustration in front of the camera.  H has since perfected his camera taking skills (the faster, the better), and I edited them just for this little blog.  Enjoy!


H took this photo the day after my first ultrasound, which marked my official 12th week!! Woot!  My stomach was not too big, but it was definitely massive for tiny old me.  I had to start wearing a belly band to hold up my pants, and I pretty much lived in my sweatpants (low rise, size medium -- bought specifically for comfort during pregnancy) at home.  After eating dinner, I felt like a whale and kinda looked like one too.


A month later and the size of my stomach is noticeably bigger and more defined.  Since it's winter, I was able to hide it under sweaters and jackets with no problem.  Getting bigger also means that the baby is still there, right?  Well I sure hoped so.  Being a crazy mommy, I kept worrying about my little guy.  I was eager to see my doctor again & get another ultrasound to confirm that I had a baby growing inside and not a tumor.


This was not intended to make it to my weekly tummy shot folder, but somehow it still works.  I was getting ready one morning blow drying my hair, and H came in to take pictures of me.  I'm wearing an actual maternity outfit here -- Gap turtle neck sweater with the most amazing maternity leggings ever (to this day they are the only pair of maternity pants that I own).  I swear that my stomach exploded in size right after Thanksgiving and just continued to grow in the month of December.


I'm 6 months pregnant, and I have entered the year that Ninja will be born!  OMG... do I really look like that?  Seriously, that is one massive belly.  At this point my worries point to stretch marks.  Yes, I know it's natural, but I don't really want them.  At the same time I have no idea how my skin can naturally stretch without the stretch marks.  I hear it's all about genetics, and I asked my mom if she ever had stretch marks during her 5 pregnancies.  Nope!  Phew.  Thanks, mom! 


H took this photo earlier this week, and I wanted to give you guys a more updated tummy look.  Although it doesn't look too different from 2 weeks ago, I can vouch and say that my little Ninja is constantly making more space for himself.  See how I'm wearing a maternity shirt in this photo?  This week I can no longer fit into any of my size xs/s shirts (can't cover the bottom of my belly)!  I'm starting to wear more and more of H's clothes, even out in public!!  I just throw on a dress shirt and add a skinny belt to separate my boobs from my belly.  Hehe.  I guess I could just buy more maternity clothes, but I've been doing so well and only buying the bare necessities.

At first I was torn as to whether or not I should actually expose my tummy on the blog.  I only took the photos with my stomach hanging out upon H's request.  My intention was only to have the clothed version available.  Then I started to do side by side shots, and it just makes a huge difference.  I am starting to love and embrace the naked belly.  Plus I'm not really ashamed of my body.  If anything, I'm kind of proud that I don't look like a monster yet.  :)

Did I just scare everyone with my tummy reveal?  Lo siento!!  I scare myself sometimes when I look down at my stomach.  Call it even?  It's weird, but I always imagined having kids.  I just never thought about those 9+ months of pregnancy and how my body would transform from stick to whale.  No worries though.  The little Ninja makes it all worth it, and I could care less about looking like a whale as long as he is a healthy trooper inside.

To those who can see kiddos in their future -- have you ever imagined how your body will change during pregnancy?  Were you like me and just skipped to the sunshine filled part where you can play with the kiddos and be their best friend?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ninja?

Most babies have nicknames (nugget, peanut, bean, etc) before they are born, and our little bundle of joy had one right away.  Since my pregnancy started out with a huge radioactive scare, we found it fitting to call our baby ninja.  This was H's brilliant idea, and the name is so perfect that we can't even imagine calling him by any other name.  Yes, that also means that we are having the most difficult time coming up with a real name because Ninja is just that perfect.  Why Ninja?


Hehe.  This means that H and I will have to show him classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes to pay homage to his name.

Seriously though, we were super scared by the effects of his radiation exposure.  Waiting for my first prenatal appointment was torturous, but it was worth the wait.  While we didn't have any of our questions answered right away.  The doctor noted that there shouldn't be any complications, but we were referred to genetic counseling for further details.  We assumed that if the radiation did have an effect on our little one, then it would be in the form of a mutation or problems with brain development.

But then we saw this...


Somehow this one image on the ultrasound screen made all of our worries melt away.  I thought I was only 9-10 weeks along at the time, and usually most people see a blob on the screen.  Here we were face to face with our little baby, and he looked absolutely perfect.  We saw his heart beating ever so miraculously.  There were two legs and two arms.  Taking account his measurements, the technician told us that our little one was 11 weeks and 6 days along.

About a month and a half later, H and I went in for genetic counseling, where we were assured that Ninja's radiation exposure was too small to have any effect on him.  Afterward we went in for a level 2 ultrasound in the same building with the same genetic experts.  Ninja looked super cute on the screen, and he turned out to be super healthy too!!  Yay!  No more worries.  Just be happy!


Even though Ninja is no where near a mutant.  He is still our special little Ninja.  Each day that he spends inside of me, I am so grateful for his presence.  His kicks make my heart melt, and we bond on a daily basis.  Everyday he is growing so fast, and I cannot wait for his debut.  I love you, Ninja!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poor Health = Baby??

Remember this post about my failing health?  Let me remind you.

"I have been out of my normal routine for a couple days now, and I'm ready for my body to fully recover. Unfortunately, I'm sitting here waiting for my symptoms to go away.  It's difficult to describe exactly what is wrong with me because I'm not exactly sure.  My body has been rejecting me as of late.  I grow easily tired from doing the simplest of tasks (eating, working, putting laundry away).  It feels like chronic fatigue.  I'm sensitive to light, sounds, and odors.  My stomach will start to cause me pain, and then it temporarily stops.  Then my head decides to take its turn and cause more pain.  Dizziness occasionally takes over.  Then my chest starts to pound, and I cannot help but want to cry from this confusion.  What is my body trying to tell me?  I do not know.  I feel like I have no control.

Sigh." 


The entry was posted on August 23rd, after a week of feeling pretty miserable.  I was clueless as to why my body was rejecting me.  It happened all of a sudden, and my symptoms kept bothering me.  I was also very stubborn and refused to go to the doctor right away.  I figured that I would just magically get better in a few days.  Well that didn't happen.  Instead I began to feel even worse about a week later, incapable of even functioning to go to work.  Something was definitely wrong.  I just couldn't figure it out.

So I go to my doctor's office with a list of my symptoms, which were as follows: 
  • fatigue, at times extreme
  • stomach pains
  • chest pains
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • difficulty breathing
  • sensitivity to light 
*started on Wednesday, 8/18

My doctor notices that my heartbeat is irregular, and that is a cause for concern.  I am sent for a series of tests to see what's going on with my heart.  Hmm.  Maybe those chest pains were more serious than my other symptoms.  My first test was a Persantine Cardiolite Stress Test, which is a tad different from your typical stress test.  Instead of testing my heart under the conditions of running on a treadmill, I was injected with a radioactive substance to mimic the conditions of running.

Now here's the kicker... I cannot take this test if I am pregnant.  Well I am little late, but that's very normal for me.  My cycle varies from month to month.  Never had it occurred to me that I was pregnant or even possibly pregnant.  I looked back on the previous month, and it was one hectic month for H and me.  We had the stress of family illness, and my sister had moved in with us midway through the month.  There was no way that I could be pregnant.  So I signed the piece of paper stating that I was not pregnant, and then I had proceeded with the test.

Fast forward to the next day, and H and I wonder if there is a possibility that I am pregnant.  So I take my first ever pregnancy test (peeing on a stick is very awkward), and I am mentally prepared to see only one pink line.  At first, I did see one pink line, and I am convinced that I'm not pregnant.  Phew.  I was worried for a moment.  Wait, wait, wait for it.  The second line appears a minute later.  Then I go into the biggest Yin freak out moment of my life.  I cry uncontrollably, not out of happiness, but out of fear that I just killed my child.  I can't help but to instantly worry about the little guy inside of me and how I put his life in danger just the day before.  Hubby tries his very best to calm me down, but I can't stop crying.  Poor H.

Somehow I got myself together, and we research everything possible online to see what kind of effect the test could have had on my little baby, the one that I just discovered existed inside of me 30 minutes ago.  The result?  Well there isn't much out there specifically about radiation exposure from the Persantine Cardiolite Stress Test.  This is possibly the first time that the internet has failed me.  H did find an article about radiation exposure during pregnancy, which helped me calm down quite a bit.

Now it's time for us to really think back.  How could we have conceived a baby in the last month?  Hmm... I can't even remember the first day of my last menstrual cycle (btw, I still can't remember to this day).  I can barely even narrow it down to a certain week.  I just remember that I was later than usual, and I had a pretty long cycle the month before.  Then we think of the times we... you know.  Yup, it makes no sense.  Gahhh.  *cues frustration*  Did I just get a false positive on my pee stick?  Very unlikely.

Then I examine my symptoms.  Yup, all of them pointed to pregnancy symptoms (minus the heart thing).  I neglected to mention (alert -- TMI ahead) that my breasts were sore and bigger than usual.  Bingo!  Yup everything fit right in.  So why didn't I know that all of my symptoms pointed to pregnancy?  Well I've never been pregnant before.  I also associate pregnancy with frequent trips to the bathroom and morning sickness, both symptoms which would come in the following weeks.

Folks, that is my story.  I was pregnant and didn't even know it.  It took me a few weeks to let everything sink in and realize that there is a little baby inside of me.  My moment of fear later turned into extreme happiness.  :)

P.S. My series of heart tests concluded that I have PVC (Premature Ventricular Contractions), and I'm doing just fine.  Occasionally I'll have chest pains, and I know how to handle the pain (relax and/or rest).  I am in good health, and my heart condition is just part of my normal life now.


Yes, I was already pregnant on my 24th birthday.  I was also hooked up to a holter monitor to check out those irregular heartbeats.  Luckily, mommy & baby are health and safe from danger.  Yay!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Something Up My Sleeves...

This blogging experience will be interrupted with a few ounces of cuteness and shocking (or not so shocking) news!  Can you guess what I've had up my sleeves for months now?

Go ahead.  Take your guess.  I'll wait.

Doot.  Doot.  Doot.

*whistles*

Any guesses?  I'll give you a clue. 

I haven't been cooking much, but I have been baking quite a bit.

Eh?  Food?  I hide food from you guys?

Maybe.

So any final guesses?

Hehe.  Okie, I'll go ahead and tell you guys.

Go on.  Scroll down. 

No worries.  The computer won't bite.

I've been baking quite a bit because I have a bun in the oven!!

Surprise!


Isn't he adorable?  Yes, my bun is a he, and his nickname is Ninja.  He's my buddy, and we are quite the team.  I'm sorry I had to keep this a secret for so long, but I really wanted to tell as many people in person as possible before his online debut.  Be prepared for more baby related entries.  I have a lot to tell you guys!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Measure of Success

My life has been far from the societal definition of success.  You're supposed to graduate from college with a super awesome smart degree and make a career out of it (or advance further in graduate school).  From there, you have to climb the ladder of success and get promoted to better paying positions.  Society likes to measure success in the amount of money you make from your career.  If you make a lot of money, then you must be a successful, smart person.  Of course do not forget the option of becoming a lawyer or doctor.  Those are the professions that make Asian parents the most proud and require years of extra schooling and lots of training.  Those professions almost guarantee a very steady and huge income. 

Then there's me.  I only have a simple bachelor's degree, and I have no experience to show for it.  I would like to give myself the excuse that I am the by product of a rough economy and graduated during the start of the collapse.  Those are just excuses.  I simply tried, got hurt multiple times, saw myself as a complete failure, and I gave up.  I worked for a year in a position which helped me regain sanity, but it also proved to hurt my self-esteem.  I compared myself to others and didn't see myself measuring up.  Sigh.  I am now no longer working and stay at home due to my health.  Now I feel even smaller than ever before.  :(

Why do I bring this up?  I had a dream this morning that my MIL brought up the topic of work and when I would begin looking again.  It brought me to tears, and I went straight to the bathroom to hide from family members at the dinner table.  It is a sensitive topic, one of which she had brought up to me two years ago when I was going no where in my job search.  She would ask why I couldn't work at hospital like her daughter (my SIL had connections for the position, she was studying pharmacy at the time, & it still took them the whole summer to get back to her).  Why couldn't I work at a restaurant (I could but I couldn't).  Why not work at Costco (applied & never heard back.. I was desperate)?

My MIL has brought up the success of my husband's ex-girlfriend, the one I have been told she didn't like very much.  Even if it is not intentional, it gets rubbed in my face.  I am not money driven.  I did not graduate with a very smarty pants degree.  I am nothing like her.  Thanks.

So while I sit here at home waiting for my husband to come home (as I do every weekday), I feel defeated.  I know my husband loves me and doesn't measure success in the same way society does.  I just can't help but to feel like I've disappointed everyone around me.

While I've been comparing myself to success defined by society, I don't exactly measure success that way.  I measure it in relation to happiness.  Even though there are days (like today) when I feel so small and insignificant, I am very happy.  I have a loving husband, my soul mate, who completes every bit of me.  I look at him and fall in love all over again every single day, even the days when I'm upset at him over something small.  He supports me emotionally, physically, and mentally.  We are fortunate to have a place we call home and share our lives together as husband and wife.  In the beginning of our relationship, whenever times were bad, he would remind me that it was the two of us against the world.  No matter what happens around us, as long as we have each other, everything will be okay.

So this is where I stand:

Society - 999999
Me - 0

or

Me + Husband = Happiness = Win!

I wish it was that easy.  I go back and forth.  I see myself as a failure, and then all of a sudden I jump back to remembering how happy I am.  I have my good days, and I have my bad days.  Today probably isn't the best day because of my dream.  This is also the second dream this week where my MIL made me cry.  I have to remind myself to keep strong.  Overall life has been treating me well, even if society tells me I'm not successful.  I am happy and content.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Eating at Home

One of the true benefits of having your own home is the ability to cook whatever you want to in your own kitchen.  I loved our weekly grocery trips to plan out our meals for the week.  H and I are not the best cooks, but we compliment each other very well.  He used to be the main cook, and I slowly gained some skills in the kitchen.  We're usually both in the kitchen prepping and cooking the meal together.  Sometimes he's in charge of cooking the main dish, and I'll work on the side dish.  Other times I'm there peeling potatoes, while he is cutting up chicken for the curry.  It's teamwork, and we love it.

yummy jap chae (Korean glass noodles) - recipe from Steamy Kitchen

Unfortunately eating at home is less and less common in our household.  The wedding really threw our whole routine for a spin, and only recently has it gotten somewhat back to normal.  Rushing to get a wedding together in a month leaves very little room for taking care of the house or your health.  We found ourselves eating out often and forgetting what was even in our fridge.  Once the routine has been changed, it is really hard to ever go back to how it used to be.  Bummer.

smoked salmon with scallion sushi rolls -- so delicious!!

Now it's even worse.  I'm not able to eat the same foods I was once used to eating.  It's usually easier for me to keep down food at a restaurant than food made at home.  It's pretty sad, and I don't like it one bit.  Since I can never tell how I will react to a certain type of food, I try not to be the cook in the kitchen.  Instead I stick to the role of washing dishes.  A smell will hit me in the cooking process, and I go running upstairs to avoid further contact.  :(

H making some omelet rice

In attempts to get back to our cooking routine, we go to the grocery store and come back to fill our fridge.  Unfortunately that isn't enough motivation to get us going again, and probably half of what we buy goes in the trash by the end of the week.  I wish I knew what we could do to change this, but I am left clueless.

Do you have any advice on how to get us back to our cooking routine?  Have you suddenly stopped an activity and found a way to get back into it?  Should we start planning meals for the week and attempt to follow it?  We would appreciate your suggestions.  Thanks!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Becoming Home Owners: Packing

Oh packing, how I love thee!  Well packing can be fun for some or a pain for most.  I belonged in the fun category because packing built up the excitement for the next chapter in our lives.  I was beyond exhausted of living with my now in laws.  They were wonderful to let me stay in their home for 2 years, but H and I needed our independence.  Neither one of us had moved into a place of our own, which would prove to be a huge disadvantage.  We needed to do it someday, and that day was coming up very soon.

I'll admit that I started packing as soon as we started looking at houses in the beginning of our search.  Why?  I was just beyond excited with the possibility of moving out.  No worries.  I didn't pack all of my clothes or anything silly like that.  I only packed the things that I could live without using or seeing until we found our home.  I don't recall packing like a mad woman for the first house that didn't work out in the end.  Maybe it was a sign that the house wasn't meant to be?  This time around, I was ready to pack and pack like no other.  Muahaha!  H and I lived in a small space between the two of us, and it's amazing how much stuff we had in there.


Packing and putting your belongings into boxes is not rocket science.  Although I will have to admit that we could have been more organized to make it easier.  Like I've mentioned before, I still can't find some of my belongings, even a year later.  Make sure your boxes don't get too heavy.  It's easy to stuff a box with all of your heaviest books, but it's not going to be easy for the person who has to carry the box from point A to point B.  Keep a good balance.  Young House Love suggests using different colored painter's tape to indicate what room boxes go into to make the transition of boxes into the house much easier.  I think that is a fabulous idea!  I made sure to label the boxes with as much detail as possible for my own absentmindedness.

Try to recycle boxes too!  H collected a huge amount of computer boxes from work, and they sure came in handy for our big move in day.  Buying cardboard packing boxes can get pretty expensive, and recycling is the best way to reuse and save a few buckaroos too.  Over the years I also tried to keep as many boxes as possible, such as the box our television came in.  It made it a lot easier to safely package those items, and it doesn't hurt that the box was easy to identify.


Since you're already packing, why don't you look through your stuff and sort to see what you do and do not need?  You're already sorting through your belongings.  It only takes a few seconds to decide whether or not you want to bring everything with you into your new home.  If you have clothes you haven't worn since high school, then it is best to de-clutter and donate it.  You don't want to start your new life in a new house with too much stuff that will never see the day of light.


Sometimes you don't realize the essential items you may need for a house.  This is where H and I failed miserably and scrambled to get everything together.  Let me name a few items and see if they ring a bell:
  • toilet paper
  • cleaning products
  • dish soap, sponges
  • salt, pepper, cooking oil, condiments, etc
  • set of silverware & dishes
  • pots & pans
  • lamps with light bulbs
This is where we were at a huge disadvantage.  We were living with his parents, and we didn't have a lot of those essentials on hand for our own house.  Being prepared as humanly possible, H and I went to Costco to purchase some of these essential items before moving into the house.  Eeks!  Here is a big mistake.  You don't want to lug around a 5lb bag of sugar, a gallon of cooking oil, and a 20 lb bag of rice.  It is much easier to make your list and go to the store the day you move in (or even a few days after if you need the time to get settled).


I'm sure you will want to look into renting a truck for move in day.  I actually wasn't sure if we needed it at first.  We're just two people who lived in a very tiny space, and we were moving 20 minutes away.  Of course I didn't factor in the hand me down furniture we would inherit, which would be a pain in the butt to fit inside a van or truck.  It was much more convenient to rent and not have to worry about making multiple trips in multiple cars.


Packing is a lot of work, but it is well worth it.  Don't do it alone!  Get your family and friends to join in on the fun.  They will be eager to help with the transition.  Just make sure to treat them well and provide them with yummy food and drinks to thank them for their help.  At the end of the day remember that packing leads to moving into a new home, which is one of the best feelings ever.

Previously:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Becoming Home Owners: Win!

So now that you've seen a tour of our dream home, what do you think happened next?  Well I'm not great with the details of negotiation.  Here's the short version -- we got it!!  I'll admit that most of it is now a blur now, and I cannot exactly pin point how much we went in with our first offer.  When you put in an offer you sign a bunch of papers to make the offer official.  You also write a check to go along with the offer, showing that you mean business.  If you have a mortgage pre-approval letter from your early preparation, then make sure to include it.  It will let the seller know that you can follow through.  Negotiation should go back and forth until an agreement is reached by both parties.  If an offer is accepted, the check goes to the owner, and it is part of the down payment.  Our realtor advised us to write a heftier amount on the check to really show our interest, and we followed her advice.  Before the week was over, the owner accepted the offer!!  We tried our best to be reasonable without being offensive. We paid asking price with the owner providing $5k assistance.  The house also came with home warranty for a year.  All showings of the house scheduled for that weekend were canceled, and the house was ours!  Yay!  I think we were the only people to ever see the house while it was on the market.  We're special.  :)

I wish I could give more details about the process leading up to the move in, but I wasn't very involved.  Here is my short list version of what goes on...
  • talk with mortgage broker back and forth to get approved for a mortgage and locked in on an interest rate
  • get yourself a lawyer to conduct the real estate settlement -- required for the state of Delaware to protect the buyer 
  • find money for down payment -- we put down 20%
  • don't forget about settlement costs -- ours was $7k 
  • get the house inspected & don't skimp!!  go for the radon test (YHL explains the details)!
  • pack, pack, pack!!
Since I actually know a thing or two in this area, please get an inspection done by a qualified professional.  This will be the only time when you can be assured that the house is in good working order.  If something does not follow to code, the owner is required to fix it at his/her own expense.  Smaller issues will be brought to your attention that may require to be fixed or replaced in the near future.  It is all good information that you can use.  Please spend the extra money to get a radon test performed as well.  This is not a required test to perform during inspections, but your health will thank you for it.  It also doesn't matter if your house is only 2 years old or 42 years old.  Radon comes from the soil, and it doesn't care if your house is new or old.  Read more about it from the EPA website.  If the test results are high (above 4), then you must look into a mitigation system, which the owner will most likely help pay for.
    In an economy where houses stay on the market for months, it is really odd to see a house go on and off the market in less than a week.  That makes it sound like we were crazy to jump on our chance for the perfect house, but I just think it was meant to be.  The experience went without any hurdles, and before we knew it, we were moving into the house the following month.  H and I met the owner during settlement, and our hearts melted a little.  This was his home for the last 42 years, and we were given the privilege to start our own lives here.  We will be forever grateful and hope to continue to give this house lots of love.

    Tip:
    After looking for houses for months, you start to get used to pricing and know what is considered a good or bad deal.  You have to use your best judgment when putting in an offer because money is always a touchy area.  H and I knew that our house was priced to sell, which is a very common strategy in today's not so great market.  If a home owner really wants to sell quickly, it is wise for them to list the house priced to sell.  Go into negotiations knowing that you don't have much room to budge or bargain.  If you're stubborn and ask too low, then the house can be easily sold to someone else, especially in a desirable location/neighborhood.  You may not be the only one interesting in the house, and it could result in a bidding war.  Eeks!  I have also seen houses that are priced $40k+ more than they are worth, and those are the ones that stay on the market for 6+ months or never sell.  The price continues to drop, and you know that the owner is coming to terms that their house will not sell for more than it is worth in today's market.

    Pretty much you can't go into negotiations the same with every house.  Your realtor can assist you with their expertise of the market and value of homes in the area.  Always remember to trust your instinct though.  Even though the realtor is on your side, he/she is still trying to make a sale.  The higher the house sells for, the more he/she make off of commission.

    I'm going to wing it and say that it's going to be tough to get the seller to cover settlement costs.  In the old market during the housing boom, it was pretty easy for that to happen.  The market isn't the same, and the bubble has burst.  When the seller benefits from a great market, then it is easy to share the wealth.  In a not so great market, the seller needs to save every penny to make the deal fair for him/her.  You will often find that eager sellers will specifically state in their listing if they are willing to offer settlement help.  Our costs came to around $7k.  Don't forget about this detail when budgeting for a house.  Also don't bank on the seller being able to assist you.  Always be prepared for the extra out of pocket expense.

    Previously:

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Photo Organization

    In my last entry I wrote about basic organization in the house with the assistance of a new bookshelf.  So far it has helped me sort through all of my bills and invoices from the past 3 years.  That's a heck of a lot of paper!!  I am so glad that I went through them all because there might just be a day I might need them.  Packing and moving into the new house has made me forget where everything is.  I have lost so many things, and I still haven't found most of them yet.  I am hoping that by starting to organize, I can follow through for years to come.  Well at least for this year.  I have a feeling life is only going to get more complicated, and organization will be the key to sanity.

    Today's task has been photo organization.  My parents designated me as the keeper of photos, and I have been trying my hardest to keep up with the role.  Back in high school I used a camera that required film, and I was forced to bring them to the store to have them printed.  If not, I would never see the results of my clicking.  With the digital age, it has become so easy to constantly click, click, click and forget about it.  I can view the photos on the screen of my camera or the screen of my computer.  Who  needs a hard copy?  I do.  I cannot stand the possibility of losing them.  In the past I have made sure to have multiple copies on my external hard drives and on discs.  It is not an easy task, but it has to be done.

    The most difficult part for me has been following through with printing the photos.  It shouldn't be too difficult, right?  Well there is always the tedious task of sorting through every single file and seeing whether or not they are worthy of being printed.  It takes up a lot of time, and I get exhausted looking at hundreds of files at a time.  No worries.  It gets even more difficult now that we have a DSLR in the family.  The photos require editing (to satisfy my need for perfection), and that just so happens to be my job too.  Hubby takes photos.  I edit.  It's only fair?  I'm not so sure about that.

    I have to thank Flickr for making my life a tad easier.  I have the motivation to edit by knowing that I can upload them to Flickr.  If I ever need a photo (original size in all its glory) and have access to the internet, then I am golden.  Because I am the editor, I also sort through the photos in the process.  If the edited photo ends up in my "Flickr" folder on my computer, then they are worthy of being seen online & also printed.  Now only if I can learn how to upload to Flick and immediately upload it to be printed at the same time using my store of choice (Costco). 

    So far all my hard photo copies belong in a home called a shoebox.  It's a sad place to be, especially when there is no order.  Luckily my new year organization skills have come to their rescue.  Now they are categorized and in a better, nicer photo box.  Woot!  It's the small steps that count.  H would love for me to put the photos in photo albums. Yeah.. I'll work on that.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Sleep Deprivation & Organizing

    Okay sleep deprivation might be a slight exaggeration, but my sleeping patterns are definitely thrown off course.  I wake up multiple times throughout the night, tossing and turning.  It's normal.  Usually I can fall back asleep almost instantly, but I haven't been so lucky lately.  Now each time I turn around, I have a 50/50 chance of falling back asleep within a reasonable amount of time.  Since I don't like staying in bed for hours awake, I get up and do stuff around the house.  This morning I woke up at 4:00 AM, and I didn't fall back asleep until close to 9:00 AM.

    Of course having all this extra time in the super early morning means I get to watch the sun rise.  I also have a lot of time to clean and organize.  With the start of the new year, I am pushed to actually clean up piles of stuff that have been pushed aside for months.  The wedding made both H and I super lazy.  My craft room is no longer a room full of craft materials.  It just looks like bags galore, full of miscellaneous stuff I never had the time to put away.  I never actually unpacked all my boxes from our move in either.  Eeeks!  It's been over a year!!  It's definitely time to get myself back on track.

    I have a super long to do list that I refuse to write down in fear of having a panic attack by seeing the length of tasks ahead.  Cleaning and organizing is one step towards conquering my list.  I just need motivation to keep going and not take m&m breaks.  Hehe.

    Yesterday H and I went to Ikea in search of a bookshelf.  We've been looking for one (not so actively) for the past year, and I usually shoot H down when he suggests buying one.  They're kind of pricey, and I didn't want to settle for a cheap one at Target.  Now Ikea isn't too big of a step above Target, but we ended up finding one that fits our needs perfectly.



    It's rather simple and adds a ton of extra storage space for us.  I have books that have been sitting in boxes for way too long, and they finally have a life... on a shelf.  Hehe.  Now that H has assembled and put up the bookcase, we're considering purchasing another one.  Oye!!  Why must Ikea have such tempting display rooms?  They had two bookcases connected with a bridging shelf and a TV unit in between.  It looked super spiffy, but of course it is way out of our tiny budget.  It's just so tempting!!  We have done very little decorating with our house, and most of our furniture is hand me downs.  It would be nice to finally be adults and buy real furniture.  Too bad we're saving for something else with bigger priorities.



    Hemnes TV Unit

    No more m&m breaks!!  I must continue organizing!!

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    A Year in Review

    Can this year really be over? So much has happened in this past year, and it all happened so quickly. I am very fortunate for great family and friends who made this year one of the best ever. I am super excited to see what the new year has in store for H and me.

    Let's take a look at the past year!

    Ringing in the new year with great friends

    Starting out our first winter at home right with plentiful snow

    Oh wedding planning...

    H's sister graduates from college!

    We finally say, "I do."

    Then we had our big day in front of our family and friends.

    H and I took a few small trips this year, and we headed off to Chambersburg, PA to visit a friend.

    No summer would be the same without our yearly beach trip to Ocean City, MD.

    Of course we couldn't go through the year without a health scare of two.

    The holidays came before we could have time to let it all sink in.

    We are so fortunate to spend the holidays with family.

    and sometimes we need to set aside time to go on a vacation of our own, no matter how small

    Christmas always marks the end of the year & the beginning of a new year around the corner


    Happy new year everyone!!