Before Baby Bucket List

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Always a list maker, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the things I want/need/have to/would like to accomplish before Baby P arrives this fall. My to do list has always been a million pages long, but there are definitely some key tasks that I’d like to touch on before my baby boy joins us. So here we go… My working list of goals and things to complete by November.

To Do

  • Get current on Project Life (at least 2014—in progress)
  • Update/create/redesign portfolio
  • Start blogging regularly (in progress, see?)
  • Pay off the car (questionable)
  • Design DGC website (in progress)
  • Decorate the nursery
  • Sell/toss/donate things we don’t need
  • Complete “Our Love Story” and “Our Wedding” scrapbooks
  • Get on a regular laundry & cleaning schedule
  • Start meal planning monthly
  • Get my passport
  • Take a “baby moon”

Completed

  • Print photos completed 7/30/14— printed over 300 photos from 2014 to update Project Life!
  • Get my North Carolina driver’s license completed 7/23/14—what a hassle!
  • Re-do our family budget completed 7/22/14

Feel free to hold me accountable, friends.

Our First Home

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A year ago last month, Joshua and I bought our very first home. A year ago this month, we moved in! Up until then, we had been renting or living on base from duty station to duty station, but when we found out we would be stationed in North Carolina for 3 years, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it!

Well, let me back up. I still wanted to rent, but Joshua had other ideas. He wanted to buy. And not just buy any home… He wanted a brand new, never-lived-in, newly constructed home. It was a buyer’s market at the time, and interest rates were especially low. I was scared of the financial responsibility of owning our own home, but Joshua thought it would be a better idea. As it turned out, he was right. Gosh, I hate admitting that. ;-)

I’m the “family accountant” and the one who manages our budget and finances. It had never occurred to me to even consider buying a home until Joshua was out of the Marine Corps. And to be honest, I always thought our first home would be in New York, and possibly be our forever home. But after doing a ton of research into the area and real estate market, then talking to friends who were also homeowners, it became pretty clear that buying was a better option for us. At the end of it all, the monthly mortgage payments for our brand-spankin’-new four bedroom home on coastal Carolina were less than our monthly rent for our three-bedroom apartment in northern Virginia!

Of course, location had a lot to do with it. We gave up suburbia living (my favorite) for a rural area with nothing around for miles and miles except the ocean and a touristy beach town. It’s dead in the winters and full of traffic and vacationers in the summers. I have to drive 30 minute to get to Target and 45 minutes to get to Moes. Needless to say— it’s been an adjustment.

But the best part of all? We own our own home. We can decorate how we like, landscape how we like, paint how we like, live how we like. No landlords to answer to or unwanted visitors or “check-ins.” It’s alllllllll ours, baby! And what a blast I’ve had with that.

My goal when we first bought our home was to make it feel coastal and airy, calming and comfortable. I bought tons of home decor magazines (anything at all with “coastal” or “cottage” in the title) and Pinterested my heart out. It’s been such a fun adventure!

We didn’t move into our home until the Fourth of July, 2013. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take you on a little house tour with me. It’s taken the last year for me to feel “settled” and like I can finally photograph and share the details of our home near the ocean (less than 5 miles away)! We still have lots of plans and ideas, but I’m happy with where we are for now.

I will admit that there is one room in our house that is still completely full of boxes. That room is to be our nursery, and now that we’re pregnant it’s time to get our butts in gear and finish unpacking! I’m sure that will be the last room I share. It’s lovingly (or annoyingly) referred to as the “tornado room,” courtesy of my friend Megan who has a tornado room all her own. (It really does look like a tornado touched down in there!)

To kick it off, I’m going to share photos of our empty home from before it became ours. It will be fun to see the transformation in future posts. It’s also interesting to note that this was the very first home we looked at out of about 10 homes, maybe more? We just kept coming back to it because nothing else really compared. I guess it’s a little like love; when ya know, ya know.

And now… Here we go!

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I’ll be back to share more soon. Any requests for which rooms to see first? Ask me in the comments below! Have a safe and happy weekend, lovelies!

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Three Year Anniversary

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You know how there are some days you just really want to remember? Yesterday was one of those days.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was our three-year wedding anniversary. But first, a little back story to the days prior. Joshua had duty on Sunday and for the first time in a long while, I brought a home cooked meal to him on base. I made one of our favorites— chili rice— and paired it off with a side of biscuits and cookies. I am so glad I did that because after dropping it off to him on Sunday evening, I didn’t have contact with him until Wednesday afternoon when we was on his way home from the field!

Being a military wife has never been an “easy” feat. The long hours, time apart, time demands, and always having to take a backseat to his career can be really rough on any relationship… But you learn to live with it. And usually, he’s able to tell me when he won’t be coming home at night because he has to stay late and be up super early, or because he has duty, or whatever the case may be. But this past week, I was expecting him home Monday night. And when he didn’t come home OR call, I was a little (ok, a lot) worried. After freaking myself out and convincing myself that something was wrong, I learned that he was in an area without cell phone service for 3 days straight. He also called and left a voicemail (of course it was while I was on a conference call for work!) with an emergency contact number in case anything happened with me or the baby.

Then Wednesday rolled around. At that point, I wasn’t sure how long he’d be in the field and without a phone. Didn’t know if he’d be coming home or even able to call. I had ordered chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate with him if he did come home, and they arrived during the day and I was sad just not even knowing if I’d be spending it alone or not. I know, pity party, right? Well I’m pregnant. My hormones are all over the place!

A little after 5pm, right when I had finished work for the day and was wondering what the heck I should plan for dinner, that lover of mine gave me a call! He told me he was coming home. This was literally seconds after I posted the following:

AbductingJosh

He was covered in face paint and had been in the field for three days without a shower, but he was on his way home! I knew he’d probably be exhausted and figured we would have a quiet night in, but no… He had other plans for us. There is this adorable little restaurant in downtown Wilmington with little private balconies for two right along the Riverwalk, and he wanted to take me there. I have to tell you— it was super romantic and über sweet to have my man plan a date for us after his insane hours at work that week and not being able to communicate. ::swoon::

After he showered up and we made a reservation at the restaurant, we walked along the Riverwalk and stopped to have an appetizer and drink at a little outdoor cafe.

Catalinas Riverwalk

From there we went to dinner at Riverboat Landing, the romantic little balcony restaurant. It was such a nice evening… we talked about everything. Work, the baby, the pregnancy, our careers, future plans, how far we’ve come, the scenery… everything. He had planned to take me to a movie from there, but I was the one who was too tired. Pregnancy is tough work! So instead we set off to get a cupcake for me and a cigar for him, but unfortunately the shops were closed. So we headed home, but on the way we stopped at McDonald’s for a McFlurry to top off the night. :-) It ultimately made me feel better after dropping my birthday Oakley sunglasses off the edge of the balcony and getting them all scratched up… Oops.

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It’s crazy how much life has changed in the last year alone. We’re homeowners, we moved (again) from Virginia to North Carolina, and we have a baby on the way! Despite the ups and downs we’ve had, I love this life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

A Little Surprise

A couple of months ago, my sweet husband and I received a little surprise. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably already heard the news by now. But in case you haven’t, here is the pregnancy announcement we shared via Facebook and YouTube to all of our family and friends!

That’s right… We’re having a baby!

Since we’re a military family and we live far away from our parents, cousins, friends and relatives, we wanted to make this announcement extra special. When we found out we were pregnant on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, we thought we were about 6 weeks along. We didn’t find out until our first ultrasound that we were really about 5 weeks along when we found out, but either way it was pretty early!

I’d already planned a trip home to New York for my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower, which fell right in between my mother and father’s birthdays. I knew I’d be seeing a good amount of my family for the shower, so I planned to record everyone’s reactions so that I could do something with them all together.

After sharing the news with my family in person, once I was back home in North Carolina I decided to record Joshua telling his family on video chat. For anyone that couldn’t video chat, I recorded their phone conversations on speaker phone.

I put it all together in iMovie over the course of a week or two– which worked out well because it took awhile to contact everyone and get their reactions, so in the meantime I was able to work on compiling the footage I already had. Last but not least, I purchased a great song to use as background music and bam! uploaded it to share with everyone out there!

We’re so excited, we could just burst. We’re also just dying to find out the sex! We have an appointment to find out this coming Saturday. Let’s hope they can tell us at 14 weeks!

I’m due Thanksgiving Day: November 27th, 2014. :-)

Goals // May 2014

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Spring has me feeling re-inspired and I’m ready to rock out some new goals for May! It’s hard to believe I haven’t posted any goals since January, but blogging has a way of getting away from me and life has been very full lately! So first I’ll backtrack to see what I accomplished from January.

January Goals

  • Start blogging  I blogged a total of 3 times in the last 4 months… Not so great! But at this point anything is better than nothing.
  • Organize holiday decor into bins  My Christmas decor is totally organized, neat, and in labeled bins. My fall, winter, and Halloween decor are getting there!
  • Stretch!  Kinda sorta did this. 
  • Wear my glasses more  Wore them more in January, but not much since then. Note to self: Make eye doctor appointment!
  • Complete Graphic Grace rebranding  I ended up rebranding my blog but not quite getting to Graphic Grace. And in light of recent events (which I will be sharing in the near future), I’m pretty sure I’ll be putting business on hold for awhile.
  • Read 2 books  Negative. I started like, five books. I finished zero. They are ALL in progress and I haven’t made the time to read!
  • Decide on a plan for my office  Done! Decorated! Complete! 
  • Wear bright lipstick  Check! Reds, hot pinks, corals… I rocked them all!
  • Start a skin care regimen  Another check! Moved to natural/organic skin care and my skin is super happy because of it.
  • Send Christmas gifts + cards  Yes! I was late with them all, but they got mailed.
  • Finish nightstand project   Complete and sharing soon!
  • Prep blog for Alt Summit   Fail. Alt Summit was great, but my blog was nowhere near ready.
  • Take a bath!  Finally took a bath in our brand new tub for the first time since we moved into our brand new home… Just last week!
  • Create a base price list for design & photography services   Thought about it, but didn’t write any of it down or commit to anything.

I’d say I completed a good amount of my goals. Now let’s move on to May… My favorite month of the year! Yes, I’m a little bias… It’s my birthday month! #TeamTaurus

May Goals

  • Start blogging regularly
  • Finish organizing holiday decor into bins
  • Read 2 books
  • Sort and recycle old magazines
  • Start unpacking/organizing the tornado room (a whole room of boxes, bins, and excess!)
  • Tackle and purge the office closet
  • Project Life catch up!
  • Try a new workout DVD
  • Plan, shop, and spend a weekend doing Once A Month Cooking
  • Plan a getaway for my birthday weekend
  • Find a yoga studio and try a yoga class
  • Get my bridesmaid dress altered for my brother’s wedding (and still fit into it)!
  • Two words: Mani Pedi
  • Try try try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night

I have my work cut out for me! A lot of organizing, a lot of catch up… Adding another note to self to start updating my design portfolio in June. I have to keep the lists manageable!

Signing off for the evening. What do you think of the new blog design? It makes me feel excited and calm at the same time!