"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, February 26, 2010

His Works Are Wonderful

Here is the picture of the Wannton at 33 weeks! We had an ultrasound at our appointment on Monday and I just got around to posting it.

Its not the most clear picture, in fact it scared me a bit at first, but don't worry... the baby is perfectly healthy and everything is forming just the way it is supposed to. You can make out the hairline, and I think the baby is going to have A LOT of hair. It makes sense because Nick and I both have very, very thick hair. Also, I have been getting a lot of heartburn, which is one of the few "Old Wives Tales" that is (partially) true! Heartburn == Full Head of Newborn Hair.

The baby is 4 lbs, 10 oz according the ultrasound and you can tell (or I can definitely tell) that he or she is running out of room! Before the ultrasound captured the baby's entire body, and now you can only make out a few parts at a time. Also, I think the little face is smushed against me. The baby is just started to realize that there's a whole lot of room where my lungs currently are, and seems to enjoy stretching out and scraping my ribs and diaphragm. :) Oh I can't wait for him or her to come out so that I cover my baby with kisses!

What do you think my chances are of having an 8 lb+ baby??? I think that it could be a real possibility, especially since Nick was over 8 lbs... OH MY!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Storybook Baby Shower

I just had a super week in Texas!

I flew to Houston on Wednesday, and my mom picked me up at the airport. We drove to San Antonio, we may or may not have stopped in San Marcos on the way (hello Pottery Barn Outlet!), and picked up one of my best friends, Jessy. She came in from California for my baby shower, but had used the beginning part to of the week to visit her family that lives there. The shower wasn't until Saturday, so I had her at my mercy for two days.

I took her to some of my favorite places that I had always wanted to share with her: the San Antonio Riverwalk, The Alamo, The Gristmill, Gruene Hall, and COLLEGE STATION, HOME OF THE FIGHTIN' TEXAS AGGIES - WHOOP!

We all know I'm shameful about taking pictures, so I have none to share... And besides, this post is about my baby shower, so...

Emily and Jessy threw me a "Storybook" themed baby shower and it was so wonderful! Here are some of the highlights:

This is me with the wonderful, precious hostesses! That is Emily on the left and Jessy on the right.

I met Emily in high school, but we didn't really become friends until college. She was my roommate in college, and one of my favorite people. She is so sweet, and has the ability to see the heart of a person. I tend to suffer from "Foot In Mouth" disease, but she always knows what I mean. She is also someone who always follows through with what she says she will do, but is always forgiving and gracious to the rest of us flakes (especially her wayward former roommate). Also, she is 8 weeks pregnant with her second baby! I have always wanted to be pregnant at the same time as Emily and I am finally getting my wish :).

I met Jessy in California when Nick was in grad school at Stanford, and she is such an amazing girl. She is so funny and always keeps me laughing. She has the strongest faith of anyone I know, and I am constantly amazed at her insight and the tenacity that she has in her relationship with God. She always challenges me to dig deeper in my faith and grow.

These are two girls that I admire deeply! I think that they are both so wonderful, and I am constantly wondering why they are friends with me :). I do not deserve two such sweet girls for friends.

This picture is of one of the tables. Can you tell what it is supposed to be? It's a BED all made up and ready for story time! Is it not completely adorable?

This is my cake... also completely adorable. I made sure that it was in all of my pictures that I took with people.

Speaking of Emily and her ability to follow through... she sewed me this BEAUTIFUL quilt. I really do not deserve a gift like this! This was the biggest surprise of the day, and Nick is starting to get nervous because I want to redecorate the entire nursery around it! Isn't it just beautiful? She said it was the hardest quilt she has ever done, and I don't know how she found the time to make it between working and raising her daughter, Annelise.

It was such a special day, and I am so thankful to all of my friends who came! If you want to see more pictures of the event, hop on over to Hannah's Habits (Emily and also Jessica's little sister), she was sweet enough to be our photographer and she posted all of her pictures on her blog.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Coupon Swan :)

I thought I would do a blog on my couponing progress! And also to solicit beauty advice. Let me start with the beauty advice...

Now that we going down to one income, I am trying to look at ways to cut back. One area where I know I can cut wayyy down is on beauty products. I used to purchase salon hair care products, and organic make up and skin care. I figured it was just easier to go with what my Stylist and Esthetician recommended because I have never been into experimenting with hair and make up things. About every six month I think "I'm a girl, I should know this stuff". So I sit down to figure out how to beautifully style my hair or put on awesome make up, and it usually lasts about 10 minutes. I then realize how bored I am and I go read a book.

So in preparation for going down to one income, I am going to have to get much more beauty product savvy. I am keeping my skin care the same, but I am going to start shopping the drug stores for hair and make up products. Not only are they cheaper, but I can put my newly acquired couponing skills to good use! So far I have been buying L'Oreal products for my make up and I LOVE their foundation. Its 17 SPF, very light and creamy, has great coverage, and blends well with my skin. I also thought I would try Dove hair care because I love most other Dove products, and I've been really pleased with that as well.

So what drug store beauty products do you love??? I'm especially interested in hair styling advice from anyone with thick, curly hair! But all other beauty advice is desperately needed :).

As for couponing, Nick and I have really been getting the hang of it! Its become our Sunday ritual.

- After church, we go and buy a Sunday paper.
- We go through and get the Smart Source, Proctor and Gamble, and Red Plum inserts, among others and clip the coupons that we like. I also check around online for coupons. You can find a lot on Smart Source, Red Plum, and Coupons.com online, but you should also check with the manufacturers of your favorite products.
- I then organize my coupon binder (shown below - I tried to get Nick to model it for me, but he did not want to have his picture taken.) This is an absolute must have for me. Its just a regular binder with dividers and baseball card holders. There's no way I would be able to keep track of what I have and use them without it. I take out expired coupons, review my current coupons, and add the new ones that I have. Its helpful to have tabs to sort by categories.

- Then we go through the circulars to pick out good deals, we primarily focus on CVS, Walgreens, and Winn Dixie. When we started, I subscribed to a service called "the Grocery Game". Its a list of different stores and their products, and it tells you which items are free, should be stockpiled or which items to only buy if you have to. It also tells you where you can find the items. It was very helpful in the beginning, but I don't use it as much anymore. I highly recommend trying it if you want to save a lot of money couponing, but aren't really sure how to get started. There are also BLOGS GALORE on devoted to where to find deals.
- Then, I make sure I know what I am going to buy before I go in the store. I have my coupons ready and Nick and I go through the store and get each item.
- We repeat weekly to stockpile the best deals and to make sure we use our Register Rewards and ExtraCare Bucks before they expire.

This is part of my current stockpile - its primarily my bathroom, cleaning and laundry products! I don't have a picture of my food to show because we usually end up eating what we get :). Most of these items we bought for less than $1. My personal favorite is the Dove Men's Body, which we made $3.75 on... hey if they are going to pay you to take it, then why not? Also, our blood glucose checker, which we made $10 for purchasing :). If you know anyone that wants one, we'd be happy to give this to them. Another favorite, CVS gave out a coupon for a $25 gift card for transferring a prescription (hello prenatal vitamins!), isn't that awesome???

I've definitely seen the best savings at CVS and Walgreens with their Register Rewards and ExtraCare Bucks, but my food savings has gone down drastically as well. I haven't had to change anything I already did. I still refuse to buy most overly processed foods, and I can find a lot of coupons for healthy items. I also find that WalMart really does have the cheapest prices, and so when you add a coupon to that... its magic. It helps to try to plan your meals around what coupons you have and what is on sale.

This isn't exhaustive, but I added up all of the CVS and Walgreens receipts from this year that I could find and between those two stores we have spent $82.65, and saved $156.78! Not bad for 6 weeks worth of purchases, and we probably have enough items stockpiled to last for several months if we stopped spending money right now.

So I welcome any tips anyone has on both beauty and couponing!


Blogging Potpurri

These past few weeks I've been really dissatisfied with my blog. I remember Jessica went through a similar period last fall, and she closed out her blog and started a whole new one! I don't plan on doing that because afterall... It IS a Wannderful Life, but I just haven't really been all that inspired to post anything.

I mean, usually I post about whatever tickles my fancy - politics, prayer, the Wannton, our daily happenings. Lately though, my brain has been feeling very discombobulated... I think I may be suffering from a case of the Pregnancy Brain because I sure feel like its hard to finish out a thought or a topic. Example: Do 10 tortillas divided amongst 6 people equate to 2 tortillas per person with 4 left over? Don't think so... I'm also wishing that my blog had its own private editor (Adrienne, you up for the job?) because I know my grammar is all over the place.

So for this blog, I'm going to resort to bullets because I just can't finish a whole fun post with paragraphs. Its too much! I also can't seem to make myself go and find pictures.

- Nick's best friend, and the best man at our wedding, Tim and his wife Chelsea came to visit us this weekend. It was awesome! We had so much fun.

- The Wannton is at 32 weeks today! It is still moving a ton, and its taken up an activity that Nick and I like to call "Cat in a Bag" because that's literally what my stomach looks like. Its not just a few isolated kicks here and there... this baby loves to do full body dances! I love my baby, and I am fully enjoying pregnancy. I can't believe that I only have 8 weeks to go, and only 5 weeks before I am full term. YIKES! I better start getting my stuff ready for the hospital...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Newest Little Agg...


Not Agg as in Aggie, Agg as in Avery Grace Gribnau! Although I'm sure that her Aggie papa has no problems with me claiming her for Maroon and White, her Red Raider mama might have some problems with that!

I wanted to wait until Jessica posted on Avery before I made a post! You can read about it here. I am so excited that she is here, and I can't wait to be close by to watch her grow. She is such a lovely little baby and I just adore her her full head of dark hair. I think she has her Daddy's eyes, but the rest is all Jessica. I got hold her for a good two hours the other day! I caught her pursing her little lips, and then I looked over and Jessica was doing the exact same thing. Its hard to believe that she'll already be one week old tomorrow. I'm sad that its going to be a couple more weeks before I get to see her probably and I am so bummed :(.

Here she is, pursing those sweet little rosy lips!

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW!


Monday, February 8, 2010

On Fathers Again

Yet another reason why traditional families are so important. We don't need more Baby Daddies, we need more Fathers...

"The latest National Incidence of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-3) reveals a 67 percent increase in the incidence of child maltreatment since 1986 and a 149 percent increase since 1980. The NIS-3 reports, not surprisingly, that children of single parents were “overrepresented” compared to their counterparts living with both parents. While predators may target any child, the data is overwhelming: the safest place for a child is with his or her married mother and father; all other household arrangements carry a higher risk of abuse and neglect."

• Abuse is 6 times higher in stepfamilies than in intact families.
• Abuse is 14 times higher in a single-mother family than in intact families.
• Abuse is 20 times higher with cohabiting parents than in an intact family.
• Abuse is 33 times higher with cohabiting partners than in an intact family.

http://townhall.com/columnists/JaniceShawCrouse/2010/02/08/abusegate_and_children

Who Dat? Dey Dat!!!

I can't really put "We Dat!!!" because for pretty much this entire season I have not felt any emotional investment in the Saints. The last team I cared about, the Houston Oilers (and the coolest, most original name in NFL franchise history!) moved, and I haven't been able to get into the Texans. I was also never a Cowboys fan, in spite of the fact that my husband was and still is. I've felt like an outsider watching this all play out, most of the time feeling bemused by it all.

One thing that is pretty obvious when you live here, is that people from New Orleans LOVE THEIR SAINTS! And they loved the Saints when they lost, when they were considered an embarrassment, so there's no escaping the air of joy in the city right now that they are the best team in the country. I don't actually live in New Orleans, my husband and I live in a quiet little bedroom community on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, but I work downtown, right next to the French Quarter. Even in my sleepy little town, the celebrating was crazy! You could hear the victory whoops coming from almost every single house in the neighborhood, fireworks were going off, and they were BIG, not just the kind that you buy from a stand at New Years!!! People were driving through the streets honking theirs horns, car alarms were going off... it was totally nuts. I can only imagine how wild it was in the French Quarter last night.

Its really hard not to feel something when you see all of that! I've been here for two years now, and it just broke my heart when the natives would say wistfully "It would be so good for the city if the Saints win the Superbowl..." or "Its so good for the city that we are getting the Superbowl in 2012...". New Orleans was in a decline before Katrina, and its kind of doubtful that it will ever be the booming city it was in the 70s. Everyone knows about the crime problem, its dirty, its run down, half of the buildings are empty, and the only businesses thriving are the kinds you find on Bourbon street, but you can't forget that with all of its problems that it's their home town. They want it to come back, they don't want its glory days to be over, and they still think that its possible that the city's best days are ahead of it!

So for all of the natives who were "proud to swim home", Bless You Boys!!! I'm so thankful that I got to be here for this :).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Everybody got LOST last night (everybody got LOST last night)!

All day yesterday I had the song "Everybody have fun tonight!" running through my head but with the lyrics "Everybody get LOST tonight!" But really the two are one in the same...

Ahhh, how do you recap two hours of pure awesomeness? I simply cannot do it... however, a few things stick out to me:

1) One, I TOTALLY called who/what the Smoke Monster is! However, I was wrong about him being Christian Shepherd since ghost Christian can get off of the island, and apparently Smokey/MIB cannot. Plus Christian was in Jacob's cabin, and Smokey/MIB should never have been able to get through the ash ring. But then again... wasn't it Christian that told Sun to wait for John Locke last season while they were in the Dharma Initiative cabins? Why would Christian (on behalf of Jacob) encourage them to wait for John Locke, knowing that he was really Smokey/MIB? Hrmmm...

2) I never understood why people hated Kate so much, but she was seriously ticking me off this episode. Its like Sawyer just lost Juliet and she will not stop throwing herself at him? Ugh, give the man some space Skanky Kate!

3) So, the Plane/Airport part... was that what will happen if/when the Losties are ultimately able to reset time? Or is that what is happening currently in a parallel universe? Its not a reset from the minute they got on the plane obviously because otherwise everything before then would be the same... and it wasn't. Shannon wasn't on the plane, Hurley was lucky, and there were some other changes as well. So, the entire Lost world must have been reset and/or continued on in a parallel universe. Craziness.

4) Terry O'Quinn had better win a friggin Emmy this season! How amazing was he in this episode alternating between a poor, pitiful John Locke (poor baby!) and the scary, commanding MIB? How awesome is this picture? It gives me chills...
5) I love John Locke! He just brings out my maternal instincts... he was a good person and he deserved better than he got. I sure hope that he has a happy ending in this series. I liked his exchange with Jack in the airport, but I was so sad that he was still stuck in the wheelchair. Oh and when he was talking with Boone about his walkabout, I was so hopeful!

6) I want to know more about Richard Halpert... what is going on with him? Did he come on the Black Rock as a slave in chains? Or is he ancient along with the island?

7) Haha, I can't believe they brought back Leslie Arzt? How funny! And Frogurt!

8) I think they will quickly reveal more about Claire in the next episode since it is called "What Kate Does". I'm so glad we don't have to wait forever. Its been too long since they touched on her, and I really want to know what the deal is with her. She's with Jacob I guess since she was in his cabin with Christian. Also, what is the significance of Aaron? Is she still pregnant in the alternate timeline? Don't we all wish we could be as cute as her 8 months pregnant? Seriously, I know the belly is fake, but still...

9) I hope we see some Daniel Faraday at some point in the season!

I don't know what else to say, but I am so sad that the series is about to end... :( I can't wait until next Tuesday!

Monday, February 1, 2010

She's Crafty!!!

On Saturday night at my lamaze class my new friend, Chiara, invited me to a card making class on Sunday afternoon! I have wanted to learn how to make fancy cards for a while now. Our Admin in Houston used to make special cards for everyone's birthday, and they were so cute! So, there was no way I was going to miss this.

The girl who hosted the class is an Independent Demonstrator for a company called Stampin' Up. Its similar to Mary Kay or Southern Living Home, only for crafting things. She had so many cool little gadgets... I could see where it could become very addicting! She can make all kinds of cute things in addition to cards, like cool books, boxes, baby booties, and even purses. I highly recommend you click on her website and check out all of her crafting ideas.

We made Valentine's cards, and since I couldn't find my camera, I had to take pictures on my phone. They are not the best quality, but you can tell that they are pretty darn cute!


Anyway, I am going back on Thursday for making welcome baby cards! If you live on the Northshore and are interested in coming with me, just let me know :). You can RSVP here!

Love,
Stori

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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