Tuesday, September 30, 2008


When we were first married, Justin's car died. At the time it didn't really matter, because he was working out of town all the time - I would take him to the airport early Monday morning and pick him up Friday evening. We were perfectly fine being a one-car couple. However, after a couple months he started working in town again and I started substitute teaching. We realized that we couldn't make it with only one car, my schedule was crazy due to times different schools met and Justin needed to be able to drive back and forth between his office and different clients.

Even though we had hoped to not have to purchase a new car for a while, we found ourselves in the market for a car. Our budget was pretty limited since we had both just gotten out of school so we knew that we were definitely not getting a new car. We went to CarMax and test drove a few cars before making our decision to get a 2002 Ford Focus ZX5 (this was back in 2004). We wouldn't say now we are thrilled that we ended up buying this car, although we are pretty happy about what we bought with the car - an extended warranty.

Almost 2 years after we bought the car (and just days before we were moving to Houston), we realized something was wrong and took it in. For $50, a problem with the air compressor was fixed. The day after picking it back up (and the day we were leaving to drive here) one of the windows was rolled down and wouldn't go back up. Without charging us another $50 (since we had just picked up the car the day before) the window was fixed.

Lately we have been noticing that the engine in this car has been running really loud and has been sputtering while we drive. It was tempting to just take the car in for a tune-up somewhere, but then we realized that the warranty is still good so we took it into the nearest CarMax instead. I can't even keep track of all the things that they found wrong (one of the reasons we aren't so stoked about the car - I've never had all these problems with my civic that is 3 years older). What I can keep track of is what we are having to pay for these repairs.


We have broken motor mounts, and something having to do with the timing belt is even covered by the warranty (which means we are getting a new timing belt which is pretty expensive and belts themselves are usually not covered), as well as something else having to do with the air compressor is messed up. Over $1500 worth of repairs and we are paying only $50.

It isn't all the time that I think a warranty is worth it - I bought an extended warranty on my civic when my factory warranty was up and I don't think it ever paid for itself. But this warranty has definitely paid for itself - about 3 times over, in fact.

We will be so happy when we get the car back later this week. It is so hard to have to share a car (in other words, we are so spoiled). Tomorrow morning we leave at 4:30 in the morning so I can take Justin to the airport and anyone that knows me very well knows that I am not a morning person. I have been working everyday this week and since Justin also went back to work this week, we have had to make quite a few adjustments on how we do things.

Friday, September 26, 2008

4 months to go!

Baby boy's official due date is exactly 4 months from today - so we figure we have four months plus or minus a week before he will be here! There is so much to do in that time! We already know which room will be baby's room and we have a crib and bedding, but we have been using that room for all of our random stuff. So it is time to clear it all out. I want to paint the room - we are really leaning toward a light green that matches the bedding we bought, but will hopefully match any future bedding (in case our next baby is a girl, for instance).

Justin is feeling tons better since his surgery and will be heading back to work on Monday - just in time for his company to take them all to Dave & Busters for their own Employee Appreciation Day. Then on Wednesday he will be heading over to Louisiana until Friday as he gets back into the swing of things for work again. It is kind of hard to believe that his surgery was almost 5 weeks ago!

We figure we have about 2 months worth of weekends to do what we need to on the baby's room before Justin goes in for surgery #2, which will be just as major as this first surgery meaning he will have about 5 weeks of recovery time. We could put this surgery off for up to a year if we want, but we have already met the deductible and our annual maximum payout on Justin until June 30th of next year so we want to be able to get his next 2 surgeries done before we cross over into another policy year. Plus, we think it will be easier for Justin to have the next surgery and time to heal before the baby is here, rather than to wait until afterward.

This year has been so crazy so far (IVF, Justin's illness, Hurricane Ike) and it looks like it is just going to keep on. Here's hoping that we will really be ready when baby boy arrives!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

beef, beef and more beef

We were really lucky - we hardly lost anything out of our freezer, mainly some ice cream. All of our beef products were in the top of our freezer, and even though we didn't lose any of it, it all was thawed by the time we got our generator on Sunday. Which means we have eaten a lot of beef over the last few days. Everything else in our freezer stayed frozen.

Saturday evening we had hamburgers, Sunday we also had burgers and fed burgers to some of our friends. Monday night we had steak. Tuesday we had burgers for lunch and tacos for dinner. Today (Wednesday) we had burgers for an early lunch (and finally finished off the burgers) and beef stroganoff for a late dinner (with Arby's in between). Right now I am cooking up the last 2 pounds of plain ground beef that we had in our freezer - one pound we will season for tacos and then both batches will go back into the freezer. Tomorrow we are having dinner with friends, but we will cook the pot roast we had in the freezer and will eat roast for the next few days after that.

One thing that is really interesting - a lot of people are getting their power back for a little while, but then losing power again. In fact, after getting our power back on Sunday night - the people across the street (and our friends a block and a half from us) lost power again Monday morning and didn't get it back until this morning. I actually have a constant fear that we will lose power again.

The good news is that a cool front came in Sunday evening and cooled things down here a bit and has really lowered the humidity level. The temp will start going up this weekend though (and the humidity level will go up as well), so we hope that everyone that has power is able to keep it and those that don't have it yet get it soon.

The bad news is that after about 12 hours of use by Justin's aunt and uncle, our generator stopped producing any power. The breaker is fine and everything else seems fine (the generator runs fine and burns gas) except that nothing is getting any juice when you hook it up. You would think that the generator should run for quite a bit longer than that - especially since we only used it for about 4 hours before getting our power back. We met Justin's aunt and uncle at Home Depot this afternoon and dropped off the generator to have it sent off for repairs. There are almost no generators in Houston so we didn't have the option to exchange it and we didn't want to return it because we have decided that having a generator is actually a really good idea. We hope that they are able to find some stupid little wiring problem that is easy to fix and we can get our generator back soon.

In the midst of all this, it is super easy to lose track of time. It really feels like the hurricane came 2 weeks ago, instead of just 5 days ago. It is also very easy to have no idea what day it is, since all the days seem to be running together. Sunday we didn't have church because the building had no power. The different community colleges that are part of the system I work for are closed for the week due to power outages and other damages. With nothing to differentiate one day from another, we have to keep asking each other "What day is it today?"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our hurricane update

I have to admit - we probably weren't as prepared for this as we should have been. Afterall - we were in Tampa in 2004 for 3 hurricanes that affected the area. Each time, we had lots of canned foods and planned to heat them up with our fondue pot as well as lots of water. And each time, we never even lost power. When you go through that over and over, it is super easy to become complacent.

So for this hurricane, we filled one of our cars with gas. We filled the bottles we have saved with water. We made sure everything from our backyard was stored in our garage (thanks to some people from church who moved our giant grill that is way too heavy for a pregnant woman and a man recovering from abdominal surgery to move). But that is about all we did to prepare.

This was by far the worst natural disaster we have been through. We lost power around 11pm on Friday night. It flickered a couple times before it actually went out, but when it was out for 10 minutes without coming back on - we knew it was not coming back anytime soon. Throughout the night, the wind howled and I hardly slept. Around 5 am, both Justin and I couldn't sleep because the storm was so loud so we got up to check our house for any damage. The wind was still ferocious outside and the darkness made it really difficult to see anything.

Around 7, we could see outside that all of our trees were still standing, but the wind was still pretty strong. We checked out attic to make sure we couldn't see any leaks and then we each went back to bed for about an hour or so. When we woke up, we looked out again to see that one of our trees was leaning to one side. We got some rope from our garage and went out in the wind and rain to secure our tree.

By about 10 or so in the morning, it seemed that the storm had passed. We were able to actually go outside and look around. Our roof looks undamaged as far as we can tell and luckily the rope we used on our tree seemed to hold it up. Besides the fact that we had no power, we had no other damage. As we took a drive around our neighborhood, we realized how lucky we are. Lots of people had trees that had fallen over or snapped in half, lots of broken fences, damaged roofs, etc.

Without power, our house continued to get very hot and humid inside - not so great for two people in mine and Justin's situation (i.e. pregnant and recovering). As the day turned into night we hoped that a night breeze would come through our open windows. But that didn't happen - turns out all our windows are on the wrong side of the house. We also hoped that we would be awakened in the night by our lights turning on as the electricity was restored. Yet again, that didn't happen.

Instead we were awakened as a huge storm came through around 3:30 in the morning with lots of lightening and thunder. We ended up having to go through the house and clean up water that had come into our open windows. We were also quite upset to realize that another big storm meant it would take that much longer for us to get power restored.

Luckily for us, we have great family that really look out for us. My BIL had put his name down for a generator in Austin (even if we could have found one here, neither Justin or I could have carried the thing to bring it home and set it up). This morning he got the call that the generator could be picked up. Because electricity here was scarce, and gas stations that had elecricity didn't have any gas, Rick (and his nephew) brought us the generator and 15 more gallons of gas to keep it running. In addition, he brought the window A/C unit that he and Sherry bought a few months ago when their A/C was out for a few days.

As fate would have it, our electricy was back about 5 hours after getting our generator. We are glad that in the meantime we were able to cool down the family room in our house so it was actually comfortable as well as save most of the food in our freezer. We are also happy to have a generator for the future - you never know when we could use one again. And we are glad that we are going to be able to let Justin's aunt and uncle use our generator now since they have no power still and since they have no power they also have no water.

The past two days have pretty miserable, but we also realize how blessed we have been. Our house has no damage to it and the uncomfortableness of no power, although it seemed to last forever, was less than 48 hours.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The splurge

For weeks (ok, I admit - months) I have been looking at baby stuff online. Starting about 2 weeks ago I started really looking at baby bedding. I looked at both boy bedding and girl bedding since we didn't know until yesterday what we were having. A few days ago I decided what I liked the best for each. Although Justin didn't look at bedding nearly as much as I did - he said he liked best what I liked (maybe because we agree on everything?).

After finding out yesterday that we are having a boy, I spent a good couple of hours last night looking over all the baby boy bedding again. But I kept coming back to the same one. I kept trying to look for something else that was about half the price, but nothing said this is how you should decorate your baby's room like this one set.

And because it was on sale this week AND had free shipping (and it isn't available in the stores) we bought it today! And not just the bedding - also the mobile, diaper stacker and window valance.

We also have a crib (not the one pictured here) that we bought a couple months ago so you can bet I will put it all together once the bedding comes next week to see how cute I think it is all over again!

Its a boy!!!

If you couldn't tell from below - it seems that some went along with the masses without really knowing for sure what they were looking at - here is the explanation of the pictures.

Picture 1 you can easily tell that is baby boy's profile. If you weren't sure about picture 2 - baby boy is actually facing the "camera". You can make out where his eyes are and you can actually see his ribs - he really looks like a skeleton in this one.

Picture 3 is the tell-all picture that he is a boy. If you think of it this way - he is sitting on the camera. His rear is pretty much right in the center with both legs pointed up and to the right. And right between the legs is how we know that he is a boy! We actually had some trouble getting this picture. We saw what we needed to see, but then when we tried to take the picture, he kept crossing legs or holding on to himself right there. There isn't much else to hold on to in there, so I guess he has to find somehow to occupy his time.

Picture 4 is one of his cute little feet; if you enlarge it, you can actually make out the separate toes.

We are so happy to be able to make plans as far as the nursery and all that now!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Blue or Pink?

Today we had the 20-week ultrasound and so we now know the sex of the baby. The question is - can you tell?

That means all you people that usually just read our posts, but not make comments should actually tell us what you see in the pics here!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Day!!!

We have had quite the turn of events this week!

On Tuesday night we assumed that Justin would be staying in the hospital for a few more days at least since he still had his NG tube in place and hadn't eaten or drank anything since Saturday. However, yesterday morning they removed the tube and allowed him clear liquids for breakfast.

He must be doing really well because they automatically moved him up to full liquids for lunch and real food for dinner! Justin's first real meal since August 21st!!!

He had breakfast this morning and after I teach my last class, I am going to the hospital to pick him and bring him back home. We are so happy that he is doing well and is able to come back home. Both Colby and I have really missed having him here.

I am so happy - I am almost willing to forgive Colby for what he did last night while I was at the hospital. Now instead of having 2 shoes that look like this:

I have one that looks like this:

This is the second time he has eaten up one of our shoes. The other time was when Justin was in the hospital in July, he ate one of Justin's shoes. We obviously need to be better about keeping our shoes up.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I am exhausted from so many trips back and forth to the hospital. I feel like I am never home. Poor Colby doesn't know what to think - Justin left almost 2 weeks ago and hasn't come back and I am gone all the time.

Things have not gone as well as we planned and Justin is spending his 13th night at the hospital tonight. We have no idea when he will be coming home.

On Saturday, he started feeling a lot more pain than he had been the few days before and had no appetite for his full-liquid meals. On Sunday the doctors decided that his bowels were still sleeping from the surgery and they needed to put an NG tube in his nose to drain his stomach to help with the bloating and also move him back to nothing but a few ice chips by mouth.

Besides the actual surgery, I think Justin feels that the NG tube is the worse thing he has gone through since being in the hospital. On Sunday he was miserable and it was really hard to see him that way. He couldn't talk and kept gagging because he could feel the tube in the back of his throat. They got a lot of stuff drained and we hoped they would remove the tube on Monday.

Monday he was doing quite a bit better. He could talk and although the tube was still annoying to him, he wasn't nearly as bad as the first day. And he took quite a few walks in the hallway.

As of tonight, they still haven't removed the tube. They are afraid that if they take it out, they will have to put it back in later. So once again, Justin has gone for a few days with no nourishment besides his IV's. We know that in order for him to be discharged to come home his body has to be able to process solid food correctly and since he isn't eating now, we think his stay is going to be quite a bit longer than we had hoped.

We are hoping that if he is still there as of Monday, the hospital staff will be lenient with us and let us wheel him over to one of the connecting professional buildings where my OB is. Anyone keeping track to the pregnancy countdown above will see that I am only days away from 20 weeks, so on Monday we are scheduled for an ultrasound to find out if baby is a boy or girl. Justin has missed all the good ultrasounds and we are not letting him miss this one!