Scavenger Hunt Gender Reveal

I can’t believe I’m already half-way through this pregnancy. With everything that has been going on in our lives, I have barely had time to focus on it.

Despite the busy-ness, 20 weeks came and so did the ultrasound to see if baby was healthy and, of course, whether it is a boy or a girl.

Our oldest is 4 1/2 and I really wanted the gender reveal to be special for him. On the day of the ultrasound, my husband and I dropped my son off at school and headed to the appointment. Where we discovered that everything was healthy (a very different reveal from my first pregnancy) and that the baby is a……….(you will just have to read this post to find out. :) )

My husband and I spent the rest of the day frantically getting our elaborate gender reveal together before we picked my son up from school and then we gave him his first clue:

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The second clue on the front door.

The second clue on the front door.

Third clue in the bath.

Third clue in the bath.

This one was on the oven.

This one was on the oven.

The next clue was above his bed...

The next clue was above his bed…

A close up version.

A close up version.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

Another clue behind the clock.

Another clue behind the clock.

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

The book

The book

The clue close up.

The clue close up.

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

Close up clue leading outside...

Close up clue leading outside…

The outside clue...

The outside clue…

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Leading to a tree...

Leading to a tree…

Which led to the most important clue of all...

Which led to the most important clue of all…

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon...

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon…

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baby gender reveal! 009

Here it is, the big reveal....

Here it is, the big reveal….

The confetti is BLUE!

The confetti is BLUE!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

After the balloon pop there were two more clues....one revealing a yummy treat,

After the balloon pop there were two more clues….one revealing a yummy treat,
Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

And one telling our son how much we love him.

And one telling our son how much we love him.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Our gender reveal started as a nursery rhyme scavenger hunt, but turned more personal as I made the rhymes fit for our house and family. I LOVE the balloon pop part, which I ordered in this cute little kit from Etsy:

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy.

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy. It came with confetti for a boy or a girl.

I loved our gender reveal and we all had a great time going around the house searching for clues and finding out it was a BOY with the blue confetti. The cupcake part was pretty delicious, too.

What do you think of our gender reveal? Have you seen other gender reveals you just love?

This Too Shall Pass

Life tends to come in waves here. I sometimes find myself bored with the monotony that can occur when your job description is “Mommy,” an all encompassing word that means you do everything and seemingly nothing all at the same time.

But since the fall, the calm of monotony was abruptly disrupted and has been replaced with wave after wave of life. BIG LIFE. Life changing waves that will not stop crashing, leaving me wondering when I will once again be able to take a breathe.

After my miscarriage on my 30th birthday, which, in itself seems a story fit to be written in the pages of a heart wrenching novel, life charged forward with another maybe-kind-of miscarriage in November. We didn’t tell anyone about it. It was a positive pregnancy test one day and bleeding the next. The doctors called it a chemical pregnancy. It may not have even been real.

December came with it’s wave of Christmas cheer and blur of busy as I once again held a lead role in the Broadway style Christmas production at church and we celebrated all of the things that go on with having a 4 year old in Pre-K around the holidays. We traveled to GA to see family and survived more months of nights as my husband continued to trudge through his Anesthesiology Residency.

 

My last GCN performance.

My last GCN performance.

In January, we were met with snow and sickness. Snow that just wouldn’t stop, and my son only attended school for 4 days the entire month. I wanted to be positive about it, but it was completely valid to be going stir crazy with a little one and snow that was too cold and ice-y to even enjoy playing outside in.

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Well, we played a little. :)

 

This too shall pass.

Then I got sick. Very sick. Couldn’t-move-off-the-couch-throwing-up-at-all-hours-of-the-day sick.

A few pregnancy tests later would confirm what I already knew…I was pregnant.

But I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure if it was real and I definitely wasn’t excited since this time it seemed being pregnant meant being dysfunctional.

I gave my husband a positive pregnancy test in a gift bag for Valentine’s Day (and some other stuff too, don’t worry I didn’t just give him a pee stick) and we both were tentatively excited.

At my doctor appointment in late February they confirmed that there was a little baby in there; measuring about 8 weeks. I was given Zofran to try to stop the severe nausea. It helped, but put me in a zombie like state of sleep and no energy. So my choices were throw up all day or lay on the couch like a zombie all day. My son was raised by the TV for about three months and our house was in such a state of disarray that I truly wondered if burning it down and starting over would’ve been an easier solution than somehow figuring out how to clean it up.

This too shall pass.

We told my family and called my husband’s family. “Don’t tell Noah!” My son knew Mommy was sick, but he didn’t know why, and I wanted to make VERY certain that this baby was a sure thing before we told our sweet four year old that he would be a big brother.

My mother-in-law wanted to come up for a visit.

You can, we told her, but the house does not look like it normally does (I never allow company over if my house is not spotless) and you can not wear any perfume or wear anything smelly.

The smell of EVERYTHING made me sick. I couldn’t even stand the smell of our own laundry detergent; we had to re-wash every single article of clothing we owned just so I could get dressed. (All Free and Clear to the rescue!)

“I’m sure the house isn’t that bad,” my mother in law said, until she actually arrived at our house and discovered it was WORSE. “Well,” she said, “it certainly does look different.”

It looked like an episode from Hoarders.

This too shall pass.

My mother-in-law stayed for a week and entertained my TV brainwashed son and did a million loads of laundry and helped with dishes.  She dug us out of a hole I’m not sure I ever would have been able to climb out of.

And then, I started feeling better.

It was the week after my mother in law left that one day, the sun decided to shine.

And my body decided to cooperate.

And for the first time in months, I felt human again.

We even told our sweet little boy that he was going to be a big brother…and he was THRILLED!

Look Whoo's Going to Be A Big Brother!

Look Whoo’s Going to Be A Big Brother!

This too shall pass.

Residency is over in June. So, no matter what, we are starting a new chapter in our lives this summer. My husband began his job search in December, and much to our dismay by March we still had no job. In the midst of my severe sickness my husband finally started getting interviews and was out of town in between weeks of nights. Despite my strong desire to stay in Richmond, there were no available jobs. My husband has always wanted to go back to GA (where we grew up) so most of his interviews were focused there.

We knew we couldn’t stay in Richmond without a job, so we worked diligently to get our house ready to put on the market. Somehow in between severe morning sickness, a traveling and working nights husband, and juggling the care of a 4 year old, our house became not just clean, but also market ready. Surely we would have a job by April, we assumed, and we went about hiring a handy man and a yard crew, renting a POD, and packing and loading and cleaning and meeting with our real estate agent.

April came and we did not have a job. But we had a schedule, and a deadline to get the house on the market if we wanted to really attract the buyers coming in for spring, and a hope that a job offer would come in before our house went under contract. Putting your house on the market doesn’t mean selling it, right?

Our beautiful home.

Our beautiful home.

This too shall pass.

Except it did sell. In three days. We put our house on the market on Friday, April 11th. We had 5 showings, two offers and were under contract by Monday, April 14th at noon. Whose house sells in three days??

But it was not without some drama. Our first offer came in Saturday night, after only one day on the market, for just under full listing price. “You won’t get a better deal than this,” our real estate agent told us. She really wanted us to take it. The bottom line was that it was all just moving too quickly. I didn’t want to sell our house, or leave Richmond, and we did not have a plan of where we were going next. It’s hard to jump when you don’t know where you are landing.

We told our agent we wouldn’t sign anything until Monday and then a second offer came in Sunday night. For more money and a later closing date. It was obviously a better offer for us, but the agents felt we should have gone with the first offer and there was some talk about us being under a “verbal agreement” and making an “ethical decision.” I was guilt ridden and felt pressured and didn’t want to sell our cute little house in the first place. And my husband certainly got the brunt of that emotional meltdown from me.

We did wind up taking the second offer and were under contract by Monday. And that was it. Our home was under contract. We had no job. We were on track to be jobless and homeless at the end of June with two kids. I don’t know the dates, but I do know that there was a day when my husband and I got into a HUGE fight in front of our son. The tension level at our house was so indescribably high and the great unknowns of our future were so looming that it was almost unbearable.

This too shall pass.

A job offer would FINALLY come in on April 22nd. We were elated. It was an AMAZING offer in Atlanta, GA. We finally could feel at peace with what was coming next, even though I was still holding so tightly onto where we are now.

Then, the week where our life status changed every day happened.

On Monday, April 28th, the Atlanta job rescinded the offer. We were back to being on track for jobless and homeless at the end of June. I was a complete disaster. And, as we have come to find out, rescinded job offers? NEVER happen in the field of medicine. We were at a complete loss. On Tuesday, a job in Athens, GA offered a possible part time opportunity. We didn’t know if we could make it work financially, but we were considering it. On Wednesday, April 30th, the Athens job said they may be able to make a full time offer. On Thursday, May 1st, the Athens job officially extended a full time offer in writing and we took it. Because at this point, we simply needed a plan. Shortly after, the Atlanta job called and said there was still a possibility my husband could get that job if he would just wait….I am so proud of him for interrupting and saying that he was no longer interested.

By Friday, May 2nd, we had started paperwork for the Athens, GA job and finally, FINALLY felt that all of the pieces were coming together.

This too shall pass.

As it turns out, juggling a pregnancy, a four year old, church obligations, a new job, selling a house, trying to find a new house, finding a new school for my son, researching a new care provider to switch to in the middle of a pregnancy, doing an opera (yes, I added an opera in there), keeping up with freelance writing, my job for Richmondmom.com and real life (damn you laundry!) is simply insane. I do not think it is wise to change EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT YOUR LIFE ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

This too shall pass. There will soon be a time of calm. There has to be.

But now, right at this moment, we are still stuck in the midst of the waves, just trying not to drown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Missing Wallet on Richmondmom

I have been a mess lately.

Not in any sort of good way.

In the I’m-sick-my-husband’s-out-of-town-I-don’t-even-have-clean-pants way. You would die if you saw my laundry pile.

And then, I lost my wallet.

Please join me at Richmondmom.com where I let you in on the behind-the-scenes of my current life and make you smile with a story of a good deed.

See you there! 

About Marriage

“When I was younger, I wanted to be married so badly. I wanted the companionship, the family, the love. I wanted lazy Sundays in bed and long walks. I wanted gazing into each other’s eyes and secret smiles and laughter.

I wanted a movie scene.

The problem is that movie scene portrayals of relationships are NOT REAL. Who knew?

My husband and I got married when we were both 23, a retrospectively young age to commit to be with another person for the rest of your life. We had an amazing dream wedding, an equally magnificent honeymoon, and then we returned home for real life.

We were terrible at it…..”

Today, I am sharing some tough stuff about my marriage and letting you in on a little secret….marriage is HARD WORK.

I am honored to have a guest post on Kludgy Mom sharing a post: My Marriage Is Not My Masterpiece…And Why That’s OK. 

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Click here to read the rest of the post. I can’t wait to read your comments with your own marriage experiences.

See you there! xo

Redecorating with Wall Art from Minted.com

Yesterday, the weather was gorgeous. My son and I actually got to spend some time outside and take a neighborhood walk, which was such a welcome reprieve from the cold snowy winter we’ve had.

And then, today, it snowed. Again. This time, starting early in the morning and it hasn’t stopped!

Stuck inside again all day, I’ve started to mentally redecorate this house. I love our home, usually, when it’s clean and we are free to come and go and not stuck in it every single second of every single day. But lately, I’ve just felt like the walls are closing in om me and I’m just so tired of the same old look we have going on in this house.

Since I’m quickly growing tired of my scenery, I was thrilled when Minted.com reached out and asked if I’d like to do a post about their new wall art. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. I am a HUGE fan of Minted, especially their stationery and party decor. And now they have just introduced the most adorable collection of wall art.

How cute would this vintage inspired print be in a kitchen?

I love the modern print and black and white contrast of this print.

And how sweet would this be for a patriotic themed little boy’s room or nursery?

I also kind of love this playful chair print for a powder room.

The best part is, Minted’s limited collection of art prints starts at only $25, making it affordable for anyone’s price range.

You can order the prints with or without frames. I personally would go with the frame, so you have a ready to hang piece of art delivered directly to your door. Who wouldn’t be over the moon excited about that?

These prints would be perfect for personal redecorating or would make great gifts.

With styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, there is sure to be a print from Minted that you will fall in love with.

I would love to know; what Minted print will you chose for your home?

*I was offered a Minted credit in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. And I am totally going to use it to redecorate this house.*

 

 

Life Around The Internet

Elated Exhaustion has been missing some love lately, but I’ve been busy all over the internet.

For Valentine’s Day, a friend and I saw The Richmond Ballet’s production of Cinderella, and it was beautiful! I wrote about it here. 

I was also incredibly honored to be featured as a guest poster on Dancing in The Rain with this post: The Lens of Motherhood. 

Have you read Dancing In The Rain? Jennifer writes an amazing blog you must read.

Jennifer and I were both pleased to be featured today on What To Expect.com! My guest post on her site was featured in this post: 5 Things To Do on February 18th. I would be so honored if you went to read (or comment!) And find out the other 4 things. :) Photo credit goes to the amazing Amy Robinson of Amy Robinson Photography. 

A huge thank you to everyone who entered Elated Exhaustion’s two year blogiversary contest! The winner was Kimberly of All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something, and I’m telling you, if you read even one of her posts you will fall in love.

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

 

Feeling Alive

After an entire week off school last week due to snow, I eagerly laid out all of my son’s clothes for school this week. An outfit for every day, show and tell, snacks, right down to socks and underwear ready to go. This week, we would get back into our routine.

And Monday and Tuesday were glorious. I was not productive, because I chose to take the time for myself instead of work.

This, incidentally, turned out to be a wonderful decision, because snow, ice, and cold temperatures struck again and school was cancelled for two more days.

My son has gone to school 6 days this entire month. There are 31 days in January. He has gone to school for 6 of them.

This exhausting trend has led me back into old patterns reminiscent of my stay at home mom days when he was a baby.

Days of exhaustion and pajamas, days when accomplishing one load of laundry was my highlight of achievement. Days when I would go days (weeks) without any makeup and I did not wear jewelry for years to avoid the tiny tugs of baby hands.

I have these wonderful ideas of getting the house clean and enjoying the indoor time while at home, but everyone knows those kind of fantasies are futile when you’re trapped at home with a little one.

I looked in the mirror this morning and saw that part of myself again. My face that had not put on make up in two day, my hair in an un-styled ponytail. I was wearing pajamas and was back in a cycle where putting on black work out pants would actually be more dressed up than my current state.

The house is a wreck because my son and I had not left it in two days. Honestly, I am feeling like I am at the end of my rope.

And I remembered those early baby days when sometimes I felt the same thing. I felt so isolated and so “not me” without a sense of busyness; a reason to leave the house, a reason to put on real clothes and make up.

I’ve discovered that a schedule and looking put together make a world of difference in my mood.

Right now, we are curled up watching the new “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and blogging. But in just a minute, my son and I will venture out of the house for the first time in two days. Clothes, make up, and all.

And I’m so very much hoping it will make me feel more alive.

For some reason, sparkly things make me feel more put together and bright. I am hosting an online trunk show with Stella and Dot. There are some amazing pieces and come just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Shop here: http://www.stelladot.com/ts/kkyv5

It Snowed and I was on TV

So I accidentally took a week off blogging (again) because it snowed.

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Snow

And apparently, when it snows in Richmond, VA school is cancelled. For an entire week.

I can not tell you how frustrating that is. At the beginning of the week I wrote this sweet post about it on Richmondmom.com. 

By the end of the week I was pulling my hair out. Not literally. More like yelling at my husband and talking myself into online purchases because the little one had not gone to school in 10 days and Mommy was reaching her breaking point.

And here’s the thing; the roads were FINE. There was snow on the ground, but truly there was absolutely no reason school should have been cancelled for an entire week. When we moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Richmond, VA I thought we moved North. In fact, the people in charge of school cancellations here think that the mention of snow is scary enough to close school for a week.

Where have I been? I have been keeping up with my jobs on Richmondmom.com and 5minutesformom.com (because they do awesome things like pay me.) Oh, and I’ve been keeping a 4 year old entertained during his unexpected school hiatus.

Whose up for laundry basket sledding?

Whose up for laundry basket sledding?

And? I was on TV.

Squee!

I was so excited to make my TV debut last Thursday doing a segment on a local morning talk show…talking about baby products! So much fun!

You can watch the TV segment below or by clicking here. I’m the one in the pink. (Curious about my voice? I’ve written about it before.)

 

And you have ONE MORE DAY to enter the Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway! Psst…you would probably win. a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

I’m Back and I Got You a Giftcard

There are many different configurations of words I could put together to start this post in the new year.

Like why I haven’t blogged in forever or how busy I’ve been or tell you stories about my show or December craziness or Christmas or New Year’s or the time that we let our son have his first sleep over and he slept better away from home than at home. (Which is so, so frustrating.)

I’ve gotten so behind in my writing life that I’m not sure how to even pick it back up. Then I felt like I needed to write something amazing before I came back…but the words for that never came.

And I definitely thought I’d be back to writing once my son’s school was back in session but then it’s been cancelled this week because it was cold. I’m not even kidding. No rain, no snow, just cold outside. Longest winter break ever.

So here I am, back with a post. It’s kind of like I went on vacation but all I brought back for you was this lousy t-shirt. Sorry.

Over the past few weeks (months) of hiatus from blogging Elated Exhaustion celebrated it’s two year anniversary. When I started this blog I was full of words and stories and it was all I could do to keep up with the words as they flowed through my mind and out of my fingertips. I never could have imagined not being able to find words to write.

Even though I’ve been terrible at it lately, this blog is still such a special space for me. I very much appreciate all of you who come to read the words I write in this small space…even when I forget to write them.

So to honor you, and in my annual blogiversary tradition, I am giving away a $25 Starbucks giftcard and a chocolate bar. I wish I could have a chat with all of you over tea and chocolate.

Obviously, my New Year’s Resolution needs to be to keep up with blogging. While I work on that, you can enter below to win. Good luck and I hope to catch up with all of you soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours.