Sunday, November 18, 2012

A "big boy" room...

Ever since we moved into our new home we have kind of been in a transition phase.  At first, we knew we were pregnant but no one else did so we couldn't talk about our plans for each room.  Then we felt like we were waiting to find out the sex of our newest addition before we could make any real plans for a nursery.  I felt like as the time went on my list of desires for the house got longer but my motivation got smaller.  When you can't lift your head off the pillow with out barfing it makes it hard really get inspired and get your rear in gear.  I finally prioritized my "wants" and asked for help.  First order of business is Aiden's big boy room.  I enlisted my oldest and dearest friend Josh for some of his help because let's face it...the man can do it all.  Although by profession, he is an architect, I've yet to find something he can't do.  My request was simple...I want a fun "big boy" room for Aiden that isn't "theme-y" or too juvenile.  Something that he will love now and love in 4 years from now.  (Side note: Aiden wanted a toy story room, then a fish room, then a batman room...definitely why theme's just don't work for us).  As usual, I gave Josh most of the control and he delivered!  Here are the plans for Aiden's BIG BOY room...

It's Josh said, he made it young and playful yet sophisticated at the same time.  Now, although I gave Josh complete creative control let's be realistic, I am a control freak!  So...I did haggle back and forth with him over a few things and for some I won and others...I lost.  The thing about Josh is that he knows me all too well!  He simply told me to get over my fears of drastic design and just go for it!  So while this is our plan/inspiration board, not every one of these things will be in the room.

For our first 4 months in our home, Aiden's new room was our toy room.  The room with the infamous chalkboard wall.  It is kind of funny because since our home was a homarama show house, most of my neighbors have already been inside my house and the 2 comments I always get are #1 I love your kitchen and #2 How awesome is that chalkboard wall?  Well folks, here is the dirty truth.  The chalkboard wall is not all that it is cracked up to be.  It is messy, it doesn't erase properly,  Aiden wasn't really into it for more than a few minutes, and it is impossible to clean.  Here is the proof

This is what it looks like prior to being erased

My attempt at erasing the scribble...basically smeared it!
I know it really doesn't matter since it is a kids room, but I just couldn't live with the streaks and smears so bye bye chalkboard wall!!!  Unfortunately it took a whole container of baby wipes, several attempts with a sponge and multiple trips to clean out the water to get the chalkboard wall clean enough.  Obviously I wasn't on a ladder cleaning it, so THANK YOU to Nana who helped me get the high areas!  (she would kill me if I posted a picture of her on the ladder)
Still has stains on it...nothing a little primer can't fix!
Almost everything for the room is either here or on it's way.  I have been bargain shopping like a mad woman!  Between sale watching, coupon codes, and Ebates, I am pretty pleased with my financial output for this room.  (please tell me you use ebates)  I really don't want to spend a ton on furniture because let's face it...if he doesn't get sick of it, I probably will!
I am hoping for the room to be finished in early December and then we will move on to the nursery!  In the meantime, here is my baby napping in his big boy bed!  Stay tuned for the big reveal....

***A quick side story...When Aiden's bedding came in he said "hmmm, I guess that store didn't have toy story?"  Guess not!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day

I certainly hope today was a Thankful Veteran's Day for the people of this great nation!  I hope that through my blog I make it clear often just how grateful I am to those who have served and continue to serve our great country!  I say that not just because my husband is one of them, or because most of my friends spouses serve, or that my brother served, or my grandfather served but because I am pretty confident that I (and we) have it "made in the shade here" the grand old USA!!!  I fear the thought of a place where men and women no longer proudly and honorably choose to serve our country, yet are forced to do so unwillingly.  Whenever I get the comment "you knew what you were getting into", I immediately think of how much more selfish this country would be if people did not serve because "they knew what they were getting into".  Simply put...somebody has to do it and if someone doesn't chose to do it, then what????  So with that....THANK YOU to all who have and still do serve!  Me and my family sleep safe at night because you have chosen to stand the watch and sacrifice it all protecting this great nation!
(Thanks babe)

Thanks for the pic Tom

Thanks for the pic Andy

On a more personal level, I would be completely remiss if I did not say a huge Thank You to my fellow military spouses.  It is often a thankless job that no one can really understand except us.  When our spouses leave, everyone else's life goes on.  Ours, on the other hand, hangs in the breeze waiting for the littlest bit of communication!  Counting down the months, weeks, and days before we can hug our guy again!  People often only think of goodbyes and homecomings but rarely think of the months in between.  While pier side kisses and tears of excitement make for great pictures, the real story is how we handle the months with out our other half!  What they miss, what we miss, and more importantly what our children miss!

This past weekend I attended the baby shower of a wonderful Navy wife friend.  It is always such a great time to sit and "talk the talk" with people who really get it.  It is often a great reminder that although our husbands may be in and out, working long hours, or gone for the next 8-10 months we each get our chance to hold each other up or be the one being held!  While they serve abroad, we are serving at home (sometimes not as gracefully as we hope)!  Not an easy thing for others to understand but I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many who do!  Our "gripes" are a little different than most women but it is such a gift to have you ladies to "gripe" with!  I have met some of my best girlfriends through the secret sisterhood of being a Navy Wife and I find great pride in the friendships that we have built and the things I have learned from you ladies!
Some of our friends along the way...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why blog?? and a note from Aiden

You would never guess how many times I start a blog and then hit the delete button.  It's pretty crazy!  I often ask myself  'why blog"?  Most of the time I blog for me, for my own memories.  To keep track of the little things that I know my mind won't hold onto forever.  Sometimes I blog to share a fun recipe or project but those blogs aren't nearly as often as my "Aiden" blogs.  I try to keep my blogs about things that are fun and exciting.  Trust me, my life isn't perfect and everyday isn't a walk in the park but I would rather focus on the good and only blog the "not so good" as a reminder of how fortunate I am and also to keep "what's important" into perspective.  I know I am not changing the world or inspiring others in any way but I want to do what ever I can to document our life.  I want to remember any little thing that I possible can.  But sometimes I wonder if it is a valuable use of my time (usually the time I should be sleeping)  I know that some of the grandparents really enjoy the blog and some of our distant friends like to know what's up with us but otherwise I am just keeping a journal for my own selfish needs!  This morning I received the sweetest email from our best buddy Tom who has been deployed for 9 months and will HOPEFULLY be home soon.  He said  " I can't wait to see the new place, I love the pics that you have posted!  I am glad that you blog, it makes me smile!  It is always great hearing about the Gundersons."  Well Tom, not only did your email make my day but your sweet words and "validation" reminded me why I blog!  
Here's a little something to make you smile!  Leif has been in and out a lot...but this last time has been really hard on Aiden.  I will write more about that later but we have started a routine where every night we "send" daddy a note.  I let Aiden do all of the talking and I send Daddy his message word for word.  His words are always sweet, he usually says "I love you and good luck" (why good luck?  no clue) but tonight was just too cute.  Here is Aiden's letter to Daddy and the picture he chose to accompany it!
"Nighty night daddy! I love you! Where is daddy? On the ship!  Do me a favor, jump in the water and look for lobsters .  Where do you go on the ship?  I had a great day at school today! I love you bigger bigger! Love, aiden"

He has money in his hand...don't ask me why!
Stay tuned for a fun blog on Aiden's big boy room progress!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WOW...what a week!

(this is incredibly wordy but useful for my own memory and perspective, scroll through for pictures)

Sometimes you just have one of those days/weeks that leaves you wondering "what just happened?".  That is how I felt about last week!  The hubby was out to Sea and because I had a bunch of things I wanted to accomplish and I wasn't feeling the greatest my mom offered to come help me out!  I am really not good at taking it easy so I figured if my mom were here to play with Aiden I could do a bunch of running around with out lifting Aiden in and out of the truck and in and out of a shopping cart!  Boy was I glad she was here...

Those who know me well, know that our dog is truly part of the family!  We bought Buddy when he was 11 weeks old and we were juniors in college!  He was our first baby and the closest thing we had to a child for his first 8 years of life and our first 5 years of marriage.  Where we go, Buddy goes!  Simple as that!!!    Monday morning Aiden came to tell me that Buddy was bleeding????  Sure enough he had a bunch of blood on his backside!  I called the vet and took him right in.  They believed it was an infected anal gland but my "fierce" husky wouldn't let them get a good look so they wanted to put him under to clean it up really good! So we scheduled it for Tuesday.

I hadn't been feeling so great for about 2 weeks.  I have been having some severe pains and after my mom caught me doubled over in pain she insisted I call the doctor.  I was pretty sure I knew what it was but figured "what the heck, it can't hurt to call".  Of course they wanted to see me first thing SO...Tuesday I drop Aiden at school, drop Buddy at the vet, and head to the doctor! (Did I mention Hubby was gone, of course he was)  Thankfully my mom was with me because my "pains" weren't just pains they were actually contractions.  Like real contractions...SERIOUSLY???  I definitely thought it was stretching ligaments but I was so wrong and completely blindsided!  I LOVE my doctors but she was not happy with me and she certainly did not sugar coat a thing.  She talked a lot about viability of a baby at 23 weeks, 24 weeks, 25 weeks etc.  Obviously, 23 weeks is not a good place to be if you expect to take your baby home.  My hope is that she was just trying to scare me but I certainly didn't take it well and neither did my mom.  There were a lot of tears.  To be clear, I was NOT in labor but I was contracting pretty consistently which would be great at 38 weeks but not 23 weeks!  My first orders were for increased fluids and moderate bed rest with a follow up in 2 days...didn't work (back to doctor) my next order was bed rest and drugs!!!  Bed rest?????  Exactly what does bed rest look like for a mommy of a 3 year old, with a hubby out to sea, and no family in the area?  Trust me I asked.  The response was "do you know what the survival rate of a baby born at 23 weeks looks like?"  OK, I get it!!!  THANK GOD for my Mom being in town!  She helped take over while I attempted bed rest!  If you know me well, you know that I am not the type to lay around so this was a challenge!
"Bed resting"
Tuesday hadn't ended yet...on the way out of the doctors I get a call from the vet!  Buddy is still under anesthesia and does not have an infected anal gland, he has a large tumor in his back side that has worked its way to the outside and the blood is the deterioration of cells (I hope I explained that right) and we have decisions to make.  80% chance it's just a mass, 20% chance it is cancer.  He gave a few options but his recommendation (and of course the most expensive option) is to remove the tumor and take away his manhood.  DONE...whatever it takes!  What time is it???? it bedtime yet?  How much money have I spent in 1 day oh wait the days not over?  When does Leif get home?  phew
He hated me for making him wear this...

Buddy comes home that afternoon and cries for 2 days straight.  I am not even lying...all day and all guess who was up ALL NIGHT LONG!!!  Ms. Bedrest was up and down all night long...standing in my backyard in nothing but a t-shirt...POOR BUDDY!

 (sorry no pictures of me in my t-shirt at 4am)

Now, a week later, Buddy is doing great!  He is healing well and letting me get some much needed rest!  I am still in the same situation but we are working on it and I am confident that everything will be just fine!  Aiden has been a real trooper about Mommy "taking it easy".  My mom stayed with me as long as she could and did her best to keep Aiden busy.  He is 3 and is used to me but certainly had a great time with Grammy and I needed the help! Thanks Mom!  Leif came home and took over!  If I stepped out of bed he was right there questioning my every move!  Thanks to Sandy he actually had a day off but he will leave again this week until Thanksgiving :-(   I spent 3 hours at the doctors awesome neighbor took Aiden for me so that I could concentrate on my appointment and not entertaining a 3 year old in a room with a bunch of monitors and cords.  Most importantly our baby boy is doing good.  I am thankful that I got another look at our sweet boy who was...sucking his thumb!!!  I am also thankful that I have home health care.  When most people would be sitting in a hospital room with IV fluids and meds, I am lucky enough to be laying in my bed with my son playing next to me!  The nurse comes to me once a week and I see the doctor weekly and sometimes twice a week.  We, baby and I, are well taken care of!  Oh...and Buddy's tumor was benign...NO CANCER!!!  This week is off to a better start already :-) belly popped :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family Photos

A few weeks ago we finally had some recent family photos taken.  I act like it had been an eternity but it had really been just about a year since our last professional session.  I wanted to have 1 last session with the 3 of us before I started to show mainly for 2 reasons.  1.  I will probably have maternity photos taken so I wanted the focus to be on capturing us with Aiden and not a baby bump and 2. Leif's gone so much that I knew it was now or never.  After rescheduling several times for various reasons, all of the stars lined up and we were ready for our pictures.  Of course, 2 days before pictures Aiden busted his head open but I knew there were plenty of ways around it so we kept our appointment with the photographer.  I have to admit that I am always a nervous wreck before and during a photo session...please tell me that I am not the only one???  I mean really, how natural is it to "act natural" in front of a stranger who is holding a camera and your money just waiting for the perfect "natural" shot!  Kids are one thing because they can be so unpredictable but then add your husband into the mix (on a Sunday evening) and expect perfection!  I definitely think that "lifestyle" photography is the way to go but in my opinion it requires some sort of acting.  Don't get me wrong, Leif and I are in love BUT we aren't usually displaying that for someone else to, as usual, I am long winded and I haven't even touched on finding the perfect outfit with out looking like a bunch of dorks :-)  Maybe another time!  Here are a few of our AWESOME family pictures!  (Most of these were already on Facebook...with a couple of new ones)

Almost 14 years together!

He is our world!

Hello good hair day!

My life...

Although we didn't want to focus on the "bump" (or lack there of) we did manage to grab just a couple of shots while Aiden was warming up to the camera/playing on the beach...

I admit...I was pushing my stomach out a little!  Don't judge!

We are going to save a few for Christmas cards and also some really cute ones with our newest boy's name announcement!  Overall, I was completely stressed for nothing!  Aiden was in a fantastic mood and our photographer was very personable which made it easy for us to "act natural" in front of her!  It also helped that Leif thought it was hysterical to whisper his bathroom habits into my ear to make me laugh!!!

I really do LOVE all of them but I will leave you with my favorite!  I believe that this picture fully captures the love and admiration that Aiden has for his Daddy!  They say "a picture is worth a thousand words", this is an example of that....

*For my Hampton Roads friends...if you want the deets on our photographer just message me*

Library Costume Party...

"Woody, are you ready to save the world with me?"

Last week was a crazy one for us.  But the calm before the storm was Monday night which was spent with some of our awesome neighbors at the library for a kids story time fall festival!  I got Aiden all dressed up and we headed down the road for some fall fun!  Woody met up with his pals Superman, Mr. Pirate, and Ms. Pirate otherwise known as Aiden, Blake, Connolly, and Roli.  The kids looked so cute in their costumes...

There were 2 stories read and one included some dancing to the  "Monster Mash"...these kids had some great moves but I was too busy watching them "shake their groove thang" that I didn't get any good action shots!

Next up on the agenda was craft time....

We really had a great time during the fall was a nice "Costume practice run" for Halloween.  Maybe it's just how Aiden is but I never know if he is actually going to want to wear a costume, so it was fun for him to get dressed up and show some excitement about being Woody.  This was our Halloween "dress rehearsal"!  Hopefully he will wear the hat for longer on Halloween!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Aiden's first field trip...

Yesterday was a very exciting day for my little "preschooler".  We took our first field trip with Aiden's class and both Aiden and I had really been looking forward to it!  The morning of the field trip Aiden had to have a talk with me.  It went something like this...
A:  Mommy, I want Daddy to go with us to the pumpkin patch.
Me:  I know, bud!
A:  But Daddy and I had a talk.
Me: Oh really?
A: Yes,  Daddy has to work on his ship BOOO but that's ok Mommy because we will have fun and see Daddy next week when he gets back!  We need to get a Daddy pumpkin, a mommy pumpkin, and an Aiden pumpkin just for Daddy! boy takes it better than I do!  I have some of the best conversations with him and often forget that he is 3.  Knowing that he "understood" the situation definitely helped start a fun day!

We headed out to Taylor Farm to meet all of Aiden's classmate and start our fun adventure at the pumpkin patch.  The weather wasn't exactly as forecasted but it just added to the feel of fall!!!  Rain or shine we had a blast.

Meeting up with his Bud Connolly
First order of business...HAYRIDE

The hayride led us out to the "pumpkin patch" and one of the play areas...

This donkey must have tasted something sweet on Aiden's hand because he kept licking it!

The main event.....Picking our pumpkin!  Of course Aiden picked out the biggest "little" pumpkin they had and then said..."here Mommy, it's heavy"


We tried to get a picture but Aiden wasn't having it...picture with Mommy? or Playing in a huge open field?  Mommy lost :-(

After snack time it was back to playing.  Aiden really enjoys playing with his classmates especially our sweet neighbors Connolly and Carolina.  I believe I saw some flirting between Aiden and "Roli"...Tara, if you are reading this I would not show this to Micah...he might not let us be friends!

Visiting some of the friendly animals...

This pretty girl loved the smell of pumpkin!

All aboard Connolly, Roli, and Aiden
And our attempt at a class picture....
I think it is pretty safe to say that all of the kids had a great time!  Aiden was exhausted and took a 3 hour nap after his field trip and then gave me absolutely no trouble at bed time!!!  I, ahem,  Aiden can't wait for the next one!