room prep: episode one

oh -- how i loathe painting.

i've always been a fan of minor do-it-yourself projects, saving money, and learning about fixing your own home.....at least to some extent. some people enjoy painting. i absolutely hate it. maybe it's because i buy cheaper materials, thus making the work harder? i'm not sure what it is, but the paint projects that i've done in the past have been laborious and mind numbing.

over the past few weekends, i've been clearing out my old bedroom at my parents house in order to get a room ready. we're fortunate to have my retiree mom help out on some days after HM's maternity leave. and since we don't have an available room at our place, i thought it would be fun to decorate something for our first child.

getting the room cleared out was a project in itself. you see, i'm what most people would call a pack rat. i apparently didn't throw away ANYTHING throughout my childhood. though i may not be as bad as these people, i certainly don't know why i had to keep every single note that was written to me throughout high school (hey N.B. -- what's the magic number?!). anyways - after 2 long weekends of packing/salvaging/discarding, i finally had a canvas to work with. the following pictures were inspired by actual events:

this is my old room after i cleared it out, yet you can see that it has never really been taken care of. dirty walls/carpet along with a tons of dust await.

there were some foundation problems (that have been since fixed) which caused some cracks in the drywall. but have no fear! i have experience with repair...

amazing what drywall spackle can do, eh? there is a closet on the other side of this wall which has the same problem, but heck, we're not getting TOTALLY carried away with this remodeling stuff yet!

the chosen one...paint, that is. HM and i decided on the available Lowe's Olympic eggshell finish -- color "Geyser", a shade of green. note for future parents: love your kiddos, no VOC's! as you see here, the lightness should help with the unisex theme.....

a first sample brushing on the wall. wait a minute... it looks a little bit lighter than i thought. it also looks a little bit more...blue? lets try some trimming....

OH-K. not looking so good. how did Geyser green turn into baby blue?! i phoned HM. i told her that i already started the dreaded process of painting. she giggles about the color. we agree that we will march forward with our choice regardless of the boyish theme. she has ideas in place if baby Z should arrive. i love my wife more than a fat kid loves cake....

i HAD to take another picture of the paint can to make sure of the color. DOES IT NOT LOOK GREEN?! my mind is playing tricks on me (thank you geto boys and bushwick bill!)

day two, still blue. and yes, it took me two days. but i can only blame myself for eating lunch with my mom (delaying ploy) and watching this throughout the process. in landon we trust, eh?! side note: thank you for ruining american soccer for a least 4 more years!

.... calmer nerves now. below is the final picture taken today after 2 coats dried, a really bad edging/cornering job, and cleaning up my work area. in this lighting, it looks kinda green. success?!

furniture is next, then theme decorations. sigh. but why should we stop there, right? let's just move onto THIS!!



the plan

28 wks.

a good friend of mine back in high school once told me that he had an idea of how he expected his life to be after graduating. he was to finish college in 4 yrs, find a job, find the woman of his dreams and marry her, buy a house, have kids.... and live the white picket fence life. completing the first 2 items on his list were a breeze but since then, he's been living a life of bachelorhood which he thoroughly enjoys. things change, i guess.

HM has been on what i call 'the plan' since 2000, when she was accepted into a scholarship that had a set undergrad and medical school chosen for her. folks -- imagine...that's 8 straight years of knowing exactly where u will be and what u will be doing. 8 yrs ago, i was entering the 5 yr plan of my college tenure (not really planned!). in truth, HM has been groomed to be a MD since childhood when she was TOLD she was going to be a doctor. she was also to find an awesome guy and marry him. great how things have worked out, eh? :)

people often wonder if the pregnancy is planned or unplanned. the real 'plan' was to get married, HM to finish residency and then in 2011, start a family. it's a funny question for us to answer because in our minds, there really isn't a right one. we did have a discussion about being mentally and financially ready, but by no means were we 'trying'. 2 months later, i get the call and ever since it seems like we spend our weekends running around like headless chickens. anyone who knows our situation would realize that the past 1/2 yr has been a pleasant gift for us, even if it was a surprise.

i've heard of plenty of couples that try to coincide their pregnancies with friends so their kids grow up together. we never thought about this as a couple since 2011/2012 is when we expected to start a family. and though it would have been great to have my kids grow up along with their natural cousins -- my sister and i are 6 1/2 years apart, so it was never realistic. thanks to couples such as MR/GR, CC/AC, LP/TP..... we are looking forward for our child to grow with great company.

but before then, HM and i have to get through the final 12 or so weeks together.... more reading, research, and preparation to welcome our baby into this world. a little part of me is nervous, but i told myself not to worry -- i've got the next 3 months planned out already.


happy belated father's day!



seems like vast changes have occurred since my last posting....

on the eve of my birthday, i am finally finding some time to sit down to gather some thoughts. not that i haven't been thinking about baby C or baby Z....quite the opposite has been happening. it seems like everything that HM and i are doing is revolved around baby preparation. this is probably a good thing and i doubt anyone would disagree, but sometimes i feel that we are getting to a point of pure indulgence for the child's sake. i've heard it many times before....'you always end up spoiling your first child'. i will be the first to admit that this is already holding true for our upcoming little one.

periodically, HM and i have a minor debate on our own childhood upbringing. she always ends up saying i was spoiled because my parents bought me a new car at 16, and i had video games and other material things. my argument on her is even though she grew up at a near poverty level, she was asked only to do one thing -- and that was to do well in school. sound like a bad argument on my side? maybe so, but HM also NEVER had to wash dishes/clothes, vacuum or clean, cook food for herself....ever. that is, until we started living together a few years ago. you can imagine how the transition went.

i later understood that my parents gave me everything they could afford without ever having the feeling that we struggled to buy things. i remember growing up and never really wanting more, but knew that i could probably do with less. HM and i talk about how much stuff we're already planning to buy and it gets ridiculous sometimes. but then i listen to stories of other parents (which seem to be plentiful lately) and quietly let out a sigh of relief that we're not alone.

so.... in order to prepare ourselves mentally - i decided to use last weekend (HM's last vacation for the next year) as a 'babymoon'. i never heard the term until a few weeks ago, but apparently it's similar to a honeymoon, but rather for the couple to enjoy their last time together 'alone' before becoming a family of three. makes perfect sense considering how so many middle aged people yearn for an empty nest. our laid back trip recap in a nutshell:

the hotel st. anthony in san antonio. historic....supposedly haunted. and apparently not for the height challenged. this is a shot of the mirror at eye level. also, the top of the bed mattress was above my belly button which we had to literally hop up to get on. who knew people back in the day were so tall?!

baby spoiler #10,923: the baby bag. HM was THIS CLOSE to saying, 'lets go home' after our own splurge at the pottery barn outlet. apparently, 10 minutes is enough to drop some coin on a very large and stylish diaper holder! i say, "as long as u love it and won't complain about it...then please get it." instantly - 'shooting yourself in the foot' came to mind.

baby spoiler: food. HM tore up some green chili chicken enchiladas at this mexican riverwalk establishment. she also had a strawberry margarita, which probably turned some heads. it's a virgin people (the drink..not HM)!!

less than 24 hours later, we hit up the infamous salt lick. an all-u-can-eat bonanza where HM and i made sure baby C/Z was fed wholesome helpings of ribs, brisket and sausage. if u love meat, u need to go. service was awesome and it's BYOB. remember to bring cash only!
.... there were other options on the menu, but why limit yourself while children under 3 eat free? the belly @ 26 wks salivating at the menu while waiting...

the last babymoon food spoiler. we hit up austin for a night and had a great dinner/social at Hula Hut with good company (thanks CB!). before heading out of town, we grabbed some gingerbread pancakes at kerbey lane with what seemed to be freshly squeezed orange juice...but i doubt 'fresh' comes out of a plastic gallon jug. i know, even at this stage, HM still can hide her belly.... but NO ONE can say that i'm not feeding her!!

below is a pic of HM selling her most beloved material possession for the past 8 yrs - her 1995 honda civic. the story behind it is that when i worked at carmax in college, i was able to snag this car for $4000 back in 2002. it only had 45K miles and she only drove it another 65K, but the car NEVER gave us problems. it even leaked oil in 5 spots and the exterior looked like it came out of war in beirut. AC blew cold and it started up like a champ. i know HM would want me to honor the car that brought her to and from college and med school. she was genuinely sad to let it go. here's to saying goodbye to an old, reliable friend...

the ultimate spoiler: baby's 1st furniture. ok - so maybe not THAT kind of furniture, but here is a picture of baby C/Z's reserved leather seat (he/she will be in the middle!). u know, HM and i put a ton of hours of research and thought into purchasing a vehicle and we came out very happy with our decision. we ended up getting something that i initially gave a 5% chance when we first started looking. i was open to larger cars, trucks, SUV's and yes - even a minivan! either way, i'm going to tell our child that we bought him/her a car at age (-3) mths, so they can never complain that we don't get them anything!

did you ever consider yourself spoiled as a child?!



animal testing

ok... i've stewed on this topic for a few days now, not sure exactly the kind of message i wanted to write about. the basic subject in mind was how there are couples that adopt pets thinking it would miraculously prepare them for parenthood. i don't understand this logic at all.

of course, while i was thinking what to write about earlier today, i came across this article on yahoo. it literally popped up on my homepage just before logging on. the article basically talks about how couples can improve their relationships with each other if they focus on how they interact with pets. i GUESS so.

during a drunk bar conversation a few years ago, a friend of ours said one of the most idiotic lines i've ever heard. this person - who isn't very fond of animals - said, "i wouldn't mind taking care of a child. it's way easier than taking care of a dog." HA HA! his reasoning was that children understand what we say and u can make them do what u want. at the time, he had never spent much time around kids or animals. either way, it wasn't a conversation worth debating....so i called him an idiot, and left it at that.

listen people: PETS DO NOT PREPARE YOU FOR HAVING CHILDREN! they aren't going to make u a more responsible person. here is a breakdown of what a dog basically needs on a day to day basis:

- food/water twice a day.
- walk twice a day to relieve themselves....max 15 mins.
- greet them when u get home.

u may as well get 3 or 4 plants and try keeping them alive. i think couples have this mentality that they are taking care of another life, which gives them an automatic approval to have their own children. we're now experts! ugh.

don't get me wrong...i want people to adopt animals, but please do so for the right reasons. i didn't have pets growing up, so i never gained an attachment. that all changed when i inherited a house full of HM's dog hair, feathers, and scaly fish. now, i have a furry friend waiting for me with excitement when i come home. and i love it. man's best friend is an understatement. if there is a any lesson that a dog has taught me, it's proven that i have a compassionate side for animals. and to me, that's a great reason to have one.

(this post completed on 6/4 - not 6/1 as noted above)

in addition to our "planned" names for our children, HM went ahead and picked our future family dog's name: Baxter! so fitting, eh?!

here's a shot of mr. peanut chillin'