Sunday, February 27, 2011

Soups 2011

who are the soups? when I started this blog we were two very different people than we are today. now as we prepare to welcome JT into our lives, i reflect on the way we were. last night Mr. Soup and I were watching a movie and I go, "aren't you glad we've had two years to ourselves before a baby arrives? What if we would've gotten pregnant right after we got married?" he goes, "I would've been thrilled. Plus, kid or no kid. I'ma do me and we're gonna do us." Cute, right? well sorta. I love the idea that no matter what Mr. Soup and I will continue to enjoy our lives and our marriage. I never want to be a hover mom and I never want to be so consumed with JT's life that I forget about myself. Plus, Mr. Soup won't let me. Sure we won't be able to get a babysitter every single weekend, but we will make it priority to have date nights, dinner with friends, girls' weekends and guys' weekends. Fortunately for us, so many people have already volunteered their babysitting services. We are so lucky!
Mr. Soup is sort of a slob and he's proud of it. So when he says, "I'ma do me." he probably means he will continue to be a slob. I was kinda hoping he'd give that up for JT. I guess I have 3 months to break that habit.
So, yeah who were we in 2009? Who are we now? Well, in 2009 Mr. Soup and I were both in school. I was getting my 2nd master's in administration and he was getting his 2nd bachelor's in social work. I was teaching 7th grade Language Arts. I was coming off the high of planning a wedding. I loved paper crafts and still do. We both loved to have people over for dinner and we loved dinner dates with just ourselves and/or friends. Besides summers with my stepdaughter, our only parenting experience came from loving our two spoiled dogs!
Who are we now? Well, we're both heavier than we were in 2009. I'd like to say all my weight comes from JT, but I hadn't shed the marriage/love weight before I got pregnant. I've gained 15 lbs since getting pregnant and I know I have gained more than that since 2009. Mr. Soup's weight goes up and down. He lost five lbs. just last week just by cutting carbs. I'd be lucky if I lose a pound and a half from cutting carbs.
I finished my 2nd master's, but have no plans to become an administrator (not like I'd be able to find a job anyways with budget cuts). I continue to teach 7th grade Language Arts, but I also teach a writing class once a week at a community college. Mr. Soup finished his 2nd bachelor's and his master's degree. He will start his new job next week and hopes to sit for the LMSW exam this spring/summer.
I still love paper crafts, but I've sort of replaced that desire with finding old furniture and putting it in our home. oh, yes, we're homeowners now. we found a cute, old home that is perfect for our growing family. We still love to hang out with friends, but I am now the sober one. Our dogs are still really spoiled. Some of our weekend dates take place at establishments like Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby.
So, here we are Soups 2011. I leave you with a JT update. He has learned to take his fist across my belly and to kick and hold his foot out. So cute!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who will JT look like?

So, from his 5 month sono we've determined he has...
daddy's legs and feet
daddy's head
mommy's nose
daddy's lips
mommy's fingers
mommy's ears
Mr. Soup and I resemble each other quite a bit, so I imagine that it will be hard to distinguish all the features; however, I think he'll look more like Mr. Soup than me and I'm fine with that. Abby looks more like Mr. Soup than her mom. I have my heart set on a little baby that somewhat resembles my family though. the one thing I do not want to pass down to JT was my jaw, but we won't be able to tell if he inherited that until he's older. It's a dominant trait in my family. I get most of my traits from my mom's family (eye shape, nose, think lips, and jaw) and our jaw is one of them. My grandfather, great-aunts, mother, brother and I all have some form of the Parks underbite. Luckily, Ryan (my brother) and I had ours corrected. I'm hoping JT won't have to endure the dental, orthodontic and surgical work that we had done. And Mr. Soup? Well, his family has soft teeth. We're both hoping JT doesn't inherit that. Despite all our concerns, and no matter what he inherits, he'll be a beautiful baby! So, I leave you with a picture of Mr. Soup at 6 months. It will be interesting to see what JT looks like at six months. maybe I'll set up a similar picture!
oh and on another note: Mr. Soup got the job he wanted! Woo-hoo! We'll be able to eat once JT arrives!

Friday, February 18, 2011

and I'm still bitter....

I'll start off light and end was the hottest day in February I've ever experienced. Of course, the A/C is not on at work and my kids were crazy! We did an interactive activity where they got to work in groups. We work in groups quite often (probably twice a week, if not more) and they acted like this was the first time that I let them do that. So, here I am 6 months pregnant, sweating and almost yelling at my kids. Not a good sight. I'm sure JT was like, "mom, calm down." This was one of those days where I wish I could sit on a patio somewhere and enjoy an ice cold brew. This whole week, I've wanted to unwind with a nice glass of wine and I cannot. This week has just been hectic and I'm so glad it's coming to an end. I can't wait until June is here...I'll have my beer, wine, sushi and my baby boy! Life will be perfect. And honestly, feeling my little man kick and grow this week comforted me in so many ways. I just feel good knowing that he's growing properly in there and getting comfortable (not too comfortable) in his little home!
Oh, JT. How I wish you would turn over. He's kicking now more than ever which I love, but it's on my bladder. I swore he turned over last week because I felt the kicks in my ribs, but this week they're back to being bladder kicks. He's also learned to kick outward (like in a sitting motion) and to use his little elbows and hands. I think he's just stretching, but I like to picture my little Rocky in there boxing in my uterus.
Okay, so I do not do well with change. Even when Barack O coined the term "change" I was reluctant and I probably had good reason to be. I digress. Okay, so I'm going to post some links to headlines that have made me cringe this week. Most of them have to do with changes happening in TX and one has to do with something that happened in my hometown (not my high school though).
North Texas educators alarmed by budget cuts
Senate OKs rule requiring sonogram before abortion
US House votes to defund Planned Parenthood
Kansas High School News says it's moral to execute gays
This is the world in which we live. I'm trying not to freak out about the budget cuts because I do feel my position is secure. However, I do worry about the working conditions. Larger class sizes and less funding are not my idea of a proper work condition for a teacher that wants to truly make a difference. I am fortunate enough that if things get too tough I can leave. I'm so glad that I have my part-time gig at the community college where I can add or subtract as many classes as I want. I'm also thinking of launching an at-home business in 2012 (don't worry it's not Mary Kay or anything I would have to sell), but I want to keep that under wraps for a while.
Defunding Planned Parenthood scares me. We're already cutting funding from schools so kids will be less educated and now that we're cutting funding to a program that educates all people on reproduction and safe sex, we'll have more people getting pregnant. And don't even get me started on the sonogram. I don't think my brain can fully grasp the outcome of this bill...
And finally, good ol' Kansas. I love how those good ol' values of execution and hatred come up. I love my state, but come on. Is this really the Christian way? Doesn't Jesus love everyone and feel that every person is a blessing? Didn't God make us in his image? Those were the Kansas Christian values with which I was raised.
So, I leave you with my frustrations once again. I do apologize...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Anthropologie Wedding

I wish this would've been around when I was planning our wedding. I absolutely love Anthropologie. One of my favorite stores! They now have their own bridal line: BHLDN

Friday, February 11, 2011

Still bitter

Since I'm pregnant, I feel like I can be bitter about some things. I deserve to vent a little, right? I don't mean to sound unappreciative, because I'm not. I have a wonderful life. Caring, devoted husband. beautiful home. 2 gorgeous dogs and did I mention a PERFECT baby boy on the way? so why am I down in the dumps? like most Americans....the economy.
I planned to stay at my job for one more year. My reasoning? I didn't want to start a whole new routine once JT arrives. I just want to be comfortable at my job, so that I can fully adjust to becoming a working mom. However, I really want to be able to work full-time/part-time and still attend his events and be part of his day as he gets older. I've never desired to be a stay at home mom and I probably never will, but I want to be able to be part of my child's school day like my mom was with ours. I know I'll miss major milestones his first year working full-time, but I can make it a priority when he's older to find a more flexible job. So, the plan has been stay at current job for the 2011-12 school year and then switch to a more flexible or part-time job once he's one.
However, all these budget cuts have got me stressed out. Thank you, Gov. Rick Perry! I thought he was all about balancing our budget, but lo and behold we have to cut a % of the budget from where? EDUCATION. Dallas ISD plans to cut 2900 staff (teachers and counselors included). My school district may issue a salary freeze (some have even said that they may issue a salary decrease). Grand Prairie ISD is cutting all library media specialists positions. It's just craziness. You know who suffers the most? the kids. I can't help but worry about what type of school JT will attend in the future. We moved into a "good" neighborhood so that our children would get the best education. However, the fate of public education is unknown. We've discussed private school as an option, but never thought it might become the necessity!
So, it all has me wondering if I should start looking for something else? When I entered the field of education, I felt secure that I would always have a job and a paycheck. Everyone needs to be educated, right? Apparently not in Texas. We're creating a society that places little value on education. Students already idolize the stars of Jersey Shore and Real Housewives more than scientists and other scholars. As Texas (and our nation, for that matter) continues to sink on the totem pole in success in mathematics and science, other countries rise to the occasion. we're content creating cooks and not working to create chefs. If students see that policymakers think education is unimportant, then what's to stop them from choosing a life of crime? It's a sad state in education.
The economy is still hitting my little family hard. It's been almost two months since Mr. Soup graduated with his master's and he still can't find a new job. He's filled out countless applications, been on 2 interviews and one callback. I know he's feeling the pressure too. Just like me, he never envisioned that he wouldn't be able to find a job in social services. I know his worries include, "how will I support my family?" and "why doesn't anyone want to hire me?"
the one thing that keeps us sane is JT. I feel him kicking around in there right now as I type and I think of what a little blessing he is. Mr. Soup and I decided to start our family last spring and when we didn't get pregnant right away, we were really depressed. I started resenting my friends who got pregnant one month after trying. I really went into a dark place and it didn't help when Abby was ripped from us. I really began to hate her mother because I felt she got to reap all the benefits of being a mom, but didn't really take her role seriously. I started to feel that way about a lot of moms and I started judging who was "fit" in my eyes to be a mom. I really started to become a different person. I just wanted God to tell us if we were going to be a childless couple or not. However, just when we were about to give up on becoming parents, we got word of JT (after some false negatives). And while being pregnant is not a cure-all for all my problems (let's face it, I can still be a judgmental bitch sometimes), it does fill me with joy to know that my little man is in there growing and exploring. As we approach viability, I am excited for each week that he's in my belly and look forward to delivering him (close to full term!). I know people laugh when I say he's perfect, but to me he is. I know he'll do stuff to piss me off, but he truly is a symbol of the love his father and I have for each other. I can't wait to hold him!
I guess in a way I'm still bitter about quite a few things, but mostly because I worry. I do worry about the world I'm bringing my son into, but I'm hopeful that we'll raise him to be an agent of change. Mr. Soup and I will do our best to make sure he gets a great education no matter what happens here in TX. And even though things suck with both of our careers, we'll figure out a way to weather the storm. Maybe, just maybe I'll be less bitter...

23 weeks

23 weeks and counting. Notice a big difference from week 22 and week 23? yeah, me too! JT is supposed to be the size of a papaya. He definitely feels bigger than one. JT is supposed to sleep 12-14 hours a day. I think he sleeps maybe 4 hours. He's a ball full of energy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

22 weeks

my little man is growing so fast! I'm thankful that I'm all belly. I've gained about 9 lbs. total and it's all in my boobs (thanks) and belly! My face is a little chubbier, but that's to be expected, right?
JT and I are enjoying all the snow days. I feel like I'm able to get caught up on rest and eating for two! Although, I fear my pantry is going to be empty soon!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

I'm stealing this idea because I saw it on a friend's blog. My love of all things wedding has not diminished or quelled. So why not embrace it? With spring and summer just around the corner, I want to highlight unique weddings I see and offer my advice as someone who has been married almost 2 years! It feels amazing saying that!
1st piece of advice - make your wedding unique. a country club or venue overlooking a lake or garden was not our idea of our dream wedding. We wanted something lofty, urban and and a place that represented the city. I didn't want industrial or rustic; I wanted some elegance and softness. Having our wedding in a loft isn't unique, but it was to us and our families. Most of the weddings we have attended have been church weddings followed by a reception at a country club, hotel, or church basement. To us the loft was perfect and symbolized our love, as we met in Dallas!
Don't be afraid to add personal touches. We included lots of homemade items such as our guest book quilt, handmade soap favors, homemade wedding dress, bouquet arrangements , homemade invitations, programs, menus, etc. They took extra time (which is why we had a year and half long engagement), but they were fun to make. We also saved a ton of money! They were also things that were important to us and represented us as a couple. Many of the things now adorn our new home.
think of your guests - everything we did we had the guest in mind. we had our wedding in one location because both Mr. Soup and I hate going to weddings where you have to travel to a separate reception venue that is super far from the ceremony site. We had tons of good, comfort food because we hate going to weddings with not enough food and weird food that nobody likes. we had lots of alcohol because, let's face it, most people go to weddings for the free booze. Think about the things you like at a wedding? For me it's the food and drinks. I also like convenience, especially if I'm an out-of-town guest. Remember, your guests are driving/flying to your city, possibly staying in a hotel and/or renting a car, buying you a gift, and giving up their day to spend it with you. Treat them right!
cut costs where you can - I already stressed the importance of DIYing your wedding, but really sit down and scrutinize what you need and don't need (in fact no one NEEDS a wedding, but you get my drift). Really determine what is important to you as a couple. For example, Mr. Soup and I easily could've rented out a community center or park for under $500 and had a great wedding. However, our downtown location was very important to us. It was a splurge, but it was something I don't regret (and we didn't go in debt for it). We probably could've gone without a DJ, but my mom really wanted to ensure that she got to dance to Akon over and over. We could've just hooked up an iPod to speakers or just had an afternoon reception without dancing (which would've cut our catering and alcohol bill down a lot). We were very lucky that our parents contributed to the wedding financially, but I think if they hadn't we still could've had a lovely, elegant wedding within our budget.
research - I cannot stress enough how much one needs to research and ask for referrals. For example, I was at the dentist and just happened to mention I was getting married and found out that my dental hygienist made wedding cakes out of her home. my former co-worker played the harp. Both of them were available at a lower cost than what we anticipated spending. We really wanted to have our wedding catered with good food. So many caterers wanted to charge us an arm and a leg for a heavy hors d'ourves meal (plus they wanted to charge us $40 just to taste the food). We met with a local restaurant and for half the price we received a full buffet meal plus appetizers. They also served the alcohol (which we bought in bulk at a discount liquor store) and provided the mixers. Every time we met with them to go over food pricing, they would feed us or send us home with food. I know hotel weddings can be expensive, but the hotel at which we had our room block was perfect for our rehearsal dinner and less expensive than most places we had looked. Plus, it was convenient for our 35 wedding party guests and relatives. We were so lucky to find all these great vendors for our wedding. How did we find them? Well obviously some fell into our hands. I also went online and read reviews of everything I could. I asked local girls on the Knot website. I asked for teacher discounts and college-student discounts. If I couldn't afford it, I made it or borrowed it or had my mom make it.
I had a lot of fun planning our wedding because it truly was a representation of Mr. Soup and I as a couple. I realize not every girl is like this, but for me our wedding day is something I wouldn't trade for the world.
So, next Wednesday (or the next Wednesday that I update this blog) I plan to post some cool weddings I see (budget friendly, of course). However, today I want to add a link to this website. Budget Savvy Bride. She offers tons of advice on how to have the wedding of your dreams on any budget. There is also a section for real weddings. you can search by locations or by cost (anywhere from $1000 to $20000 and above). I love reading the ones that come under budget. Mr. Soup and I came under our budget by about $2000! We were very proud of that!
Here's our wedding breakdown. We alloted $15,000 and spent around $13000, but honestly, I think we could've done it for $7,000. I also realize the term budget-wedding is subjective. I realize that $13,000 could be a dream wedding for some or not enough to others. For us, it was perfect. I don't post this on here nor to have someone throw me a pity party. I post it so that it's possible to have a wedding with any budget! So, if you have pics of your wedding and want to share how you were able to have your dream wedding, what made it unique and advice, let me know and I'll post it here!
$13250 breakdown
Venue $4500 (we got $500 off with teacher discount)
Catering $2600 (120 guests, appetizers, buffet dinner, bartending, cake-cutting,etc.)
Alcohol $700
Photographer $1200
DJ $750
Harpist $200
Officiant $250
Flowers, decor $200
Paper $300
Wedding Bands $800 (platinum bands from Sam's Club)
Gifts $200
Wedding Dress $350 (for fabrics, etc.)
Rehearsal Dinner $1000
Misc. items (flower girl dress, ribbon, veil, other crafts) $200
total = $13250
We received about $7000 in financial gifts from our parents, so we ended up coming up with $6000 on our own. I didn't include our honeymoon because we took it a year later and I think my hubby spent about $1200 on that.

Mini-van Mom

So, each day I can feel the coolness seeping out of my body. I totally embrace it. Why? Because I'm going to become a mom. Moms are not cool. No matter what type of mom you are, you're not cool. Soccer-mom, working mom, MILF, etc. NOT COOL. I know because my mom just became cool a few years ago. Now don't get me wrong, she did lots of cool things over the years (she let me pierce my ears, took me to fun concerts, etc.), but she was a mom. She also did some things that were cool to her, but no one else (shop, visit craft shows, etc.) Mr. Soup and I are fully embracing losing our coolness, so much so that we're seriously considering buying a mini-van. We're thinking this fall, because in between the doctor's bills and new baby stuff, we haven't been able to save really. Plus, we want to try to buy one cash or put down a lot of cash so that our payments are low and short. So yeah, why a minivan and not some cool crossover SUV? Price and Function. A brand new or used 7 passenger SUV would cost us around $40,000. A 7 or 8 passenger mini-van between $20-30,000. My dogs can easily move around in a mini-van without injuring or killing my baby. I will be able to get my baby out of the car seat easily. I will be able to take furniture and clothes shopping to a whole new level. Mr. Soup is more excited about the mini-van than I am. I think he'll drive it more than me! ha! Honda Odyssey is our top choice!
Yeah, so I never really envisioned myself as a minivan mom, but I think it fits. I will be one of those moms who teaches her child rap verses instead of nursery rhymes. My child will probably wear a number of inappropriate onesies (already the proud owner of a kelly green"Pimpin' Ain't Easy" onesie). I will be the mom who invites over her friends for dinner and girly drinks so that they can embarrass JT with hugs and kisses. All these things will be totally uncool to my kid, just as driving a minivan is uncool to most Americans. I embrace it.
I try to picture myself as a mom, but I also keep trying to imagine what type of baby, kid, teen and adult JT will be. Will he learn to crawl and walk early like his dad and sister did? Will he be a dare-devil who isn't afraid to try new things? Will he love to read and write like his mama? Will he be scared of Sam and Maya or will he cuddle with them as we do? What will he study in college? Will he go to college (he better!)? All these things and more I get to learn over the next lifetime with my baby boy! I will also drive him around in a minivan while I learn it!