Tuesday, September 15, 2015

House Hunting B and J Style

As of Friday Brandon and I are officially first-time homeowners! (well together that is, Brandon was a homeowner at one time back in his bachelor days) I would say we are very excited, a little anxious, and about 75% packed.

I’ve always been an avid House Hunters fan. In fact, since Brandon and I don’t have cable, I’ve unabashedly planned my gym workouts around HGTV’s programming schedule :)  Brandon has always been an avid fan as well, and because of this I thought our house hunting process would be a fairly smooth journey.

HAH! I was so na├»ve…..

Over the last 3 years that we’ve been together, Brandon and I have loved taking walks through old and new neighborhoods and houses – admiring architecture, design, and character. I’ve learned that Brandon loves Tudors, while I prefer a craftsman style home, and while I check out the pantry and closet situation, Brandon’s first question is where would he put a library.

But actual house hunting with a budget and deadline was a little less romantic than our date nights wandering historical neighborhoods.

I went into our house hunting process with 4 “I’d really likes.” Not non-negotiables, but strong desires. They were:
                1. Not on or backing up to a busy road
                2. 3-4 bedrooms
                3. Private outdoor space
                4. Vaulted or higher ceilings in the main living area

Honestly I thought this was a pretty realistic list.

Brandon’s list was, well now that I think about it I don’t think he actually had a list. He had more of a go-with-the-flow-I’ll-know-it-when-I-feel-it approach. If it was in the budget, I think he really would have loved a renovated Tudor style home or to do a new build.

As we started house hunting, I quickly learned a few additional things about my self:

1. I hate split levels. With a passion.
2. Location and natural light matter to me more than I thought.
3. I like houses with a little more character that are in older, more developed neighborhoods with mature trees
4. Attempting long house-hunting days during my first trimester of pregnancy when all I wanted to do was sleep or lose my breakfast was not the best plan of attack

But ultimately, God answered so many of our prayers. In an extremely limited, sellers market we found a home we love, were able to negotiate and get it under list price and our budget, and worked with some sellers who were willing to negotiate a closing date around our apartment lease. Not only that, but we ended up with a home that pretty much has all of the things on my wish list. Granted it has some pretty unique quirks as well, but we’ll just call that the “character” I love so much!

And thanks to my in-laws who are master packers, we are well on our way to seeing the end of our apartment days (woo-hoo!!). Now all we have to do is some repairs, painting, and cleaning and the new house, clean and finish packing up the apartment, and squeeze in a week of vacation before our official move in date at the beginning of next month….

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

As the Scale Goes Up

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m fairly open about my journey with anorexia during my late teen years. While I was ecstatic to find out that Baby R was on the way, I was also a little nervous as to how I would mentally handle the physical changes that were to come.

Baby R - 24 weeks

And I would be lying if I said that I was having no problems with the weight gain that necessarily comes along with pregnancy. I’ve felt my stomach lurch when the scale has hit numbers I’ve never seen before, I’ve struggled comparing my size to other pregnant women at the same stage (am I too big? Too small?), and I’ve battled with trying to maintain a healthy diet while not obsessing about what I’m eating.

But there are a few things that have really helped along this journey:

1) Remembering that my body is not my own. God has granted me the gift of carrying a precious child, and that child’s need come first. Seeing my weight go up is a lot easier when I remember that it’s for the precious life growing inside of me.

2) Exercise regularly. Not only is regular exercise important for pregnancy, but I’ve found that it has significant mental and physical rewards. Even though I’m gaining weight, I know it’s the good kind.

3) Balanced eating. Like regular exercise, I’ve found that balanced eating helps me remember that the weight I’m gaining is good and healthy for my body and the baby. I’ve stuck to our family’s typical eating plan of primarily whole foods with lots of fruits and veggies – I just take extra servings and add in snacks! Numerous studies show that the saying “your eating for two” is a complete myth – considering one of you is the size of a blueberry for quite a bit of time. Instead, a pregnant woman needs only to increase her caloric intake by 300-500 calories a day depending on her starting weight and trimester. Of course I do have a regular dose of chocolate :) but it’s all about keeping things balanced.

4) Get some maternity clothes you are excited about! I thought it would be challenging to grow out of the majority of my clothes, but I’ve secretly loved it! Not only did it mean that there was finally some visible indication of the life growing inside of me, but I also had some super cute maternity clothes that I had been looking forward to growing into! You can find a lot of cute (yes even great inexpensive options) maternity clothes out there. It’s going to happen – so embrace it!

5) Be open and honest with your doctor. Let your obgyn or midwife know about your history and if any challenges or concerns arise. Personally, I find it helpful to check my weight once a week so I ensure I’m gaining enough, but for others it might be better just do do a weight check at the doctor’s office, and maybe only have the doctor know the actual number.

6) Be open and honest with your spouse. Brandon knows my challenges and I’m very honest when I’m having a hard day. He constantly affirms me and challenges me. He is my biggest prayer warrior and teammate.

7) Stay strong spiritually. My identity is not in my physical attributes, but in that I am a child of God who has given me the incredible, amazing gift of carrying a precious baby – and you can bet I’ll never take that for granted!