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Monday, August 29, 2011

Staff Scientist extroirdinaire!!!

Chris' boss offered him a full-time permanent position at Vanderbilt as a Drug Discovery Staff Scientist!!!

He accepted the position willingly, and we are soooo excited!
We had planned on him having one more year of funding for his post-doctoral fellowship & then the rest was up in the air.

We feel so blessed and know that the timing could not have been any more ideal.
This position pays more, has better benefits, and will give us the stability we have been longing for.
Nashville is officially our home for a while to come!

I'm so proud of my man & all of his hard work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

new clothes!

Our little one is rapidly growing as evidenced by my rapidly growing baby bump!
This means I can no longer comfortably wear many of my pre-pregnancy clothes.

Thanks to Lyndsey I have a wonderful selection of lovely maternity clothes!!!

I feel so fortunate that I don't have to go out & spend hundreds of dollars on furnishing a wardrobe appropriate for work & downtime.

I have supplemented my new wardrobe with a few pieces that I'm quite excited about...

*A $5 pair of jean crop pants from Target (sooo comfortable)-I picked them up a few weeks ago on the 70% off clearance rack & then got another 30% off that!

*A $13 purple knit dress, also from the clearance rack at Target...it's wonderfully comfortable.

*I ordered a pair of black leggings from Old Navy for the fall. Less than $10!

*Today I splurged a bit...I saw this dress at Gap.com & just loved it. I got 30% off & free shipping, so all in total it was $41. I figure I can wear it to work, to church, and perhaps to a baby shower so it will get plenty of use! (That's atleast how I justified adding it to my wardrobe)

I'll probably add a few more pieces here & there but am pretty much set for the next 5 months!

Friday, August 19, 2011

choices, choices...

We've taken a bit of time lately to start researching baby gear and trying to decide what we like, what we think we need, and what we think we can live without.

I am totally overwhelmed at times by the number of baby products out there. There are just so many choices & so much stuff.

So, we started doing our research with the most important things that we know we will have to buy.

Travel System
Just like everything else, there are so many carseat & stroller options to choose from.
We did our research on safety ratings and were able to narrow down the list quite a bit.

This Chicco Midori travel system is our #1 pick.

It gets great ratings for safety, will hold an infant up to 30 lbs., and I love that it is neutral & not too busy.

Friends of ours that have used Chicco travel systems with their children also recommended them highly to us.


I have only looked at cribs online and am anxious to start looking at cribs in stores.

So far, I have 2 favorites and they are obviously quite different in style.

I do know that whatever style we choose, I want a dark wood tone.

Other furniture

The nursery is a small room and I do not want it to feel cluttered, so I want to limit the furniture in the room to the crib, a dresser (doubling as a changing table), and a glider rocker.

I have only looked at dressers online & haven't found anything I love.
I think it may be the hardest piece of furniture for me to settle on.
I haven't looked at all into glider rockers, but I know I want one!

I can't wait to rock, sing, & read to our little one while gliding away.


Maybe our baby will love a swing, maybe not.
But, I want our baby to atleast have a swing.
I first saw this Fisher Price Snug-a-Bunny swing in a pregnancy magazine they gave me at the OB's office on our first visit.
I immediately knew that it was the swing for our little one.
I look at it everytime I go to Target & fall more in love with it every time.
It is super soft & cozy and the bird mobile is simply precious!
It is a bit large, but our new living room is pretty spacious so it should be ok.

Obviously, we have so many other choices to make, but we've atleast started the process and it's been so fun!!!

I welcome all suggestions from my experienced friends on what "stuff" you used & what "stuff" you found you maybe could have lived without.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

what i do know...

Only 13 days until we will hopefully find out the identify of our sweet little baby T... I can't wait!!!

While I obviously don't know if baby T is a boy or a girl, I do know...

I have had 3 dreams in the last several months that baby T is a girl,

I've always imagined having a house full of little boys, but now all I can think about is dressing up sweet little girls,

If you believe old wives tales, baby T's heart rate at our last visit was in the 150s=girl!,

If baby T is a boy, he has name already!,

If baby T is a girl, we have some serious work to do on the name front,

Regardless of baby T's gender, he or she is already sooo loved!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

a new place...

We've been thinking about moving into a new rental house for months now, even before we knew baby T was on the way.
With news of our growing family, we knew we needed to move somewhere with more space.

We have secured a rental house in a neighborhood (Crieve Hall) that we love.
It's an older, established neighborhood but has a beautiful mix of older couples and new families.
It reminds us a bit of where we lived in Durham.

We can start moving in on the 23rd of August & don't have to move out of this house until the 21st of September.
So, it will be a slow move-in process but it will work out well in that I'll hopefully have time to get some things unpacked & put away gradually rather than being overwhelmed in having to do it all at once.

Our new house...
is a brick, single-story,
has 3 bedrooms (a master, a nursery, & a guest room...yeah!!!),
has 1 bathroom (we were hoping for 2, but we've managed with 1 for this year so we can do it!),
has a patio & a fenced in back-yard,
has a nice kitchen, a dining room, a large living room,
has plenty of closet space (hooray!!!),
is 10-15 minutes from Belmont & Vanderbilt,
and is convenient to the best shopping in Nashville!

I don't have any pictures of the house yet but will definitely get some posted once we get moved & settled in.

The owner has been kind enough to allow us to arrange for the nursery to be painted.
It is currently a horrible shade of blue (not deep enough to be masculine, yet too blue to be girly).
We've settled on a nice shade of taupe (desert fortress) for the walls.
It will be nice & neutral & will work for a baby boy or girl.
I won't get tired of it too quickly (which I think I would if it was pink or blue).
The focus of the nursery will be not the color of the walls, but the colors I plan to bring into the space in the bedding and the decor.

I'm just so excited that we'll have a space specifically for baby T!!!
I can't wait to get busy decorating that space...

28 is going to be great!

Yesterday I celebrated my 28th birthday (crazy!!!)...

I enjoyed a pretty uneventful day with phone calls from family & friends, lots of sweet cards, and a nice evening out to dinner & a movie with my man!

Chris is cooking birthday dinner (round #2) at home tonight so that's another special treat I'm looking forward to.

I also have a bit of birthday cash to look forward to spending on a few new things to fix up our house after we get settled in there, perhaps a new outfit or two, and of course things for baby T's nursery!!!

Year 28 is definitely going to be a year of exciting change for us...can't wait!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

documenting it all...

Since seeing out little one at the first ultrasound (I may have been slightly in denial prior to this), I have been determined to document the details of my pregnancy and our preparation for baby T.

Besides my blog, I have several fun ways to keep up with all of the fun and exciting details of this time in our lives!

Courtesy of Dr. Driver's office, I have a Smart Mom Planner where I record details of each appointment, jot questions for future appointments, draft a birth plan, and learn a little about what baby T is up to in there.

I wanted a pregnancy journal, but opted for one with mostly blank pages augmented with quotes, verses, and poems about pregnancy and children rather than one that has a week-by-week look at pregnancy (courtesy of Lyndsey, I have every imaginable book to explain that already). I bought "Before your Birth Day: A Pregnancy Journal". I love it. I'm sure that I write random things, but I try to write about my/our feelings, our conversations about baby T, making plans for our little one, and more.
Once we know if baby T is a boy or a girl, I want to pick out a baby book so I can document all the firsts & fun things that will go with watching our little one grow.
I have my eye on a couple of options...
Love this one for a girl...I love, love the bird theme! (Pepperpot Nest Baby Record Book)
This one has some great pages in it & again I love the bird theme! (Emma by C.R. Gibson)

And for a boy...
I love, love the pages in the book (atleast from what I can see online) (Baby Boy Dots by Penny Laine).
My 2nd favorite option for a boy (Sweet Pea by Anna Griffin)

It's so fun to document all of this excitement...

had to have it!

I had been really good about not buying anything for baby T until we find out our little one's gender...
until today!

I'm in love with Zulily...if you don' t know about it, definitely check it out!
Basically, they offer daily deals on children's books, toys, clothing, accessories and usually they toss in deals on maternity wear & chic things for moms.

Today they featured a deal on super cute gowns and playsuits from Parade Organics, an eco-friendly, fair trade company.
When I saw the brown & orange gown with a printed star & the words "star baby" I knew that I had to have it!

Starr is the nickname my Duke friends gave me years ago, and it's just stuck with me!
Several of them have already commented about a star(r) baby being on the way, so this gown is perfect.

Of course, I would have loved to have bought either something blue or pink, but not just yet...hopefully less than 3 weeks & we can start buying one or the other!!!

Baby T's library

I love, love, love children's books.
I think there is little more important than reading to children.
I was so fortunate to have parents & grandparents that loved to read to me (I attribute my love for reading to them!).

I have had a collection of children's books going for years.
I picked most of them up on sale/clearance racks at Borders, the $1 spot at Target, and even aquired a few on travels to various places. Others were gifts from sweet friends!
Now that a baby T is on the way, I pulled out the box and took an inventory of our baby's library.

So far we will be reading:

*The Tiny Seed (Eric Carle-adorable with great pictures)
*The Very Hungry Catepillar
*Counting Bugs (sweet soft book with a rattle)
*Dotty Dog (another soft stroller book)
*Farm Animals
*The Brave Cowboy (an adorable book by a local author I bought while in San Antonio)
*My 1st Book of Numbers
*Everyday Objects (old, old book that was mine & my mom's before that)
*Moo, Baa, La La La!
*Counting Kisses
*Baby Einstein See & Spy Shapes
*Nurse Nancy (I love this Little Golden book)
*I Love You
*Grover's Guessing Game about Animals
*At the Zoo
*Guess How Much I Love You
*Goodnight Moon
*The Brightest Star (a sweet book that tells the Christmas Story)
*A Squirrel's Tale (brings back childhood memories for me)
*There's a Mouse About the House! (more sweet memories)
*Lello Lion
*The Tiny Tadpole
*Who's Who in the Ocean?
*Who's Who in the Jungle?
*The Little Engine that Could (another childhood favorite!)
*The Real Mother Goose Treasury
*Go & Hush the Baby (1 of my 2 absolute favorite books as a child)
*Peekabo Farm

And even a few for when baby T gets older...
*The Giving Tree
*The Aminal
*Friendship Saves the Day
*The New Baby (Peppes & Pop gave me this one before Cheri was born...it will be a while before baby T needs to read this one :-))

I'm also going to retrieve some of the Little Golden Books, Curious George, & Dr. Seuss books that were mine as a child.

Other books I'd like to read to baby T:
*Where is Baby's Belly Button?
*Love You Forever
*Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?
*If You Give a Mouse a Cookies
*Where's Goldie (a Little Golden book that was my other favorite childhood book)
*Pat the Bunny
*On the Night You Were Born

What other books would you suggest adding to our growing library?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peach-Stuffed French Toast

This recipe is definitely worth sharing...

Peach-Stuffed French Toast

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of light brown sugar

3 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons of heavy cream

8 slices of brioche, french, or sourdough bread

3 large eggs

1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

confectioner's sugar

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium-low heat until the butter foams.
Add in the brown sugar and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the peaches (with their juice), turn heat up to medium-high, and cook for 3 minutes while stirring frequently.

Stir in the cream and simmer for 2 minutes over low heat. (I didn't have any heavy cream so I used skim milk. I was worried it wouldn't work, but it turned out fine.)

Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

Heat the oven to 200.
Place 4 slices of bread on baking sheet and spread peach mixture over the top leaving a 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch space around the edges of the bread.

Reserve small amount of peach mixture for topping.

Top with another slice of bread and press gently.

In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and cinnamon.

Soak each sandwich in the mixture for 1-2 minutes per side.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Place 2 sandwiches in the skillet at the time & cook until browned & slightly crispy on each side.

Transfer to the baking sheet & place in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat with the other 2 sandwiches.

Serve topped with remaining peach mixture/juices and powdered sugar.

This was a perfect dinner & a great use of the fresh peaches I needed to use!

(Recipe from Real Simple.com)

spoiled already...

Baby T's arrival is still quite a way off (although I know the time will fly by), but already baby T is getting spoiled with fun things from family & friends.

Grammy & I made a trip to Babies 'R' Us within hours of the announcement. We came home with a set of green & yellow thermal receiving blankets and an adorable stuffed giraffe rattle.

Auntie Abbey sent 5 adorable onesies of varying sizes and although she thinks baby T is a boy, 3 of the 5 are definitely for a girl. We know it took a lot for Auntie Abbey, the soon-to-be GA Tech-grad, to buy the "My Heart belongs to Georgia" onesie so we especially are proud of that one. They're all precious...
Sissy, Uncle Steve, & Jennifer sent an adorable bib that says "Star of Mommy's blog" (will definitely be a true statement!), a set of hats & mittens, and a fun giraffe toy.

Thus far, I have been good about not running out buying things. It is so tempting, but I'm holding out until we know baby T's identity & then the shopping will really begin!

I have had fun pulling out the "secret box" (that hasn't been a secret for a while) filled with clothes, books, and goodies I have collected over the years for "to-be baby Tarrs". Most of the stuff I bought off of clearance racks & paid next to nothing for. Some things I even got by redeeming points for taking surveys with some of the online companies I am a member of.
I'll have to make a list of all the good stuff I found when I pulled out the "secret box" last week.

Oh, baby T you are already one spoiled little guy/gal!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Announcing baby T...

After waiting nearly 12 weeks, we were so ready to share the news with our families and friends.
We travelled to Atlanta the weekend after returning from Yellowstone.

Telling the Parkers:
I ordered adorable "I love grandma/grandpa bibs for my mom & dad and "I love my Auntie" bibs for Cheri & Abbey. I wrapped the bibs and stuck them in the bottom of a gift bag with the souveniers we bought for them in Sweden. We made them open the souvenier 1st & then open the "other present".
We gave my parents their "gifts" on Friday night. They were definitely excited!
We gave Cheri & Abbey their "gifts" on Saturday night before my early birthday dinner. It definitely took them a minute to catch on to the meaning of the bib. There were a few gasps and jaws hanging open & then lots of laughs & hugs.
We took this picture on Saturday night after dinner:

Telling the Tarrs:
We spent Saturday afternoon at the Tarr's house sharing our pictures of Sweden with them and swapping Yellowstone pictures.
After looking over all of the travel pictures, Chris told his parents that we had a couple of more pictures and then handed each of them an ultrasound picture.
They were definitely surprised especially since we had just spent a week with them in Yellowstone & made no mention of our big news.
We were also able to tell Erin before she headed off to work.

We spent the ride back to Nashville on Sunday afternoon calling the rest of our family to share the news.
The last few weeks since have been spent calling, e-mailing, messaging dear friends to tell them about our little one.

We have had so much fun sharing our news!


I'm so excited to say that a little baby T is on the way!!!
Chris & I are expecting our 1st little one on or around February 1st.
I am now 14 weeks pregnant and feeling great!

The first trimester was exciting, but exhausting. I felt like I couldn't sleep enough & I was quite nauseous for 3 or 4 weeks on end. I refused to eat hot food & pretty much lived off of cereal and yogurt.
Now, I don't feel like I have to have an afternoon nap every day (although, sometimes I still sneak one anyway) and I will pretty much eat anything in sight!

We have an appointment for our anatomy & gender reveal ultrasound on August 30th (4 weeks from today!!!), so fingers crossed tiny baby T will cooperate.
Since finding out we were expecting, I have had 2 dreams about giving birth to a baby girl. I have always imagined having little boys and how I would dress them & such. Now all I can think of it dressing up a sweet little girl!
I'm trying not to read into my feelings too much since regardless of the gender we are thrilled and so excited to welcome a sweet baby into our world!

We're anxious to know baby T's gender so we can start nailing down names, decorating his or her nursery, and making other key decisions dependent upon the gender.
I'm dying to start sewing clothes, bibs, burb cloths & such for our little one too...

The word excited just can't capture the wealth of our emotions right now!!! :-)
BABY T is on the WAY!!!