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Thursday, May 21, 2015

16 Weeks

*Not sure what's with the shadows.
 
Fruit-size comparison: Avocado
                                              Length is approximately 4.57 in. 
                                              Weight is approximately 3.53 oz.
 
Developmental milestones: Our baby can now make a fist and suck his/her thumb. Last week he/she was able to sense/see light. They say you can turn a flashlight onto your stomach and your baby will move away from the light. I didn’t do this nor do I plan on doing this - seems a bit mean if your baby doesn’t like the light. I'm not trying to irritate my baby.
 
Maternity clothes: Still only one pair of black pants for work even though I am looking for more. Last Sunday I did buy 2 pairs of shorts and 2 shirts. The shorts should get me through the summer and fall. I will need to buy a few more shirts later on, but I am waiting for a good sale/find. The four items I did buy came from Target. There was a Cartwheel coupon for 25% off which made them all $72.
 
Weight gain: 3 pounds. I'm already a little overweight so I am hoping to not gain too much weight. Wanting to have a healthy pregnancy even though I seem to constantly be eating.
 
Stretch Marks: Nothing new luckily.
 
Sleep: I have started to get in bed at 8:30PM which seems to help me feel better in the morning. Of course, I hate 'wasting time' with all the sleeping I am doing.
 
Best moment of the week: Cleaned out the future nursery closet and looked through all the baby items we already own. I enjoy looking at all the small items babies use/wear.
 
Movement: I think I am feeling fluttering even though the books/internet are saying it is too early. I suppose it is possible I am imagining it, but I really do think I am feeling the baby. I'll believe what I want to believe and the books/internet can say whatever they want to say.
 
Cravings: After having fried pickles two weekends ago with my mom and her husband I had a craving for pickles. I ate at least one a day from the jar until this past Sunday when Matt attempted to make baked fried pickles. Sadly, the coating didn’t still very well to the pickles. I ate them because he made them, but they weren’t really good. He gets an A+ for effort though.
 
Gender: I will know the answer to this one very soon. I can barely wait!!!
 
Belly button in or out: In
 
Wedding ring: Loosely on thanks to losing some weight the year prior to getting pregnant.
 
Anything making you queasy/sick: Week 14 I felt wonderful. No sickness at all. I intended to take my last morning sickness pill Friday night and see how well I reacted to no pills in my system. Well, Friday night I forgot to take my pills. Meaning Thursday was my last night of pills. I have been nauseous off and on since then but I am standing strong and won't take the pills unless I start puking again. I worry about possible long-term effects of the pills with continued use.
Eating still seems to help make the nausea go away unless I am REALLY nauseous and then nothing helps but sleeping it off.
 
What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach. I wouldn’t have guessed this would be something I would miss.
 
What I'm looking forward to: Finding out the gender of our baby. Once we know the gender it will be more fun to shop for our little baby.
 
Labor signs: Nada
 
Symptoms: Nausea
 
Nursery: Closet is organized and ready to be filled. Besides that, I only have ideas floating around in my head and pinned on my Pinterest boards. I have decided to leave the guest bed in the bedroom until the baby is old enough to actually play in the room. Although it will be an eyesore to me, at least Matt will be able to enjoy his TV room for a little longer.
 
Emotions: I'm mostly feeling great! A little uncomfortable at times, but nothing I can't handle.
 
So far, this pregnancy is C R A W L I N G ! ! !
I thought everyone said time would fly?!?!? This has not been the case for me. I used to think time flew by for me but now it seems like it is going too slow. I feel like I am ONLY 16 weeks along. Not even half way through yet. Assuming our baby arrives on the actual due date of November 5th (I know this won't happen), I still have 169 days left before meeting our baby. Seems forever away!
 
In other news, I logged onto our health insurance account and discovered we are almost to our deductible. YAY! It is my understanding once we meet our deductible for the year, we will no longer have to pay. The insurance covers everything at that point. Just another reason for Matt to stay at his current job until the baby is here and the hospital bills are paid.  


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Carnival Sunshine Cruise

Matt and I were recently on a Carnival cruise to the Western Caribbean during the time frame of April 25 - May 2.
 
Had a blast! We relaxed and enjoyed everything that was offered.
 

Our flight to Orlando was completely full. And we experienced turbulence off and on the whole flight to the point where we were not served drinks/snacks for the safety of the flight attendants. Once at the airport, it felt like it took FOREVER to get our rental car. Kind of a pain in the you know what. After getting into our rental car, we drove the 43 miles to the Budget rental agency to drop our car off and take the free shuttle to the ship in Port Canaveral (5 minute ride had we of been the first ship). Waiting for the shuttle took 30 minutes in the hot sun. As you can see, we did a lot of waiting around.
 
In case you ever fly into the Orlando airport and take a rental car to Port Canaveral, know 3 things:
1. You will go through 2 tolls at $1 each.
2. Gas stations are right there by the drop off spots... don't pay for them to fill it back up. I was quoted $15 dollars but we filled it up ourselves and spent just under $6.
3. They make you add liability insurance even if you already have insurance. The cost for us was $15.
 
In the end, I think we paid around $70 for the rental car. A bit more then I would have preferred to spend, but at least we didn’t have to wait for an overcrowded bus and we were able to stop for a 12-pack of soda. Plus, choices were limited since I waited until the last minute.
On the way to the airport from the ship, I booked us a shuttle and we had no issues. I paid $20/pp plus tip for the shuttle.
 
Overall, I found traveling in/out of Port Canaveral to be a nuisance due to the distance from the airport. I would only go through this port again if we drove here or were here prior to sailing. San Juan and Tampa were much easier to fly in/out because you could take a quick cab to the port. New Orleans and Charleston we drove to so I am unsure how the airport situation works at each of these ports.
 
Upon arriving at the ship, we dropped our luggage off, went through security, checked in, walked by the people taking pictures and walked onto the ship where we immediately booked the Behind the Fun Tour.
Once we dropped off our luggage, even though the lines looked long, we didn’t wait very long to board the ship. No complaints about this process. Great job Carnival!
Next we headed to our room to drop our other stuff off. We had decided on room 6106 which was a handicapped room at the very front of the ship. We paid a bit extra for this interior room with a walkway view. The downside of the room was the beds couldn't be stuck together therefore Matt and I slept apart for the entire cruise. I enjoyed the view, but I don’t think the view itself was worth the extra money when you consider we couldn’t sleep together. It did have extra space which was nice.
 
On to the Lido deck for our first lunch. I started with Guy's Burger and fries. Burger was cold and yucky. Fries were yummy and I ate some more a few times throughout our cruise. After taking one bite of my burger, I gave up and got pizza and fruit which never disappoint me. In fact, the pizza is one of my favorite items each cruise. I suggest you try it if you haven’t already.
 
We did the normal things like walk around the ship in order to explore our home away from home and did the muster drill. Then it was time to set sail. Meaning, time for the sail away party. Yay! One of my favorite things! I love watching everyone dance to all the fun songs you hear on each cruise. Last year I made my very own cruise mix for my iTunes which I enjoy listening to when I am missing cruising. Makes me happy to hear the tunes. Now I just need to learn all the different dances. NOT!!!!
 
Because I didn’t write this sooner, I don’t remember what we did each day therefore I am just going to write up this trip in one blog entry. Lazy, yes, I know.

Some of our favorite things we did this cruise include:
Dive-in Movies with fresh popcorn
Shuffle board and foosball in the Red Frog Pub (Hidden spot)
Musical shows - saw 4 AWESOME shows (2 we had previously seen)
Juggling show - FUNNY!
Behind the Fun Tour - Wonderful and well worth the cost (More Later)
Lobby parties
Mini Golf
Listening to people sing karaoke
Hanging in the pool
Laying out in the hammocks on the Serenity deck
Laying out in the sun
Laying out looking at the water from the deck off the lobby (in the shade)
 
Some of the things we did which we will skip next cruise:
Fun Ashore and Fun Aboard show - BORING! We only stayed in hopes of winning free shore excursions.
Seuss-a-palooza - Card board cutouts... I was wanting to see the characters in costume. We left early but they must have come out at some point because we saw the pictures of them.
 
We both loved all the different food choices on the ship.
For breakfast, I mostly ate the same thing each morning. Watermelon, banana yogurt, bacon, cheese Danish things.
For lunch, with the exception of one sea day brunch, we always ate on the Lido deck. I enjoyed pizza, Mongolian food, burrito from Blue Iguana, all beef hotdog from the deli, miscellaneous items off the Lido deck main buffet area.
For dinner we sometimes ate in the main dining room and sometimes ate on the Lido deck. We both seem to prefer the Lido deck dinning since they offered most of the same foods.
At dinner time, you could also stop by The Taste Kitchen to get a sample of food from the pay places on the ship. You can go and get samples as many times as you desire and I am not ashamed to admit a few times we went several times in one night. I should have taken pictures of my favorites.
 
At the ports, we really didn’t do anything. Usually I am good about making us a packed itinerary but this time, mostly because I had been sick with morning sickness up until we left, I booked nothing. Matt was a bit disappointed I didn’t plan anything for us to do. I promised him I won't let it happen again. Who knew he actually enjoyed my usual planning? He typically acts like I am spending too much money. Now I know FOR A FACT he is just complaining to complain. Good information for the future.
Cozumel - We walked off the ship, walked to the grocery store where we bought nothing and came back. We tried to book an island tour, but that didn’t work out. We were back on the ship within an hour. Lame and my fault.
Belize - We planned to stay on the ship prior to going on this cruise.
Mahogany Bay - We walked to the nearby beach where we both had a wonderful time swimming in the ocean.
Costa Maya - We walked around the little shopping area and promptly went back on the ship. I thought for sure a beach  would be nearby. Nope. What a waste.
 
Overall, we do not plan on cruising the Western Caribbean again. Neither one of us have any desire to visit any of these places again. Been there, done that!!!
By the time we take our next cruise, hopefully we aren’t forced to go a certain week because of Matt's job. Would be nice to actually pick a port and itinerary based on what we want to do.
I had intended on making an entire post of The Behind the Fun Tour, but as I stated earlier, I am too lazy. I'll just tell you the highlights.
 
Ours took place on the last sea day at 9AM. We all met in the Library where we turned in our tickets, had our names crossed off a list and were given Behind the Fun passes on our brand new lanyards. After we had all gathered, security came in and took a wand to us looking for any recording devices.
 
It was now time for our tour with Anne who worked at the excursion desk. And let me start off by saying she was wonderful! Very informative and was eager to answer all our questions. We learned this was her very first time leading one of these tours - the person who usually does them was sick or something - and she is from South Africa.
 
Our first stop on our route was to the Liquid Lounge where we met the entertainment manager - Brett. We learned Carnival typically changes the shows every three years (explains why 2 of them we had already seen last year although we still enjoyed them), cast of 8 means they have to all be triple threats with two main singers and two main dancers from each sex. More questions and answers were discussed, but I already forgot what else I learned.
We then we went the very front of the ship where the bell is located. This is the same spot where you can 'be on top of the World' like on the movie Titanic. It was very windy, but we took our first group picture here. Usually, this space is reserved only for the workers.
 
Next stop was to three decks below deck 0. They were labeled A,B,C. We saw several crew areas such as where they ate, where they played and where they are housed with the exception of some people in their own rooms, all are 2 to a room. In addition to rooms on these floors, some rooms are located on floors 0,1,2,13. In fact, Anne, was about to move upstairs to deck 13. I am going to assume 'higher' people are the ones who are allowed to move upstairs. I did ask about crew being allowed to eat in the main guest areas and was told they were allowed to during non-peak hours. Same with the specialty restaurants. I never did see any 'lower' workers but we did see several 'higher' workers eating on the Lido deck almost every day during lunch.
 
Crew washes their own laundry and get free supplies. Uniforms are washed for them. Housekeeping even cleans there rooms - this is where they practice prior to cleaning guest's rooms.
 
We got to meet the heads of all the departments we came into contact with.
 
Another neat area we saw were the meat freezers and thawing rooms. Meat is thawed for three days. They have 26 drink refrigerators. And all food is taken on to the ship at the main port. (i.e Port Canaveral)
I also enjoyed seeing the main dining room's kitchen. They having it working like a fine oiled machine! We saw where they put the food once it is made, saw a guy making edible flowers, saw a guy frosting cakes and we got to sample a chocolate covered strawberry.
 
At some point we made it to the bridge. Let me tell you, the sights were amazing!!! We got to meet the Captain of the ship AND had our picture taken with him. This is also where we had our last group picture taken.
 
We were then taken to the steak house for the end of the tour where we filled out a short survey of the tour. I think the tour lasted around 3 hours. I would definitely do this tour again in a few years on a different ship. Would be interesting to see the differences.
 
Within the cost of the tour, we received the three pictures mentioned, lanyard, bag and hat. When we got to our room, we also had a plate of strawberries and cookies waiting for us.
A learned a whole lot more and saw a lot more then I am mentioning here. Maybe I have tempted you to want to check it out??? Hope so!



Monday, May 18, 2015

Cleaned and Organized

Talk about a busy weekend... No wonder I am tired today!
 
Saturday, Matt had to work so I had made myself a long list of things I wanted to accomplish. I set my alarm for 8AM and started 'working' by 9. My number one goal of the day was to clean out/organize the guest room/future nursery closet (minus the top shelf).
Before
After
The reason I was leaving the top shelf alone was because this shelf holds items I plan on using in the nursery (3 shelves, 5 picture frames) and items I have nowhere else to store (sewing machine, Cricut, extra printer cartridge). Let's not forget the fan I also left in there which is to the left and you can barely see in this picture. I might be donating it, but didn’t want to get rid of it just yet. Need to check with Matt in case he wants to keep it. Beneath the fan is my plastic 3-drawer unit holding all my arts and crafts supplies. If it couldn't fit in there (with the exception of my mesh that I moved to a different closet), it had to go. Honestly, I am 'cheating' by keeping this in the closet. I wanted everything out. My perspective on the issue is that you can't see it, therefore it doesn’t count as being in there. If we are still in the house by the time my child becomes an active toddler, it will need to be housed somewhere else. For now, I can get away with it.
As for the rest of the closet, I removed everything and placed the items on the bed. I immediately placed the items to be donated into a garbage bag. Some items, like office supplies and my mesh, I moved into our other two closets (hall and living room) after cleaning and organizing them. Some items gave me a bit of a headache because I hate parting with stuff, but I feel good about what I accomplished.
After achieving an almost empty closet, I filled it a bit with the few baby items we already have on hand:
Tupperware on the floor is filled with giraffe stuffed animals
Bag on shelf is filled with small baby items such as bottles, small stuffed animals, baby locks, etc.
2 Toys
1 Container of wipes
1 Giraffe trash can (toy?)
2 Girl baby blankets, 2 Boy baby blankets
2 Baby Memory Books
2 Unisex bibs, 1 Girl bib
11 Boy outfits, 2 Unisex outfits, 13 Girl outfits (if you count the onesies separate)
 
Clothes and blankets are from my days of working at Belks... I used to buy stuff for future baby showers when they had a good clearance. These are the items I was never able to part with because I liked them too much. I figure once we know the gender of the baby, I will put away the clothes/blankets we don’t need. I'll save them for baby #2. If baby #2 is the same gender as baby #1, I will give them away.
I think Matt was impressed I got it all done. He knows how much I hate getting rid of stuff. I am of the attitude you never know when you will need that item again. Not a good attitude to have when your home is a little less than 1200 sq. ft.
 
 
Another 'item' I crossed off my list was signing up for some free samples/products for our baby.
I joined the following mailing offers with prices:
Walmart 2nd Trimester Baby Box $5
Citrus Lane Box (at half off) $14.50
Everyday Happy Trial Diaper Kit and Family Care Kit $5.95
Honest Company Trial Diaper and Wipes Bundle $5.95
 
The Walmart Box is $5 every 90 days. This is to cover shipping and handling of the free samples and coupons. If it seems worth it, I will keep this subscription going.
The Citrus Lane Box is the one I am most excited about based on the reviews I read. In my box, we will get toys/food based on the age of my child. (I did put in the correct due date). Sounds awesome! However, this is a $29/month subscription that just might not be worth keeping. $29/month for toys I am not picking out might be a bit expensive. I am curious to see what we get though. I choose the gender neutral box.  I may or may not keep this subscription. I might ask my mom and mother-in-law to each order the first box for the baby if it is worth the initial price.
The Everyday Happy Trial Diaper Kit and Family Care Kit will for sure be cancelled. I cannot afford $115.90 plus $5.95 for shipping/month no matter how good the diapers and wipes are at doing their job. That is simply out of my budget.
The Honest Company Trial Diaper and Wipes Bundle will also be cancelled due to price at $79.95 and $39.95/month as well. Too expensive. If I like either of these 2 items, I will just look for coupons and deals and maybe buy them individually. We will see. I have read good reviews about these items.
 
I promise to post pictures of each box we get and give you my opinions. It's good to know a little something about what you are ordering before you order it. If I can help one person out, it will be worth me writing about it. :)
 
 
Sunday after church, we did some shopping.
One of the first places we went was to Target where we bought 8 12-packs of soda on sale for 4 for $11. We bought 8 to make the total $22 because Target had a cartwheel coupon for a free $5 gift card when you spend $20 on soft drinks. (We also purchased cookies and 2 bottles of medicine.) But the stupid coupon wouldn’t work and the cashier wasn’t hearing my explanation of the price/offer.  So we paid for everything and then went to the customer service desk to ask about the coupon. We were told 'yes' the coupon should have worked and we were given $5 in cash. Thank you Target for taking care of the problem with no issues. Matt then went to the restroom while I waited by the door. I would say we were in the store for a total of 10 minutes after checking out. I should also mention there were people in line behind us when we paid.
3 hours later when we get home and our unloading our groceries, Matt asks where the Target bag is with the cookies. Well, I hadn’t unpacked it so I went to the car and looked for the bag thinking we missed it. Nope... didn’t see it. Matt went and double checked. Still not found. *sigh*
I call Target and thankfully they have the bag and I can come pick it up today with my receipt. Bad news - this particular Target is 30 miles away from our house and it's 5 PM. *sigh* I decided to head out and get it ONLY because it had $20 worth of merchandise in it. Had it of been less, I would of said forget it. AND, while I was waiting on the phone for someone to answer, I noticed they charged us $12 per 4 sodas. Meaning they overcharged us $2. Another thing I would 'fix' while going back there. This is why you should always check your receipt before leaving a store. (My bad! Usually I am good about doing this.)
30 miles and 30 minutes later, I arrive at the customer service desk at Target and receive my bag of items and explain the $2 overcharge and she gives me $2 cash refund. Again, no issues with the refund. What I am annoyed about is the fact we were in the store another 10 minutes after checking out. I am POSITIVE the cashier saw the left bag and didn’t even try to track us down. While I was standing at the door waiting for Matt, I was very close to our cashier. I wasted 60 miles of gas and an hour of my time to get this bag. I blame the cashier for not even trying to track us down and I blame ourselves for being too occupied with the $5 gift card issue that we didn’t notice the bag wasn’t in the cart and we didn’t load it into the trunk.
Has this ever happened to you?
 
Now here it is Monday morning (yes, I am typing this on my break while at work) and I am tired. Really tired. And hungry - good thing I packed a big lunch. I think I need to start going to bed even before my early bed time of 9PM. I am struggling right now.
On a positive note, I found a sweet surprise from my husband tucked away in my purse.
I love when he does things like this for me. Makes me feel special and loved. *Hint, Hint, Hint!!!*