Monday, January 30, 2012

College Girlfriends...

Lo and me :)

Katie and me - smiling's our favorite!  SISSSSSY!
I always heard growing up that friendships will come and go, but college friendships can last forever.  I always knew I'd make friends in college, but I never knew how good of friends.  I also always knew that I wanted to go away to school.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I wanted to be so far away from people I love so much, but it's that I wanted to kind of get out and spread my wings and explore the world for myself...away from my little bubble in Winchester.  Some issues with my kidneys and other factors precluded me from venturing too far (Ole Miss was always my dream school) so I had to go in state, but boy am I so so glad that I did or I wouldn't have met these girls...

Love my roomie :)

Katie and me - Summer after senior year (2006)

girls out for my 22nd birthday
(L-R) Leen, me, Ali, Lo, and Katie

my babes :)
(L-R) Katie, Lo, Beef, me

summer 2006 - the most fun EVER!

some of my very most favorite Chi Omegas at my wedding reception
July 26, 2008

Ali, Katie, me
summer 2006

Kings of Leon Concert at Rupp Arena
October 2009

Yes, folks...these are my girls.  My friends, my sisters, my soulmates.  I love them dearly!

Many a night back in the early 2000s, I'd glance at my clock and it'd say 5, 6, even 7 A.M...not nighttime anymore!  I'd finally decide it was time to go to sleep—having been up since the day before. Although I had pulled my fair share of all-nighters to finish assignments, most times I was still up because I had stayed up talking with my girlfriends, living in the sorority dorm...and these were not isolated incidents.  They were the best days of my life.

My roommates/ best friends and I shared many late nights, for reasons ranging from nothing at all, beverage consumption, to classwork, to our inability to stop talking to each other. As a result of all our bonding, we could often communicate without speaking, creating our own version of the old-married-couple dynamic. In fact, my  college roommates/ girlfriends became part of my extended family, us even visiting their families and becoming just as close to them. These girls were not just temporary surrogates, there for me during my years away from home; I'm confident they will forever be a part of my life...we'll always be there for each other. 

I am positive that the similarly close relationships I have formed with these so very dear friends can also be found in various incarnations across our age group. There is just something about taking a group of young people, putting them in the same place for four years (give or take a few), and telling them to work, live, and play together that facilitates connections unlike the relationships formed in any other parts of life. 

AS A RESULT, when I began reflecting on the singular strength of my college friendships, I initially attributed it simply to the length of time I’d spent in one place, in close on my own whims and regards, solidifying my relationships. But after talking with other friends, just like me, who were born and raised in the same city, but went away to college—who went from elementary school through high school with the same group of classmates and friends—I realized that something else might be at work in fostering college bonds. The friendships thosefriends had made at college were also special, even though they’d existed in the same location a mere four years—or less.

Regardless of how we grew up and the nature of the friendships we made before college, many of us left home to live away from our families for the first time. We left not only to get a college education, but also to grow into the independent adults we are expected to be after graduation. We left to learn about ourselves, to discover who we are, and who we want to be—whether we realized it or not as we arrived on campus freshman year. 

Although I am fundamentally the same person I have always been, I grew up a lot in my four years plus at college.  For me and many others, college is a time of exponential growth, at a pace substantially different from that in middle school or high school.  All of the discoveries and struggles for those four years, I made with my friends. We were there for each other during those late nights, boyfriend issues, and grown-up situations... when shoes (stilettos, of course) might have been thrown and loud, inappropriate exclamations about our frustrations might have been uttered...okay, most definitely WERE uttered. On those days when getting an assignment done before it was time to hit up "a girl's night out" seemed impossible, we were there for each other, preparing dinners, hanging out, and helping one another through the tough and the rough.  My friends encouraged my ever-changing mind about my majors, and were just as excited as I was when I started my studies in the field of education junior year, and have lovingly endured listening to me analyze every student's successes and failures and what else I could have done.  It’s these shared experiences that will forever link us together. 

My college career ended almost 6 years ago, so you may be wondering why I'm reflecting on this, or what brought it to my mind in the first place...
Well, two of these special girls from college came to visit me this past weekend.  Katie and Lauren ("Lo" to us).  My girls. While we are too close to 30 and all more than settled into our "big kid" lives and careers, having all spread out and moved to different cities, we still pick up right where we left off, like no time has passed.  Without question, when we get together, we have a blast...and we don't even have to do a thing!  Case in point...I am 7 months pregnant.  There is not too much I feel like doing or can get out and do...which is a far cry from the Abby Banker I was in college, but these girls made it clear that all they wanted to do was 'veg-out' on the couch and enjoy each other's company which is exactly what we did and it was so much fun.  We joked, we laughed, we reminisced, and we watched movies in our PJs all day.  It was perfect.  I just feel so very blessed to have Katie and Lo in my life...they are truly AMAZING women and AMAZING friends.  I love my college girlfriends!

PS, they even brought Jackbaby some goodies!!!  Take a look...

"Aunt Lo-Lo" brought Jack the cutest robe I have EVER seen!  It's a shark!

"Aunt Lo-Lo" also brought him this for his room and the ducky for bathtime!

Look at ALL this preciousness from Aunt Katie!
see the monster houseshoes?!?  Um, AMAZING!  So precious!
Here are some pictures of us through the years...
Katie, Lo, Beth ("Beef") and me at Leenie's wedding
June 2010

Our first sorority formal - December 2002

Leenie's bachelorette party - summer 2010

We don't need anything else...just us :)
Leenie's wedding

(L-R) Me, Lo, Beef, and Leenie
Summer 2006

(L-R) Leenie, me, Katie, Beef
Colleen's bachelorette party

VIPs in the stretch Hummer for Leen's bachelorette

Katie and me - summer 2004

Beef and me
Kristen's wedding - September 2006

White Trash Bash 2005

Chi Omegas :)

in the VIP Lounge for Leen's bachelorette

The night Katie and I FINALLY graduated college!

my bridal shower thrown by these 3 bridesmaids (Lo, Katie, and Beef) at Katie's dad's house
May 2006

like I said, we only need each other to make a night fun

a night out with my roomie!

Senior Formal - Winter 2005

a night out with the ladies :)

Ali, me, Katie - Summer 2004, I think

Phi Delta Theta house - Spring 2003
(L-R) Stephanie, Lauren, Beef, Leen, me, Lo

Cheeee- Omeeegas.

"Hot Hoots n' Harleys" theme dance
Spring 2003

Lo, me, Katie

Lo, me, Leen

we're random

Long story, but absolutely hysterical.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

27 weeks - YOWZA!

Soooo...I feel HUGE.  Incredibly.  Like...YOWZA, huge!  I cannot believe we are entering the 3rd trimester...yowza AGAIN!'s ALL happening...we'll be parents in around 13 weeks.  Holy Toledo, that's insane! 
How far along: 27 weeks, 3 days

Size of our little Jackrabbit:  a head of cauliflower.  Eek...not the cute visual I'm going for...bahaha
Maternity clothes: None this week!  Maybe one or two days with normal clothes a size or two up, though.

Sleep: Good sleep!  Haven't wanted to get up at all this week...well, except for today when I was dreaming that Jack wasn't moving and then I woke up and freaked myself out and couldn't go back to sleep.  It was only like 45 minutes before I was going to get up anyway, so no worries really.  I passed out on the couch last night at like 9 anyway so it's not like I was sleep deprived or was just a good start to my day, I guess!

Symptoms: Still NO heartburn, but I AM slowly getting back into some first trimester symptoms as they creep back in: tired A LOT, lethargic sometimes, and nausea at night.  Like I said, still no heartburn (since I have resumed by tummy meds) though, so all is fair in the land of burning esophagi.  

Mood: Tired, tired, tired.  And overwhelmed, overwhelmed, overwhelmed.  Despite it all, I AM in a good mood most of the time and even more so when my little lovelies at school behave themselves!

Best moment this week: getting to see my family this week for dinner and visiting...I always LOVE going home and was having some serious withdrawals from my mama, daddy, Prissy, and Shawnee.  It was so wonderful spending time with them...they're the best and there's absolutely NOTHING like going home!  ALSO, Shawnee and Prissy BOTH got to feel Jack kick...he gave Cathryn a big ol' punch!  
As soon as I walked in, Shawn was so, sooooo excited to read to me (he's in Kindergarten) and show me all of his amazing math skills.  He is one smart little cookie and I loved every minute of experiencing him doing so well!  As an aunt and a teacher, I am so proud and I cannot wait to hear him read to Jack!   He is going to be such a fantastic big cousin :)

Other notable moments: B's dad came in last night as he does about once every month or every other month and it was wonderful visiting with him!  He was our first person to see the beginning of Jacks nursery and our rearranging in the guest bedroom.  

Movement: He's an active little bunny!  sometimes, he slows down at points and then he picks it up somethin' serious later.  I love laying down and watching my stomach move as he kicks, punches, tumbles, and jabs!  He's so cute :)

Food cravings/aversions: sweets and buffalo treats.  I have been doing some serious work on both ends of that this week.  It's almost out of control.  Dan (B's dad) loves his sweets too, so when he was here last night, we went to Meijer and did some serious work there too with buying sweets and goodies. glucose test is one week from today.  I also have had buffalo sauce in some fashion every. single. day. this. week.  Eek, again.  You'll need this info when you check me into the Frank's Buffalo Wing Rehab Center here soon.

What I miss/What I am looking forward to: Lo and Katie are coming on Saturday...yaaaaaaaaay!!!!  So excited to veg out with my special girls!!!

Milestones:  Jack is about 16 inches (head to toe) in length and should weigh about 2.5 lbs!  While I have been dreaming about him since before there even was a "him", HE could now be dreaming about ME!  Isn't that so neat?!?  Brain wave activity measured in a developing fetus has shown different sleep cycles, including the rapid eye movement phase, the stage when dreaming occurs!  Added to his growing bag of tricks is blinking, and other impressive new talents include coughing, more intense sucking, and better breathing.  The really good news, is that if Jack is born this week (although premature), he should have a great prognosis because his lungs have now reached the point (for the most part) of maturity.  Of course, it's still best if he doesn't check out of this womb hotel just yet...but it's comforting to know that if something were to happen, he should be okay.  

Belly button in or out: in, in, in...but like I've mentioned several times...I feel HUGE.  Yuck, pretty much sums up the perspective I have on my own body image.  

Have a terrific weekend!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I have the BEST husband...

my love for him grows and grows with each day!

Yes, many wives might say it, but I know it to be true.  Not that I have had any doubt, but Brad Thomas re-solidified my stance on this fact this past weekend.  You see, I have been going a bit...ahhh hemmm...insane? I guess you could say over the past week or two because we are about to enter the 3rd trimester and I feel as if we have NOTHING ready for little guy.  A procrastinator to my core, something has awoken the beast within me, and I have just been badgering B on and on about at least getting his nursery started - I guess I felt it would help so I can feel a little relief because of some progress in some aspect of our prepping for Jack.  Don't even get me started on my long-term sub plans...yup, whoopsie.  I'm going to hate myself here in the next few weeks.

Anyway, last weekend, Brad went with me to pour over paint samples again...and again while I tried to find the perfect shade of blue to paint a dresser...yes, just a dresser.  I'm a freak.  We settled on a color and then he helped me sand and paint the little ditty in this beautiful shade of blue, perfect for our perfect boy. Well, with this circumstance being me and the visions that ensue, I of course was nowhere near finished.  This was to be NO simple paint job...and NO easy task.  Yet, is anything ever just EASY with me.  Don't laugh.  I had a vision.  I am a lover of alllllll things vintage.  Majorly.  You know this. Thus, anything I put into my house is no exception to that.  I like things that have a story.  I like things that tell a story just with their presence.  Don't get me wrong, I like many a modern items...but there is just something that one vintage/ antique piece can do for a room.  I had one issue though, this dresser was anything BUT vintage.  It's just a plain ol' brown dresser that my parents got for me back in college to match guessed it, antique 4-post cherry bed that I just had to have with me in my first apartment.  I wanted this dresser to be blue, yes, but I wanted it to have a story...or at least look to the rest of the world that it does.  Brad Thomas had no questions.  He just continued to nod in agreement and "go with" my vision.

Now, I went to pouring over DIY website after website to find tips on how to 'antique' paint a know, give it that worn "I have a story" look?  Okay, maybe you don't, but I sure knew what I had in mind.  Every single website had about 2398674.51 ideas/ tips to get this done and I finally settled on what I thought would be the easiest.  Brad of course went with me and stood in Lowe's without complaining as I went through item after item that would work and could work for me.  Finally, I selected something and we went home so I could get started.  All the while, he was moving stuff around, rearranging...and doing anything that he thought I'd like to get done or I'd asked at some point over much time to get done...without complaints, without hesitation, without question.  Sure enough, what I had purchased wasn't working out to my intentions, so he offered to head to Lowe's, yet again, to fulfill my desires.  Seeing that he himself was mid project (doing stuff to appease me) I opted to go.

When I got home, he had moved the modem from our computer upstairs in the office (the office is now becoming Jack's nursery) back behind our flat screen in our downstairs TV room. For Christmas, his parents got him GoogleTV and he had that set up with our main TV, but without hesitation, he moved his new toy upstairs to the sitting room/ upstairs living room in our bedroom (typically my nook and DVR haven) and rigged up our biggest TV to also be one giant computer.  It's hard to wrap your mind around, but it's way cool.  We basically have a 52" computer screen...or a TV that's also a computer with one GIANT screen.  Technically, our two flat screens are also giant computers...we're pretty savvy over here...holler!  He's so smart!  I love him for all he knows how to do!

You may think this is silly, but Brad has yet to question a single one of my ideas and has supported me all the way.  He moved closets without complaining.  He rearranged the guest bedroom furniture to accommodate the influx of stuff from the office without complaining.  He moved stuff to the garage from the office without complaining.  He drove to Elizabethtown today to meet our brother-in-law, Joe, to pick up Jack's crib (that was once Spencer and Jillian's) without complaining.  He is even parking in the driveway for the next couple of weeks until we can get the desk that was in the office moved to his parent's house and out of the garage, without complaining.  When I put up a fight about him parking outside, he said he wouldn't have it any other way and it was not up for debate.  He had a busy day and STILL did NOT complain about moving his office TV and PlayStation to an opposite wall AND then put together Jack's crib after that!  Lastly, he has done nothing this weekend but things I have asked or mentioned somewhere along the way that I'd eventually hope to see done and has not complained once, nor asked for a moment to do something for him...even though he'd been doing things for a crazy hormonal woman all weekend.  I mean, the playoffs WERE on today.  He's just every sense of the word. I am so lucky to have him.  Jack is so lucky to have him.  I am just so grateful to have this amazing man by my side and as my partner through life.  He is truly a blessing to my life and our son's life.  How will I ever be able to repay him for being the strength and support that I receive from him?  Thinking of it takes my breath away.  He is my rock.  I love this man!

In case you were wondering about how some of the projects turned are some pics and some updates.  I will not post any nursery pics of the progress until it is completely done and we have a finished product, but I WILL post pics of some projects along the way so you can get a little mental image of my visions.  You may think I'm a "crazy kooke", but please know I'm a hormonal crazy woman, so keep those opinions out of earshot from me...kapeesh?!?  Tee-hee.  Maybe that's what Brad is smokin'...the crazy lady with a baby theory?!?  Bahaha!

Brad and I sanded it and painted it baby blue.  Next, I gave it a huge 'shellacking' of crackle gloss and allowed that to dry overnight.  Finally, I coated the crackle paint with a gold gloss finish to enhance the look.  It may sound random, but I really wanted to give it a weathered/ 'antiquey' appeal.  Pictures don't really do it's way cooler in person.  Actually, in pics, it almost looks dirty, but here are some pics of the process...
Crackle coat

crackle coat

crackle coat on drawers

dresser before the crackle, but after the blue paint

crackle coat

gold finish to fill in crackle layers

gold antiquing gloss...the missing drawer is one I'm repainting.
I will be purchasing more antique knobs to put as the pulls!  This is still a work in progress!

see...almost looks dirty on pics??  waaaaay better in person...especially with the light to pick up the gold!

Guest Bedroom:
remember how I mentioned the cheery 4-post bed?  Well, it's still with me and is in our guest bedroom.  I also have my Nana's "fainting couch", circa the 1850s in there and so there are only so many ways to rearrange those priceless pieces!  The bed used to be in the middle with the fainting cough immediately to the left as you walked in.  We also had to move Brad's tall dresser (the tall match to the one we that'll give you a good before pic!) into that bedroom after we moved the long one that we're using for Jack, out.  This room is our last room we have to finish in our house...meaning, it needs PAINT.  So, please do not judge us on the white, lack of character walls!  I have every intention of doing wide gold matte and gloss painted horizontal stripes.

View from the hallway...nevermind B's laundry down there on the floor...eeek!
But, the theme of our weekend was projects and his laundry is NO exception to that!

Here is some pics so you can get a visual of how our TV is now also one giant computer.  When we moved in, our house was barely 3 years old...but it had this very random square cut-out for TVs.  Being that we moved in in 2009 and the house was built in '06, we found it random that it'd have a TV nook since most people were moving towards flat being on that train. It actually worked out VERY much to our advantage because my dad and Brad were able to put our satellite box in the cutout as well as any other TV necessities up in there while our flat screen hung from the top and covered it all!  I hate, hate, HATE to EVER see any cords so this seems to be the solution to all of my technological woes!  B was able to fit the computer modem up in there too so you don't even see it!  How cool is that?  Turns out, it's a nifty little TV nook and we LOVE IT!

Like I said, I will continue to post pics of projects as we complete them.  We are still waiting on our custom glider to come's fantastic and it will really add so much to Jack's room, as well as his monogrammed wall decal to hang over his dresser/ changing table.  I am still looking for window treatments, a large area rug, a bookcase/shelf that I can paint in the same fashion as the dresser, and various accessories to bring his room to life!  I am still eyeing this chandelier from my favorite vintage store as's absolutely PERFECT for a boy's room and well, I just have. to. have. it!

While there is still tons and TONS to get done, I take comfort in knowing we are making progess and we are making it because we are working together.  I am so fortunate to have a loving and supportive husband in my life who is going to be an incredible father.  I can't wait to see where our projects take us next!
I have the BEST husband!