Wednesday, December 31, 2014

a look back on 2014

When we announced our pregnancy to my family, Christopher's response was something like, "Wow... This has been a great year! Jeopardy, a wedding, and now a baby!"

It HAS been a great year! Here's a look back at some of our big events.

cozy birdhouse | a look back on 2014

Top Row (left to right): Dan's Grandad showing off his selfie skills at his 90th birthday party, Kevin & Kelsey's high school graduations, our family trip to Disney World, and one of my favorite bird photos from our trip to my in-laws' beach house this summer

Middle Row: Dan with Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!, my parents and us at Notre Dame stadium, our first look at our little baby!, and the view of Half Dome from Glacier Point during our trip to California

Bottom Row: Christopher & Emily's wedding, our trip to NYC over Thanksgiving, me and Dan at the Christmas show we see every year, and finally... Christopher and Emily's Christmas present (a Wheaten Terrier named Winston!)

Some other fun things we did:
  • Celebrated the weddings of several friends including Elena & Darown, Barth & Mallory, and Ben & Jen
  • Partied with my parents, Christopher, and Emily at my annual high school fundraiser auction while Kelsey worked as a server for her final time
  • Finished up our season Broadway passes (our first anniversary "paper" gift) with Wicked, Book of Mormon, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and Once
  • Celebrated our second anniversary (cotton) with a corduroy jacket (for Dan) and a big fluffy robe (for me)
  • Attended my 10 year (!!) high school reunion

Now we're preparing to ring in 2015 with Dan's parents at our house. I wasn't feeling up to making the trip to the East coast after Christmas, so they very graciously agreed to come visit us instead. We'll be toasting with champagne (sparkling grape juice for me) tonight! Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

big news

cozy birdhouse | christmas pregnancy announcement

We have a new addition to our little family arriving in June 2015!

How we found out

While packing the evening before our for our trip to California, I thought, "Hmm... this week will involve several opportunities for alcohol consumption (wedding, wine tours, etc). I should take a pregnancy test, just to be sure drinking is okay." There was a very faint second line, so I came out of the bathroom and told Dan, "I think I'm pregnant." He thought I was just being paranoid and told me to relax. I sat there for a few minutes and said, "I took a test." He responded with "Oh! Um... what did it say?" I said I couldn't tell since the line was so faint. I retrieved it from the bathroom drawer, and he stared at it while trying to stifle a smile. After a few seconds, he rushed out to buy another one and returned a few minutes later with one of those fancy digital ones ("the most advanced piece of technology you will ever pee on"). I left it in the bathroom and we walked back in two minutes later to read the word "PREGNANT" etched across the screen. No denying that! We finished packing, drove to Indianapolis, and caught our flight to San Francisco the next morning, but I don't remember any of that. I was so glad we had over a week away from work to let the news sink in. It was like a mini baby-moon!

How we told our families

No elaborate pregnancy announcement ideas for us... I was so nervous/excited to tell people that I couldn't do much else except blurt it out! We joked that for the first 12 weeks the only people that knew were the two of us, the bartender from Emily's bachelorette party, the bartender from Christopher and Emily's wedding, and the bartender from Ben and Jen's wedding. I've had a lot of "cranberry juice on the rocks" over the last 3 months.

My family: The weekend before Thanksgiving, we paid an impromptu visit to my parents house to tell them our exciting news. We arrived Friday evening after work. I rang the doorbell, and my mom's face appeared in the window, looking very confused. But, by the time she had unlocked and opened the door, she had already figure it out. She slowly opened the door with a huge smile on her face and tentively asked, "Why are you heeeere?" We walked down the front hallway to where my dad (also looking confused), Christopher, and Emily were sitting at the kitchen table. I pulled the strip of ultrasound photos out of my purse, and everyone was so excited! Well, not everyone. Mom called Kevin to come downstairs, and when I said "Guess what? I'm pregnant," he responded with, "Ugh" and walked right back upstairs. Classic Kevin, not a huge fan of babies in general. Fortunately, he was much more interested/curious the next morning.

Since Kelsey was still at school, everyone kept their lips sealed about the news until I saw her two weeks later for our Girls' Weekend in Chicago. At least mom and dad had lots of practice this year from keeping Dan's Jeopardy! outcome secret for so long. When we picked Kelsey up at school, I asked "Are you excited to be an Aunt?" (the answer was yes, much hugging ensued).

Dan's family: We'd just finished the long drive to Dan's parents' house and were standing around the kitchen with them and Colleen prepping our take-out Chinese dinner. Dan's mom asked what we'd like to drink, and I (glumly) said I'd have water instead of my usual glass of wine. Then Dan said "Yeah, she won't be drinking for a while." That followed with "You're pregnant!" and much hugging. We saw Tim that Friday in New York and told him before we went to see Cabaret. He was very excited also!

Addendums to some previous blog posts

california, here we come: Yup, I finally got to see Northern California and COULDN’T DRINK ANY WINE. At least I didn’t mind nearly as much when the wedding got moved back a day, and we had to cut short our time in Sonoma! Tucked in with my Christmas presents this morning was a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the winery we toured. The card said it was from the baby, but the handwriting looked suspiciously like Dan's. At least I'll finally get to try the wine after the baby arrives!

bachelorettes, donuts, and roller coasters: At Emily’s bachelorette party, I made friends with a bartender who made me a few pretty little cranberry juice drinks with stir sticks, a garnish, and no alcohol. I had everyone fooled, even my parents who drove downtown at 1 a.m. to pick up their “drunk” daughter! Sorry ‘bout that, mom and dad! I also had to be “sick” that weekend and miss out on the roller coasters. I felt like a bit of a fraud in that Banshee photo, though I did ride it back in the Spring.

goin’ to the chapel: Again, lots of cranberry juice at Christopher and Emily's wedding. Carried around a half-empty beer bottle for about 2 hours. Fooled lots of family though, and that’s the important thing! At the brunch the next morning a couple people casually asked, “So when will you guys be having kids?” to which I was so tempted to reply, “June” and watch their faces as they did the math.

happy thanksgiving!: One more thing I’m thankful for this year: our own little growing family! Also, my super-supportive husband who has been helping me hide the pregnancy by secretly drinking my glass of wine or beer at various events, including Ben and Jen’s wedding. Poor guy has been drinkin’ for two since September. Rough life!

it’s beginning to look a lot like christmas: We met up with my Aunt Ruthann and cousin Courtney just outside the Macys in Chicago. My aunt asked, “Is anyone shopping for anything in particular today?” as we were walking through the revolving doors into the store. I turned back and smiled, and when we were all inside the door I said, “Maternity clothes!” Aunt Ruthann was (literally) jumping up and down with excitement. Trying on maternity pants was a little depressing as I envisioned my future giant belly, but MAN are they comfortable.

In conclusion…

It’s been an exciting but extremely stressful time. We appreciate all the support from family and friends. Keep us in your prayers. Also, I promise to at least ATTEMPT not to be an annoying mom blogger. Hopefully I got a lot of it out of my system with this ridiculously long post.

Friday, December 19, 2014

a few of my favorite things

Every year, I get particularly excited as I unpack and hang certain ornaments. Here's a few of my favorites.

It's no secret: I love birds. My collection of ornaments definitely reflects that. Some I've bought myself, and some I've received as gifts. This little guy is actually a dried gourd; you can even hear the seeds rattle around when you pick him up. He was a souvenir from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History during a trip to D.C. in 2012. We made a quick stop there after driving to Annapolis for a friend's wedding. I met Dan's grandparents for the first time on that trip!

cozy birdhouse | bird gourd christmas ornament

There's nothing particularly special about this glittery red bauble, except it's from the first box of ornaments I ever bought!

cozy birdhouse | christmas ornament

Here's a new addition this year! Nate and Amanda gave these silver-plated cones to the guests at their wedding in Yosemite. I was super glad we spent our extra day in the park hiking through Mariposa grove to see these awesome trees in-person!

cozy birdhouse | silver giant sequoia cone christmas ornament

Kelsey gave me this for Christmas along with a little snowman and a mushroom ornament (also one of my favorites). It's a bird in a scarf... 'nough said.

cozy birdhouse | bird in a scarf christmas ornament

This ornament came as a bonus when we bought a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon. It's dipped in wax, just like the bottles! Christmas is a great time to get free "gift-with-purchase" items in cool packaging.

cozy birdhouse | maker's mark christmas ornament

Here's our tree all sparkly and decorated... I love my new faux cranberry garlands! The tree skirt is a repurposed linen table cloth that didn't fit any of our tables. I'm so glad that we've graduated from a cheap fake tree to a real tree the last 3 years! The fake tree has now been claimed by the garage spiders.

Finally, our stockings! I made these for our first Christmas as newlyweds following this tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew.

These are a few of my favorite things! (P.S. That is not a Christmas song. Stop putting it on Christmas CDs!)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

The annual Christmas traditions have begun! Decorating commenced the week after Thanksgiving. It really starts to feel like Christmas around here when the tree is ornamented, the nativity set is arranged, and the stockings are hung by the chimney (with care). Dan and I accomplished most of that in a few whirlwind evenings after work. I wanted to finish as much as possible before driving to Chicago for our 4th Annual Girls' Shopping Trip with my mom, Kelsey, Aunt Ruthann, and cousin Courtney. Girls' Weekend emphasizes over-eating as much as over-spending, so we started Saturday with lunch at the Macy's Walnut Room. After a borderline-unhealthy amount of shopping around the city, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Grand Lux Cafe. On Sunday, Courtney treated us to a tasty brunch before the long drive back home. Maybe we should re-brand this as our Annual Overindulgence Trip.

cozy birdhouse | chicago girls weekend 2014

Yesterday, Dan and I went to see the Christmas lights at the zoo. This has been our little tradition since we started dating; we even got engaged there 3 years ago! We've refined our technique a bit since our first visit (free off-street parking! less-crowded side entrance!), but we still always take the same route inside the zoo, starting with the Reptile House, ending at the Bird House, and always skipping the Insect House.

cozy birdhouse | zoo christmas 2014

This week I'm planning to continue the Christmas traditions of purchasing last-minute gifts last-minute, complaining about mall traffic, and frantically cleaning the house! I'm also starting a new tradition this year: stressing about getting my Christmas cards in the mail!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

happy thanksgiving!

What I'm thankful for this year:

Family. It was so fun seeing everyone at Christopher and Emily's wedding. Lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins made the trip, including some that I haven't seen for quite a while! Also, not just anyone could pull off a teal-and-orange-themed wedding, but these two nailed it!

cozy birdhouse | christopher and emily's wedding

In-laws. Yes, they could be included above with "family", but they deserve a special mention. My awesome in-laws know how to make a long drive to the East Coast worthwhile: a delicious turkey dinner (followed by my yummy dairy-free pumpkin pie), an overnight trip to the Big Apple to see "Cabaret" starring Emma Stone and Alan Cumming, and a walking tour through Chelsea, the Village, and the Meatpacking District led by my very own brother in law. Colleen isn't in the photo because she was too busy attending a fancy wedding, but we did get to spend Thanksgiving day with her.

cozy birdhouse | new york city

Friends. Ben and Jen (finally) tied the knot in November; it was super fun and fancy. Kathy, Jason, Jen, Joe, Dan and I attended our third wedding together! This shindig seriously set the bar for wedding desserts. Not only was the cake delicious, but each slice was served on a big plate with a fruit garnish and a generous dollop of cream sauce. So good. Not necessarily cider donuts good, but still so good.

cozy birdhouse | ben and jen's wedding

cozy birdhouse | ben and jen's wedding