Thursday, December 29, 2011

Evangeline's Nursery

This past Friday, Kemi and I started working on the nursery.  It was even all his idea (which of course just made me have a crush on him even more).  We had to start by removing all the junk boxes of priceless memories before we could do any of the "fun" stuff.

This is what we started with, although I didn't take a "pre-junk" picture


We learned (ok, I learned. Kemi probably already knew) that for, like, .97 a piece at Home Depot you can replace all the "almond" colored outlets with fresh white ones, and new white outlet covers.

It's the little things, I tell you.  A little change, but I think it makes a big difference.
BEFORE:
AFTER:


Kemi added a dimmer switch to the light switch in the nursery, for those late-night feedings.


We hung this old, gold chandelier I've had forever that Kemi has tried to throw out about 153 times and I've had to save from the Goodwill pile.  It's gone with me from house to house and I really wanted to use it in my baby's nursery one day.  I won that battle by a hair (Kemi wanted a ceiling fan), but once it was hung, Kemi ended up thinking it looked really cute.


We had bought a plain brown letter "E" from JoAnn's and wrapped it in aqua blue yarn.  Kemi hung it up on the wall, and it looks pretty cute!

And TODAY, a giant box came in the mail....
With this inside:
 I love it! I had seen this guy online and fell in love, and Kemi's sister Gozie was super generous and sent it for the baby.  So cute!
 He can watch over Evie as she sleeps!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Working 9 to 5

This really had my attention this week.  Have you all seen it?




With baby Evangeline coming in May, it seems like I get asked pretty frequently what I'll be doing about work.  

I've known since I was young that marriage and family were my primary vocation.  I know that this is the path that will lead me to the greatest holiness and fulfillment in my life, and is very much God's plan for me.  I also believe that teaching is a very big part of who I am, and is part of my purpose and vocation.  I am not myself if I'm not putting to use my gifts, talents and interests.  When Kemi and I were married, we agreed to welcome children as a gift from God, and we dearly hoped we would be blessed with them.  I planned to continue to work once we started our family, without knowing exactly how that would work out.  With St. Dominic's being so new, I had no idea how my role would have shifted at the school once we started our family.

Now that Evie is on her way, I have a better idea of how things will work and how I can balance directing a school and being a wife and mom.  Luckily for me, I am self employed, and have the luxury of being able to "make the rules" so to speak, regarding children in our workplace.  So far, my plan is to turn my office into baby central, and have Kemi or our other caregivers spend the day in my office at the school with Evangeline while I am teaching.  This would give me the luxury of popping in and out, especially for nursing.  It will be a huge challenge for me to remain focused and give the same quality of work that I always have.

So will I feel guilty? Yes. I'm sure I will.  At least 1,367 times per day.  Are there benefits for our family? Yes. I wouldn't do it if I didn't believe that.  Most of my mom friends stay at home. In fact, of about 10 friends with kids, I can think of only one that works outside of the home, 40 hours per week.  And I know that my stay at home mom friends have guilt too. It comes with the mom-territory, I think.  Stay at home moms worry that they spend too much time cooking/cleaning/wiping noses and not enough quality time.  I know missing Evie rolling over/talking/sneezing for the first time will have me in hysterics.  But I think the things we will teach her by our example far outweigh the sacrifices.  Among the things we hope she learns from this family arrangement:

1. Kemi and I both have jobs in which we help people and offer ourselves to others.  We hope Evie learns that this is an important part of having a fulfilled life.
2. That women can be leaders/bosses/business owners. If that's where they're led.
3. That we cherish our time together.  With Kemi traveling 4 days a week and me working 60-70 hours per week, we make a concerted effort to have all homework, work-work, housework etc. done before our time together.  We never take each other for granted, and it will be the same way with our time with our girl.
4. That using your talents, being creative, and pursuing your ideas is fun and important.

Let the juggling act continue...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20 Weeks-A Cantaloupe!




We're 20 weeks along and they say the baby is the size of a cantaloupe, crown to rump.  Wow! This little girl is growing so big!  Baby girl now has working taste buds and is gulping down amniotic fluid like it's her job. Well done, daughter.

This week, I feel really good, pretty much the same as I always do.  I have more energy than I did a few weeks ago.  This is the first week that I am noticing needing a few more calories than I normally do.  I am definitely able to eat a bit more at each meal than usual.  I really don't mind it because I know it just means our girl is growing big and healthy.

A Merry Little Christmas

We've been REALLY trying to stay in shape around the Ndolo house, and fighting a new desire to not go to the gym. Ever.  We both very much want to remain healthy and fit people despite having children, since this seems to be the season in most people's lives that they forget their own needs while taking care of baby needs.  

So, after fighting our couch potato tendencies, we finally got in the car to head to the gym.  On the way there, I don't know what came over me (I blame the pregnancy hormones) but I just started crying. "It's almost Christmas and we haven't unpacked our decorations, gotten a tree, put lights on the house..." full-on sobbing about the lack of Christmas cheer around our house.  After drying my tears and lots of cuteness Kemi said "Tonight I'm in the best shape of my life. Let's go get a tree." Gosh I love that man.  We literally turned the car around and went to the tree lot.  Then home, where we made hot tea and put the lights on the house. And it looks awesome.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Awkward and Awesome This Week

Awkward:

-Peeing a little every time I sneeze.  So weird. These are the things I didn't read about in "What To Expect When You're Expecting."
-Asking the doctor what the bump in the bottom of my uterus is and him telling me it's just a hernia. "Oh, just a hernia? Ok, no big deal then. I guess..."
-EVERYONE has started noticing the bump and rubbing my stomach. And now I understand what other moms mean when they talk about this. It is a mighty weird experience to be talking to someone and have them reach out and put their hand on your tummy. SO weird.
-Going to the gym without my wedding ring on, but WITH an obvious bun in the oven.  Dang, girl.

Awesome:

-Kemi walking around singing "My Girl" to himself.  Hint: he's not singing about me. And I love it.
-Kemi emailing me an article on handling toddler temper tantrums because he "wants to be prepared." I love this guy.
-Getting to borrow Citizen maternity jeans. Ahhh. The bump never looked better. And the funny thing is, these jeans are like "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Maternity Pants." I borrowed them from Melanie Pritchard, and apparently they've been worn by, like, ten other preggos. I love it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Can't wait to see my girl...

I can't wait to spend time with my girl

Hang out with her, teach her, and just share our life with her.  Among the things I'm excited about:

Seeing Kemi with his daughter
Making forts (I am a mighty good fort builder)
Sharing with her all my favorite books
Taking her to school for the first time
Seeing her tiny, naked brown bum ( I know!)
Saying bedtime prayers

Can't wait can't wait can't wait!



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby N's Gender Revealed

A month or so ago, we saw this great idea for a gender reveal party. Have any of you heard of this? We thought that sounded like so much fun! Of course, we had to wait f-o-r-e-v-e-r for baby's, ahem, parts to be developed enough to see on the ultrasound.  A few days ago we had our ultrasound, and the technician was able to see the sex of the baby and wrote it down on a piece of paper.  We took it immediately to the bakery (the same one that made our wedding cake!) and picked it up the next day!  All day Tuesday at work I was dying to get home and get the party started! 


Kemi had been saying since day one that he KNEW we were having a girl.  I went with boy, just to keep it interesting.  However, each of us had had dreams about having daughters, and all the "old wives tails" pointed to girl, so I should have known.  Kemi cut into the cake, and....ta da! Pink!


We couldn't stop smiling, and I think for both of us, it makes use feel like we know the baby in a more intimate way now.  We feel so blessed to be parents and have a daughter! We can't wait to see her face to face and share our life with her. 




Baby N is growing...18 weeks!

A bell pepper! Six inches long, and eight ounces! Wow! A lot changes in a week, I guess!



Last week, we went to Columbia, Missouri to be with Kemi's mom for Thanksgiving.  Kemi's brother was there as well.  It was great to just hang out and spend some time with family.  The day after Thanksgiving, I had this insatiable hunger, which I of course blamed on pregnancy.  I ate a FULL plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. Then I ate pizza. No joke. I could not be stopped.  Kemi said it was the most he had ever seen me eat.  So this week of pregnancy brings a rounder, and much fuller belly.  And to think I was worried there wouldn't be room in there for Turkey and baby. Hah.

Baby N is growing...17 weeks!

17 weeks in and baby is the size of a turnip!

This kid is growing! I've been feeling the baby a little, I think, but sometimes I'm afraid I'm imagining it.  I know it's still pretty early to tell, so I'm not worried.  I feel really good right now...all the morning sickness and food aversions are gone, and I'm not quite as sleepy as I was, which is really nice.  I have a little bit of a bump, too :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baby N is growing...15 weeks!

I thought that I'd like to keep a record here of each week of the pregnancy...not only regarding the development of the baby, but how I'm feeling, what I'm experiencing, etc.  I don't presume to think anyone reading this really cares, but I'd like to have it written down so we can go back and remember this time.  I'm starting a little late, though!

Baby N. is currently 15 weeks developed, and rockin.  They say at this stage, our jellybean is actually about the size of an apple!

This sort of blows our minds.  I don't think I'm showing tooooo much yet, but the fact that there's a four inch baby in there is pretty crazy.  So far, I'm feeling really great...I don't have any nausea or morning sickness anymore, and I'm getting some energy back.  I can even stay up until 9:30 sometimes! Ha!

I can't tell if I've felt the baby move or not yet. I think it's probably wishful thinking.  They say you usually don't feel it on your first pregnancy until 17-20 weeks, but sometimes I feel like I'm being flicked from inside my stomach. Weird.

I really want to stay in good shape throughout the pregnancy, and since I'm no longer having any sickness, I'm trying to take this opportunity (you know, before I'm huge) to workout.  It definitely isn't happening as often as it should though.  With Kemi only home three evenings a week, and me working 60+ hours a week, I'm soooo tired in the evenings, and I just want to hang out with him.  But, I know it's important, so I try to force myself.

We're planning to go back to Missouri to visit Kemi's mom for Thanksgiving, and then the following week, find out whether this sweet little apple-baby is a boy or a girl! No preferences on our part, by the way!  Really! I think we both see the fun things about each gender, and will be excited either way!  We'll keep you posted.

How we announced our pregnancy to the world (er, Facebook)

with a little tomfoolery....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Ndolo Family is Growing

That's right folks! A few weeks ago, I saw this:


After several months of seeing one line, I was over the moon to finally see two! 

I've always thought one of the really fun things about being a woman is getting to know this special news before anyone else, and having the option to share the news in a really fun, creative way.  

Since Kemi and became engaged, I had thought about how I would share this news with him, if we were blessed with children.  Kemi's favorite book as a child was the poem "Wynken, Blynken and Nod." When we began trying to conceive, I bought an old copy of the book online and hid it away for when that day came.

Having a positive test that morning, I took the book with me to work and planned to go afterwards to wrap it and bring it home to Kemi that evening.  When I called him on my way home, he said he was having a rough day and was anxious for me to come home.  I told him I had a little present for him that would improve his night.  When I got home, I gave him the box.  He opened it, and was a little confused by the book.  When I told him "I thought you could read that to your baby" he just stared at me, stunned for a few seconds! Then started a lot of "Are you serious!?" and "how long have you known this!?!"  We were both thrilled and immediately called our parents and siblings to share the news.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hello again!

Well, I've been absent lately due to, uh, my life.

Sometimes, when things are really nutty, I dream about getting sick and requiring hospitalization.  Not like, really sick.  Don't look at me like that.  Just sick enough. You know, so I could get some rest.

Needless to say I have wished, more than once this week, for the Bird Flu.

Things have been unusually busy, and I'm not sure how I'm holding on.  A lot of this:
And a little of this:


But, mostly this:


And of course, this guy:


What a cutie.


Friday, July 15, 2011

I love this kid

This past weekend, my grandma (who from here forward, will be called Mimi, because that's her grandma-name) had a family birthday party for Kemi, my godson, and my aunt.  We got to spend lots of quality time with this little ham:
This was all her, by the way.  She stood up on the chairs, one arm around Kemi, one arm around me. Sophia is truly one of my favorite people. Not kids, just people.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Week of 7/3 Coupon Shopping

I thought I'd give you guys a peek into my coupon shopping this week.  Overall, I'd say it wasn't my greatest week ever, but not bad.  I don't always have coupons for every food item I need to buy, but I use coupons on whatever food items I can, and try to not buy "convenience" foods or impulse items.  I save the most money each week on non-food items, such as toiletries, paper products, and cleaning supplies, but you can't eat toothpaste, so until I figure out new uses for toothpaste, I have to spend money on food. Boo. We have approximately twenty tubes of free toothpaste. Anyway, here's my shopping for the week:




Overall, I spent $20.57 for $52.86 worth of products, a savings of 62%

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

His and Hers Design Style

Last night I was looking through my "inspiration living rooms" file and showed Kemi a few rooms to see what he liked and didn't like about each room.  Men's and women's styles are so different! Here's what he had to say about each:


Me: "What do you think about this one?"
Kemi: "I like that one."
Me: "What do you like? What don't you like?"
Kemi: "I like the pictures."
Me: "Gallery wall?"
Kemi: "Sure. And I like the coffee table. The chairs look uncomfortable. And I don't like glass lights."
Me: "Lamps?"
Kemi: "Ok."

Me: "What do you think of this room?"
Kemi: "I don't like the big piece of wood."
Me: "The side table?"
Kemi: "Ya."
Me: "Oh. That's my favorite part."
Kemi: "And I don't like the tiles."
Me: "Oh, that's a rug that looks like tiles."
Kemi: "Even worse."

Haha! Sometimes our tastes are so different.

Me: "What about this one?"
Kemi: "I hate all the furniture. I like the wood floors, I like the ladder as a decoration. I like the fireplace."
Me: "So you don't like the sofa?"
Kemi: "Hate it."
Me: {sad face}


Kemi: "Ok! Now we're getting somewhere! Sofa: love! Painting: love! Bookcases? Ladder? Framed art? Love!
Me {Smiling}
Kemi: "Orange chair? HATE! Ottoman legs? HATE! Rug? HATE! Wicker chair? HATE! I'd light it on fire."


Kemi: "Uhhhhhh...I like the sofa, but not the arms."
Me: "The nailhead trim?"
Kemi: "Yes. I like the chairs because they match the couch. I hate the rug. I hate the coffee table. I hate that weird basketball."
Me: "The footstool?"
Kemi: "Yes. I don't like the naked art."
Me: "Do you like the color scheme?"
Kemi: "No."
Me: "The big throw pillows?"
Kemi: "No."
Me: "But you love the deer, right?"
Kemi: }Laughing and returns to his Gun Bros. game}

Monday, July 4, 2011

Break Our Hearts For What Breaks Yours: Thoughts on Adoption

Thinking about planning our family has gotten me thinking a lot about family in general and what it means.  Before God created the heavens and the earth, there was family.  Before the first man, there was family.  This is because our God has perfect communion within himself, in the three persons of the trinity.  God did not need to create human beings to worship him and validate his Godness. He did not create human beings to fill His loneliness. No. God in His great love for us chose to adopt us as sons and daughters of Christ. As a family. Each of us, not the only child, not more loved than any other, but adopted; heirs to all that is Christ's kingdom.


In the past few months, Kemi and I have been hearing/reading/thinking/ a lot about adoption.  Maybe the Lord has put this on our hearts because He desires for us to pray for those that are considering adoption, or are in the process of adoption. Maybe we are to be praying for the fatherless.  No matter what, we remain open to what God seeks to do in our lives. We believe His plans for our life are more than we could ever plan for ourselves.  God knew our future children before the foundation of the world, and planned them for us. All we can do is pray to be able to say yes when He calls us to.

Recently, we read something that truly shocked us.  What we read said that there are three times more Christian congregations than there are children in the U.S. foster care system.  We re-read that over and over, thinking that it couldn't be possible.  That is to say that if one family from every Christian congregation in the U.S. adopted one American child, there would be no more orphans in the United States.  God gave the Church instructions to care for the fatherless, but it seems we are allowing the government to do our job.  Life is valuable in the womb, and that life is just as valuable at one, ten, or eighteen years.

Adopting a child can't be easy. That child will grow up and they will have questions. But responding to the call of our faith is not always easy and requires being pushed and stepping outside of what is comfortable.  The following video really convicted me.  If we pray about this calling, we will all come up with a lengthy list of objections.  If you cross off all the objections that have to do with you, there likely won't be any left. Don't underestimate what God can do!



While I don't mean to imply that every family is called to adopt, I do think many are called that do not heed the call.  For families that are not called to this special vocation, there are many, many other ways to support those that are being called.  Kemi and I couldn't believe this statistic and spent most of the evening talking about ways that the Church could better encourage families discerning this calling.  We are personally so thankful that God has truly broken our hearts for the things that break His.  "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." James 1:27
I believe God calls looking after orphans and widows "pure and faultless religion" because it is a direct imitation of what God the father does for us in adopting us as His sons and daughters.

I know we'll be praying about how God is calling us to respond, and maybe you will too. Consider checking out Mac Powell of Third Day and his wife Aimee's testimony about their son's adoption.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Backyard Reno

The more you hear about the way our house looked when it was bought, the more you'll wonder why we bought it at all. 


Scary, scary backyard pre-landscaping

The backyard was literally a rectangle of dirt with a chainlink fence.  It was something we knew we'd do eventually, and needed to do if we ever wanted to be able to sell the house.  Having so much dust in the backyard was a huge aggravation because of this guy:

Everyday, he'd run outside, get covered in dust, come inside, and shake it all off.  I'd recommend that only those that enjoy profuse cleaning get a 100lb Newfoundland.  I spent the first two years in this house mopping. No joke.  Anyway, I knew the backyard landscaping was a really spendy project and we had to save and save and save!

Finally, after three years in the house, we were able to put a block wall around the backyard.  Then, a brick patio.  Kemi did most of the work preparing the backyard for sod, and we were finally able to have sod and rock installed. Oh happy day.

KEMI'S 2 CENTS:
So this project in it's entirety did cost us a couple pretty, hard earned pennies, but we had prioritized our home projects, and this one was topping the list. We don't make bundles of money, so going into this we knew we had to establish a budget, then figure out a way to come in under that number. We learned that compromise doesn't mean corner cutting. We could have gone with one contractor for the whole sha-bang-a-bang, but that would have cost us more money. Here's the break down of the whole project. The block wall was one company. While the sod, curbing, rock, patio, and sprinkler system were another company. Some of the manual work i enlisted the help of my brother and knocked it out in a couple days. The brick for the patio we found on craigslist. we had to haul them ourselves, but by being patient and diligent in our search, we saved a little over $1000. The manual labor I did myself saved us roughly another $500. And we price matched for the rest of the job. We saved about $5000 total on the whole project. So to sum up: Do as much prep, and grunt work as you can yourself. Work that out with the contractor to save some extra cash. Search for as much of the materials on sale, or at a discount, craigslist, second hand contractor shops, etc. And lastly, negotiate with your contractor. Offer trusted referrals, future work or that you'll write them a sizzling review! Good luck, and happy projecting.

Kemi stitched a few photos of the backyard together

Me and Marley enjoying a dust-free existence



Saturday, July 2, 2011

Couponing

Well, secrets out. I love coupons saving money.  I saw the women from The Krazy Coupon Lady on TV and checked out their website.  After reading a little bit, I saw that the using the coupons and store promotions that week would yield free toothpaste.  I thought, well that's good! Toothpaste won't go bad! I walked out of the store that day, paying under a dollar for toothpaste and shampoo and I was hooked! 

The way I see it is this: I have no interest in buying items we won't use.  What does make sense to me is using coupons with store sales to get things for 60-100% off retail.  My goal is to have a 3-6 month supply of all the non-perishable products we use so that we're never running to Walgreen's because we're out of something and paying full price! And, as a side bonus, it makes me feel like Super Wife to this cutie:



It's amazing how a few months of couponing changes your whole mindset about your money.  We don't have huge salaries, but we want to be good stewards with what we've been given.  Since we were married, Kemi and I have always been very prudent with our money, and kept a careful budget, both out of necessity and because we've had long-term goals that we knew wouldn't happen if we didn't plan for it in advance.  Being able to complete each little project around the house is so satisfying because it's a representation of careful planning, sacrificing new clothes and eating out, and saving the most we can on our grocery bills!  If cutting coupons and reading grocery ads continues to save us hundreds each month (it is!) then i'm happy to keep at it! So do I have a stockpile? Yes. But when there's a zombie apocalypse, you can count on me.

Laundry Room Renovation

We've recently completed a two month long renovation on our laundry room/pantry.  Originally, the laundry room was in an unfinished room outside.  Kemi was really concerned about it because I had to go outside at night when he was out of town to do laundry.  So, closing in the laundry room and making it a part of the house was really important to him.  It ended up a million times better than I thought it would, and I am so thankful to have the extra storage space! 

This is pretty much what things looked like before.  This is a day or two into the project, so the contractors had already ripped off that wall.

Here it is during the project:


And finally finished:

So much storage...

We love our new front load washer and dryer!




Initially, I scared our contractor. Truly. I had no idea I'd turn into such a CRAZY lady about this renovation.  I guess I felt like, we've worked sooo many extra hours, scrimped and saved to be able to do this, so I want it to be a certain way. 

Anyway, I first thought I wanted the pantry to look exactly like this:
Image via design sponge

But then I realized we are real people who have half eaten bags of chips and jars of pasta sauce and it just isn't going to be pretty. I really had to talk myself down off this one.


Part of the room is the washer/dryer and laundry area and the rest is BIG BEAUTIFUL SHELVES. Just two walls of storage.  Aahhhh. Storage has been a commodity in our little house, but no more. It is so nice! Besides that, I've been learning a lot about couponing through The Krazy Coupon Lady and when I find a great deal on something (like, FREE) I'm stocking up so we don't have to buy that product again for a few months.  Thankfully, I have more shelving and storage now than I can probably fill anytime soon!  Now, back to my domestic duties.