August 29, 2010

Week 23: Nursery Progress

Welcome to the 23rd week of our pregnancy. Ezra is kicking hard all day, all the time, especially after meals and at our bedtime. We were able to stay at home for another weekend and get more done around the house. Jessica will be flying up to New York for her sister's bridal shower on Friday then driving down to Blacksburg with her mom on Sunday. For the first time in a long time (too long) we will be able to get back to Blacksburg, our home away from home.

A little bit more progress was made on the nursery (first coat on) and the stair wall (primer). Also, one of our neighbors rented a power rake / dethatcher, a behemoth of a machine similar to an aerator, that we were able to put to good use on our weed infested lawn. You can see the carnage in the last few pictures below.

Nursery Updates

Joys of Home Ownership

[Jessica & Lola (grandma)]

[Chopped up]

August 26, 2010

DSLR Basics, Assignment 1

This past Monday, I began a nine week course to learn digital photography basics. It's a weekly, three hour class running through mid October. With my recent interest in photography (and of course with Ezra on the way), it's important that I learn the proper fundamentals instead of having to undo bad habits later.

The first session was cut a little short due to A/C issues in the classroom, but I did walk away with a bit more than I already knew. Week 1 and there's already homework.


Assignment 1:

Still life photography. Choose my three best shots of some inanimate subject. One shot has to highlight the color, red. No other restrictions.

*I'm guessing this will show us our baseline skill level...hoping my work gets visibly better by the end of the course.






August 23, 2010


We spend a lot of time and effort into making our house feel like home. One of Jessica's favorite interior design blogs is Young House Love (a couple from Richmond, VA). The transformation they made on their home is incredible; even more incredible is how they're able to accomplish what they do on such a low budget. The couple focuses on clean lines and colors. Since we originally furnished our house, our style has adapted similarly.

There are so many future projects on our list. Some require lots of cash and may not happen for a long time (e.g. our furniture tastes have changed and new couches are expensive) and others don't (paint). We keep changing our minds on what type of paint colors we like even shortly after we paint a room.

Here is a list of our upcoming projects. Our hope is that all of these get finished in the next year.
  • Finish the nursery
  • Make a headboard for the guest bedroom
  • Built-in bookshelves for the loft (Jessica's dad)
  • Turn the loft into a second family room
  • Repaint our master bedroom
  • Install kitchen subway tile backsplash
  • Add white beadboard to the back side of the kitchen island
  • Redo front flowerbed / landscaping

First Floor




[A wreath Jessica made using coffee filters]

[Garage (now filled with junk)]

[Before shot of the garage]
*With our upstairs being so incomplete, we won't post pictures until our projects are actually finished...whenever that happens.

August 22, 2010

Week 22: Richmond, VA

Welcome to week 22. Sciatica, meet Jessica. We're learning first hand that an expanding uterus can put pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of the spine, and the result is a pain in the butt [literally]. So far, the pain only happens with certain body positions, but it's not very fun. We have one of the routine doctor's appointment tomorrow to talk about it.

Other than this new symptom, pregnancy is going well thankfully.

This week Justin spent evenings working in the nursery by sanding, caulking, and prepping for paint. It may not look like it, but a lot of progress has been made.

Nursery Updates

White Coat Ceremony
, Medical College of Virginia

Also, we took a trip up to Richmond to take part in Jered's white coat ceremony as a result of his acceptance into Pharmacy school. The white coat ceremony is a ritual performed by some medical schools that marks the transition from undergraduate studies into clinical health sciences. It focuses on the importance and responsibility of being in the medical profession. It also started a very challenging chapter in Jered's life. We're very proud of him.

August 15, 2010

Week 21: Nursery Beginnings

After a few weeks of talking about nursery plans, "we" got a solid start on things. First things first, our crib came in. Huge thank you to Lolo (grandpa in Tagalog) for buying our crib & mattress; Justin's dad is extremely excited about being a grandparent.

We purchased our crib locally from a little baby boutique in downtown Apex called, GreenPea Baby. [*Pictures of Historic Downtown Apex coming at a later date]. For Ezra's crib, we went with a convertible model by Million Dollar Baby that's made of real wood (no MDF) and has a non-toxic finish. It's the type that converts into a toddler bed then later into a twin sized bed. You can see a picture or two below.

So what's our deal against MDF? Well, for starters it requires the use of a respirator when cutting it...that's pretty telling if you ask us. The particles in MDF are bound by formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Also, babies chew on anything and everything. If the wooden cribs we were looking at didn't cost any more than ones made with MDF, then why not get real wood?

Before you go saying that we're now falling for these new "marketing schemes" of natural materials / ingredients (including organic foods, natural cleaning products, etc), don't you worry. We already started years ago. Food is grown differently now than it was years ago, and today's products are made with more junk than years ago thanks to the marvels of modern science. So in our opinion, eating and living healthily and naturally has really been worth it. We haven't even had so much as a cold in the past few years. The proof's in the pudding, but we won't waste any more time trying to convince anyone else.

Back to the nursery. This weekend, we finally got our first start on projects. The crib is now assembled. The mission-style wainscoting is in progress. So much caulking, sanding, priming, and painting to go.

Nursery Projects

Also this weekend, our friends Brett & Sylvie invited us to their daughter's first birthday party. They live a few houses down from us. There were a truckload of babies. BBQ served = Justin there.

Lydia's 1st Birthday Party
(AKA Baby City)

[birthday girl]

[Practice with Natalie]

[Jessica & Natalie with daddio Nick in the background]

August 8, 2010

Week 20: Virginia Beach, VA

And just like that, we're halfway there. We finally made a trip to Virginia Beach for the first time since Christmas which is easily the longest gap we've ever had. In fact, this was the first time that my side of the family has seen Jessica in her pregnant form. This weekend the temperatures in Virginia Beach were in the mid 80s and were considerably cooler than back home in North Carolina. A trip to the beach was in order.

Also, a few weeks ago, Jered announced his acceptance into VCU's pharmacy school in Richmond and will start the program in just a few weeks. In four more years, my brother will be a doctor (crazy). Congratulations and study hard.

Here are pictures from our trip home to VA.

Yard Play

Neighborhood Walk

[casa de Missy Elliott]

Afternoon Beach (Sandbridge)

[Great Dane paw]