July 27, 2010

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Looks like we're moving on instead of moving in. Found out today that we didn't get the house; but at least it wasn't because of the dogs... the people that did get it make like 3 times more than we do so I guess the owners felt more secure renting to them. Kind of understandable, but it's not like we would have applied if we couldn't afford it. Anyway, I'm choosing to be positive about it and look at the bright side. 

The bright side would be that it was at the very top of our budget and we had heard some bad things about the property management company and had some reservations about dealing with them anyway. I know that everything will work out the way it's supposed to; I just have to realize that it may not work out on my timetable. So I've decided to give myself a break from looking at least until we get back from our TN trip next week. Hopefully by then some fresh listings will pop up. 

In other news, we finally picked out bedding for the crib and got it in the mail today so that was exciting (even though it's in a box in the back of the closet right now and will be for who knows how long, haha). The colors are more muted than the picture shows, and I think we'll be able to do some really fun things with the rest of the decor to go with the dots. Here's the pattern:

Hmm, what else? We're super excited about our trip this weekend and I'm really really excited about my shower! Congrats to our dear friend, Russell Cook, who is going to be a married man after Saturday. Also, a big shout-out to our good friend, Corey Woodward, who is feeding the dogs for us while we're gone so we don't have to spend $600 boarding them! 

OK, signing off... you probably won't hear from me again until we get back in town next week. Everyone have a good week/weekend! 

July 26, 2010

Tom Petty Had It Right

The waiting is definitely the hardest part... No news on the house today for anyone keeping track out there. It's driving me crazy. I didn't sleep well last night and I've been thinking about it all day. Our agent wasn't going to be in the office today; but the other girl I talked to over the weekend said she was going to try to meet with the owners to go over the applications today so I thought for sure we'd hear something. That could be a bad sign, but I'm hoping they just weren't able to meet. I guess we'll know tomorrow; then we can either move in or move on and keep looking. 

In other news... wait, there's no other news. I can't think about anything else right now, sorry!

July 25, 2010

A Thousand Dogs... or Maybe Just Two

Paul went with his studio class on a field trip to LA yesterday to look at, what else, buildings. They saw some pretty cool stuff including the Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry and LA Central High School shown below (oh and Gary Busey leaving some restaurant, haha):


They also went to a great bookstore where he bought me this amazing book about two of my favorite topics, photography and dogs. It's called A Thousand Dogs and is about 600 pages long. It goes into depth about the history of photography as well as the evolution of man's relationship with dogs. Every page is full of photographs of man's best friend taken by amateur and professional photographers over the last 200 years. It's quite a compilation. And it got me thinking that, though I've taken hundreds of pictures of our dogs over the last few years, once the baby arrives they likely won't be in very many more unless they happen to be sitting next to him. So here are a few pictures of our furry children taken today with my new Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. They really are beautiful subjects...


In other news, we're hoping to hear something back tomorrow from the property management group about that house we looked at on Friday. We know the agent that showed it to us approved us but now the owners have decided they want to be more hands-on and review the applications before making a decision so we'll see. It's definitely at the top of our budget so, if we don't get it, it may be a good thing; but I'm just so tired of looking I almost don't care! 

July 23, 2010

Various and Sundry Things

Ugh, I'm so tired today (I thought exhaustion was supposed to improve in the second trimester?) but since it's Friday I guess I can stay up long enough to post about everything that's going on. 

The baby has been moving SO much lately and he's definitely on a noticeable sleeping/waking routine. I feel him moving when I wake up in the morning around 10:00 (don't hate me, I'm trying to get in all the sleep I can before he gets here), then usually around 4:00 in the afternoon, again at about 9:00 PM, and then he really gets going when I get in the bed at night for some reason. He must be swimming around all over the place in there too because I feel him high, low, left, and right. Paul has felt him moving several times by now and it's so fun to see his face light up when he feels a kick. :) He's supposed to be a little longer than 10 inches now from head to toe (about the size of a papaya) and a little over a pound. He also supposedly has eyelashes and eyebrows now so he doesn't look like such an alien, haha. 

In other news, we went and looked at a house today that's about a mile from where we live now. It's more centrally located in North Park, closer to shops, restaurants, and parks so we like that. It's also about 3 times the size of our current house with an extra bedroom, one and a half baths, a bonus room, nice landscaping, and a dishwasher... upgrade all the way around. I wouldn't have to be the "dishwasher" anymore! And it allows dogs, score! Needless to say we really liked it and put in an application. Supposedly we were the first to apply so hopefully we'll get it but we won't know until probably Tuesday. My fingers are going to be quite cramped from being crossed that long. 

Also, in other news, we're heading back to Tennessee next Thursday through Monday and we are soooo excited to see family! It's going to be a busy, exhausting trip but we're really looking forward to it. The only thing we're not looking forward to is the heat... I don't think we're prepared for 99 degree weather! So for anyone who sees us please excuse us if we're totally drenched in sweat. 

OK, now I'm really tired so that's it for now. Everyone have a good weekend!

July 20, 2010

San Diego Attitude

Sorry for the gross picture but, yes this is what you think it is, and for the record, no our dogs were not the culprits. This sign is in front of someone's house on the route that I walk every night. Apparently someone did not clean up after their dog relieved himself in this person's yard and I just think it's hilarious because the homeowner's reaction is so typical of San Diego. People here simply do not put up with other people's (or dogs') you-know-what. The fact that this person went to the trouble of actually taking a picture of the you-know-what, blowing it up to an 8x10, and making a sign out of it is so classic. 

I don't know if it's this attitude that has rubbed off on me lately or if it's, as Paul calls it, my "preg-itude" but I've recently begun to not put up with people's you-know-what too. I really think it must be a mixture of both: my sense of self-protection for the sake of the baby and the freedom from the Southern imperative to be polite. 

For example, a normal-looking, but creepy-acting man walked up to me in the greeting card aisle at Target a couple of weeks ago and said, "Can I ask you a favor?" Normally I would have smilingly said "Sure!" but, for some reason, I just blurted out, "No." He said, "Just like that... no?" and I said, "No" and proceeded to stare him down until he walked off. I'll never know whether he wanted me to help him pick out a card for his wife or to abduct and murder me; all I know is that my top priority is to protect myself and my unborn child and if that means being rude to a creepy stranger then so be it. Luckily for me, out here people expect rudeness so this new attitude isn't as appalling as it would be if I were in Jackson, TN. 

I'll give you another example of my "pregi-tude" that happens on a fairly regular basis these days. I have started to become infuriated by people who text while driving. This probably started after I was nearly run off the road a couple of months ago by a lady swerving on the freeway. When I regained my lane and pulled up next to her she was texting in the middle of six lanes of traffic! So now, whenever I'm driving next to someone texting in their car, I honk angrily to get their attention and then wag my finger at them. Wow, that's kind of embarrassing... but, like I said, when it comes to my safety I just can't sit back and let people metaphorically poop in my yard. :)

July 18, 2010

Aahhh! (sigh of relief)

Hooray! The heat wave has finally passed! We are not used to dealing with weather above 80 degrees here, but this past week it was in the 90's for about four days straight. Since that is very atypical of San Diego, our house, and most houses around here, don't have air conditioners and we don't usually need them, but let me tell you... we just about died. Starting at like 8:00 am every morning our house became a sauna and it didn't cool off until well after dark.  

We had every fan going at full speed, but that really just served to circulate hot air. We would take basically cold showers and be sweating again before we could even get dressed.  Being pregnant definitely didn't help either... with all that extra blood flowing through me I was like a walking heating pad. And poor Rider, our German Shepherd, had to wear a heavy fur coat through all of it. I've never been so excited to go to work and sit in the air conditioning. It was not a pleasant week to say the least. Maybe that's partly why my last post was so sour and it's definitely why I haven't written anything since -- it was too hot to even think! 

The house search is still on though (and our list of necessities now includes A/C). I search Craigslist and other sites multiple times a day and we've called or emailed numerous properties. It's a fine art trying to synchronize where we want to live and our budget to a place that's big enough, has a yard, will take our dogs, and that we wouldn't be embarrassed to have people visit. But I had a great idea the other night. It must have come to me in a dream, because we've already established I wasn't doing much wakeful thinking. 

I decided to compile a "Renter Résumé" for us and the dogs. It gives our contact information, "Quick Facts," "Dog Profiles," rental history, and character references. And I threw in a nice picture of us and the dogs for good measure :) I just really believe that if landlords could get to know us and see that we are responsible, mature renters/dog-owners they wouldn't hesitate to rent to us. I mean, as it is, they'd rather rent to a bunch of frat guys than us and that's totally messed up. I'm determined to convince property owners that big dogs don't automatically equal destructive/aggressive/hyper dogs. 

No joke, as I write this both dogs are sprawled out on the floor and couch perfectly content. Guess what they've been doing since we woke up... the same thing. And guess what they'll be doing the rest of the day... the same thing. In my opinion their size is no one's problem but ours; it just means that we share a space with two extra human-sized beings, not that they are going to attack the neighbors (with anything other than possibly slobber). 

We will find a place that is perfect for us and we won't settle for some crap hole of a house just because we have dogs over 20 lbs. We deserve better and this baby that will be joining us shortly definitely deserves better. So the crusade continues! I'm the great rental-warrior, slaying scammers and converting dog-phobics in my quest for a decent roof over our heads. I will prevail!

July 14, 2010

The Real Estate Problem

OK, I'll warn you in advance... This is a gripe post.

Here's the situation. Paul and I are a nice married couple about to have a baby. We are responsible, hard-working, quiet, and clean. Seemingly the ideal renters, right? Well, we also just so happen to have two big dogs. Though they are well-mannered, not destructive, and not violent by any stretch of the imagination no one wants to rent to us because of this. They hear "German Shepherd and Weimaraner" and they immediately respond to our inquiries with "Sorry, the property's been rented" or "Oh, the current tenant decided to stay so it's no longer available." 

The properties that miraculously will allow dogs over 20 lbs. are crap. They have horrible, stained carpet and other damage and are nowhere we would ever want to live, much less bring a baby home to. I mean, seriously, a big "No thank you" to your giant wall of mirrors that is so old it's coming away from the wall in the living room. We aren't drug kingpins from the '80's or planning on opening up a dress shop in our condo, or looking forward to that crashing down on us during the next earthquake. 

Here's the other problem, and it has two parts:

1) It would make sense in a perfect world for us to buy a house, since we would then have no pet restrictions to deal with. However, property in San Diego is unbelievably, ridiculously, embarrassingly over-priced. So much so that it makes me physically ill to think about it. This house is for sale right down the street from us:

It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a carport (not even a garage), is ugly as hell (seriously, is that stone facade really necessary?), and is 1,110 square feet. Anyone want to take a guess how much it is? 

Drum roll, please..... $490,000. Yes, that's right, $10K short of half a million. Are you freaking kidding me???? Does that make sense in any normal person's brain? And the other two houses in our neighborhood that are for sale are both in the upper $400's as well; one of them is even less than 1,000 square feet!

2) So the second part of this problem is that I was searching some rental sites this morning and the same house above that is obviously for sale (but I know that only because I live down the street and drive by it every day) was listed as for rent for $800/month. Now you have to understand that 3 bedrooms around here typically rent for at least $2,000/month. But there is a popular scam going on right now where people will rip pictures and information off of real estate listing sites and post the properties on Craigslist, etc. as for rent at a cheap price. When an interested renter responds to the posting, the "owner" gives some excuse as to why they can't show the house (for example, they have recently moved to Africa) and says if the renter will mail them a deposit they will mail them the keys. Puh-lease! But I guess people must fall for these things because scammers keep trying them.

So scams like these + crappy "We welcome big dogs" rentals + "No dogs over 20 lbs." listings are what comprise about 95% of my Craigslist search results. And it's not like we're only searching in one or two neighborhoods; our searches cover like six zip codes. It is SOOO frustrating!! I don't feel like we'll ever find a place that's right for us and we'll have to bring this baby home to the 350 square foot (yes, that's right) "charming cottage" we currently live in and it won't have a nursery at all! UGH!!!

Sorry people, just had to vent today... But the search continues and tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully an honest and dog-friendly landlord will come along soon so I'll have a suitable "nest" in which to nest.

July 12, 2010

Good Day

Two people made my day today. First, my cousin Katie. Katie is my cousin on my mom's side and we grew up the only girl cousins in a family of six boy cousins, so we always had to stick together. This is Katie and me -- isn't she just too cute? And she's available guys! ;)

Anyway, she made my day because she is throwing me my first baby shower at the end of the month and I received my invitation in the mail today! It was so exciting to see the words "Baby Shower" and "Emily Taylor" together. And she had the cutest idea... instead of cards, people are asked to bring their favorite childhood book to stock Baby Taylor's library! You know that's right up my literature-loving alley. 

Paul and I are going home for our friend Russell's wedding the last weekend in July so that's when the shower will be. My friend Megan said she thought that was a little early for a baby shower, but I told her when you live 1900 miles from home, you don't really have the luxury to have showers any weekend you want. Anyway, we're sooo excited to get to see family and hang out with some friends we haven't seen in a long time! 

The other person that made my day was the little Middle Eastern man at our neighborhood market. Come to think of it, he made my day last weekend too when he was open 10 minutes after closing time when I really needed vegetable oil to make a bundt cake and was dreading having to go all the way to the grocery. But anyway, today he made me super happy by being the first stranger to notice and comment on the fact that I'm pregnant. He even offered to carry my giant bag of dog food to my car for me. It's the little things these days... :)

In other news, we're going to look at a house tomorrow that on paper looks really perfect for us. It has two bedrooms, a garage, a fenced yard, and is in South Park, the neighborhood we really want to be in. And the landlord actually didn't hang up on me when I mentioned the dogs, so that's a good start. Say a little prayer for us if you think about it tonight! 

July 8, 2010

Halfway There!

Whoohoooo!! 20 weeks down, 20 to go until Baby Taylor gets here! I'm so excited that today is finally the halfway mark of my pregnancy! Not that it's been a bad experience so far; except for the first 6 weeks of morning all-day sickness, I've felt positively great. I'm hoping that as my belly continues to grow and get more cumbersome I'll keep on feeling great, or at least pretty good. 

So, halfway done... check! Now all that's left to do is... everything! Find a new house that has two bedrooms, a fenced backyard, and will allow two giant dogs (an order as tall as Mount Everest here in San Diego); buy things for and set up the nursery; take my labor prep class,  breastfeeding class, and newborn care class; create a birth plan (There are so many decisions to make for that day, it's insane! I always just thought I'd go in, do some breathing and pushing, out it would come and that would be that... wrong!); find a good pediatrician; and more that I can't even think of right now. We'd better get busy, don't you agree? :) It will all get done though; I have the utmost confidence in the power of last-minute pressure. (P.S. To the left is a screenshot from my iPregnancy app... for anyone who is pregnant and has an iPhone, it's a very cool application to have.)

In other news, our dear friend Martin is coming out to San Diego this weekend for a wedding and we are sooo excited to see him! I don't think we've gotten to hang out with him since last September so it will be fun to catch up and have an excuse to go out and eat some good food. It's always nice to see people from home... hint-hint to anyone considering visiting! 

July 6, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Baby Bump!

Well, we went for our 20-week checkup with our midwife today and it started out with a good old-fashioned pregnancy freak-out when I looked at the scale. Let me preface this by saying that I've now been to five OB appointments and for the first four my weight did not change even one pound. So when I looked down today to see that I had gained 7 pounds, that's right S-E-V-E-N, in the last month I was a little more than slightly freaked out. I knew my belly had grown significantly since my last appointment but I didn't feel any fatter per se. Luckily my sweet husband was there to reassure me that I didn't look like I'd gained 7 pounds. 

And then the midwife came in and gave us our 2nd trimester screening results, which were all normal, and she told us that all the baby's measurements from our ultrasound last week were normal... and immediately all thoughts of my weight vanished. If I have to put on some pounds or even (gasp) get a little chubby for this baby to be strong and healthy then I'm good with that. As long as I still don't fit into those awful embellished maternity jeans... just kidding, I'd wear those every day of the week if I thought it would somehow nourish the baby :)

So, in honor of my 7-lb. belly, as I like to think of it, here is the first baby belly picture taken today at 19 weeks 5 days (not quite to the halfway point but close enough)...

In other news, we had a great time at my cousin Amber's house on the Fourth. Baby Henry is just too fun and adorable! Paul got some good practice in holding him and watching Daddy Travis change diapers. We had some great food and it was so fun to get to visit with them and talk "baby." 

Also in other news, my cousin Elaine gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, Grace Ann, yesterday in Boise, ID. I am SO excited for her and her husband Ben! Hope she doesn't mind if I post a picture, but she can let me know if she does... But don't they both look stunning?! Man, is this the year for babies or what?

July 1, 2010

Baby Update

We went for our 20-week ultrasound this morning (even though I'm actually 19 weeks). This one was very in-depth -- the tech measured and took pictures of pretty much every part of the anatomy. It took an hour and she took like 140 pictures. It was really cool to see all the different parts in detail, or as much detail as a grainy, black and white ultrasound image can give you. She focused in on the kidneys, brain, eyes, nose, lips, bladder, spine, heart, arms, legs, and ankles. Then we got to the really fun part where we could just stare at his profile for a bit while she took pictures for us, and it turns out he was trying to suck his thumb! It was the cutest thing I've ever seen. I'm still smiling just thinking about it. :)

He was still moving around a lot like he has on previous ultrasounds. A few times while we were watching him, he would make a big movement and I was actually able to feel it and see him do it at the same time. That was really amazing! I've felt small movements before but I always wonder if it's just my stomach gurgling or something, so I think having seen that will help me recognize his movements better now. Plus, they'll only be getting stronger! I can't wait for Paul to be able to feel them too. That's supposed to be towards the end of this month. 

I want to post a belly picture really badly but it's still not very big! :( Most of the time with clothes on you still can't tell I'm pregnant. I just look like I have a beer belly, which, although I did pass out in a bar recently (hehe), only those who know me know isn't the case. It's kind of frustrating... even though I don't want to gain a bunch of weight, I do want my belly to grow! Maybe next week at the halfway mark (20 weeks) I'll break down and post one anyway. I would put on my swimsuit and take one so you can actually see it, but there's no way I'm posting a picture of myself in a swimsuit on the internet, haha! We'll just see, maybe it will plump up in the next 7 days and I'll have something worth posting. 

In other news, we're going to my cousin Amber's house in La Habra, CA, on Sunday to grill out for the Fourth of July. She and her husband Travis just had a baby boy, Henry, in March and he is absolutely adorable. I can't wait to see him again and Paul hasn't met him yet so that will be really fun. I just know Henry and Baby Taylor are going to be big buddies when Baby finally gets here. :)