Monday, February 23, 2015

New Chapter, New Blog

Hello readers!

Thank you all so much for following my blog and caring about what I have to say. With Joe approaching the halfway point in dental school, I've realized that a blog with the name Diary of a Dental School Wife has a pretty clear expiration date. And with the baby coming in 10ish weeks, I thought it was the perfect time for a fresh start.

Please head over to my new blog: Brushing Up on the Briers!

katebrier.blogspot.com

It can be found at katebrier.blogspot.com (see?! I learned my lesson. That's a URL that will always be relevant and in the future I'll be able to "start fresh" without actually needing to create a whole new blog).

For my followers:
  • If you followed via Bloglovin' -You will no longer receive updates when I write a new post. Please add my new blog to your Bloglovin' feed by CLICKING HERE.
  • If you follow via Google+ - No action needed. You'll still get notified when I share a post on Google+.
  • If you just check my blog from time-to-time - Update your bookmark (if you have one) and consider following me on Bloglovin'. It's a great website where you can see new posts from all of your favorite blogs in one place.

Again, thank you so much for your support!

Hope to see you over at Brushing Up on the Briers!

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's A......

Wow - it's almost been a whopping two months since I last posted. I hate being an inconsistent blogger and will try to be better (though anyone who has followed me for a while knows there are two things I always strive to do better: #1 diet/exercise and #2 blog).

While a ton has happened in the last two months, the most exciting thing is that we had our anatomy scan on December 15 and found out we are having a little boy!!!

Joe and I were a bit surprised, because we both had a feeling that the baby was going to be a girl (I was even having dreams about it). But a couple weeks before the anatomy scan I started feeling like maybe I was having a boy after all. Then, a night or two before the scan I had a dream we were having a boy. My subconscious must have been convinced, because without thinking I wore blue to the appointment. (I also noticed a bunch of "It's a Boy!" balloons in the window of the hospital gift shop as we headed toward the ultrasound office.)

When Joe heard we are having a son, he lit up and the first thing he did was wind his arm up like he was going to pitch a baseball and he said something like, "I better get warmed up so I can teach this kid how to play catch!" My heart melted. It was adorable.

I wanted to do something fun to announce the gender online, so the day before the scan I made a pink and a blue picture frame and posted this on Facebook:


As it turns out, our friends and family were pretty evenly split with their guesses. To announce, the next day I posted:


I have to give credit to my mom for the picture frame idea. I was looking for something pretty easy (my lack of energy has made me exceptionally lazy) and inexpensive. This was both! All I did was buy cheap/lightweight wooden frames from Michaels. They were only $1 and were the same brand as these (but fancier, I can't find the shape I bought on the website):


Then I just used a foam paint brush to put Elmer's glue all over the frame and sprinkled glitter on top. That's it! :) 

It's been so much fun knowing the gender of our baby! A couple days after the appointment I flew home to California for 3 weeks and did a ton of shopping with my mom. LOTS of maternity and baby clothes were bought. While it is a little harder to find cute clothes for a boy than it would be for a girl, I've found several things that are absolutely adorable and I can't wait to see him wear. I just imagine holding him close and cuddling him... I truly cannot wait!

For the longest time, I didn't "feel pregnant" (despite the constant nausea of the first trimester and the fatigue of the last 24 weeks). But the last couple of weeks I have FINALLY begun to feel him kick and that has helped some (though I am still in utter disbelief that in 16ish weeks I'll have my baby boy in my arms). I was getting worried that I hadn't felt movement, but it turns out I have an anterior placenta (it's in the front). That means that instead of kicking me the baby is kicking the placenta so it muffles things quite a bit. At this point, the kicks feel nothing more than muscle spasms in my stomach... but last night they were finally just hard enough for Joe to feel them! Seeing Joe's face light up with excitement, shock and pride was so awesome :) He loves feeling my tummy now and I'm sure it'll only get more fun as those kicks get harder.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Repli-Kate: Easy-to-Make Fall Garland

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and as I prepare for two of our favorite people to visit again for the holiday, I'm dusting off some of the decorations I made for last year's festivities. My favorite is my leaf garland, so I figured I would share how you can make your own!

Last year, in anticipation of hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner, I went to Paper Source to check out their decorations and to stock up on some craft stuff (I.love.that.store.). While there, I saw this adorable garland of felt leaves. Thinking it would make an adorable addition to my decor, I checked the price tag and winced... it was much more than I wanted to spend. My disappointment quickly disappeared when I realized that this would be an easy thing to replicate - all I would need is felt, some brown thread, and a sewing machine. Easy peasy!


While I don't have step-by-step photos, I don't think you need them to be able to replicate this yourself. It's incredibly easy - even if you don't know how to sew (I had to look up how to thread my machine, that's how knowledgable I am). Here's what you do:

1.) Decide on one leaf design for each color of felt that you have and make a stencil out of something like a manila folder. On the folder, you'll either want to draw leaves yourself or you can use images from the internet. I went the internet route, since my drawing skills aren't fantastic. I searched "leaf coloring pictures" and had several simple designs to choose from. I printed them out on regular computer paper, cut them out, put them on the manila folder, and traced around the edges. Then I cut out the leaves from the manila folder and had my stencils :) It's possible you could skip the folder and just make a stencil out of computer paper, but I thought the thickness of the folder made it easier to trace onto the felt.

2.) Use your leaf stencils and a sharpie to draw the outline of leaves on your felt

3.) Cut the leaves out

4.) Thread your sewing machine with brown thread and pull out several inches of thread before you start sewing on the first leaf (so you have an end to use for hanging). Then, put down your first leaf and sew straight down the middle and off the leaf. Continue sewing for a couple of inches to provide some space and then put another leaf down and sew in a straight line over that leaf. Repeat over and over again until you get through your leaves and have a large garland.

That's it! That's all you do :)

Last year's Thanksgiving table
If you have leftover leaves, you can sprinkle them on your tabletop like I did above :) 

In case I don't blog before Thursday, have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Zombie Date

It's been far too long since Joe and I had a date night, so we decided to do one on Saturday night. Instead of pulling from the date jars, though, Joe thought we should have a zombie date night. As a lover of all things zombie, I was definitely on board.


For dinner, we had ribs and tater "toes." Joe had the idea to make homemade chips to use as toenails. So gross... yet so good :) For dessert, we had eyes (grapes) and chocolate pudding.


Fans of The Walking Dead should remember Carl going to town on 112 ounces of chocolate pudding :)

A zombie movie would have been the obvious choice for entertainment, but all it seems we do is watch TV or movies ever since pregnancy turned me into a couch potato (okay, okay... MORE of a couch potato). Instead, we decided to play The Walking Dead Season 2 video game. We REALLY like the Telltale Walking Dead games because it's like a Choose Your Own Adventure book (R.I.P. R.A. Montgomery) where you are faced with lots of choices and interactions with characters that can change how the game progresses.

(Warning slight spoilers for The Walking Dead video games ahead. So slight that probably only me, the Queen of No Spoilers, would be annoyed if I read it haha).

We had already played and finished the game a few months ago, but we were in the middle of playing it through again and making all bad/mean choices. I have to say, as fun as it is to play the "correct" way and make decisions we feel like we would actually make in the situation, it is REALLY fun to say and do the meanest things the game will allow you to do (we even let a totally defenseless character die... just because that's what "Mean Clementine" would do). It's kind of like how it's fun to build a swimming pool on The Sims and then remove the ladder while some unsuspecting houseguest is doing laps (R.I.P. countless Sims).

This time around I'm "Mean Clementine" - watch yourself.
It was also interesting to see how the game really does change its story based on your choices. For example, a character who dies much later in the game actually died pretty quick the second time we played (sorry dude).  It's also interesting to see how strongly Joe and I want to make the "right" choices at certain parts. While playing Saturday night, the main character was faced with a pretty big moral dilemma and, true to our vow of playing "mean" this time, we went the immoral route. It actually made us feel really bad! We know there is another choice coming up that is going to be incredibly hard to make, but we will suck it up and be as mean as possible :)

It was a low-key date night, but that's about what I can manage right now. So it was perfect :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

An Excuse and a Surprise

Yesterday I promised an excuse for why I've taken such a long break from blogging. Those of you who are my Facebook friends already know, but here it is for my other readers: I've been too busy dealing with fatigue, nausea and barfing. 


That's right - I'm pregnant!

Baby Brier is due May 7, 2015 and Joe and I are so excited! 

Lots of people were surprised because they thought we were waiting until after dental school, but we talked at length about it and realized that we could make it work financially, emotionally, etc. as long as we didn't have a baby during the first 2 years of dental school. From what we have been hearing from friends in D3 and D4, Joe's last 2 years will be much easier since he'll mostly be working in clinic. Yes, there will still be some classes and tests, but nothing compared to D1 and D2. Plus, we have been very good about saving money ever since we got engaged with the hope that we would be able to have a baby before he graduates. I want to be a stay-at-home mom, so the financial aspect of this was considered very carefully.

Anyways, now that I have assured my dear readers that Joe and I are responsible and not totally nuts for having a dental school baby, I'll spill some of the fun details :)

Although it was a few days earlier than a sane person would take a pregnancy test, I realized that it was technically possible for me to get a positive the morning of Joe's first day of school. I went into the bathroom, took the test, and honestly didn't expect much. There was no guarantee, of course, that I would be pregnant. And there was no guarantee that even if I was I would get a positive at that point. So when the "yes+" popped up on the screen, I was gobsmacked. 

I originally planned to give Joe a little back-to-school gift bag with stuff like coffee and pens inside, but now I was able to add something even more exciting! A couple of months earlier I ordered these shirts for Joe and me:




I folded his shirt up and put it at the bottom of the bag. Then I put my shirt on, put a robe on, and slid the pregnancy test up my sleeve.

I brought down the gift bag and Joe started taking out his back-to-school goodies. Then he got to the shirt. He opened it, read it, and looked up at me with a confused look on his face. I took that as my cue: I ripped open my robe Superman-style and pulled out the test from my sleeve. Joe was shocked, and very happy.

The pregnancy started out very easy, and I was thinking that I might escape the first trimester without morning sickness. One of my grandmas had 4 kids and always said she felt her best when she was pregnant - so it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility. Then week 6 hit, and IMMEDIATELY I became exhausted and constantly nauseous. 

From then until week 14 (just a few days ago), I haven't felt like doing anything. For two months I've been in bed or on the couch trying to fight the nausea and exhaustion almost 24/7. You'd think all that time just laying around would mean that I'd have tons of time to blog. Well, technically I did, but I couldn't bring myself to do anything I didn't absolutely have to do. But I am finally feeling more like myself! I still don't feel awesome, and the food aversions are still strong, but I do have more energy. So hopefully I can become more consistent with posting again. 

Despite all of these symptoms, though, I can't actually wrap my mind around the fact that I am pregnant. In fact, I keep joking that I'm like one of those crazy ladies who tells everyone she is pregnant, gets a belly, and then kills a pregnant woman and steals her baby. It honestly feels like that is more realistic than that fact that I'll be giving birth in 26-ish weeks. 

And that's even with THREE ultrasounds!

Yes, you heard that right, I am 14 weeks and have already had 3 ultrasounds. That's because our little bean likes to scare mommy and daddy. At my 8 week appointment, we had a routine ultrasound to determine how far along I was and the baby measured about a week and a half small. So we were referred to the UPenn hospital for a follow-up the next week. 

At that appointment, the baby measured exactly on track, and it seems as if the doctor just made an error or the machine at the doctor's office wasn't as good as the ones at the hospital. It was fun to get to see the baby again so soon, and we marveled at the difference a mere week made in what he/she looked like. Plus, the baby was jumping all over the place, which was funny to watch. The tech called it a "jumping bean."

Ultrasound number 3 was the scariest, because it took place at my 12 week appointment when they couldn't find the heartbeat with the doppler thing. While the doctor had mentioned that sometimes the heartbeat can be tough to get this early with the doppler, it was still terrifying. When she started the ultrasound, though, we immediately saw baby. Turns out, he/she was just jumping around so much that the doctor couldn't pinpoint the heart. An addition to the jumping, this time baby was flailing its arms back and forth. It looked like our little one was having a dance party or something. 

We had already thought about nicknaming the baby "Bean" because that was Joe's nickname as a kid. But after the antics of our little "jumping bean," we decided that it's the perfect nickname until we know if it's a boy or girl.

Speaking of gender. YES, we are absolutely going to find out. The wait to week 20 is driving me crazy, no way could I wait until week 40! I'm wondering if I'll finally start feeling pregnant once I know if it is a boy or girl since it'll be easier to imagine a real baby in my arms in May. I guess we'll see! We should find out somewhere around December 16-18. 

So that's my big news, and my excuse for being a terrible blogger lately. I think it's a pretty good excuse ;)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Better (Extremely) Late Than Never - Cruise Part 2

Hello again everyone! It has been a RIDICULOUSLY long time since I have posted and I apologize for that. There is actually a good reason for my absence, but I'll make you wait until my next post to find out what that reason is ;)

***Side Note*** Don't worry, I won't make you wait 6 weeks again to hear from me. I'll post it tomorrow - promise! ***End of Side Note***

Last I wrote, I was filling you in on our cruise to Bermuda and I left off after we docked on that picturesque, wonderful island. There is no exaggeration with my description of Bermuda - I was floored at how beautiful it is there. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to go back.

(Click here for the first half of the cruise story)

Our ship docked
View of the Royal Navy Dockyards - this is what we would see when we walked off the ship
One of the first things we noticed when we got into the tourist area was the distinct British feel of the island (which makes sense because it is a British Overseas Territory). Not only were people driving on the opposite side of the road than they do in the U.S., but many accents sounded a bit English AND they had those awesome red phone booths.

Our first stop off the ship was to the National Bermuda Maritime Museum, which is located at the island's oldest fort. 


We had no idea when we paid for the admission, but there is an area with dolphins inside - and somehow we ended up stumbling on that before any of the other parts of the museum. I have loved dolphins since I was a little kid, and have always wanted to do one of those dolphin encounters where you swim with them. But they are always so expensive! 

This dolphin area at the National Museum is designed specifically for those dolphin encounters, but with admission to the museum you are able to watch the dolphins and get right up to the water (just not in the water - that costs $200+). Trainers would even come around and answer questions. I couldn't believe our luck... we must have watched them for a good 45 minutes. Oh - and there were even some BABY DOLPHINS! 




After saying goodbye to the dolphins, we started exploring the grounds of the fort. We liked getting pictures with our boat in the background haha.


Joe "attacking" the other cruise ship. It may have been larger (and had water slides), but we thought ours was better :)


The building behind this sea god statue was the Commissioner's House and featured exhibits on the Bermuda Navy and island history. It was really interesting, but unfortunately it was EXTREMELY hot and humid that day so I didn't feel like taking notes.

***Side Note*** I am such a nerd, and have such a terrible memory, that I usually write notes on a little notepad when on tours or at history museums. That way I can remember all the cool details. Tour guides always give me the side-eye. ***End of Side Note***


One of the coolest things in the museum was the Hall of History Mural, which measures 1000 square feet and is 2 stories high! It depicts 500 years of Bermuda history and took 7,000 hours for the artist to complete! Queen Elizabeth II, herself, came to Bermuda to officially open the hall.


After the museum, we decided to check out a miniature golf course that was basically right next door. We had read some awesome reviews about it online, and knew we had to play a round.


This mini-golf course was awesome. The holes were designed after famous holes at real U.S., Scotland and Bermuda golf courses. Each country had 6 holes, and every 6 holes led players back to the bar. A pretty clever design ;) What made it even better is that the seaside course boasted amazing views of the ocean. PLUS, the owner was one of the nicest guys ever.




The next day, we decided to try kayaking. Next to the miniature golf course is a manmade beach area with a bar, volleyball courts, and other amenities - plus kayak rentals. We didn't get any pictures on the water (I didn't want to get my camera or phone wet), but it was a ton of fun and very relaxing. Well, relaxing for me at least ;) Joe was doing most of the rowing since we didn't do very well trying to maneuver the kayak in sync. He enjoyed it though :) We did get a couple of pictures at the beach - I couldn't resist the giant chair photo-op.



That afternoon, we decided to visit Bermuda's capital city, Hamilton. The city is quite small, but it's the island's business and shopping hub. It has some amazing architecture and, of course, pastel buildings.




One of the more interesting things we noticed was the huge number of feral chickens. Apparently, the island is home to around 30,000 of them!


That night, we went on a glass bottom boat tour into the Bermuda Triangle to look at some shipwrecks! It was a really cool tour and, though it was a bit tough to see the ships at night, the darkness really added a level of creepiness of us being on a little boat in the Bermuda Triangle! 

One of the ships that is poking out of the water
The tour was especially interesting because the guide was born and raised on Bermuda, so he told us a ton of interesting facts about the island in general. For example, the roofs of most buildings in Bermuda are white. This is because Bermuda has no fresh water sources, so roofs are painted with a special kind of paint that sanitizes rainwater which is then collected into giant underground basins for residents to use. He also mentioned that Bermuda's cost of living is one of the highest in the world. Even the affordable housing units are over $500,000!

We wanted our last day in Bermuda to be a quick one since we had to be back to the boat by the late afternoon. Plus, that was the day that our 2-day unlimited drink package on the ship started and we wanted to be sure that we got our money's worth ;)

So we decided to head to Horseshoe Beach to check it out. We aren't big beach people (I know, why the heck would be do a tropical vacation then? haha), so we honestly considered skipping it completely. I am so glad we didn't! The bus ride there and back was worth the excursion, since we were able to see more of the island and we had the nicest bus driver ever. Seriously, the man friendly honked to nearly every passing car or bus and would say, "oh, that's my buddy so-and-so" or "oh, that's my uncle." It was really funny.

The beach, itself, was awesome. I would LOVE to bring our kids back there someday as there was this awesome cove area where kids could play in shallow water and look for seashells. We ended up walking around a bit, taking pictures, and dipping our feet in the water.

Nice husband to hold my pink bag.
Wishing I had brought my swimsuit, I could have laid on this beach for hours!
Let's keep this one small... I'm not wearing makeup ;)
The water was so clear! It was gorgeous
Joe wanted some of the famous "pink" sand, but wasn't sure if you were allowed to take any. So he hid behind a trash can to collect some in a baggie.
When we got back to the boat, we immediately put on our swimsuits, grabbed our books, and hit the bar for our first (of many) unlimited drinks.


Now that I've reached the end of our Bermuda days, I realized that I forgot to mention a few other parts of the trip. I wanted to write about.

First, the trip was for our 3rd anniversary so we had to get our traditional chalkboard photo :) They got confused and served us a "Happy Anniversary" dessert at 3 separate dinners. We didn't mind ;) The dinners were always fun. Getting dressed up every night and being able to choose anything on the menu in a fancy dining room was such a blast. Celebrity cruises is known for having good food, and the food did not disappoint in the dining room or at the buffet. It was always yummy. (And probably made me gain 10+ pounds).



Second, Joe and I became semi-celebrities as we were the captains of Battle of the Sexes one night on the boat! It started out as a little group of men and women playing, and exploded and filled the entire lounge. It was a blast - and the women won! (I don't know why they still gave Joe a medal haha). I was actually recognized later on in the cruise as the captain of Battle of the Sexes. I felt famous, and loved it haha.

Eeek. Very unflattering light.
I may or may not have worn my medal the rest of the night
Finally, this trip made us big fans of Celebrity cruise line. Yes, their boats are smaller so there are less extravagances like water slides and superstar entertainment, but we still had a blast. And we preferred the more intimate atmosphere, as it was easy to navigate the boat and there weren't TONS of people. The cruisegoers were older, so it didn't have a party feel at all - which we definitely did not want. Plus there weren't a ton of kids. I love kids, but given that we wanted a more relaxing vacation and we are going to have kids of our own on vacations with us in the not-too-distant future, this was definitely a perk :) 

Also, I mentioned this before, but Celebrity is known for having above-average cruise food. And we were really impressed. Of course it wasn't as good as a fancy restaurant on land, but for the number of people they have to cook for it was solid (at worst) to surprisingly good (at best). While they didn't stage a Broadway show or anything of that magnitude, the entertainment was also really solid. Every night there was a different main show and then they would usually have some kind of late-night entertainment. Usually these were game shows such as the Battle of the Sexes (that I won, remember haha), The Newlywed Game, and Family Feud. 

We had SUCH a great time on this trip, and hope to take lots more cruises in the future :)