Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Child Is Born

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend - "O Holy Night"


This is one of my favorite talks about Christmas. Elder Bruce D. Porter gave it at BYU in December '08, and I still remember watching the broadcast in the Wilk and then walking across the quad to my class in the JKB with tears in my eyes. Whenever I read it, I can feel that same Spirit I felt that day, and the knowledge that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly do know us and love us is reaffirmed. I love them. I'm grateful for this knowledge and for this time of year that helps remind me where to look for the true source of joy. If you want a way to feel the Christmas spirit, Elder Porter's talk is a good read!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The home s.t.r.e.t.c.h.

Such a fitting name for this post considering I. feel. BIG. I know I'm a small person to begin with, but lately I am feelin' pregg-O! So far I've successfully managed to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy pants/jeans, minus that whole pesky buttoning up business--who needs their fly zipped and their top buttoned anyway? I've been liberated!

I'm 27 weeks today, which means the start of the third trimester! I call this the home stretch--almost there--even though it's probably going to feel like the longest bit of the whole shebang. Only 91 days left til my due date and only 49 more working days before the real work begins!!! Hall-e-lu-jah!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Extravaganza

This weekend was chalk full of Christmas cheer. We've been trying to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas, which is of course, Jesus Christ. So we packed our weekend with activities that helped us think of him. On Friday night we went to our stake's performance of Handel's Messiah. We have incredibly talented friends, and it was a beautiful program. I've had the "Hallelujah" chorus stuck in my head ever since.

On Saturday we went to the temple and then got our (unfortunately) fake tree at Wal-Mart. It turned out nicely though thanks mainly to Cole and his decorating expertise.

The master at work
Oh and notice Santa peeking out from behind the tree? Cole proposed to me with him so he now appears in all our Christmas tree photos

Sunday we watched the First Presidency's Christmas devotional and had Jill + Quintin over for some cookie decorating. It was a really peaceful, perfect weekend.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Thanks!

Today I'm feeling sick and tired (if you can't tell by my bedraggled state below). Luckily, I haven't done my Thanksgiving post yet, so I will do so now to remind myself of all the very good things in life!

#1: Our baby. I really couldn't ask for a better pregnancy! No fatigue. No morning sickness. And no complications (so far). She's already changing our family for the better. What an influential little fetus! We've really been watched over and blessed!

Today @ 25 wks, 4 days.

#2: My husband. One funny, sincere, honest, and handsome dude. I love this man. Need I say more?

#3: Awesome friends here in Texas who know how to whip up a delicious holiday feast! Here's a picture of our Thanksgiving potluck that we held here in Texas. It was so much fun, and it really didn't feel like we were away from our families at all. We love these guys!

L-R: The Rupps, The Orrocks, The Brinkerhoffs, Cole + me, The Rodgers, and the Batemans

#4: My family. They send us crazy/cute things in the mail like these turkey chair covers (Thanks Dad and Nancy!)
#5: Our faith. It's what ties everything else together--babies, family, friendships--and makes life better than I could make it on my own!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Potterium Nerdiosa!

Not too long ago, Cole did the unthinkable. He picked up the Harry Potter book that I've been trying to get him to read for years, and he read it...in like two days. It may have been the proudest moment of my life. At one point during his HP experience, I heard him chuckling to himself. Slowly he put his book down, came over to me, grabbed my nose, and yelled, "GOT YOUR CONK!" I'm pretty sure Peeves is one of his favorites. Needless to say, the Harry Potter movie outing was much more enjoyable this year. We went with Quintin + Jill, and Anne + Michael to The Lion and Rose pub and had some fish and chips, and bubble and squeak before the movie. Here's a picture of Cole and I doing our best Harry Potter nerd faces. That's an imaginary wand in Cole's hand, and imaginary glasses on my face.

And as always, a baby update. At 24 weeks I am:
  • over my wild hunger pangs, and can go three hours no food without ripping someone's head off. Progress.
  • craving Chinese food. all. the. time. And funnel cake, and a dang Smart Cookie ice cream sandwich.
  • healthy and so is baby!
  • feeling happy, happy, happy! Lovin' these pregnancy hormones.
24 wks, 2 days.

Friday, November 5, 2010

"What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?"-The Oompa Loompas

In true Ballard Halloween fashion we waited until the last minute to decide on/acquire our costumes. Cole was Willy Wonka and I was his oompa loompa. I think we may have outdone ourselves this year. Thank goodness for Goodwill and that Cole-sized woman who didn't want her purple velvet Old Navy jacket anymore. Here are some pics from Anne + Michael's awesome party:

L-R: Max, Gaga, Karate Sue, Oompa, Willy, Justin Beiber party girl,
Pinata man, Sweatin' to the oldies Val, and Jake the Snake

Look at that pure Oompa joy to be with Valorie

The rockin' hosts


In baby news, I'm 22 weeks, although this pic is from 21. We've officially switched from "the ghetto hospital," to Methodist. Hurray! Our baby is measuring at about 19-20 weeks, so hopefully she starts packing on the pounds and the inches soon. I officially can no longer button/zip up my pants, so pins (and sometimes nothing) have sufficed to keep them on so far. I love love love feeling her move! It's my favorite thing so far. Cole has already gotten a "high-five" from her. Happy to report she's healthy!


21 weeks

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Oh, if only this was my child.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Hubby!

This past weekend was Cole's 26th Birthday!!! We celebrated with a surprise camping trip on Friday evening, just the two of us. Well...us and a few thieving raccoons, a crying baby, and a family of 20 right next to us. On Saturday, we splurged on Krispy Kreme's, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Fralo's pizza, and pumpkin pie cheesecake from Olive Garden, with friends. Nothing like a birthday as an excuse to gorge yourself!


Thank goodness for my Boy Scout! Oh, and notice our hardcore IBC root beers?!


Snuggling up for a long night of pregnancy back pain

At Fralo's Pizza with Anne + Michael and Shane + Valorie

In other news, I'm almost 20 weeks pregnant, and I'm finding it very hard to do anything even remotely productive. Mainly due to the fact that I'm newly obsessed with

this show:

and this series:

Dear Craft Projects, one of these days I'll get to you! ....And just for good measure, my belly at 19 wks, 5 days:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun!

Just so my head doesn't explode, I'm just gonna say it...

WE'RE PREGNANT!

Phew! So much better. We've known since July 5th, but have been keeping it a secret until we could tell Cole's family in person this past week. I'm almost 18 weeks, and I think that's a looong time to keep something like that bottled up inside! And now on to the second part...

IT'S A GIRL!

And we are SO excited!!! She's due March 10th, and we found out the sex right before we flew home so we could double-whammy the Ballards with surprises. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pics:

Our little Pillsbury Doughgirl

These are our two favorite pics so far

I just imagine her yelling, "Cannonball!"

17 weeks. This is possibly part Food Baby too.

Cole and I cried when we saw her for the first time. We can't wait for her to get here already!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My husband, the stud

We've been loving our visit to Utah, and sadly it comes to an end tomorrow. I'm excited to blog about family and friend time! Since The Ballards are all finally together after 2 years (Welcome home Ryan!), we got portraits complete with the new additions to the family--the horses. The very funny and patient Matt Clayton took them. Here is the pic that showed up on his blog of my studly husband!

More to come soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Schlitterbahn-ing

This past weekend Cole and I went to a big German waterpark that, in my opinion, sounds like a swear word: Schlitterbahn. We found endless enjoyment saying the names of the areas of the park, Blastenhoff and Surfenburg, in a German accent. Valorie + Shane, Quintin + Jill, and Anne + Michael went with us and it was a blast! Thank goodness for Valorie, or else we wouldn't have any pictures once again. Highlights of the day include:

  1. Commandeering two giant, floating alligators on the lazy river and blocking everyone's way, or generally ticking off a lot of people
  2. Literally howling down the "Wolfpack" ride that was so exhilarating we got stuck in the middle of it
  3. Getting soaked, not so much by the rides but by the torrential downpour
  4. Watching a little girl pop a squat right in the middle of an hour long line
  5. The Master Blaster, it's not America's Favorite Waterslide for nothin', and well worth the wait
The happy families being whisked away to the magical land of Schlitterbahn

The girls: Anne, Jill, me, and Valorie

Waiting out the rain under a very non-waterproof tent

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lately...

It's psychotically raining in San Antonio today, which means I have no desire to do anything but curl up under a blanket, listen to Frank Sinatra, watch a movie and/or blog.

My dad and stepmom just left yesterday and, even though we went to the Alamo, Riverwalk and Gruene, sadly I took absolutely no pictures. Cole and I loved having them here, and I miss them already. We played a new game they taught us called Cinch (they didn't dare to brave Settlers, or the "Wagon Train Game" as my stepmom calls it). We ate heartily at a bunch of restaurants we normally wouldn't get to go to, including the Gristmill in Gruene, which I highly recommend!

This Saturday we're going to Schlitterbahn, so hopefully my lazy self will remember to bring the camera.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Alamo, Take 3

Cole's cousin Kaitlin and her husband Ryan came into town to visit from Houston. Turns out, they're also old friends with our new friends/neighbors, Valorie and Shane. We all headed down to the River Walk and the Alamo for the third time since moving here. We're going to start a collage of all the pictures we take in front of the Alamo. It was a lot of fun to see family. The next addition to the collage will be my dad when he comes and visits in a week! I'm so excited to see him.

Outside "The Republic of Texas" restaurant on the River Walk.

The Alamo by night

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"I got to kiss these lonesome Texas blues goodbye"-Steve Earle

I'm feeling a little homesick today...for Utah, that is. I'm missing those perfect mountains, the view for miles, the untouched, undeveloped land, and the quiet. I'm also missing friends and family. I took this picture flying into Salt Lake after a long summer away. It's the picture of Utah that I carry around in my head and that signifies homecoming to me. I'm super excited for October when we'll be going home to see Ryan, who's coming back from his mission in Tonga!


Here's a good song from a Texas native that's kinda hitting home right now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Reason # 571 Why I Love my Husband


I've been wanting to see the movie Bright Star about the life and love of John Keats ever since my final semester of college, but it was never really at the top of Cole's must-watch list considering it's slow, emotional, and about a dead poet. But he sat and watched it with me this weekend and consoled me as I wept over Keats' untimely death.
But that's not even the best part! On Sunday night, we busted out my Romantic Poets and actually read and discussed Keats' poetry! As un-fun as this may sound, I assure you, it was not. I hope I'm not incriminating Cole or his masculinity, because in my opinion, only real men read poetry. Our favorite was "Ode on a Nightingale" about the beauty of nature (at least that's what we thought it was about, among other things). If you too want to be a real man (or woman), go here. Don't be shy! It's good for the soul.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy 4th!

Cole's inner pyro came out on the 3rd as we drove up to Boerne with friends Marissa + Terry and Valorie + Shane from our ward and loaded up on fireworks. After asking not one but two sheriffs where we could legally light them and getting the answer "Anywhere" from both, we found an empty field and began setting them off until the police came and busted us. Apparently the sheriffs didn't know what they were talking about. After Cole got a warning (thanks for taking one for the team, honey!) we ended up on the outskirts of a military base, which probably wasn't very wise either.

On Sunday, Anne + Michael invited us over for ribs, homemade berry pie, and lemonade--an All-American meal! We then went with them and Valorie + Shane to watch a fireworks display. Each burst was accompanied by the rowdy and intoxicated locals yelling things like "CHIMICHANGA!" "FRRREEDOM!" and "BUDWEISER!"--apparently representations of all that is American. It was hilarious and very...patriotic?



Thursday, July 1, 2010

Random Wishlist #1: Treehouses

Call me crazy, but lately I've had this deep desire to live in a treehouse. I read an article recently about this 70-some-year-old couple who built themselves a treehouse, and they spend all their time in it--watching sunsets, drinking wine, holding hands. I thought it was the most romantic thing I'd ever heard. Suddenly I caught this vision of Cole and I doing that very same thing (minus the wine). Here are some pics. I couldn't find my ideal treehouse though because it hasn't been built yet! Spacious, high off the ground, spiral staircase, Victorian or French-style, stained glass, a deck, with lanterns strung around. Whimsical yet earthy. None of this plastic, Disneyland crap. Oh yes. It's all here in my head. *Sigh* One day.









Are these amazing or is it just me??

Friday, June 11, 2010

Our New Place...So Far

Here are some pics of the Ballard home-San Antonio edition. Cole and I used to live in an apartment that was about 450 square feet, so this place feels HUGE! It even has a one-car garage and a half bath downstairs. We like it a lot so far. I'm trying to make a gallery-style collage of frames like the ones pictured below, but I'm having the darndest time trying to measure it all out. Anyone ever done this before? Curse that Martha Stewart and her effortless style!




Messy loft


View from the loft and my sweet, lanky hubby zonked out


Master bath w/ a big tub!


Bedroom w/ our brand new mattress. We still haven't gotten a comforter that fits, but no matter, it's like 90 degrees when we go to bed at night; who needs a comforter??