So, this is supposed to be my blog, right?

Thankfully, I don’t have tons of readers here, or I would feel even worse about this whole blogging thing. I cannot believe it has been almost an entire YEAR since I posted anything. Well, I can kind of believe it. It’s been a busy 10 months. To be honest, I don’t think I’m going to sit and go through the old posts to see where I left off. I can say with 99.9% certainty that all the stuff that we’ve been up to has definitely not been mentioned on here yet! That being said, this is going to be a super long post. There’s a lot to cover and it all intertwines, so I’m going to do my best to separate each thing. Just know that most every part of the topics overlap in terms of chronological order. I don’t really feel like making multiple entries, so if you’re game, then just roll with it!

I do remember briefly talking about how we were looking to put our house back on the market. Back in 2012, we put it on the market for about 3-4 months, but never had any interest. We took it off because the holidays were approaching and I knew I didn’t want to deal with showings during that time. We did a little sprucing up to the yard and got a new real estate agent and put it back on the market in May 2013, probably not too long after the last post I made. We had no open houses, but we had about 5-6 showings over the course of 3 months. We got an offer in August that we countered, then they countered our counter and we accepted. Now, don’t go thinking that we closed that quickly though. No no no no no…. It was a nightmare. We sent off everything where we agreed to all of the stuff in mid-September of last year. The guy buying our house was going with a USDA loan because he didn’t have to put any money down on it and our house was in an area that qualified for that kind of loan. The government decided it would stop working in October for almost 3 weeks, so we knew we would get set back with that, only to find out that they had not even sent our stuff off like they were supposed to have sent it. It was supposed to already be sitting up there for them to start working on when they started working again, but no. Apparently his agents didn’t feel like they needed to do their job the correct way and so we had even longer to wait. On the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING, we get a call from our agent who says that the government has approved the loan and that the guy wanted to close in two days. Yes, that’s right. TWO DAYS. We had fortunately been working on getting things packed up and moved, but since we had been at a stand still with waiting on the government, we couldn’t move all the stuff we wanted to move because we still needed it. I am still pretty irritated about all of this too. I just cannot believe that someone could be so completely inconsiderate. I mean, we are a family and it takes a lot to get us moved. There is absolutely NO WAY I would have ever done that to someone. Like, EVER. I just cannot fathom putting another person (or family) out in that manner. But, as we all know, there aren’t very many people in the world who work like I do. We had planned on enlisting all this help to get things loaded and stuff, but since it happened so suddenly and on not just Thanksgiving weekend, but Iron Bowl weekend, we ended up with very few of the people that we had asked to help. I am EXTREMELY grateful to all of those who did help. In a big way. But I can’t even begin to describe the stress that it put us through. It was unbelievable. We ended up getting everything out and being done by the Monday after Thanksgiving (we had to be out by 5 pm, and we were done by 10 am). We weren’t closing on our new house until Wednesday and Dylan was still in school, so we had to stay in a hotel for the week.

Backing up a bit, but still house related stuff – we looked and looked and looked to find a house that we felt was the right size and price for us in Mobile County. Dylan was in a really good school over there and since we are so active in our church, I just couldn’t see living more than 20 minutes or so from there. So, we searched and searched and just never found what we were looking for. {Sidenote: After checking house prices in different areas of Alabama, I have decided that Mobile and Baldwin Counties are WAY overpriced for the value. The kind of money that some of the smaller houses were listed for in Mobile would buy you a 2-story, 3000 sq ft house in another part of Alabama.} We finally found a home in Baldwin County that my MIL had been working on. She is a real estate agent in BC and part of what she does is flip houses. She asked us to come look at it to see if we felt like it would meet our needs. We liked it for sure, but the biggest turn off (for me anyways) was the fact that it was across the bay in Spanish Fort. I have never wanted to live in Baldwin County. I have been told over and over how great the schools are, and that would convince most people with kids, but not me. I know what it takes to make the school thing work, no matter where you are, so I knew that was a moot point. For me, it’s more about how we’d fit in with the community, and by we, I mean me and Dylan. If you’ve never met me, or if you’ve only known me for a short time, then you may be surprised to know that I am EXTREMELY introverted. I don’t mind being around people I know and hanging out with friends and stuff, but I don’t do new scenarios very well. I don’t have that ease of transition thing going. Not surprisingly, Dylan has inherited some of that from me. People may feel like we come off as uncaring or standoffish, but it’s just that we don’t perceive things the same way others do. Dylan has a lot of my characteristics when it comes to school, but because he is a boy, it does present itself a little differently. Regardless of this, I was and still am more concerned that my children and family will not “fit in” or be “accepted” because of my particular quirks. Anyways, because we never found a house in Mobile County and because we really knew that the area was better and the school system had a better reputation, we made the executive decision to buy the house that MIL was fixing. We did get to close on the house the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, but because Dylan was still in school in Mobile, we had to wait until Friday to leave the hotel. I registered him in the Spanish Fort school system and he started there the next Monday. As of today, we have been in the house for almost 3 full months, as we were finally able to live in it on December 6. Here are a few pics (one of each main room) of before we got all moved in. We are pretty settled in now. Not living out of boxes much, except for a few things that we don’t really need right now anyway, so they’re still packed away. (P.S. If anyone has any tips on decorating a mantle, I’m all ears! Our TV is in an entertainment center, so nothing is over the fireplace and I have no idea what to do there!)

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

Formal living and dining

Formal living and dining

foyer

foyer

hallway

hallway

Nursery/guest BR

Nursery/guest BR

Girls room

Girls room

Dylan's Room

Dylan’s Room

Master BR

Master BR

Family/Kitchen/Breakfast room

Family/Kitchen/Breakfast room

breakfast area

breakfast area

Kitchen area

Kitchen area

Okay, that takes care of the house stuff. Now on to more fun things. . .Β  In June, Dylan got to go to Disney World for the first time. His elementary school had been a part of this YES Program for a while. They only offer it to their 3rd-5th graders, but each student who maintains an “A” average on their EQTs (end of quarter tests) for the ENTIRE year of school is eligible to go on this trip to Disney. The only thing the parent has to pay is a $25 deposit for them and then send them with any spending money they might want. Dylan had been eligible for the trip every year he was old enough to go, but you know good and well that I was not about to send my baby on a trip 8-9 hours away without someone I trusted 100% to look after him. So, it worked out this year that I could go with him. I had to pay for my ticket, but since it was through their program, it was much cheaper than a regular ticket. I also had to buy my own hotel room, but that wasn’t a problem either. So, at the beginning of June, we packed up and headed South. Hubs was having to work that week, so the girls split their time between my parents and his parents. I’m not going to go further into detail about it, but it was a really fun trip and I’d love to take the whole family back one day. Here are some pics from that trip.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Simba at the Lion King Performance

Simba at the Lion King Performance

Epcot Center

Epcot Center

Coming in on the ferry to the Magic Kingdom

Coming in on the ferry to the Magic Kingdom

Cinderella's Castle

Cinderella’s Castle

IMG_6018

POTC ride

POTC ride

Castle at night, before we left

Castle at night, before we left

The next big thing that happened in June is that Dylan turned 11! I know that’s kind of an unusual number to get excited about, but to my fellow HP fans, you know EXACTLY what it meant. His Hogwarts Letter came! I REALLY REALLY wanted to do a Harry Potter birthday for him then, but with all the stuff we had going on, it just wasn’t going to happen. I certainly plan to do one this year though!

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We had another big thing happen in June, but we didn’t find out about it until the end of July. When I say surprise, I mean it. It was completely not planned, but we were thrilled, nonetheless. We found out that we were adding another member to the family! Official due date is April 1, 2014, so we’ve got about 4 weeks left for this one. And, we are evening the odds this time around with a boy! It has been a rollercoaster ride, for sure. The pregnancy has been unremarkable in that I haven’t had any issues or complications. We’ve just had so much going on that the stress levels have been pretty high. With all the house stuff that has held us all up and then holidays and birthdays, it’s a wonder that I even have anything ready yet. But, we’re getting there.

Let’s see, I think that gets us through the summer pretty much. Dylan started 6th grade this year at one of the best schools in Mobile County, but since we moved, we had to take him out and put him in school over here. It has been an adjustment for all of us. It’s a good school, but they aren’t quite as structured as his previous one and that is making a big impact right now. With Dylan’s ADHD, he really NEEDS that structure to help him develop the kind of school and study habits that will help him as he gets older. It’s a constant thing to stay on top of right now, but I am hoping that we’ll really get to meet and greet everyone next year. I normally like to make an appearance and talk to his teachers, but I just haven’t had the time since the move, and I probably won’t get the time this year. I hope to remedy that when he starts 7th grade.

Bella started taking dance class in August. I don’t have any pictures yet (besides a few on my phone), but her recital will be in June, so I’ll have some then. She loves it and Eowyn loves it too. Eowyn isn’t taking it yet, but she loves watching Bella and copying everything she does!

Speaking of Eowyn, she turned 2 in October, amid all the house mess. She has been crazy about Minnie Mouse for months now. It’s starting to let up a little, but that was her party theme. We just had family over, of course, but it was a good time. Since her birthday falls at the end of October, Halloween is right afterwards. They had the Trunk or Treat at church again, so that’s what we did for the kids. We also took them down to Bellingrath Gardens for their Balloon Glow Halloween thing, but definitely don’t recommend it unless you can get there right when it starts. We got there at 6ish and there were hardly any booths up anymore because people ran out of candy and stuff and just left. Eowyn was Minnie Mouse (of course!), Bella was Rapunzel, and Dylan was Harry Potter (and a dang good one, too!).

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Let’s see. . . I don’t have anything big for Thanksgiving because, well, we were pretty stressed at that time (see above about house stuff). We had a good one, even though it was super stressful. Christmas was the next big holiday for us and we spent it in the new house. I took Christmas pics of the kids at my parents’ house earlier in November because I wasn’t sure when or if we’d get to even have a tree this time, due to all the craziness going on. I ended up slaving away to get everything as normal as possible because Christmas is such a big deal for me. I love that time of year so much, and I had really been struggling with the fact that I might not get to do it all the way I wanted to do it. So, I busted my tail to get stuff done. I’m throwing in a pic of my and my brothers too because it’s a really good one πŸ™‚

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That’s pretty much the last thing for 2013. Jumping right into 2014, and the first big thing that happened was Bella’s 5th birthday. She is really into Doc McStuffins, so that was our theme this year. Since she’s getting old enough to have real friends, we had a few of her friends from church over during the time period between morning and evening service on Sunday. One of her cousins from down the road came over as well. She had a blast, for sure!

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And now I think we’re finally caught up. The biggest thing that has happened in the timeline lately is Joe (Hubs’ youngest bro) got married over Valentine’s weekend and Bella was one of the flower girls. I didn’t take my camera with me, so the only pictures I got were on my phone. I hope that I’ll be able to see some of the ones the photographer took and maybe get a couple since I know Bella was in them. It was a good weekend in the Destin, FL area. Everything was set up nicely and I think everyone had a great time.

At this point, we’re all just in that final stretch of waiting on baby. I’m doing more prep this time around. I started drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea when I was around 30 weeks. I started taking Alfalfa supplements at around 34 weeks. And, just yesterday, I started taking Evening Primrose Oil. None of these by themselves (or combined) are labor inducers or anything. The tea is specifically supposed to help tone the uterus, so that the contractions are more effective when they start. I was really interested in starting this one because in all 3 of my pregnancies, my water always broke very early on, and my contractions never really got going in a good rhythm. I am hoping that this helps get things going correctly, which will hopefully make the need for pitocin nonexistent. The Alfalfa supplements are to help build up my Vitamin K storage, which will be a big help when the baby is born and will be a help for him, since we’ll be having him circumcised. I took the EPO last time, but only one dose because I didn’t get it until the day of my due date. I know I hadn’t taken enough of it to be sure it was beneficial. It’s purpose is to help soften and ripen the cervix, so that it will be more ready to open and thin out when I am having contractions. I’m currently just taking one pill at night, but will up it to two pills next week. I am really hoping that I can help my body prepare to do this naturally, and not need any medical interventions like epidurals or pitocin.

Anyways, that’s about all for the Donovan Family so far. I may or may not have missed a big update, but at this time of the night, I can’t tell that for sure. I just wanted to catch everyone up on what had been going on for the last 10 months. If you’ve stuck around to read this WHOLE thing, then you are a really patient person! I am going to call it a night and get in the bed. Good sleep comes few and far between at this stage of the game, so good night, good night!

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