Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two New Posts

Sorry I've been so delinquent in updating the blog.  We've had a few other things going on around here!  Check out the two new posts below to read a little about it.

Nick's Surgery

Santa Fe Babymoon

Nick's Surgery

Does this shot look familiar?  Didn't I just post a picture like this last month?  Yes, for the second time in 5 weeks, Nick went under the knife (figuratively speaking) last Thursday.  He had surgery to repair multiple tears to the muscles and ligaments in his rotator cuff and to remove a massive bone spur on his collar bone, which was in the process of severing a ligament itself.  He's always had trouble with his joints, and having to wear the extremely heavy body armor around all last year in Afghanistan really exacerbated some existing issues and created new problems. 
We've been working toward this surgery since he got home in March, but because of the move and the ridiculous referral process, which required us to see a total of 6 different doctors before landing at the actual orthopaedic surgeon's office in Amarillo, this was literally the soonest that we could have it done.
The good news is that the doctor thinks Nick will be completely back to normal once he is fully recovered.  He'll be able to lift weights and throw a football again, things he hasn't been able to do for a long, long time.  The bad news is that he literally can't move his right arm for at least 4 weeks, and is in for a grueling 3-6 month recovery process following that.  Dr. Parker does think that if things go well Nick will be able to hold Baby H once she is born, as long as she stays in there the full 40 weeks.  Should she decide to arrive early, all bets are off because my "full-term" date coincides with the tail end of Nick's 4 weeks, no movement rule.  So pray that we have an on-time or a late baby!
Nick is recovering well, and in good spirits, although he hates that I have to help him do so much, like washing his hair, driving him everywhere, etc.  It's admittedly tough having an 8-months-preggo and someone recovering from surgery in one house with no other help.  (For a good laugh, try to imagine us getting Baby H's glider into her room from the front porch where the delivery guys left it this morning.  Loads of fun).  We're both uncomfortable, tired, and cranky, but I know that in the end we will be glad that we went ahead and did the surgery now so that Nick can really enjoy his little girl during her first year.  Prayers for Nick's quick recovery and my patience are, however, appreciated!

Santa Fe Babymoon

Many people think that the last several week of pregnancy are a time when mom-to-be is exhausted and "nesting" and as such she should be pampered and cared for by her husband and family. Well, I have been feeling extra-tired, and I have definitely felt the nesting urge and have been working around the house like crazy. However, the last several weeks of this pregnancy will not be filled with foot rubs and Nick doing the laundry and vacuuming as I dreamily decorate the nursery. Why? Because on Thursday Nick had major surgery on his right shoulder and he can't move it or lift anything for 4 weeks (followed by 3-6 months of intense physical therapy before he's back to normal)! But more on that in another post.

Before you start thinking I'm being all sour about a situation Nick can't control and is frankly making him much more miserable than it is me, let me say that I only point out those things to tell you why he whisked me away to Santa Fe last weekend for a babymoon!
He made all the arrangements for us to stay in a great hotel about a block from the Plaza, planned out our daytime excursions, and treated me to several tasty meals out!
We stayed in the Hotel St. Francis. It's in a historic building, and has been completely renovated to reflect a sort of minimalist/historic mission feel, almost like a spa.  It was very romantic and perfect for a couples trip, although due to the size of the rooms (remember, it's a historic building) I wouldn't recommend it for a family excursion.  Here's a picture of Nick in the gorgeous lobby - at night it was completely lit by candles and gas lights. 
The first day there we arrived in the early afternoon.  We had a delicious lunch at Cafe Pasqual, whose chef was nominated for a James Beard Award.  We definitely will be returning to this restaurant!  Here I am outside the door with the James Beard certificates in the window.  (Please try to ignore my huge-ness in all of these pictures - I certainly do!)
While walking around the Plaza downtown, we saw this church, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.  St. Francis is everywhere in Santa Fe!  I know he is the patron saint of the diocese, but beyond that I have no idea why he is so popular.
 For our first night out we started with drinks at a bar called Atomic Grill.  We were able to sit out on the deck and people-watch while we sipped tasty drinks - Nick tried the Arrogant Bastard Ale, while I enjoyed a hazelnut italian soda. 
 We finished up the night with dinner at India Palace, which was recommended by friends.  Since we can't get any kind of ethnic food (unless you count Mexican, and I don't think you can when you live in New Mexico) in Clovis, we really wanted to have something a little different while we were in Santa Fe.  We were not disappointed!  This place was great!  (Sorry - no pictures).
The next day we woke up, and following a visit to Starbucks for breakfast, (Don't judge!  We can't get Starbucks in Clovis either, so this was a special treat) we drove a bit out of town and headed up the mountain to check out the Santa Fe ski area.  We were excited to see that the mountain looks pretty decent, with lots of blue and black runs, and it will only take us about 4 hours to get to the actual ski area from our front door.  We are super-excited to try this out as soon as possible.  We may even take Baby H up there in her little bunting in February or March so that Nick can try it out.  Our main mission of the morning was to see the ski area, but we were pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the trees were!  I've included several pictures, especially for my South Carolina friends who have asked (seriously) whether or not there are trees in New Mexico. 
 View looking up the mountain
 Beautiful vantage point
 Nick on a hiking trail amid all the golden Aspen trees.
Something I haven't mentioned yet, but that is worth saying, is that Santa Fe is a very dog-friendly place!  We saw so many dogs there with their owners, and many of the hotels, shops, and restaurants (with outdoor seating) welcome furry friends.  Dogs are even allowed to hike with you off-leash on the mountain.  We will definitely be bringing Finlay with us the next time we visit!
We spent the rest of the day walking and shopping around the Plaza.  If you haven't ever been, there is a plaza downtown surrounding a monument, and surrounding it are all kinds of shops and art galleries.  It's a really interesting place with an eclectic mix of both things to buy and people buying them.  It's almost just as fun to watch the other shoppers as it is to shop yourself.  If you were ever lucky enough to visit my parents' old house, with the Southwestern themed family room, you may be interested to know that all of the Southwestern decor items, including Kaibab the Coyote, hail from these Plaza area shops and were purchased during a family vacation.
Here I am lounging on the Plaza. 
 After our shopping, we stopped into a rooftop bar before heading in to get ready for dinner.  It looked out onto the Plaza, great for more people-watching!

That night we had dinner at Santacafe, which was recommended by my lifelong friend Beth, who visited Santa Fe this summer.  It was definitely a splurge, but also absolutely splurge-worthy!  If you go to Santa Fe, I can't recommend it highly enough.  It's a mix of continental and Southwestern food - everything we had was delicious!  They also have an in-house pastry chef so be sure to order dessert.  You'll want to do two things if you eat here, though, bring slightly dressier clothes (lots of the guys were in suits although they're not required) and make reservations.  Even on a Monday night this place was absolutely packed, but we were able to make a reservation as late as that afternoon.
This trip was a great way for Nick and me to spend some time together and for me to feel totally pampered going into the next several weeks.  I'm so grateful that my thoughful husband planned this getaway and did all the work to make it happen.  Thanks, honey!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joys of Homeownership

You may remember from a previous post that Nick and I have an issue with weeds in the alley behind our house.  As an interesting aside, these are actually tumbleweeds!  Previously, we had to clear a path to be able to access the alley dumpster.  We were perplexed by this because, to our understanding, the land outside where our fence was allowed to go is not technically ours - it belongs to the city.  However, we did it out of necessity. 
Fast-forward to this week, when we received notice from the city that our alleyway was a "public nuisance" and needed to be cleaned up within 5 business days!  So, in reasoning this out, there are two possibilities here.  Option A is that we do own the land behind our fence, but we are not allowed to improve on it in any way, i.e. extend our fence, landscape, add a storage area, etc.  Bogus!  Option B is that although the city owns the land in our alleyway, we are still solely responsible for keeping it cleaned up.  Also bogus! 
Since we don't have the time or energy to fight with the city about this, though, we went ahead and spent today cleaning up all the weeds.  We take comfort in the fact that over half the houses in our neighborhood have this same issue, so they should have received the same notification. therefore many of our neighbors are in the same boat.  To clean up, we used a chainsaw, weedeater, lawn mower, rake, and industrial gloves (all of these weeds have MAJOR stickers attached and they are SHARP!

One side of the yard before.  These weeds are taller than our privacy fence!

Another view of the mega-weeds
Nick and chainsaw in action - he did all the hard work!

Now it's all nice and clear!

My boys, so proud of a job well-done
Aside from the weed clean-up we've had a lot else going on in the past few weeks. Nick is scheduled to have shoulder surgery next Thursday, and he will have to spend about 3 weeks with his right arm totally immobilized.  His shoulder was really messed up by the heavy body armor he wore every day in Afghanistan and has been bothering him a ton since he came home so we are very glad that he's finally getting the surgery! 
However, once his initial recovery period is over I will be at full-term so we have been busy finalizing things for Baby H.  Although I'll have time (and hopefully energy) to work on many things over the next 6-9 weeks, I won't have much help with the big things, like putting up furniture, etc. after October 21st.  Our goal is to have all the necessities completely ready to go by October 31st, following a weekend visit from my parents, who can help with anything that doesn't get done pre-surgery. 
I'm sorry that I don't have any new cute belly pictures - Nick's moved to swing shifts, which means that when we're home together I'm usually in my pj's and not ready to be photographed.  I'll try to get one soon, though, because my belly is exploding!