Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An update on life, generally.

So there have been lots of fun announcements here lately, but not much in the realm of day to day life for the Hogans. So, not that people are hankering to know, but I thought I'd fill the internet in. Also here's a picture of Sophie, my hardworking sewing assistant.

Clearly she's a huge help. Not sure what I'd do with out her.

We've been here in Temple for... almost three months? Is that possible?! I'd say we're pretty settled in. Brendon has been doing the residency thing, which recently has consumed all his free time. Kind of like being in school again. Lots of research, lots of projects. No tests though! He's also been working the odd weekend a month or so as a pharmacist at CVS, just for extra cash and to keep up his tenure there. I think he secretly loves it. And I think Brendon also secretly likes it here in Temple. He likes the slower lifestyle, the convenience of small town living. Plus he's surrounded by like minded folks at work, doing what he loves. There are a few things that bother both of us about Temple, but I think out of the two of us, he's more at home here.

I on the other hand, can't help feeling a little out of place. There are wonderful things about living here. It takes ten minutes to get any where (whether in Temple or Belton), no where is EVER busy, and it is cheap cheap cheap. Living here is saving us a ton of cash compared to Austin. Also, our neighborhood/apartment is SO NICE and quiet and safe and just really the polar opposite of our place in Austin (yet cheaper?). But, there are also downsides to living here. Here goes my rant, bear with me. I often think of living here as going back a decade. Life in 2005. Or earlier. I am a millennial, for sure, that just came from a tech driven city so this slide back into the past has been... frustrating at times. I mean, we'll look up restaurants and there just wont be a website? HA, how tech reliant can you get, right? I think it's because there just aren't a lot of young people here. There is a giant retired population, and then families. Not many young folks. The young folks that are here are mostly all doctors and medical folks. And the majority of those doctors and medical folks don't even live here, they commute from Round Rock or Georgetown or Austin (understandably). So there aren't a lot of "young people" things here, because there's no market for it. And man, being a vegetarian in Temple is challenging, to say the least. If you don't want Asian or Italian food, your options are pretty much nilch. Which is saving us lots of money on eating out! Silver lining! There is also a shocking lack of good coffee, but I'm a coffee snob. So. Unsurprisingly, the Temple/Belton area is VERY conservative and VERY... Texas. We are bleeding heart liberals as my dad says, so that can be a little frustrating. And NO ONE CAN DRIVE HERE. I swear to you, the Hogans drive faster than 95% of the the population of Temple and Belton combined. Driving below the speed limit is a thing here. There's no traffic, but there are figurative turtles on the road you have to dodge. Aaaand, no one will visit you when you live in Temple. I mean, at least in Austin we had the "oooh Austin is cool, lets go see the Hogans", we got nothin' here.  I don't blame them. If we want to see people, we go to them.

OKAY. Rant over before my head falls off. To be fair, most of the three months we've been here, I was basically sick. So that's not a good start. And I hated Austin (and Denton) when I first moved there, but ended up loving it. And obviously Austin makes any other Texas town (especially a small one) seem like a foreign country. I get that. And I was born and raised in Texas, so you'd think I'd know. I guess I just got spoiled. And Austin sucks in many ways. It's overcrowded, the traffic is horrendous, hipsters everywhere (I secretly miss y'all though), and it is expensive. Settling down there and purchasing a house would be challenging. So I think Temple is good for us. As much as I grumble and moan about it, it's a smart place for us to be right now. Did I mention how cheap it is? And Austin is just down there road and I'm there once a week.

Which brings me to, what the heck am I doing for a living? I'm 70% a housewife, y'all. I work once a week sewing at my job down in Austin, but aside from that I chill at home. It's weird, but it works for us right now. I'm going to have my hands full with a Seahorse in a few months so we decided just to forgo me trying to get a, well, lets be honest... shitty job just for a few months. So I'm at home! Which has been perfect, because the past few months of being knocked up have been real rough for me. I'm doing mostly better now, but I still have the occasional date with my face in the toilet, so it's nice to do that in the comfort of my own home. I've been keeping my self busy with sewing (for me!! for fun!), cleaning, cooking, you know. House crap. And I don't mind! I've worked my ass off since I was a teenager, so it's nice to have a break. And the cats think they've died and gone to heaven. They loooove having a human around all the time. Just wait, y'all. Soon there will be a tiny human with hands that love to grab cat tails. (None of this would obviously be possible without my super hero husband, Brendon. That boy is the hardest working person I have EVER met. And he is also the kindest and sweetest, and always makes me feel... important. No matter what. Damn, I love you Brendon, and so does the Seahorse. She told me.)

So that's basically it! We've got a fair bit of traveling ahead, in state and out, the next few months before the Seahorse arrives, so I'm pretty stoked about that. Especially since I've been feeling somewhat normal again. Lots of fun adventures squeezed our ever shrinking time as a family of two. Plus two cats. Life is pretty good you guys. I know I just whined about Temple for a good paragraph, but I do not want you to think for a second that I am not LOVING life and thrilled at where we are in it. We are lucky ducks. Actually, eff luck, we both worked real hard to be where we are. So we are enjoying it. Even if Brendon is up to his ears in medical articles every free moment and I'm wondering if my esophagus will survive this never ending heartburn and oh my god we will be responsible for a tiny human very soon, WE ARE HAPPY. Because we're together. And it is almost FALL, praise the pumpkin gods.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What kind of human is the Seahorse?

So, as you've probably read on the Facebook, we found out what we're having! We had the BIG ultrasound yesterday. The one where, baby willing, you find out the gender. Turns out I'm a week less along than they originally thought (seventeenish weeks instead of eighteen), but luckily the Seahorse cooperated enough that we were able to see everything we needed to.

Now, telling gender by ultrasound isn't a perfect science, but Brendon called it right away and the technician wholeheartedly agreed; it was kind of obvious. The seahorse is a girl. Duh. I mean, what else could it be? How could I not end up with a girl? (Although to be fair, Brendon is to blame for this one, biologically we ladies have no say in the gender.) Everyone said it would be a girl, including Brendon, and boom, you were all right. I honestly had ZERO preference, I would have been thrilled either way, but a girl just makes a lot of sense. I mean, right? A boy would have been wonderful as well, but it was just not in the cards for the Hogans. A lady Seahorse it is!

Awesome news to find out, obviously. We can now say she, instead of it, which makes the Seahorse sound much more human and less alien like. And SHE is a little party animal! I've been feeling her move for a couple weeks, and every day it gets crazier. But both the nurse practitioner at my last visit and the technician yesterday remarked on how active she is. And she was seriously making moves! Kicking and turning and waving those little arms. Kind of like, "Hey! What the heck, stop pushing on me!" It's crazy to actually SEE her move, instead of just feel it. Also, science you guys. It's so awesome. We could see the heart pumping and we saw her BRAIN and her spine (and her lady parts). I mean, there's a little skeleton in there! And she looks pretty perfect to me. Looks clearly like a badass.

One day the kid is going to be like, YOU POSTED WHAT ON THE INTERNET?

AND yes, we are having a girl. Yes, there's a pink bow on that hat up there. And yes, I am a wannabe Disney Princess. But NO, that does NOT mean pink everything. We thought about not telling everyone just so we could avoid the stereotypical blue for boys pink for girls thing. I want the Seahorse to be surrounded by the rainbow! I don't want to pick her favorite color for her. We're going to try keep everything fairly neutral. Don't freak out, there will still be dresses. And maybe a couple bows. But some people just go so far overboard with the pink. No frills please! If she grows up and decides that she's the girliest of the girls (I wouldn't be surprised), that's totally cool! I just want to give her the opportunity to decide. NOT that she'll remember what she's wearing when she's a few months old, but you get the gist. We're just weird hippies, roll with it.

So like I said, we also found out I'm a weekish less along which means homegirl will be making an appearance at more like the end of January instead of the middle. January 26th is the date our tech threw out. I'm cool with that! Just means I'll be slightly less about to pop around the holidays. And for that trip to New Orleans in December!

And for fun, we tried to get Sophie and Greg to celebrate their new sister with some pictures, but they were fairly uninterested. Even when bribed with treats. (My crazy-cat-lady-dom knows no bounds.)

I love those two. They've been the best support team. Always game to cuddle when I'm feeling down. Plus they're adorable. They've got their work cut out for them, but I think they'll be perfect older siblings.

Now we all know what kind of human we're cooking up! Honestly you guys, I'm just thrilled that it appears we are growing a healthy human in there. This has been a relatively rough pregnancy for me, it's nice to know that the Seahorse seems to be doing just fine regardless. A healthy Seahorse is all I'm asking for! But a girl Seahorse is also very awesome. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Las Vegas 2015

MMMKAY, so I'm finally getting around to blogging the last of our vacation. I can't tell you why it's taken me so long, since I haven't really been busy, but you know. Life. Procrastination?

So as my last post sort of explained, I was totally pregnant during our summer trip. And it kind of sucked. I mean don't get me wrong, we still had fun and did most of what we wanted to do, but I felt awful a lot. And it was mostly a road trip so 8 hours a day in the car with nausea was terrible. BUT, we still went. And I hope I didn't totally ruin it! I think I did pretty good, considering. I mean, I hiked five miles around the Grand Canyon! And up and down the Las Vegas strip in 110 degree heat! I think I was a decent trooper. Although bedtime was so early, y'all.

So, Vegas! In comparison to our usual vacation spots (you know... mountains, outside in general) Las Vegas is weird. It's the opposite of what we usual go for, but we still love it for some reason. This reasoning makes little to no sense because we don't really drink (well I mean, I don't for sure now, but even when I did I haven't been drunk in literally years) so we're not big partiers, we aren't big fans of crowds of people, we aren't night owls, and we don't really gamble. But we still love Vegas! For me, it's the spectacle of it all. It's so over the top and insane and fancy but also trashy and garish? And the people watching is prime. I love all the ridiculous big hotels, the more themed the better. This was our third time to Vegas together, but only our second time staying there. The first time we just drove through. The second time we went after our 21st birthdays (it was a very awesome birthday present for me!). Here is a post about that first trip, prepare yourselves... we look like babies. Also, although I don't remember it at all, apparently we had a conversation in 2012 about going to Vegas after Brendon graduates. WEIRD, WE JUST DID THAT.

We stayed at Treasure Island this go round. Last time we stayed at the Paris, which was so lovely. But I wanted to go for a cornier hotel this time, so pirate themed it was. It was still pretty nice, our room was swanky, and gah that place is so affordable. Plus we booked a show and room package so we got a Cirque du Soleil show out of the deal. We saw Mystere and it was very awesome. Those performers have talents and skills that I will never ever come close to touching.

Here's a random smattering of photos I took. With my iPhone. Because I was not carrying my heavy big camera around in that heat. These are mostly of hotels because I am a nerd.

ONE HUNDRED AND TEN DEGREES. I think after this we made a pit stop in the Tropicana to literally just sit in the AC. Then Brendon bought a $2 tall ass can of beer from a convenience store and I bought two bottles of water. And then chugged it all.

Art aside: Vegas is the perfect place for Jeff Koons. I was actually kind of impressed when I saw not one, but two Jeff Koons in the Wynn, and then I was like wait. It's Jeff Koons.

Brendon had this two for one drink ticket thing so he got two beers. I dutifully stared at his second beer, pretending (wishing?) it was mine.

Oh and we must talk about our "gambling". We played a little on the slots but I found the casinos to be lamer than usual because EVERYONE SMOKES?!?! Bleh. Brendon had been talking about playing blackjack forever, and was doing all kinds of research on his phone; where the best tables were, secrets to winning, etc. He did this for three days, and then on the fourth morning before we left, he finally went down to the tables in our hotel while I laid in bed. He was gone for about 20 minutes, he came back and I was obv like "HOW DID IT GO?" and he was all, "It was okay. I won a hundred dollars." This fool goes down and wins a hundred bucks in a few minutes and waited to start gambling until right before we left. BUH. Shoulda put him to work earlier.

The Fountains at the Bellagio. Always and forever my favorite. Unrelated, but ALSO, if you are vegetarian or vegan, the Wynn is your hotel! Every single restaurant in that place has veggie options, because apparently the owner is vegan. That is what's up! We ate at La Cave for a fancy night out our last evening and it was great! 

So that's it! Las Vegas was real fun. Even pregnant! Obviously it would have been more fun not pregnant, but what are you gonna do. Next time, I wont be knocked up. 

The drive home was terrible though, y'all. We drove from Vegas to Santa Rosa, New Mexico the first day and then back to Texas the second. And this was the beginning of my sickest week. I was so over the car by the end. And then get this, we went to a wedding in Fort Worth the day after we got back. HA, my life.

YEESH it took me like a month to blog that vacation. I blame it on the Seahorse. Here are the rest of the posts!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Baby Hogan

Hello, in case you missed the memo, I'm pregnant. Let's discuss. Because I'm a chronic oversharer and what else is the internet for if not for babies and cats?

So, first of all here are the big details. I'm 14 weeks pregnant. Due date is January 15th-ish. We found out at the beginning of May and kept it mostly secret for almost three months! It was hard. But fun.

We've been calling our kid the Seahorse. Because we're weird and "baby" just sounded too... I don't know. Babyish? And because when we first found out (we found out waaaay early), it was seriously just a wee embryo. Not even that, a jumble of cells. And Brendon said fetus and I was just like, ew. It was too tiny and microscopic and fetus just sounds scary. So he was like Seahorse! I think he meant sea monkey, but it came out Seahorse and I was like "Eeeeeee!" and that was it. We had a Seahorse.

Like I said, we found out very early. My cycle had been like clockwork (TMI? It's a post about being pregnant.) so when things didn't happen like they usually do I was suspicious. I also felt like, this might be it. I felt different. So about five days after I should have been surfing the crimson tide, I took a test. Too early I guess, because it came out negative. I felt funky about it, but I was like whatever, maybe my cycle is off because I'm stressed. But then it still never happened, so a weekish later I took another one on some random day before work, and instead of just the one blue line it had the faintest cross line of blue as well. So light, you had to really look, but it was there. I will forever and always remember the feeling seeing that pale blue line going the other direction. I was surprised and shocked and AHHHH and excited and kind of relieved? Because you guys I felt weird for a while, not a bad weird, but just like... different (raging hormones). And hopeful? So I ran into the other room and threw my pee stick on Brendon's desk (yes, gross, but in the heat of the moment...) and said "LOOK THERE ARE TWO LINES IT SAYS EVEN IF ONE IS FAINT IT'S POSITIVE I THINK I'M PREGNANT." Or something like that. And then I immediately grabbed the keys and made Brendon go with me to buy another test. That was a fun car ride. Adrenaline pumping, but also the strangest calm? By the way HEB is the cheapest place to buy pregnancy tests. This time I got a digital one so there was no question of faint lines. I didn't have to pee again yet and Brendon had to go to work so he was like, "Tell me the results immediately." The ever rational Mr. Hogan. Flash forward thirty minutes or so and I took the fancy digital test and boom there it was. In less than three minutes in the crispest digital print, "Pregnant". And as the millennial I am, I took a photo and sent it to Brendon.

So the Seahorse came into existence, or into our knowledge. My eggo was preggo. Really, the timing was almost perfect. Brendon was about to graduate and start his residency which meant that he'd be bringing in some income and our lives would reach some level of adult normalcy (is there such a thing?). But I do mean almost perfect. Because we found out at a crazy time. I was starting my last month of work (and all the drama that came with that), Brendon was graduating (lots of family = lots of stress. The good kind, but still..), and we were about to pack up our Austin lives and move to Temple. Lots of big things, all at once. So it was an interesting month to say the least. It was trying, in many ways, but also incredibly exhilarating. We told a couple of people, but other than that it was still very much a secret. So we went through all that craziness, while also coming to terms with the fact that the Hogan family was expanding, relatively alone. I mean we had each other, but it's hard keeping something like that to yourself. When I was exhausted and feeling near death at work, I couldn't be like, oh hey, lemme chug some calories real quick, or I AM GOING TO EXPLODE, because hormones. Or when your family is giving you the "when are you two reproducing" eyes (Whyyyyyy is that okay to ask? It is not, btw.) and you're just like, heh? Or when you're moving and packing and sweating and just so tired and you need to hide out but you can't? Like there is no time? But you guys, it was also the loveliest secret to keep. It was magical and special and just ours. And it also made me feel hella tough surviving that month, because I am woman hear me roar. But just wait.

Honestly, being preggo for the first month was pretty easy. Aside from all the craziness that just so happened to occur in that month. My biggest pregnancy symptoms were just incredibly sore boobs, and exhaustion. Oh and hormones, duh. But holy cow, so so so tired. But other than the boobs, grouchiness, and tiredness, it was an "easy" month. I was like dang, being pregnant is not bad! HA. Around week 6 (and a half) the nausea set in. And headaches. But mostly nausea. And it did not go away. It sucked so bad. Nausea all day long (morning sickness is a lie!), for like 6 weeks straight. Some people get cravings? I just hated food. I hated eating. Nothing sounded good. Except fruit, I ate a lot of fruit. Like so many bunches of bananas. IT SUCKED. I could write a book on how much it sucked. But once the first trimester started wrapping up, the nausea eased up too. Not totally gone, I still have to eat every two hours or I get pukey feeling, but so much better. Now I'm mostly just tired all the time and have the headaches from hell. Being pregnant is an adventure.

But thankfully y'all, I have a Brendon. Not only is he incredibly supportive and sweet and understanding (seriously, this cannot be stated enough, I married a saint), but he's also a pharmacist, so apparently he knows some medical mumbo jumbo. He's been leading me in the right directions and is my guru for, "Can I do this? Can I take this? Should I not do that?" Gosh, he's just so good to me. I don't know what I would do without him. Probably starve to death. He is always there for me. When I'm awful and grumpy and badly in need of a snack (or meal, or water, or whatever) at a very inconvenient time, he's got my back. He cooked so many meals for me you guys, so many. And he's also forever telling me "thank you for growing the Seahorse", which you know, would make my ovaries explode if they weren't in baby growing mode.

Also a shout out to my momma, who checked on me almost every day to see how I was feeling. There's nothing like being pregnant to make you appreciate your mom. I'm sure the appreciation only grows, as the Seahorse you know, comes out and we're, you know, raising it. I hear that's the hard part. Mom, you are my hero. I don't know how you did this twice. ;) 

But truly you guys, aside from feeling mostly awful for two months, the whole thing is great and pretty unreal. My hair and nails are on point right now. And my face has finally calmed down from the hormone explosion so maybe I'm getting that glow? And the ultrasounds!? Hearing someone else's heartbeat in my tummy? It really felt real once we heard it in there. So cool. I'm just super excited to be growing this Seahorse and super excited to see what our DNA mixed together turns out like. Obviously a badass, but what kind of badass? Gosh it's gonna be fun. Also scary (we are basically big children, who allowed us to become parents??). But let's focus on the fun, shall we? IT'S GONNA BE SO FUN.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hoover Dam

What did the fish say when he ran into the wall? Just kidding guys. I only do corny jokes in real life. The Hoover Dam! This little stop on our trip was a pretty short one. We stopped on our way from the Grand Canyon to Vegas, you actually have to drive past it to get from point A to B so it was super convenient! The last time we were here, that big bridge in that photo was just being started. You had actually drive over the dam! Now you only drive over it if you go out of the way.

It was roughly 115 (like no lie) degrees out, so we made our way around the dam pretty quick and then jumped back into the car. We were pretty tired anyway from hiking around the Grand Canyon and then driving for hours. Oh plus, we almost starved to death in the desert. Not really, but seriously there was like no where to stop for 100 miles and we were (I was) starving. We had lunch at a gas station. I think I had macaroni salad (bleh), Cheetos, and a caffeine free diet coke. So healthy. Road trip food is hard when you're a vegetarian, but we got pretty good at it by the end of the trip. You get to know which fast food place has what, and how to scrape up a decent meal out of a gas station. (Note to self, next time pack PB&J fixings.)

ANYWAY, the point is, we were pretty beat when we made it to the Hoover Dam. God it was hot. But it is still an amazing sight, and always worth the stop. I love the mountains around here. They're so rugged and brown. And Lake Mead is the most amazing shade of turquoise, it's the prettiest ribbon of color winding through all that brown.

They have two pillars with clocks on them, giving each states time. And down the middle of the dam is the state line, so if you straddle it, you're in two places at once!

I blame the next two photos on the heat.

You gotta lean over the edge to get a picture, right? I'd love to take the tour down sometime. There's so much going on underground. Amazing to think of the building process. I can't really wrap my mind around it! Humans are awful sometimes, but they're also capable of making amazing things.

I mean, DAMN. Right? ;) It truly is a wonder. And just outside of Vegas! Like maybe thirty minutes. There are some pretty spectacular looking parks to play on Lake Mead on either side of the dam too. We were too tired to stop, but one day!