Monday, December 14, 2009

Wake up with Regis and Kelly

Now that I'm not working I have time to enter sweepstakes like Regis and Kelly's. You're supposed to send in a photo of you right after you wake up. This is me and my coffee cup of milk. Mmm.

I am crossing my fingers that they call me and we win a trip..or even the consolation prize of a 500 gift certificate would be way cool.

More pics from Thanksgiving Weekend

In honor of my Aunt Barbie!

Me and Rob and Baby before the GA/ GA Tech Thanksgiving game (we are all smiling). This is baby's 1st GA Tech article of clothing.

Rob eating the Christmas Tree at the Tree lighting

Santa being rescued from the roof at the Tree lighting.

Tuba players

Other Pics from the weekend

The Lancaster City Tree. It was a bitterly cold night after Thanksgiving but how could we not go out and see the tree lighting after hot cocoa at the neighbors!

Rob and Parents
Rob and wife
Danielle and Cylo comparing bellies. Cyclo is the mascot of Lancaster's minor league team. He made a guest star appearance at the Tree lighting.

Our Charlie Brown tree. Those of you who went to our wedding will remember it's prominence at the reception.

A very Hartley Thanksgiving

our very fun advent house. We're loving it! Each day either Rob or I get a small gift from the other, like a massage, money for the vending machine at work, or a movie rental. Most of the time the gifts are free which we especially like. Last Friday, Rob's gift from me was to go see Reindeer at the grocery store. Yes, A live reindeer. It was amazing and I may have enjoyed it more than him :)

They look better than they actually were... Over baked a little - pregnancy brain struck again!

The total spread along with Friends from Work (the Treppman's), Rob and Ted & Fran!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evening at the Symphony

Last Friday night, a friend at church who is a symphony patron gave us his tickets a concert which he and his wife would miss due to a mission trip. Rob and I gratefully accepted and enjoyed a holiday evening out on the town. We walked to the Fulton Opera House on Prince St. on a mild northeast November evening, making sure to arrive early so we could check out the building. The Fulton used to be an old jail, and by old I mean pre-United States in the early early 1700s. There only original remnants of the jail is an original wooden door with a steel padlock and a plaque next too it describing the history. The Fulton is also supposedly haunted.

The concert was excellent. Strings, then chorus accompaniment, intermission, amazing piano-string-chorus, and then the full orchestra. We walked across the street afterwards for a coffee/tea treat before taking a longer stroll home. The bottom picture is from upstairs in the Fulton picturing Prince Street Cafe. It was a great evening out. And I can't help but think it will be one of our last really special date nights before we have to find a baby sitter!

27 week appt by the numbers

87 - glucose level after sick sugar drink (baby boy flipped out having such a jolt of sugar) Good news is no signs of gestational diabetes.
10.2 - iron level in blood. Must begin taking iron supplements since diet only isn't doing the job
8.5 - number of lbs gained since last much for the 1lb a week guideline
29 - weeks my belly is measuring
3 - weeks until my next appt.

In other good news, we have a good baby who listened to his mama's pep talks to head down!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I want my baby

to look like his dad. 12 more weeks until we find out if he does.

Monday, November 9, 2009

26 1/2 weeks pregnant

The belly's grown a bit in the past 6 weeks and the cheeks are a little fuller. We decided to take these photos outside so you can also see our awesome fall leaves.

Crabs we had'em

DC friend Matt Bryan invited us down to Baltimore to a crab joint for crab festivities. Rob and I tried our hand at eating whatever type of crab this is Maryland style (little hammers, but disappointingly no bibs).

I enjoyed my first few bites until I heard Rob say, "Ouch!" followed a few seconds later by, "Is crab meat supposed to be pink" He had cut his thumb on the shell and bled all over the crab meat inside the shell... oh gross. It was return of 2 month pregnant morning sickness. That and those little guys reminded me too much of crawdads.

Justin posing with his crab because Rob was giving his pregnant wife a hard time about her wish for a crab photo op.

Rob triumphantly holding a crab that would not get the better of his other thumb.


These are some pics from our 1st Halloween in Lancaster! I bought a huge pumpkin and evoked quite a few grins from other shoppers as I left with my big round purchase on the hip of my big round belly.

Rob carving the pumpkin... this is serious work. My job was to scoop out the guts and cut off the hat.
Do they favor?

Let's hope we're better parents and don't intentionally scare the kid for a laugh when he's outside the womb.

Street view from outside our window.

Ohh. .. yuck.

I was getting ready to post a TON of pictures when the camera battery died. I didn't think it had to be charged if it was plugged into my computer! Ugh! I'll make another attempt tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Registry Advice

Hey, any new mom or baby equipment experts out there? Rob and I are in the process of building our baby registry and I have little to no clue as to what we really need and what we will actually get the most use out of.

Any advice in the way of brands that are good, products we don't really need but may think we do, and especially any "must haves" hints would be greatly appreciated.

Name Change Progress

To keep myself accountable, I'm listing what I've accomplished so far in the name change quest.

1_ looked up the order to change your name online
2_ Gathered necessary documents
3_ Found out what both the SS office and drivers' license require

Tomorrow, I leave at 8:30 am for the SS office to hopefully really make my first move!
Then I need to order more original marriage licenses for the dmv
and then, I can get my driver's license changed.

After that, I think it will just be a matter of calling credit cards, utilities, and insurance companies.

we'll see how long these steps take...

Monday, September 28, 2009

20 week appt by the numbers

95/50 - my blood pressure, can it get any lower...
7.5 - the month's weight gain, Yikes!
14 oz - the baby's total weight
89th - percentile of our baby weight-wise (looks like I'm not the only tubbo in the family)
8lbs - what we can expect our baby to weigh...let's hope it's not more

I also got a little peak into our baby boy's personality. Our office checks the baby's heartbeat every visit with a small hand-held dopplar (think walkman with a microphone on the end). This week my midwife was having a hard time counting the baby's heartbeat. He was squirming around, moving all over, she would get a few beats and then he was off again. She was finally able to pin him down using the end of the dopplar, but that little boy was not happy about having to stay still! He pushed and kicked against her in attempts to free himself. I guess it will be useless to try to slow this little one down when he's got playing on the brain.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Belly Shots

Me and the belly at 20 weeks

After our "boy news", I guess I'll be the only one with Barbie BandAids for a little while longer. This is from my flu shot earlier in the day.

And, my handsome husband (just because it's my blog and I can!)

It's a BOY!

Rob and I had our 20 week ultrasound this afternoon at 3:45. Our baby is 14 oz and about the length of a banana. The ultrasound tech and dr. checked out all our baby's 2000 parts and gave us the best news of all that we have a healthy little one. We closed our eyes while they checked out the bladder, leg bone structure, etc., but asked them to write down the gender on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope so we could open it later.

Below are some of the shots we got from the ultrasound (much different from our little jelly bean of 7 weeks.)

sleepy little baby

We already think this kid's got great cheeks!

After the ultrasound, we took our sealed envelope to Loxley's. Loxley's is a Robin Hood themed/tree house restaurant off rt. 30 in Lancaster. Really cool. Rob told the hostesses of our plans and they we so excited to help us with our plan. We shared a great dinner and gave last minute guesses and phone calls to family before we ordered dessert. We gave the sealed envelope to our waiter with the instruction, if this says boy bring us the berry filled pastry with blueberries only, if it says girl bring us it with raspberries.

We got blackberries which took us by surprise! Blackberries! But the words written below the pastry left no doubt... It's a Boy! The staff was really good to us and had a lot of fun with it. I think they were as excited for us to get to dessert as we were.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A deadline

To let you in on a secret, officially, I have yet to change my last name. After we got married, all my financial aid was in my maiden name and then passports, etc while we were abroad and then… I decided an address change and name change may seem a little too sketchy for my credit card company once we moved to PA. Basically, until now our life has been in a crazy whirlwind and I will avoid government offices like the plague if I’m able. I’ve also heard that you have to change some things first and I always forget which one it is… Rob never seemed to care what my last name was and so I was able to float along being known as Hartley socially, with none of the legal hassle.

However, I now have a hard deadline in the very near future. We will soon have a child and I hate the thought of being in the hospital with a newborn and explaining why my name is different, but Rob claims the baby so it should have his last name. no no no. I have less than 20 weeks to make myself a legal Hartley. Any encouragement or tips will be greatly appreciated as I am no less daunted by this task only I have more urgency!

Pregnancy Brain

After we first got pregnant I read about “pregnancy brain.” At first, I thought it was silly, but now I’m a believer, or at least I’ve got a scapegoat.

Whether it’s preoccupation with thoughts of a baby or an actual hormonal change… I have no clue, but this symptom of pregnancy causes women to be a little scatterbrained.

List of things I will blame on Pregnancy Brain

1. Mailing letters only half way addressed
2. Forgetting to buy groceries which were written on my list
3. Leaving stove top burners on long after dinner's over
4. Undercooking/overcooking supper
And my favorite
5. Putting a chicken in the crockpot only to return home from work to find that I forgot to turn it on!

I’ve also moved up a few notches on the clumsy scale, breaking two of our nice pretty glasses from crate and barrel L (does PA have crate and barrel?) and dropping a fridge pack of coke creating the need for some creative can opening techniques.

All this in the past couple weeks.

Rob is really sweet when pregnancy brain attacks; saying things like, “I hated that glass, I would have thrown it against the wall”, “I wanted Chinese tonight anyway”, or “If you had got everything at the store I would have thought something were wrong.”

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Our Turnip

Today marks our 17th week of pregnancy. The baby weighs about as much as a Turnip; I've been very excited as we've moved out of the bean and seed size comparisons and into the fruits like apples and avocados, but I must admit that the 40 week pumpkin comparison we're looking forward to is more than just a little frightening.

17 weeks feels much better than 13 weeks. I'm no longer dealing with morning sickness, I can drink and eat more, and although my energy hasn't completely returned due to the whole new life being created inside me, I do have much more energy than in the first trimester.

We find out the sex of the baby in about 4 weeks and I can't wait. It took awhile for Rob to bring me over to his side on that decision. But now I can't imagine not finding out. I'm terribly excited. It will be another way of making this process seem so much more real! I also think I felt the baby move a few nights ago, it's still early for that, but I can't wait for more regular movements.

Aside from morning sickness, we've had a pretty smooth ride so far. I had trouble staying hydrated early on and about the only thing that I could get down was my preggo-margarita creation : a little bit of water, a lot a bit of lemon juice topped with a lot of salt. I carried that little tonic with me everywhere I went. I've only gained about 1.5 pounds so far which is on the low side so I've been encouraged to eat more. Milkshakes here I come.

Physically, I don't feel much different except I brush my baby bump often when I'm closing the fridge or car door. Not used to that quite yet. And I feel like an old lady sometimes with back pain. Not from baby weight gain but from whatever internal adjustments are going on. My sciatica hurts...and I'm only a little embarrassed by that.

Pregnancy hormones are shifting into high gear though, I've started to have really vivid dreams, difficulty deciding what shampoo to buy, and there is that one episode of a little bit of a boo hoo break down in the dentist chair a few days ago. Ohh, my. And I don't mean a tear in the eye...I boo hoo-ed. I've heard that all women who experience childbirth lose their sense of modesty. But, I'm also guessing that it becomes difficult for them to be embarrassed because of random crying sessions and babies pooping on them. Oh motherhood, I am excited.

Next week we're flying down to Atlanta and driving down to Farm Day. As excited as I am to see everyone and everything we can while we're "home", I must admit that most of my thoughts drift toward getting this southern baby some real food. I have been craving fried catfish and spicy chicken biscuits like never before. I absolutely can't wait.

Lancaster FALL Living?

Could it really be Fall already? It's barely September and the cool came even before August ended. This is definitely not what this Georgia girl is used to. The temps dipped down into the 50s a few nights ago! What? isn't that supposed to happen in December? NOT AUGUST! Where are we?

I must admit though, after my initial shock at having to wear a sweater while Rob was grilling a few nights ago and my sadness after the local weather man touted, "Summer's over! No more 90s!" (who's happy about this?, I wondered), I am enjoying this season called Fall. It is definitely a reprieve for me and Rob as we have had one continuous season of Summer for well over a year. I'm looking forward to a more pronounced Autumn season complete with Fall festivals, apple harvests, molasses cookies and pumpkin pies.

I'm just wondering, how long will it last? How long before Fall becomes Winter here? I can deal much more easily with the heat than the cold. I hate that my nose and toes freeze all winter long and don't thaw out until spring, how much worse will it get here? We had dinner with friends the other night and they recalled last year when their heat went out and the weather INSIDE was 32 degrees (outside being a mere negative 5) is that possible? I thought that could only happen in Alaska. I can't handle that, my house must be warmer than the fridge at all times.

I've heard that pregnant women are typically warmer than others making the summers unbearable, but hopefully making the winter a little more bearable for me. Here's hoping that this little bundle I'm carrying is a personal hot water bottle this winter.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We've Moved...and We're Pregnant!

Dear Friends and Family,

We're back in the states and things are moving fast for us! Not only have we've moved from Rwanda to Lancaster, but we're also getting ready for a baby. We're Pregnant!

Here is our new contact information:
218 East Orange Street, Apt. 1 Lancaster, PA 17602 215.715.4801 (Danielle) 215.715.4158 (Rob) Email:;
Skype: robertpaulhartley; daniellehartley

We're busy settling into our new apartment and tackling a long list of to-dos that comes with an across-the-world move and a baby on the way. Rob is continuing his work with HOPE International at the central office in Lancaster, and he’s enjoying it immensely. Hopefully, we'll be at home in our new area in time for Hartley baby's debut in February.

We’d love to hear from you now that we’re back, and you're welcome to visit us in Lancaster anytime!

Danielle and Rob

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rummage Sale

The alarm clock blared at 6 am this morning. I actually got out of bed at 6:20 and our Saturday morning song by the Eels had never been played so early.

"It's Saturday morning, who's gonna play with me? It's 6 in the morning baby, and I got a long long day ahead of me."

Downstairs, 2 cardboard boxes sat filled to the brim with our stuff. Stuff we had accumulated during our time here -- mostly kitchen things, and stuff we didn't want to lug back to the states, freeing up valuable kilos for the trek home.

Our taxi driver arrived at 7:30 on the dot and we were out the door. We arrived at a local mission and set up on one of the few remaining tables. Rob helped me dump everything out and we started arranging and pricing right away as some early birds were already making rounds hoping to catch the good stuff before the doors officially opened. I asked Rob if he remembered our last yard sale. We were in East Point, we were moving, we had a ton of stuff to sale, and we were both suffering from a classified "mild" reaction to immunizations we received the previous day. Oh, we were so sore, nauseated, shaking with chills, and felt kinda out of it the whole day. It got worse and worse until we both ended up on an air mattress on the floor in the living room while people poked around in our stuff. I was so glad to have Rob's parents there to help us! We would have had to cancel the sale had they not been there.

I really enjoy yard sales. It's so fun to me to sit out in a chair and talk to people, make signs, have a money pouch, etc. But I must admit, it's also just a lot of fun to get money for things you want to get rid of. I can't wait to be on the shopping end when we get to Lancaster. If I'd had a goal in mind for our day's profit, it would be to recoup most of the cost of my internet modem and the one trip we made to T2000 (the chinese store) when we first moved into our house - Rob's goal was to get enough money to have one more dinner at Khana Khazana. Either way, it was going to be a fun day of hanging out with friends.

The lady at the table next to ours was selling homemade bagels in addition to her rummage sale treasures and rob and I each bought one for 300 RWF a piece and coffees from some cute girls at the entrance (their version of a lemonaid stand I guess) for 200 RWF. It was a wonderful breakfast. Later in the morning we bought some mollasses cookies from the same girls and the cookies tasted like Christmas. I have to get the recipe before we leave.

We couldn't resist doing a little bit of shopping too, while we were there. Rob bought a card game, "Mille Bornes" for 1000 RWF. A game I tell him I had as a kid but he refuses to believe I could be that cool. And I traded some sauce packets for 4 hair scarves. Actually, the lady just gave me the hair scarves, but I insisted she take something from my table. I've secretly always wanted to wear hair scarves, but I didn't think I could pull off "the look". But today, I felt brave and I'm rockin' the hair scarf.

Our total profit for the day - 62, 500 RWF. Pretty good considering we came home with a card game, scarves, bagel bellys, an unsold internet modem, and some other miscellaneous items. We're not done selling yet, either. I'm going to list a few things on our country's version of Craigslist and try to sell the others at my last bible study next month. I think I'll meet my goal before it's all over.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Other Uses for 'Sale Math'

Ladies, have you ever hit a good sale and went a little overboard, and before you know it your at the register and, whoops. Most of the time, when this happened to me my "sale math" was to blame

It's especially bad when a girl friend's with you and you confirm each other's bad math. Sale math really hurts you during the kind of sales where you buy 4 blouses and get 1 pair of trousers free. So you subtract the regular (outrageous) sale price of the pants from all 4 blouses, calculate how cute you'll look in them and how useful they'll be in your wardrobe, decide it's almost worth it, and then the sales lady says, "Oh, and did I tell you, If you buy over $150 dollars worth you'll get and extra 20% off". You get so excited; only thinking of how much your saving but absolutely blind to the costs. So you pick out a nice jacket and.. begin again with the math. When I was single these sales would get me every time, every time. I'm a HUGE sucker for that kind of 'sale'. Since I've been married though, we haven't done much shopping and I've only had to "sale math" my way out of one such experience. Rob totally didn't get my math, he's way too logical. No wonder you mostly see only women's clothing stores offering sales that appeal to our innate 'sale math' tendencies.

I know I'm getting a little itchy to find an apartment because I've began using the same logic with our rent... it's all heading south. Recently, we agreed on the monthly rent we'd both be okay spending. Actually, we tried to go under the 30% rule, both picked figures in our heads and came out with the exact same deal - rent with a major utility (HEAT!) hopefully included.

But recently, I was thinking. Say we get into an apartment and we don't like it! That's a broken lease penalty of a month's rent, a uhaul, time and effort of looking for a new place, etc. What if we take that amount and just add it to the amount we were originally going to spend... Sounds reasonable, right? Or! What if we were planning to stay in a hotel for the first month while we looked for an apartment. Whoa, we can add a lot to the amount we originally agreed on and pick from the plethora of expensive apartments now. Or, how about we price out how much value we place on certain features. For instance, I'd totally be willing to up our monthly rent if it meant we'd have a yard, extra bedroom, or the ability to have a pet.

Fortunately or not, sale math does not work on husbands. After my presentation, "We're going to be patient" was the resulting concensus. You're right, probably is the best decision. Way to go not being swayed by tempting 'sale math', husband.

I'm Failing Apartment Hunting 101

How does one shop for an apartment a half a world away? Any good ideas? We've been scouring Craigslist for the past week and it seems that we're either sketchy prospective tenants because we're in Africa, too late to catch the good deal, or we're the perfect candidates for the generic 2 bd/2 ba and we just need to send in credit reports, social security numbers, and money....

We're getting a little trigger happy with our apartment hunting as well, which doesn't mix well with scamming attempts. Even after we confirmed our latest apartment love was a scam, Rob returned the scammers email asking for a picture of the back yard. It was a really beautiful apartment. Almost worth the scam.

Since these run-ins with scammers, I've assumed the role of vigilante and have been flagging apartment listings left and right on Craigslist. If we were in Atlanta (or anywhere in the States) I'd give Clark Howard a call and he would sound the alarm. By the way, my apologies if your apartment listing wasn't actually a scam....

If any one knows of a good way to shop for an apartment (a legitamate apartment) in a city to which they are not "local". I'm all ears to hear suggestions.

Or, if anyone knows of an apartment on the upper east or west side of Lancaster on Orange, Walnut, Lemon, Chestnut or James; we'd definitely be interested, as those are my favorite streets. -- Please no inticing scams or outrageously expensive apartments as my fragile heart can't withstand it.

Monday, May 11, 2009


An entry of pictures. This is our recent trip to Akagera National Park.

Tortilla Night

In a far, far away land, where Mexican food does not exist...

sometimes you have to improvise.

My mom sent some fajita seasoning packets through the mail, and Rob and I were all set to enjoy a Mexican night at home, but then, I remember we have no tortillas and no Kroger down the street to provide said tortillas.

What's a girl to do with a tortilla-less Mexican night? I pulled out my 'Cookin' in Kigali' recipe book and got to work making my own flour tortillas.

Flour, margarine, baking soda, salt and water. That's it. mix it all up, knead it, divide it into 12 balls, roll them out as thin as you can and then fry in a dry skillet.

A lot of work! Rob liked them and I thought they were okay, much more chalupa-like than tortilla, in my opinion. Next time I'll have to roll them out thinner. Next time? I think I'll just wait for another Mexican night until we have a grocery store nearby.