Saturday, December 26, 2015

Week 29 - 30: A Georgia Christmas

Week 29

So we are still settling in. We've been here long enough now that it's time to dust and vacuum already, but we still have so much stuff lying around that we have to make a conscious effort to keep working on finding a home for every little thing.

I think I can finally say...there are no more boxes in the house!! I have unpacked the last of it! The decor might not all be up on the walls yet, but the house is definitely feeling more like a home! The crazy part is, is that we do this ALL OVER AGAIN in about 6-7 months.


(that is a sarcastic "yay", by the way)

I've enjoyed this week of finally getting to get in the Christmas spirit and put up the Christmas tree! And a few decorations...but we aren't doing a whole lot this year because honestly it's just more work to put things up...and then to have to take them down in a few weeks! Plus I don't have a whole lot of places for decorations where Ava cannot reach. However, she has really surprised me with the fact that she has left the Christmas tree alone - almost entirely! She doesn't pay any attention to it, really! She has touched a few of the ornaments, but that's about it! (I think she was actually trying to hug them - the ones down low are mostly soft kitties and teddy bear ornaments that we don't mind if she touches.) She has tried to run off with one of the presents underneath, but I caught her before she got very far! We have a little nativity set next to the tree in front of the fireplace that she can play with, so that might be satiating her curiosity.

Ava seems to have settled in well. She knows her way around the house and loves all of her freedom! She has access to the whole house, except we have the master gated off (it is NOT baby proofed in there...we own items she does not belong near) as well as the guest room (this is the kitty room too, so we need to keep her AND Duke away from the litter boxes). She has really amazed me with how much she is NOT getting into! She loves to run around in the kitchen and go into her room to dig through her dresser! Only once in awhile does she come out with some of her clothes! She does play with Duke's food...but at least she leaves his water bowl alone! She likes to go get her sheepy and bunny from her crib and follow the cats around.

The cats have really settled in, too! As soon as the furniture arrived it was as if this has been their house forever. Zorro enjoys his space in Ava's play room on the cat tree in the front window. Duke is across the way near the back door, so there is plenty of space for them both. Pearl typically ends up getting "locked" in in the master - she's too fat to jump over the gate, and we can't keep the little pet gate open because Ava can crawl through it! The gate on the guest room door is raised so the cats can get under, but Ava can't!

Despite the fact that Ava has adjusted well, it has been a really long 2 weeks with her, not because of the move - but because of her teeth! This last set of molars was really hard on her! 10 days of a low-grade fever, daily crankiness, decreased appetite, and loose diapers. We gave her pedialyte to help keep her hydrated, and then she ended up with a horrible diaper rash! She was raw and crying; we felt so bad! This was unlike any other rash she'd had, so I started googling, wondering if there was a connection to the pedialyte. AND SURE ENOUGH, diaper rash is a common side effect of pedialyte!! Here we were, thinking we were helping her, when in reality, we just added one more issue for her to deal with! Obviously we immediately trashed the pedialyte and changed her hourly, air dried her completely at each change, and slathered her in Triple Paste. We gave her oatmeal baths for 2 nights and tried to give her some time with her diaper off. Of course, she peed both times; at least we were in the bathroom! It was interesting to see her reaction each time it happened - she was upset and clutched one of us after she peed, and kind of cried about it! She didn't like it at all! I reassured her and she watched me clean up her mess. It makes me curious to see what kind of a potty trainee she will be! And then, she got bit up by some aggressive ants in the backyard! She got about 10 bites on her little hands! Besides the initial biting, they didn't seem to bother her much. She left them alone and they are healing and should be gone soon. Poor girl couldn't catch a break!!

Liam is active as ever! He feels like he may have rotated; I'm anxious for my next appointment to see how he is laying! I don't crave milk nearly as much as I used to, and I for sure don't crave jalapeƱos anymore. I'M SO EXCITED to cook massive amounts of food for Christmas!!! I have maintained a healthy appetite, but now there is less room so I have to stop eating before I am truly full at each meal. I get pretty uncomfortable by the end of the day, and it gets to a point where I just need to go to bed, not necessarily because I'm tired, but because my body is done! Laying down in bed at night is becoming one of my favorite parts of the day!

Week 30

Time sure is flying by! We have been looking for Christmas things to do during the day as we are all feeling a bit of cabin fever since we don't know anyone here yet. We found a little Santa event at the Harley Davidson here. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, as well as the Grinch. They had appetizers for the adults and a few fun craft stations for the kids! It was a nice little free event that was perfect for Ava's age - it was all at your own pace. Ava made a Christmas card with foam stickers (she only picked out the circles) and decorated a cookie. She shared a few snacks with us and got to eat her first candy cane! We haven't found any other age-appropriate activities for her; we arrived about a week too late. Most of the events in the area were happening as we were moving in. We made some Christmas cookies here at home and Ava like to press the dough and eat the sprinkles!

We had an appointment with my new doctor here, and he is totally on board with a repeat c-section! And my suspicion about Liam rotating was right - he is head down! A total surprise! And no external version this time! But since we are electing to schedule a c-section, it's not that important this time.

Not that it's anyone else's decision but ours, here are the reasons we want to do a repeat c-section:

1. The MAIN reason: Ava was not exactly head down when I was in labor; she was slightly to the right. The doctor who performed my c-section said when she was closing me up, she noticed my cervix wasn't centrally aligned with my uterus. So Ava's head was aligned with my cervix, but my cervix was not aligned with the birth canal. She went on to say that I would still be eligible for a VBAC. However, I personally feel that's putting a lot at risk for another unplanned c-section or even an emergency c-section, something that we DO NOT want to repeat. It was terrifying to hear Ava's heart rate plummet; I never want to hear that sound again! I would love to have a non-scary delivery this time!

2. Breech. A breech baby is an automatic c-section anyway...except Liam has flipped on his own! He must want to one-up his sister already!

3. Risk of rupture. With a VBAC comes a risk of rupture. Although that risk is small, it is still present and really freaks me out. Ever since my last c-section I have had visualizations of my incision tearing open. It's just something I can't get out of my head!

4. Scheduling. If this were the only reason I had to do a c-section, then I wouldn't choose it at all. But it is another factor to consider in our situation. Chris's career course starts March 6th, and he is not allowed to miss any days...even for paternity leave. So if I left it up to my body to go into labor, we would be risking Chris not getting full (or any, if Liam was late) paternity leave. Not to mention we need help this time around - at a minimum, we at least need someone to stay with Ava while we are in the hospital, and since we are so far away, a scheduled c-section will make it much less stressful for family to get out here to help in time.

I really don't want to choose major surgery, and I was always hoping to deliver vaginally at least once, but it just doesn't make sense this time. I want Liam here safely. And to me, there is too much at risk to do that vaginally. At least I know what to expect for recovery, and hopefully it will be a little easier this time since it will have been a planned c-section instead of rushing to cut me open and yank little Ava out.

I have finally started bi-monthly appointments, so I will go in again just after the first of the year. We are considering permanent birth control for me at Liam's delivery; we feel that 2 little minions is just the right number for us! We have yet to make a final decision, but we want to make sure we have 100% decided, or else we won't do it at all.

Christmas was...different this year! I cooked up a storm; we feasted on Christmas Eve! I made a ham in the crockpot (which I overcooked!!), funeral potatoes, sweet potato souffle, creamy corn, green bean casserole, stuffing, cherry fluff, crescent rolls, a pecan pie, and wassail!!! We found the only LCMS Lutheran church in Augusta and went to an early candlelight service before the feast. Ava has only been to church a couple of times in her life, so I was a tad worried about how she'd behave. Being contained is not her strong suit right now! She loved the music and was in awe any time we'd sing a hymn. She kept looking around, trying to figure out where the organ music was coming from! When the congregation stopped singing, Ava would sign "more" and get upset if more music wouldn't play! Chris ended up taking her out for the sermon and prayers; she had no interest in any of the toys I brought for her. She loved singing "Silent Night" by candlelight at the end! We had busted out the snacks by that point. It was pouring rain and storming once church got out. She did great for an hour and a half service! We came home and ate lots. Ava was picky, which didn't surprise me. Too many new things on her plate and she rejected almost all of it. We changed into jammies and opened presents! She liked to tear the wrapping paper and had her own commentary along the way: "ohhhhhhh" and "oooooooo". She liked looking at what she had unwrapped for about 2 seconds and then she was onto the next! She loved her new baby dolls the most, and her fake iPhone. There was so much to look at that night - I think she was overwhelmed by it all!

Christmas morning we had a big breakfast (again, I cooked wayyyy too much - french toast casserole, bacon, hash browns, and eggs) and opened our stockings! And then we played. The plan was to stay in jammies all day but it got too hot - 80 degrees!! What?! I have never in my life worn a tank top and flip flops on Christmas...and taken a picture in front of a palm tree! I forget we are just a couple of hours from the east coast! We went to the park after Ava's nap so we could all burn some energy! It was a nice, relaxing Christmas. I'm definitely glad we decided not to travel (I had NO desire to get on a plane at 8 months pregnant with a toddler), but it was hard to be away from family!

We are trying to enjoy these quiet moments before things get crazy again with a newborn! I'm trying to remember that, even in my uncomfortable moments. This may be the last pregnancy I have, so I'm trying my best to not wish it away! It's tough trying to meet all of Ava's demands. She's been especially attached to me lately, so I feel kind of bad when I have to tell her I can't pick her up. Braxton Hicks contractions started up right after the move, and it is especially hard when she wants to climb on me and I'm having a BH contraction! She was having rough bedtimes right after we got here. Not like really bad, she just had a hard time being laid down in her crib at the end of the bedtime routine. She'd cry and want out immediately after being laid down! Normally she'd let us tuck her in under her blanket with her sheepy in one arm and her bunny in the other. I knew I had to stay consistent with her, especially after a big move - consistency was probably exactly what she needed. It was hard to walk out with her standing and crying for me in her crib. But after 2-3 weeks, we seemed to have turned a corner. I no longer tuck her in, I just set her on her feet in her crib and blow kisses to her from the door before I close it. And she smiles at me and then lays herself down! Maybe she just needed a tweak to her routine; she is growing up, you know! So hard for momma, though! It's hard to know what is the right thing to do.

See you in a few weeks! Only 8 weeks left!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Week 28: The Longest, Quickest Week Ever

Ohhh week 28...(well technically it was the week leading up to week 28 and the few days after)

I'm real tired.

I mean that more than I've ever meant it in a pregnancy update post before!

We successfully relocated to Georgia!

It was quite an adventure. An adventure that I hope to never, EVER, have to repeat while pregnant. We survived, but I kept thinking how much easier every little bit would have been if I didn't my have my sweet little 2 pound baby boy in my belly!!

So, here's how the week went!

Sunday night we were so excited for the packers to arrive in the morning. Excited and nervous, I'd say, This was the first time we had someone move us, and I had heard a lot of horror stories. I suppose it's similar to the stories of giving birth - they're all wildly unique, sometimes crazy and scary, but you make it through with a great story to share!

The packers arrived at about 830 and we formulated a plan. They asked us what we wanted packed first, so we told them bedrooms and garage. That way, we could still have the kitchen and living room to use for one more day. Ava and I took off to a friend's house so I wouldn't have to try to keep her from going upstairs or running out the door. We returned with lunch for everyone and they had finished packing Ava's room, so we were able to have her nap in there. They left our beds intact; they said the movers would take those down on Wednesday. The packers were done by 2:00 so we had the rest of the day to ourselves. We had a fairly normal evening in the house and were ready for packing day 2! We were able to eat leftovers this night!
On Tuesday the packers did the rest of the house. Ava and I stayed out of the house again this morning - I knew there was no way I could manage her at the house. Housing insisted on building a new patio roof on the front door of the house, despite us telling them we were in the process of moving. So due to hammering on the front of the house and the packers downstairs, Ava napped in her pack and play in our room. She did so great and took a very long nap. The packers left early afternoon and we cleaned like crazy. The floors were so dirty after all the trips in and out of the house and there was cardboard dust everywhere. But the entire house was in boxes! It was so fast and SO nice to not have to do it ourselves! We had the traditional my-house-is-in-boxes dinner: Chinese take-out! I think the stress was getting to me a bit and I was sick to my stomach at bedtime. Mentally I did not feel stressed, but I think my body was feeling the affects anyway. So that wasn't fun. Chris had come down with a cold, the "3 year cold", as he calls it. He only gets sick once every 3 years or so, and of course it had to be now!

Wednesday...the day of the movers! Ava and I took off right away in the morning to a friend's house. It was working out so well to be out of the house there was no point to stay and be in the way. I took her to the library play group one last time - she and I are really going to miss it! We returned with lunch and once again it worked out for Ava to nap in an empty room upstairs. We were so impressed with how Ava was handling all this transition! She fell asleep within a minute at nap time each day. I was so relieved that she was doing well - that was my #1 worry! When she awoke, we played with her toys in her now empty room to stay out of the way. She had a low-grade fever and was having loose diapers...teething!! Thankfully I kept the motrin and thermometer out. She had kind of a fussy evening. We spent a lot of time cleaning - vacuuming, wiping baseboards, windows, cleaning the fridge...there was so much to do! My body just couldn't handle it, so I threw in the white flag. I decided overdoing it wasn't worth it, and I kept encouraging Chris to give up too. We would just take the fee for not cleaning everything. Since we all weren't 100%, we had soup from Panera for dinner. It hit the spot! We put Ava to bed and finalized our plan for the next day. It was really hard for me to find a comfortable place to relax. My options were the floor, the air mattress, or a camping chair. All I wanted was to recline! I hadn't been sleeping the greatest the last few nights due to nerves or tummy aches or Duke making noise in the room with us. Or Chris snoring. But he couldn't help his stuffy nose!

Thursday finally arrived!!! As much as I was dreading the drive to Augusta alone, it was still the best option. Chris had the move out appointment with housing at 8:30, then he had to go clear finance and then he had his final out appointment after that. And there was no reason for me and Ava to try and hang out in town, so we all had breakfast (yogurt, instant oatmeal, bananas, and can be done with an empty kitchen!) and parted ways. Ava and the cats and I got gas and went to the weigh station before starting our journey. She fell asleep around 8:30, just as I was hitting some traffic in Nashville. She was tired! I had plans to stop at a Chick-Fil-A in Chattanooga; I had the all-clear from my doctor to do the drive, but she wanted me to stop every 2 hours to walk. Let me tell you, we could not have chosen a better place to stop! Chick-Fil-A sure does take care of their dine-in customers! They brought everything I needed to my table and even put out a placemat on the table for Ava! Ava was in a super good mood and just took her time eating and looking around and flirting with an elderly couple seated nearby. I got some WiFi time and then I took her into the play area to stretch our legs a bit. We were there for almost an hour! I had talked with Chris and we had successfully cleared housing - with no cleaning fees!!!! (I was shocked) - and he was about 100 miles behind us. We loaded back up and she fell asleep again just as we hit nasty Atlanta traffic. I really don't like driving through that city! It's like 8 lanes wide and there are so many exits and merging traffic it's ridiculous! So I'm glad I could fully focus on the road! We stopped for gas a bit later and then the last leg was a peaceful interstate drive across Georgia. Ava was just about all done with being in the car so we turned on some Taylor Swift (Ava still loves her!) and I kept passing her some graham crackers (note to self: vacuum her car seat) until we made it to the house.

Ava and I had just enough time to get into the house and unload the car and do a little exploring before Chris and Duke arrived. The house had electricity but no water, so Chris made a run to the store to get somethings to get us through. We had microwave dinners and we put Ava to bed and went to bed ourselves shortly thereafter. We were exhausted!!

Friday morning we realized the house got super cold after having bedroom doors shut. Ava was up early because she was cold, I think. Plus we were in a new time zone so the sun was up early, too. We tackled a lot of errands and were out of the house quite a bit. We got the water guy to come out so we all got to bathe before bed! It was a very nice feeling.

On Saturday Chris got a call from our driver saying there was conflicting information about whether our HHG were going into storage or straight into a house. They were operating on the assumption that it was going into storage, so he said he'd call back with an update on when they would be delivering. Of course. We kept our fingers crossed it would be sooner rather than later! My exhaustion was snowballing, so we decided to take it easy and stay in the house if possible for the day. Buttt we realized we needed a few more things, so we did a few errands after making french toast for breakfast. And after Ava's nap, we were feeling a little bored, so we checked out the mall. And then we got the call - our HHG would be arriving the next day!!! 4 days on an air mattress and 6 days without access to everything else was PLENTY for us - I was OVER IT!! This preggo needed her couch! That's the thing I missed the most, I think, was a comfortable place to just sit!

We played outside in the yard and let Ava explore. We cooked up a little dinner and got Ava set up with a space heater in her room. The cats had been holed up in a bathroom for the most part, and we'd let them come out to explore after Ava was in bed. They were a little unsure!

Sunday arrived and we waited for the cable guy so we could finally have internet! It was tough to find things to do without it! The driver called and said they would be delayed, but it actually worked out better because Ava was able to take a nice, uninterrupted nap. Ava and I played in the yard while they brought everything in. It started to get a little cold, so we had to come in, and Ava was instantly in the way. Not to mention that afternoons had been fussy for her, so I knew she and I had to get out. There was no room to close ourselves in yet as they were still unloading. So we went to Target to browse. I had made chicken and rice in the crockpot so when we came back home, dinner was waiting! We had to avoid the movers in the house for a bit more as they went over final inventory and discussed missing items (we later found one, still missing a kitchen box but I have no idea what it could be; my mental inventory says we have it all). Ava and I played in the master bath while they assembled our beds. We were going to have them unpack us a bit too, but we were so tired and they had one more delivery they were going to attempt that night so we all decided it wasn't necessary. They filled up on chicken and rice and hit the road!

So once again, we found ourselves living amongst boxes! But we were so happy!!!!! We unpacked Ava's room at warp-speed so we could get her to bed; it was late and she was TIRED. And teething. Poor girl. Chris and I dug out our essentials and made the bed and went to sleep. It was so nice crawling into our bed again!!

Monday: a day of unpacking. Our priority was to normalize the living area for Ava and unpack as much of the kitchen as possible. We got a lot done and we went on post to see about getting me into the doctor and then took Ava to the playground. We started to feel more normal as we were able to cook dinner: mac and cheese and homemade chicken nuggets! The cats really started to relax once they recognized all the smells from our furniture. They have new friends to watch in the front windows: lizard thingies!
I counted 6 of them! They just hang out on the screens and sleep all day. We went to bed exhausted, again. Well, I'm speaking for myself I guess, but I assume Chris was exhausted too! Ava has been having cranky afternoons and a low-grade fever for days. Flushed cheeks and loose diapers...why does she have to be actively cutting her molars now???

Tuesday was more of the same - our goal was to completely finish the kitchen and empty the boxes in Liam's room, and continue to work on getting the boxes out of the master. We made it a priority to not take Ava anywhere so we could work on her daily routine again. I start out the day with energy, and then by Ava's nap time I'm ready for a nap - but it's prime time to work without a fussy toddler running around. Finding new spots for everything in the kitchen was tricky, but after messing with it and changing things around a few times, I got it to my liking! Liam's room is empty of boxes, although not set up yet. There's still several weeks for that! I got the cats area set up in the guest room and got Ava's bathroom put together.

Wednesday we finished our bedroom and I organized Ava's toys. Between her room and the new play room they were everywhere!! We started to work on the guest room and office. There are so many boxes!! It never stops!! Ava has been great about playing while I unpack, except she's been extra cranky because of these dang molars! These ones have given her so much trouble! So I usually have to stop and cater to her needs. So my progress in the house has really slowed down, which is ok, because it has been a long 7 days of work and stress and honestly I could use an excuse to not do anymore work!

On Thursday I had a preliminary appointment to get all my paperwork in order for Liam's check ups. It was effortless after a quick call to Tricare and a call to the appointment line at the hospital on post here. Everyone so far has been super friendly! I already have my next appointment to check on little Liam! Ava will be due for her shots after the 1st of the year. We went to the commissary for our first big grocery trip...I always dread having to restock the kitchen after a move!

Friday we unpacked the last of the boxes and put up the decor in Ava's room, so hers is completely done! Ava was SO CRANKY today so I didn't get as much done as I was hoping. Her molars FINALLY cut through so I'm hoping her symptoms subside soon. I need my giggly girl back! Nothing I did made her happy today - she even got 2 extra snacks - and she was kind of rough on my belly. It got to a point where I couldn't even let her sit with me because she kept elbowing and hitting my stomach. And of course that made her mad, so it was tough to get through the morning. She was better in the afternoon, which was when we were able to knock out the majority of the decorating.

This move seemed to take forever to happen, but looking back on it, the days already seem to have blurred together!

So what did we learn about our first PCS from one duty station to the other (and with kids...and a dog...and 2 cats)?

1. Don't do it while pregnant. IT'S TOO EXHAUSTING
2. Pack lots and lots of toys for the kids (we actually did this and it really helped!)
3. Pack some essentials to survive before HHG arrives (we had a pot, a pan, and a spoon, paper plates and plastic cups, dishes for Ava...we wish we would have had a bit more. We bought a crockpot and that was nice to have.)
5. Pack lots of bedding (I would have cried without my bedding and ample pillows; invest in a decent air mattress - its worth it!!)
6. Pack towels and a variety of clothes - HHG could always be delayed (I feel like we packed pretty well)
7. Pack some board games or something to do while you await internet/cable (we started to get bored)

and lastly,




I felt like quite the whiny prego and honestly I'm a bit surprised at how much I continued to do. I did say "I don't even care anymore" more times than I can count, mainly on the Ft. Campbell side of the move. Liam is in such a weird position that sitting upright or leaning over is uncomfortable. Bending makes my back hurt so I maxed out during cleaning at about 30 minutes. So chasing Ava around and trying to keep her happy while trying to stay comfortable while dealing with all aspects of this move was quite a challenge.

And I'm glad it's over.

Overall, it went pretty smoothly, so I'm not complaining!!

We were able to adequately skip hotel stays, which for us, would have been more hassle because of the cats and dog. Just as I thought, the cats made a huge mess in the bathroom and cried all the time. It would have been miserable trying to share space for all of us in one room. We were able to clean at the old house after Ava went to bed, and unpack in the new house. We got so much more done than we would have if we stayed in a hotel. We had a kitchen to cook in and a backyard for Duke. There was plenty of room for Ava to run and explore!

It is really bizarre to be in a new place where we don't know anyone. It's fun and exciting and strange all at the same time! But I know that we have to just dive in, and especially now that we have kids, we have no choice. It's hard to be so far from family, doing this "life" thing all by ourselves! The library on post has a story time that we want to take Ava to, and we are considering gymnastics too, but the parent has to guide the child through so the timing might not be right since I'm so uncomfortable already.

We've enjoyed having our windows open the last few days and checking on the lizards in the front window. It's always interesting to see how things are in a new region - the people, the food, the landscape...we are far enough south for palm trees and cactus plants! 

We are really happy with this new house and neighborhood. The house seems to be perfect for our needs right now, and the neighborhood is really nice with a great location. I got from my driveway to the waiting room at the doctor on post in a little under 15 minutes. We are 5 minutes from the mall, Walmart, Kroger, and 10 minutes from another major shopping area with a Target and Bed Bath and Beyond. Traffic is pretty intense, so we have to watch rush hour and plan errands accordingly. But there are tons of alternate routes to take! Sadly, the nearest Chipotle is across the state line in South Carolina. Maybe one day we will venture that way!

So this post really hasn't been about pregnancy or Liam that much...but it was an incredibly eventful week that I couldn't just glaze over in a paragraph! I feel like I am so much farther along than 7 months. I don't remember being this uncomfortable already with Ava, but then again, I also had the chance to rest and nap whenever I wanted back then! Ava keeps me busy now! I had a nice chat with the nurse the other day, and she completely respected and understood our strong desire to have a repeat c-section this time around. I am anxious to hear what my new doctor will have to say - I go in a few days before Christmas!

We are anxious for our finances to settle down...I am sorry if Christmas gifts are delayed or nonexistent this year...moving has put quite a strain on us with all the upfront/startup costs that comes with it. It's hard for me to not indulge in the gift of giving - I've always enjoyed shopping for gifts for others! Especially with all the good shopping around here - I'm so happy to live near a SuperTarget again!

Here's the rooms we have done so far!

Ava's room:

She enjoys playing with ALL of her toys each day...

Liam's room...obviously not technically finished, but hey, it's unpacked!!

Ok so now I see that I missed 2 boxes...darn it! Thought I was done!! Both kids' rooms have walk-in closets - so nice for all the stuff Ava has outgrown and that Liam will need!!

Ava/guest bathroom - dual vanity!!

...aaaaaand our fabulous garage full of empty boxes. And that's not even half of them!! We are so excited to finally have a 2-car garage!!

We finished the master and master bath, as well as Ava's playroom, but I didn't think to get pictures before the lighting got bad. I'll update this week!

(I don't know what is wrong with the formatting on this post. I gave up on trying to center everything!)

Thanks for reading...this post was a doozy!!