Liam Eliot- Day 3

>> 10.30.2009

Well, as I am sure you can imagine life has been rather surreal. While we cannot help but wishing for some sense of normalcy... it is almost impossible to remember what the beginning of this week felt like or what "normal" really is. It is so hard to put the events of the last few days into words and I feel like we will be counting time in Liam days for a very long time.

Liam Eliot is still doing very well. He is so tiny- making even the other premmies look huge in comparision, but he is breathing on his own and now taking micro-feedings every four hours. We have heard nothing but good reports. He had a PICC line put in today; although, from what we understand, they weren't able to thread it all the way to his heart but it will still be better for him than having IVs inserted every few days.

It is still difficult for me to look at him and not wish I could take it all away. When we walked into the NICU yesterday, he was crying... and while logically it is a good sign that he has both the strength and lung power to make his feelings known, I just do not think it is fair that he should have to feel discomfort yet. He should still be floating in liquid happiness... Watching him cry is so painful.

I am doing alright as well. The doctor has explained that we are going to be chasing my blood pressure around for the next few days. Last night was pretty rough, with my pressure getting back up to the scary levels that landed us in the hospital in the first place, but today has been much better. I am having the most difficulty keeping my spirits up. It does not look like I will be getting out of the hospital until next week...and then I will be faced with leaving Liam here, which will not be easy. The situation is somewhat overwhelming.

Ryan has been so wonderful through everything. His optomism is keeping me from losing it and he has been so supportive through every little thing- from helping me to use the breast pump to holding my hand as my head buzzes with high blood pressure.

Hopefully, I will get myself together enough to start posting more regularly and... coherently... again. However, until then.. here are some pictures of our little button:


Do you see those big hands?

Just chillin' in his little house... on his b-day.

Wearing his cool shades under the UVs

Ryan found this amusing becuase I sleep the same way.

Perfect- and breathing on his own!

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Answers! [And a twist ending]

>> 10.28.2009

There is a lot to say.. but not enough time to say it all on in...so consider this a quick update to be expanded on later:

At the ultrasound yesterday morning it was discovered that I had severe preeclampsia along with a syndrome called HELLP- which have to do with elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. I did not feel sick at all... but I was- very, very sick. The specialist determined that this was the cause of Liam's sluggish development and sent me directly over to the hospital {"Do not pass go. Do not stop at McDonalds"}

Boy.. do I hate hospitals and while this is definitely one of the best experiences I have ever had... it has also been completely miserable. I will go into more detail at a later date.

Sooo.. are you ready for the twist?



.......You sure? Positive?



On October 27nd, 2009 at 7:19 p.m. Liam Eliot was delivered. He weighs 2.2 pounds. He is 37 cm long. He has dark hair and big strong hands and he cried all by himself before they put him on the ventilator. I got to hear it.

He scored very high for a small preemie on his tests- 6/7 and a couple hours later the NICU came in and said he was doing great- already off oxygen; just breathing good old fashioned air through his ventilator and adjusting to life well.

Ryan has met him several times, as well as both sets of grandparents- I have not been allowed into the NICU because I am on bed rest- blood pressure still high and such... but hopefully the doctor will clear it for today.

They tried to show him to me before they left but I had been given a relaxer that actually knocked me completely out.. so I have yet to lay eyes on his precious face, though my dad did bring me pictures and he is absolutely beautiful.

I am so sore.. and tired.. and still not feeling well. This entire experience has been surreal. There isn't much else to say at this point.. because I need a nap- but there will be soon, I'm sure.

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Where The Wild Things Are

>> 10.26.2009

Do not go. I'll eat you up, I love you so.
K.W.

Ryan and I went to see Where the Wild Things Are this weekend. [Check out that link if you get the chance- it is super cute] The movie was gorgeous. I absolutely loved it. There were certainly things that could have been done better but any imperfections were entirely forgivable. I have not even come close to getting emotional about a movie in years... yet I found tears running down my face numerous times while watching this one. Granted, crazy preggo emotions could very well have a bit to do with that, but... it was also a very touching experience.

I think one of the most powerful things for me was watching Max. The opening scene shows him tearing through the house after his dog in his infamous wolf costume. He is screaming like a banshee and wielding a plastic fork as a weapon. Ironically, the dog is a black poodle very similar to our poodle hybrid, Fezzik. As he tackles the dog and the screen freezes on his wild, dirty little face, I just looked at Ryan... and he looked at me and we smiled nervous smiles. Because I believe it dawned on both of us at the exact same moment that... we are going to have one of those. In our house. ALL THE TIME.

In this aspect, the rest of the movie served to both delight and terrify us. This little boy was all boy. I know Ryan felt like he was watching his own childhood unfold (although Max was probably a bit more spirited than my l
ove- introverted child that he was). The character was so full of so many things. It astounded me how complex this little creature was capable of being. His imagination was incredible. He was so rough and loud and messy... and yet, you just wanted to hug him for being all of those things. One minute he is a holy terror and the next he is as sweet as pie and I just kept shaking my head at the grand realization that my life is going to be so full of this so soon. Needless to say, the scenes between Max and his mom got to me the most.



It is amazing what they did with such a simple children's story. They managed to stay true to a book that contains so few words and yet expand and create this entire, amazing world. It was very good and you should see it. That is all.

In other news: my appointment with the Regional Obstetrical Consultants has been set for tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. I work on Tuesdays and usually will reschedule anything that interferes with that because 1. I do not like calling in and 2. We need all the money we can get. However, I really do not want to try to reschedule. I just want to get this over with.

My doctor has been so careful to assure me that this is just a precaution and that he does not think there is anything seriously wrong with Liam. He has never once used a term that has set off red flags in my mind... so, of course, leave it to the receptionist to mess with that. On Friday, after taking my blood sugar test, I walked up to ask if she had made the appointment for me. She pulled out my chart and said, "Oh yeah... I forgot: you are going to the high risk center." Gah. "High-risk" is not a term I really needed to have floating around in my mind.

Of course, I am not going to the center on a regular basis; I am going to have a single ultrasound done using their crazy awesome equipment, which my doctor does not have, to determine that everything is flowing well through the placenta. Prayfully, it is and my doctor's initial assumption that Liam is just genetically predisposed to being small is correct. I do not mind having a small baby (I mean really.. how crazy would I have to be to WANT a bigger head to shove through my vagina?) - I just want him to be healthy. And right now, I do not geniunely feel that I have anything serious to worry about. Yes, of course, it is on my mind and I have been doing everything I can from my end to help if possible. [I got the ridiculous six-a-day prenatals, I am drinking Boost and eating large quantities of fruits and vegetables, trying to rest more, etc., etc.]; however, it is also hard to be seriously concerned about the well-being of a child that is capable of making you grimace and moan as he kicks you hard in the bladder... or ribs... or intestines.. or wherever else his precious foot may land, and whose heartbeat can be heard loud and strong through a stethoscope (which he resents for invading his space and makes it very clear where he thinks you should stick that damn thing).

In my opinion, Liam is determined to make it into this world. He is a strong little sucker. He was conceived against the odds, survived 9 weeks of my complete oblivion to his existence and has proven that he is not taking no for an answer. I think he is going to be just fine... but I will not turn away your thoughts and prayers either. :)

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The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

>> 10.23.2009

In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science.
Martin H. Fischer

Well, the good news is: my doctor does not believe the pain in my abdomen is anything serious. He poked. He prodded. He listened to me breathe. He did an ultrasound (to check on Liam). He then came to the perplexing conclusion that I may have acid reflux. This diagnosis confuses me because I explained that I get frequent heartburn and the two pains are nothing alike. When I mentioned this he said, "Huh? Really?" and then handed me the name of an over-the-counter medication for acid reflux. It makes me think that perhaps I did not accurately describe my symptoms: the pain does not get worse after I eat, it is not a burning sensation in any way, I do not have nausea or vomiting, and the only things that relieve it are Tylenol and warm compresses. It feels like I broke my ribs, not like acid is trying to claw its way out of my stomach. However, I am willing to give it a shot. I am pretty much willing to give anything a shot.

It is very good to know that my blood pressure is normal (ruling out preeclampsia), the doctor does not believe it is my gallbladder, and, as far as I know, there was no sign of infection in my urine (ruling out a bladder or kidney infection). I am honestly surprised about that one. I have a history of bladder/kidney infections. [Bad ones. Really bad ones. And often. As in... on and off antibiotics ever since an undiagnosed bladder infection landed me in the hospital and weakened my kidneys almost three years ago.] Yet, I have not had one since getting pregnant. Or, if I have, the doctor has not mentioned it, and it has not been bad enough to cause the symptoms I am used to. I find that really interesting.

The bad news is that there is no magic get better pill that will make it possible to get more than three hours of sleep a night, or make it easier to breathe, or stop sneezing from being the most feared moment of my day. I am now carrying around a small pharmacy in my purse: Tylenol, Zantac, a thermal heating pack, Tums (which I suppose the Zantac will replace), and my prenatal vitamins. I am feeling rather defeated.

More bad news: Liam's growth has not picked up. He is still measuring very small. I was watching the screen as the doctor measured him because as he clicks and drags on various body parts, the estimated gestational age based on the measurements adjusts on the screen. From what I could tell (with my limited knowledge, mind you), he is measuring about 2-2.5 weeks behind what he should be. I am going to have to go sometime next week to a special ultrasound which will determine if something is wrong with the blood flow through the placenta and slowing his growth.

But back to the good news: I specifically asked the doctor this time if anything seemed abnormal. He said very emphatically that no, the baby looks just fine. There is nothing wrong with him at all. He is developing normally- he is just really small. He also said that it is very likely that it could simply be genetic: he is going to be a little guy. That is his best bet and he does not believe he is missing anything, but he wants me to get this ultrasound just to be safe.

So I am going today to take the glucose test. I am going next week for that extra ultrasound, and I have now officially started my two week visits so I will be back at my regular appointment the following week. Man... that's a lot of doctor in my life.

Oh, well- I should really be grateful. I was nervous walking into that yesterday. The nurse made it sound very serious. I asked if it could wait until my regular appointment the next day and she said no, I needed to get there as soon as possible. Of course, once again no one in that office communicates with each other because the doctor walked in and began a normal appointment with me until I stopped him to explain that I was there because of some unexplained abdominal pain. He looked surprised: I was not. We will never, ever, ever be going back to this practice. This is at least the fifth time that a lack of communication has caused problems- this being the mildest instance. And it makes me nervous because if they can't even manage to talk to each other.. what aren't they telling me?

And the ugly? Well, I guess there really isn't any... unless you count my face. It is looking pretty rough due to sleep deprivation. I am working extra hours today and have been trying to figure out a way to turn "let Michelle take a nap" into some form of entertainment for a preschooler, toddler, and baby but... no luck yet.

Sigh. Fridays are my day to get things done around the house. And, more importantly, to have the bed to myself for a couple of hours after Ryan goes to work in the morning. But.. money makes the world go 'round. Unfortunately, it does not make my brain function any better. Case in point: I just sat the baby in his high chair with a banana... and no bib. I am now the proud caretaker of a completely banana covered baby, of course...who is apparently feeling as cranky as I am today. He has been awake for thirty minutes and already managed three meltdowns. Where is my sweet, docile, kissable chubster when I need him?

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I Spoke Too Soon

>> 10.22.2009

Here is a picture of my delicious, nutritious breakfast because I know you care. I had Special K waffles with lite syrup and banana, a bowel of grapes and OJ- to give Liam a bit of exercise. It was yummy... but that is not at all what this post is about.

Last night, my abdominal pain came back with a vengeance.
I got about 3.5 hours of sleep and spent most of the night crying and moaning and keeping my poor husband awake as I tried various positions to no avail. Around 2:00 a.m., I made my way to the handy-dandy Wal-mart and picked up a thermal heating pack (with patented clay technology!) and it helped slightly... but I still woke up at 6:00 a.m. wishing for a huge tranquilizer dart or some Vicodin or something. That is when I realized that this must be more than normal pregnancy discomfort.

SO.. this morning... I did what any good 20th century girl does in my position: I googled it. (As a side note: isn't it interesting how "google" has become an accepted verb? Hmm.. I find language fascinating... because I am a dork.)
And I have to say... I am not pleased with what I found. This was enough to scare me, but along with various other websites with taglines such as "abdominal pain in pregnancy is never normal," etc... and then going to my OB/GYN's website and reading "severe abdominal pain that is not relieved by a bowel movement" on the list of reasons to call IMMEDIATELY, I have absolutely decided to call my doctor.

Ug. I am a little upset. I asked my mother about the pain and I think she is so focused on keeping me from worrying about ANYTHING that she underplayed it. If I had been aware of all of the awful things it could be an indicator of I would have called days ago. I just thought I was being a horrible baby... and maybe I am... but it would be good to know, don't you think?

Now, Liam's movement has not really decreased so I know that as of now he is probably still doing fine... but what if something is going wrong- something that can be caught early and treated? And I have gone over a week with this pain and not bothered to call because I thought it was my back and then I thought it was my own wimpiness and then when I started to worry I was told not to. By a nurse! Gr.

So.. now I am just watching the minutes tick by until 9:00 a.m. when I can call- I am at work so while I am sure they are going to insist I come in, I won't be able to until 3:30 p.m.... and then I will have to skip class to do it. But I guess this is when my resolution to get my priorities in line and stop worrying so much about school is tested.

Sigh. Oh, the drama- the DRAMA!

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Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

>> 10.21.2009

On a bad day, I have mood swings- but on a good day, I have a whole mood playground.
Charles Rosenblum

Today has been a wonderful day. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and good news has come left and right.


First of all, my Latin professor told us last night that no one did very well on the midterm. He used a very cute airplane metaphor and declared that, since he was the pilot, he does not blame us and will be counting our next test twice and throwing this grade out. You could feel the relief flood the room and now I will have until November (the date of the next test) to get my act together!

Also, my Senior Seminar midterm has been cancelled entirely! The professor has been ill for the last three class periods and does not feel that it is fair to spring a test on us at this point. He will instead be distributing the percentage between a rough draft of our paper and the final. Awesome!

On top of this, the pain I have been feeling has sort of eased up. My belly and back are still aching and my neck is rather stiff, but it is feeling more like regular pregnancy pain and less like OMG! I AM GOING TO DIE!

Did I mention that the weather is perfect?!

I took a few belly shots with my parent's camera- I am always a few days behind the actual weekly marker but these are technically for 28 weeks.




That's all for now. Since class was cancelled again tonight, I am going to try to get home early enough to spend the evening with my husband. Wow. An evening with my husband- it is quite the luxury these days.

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Versus

>> 10.20.2009

The two women exchanged the kind of glance women use when no knife is handy.
Ellery Queen

Last Wednesday, I watched a Dr. Phil episode that really rubbed me the wrong way. Now, I know that this show is for entertainment purposes only: let's watch the drama unfold and then listen to everyone applause as Dr. Phil states the obvious. [ For instance- and I quote- "Life Law #1: You either get it or you don't. Strategy: Become one of those who gets it." Uh... Wow. Thank you, Dr. Phil. I don't know what I would have done without you.]

However, everything about this particular episode had my skin crawling. First of all, the title was ridiculous; on the website, it is titled "Guilty Moms" but, on the actual show, what flashed on the screen after every commercial break was "Stay-At-Home Moms vs. Working Moms." (They officially labeled the show otherwise because there has already been a show with this title and repetition would just be shameful.)

Verses? Really? Do we honestly need something else to pit women against each other? The operative word here should be MOMS and motherhood should be something that brings women together, not tears them apart.

Furthermore, any woman who had a balanced, sensible approach to the subject was given very little face time. Instead the show was dedicated to listening to unreasonable woman state unreasonable opinions and put down anyone who disagreed with them. The entire concept puts women in a bad light- Oh, here they go again: being petty and caddy and bitching at each other. We all know how woman are.

So, in general I found the show to be distasteful.. and on a personal level, it bothered me that the entire discussion seemed to be slanted in favor of working moms.

There was an audience debate in which the chosen stay-at-home mothers kept making polarizing comments that made them seem ignorant and stubborn and, in my opinion, did not accurately reflect the feelings of most stay-at-home moms. I think most women realize that motherhood is one of the most challenging things a woman can be faced with and, regardless of their various parenting philosophies, they want to be supportive of each other. Listening to these women criticize each other was painful. The stay-at-home moms also kept saying things like, "I am an educated woman," "Our lives aren't glamorous but we do it anyway," and, "I made this decision because I felt it was best for my family even though I COULD have gotten a job." These comments are basically conceding that this is somehow an inferior state of being for a woman. That by staying at home, you are sacrificing some part of yourself to do what is best for your kids. But if that is the case, I am not sure that mom would be doing her children a favor... because she would not be happy. And kids feel that kind of thing.

I am just going to take a moment to come out of the closet here: I... am domestic. In every way. Nothing makes me happier than cooking and cleaning and taking care of my family. I do not think I will ever find a job that fulfills me in this way. Sometimes, I watch old movies and I know I was born in the wrong era. It is just who I am. I will never feel like I am making a sacrifice. I will never feel like I have to defend my decision. It is my bliss.

I sometimes think some women that feel this way are afraid to say these sorts of things. So many women had to fight so hard for our rights. By admitting that you would be perfectly happy with a Hoover and a string of pearls- it can make you feel like a traitor. I took a Feminist Theory class a couple of semesters ago and I admitted these things to my professor in an attempt to make a point. She was an amazing teacher and I really enjoyed the class but her response was disturbing. She looked at me with pity, shook her head sadly, and told me I had been brainwashed by male society. There was no way I could just... want these things.
So these women on the show set themselves up to be martyrs. Which, in turn, forced them to label working moms as selfish. It was all very hurtful and unnecessary.

The next two segments were dedicated to talking to successful working mothers and helping a soon-to-be working mother get over her guilt of having to leave her child in someone else's care. Statistics about the superior cognitive development of kids in daycare were thrown about and stories of how working mothers have influenced their children in positive ways that stay-at-home moms can never hope to accomplish littered the rest of the show. However, this is silly because I don't think a woman is going to base her decision about whether or not to go back to work on any statistic [Oh, well, I was going to stay at home with little Timmy but.. studies show he would have better language skills, so off he goes.] Women make these decisions based on their desires, what they feel is best for their family, and on what they need to do to provide a stable, loving home for their children. The only purpose these studies have is to make a mother feel better about a decision she has already made, but at what cost? Making another women feel insecure?

Now...just to make things clear: I have absolutely NO problem with working moms. I was raised by an amazing one who showed me you can have everything you want out of life as long as you are willing to work for it and who balanced family and career in the most admirable way. In fact, she still looks at me in utter disbelief when I talk about not wanting to work outside the home. It is just such a foreign concept to her. When my propensity toward the domestic showed up (at a very early age), her immediate response was to figure out what sort of career that made me a good match for. Because of this, it took me until my third year of college to come to terms with the fact that I do not want a career at all. However, this is just who I am; I want to stay home with my family. Ryan and I are poor- but we are used to being poor and we live within our means. This will allow me to work part-time and since I am a nanny, I will be able to bring Liam with me to work. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I want to do with my life at this point. It is as much for me as for Liam... so maybe I am the selfish one!

I do not believe children are harmed in any way by not having a stay-at-home mom. I am a firm believer, as I have said NUMEROUS times, that as long as you are making decision based out of love for your child, you can do little harm. If your career is fulfilling and makes you happy, I believe that it should be pursued by all means... because you count too! And if you need to work to provide for your family then you should feel proud that you are able to give your child a stable home. As long as you are doing what you feel is best for you and what is best for your family, then you are doing the right thing. We have no business making judgements about other people's lives.

There are pros and cons to every decision we make. There is always a trade-off and you really cannot have it all. I just do not see why this has to be such a heated issue. Do we really need something else to get people at each other's throats? We are all just people.. doing the best that we can. How are we going to teach our children tolerance and acceptance of others when we are not being tolerate or accepting ourselves?

*Ahem* Getting off my soapbox now.

I would love to hear what you all have to say- in a tolerant, accepting manner, of course.

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Over It

>> 10.18.2009

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
Newt Gingrich

So, I have to say.. I am feeling completely over being pregnant right now. But at the same time, I am not even remotely ready for a baby.

I sort of just want to hang my pregnancy up in the coat closet for a little while and walk away. Maybe I will have some dinner (consisting of massive quantities of sushi and salad with loads of feta), a nice glass of wine (or two.... or three), a good book, and a soak in an ultra-super hot jacuzzi... and then a romp in bed with my hubby wearing the lingerie I did not get nearly enough use out of (with the lights on).

The only problem is... it would be so hard to step back into my current body willingly.

It is really quite pathetic when you consider the fact that I have had a nearly symptom-free pregnancy up until.... I don't know.. LAST WEEK! Wow. I am a baby. One week of really bad heartburn and muscle pain and swollen feet and exhaustion and I am ready to throw in the towel. I seriously admire women who make it through nine months of a difficult pregnancy- especially those that do it all with a smile on their face. I need to meet you.. and be humbled... and take notes.

My stomach has been on strike the last couple of days. On Thursday night I had a dinner of about 72 chocolate cookies (I know, I know! But my mom made them- homemade and right out of the oven. I was weak!) and Hot Tamales (I have no excuses for this) and then on Friday, we had Arby's for lunch and pizza for dinner. I am generally a pretty wholesome eater so my body does not tolerate junk food very well if it is not balanced with the good stuff. So I've been on my best behavior ever since but it seems I really messed up and it is not going to forgive me so easily. Gah. I do not need to be adding to my own discomfort.

Whenever I mention that I am sort of tired of pregnancy, I am told reassuringly that it "won't be too much longer now." However, I have to admit that this is not really that comforting. Giving birth is not a walk in the park, and the discomfort does not end the minute the baby pops out... of your vagina... which is where his massive head will be squeezing through. Get the picture? There is a lot of healing you have to go through and, as all pregnant women are CONSTANTLY reminded of, your body will 'Never. Be. The. Same.'

Yeah, thanks for that upper.

On top of this, you then have a little, tiny, helpless being that is entirely your responsibility. And they just hand it to you and you have to take it home and keep it alive. I mean... shouldn't there be some sort of screening for this?! We went through a more rigorious process to aquire our DOG.

And then there is all the hormone fluctuations and the crying and the cracked nipples and the sleepless nights (either because the baby is getting up to eat.. or, if you are like me, you will be staring at him to make sure he is breathing).

The end of pregnancy is really just the beginning of something else, you know. It is almost as if people forget that.

I haven't.

Ah, well... I suppose I am just having a grumpy moment because I am currently BREATHING FIRE. And that lovely pain in my abdomen will not go away without Tylenol- which I know is safe but would prefer to avoid if possible. But it is either that or no sleep and I think the latter is more dangerous, especially considering how often I find myself driving long distances and my tendency to doze off at the wheel.

Good things really did happen this weekend and I have
nothing to whine about. Last night, my lovely McKenzie drove up to visit me with her husband and brother. She is my sunshine. It was a lovely evening.


After they left, my baby brother drove up and spent the night. We went to church and then he treated me and Ryan to lunch at The Blue Plate because he is smooth like that. Then we treated him to coffee and dessert at Rembrandt's.


[As a side note- as I'm sure you can tell.. most of my pictures are not exactly current. The reason for this is that the computer on which our photo downloading software is located is not currently set up in the new house so.. once we get that done.. or get a new camera I will be including many more current photos of the happenings of our daily lifes. Hopefully it will be very, very, very soon. I miss it!]

After Ethan left and Ryan headed to the haunt, I made some fruit salad and shared a bit with our rats (yes, we have rats:: and yes, it's on purpose:: and yes, they make amazing pets:: and yes, we WILL be keeping them after the baby is born. Don't judge!).


I then cuddled up in bed (no, not with the rats) and watched the first disc of the second season of House, which Ryan had gotten for me on Netflix to keep me company while he is away.

It was really a pretty good weekend.
So... you know.. I shouldn't be moaning. Ignore me.
The end.

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The Godfather [Part I]

>> 10.17.2009

Let me think about it. We'll see.
Michael (from The Godfather)

I never had godparents growing up. My mother was raised Catholic and, after leaving the church, did not want anything to do with it again- including that harmless tradition. Ryan did not have godparents either; however, we decided that we would like to give someone that place in Liam's life.

There are many, many, many people in our lives that we would love to honor by giving them that title. Because there are so many we decided to narrow it down by creating some guidelines.

We want Liam's godparents to be close enough to be involved in his life on a regular and consistent basis and we would also like them to be in a situation that allows them to be someone special for him. In other words, we don't want it to just be a label given to someone too busy or too far away or too disinterested to really enjoy it.

We actually had not given much thought to the issue beyond, "Yes.. we would like Liam to have godparents," until a friend of ours brought it up and asked if he could be the godfather. We considered it for a few minutes and realized that he would be great for the job!

I have known Caleb for 8 years. He was 14 and I was 15 and he showed up at my house one day with another friend of mine and basically never left. He quickly developed a crush on me (in those days he fell for any girl that looked him in the eye) but I did not reciprocate. When he shared those feelings (over INSTANT MESSAGING, mind you) he did not appreciate my response: "but you are practically my brother!!" ... however, now I know he is glad that nothing ever came of it because our friendship has become one of the most important things in both of our lives.. and we would have lasted 3.5 seconds as a couple.

January::2004
New Year's Kiss!

January :: 2007
We Laugh.

January:: 2009
(The first person after Ryan and my Daddy to dance with me.)
Heh, heh- I look like a chicken!

When I first mentioned the cute boy I had been spending time with (who would later become my husband), Caleb was suspicious. In a twist of fate, he had moved to Chattanooga about a year before I had.. and so he felt very responsible for me as the the only person I really had nearby. As I breathlessly described my twitterpated state of mind over this boy who had swept me off my feet, Caleb crossed his arms in front of him and gruffly replied, "I don't like him." However, after meeting... they very quickly became close friends. The three of us could hang out for hours and it never felt like a couple and a third wheel or anything like that. We always have a great time together...and now Caleb and Ryan will even go on regular man-dates without me!

Caleb will be a great godfather. He is nearby. He is not married. He is someone we both trust and adore. He will have the time and energy to be involved consistently. We are perfectly comfortable with him in every way. And we know that he will love Liam.

We still are not sure about a godmother. Most women we know are married, have children of their own, and/or live very far away. We may end up not asking anyone.. but I do not think we have ruled it out just yet. To be perfectly honest, it really does not matter that much-there are going to be so many people in this kid's life to love on him [and probably spoil him dang rotten]. Between his Aunt Leslie and Uncle Ethan, his grandparents, his great-grandparents, numerous other extended family members, plus all of his adopted aunts and uncles--whew. But it was still nice to be able to bestow the title of The Godfather to Caleb- it pretty much made his life.

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Update

>> 10.15.2009

So... I just thought I would let you all know: I flunked my midterm- I flunked it hard. I do not think I have failed at anything as horribly as I failed at that test.

But you know what? I am feeling okay with that.

The minute it hit my desk I realized I had spent all my time focusing on the completely the wrong things and my worst fear- having absolutely no idea what I was doing- was about to come true. And so... I just filled in the very (very, very) few answers I knew, walked up to the teacher and said in my little mouse voice of shame, "Hi. Um.... so... I completely bombed this." And after looking at my pathetic attempt and asking where the second page was (there was no second page because I did not even get that far) he looked at me with compassion and said, "Okay. Take this home and work it out with your notes for some extra credit."

It was honestly, really, very, very embarrassing to hand him that paper- I don't fail tests. I get A's.... with a few B's scattered about just to balance me out a little bit. I am not necessarily used to working very hard for good grades but I am still used to getting them. I listen, take notes, do the homework and the learning just... sort of... happens. School has always been relatively easy for me. I am used to being in control of my grades and my time and my life and this entire situation is hard for me. Maybe I should see it as a learning experience.

I briefly considered just walking out the door and not looking back... but I didn't. I faced it- owned up to my failure and humiliation- and guess what? I am still breathing. And my teacher seems to be willing to work with me.

Maybe, just maybe, I will make it after all.

Oh.. and I do not think that I failed my other Latin midterm quite as hard- I am not sure how I did on the discussion question but I aced the translation and I am grateful for that.

It is over now. Regardless of the outcome... it is over. That is a relief.
Latin midterms: check.

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Days Like This

Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug.
Mark Knopfler

The last couple of days have been nothing short of miserable.
On Tuesday, I came millimeters away from dropping out of school and, in fact, have yet to make a decision about whether or not I will stick with it. However, after 5+ years toward a degree, dropping out 2 months before the end seems absolutely crazy...

I have two midterms in Latin today. Because of all the craziness surrounding the move I got very behind in my Latin studies. Though I have been working hard ever since that time, language is so cumulative- you can't really make up for time lost. Failing a midterm is basically sealing your fate. I learned this my sophomore year after misreading the time of a final and showing up 30 second AFTER it was over. My professor turned a deaf ears to my pleas for mercy and, although I had a B in the course up until that point, that one F caused me to flunk the entire class. It is the only F I have ever gotten in my entire life on anything besides a 6th grade math test. And it sucked.

I can't remember a time any longer when my life was not hectic. It has been at least a year and a half. Things have settled down for a brief period.. but they are really only going to get worse from here. We start our Prepared Childbirth Classes next month and we have less than three to get ready for Liam. His nursery is a complete mess and we have very little of anything we actually need for him. The house is also still not in working order; things - BIG THINGS- have to be done before the baby gets here because, otherwise, they just will not get done at all. Or they will be done poorly. I have a 20 page senior seminar paper that will be due near the end of the semester in which I basically have to prove I am ready to graduate and which I cannot settle on a topic for. I also have to create an online portfolio of my entire college career- a nearly impossible task considering the scattering of my education. I will also have 3 finals- plus any normal assignment that comes up. On top of this the commute alone takes 8 hours (and two entire days when I stay with my parents) out of my week.

The problem is.. this is not an "if at first you don't succeed" situation. I pretty much have one shot to get it right or my academic transcripts are marred forever. If I were to withdraw and return later- I would have a much better chance of succeeding and I would not have to worry about making up for failing grades. But I just can't bring myself to give up either.

On top of this, the stress is considerably overwhelming. I have been in similar situations before and, besides a fair amount of whining, I handled it with no problem. I have worked full-time while going to school full-time and trying to plan a wedding. I have been making the trek back and forth between Kennesaw and Chattanooga for two years. But being pregnant makes everything more difficult. Waking up, getting out of bed, focusing on school, just moving my large body from place to place is a challenge... even the drive is uncomfortable.

I got about 4 hours of sleep Tuesday night; between worrying about what to do and this strange pain that has made its way into my abdominal muscles, I was tossing and turning. I spent the ENTIRE DAY cramming for these tests and I figured last night, I would pass out with no problem. I was nodding off against the cart at Wal-mart, waiting for Ryan to pick out the type of hot dogs he wanted (although to my credit, it took the man 7 full minutes to decide- I mean.. seriously?!). But that was not to be- after crawling into bed at 11 p.m., I woke up clutching my stomach in pain. I am guessing that my abdominal muscles are seperating... it is the only thing that makes sense. I went to look at the clock, praying that it would be almost time for me to get up anyway because I knew I was not getting back to sleep and when I saw that is was only 1 a.m.- I pretty much broke down. Then I found myself boiling water in an attempt to get a bath warm enough to tolerate (our water pressure at the house is horrible and lukewarm at best). When that did not help, I tried a warm washcloth and finally at 2:30 a.m. made my way to the drugstore for some Tylenol and heatwraps. They seemed to work somewhat and I finally nodded off around 4 a.m.- waking two or threee more times to pee before the alarm clock started blaring at 7 a.m.

When I get to work this morning- I find out that my boss had told me the days of their vacation wrong and I could have had the day off (which would have been wonderful because I really need more time to study for my tests) but "since I was here anyway"... I get to hang out with all four kids while they run errands and stuff, which would be nice except it hurts to move and I am exhausted and I really, really, really need to study.

I am feeling very squished at the moment- definitely the bug running headfirst into the windshield. I am not entirely sure how to handle it all. Ryan is worried about the baby- he has been the one encouraging me to stay in school (along with my parents) and all of the sudden he is whistling a different tune after looking up what stress can do during development. Considering Liam is already small, I have to admit I am a little concerned as well.

My mother went crazy for a minute Tuesday night and told me she thought I should quit too.. but then sent me a text the next morning begging me not to.

It is a lot to figure out and I do not have a lot of time to do it in.
And... I am being beckoned to go play monkey in the middle.

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Retrospection

>> 10.13.2009

Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
Epicuris

While this has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post... I have to mention that my little bug turned one yesterday! One!

It seems impossible: impossible that he has been on the planet for an entire year and just as impossible that he has only been here for a single year. He has been both a holy terror and the greatest joy and he has taught me oh, so very much.

He is currently sitting next to me in his high chair having a very deep and meaningful conversation with his Cheerios. He picks each up one at a time, inspects them thoroughly, and gives them an individual pep talk that is something along the lines of, "AH! Daaaaaaaaaa! Bo-bo. Ba. Da. Ah. Ba. Ohhhhhs!" before consuming them with gusto. Every time I look at him (which is just about every three seconds because he is so dang cute) he gives me his adorable cheeky grin and giggles. He is pretty much pure trouble and I am completely convinced he is an evil genius who is harboring horrible plans for world domination in that chubby little head and is busy turning us all into his minions.... but I will gladly be his minion if he keeps smiling at me like that and giving me cuddles. (Though he is more than welcome to stop scaring the crap out of me by learning things like HOW TO CRAWL UP THE STAIRS!)

Like I said, that is not at all what this post is about....but it must be mentioned: Happy Birthday, my little man!

Moving On. [This is long- but it is more for me than you.. so get over it. ;)]

I think I may have mentioned once or twice that this pregnancy was unplanned. I mean completely... and totally... %100 unplanned. In fact, I think the term "unplanned" is not actually very accurate because we were planning.... on not having kids for a good two or three years. And we thought that we were doing the things people do when they are planning on not having kids.

Ryan and I were married in January of this year- yeah, this one... right here. 2009. He proposed in June (in the most wonderful way that you will just have to ask me about sometime because I love to tell that story) and we had a pretty short engagement due to circumstances beyond our control. We weren't even living in the same state and we were both leading crazy lives: I was working 40 hours a week and going to school full-time in Georgia and he was working two jobs in Tennessee. We saw each on weekends.. if we were lucky. Our wedding was mostly planned by my mother and I learned a good lesson in just letting things go. While it was basically the opposite of anything I would ever plan for myself, it turned out nicely and I believe people had a good time. That was all Ryan and I really wanted: a big party with all of our friends to celebrate this great thing.

Most people probably don't start their baby story with their wedding story but considering Liam was conceived less than three months after our wedding day- it seemed appropriate.

After being on birth control for about six months, (three before we were married and three after) I just could not do it anymore. Ryan and I decided we would go with something that did not screw with my hormones quite so much. So after I finished my last pack, I did not get the prescription refilled.

And here is where it gets fun, folks: [Ahem] I took my last birth control pill on April 1st and Liam was conceived on April 4th.
Yeah. Really. Of course, we did not know that.

[Now the next bit of this post may be a bit TMI but you have that fool-proof little X in the upper right hand corner of your screen... so use liberally if you are uncomfortable.]

For the month of April our preferred method of birth control was condoms. On April 17th, I got my period and all was well (or so we thought). However, in addition to having sensitive hormones, I am also blessed with a sensitive vagina- it not only disapproved of latex condoms but also of any alternatives (we are now the proud owners of an entire drawer of completely useless contraceptive of various brands). So in May I asked Ryan if he would be comfortable with charting instead. He agreed with only mild hesitation. We figured that, coupled with pulling out, it probably was not that risky.

In early June I began to become increasingly aware of pregnant women and babies- they were EVERYWHERE. They were stalking me. Facebook was sending me ads asking me if I was pregnant. Wal-mart wanted to know if I needed coupons on diapers. I was having dreams about babies and it was all very weird.

One weekend morning, Ryan and I went to brunch. I waited 20 minutes for them to bring out a fresh pot of my favorite Hazelnut coffee. I glanced at the coffee bar every three minutes, knees shaking in anticipation. When it came...I got my cup, fixed it up, smiled contentedly, took one sip... and my stomach turned. There was nothing wrong with the coffee. I just could not stomach it. I poured the rest out sadly and Ryan joked, "You need to take a pregnancy test." I happened to have one at home so, when we got there, I laughed about feeling like the world was impregnating me and went to pee on the stick just to settle my mind.

You know how it says to wait three minutes to read your results on those things? Yeah. Try three seconds! It immediately turned positive and I screamed at the top of my lungs for Ryan. He choked out a response... knowing I would not be yelling for him under normal circumstances. I walked to the top of the steps. We stared at each other: I was as white as death and he was as red as a tomato. I laughed. Then I swallowed. Then I stumbled down the stairs. Then I stared. Then I started sobbing. I showed Ryan the test. He hugged me. I snotted all over his shirt. He smiled. I kept apologizing for ruining our lives. He kept telling me I had nothing to apologize for. This cycle repeated itself for a good two hours.

When I finally calmed down I realized... there was NO WAY this test was correct. I needed to take at least two more before I freaked out. Over the course of a week, I ended up taking six: every single one was positive. Positive. Positive. Positive. Yet, because I had no symptoms- beyond that one little, tiny coffee incident- I somehow convinced myself that there was something else going on. I thought maybe I had been pregnant but miscarried very early and the hormones were still working their way out of my system... or maybe the bladder infection I was also suffering from somehow screwed with the results of the test. ANYTHING besides an actual human being growing inside of me. So I went to AAA Women's Services- their medical level pregnancy test.... was positive. The nurse on staff laughed at my denial and made me promise to go to the doctor. So, we made the appointment.

I will spare you the details of that first office visit- what with the paperwork and the "when was the date of your last menstrual cycle?" (to which I answered April 17th with a fair amount of confidence) and the peeing in the cup and whatnot. But it ended with a wand shoved up my vagina and a picture on the screen that looked like this:

Except.. you know.. moving and alive... and MOST DEFINITELY A BABY!

And the doctor says, "Well, you are a little bit farther along than you think you are." Because that period I had in April was apparently no such thing.. so we somehow got pregnant while using condoms and all the anxiety over whether or not we were charting right was for nothing. And the first thing I think is, "Oh, shit." Which is not a really pretty thing to think when you are looking at your very first child for the very first time.. but I thought it anyway because Ryan and I went to Atlanta for a weekend once and I drank... and finals were in May and I lived in coffee shops and sometimes had upwards of 5 cups of coffee a day and I freaking LOVED the heck out of some sushi! And all these things are running through my head at high speed until the doctor says, "And everything looks great!"

Then I could breathe.. but only for a second and then it hit me: THAT IS AN ACTUAL BABY!

And Ryan had to lead me out of the doctor's office because I was pretty much a zombie... except when I would catch Ryan's eye and we would giggle... or i would look down at the picture in my hand and giggle.. or just giggle into space for no apparent reason. We kept the news to ourselves for almost a month and that was a very interesting and special time. We knew that once the news was out it would not be our secret any longer so we just enjoyed it.

Since then, I think we have gone back and forth about how we actually feel. There are days when it feels totally okay and days of hyperventilation. Sometimes fear just grips my heart because I know that I am not at all ready to be responsible for another human being and I know that if anything happens to him ever I will never be the same again and how can I handle that right now? Or ever, for that matter?!

However, I know that not only is this baby going to add something to our lives that we did not even know was missing.. but he is really going to make it better in so many ways. There have been numerous occasions when we realized that if we were not going to be having Liam Eliot right now, we would be missing out on something pretty amazing. Not just Liam himself... but other things in our lives that have been a direct result of his existence.

It is definitely going to be hard. And we are definitely still having our OH MY GOD! ARE YOU F*CKING SERIOUS?! moments. And I don't know that we will ever not have those moments. Even when Liam is 38 years old.

We were not even remotely prepared... but, you know, Ryan and I tend to need gentle nudging (or forceful shoving) to get us moving in any one direction most of the time. Just because it was not our timing.. doesn't mean it was not the right timing. And maybe there is never a right time- maybe this is just how life goes. You get thrown into the middle of something and it's sink or swim.

Better start paddling!

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Facio What?!

>> 10.12.2009

This is what I am doing:


And this is how I feel about it:



The end.

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The Home Stretch

>> 10.10.2009

Pregnant women! They had that weird frisson, an aura of magic that combined awkwardly with an earthy sense of duty. Mundane, because they were nothing unique on the suburban streets; ethereal because their attention was ever somewhere else. Whatever you said was trivial. And they had that preciousness which they imposed wherever they went, compelling attention, constantly reminding you that they carried the future inside, its contours already drawn, but veiled, private, an inner secret.
Ruth Morgan
Today...*drum roll please* I enter the third trimester. And as a wonderful present for making it this far, pregnancy has decided to punch me in the face.
Let's review, shall we:
Last night, between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., I woke up four times to pee, thereby doubling my usual number of nocturnal bathroom excursions. Each time I propelled myself from the bed I noticed that my back and neck and feet were getting achier. At 4:00 a.m., I got into the shower in an effort to relieve the discomfort which had somehow climbed from a dull ache to a throbbing pain in a matter of two hours. While waiting for the water to get warm I stood in front of the mirror and noticed that not only am I breaking out in places I did not even know it was possible to break out in... but my nipples are now leaking at a fairly alarming rate (well, at least when compared to the rate of leakage a couple of weeks ago... namely.. little to none.)
The shower seemed to work but then I had to take three Tums before laying back down to try to sleep because I made the mistake of drinking a glass of water. Just as I started to drift off... Liam decided to practice his hardcore dance moves on my diaphragm. It felt a little something like this:

I finally fell asleep around 6:00 a.m. and then lugged my whale self out of bed around 9 in order to make an appointment. (It was for my CAP classes at AAA Women's Services.. which I will blog about one day soon because they are amazing.) I got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, got into my car, went to my appointment... walked inside... and then realized it was for NEXT WEEK.
Actually, that is not true.
I never realized it was for next week- I had to be told it was for next week by a very confused receptionist because Liam is stealing all my brain cells and, at the rate he is going, he better be a freaking genius. You think I am kidding.. but I am not: it is genius or bust.
So, I decide to go work on some homework (not actual homework.. which I should work on.. but AAA homework, which is much more fun). I start reading a pamphlet about bonding with your baby and there is a section titled, "Dad's Important Role." It is maybe two paragraphs about the relationship that can form between a father and his baby... and.. of course... I start bawling. Not quiet, normal "oh, how wonderful life will be" sniffles, but full-blown crazy preggo sobbing. In the middle of Starbucks. For approximately three minutes. And then I was fine.
In addition to all of this, I am pretty sure I spent the afternoon experiencing my first authentic Braxton-Hicks contractions and they were rather uncomfortable and it suddenly occured to me that one day in the not-so-distant future... I will actually be going into labor.
It also occurred to me that I have absolutely no experience with significant amounts of pain. I have never had stitches or broken a bone or had appendicitis. I have never even had real menstrual cramps. I did have pretty extensive jaw surgery when I was 18 but it was elective and the painkillers they gave me were basically amazing. It was mostly just uncomfortable because my mouth was wired shut for 8 weeks and my face blew up like a balloon... but I really did not feel too much as long as I popped my pills on time.
I mean.. my mom talks about how I never fell when I was learning to walk- I would lower myself to the ground gently... and the first time I skinned my knee I limped for a week. To this day, stubbing my toe or cutting my thumb is an earth-shattering event. I can sulk over it for hours.
So I don't do well with pain... at all, really. And I am beginning to think I might be a little naive to believe that I can walk into this situation which includes some of the most intense pain anyone ever feels ever in their life with absolutely no working knowlege of pain in general... and do it without intervention. I just don't know.
Well... anyway, the third trimester seems to be welcoming me with open arms. It honestly terrifies me to think about how fast the next three months are going to go by... but it is exciting at the same time. It is amazing how many changes Liam will be going through... and me too for that matter. We will see how it goes, eh?

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Oh, my...

>> 10.08.2009

There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.
Sylvia Plath

I find the above quote amusing in a twisted sort of way considering Plath's fate. [She stuck her head in a gas oven and killed herself.. for those of you who are not fortunate enough to know that little tidbit of information compliments of my Senior Seminar class; we just finished studying her last week and my professor made us all promise not to go home and slit our wrists- her poetry is that uplifting.]

However, if it is true.. I could certainly have used a hot bath after my registry excursion yesterday. It was entirely overwhelming. I mean.. I know I said something about babies needing a lot of stuff, but it did not even remotely prepare me for just how much stuff babies need. Have I mentioned that babies need a lot of stuff?!

After three hours in the store with my handy-dandy checklist I decided to finish up online. This was a very good idea because you can read reviews of the products and I ended up making a lot of changes based on the ratings other moms have given. (Ha, ha. "other moms"- I wonder how long it takes to get used to that.) I got back online today and made a few more changes and now I think it is... in some manner of speaking... complete.

I know I will continue to edit and change things as I am given hand-me-downs and visit garage and consignments sales. Remember how I mentioned that our Target registry was mainly "big-ticket items?" It has now come to my attention that there is very little in the realm of baby that would not qualify as a big-ticket item. This crap is expensive! And it is all marketed as if babies did not survive for thousands of years without spa bathtubs and play mats that flash and whistle and sing and light up every time baby turns his head. And it is all "designed to aid in your baby's cognitive development." And so you are standing there thinking, "If my child does not have this exercise saucer with the dancing alligators, he will not develop cognitively and he will be stupid and IT WILL BE ALL MY FAULT!!" And so.. you scan it.

I did end up scanning a lot of things I am not sure I would personally enjoy having in my house.. but it is mostly because every time I say something about not wanting one of those vibrating, bouncing baby seats or hating toys that bleep and blip and have no off switch, my mother looks at me as if I just told her I plan on holding Liam upside down by his ankles whenever he cries and giving him bourbon to help him sleep at night.

I know she would just pick it up for me anyway.. so I would rather have at least some say.

I am very different than my mom when it comes to parenting philosophies, I think. When I was born I instantly became the center of her universe. She was completely incapable of talking about anything besides me, her schedule revolved around me, and our entire home was overtaken by my stuff. The truth is... I would have turned out to be a spoiled rotten brat if my brother had not come along when he did and saved me from her.

I, on the other hand, am looking forward to making Liam a part of my life- not trading it in at the hospital for him. Maybe it is different because my mother was an entire decade older than I am now when I was born, and she had been single up until a year and a half before (when she met my dad and married him in four months- yeah, that is an interesting story). So she had plenty of time before me to pursue her other interests and when I came along I just... was her interest.

But I am not quite there yet. I know that life will be put on hold for a bit while we adjust to life with Liam... but the point will be to adjust so that we can get ourselves back in control. That is just too much to put on a baby; an infant is not capable of creating a safe, happy, healthy environment for a family- that is our job. This is why we are planning on using PDF (parent directed feeding). It is also why I am not such a huge fan of all the various loud, flashy toys and gadgets that would be entirely capable of overtaking our small home. Clutter stresses me out and, besides that, this is the first time I have had a place to call my own- I am having fun decorating it and do not want the entire place overrun by Liam's things. I like simple and I think that he will be just fine with simple. I have also insisted that Ryan maintain his outside interests after Liam arrives- and he is willing to help me do the same. I think a huge part of raising a child is maintaining your own sanity.

So.. I tried to stay on the simple side when picking things out for Liam Eliot. I tried to find subtle patterns for the swing and highchair that would not entirely clash with our living room. Since I know he won't care less whether or not his towel makes him look like a little ducky or a cow- I just picked things I liked, since I am going to be the one staring at it all the time. And everything.. I mean absolutely everything, has an off switch.

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The Stuff of Life

>> 10.07.2009

It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.
Elinor Goulding Smith

Every Tuesday after class I stay over at my parent's house because I have class again Wednesday night and nothing in between so there is really no point in making the trek back up to Chattanooga at 10:00 p.m. and returning to Kennesaw half a day later.

I usually bring a load of laundry with me and spend the day washing clothes, doing homework, and getting sucked into the cable vortex because, when all your television is capable of producing is that manic snow, even commercials are entertaining. And then you find yourself saying things like, "Hey! Have you seen that commercial where that mom finds the rollover minutes in the trashcan? It is so ironic and funny!" and people look at you like you are crazy because apparently that was ironic and funny about six months ago when it first aired and now it is just irritating. I generally watch Law and Order:SVU and Animal Cops.... or random home improvement shows and talk shows... because that is really all that is on in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon, but, hey... beggars can't be choosers.

Anyway, all that to say.. THIS Wednesday is different. I have a load of laundry in the washing machine and as soon as I transfer it to the dryer (and make myself look like a human) I am off to register at Babies R Us.

Ryan and I discussed it and decided that, since I have a lot more tolerance for long shopping excursions and since I am also pickier about what we get for the baby, I will make the initial registry and then he can edit if he so chooses. (He said he did not care either way.. but I am pretty sure I heard a huge sigh of relief when I said I did not mind going alone.)

I got that suggestion from a book called first time Mom . It is honestly the best book I have read so far. It is amazingly simple and direct- just an honest look at one woman's complete experience. She really spares no details and she includes a TON of really helpful lists. She explains EVERYTHING from the moment her water broke (which, for her, happened before she went into labor) until her son was about 6 months old. I picked it up at the library and immediately knew I wanted it to keep... though I have yet to get my own copy. Sigh.

We already have a registry at Target but it is mostly for our family and ourselves as most of the stuff on that one are big ticket items like a crib and breast pump. I am really looking forward to creating this one because it will include all of those little things we will be using every day. Besides, I pretty much love browsing baby stores.. although, I can almost guarantee I will find at least ONE thing on sale that I just have to get. It is inevitable.

It is really incredible how much stuff one little, tiny baby needs. The day we found out we were pregnant, Ryan and I picked up a book at a used bookstore for 50 cents- the entire book is just a checklist of stuff you need to keep your baby alive. It doesn't even include any of the fun stuff like toys and books and cute little baby overalls; just the basics... and It. Is. An. Entire. Book.

All I can say is... THANK GOD FOR GRANDPARENTS!

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Round and Round She Goes

>> 10.06.2009

Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be.
Carrie Fisher

I do not even notice how much my belly has grown until I look back on pictures and see how much it has expanded in just a couple of weeks. It is honestly very bizarre... and I am surprised I have yet to experience a single stretch mark. *fingers crossed*

I suddenly have this new found appreciation for Santa Clause, with his "broad face and little round belly." I mean... how does the guy do it? Spending an entire evening lugging around a sack full of toys and going up and down chimneys with that gut?! I can hardly bend over to tie my shoes! And shaking like a bowl of jelly every time you chuckle just is not as jolly as they make it sound. Seriously. I respect that man.

And now, ladies and gentlemen.... I have an announcement to make:
*Ahem*
Are you ready for this?

.....I... have a.... mullet.
A mullet. Did you hear me? A MULLET.
Yes, my friends, a full-blown mullet. It's true.

I had recently decided to grow my hair long again as I have heard repeatedly the the ability to throw one's hair up into a pony tail rather than shower comes in quite handy when adjusting to life with a newborn... but since it has been over three months since my last haircut, I figured I needed to go in for a small trim just to make sure it was healthy.

Apparently.. going three months without a haircut is not such a great idea because your ends can split up and up and up... and then your "trim" just to "get it healthy" turns into four inches of length whacked off the back of your head. So.. there is that. And.. I probably should have been suspicious when I realized that the hip 40-something stylist with the pink, spikey punk hair that I ended up with had a star shaved out of the back of her head and bejeweled jeans- but... I wasn't. So there is that.

However, I did not fully realize the extent of the mullet until I got home. At which point I stood in front of the mirror for a good five minutes completely and utterly stunned. I then began to laugh hysterically.. because really, what else are you going to do?

I suppose when she realized that I was disappointed in how much we were going to have to cut off, the hairdresser decided to leave as much length as possible wherever possible- and so... MULLET.

And here I reveal it for your viewing pleasure:



Let me be honest in saying that these pictures do not fully capture the mullet-i-ness of this haircut. But it is hard to do that on my own since it is hard to snap pictures of the back of one's head and as we all know... THE PARTY IS IN THE BACK!

Oh, well... so is life.

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Oh, Happy Day

>> 10.05.2009

Cheerfulness is the very flower of health.
Proverb

So.. Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE living on the North Shore? Love it. It is absolutely perfect.

Chattanooga has to be one of the best places to raise a kid. Yesterday, I picked up Chattanooga Parent Magazine and was looking at all the free fall activities for kids coming up and got so freakin' excited! It is really incredible. This city is full of awesome opportunities for kids to explore and learn and play... and, as an added bonus, Liam and I will be able to walk to most of the awesome stuff we want to do. Seriously. I can't imagine a better place to be.

Ryan and I had a fantastic day yesterday. We don't generally get to spend large amounts of time together this semester because our schedules are entirely conflicting. When we realized that we had no commitments and could spend the entire day together, it was like...whoa.

We went to church and then headed over to the Hunter Art Museum. The first Sunday of every month is free, by the way; another awesome point for Chattanooga. (They also had live music- very cool.)

[As a side note, I would just like to say that I have discovered I appreciate art that takes what I will refer to as "actual talent." While I will admit that slapping some paint on a canvas and then coming up with an elaborate and pretentious meaning behind it that includes pain and/or isolation, an extensive vocabulary, and a good dose of "mommy issues" takes some measure of creativity, if I can go to any kindergarten classroom and see pieces at the same technical level... you lose. In other words- the temporary "New York Cool" exhibit sucked the big one. ]

After that, we headed home to eat lunch and watch a silly chick flick because my husband is a good sport. We then promptly fell asleep, woke up two hours later, realized we were starving, and met my best friend Caleb and his friend from school for dinner. We then got ice cream and watched Firefly for the rest of the night.

Yeah. It was basically the perfect Sunday. And exactly what we needed.

Also, I am surprised and happy to report that I have not been worried about Liam at all. I like to pretend he is doing his best to reassure his Mama because while he is usually fairly stubborn- moving only if and when he darn well pleases- he has been extremely active this weekend. My mom gave me a stethoscope so that I could listen to his heart and every time I have placed it on my tummy he gives it a prompt little kick so that even if I am unable to find his heartbeat, I know things are fine.

I have been taking my multivitamin religiously, along with the DHA supplements I never used. Fezzik and I have been walking to the park every day and I have been making myself eat copious amounts of fruits and vegetables- no more skipping meals! I am also refusing to stress.. which is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. I honestly feel really good.

I should have let myself just be pregnant months ago instead of plowing on like nothing had changed. My mentality has definitely shifted. I have had an extremely easy pregnancy and I should be grateful for that. For the most part it has been an enjoyable experience and, instead of enjoying it, I have fabricated things to be upset about. But.. I can still enjoy the rest of it and I plan to.

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