Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve and 39 week update

In taking a break from wrapping presents, readying guest rooms, and cleaning the house I figured I would post a short update since I probably won't get a chance for the next few days.

Today's doctor appointment was uneventful and nothing has changed so I'll save the little questionnaire for another time. Baby girl Park is still sitting on my bladder and I am still only one centimeter dilated. If she hasn't come by Thursday of next week I'll go in for a 40 week check up and we will set an induction date.

Since we know our exact date of conception (another hidden bonus of infertility) they are quicker to do an induction because we know she's getting overbaked. I don't want a toasty daughter!

Her fits are getting stronger and I doubt she's any more comfortable than I am, but I am not anxious to spend Christmas Day in the hospital so I hope she hangs on through the weekend and then we'll start trying to do enough jumping jacks to jar her loose!

We wish we could be with both of our families for the holidays, but we are blessed that my parents will be travelling down to us this Christmas and that my little brother will be trekking across the valley to join in. Although I know it is nothing like what next Christmas will look like with the entire Toys R Us toy department under the tree, our family room is currently decked out with quite the pile of gifts and a huge, pink ornament adorned tree (in honor of she who has yet to be named (publicly)).

My southern husband misses his white Christmases and I assume we will resume our normal journey to the White Mountains next year where Sprocket and his little sister can be properly spoiled before they are sent out to frolic in the white powder together. I am terrified about the prospect of being a mother, but certain that there will be a million moments in the next year that will make the struggles of the last two years worth it.

We wish every one of you reading this a very blessed Christmas, and we hope that the new year is warm and full of even more gifts than this year was.

Friday, December 17, 2010

38 week baby update

How far along? 38 weeks

Total Weight Gain? 27 pounds. Back up a pound, which meant back up to the 150s. I am not excited about this at all and was hoping to finish this thing in the 140s, but it wasn't meant to be.

Maternity Clothes? That, or the double hair elastic on the waistbands of my jeans.

Stretch Marks? Still the one yucky one. I'm sure I'll get more in the next two weeks though because I don't think anything can stretch much further without serious repercussions.

Sleep? None. I don't mean to be a complainer because I am beyond overjoyed that she is still in there getting ready for her big day, but this has been the hardest part. I'm up all night long running to the bathroom and my stupid bladder is constantly in spasms. I am definitely looking forward to her not being planted right on my organs.

Best Moment This Week? Hmmm...Getting all of the out of town presents mailed off and the cards sent. I still have a few gifts to pick up for Corey and we still have my Dad's gifts to choose, but other than that I'm done.

Movement? Much less again. Doc says she's doing fine, and I can usually stir her up with a lot of ice water and some jiggling, but she's lazy.

Food Cravings? I ate some popcorn this week and it tasted good. I don't think it counts as a craving, but at least I kept it down! :)

Gender? Girl, girl, girl.

Labor signs? No additional dilation this week and the Dr. says he doesn't think I'm going to go too far ahead of my due date. He also acknowledges that there is no way for him to know this, but I'll take his word. Looks like we'll make it through Christmas.

Belly Button? Still an innie. A bruised looking, scarred, stretched out innie, but an innie nonetheless.

What I Miss? Sleep, hot baths, not waddling, and not seeing looks of pity plastered on strangers' faces whenever I go somewhere.

What I Am Looking Forward To? Meeting her. Pretty much everything else is in a stand-still.

Weekly Wisdom? Don't get pregnant in April. This Christmas stuff is hard work when you're a hot air balloon.

Milestones? I don't know that we really have many milestones left, but each day is a blessing! A big, fat, uncomfortable blessing, but a blessing nonetheless! :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The season of giving

If you know me, or have followed me for any length of time you know that the boy and I do our best to recognize how blessed we are, especially compared to others. Of course, just like everyone else, we take a lot of things for granted and specifically during Christmas we find it very easy to get caught up in gift buying, spending, decking the halls, and everything else that comes so naturally to those with privilege.

For the past three years we have put together boxes for Operation Christmas Child and we have adopted a family in our community (or in our state at least) for Christmas. Unfortunately, we have had terrible luck with adopting a family and every year we were left feeling very disenchanted with the experience, so this year we decided that we would opt out of it and add to our prayers that God would present a different opportunity for us to help someone.

Almost immediately we found out that not only would our church be a designated Operation Christmas Child location, but also that Christian Family Services had many foster children in the area that were in need of presents for Christmas. It is a strange mix of feelings that comes with this because we are excited to be able to help, but it is hard knowing that there are so many in need.

We make it a tradition to each pack a box for a child, and this year we thought that even though the baby is not quite here yet she should also have a box sent in her name. So, we packed up our usual boxes and then headed to the church to volunteer on the collections end.

While we were there we met an amazing woman who has been part of the Samaritan's Purse organization for years and we got to talking about what a welcome gift these boxes really are. She has gone out on distribution missions to give the boxes to children in Belize, China, Canada, and Africa and told us that these were literally the first gifts many of the children had been given. Not the first Christmas gifts, the first gifts, period. Can you imagine having never been given a present in your life?

She also reiterated something that my darling husband had already thought of and something that hadn't really occurred to me at all: the younger age groups get many more boxes packed for them than the older ones. I often get caught up in buying cute little girl toys and outfits, so I saw Corey's eyes light up a bit when she mentioned that the oldest boy group (ages 10-14) often has a lot of children that are forced to be men because they are the head of household. I knew that we would be packing another box, and sure enough we headed straight to the store to pack a box that we hope will end up with the right boy. Corey filled it to the brim with tools: a hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches and a bunch of other boy things that I never would have thought of.

When we got home he spent another hour trying to wedge all his findings into the small shoebox - something that could have only happened with divine intervention because there must have been twenty pounds of items crammed in there. And so, the members of our little family of *almost* four each sent a shoebox to Asia this year, praying that each will end up with a child who has been hoping for its exact contents.

We also were lucky to have chosen two local foster children to adopt, a one-year-old girl, and a sixteen year-old (again, thanks to my thoughtful husband who noticed that the older children's names were not being chosen) and we had a wonderful time shopping for them. And thanks to some ninja shopping skills we were able to score quite a bit of stuff for each of them while only going over the spending limit slightly! I only wish we could be there with them on Christmas to see their faces!

I'm sorry that this post isn't written very well - reading back I realize that it's all over the place - but it was important to me to share how thankful we are that we had two amazing chances to be part of a bigger picture this year. We were both concerned that with everything else going on in our lives (any day now people) we wouldn't be able to participate as much and instead we were blessed with new opportunities.

Sometimes getting what you ask for isn't a bad thing at all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

37 week baby update

How far along? 37 weeks

Total Weight Gain? 26 pounds. It's not much, but the half pound I lost this week made me incredibly happy! I'd love it if this was my fighting weight for the next three weeks!

Maternity Clothes? No change in this.

Stretch Marks? Yep - the one I thought I had last week is for sure a stretch mark. It's not a sweet little pink stretch mark either - it's one of those heinous ones that is on steroids. I can't wait to laser it off!

Sleep? The Beagador had issues this week, so when I wasn't up with the baby I was up with him. Luckily, he is on the mend so at least my boys are getting sleep.

Best Moment This Week? We reached full term! I cannot believe it - I'm excited for her to get here, but so nervous to get everything ready. Realistically, I will never ever be ready for her.

Movement? Much less this week. No reason to worry - we can still wake her up with a story from daddy or some ice water. She's just out of room.

Food Cravings? Still no appetite. I have to admit, I'm convinced that most pregnant women use the baby as an excuse to eat crazy things that they would have craved without being pregnant. We all crave certain foods, but I have not experienced ANY of those, "It's 2am and I just gotta have ice cream" kind of feelings.

Gender? Girl, girl, girl.

Labor signs? Not much new since last week. Today's check up didn't show much progress - still only one centimeter dilated, although he said I'm almost completely (90% or so) effaced.

Belly Button? Still an innie. A bruised looking, scarred, stretched out innie, but an innie nonetheless.

What I Miss? Laying on my stomach and super hot baths.

What I Am Looking Forward To? Decorating for Christmas this weekend, and getting the rest of the baby stuff done. Every time I think I've purchased everything I come up with another list of a dozen things. I have no idea how people afford babies without major planning!

Weekly Wisdom? Before you have a baby take what you think you'll spend getting ready for him/her and then triple it. Pretty much the same rules as vacation.

Milestones? Reaching full term is a pretty cool milestone if you ask me. Granted, I probably have another three weeks left, but I'm excited about her getting to this point. The Peanut is a rock star!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nursery pics

I've been saying I would take some pictures of the nursery when it is completed, but I don't think it's EVER going to be completed so I'll show you the work in progress. And if you're thinking to yourself, "You don't have much time..." Yes, you're right. And we know. But I'm in denial.

Her lovely swing. If a girlier baby item exists I am unaware of it - this thing projects little pink butterflies on the canopy for goodness sake.

The tree needs something so it doesn't look quite so foreboding, but Corey doesn't like the flowers I picked so we're still on the hunt.

Our insanely comfortable Dutailier glider (Thanks Mom and Dad!). I anticipate many sleepless nights spent in this thing. This was also the ONE thing that Corey picked out. We tried thirteen million of them, but he put his foot down and said we were getting Dutailier. My husband has expensive tastes.

We hired a wonderful little graphic designer from etsy to do her wall art - the middle one is missing because it has the baby's name on it and that is still top secret.

It may or may not contain this letter. And these wall letters may or may not be on one wall of the nursery.

And although this is the least feminine article in the baby arsenal, this is the world famous Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer, widely regarded as the most wonderful bouncer in the world. It is also harder to get one of these than it is to get on the Birkin waiting list so I am insanely proud of the skills I used to procure this.

It is truly a miracle not only that I took these pictures, but also that I managed to upload them. Our new camera is wonderful, amazing, and harder to understand than the Honduran taxi cab driver with a lisp that we had on vacation this year. I spent the last twenty minutes pressing random buttons and hoping that they worked.

Corey swears he will learn how to use it before the baby comes, so I'm hoping he really does! Oh, and thanks again Mom and Dad!!

Still to do: Finish the tree (as noted above - any ideas welcome!), sew the crib skirt, curtains and her monkey quilt, finish washing the cloth diapers (quite the endeavor) pack the hospital bags, get the car seats inspected, oh and I still need to come to grips with the idea that we will be bringing home a baby this month. A tall order to be sure.

Wish us luck!

Monday, December 6, 2010

36 week baby update

How far along? 36 weeks

Total Weight Gain? 26.5 pounds. The weight loss wasn't meant to be a streak. This up and down thing seems to be a pattern, so I'm hoping that I won't have put much on at the next appointment. I don't have any room in there to eat, so I guess as long as my jeans keep fitting the same I'm not going to stress too much...

Maternity Clothes? Ugh. Just ugh.

Stretch Marks? I think I have one. It looks weird, and we thought it was a vein because it's blue, but it won't go away. Such a tragedy.

Sleep? Who needs it?

Best Moment This Week? Being one week away from full term! It's unbelievable really. We're dilated 1cm and 70% effaced, so I'm happy about that. The closer I can be to a normal pregnant woman, the better.

Movement? She rolls around and is searching for the exit on a regular basis.

Food Cravings? I wanted some peanut butter M&Ms the other day, but they were out. I have a feeling it was divine intervention!

Gender? As our house turns decidedly more pink I hope she's still a girl.

Labor signs? My contractions are getting more and more painful and more frequent, so I spent a week on bedrest. Since we're getting so close to due date though I don't think they're too concerned even if she comes today, so I've been given sweet freedom. Not that I have much energy to do anything though.

Belly Button? Only because of the unfathomable depths of my belly button is it still an innie. I just don't think that thing could pop out no matter how many babies were in there.

What I Miss? Eating or drinking anything without getting nauseous. I think this is what it feels like to have a lap band, and I feel awful for those people. A thimble of water? Half an egg? It's crazy!

What I Am Looking Forward To? The rest of the cloth diapers coming in today. I think that's the last thing on our to-buy list.

Weekly Wisdom? The last few weeks fly by so do everything early! I don't even have the bag packed yet! Yikes.

Milestones? Nothing really - but this is the last week that she would be considered premature. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day twelve and Thanksgiving recap

Day Twelve is assigned to be a post about what I believe and because it doesn't get any more specific than that I'm sure I could go on and on, but I will try to keep things simplistic.

I believe in God, and that Jesus was sent to Earth to die for our sins. I don't believe that there is a 'right' way to be religious or spiritual, meaning that I don't think that those who don't go to church, or someone who calls God a different name, or people who don't take communion are all destined to hell. I think being a good person is much more important that what religion you consider yourself.

I believe that my husband is the most fundamentally good person I have ever met. He will always do the right thing, even when no one is looking and when no one will know that he did it.

I believe that common courtesy is vastly underrated and underutilized (or maybe not even known anymore). A few weeks ago a woman at the grocery store rammed right into my huge belly with her cart, looked at me, and kept walking. Rudeness like this happens more and more frequently to me lately, so I try to appreciate the words, "Excuse me," and things like thank you notes, kind words, and apologies even more than before.

I believe that Sprocket will be the Peanut's guardian angel.

I believe that my parents will spoil the Peanut to within an inch of turning her into a rotten Princess. I will, however, put peas under her mattress just to keep her balanced.

I believe that we each have a responsibility to leave the world a better place every day. That sounds prophetic, but it can be something as simple as a smile given to a stranger or a door held open for a frantic mother. Along these lines, Christmas makes me even more aware of this and my next post will be about the amazing time we had over the past two weeks doing our annual Christmas giving.

And I believe that 99% of what my mother told me growing up was accurate. Prior to age 20 I believed that about 10% of it was legit, so I also believe that the Peanut will bring me my karmic retribution and not listen to anything I say.

As for Thanksgiving, it was stressful but lovely. We hosted for the first time and my Dad decided to barbecue the turkey although he really had no game plan as to how to go about doing so. My mom donned her superwoman cape and swept in, taking over or helping with everything and Corey drove around town all night Wednesday trying to find a stone fire pit so that we could sit out in the backyard and enjoy the (cold) weather.

I wish I had taken a picture of our table because it was the first time we have taken out our antique wedding china, crystal and gold flatware all at the same time and it really was breathtaking. Not only that, not a single item was broken!

And speaking of pictures, I will try to post some pretty ones over the next few weeks as I attempt to learn the ropes on our new Canon Rebel. My parents gave us the early Christmas present so that we could figure it out prior to the baby making her big appearance, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't horribly overwhelmed. Different lenses, flash settings, auto optimization and even an integrated self-cleaning system - whew!

And we may need the camera sooner rather than later as my contractions have kicked up a notch in the past few days. Nothing that I'm running to the hospital for yet, but they're definitely getting stronger and more often, so we will find out on Friday if there's any progress or if we really still have in the neighborhood of 33 days before the princess emerges.

Until then my husband has put me on his own version of modified bed rest which is comprised of yelling at me when I so much as roll over, so if there's anything we can do to keep her cooking for another little while I'm sure we will do it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

P.S. Thanks for your opinions but...

you can keep them to yourself.

Seriously, I am proud and thankful to have friends and acquaintances who have such strongly held beliefs that they feel they need to preach about them. But, the bottom line is that we will be cloth diapering, breastfeeding, vaccinating, and giving birth in a hospital.

I get that you want/had a homebirth, don't take your kids to doctors, think cloth diapering is a pain in the butt, and grew up on formula and turned out absolutely fine (so did I), but I don't care.

Please rest assured that I have spent the past eight plus months doing research on each of these options (and many, many more) and we are very comfortable with our decisions. A Ricky Lake documentary is not going to change my mind, and neither is your eye-rolling. And, if you tell me again that I'll wish I'd listened to you once I have the baby I will delete you from my facebook, ignore your text messages, and stop sending you our glorious and glittery Christmas cards.

That is all.

Day Eleven and Thanksgiving Eve

Today's blog challenge asks me to list my favorite TV shows, and that's a bit of a tough one. I have the TV or radio on a lot at home because I love ambient noise, but I really don't care much what is on. Generally it's the Food Network or the Cooking Channel, but when the boy is home he throws a fit over that stuff so it changes to whatever is on HBO. I do love Jeopardy and am convinced that Peanut will be smarter because we watch it, and I also love CNBC shows about money because it baffles me how people can be so stupid economically. We also watch Boardwalk Empire and the funny shows on Wednesday night - Modern Family, The Middle, and Cougartown.

As for Thanksgiving - it has already been dramatic and hasn't' even happened yet. My parents had planned on coming down to our place, which NEVER happens because they hate travelling during holidays. We hate it too, so this year we jumped on the chance to use my ginormous belly to our advantage and say that the holidays were here. Unfortunately, my Dad had some work emergencies come up this week and it didn't look like they were going to be able to make it after all, but last word at publishing time said that they were coming so we will see.

I'm struggling quite a bit, as I'm sure all pregnant women do, with balancing getting everything done and taking it easy for the little girl. I get a lot more contractions when I'm super busy so I know that's my cue to rest, but there is so much on my to-do list it is ridiculous. Especially with company coming there are beds to be made, food to cook, china to wash, and copious amounts of grocery shopping to be done and really all I want to do is lay in bed and watch the aforementioned programming.

I hope that when she gets here it becomes easier for me to ignore the messy kitchen and the spring cleaning and the meal planning because otherwise I'm going to be a walking zombie.

Apparently this motherhood thing doesn't come as naturally to me as it does to others.

My entire family wishes you and yours and fantastic Thanksgiving, and I hope you find time to think about what you're thankful for!

Friday, November 19, 2010

34 week baby update

How far along? 34 weeks

Total Weight Gain? 23 pounds. I went down a pound this week which was welcome news, especially since we found out that she's quite the little chubster in there. As long as she's a good healthy weight I wouldn't mind losing ten more!

Maternity Clothes? They still suck. So does stretching out your normal clothes though, so many days I give in.

Stretch Marks? Nothing within my realm of visibility.

Sleep? Getting worse. I may actually sleep MORE once she gets here.

Best Moment This Week? Seeing her chubby little cheeks on the 3D/4D (what the hell is 4D?) ultrasound

Movement? She's completely out of room and readied herself for the great escape. As long as she doesn't scoot herself out of position we should be good to go.

Food Cravings? Food is gross. So is Thanksgiving.

Gender? Still has a vagina. I know because I saw it in 3D. We are pretty confident at this point that she is, in fact, a she.

Labor signs? Nope. Just a few Braxton Hicks here and there.

Belly Button? Still an innie. I'm watching it carefully though.

What I Miss? Taking a deep breath.

What I Am Looking Forward To? Getting her swing in.

Weekly Wisdom? Do everything early. You will run out of time and by then your hormones will not let you handle it like a rational being.

Milestones? We got the Miracle Blanket, the bouncer, the Ergo, the Boppy, the nursery vinyl and the coming home outfit all in. Just 50 or so things to buy and we're ready for her to get here!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day Ten

Today's post is supposed to be about something I'm afraid of. It could be the longest post in the history of blogging.

When I was younger - let's say anywhere from age five to age twenty-five, I wasn't scared of a whole lot. Okay, yes I was afraid that my porceline dolls would come to life and murder me (thanks Twilight Zone) and that aliens would beam me up, but that was about it. I enjoyed earthquakes when I lived in California. I collected bugs for a school science project. I jumped off of a bridge and out of a plane. I was tough.

Fast-forward a few years and I'm scared of everything. Traffic on the freeway - those people drive like maniacs - scorpions, ghosts, Corey dying on the way to work, bedbugs, asteroids colliding with Earth... I couldn't sleep a wink after we visited Tulum this year and listened to one old Mayan tell us how the world was in fact going to end in 2013.

A bigger challenge to me is going to be NOT passing these fears automatically down to the Peanut. If I scream every time I see a spider she's going to learn to be afraid of spiders and damned if I'm going to give her my neurosis without letting her develop her own (or in addition to her own).

So, the saying is, "If you can't make it, fake it," right? Well, I'll be faking tough for the next eighteen years or so.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day Nine

Yes, I'm behind on this, but I will finish eventually. This one stumped me for a while because when we bought a new laptop I never transferred old files over to it from previous computers. That means that there are virtually no pictures of friends on this hard drive.

But, I do have one set of pictures from my best friend's graduation last year so at least it's something. I've been friends with Lex since 6th grade when I moved to the middle of nowhere. That makes it something like 17 years (which is insane!). She's running things out in the middle of the ocean right now as a Navy officer - we're all very proud of her and baby girl Park can't wait to meet her Auntie Lexi when she comes back!

Friday, November 5, 2010

32 week baby update

How far along? 32 weeks

Total Weight Gain? 24 pounds - This is getting ridiculous! I'm blaming the four pound gain on the fact that this appointment was in the afternoon and all of my others are in the morning before I've had anything to eat or drink. That must be it!

Maternity Clothes? My feelings for these haven't changed, but I did buy my first ever pair of leggings last week. Not as bad as I thought.

Stretch Marks? Not that I know of. Of course, if she continues to gain two pounds a week I'll look like a zebra before this thing is over.

Sleep? Nunca, nil, zero, zilch.

Best Moment This Week? Finishing the artwork for her nursery. I can't show it to you because it has her name on it, and her name is TOP SECRET.

Movement? Less actually - her sleep cycles are very long. She goes crazy twice a day, and otherwise just chills in there.

Food Cravings? Still hate food. Nothing new.

Gender? We didn't verify this week, but she still feels like a girl to me.

Labor signs? Braxton Hicks, but nothing crazy.

Belly Button? Still an innie. I guess it's a good thing I had a deep belly button to start with.

What I Miss? Breathing through my nose.

What I Am Looking Forward To? Our birth and labor class tomorrow.

Weekly Wisdom? I no longer have any wisdom. The baby ate my last brain cell.

Milestones? Every day is a milestone. She has a 95% chance of survival if she came today - that's good news!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day Eight - A place you've travelled to

I've been very lucky to have travelled to some very cool places, so I decided to narrow this down to a place we have travelled to this year.

Looking back at my old posts, I did a horrible job covering the lovely places we visited while on our cruise in April. To be completely fair, I was right in the beginning throes of morning sickness, but it's really no excuse because we stopped in four of the most amazing cities/countries.

If I had to pick one favorite (and the boy agrees with me) it would be Isla Roatan, Honduras.

When we arrived it was almost impossible to see land from the ship because the humidity was as thick as pea soup. I think it was only 90 degrees, but with 98% humidity it was a little warm to say the least. We trudged down the road and out of the 'safe' area that the cruise ship had roped off so that you would spend your tourist money with them. I'm sure that cruise lines have the safety of their guests in mind, but we were not at all interested in seeing the tourist trap spots that they deemed acceptable, so we hired a private tour guide to take us around the island.

This was one of the best decisions we made on this trip, and if any of you are ever in Roatan please get the name of our guide from me because he was fantastic!

One of the drawbacks of finding out I was pregnant two days before leaving was that we had to rearrange some of our more dangerous plans, like scuba diving and zip-lining. Roatan is famous for jungle ziplines and I was excited for months to be speeding down the 300+ foot cables towering over the trees. The boy was not quite as disappointed that our plans got canceled though (I have my doubts about whether he could have launched himself off of the platform anyway).

We did a little research before leaving and found the information for an orphanage on the island and were able to talk to the directors before leaving so we had an idea of what the children were in need of. We made a little extra space in our luggage so we stuffed in toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and Uno cards for the kids, and then we had our fantastic guide take us to a local grocery store to pick up some food.

It was so much fun filling up the cart with food that we knew the kids needed, and then we went over to the orphanage and got to meet some of them. A mixed bag of tragic and moving, we met some of the fourteen children that lived at the orphanage - better housing than they would have had otherwise for sure, but so sad to know that life isn't anywhere near fair and by no fault of their own these kids are sharing one big room and fighting over card games instead of playing Wii on their flat screen like so many children in the U.S. are doing right now.

Honduras does not grant international adoptions as a rule, so the only hope these children have is being adopted by a family member or a community member. Because of the extreme poverty on the island, realistically the best they can do is hope that the orphanage is able to consistently fund their bilingual education so that they can get a job in tourism and be able to take care of themselves when they reach their late teens.

After the orphanage our guide took us on a full tour of the island, from coast to coast. We felt like we were on the island of "LOST" and could rarely believe the contrast between the shack housing and the raw beauty of the land around it. And, as it usually is in places such as this, the class distinction was amazing. Normal houses:

Mayor's house:

We also went to a private 'petting zoo' that had lemurs, monkeys, and anteaters that you got to play with. The boy narrowly missed a poo incident with a lemur but the monkeys were amazing to play with - they especially liked my water bottle. I often think of my beagador as a little monkey and these guys did little to dispel that thought.

I wish we could have spent an entire week here, and maybe someday we will. Roatan has some of the best reef diving in the world so there are many diving resorts on the island. We often think about going back for a week, and drooled over the photos on their website just yesterday. I think it will be a little while before the peanut is travel-ready, but as soon as she is we can't wait to show her the world starting with beautiful, raw places like Roatan.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day Seven

A post about my favorite movies could realistically be four pages long, but I'll try to keep this to a minimum.

Ever After, Pride and Prejudice, and The Princess Bride - could watch the three of these over and over and over and never get tired of them. Sigh. So romantic.

Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club - The boy had never seen any of these before me. What the heck is wrong with him?

A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation - The boy and I watch Christmas Vacation while we're putting up the Christmas tree and again on Christmas Eve, and we watch Christmas story several times on Christmas Day. I love these holiday traditions!

I also watched Top Gun so many times in college that I actually burnt out the DVD, so no movie list would be complete without the sweetness that is Maverick vs. Iceman!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thoughts and Day Six

I love beautiful things. Of course I love things like diamonds and pearls and Cartier Christmas ornaments, but mostly I love beautiful things like framed pictures of family, flower pots on windowsills, and stacks of Halloween pumpkins just waiting to be carved.

I often blog-stalk with mouth agape, deeply envious and impressed by the creative abilities my distant acquaintances have. Some of them have massive amounts of money that allow them to peruse the Restoration Hardware seasonal catalog and place orders longer than my grocery list (and seriously, who does RH think they are - Louis Vuitton?). But some of them have an innate ability to walk into a Goodwill store with eight dollars and walk out with a piece of furniture that will look like it came from Pottery Barn.

I do not have this creative gene. Never have, never will. My mom can paint, and draw and sculpt, but she kept all of this to herself because the best I could do in art class was trace a comic and pretend I free handed it.

So, I am trying desperately (with the help of copying other's creativity) to make our house a beautiful place, but it is very slow going. I pick up things here and there, but I lack the ability to picture the items once they are in my house and often time they get to the place I intended them to be and they just don't fit.

Also, I have the energy of a thirty-five year old pack mule (is that old for a pack mule? I assume so.), but that is another thing altogether. If this supposed 'nesting' doesn't kick in the Peanut is going to throw a fit when we get her home from the hospital. I'm counting on this mythical stage to visit soon so I can finish her shopping, put together the rest of the nursery, and (cringe) finish unpacking because apparently getting the cardboard boxes out of my house in two months is just too much to ask.

And now, for the day six task. Pictures that make me smile:

Corey helped me with this project when he could see that I was about to go crazy from wedding related crap. I love how it turned out.

No offense to any of your canines, but it's pretty much a fact that Sprocket is the cutest thing on four legs.

My boys.

Our little miracle.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day Five

When I was three all I wanted was a little sister. We would play with dolls, stay up late and whisper secrets to each other in our makeshift bedroom fort.

When we went to the hospital to see my little sister I could hardly contain myself. And then there was this wriggly little creature with as much hair as a capuchin monkey. His name was Michael and my dreams were crushed.

I decided I would call him Hogwash instead.

He maintains that I tried to kill him several times during his first years of life but I disagree. I was just toughening him up for life.

Now I adore my baby brother and couldn't imagine life without him.

His intelligence often surprises me given the fact that he chooses to spend much of his time with his overgrown frat brothers discussing the merits and beer and women. His work ethic rivals a superhero - I've never seen him back down from a tough job. He's also incredibly supportive and no one else gets the welcome from Sprocket that Uncle Mikey gets when he pulls into the driveway. Often the Beagador tries to shove at least three gifts into his jaw for his favorite person, and he wriggles back and forth like a sidewinder.

I do look forward to the day when he finds a girl that will encourage him to wear ironed clothes and eat things with color, but regardless of his rampant bachelordom he is the perfect little brother.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day Four

Today's post is scheduled to be about my parents and the reason that I'm posting it a bit later than originally planned is that I couldn't find a picture of my parents in my computer. I asked my mom to send me one last week, but she's ignoring me so it would be only fair if I scrounged one up from Christmas morning without makeup. But, I'm sweet so I'll settle for this one.

My parents are pretty much the coolest parents in the history of the world. My mom is a five foot tall-ish positive thinker who likes to spend her time making lists and cutting coupons. My dad is a six foot plus former college lineman with expensive tastes and who sees the glass as half empty and probably full of some cheap nasty liquid anyway.

To say that they are opposites is a vast understatement. And they've been very happily married for 35 years this past June.

Growing up I always used to gag and run from the room because they were cuddling on the couch and making out. Realistically, what twelve year old wants to see that nastiness? Even though I can't say I enjoy seeing my parents make out now, I am thrilled that I have had such a great example of enduring love and patience in a marriage.

Corey and I truly enjoy spending time with my parents, not just as mom and dad, but more as people. True, we seek out their advice and guidance on things (although my mom lies about how long it takes to install a ceiling fan) but our most memorable times are spent sitting around the fire pit in their gorgeous backyard, having a drink (or club soda) and talking. My dad and Corey love to golf together, and my mom and I will shop, cook, or simply watch the Beagador run amok in the backyard.

The Peanut can't wait to meet her Grandma and Grandpa, although I think Corey and I are in for a world of pain - my Nana and Papa spoiled me rotten and I have it under good authority that my parents have some of the same plans for their precious baby granddaughter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

30 week baby update

How far along? 30 weeks

Total Weight Gain? 20 pounds - up another pound from my 28 week appt. Apparently this kind of thing is normal, but I feel like an orca.

Maternity Clothes? Still hate 'em. I wear mostly dresses and yoga pants so I don't have to look at that stupid belly panel on the maternity jeans.

Stretch Marks? Nope. Which means if I'm getting maternity pictures I should probably do it now before my belly blows up.

Sleep? Yes, Corey is sleeping just fine, thank you.

Best Moment This Week? Hmmm. This week has been kinda blah. Last Saturday I slept three hours in a row though, so that was pretty exciting!

Movement? She's out of room to kick, so she mostly just rolls and prods me with knees and elbows. It looks a bit like a waterbed mattress when you look at my bare belly.

Food Cravings? Sour apple Jolly Ranchers sound good. Hard candy helps with the heartburn and the taste of vomit, so I think I'll go pick some up.

Gender? Girl. And if it's somehow a boy who has been hiding his parts this whole time I'm punishing him by making him sleep in a pink nursery with girl monkeys all over the walls.

Labor signs? Nope. So far, so good. She's still enjoying her stay at casa de uterus.

Belly Button? I can't see the thing, but Corey says it's getting more and more shallow. If it pops out I will be duct taping it daily.

What I Miss? Not waddling.

What I Am Looking Forward To? Her Pack N Play should be here today. Long term I'm looking forward to not taking these stupid iron pills for anemia. Yuck!

Weekly Wisdom? Don't be friends with people who only gained 15 pounds during their pregnancy. They were only put here to make the rest of us feel bad about ourselves.

Milestones? 30 weeks baby! That's rounding third and heading for home! I never thought we would make it this far.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day Three

I'll save you the drama right now and tell you that I'm going to be writing about my husband. Sure, there were two times in my life before Corey that I thought I loved someone, and without an abiding and universal definition of love I guess if you think it exists it does. However, in retrospect I was a naive child and a co-dependent mess at the times of these relationships and when love and respect exist without each other I have a hard time believing that the love part was ever there at all. Cryptic enough for you? Good, because I really have no desire to dredge up old crap. So let's move on.

When I first was introduced to Corey we were in a dirty dive bar and neither of us were remotely interested in the other. Apparently I was a big snob, and he was, well, he was drunk.

Four or so months later our mutual friends tried to set us up and I was reluctant. "He's too quiet," I told them. At that point I couldn't understand why they both laughed so hard their faces turned red.

We did eventually agree to a double date, and for the next few weeks Corey remained polite, quiet, reserved and respectful. The Air Force sent him to New Orleans for a month and we spent countless hours on the phone getting to know everything about each other. And then slowly, when he came back, the real Corey started to come out. The Hooters T-shirt emerged from his closet. His friends started eluding to this mischievous man who would run up and punch them in the face for no reason. He drove his huge, loud truck even faster and Hank Williams could be heard from the gates to my apartment. He told me he hated cheese plates and the symphony and shirts with collars.

The debutante in me was crushed, but it was far too late. I was gone. I sobbed on my desk at work one day that I was going to marry a hillbilly and my children would be walking around barefoot chewing straw. A bit dramatic to be sure, but he also would be lying if he said his ideal life partner was a snooty, red-wine sipping, John McCain volunteering, Yankee city girl.

Why he chose me I doubt I'll ever really know, but I can tell you that God plopped this goofy boy with bright blue eyes right in the middle of my life and derailed me from my tracks at a million miles an hour. We never deserve the blessings we are given, but I'm nothing if not eternally thankful for this one.

Corey is the most thoughtful, caring, and responsible man I've ever met or even heard about. When I was laid off a few weeks before our wedding he didn't even flinch. "I make enough to support us and you didn't need the stress of that job anyway."

I love that when I'm not looking he cuddles up with his smelly mutt on the couch and they snore in harmony. I love that he calls me from the golf course when he makes an amazing shot just because he wants me to share in his excitement. I love that he stood by my side every day that we were going through fertility treatments and never once made me feel like my body was letting him down.

I happen to think that your first love happens the first time you find real, true, uncomplicated adoration and you don't have to question whether or not it's right. You just close your eyes, hold on, and say prayers of thankfulness every second of the day.

I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day Two

So today's post is supposed to reflect the meaning behind my blog name. I'm pretty sure my blog name is "The Park Family" so I'm not sure how much direction you people need here.

I will explain that the meaning behind our blog address (yankeeandrebel) is that when Corey and I first started dating I would lament the fact that I already knew my children would be born with goofy little southern drawls and big blue eyes, and he teased me that his family would never accept his "Snobby Yankee Bitch".

Of course, years later we now know three things:

1) Peanut probably WILL have a southern drawl, but it's because her mama has started talking like a damned hillbilly, not because of her daddy. Somewhere along the line I subconsciously decided that if you can't beat them you should join them and I hear myself saying "Ya'll" and even "Ain't" on occasion. Then I lock myself in my room and repeat lines out of a diction book for thirty minutes.

2) Peanut only has a 13% chance of blue eyes. It's biology, not rocket science.

3) His family DID accept his snobby yankee bitch wife. In fact, they are all incredibly nice to me. I'm sure they secretly think some of my ways are very strange - "What do you mean she's never been frog giggin'? - but they are sweet nonetheless.

I haven't had the heart to tell them that the North won.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day One

An introduction seems quite silly since I'm quite certain that the limited audience that my blog entertains already knows me, but I'll play along.

I am Christina. Wife to Corey, mother to a one-year-old Beagador named Sprocket and a 29 week old incubating baby we like to call Peanut. I'm a mostly boring stay at home mom who likes to channel Betty Crocker and June Cleaver with a little bit of 80's Madonna thrown in just for spice.

The last picture I allowed to be taken of me was on our cruise when I was just five weeks pregnant, so you'll have to settle for that. Yes, people have demanded a plumped up version, and just as soon as I can find the energy to do my hair I will succumb to peer pressure. For now, settle for this:

This is in Roatan, Honduras and although that looks suspiciously like a baby bump I assure you that it is simply Clomid bloat. Just what every woman wants right before she goes on a cruise, right? Although there was a baby in there, she was the size of an apple seed so I can't blame the belly on her at all.

15 interesting facts could be a stretch, but I'll give it a go anyway:

- My thumbs are double jointed. So are my mom's. My Nana said it was a sign of fortune or something, but my Nana was known to make crap up.

- The boy and I collect magnets and those little squashed pennies wherever we go. We are almost as lame as stamp and/or spoon collectors, but not quite. Our refrigerator is already covered with many different cities and countries, but I hope that by the time the Peanut graduates high school the entire thing is blanketed.

- The boy is trying to talk me into writing a book and he almost has me convinced. None of you will ever read it though because it will be chick porn written under a terribly tacky nom de plume. Why? Because you can write that drivel while you're half asleep, editing is optional, and it makes good money.

- Growing up, I was the queen of sleeping in. Now, thanks to a noisy Beagador, a snoring husband, and a baby who is trying to disjoint my hips I am lucky to make it to dawn.

- I make the best inside-out German Chocolate Cake you've ever had. It's true. I'm not modest about this one.

- I hate chocolate. Really. It's just not good. I also hate meat. Because of these two aversions I have had zero cravings during pregnancy thus far.

- My wedding day was NOT the happiest day of my life. It was miserable. However, I have had thousands of happiest days with my darling husband so I wouldn't change it for anything.

- I yell at the television. It used to just be during sporting events, but now I do it all the time. Rachael Ray is a favorite victim of mine, as well as Sandra Lee, Oprah, the dumb contestants on Jeopardy, and anyone 'reading' the news.

- I haven't paid for any toiletries in at least two years. It really is amazing the degree to which Walgreens and CVS will pay you to take their merchandise. I still get embarrassed using coupons, but I can't help but grin when I walk away with a bag full of stuff that I just made two bucks to buy.

- Because of my frugality I have little patience or tolerance for people who claim to be broke and accept government and/or societal handouts when they're spending their money on things like cigarettes, alcohol, eating out and Target odds and ends. If you can't afford diapers you can't afford vodka.

- I humbly think my Beagador is the cutest thing that God ever made. Also, at some points in time I think he is the dumbest thing He ever made too. He's the Megan Fox of dogs.

- I have a bladder disease which prohibits me from drinking anything other than water and club soda. I miss coffee and diet coke, but the way I miss red wine and whiskey is on a whole different playing field. Sometimes I open the bottle of Jack in my freezer and just sniff it. You know, because that's not crazy at all.

- I think that those who don't vaccinate their children are irresponsible and inviting epidemics that the world hasn't known in decades. I also think that parents of children with egg allergies or immune deficiencies who are not able to vaccinate their children should be allowed to punch non-vaccinating hippies whenever they want.

- I think an epidural sounds lovely.

- I can't stop watching "Teen Mom" on MTV. I'm not exactly sure what their target demographic is, but judging by the Clearasil and Trojan commercials I'm guessing it's thirteen year old girls. Guess what? I don't care! Watching that oompa loompa Amber beat the crap out of her fiance/ex/boyfriend Gary is the stuff dreams are made of.

30 day blog challenge

Although I love frequenting blogs that are updated on a regular basis, I still can't seem to find the motivation or suitable content to keep mine more up to date than a few times a month.

To help with these struggles I'm adopting the challenge that I've seen floating around the blogosphere recently, and I'll give it my best effort to remain somewhat diligent in my postings.

If anyone else wants to participate, here's the challenge:

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts
Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name
Day 3-Your first love
Day 4-Your parents
Day 5-Your siblings
Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 7-Favorite movies
Day 8-A place you've traveled to
Day 9-A picture of your friends
Day 10-Something you're afraid of
Day 11-Favorite tv shows
Day 12-What you believe
Day 13-Goals
Day 14-A picture you love
Day 15-Bible verse
Day 16-Dream house
Day 17-Something you're looking forward to
Day 18-Something you regret
Day 19-Something you miss
Day 20-Nicknames
Day 21-Picture of yourself
Day 22-Favorite city
Day 23-Favorite vacation
Day 24-Something you've learned
Day 25-Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs
Day 26-Picture of your family
Day 27-Pets
Day 28-Something that stresses you out
Day 29-3 Wishes
Day 30-a picture

Friday, October 8, 2010

Baby update

I haven't really been playing this game, but I'll go ahead and do it anyway since I have nothing else to talk about. Here is the generic baby update form:

How far along? 28 weeks

Total Weight Gain? Wow. Getting awful personal right off the bat. Up 19 pounds since the beginning of our cycle with the RE, and up 14 pounds since our positive test. According to my OB now, those drugs make you swell up like a baby whale so I'm only counting the 14. It makes me feel better.

Maternity Clothes? I did buy two pairs of maternity pants and I hate them, so I mostly wear my old jeans with the buttons undone and long shirts to cover my ginormous belly. Yoga pants are also lovely.

Stretch Marks? None that I can see. Of course, the lower half of my body is now a complete secret to me, so I could have all kinds of things going on below the belly button that I'm unaware of.

Sleep? Somewhere between 24 and 27 weeks my bladder completely gave up, so sleep went along with it. I sleep in 45 minute increments between trips to the bathroom.

Best Moment This Week? Every moment she's cooking in there is amazing. Seeing her and hearing the heartbeat are always cool too. The upside of being 'high-risk' is getting to check on her so frequently!

Movement? Little girl is just finishing up her ninja training and it appears that she's graduating top of her class. The only times she calms down are after I eat (she apparently hates food just like her mommy) and when her Daddy reads to her every night. She quiets down for the story and then throws a holy fit when he's done.

Food Cravings? I hate food! The morning (all day) sickness isn't completely gone and nothing ever sounds good.

Gender? Still a girl, every time.

Labor signs? Braxton Hicks, but nothing real.

Belly Button? Still an innie, but I can now see my laparoscopy scar so I know it's stretching out some.

What I Miss? Brushing my teeth without vomiting.

What I Am Looking Forward To? Her nursery artwork coming in.

Weekly Wisdom? Never underestimate how cool it is to bend over without grunting like a sumo wrestler and losing your balance.

Milestones? Every single day is a milestone. I want her to keep cooking for as long as possible!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nursery progress

I finally found both a camera and a USB cord, so I figured it was time to give a little update on the nursery and assure my parents that we are actually planning to have a finished room for Peanut by the time she gets here.

Yesterday another generous friend chauffeured us to pick up a horrendously heavy piece of baby furniture, so the crib and combo unit are now in place. Our perilously narrow stairway led to a bit of drama as the fully assembled, solid mahogany dresser needed to be hoisted over uneven landscaping, heaved around turns, and lifted over delicate banisters, but they did a remarkable job.

Isn't the crib lovely? Sucker came in a box as big as my living room, and so heavy that it had to be taken up the stairs piece by piece, but assembly was remarkably simple and only took the boy and me around 30 minutes total. Perhaps that's what the premium was for.

This lovely piece came fully assembled, right down to the drawer pulls. Combo units are hard to find, but since they make all bedrooms around ten feet by ten feet now I just couldn't find a way to shove a crib, dresser, changing table and glider all in her room, so we went with this bad boy.

Is her furniture nicer and more expensive than many pieces of other furniture in our house? Yep. Am I embarrassed by this fact? Admittedly, a little. But, I still have our $1,500 Egyptian cotton sheets* to luxuriate on while she has to snooze on crappy cotton ones, so if she gets snotty about it at least I have something.

Because I'm insane - as I point out often so you won't get any ideas of listening to me - I have spent an unmentionable amount of my life researching baby gear, and a car seat was one of the scariest. We FINALLY decided on one and I ordered it that second so I wouldn't have the option of talking myself out of it. Of course, the safest seats had no girlie patterns, so she gets yellow. Oh well.

Somehow we've managed to accumulate quite the pile of baby junk in the past few months without really accomplishing anything from our list. Do we have thirteen thousand frilly dresses in her closet that she will probably never wear? Close. Do we have a stroller? Nope. I assure you that our priorities aren't that far out of line, but outfits with little watermelon shaped flip flops are a lot easier to pick out than the bassinet where she will spend the vast majority of her first few months on Earth.

At least the painters are finished, and the major parts of her nursery are in so I can continue my market research and narrow down the final forty or so necessities to brand and model number.

Then I have to wrestle my inner demons and write a ridiculous check to the cord blood banking company who swears it isn't preying on my maternal instincts to protect my not-yet-born in any way conceivably possible. I may have sucker stamped on my forehead, but if our Peanut happens to be the one in 4,000 children who gets a disease that has already been identified as treatable with these little miracle cells, well, she damn well is going to have access to them.

On a lighter note, and lest you think I have forgotten my first-born, here is what happens approximately ten seconds after I vacuum the downstairs:

The Beagador likes to channel his inner piglet and roll around in the area where the grass is baked to straw by the Phoenix sun. When he feels that he has an appropriate amount of filth glued to his coat he runs in to show me, proud as a peacock. It usually makes his daddy laugh, but I got the last chuckle a few days ago when the boy had just spent an hour bathing his baby Sprocket and he ran outside to wallow while still damp.

I think the Sprocket and the Peanut will be best of (messy) friends!

*Please note that these sheets were purchased long before I met the boy and had any idea what a budget was, and why you shouldn't buy sheets from Neiman Marcus. And yes, if it brings you any satisfaction, the seams on these suckers tore long before any of our Dillard's sheets have.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The best laid plans...

I know I mentioned this, but when we were buying our house we ran into several roadblocks. There were many nights that the boy and I would sit in bed, look at each other, and shake our heads. Were we meant to do this?

At least a half dozen times we also said, "If this problem doesn't get resolved we'll just rent for another year."

We asked ourselves if God was putting these roadblocks in our way for a reason. Were we not meant to buy right now? Was this not the right house?

I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know that if we'd listened to that nagging, questioning voice in the back of our minds we wouldn't be so stressed right now. Why are we stressed?

Well, because we're moving. The boy's position was guaranteed for three to four years. Unfortunately, guaranteed doesn't mean the same thing in the military world as it does in the civilian world, and his job is moving to New Mexico.

Luckily, we'll get about a year in this house (hopefully), so Peanut will get to bask in her beautiful custom nursery. True, we'll move before she will have any idea where she is, but at least I'll get some cute pictures.

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I'm having a mini-breakdown right now. I'm doing my best to focus on the present, and the positive - neither one of which are my strong suit.

We'll need to rent our house out because the real estate market is so volatile in Phoenix that we'll never get our money back. So we go from homeowners to landlords in the blink of an eye.

But, on the positive side of the coin, we will be together. The boy should also get his position extended to three years from the time we get there, so we could have another four years together without a deployment, which is unheard of. I keep telling myself that our family is the most important thing and keeping us together, no matter where we live, is our priority.

Now you must remind me of this in a year when I'm living in a two bedroom house that was built in 1975 and only has a swamp cooler. Yikes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Price is right

Wowza. You know how I said in my last post that being a grown-up was expensive? I should have had at least forty comments to that saying, "Honey, you ain't seen nothin' yet."

The past four weeks have been a veritable keg party at our new house. DishNetwork, Cox internet, painters, movers, ADT, Pest Control, Garage Door Servicemen, appliance deliverymen, Air Conditioning repairmen, and more appliance deliverymen have been parading through our door since we signed the papers. It's amazing what move-in ready really means when you're *slightly* high-maintenance like we are. I can only imagine what would have been needed had we purchased a fixer-upper.

To keep the baby from growing another arm due to paint toxicity, Sprocket and I spent last week with my parents in Pinetop while Corey supervised the entire house being painted (did I mention we decided to paint the entire house?) from down here. It looks great, and once we find a camera in one of these boxes I'll be sure to post some pictures.

But the really expensive part isn't even the house. Sure, one of our very new air conditioning units decided not to work one day, the doorbell almost started a fire in our hallway, and painting a two story house with a great room that seems fifty feet tall is amazingly pricey, but the Peanut - well she's a whole different spending story.

I picked up a copy of a book called "Baby Bargains". Sounds frugal, right? Many a mother told me I HAD to have this book, and I'm very glad we purchased it because the world of baby purchases might as well have been Mars to us. However, safe baby stuff is not cheap.

Sure, there are cribs and car seats and strollers that pass safety inspections and sell for reasonable prices. But, you want the car seat with side impact? Oh, that sucker's gonna cost you. Cute cribs at Walmart? Of course. And baby probably won't die in it. But, do you want to make sure it wasn't made in China from particleboard that contains lead and asbestos? You're lookin' at $500++.

As we made our way down the list and picked out each specific brand and model for each necessity, the tab really started to add up. And when I say add up I mean that I started to hyperventilate.

Yes, we have a baby fund for this stuff. And yes, it's good that we overestimated said baby fund because we're going to use it. But, I'm cheap now. I almost threw up spending $50 on maternity clothes yesterday (oh yeah, I'm finally in maternity clothes. Yay, me. (Dripping with sarcasm, in case you're confused.))

I've resorted to buying Babies R Us coupons on ebay because they will save us hundreds of dollars, but beyond that there isn't much I can do to save on this stuff. You can't buy used, they rarely put the good stuff on sale, and scrimping on safety is not an issue for us. So, the debit card is on fire.

Lest I make life seem tragic, we are feeling very blessed. Peanut is routinely doing the cha-cha on my insides and although it is painful when she gets a foot all up in my adhesions, her Daddy sure loves to feel her kick and watch my enormous belly gyrate with her movements. She also loves to hear his voice, so he reads to her every night when we settle into bed. She calms down to hear him speak, but if he dares take a breath or turn a page she gets impatient for him to resume and knocks me around a bit.

Unfortunately, the bladder instills haven't been helping so we're going to discontinue them for now. My doc says I'm carrying her low and she likes to use my bladder as a pillow (albeit a diseased and shriveled pillow) so that's probably not going to be helped by some heparin pumped in from a catheter. Fifteen more weeks - I'll survive.

I alternate between telling her to hurry up already, and holding onto my sanity by a kite string as I realize that three-ish months from now I will be solely responsible for another human being who will need me to do EVERYTHING for her. Sure, Sprocket needs more attention than a fat mom on "Toddlers and Tiaras" but at least he sleeps for six hours a night. I pray daily that we get one of those angel children who gets wrapped up in her Miracle Blanket and sleeps until 8am. Maybe she'll learn just how crabby her Daddy is when he doesn't get enough sleep and she'll cut us a break now and then.

Or maybe her millions of dollars in Miracle Blankets and soothing nursery white noise machines will knock her out for days at a time.

One can only pray to the Visa and Mastercard gods.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This grown up stuff is expensive!!

Now that the house is officially ours, we have had the garage door serviced, bought a new refrigerator and gas stove, had the house re-locked, scheduled the painters to do the nursery (and we're getting the master bedroom and bath re-done too, just because) and scheduled ADT to come and install new security services. We still have to get landscapers to come out and fix the watering system, install new ceiling fans in some of the rooms, have the backsplash in the kitchen tiled with mosaic tile, replace the doorbell, and possibly replace the exhaust hood in the kitchen when I figure out whether or not the current one will compete with my gas stove cooking.

Then we have to buy the copious amount of baby related gear that I referred to in my earlier post.


Tomorrow I go to the doc and start bladder instills for the pain my I.C. is causing. I've had the bladder instills before, although obviously not while pregnant, and they aren't a huge deal, so I am hoping it will help me get more than an hour of sleep at a time without having to run to the bathroom because peanut is pressing on my poor, sick bladder. It's a bit unnerving having any kind of procedure while my baby is still making her home in there, but if her mommy doesn't start getting some sleep and relief from the pain she's going to have much less time to shop for pretty things, so it's in her best interest.

We are just shy of halfway there and it's slowly dawning on me that at the end of this year we will have a beautiful baby girl to bring home (God willing). I can't believe that a hospital is going to allow us to just take her - don't they know I haven't changed a diaper in years? How will I know which cry means, "I'm hungry" and which means, "I'm sick"? So many of my friends have multiple kids and I gaze at them in awe - how did you learn it all?

Of course we will be taking birthing, CPR, infant safety, breastfeeding, lamaze, and whatever other class they invent in the meantime, but I have a sneaking suspicion that practicing these things on Molly-Wet-n-Cry is just not going to be the same.

Apparently there just isn't such a place in life as 'ready for a baby' because six months ago I was sobbing that we were ready and wanted one so badly and now I wake up in the middle of the night afraid that we aren't going to pick the right bottles or that she's going to get her little fingers trapped in the crib slats.

I guess we'll just do the best we can, and hope that Sprocket picks up the slack.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the cardinal rule of pregnancy

When you suffer from infertility and have success, there is one rule that is punishable by death (or at least episiotomies and long labor): thou shalt not complain about pregnancy. Well, guess what? Screw the rule.

This pregnancy is HARD. We knew this going in. They told me it would be painful for me with all of my 'issues'. But I have been in pain for the past two years plus, so I thought it couldn't be much different. I was very, very wrong.

Yes, it is physically more painful. There is now a cantaloupe in my pelvis and it is pushing on my broken, diseased bladder and my intestinal adhesions. It is the sweetest, most loved cantaloupe in the world, but it is still brutal. But, the hardest part and the thing I didn't expect is the emotional turmoil involved when the pain knocks me to the ground and makes me cry out that I'm ready for the epidural NOW. I'm scared that something is wrong with the baby.

I'm doing my best to not be the crazy pregnant lady, and so far we've only called the on-call once, but every time I feel like peanut is taking a machete to my guts I'm terrified that she's in danger.

Each time we check on her she's doing fine - last time she was doing flips and ninja kicks in there - but it doesn't stop me from fretting. Because I'm crazy. Sigh. The peanut has a crazy momma.

But, since we verified she is, in fact, a SHE (and I win all the money in the world according to the bet I made with everyone), I'm guessing that she will have a certain amount of crazy in her too (just look at my mom - it's genetic (Hi Mom!)). Might as well get her used to it now.

What the peanut may be lacking in sanity though, she will not be lacking in equipment. We have purchased her a nursery (attached to a lovely four bedroom house) and it is scheduled to be painted this week. Then I can begin filling it up with truckloads of the most adorable baby girl stuff one can find. Sure, there will be a crib and a dresser and a rocking chair, but I'm talking about the good stuff. Bookshelves full of Little Golden Books. Tummy time mats with floating fish in them. Bumbos, and Exersaucers, and Gloworms, oh my. And how many pink dresses can you fit in a standard DR Horton sliding closet? My friends, we are about to find out.

Despite the fact that I had a momentary heart attack (figure of speech, as far as we know the hole in my heart is holding up just fine) when finding out we're having a daughter, I then remembered how very glad I am that we took some extra time before the babymakin' to put together a kickass peanut fund. I stress about money every day because, well, say it with me - I'm CRAZY - but I realize that there is no reason to stress when I'm logical about it. We've budgeted and re-budgeted and then done it again and somehow we have become ninja savers because what other people can't manage to do on two incomes we are comfortably doing on the boy's. Even if our little princess needs imported, lactose-free formula, and diapers made from pashmina, we have enough in the monthly budget for that. And I am OH SO thankful to my husband for being such an amazing provider and working so hard for us.

This is why he is sleeping in right now and the peanut, the beagador, and I are lounging on the couch and waiting for him to emerge. The Three (crazy) Musketeers.

Now that I think about it, he's slept in long enough!

Monday, July 12, 2010

House buying and Peanut farming

Corey and I have affectionately dubbed the one yet-to-be-born "Peanut". I'm not sure why Peanut, especially since she looked freakishly like a gummy bear on all of our early ultrasounds, but Peanut it is.

The official date we will find out if Peanut has boy parts or girl parts is July 30th, which is both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I keep waiting for it to hit me that there is an actual, living being a few inches below my belly button, but still it is surreal. In fact, the only indication I have of her presence (besides the constant vomiting) is the fact that I ate a McDonalds cheeseburger a few days ago. No baby = no meat, but this little one is a carnivore just like her daddy, so I gave in to her demands. Thankfully, McDonalds' meat is very un-meat like and I was able to chew it while pretending it was a dry, bland mushroom.

Corey has been in ninja mode, rushing here and there almost so quickly that I can only make out a blur where I know him to have been. Between work and classes he has been trying extra hard to figure out a way to keep our real estate agent and the seller's agent from killing each other before we buy the house we want. The deal has been called off because of their antics several times, and the boy has had to make late night phone calls smoothing things over more than once. I never thought we would be mediating between two grown men, but a move-in ready house is a rare thing out here so we're doing whatever we can.

We've seen dozens of houses that have been trashed (quite literally) to levels anywhere between dirty and condemnable, and unfortunately the premium for buying one that has new carpet, paint, tile, and landscaping is around $30k. Normally I'd never shell out that kind of dough and we would buy a fixer-upper ourselves and HGTV it to our heart's content, but my expanding belly does little for my energy level or my propensity to inhale copious amounts of toxic paint fumes, so we're accepting our self-appointed titles as Mr. and Mrs. Sucker and springing for the huge markup on the bells and whistles. Apparently we are not the only schmucks in Surprise though, as every house we've put an offer in on has had several more by the end of the day. End result: outbidding the other lazy shoppers. Cha-ching. Let's all just cross our fingers that our overpriced abode holds value for three years so we can break even at the end of this ride the Air Force calls an assignment.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I'm fairly certain that anyone who reads my blog is also my facebook friend so this is old news, but just in case: I am pregnant!

It feels very strange to type that, especially since I still don't feel pregnant even though I am now in the second trimester. Depending on which one of my doctors you believe I am either due on the last day of this year or the first day of next year.

In the marathon world of infertility, Corey and I managed to win in a sprint. It seems like we have been going through things forever, but in reality so much of infertility is in testing, diagnosing, meeting with overbooked specialists, forming game plans, getting referrals and insurance approvals, and testing drugs. The amazing fact is that we actually got pregnant on our very first fertility cycle with our infertility specialist.

Mentally, I was prepared for it to take many more months or years. I was not prepared for it to work. Even taking the test seemed silly to me, but as we were leaving in three days for a cruise that would certainly involve me sampling many new varietals of red wine, I thought it would be the responsible thing to do.

"Something looks weird on this pregnancy test," I told the boy on the phone while he was at work.

He came home and we tried a new stick. Something definitely looked weird. I expected a true blue line, and I saw a shadow. I thought it was a fluke.

So, we went in for blood tests. Sure enough, two days before flying to Miami, we found out we were (barely) pregnant.

That was eleven weeks ago, and I was sure we wouldn't make it to this point. Morbid, I know, but I'm not programmed to be a glass-half-full kind of girl. It was too easy. Too quick. It will go away.

But, the peanut has hung in there. Through two hour workouts prior to the cruise, through motion sickness, through food poisoning, through long brutal flights and terrible car rides. Every time we go in to see his/her little heartbeat I am amazed that the baby is still going strong. But she (I am the only one that thinks it is a she) is growing, and most recently has started sucking her thumb.

Our NT scan showed low risk for many genetic diseases, my blood type is compatible, my scarring due to my horrible past problems is holding strong, and Corey and I are thankful that we don't carry the CF gene, so we are definitely so-far-so-good.

In about four weeks we will go in for our anatomy scan and check all the necessary functions of the baby, and hopefully get an idea of which color to paint the nursery.

I hope that at that point it will start to seem real, because right now all I feel is that I contracted the world's longest lasting stomach bug.

I have what our infertility specialist referred to jokingly as 'survivor's guilt' and I have no idea why God chose to bless us so quickly while there are so many loving, deserving parents out there who have struggled for much longer than we did. Every time I complain about the puking, or I struggle to choke down my prenatal vitamins, I think about those women out there that would gladly throw up thirteen times a day to be able to bring a baby home and I thank Him with all of my heart.

We thank everyone for their support, prayers, thoughts, and good wishes and humbly ask you to keep them coming as we navigate through the world of pregnancy.

In return, we'll let you babysit.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day in my house growing up was the stereotypical celebration in honor of our patriarch. There were homemade coupons promising ONE FREE CAR WASH, and GOOD FOR ONE ROOM CLEANING, there were horrible neckties, and there were the hushed voices of children doing their best to play quieter than normal because today Dad deserved an uninterrupted nap.

When my parents were finally able to have me, after struggling a bit like Corey and I have, they struck a deal. They knew that they wanted my mom to stay home because they were both from families where the mom was a housewife (as most were at that time) and they felt that the interaction was imperative to development. In a time where women were becoming decidedly more independent and accomplished, this meant bucking the trend of two income-ness and embracing the past "Leave it to Beaver" style of life.

At five years old, I didn't understand this compromise. I understood that sometimes my Dad was on business trips and couldn't make it to recitals. I understood that he would come home after a fourteen hour workday and not want to have a tea party. I also understood that "Wait until your Dad gets home" was not meant to draw me into a comfortable remembrance of the last time my Daddy and I played with dolls. It was meant to scare the crap out of me.

As I grew up, it slowly dawned on me that my mom was the classroom mom, the unofficial cheer coach, and the lady at EVERY practice, concert, trip, game, play, and recital BECAUSE my dad was at work, not in spite of it. Even when I probably would have chosen to have her around less (that's what the teenage years do to you, after all) the light bulb started to flicker when I realized that other people's moms were at work. And while my mom deserves tons of credit in this area, my Dad is also the unsung hero of my developing life.

He was appreciative of his ties and coupons (although I think he appreciated the naps exponentially more) and never complained that my mom got to be the one in the middle of everything. I'm sure he was secretly thankful to not be on the receiving end of pubescent breakdowns and boy talks, but I think he was also quietly mournful at missing afternoon track meets and evening driving lessons.

I don't think I understood completely though, until our wedding. My mom had the idea that both of them should walk me down the aisle to give me away. I was fine with it, but my Dad put his foot down. HE was my father, and HE would be giving me away. Although my mom was a bit hurt, it was perhaps the first time I witnessed his refusal to share the role he had stepped into 28 years ago. As he escorted me down our aisle in the rain, I saw in his eyes not only the pride of a father but the unmistakable knowledge that those years had simply flown by without his permission or awareness. The sacrifices he made were necessary to them, appreciated by me, but no less painful because of that knowledge. It was a hard compromise for him to make, and he did so without letting any of us know how difficult it was.

I understand now Dad, and I appreciate every fourteen hour day.

For these reasons and more, I simply cannot wait to have children and witness my Dad's transformation from martyr to grandfather. I'm certain he will stuff their pockets with candies, bandage their cuts as if they had taken shrapnel from a wayward air strike, and make mud pies for hours in the backyard, just as my Papa did with me.

And if it is possible, he will enjoy being a Grandpa even more than he did being a Dad (that is my hope anyway). I just hope they still make Daffy Duck neckties.

Happy Father's Day to my Dad and to each father who has made sacrifices, noticed and unnoticed, so that their children may have the lives he envisioned for them.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Someday I want to live near the beach. I want to have babies that wake me up and tell me that they want to go play in the water, so we will pack up baskets and tote bags and start the barefoot walk down cobbled streets and sandy boardwalks, and set up umbrellas to lounge in the warm air.

I want to head home when it gets too hot, late in the afternoon, and I want to stop on the way to get mint chocolate chip ice cream cones, because everyone knows you can only eat mint chocolate chip in the summer. Or maybe rainbow sherbet. But never one scoop of each, because that is a terrible mixture.

I want to have backyard barbecues with dozens of friends, and tiki torches that stay lit late into the night, and hear the whispers of children who are supposed to be asleep but who just can't drift off because the excitement of life has them too full of energy.

I have no idea where in the world this beach is located, or how many years into the future this glimpse is, but I dream about it like it has already happened. I can taste cold, drippy watermelon on the back porch, and hear birds chirping through open windows in the spring.

In reality, summer has hit. The Sprocket and I bid Daddy farewell in the mornings and then watch the world get toasted outside our back windows. He sticks his head out the dog door to survey the world, only to draw it back in when he discovers that the sun singes his mass of black fur. He retreats to the bedroom to nap again, hoping that when he wakes it will be eighty degrees and he can go outside in peace. We need to take him up the mountain to visit his Grandparents so he can run amok (his favorite activity) without burning his little paws.

In honor of summer, the boy and I must go buy a king sized bed. These two things sound completely unrelated, but when you feel like nothing in the world can make you any hotter and you lie down on crisp, cool sheets to relax, touching someone else's hot leg can put a serious crimp in your style. Sometimes the boy and I will accidentally touch in the middle of the night, and you would think that one of us is electrically charged by the way that each of us jump away in pain. We originally wanted to try and hold out until we moved, but the universe has plans to keep us in our current house a little longer than we originally thought, so it appears we will have to move a new bed in before moving out.

And in housing news, there is none. We put one offer on a place we liked, but quickly got into a bidding war and were out-auctioned by someone with cash. We haven't found much else that we LOVE, so we're going to keep looking and start to include short sales in our hunts because that is what at least 90% of the listings in our area are. I feel terribly guilty looking at beautiful homes still occupied by their original owners when I know that they paid $400,000 for their house and are now selling it for one third of that.

I would hate to be them, but I'd also hate to stay in this rental for one day longer than I have to, so onward we go...