Friday, December 18, 2009

Progression of a pregnancy

I'll admit it. I haven't been posting blogs. Nope. I have had nothing positive or happy to say. Most of the time I feel grumpy and fat. I just figured that no one out there wanted to hear me whine. And I really didn't want to whine, because despite all the frustrations of this pregnancy, I'm thrilled. I just can't verbalize it.

And I still can't find the words to say. It's been up and down. There have been many doctor's visits and trips to the ER. I've had migraines and gestational diabetes. I miss fruit snacks and jelly beans. And I'm tired. The baby's kicking is still adorable sometimes, but others...well, he takes pleasure in my pain! Something I'm convinced he'll continue to do for the rest of my life.

My husband, however, has kept photographic record of my belly's growth (with the help of a couple friends). And that's what I'll share with you now, in lieu of happy words.

21 weeks. Jere calls this the "Where's Waldo?" sweater. I promptly put it back in storage after that.

25 weeks. At my mom's house. The point at which I started to waddle, and couldn't stand doing my own hair. Thank goodness for the lady at the salon!

Also somewhere around 25 weeks. At my baby shower in Michigan. Bless Joana for taking a picture I'm proud to be in.

29 weeks. My kitchen. And probably the last time this shirt got worn, seeing as I'm pretty violent on maternity shirts. Also the point at which someone said to me, "Look at you! You're HUGE!"

32 weeks. Most recent picture. Those are maternity pants that no longer fit. Also the week that my little Asian pedicurist said laid a hand on my belly and said, "You have BABY! Must be a big baby boy!" She was at least correct, and did a beautiful job on my toes. Or so I'm told. I can't see them.

I'm up to a whopping 33 1/2 weeks now. I'm living in Jere's t-shirts and sweats whenever possible. My hair is four inches shorter (but still long). I'm still well under my maximum weight gain. And we've finally started work on the nursery, which would be coming along a whole lot faster if the dresser would get here.

I suppose it's time to stop blogging and start cleaning. I wish the nesting would kick in, because it would make all this so much easier. Today's plan was to wash uniforms, but Jere noticed me struggling with getting them in and out of the washer and dryer, and did them before I even noticed. *Sigh* I'm determined to keep my energy up so he doesn't have to take over any other of my jobs!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The verdict is in....

I went for the big 20 week ultrasound yesterday, and it turns out Jerry and I are having a big fat baby BOY! He is so happy. And I'm thrilled because he's happy. I know it's important to him that he has a son to carry on his father's name, and I couldn't be more pleased that he gets to do that with his firstborn. Here's a picture of our son:

Wait. You didn't actually think I was going to put up the ultrasound picture with him waving his little man part around, did you? I'm giving my son a little dignity and privacy. *grin* Actually, the ultrasound tech couldn't get him to flip over so she could get a good picture of his face. He was laying in the perfect position for us to see the sex. Butt up, legs spread, showing it off, very proud. Oh boy. I really am giving birth to my husband's son. But my little fish wouldn't show his face, so the only pictures I got were of his, well, you know.

And no. It's not twins. I had two people at the mall ask me that this weekend. I am 4'11''. The baby has nowhere to go but out, silly people.

That said, I am looking and feeling enormous. And as a bonus, I'm feeling healthier. I can eat again (oh, how I can eat). I can drive again. And yesterday after the ultrasound, I went to the mall to buy my son some clothes. By myself. I even went and had a sit down lunch by myself. If the air conditioning guy doesn't get here today, I'm going to end up heading to a movie by myself this afternoon when the thermometer hits 91.

Now, can we talk about the cuteness of these clothes?

The first little shirt is a gift from my stepdad. Both he and I are big into our computers, so he had that sent to me a few weeks ago. And the GVSU onesie and socks? My mother and sister bought those this weekend while I was up in Michigan. My sister attends Grand Valley. I keep telling her this baby is going to get a complex about which college team he's supposed to be rooting for. Between the GVSU onesie, the Gator bib from my aunt, my undying support for Ohio State (GO BUCKEYES!), and my husband being a VMI graduate, this kid is going to have no idea which way to go. Though I think VMI is a safe bet as to where he'll attend college. *wink* Jere's Brother Rats have already claimed my son for the VMI class of 2032. Seriously. We're already getting facebook messages congratulating us on our future Keydet.

I am, however, running into a problem. I HATE the majority of the baby clothes selection in my mall. You know it's bad when I can't even go to Macy's and find something I like. I'm pretty particular about what I put on my body, so you can imagine just how picky I'm being about clothes for my little boy. I'm not so into these pastel blues and onesies with animal faces on the butt. Does anyone have suggestions on where I can find cute baby clothes? Because I've been to every children's store and department in my mall, and I'm coming up short. Even Babies R Us wasn't making me happy.

I spent this last weekend in Michigan throwing a bridal shower, and I have pictures and stories to share of that as well. But it'll have to wait until I edit those photos, which is a job for another day.

Today's lesson: It is amazing how one sentence can so profoundly change your life. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I think there are moments where only words can suffice. And yesterday it was three tiny words that made everything finally seem real: "It's a boy."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Excuse me??

Where did all THIS come from? I'm coming up on 19 weeks, and this monstrosity decided to pop out over the past few days. I feel huge. I have nothing else to say, other than I feel like a cow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Let's talk about real life and love

The blogs, you ask? Where are the blogs? The blogs are in my head, but my head has been out of order for the past few weeks. Apparently, the growing baby has brought along a surprising side dish: immobilizing migraine headaches. I've been in the ER three times. I've had an MRI. I've been on every pregnancy acceptable medication known to science. So five doctors, two blown veins, one nursing student chasing me with a catheter, and many sleepless nights later, I was referred to a neurologist who knew exactly what to do. Headache is still slightly there, but I can walk and see now. In a few more days, I'll be as good as new. Or at least as good as the expanding child will allow me to be.

The one and only benefit of this ordeal has been that I've had the time to notice some things that happen around me. Usually I'm too busy or hormonal to see them. But let's talk about true love for a bit.

-My husband dropped absolutely everything yesterday to take me to my neurology appointment. My family doctor said I wasn't fit to drive, so Jere walked out of work, drove the 45 minutes home, and proceeded to help me get into the tub. He had called on his way, and I was in tears because it was Monday, and I'd been sick for two Mondays, which means the sheets hadn't gotten washed. And I cried over it. So while I soaked in the tub, he stripped the bed and put the sheets in to wash and dry. And when we got home from the neuro, he made the bed and put me in it.

-Jerry has sat through all three trips to the ER with me. All at night. All on nights before he had to work. He even pushed me around in a wheelchair this last time, and answered questions when I couldn't form coherent sentences. He fell asleep face first at the end of the hospital bed.

-He keeps the fridge stocked, and constantly checks to make sure I'm getting enough fluids.

-He checks on me every 15 minutes while I'm resting. I usually don't need anything but company or a water refill, but he always checks.

-He's been a great sport about takeout food. It's hard to cook when you can't even walk straight, but there's always something to eat.

-He worries constantly about two things: my calorie intake and my fiber intake. When you're not particularly hungry due to a migraine and vertigo, it's hard to eat enough to satisfy an avocado sized baby. This has prompted him to bring home things like granola snack mix and ultra fiber cereal and a whole lot of steak.

-He keeps me, the baby, and himself rolling in cookies and milk.

-He washes his own uniforms, and never says a word when we're out of towels.

-The poor man has skipped numerous trips to the gym just to get home to be with his sick, moody wife. This may not sound so big, but after 4 years at VMI and 23 years in the Army, PT time is sacred.

-I told him the baby can't actually hear him talk yet, so he's taken to making vibrating noises on my belly, convinced the baby can feel it. (I get an extra big smile at that one)

-He loves his mama. Maybe that doesn't sound like a way that he loves me, but trust me, it is. The two call each other several times a week. I pray my kids love me like that when they're grown (not to mention I pray to have even half the class my mother-in-law has as I get older).

-Jerry has no idea how to clean a kitchen. If it's not growing things, it's not dirty. However, he sure tries! And I get to be treated to a beautiful sight everytime I walk in there: the dishwasher is always either loaded or unloaded. I've never had to ask. It just happens. And it's a prettier thing than snow covered mountains or white sand beaches.

Today's lesson: It's difficult to see how much a person truly loves and cares for you until you're unable to care for yourself. And unable to walk yourself to the bathroom, for that matter.

I am truly loved and truly blessed. And am now going to have myself a cookie.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Organization + Planning + Etiquette = True Love

There's something so beautiful about plans. Something enchanting about lists and clean lines and everything in its place. I've spent some time planning my friend Kelli's bridal shower lately, and I'm enjoying it so much! Today I addressed the invitations. Is there anything prettier than a stack of neatly addressed invitations?

Let's delve further into this obsession with neatness and niceness. I'm a planner. I keep a calendar on the wall, buy birthday cards six months ahead of time, and finish Christmas shopping in October (if not sooner). I have a box in the closet filled with presents so that I'm always prepared just in case I forget (not that I ever give myself that opportunity).

What's that? Is that a giant etiquette book? And what is that stacked next to it? Is way. A stack of ridiculously expensive stationary?! Oh, yes it is. I love the feel of good stationary between my fingers and under my pen. It gives me happy shivers. And having the answers to all my questions about the proper way to address said stationary before I send it off at my fingertips makes me absolutely giddy.

I love order. I love proper behavior. I may swear like a sailor at home, but when out in girl world, as someone so sweetly put it to me yesterday, I am "classy." Playing by the rules is just as fun as breaking them.

Though I am prone to reset the table in restaurants when it's not properly done when I sit down.

And our child had better come out of the womb expecting routines and slightly psychopathic organization. We don't even know the sex of the baby, but he or she is already well set up with a neatly organized dresser.

But wait! What is THIS? Is that my DESK????

Today's lesson: Everyone has a dark side. Despite the bookshelves organized by subject and the very neatly addressed stationary that leaves my mailbox, I, too, have a wild side. I mean, it's only a messy desk, but inside I feel like it's the ultimate rebellion. *grin*

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The things people say

The "glowing" face of pregnancy.

First off, let me say that my husband has accused me of neglecting my blog. He apparently doesn't know what's going in my world if I'm not writing. My apologies, but I wasn't in a great big hurry to recount to you all the miseries of pregnancy's glorious first trimester. To sum it up: aching back, headaches, morning sickness, evening sickness, random crying, cravings, and one episode of hitting my husband with a water bottle. Don't worry, he didn't suffer any ill effects, unless he strained himself laughing.

And now, to start you off, I'm going to link to one of my favorite blogs. Go. Read it. But don't get lost over there, because it's very possible to do so. Be sure to come back. :-) I'll the way, I'm comment #125.

Reading Ree's blog this morning plunged me deep into thought. Why do we say these things? And I'm far from perfect. I haven't made her particular blunder, but I've certainly had my share of moments where I wanted to sink down into the floor. And thank you, Ree, for reminding me of all the blogs I've wanted to write about this over the past few weeks. I'm just now finding the energy again.

Ask before you rub! This is me and Feisty. She lovingly invited to rub the belly for pregnancy luck, and it completely worked.

I've been getting pregnancy comments from everyone, most of which are very welcome and appreciated. I am completely in love with the girl at my uncle's birthday party who, upon hearing that I was not only pregnant, but constantly nauseous, recommended some Preggie Pops, which is morning sickness candy. I love hearing the congratulations and the "you're glowing" comments (thank you, Ericka, for actually being the only person to say that). I even love being told that I'm going to be a great mom, mostly because sometimes I have my doubts.
And in a case like Ree's, I even found it adorable when my grumpy grandfather put a hand on my belly and asked, "You carrying twins in there?" Though it prompted a shirt change.

This is the only man who can get away with twins comments, got it?

But I am really self-conscious these days. I had joined a messageboard of pregnant women who were all due the same month as I am. It was all going well until someone started a post asking if anyone else was losing weight. What started out as her being concerned turned into a line of responses bragging about how much weight each of these women had lost! Responses ranged from a couple of pounds to 15! I felt so discouraged, because I've gained a portly 3 pounds. Then a woman had the audacity to say (and I sort of quote, but not really), "There's NO reason for ANYONE to have gained ANY weight in their first trimester."

Um, excuse me? Didn't I read somewhere that in women of normal weight, a gain of 3 to 5 pounds was normal? And that any weight loss isn't exactly ideal for that baby?

Now I understand that morning sickness can make some women lose weight during the first trimester. I've heard a lot of horror stories, and was fully prepared to be constantly ill. But I consider myself lucky that I've been able to choke down meals and hold down my prenatal vitamins. It involves holding still and waiting for the room to stop spinning each time I take a bite, and trust me, I've fallen asleep on the bathroom floor more than once. But I sucked it up, which doesn't mean I'm stronger or more determined than other pregnant women. It just makes me darn lucky that I wasn't so severely ill that I couldn't eat. Really, really lucky. So lucky that I've been able to gain that completely healthy three pounds. But try telling me that on a fat day.

The other series of thoughtless comments have come from, *GASP*, my husband himself. I'm calling the poor guy out here, and fully invite him to defend himself. Let me preface, he's been 95% wonderful. He goes to the store almost nightly on his way home to fulfill my cravings, rubs my feet and back, makes a ton of grilled cheese and chocolate milk, and puts me to bed everynight when I start to hunch over the computer. But that last 5%?

-"Wow, you look really pregnant today!"
-"Between your big hair and acne, people are going to think you're a pregnant 12 year old."
-"Is that your boob all the way down there?"

Now, I know he means well and is trying to commisserate with me and make me laugh. But there's a difference between me saying these things, and him saying them. When I joke about them, I'm voicing my own insecurities and looking for reassurance (which he's good about, I swear, when he's responding to me). But the out of the blue comments? OUCH! And he learns his mistake pretty fast when I burst into tears. Ugh, I hate hormones. Hate hate hate them.

He's a wonderful husband. He's going to be a great dad. Unless we have a girl, and she gets to be a teenager and asks, "Dad, do you like my new haircut?" And he'll make her cry. Just you wait. :-) But I love him.

Today's lesson: Have you ever heard that you should think about what you're going to say for 10 seconds before you say it? Well, the pregnancy book my husband is reading told him to wait 45 seconds just to be safe. I think it's pretty sound advice for anyone!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Unexpected end

I have pictures of our days in Rome.

I have pictures of Vatican City.

And I have pictures of the Colosseum.

I even have pictures of the Trevi Fountain.

But of all the photos from Rome, my favorite was not one that I took.

And it was a complete surprise. I'm due in February.

Today's lesson: It's not original, and it's not witty. It's simple.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If I didn't miss my husband, I'd never leave Santorini

Can you even describe it?

We wandered the narrow streets, surrounded by white washed buildings, only to find that the best view was just outside a dress shop. What a lucky shopowner.

And the second best view was from the restaurant where we had orange Fanta, pasta, and moussaka.

Then we wandered the streets, eating gelato.

Today’s lesson: They say you can’t go home. The truth is, you can go home, but you can never go home the same person you were before you saw true beauty.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I need a day off!

Karalyn and I spent this cruise running at full tilt. Touring ruins, mostly, in the summer heat and humid air. The jet lag was still kicking us over a week into our trip, and the ports were starting to run together in a blur. So it made me happy to realize that in my foresight, two months ago, I had planned for this burnout.

We spent three hours at Tsambika Beach on Rhodes. I tried to stay fully covered and under my umbrella, but it just got too hot and the water was too inviting. I don’t swim. I am ridiculously afraid of water. But Karalyn got in first to prove that you could go out for yards and never have it touch above your waist. And it was so clear and calm that you could see the little fish swimming around your toes in the soft yellow sand. Magic.

Today’s lesson: Even in the midst of a vacation, sometimes you need a vacation. Don’t feel like you need to see it all. Sometimes skipping what’s considered “important” can prove to make you appreciate the places you visit even more.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I lied.

I have seen someplace more crowded than the Acropolis on cruise ship day. And it is Kusadasi, Turkey.

I’ve actually been here before, toured the exact same places. I wanted to share them with my sister. But the last time I came was in November, a year and a half ago. It was winter, and freezing, but the spaces were empty and wide open, and I was free to explore without getting elbowed and smacked in the head.

Our first stop was the house of the Virgin Mary. This is the home in Kusadasi that the Vatican recognizes as the place where Mary spent her last years. It’s a bit of a pilgrimage for some Christians, and the first time I went, I was touched by being there.

Not so much this time, as it took standing in a line four people wide to get into the tiny house. Nightmarishly hot outside.

But this time I remembered to bring a tissue, because next to the fountains of holy water is a wall of wishes. You write down a wish on a tissue, think of your wish while you’re praying in the house, then go down the hill and tie your wish to the wall.

And then it was on to Ephesus. Where Karalyn got to see this.

This is a carving of the goddess Nike. For those of you who have known me awhile, you know we had a Great Dane growing up who was named Nike. She was the best dog we could have had, especially after the long line of bad luck we’d had with puppies. Nike lived a long and happy life, but my sister had to put her down not long ago. Our beloved dog lives in my mother’s curio cabinet, as they had her cremated so she could be with them no matter where they move.

Karalyn saw a couple of Nikes on this trip. This one. And the one in the museum at Olympia, which they wouldn’t let her pose with.

Nike was the goddess of Victory. But our Nike was the victorious one, making us fall in love with her after so many bad experiences. She is truly missed.

Today’s lesson: It can sometimes take traveling halfway around the world to finally come full circle and close the doors on your grief.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More pictures of the happy ruins girl

See this rough sea? I thought we were going to die a horrible, salty death.

Ok. So it doesn’t look as bad as it actually was. But we were soaked from the waves by the time we came back from Delos. And my sister? So excited by the wind and sea that she was narrating video as the ferry back to Mykonos slammed up and down. Except I don't have the video. I just have this fantastic picture of her laughing at me as I grip the rail of the boat for dear life.

We spent our day in Mykonos 22 km from the actual island. There is a tiny island called Delos that was known as the birthplace of Apollo and his sister, Artemis. It was also the center of trade and commerce in the Mediterranean during the years before Christ. There are ruins. So of course, Karalyn was in her element.

You’ll notice there are no pictures of me in this port. That is because in all the photos my sister took, I am an unsightly shade of seasick green. But the ruins were breathtaking, and completely worth the treacherous boat trip.

Today’s lesson: The journey may not always be pleasant, but it is quite often worth it. Even if you come back covered in saltwater and terribly seasick.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Because you'd have to be crazy...

…to tour Athens when there are half a dozen cruise ships in port.

What a mess touring the Acropolis. I’ve never seen so many sweaty tourists in one place. Except maybe Disney World.

We eventually escaped the madhouse and went shopping in the huge flea market in downtown Athens, called the Plaka. And while we were there, I found happiness and air conditioning.

Today’s lessons: No matter how far away you are, the comforts of home are a true blessing. Even if it is just a cold smoothie in a Greek Starbucks.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another dream

You want to talk about making other people’s dreams come true? I know I talked about my husband making my dream a reality while in the process of a previous blog, but what I didn’t mention was that my sister just about fell through the floor when I invited her to go on this trip with me.

Karalyn is a lucky girl. It’s just as expensive for one person to travel as it is for two. If you want to go on a guided tour alone, like I did in Eastern Europe, you have to pay what is called a “single supplement.” It’s to make up for the fact that there is a price difference between a double room and a single room, especially in Europe. The single room is cheaper, but not quite half the cost of a double room. My favorite tour company is great about really low supplement costs, so I still tour on my own.

But cruise lines are different. On a cruise, you pay per person. There are no single rooms, because they can make twice as much if they require you to pay for double occupancy. So even if I were to go alone, I would still have to pay for another person, whether I bring them or not. My sister is simply lucky because she tends to be the only one with the available time to go with me. And she’s lucky that she’s a good travel companion, minus the bathroom hogging. She needs a lot of rest, just like I do, and won’t go at the insane speed I’ve seen people her age go at on these cruises.

The bonus? I, thanks to my husband, get to take her to see the world, bit by bit. Up until two years ago, she’d never been on an airplane. I’ve taken her to the Bahamas, California, and Mexico. And now, I’ve taken her to see something that had her speechless. Yes. That’s a miracle.
We all have something we love, some subject we love to study more than any other. It’s the reason my husband tours Civil War battlefields. It’s the reason why I’ll give in and watch hours of WWII documentaries on the History Channel. And it’s the reason why my sister took several hundred pictures while we were at Olympia. She’s a Greek mythology fanatic.

We arrived at Katakolon after our stop in Corfu. Olympia is an archeological site where the first Olympics were held, and now there is a museum and acres of ancient ruins. And Karalyn quickly lapsed into a trance when we walked through the doors of the museum.

This is a satisfied kid.

Doesn’t she look at home among the ruins?

And who is this cranky woman roasting in the sun?

Today’s lesson: While getting away on your own can be relaxing and fulfilling, there’s something about bringing along someone who can share in and appreciate all the amazing sights this world has to offer.