Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year in review


I'm jumping on the bandwagon and doing one of those "2011 - the good, bad and the ugly" type of posts.  A year in review, if you may.  And what a year it has been.  We've had our ups and downs, ending with mostly ups, of course.  But it is still fun to look back on 2011 and think about what 2012 will bring...
 
 
In January, I took the big step of changing jobs, quitting the job I had as an attorney for the Department of Child Services for 2 1/2 years and starting as the Executive Director for a Legal Aid agency.  It was a huge jump, considering I'd be going from being one of the drones for the state government to running an agency and doing not only attorney work, but director work, as well.  But I did it, starting on January 24th, and I haven't regretted that decision since. 
 
 
In January and February, T and I also began training to run (T) and walk (me) the Indianapolis Mini Marathon in May.  We got up early every Saturday to join a training group out in the cold, snow, ice, rain, you name it. 
 

Towards the end of February and into March, T and I faced our first real crisis as a newly married couple.  After going to a routine cardiologist visit to check up on my heart condition, we were told that we may not be able to have children, that carrying a child could be as risky as causing my aorta (where my repair was done) to rupture.  We also faced the distinct possibility that I would need heart surgery in the near future.  This experience, while frightening, brought us together even more as a couple, as I underwent an MRA and waited weeks until we got the amazing news that everything was just fine and that, barring me seeing a high risk OB-GYN and being closely monitored, we could be parents. 

We celebrated our good news, as any good Irish couple would on St. Patrick's Day, of course!


Starting also in January and going until April 13th, we watched with anticipation as our new home was being constructed.  We visited pretty much daily, taking pictures of the progress as the house went from a hole in the ground to a fully-structured home.  Of course, before we could move, hit again, as one of the little bastards made his appearance known to me in an attack on the kitchen counter.  So needless to say, I couldn't wait to get the heck out of there.


We officially closed on April 13th and were officially homeowners!  Yay!


Also, in April....I turned 30.  Boo :-)


In early May, T and I reached our goal of finishing 13.1 miles in the Mini Marathon.  And in the rain, no less!  Sure, my feet were killing me afterwards but it was so worth it.  Will I be doing it this upcoming year?  Nope.  But it was still worth it!


In May and June, I spent too much time on the road (well, in the air technically) traveling for work, to Vegas in May and Colorado in June.  It was hard being away from T for that long, and he soon had to leave me, too, traveling to the depths of Death Valley, CA, for work in August.  It was the summer of us rarely seeing each other! 


In June, we were blessed with incredible news (though I couldn't share it until August) that we were expecting our first child!  We both felt so blessed and so excited, while nervous at the same time.  I spent the majority of June and July sipping ginger ale and eating saltines as morning sickness took its toll on Nain.  It also made for an interesting trip when I flew out to Colorado in late June, too.  Thus we began the process of monthly doctor's visits and worrying about my health and the health of our little Half-pint. 


In July my family faced a tough decision with respect to my Grandpa.  He was moved into assisted living in March, but as his health began to rapdily deteriorate and his liver failure took a sharp turn, my mom and her siblings were left with no choice but to put him in full-time nursing home care.  Our entire family decided to come together on July 30th for a family reunion and to be together one last time with Grandpa.  It was a hard reunion, bittersweet, but brought memories that I will treasure forever.


In September, T and I celebrated our first anniversary.  We decided to stay in town for a little staycation, but we had so much fun at the Irish Festival downtown and going out to dinner at P.F. Chang's.  It was relaxing, just the two (well, three) of us, and just what we needed admist all of the baby stress. 


On September 30th, we were blessed with even more good news...we found out that we were having a little girl, and best of all, a fetal echocardiogram done of her heart showed that she did not have the congenital heart defect that her mommy was born with. 


In November, T ran another half-marathon (because he's such a go-getter like that).  Next year's goal?  Full marathon.  And Half-pint and I will be there, cheering all the way!)


In November, we also lost my Grandpa, after a long and painful road for him.  He passed away the morning of November 15th and joined the love of his life, my Grandma, in heaven.  My family came together again to say good bye to him on November 19th.  He's in our hearts forever, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him. 


The holidays were bittersweet for us this year, thinking of my Grandpa and wishing he were still with us.  So we celebrated quietly with my family for Thanksgiving and both families over the Christmas holidays.  T and I have also been busy with multiple doctor's appointments, making sure I'm okay and that Half-pint is doing well, and setting up our nursery for her arrival.  Her due date is officially February 22nd, my Grandpa's birthday.  I'm sure she will arrive early, but she will always know the connection she shares with him. 


So while this year has brought its share of sadness, it has also brought so many blessings and so much happiness to T and me.  We look forward to 2012 and our family being made complete with the arrival of our special little girl.  And who knows what other adventures the year will bring us? 


Happy New Year, everyone!  This will probably be my last post for 2011, so I will see you in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Big baby


Half-pint update!
Yesterday, T and I spent the entire afternoon at the doctor getting a series of tests done and having my bi-weekly doctor's visit.  It was an exhausting afternoon, and one that left me feeling apprehensive for sure.  And that other feeling...what's the word I use a lot lately?  Oh, scared. Right, that's it. 


So because of my high risk pregnancy, I have to go to weekly nonstress tests (NSTs) where they hook up monitors to my belly and measure the baby's heart rate.  They want to see how much she moves around and if her heart rate goes up every time she moves around and kicks.  It's a 20 minute thing, but if she didn't do much in terms of activity, I'd be there for an hour test.  Well, she must be an overachiever because she was moving around like a crazy woman in there.  You could see my stomach just move around from side to side and her kicks were pretty hard ones, too.  She passed that test with flying colors.  We weren't sure exactly what the purpose was of that test, but we'll explain later....


Second, we had to go to our monthly ultrasound to monitor her growth.  Because of my congenital heart defect, we had a chance of her being a small baby due to lack of blood flow.  Well....she's not small, that's for sure.  A month ago she was 2 lb 12 oz.  This last visit?  She was weighing in at 4 lbs 14 oz.  And I'm only 32 weeks. She's a big girl.  We got to see her sucking her thumb in there, which was pretty much the cutest thing ever.  But seriously, once I saw that weight, I was in shock.  All I could think about.  We asked, and we were told she was measuring in the 95th percentile for growth.  Yikes. 


See, I'm a 5'1" girl.  Small.  Not much to me.  And well, my stomach is big as it is with her, and apparently it's all baby.  I have ambitions of working until the very last possible moment, which would be 39 weeks when we schedule the c-section.  It's a desk job, so I figured I can do it.  Well...we'll see...


So we saw the doctor next, and he made the same statement that was made to me by the ultrasound tech:  we have a big baby.  I've passed the gestational diabetes tests, and he couldn't find any unhealthy reason for it other than that we just happen to have a big baby.   It's a good thing, don't get me wrong, but it also has bad sides to it, too.  He said her size, accompanied with the other risk factors that I have - a heart defect and high blood pressure, puts the baby at risk in the womb.  I pressed him on this, and I could tell he didn't really want to say what the risk was but he eventually said it increases the risks of her being still-born.  And with that, my heart sank.  I thought for sure we were out of the woods with the risk of her not surviving.  I didn't even consider this as a possibility.  It's a small risk, but my three risk factors do increase it.  So we do the NSTs every week and eventually twice a week to make sure she's happy, heart rate good, getting enough oxygen,, etc.  If I had to go daily, I would go, just to make sure she's fine.  There's also a risk that she could be born earlier than 39 weeks because of her size.  So...I have to be watched.  Like a hawk.  And I have to really really take it easy, which means I need to really evaluate how much I work, when I go into the office, when I work from home, etc. 


I walked out of that appointment overwhelmed and a little defeated, I'm not going to lie.  I know that when we decided to start trying for a baby, we'd be taking a risk.  But as we get closer and closer to the finish line, and as things get more serious and more serious, I start to wonder if I'm being selfish.  I wanted a baby more than anything, but here I am putting my health at risk and her health at risk.  I don't want anything to happen to her, and part of me feels like it's my fault that there even is that possibility.  I know it's crazy to think that, but....I do.  And I am putting my family and T through so much with all of this.  I know T's scared.   It's not really fair to him either.  So that's really the point I'm at for the moment. 


I just want her to be a healthy and happy baby.  And I just want to provide her that kind of safety.  I just don't want to drop the ball before she's even here. 

 
 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas recap


Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!  I can't believe how quickly the weekend went.  Seriously, all month, it seems like it takes forever for the day to get here, and then it just flies by.  So here we are, the day after Christmas! 


Our Christmas was pretty par for the norm, meaning tame, which is a very good thing.   Friday, I spent about four hours in the kitchen making three batches of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  Three batches, you ask?  Well, my intention was to make some for my parent's house, the Christmas Eve party we always go to, and some for T's parents when they got here on the 26th.  End result was about 5-6 dozen cookies.  I froze some, we still have two large platters of them...so we'll be eating cookies for awhile! 


On Christmas Eve, we headed up to my parent's house to spend the night and spend Christmas day.  Every year we do a soup pitch-in where my dad makes a few types of soup, we bring one and my brother brings one.  T made an Irish Barley Stew from the Irish cookbook we bought on our honeymoon.  Since mass starts at 5:00, and we have to get there basically 45 minutes before that to get a seat, we do this every year as a big lunch/dinner thing.  We headed to mass and then came home for my brother's family to open their presents since they head to my sister-in-law's family on Christmas Day.  After that, we always head to my mom's neighbor's Christmas party...I was pretty tired at this point, but we still made an appearance.  My favorite part of the evening?   Snuggling in bed with T while he read to Half-pint the book her Nana sent us:  Twas the Night Before Christmas.  She was kicking away and pushing on my stomach while he read.  Quite possibly the sweetest thing ever.  I can't wait until he can read the book to her next year and in years to come. 


We woke up on Christmas morning, with little sleep unfortunately because of my pregnancy restless leg (totally not fun...I'm not a fan).  My sister and Roo had made it over before we got up, so we had breakfast and opened presents.  It cracks me up because every year my Mom says they're going to cut back on presents, but every year, it seems like she gets more.  Not to say we're not grateful, though...it's just funny.  I got lots of nice maternity outfits, a comfy sweat pants and sweat shirt outfit, nightgown for when I go to the hospital and robe for that, too.  My mom put together a huge bag of stuff for Half-pint, too.  I swear, that kid isn't here, and she seriously has had more gifts than T and I combined!  It's so cute.  We spent the day with my family, ate way too much for dinner, watched movies, and then T and I headed home in the evening. 


All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas.  Our last one just the two of us.  I can't wait to celebrate Christmas as a family starting next year. 


Today we wait for T's parents to come down from Michigan.  They'll be here for the week, which will be nice because that means I get to take it easy while they help around the house :-)  I'll try my best to post while I can!  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! 

 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!


No time for a really good, substantive post, as I have been busy making three batches of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the holidays...am tired, but they taste awesome.  That and I have a ton of cookies now.  But, I would like to take this time to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my blogger friends out there, readers, family and friends.  T, Half-pint and I hope you have an amazing weekend filled with joy, laughter, and wonderful memories!  I'll be back with a new post on Monday!
 
 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nain vs. Nerves

It's no secret that I am, by nature, a very anxious person.  And we're not just talking a small worrier or someone who says "hey, man, that kind of concerns me a bit."  No, I'm an anxious person.  A very anxious person.  I worry like it's an Olympic sport.  You don't get tested for an ulcer at the wee young age of 10 years old, if you weren't born a naturally anxious person.  I also have high blood pressure.  That combination does NOT make it easy for me to keep calm in situations that are by their own nature anxiety producing.  (I.E. pregnancy) And, to make matters worse, with my congenital heart defect, I'm a high risk pregnancy.  So let's just crank that anxiety up just a bit more, right?  At the same time all I hear is "relax, you have to relax...that's how you keep your blood pressure down.  Just try not to worry so much."  That's like telling a smoker "just try not to think about smoking, it'll be okay," while you stand there right in front of their face puffing smoke repeatedly in their direction.  Perhaps not the best analogy, but...you get my point. 


I really am trying my best to keep my nerves at bay.  I really am.  I know that I'm doing all of this for her, and that for her health, I have to stay calm.  That keeps me motivated most of the time.   But I have to admit, as I get farther and farther along, that's getting harder and harder. 


I've known that my blood pressure will go up towards the end of my pregnancy.  I have also been told that the strain of pregnancy can put me at higher risk (though still a small percentage) of having my aorta rupture.  Hearing those words?  Not comforting, but...oh well.  I've seen the numbers creep up just a bit.  I feel my heart race from time to time from out of nowhere.  I'm aware that as I get farther along, the risk that Half-pint will make her appearance early is more possible.  And I'm not going to lie, folks...I'm scared. 


There, I said it.  I'm scared. 


I'm scared about the c-section.  I'm scared about how my heart will handle it.  I'm scared about little Half-pint.  I'm scared of the unknown and the things that could go wrong.  I'm scared that as these next few weeks go by, my body will be put under more and more strain and that it won't handle it as well as it should.  I'm just scared. 


Last night I tried to work on techniques of talking myself out of the worry and focusing on what matters.  My daughter.  My new family.  And while I do have those things in the forefront of my mind, I just want to know that it will all be okay.  I want that 100% satisfaction guarantee.  It's just  too bad that life doesn't always work out that way. 


Tonight, T and I will be venturing up to the north side to take a class on c-sections. The doctor recommended this so that I could be aware of what to expect in terms of prep, the surgery and recovery.  And dude, I am totally freaked out by this.  I know this is for the best and will make me avoid the Internet research I tried earlier in the pregnancy.  But I'm scared.  And I have no doubt I will be gripping T's hand during the whole thing. 


Someone the other day said to just give it to God.  I struggle with this concept so much because, honestly, to me it doesn't ever seem that easy.  I can say I will give it to Him, but will that make me stop worrying?  How exactly does one go about that? 


So here I am...venting to all of you and rambling on and on, trying to find a point to stop this blog post.  So I'll just stop it with this.  I'm scared.  That is all. 


Until tomorrow...I will be back with a much more upbeat post, I promise! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Half-pint's nursery


 This past weekend, T and I worked hard on completing Half-pint's nursery.  Until last weekend, I had all of the baby shower presents in a pile on our guest bedroom bed.  However, T's parents will be down soon, and I'm pretty sure they need a bed to sleep on, so I decided to sort through everything, including washing all of the clothes, blankets, etc. we received.  Dude, that was a ton of laundry.  So while I was doing that, T put together her dresser.  I know last week I complained about my woes with Kohls, but Target is now on my list, too.  I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say, we ordered this dresser over a month ago and only just received it.  And the top part was cracked so we had to order a replacement.  But, that's neither here nor there...instead, I will focus on the positive things.  Like look how cute everything is!
 
 
Her book shelf, complete with the cutest monkey lamp ever (T's Aunt and cousin bought all of the monkey stuff off our registry.  So cute!)
 
 

Side view of the room....


Other side of the room....my Mom bought us the rocker for a shower present.  We're still waiting on the mattress for the crib.  Once we get that, we'll finish the bedding, and it'll look even cuter.  And the dresser is coming in a few days.  Luckily, we could still put the whole thing together so the clothes could be put away.



My cousin Emily made this quilt for us as a shower present, and gotta love the monkey nightlight, too.  (If you can't tell.....monkeys are a theme here :-)


Lastly, the changing table - we're waiting on the changing table pad, and of course, the dresser top so the stuff on top of the changing table won't stay, but, I still think it's cute! 


and I'm in love with these monkey decals.  They go on by static cling, and they are just too cute! 


So that's Half-pint's room....just a few more touches, and it will be done!  So....what do you think???

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Making traditions of our own

I've heard and read in multiple places that the holidays can often be the toughest tests of relationships.  I wasn't completely convinced that was the case  until I was married.  And boy, is that an understatement.  So much stress comes along with what is supposed to be a happy and relaxing time.  Money stress, making sure you buy presents for everyone, getting the cards out on time, preparing food for holiday get-togethers, and lastly, planning out when we see family.  Both families. 


I have to admit, when we first were engaged, I had a hard time with this.  Heck, I still have a hard time with this.  Part of me wants to be selfish and say "but I wanna see MY family!"  (Picture me stomping my foot on the ground and throwing Oscar-worthy tantrum.)  But...that's not what marriage is about.  Marriage is about compromise.  My family lives an hour away from where we live.  We see them quite often.  T's family, on the other hand, lives over five hours north of us, and we see them only a handful of times during the year.  Quite the difference.  So we've worked on a compromise - rotating the years of when we spend Thanksgiving with T's parents and my parent's, spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family (for now) and then the week after Christmas with T's family.  This year, his family has to travel to us, since I've been given strict "no traveling" instructions from both specialists, so it's worked out quite well. 


The arrangement seemed good enough.  But that arrangement only involved just the two of us.  It didn't take into consideration the fact that soon we would have a third person to consider, someone who may want to spend Christmas at her own home.  After all, Santa comes to her house, right?


T and I have had this discussion several times about what we would do and how things would change once Half-pint arrives.  Part of me has been somewhat resistant.  That part of me is the people pleasing part.  I am petrified of rocking the boat with my family.  I don't want to cause arguments or disappoint anyone.  So I tend to do that thing that we people pleasers do best and put other's needs ahead of my own.  But this isn't just "other's" needs.  This is my own child's needs.  So we made a decision yesterday.  Starting next year, we will spend Christmas Eve with my family, go to mass, eat dinner and exchange presents, and then we'll head home at the end of the night so that we can tuck Half-pint in and get things ready for Santa's arrival.  And we'll spend Christmas Day together as a family, just the three of us. 


Because that really is what we're becoming.  A family.  Our family.  I know we are already a family and have been one since September 18, 2010, or arguably before that.  But it's time for me to make that step and truly put what our family needs first.  Sure, next Christmas Half-pint will only be around 9 or 10 months old, and she won't really know for certain what is going on or who this Santa guy is.  But next year, it really isn't just for her.  It will be her first Christmas, and it will mean something to T and myself that we celebrate it in her own home, thus starting a tradition we would like to see carried out throughout her childhood. 


Am I nervous that this decision will hurt feelings next year?  Dear Lord, yes.  I don't look forward to this conversation by any means.  But...it's something I want.  And it's something T wants.  And in a way, it feels like a big step in the world of adulthood. 


So I put this out to all of my blogging friends with experience in this area...how did you face these sorts of difficult decisions?  Any words of wisdom?  (Or words of warning?) 



I

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas celebration


Every year, T and I make it a point to go out, just the two of us, before Christmas.  Our normal tradition ( like last year) we usually go out, stay out all night and partake in a few beverages. However, being close to 8 months pregnant, not being able to walk without looking like I'm waddling and well...not being able to drink and the fact that having an 8 month pregnant woman in a smoke-filled bar just doesn't seem like fun, we had to make this year's outing a little more PG.  And no staying the night downtown, but we still had a very nice time. 

This year, we decided to make reservations for two at Buca di Bepo (one of my favorites).  For those of my friends who don't live in the States and may not be familiar with the restaurant, it's a family-style restaurant, where you order food platters to share, and you always walk away with a ton of leftovers.  We went there for our rehearsal dinner, too.  The only thing that sucked is I couldn't partake in the Chianti with T, but I settled for a nice Italian soda.  We got chicken parmesan and baked rigatoni, both of which were absolutely delicious.  I think I ate more than I have this entire pregnancy.  And it was well worth it, believe me.  We even order some canolis for dessert.  Delicious.  All of it. 


Afterwards, we decided to head to the circle downtown and check out the tree of lights display they do with the monument.  As you may or may not remember, this is the same spot were T proposed July 4, 2009, so it's a special place for us.  It was closed all summer for renovations so this was our first time back there in over a year.




 

The cell phone photos don't do it justice because I think it's pretty cool.  The place was packed but we took a nice walk around the Circle and got the chance to chat.  With how crazy everything has been with work and family, it was nice to just reconnect and relax for a change.  You know, with all of the holiday family festivities coming up? 

So while, yes, it wasn't as crazy as our normal celebrations, it was a fun and memorable one nonetheless.  And it was probably one of the only times T and I will get to ourselves this Christmas. 

I'll just keep these wonderful memories in mind as I get crazy stressed these next few weeks, right? 


 

Friday, December 16, 2011

One step forward, two steps back

I have been one gigantic slacker this Christmas season.  Sure, not a full-blown slacker in that absolutely nothing is done on my list, but a slacker for me.  The process of getting Christmas cards out to everyone, something that I pride myself on doing the weekend after Thanksgiving, took forever, and I found myself sending them out even this week.  But the worst thing?  Christmas presents.  Not even bought.  Shoot. 


I'm going to go with what I've been using to blame everything else on and say that it's pregnancy brain causing my apathy.  Either that, or I'm becoming a man, and I'm going to wait until Christmas Eve to purchase my presents and wrap them.  But since I'm carrying a 3 lb baby in my uterus currently, I don't think I can claim becoming a man so pregnancy brain it is! 


It isn't to say I haven't tried...somewhat.  Last week, I did finally go to Kohls.com and ordered my parent's presents, as well as my niece Roo's gift.  I was quite proud of myself.  Shipping was free for purchases over $50, and I had a 20% discount.  Go me!  So to meet that minimum, I decided to throw in three things for Baby Girl.  I placed the order and gave myself a pat on the back for finally getting started in my shopping.  Of course, I did note that the delivery date was something like December 22nd, but hey, I could still have time to wrap the presents when they arrived.  I had the 23rd off, after all...


Until yesterday...I get this email from Kohls saying that only part of my order has been shipped...it included my dad's present and the three outfits for Half-pint.  Um, okay, that's great but those three extra outfits were just thrown in there for the heck of it.  Surely the rest would come soon?  Nope.  I get another email just ten minutes later.  My order has been modified, and those two items...cancelled.  Really?  They can just do that? 


So now I'm back to square one.  And I have one weekend left to get this stuff.  And gifts for my employees.  And finish wrapping presents and everything.  Damn you, Kohls, damn you. 


I may have to become one of those people who starts buying presents in October next year.    Because Santa will be visiting our house next year, too, and I totally can't slack for Half-pint. 


I wonder if they'll all be okay taking some Mary Kay instead?  :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Update!  Kohls, are you reading this blog?  Right after I posted this, I get an email from Kohls with a $20 gift certificate code to be redeemed before December 24th.   BUT, I'm still irritated I have to actually go out and buy the gifts I ordered.  However, the $20 does make it somewhat better...


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Be careful...she can hear you!

So it's become more apparent to me each day, that Half-pint is able to hear things on the outside.  I'm sure she can't understand words, even though I like to think that she can, but she hears voices and loud noises.  And it's so cute how she reacts to them.


She is not a big fan of loud noises.  After my baby shower the other day, my dad was helping my sister take decorations down, and being a man, of course, he decided to go the destructive route by popping balloons.  As soon as he popped the first one, I get a pretty strong kick from baby girl.  Second one, another kick.  I finally had to tell Grandpa to cut it out.  She wasn't enjoying the noise.  Last night, T was trying to fix something in our garbage disposal, and he put several cubes of ice down there to grind which made a loud noise, too.  Again with the strong kick.   These boys need to learn to stop disturbing her! 


She's recognizing T's voice, too.  There's no way that she's not. All he has to do is talk near my stomach, saying her name, and she automatically reacts with a kick.  It is one of the sweetest things ever.  The other day, we were relaxing and unwinding from a particular stressful day.  T puts his arm around me saying "you're my best friend and I love you more than anything in the world."  (Sweet, right?  I have a good one!)  And as if she could hear him and felt left out, she responds with two kicks, and pretty strong ones at that.  We both started laughing, and of course, he had to reassure her that he loves her, too, more than anything in the world.  Not sure if she actually heard it or if it was a coincidence, but it was still hilarious. 


She also responds to Mommy and when I'm worried.  I'm sure there's some way in there she can sense my stress, even though I try my best to keep that down so that she doesn't get all agitated.  But there's not always a way around it.  As I get farther along in my pregnancy and closer to the big day, I worry.  I worry about how everything will go.  I worry about my heart and how things will be with that.  I worry about her health and whether she'll inherit a defect similar to my own.  I expressed these feelings to T the other day, telling him how scared I was, and of course, she responds at the right moment with several kicks.  It's as if she was saying "It's okay, Mommy...don't worry."  Maybe she can sense my concerns, maybe she can't.  But it is reassuring when I feel her little kick, and it reminds me that this really is all about her and we couldn't be more blessed. 


 I can hardly believe that we're at 30 weeks this week.  If I go the full term, as the doctor would prefer, before my c-section, that means I only have 9 weeks to go.  That being said, they still monitor my blood pressure, monitor her little heart rate and we never know...she may grace us sooner rather than later.  But regardless, our little miracle will be here before you know.  So I better get used to that saying...be careful, she can hear you! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spin Cycle: Who rings your bell?

I thought I would have to wait until the new year, but...nope!  It's a Christmas miracle!  What does that mean?  Sprite's Keeper Spin Cycle time!


This week's cycle is about other bloggers.  Who rings my bell?  What blogger inspires me?  We were given the option to list five of our favorite bloggers, and Jen at Sprite's Keeper would chose one for us.  This isn't to say that I don't love you all.  I don't want to be that person who has her favorites...you know, like a mom who has her favorite child?  I'm totally not like that. 


But that being said, I seriously do love this lady's blog.  The blogger who "rings my bell?"   Katie @ Marriage Confessions

I first came across her blog reading some Lifestyle article on MSN, I think.  I could be wrong, but I remember it was something where she was quoted.  And I thought it was funny.  It was about the 30 second kiss and how you should be sure to kiss your significant other for 30 seconds every day to keep that spark alive.  T and I tried it, and it worked...sure, we laughed during some of them because I was obviously counting.  But I thought it was hilarious how she and her husband tried it so I tried it, too.  That got me into reading her blog on a regular basis.  (It was sometime after that when I decided to start blogging, as well.)


So what keeps me coming back to Marriage Confessions?  Honesty.  I go for real.  I don't want to read something where everything is always 100 percent peachy kean, no one argues, perfect life, blah blah...because, well, I can't relate to that.  I go for that perfect balance between sometimes serious, other times funny, and a little quirky as well. 


I love how honest Katie is in her posts about marriage, not just because I can relate to some of the struggles she and her husband face, but also because she gives a completely different perspective to struggles that all young married couples face. 


I also love the posts about her kids, Bean and Gracie.  Not just because both of them are absolutely adorable, but because she's so real as a mom and honest about what works for her, what struggles she faces as a parent and worries she has.  And the posts where she has Bean and Gracie talking between each other?  Well, those are always good for a smile. 


So if you have never checked out Marriage Confessions before, you totally should.  It won't be the last time you read her posts either...trust me!



  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas pictures!

I'm on a roll this week with pictures.  Sure, we decorated our house the day after Thanksgiving, and sure, it's December 13th, which mean it's taken me several weeks to post these...but better late than never!


So here is our living room....



I decorated the mantel myself with candles, some green garland and white lights.  And of course, my garden gnome, Jerome, had to come in for the winter and get in on the festivities.  We love this new fire place...it's gas, so it's super easy to use, and it makes the room feel all cozy when it's on.  And yes, our stockings are hung by the chimney with care.  And for those of you with dirty minds, I did intentionally put the T & A stockings in that order :-)



We've waited forever to get a nativity scene.  It's something we've wanted for awhile, and this past Christmas, we've decided to just buy one.  We got this from The House of Ireland, and I've been told it's special because it's Belleek china.  I'm not familiar with that, but T assures me that it's very nice china.  I just think it's beautiful.



Another shot of the living room.....


And the outside of our house:  This year we chose to just do lights around the porch.  T ordered an extension ladder but that's coming this week, so next year, our goal is to outline the garage part, too.  But I still think it looks pretty darn cool.




Close up of our porch - real live Christmas wreaths, a tree, and candles, of course!


So that's our house!  To keep with the Christmas spirit, I also stole these fun questions from Chloe @ My New Life as a Housewife.  Enjoy!

 
 
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer gift bags, but that's only because I am really a horrible wrapper.


2. Real tree or Artificial? We do artificial. Growing up, my sister's allergies were why we did that, but T and I do think we'll go the real tree route soon.

3. When do you put up the tree? Day after Thanksgiving!


4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime around New Years. I always hate that feeling...it's so depressing!

5. Do you like eggnog? I've had it once. And then had the stomach flu the night of my drinking it...so that would be the last time I'll ever have it again.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My O'Jenny Doll House

7. Do you have a nativity scene? We didn't until just this year...we bought a Belleek china one from House of Ireland, and I love it!

8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad

9. Easiest person to buy for? My youngest niece, Roo. She's still at the age where she isn't wanting everything electronic and expensive

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Oh, always mail! Just got mine out, too!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The stomach flu. But that wasn't a gift. But it still sucked.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Love Actually

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I try to do it as soon as I can, but this year, I'm a huge slacker on it.

14. Ever recycled a Christmas present? don't think so

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? clear

17. Favorite Christmas song? O' Holy Night and "All I want for Christmas is you"

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Some day we'll get to stay home...it's not too far off! We usually travel, though.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Sure can!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? angel

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open presents with my family on Christmas. T and I try to exchange them with just the two of us before then, though.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Commercials. Holiday commercials are SO annoying, especially jewelry ads.

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color? Don't have just one. T and I buy one special for each year, so I'd say those.
24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Happiness and no stress
 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shower fun

This weekend, my sister threw a baby shower for me at her home up in Noblesville.  It was family and friends, including some of my mom's friends from the neighborhood and her work, and it was a lot of fun.  I'm not always the best when it comes to posting pictures these days, so I'm going to make up for it by inundating you with tons of pictures.  Enjoy!




The cake was made out of a bunch of cupcakes from Meijer...and they were delicious!  Brought a few home with me to have a later date, too!



My sister decorated the house with a clothes line and put up outfits she had bought for baby, as her present to me.  I was told to sit in the chair next to the presents, even though when I first sat down to eat it was in the corner by myself.  (I'm SO social like that...) 



Mom and me, and of course, Half-pint had to get in the shot.  (And dude, I look HUGE in this picture!)



My sister-in-law, me and my sister, the hostess of the party.




Me and "the aunts" on my mom's side.  It was so nice to see everyone.


And of course, the girl cousins on my mom's side of the family, too.  Funny enough this isn't all of us either.  There are 14 total grandchildren, and I believe in this picture we're missing three more girls that weren't able to make it. 

Instead of cards, my sister asked that guests bring a children's book, inscribed to Half-pint, so now we have even more books to add to her library!  T is pretty excited, too, because that gives him more to read her.  We got a ton of items on our registry and some I hadn't even though of that weren't on the registry. My mom got us a glider/rocker for the nursery.  We hadn't thought to register for one of those, but man, after T set it up Saturday night, that thing is comfortable.  It was so sweet, last night T sat down in it and picture himself rocking her to sleep.  We promise to post pictures of the nursery soon...our goal next weekend is to put things away so that it actually looks like a nursery!
 
 
I'll be back tomorrow with even more pictures...it's a Christmas miracle! 
 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Present time!

So remember that worry I had about how we wouldn't get everything we needed for the baby in time for her arrival?  Yeah...I'm not one to enjoy admitting when I'm wrong.  But....well....see, here's the thing...


I may or may not have been wrong. 


Yes, I answered that as a lawyer. 


I tend to get freaked out about things, rationally or irrationally, but usually the latter of the two.


This past week we have come home pretty much daily to at least one or more packages for baby.  We have started keeping our UPS guy in business.  If he hasn't figured out that we're expecting, he is not a very smart man.  Just the other day, on Monday, we came home to two boxes of diapers (awesome deal I got at Babies R Us), a pack and play box, Target box, and one from Babies R Us.  Either we are having a kid, or we have some really messed up collection of baby stuff. 


It's been fun seeing all the cute stuff we have for Half-pint. Sure, I registered for this stuff, but honestly, I have never seen it in person.  I have done about 80% of my registry online.  I hate going to stores and getting all overwhelmed, and I'd much rather sit on my couch, sip a little ho cho by the fire, and peruse the store online.  But I've got some really cute stuff. 


Not sure if I have talked much about what her nursery will look like, but the theme is monkeys.  Color scheme is purple and a lighter green.  I promise we will post pictures, but right now, everything isn't really settled in the nursery.  We have the crib put up, but no mattress yet so there's nowhere to put the bedding.  We are still waiting on the dresser (mess up on Target's part - they shipped it, then said we asked to return it before it got to us, and so apparently we won't be getting the dresser until next week because I was forced to reorder it.  Pain.)  I'm hoping we'll get the mattress soon so that we can set everything up.  But it'll look super cute. 


I have to admit, it is fun checking the registry to see what items have been bought, and I can't believe how generous people are.  Above and beyond what I'd ever ask for...I'm not one to say "buy me stuff, please!"  But people have been so nice, and we appreciate it so much. 


We better get rolling on that nursery, though, because my family baby shower is tomorrow, and I have a feeling we're going to have even more items to put in there. 


So I apologize for my momentary freak out a week ago.  Nain's under a ton of pressure...maybe, just maybe that pressure got to her. 


And maybe, just maybe, I was a wee bit wrong. 


But I will neither confirm nor deny that.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On a side note, I need your questions still!  Thank you, Robin, for your awesome questions, but I need more for a really good vlog!  So ask away! 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Buried but still here!


Yeah, so I'm not quite sure what has happened this week.  It started off okay....and then...things got crazy.  Hence the lack of blog posts.  Sorry, guys!  See, I'm trying my best to get ahead of the game and line everything up so that things are organized and ready to go when my maternity leave starts and IF Half-pint decides to make her entry to the world early.  If she's anything like me, she's impatient.  So it's likely she will.  So that means Nain is running around like a mad woman doing about 30 things at once.  It's not pretty. 
 
 
So yes, I'm a neglectful blogger.  So this post will be short, but it does have a point!  I promise!
 
 
Anyway, in the meantime, I need something from you, my fellow bloggers and readers.  It's been awhile since I've done a vlog, so I think it's high time to do one again.  So....what I need are some interesting questions to answer.  Got some burning question you're just dying to ask?  Well, here's your chance!  So I really need your help...otherwise, it will just be me talking aimlessly into the web cam.  And we don't want that! 
 
 
I do promise to write as I can.  Until then, I can't wait to see what questions you have!
 
 


Monday, December 5, 2011

We need longer weekends!

I believe three day weekends should be an every weekend deal.  Seriously, because two days are just not enough to get everything completed that needs to be done.  Not to mention when do you get to just relax?  This was one of those busy weekends for T and me, as seems to be the norm for us these days.    I even had the best of intentions to take pictures of some of the things we did this weekend, but sadly...I have none to share.  Maybe I'll find a spare moment this week to snap a picture and upload, but I make no promises, my blogger friends!


So Friday, my coworkers threw me a baby shower during our lunch hour.  It was a lot of fun, good food, and we got so much helpful stuff.  I'm still learning what is what in terms of helpful items for baby and things I never have heard of until now.  That, and we have a lot of new pink outfits I can't wait to see Half-pint wear.   T came over after work, helped me haul everything to the car and then into the house, as carrying heavy items is becoming more and more difficult as the weeks go by.  We did as we usually do on Friday evenings and cleaned the house before relaxing and hitting the hay.  Sure, cleaning the house doesn't seem like the most fun thing in the world, true.  But our theory on it is, if we get it done Friday night, the rest of the weekend is ours to do with whatever we chose.  It's a good routine we've gotten into.  Watching Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel and cleaning.  I'm still able to do quite a bit, but again...things are getting more and more difficult as the weeks go by.   But T's such a good sport and helps out so much to make sure things are done. 


Saturday morning, we both got up early, T to run and me to hit the grocery store before all the crazies were there.  I absolutely detest grocery shopping with a passion, so if I have less people to deal with, the better.  T spent the majority of the day out in our garage mouse proofing the garage (yes, we had a mouse siting a few weeks ago..ugh) and cleaning out both of our cars.  Me, I spent the day organizing my Mary Kay closet and office, getting ready for an event the next day and of course, getting a start on my Christmas cards.  After church that evening, T put his carpentry skills to work and put together Half-pint's crib!  It looks great...just need the mattress and the bedding, and we're good to go!  Now we're waiting on the dresser to arrive this week.  It seems T's new hobby is putting together nursery furniture, and it's a good thing he's so handy because I would have no clue what I'm doing if I were put to the task. 


Sunday we headed up to my brother and sister-in-law's house, as I had scheduled a Mary Kay Holiday Coffee with her.  It's basically an open house like I had a few weeks back at my own home, but hosted by a customer instead of myself.  It was pretty successful, which is great because I have a feeling this event may be one of the last ones I have until Half-pint makes her arrival.  I do have one scheduled in January, but that may be a bit ambitious.  We'll see...


So yes, it was a busy busy week in the Nain and T household.  This week won't be much better and neither will next weekend...family/friend baby shower coming up!  Don't know about all of you but I am so ready for some holiday down time! Hope everyone had a great weekend!  And I promise to be back with pictures!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pregnancy brain


When we first got pregnant, I read everything possible online or in books on what to expect.  I'm not one of those girls who likes to just fly by the seat of her pants.  Nope, I have to know my facts, know what's coming.  And I kept reading about pregnancy brain.  Forgetfulness, mixing things up, not being able to focus.  Sure, sure...some women might have that problem, but not me. I have my stuff together...I won't be that bad.  Right? 

Wrong.  Fail.  Completely off the mark. 


Nain's brain has officially left the building.  This week was living proof of that. 


I seriously don't know where my mind has gone lately.  It's like this week something was just switched off.  I can't focus, concentrate or be productive at all.  I keep making mistakes on things that normally I would be so on my game with....and big mistakes, too.  Embarrassing mistakes.


It's gotten to the point where T no longer really likes for me to drive anywhere.  I just zone out or don't pay attention.  I mean, sure I'm not a hazard on the road or anything, but I'm not exactly a shining beacon of safety. 


Talking in complete sentences? Not so easy.  I try to tell someone something at work, and I mix up my words or forget what I'm saying.  I sound like the female version of Yoda half the time.  God help me with some of the radio interviews I'll have coming up for a local work event.  I might need someone to come with me just so I sound somewhat intelligent. 


Please...moms out there...tell me that it does go back.  I like to pride myself on being together for the majority of the time.  And now?  Yeah...not so much. 


 
 
 

Baby update!

Back with another baby update!  (I know how you love them!)  We had another visit with the OB the other day, as well as an ultrasound to check on Half-pint's growth.  We've had ultrasounds every month due to the fact that my heart condition can cause her size to be small.  Well, she's defying those odds for sure.  At the last ultrasound we were told she was in the 93rd percentile for growth.  This time she's in the 84th percentile which is still awesome.  She technically was supposed to be at 27 weeks and 1 day but actually measured at 28 weeks and 5 days.  So she's growing along just fine!


The thing I love about having all of these ultrasounds is we get to see her more often than most normal pregnancies would.  We get to see how much she's growing and changing.  Also, we get to see her personality kind of develop.  We can already tell she's a stubborn one.  Every ultrasound, she's covering her face with her hands.  Actually, she looks like she relaxes with her hand on her forehead just like mommy does.  (Isn't that crazy?)  And she's active.  Every ultrasound, she's constantly moving, almost like she's not wanting to let them get a normal shot.  I think we have a strong-headed kiddo coming our way.  Wonder where she gets that? 


Me, I still feel like I'm getting more and more huge by the day.  Bending over to pick things up is becoming a difficult task. Sleeping...not as easy as it used to be.  I'll be starving, try to eat, and I get full with just a few bites.   Not sure how Half-pint is growing as much as she is because I honestly feel like I don't eat enough, but...whatever.  Still monitoring my blood pressure, and so far, it's doing okay off and on.  With the holidays coming up and having a few days off, I'm hopeful I'll have some time to just relax, unwind and maybe catch up on my sleep.   (Only if Half-pint cooperates, that is!) 


I have two baby showers coming up, too, which is exciting!  One is this Friday for my work and the other is
next Saturday for family and friends. 


While we were at the doctor, we did get a few 3D pictures of our little girl, and I wanted to share them with all of you because they are just so cute.  Baby girl only cooperated for one picture in allowing us to see her face.  (Notice she still has that hand over her head like mommy), and then we got a shot of her cute little feet. 


I have never wanted to meet someone so much in my life.  I can't beleive that in just 10 weeks, I'll be holding my baby girl. 


I'll keep you all posted with baby updates as they come!


 
 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nain's dirty little secret


I'm not a hoarder, I swear. 
 
 
I'm just a wee bit unorganized. 
 
 
So this weekend, T and I finally completed a project he's been bugging me to do since we moved into our house in April, one that I kept putting off but promising him I'd get it done.  In due time.  Which I did. 
 
 
Let me explain...see, T and I are opposites in the whole organization business.  I have the capability of getting myself organized.  Last week, I managed to clear out and organize the file cabinets in my office in preparation for my maternity leave, labeling them and everything.  Sure, I've been meaning to do this since January, but hey...better late than never, right?  So when it came to combining our two apartments into one household, we had a ton of random boxes and items.  I mean, I come with a lot of "stuff."  As a teenager, I saved everything.  Everything.  For sentimental value, of course.  And in between my multiple moves in college, law school and post-graduation, I've accumulated even more from there.   Most of it ended up in our walk-in closet in our guest bedroom.  This closet is huge because of the design of the house, and it should be a nice, empty space, but instead, for the past seven months we've lived there, you can barely get in with all of the boxes.  Straight out of a hoarders episode.  When we moved in, I also went through my clothes and got rid of two moving boxes worth of old clothing.  Those boxes have been sitting in the closet for those seven months, too.  And, we also had a pile of items in the basement that I told T were were going to be selling in a garage sale to be set sometime next year, including an old TV, microwave, boxes of random "stuff," and some old, crappy lawn chairs. 
 
 
Poor, T...he's been patient.  He's so exited to finally get to organize his man cave this winter, and my "stuff" has invaded his sanctuary.  So a few months ago, I finally caved and said to hell with it, let's call Goodwill and just donate all of it. That was a few months ago.  Last week, I made the decision (after some pushing from T) that we would take care of it last weekend.  And I'd call Goodwill right away.  And I did, too.  (Yay, pat on the back!)
 
 
End result?  We left about seven boxes of old VHS tapes, picture frames, clothing, and various items, as well as the TV, my old trunk from undergrad, two ugly pink lawn chairs, and various items on our driveway this morning, to be picked up sometime today for Goodwill. 
 
 
The process of getting to that point was not pretty.  And being 7 months pregnant, I was very little help in terms of getting the boxes downstairs from the guest bedroom and upstairs from the basement.  That was all T.  But I was the one who went through all of those old boxes and bags and tossed items that were no longer needed.  And man, I had random items kept in the oddest of places.  No way do I remember how I ended up with two unopened plastic drop cloth packages or why they were placed in a box of picture frames.  And why were various Christmas ornaments located in random boxes?  Seriously, it was embarrassing.  But it's done.  Our closet is now clean and organized, and the basement has been cleared of all my crap.  I wish I could say that last weekend's efforts resulted in me being 100 percent organized in our house.  But sadly....no.  That's why I have T around.  To keep me in check. 
 
 
Baby steps, people...baby steps. 
 
 
I hope our little girl gets her organization skills from her dad.  Or we may be calling TLC to do an episode of Hoarding:  Buried Alive in a few years.  Just saying.
 
 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Freaking out


Okay, so maybe the title of this post is just a bit on the dramatic side. But that is how I feel at this current point in time.  Freaked.  Out.  (I credit a majority of this to pregnancy hormones...but some also to just stress and well, me being me.)

Reason?  Well, I looked at the calendar today and realized that December is in just a few days.  And that has me in a full panic.  Let me explain....


Christmas shopping?  What Christmas shopping?  Cards to send out?  Really?  Usually I'm on my "A" game, and by now I've bought pretty much every one's presents and have addressed and sent out my Christmas cards.  I'm productive like that.  But this year, I just don't have the energy.  I blame the third trimester for that.  But still.  I don't want to be that girl who is rushing at the last minute.  So I need to do it in my spare time.  What spare time?  In between work and the millions of doctors visits baby and I need right now, there is no spare time.  Just those hours when I get to sleep.  But I need to get on it.  Thus, part of the freak out.


And, wait, it's December?  I got this email today from TheBump.com reminding me that I'm 28 weeks today.  Dude, that's not that much longer until the little one arrives.  I mean, sure we're due on February 22nd, but with my size and my heart condition, part of me does have that fear that we will have her earlier than mid-February.  And well, I didn't plan for that.  I have work things to do up until the very day I give birth, dammit.  So I'm scrambling to plan ahead and write detailed directions for my staff for when I leave on every grant I write and report on, basically everything I do.  And that's a lot.  And I'm also a bit of a control freak, so I have a hard time letting go of my pet projects.  So yeah, I need to start building up some contingency plans here.  Because Half-pint will come when 1) she wants to and/or 2) when the doctors say I have no choice.  How in the world am I going to get all of this ready?  Am I ever really going to be fully "ready?" 


And getting ready for Half-pint's arrival...we have two showers coming up, and I've taken to checking our registry daily to see what is still needed.  While we're pretty good on the furniture...not so much on the other stuff.  I know most people, when they purchase presents for a baby, buy the cute outfits, the frilly girl stuff...which is all great and good.  Trust me, I love that stuff, too.  But...not exactly what T and I need.  It sounds completely awful of me to say that because I always appreciate anything someone would give us.  I'm just totally freaked that we won't get the basics we need and won't be able to afford them beforehand.  Rational? Probably not.  But you're talking to the planner here.  The girl who has everything set and ready to go way before it's due. 


And I've taken to hating sites like TheBump.com or (insert your appropriate pregnancy site here).  They have these little checklists on everything you're supposed to have done at a certain point.  No clue who these people are that think I should have x, y and z done at this point, but they can just shove it.  My current concern is getting a pediatrician lined up.  But there are all of these stupid other things that I haven't thought of or aren't sure they are important.  Dear lord, I'm failing as a mom, and I'm not even there yet. 


So I need to do several things here...1) invent some sort of time device to create more time in a given day, 2) win the lottery so that T and I can buy everything we need for Half-pint, 3) pay for a personal assistant who can help me with all of these tasks, or 4) invent some sort of cloning device so that one of me can be at all the doctor's appointments, another can be out shopping and preparing for baby and the third can be at work lining everything up.  Oh, and maybe a fourth to spend time with family and friends and T so that I don't lose any relationships in the time being. 


Think they have Cyber Monday deals on something like that?



 


 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pink Friday!


Shameless plug time!  I know most of you know that I'm a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant in my spare time.  With the holidays coming up (yep, haven't started shopping yet...go me!), and with my hatred of crowds and malls at Christmas, I'm offering special deals for people who shop with me online. 
So I'm having a "Pink Friday" sale starting at midnight and lasting all day on Friday, November 25th!  And you don't even have to stand in lines to order what you want.  To me, that equals perfection!  So without further ado...here's my "Pink Friday" plug!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Black Friday....why not make it a PINK Friday?

 
Avoid the crowds or shop online with me after you get home from the craziness and need some rest and relaxation! Because, really, you just can't beat these prices! So stock up on your favorites, and buy some for your friends and family!

 
50% off all lipliners, eyeliners and lip glosses!

 
Buy one mineral eye color or cheek color, get the other free

 
40% off any foundation

 
Cleansers - 25% off!

 
Extra Emollient Night Cream - 25% off

 
Eye creams (firming and age fighting) - 25% off

 
Concealors - 15% off

 
 
PLUS, when you refer a friend* (RSVP with each name)
Receive $5 FREE Mary Kay**
(when they make a $20+ purchase now-Nov 30)

 
Receive a FREE lip gloss, lotion, or mascara
(when you refer 5+ friends* now- Nov 26)

 
*Must be 18 or older and not a current Mary Kay customer

 
**Your $5 FREE must be redeemed Nov 26 – Dec 24, 2011

Happy Shopping!!!

 
Alaina
 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful


I've been watching Facebook throughout the month of November and have been reading everyone's 30 Days of Thanks posts.  It's a wonderful idea to recognize those blessings in your life.  I've wanted to join in, but with the stress and sadness that November has brought, sadly, I never got around to it.  That isn't to say I don't realize my blessings and am not thankful for them on a daily basis.  Because I am.  But I don't think I've outwardly recognized them, especially one of them in particular.  Sure, he knows I appreciate him and love him, but I think maybe I should give a a great deal of credit where credit is due.

This year I am truly thankful for my husband, T.  I never thought I would be so lucky to be married to and in love with my best friend.  I get to fall asleep next to him every night and wake up next to him every morning.  He's my rock, my sounding board, the person who centers me and brings me back to reality.  He's my biggest fan.  Over the past year, he has supported me as I chose to make a major career change from working as a child protective services attorney to running a legal services agency and stepping outside of the traditional "lawyer" role.  He has supported me with my Mary Kay business, when others teased me for it and tried to downplay the fact that I truly do love to do it, he's been proud of me and supportive when I've needed it.  In March, he stood by me and held my hand as we underwent tests on my heart to see if we could have children and to see if I needed surgery before we could even try.  He cried with me tears of happiness when we found out everything we just fine.  He's shared my joy, excitement and trepidation as we discovered we were blessed with the little Half-pint in June.  He took care of me through morning sickness, exhaustion and crazy mood swings.  He's supported me 100 percent as my family had to make the decision to put my Grandpa in assisted living and later in nursing home care.  He's watched over me as my Grandpa's health as deteriorated, and he comforted me when my Grandpa finally passed.  He held my hand and stood by my side the entire time as we said good bye to him this past weekend.  He told me it was okay to cry and that I didn't always have to be the strong one.  He remembers the special days we share - the anniversary of our first date, the memories from when we got engaged, relives the joy of our wedding day.  With the high risk pregnancy, he has been my advocate and there for me the entire time.  He's watched over me like a hawk and made sure that I am relaxing, that I taking care of myself and put my health first.  He's been my everything. 

I may not say it daily.  I don't even think saying the words "I love you" are enough to truly express how thankful I am that God brought T into my life.  But I am.  I am forever grateful and blessed to have him as a husband.  And this year, more than ever, I would like to say thanks to T for being the man that he is.  I love you, and I couldn't be more blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



 
 
 

Third Trimester


I am in the  home stretch....as of this week, I'm at 27 weeks and officially in my third trimester.  Of course, February 22nd still seems so far away, but nowhere as far away as it did in June when we first found out we were pregnant.  Lots of things going on, too....
 
 
So according to emails I get from TheBump.com, she's learning how to breathe this week...mostly amniotic fluid, but still, she's learning how to breathe and can open her eyes as well.  She's as big as an eggplant, though I swear she has to be bigger than that.  I feel absolutely ginormous.  Every morning it feels like she's just expanding.  It's a good thing, but at the same time, wow...takes some getting used to!  She's still quite the kicker, and I've started noticing her hiccups as well.  They feel like rapid-fire kicks.  She kicks a lot when Daddy reads to her at night, which is super sweet.  According to the doctors, she's also measuring right on target, which is super important because my heart condition can cause her to be smaller.  But not the case with Half-pint!  We get to see her again in another ultrasound next week to make sure she's still growing, and I can hardly wait to see how much she's changed since the last time we saw her a month ago. 
 
 
I was lucky enough to find out that I passed my gestational diabetes test with flying colors, which was a huge relief because it was quite traumatic trying to get blood from me the day I took it.  So no 3 hour glucose test for me!  Last Tuesday, before we got the awful news, we did go to the cardiologist and I was told I could stop using my heart monitor and turn that back in (yay!).  My blood pressure was still up, so he doubled my medicine again.  I have to admit, I haven't taken any readings for about a week now.  I just felt that with all the stress of last week, any number wouldn't be too terribly accurate.  But I need to get back on that.  Hopefully things keep moving in the right direction!
 
 
Other than that...let's see...third trimester...well, I'm tired more often than I was in my 2nd trimester.  I find myself almost falling asleep at my desk at work.  Bad, Nain.  And the symptoms of the third trimester?  Ugh, can I just express my distaste for these?  Seriously...as if I didn't feel about as unsexy as humanly possible, I get these symptoms.  Having to pee every time I stand up.  Heartburn after every meal and randomly throughout the day.  (Tums is my new candy...)  "Digestive issues."  I have now become quite adept at burping, too.  Loud, manly burping.  Even worse than T.  And...sigh, I found my very first stretch mark on Saturday.  (Shudder)  I've done so well not having one.  Damn.  So yeah, I'm sexy and  I know it, folks.  Hot stuff coming through here. 
 
 
My solace lies in the fact that we only have 3 months left to go.  My job is to just keep her safe, keep her growing and keep my stress level as down as much as possible.  Oh and decorate the nursery, too.  Two showers coming up in December so I'm sure I'll have pictures to post as we get things put together! 
 
 
So that is your 27 week update!  Stay tuned for more!
 
 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Drained


Hi everyone, we're back from a rather long and emotionally draining weekend.  I'm not going to lie...getting out of bed this morning was pretty tough.  I felt like I could have used at least four more hours of good sleep.  BUT my saving grace this week is that we have a short work week with Thanksgiving coming up.  I so look forward to catching up on my sleep Thursday through Sunday.  We need it after the past few weeks. 
 
 
Thursday, I decided to stay home to catch up on things before we left town.  I thought that would be best; however, being at home by myself meant being alone with my thoughts.  I chose to override the possibility of tears and sadness with staying as physically busy as humanly possible.  This involved grocery shopping, trips to the bank and post office, vacuuming the downstairs of our house, completely setting up my Mary Kay open house (which involved multiple trips up and down stairs to bring items to my dining room), walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and doing all of the laundry in the house (cleaning and drying, folding and making the bed with clean sheets, etc.)  By the time I had done all of that, I was tired and my back hurt like nobody's business. 
 
 
Probably pushed it a little too hard, especially considering how painful it was to walk in the evening when we headed to our church for a memorial service for the priest who married us, who we also considered a close friend and mentor.  That service was hard.  He was only 55 and died from liver failure.  It was sudden and unexpected.  I didn't handle the service too well, and I chose to blame my crying on hormones.  Of course, T said only I would blame my feelings of sadness over something other than just the fact that it was sad.  But it was truly sad.  And a shock.  I still can't believe he's gone. 
 
 
We got up on Friday and headed to Terre Haute to meet my extended family for my Grandpa's wake.  And by my extended family, I mean 10 aunts and uncles, 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  The wake started at 4:00 p.m., but the family had an hour before to be with my Grandpa and with each other.  I gripped onto T's hand as we each made our way to the casket to say a prayer.  I never handle this part well at all during funerals, and I couldn't hold back the tears this time or blame them on the hormones.  He looked so at peace, and despite the toll the past few month took on his body, the funeral home did a nice job in preparing him for burial.  But it hardly seemed real that he was gone.  Yes, that was his body, but not him.  He was already in heaven.   I felt bad for my nieces and nephews, too, because I know how hard it is to face this at such a young age.  My eight year old niece came up to me with tears in her eyes when she saw me crying saying "It makes me sad when people cry." It was hard.  It always is, and I don't think that ever gets any easier with age.  We were there for five hours, ending the day with a rosary, which Grandpa said daily.  He would dedicate a rosary to a certain person each night.  I was told, back in February, when we had my heart scare, that my Grandpa had said a few for me.  So our whole family said the rosary together for him. 
 
 
Saturday morning, we headed back to the funeral home for a quick prayer service.  Again, didn't handle this part very well.  The family had the opportunity to each say good bye to him before they closed the casket.  Never have I ever been able to fully say good bye at a funeral.  Not with my Aunt Linda or both of my Grandmas.  I can't do it.  I said I love you, as I touched the casket but I couldn't do more than that.  T, my rock, held my hand as we saw him for the very last time on this earth and headed to the church.  The funeral mass was touching.  Each grandchild had a part of the mass, as Grandpa would want it.  My Uncle Joe, the oldest child, gave a touching eulogy that made us laugh, smile and think fondly of the memories we had.  We processed out of the church and back to our cars to head to the cemetery.  As we got in the car, T looked to me and asked "are you okay?"  And of course, in my typical fashion, my response was "no, but I'm okay..." 
 
 
After the church, we headed to the cemetery for the military service before his burial.  On the way, we passed the home where he lived during his remaining years, and the landlord had put the American Flag at half-mast in honor of my Grandpa.  That was truly touching.  It was rainy and cold, but T said he saw a ray of light break through the clouds as we got to the cemetery.  Since my Grandpa was a veteran of World War II, the local VFW post was there to do a service in his honor.  They did a 21 gun salute followed by "Taps."  Despite my best efforts, I lost it during this part as well.  Something about that song gets me.  We concluded that service and headed out to the church hall for a luncheon.  After a three hour funeral service, we needed it.  T and I did want to see the headstone once before we left where both my Grandma and Grandpa's names were written.  The weight of the day broke me down, as I cried all over T's nice suit.  (Of course, not smudging makeup because I was wearing my trusty Mary Kay waterproof mascara, of course...)  My sister-in-law and twin eight year old niece and nephew joined us.  My sweet little niece gave me a hug and said "I'm so sorry, Aunt Nain, that you don't have any more grandmas or grandpas."  I gave her a kiss and reassured her that, yes, I do.  They're just in heaven. 
 
 
After lunch, I passed out for a good hour to two hours taking a nap in the hotel before leaving for dinner.  My Grandpa had a favorite restaurant in the small town where he was raised and lived until his passing, Kleptz, and he used to frequent the bar in this restaurant with my great-grandpa during my Grandpa's Navy days.  So all 45 of  us met there and shared a meal in his honor.  We needed it after the day we had, and I have no doubt he was watching down on us as we toasted him and shared our memories.  The dinner lasted until 10:00 or so, and by that point, I was at complete exhaustion.  In traditional family style, it was hard to get people rallied and ready to go back to the hotel.  This evolved into an argumentbetween T and I late that night, of which was my fault and was based solely out of exhaustion, irrationality, and just too many emotions from everything.  I think it was just an explosion of everything.  Short-lived, and completely unnecessary.  But my emotions were high, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle them. 
 
 
T was my rock this weekend, and I have no idea what I'd do without him.  It was difficult, I'm not going to lie.  As much as I knew this was coming and as much as I wanted him to be at peace, I'm still heartbroken that he is gone.  He will be missed so much.  God Bless you, Grandpa, and thank you for everything you have instilled in us as a family, all the love you have given, and for the amazing man you are.  We love you.