Saturday, December 27, 2008

Whirlwind

Daycare, returning to work, Christmas, Charlie's first cold....this has been us for the past week.

I went back to work this past Monday. And off Charlie went to daycare. I had a bit of a breakdown on Sunday night last week. It just didn't seem natural for a Mom to be away from her very young little boy. On Monday, I woke up, got ready and we waltzed out the door. I wasn't emotional then. I was ready to return to work. I gave some minuscule instructions to the daycare teacher and I went on my way. It was snowing HARD last Monday. I drove to work in the dark,with the snow coming down hard, thinking about my Charlie, in the swing, wondering where I had run off too. I blared the radio (for the first time in months!) and sang the entire way to work. Thank goodness for Oasis and Champagne Supernovas.

We got home on Monday night, and we were beat. Charlie had slept very little at daycare and he had eaten a TON. Far more than these breasts could produce. He was up most of Monday night; on and off, eating and sleeping. I was nervous about Tuesday. Frightened. Even a little bit terrified. But, off we went. I gave a little bit more direction this time when explaining his routine. And I drove off, radio blaring. I left work early on Tuesday, but I had things to do. And this is when the Mommy Guilt set in. I had errands to run, and I had paid for the day at daycare. But, I wanted to see him. BUT, I had things to do. I ran my errands...trying not to think about him. When I picked him up at 5pm and looked at his sheet, I noticed he had slept ONE hour the entire day. "OYE VEY!" I thought to myself. ONE HOUR?? We got home, and he immediately went to bed. He slept and slept and slept. And on Christmas Eve he was his normal happy self again.

Returning to work is hard. Even when you do it gradually like I have attempted to do. It just doesn't feel natural. It's not "right," as I told Curtis. But, we do what we need to do to provide for our families. I know I need to give it some time, but it's so hard to not feel like I want to quit my job, or at least go part time, and hire a nanny. Something that might salvage the hard work we have put in establishing a routine. Something that might salvage his tiny immune system (yes, he has a cold too!). An environment where he gets unlimited one on one time. These are hard things that us new Moms (and Dads!) have to endure in the year 2008 (almost 2009!). As much as I thought I would be able to just do this whole daycare thing, I am doubting it more and more. I love my job...I have a passion for what I do. But, when you have a child, it's amazing how that child trumps the other things that you love. I feel torn and especially discouraged about going back to work. I know I need to give it some time, but it's hard to not feel like this just isn't the right thing to be doing with our son....

I am ready for this whirlwind to stop.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The rest of the pictures...

Amy gave me a link to the rest of Charlie's pictures today. Aren't they awesome? I don't know how I will ever choose.

Charlie's Pictures

The password is King

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Charlie Monkey

Yesterday, my good friend Amy Carroll stopped over to take some pictures of Charlie.

They are AMAZING. I started crying when I saw them. I just can't believe this is my child. It's so surreal!

Here, have a lookie:

Amy Carroll Photography

His pictures are the first ones, at the top.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Queen of the Kings gets a makeover!

Since the inception of Queen of the Kings, back in June of 2007, this blog has always been the colors orange and blue. I don't know why, it just seemed fun at the time. Thanks to my cyber-friend Jenni, I was inspired to update this blog with a fun template.

And so we have an update to this place! How do you like it?? Festive, eh?

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It's snowing pretty hard here. I haven't left the house in a couple of days and that's alright with me. I like being hunkered down like this. It's kind of fun, especially when it's so frigid outdoors. We have been snuggling one another a lot, and keeping busy eating oatmeal and reading the newspaper. It's been fun.

I am slowly getting into the Christmas spirit. Since Charlie was born, I still have this weird feeling that we are still in October. When it first snowed a couple of weeks ago, I was all sorts of confused. I couldn't believe it was time for "that" already! The last 8 weeks have flown by. I return to work in 2 more weeks and while I am excited to get out of the house and get back to work, I will also miss my little monkey. I am making sure to cuddle him especially well and enjoy my final days with him while I am on maternity leave.

Hope you all enjoy the layout update. I think it's kind of cool :o)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Charlie Smiles

Today, I caught Charlie doing this on the video camera:





Pretty sweet, eh?? He is 8 weeks today. And we are so proud of him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

6 Weeks


It's been no joke that I have been living under some sort of rock as of late. There is actually a rock where all new moms hang out for the first 6 weeks. It's called "postpartum rock" and we all live under it together. :o)

No, really. We have been busy over here growing a Charlie.

All the books were right when they said that the peak of difficulty, fussiness and overall newborn madness was at 6 weeks. But, they were also right when they said that it would all get better from that point as well. We are finally in a real groove here. And it feels good.

The first 6 weeks are (or they were!) a real challenge. I am not kidding you. We are talking some hard shit. Sorry, but I just had to say it. I told Curtis that I feel like I am trying to solve the biggest puzzle of my entire life. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it wrong and sometimes there isn't an answer at all. Sleep logs, piles of books, stroller rides, wishing with all your might...none of it is guaranteed to work. You can try heating pads in the crib, and white noise, and rocking and shushing until your tongue goes numb. You can drive circles around the city to get him to nap....praying that the lights stay green. None of it will work all the time. But, after awhile you figure out what does work. And you might try all of the tricks in your bag until you finally get it right. And when you do....when you see your baby on the video monitor, sound asleep, you scream in your head "SUCCESS!! YESSSSSSSSSSSS!! I DID IT!" And it's the best thing that has happened to you all day. That is what it's like to be a new mom in the first 6 weeks.

Last week, I actually asked Curtis if I could go back to work early. It had gotten that difficult for me. I couldn't stand the sound of Charlie's cry. And he was crying and fussing a lot. It wasn't colic, but he sure is a bit of a fussy boy. He's not the portable, easy-going type. Yet. He likes to be held. He likes me to shush him until my tongue goes numb. He likes attention. I read in a book the other day where a woman said that her son was just too interested "in all the living that was going on." That's Charlie. And he makes his presence known when he isn't happy. He has a set of lungs that could blow trees over, I tell you!! It's that set of lungs, that finally got us into shape over here. You see, I finally (with the help of my sister and a friend) realized that I needed to let this kid exercise those lungs without a whole lot of guilt behind it. Just to see what might happen. Well, what happened has been miraculous. For the last week or so, Charlie has been sleeping in his crib, sleeping longer periods (he even naps now!), nursing like a champ (and he isn't attached to my boob 24/7 anymore! See, I am typing!!), and overall his demeanor has taken a turn for the better. Is it being over the 6 week hump? Or just a Mom and Dad that finally figured it out? :o)

Along with these challenges comes a whole lot of joy too. Every day that I get to wake up and stare into those baby blues is a day that I look forward too. This child has been a wonderful gift that we are forever thankful for. In fact, it's kind of funny how the joy outweighs the challenges. You sort of forget that you may have had a bad night, or that you are frustrated, or that you want to sleep SO BAD. It's true. A smile from a 6-week old can wipe away any memory of a sleepless night. I know, because it happened to me this morning. :o)

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For updated photos:

Charlie

Thursday, November 6, 2008

1 Month

Charlie is 1 month old! We graduated from newborn clothing to the 0-3 outfits in his closet. He's growing like a weed and we are getting into a real groove around here.

I took this picture this morning. This is the outfit he came home in and he was swimming in it a month ago! Pretty soon it won't fit him at all!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change We Can Believe In


We are excited about the turnout of the election in our house. In all the elections I have voted in, this is the first time I have crossed the party line and voted for the "other side." I was invigorated in the voting booth yesterday. It's like we can finally start something new in this country. And to be a pivotal part of hist0ry is pretty cool too. I am optimistic about the future...for once in a long time.

On a side note, Charlie wore this to the polls yesterday, but I made sure to cover it up as not to get reprimanded by the polling police about wearing political garb at the polling station. :o)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Breakthrough

We are finally getting our bearings around here and things are going well. Being a mom is hard work. I won't lie. And it's especially difficult for a breastfeeding mom. But, I am hanging in there and each day with this little guy is a joy. It's been almost a month since he was born and that is so hard to believe! Time really does fly.

We had a breakthrough over the weekend. Charlie finally took his pacifier. Since we were in the hospital, he has shown no interest in the pacifier. And it's been a source of struggle, because this little boy needs to suckle. A LOT. And mom cannot be his personal pacifier!! Combined with a nice tight swaddle, the pacifier allowed him to sleep in his crib for a 3 hour stretch this weekend. Hallelujah!!

Charlie and I also took our first solo trip out of the house today. We went to the post office, and to the dry cleaners. I never in my entire life, thought it would be so hard to leave the house with an infant, but it really is!! I never know what his disposition is going to be like, but today, he was in a sunny mood, so we ventured out. We also made a trip to Target with Daddy over the weekend to "test the waters." Both trips were very successful and I finally feel like a new person that can actually leave the house with confidence! WOO HOO!!

I have learned a whole lot about myself and Curtis over the past 4 weeks. And of course, that learning process has all started with getting to know our son. We've had some struggles, and some frustrations, but most of all, it's been a whole lot of fun. I have a level of patience that I never knew existed inside of me. And I can live off of only a couple hours of sleep. Something I never knew I could do!! Curtis is an amazing father...something I always knew he would be. And the two of us together might not be able to hang a picture on the wall without an argument, but we can keep a baby alive with not much effort. I think that says it all!! :o) I also learned that I will NEVER SAY NEVER. Parenting is hard stuff, and you have to do what you need to do to get by. Overall, this adventure has been a real trip. And we can't wait to keep on this journey.

A lot of you have requested new pictures. I posted them here:

Charlie J

And here is a picture of Charlie, doing something he does very well. :o)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

1 Week Later

It has been 1 week since we welcomed our little boy into this world. It's been the FASTEST week of my entire life. I can't believe we are here already. It's also my due date today. I have looked forward to this day for so long, and now here it is. And I now have that very special someone that I have been waiting on too!!

Being a mom is the most unexplainable feeling in the world. How cliche is that statement, right?? People used to always say that to me, and I would wonder what that really meant. Now, I know. I look down at Charlie's sweet cheeks, and his perfect nose, and his beautiful little body, and I am in awe. Is he seriously ours forever?? And the fact that we were responsible for making him in all his perfectness is pretty awesome too. There is nothing more special in this lifetime. I know that for sure.

It's been a whirlwind of a week and I feel like we have a real handle on this whole thing. Much more so than I ever expected us to. I was so anxious and nervous about how we were going to handle this parenting thing. I am impressed with our confidence as parents, even though we really have no idea what in the world we are doing. We work together as a team, and it's kind of fun. I told my Dad that I felt really good about how I was feeling, and he said that's because it's instinctual. It just kicks in, and we just do it. Right on, Dad. I agree.

I am so blessed today. And I am so thankful too. Life is good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We're Home!!!!

We are finally home from the hospital and settling in well.

I will write more later, but I added some pictures to the link below. Enjoy!!

Charlie J

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Introducing....



Charles Jefferson King

8 lbs, 9oz. 19.5 inches long. Born at 2:27pm, October 8, 2008.

We are all doing GREAT!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Excited. Terrified. Nervous.

I had another OB appointment this morning. It didn't go quite as I had hoped it would, but I am starting to be okay with that.

2 weeks ago, I was 1cm and 50% effaced. She said that he was about -3 station, which put him in my pelvis. Today, I was 1cm+ and still 50% but he had moved back out of my pelvis. He's a little dickens already!! It's hard to hear that, especially when you have had some pretty nasty contractions, accompanied by some very intense pressure!! I would have thought my progress was a lot more than what I was told. Hmph.

We also started to discuss my induction, and it turns out that I am tentatively on the induction schedule for next Thursday/Friday. I am a little disappointed by this news, as I was really hoping to avoid the induction at all costs. I have another ultrasound on Monday with the high-risk OB at which point we will have another size estimate, and we will go from there.

I have resigned myself to being induced, and I realize that it's okay. I am trying to remain positive about this entire process, as I don't want my attitude to hinder it at all. I want to enjoy each and every last moment of being pregnant, and I also want to enjoy his birth as much as I possibly can.

The good news is that likely, before next weekend is over, our little boy will be here. And all of this will be hindsight, and it probably won't matter too much. I also know that a lot can change, even in a couple of days time, so I need to remember to keep my mind open and not worry too much.

That is the latest report! I will have another one on Monday after my appointment, and I should have some final photos of our little guy too. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Still Here. Still Pregnant

No, I have not had the baby yet. But, I know his plans are to arrive very soon. I have 2 more weeks until it's "D-day." He has that much time to make his entrance before my doctor will induce me.

Inductions are not fun. Or so I hear. I am nervous about being induced. But, I know that I have to trust God and I have to trust my body to do what it was built to do. Right now, I am working on that trust thing. :o) And I am also working on all the methods I can muster up to get this kid out naturally.

The craziest part of all of this, is that in 2 weeks my life is going to be totally different. Everything that I know now will be completely changed. My view of the world, my place in this world, how I feel about certain things...it's all going to change. I usually don't handle change very well. I like things to be predictable, and the same. And when things divert from that path, I start to freak out a little bit. But, for once in my life, I am not freaking out. Not yet, at least. I know things are going to be different, but it's the kind of different that I am looking forward to. Not the kind that I dread.

Please continue to pray for me, Curtis and Charlie (yes!! That is his name!!). Pray that he decides to come on his own, and if he doesn't, pray that I will be at peace with my delivery. Right now, that is what I am struggling with the most. That, and the lack of control that I have right now!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Nursery: In all it's infinite COMPLETENESS

The nursery is DONE! I am happy to announce that here!

My sister finished the furniture last week (yes, handpainted, all by her hands!!) and we finished papering the drawers on Saturday night.

I have to say, I am pretty proud of her and her talents. I could have never done what she did to this furniture. And it's so beautiful. The pictures hardly come close to doing it justice. It's just SO DARN GORGEOUS!! Can you tell I am excited?? ;o)

I feel like I am ready to have this baby any day now. I spent a large part of the weekend in "nesting mode" as they call it, and I have to say, I am READY. We can't wait to meet our little Charlie!!

So, here it is: DRUMROLL PLEASE!!

http://charliej.shutterfly.com/charliesnursery

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baby Watch 2008

Well, it has officially begun. I am 2 days away from being full-term and this little guy could be here any day now. Or he could wait until October 15 and then I will have to be induced due to my gestational diabetes.

I am already getting phone calls, and the guys at work were surprised to see me this morning!! Golly! I still have 3 weeks!! Or that is what I keep naively telling myself.

Last week, my doctor said that I was 1cm, and 50% effaced. That is like reading braille to some of you, I am sure. Basically, what it means is that things are progressing "down there." What it doesn't mean is that this baby could come any day now. I could walk around like this for weeks, or my water could break right.this.second. It really means nothing. In the scheme of things, it was important for me to know my progress so that if the induction date is necessary, I will know if I am a good candidate or not. Right now, I am already a good candidate. But, there will be no induction until October 15!! Dr. K assured me of that.

A small part of me wants this little boy to wait just a little longer. I feel like I have so many loose ends to tie up at work, and I would love to get October closed out before I go on my maternity leave. On the other hand, a very large HAND, I want this kid out of me NOW. It's painful to say the very least, and well after 9 months of waiting, we want to meet this little boy!! I think this is the toughest part so far. The unknown is hard to take, as is the "when will he make his debut??" part of the equation.

For now, we wait.

I have another appointment on Thursday at which point I will continue to update here. In the meantime, you can ramp up those thoughts and prayers!! We will need them, whether it be now, or very soon!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Goodbye, My Sweet Cleo


I hate to add to the doom and gloom here, but last night we had to put our eldest cat to sleep.


Many of you know of our struggles with our sweet Cleo. She just wasn't using her litter box anymore. This had been going on for about the last two years, and there was never any explanation for it, other than that she was acting out in this way. She would use the concrete basement floor as her litter box, and that was tolerable. Well, as tolerable as it could be. Then last week, her business moved upstairs into our living space. And on Saturday, it moved into the way upstairs where we sleep.

We had a tough decision to make. Probably the toughest decision we have ever had to make. And last night was one of the hardest nights I have experienced in a long time. We didn't know what else to do. We couldn't re home her, knowing what she was capable of, and no shelter was willing to take a 10 year old cat that doesn't use her litter box. So, we were left with what we felt was the only thing that we could do.

I got Cleo in December of 1998. I was on Christmas break at Michigan State, and I was living with some girlfriends at the time. I had pondered getting a kitten for a long while, and decided to take the plunge on a cold, snowy afternoon. My friend Kym and I drove down to the Ingham County Humane Society and picked out the sweetest little kitten. Her name was Petra. Right away, we named her Cleopatra. It just seemed to fit her so well. We brought her home and we all fell in love instantly...well, that was until a few of my roommates returned from Christmas break. They were less than thrilled with my decision, but she was my kitty now....and eventually, they learned to love her. Even to this day, a few of them always looked forward to seeing her when they would visit us. She moved around with me a lot...and eventually, she took very well to her Dad, Curtis. We both loved this animal more than we ever thought we did. Last night proved that. She was always the cat in our house that would be at the door when you came home. She heard that garage door open and she would bolt to the door to greet her masters. When we returned home last night, there was no cat waiting for us. It was so terribly sad. And this morning, it was like there was a piece of our family missing from the puzzle. It's a big void, and it hurts to not have her here anymore.

So, in honor of my sweet baby, I want you all to hug your pets today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

6lbs 5oz

We have a big boy on our hands.

My ultrasound yesterday estimated his weight to be the above figure. Now, I know these estimates can go 1/2-1 pound in either direction, but wow. He's a big boy already!! We both expected him to be a big baby. I was 10lbs 11oz, Curtis was 8lbs 10oz. We have big babies all over the place in both of our families.

He is head down, and still using my bladder as a pillow. He is not engaged in my pelvis yet, but that likely won't happen for a couple more weeks.

Tomorrow means that I am 35 weeks, and I have 35 more days until we get to meet this little bruiser. And the excitement in our house is overwhelming!! We are both more excited than we have ever been. You can see it on our faces, and when we giggle and laugh about him like we are two teenagers that just fell in love. Except, we are in love with our little boy!!

Right now, the plan is to not let me go past my due date. So, here I am. 36 days and counting until I finally get to see those puffy cheeks in person. The anticipation is almost too much to bear!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Showers Galore

I had a baby shower this weekend....and it was a blast!! It is so fun to have everyone in the same room to celebrate you and your new little baby. I would be lying if I said I didn't love every second of it.

My Aunt Carol really went out of her way with the food, and the flowers and the fun. Everyone was very generous and we came home with some really great things. Here are some pictures:


Me and my moms. I think they planned their coordinating outfits!!
Why is my aunt not a florist??



Grammy, me and my beautiful mother in law
Mary, me and Anna. I love my sisters!
Nana, Me, Anna and my cousin Krista. It was so nice to have my Hoekstra relatives there too!


Later on in the evening, I had a bridal shower for one of my best friends from high school. We had such a great time!! Everyone was enjoying wine and Limoncello, and it was kind of funny to be the sober one watching them do what we all usually do!! They are such a fun bunch, and after my terrible week, I really needed to hang out with these girls. Here are some pictures. I included the outtakes because I couldn't help myself. HILARIOUS!!! And it was obvious there was wine and Limoncello involved in this evening!!

Left to Right: In the back: Katie, Megan, Liz and Brianna. Front Row: Lana, Megan (the bride to be) and MWAH!

And the outtakes. I love these!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Enough is Enough

Do you ever have those weeks where you just don't think you can handle anymore pain, agony or grief?? That has been my week.

My sister is going through a crisis right now. A big one. One of huge proportions and it's tearing me up inside. It's hard to see a loved one in such great pain, and I have been praying that she will make it through this difficult time in her life. I know that we are all here to support her. Right now, I just want to give her a big hug.

My co-workers mom passed away last night after complications from surgery. There is always that expected chance that something terrible might happen, but it's rare that we think it will actually happen. I cried hard for her this morning.

An acquaintance from a local baby chat board that I am on, lost her little boy this week to an unknown virus. My heart aches and breaks for her.

I got a call from a local salon owner last night, and she told me that she was suing my very close friend for slander (a former employee of the salon). She went on and on about how terrible my friend is, about how she is spreading lies about me etc etc. Her husband is friend's with Curtis, and he called Curtis too. Why were we roped into this mess?? This is none of my business, and frankly it's pretty uncool to lay that on an 8 month pregnant woman WHILE SHE IS AT WORK.

My cat has been giving us problems for about the last year. She doesn't use her litter box to go #2. On Wednesday morning, I woke up to a mess UPSTAIRS. Previously, she had been doing this on the basement floor. But, now this behavior has made it's way into the living space in our house. We made an appointment to put her down. And then we cancelled that appointment after all that has happened this week. I just can't take it. Instead, we are going to try one more time to see if the vet has a solution for us. Otherwise, I hate to think of the other consequence. We cannot rehome her, and that breaks my heart. And with a new baby on the way, I hate to say it, but we can't have a cat that poops in our house. It's just not safe for a baby.

Last night I cried myself to sleep. I can't take anymore. I really can't. Tomorrow is my baby shower, and I have to try and put on a happy face. My sister can't make it, and I want her there. I am just so heartbroken this week. I feel like enough is enough already. Please God, give me a break. Often times, we ask "WHY GOD?, WHY??" But in the end, I know this is not his will. He is throwing things at me to make me a stronger and better woman. But, He does not want to see me in pain. I know this. I am His chid, and I find my comfort in Him during these very tough moments. But, even still, it's hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel.

Pray for my strength. I feel like I am holding on by a teeny tiny thread.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Man of My Dreams


4 years ago today, I married the man of my dreams. We have been together for almost 9 years (WHOA!) and my life has been forever enriched since the day I met him.

This morning, he joked that we were graduating from "Marriage-highschool" to "Marriage-college." This was in reference to having a baby on the way. I told him that was true, but we aren't 17!!! We had a nice chuckle and then went our separate ways to work.

I love you more than anything, babe. Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grief and Perseverance

20 years ago today, I was halfway around the world. I had just arrived in Taipei, Taiwan for a visit with my grandparents. Dad, Nancy, Nate, Elizabeth, Anna and myself....we were all tuckered out. It was a long trip and we were excited to be there. I was 9 years old.

The phone rang. It was Grandaddy, and he asked to speak to my Dad. I remember seeing his face turn from a jolly "we're here!" look to a horrified look of disbelief. He hung up the phone. The entire room was frozen. We didn't know what was wrong. He brought my sisters and I into the adjacent bedroom and he said those words I won't ever forget. The words I am sure that no Father ever wants to share with his children. "Your mom has passed away."

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Grief is an interesting thing. Each of us has our own way to deal. Some ways are better than others, but we all mange loss and pain so differently. First comes denial, then anger, then pain, then depression; and the cycle repeats. I was reading an article recently where someone was quoted as calling grief "a bittersweet beauty." He was talking about how grief shouldn't be banished. That as humans we must love it, share it, understand it and use it. And that is why on this 20th anniversary of the largest loss in my life, I can reflect.

I have talked many times in this forum about that loss. About how horrible it has been for me to live through, and how tremendous the feelings still are. There is no doubt that the sadness still lingers. But really, as the years go on, I realize that this grief will never really end. Instead, it will cycle through, and each year leads to more understanding. I have gained so much that is positive from her loss. I can actually say that now. I still miss her terribly, but the things I have learned about life, and myself, and this whole big plan are a bit clearer to me now. It's like seeing the lighthouse through the dense fog. And it only took 20 years to get here!

There is not doubt that I am sad today. I am. But, I haven't cried yet. I always kept my feelings nestled inside, only for me to know about, only for me to see. I cry in my own space, on my own time. It's just how I deal. I miss her today. I do. I miss all that she has missed by not being here, but I know that she is in a far superior place than this Earth. And one day, I will get to see her again. There is no greater hope than that right there.

I am going to leave you now with this YouTube clip. A good friend sent it to me not that long ago, and it really sums up a lot of the learning that I have done over the last 20 years. No one understands this kind of grief like God does. He has been in my shoes. He has felt this pain. And somehow that makes it feel so much better.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On The Road Again

Today, my little brothers are on the road. Headed to Arizona to start school. For one of them, it's a new venture. His freshman year. For the other, it's nothing new. Just the same old, same old, but this time, his little bro gets to come along for the ride.

It's hard to believe that these two are already in college. The house is getting emptier and emptier as the days go on. Mary is the only sibling left now, and pretty soon, my parents will be empty nesters. I can hear my Dad's sigh of relief from a million miles away. It's been a long time coming for him. He has been raising children for the last 34 years consecutively. That is a long time!!

Nick (see above) has always been the jokester in the family. It's pretty obvious in that photo, isn't it?? He is always cracking jokes, and making the entire room burst out into laughter. It's going to be weird not having him around, or watching his lacrosse games, or seeing him when he comes over to watch Tigers games. It's kind of sad to think he is all grown up now. On his way to college for the first time, and he's a man now. A Man. No longer a little boy, he is no longer my "little" brother (he has me beat in height even!), he is a man now. A grown up, about to endeavor on a huge adventure. And I am so excited for him.

Nate is a lot like me. Or so I started to realize over this past summer. He has opinions, and lots of them. He likes to argue, and even when you are agreeing with him, he is still arguing his point. I think he might find himself becoming a lawyer one day. He would probably be rolling his eyes at that comment, but I think he would make a good one. Nate was the first little boy in the family, and he was the first tiny baby that we welcomed into our 3-girl-deep household. I loved pushing him around in the stroller, and feeding him his bottles, and taking care of him like I was his mom. I was fascinated with him when he was little. And I still am. He has turned into an awesome young man. He's still sweet and sensitive like he was when he was little and it's been fun watching him grow up. (please note, Nancy's AWESOME race car cake!!)
These two aren't young anymore. Neither is Mary. Neither am I. We are all growing up, and it's been a whole lot of fun watching this family evolve over the last 25 or so years. I am so lucky that I get to a part of it. I feel truly blessed today that I get to call these two my brothers. My life wouldn't be the same without them.

If you could, say a prayer that they arrive to Tucson safe and sound. I have a feeling they might get into a little bit of trouble on their way, but I know that God has them in His hands now. And that makes all the difference.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Gigtastic!"

Firstly, thank you to those of you that responded on my previous post. You all had some very encouraging words for me, and I appreciate that very much!!

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Last night, we had the opportunity to see K.T. Tunstall at Frederick Meijer Gardens. I wasn't a HUGE fan, but I do love her music, and so we bought tickets awhile back. Let me just say, that I came away a new HUGE fan. What a treat!! She is really great, and her band was awesome too.

She kept us all entertained throughout the evening and she was enthralled with all the names of the cities surrounding Grand Rapids. She thought it was neat that we were GRAND, and that there was a BIG Rapids, that wasn't as Grand as our Rapids is. She also thought that Kalamazoo sounded like a place where people had stretchy legs and wore circus attire. She called the setting at the FMG "GIGTASTIC!" (which it really is, by the way) and overall, she was a great entertainer. We even did her signature "pulsating wave" and the entire crowd went nuts waving up and down the hill.

One thing that surprised me was how pint sized she is. She is a teeny little thing, and out comes this raspy, larger than life voice. And her British accent is awesome. I have a thing with accents. I just love them, and sometimes I wish I had one of my own. Or well, one that didn't resemble whatever a Michigander talks like.

It was a great night out, and even little Peanut liked the music. He was bouncing around in my belly, and I think all that bouncing caused a serious case of the hiccups, because he had em' pretty bad!! I think he is going to like music a whole lot. Just like his Mom and Dad.

Check back tomorrow for a picture of the teeny tiny KT and her rockin' band.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Natural Born Worrywart

I have anxiety. On a normal day, I am like an anxious freak, constantly knawing my nails, not allowing my brain to rest for even a second. During this pregnancy, I have done pretty well at controlling my anxiety, but lately, I feel a little out of control again.

They say it's normal to experience this anxiety, especially at this point in my pregnancy. I hate self-doubt, though. It's a horrible, horrible thing and I hate it. This should actually be a part of my 10 Things I Hate list, but I thought it needed it's own separate post.

Transforming from independent, selfish old me to a mother is hard work. And the worry is there constantly. Will I be good at this? Will this child love me?? Will I be able to hack it?? Do I have the patience for this?? Does my marriage have the patience for this?? All of these questions keep streaming through my head. Everyday that I get closer to my due date is one more day that I worry. I am not even remotely worried about the actual delivery, I am more worried about what is to come. And what happens if I suck at this? What then??

The compounding stress at work also doesn't help. Trying to line things up for maternity leave; not feeling 100% confident in the person that is taking over my duties, not feeling like I have half a brain to do anything right anymore...it's all been weighing heavy on my heart. And then I remember it's August. And 20 years ago this month is when I lost my own mother. It hurts to not have her here to help me get through this. Maybe she would have those wise words that I so desperately need to here to right now. YOU CAN DO THIS.

Everyone says that once that baby is here, that all of this worry will go out the window, presumably for a whole different set of worries. Life is constantly full of worry. I know I can never escape it, but I think what is more daunting is the waiting for it all to happen. I want to know I can do this, I want to know I can handle being a good mother, I want to know NOW! I would be lying if I told you that I was feeling confident in myself at this point. Because, I have no idea what to expect except for that this is going to be hard work. Rewarding work, yes. But, hard work indeed. And for now, I am not allowing this anxious feeling to consume me, but that is tough work too. Maybe my motherly instincts will snap into place. Maybe they won't. I guess only time will tell.

And please, tell me I am not alone here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

10 Things I hate About You, Pregnancy

So, here it is....the short list of things that are hard to deal with during pregnancy....at least for me. Some of this is a bit TMI, so if you can't handle TMI, then stop reading here.

1. The constant peeing: When I say constant, I mean constant. At Rothbury, I had to be sure that I was within 10 feet of a bathroom at.all.times. Even today, I get anxious if I am not close to a bathroom. Car rides?? Oh yeah, those are fun. I don't think I have ever used rest areas more in my entire life!! At least I know I am getting my tax dollars' worth. My boss joked that I needed to start bringing in my own toilet paper because the company was going to go bankrupt if I didn't. :o)

2. The snail trail: Now, this is gross. But the ever-lovin' discharge that emerges the second you pee on a stick is insane. I am talking, INSANITY at it's very finest. I need to buy stock in Always with all the panty liners I go through.

3. The headaches: This is my biggest complaint so far. I have been a chronic migraine sufferer for half of my life, but daily headaches are a beast. You just want to close your head in a vice and be done with it already.

4. The summer heat: Now, I always try and look on the bright side and remember I don't live in Dallas. But, this heat is insane. It makes it very uncomfortable to do anything outside.

5. The Sweat: I have always been the sweaty type. I even have a prescription for my overactive sweat glands, but it's like the floodgates have opened and the sweat has come pouring out. Gross.

6. Round Ligament Pain: R.L.P. 3 letters that I can't wait to curse away forever. RIP, RLP. This is the pain you get when your ligaments decide they need to stretch to accommodate the visitor in-utero. It happens whenever I sneeze, cough, roll out of bed, or just look the other way. Seriously. This is not fun.

7. The Insomnia: Trying to maneuver a gigantic belly from one side to the other side, with a pillow under your legs, and one behind your butt. Yeah. Just picture it. There is a lot of tossing and turning when you are pregnant.

8. The Waddle: I didn't think I had it, but I do. People are lying when they tell me that I am not waddling. Your whole center of gravity is OFF. Way, way off. I feel like a duck on a good day.

9. The Fatigue: I can't climb a flight of stairs without huffing intensely at the top. It's like I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro just to look back and only see 14 stairs.

10. Chafing Legs: Who knew this would ever be a complaint of mine. I can't wear skirts or dresses without Spanx, because my sweaty legs rub together until they burn. Monistat Chafing Powder Gel is my best friend.

And now, the list of things that I CANNOT complain about, that most pregnant women DO complain about:

1. Heartburn: I have had none. There is an old wive's tale that suggests that this means my child will have no hair. We shall soon find out if I have a grizzly or a baldy.

2. Constipation: I have had one instance where I needed some over the counter intervention. Other than that, I am more regular than I have ever been in my life.

3. Itchy Skin: I don't have any itch issues. And I barely lotion up my body. I do have stretchmarks, but those aren't on my hate-list because I really don't mind them that much. They are my battle wounds.

That's all for today!! The list isn't so bad, I suppose. But, 10 more weeks of this seems quite daunting. I just have to keep my eye on the prize and remember that all of this is a means to an end.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

10 Things I love About You, Pregnancy

In honor of being 3/4 of the way done with being pregnant, I decided to make a list of things I love about this experience. Don't worry...it's not all peachy. Stay tuned for the "10 Things I HATE" edition tomorrow.

1. My expanding belly: This falls into both the LOVE and HATE categories. I love it right now, because I know what is inside of it and what is being accomplished inside of it. Being tall has played in my favor too, as I don't have a lot of the comfort issues that someone that is much shorter might have. At least not at this point.

2. Feeling our little man break dance up against my ribs: Sounds horrible, right?? Well, it's not. I love it. It's reassurance, excitement and amazement all wrapped into one.

3. Hearing that little heartbeat: It sounds like a galloping brood of horses. It's so fast, and steady, and competent. It makes me smile every single time I hear it.

4. Knowing that my body is capable of growing a human: This one is hard to wrap your head around until you actually experience it. It really is awesome that my body is capable of all that it has accomplished so far.

5. The hair and nails factor: I have always been a nail biter. Always. Right now, my nails could screech down a chalkboard so effectively that you might just scream. They are that awesome.

6. The fact that I get to eat, and eat and eat: 300 extra calories isn't a lot, but when you have been dieting for the last 3 years, it's pretty awesome to have EXTRA anything. Even if the GD diet has been restrictive, I still get to do one thing that I love to do; EAT. And gaining weight is actually OKAY!!

7. Huge boobs: I have always had some serious jugs, but now they are even bigger!! And I actually don't mind it. Neither does the man in the house :o) It's like getting a boob job for nothin'.

8. My new wardrobe: I have never had any excuse as good as this to go shopping. And maternity clothes have come along way from stirrup pants, and stretchy knits. It's like I have a brand new closet, and even though it's temporary, it's still fun to wear new things.

9. The Glow: I know not everyone has it, and I have had my fair share of acne and other fun things, but I always get comments about the GLOW. Do you think they are just lying?? :o)

10. The prospect of the end result: The fact that at the end of all of this, I get to take home a precious little bundle. Something that Curtis and I made together; a piece of each of us....that is something that I find so truly special and so absolutely amazing. The gift of life is truly something to not take for granted and I know that now more than ever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Growth Ultrasound #1

We just got back from our appointment with the high risk OB. It went extremely well and we got a chance to see our little Peanut again.

My fundal measurement has been showing that I am 3 weeks ahead, but this ultrasound showed that I am measuring at about 31 weeks. So, just about a week ahead. He is about 3 lbs 10 oz, and he is in the 62nd percentile overall. He does have a big head, but that is genetics playing a role. And I am pretty sure that the head measurement was just to freak out the person that has to push this child out of her body! :o) He is head down and using my bladder as a pillow. I figured he had to be head down because I feel kicks up high and hiccups down low. Sure enough, he is head down and very comfortable in there. Everything looked perfect and it was such a joy to see his little body on the screen again. I have to continue these scans every 4 weeks until I deliver to continue to be sure that the gestational diabetes is not affecting him too adversely. So far, so good.

Here is a picture of his adorable little face. The ultrasound tech said that he has chubby cheeks and full lips. You can really see his chubby cheeks in this picture! What a cutie, right?? We can't wait to meet him!!

Oh, and we finally have a name! Middle name and everything...it's a good one, but you have to stay tuned. I can't share it quite yet!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My littlest sister is all growed up!

Mary is the youngest child in our family. She just turned 17, and she is preparing for her final year in highschool...and her final year living in my parents house. I can hardly believe it. I was looking at her pictures today, and I started to cry. She is so beautiful, and young and full of life. The world is waiting for her and I am so excited for all that is to come in her life!

I asked her permission to share the pictures here and she obliged. I think they turned out really well and I know it's going to be tough trying to pick which ones are the best. There are so many great ones!! I bet it was really hard for that photographer to take her picture (yeah, right!)...Shoot, she's like a model!! All blond and gorgeous!!

So, here they are....The password is lamberts

Oh, and just for fun...a picture of her and I when she was just a little tike. Playing at the pool on a summer day!



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I am 29 weeks today. At the doctor on Monday, I was still measuring 3 weeks ahead. YIKES!! I am doing great on the GD diet and as a result I had not gained any more weight since my last appointment. This usually isn't the goal when pregnant, but I had gained 8 lbs in one month and that is just too much! My diet and exercise are now helping me with that.

Two days ago, I came home to find a package on my doorstep. It was the bedding!! All neatly wrapped and ready for me to rip into it. I wanted to post a few pictures for the readers here. The nursery is still very much a work in progress, but we are getting there!! It definitely feels more real to have the bedding now.







We are both so pleased with how it all turned out. If you are curious, it was hand made by a woman named Susie at Baby Milan We could not be any happier right now!! Things are really coming together, and it's so hard to believe that in about 2 months we will be meeting our little boy. It really is crazy how time flies!! I feel like we just found out we were going to be parents, and now here I am, mid 3rd trimester, anticipating his birth. AMAZING!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Can Totally Do This

I had an appointment with the diabetic educator yesterday, and it went really well. I am also the proud new owner of this: My new ball and chain.


I feel a lot more in control. And you know, I like control. I need to have a plan. I was going crazy this last week not knowing what I should be eating, wondering if our son was growing into The Incredible Hulk in my belly, and what all of this gestational diabetes stuff was going to bring.

Now, I have a sense of peace and calm. I have a plan. And I feel really good about it.

When I got to the appointment, I was nervous. But, not in a bad way. It was more like nervous excitement. I was finally going to LEARN myself into this whole thing. And it was actually kind of fun. Yes, I get my kicks from meetings with diabetic educators!! No, really. It was nice to have someone explain all of this to me. It has put my mind at ease tremendously.

She gave me a meter right away, and we decided to test it out. It had been at least 2.5 hours since I had eaten. My glucose level was 68. That is way too low. So, I had to eat some glucose tablets, and retest in 15 minutes. After that time frame it was 111. Right back to normal. (70-140 is considered normal) We talked about portions, and carbohydrates, and sugar, and how this was affecting our little boy, and how this would affect me. Did you know that I have a 60% chance of getting Type II diabetes in the future?? Scary. The good news is that this can easily be controlled with diet and exercise. Already, I am having a lot of fun with it. You know, poking your finger is a blast!! :)

We went grocery shopping last night, and it was as easy as ever. When I got home, I made my lunch, complete with WAY more food than I have been used to eating. Today at work, I have my meter, my food, my schedule and my GD how-to-manual. I am armed and dangerous!

I was told to test after all 3 big meals and to be sure that I wait two hours from the first bite. Last night, 2 hours after dinner, my level was 86. This morning, my fasting level was 63 (which can be normal), and 2 hours after breakfast it was 85. So far, so good.

I have to report into the doctor twice a week from here on out. We will discuss my numbers, what I have been eating, my weight, the baby's weight, and all that other fun stuff. I am realizing now that a little monitoring might not be such a bad thing for me. I obviously wasn't doing something right, and now I have 12 more weeks to fix that before our son is born. That is kind of freeing in and of itself. It's nice to know that I AM doing something about this. And I am bound and determined to keep working hard at it. Thanks for the encouragement and the support along the way. Muah!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Homestretch

I am 27 weeks today. And 1 official day into my 3rd Trimester. Yesterday was July 15 and it hit me that my expected due date is October 15. Only 3 more months! WOW!!

I received the phone call I was dreading yesterday. I failed my 3 hour glucose tolerance test, which means I have gestational diabetes. For those of you that don't know what this means, you can read more here. Basically, my body isn't handling the hormones from the placenta, and my pancreas is having trouble keeping up with the appropriate insulin production needed to sustain this baby. So, what does this mean?? Well, I have to see a dietitian, and test my sugars daily with a monitor. Basically, until this baby comes out, I am treated like a Type 1 or 2 diabetic. Most women that have this condition will see it disappear once they give birth, and I am hoping this holds true for me too. It actually affects about 4% of all pregnant women, making it a very common issue for those carrying a baby.

So, I have hit a bump in the road, but I am staying positive. I figure if this is the worst that has happened then I am in pretty good shape. And now I have an explanation for why Peanut was measuring 3 weeks ahead. I also have an explanation for my frequent urination (I am talking every 5 minutes here!!) and my headaches as well. So, at least now I have some answers.

The next step is for me to meet with a nutritionist at Maternal Fetal Medicine, which is the high-risk OB that my doctor refers too. I have shared this briefly with some of you, but I have high hopes of having a natural childbirth. Out of everything going through my head, this is the toughest part for me to swallow. I may have a large baby. I may need to be induced. I may end up having a c-section. All of those things were what came out of the nurses mouth last night. Like I said, I am remaining positive until I have my appointment, and until July 28 when I can sit down and really discuss this with my doctor. We have a history of big babies in our family, so I know my body can handle this. My mother was able to birth my 10+lb self, so I know I can do it too!! I just need the right support chain and I will be all set.

In other news, we think we have a name!! We have been calling Peanut by his first name for some time now, and I think we finally decided that we are going to stick with it. Now we just have to decide what his middle name will be!! Any ideas??

He is now well over 2 pounds, and about a foot and half long. He is getting bigger and bigger, and his kicks and punches make that very evident! He puts on a show for us each night before bed, and Daddy has had many chances to feel his son's very strong soccer kick!! It really is an amazing gift to be carrying this boy, and I can't wait to meet him!!

I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as I attempt to get this GD thing under control. My friend Amy said last night, that I will do it with gusto, and I hope she is right!! Any and all support is much appreciated at this time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rhetoric

McCain calls for Iraq strategies in Afghanistan

Can someone explain to me how this man knows "how to win wars?"

Didn't we retreat out of the Vietnam conflict?? What war has this guy won??

Just more "rhetoric" from this man that I feel is misleading the country.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

#41 and Vultures

Here are those videos I promised...they might give you a headache, because I can't keep my hands still when I am excited!!! The first is Dave Matthews Band and Tim Reynolds playing #41, and the second one is John Mayer playing an awesome version of Vultures. Two of my favorite songs ever.


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Friday, July 11, 2008

FAIL

I failed my 1 hour glucose test. I now have to take the 3 hour test, and I am not looking forward to it.

Wish me luck on Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

So Much To Say

I have a ton to say here, and I haven't had a chance to check in, so prepare yourself for a long entry filled with all sorts of goodies!!

First, we returned on Monday from a 4 day music festival in Rothbury, Michigan. It was only about an hour drive from our house. We had planned on this before finding out we were going to be parents, so we adjusted our plans a bit to accommodate the pregnant woman in the house (ME!). We had looked forward to camping for 4 days with all of the crazies, but decided to sell those tickets to my brothers and instead we got a Ranch bunkhouse, right near all of the venues. It was perfect. We had a shower, a brunch buffet in the morning, access to a pool, and shuttles to take us to and from the different stages. It was perfect for me, and I am sure that Curtis enjoyed having a bed and a shower too. We golfed, swam, listened to some awesome music, and just enjoyed the beautiful Michigan weather that was had. It was a great experience, even though we have seen most of the lineup previously. We were not going to miss out on so many of our favorite bands all in one place!! Here is just a brief recap of who we got to see:

After checking in on Thursday, we headed out to see Mickey Hart and his band. We have seen Mickey Hart with the Other Ones and Ratdog before, but it was an experience in and of itself to see Mickey alone. He is the former drummer for the Grateful Dead and his band was awesome. We had a blast getting the weekend started with a little "Fire on the Mountain" and it didn't stop there.

Friday morning, I tagged along while Curtis played 9 holes of golf at the Double JJ golf course. It was so fun riding along with him in the cart! He even let me drive :) Later, we headed over to the Odeum to catch some of The Wailers, and Snoop Dogg. Wow. The Wailers were so good, and Snoop was even better. It was pretty hilarious to watch all the crazy hippies rocking it out to Snoop and his entourage. We headed over to the Ranch stage, right by our cabin, to watch Yonder Mountain String Band. I had never seen Yonder before and this was an opportunity to see what all the hype was about. They were great!! I have a new found love for this band after seeing them live. They also had Jon Fishman on stage with them from Phish, and he played behind the set so well with Yonder. What a great combo!! After that, we headed back to the cabin for a bit to get ready for Widespread Panic. I have seen WSP many times, mostly with my friends at Red Rocks in Colorado. I didn't want to miss a chance to see WSP again so close to home. They were awesome. They blew it out of the water once again, and the set list was amazing.

Saturday was a relaxing day. I was exhausted from so much walking on Friday, so Curtis hung out with my brothers while I took a nap and listened to the Black Keys and Slightly Stoopid from the comfort of my bed. They seemed like they were good, and Curtis really enjoyed both bands. Later on that night, we headed over to the Odeum again to catch the Dave Matthews set. Little did we know that Dave would be playing with Tim Reynolds. What a treat!! I felt like out of all the headliners, this was the best set of the entire week. He never seems to disappoint and this was no exception. It was awesome!!

Sunday was filled with more swimming, and more music. We saw Trey Anastasio who performed with Mike Gordon. We also had a chance to see John Mayer (again) and was a little bummed out when he closed his set 30 minutes before it was supposed to end. We ended up skipping Phil Lesh, because we had both seen him multiple times, and well, honestly, we were tuckered out! It was a long weekend, but well worth the money, and the trip. It was a blast!! I am going to post two videos that I took. One is of John Mayer rocking out to "Vultures" and the other one is Dave and Tim doing "#41". Two of my all time favorites!! Stay tuned!

In other news, I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and was told that Peanut is measuring 3 weeks ahead. Whoa. The doctor is going to see me again in 3 weeks and we will go from there. She mentioned the "I" word and had me a little freaked out (I=Induction). I am likely going to refuse the growth ultrasound that she suggested and just go with it. We are prepared to have a large baby, but my mom did it, and my sister has done it, so I know I can do it too!!

I will put another entry up soon with some pictures and those videos I was mentioning. I just needed to get my thoughts down before I forgot them all!! It was a whirlwind weekend, but one that I wouldn't trade for anything. It was a total blast, and something that we hope to continue in the years to come. Maybe even with our new little one!! :o)

Hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July weekend!!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

God=Mysterious

I think that being pregnant has made me really reflect on a lot of things in my life. I haven't always been one to slow down and truly look at things in a reflective manner. Lately, it seems like it's all I do. I think this likely has something to do with the fact that I am about to bring another human being into this world, or maybe it's that hormone poisoning, or maybe it's just me getting older and wiser.

In any case, this morning I got a phone call from a very close girlfriend. She's been struggling to conceive a baby for some time now. We have shared a lot of the same frustrations and poured our hearts out to one another in an effort to support each other through the journey to have children. She's been there for me, I have been there for her. She has suffered a loss, something that I never went through, and I have always admired her strength and might through this tough process. So, when I saw her number on my cell phone at 7:30 this morning, I knew that she must have some good news. And indeed she did. She is pregnant!!

Now here comes the mysterious part. God really does work in crazy ways. Mysterious ways. Ways we don't always understand. She told me that she had just filled a prescription for an ovulation regulating drug, and it had cost her $80. They had taken trips to see the RE, they had talked about their options going forward, they had done all sorts of tests on him and her. And then BAM. A line on a test and a baby on the way. I cried in my car on the way to work this morning (this is the hormones!!) out of pure and utter joy for these two. They have wanted this for so long and now they get another shot at it. And the best of all is that it came when it was least expected.

God really does work in magnificent ways. And maybe they aren't so mysterious at all. Maybe this is just all a part of the crazy, wild plan that He has for each and every one of us. He's there to surprise us when we least expect it, and bless us when we most deserve it. Prayers have been answered today, and miracles really do happen. You just have to believe and keep the faith.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Viable

Today marks a huge milestone in my pregnancy. I am 24 weeks, which means that this baby is viable outside of the womb. While we want him to continue to cook in there, it's a nice feeling knowing that we have made it this far.

On Monday, I was at home, enjoying a day off, and my stomach started to feel a little funny. It felt like he was kicking me like he hadn't kicked before. They were very consistent kicks, and you could watch my stomach move up and down as it happened. After a few minutes of this, it finally dawned on me that these were not kicks I was feeling. These were my baby's first hiccups! What a weird sensation. I am feeling them again this morning as I am sitting here at my desk enjoying my morning water (I am not a coffee drinker. Instead, I drink water :) Weird, but so neat.

He is kicking like a crazy man now. He makes his presence known at all times of the day. They say that you can start to read their patterns about this time, and I am definitely noticing some! The 3:30 am kicks are the most annoying, and I am certain once he is here, they won't stop!! But, each time I feel him move, I know that he is thriving in there. It's a little bit of reassurance for this spaz of a mom-to-be. I describe it to Curtis like someone has taken a brick and dropped it in my tummy. And then it goes "thud." Sometimes I feel his kicks in my throat. Weird, right?? It's like they vibrate through my body.

Each day that goes by, is one that I cherish. Because I know in only a few short months, I will not have this little one all to myself anymore. He will be out there for the world to see and to love. I am excited and anxious for the day we get to meet him. But for now, I am enjoying the bonding that we get to do as mother and son...before the whirlwind of his entrance into the world. For now, it's just you and me, kid. And I am loving every second of it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Music to his ears

We went to see Robert Randolph and the Family Band last night at FMG. It was a great show, and the 4th time we have seen them!! WHOA.

We learned something new about our son last night. He loves steel guitar and Twizzlers. The licorice kind. Just like his mom. That, or he wanted nothing to do with either and he was trying to break out and make a run for it. Either way, he was going crazy last night!! And the second we left the concert, he went right back to sleep.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cheese!!

Yesterday, we had a follow-up ultrasound to get some of the pictures that were missed at the first anatomy scan.

We were able to go to another doctor's office instead of returning to the hospital, which turned out to be a real blessing. The ultrasound tech at that office was awesome. She talked us through every body part and detail. It was a fantastic experience and it was far better than our hospital experience. We were also able to confirm that this baby does not have cleft lip/palate, and that he is absolutely perfect in every single way.

He currently weighs 1lb 4oz. and is 11.5 inches long. I am also measuring about 6 days ahead of my original due date, but no due date change will be made as a result. He is growing "like a weed" according to the doctor, and everything looks great. What an absolute relief!! My blood pressure was also totally normal, (108/62), and it has been high at every single one of my other appointments. She took it manually at this appointment, and at my regular office they have an electric cuff. I think I need to ask to have them take it manually from now on!!

Here are some pictures:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Speak for the Trees

Does anyone remember that Dr. Seuss book called The Lorax?? I was reminded of that book last night.

We had a city planning commission meeting to attend last night. There is a wetlands area, behind our house, and in between the highway. It's currently zoned as RC-1 Residential. There is a local developer who was seeking to have it re-zoned to I-1 Light Industrial so that he could put a light duty storage facility back there. When we bought our house, we did so, because that area was zoned as RC-1. We were very against the re-zoning proposal and so we attended the meeting to voice our concerns. So did about 20 of our neighbors.

Everyone stood up to voice their opinions on why this proposal should be denied. Most of the complaints had to do with the Master Plan of the city, and property values, and so on and so forth. One of the neighbors, who lives on Burton St., was a young kid who just bought a house there. Part of the proposal was to build a berm with trees to hide the view to this unsightly storage facility. He stood up and started speaking, but instead of the usual property value spiel, he went on about the trees. He said that he opposed the proposal, because there were plenty of beautiful pines that ran along the property already. Why would you need to cut them all down, just to replace them with 20 foot trees?? They are beautiful 50 foot pines, he said. And he opposed it for this reason alone.

When we left the meeting, we both laughed a little bit at his speech, and then we realized the point he had made. It's a very valid one, and one that I totally agree with. Those that know me, know that I have become a little crunchy in these past few months. We are really trying to reduce our footprint on this earth. We have already made some pretty intense strides that I hope to discuss more here as time goes on. But, what I really loved was thinking about this kid as the Lorax. He really was speaking for the trees. Something I think we all need to do a little more of.

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The proposal was denied at last night's meeting. However, it goes to the board on July 1, so we have another meeting to attend. All in all, I think it was very important that we were there to voice our opinion. There were three commissioners that were ready to approve it, but denied it due to the lack in support by the local residents.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Glad Dad

I bought this (edit: The Shopmama.com site is down right now. It worked great this a.m. and I think we crashed their server or something!) t-shirt, and stashed it away, in hopes that I would be able to give it to Curtis on the day we found out we were going to be parents. It had been sitting in the closet, until last night. He came downstairs and he was wearing his neat-o shirt. And he had the biggest grin on his face.

There is something very magical about watching the father of your child, morph into just that. A Dad. I knew when I married him that he would make a great father, and he is proving me right with every day that passes. When I was in the throws of morning sickness, he would make me toast and rub my back and tell me it would be okay. He would help me clean up around the house. Folding laundry and emptying the dishwasher became his thing. And he never said a word about it. He is still making my breakfasts in the morning and he makes my sandwiches for lunch. He's such a great caregiver and I am so fortunate to have him to venture through these unchartered waters with me.

As our little boy has become more active in my belly, I have been yearning for Curtis to feel it too. And over the weekend, he placed his hand on my stomach, and he felt his son kick. I told him that I wouldn't tell him when it happened; that he would have to tell me if he felt it or not. When he looked over at me, right after I was swiftly kicked in the belly button, I knew he felt it. And the grin on his face was there to prove it. Each night, before we go to bed, he puts his head on my stomach, as if he knows that his son is somehow talking back to him. He listens, intently, like someone eaves dropping through a wall. Hoping perhaps that he might get a swift kick in the ear, I don't know. But it is one of the most humbling and precious things that this man has ever done. He will then pick his ear up off of my stomach, and say "Hi, peanut, I am your Dad. Can you hear me?" It's enough to melt a girls heart.

I feel so very blessed today, and each and every day, that we get to do this together. We are now partners in so many more ways than we were before. We get to raise a child together. And that is something truly amazing and so absolutely beautiful. And a little scary, too. But, lucky for me, I have the gladdest Dad on the planet to help me through it.


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On a side note: We were at my brother's lacrosse game in Detroit on Saturday, and this Glad Dad is also a competitive one. He likes sports, and he doesn't like referees who make unfair calls. He was getting into it, and everyone around us had a good laugh when I told them that we were going to be having a boy in a few months. I think this peanut might have his Dad as his soccer coach someday. Or maybe he will be the referee. Letting the kids play, like he so desperately wanted the ref to do on Saturday. :o)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Life is Too Short

My Dad used to always say this to me as I was growing up, but now it feels like more than ever, I understand it's meaning.

I frequent a few internet chat boards, and one local baby board. It's a nice way to connect with moms and moms-to-be and it helps to pass the time during my breaks at work.

Lately, I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to be carrying this baby. I have been thrown my fair share of hurdles in my 29 years, but I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose the life growing inside of me. Today, one of my internet friends reminded me of how fortunate I really am. And another one, full of faith and grace, going through something similar, is being thrown a whole new round of pain and grief. I feel for them, because I know what it's like to be in that pit of despair. It might not be in the same manner, but I know. All too well.

In some way you just want to reach out and grab these people and hug them. To be the one to tell them it will be okay. I can't help but weep for them, even though I do not know them. Life is a real bitch sometimes, and God doesn't always allow things to go our way. But, how do you explain that to someone that has endured such tragedy and loss??

My Grammy had this quote on her refrigerator. It was written by a great pastor of the church we attended growing up. He is no longer there, but his wisdom all too often hits the nail on the head. I now have this posted on my fridge. Right under the first pictures of our darling little boy. At any time, life can go bad on us. And we aren't always prepared. But, I am so glad that I have this ongoing faith within me. Without that, I am not sure I would be here today.

"The Will of God will not take you, where the Grace of God cannot keep you." ---Robert Bedingfield

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One More Game

My brother's lacrosse team is headed to the State Finals. Tonight, they won their semi-final game, with a score of 12-8. I am proud to say that the 5th child in our family, made us all jump for joy as he scored HIS goal. He played a rockin' game. Winning the face-offs, and again, scoring that awesome goal. He's fast as lightning. Always has been. I can still see him with his blonde, bowl-ish looking haircut, tearing threw the yard with a stick in his hand. Likely playing some sort of Indian game with his older brother, Nate. It's pretty wild that this one is going off to college already. Where does the time go?

Way to go, dude. We are so excited for you and we think your team is full of something special. The kind of special that dreams are made of.

The final game is Saturday, at Troy Athens High School. Go Rangers!

Here are some pictures that I captured of this awesome victory:



The "Nick Stance" as we so affectionately call it.







Taking a five for the goal he just scored.


Dad playing team doctor for a minute.



How cute are these two????