We're not here for a long time; we're here for a good time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Bit of Nostalgia


I have a surprising revelation, one that might shock you: Life can change dramatically in a year. I know, it's startling. Allow me to walk you through this discovery I made today.

Knowing there's a baby coming (has anyone mentioned that? August 2nd, my friends, the general due date), I've been thinking a lot about... reading. Because this is who I am. Basically, there might be a wee bit of downtime between nursing and sleeping (the two things I'm informed I'll do pretty much round the clock) and it would be nice to have some good book to sink into when not otherwise occupied. I'm just weird about this, but I like to have a book handy. I know other experienced moms might laugh and say "Reading, right, that's going to happen." They could be right, but better prepared than staring at a wall with nothing to do. For me, hell is a waiting room with no reading material.

So this book. It has a few requirements. It needs to be interesting, yes, enough to hold my attention, but it also needs to be dull enough I can put it down again without bother, without irritation, not thinking "oh, just two more pages, hold your horses, Just Born Little One." Not really the feelings I want to cultivate towards our first child (or any other child for that matter). The solution being it needs to be something I've read, but still care about.

I think anyone who remembers this blog from last year (and how could you not?) might remember this same month, almost to the day, a little something called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrived in bookstores around the world. Because of this, I remember exactly what I was doing: moving into a new house.

Funny association, I know. But we had just bought this gorgeous home (though I say it myself) in Greensboro and literally the same day that Harry Potter came out, we were moving ourselves in. This was a baaaad day. How could it not be? It was the two of us doing the moving (meaning, The Hubba and about twenty-five percent of another person) and not only that, I insisted we stay up past midnight, to go buy HPATDH so I would have the book first thing in the morning. The Hubba, because he is wonderful and I had bought him a new Playstation game the day before, acquiesced.

But the next day, Saturday, that was a great day. I remember, we got up and unpacked enough to be able to eat food off plates and a few other small necessities and then we both agreed, that's it, we're done, time to relax. We filled the fridge with easy to make snacks and sandwiches and a variety pack of Magic Hat Beer and we hunkered down. He settled himself in front of his game and I settled myself in front of an enormous hardback and that is how we spent the weekend.

I thought about that this morning as I dug the Deathly Hallows out and cracked it open for maybe the fifth or sixth time. Because here we are, almost one year later to the day, and life is a bit different now. We live in an entirely new house. That new house happens to be in an entirely different state. Biggest of all, we're about to have a whole third person living here with us and this could happen today or three weeks from now.

My life is amazing. That's not a brag or boast of any kind. It's completely personal. For what suits and pleases me, my life is amazing. Oh sure, tweaking can always happen, things can always get better. And situations will come up, as they have even this month, that throw you off kilter, force you to make the decision I can be worried or I can be happy- what do I choose? (For me it's about a sixty-forty split leaning towards happy. I'm working on upping that number.) But as life stands right now, I am one of those people who will honestly say, I have got a swell deal. I love my husband, I love my house, I love my dogs, I'm about to have a baby, and I'm pretty darned fond of me too.

So it's interesting to me to look back at only a year ago- a year!- and realize how much has changed. And yet, how little. Because, except for the Magic Hat and the boxes needing to be unpacked, I imagine we'll spend this weekend almost exactly the same way, hunkered down, him with his newest game and me with my HPATDH and it will be two very well spent days. I wish I had some marvelous conclusion to draw from this, to pull it all together, a bit like Daniel Stern, as older and wiser voice-over Kevin, always did on The Wonder Years, but I don't.

I'm just really, really happy and mighty, mighty grateful.

And only a little bit sad over the lack of Magic Hat.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 18, 2008

All Baby, All the Time

It does feel a little like that. For instance, I don't know if there's a room in our house right now (except the dogs' room; they won't have it) that doesn't have a stash of baby stuff, either prominently displayed or stuck in a corner. At the moment, I'm sitting at our kitchen table and heaped in front of me are beautiful baby gift bags full of cloth diapers waiting to go in the wash. In our living room, you'd find bags that hold the motley collection of: a Pregnancy Scrapbook, a few baby onesies, a mobile my friend Elizabeth gave us and a second car seat base. The den remains covered up in strollers, car seats, a first car seat base, gift bags, more baby clothes, and some older-age items (in the sense Baby won't need these for several months) we still haven't found places for like the Bumbo Seat and the Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper. I'm not entirely sure what developmental skills come from this last one, but I'm betting it has something to do with NASA.

So, for the sake of taking the blog where our home seems to be headed, I've added some new links on the sidebar. These are all resources we've used in our efforts for a natural, family-based childbirth. Our Bradley Method Birth classes, which despite the cost I joked about earlier, I would highly, highly recommend, the Lisa Ross Birth Center here in Knoxville, where Baby will make his or her grand entrance, how to find a La Leche League in your area and more info on cloth diapers from a reliable and non-biased source (that is, they're biased towards cloth diapers but not on types or brands).

The funny thing is, before Baby, we weren't the least bit crunchy. We ate meat revved up on steroids, we drank milk full of hormones, we never considered what types of cleansers we sprayed on the surfaces of our home and I thought epidurals seemed a grand idea, right behind scheduled C-sections. I'd say the closest thing to natural living we had was a fondness for Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. And then- as the old saying goes- the stick turned blue and suddenly I was a lot more aware of what we put in and on and around our bodies. From foods, to personal hygiene, to home sanitizers and dog food. Yep, even the dogs have gone granola with their Nutro Ultra Dog Food and Paul Newman's Organic Peanut Butter Dog Treats.

Not to say we've done this all at one time or that everything is now completely organic. Oh no. I'd say we're about fifty to sixty percent there most of the time and I feel good about that. If that's as far as we ever get, I'll be fine with it. It does take more money, time, and effort, so we pick and choose what we can do and stay easy about the rest.

Also we've gotten a lot of help from our friends. Preggers Tip: If you're up the pole, as our Irish friends say, and thinking about cloth diapers- register for them! There are tons of great online stores with registries and you might be lucky, like us, and discover you even have local stores selling cloth diaper products- other than BRU, I mean. We've been fantastically overwhelmed by them and have very little left to get.

But these are my pregnancy resources thus far and, overall, I've been nothing but thrilled. I like the fact The Hubba and I have made aware, conscious decisions about how we want to do this, even in the face of some gentle criticism. I love knowing how much thought and time we've put into Baby B's arrival and presence here.

And now I've just gotten too preachy for my own good. If it helps, as I write, I'm drinking a delicious Pineapple-Orange Juice from Tropicana, full of sugar and probably not a real pineapple or orange in sight. And it's given me just a touch of heartburn.

Have a lurrrvely weekend!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Love Presents!

I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but somehow I went from being a pregnant girl with no baby showers to a pregnant girl with three baby showers. One given by a friend of mine, Elizabeth for most of my friends, one given by Suz Knitter for our family, and one given by Janie, a friend of my mom's, and each vying passionately for winner of Most Kick-Ass Shower ever. No doubt the Kick-Ass shows how not typical these Baby Parties were.

I won't attempt to relive even the highlights of all of them, but I thought I'd post some of the more interesting gifts. Not to offend anyone who's gift might not be posted! All our gifts were tremendous- I say this sincerely. We got GREAT gifts. I didn't know what to expect when The Hubba (who might be called Matty too as my memory is not what it used to be and well, consistency just isn't one of my top three qualities right now) and I registered. He had the gift gun and I had the know-how, which was sad as I hadn't a clue and nearly everything we saw I exclaimed, "Are you kidding me? It costs how much?!" My grandfather would have been proud. I was more than a little shocked (re: horrified) by the entire Babies R Us experience.

But, good heavens, did people step up. We got bouncy chairs, walker-things, traveling systems (thanks you Matty's Granny! that system alone scared the bejeezus out of me- Graco does not mess around), baby hangers, play jungles, clothes, baby hangers, books, decorations for the nursery, and baby hangers (people are really nuts about those tiny hangers, huh? We're still finding stacks of tiny white plastic hangers in the most random places). We were gifted and blessed and treated and it's been amazing.

For blog purposes, though, I cannot display all our booty. So here were some of the more interesting highlights!

An extravaganza of handmade UT baby goodies, all knit and crocheted by the glorious Miz Knotty:

She is an absolute star. The UT booties-sneakers were my favorite.

A Pack n' Play (thanks to Matty's parents!):

Also known as the HMS Baby. Seriously, I think the point of PnP is if we ever really upset Baby, he or she will have a seaworthy vessel in which to set sail. This thing is HUGE.

The aforementioned Travel System (again, thanks to Matty's Granny!):

Makes you think there should be lights and sirens and perhaps one of those automatic parallel park gadgets such as Lexus now offers.

Cloth diapers:

While we've gotten some funny looks over our decision to CD (and trust me- I throw no stones- I've already apologized to Knitty Yoda several times over my own unhelpful comments and raised eyebrows on this subject back when she decided to cloth diaper their second Little One), we've also gotten a tremendous amount of support. And that support has come in the form of cloth diapers themselves! So while I'm sure I'll post more about this new and fascinating subject later, for now I'm just mighty appreciative of having such a great start.

Super high-tech digital monitors from Pops and Suz Knitter (this was on top of the shower AND they paid for our Bradley Method Class- if you're curious, learning how to birth naturally ain't cheap):

I had to mention the monitors because of the response at the shower. Here I am pulling out cute booties and tiny onesies that Baby wears for about a second and everyone "oos" and "ahs" and it's lovely and I pull out these very fancy and incredibly useful monitors and there's a general "nice, nice, show us more tiny clothes!" consensus. So I now think we, as a people, are far more interested in fashion than life-saving devices, yes?

A three-volume set of Sandra Boynton books from Mum Knitter:

Oh, and she's buying us our rocking chair for the nursery. Have I mentioned how incredibly generous the people in our lives are?

Speaking of generous, all of our baby furniture, handed down to us by my Cousin Shannon:

I still can't get over this one. This was the end-all, be-all in fantastic, necessary gifts AND such a stress relief. I promise being 36 weeks pregnant with no nursery furniture in sight isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds. But Shannon said it was give it to us or sell it in a yard sale and she'd rather give it to blood and this is exactly the kind of comment that makes you so happy you moved home and have family right down the road from you.

And finally- the pièce de résistance, though I rank nothing any better or more important than any other gift- this one- well, see for yourself:

(It's a little hard to see in the picture but on the onesie there's a bicycle that says "Dave Matthews Band." Sigh.)

Anyone who knows anything about last year for us knows Knitty Yoda's gift... I don't have words for it. So instead, let's allow the clothes to speak for themselves. Listen! I think I hear the faint reprise of Lie in Our Graves...

If this were a Mastercard commercial I think it would read something like:

Baby Pack n' Play: A lot of money
Baby Travel System: Tons of cash
Bradley Method Class: get our your ATM card
Nursery Room Rocking Chair: That is gonna cost you
Baby Dave Matthews Band clothes: Priceless

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

This Is Your 36 Week Update

Hello Bloggerland!

More updates from the pregnancy front. First, contrast and compare, as my high school English teachers used to say:

30 weeks

36 weeks

(I decided to stick with the headless pregnant woman shots for now, though I will, when I've actually thought to do these pictures when I'm not steps away from going to bed, throw in a head shot too!)

Fuller, I think, would be the word for that. Rounder. Bigger beyond belief, maybe?

Baby is sailing right along on the growth front and we're officially in the final stretch of pregnancy world. There's an interesting mix of conversation around the subject of our due date. Both in our Bradley classes and at the birthing center (where Baby will be making his or her appearance) we hear: "don't expect the baby before your due date! Most new moms (who aren't induced) are at least a week late! Maybe two weeks! Don't be discouraged." This is quickly followed up with something along the lines of "You're 36 weeks! Baby could come any time! Have your bags packed, car seat installed, gas tank full, thank you notes written, mountains you've ever wanted to climb climbed, foods you've ever wanted to eat eaten... Baby could be here tomorrow!"

This back-and-forth just makes me laugh. The Hubba and I, admittedly, are more than prepared for a late baby. We're expecting a week after the due date, possibly more. We're verrrrry prepared for late.

We are not, as much, prepared for early. For instance, if Baby came, oh, I dunno, tomorrow, there might be some frantic packing around here, some throwing of things into suitcases, some "oh God, oh God, we can't leave until I've laundered all the cloth diapers the thousand times the instructions insist on," some "I'm not going until this last thank you card is written," some hurling of unattached car seats into the trunk with a to-be-fixed-in-at-a-later-date attitude. So, at this point, a late baby is not a bad thing in my world.

I think this bewilders people who really believe we should be having babies as early as possible, somewhere around the once-it-gets-a-tad-uncomfortable stage- for a lot of people about the halfway mark. As we cruise into July, I hear a lot about the weather and the need for a quick birth. Anything from sweetly sympathetic "are you ready to NOT be pregnant?" to "oh my God, how dare that baby be born in the summer, doesn't he know it's the South in July!" Poor Baby. Not really fair to her at all, but I've noticed people will have funny attitudes when it comes to blaming unborn little ones for issues completely out of his or her control (such as when his parents decided to gets bus-zay, thereby determining a due date).

As far as the heat goes, I have fantastic news. Yes, it's warm. Yes, this extra weight gathered right at the center of my body does make life a little slower, more awkward, sweatier in general. The good news, though, the really great, spectacular news that so many seem to forget when giving me a woebegone look and shaking their heads- we have central heat and air! I don't ever have to be anywhere warmer than 72 degrees if I choose. Between the house, the car, and pretty much any other indoor place, I can be, to paraphrase some rapper or maybe athlete that my preggy brain has completely forgotten, "as cool as I wanna be." This is something to appreciate.

Besides that, the day-to-day pregnancy is somehow amazing and ordinary at the same time. Somehow the fact something is actually making my stomach jump around, a sight easily viewed by the naked human eye, something is getting hiccups (yes, hiccups!) inside my belly, something is pushing and shoving and doing a little light tap-dancing in my stomach, makes me marvel and yet, at the same time, shrug nonchalantly and say, "Oh, yep, that's the baby." Isn't that wild? I can't think of anything else to compare it to.

I've got lots of knitted items to show, both Baby and not-Baby, as the world seems to divide up these days. I'll post them in the next few days!

Hoping all out there in internetland are well and somehow surviving the heat...