Tuesday, May 29, 2007

36 Weeks

Swollen feet have been the most recent battle for V. Yep, her left ankle has pretty much disappeared. I say left ankle because one foot seems way more prone to the marshmallow effect than the other. We haven't quite figured that one out, nor have we been able to tame it much, but in the meantime we try to keep her feet away from campfires and graham crackers so that there's no confusion.

Also, the baby has been head-down now for at least a couple of weeks. But as of Friday I think (s)he also started to "drop" (or "lighten" as they call it). The baby definitely seems lower, and V isn't nearly as short of breath as she had been. Of course being the engineers that we are, we had to test the theory of her having more lung capacity now. And sure enough after a couple of laps up and down the stairs she wasn't out of breath and about to fall over. Prior to that, one trip up or down was pretty much equivalent to a marathon. It must be nice to not have a 5-pound baby sitting on your lungs anymore.

Last but not least, the babycenter.com update was accurate (as usual) about her Braxton Hicks contractions being a little more frequent now. They were also clear to point out that our baby will be considered full-term by the end of this week (37 thru 42 weeks)... which only reinforces the "any minute now" mentality that I wrote about a few days ago. So I guess we better get moving on those baby names.

In other news, Tonya and Shannon from Care Group invited us over to their house yesterday for some grub. We
had a good time as expected, but the most amusing part of the excursion was that Tonya is not only pregnant, but she is due today. I think V and I were both in awe with how nonchalant she was just hours before her expected delivery. She was just chillin the whole time... moving around and enjoying herself as if her pregnancy and impending delivery were totally irrelevant to her state of being. I think that if we had given her some tap shoes and a high hat, she could have broken out into song and dance at any moment; she just seemed that nonchalant. Meanwhile, just looking at her made me want to head to the hospital and start some breathing exercises.

... but then again, with this being baby #4, it's fair to say that she's a pro by now. With so much being unknown to us this first time around, I definitely envy their level of fortitude and experience. But of course we all must learn the proverbial ropes for ourselves, one inch at a time. Maybe by our 4th baby we'll be as cool as they are on the eve of delivery, and be able to stop for a round of golf on the way to the hospital.

Anyway, we had a great time. In all it was a pretty good weekend for fellowship (and free food). Of course my uncle came by on Saturday. On Sunday night we strolled two houses down to indulge in the menu items from our neighbors' mini-family reunion. From there, we came back home to play a few rounds of Taboo and Scattegories with our neighbors from three houses in the other direction. For two people that had no plans for the holiday weekend, V and I certainly made the most of our 3-day recess. We caught up on rest, caught a movie, assembled more baby stuff, and overall did our best to take advantage of these last opportunities for spontaneity and uninterrupted quality time before the baby gets here.

But alas, tomorrow it's back to the daily grind.

A snapshot of V and Tonya from a few weeks ago

The stroller and 3-in-1 are assembled and ready to roll

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Distant Relatives

Uncle Daryl & his family found their way to the house today in the midst of their latest east coast excursion. Since V and I don't have relatives within 400 miles or so, it's always nice to see and catch up with family in person... and doubly delightful when we don't have to travel to do so. I think they were up north for a graduation and will be heading back to Alabama in the morning.

Anyhow, here's a couple of snapshots from this afternoon.

I never realized how much my cousin and I look alike until Aunt Marilyn pointed it out. Sometimes there's just no denying those family genes.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

35 weeks

As of a few days ago, we are officially 35 weeks into the pregnancy. Or as I was telling a friend just yesterday, we are in that phase when the baby could really come any day now. Someone at the baby shower asked if we were nervous, and actually I had to say no. I think it's more anticipation and excitement than anything else. But it still becomes more of a reality every day.
For example, with the nursery 99.274% completed, we are now turning our attention to things like pre-washing the baby's clothes, packing hospital bags, and getting the car seat properly installed for the momentous first ride home from the hospital... a ride that I'm guessing will take about 3 times the usual amount of time, with two nerve-wrecked new parents on the road obeying the speed limits for the first time ever.

Even the babycenter updates are starting to shift gears on us. Instead of giving advice about the pregnancy and labor management, etc., this week they focused on things like hospital admission, birth announcements, and low maintenance hairstyles for V for once the baby is born.

/ouch/ excuse me... that was reality kicking me in the face again. Only 32 days stand between us and a full-term baby. How exciting is that?! If only we can get our things-left-to-do list down to 100 items or less, it wouldn't seem so overwhelming.

Anyhow, along those lines, the baby's room is pretty much a done deal. I spent Thursday thru Saturday finishing up the paint job... just in time for Baby Shower #2 on Sunday, which was absolutely fantastic. V's friends continue to amaze us in terms of the love and commitment they put forth to make these things happen. Erin most definitely outdid herself with her impeccable attention to detail and her orchestration of the entire event. I was thoroughly impressed! While the SC shower was a family event, this time around I was banished from the premises since it was an "all ladies affair". With that in mind, I have to send much love to DeVon for keeping me company in the duration. It would've been a long day otherwise. In all, it turned out great, and V's friends and co-workers really showed their love and appreciation for her with the gifts and high spirits that they brought to the table.

Even though I was never excited about the thought of having 3 different baby showers, I admittedly understand that our lack of proximity to family makes it necessary. And now I can also say that I appreciate each one as being different in it's own right. The first one in SC was V's family, and so that was one dynamic. The second was here at home in VA (always nice to be home) and was ladies only, and so it had it's own flavor as well. The third will be in PA and will have more of a cookout appeal to it... and will be even less traditional still since the baby will already be here. But again that will also bring it's own dynamics to the table (e.g., toddler vs. infant gifts, and no more neutral greens and yellows :o) ... not to mention that my family is borderline insane, and so heading up north is always an adventure.

So for now I'm content to FINALLY start my summer vacation... even though there's an outside chance that it could end at any given moment.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Flip This House III

For those itching for a real estate update (because I know it's been a while)... The PA property is still on the market. In fact, my mom just got her first flurry of calls (well, if 3 is a flurry) on Sunday. Those were the first signs of interest since that first couple I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Our suspicion is that the listing must've been published and printed somewhere over the weekend for this interest to have "come out of nowhere". If that's the case, then I'm hoping that this is the first of many calls to come and that the sale is just around the corner. I'm still convinced that the first (qualified) person to see the house will buy it because it's that nice... but it's just a matter of getting them there.

We paid our first mortgage payment on the property just 4 days ago ($1100+)... and while we've obviously budgeted to carry the mortgage for a few months, there was still a definite "ouch effect" when the automatic payment kicked in and ripped over a grand from our checking account. Our hope is to only have to endure that financial drubbing no more than once or twice more before the house is sold. Of course, it didn't help that since we bought the two properties just days apart, the first payment for the SC rental property also hit for the first time on the same day. So between those two and our primary residence, we had a good chunk of income flying out the window this month. But hopefully that window will close soon... because we've already got our eyes fixed and fingers crossed for what we hope will be property #3 here in Virginia.

Mothers Day

So here's the question: Are you supposed to celebrate Mothers Day when you are pregnant with your first child? Or does your first Mothers Day come after the child is born and here to celebrate it with you? To me, it's debatable! ...

But for the record, I should point out that I soundly and decisively lost that debate in our house last week. It also didn't help that she got about a dozen cards for mothers day... none of which came from her darling husband. Somebody could have told me.

Just about every other woman I know would've gotten bent out of shape with that one, but we're thankfully secure enough in our marriage that we were just able to joke about it. It also helps that we're already pretty indifferent when it comes to all the other commercialised "holidays" on the calendar... but I'll still admit that I dropped the ball on this one. In the end, I got off easy with just having to feed her twice on Sunday (lunch and dinner), and provide a handful of new maternity clothes. For some reason, she did still ask me to sleep on the couch last night... and tonight... and I think just a few more days... but I'm sure that has nothing to do with the Mothers Day thing.

I think.


For the second time in the past 3 months, we got more inadvertent practice with a minivan when we rented one to transport the baby furniture.

But anyway, we did have fun this past weekend. After the 3 hour breastfeeding class (I can write a book on that all by itself... ) we fought the urge to go home and sleep, and instead we managed to furnish the entire nursery in a day... all for less than $120!!!... Exactly how we pulled that one off could also be another journal entry all by itself, but alas I can't ramble forever.

Of course there's no written rule that the baby's room has to be decorated before the shower rolls around (baby shower #2 is this Sunday) but since this one is at our house, it has still served nicely as an artificial deadline for getting the bulk of our nursery / baby prep completed.

And in everything that we've done so far during the pregnancy, I think that this weekend's furniture expedition might have been the one thing that has made the whole pregnancy the most *real* to us. Between buying and assembling the furniture, as we rearrange the house and start to make tangible provisions (i.e., physically rearranging our own lives) for this new life, I think the permanence of what is about to happen is finally starting to sink in just a little bit deeper than before.

Of course it could just be the fact that we are only a minuscule SIX WEEKS away from the ultimate life changing experience... but then there still seemed to be something incredibly special about assembling the baby's furniture today. It sparked a connection that I think I lacked until now. It's like wow... we obviously knew this was for real (V's stomach is kind of hard to miss, and the hardships that she has endured for eight months have been very real)... but, now it's not just "for real"... it's "for real for real". Kind of like when you were in 5th grade and you had someone check that box on a sheet of paper to say if they just *liked you*... or if they *liked you liked you*... There's a distinct difference when you say it twice; but you just can't put it into words.

Wow. We're about to be parents. That's crazy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Random Thought #1

If you have a friend or loved one that cannot read or write, do not panic! They may very well have a bright future in the field of mail delivery services.

"... but no one will ever see this huge Toys-R-Us box behind this bag of mulch!"...


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ordinary days

It has almost been two weeks since I've written... but it has mostly been for lack of anything interesting to say. I spent the last two weeks just wrapping up the semester (it's now "final exam week"), and watching the first few weeks of baseball season unfold. With that, it's been a pretty mundane span of time in our household. With school winding down, I've already started to slowly shift my attention from academics to the endless to-do list on the homefront... most of which deals with the preparation of the nursery, of course. This past Saturday, I was at least able to find time to resurrect our front and back yards from the perils of winter. It took about 6 hours of yard work... but that was probably because I took a break at the top of every inning to watch the Yankees get pummeled by Boston. That came with a pretty good sense of accomplishment (the yard work, not the pummelling) as I was reminded by our neighbor that our yard has come a loooong way since we moved in 2 years ago.

I also finally gave our scraggly Magnolia some adornment.

In other news, according to the latest babycenter.com email update, the baby now weighs almost 4 pounds and is about 17 inches long. As for mom, the emails have been spot-on in terms of documenting the ups and downs of the pregnancy. For the last two days, she's been plagued with severe and painful swelling in her feet; and sure enough the first sentence in today's emailed update was, "Your blood volume is now about 40 to 50 percent greater than before you became pregnant". Like I said, spot-on. I also vaguely remember (see author's note) when the first trimester ended and her nausea and morning sickness disappeared. It was crazy because there was nothing gradual about it. It was like an on / off switch. It just stopped... immediately followed of course by a babycenter email saying that the worst of the symptoms should have ended yesterday. YESTERDAY! Not "in the past week or so".. but yesterday. That's crazy. Almost wicked in it's accuracy.

Authors Note: I said "vaguely remember" because my memory seems to be going down the tubes these days. I usually remember everything... but right now I'm sitting here actually thinking, "did I just make that whole thing up?" I've gotta ask V. I think I'm losing it.

But anyway, as of last week, V has officially begun to cash in her "free chauffeured ride to work and back" coupons. In truth, it wasn't by request, but from looking at her belly, I just finally deemed it time to get her from behind the wheel. It was close for a while, but it finally got to the point where my concern for her safety outweighed my desire to sleep 30 more minutes. Besides, when you've got that much going on inside of you, your reflexes just ain't what they used to be; and so we are doing what we can to minimize her time behind the wheel in general. Either way, I have to say that the extra time together hasn't been a bad thing (that's the closest I can bring myself to saying I enjoy it... just in case she's reading this) and so it looks like I have a new part time job for the next seven weeks. Wow. Just seven weeks to go. That's bananas.

Final update... With the semester all but over for me, I spent the past 2 days or so setting up new domain names and restructuring our internet presence. With that (mostly) done, this will be the first official entry into what I'm now calling our "digital shoebox". The idea is that the blog will serve as the hub for my various (electronic) creative outlets. My hope is to string them all together with some semblance of a central theme. There should be a bunch of links on the right side of this website now. From there we'll be able to keep tabs on the different things we dump in this virtual shoebox as time unfolds, the baby grows, and our sanity unravels.

In the meantime, it's time for me to get to work, but I will leave you with two more photos before I do. Enjoy.

Swollen fingers have landed V's wedding ring on a necklace.

In the midst of it all, it's nice to know that
it's still not too hard to get a laugh at home.

Keep Smiling, Babe. You are loved and appreciated.