Friday, April 29, 2011

BASKETBALL BELLY UNDERWAY

my entire day is spent feeling kick-kick-flutter-bang-kick-bam-flutter-bang-poke-swoon. in addition, i find that a large number of items in my daily life – beach balls and random circles – are significantly smaller than my belly. significantly smaller than my enormous pregnant milk jugs, in fact. someday, the baby and i will make a great karate duo. the kid will kick down the bad guys and i will smother them with my bosom.

point is, i’ve crossed paths with a few people at the office. who. very likely. saw me last month, and the month before that. there’s no mistaking this round protruding belly. yet, low and behold, “when did this happen?” pointing at my belly. i look down. back at the finger. and back at the person. in one of those instances, i cocked my head to the side, raised an eyebrow, and smiled. (this particular person doesn’t give me many opportunities like this so i ran with it….) “well, you see, coworker. when a man and woman love each other very much…”

so. we’re attending a get-together at a friend’s house tomorrow. she’s pregnant, but no one knows. another mutual friend, also joining us, is pregnant. again, no one knows. i feel this great need to notify all the other gals in attendance to double up on their birth control pills before meeting us. and bring a condom for that extra protection. [holding back is brutal.]

on a separate note, you know what drives me crazy? pet hair. we have two cats and we cannot keep up with the amount of tumbleweeds in our house. we even have a pretty swell vacuum that sucks up everything. i seriously think it could suck up a hamster or an entire sock but no matter how much we use it, the pet hair still wins. i read a study that kids who live with pets have stronger immune systems and less allergies. so, whenever i pull a cat hair out of the baby’s mouth in just a few short months from now, i will remind myself of that study to make me feel better. (hey, whatever works)

so to sum up this post -- 1) basketball belly underway, 2) i hope for everyone’s sake tomorrow, that pregnancy by association isn’t possible, and 3) if you come to our house wearing black clothing, you’re on your own.



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

EASTER

no annual picture with the easter bunny this year.  nope.  i’m afraid fric and frac believe they are too old for that part of easter celebration.  baskets filled to the brim with exciting goodies however…remain acceptable.

the “eggcelent” (see what I did there?) celebration began at the family lake house with the roaches on saturday.  we feasted as though food was going out of style.  little maddox (almost 2 years old) entertained us all with his new words and great big grins. 

pete also gave us a good laugh – bolting off his boat, shrilling -- it’s been a bit like mouse hunt lately.  only without the comedy.  and without nathan lane.  and without an ending.

sunday morning ensued a hunt for eggs that crazy easter bunny scattered around our yard.  an “eggstremely” good time!  fric and frac’s baskets were filled with trinkets and toys that won’t promote cavities and gluttony.  the bunny took a bit of sugar out of easter this year – thank you, mr bunny. 

more afternoon fun was had at the lacy’s bar 39 ranch, where another “eggstravaganza” of yummy food and 20 family members greeted us.  flying kites, driving the tractor, and petting the new colts were just a few of the highlights.



all in all, our families bulged with an energy that represented the true meaning of easter – the celebration of life.  a new life.  a gift that was bestowed upon us thousands of years ago.  for that, i am grateful.

as for the pregnancy, twelve short weeks (give or take a few days) remain.  that’s all that stands between me and finally meeting this little guy in my belly!  all of a sudden, i think he’s finally decided to get excited about hitting the home stretch because holy smokes! does this kid like to move.  i keep saying it over and over again but he’s just so strong!  sometimes he moves so suddenly and with such force that it takes my breath away - i’m a little worried at what’s in store for me as he grows bigger because he’s already throwing his weight around something fierce in there! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

KID MUSINGS

this past weekend was extra exciting for the kids. keegan’s practicing certainly paid off – the 5th grade pulled together an ensemble for performance before a judge. keegan managed very well, both as a team player and soloist. between you and me, he rocked it. mom was proud!


while keegan and bailey were off having a grand ol’ time at the kemah boardwalk crawfish festival, pete and i were back at the casa working diligently through our “honey-do” list. frankly, i don’t know who’s doing more of the “nesting”…pete…or myself. it’s an obsessive state of organizing every nook and cranny, cleaning baseboards, vacuuming morning and night, and completing the projects no one took initiative to tackle previously. our latest feat…wall decals. the vendor’s sales pitch “we guarantee our wall decals to be easy to install.” yeah. about as easy as performing plastic surgery on a meatball.

wall decals are vinyl stickers made to be used on interior walls or flat surfaces. it’s basically a form of wall art. (someone else’s art) but the number of options out there are limitless. we selected a wakeboard decal for keegan, a sport he’s been passionate about since 2009. bailey, on the other hand, cares very little about decorating – she’s a tomboy through and through. we selected a tree branch…an artsy form of a tree branch mind you.

removing the vinyl from paper backing was a challenge, but we managed through it and both rooms came out perfect. see for yourself. and let me know what you think.



bailey ran in the 2011 conroe district fun run on behalf of sally k ride elementary early this week. (sorry folks. i’m not done yammering yet.) while placing 2nd amongst the 3rd grade girls at skr, she placed 32nd (approx 50th percentile) at the fun run. although we were extremely proud of her, she was not accepting of her ranking and is already planning a huge comeback for next year. watch out! competition makes a warrior of this laid back character. i’m glad to see the ambition she beholds.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SLEEP HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

ladies and gentlemen, sleep has left the building.

i knew this would happen, and yet, here i am - with thirteen weeks left in my pregnancy, slightly devastated that it has happened already.  sure, i’ve had moments of tossing and turning while i adjusted to a growing belly and sleeping almost exclusively on my left side (note for those of you who have never been pregnant: apparently sleeping on your left provides the best bloodflow to the baby) but i thought i still had time.

i knew the end of 8 hours of blissful sleep was nearing - but not now. not yet - i’m not ready to say goodbye!  as my belly has grown to epic proportions, my ability to sleep comfortably has diminished considerably (no matter how many pillows i stuff around my body), add to that about 4 bathroom breaks a night and not being able to easily fall back asleep - and my average sleep time has fallen to just under 5 hours and going downhill fast.  it doesn’t matter if i go to bed early or try to sleep in - same results. even my dr. approved sleep aid (benadryl) will leave me groggy and awake.

i know in many ways that this is all just preparation for life with a newborn - adjusting my body to multiple middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes - but i just feel like the time went by so fast and i didn’t savor sleeping as much as i should have.  i took it for granted, and now it’s gone.  who knows how many years stand between me and a good night’s sleep now… depending on how large our family grows it could be 3?  5 years maybe?

sigh.  like they always say “you don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone.”  we had a good long run together - me and restfulness.  33 happy years.  i don’t know when we’ll meet again, but i sure do look forward to the day.  so long my good friend, sleep.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

BECOMING THAT WOMAN

please welcome miss addison louis to the world!  and a big congratulations to my sweet friend, jessica.  i apologize that i didn’t get this out sooner – the little miss arrived on 2/01/11 at 4:16pm.  she ranked in the featherweight category at 6 lbs 1oz and was 19 inches long.  isn’t she a cutie patootie?!?!


you know what is the beautiful thing about becoming a mother?  you get to always be one.  it’s not like being a child or a teenager or a twenty something -- those are all phases.  they are all moments in life that come and go.  but to be a mother.  to become that woman who holds a tiny newborn in her arms and who watches that newborn grow into a unique individual.  to become that woman who knows the feeling of loving another being with every cell in her body -- the beautiful thing about that is that it never ends.  no matter what happens in life.  becoming a mother is a journey that always will continue.   and knowing that i get the privilege of doing this all again, makes my heart smile.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

INGREDIENT: HUMOR

Oh, it’s coming alright.  The doorway to another age is forming.  In the haze of all else that embodies my world, my nine year old daughter got her first pimple today.  Due to her reaction to the microscopic imperfection, you would have thought a hemangioma developed on her face overnight.  And, apparently, it causes impairment of the functional kind…

”Mom, look!  I can’t go to school.” 

“Yeah.  No.  I don’t think so, Bailey.”

It was this moment that I sighed with relief.  Fortunately I haven’t yet endured puberty with my kids.  So elated about that fact, that I could hold a rave or hang a piƱata. 

[Flash back 15 years ago]  The Huxtables made it look so easy.  Parenting, that is.

Boys are knuckleheads.  And raising girls is like entering a mental institution and not knowing whether or not you’re a visitor or a patient.  And (if you ask my kids) I really don’t know much about anything.  Anymore.

All in all, I love these guys!  [Cue the look of shock.]  I know I complain at times – I can’t help it – but honestly, I love my children.  They are a handful.  Rebellious at times.  With minds and agendas of their own.  They test limits.  They forget things.  They make bad choices and have to deal with the consequences.  And when my kids are getting along, you can rest assured it’s because they’re coming up with stupid things to do together.  My kids are by no means perfect.  But they’re perfect to me.  I enjoy being around them.  With wine.  That helps.  (Mostly kidding, but not entirely)  The most important ingredient for raising kids is humor.  Kids are goofy and you must have a sense of humor about said goofiness.

Monday, April 11, 2011

DEAR BABY

Pete’s new favorite hobby is smooshing his mouth down on my belly while making weird noises and saying “Baby! Can you hear me? It’s your dad. Hi Baby! Babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!” ( I should have never told him our little butterbean had just developed ears)

I giggle and laugh and try to push him away - but the man won’t give up on his conquest to make crazy sounds and communicate with his unborn child. I’m certain it must sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown “Wah, wah wah…wah wah wahhh”


Baby boy,

This is my first letter to you, although you’ve been hearing an earful from your mama for a while now.

You are such a magical, new thing in my life. Some parts of you feel so familiar to me already. Your movements and kicks, the rounding of my belly and this ache in my back. But there are parts of our journey so far that are distinctly yours. Time spent imagining your face. Trying your name out on my tongue. Collecting little shoes and plush sea animals for you. Each day I am feeling my way through the once familiar territory of having a little mister in my life.

For now, I study your last ultrasound photos -- looking closely at the tiny bones in your hands and feet. I keep going back to this grainy photo of your nose and lips. There is something about this tiny peek into you becoming you that keeps lingering in my thoughts. That cute nose, those pretty little lips that already look so much like ones I kiss daily -- you feel like everything I know (Daddy) and yet, remarkably different.

I am awed by what you have become in 5 months time and how much you’ve shifted and shaped our family already. We are making room for you in every part of our home and hearts. We await your newness. Anticipate your familiarity. And cannot wait for you to arrive.

Love,
Mommy



Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BABYMOON

Being young, doing youthful things has always been something I’ve clung to. I’ve always looked back on my childhood and the passing of the carefree years of my life with an over sentimentality for what was.  Some parts of my soul stopped growing at eight. and sixteen. and twenty. and there are days when I only want to see the world through the eyes of the girl I was at those ages.
But here I am, 33 and I am feeling sublimely peaceful about it. My teens and twenties were a helluva ride - some of the best years of my life - but when I look at what I have today and what I had 13 years ago - I wouldn’t trade places for even a minute. I spent the last ten years finding out who I wanted to be, how to be a mother, discovering who would be the love of my life, and learning what it meant to be a self sufficient adult.  My thirties trump all that once was.

Speaking of love, it occurred to Pete and me that we’d better take advantage of our wild, carefree, diaper-less days while we can.  And a few days in the Bahamas did the trick.  On behalf of my birthday, we opted to take this opportunity to also take our babymoon.  Babymoon is a funny word, yes?  One we both just discovered this year.  While a honeymoon is something that you take after the wedding with your honey, a babymoon is something that you take before the baby with your honey. It’s also just a fancy name for a trip taken during your second trimester, which is the best time for pregnant women to travel because any first trimester morning sickness should be over but you don’t yet have the physical discomfort of the third trimester.  The point is to relax.  A.m. hour feedings and sleep deprivation are soon on the horizon.






Pregnancy wasn’t going to stop me from adventuring off the beaten path. It wasn’t going to stop us from walking all over downtown Nassau to find the best happening bar. It wasn’t going to stop me from baring it all on the beach (relatively speaking). It wasn’t going to stop me from riding on the bow of a boat or jumping into the frigid early morning Caribbean waters. Vacation, for me, is an exploration -- an opportunity to learn about a different culture, to immerse myself in nature, to escape the day-in, day-out routine that can sometimes tie down even the most freedom seeking spirits.








Our introduction onto the Nassau island was nothing short of adventurous. Once we alerted the bystanders that we were in need of a taxi, the driver eagerly approached “yes mon” and assisted with our luggage towards a run-down, beat-up mechanism consisting of a steering wheel on the right. Next thing I knew, we were driving on the left side of the road…and following very close to the bumpers in front of us. The “oh shit” bars built into the vehicles here in the states don’t get nearly enough use as they do in the Bahamas…guaranteed!

We couldn’t toss our bags aside fast enough – we hit the beach immediately, frolicking in the water, sharing lots of laughs and enjoying the activities available to us at the Sheraton hotel.  (Feel good moment: For a pregnant chick, I don’t look half bad in a swimsuit.)  Later we ventured out of the tourist area, and definitely off the beaten path, to a place called Arawak Cay (aka Fish Fry).  I’d read it was the best place for authentic Bahamian seafood.  Personally, I prefer Long John Silver’s at 1/16th of the price we paid in the Bahamas, but it was fun just to experience that of the locals. Noticeably, Conch Fritters were most common amongst all the places we dined. Sure…if you like giant sea slugs…yep…big, squirming, snail-y mollusks.  Nuff said.








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The snorkeling tour with Stuart Cove’s was even better than I had imagined. There were fish everywhere! Sergeant Majors & Yellowtail Snappers were in abundance, as well as, Needlefish and several other bright colorful ones I couldn’t name. And on top of that, the water was so crystal clear it felt like you were floating through the sky! The fish were the size of two dinner plates (or bigger) and kept running into us! The first dive was near a vast coral reef…with Parrot Fish…of course, this being my favorite stop. The second dive site consisted of more sandy bottom, but included a plane wreck -- apparently a film site for 007 and Into the Blue. I experienced my own Piranha 3D experience here -- the Yellowtail nearly sawed off my hand to get to the fish food I possessed.  Unfortunately, these cuts won’t be leaving scars that I’ll be able to brag about years from now.  All in all, the fish were not afraid of humans in the least!  Nor the sharks. Did I say sharks? Yep, sure did!  Due to mating season, we only encountered 3, but Pete swam amongst them with every hair on his body standing at attention. By this time, it was our 3rd stop and I was frozen…blue lips and all…so I opted to watch the sharks from above.  (I will have the photos from the underwater camera posted real soon -- it was the definite highlight of the trip.)








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The commercials and internet advertisements for Atlantis give you the understanding that that place is quite awesome. But they simply don’t do this place justice! It’s this massive beautiful luxury resort & casino that sits like a crown on the horizon just off Nassau. It trumps the fanciest hotels and casinos in Vegas. Absolutely breathtaking!

The Dig is a series of aquariums beneath the lobby of the Royal Towers at Atlantis, and is the world’s largest open air marine habitat. Hundreds of different aquatic species can be seen in the many tanks (i.e. angelfish, sharks, manta rays, and various types of jellyfish). The goal of The Dig is to provide you with a taste of life in the legendary destroyed city of Atlantis. (And what’s even better…it’s free after 6pm!)  It was awesome – second best highlight of the trip. You enter dark tunnels, which wind around and open up to giant aquarium windows.  It was like walking through Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom, but under the ocean.  One of the aquariums had the largest manta rays I’ve ever seen.  You can’t really tell how big it is from the photo, but I’m telling you… the wingspan of this thing was at least 15 feet!





Straw Market is definitely a tourist trap, unless you have fine negotiating skills like that of Pete.  Typically, you can walk away paying half (sometimes less) than what they originally quote you.  And for those of you purse addicts (aka Gina), it’s a haven for designer knock-offs (Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, & Coach purses lines the aisles from floor to ceiling).





And there you go!  That was our babymoon.  The Bahamas was absolutely gorgeous – high 80’s and a cool breeze – Mother Nature was good to us.  It’s hard to believe that the next time we visit, we’ll be a fabulous family of five!  Ahh!  Exciting, but scary.

Friday, April 1, 2011

BIRTHDAY

Some of my friends don’t like to acknowledge their birthdays. Well I am not one of those people. I love celebrating my birthday. Today is my birthday, yo!

There were several birthday wishes to “old friend” on my Facebook wall today. Are they referencing the digits in my age? Or could be as innocent as the number of years we’ve been friends? Given the history of my recent complaints, I sorta resemble "old." Pregnant and old.

For instance, there used to be space in my brain taken up by things like...uh...thoughts. Thinky thoughts. Like, sometimes I would think a thing. And then I would think something related to that thing. And then the things would string together, and before I realized it, I'd have an entire narrative in my head.

Then a tiny human being was conceived and suddenly it's like a significant portion of my brain has melted into him. I do not mean this romantically. (Especially because when I say "melt" I think "cheese.") What I mean is that I no longer have complete thoughts and I no longer speak in complete sentences and every blog post I try to write takes me 300 years because all focus is gone because anywhere from 25% - 55% of my brain has melted into a gooey mash of BABY!

You no longer have the luxury of "dwelling" on "thoughts." You can't remember lyrics to songs AND what day of the week it is AND what time that meeting is AND that your kid has been waiting 4 weeks for you to pick up his glasses.

Simply existing as a mother is hard, but carrying a child takes up space in your brain. Either that or I’m just getting old. Again, damn you, “old.”

Happy birthday to me!
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