Sunday, April 27, 2008

This weekend we went back to Charlotte for a baby shower (first!). And what an adventure it was. We had to pack for two weeks because we were staying in Charlotte for the week after the shower to attend the Wachovia Championship, then leaving from Charlotte for our last trip before Rosemary, our favorite getaway. Needless to say, packing was an event in and of itself, but we finally figured it out and made it in time for a really great week, which started off with my first baby shower.

Lisa, Christy, Debbie, and Hadley (who got stuck on in NYC) were my incredible hostesses and they put on such a fun shower. It was great being back in Charlotte and getting to see some faces I hadn't seen since we found out we were expecting. Mom's CCS crew of ladies, some church and high school friends, and even my manager, Marye Pat, was able to be there despite her insane schedule. I loved every minute of it and we had a great time. The menu was great and the cake was adorable (thanks to Christy and her pastry chef friend in Raleigh!). 

We received some great and much needed gifts including our bedding from Pottery Barn, which we are so thrilled about! I can't wait to see it in the room, which unfortunately won't be for a while due to the fact that it so happened to be on back order. Oh well, as long as it's here before BT, we're good to go.  All in all a very successful (and tiring!) day. It was literally an all-day event, but it was well worth it and I'm only sad my family and friends from other cities couldn't be there to share in the day.  Here are some pictures.

  Mom, me, and Christy (with her cute PIC line for surgery the next day) and the awesome cake! It was so good!!! 
My mom and I and the hostesses with the most-ess! Christy, Lia, and Debbie...

My "small" batch of gifts...that took FOREVER to get through. But it was worth it!
 This gift was the BOMB! It's my new diaper bag and is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I literally cannot wait to use it.
   My mom and Stacy went in to get me this cute little night time lambie and our crib bedding. It's so cute! And this little basket was a great way to present it. 

CeCe and Mia - they are so excited, too! 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Guess what? We planted flowers today! It was so fun to see all the flowers we'd picked up over the past few weeks at Lowe's and various other places, collecting in an effort to make the outside of our house more "Springy" and fun. So my super-talented landscape-ready hubby laid everything out for us and we got to it. 

I will say it's amazing how fast 20 bags of soil conditioner (a.k.a mulch) will disappear in your yard! I mean, we probably need 20 more bags and we don't even have that big of a yard. How does that happen? Not sure, but whatever. Nathan can worry about that. We planted some beautiful flowers throughout our yard -where impatiens now rest amidst the azaleas, roses, hasta, japanese boxwoods, and other flowers. Being the gourmet cook that I am (not!) we also planted some herbs - rosemary, thyme, mint, cilantro, basil, and oregano - as well as one little patio tomato plant. We still have two really cute hibiscus trees to plant, and some other plants here and there, but all in all it's beginning to come together.

There's something about working in the yard and starting with an idea or an area and then seeing it all finished, or even almost finished, that just feels successful.  Maybe it's the playing in the dirt and giving yourself an excuse to get truly dirty without fear or repercussion, making you feel like a kid, that makes it so exhilarating, but there's just something about it all that makes for a spectacular day. It was fun to spend the day in our yard, seeing Nathan in his shorts and cowboy boots, and planting little pieces of beauty designed to add "flair" to our corner of the world. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Precious BT, who is all kinds of crazy in my belly these days. We had our 28/29 week check-up today and due to my small belly size, my OB recommended that I have an ultrasound at my next visit (this one) to make sure everything was going okay inside. It was kind of exciting to be able to see the little guy again since we hadn't seen him since our 18 week visit when we found out the baby was a "he" and not a "she." Most of the time, ultrasounds aren't done again unless there are risks to the baby or the mom, so while it kind of made me nervous, it made me glad that we would at least know whether or not everything was okay at the end of the visit. 

Turns out all was fine indeed. Other than my fluids being on the low side of normal, he's growing well and even weighed in at 2.13 lbs. Apparently, he does have a large head, which apparently is normal too, but still, it made us wonder if he was cute or just weird-looking with a big head!  It's so neat to see how much he has grown in the course of the last ten weeks. Just amazing how God designs this process inside of a woman's belly and grows another human minute by minute in perfect timing for their arrival into the real world. I am not quite sure how you can experience this side of giving life and not believe there is a God. Being able to see his arms and legs, head and nose, even his tongue coming out to get something to was all just an incredible thing to see rather than just feel (which I do all the time with this little soccer star I am grooming!).

All is well in BTs little world, but the doctor wants me to have another ultrasound in two  weeks to check my fluid levels and BTs growth. If there is any change, then we'll deal with it then...but for now, I'm just enjoying being in this part of the process. Taking it one day at a time, just like he does as he grows. 

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yes, you read that right. I ran a race. Not just a one-mile fun run, but a real deal 5K. Well, almost. It's kind of a long story, but basically the cop driving the lead car and guiding us on the 5K course, took about .3 off the course on accident, so it was really more of like a 2.7 mile 5k rather than a 3.1 5k...but regardless, it's the same thing. A race of epic proportions.

Yes, I am 7 months pregnant. Yes, I did finish. Yes, it was slower than I wish it was, but only by about 2-3 minutes slower than I ran I felt pretty good about the whole thing. I had full intentions of running my last race at 6 months pregnant, but Lord willing I am still in decent enough shape to run now. It was a bit chilly for April, but I braved it anyway and I am so grateful I did. Amazed...and grateful that God has gifted me with legs that can still move at a 24:50 5k pace while carrying another life inside me, but also that this little dude inside of me got to experience this event with me in a way that no one else in my life can. Pretty neat to think about him just hanging out in there while I'm trying to bust out a race.

If you've ever run a race before, you know the worst part is getting passed by a certain group of people. In my case, this group is men or women with baby joggers. When they pass me, I just get so burned up inside. Mostly because I think, "They are carrying at least 20 lbs. more than I am (stroller plus child) and are passing by me right now with the greatest of ease! What is the deal?!?!" For the very first time in my life, I got to feel what it was like to be on the other end of that deal. For the first time in my life, I didn't care who in the world passed me, my goal was to for competitive, Monica-like Kara, that's pretty huge. Seriously. 

A friend of ours also ran the race and he knew a couple who ran also. In talking with them the wife said to him that it made her so mad that a "little pregnant girl" passed her during the race. As she pointed to me, our friend said, "Oh yeah, I know her. She's seven months pregnant, can you believe that?" And the girl, standing in disbelief walked away feeling like the baby jogger had just passed her. The best part, and please don't take this the wrong way, was finishing the race and finding out I had made someone feel like I have felt in way too many races...and oh how I wish I could describe the sheer elation it was. Not because I made her feel bad, but because for the first time in my life, I had a real-life "passing with pride" experience and was able to hear how the other side felt! Call me crazy. Yes, I'll admit that I am, but seriously, it
 finishing the race and hearing that comment made my (and BT's) day!

Here's a few pics...for the memory book:
Getting my number on...
Confused why Taylor is stretching
Here I come...charging the finish

Me and my banana, my sick hubby, and Taylor
My biggest fan!

Monday, April 14, 2008

So I guess all of us are feeling the pain of tax season right about now. With the deadline falling upon us tomorrow it's either doomsday or a beautiful day depending on how you made out in 2007. Nate seems to be feeling that pain more than I am as he happens to be sick - what a weekend to be sick. Maybe he just got so worked up about what we might have to pay that he made himself sick. He tends to do that whenever it comes to big events, holidays, and apparently now the trend continues for taxes. We missed the wedding we were scheduled to attend this weekend (and maybe that is why he got sick...for those of you who know the story of our wedding, it would all make sense. And he pretty much feels like death, or at least has felt like death the past few days. I've been playing caretaker to a very sick hubby. 

As the financial registrar for our household, I take care of the typical tax season to-do's this time of year, which is just fine with me. I, as most of you know, tend to err on the side of obsessive Monica-like behavior, and keep files for just about everything, so this time of year is almost fun. Sickening, I know, but it gets to the part of me that would have been the CPA. Maybe in another life. For now, I just enjoy the organization, documenting information, organizing it, and then turning it over to someone's more capable hands to do all the real dirty work. As it turns out, this year is the first year in either of our short tax lives that Nate or I has ever had to pay taxes on the April 15 deadline. That's right, first time we've had to P-A-Y. Let me tell you what I felt like when I heard North Carolina was going to get even more of our money. That's right. Death. I wanted to crawl under a rock and scream at the top of my lungs. Don't worry, I didn't. But I did want to.

After all that we have been through with the terrible state of North Carolina, the very last thing I want to do is give them any more of my hard earned dollars. It took me a while to come to grips with it all, but I finally realized all it was that we owed was a portion of the earnings they didn't deduct when Nate switched jobs to FCS (in Arizona). The accountant there (who is now gone, and maybe we see why) didn't show him as an NC resident for several months, therefore we didn't pay any taxes during those months. So...when you look at it that way, it's not all that bad. And I didn't want to scream quite as loud anymore. 

Why is it that we hate tax season so much? Is it because we hate giving the government, who we see doesn't do much with the money we do give them, even more money? Maybe we don't give enough away during the year (something I know we have been uber-conscious to do since we've been married)? Is it simply the hassle it creates in our lives? Well, whatever the reason, on the political end of the spectrum or the personal, it's no fun no matter how we look at it.  All I know is that it's inevitable, so we best be on board before we get caught. Celine Dion has this song called Rain, Tax ironically enough...and the chorus has a verse: 

Rain, tax
After lightening the thunder blast
Sooner or later
It had to come through
(It's inevitable)

Nate will get over his sickness (hopefully) and we will get past tomorrow (hopefully) both without achieving death (hopefully). I don't even want to know what it's going to look like next year when BT is in the picture bringing us all kinds of fun additions to our tax situation. Good thing love is bigger than taxes (and death). 

Saturday, April 12, 2008

How deep?

We attended a rehearsal dinner for some friends of ours last night. It was interesting to say the least. Considering the only people we knew there were each other (Nathan, me, and Nathan P.) and the bride and groom, it was insanely awkward for us to be amidst a group of strangers celebrating the lives of two people we kind of, sort of know.  After our arrival, we found ourselves posted at a little place in the restaurant, waiting for the food to be ready so we could dive in and enjoy the festivity of flavor. After nestling in a little booth in the dark room, we couldn't help but observe the people in the room, the parents, the friends, the siblings, and relatives all here to celebrate these two getting married. 

Let me preface the rest by saying we know the groom more than we know the bride as he has been a semi-attender of Nathan's small group for the past few months.  What is interesting about the groom, Beau, is that he is a financial advisor for a living and never seems to come out of "sales" mode with anyone...even this small group of men who dive into community together. It has been a challenge to get to know the real man behind the curtain and feel as though there is a connection on both a personal and spiritual level. So, here we sit, feeling as though we're supporting the marriage of a guy we feel we barely know, and really struggling to put all the pieces together. We met his parents, who said how highly he speaks of the men's group and how much it impacts his life, when the two men in community with him have barely gotten beneath his name in the times they have spent together. Is it that they are so much deeper than he is? Or that he doesn't share but get
s so much out of others' sharing that he feels connected? It just left me kind of curious how the connectivity existed for Beau, when he had maintained such a distance in these relationships with the other men in the group. 

As it got time for the toasts, the oddity of the evening continued. It just felt as though those who shared relationships with him were all so very surface-level and trite and it made me sad. Do any of the people in the room really know the real Beau Parrish? Speech after speech seemed to confirm the depth, or lack thereof, and it was such an odd thing to be a part of. As I sat there, I was remembering our own rehearsal dinner and how different it felt. The people we had there were those who knew us at our very core and it was evident by what was said throughout the night. It just made me sad to get the sense that no one there really knows either one of them at their core. From our experience, their overly positive outlook and optimism lends to top level relationships without much depth. But what we left with was a mission to dive into them, to know them, to help unleash their true selves and experience a life they have, perhaps, been missing. As fairly young believers, I can imagine it is hard to change that "country club" mentality where you don't talk about your business to one that dives into the very soul of who you are and lets others come into that place with you. 

From the time we have been in Nashville, which hasn't been that long, we have encountered people that have not only challenged us to go there, but take us there on a regular basis. It has been one of the most freeing things in my life, to be completely open at my heart level, even broken at times, with fellow brothers in Christ who not only have my best interest at heart, but who push me to be a better person in every way. My relationship with Nathan has grown immensely. We are better friends now than we were even six months ago, and I didn't think that was possible. It's the most freeing thing I have experienced to date. The joy and peace it brings to my heart is indescribable and if we moved here for no other reason to understand the depths of one another's souls, and to encounter God in a new and remarkable way through each other and through friendships, I consider it all worth the cost. I pray that it only continues, the depth goes deeper, and that life becomes fuller. And after last night, I know who else I am praying this prayer for...they don't know what they are missing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's interesting to dive deep into your heart sometimes to see what you find. Due to a series of circumstances over the past year, I have found myself at a place of anger at various intervals relating to those circumstances over the past year with a particular situation. What makes me angry is that the circumstances are unjustified, unnecessary, and I am having to go through them for something I didn't even do for someone else who did...and it has just made me angry. While I haven't let the anger eat away at me, nor do I feel it is unjust, or out of context with what I'm going through, I haven't been able to let it go. I thought offering forgiveness would eliminate the anger I felt and heal the pain in my heart. And I don't mean just saying, "I forgive you," but offering it freely...true and unrequited forgiveness - the kind you feel, the kind you mean from the bottom of your heart, and the kind that only Christ can do through you. Well, it didn't. I still felt angry whenever I was reminded of what I was suffering and whenever I have had to do something related to whom I was suffering for.

Luckily, we had some time with Ken, our counselor, who is awesome at seeing God in every situation and pointing it out in you, this week. As I sought out some answers to my struggle from the past year, he brought an interesting point to my attention. He asked me how the situation made me feel. And I responded, "angry." He said that anger was a secondary emotion and stemmed from something else that triggered it. So he asked me again how it made me feel, and I think I brought up something that was an action, not an emotion. Dig deeper. What was it that made me angry? What was it that I felt? After a few rounds of back and forth, I finally got out that what made me angry - I felt abandoned. Throughout the process of the past year, the events that occurred, the circumstances I've suffered, I felt like I had been left high and dry. Alone. Like I had gifted sacrificial love, and been left without love. I had innocently suffered consequences for someone else’s guilt. Essentially I felt as though I had given my life up and died for someone else. One thing it did was allow me to identify with Christ in a more real way than I have ever been able to before. And I felt alone. Not that I didn't have my family and an incredibly supportive husband, but still, we were alone. Each of us felt differently in our battle to survive the circumstances, but the ultimate cause of my anger was the feeling of abandonment.

Fear of abandonment is one of those major fears I have had since who knows when. Much a kin to my fear of failure. But when I finally got out that I felt abandoned, it changed everything. I was able to see with ultimate clarity that my anger was not only justified, but rational and something I could put legs on and deal with at it's root. Ken challenged me to deal with my emotions and feelings of abandonment first, but then to reach out and deal with them and with the people it involved. And in so doing, not expect anything in return, but simply explain where I am coming from and how the abandonment has impacted me. To communicate love, above all, but also pain, and not get caught up in circumstances and what she or I did or didn't do that night and since then. I think it really helped me to see more clearly through the dense fog of anger that has been resting there for some time. To see how her relationship has impacted me, as well as how her parents' relationship has impacted me. When I'll be able to reach out and communicate my heart to her, I am not sure. It isn't now. I have to deal. I need to heal. Then, maybe then, I can reach out and express myself in a way that will impact the relationship towards something more than it is today. I'm not sure when I’ll feel equipped enough to do this, but I am confident God will give me not only the peace when I need it, but the time in which to deliver His heart through me.

The weight is lifting.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Oh, what fun, fun, fun I had today at the doctor. I've been anxiously awaiting this day (not the good kind of anxious) since I scheduled the visit more than a month ago. But, it's finally over and it wasn't half bad. I went to the doctor for my regular check-up, but also to partake in the glucose test now mandated for all pregnant women (and men, too, if you've been watching Oprah, but that is a whole other story you don't even want me to get started on!). So you go in and drink this nasty sugar-filled drink and sit for an hour until they draw your blood. And by sugar-filled drink, I don't mean Mountain Dew. That is a walk in the park compared to this junk. It tasted like a glass of Gatorade with about 2 cups of sugar added to it. Five minutes to drink, sit, wait for an HOUR, then get your blood drawn for three tests, one of which is gestational diabetes. Luckily, outside of the sugar drink making me feel dizzy and a little loopy, all went well. They let me lay down, which is always a must since I tend to pass out every time I have blood drawn, and it makes everything much better. Having blood drawn is never pleasant, but add passing out and then having to drive home afterwards and it's really not fun...and I've done it too many times to count. But no news means good news, and no news came, so skip around the room, we're glad. 

The other part of my visit was just to check in on BT and see how he's doing. He has a good strong heartbeat, which is good, but the Dr. said I'm one of those whose belly doesn't pop out like some. More than likely, this is due to my uterus being towards my back rather than my belly, so she scheduled an ultrasound for next time just to check in on him and make sure all is well in tummy land. 

It's really crazy this whole people monitor you, how others look at you, how emotions effect you, the whole gamut. It's really been quite a test for me as an individual, so the tests I've had along the way that are mandatory have only been reminders that this whole thing is a test. And it's not one that will end on the labor table. I guess it's only the beginning. For being such a Type A, driven, perfectionist person, I have to say, I have felt relatively laid back during the course of this process - at least thus far. It has only just now begun to be hard for me. The gaining weight, the emotional roller-coaster, the feelings of anxiety and fear, the worry and self-doubt, the loneliness from not having other women in my world (but we're working on that!), etc. It's really just now setting in that this whole ride I've known as my life the past few years is all about to be turned topsy-turvy. Yes, in a good way, and yes, one I've always wanted (which Nathan reminds me daily), but also one that is going to test me in every way imaginable.  And while I do enjoy the occasional test, it's hard putting our lives in perspective of the whole thing being a test, even though that's what it has been up to now and it only feels as though there have been times of freedom. God is really challenging me to dig deep and know him more, to let him be to me what I have such a hard time allowing him to do. I am anxious, in a good way, for the change he will bring in me through not only this nine months, but for the rest of my life as it changes with this little dude. Bring it on! :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I really hadn't planned to do a "baby update" today or anytime this week, only because I'm goin to the doctor on Tuesday and was planning to wait until then, but alas, the moment presented itself in my day and rather than talk about something deep and passionate, I thought I'd jot down this fun little update. One of my best friend's, Beth, had her baby yesterday. She, too, was pregnant with a boy (and I can say boy in these entries now because the last of those who didn't want to know, my brother, now knows the sex of the baby - NO MORE SECRETS! - and what a relief it is!). I say "was pregnant" because she just delivered a healthy baby boy this afternoon at 5:20 pm. His name is Ryder and he came into the world at a healthy 8 lbs, 2 oz., and 21 inches long. She had some minor complications during her last few weeks, so they went ahead and induced her early so she could alleviate any more risk. But we are all glad to know he is here, and healthy, and that mom and dad are doing just great. What a miracle this whole thing is.

Beth's new baby boy - Ryder Marcus Allen

It just got me thinking about all the steps necessary and all the things that lead up to that one huge moment, labor, when they go from being in this dark and quiet safe little fluid-filled world, to an environment that is bright, loud, and always going. People will be looking at him, which he can't experience from the belly...I get that joy of people staring at my big fat belly all the time, so I guess it's allowed me to empathize with him and what he'll experience his first few months of life. It's pretty overwhelming at times, and who knows what they are thinking when they come out...we just know what we feel, and amidst the joy and elation, I'm sure there are moments of "holy crap, what now?!?" Regardless, it's an amazing time of life. I can't wait for my little guy to be here, especially now that I'll be seeing her baby joy for the next few months while mine anxiously kicks away for his turn. I'm sure I'll have an update of my own on Tuesday after my visit, but for now, I'm just relishing in Beth's baby joy and pondering the arrival of my own!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


So for the first time (honestly!) since I've been pregnant, I caught the anxiety bug. I have read about it in various books I've read and heard about it from friends and neighbors who have experienced it with their current or previous pregnancy, but I hadn't quite figured out what this whole anxiety thing was like. Surprisingly enough, even high-strung, perfectionist, type-A me had been relatively low-key throughout this entire six month period of my life (at least concerning BT). Things have gotten me wound up and I've recognized the hormonal fluctuations at times, but I haven't really struggled with being anxious - about the pregnancy, life, the after-life (of having a baby that is), anything "baby." Be that as it may, I certainly felt it arrive out of the blue on Monday morning.

At first I wasn't really sure what was going on. I was kind of just in this odd place and wasn't really in a mood. Have you ever had one of those days when you're just not in a mood? It's not bad and it's not good, you're not happy, you're not sad, you're not upset, you're just kind of there. Well, regardless, this is the state I found myself on Monday and I wasn't really sure what to do with it. After plugging into work for a few hours, I realized as I looked at the nursery outside my office door, that I was freaking out. NOTHING is done, NOTHING is ready, NOTHING is close to being done OR ready...what kind of parent am I going to be if I don't even have his room painted?!?! Seriously. I began to be quite disturbed by the fact that he will be here in less than 13 weeks (if he blesses us with an on-time presence, and does not inherit the late habits of his father) and I have nothing ready for him.

I have a crib, yes. Is it put together? No.
I have paint samples, yes. Do I have the room painted? No.
I have a high chair, yes. Is he going to need that when he's born? No.
I have jogging stroller, yes. Am I going to be able to use that anytime soon? No.
We have names picked out, yes. Does he have a name? NO!

No. No. No. You get the point I'm trying to make. N-O-T-H-I-N-G is done. In the moment, this equaled: "I am not going to be a good Mom."

I realize this is NOT the case; however, it was a moment of extreme panic for me as the realization felt like the ultimate reality. That he would arrive and I would not have anything prepared for him. The worst part of it was, I wasn't really sure how to communicate any of what was going on in my head...I couldn't get the thoughts from my head to function as words in my mouth, so I didn't really know how to tell Nathan what was going on that day. Not that it was a terrible day, he could just tell I "wasn't joyful Kara" as he lovingly put it when he asked if I was okay. I finally figured out what it was I was dealing with and was able to get it out which he was so caring and comforting. Reminding me:

We can paint the room in a weekend
We can put the crib together in a matter of hours
He'll use the high chair and it will be great
You will LOVE the jogging stroller and can even push me if you want to use it
We will pick his name when the time is right, 13 weeks is plenty of time...
(Of course I didn't tell him that 13 weeks will be gone before he knows it and it may not be as much "plenty of time" as he thinks, mostly because he's been the anxious one since day one of my pregnancy and I thought I'd give him some grace in the moment for being such a great husband!)

Anyway, this is becoming much more than I had planned it to be, but I just wanted to get my anxiety attack out in the open...I fear there will be more, I'm almost sure of it, but maybe at least next time I'll know what it is before it eats away at me and steals the joy that it is this new life coming into our worlds in a few weeks. While it is still scary and while I still don't have anything done, I know we'll get it done and it will be in the perfect time, for the perfect baby. I'm so excited about this new arrival, not anxious, excited. Not that being a parent (which I know NOTHING about) isn't scary, believe me, it is...but I also know I have a great support system - Nathan, my parents, some great girls, and a few great moms who have already proven their worth in gold during this process, but who I also know will continue to do that as the days and months pass. Now if we can just pick a name....