Monday, May 26, 2008

It's odd to smell a grill being fired up and knowing that you aren't going to be having Chew-ops (I'm currently in search of a definition for anyone who isn't a Down family member) and veggies and dip for your Memorial Day celebration. And it kind of just makes you feel weird knowing that you don't even have a grill at your new house yet, which we don't since baby gear has been on the purchasing menu the past few months. But regardless, it feels good to know that 1) you have the day off, so it's a nice and relaxing three-day weekend, 2) you have a pool across the street that you can sit at all day long and not feel guilty, 3) you can get a lot of stuff done, and 4) that your life is so much fuller this year than last year, with or without Chew-ops.

As I sat at the pool, I found myself drifting back to a year ago and in so doing, found a sense of amazement in all that we've done and the distances we've come in just one year's time. It is almost surreal. I know I've talked about this a lot, or at least I feel like I have, over the past few months, but as I really took it all into account, it was quite overwhelming. I'll just list a few things that came to mind about where we were in May of last year.
Nathan started a new job May 1.
We had just moved out of our 750 square foot condo.
After almost selling it once, it fell through, so this was round two.
We were looking to get something bigger than 750 square feet and were in discussions to buy a property on which to build a new home on in Biddleville, right outside of downtown Charlotte.
We moved in with my parents in mid-May.
We purchased the Biddleville property at the end of May.

The rest of the year is a blur.
We drew plans with an architect.
We hired a contractor.
We fired a contractor.
We got permits pulled.
We hired another contractor.
We went on a vacation in July.
We came to visit Beth and Daniel in Nashville in September before their move to Austin.
We came back to visit Nashville (for real) in October.
We found out I was pregnant in November.
We moved to Nashville in November.
We tried to sell our house in Charlotte.
We had Thanksgiving in Charlotte.
We bought furniture.
We had Christmas in Texas.
We bought more furniture.
We traveled to and from Charlotte about 10 times and continued to buy furniture.
We had a baby shower in April.
We went on vacation in May.
We celebrated Memorial Day in Nashville.
We're still trying to sell our house in Charlotte.

I mean, a lot more things happened in the middle of all those things, and God's done a lot in the midst of all those things, too many to count. But all in all, it just feels amazing to be in this place. Last May felt like we were settling. Though it was our only option at the time, building that house is not what God wanted us to do. It's obvious from everything we've encountered in the past year. Going back to visit in April was complete confirmation of those intuitions. Though Memorial Day stands for so many things to so many people and in all different walks and ways of life, for me, this year, it meant freedom. Freedom from a toxic environment with no true friendships, only those that seem true on the surface. Freedom from settling to a place of true peace and enjoyment. Freedom in Christ like I have never known. Freedom that comes from truly trusting with arms wide open and eyes wide shut. And Freedom from a life I didn't realize I didn't want until I got to where I am.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

David, that is. David Cook, as I'm sure you all are aware, is the new American Idol. I'm sure there are a great deal of teeny-bopper girls very sad that their speed dial texts for David A. didn't get him the big W, but there were enough older teens and moms to vote for the older, more mature David in the end. Good for him. Good for them. I'm sure we'll be hearing lots of good things from both in the years to come. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So per my last update, we had to go back to the Dr. this week for another ultrasound to check my fluids and BT's growth as my fluids have been on the lower side of normal, and the Dr. I saw last week had cause for concern with a few of the numbers. I was told not to workout this past week so it could give my body a chance to keep some of my fluids up, so I obliged and was interested to see if it made any difference. Back I go to the OB. 

By now this is quite a routine. The U/S tech is familiar with us, knows our baby boy has a big head and knows what to look for every time. Unfortunately for us, BT doesn't like to cooperate when he's on "stage" with the ultrasound, and tends to hang out in his quiet place, not moving, not doing his breathing exercises, and hiding his cute face behind the placenta. There's not much any of us can do to get him to budge...which is so comical because he is such an active baby. Oh well, all it means is no great pictures and some time consuming hunting work for the tech. 

Everything looked the same. He's still growing fine. Everything is in proportion to how it was last week (still a bigger head than body...I just keep telling myself, "It's normal!") and he's gaining weight. She said he's more than like right around 4 lbs, 9 oz give or take a half a pound.  My doctor doesn't think I'll have an exceptionally large baby due to my small tummy size, but I don't know that he'll be a preemie either. Only time will tell. All I know is that I feel like I'm getting much bigger and I guess that means he is too. 

Apparently, to put him in perspective, BT is about the size of a pineapple you'd see at the grocery store....and weighs about the same. It's hard to believe this thing that was smaller than a bean a few months ago is now the size of a pineapple. And a pineapple that kicks, and hiccups, and jabs, and jumps...and more. Getting up in the middle of the night is a regular occurrence for me now. Leg cramps in my calf muscles are fairly common most mornings (around 6 a.m.). And I haven't tried it lately, but I'm sure that if I ran any distance more than a mile, it would not be a fun experience. I might try a mile just to see what it feels like, but I'm okay with not trying it. Other than those few things, I am feeling good and keeping up with my normal activity level. I haven't been as hungry lately, and my weight has kind of reached a plateau, which is fine with me. Most of the weight I gain now will be from let's pray he doesn't get much bigger. :) 

The anxiety is still there in spurts, so I do have my moments. But I'm not as moody as everyone says I should be, which I'm grateful for. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact I work at home and don't have an insane amount of pressure on me to get up and go to work every day, do a job, come home and clean house, make dinner, take care of things, etc. It's so much easier to do a bit at a time and to be able to walk of the stress from my job - almost literally - or take it out to the pool and just relax for a few hours to get away from it all. I feel really blessed about that and having a partner who makes sure I'm doing okay and encourages me to do things that will alleviate any pressure or hardship I do seem to exude. 

Only 7 more weeks. Kind of crazy to think we'll have a little one in that time or less. Eek! How much life will change. I kind of wish I could see into the future for just an instant. But I'm sure I'll know soon enough. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Two Davids

So, as you know, I've been keeping up with American Idol this season...pretty hard core as far as keeping up with  the latest episodes, though not so much on the online gossip. And we're down to the two David's. Somehow I knew this was the way it would end up. Or at least I was hoping it was the way it would end up. Once they got onto the big stage, these two seemed to really shine and make each song their own. I don't have much to say about it other than I'm okay with either way the cookie crumbles in this case. Most of the time I have a really strong opinion about who should take home the title, but after seeing some of the successes of those "not chosen," I think I'm pretty okay with either of them winning and either of them coming in second. Mostly because either way, it's fairly certain they will both have a career in music. A part of me even thinks it might be BETTER to come in second. The second place finisher doesn't have to abide by all the terms and conditions of the contract FOX puts in place for the winner and has a little more freedom to determine the path of their career, the songs on their album, their tour dates, their lives. I guess we'll see. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We are back from vacation and back to the Doctor I go. At my last visit, there was a slight cause for concern with my fluid levels being on the low side of normal. Due to the concern, they wanted to do a follow up Ultrasound in two weeks so they could make sure things were going up, or if nothing else, staying the same. So, lucky for me, we get to continue to see BT grow live and in person rather than just wondering what is going on inside my belly. But not so lucky for me is that the Dr. is kind of concerned. Regardless, I feel great and think everything is just fine, so that's the mindset I'll continue to have. 

As hoped, my fluids stayed the same as they were from my previous check-up and BT continues to grow healthily.  And my healthy, I mean he has a big head! This news is not so much what a woman wants to hear about the baby inside her that has to come out at some point. It's not abnormally large, and apparently most boys have larger heads, so basically it's normal, but just a little icky to think about. However, I'm glad he's gaining weight and continuing to grow right on track with where he should be. 

Due to the fact that my fluids were still on the low side of normal, the Dr. asked me to stop working out for this week and try to get them back up. She said I am more active than all of her patients combined, so I should try and scale it back this week and just take it easy. Even though we just got back from vacation where all we did was take it easy, I reluctantly agreed. (But I can't promise not any working out...I will more than likely sneak some workouts in this week...there's a good 90% chance of that). But I will oblige her and take it easy to see if it helps my fluids to come back up. 

All is well in baby land. Mom (me) is feeling somewhat anxious as we get closer to the big and my crazy analytical mind take baby thoughts and grow them until they are completely out of proportion, but it only comes in spurts for now. Most of the other stuff is just excitement and readiness for him to be here and to have everything done. It's been fun to "see" him the past few times we've been to the Dr. and it only leaves  us wondering what he really looks like out of the belly and in the real world. Only time will tell. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

We spent this week in our favorite little spot of earth, Rosemary Beach. The past two years, this has been our anniversary vacation spot and we have grown to love the area, the locals, the architecture, the food...and just the way we leave feeling more relaxed than you can ever imagine. This trip was what most maternity books refer to as a Babymoon. Basically, our "last hoo-rah" before little BT comes along and our vacations have to be a lot more planned and life has to be slightly less spontaneous. None of these things are bad, life will just be different.  

After a stressful week in Charlotte, we were ready to get away for some one-on-one time and some time to rejuvenate before heading back to Nashville. Just our memories from last year's trip has us super-excited and our excitement was matched and exceeded with this year's trip. We stayed in this great loft right in town square and were close to everything - the gym, the ocean, the food, the sunsets. Like the silly people we are, we visited the gym 5 out of the 8 days we were there and got in some great workouts and met some fun locals. This trip was a test to my confidence in a bathing suit...seriously. If I thought I was self conscious NOT pregnant, I really had some thinking to do about how confident I was going to be at 31 weeks pregnant! It was an adventure, but I will say I did it and am proud to say I bore my belly every day but one (and only because it got too red!). BIG BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT in the self-esteem world. Seriously. 

We flew into Panama City from Charlotte, which is a new route just added in the past few months. It was a quick flight and we were only about 20 minutes away from the much nicer than driving!!  Since we arrived in the morning and couldn't check in until the afternoon, we picked up our rental car and then stopped off at a new shopping center to grab a few things at Target and eat a bite at Panera before heading in to check in. That day pretty much ended as quickly as it began due to the cloudy weather, getting settled, getting some groceries for the week, then grabbing dinner. But every day after that was beautiful, in the 80's and full of sun! Pretty much every day after that was spent like so:
1. Wake up early 
2. Go to the gym
3. Make coffee or hit Starbucks
4. Head to the beach
5. Bake, bake, bake
6. Grab some lunch either in our room or at one of the quick bite places in town
7. Bake, bake, bake some more
8. Head in for chill time and showers
9. Do dinner (we cooked and ate in 3 nights and went out the other nights)
10. Come back and relax with coffee, tea, dessert, stargazing, etc.

It was perfect. 

We also "celebrated" Cinco de Mayo down there at a local spot called Cowboy Kitchen where we had a great time with some local ladies who were enamored with us. They own a few of the shops there in town and are crazy fun. They helped us decide on names for the baby (one of our goals for this trip!) and let us bounce ideas off of them. We also met a couple (also pregnant) from Dallas and had a few fun days with them before we left. There were a few days we'd stroll down a few beaches and grab coffee and a snack from Fonville Press, which has the best iced soy mocha I have ever tasted. Still. To this day. 

And, of course, a trip to Florida's panhandle would not be complete without dinner at The Red Bar. This dinner even has become an annual tradition (or however often it is that we find ourselves in close proximity to Seaside). They have the best mashed potatoes I've ever tasted and the menu is guaranteed to have a great catch of fish for dinner...the menu changes daily, so you don't really know what you'll get when you go, but they always have the mashed potatoes! :) Nate's newest thing is trying the Key Lime Pie at whatever restaurant we go to. So far, he has a favorite and none has been able to match thus far. They had a good one, but it wasn't as cold as we would have preferred, so it didn't beat the current winner. So the search will go on. 

Unfortunately, the trip had to come to an end. Neither of us wanted to go back to reality. We enjoyed the lazy days on the beach lounging in our chairs, chilling under the umbrella, watching the families, walking down the beach and exploring the homes, and just laughing...which we did lots of. Luckily, we came away with a baby name, and that's fun. I'm excited about that "check" off the list. But we had to return to a house full of gifts and furniture we had to get back to that wasn't so exciting, but we did it. 

Our "feets" against the white sand beach and the Gulf in the background.
The husband of the couple we met from Texas went in this kayak with Nathan - they thought they could make it to the second sand bar and be able to stand up. Not. But they had fun regardless. 

Me with my cigar smoking boy.

Our night at The Red Bar...
I was playing with the fire.

Us - glowing WHITE on Day 2...EEK! 

The view from our loft.

Cinco de the Cowboy Kitchen. NT proves his marital status, I say NO to the Corona, and we get a pic with some of our local friends. They are so fun!