On My Mind

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I want to talk to you about the father of my child for a minute.

He’s pretty handsome, right? Not to sound totally shallow, but it’s pretty fun waking up to a handsome face every day.

His handsomeness is not what I’m here to talk about. I just think it’s fun.

What I really want to talk about? How excited I am to have a baby with this person.

On some level, I always knew Joey would make a great dad. I don’t think you marry someone without at least considering whether or not they would be a good parent unless you are dead-set against having kids yourself. I was pretty sure I did want kids, so I thought about it. And yup, I thought, he would be good at it.

Which isn’t to say we both didn’t have some growing up to do first. When you get married in your early 20s like we did, you probably have more growing up to do than most. And when you get married in your early 20s like we did, it’s not always a smooth, simple process.

I’m incredibly grateful, though, that we grew up and together. In fact, I think Joey and I have never been a better match than we are today.

I’m also incredibly grateful that we both grew into people that, I’m pretty sure, will be pretty good parents. At least, I know Joey will.

Joey is the kind of guy who remembers my friends’ various diet restrictions, just in case they want to come over for dinner, so he can cook them something they’ll like.

Joey is the kind of guy that, when he figures out something that makes you laugh until you almost pee your pants, will find as many excuses to do that thing as possible because he just likes seeing you crack up.

Joey is the kind of guy that babies notice from across a room and instantly grin at, as if simply seeing his face is the best part of their day.

Joey is the kind of guy who, when you’ve spent all day carrying your pregnant belly around to just limp home and collapse on the couch and lazily ask for a glass of water even though you’re two feet away from the kitchen, he’ll immediately get it for you without any fuss even though he was probably already making you dinner. No heavy sighs or dramatics. He just wants to take care of you.

Joey is the kind of guy who, in birth prep class, will make you try every practice labor position on the birthing ball and test every massage apparatus so we can be sure we’ve found the ones I like best. Then he’ll commit to memory what I liked so he can help as much as possible when we do this labor thing for real.

Joey is the kind of guy who, when I’m exhausted and finally starting to get tired of this growing-a-human thing and let myself complain a bit, tells me what an amazing job I’m doing and how brave, strong, and great he thinks I am.

Joey is the kind of guy who wants to read to the baby every night, but first he wants to wait until I feel her moving so he knows she’s awake and “paying attention.”

Joey is the kind of guy who never, ever loses that look of amazement and wonder in his eyes when he feels the baby kick or move in my belly.

Joey is the kind of guy who whispers to my belly before we go to sleep, sharing a private moment with his daughter that always ends with him telling her how much he loves her and can’t wait to meet her.

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to think of a guy better suited to being a dad.

I’m so glad I married this man. I’m so glad we stuck it out through the not-so-smooth-or-simple parts of growing up together. And I’m so glad I get to have a baby with him.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

You’re the best, Joey. You’re going to be so great at this — you already are. I love you from the left to the right.

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All photos by Figment Art & Photo Co.

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Last week, a group of my girlfriends and I got together for our book club. Before we dug into the actual book (and the plethora of treats), we sat around a bit catching up on our lives.

Since my life is basically just baby these days, we talked about that when we got around to me. My friend Kristina asked if pregnancy had been what I expected it to be or if anything surprised me.

I didn’t have a very good answer at the time because I hadn’t really thought about it, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since then.

Honestly, I always kind of thought (hoped?) that I would enjoy being pregnant. I don’t know why. I mean, a lot of people don’t. And it certainly comes with a host of discomforts. But for whatever reason, I looked forward to the chance to carry a baby and felt optimistic about the process.

And, for the most part, I have really enjoyed it. Yes, it helps that I am incredibly fortunate that getting and staying pregnant went smoothly for me. Yes, it helps that I managed to dodge difficult morning sickness and a host of other unpleasantness a lot of women go through. Some of those things I could impact, others were just the way it turned out. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful.

But there was one aspect of pregnancy that I always assumed I would have a big problem with: gaining weight.

I mean, it’s kind of a head trip. As a woman, you’re nearly constantly bombarded with confusing messages about your body and what it should be, and, as a rule, those messages tell you that you need to be smaller and weigh less. Like a lot of women my age (like a lot of women any age?), I spent a large portion of my life trying to weigh less or trying to maintain my lowest weight.

And now you’re telling me I need to undo all that hard work and deliberately try to gain weight? Are you crazy?!

Part of me was deliciously enticed by the possibility (guilt-free weight gain!). Another part of me was totally terrified.

Because, you guys? I’ve gained weight before. Significant amounts of weight. (Though, of course, that’s subjective.) And the resulting shame spiral took me to dark, spiny mental places that I worked for years to get out of. It destroyed my relationship with my body and just generally screwed me up for a while. I clawed my way out of that place. And I work actively and aggressively to keep myself from going back there.

So…I was scared. Because I didn’t want to feel negative feelings about anything associated with creating my baby. I wanted the process to be filled with love and joy as much as possible. Maybe that sounds naive, but it was how I had always pictured and hoped the experience would be.

And then I got pregnant. And, yes, obviously, started to gain weight. And you know what?

It hasn’t bothered me even the teeniest, tiniest bit.

It probably helps that I NEVER weigh myself except at my doctor appointments. Not in pre-pregnancy life, and certainly not now. Like always, I let the way my clothes fit and the way I feel determine if my size is acceptable, instead of attaching too much meaning to a silly, downright objective number.

I’m not delusional — I know that I’ve gained 10-12 pounds (maybe more…I have an appointment next week) in the last seven months. It’s just that…I couldn’t care less. Yes, I know it’s weight for the baby (even though the little miss is only two-ish pounds, the rest is all fluid and uterus and that whole extra organ your body grows to feed your baby, the placenta), so maybe that contributes to my not freaking out about it.

But beyond not caring about the extra pounds, I feel so much more loving toward my body than I ever thought I would. It’s like I’ve found an old friend after years of (at times) abusive silence.

I’m so proud of my body for not only growing a human full-time, but also for sticking it out through the still-challenging workouts that I put it through to maintain my mental balance. I cherish the increasingly convex curve of my stomach way more than I ever did its flatter counterpart because this tummy lovingly cradles my baby all day and night. I want to high-five my swiftly changing reflection so I can congratulate my body on being a total rockstar and miraculously knowing exactly what to do to create and nurture another person.

The most surprising thing about this process, for me, is how much awe it has filled me with. For women and their amazing bodies. For God who created them in his incredible wisdom.

I’m proud of the mental journey I’ve made and my newfound ability to see myself as I really am for possibly the first time in my life — wonderfully made.

I’m officially into the third trimester.

Even just writing that sentence fills me with, well, all the feelings.

I’m excited. I’m so, so, so excited that it’s almost time to finally have our little girl in our arms. Joey and I talk every day about how much we can’t wait to meet her and how much we’re looking forward to even the most mundane moments. (Baby’s first yawn? It’s gonna kill me dead.)

I’m nervous. You guys, I’m going to be a mom. That’s…big. One of the biggest things I’ve ever done. I want so much to be good at it without driving anyone (myself included) crazy. That’s a lot of pressure.

I’m (a little) stressed. There is so much I want to do before Vivian makes her grand entrance. Blame it on the nesting, but whatever it is, here’s everything that has been crowding my to-do list:

1. Finish the nursery.
Obviously this is a big one. We’re planning to paint her room this weekend (and I’ll hopefully get a start on the mural wall on Sunday). I also have some frames that I need to paint and fill for her walls. As soon as that’s done, we’ll order the crib. I’ve been looking around on Craigslist for the perfect dresser/changing table, but I haven’t found the right one yet. I also need to start finding alternate places for everything we’ve been storing in the room until now.

2. Organize the hall and front closet.
I’ve mentioned before the weird abundance of closet space our apartment has. The front coat closet and hall closet are two that I feel are a bit underutilized at the moment. Now that we’re much more settled, I want to basically take everything out of each of them and put it back in a way that makes the most sense. Being me, I’m of course weirdly excited to do this. In a similar vein, I also want to reorganize our cellar space. This is largely a room for Joey’s sports equipment and bigger items we don’t have room for, but I think it could be a little neater.

3. Do my bi-annual clothing cull.
I’m very serious about my twice-yearly clothing sorts where I get rid of anything that is cluttering up our closets. Since the little miss will be arriving around the time I usually do my fall closet purge, I’d like to get that taken care of over the summer. (Since, you know, I’ve heard people with newborns are fairly busy people.)

4. Just…generally clean everything?
I think I can definitely blame this one on the nesting, but I want to get at least one deep cleaning in sometime late summer. My mom is planning to spend a week or two with us after Vivi is born, so I know she will be extremely helpful with the general upkeep of the apartment, but I’ll feel better if I know everything has had a fairly recent scrub-down. I also want to finish up any last-minute decor plans I’ve had rolling around my head so I’m not, I don’t know, staring at those spots on the walls that need paint touch-ups in Vivian’s third month. Hypothetically.

5. Get my own maintenance in.
As I said, people with babies seem pretty busy. So I want to get myself in order (as much as possible) before the baby gets here. That means dentist appointments, hair appointments, and any other last-minute things-that-make-me-feel-healthy-and-like-myself appointments needs to be scheduled sometime in August. Think of it as a pre-baby tune-up.

Okay, all written down, this list feels much more manageable. I really need about four solid weekends to get everything done. (Not the easy request since July is already pretty much taken up, but I still think I can get it done.)

Am I forgetting anything?

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Are y’all okay if I spew a little mush on the blog today?

Seriously…just a bit? A tiny bit?

Oh wait. This is my blog. I DO WHAT I WANT.

AN-yway.

About a month ago, Joey and I decided that not only did we want to take a “babymoon” before our little lady’s imminent arrival, we needed to.

Think about it: A baby is forever. After she’s born, it will never be just the two of us again. Sure, one day she’ll grow up and move out and get a job and her own life and whatever. But really, it will never, ever be the same as it has been for the last four years.

So, even though we are in super-saver mode these days, we ponied up the cash for two tickets to my grandparents’ condo in Florida. Of course, we weren’t being totally reckless. Staying at my grandparents’ place is significantly cheaper than booking a hotel or an all-inclusive resort (the dream), and we would have our own kitchen, meaning we could save on at least a dinner or two and all of our breakfasts and most lunches. And while we would have loved to take a 10-day trip, we opted to extend our Memorial Day weekend an extra day to preserve my precious few vacation days.

Though I will admit that I sprung for the slightly more expensive plane tickets that would give us direct flights to the most convenient airports in both locations. Because what’s the point of taking a relaxing vacation if the trip home is going to get you just as rattled as you were before?

The result of our plans? I don’t want to overstate this, but the trip was, in a word, perfect.

I’m always a little irked by those people who put #blessed in their Instagram captions because, to me, it seems like a fairly overt humblebrag. But after that trip with my husband, I have a hard time describing my feelings any other way. I’m so humbled by the way my husband loves me. I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity and the means to get away from regular life now and then to reconnect. I’m filled with awe by this tiny life growing inside me.

God is so, so good to us, and I hope I can hold onto these feelings even when things aren’t going so smoothly. Because while I don’t feel #blessed, I do feel blessed to live the life I do with the people I love.

So now it’s back to “real” life, with jobs and bills and schedules that don’t include things like “morning swim in the pool” and “leisurely lunch by the ocean whenever we feel like walking to the restaurant”. But you know what? The trips to the beach may be over and my tan has probably already begun to fade, but I think this fullness in my heart will last a while longer.

You know how you never feel like you have enough time to yourself? Like there are a million things you could get done, if only you had a solid hour or two to just focus and tackle them?

The problem is that this time only really comes around at the most inopportune times. Like when you’re trying to get to work and your train is delayed by s track fire. For over an hour.

Oh, did I not mention my current situation? Because that’s it.

And of course the irony is that I can do pretty much nothing during this time. I’m caught up online. I answer work emails when they come in. And I blog.
But you know what I would really like to use this time for?

  1. To update my various websites
  2. To clean out the baby room
  3. To organize my closets
  4. To cut Bogey’s hair
  5. To do dishes
  6. To paint the baby room
  7. To spruce up the garden
  8. To go for a run
  9. To do anything but sit on this God-forsaken train

But, alas. This is our life, right?

Here’s hoping we start moving soon.

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Really, I should have known that the new apartment was coming together too quickly.

We’ve only been in the new place for a couple months, and already I had the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom done. The hallway was going to be finished this weekend, and then all we would have left was the baby room.

It was just. Too. Simple.

Our upstairs neighbor must have known things were going a bit too swimmingly as well. So she decided to intervene.

Before I tell you this story, you need to know that our apartment is in the basement of a house. We have two floors, each of which are their own apartment, above us. We now return you to the story.

Last Friday, the woman on the third floor started filling up a pot of water in the sink. Then she left. For, apparently, hours. The pot quickly filled with water, and then the sink filled with water, and then the water overflowed and flooded her apartment. It then flooded the first floor apartment. It then started to leak into our apartment.

This is, apparently, the second time this woman has done this. *finger gun to the face motion*

Fortunately, Joey got home in time to realize what was happening (due to the three large, quickly expanding bubbles on our ceiling) and move our furniture out of the way and put put buckets under the bubbles. When everything was in place, he poked small holes in the bubbles to allow the water to drain into the buckets. The bubbles remained, but at least the water within them had been dealt with.

Or so we thought.

When our landlord sent over a contractor to assess the damage a week later (grumble), they found that water was not only in our hallway ceiling, it had also been leaking into one of our bedroom walls all week. The entire wall had rotted and needed to be ripped out. The ceiling needed to be opened, dried with heavy-duty fans for three days, and then either ripped out (if the wood had warped) or just have the sheetrock replaced (if it had not).

This all happened three days before we were supposed to have family over on Sunday for our gender reveal.

I was not, shall we say, pleased. There may have been tears. But I like to think I would have been able to handle it sans the weepies if I wasn’t pregnant.

The negatives of this situation are fairly obvious, so let’s look at the silver linings, okay?

1. This didn’t happen when the baby was here. I would much rather deal with construction without having to worry about it upsetting anyone’s nap time.

2. It could be worse? At least it’s only one wall and one section of ceiling as opposed to the more heavy-duty damage our upstairs neighbors are dealing with.

3. A friend offered her house for the party. Which is super nice, I just hate having to impose. Blerg.

Those are pretty much all of the positives. Really, there is very little good about water damage.

Sooooo that’s what’s going on. But on the actual bright side, today is my anatomy scan ultrasound, so hopefully we will know more about our little bean this weekend. Stay tuned!

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