Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday High Fives

If you aren't doing the Friday happy dance, you should be. What you waitin' for?

This week's happy dances have been brought to my corner of the world thanks to:
  • A-Mazing showers last week/weekend. I'm plum worn out from celebrating and have the swollen feet and mountains of precious gifts to prove it.

  • Passing my glucose test the 2nd time around. Praise the Lord! That test was no fun at all thanks to chugging a sugar drink that was so strong I could almost chew it, and then sitting there for there for 3 hours, BUT I am not complaining because I PASSED! One less thing to worry about for baby Zig. I'll high five that!
  • Our first family portrait compliments of the very talented, Lysie.

  • A foot rub from the Hubs. My feet are not fairing well lately and the nurse prescribed nightly foot rubs. She even offered to write out a legit prescription for Timmy if he didn't believe me. If I haven't said it yet on here, my nurses and doctor are the bomb. I heart them all.
  • Heading out for a family getaway this weekend. This girl cannot wait to relax! My body and spirit need some serious down time.
  • This little man being ever so patient with me as I constantly entertain myself at his expense. He approves of the baby carrier, but not so much the being buried alive by his babies. He's such a  good sport.

  • And these two holding hands (and paws) as we all debriefed from the work day. I cannot get enough.

  • The Hubs fixing our ceiling fan in the master bedroom. It's the little things.
  • Completing 3 large events in a week span for work. They were awesome, but I'm so glad they're done!
  • Baby kicks that other people can feel. I still love them to pieces.

  • Celebrating with family for Tim's Birthday and Father's Day last weekend. It's always fun to celebrate the people you love with family that are also some of your favorite friends.
  • Having the nursery 90% of the way complete. We went from 0% to 90% in one afternoon, which was exhausting but worth it. Sometimes I just want to sit in there or take a nap in there. Is that weird? I'm guessing I'll spend PLENTY of time in there once the baby arrives;)
Happy weekend, Y'all!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We About to Get Our Birth On

Tonight marks our third birthing class, which means we will be 75% of the way to becoming birthing experts. We will know almost everything there is to know about birth, the female body, breathing techniques that make child bearing a piece of no sweat cake, and we'll be ready to bring that little nugget home after only 24 hours of supervision from the hospital staff.

If you believe all of that then you're a fool. No offense.

Birthing class has probably been one of the most awkward yet slightly rewarding and educational things I've ever shelled out $85 to partake in. Sitting in a class with 6 other couples, who are all complete strangers, while watching a woman from the 80's give birth on a big screen is just not fun. There's no way to even make that fun. No amount of complimentary bottled water or lemonade can dull that sting in your eyes. Friends of ours had said there would be "phenomenal lemon cake" at these classes. They're dang liars. There's zero cake. Just pain. Cake would maybe help dull the sting a little bit, but the last thing I want to be doing during one of those videos is eating anything. Trust me on that one. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure that at one point throughout the video I swore to myself that I'd never have the desire to eat anything ever again from being so disturbed.

To be fair, we have learned some helpful things throughout the class so I cannot complain. Tonight we cover pain management and the various medication options versus last week's "natural" birth options. I'm hoping tonight's round of videos are less traumatic when drugs are involved. I pray this round doesn't make me secretly hope for a C-section like last week. And I'm fairly certain that it's way too late to go the surrogate route on this one, right? Hindsight is 20/20.

So for all the moms out there, my question is this...why are we encouraged to take a four week birthing class but NO ONE offers a parenting class? Like, not even a 20 minute session on how to keep your baby alive? Birthing, albeit serious, risky business, can be taught in a matter of an hour or so I would imagine, so why can we not spend the remaining 7 hours discussing how to feed, bath, clothe and care for this tiny human you just taught me how to expel from my body? Where is that class???

If anyone out there would like to quit their day job and make a killing, you should start a "Parenting 101: How to Keep a New Human Alive" class. I will be your first client. In the very front of the room. With a notepad and tape recorder.

Teach me how to manage my pain during 20+ hours and I'll forever be grateful. Teach me how to care for this 8 pound miracle and I'll cling to you the fabric sheet that fell out of pant leg in the TJMaxx dressing room last week. We will be that tight. Forever. And you, my friend, will be a millionaire. You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Belated Father's Day Shout Out

Although my schedule hasn't allowed for any creative writing time over the last week or so, I still wanted to make sure that I made time to stop, slow down, and give much love and credit to all the dads out there. Especially mine. Where does one even start when it comes to describing and thanking dads for all they do?

I can only base my breadth and width of "dad knowledge" based on what I have seen lived out by those dads in my life, and whether it's been my dad, grandpas, father in law or now the Hubs as he prepares to be a dad, I've been surrounded by strong examples of what fatherly love should and does look like.

My dad:
  • Knew how to manage family time and a career and was always home for dinner and homework. Being an Executive Director of a company can keep some men at their desk more than at their own dinner table, but my dad made family time a priority. Eating as a family back then didn't feel so treasured as I was choking down a tuna noodle casserole, but as an adult who watches so many people pull 12-14 hour work days, I know that choices were probably involved and I'm grateful we, his kids and wife, won out on those decisions.
  • Always had a joke. Some were appropriate and some were questionable (which I could gauge even at a young age based on an eye roll or a "Sscccooootttttt" from my mom), but you could always count on him for a laugh over dinner.
  • Valiantly tried to give good, sound break-up advice when I was broken hearted and looking for answers. Sometimes his advice fell a little short, like the time he compared the ending of my 2 year relationship to the University of Illinois losing a basketball game after a long standing winning streak, but the point is that he tried. Granted I immediately asked him to "just put mom on the phone" when he told me "imagine how those guys on the U of I team must feel right about now", but again, he tried and I can look back and respect the effort.
  • Taught me to get up more times than you fall down.
  • Made me go to college when all I wanted to do was continue skating and tour with Disney on Ice. After watching some of my skater friends retire from shows later in life and starting the college journey in their 30's, I'm so grateful that college was mandatory for us and skating after college was always an option.
  • Gives great advice and is my go-to for all things career and professional growth.
  • Loved us and wasn't afraid to show his love for us. There was nothing held back and nothing forced. He said it and showed it, and I felt it and believed it.
  • Woke us up playing an imaginary bugle more times than I can count. I hated it at the time, but little things like that are what sets each dad apart. Even if it was ridiculously annoying as a middle schooler and teenager.
  • Simply is the best. I'm not saying he's better than your dad, cause they're all great, but mine's pretty hard to beat. I mean, is your dad skilled in the imaginary bugle? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Dad, thanks for always being there for us whether we were 2, 12 or 35. You made time for us, loved us unconditionally even when we probably made you want to rip your or our hair out, and did it all with a sense of humor or a U of I team analogy. You didn't put up with our crap for long which taught us to straighten up, respect our elders, and follow the rules as adults. I share a of love of music with you thanks to hours spent listening to your records, some of which I own now and play while I'm cleaning the house. Although I'm a girly girl, I can find humor in "natural gases" with the best of them, and I don't take myself too seriously (at least I try not to). And when I fall down, or I see someone around me fall down, I try to make sure that we all get up just one more time.

You're the best and if I could line up all the dads in the world, I'd pick you every time. Happy Belated Father's Day!

Love your,
Sweet Baboo


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Hidden Gem

Although we've had a rocky real estate track over the last 5 months or so thanks to a difficult seller, we have had a little bit of fun exploring some unique places along the way. You really get a glimpse into someone's personality when you're given the invitation to tour their home.

The real fun is when the current owners surprise you by being in the home for your showing. Hello, awkward. Don't mind us opening all of your cabinets, closets, etc...while you sip tea in the living room.

This past weekend, we had the pleasure of touring a home with great potential. Some rooms made me feel overwhelmed, while others made me chuckle out loud. You could tell the owner had put a lot of money into the home, but just hadn't maintained it as it deserved due to a bustling career. I teetered between "this is too much work" to "this could be doable and very worth it" with every room I entered.

A few of the rooms that made me laugh were the bedrooms. It was very apparent that this parent loved his children very much and allowed them to embrace their passions. Each bedroom had a professionally painted mural, and you KNOW I HAD to take pictures. Sadly, they'd all be painted over if we were to move in, but as I kid, I could see feeling like you had the coolest room on the block so I respected them as I snuck a few photos.
Can you guess what each kid loved at the time of the murals?

And as we began to leave the property, our agent reminded us of the tree house in the backyard and asked if we wanted to view it before we left. Duh. To be honest, the tree house was part of the reason I was intrigued by this property. Granted, a smaller reason, but a reason nonetheless. And after the owner unlocked the door to the tree house (yes, it has a lock and security system), I knew I should always trust my gut, even on the "small reasons".

This tree house may be nicer than parts of our house. Ever see the show Tree House Masters? Well the contractor who stars in that show built this tree house. Who knew?! He even went on to build Selma Hayek's tree house immediately after leaving Rockford.

To protect the owner's privacy, I won't share every photo I secretly snagged, but to give you some perspective, here are a few specs of this tree mansion:
  • Total cost= $65,000
  • It's made of all natural products including cherry oak and 150 year old oak that was once the inside of wine barrels in Spain
  • It's wired with a Bose surround sound system and a flat screen TV
  • It has an intercom so you can chat with your kids from the house
  • It has AC, heat, and plumbing (sink only, no toilet)
  • It has a deck that can seat 4+ adults
  • A zip line runs from it across the backyard
  • It houses 6 oak bunks for camping out. And these bunks are swanky with cubbies for storage, windows, etc...
  • It has two ladders that run through the inside that go up to an observation deck on the roof of the tree house.
  • It's insanely large. These pictures do not do it justice.
Suddenly everything that needed work in the house no longer scared me. I wanted that tree house. I'm not sure if I wanted it for our kids or for us when we needed a break from the kids;) I could spend hours in that perfect oasis.

To give you a little size perspective, look at the black bar stool directly under the house.
This thing is huge.

This is not a great shot of some of the bunks, but I was trying to be sneaky.
You can at least get a feel for the interior and the quality of the wood. Gorgeous.
The zipline platform that made this personal injury attorney's wife very nervous.
 I trust kids on it more than I do our adult friends.

Hmmmm. How much work is "too much" on a house when you can take breaks and sit in your air conditioned tree house and sip wine and watch movies? Honestly, it can't be that much, right?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday High Fives

It's Friday, it's gorgeous outside and I have a half day at the office. I'll chalk that up to a great day. A great one, indeed.

Here are a few other things that made my days just a little bit brighter this week:
  • Receiving fun baby gifts in the mail all week (thank you!). We need to hustle on the nursery apparently, as baby things, although tiny in size, are starting to take over our house since they have no place to go just yet.
  • Finding this fun package waiting for me on my doorstep. Cookies in a box, um, yes, please! Thanks, Rennie! Feel free to jinx me anytime:)

  • Finally being able to sit down on our couch before 8:30pm last night. I have had something every night this week and I'm exhausted. I'm starting to learn that I need to start saying "no" to some things. There's no malice in it, and it's one thing to burn my candle at both ends, but it's another to burn the Zig's.
  • Learning and implementing a few dietary tweaks that have made me feel SO much better. They're not the most fun changes, but if they make me feel good, I can tough them out for the next three months.
  • This song. The Hubs loves George Strait to infinity and beyond, and once he shared with me that this song has always made him think of us and our journey together, I love it all the more.
  • Celebrating our anniversary this weekend. I'm so ready for a great dinner out with my baby daddy.
  • An extra cuddly Piggy this week. He is glued to me like a magnet. Yesterday during lunch he was quietly nuzzled across my stomach when Ziggy started kicking away. He kicked so strong and the Pig never moved. He just cuddled in and absorbed them. It was their first brother moment and I was in heaven.
  • My grandma being discharged from the hospital after an unexpected week long stay. She's now snuggled comfortably into assisted living until she fully recoups.
  • Kicking off our first birthing class together. We were both on the fence on whether or not we'd enjoy it or make fun of it the whole, and whether or not it'd be a waste of time. After one class, I'm already so glad we decided to sign up. Pregnancy isn't really a shared experience, which makes me sad for men to miss out on it, so this class allows us to learn about the process together. I even learned things in the first hour that I had no clue about even as a health major in college.  And the cheesy breathing exercises weren't so bad after all. Until they made me burp and receive a sideways glance of disbelief from the Hubs. Oops.
  • Coming home from a whirlwind weekend trip to a very clean kitchen, vacuumed floors, two scrubbed bathrooms, yard work in progress and a crib that had been scrubbed down and put together. Everyone laughed at me for saying I had left a "honey-do" list for the Hubs, and I believe some called it a rookie mistake. Well, this rookie was a very happy wife when I walked into the house from a long day of travel. Thanks, Timmy! You're the best!

Happy Friday, Y'all!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Praise Him in the Dark

I've always dreamed of writing a book entitled Glow In the Dark God. I don't know if I'll ever do it, but my vision is to compile short testimonials of Christians who have struggled with severe depression and chosen life; chosen to keep fighting. I know in my darkest times, I had to rely purely on my faith to get me through. I knew in my head the Lord was with me and would carry me through, but I couldn't see Him and I certainly didn't feel Him. And I can remember at times asking Him to glow in the dark if He was there. He usually would surface in the words of a friend or counselor, in a supportive call from my parents, a special verse, or a surprise flower delivery from my grandparents that simply read "hold on for spring". And so I did. I held on. Sometimes with the tightest of grips and sometimes by my pinky finger, but I held on waiting for that glow in the dark moment that said "I'm still here. I've got you. You're not going to fall. You're worth the fight."

This weekend while traveling back to SC, I was able to visit my home church. It's always so bittersweet to go. I LOVE being there where the worship replenishes and people know my name and my passions, and the pastors speak right to me. The hard part is leaving those doors not knowing when I'll be back. But we went and I'm so glad that I did.

As we walked into the building, I thought to myself "dang, it's dark in here." No sooner did I think that than a volunteer stopped us and said "we've had a power outage, but we're still having the service. Pastor Greg will be speaking through a battery pack." I knew right away this was going to be interesting. And it certainly was, but in a very cool way.

Although it was hot in there with an 86 degree day and no airflow, the experience brought me full circle to my days of waiting on my glow in the dark God. The lights were off, but He was there and He was bright.

From the unplugged and acoustic worship music to a pastor standing on a dark stage with an emergency sound system, it was perfect. In that hour or so, it was apparent that the Lord needs no stage. He needs no fancy speakers nor does he need a light show. He can stand alone, in the dark and still bring the light. He's truly is a glow in the dark God.

My hope for you is that you go to church one morning and find that the lights are off. Don't panic. It'll be a very cool experience if you're open to it. The Lord will meet you there, and although the service may be a bit quieter and calmer than normal, it'll be one of the loudest messages you'll witness.

And who knows, maybe I'll write that book someday. Stranger things have happened, like doing church in the dark.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Celebrating Ziggy, Southern Style

I've been very blessed with friends, family and co-workers who have come forward and offered to host showers and celebrations for our sweet boy. I struggle with being the recipient of showers as I never want anyone to feel obligated to purchase a gift, but I do love the opportunity to celebrate alongside of friends and family. With that being said, I typically accept, gratefully, with the caveat that it doesn't create too much work for the hostesses and that the gatherings stay pretty intimate with close friends of the Hubs and me and family. It's not about the presents, but about the people.

Thankfully my besties in SC did just that with the perfect, intimate gathering this past weekend. It was our first shower for Ziggy and it felt so right to be there surrounded by the girls who know me best. They've been along with me on my life journey, some for 15 years and some for 4 years, some as college friends, some as bible study friends, some as co-workers or roommates, but all as my dearest friends who I know I can call with anything, anytime.

It was so special to have friends drive in from Georgia and Columbia, SC and to just sit, share stories, a few tears on my part (happy ones, of course), and a delicious brunch at High Cotton. They showered Ziggy and me with thoughtful, yet very practical gifts, even after I had stressed to one of the co-hosts that I did not need presents, but more so just the fellowship of my girls.

I LOVED every single person and present, but a few of my highlights were:
  • Having my co-workers and friends intermixed for the morning. I knew they'd all get along and it was fun to see their faces in one big, happy group.
  • Receiving monogrammed burp cloths. In keeping with our nautical nursery theme, one has an anchor with the verse "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" Hebrews 6:19. As the Hubs put it "those are way too nice to have someone throw up on them repeatedly." That they are!
  • Being gifted a monogrammed pillow case for my hospital stay as part of the gifts from my hostesses. As the moms in the group pointed out "your pillow in the hospital bed will be in every single photo on the first 2 days of the baby's life" so they wanted it to be pretty for me and even more so, meaningful. Needless to say I teared up as I pulled out the cutest gray pillowcase with a navy blue and white anchor embroidered in the center with the words "Anchored in Christ" monogrammed on the side. It's perfect. It'll be the perfect reminder for me of my girls in SC, the faith and Creator who has made all of this possible, and that Ziggy, although ours, is also a treasured child of the most high. Seriously, the perfect gift.
As if the morning wasn't perfect already, a group of women approached our table as they were leaving the restaurant and handed me two sheets of paper. They shared that they "are all moms of boys, and since they noticed that I was having a boy, they wanted to share with me their thoughts and advice on raising a boy." Again, I cried. I hadn't even read the list yet, but was so touched that four women I had never met spent their brunch gathering their pearls of wisdom for a new mom. Rebecca had to read the list to our group as I knew I wouldn't make it through it, and it was so well written that I knew we were going to hang them in Ziggy's nursery. I'll have to share their thoughts with you soon. They're too great not to share.

To my hostesses and friends in SC, thank you so much for loving on Ziggy and me. Being there with you was gift enough, and your actual gifts were above and beyond. I miss you all every day, but I love that when we're reunited, it's like coming home every single time. Ziggy is SO blessed already and I cannot wait to bring him to SC in 2015! If he's anything like his momma, he'll be ready for some saltwater and sand between his toes by next summer!

Saturday Brunch at High Cotton in Charleston, SC
Peonies always make me want to curl up in them and take a nap.
They know me well.
Anchor cake, as yummy as it is pretty.
Ziggy and I thoroughly enjoyed this favor.
The best thing about this photo is that there's 5 people in it:)
One of my precious burp clothes and Karie, the designer of them, in the background.
Four of my Five hostesses. I love them if you haven't gathered that yet.
CofC girls with Citadel hearts, which is the best kind of Charleston girl if you ask me.
These two always make me laugh. Always.
Jumbo sized, Ziggy. I wanted to take him on the plane with me so badly!
Think he would've fit in the overhead bin?


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top Ten Reasons I'd Rather Travel With The Hubs

10. I dislike riding the bus from Rockford to O'Hare, but it does not make sense for one person to drive in alone when it comes to parking fees. The bus makes me anxious for some reason.

9. People watching is not nearly as fun when there's no one else to share your theories with.

8. He lifts our bags into the overhead bin with ease.

7. It's slightly creepy to rest your head on a stranger's shoulder as you doze off on the plane. Even if it's an accident as your head awkwardly bobs as you nod off. Don't you just hate when your head bobs on a plane?!

6. There's no one to complain to when it's too hot or too cold on the flight. I guess I could share my thoughts with the lucky traveler seated next to me, but I'm pretty adamant about not making chit chat on a flight. I'm not rude, I just usually have a book I've been hoping to finish or a nap to "try" to take and once you open that chatter window it's often impossible to close it.

5. I have no one else to jokingly blame gaseous smells on when he's not there. On one of our flights together, I kid you not, someone smelled like a dirty diaper the entire time (and no, there were no children or elderly people around to pin it on). I made jokes almost the whole way on it being the Hubs to the point that he started getting mad because he was afraid my voice was traveling and others would think it was him too. It made the flight go by much faster though through my giggles, and let's face it, when your plane smells like poo pants you want it to go ask quickly as possible.

4. He gets shafted on getting his complimentary beverage more times that he actually receives them, so when he's not there, the beverage cart is just that, simply beverages. I prefer when it's a game of chance. A Russian roulette of soda and juice, if you will.

3. No one else finds it humorous when they discover a peanut floating in their airplane Coke. No clue how it started, but since our honeymoon, I will ALWAYS sneak a peanut into his drink when he's not looking.

2. He lets me rest my drink on his tray table so I don't have to put mine down.

1. If I were traveling alone and ran into celebrity Bill Rancic's sister, Karen, in the bathroom at O'Hare who would I have told that would pretend to care? No one, that's who.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby on Board

Let me start by saying that traveling by plane is not my fave. The one time in my life that I got bumped up to first class, yeah, on that day traveling was my fave. But alas, complimentary champagne and mucho leg room is not typically in the cards for this gal, so I must rough it back in coach with the rest of the peasants like myself.

It's not that I mind flying per say, I just hate everything that goes along with it. Living in Rockford means that we get to spend an hour and a half in a car, or bus if you're really lucky, even before you are forced to mess with the crowds of O'Hare, long lines, security scans, etc... THAT'S the part that is not my fave. It's just all so exhausting. There's too many people with varying deadlines. There's the removing of shoes and standing barefoot on a floor that 25,000 people who may or may not have athlete's foot share with you. It's standing in a tube with your arms over your head while they scan you for God knows what. And it's the dreaded "zone" boarding which makes absolutely no sense to me. Ick.

With all that to say, I learned yesterday that traveling by air with a very noticeable baby on board (or in tummy) is not so bad really. Granted there was no champagne and I had peasant-style amounts of leg room, BUT people were actually really kind to me which can be a rarity in an airport. I began noticing on my trip to Charleston that strangers who would normally not give you a second glance as they hustled to and fro, actually noticed my bump and then met my eyes with a smile. Women's faces softened and men smiled and gave me their seat on the tram.

On my way home yesterday, I was shocked by how many people went out of their way to assist the pregnant woman traveling solo. First it was the sweet TSA man working the body scanner who stopped it to walk through to my side with a smile as he said "I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm not going to let you lift that suitcase up to the conveyor". He then waited until my bag came back through to place it back on the ground for me and said "I hope there's another gentleman from Charleston on your flight who will lift it into the overhead bin for you. Congratulations." A little kindness goes a long way and I will not forget his gesture the next time I see an expectant mom traveling alone.

As I boarded my first leg of the trek home, the flight attendant greeting us at the door of the plane said "how about if I put your bag in this closet with mine? That way you can deplane easily and grab it at the door." By this point I was all smiles and so very thankful as I had stressed for about an hour on how I'd lift that bag over my head. And on my last flight home from Atlanta, after lugging my 40lb suitcase by hand back 34 rows, a young woman in her 20's stood up from her seat and said "can I please lift that bag up there for you?" I hesitated as I've never been good at asking or accepting help when the man next to her said "here, let me do it." Again, my heart grew a size or two as I was exhausted by this point and just wanted to be home. They did not have to get involved but they did and I'm so grateful.

I've always heard the saying "it takes a village", but yesterday I truly felt like I was part of a village where rushed flights, packed deadlines and individual agendas slowed down just enough to say "hey, I SEE YOU. Let me help." All four of those people made a huge difference in my travel and although I don't know their names and their faces will eventually fade, I'll always think of them when I'm flying from here on out. You never know who might be anxious, overwhelmed or just tired. If you've got the extra energy and a minute or two to spare, let someone know "hey, I SEE YOU. Let me help." I can tell you from experience, they will not forget it.