Friday, March 30, 2012

Flash Bulb Friday



Labor Day 2009.
 
Puff and I had been dating for a mere 2 months plus a week and change. But the travel bug had hit us both and we scooted on down to Charleston, SC, for a romantic holiday weekend.
 
We stayed at an amazing bed & breakfast, spent time on Folly Beach, ate at charming restaurants, toured cemeteries, took a ghost tour. Ya know, all those things you always do in Charleston.
 
Labor Day Monday, the town was seemingly deserted when we wandered out and about to check out some sites. This was just some random alley we passed on the way.

I never have been much of a fan of going back to the same city over and over again, but there's something about the southern charm in Charleston that just makes it seem OK. And it's pretty awesome to know that the next time we go, we'll have Bimmer along for the ride!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Update: Bucket List

It's been about a month since I posted my "Pre-Baby Bucket List" and I thought I would give you guys the update on what I've been able to accomplish so far. I'd say I'm doing pretty well and I'm pretty proud of myself on my progress. However, I probably should've added: Get Bimmer on a waitlist at a second daycare, Call the pediatrician, and Buy new blinds for the nursery. Consider them on the list. Anything else you think I'm still missing that needs to get done before she arrives???



  • Catch up on printing hard copies of my private blog

  • Catch up on copying and saving the entries from this blog

  • Figure out how to use I-Tunes and update my I-pod

  • Save all the pics not currently saved to my external hard drive

  • Burn CDs of all the pics not currently on burnt CDs

  • Scan old family photos, post on my photo site, save to my external hard drive, and burn CD copies

  • Finish as much of Bimmer's scrapbook as possible

  • Get a crib and dresser for Bimmer's nursery

  • Unpack the new flat screen TV we got for Christmas

  • Reorganize our filing system

  • Reorganize the shelves in Puff's closet

  • Sell the nightstand, filing cabinet, and non-flat screen TV on Craigslist - FILING CABINET SOLD, TV LISTED

  • Sell the set of glass pots & pans that we never use on Craigslist

  • Have my car washed

  • Keep applying for jobs, even if I don't think they'd hire me being this pregnant

  • Vow to dust, vacuum, and change the sheets more often

  • Make a list of what to pack for the hospital

  • Convince Puff to convince the MIL that she should contribute to this child and buy us our fancy pack 'n play - SOMEONE HAS BOUGHT THIS OFF OUR REGISTRY, BUT I AM NOT SURE WHO

  • Make the final decision on whether or not we will be committing to cloth diapers - STILL NEED TO BUY THEM THOUGH & WILL NEED DISPOSABLES FOR NEWBORN SIZE

  • Keep up-to-date on my 2012 scrapbook for the year

  • Sign up for a month of free Netflix to watch Season 5 of "Dexter"

  • Organize the baby's gear and clothes, once we have furniture in the room

  • Go for at least a 20 minute walk every day when the weather is nice

  • Schedule a pre-baby pedicure

  • Continue to have as many lunch dates as possible

  • Figure out how in the heck to make a baptism happen back in The Fort - THIS IS A BUST... THE PRIEST WON'T BAPTIZE THE BABY SINCE WE WEREN'T MARRIED CATHOLIC. BOO.

  • Finish the photo gallery in the office

  • Frame the prints for above the toilet in the bathroom - THIS IS A BUST... GONNA HAVE TO HAVE THEM MATTED PROFESSIONALLY. BOO.

  • Plan and book our trip to Florida for this summer to visit my mom

  • Research baby friendly hikes/walks/sites in the area for this summer

  • Accept every invite from friends to hang out, have dinner, see a movie, etc.

  • Bake at least two new things I've never baked before - THOSE STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES WERE DIVINE!

  • Buy some cute little headbands and/or bows for Bimmer to rock

  • Decide on Bimmer's "coming home" outfit

  • Celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary in May with a swanky steak dinner

  • Plant flowers in our window boxes on the deck

  • Install a smoke detector

  • Get cable installed in our master bedroom

  • Continue to fight, every day, my depression, addictions, and demons

  • Feel the overwhelming love and support from all my friends and family who have been there every step of the way... you guys rock my world!

  • Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    To 2012

    This time, four years ago, I felt like my world was being ripped apart. I was overwhelmed at work with my new job, living in a city where I didn't really know anyone, and just broke up with The Ex after almost 5 years together. I certainly shed some tears, made desperate attempts to regain The Ex's attention, and wondered what in the world I should do with my life.
     
    Then a lightning bolt hit me.
     
    I remember pledging to myself in my private blog that 2008 should be the best year of my life. I was bound and determined to make it a memorable year for the RIGHT reasons.
     
    And you know what? It worked. I ended up taking some awesome vacations, spending time with my family, hanging out and making new friends. And, most importantly, I met Puff.
     
    I found myself wallowing in a similar pool of mucky emotions, this time in 2012. I have felt for months like my world has been ripped apart. I am unemployed and struggling financially. I have battled depression and fear as to what is ahead in my life. But you know what? It's time to make that pledge. Because unlike 2008, I *know* this is going to be the best year of my life. Bimmer is coming in just a few weeks and there is NOTHING that can take that glee away from me.
     
    This weekend marks my first baby shower and I am so blessed to have such great friends and family that wish to surround me and our baby and rain over us with their love and support. (Not to mention how wonderful any gifts are going to be, since money is super tight these days!) So while 2012 started out pretty shitty, I'm bound and determined to make the rest of the year amazing. Here's to forward progress!

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Birth Plan

    As the days pass by and we inch closer to Bimmer's arrival, Puff and I have been taking the time to catch up on reading our pregnancy books. "What to Expect" is the gold standard and has proven helpful. A book called "Let's Panic About Babies" was not nearly as funny and/or informative as I had hoped, so I'd suggest skipping that. One book an ex recommended to me (of all people, lol) for Puff is "Dad's Pregnant Too."


    I'm so glad I gifted it to him at Christmas. It's informative but funny. It has real-life stories that help make him realize he's not the only dude out there feeling or thinking a certain way. And I'm really just proud of him that he's actually reading it.


    One recent lazy Sunday morning, we were curled up in bed together and he was reading his book. Sometimes he'll read parts outloud to me that are funny or interesting. This particular day, he was reading about the birth plan. And I loved what it listed as a typical guy's version of this plan...


    1) Drive to hospital

    2) Cheer her on during labor

    3) Take lots of photos

    4) Celebrate and sleep


    I've been reading a lot lately in books, blogs, websites, etc. that I need to have this elusive "birthing plan" all written out and ready to go. Now, we all know, I'm a sucker for a good structured plan. (My husband doesn't tell me I'd make a good Nazi for nothing!) But for some reason, the whole concept seems sorta, well, unnecessary. My birth plan isn't very far off the plan in Puff's book...


    1) Drive to hospital

    2) Get drugs

    3) Have baby

    4) Take lots of photos

    5) Celebrate


    I understand that it helps some women, especially if they have random and specific needs or concerns. (Sitting on a birthing ball, perhaps. Could you just see my coordination trying to do that?) My biggest concern? Get this damn baby out of me as quickly and safely as possible.


    I've always been that way about anything medical. Whether you're drawing my blood, removing a roach baby from my abdomen, or prodding around in my uterus, I don't want to know anything about what you're doing. Just do what you need to do and let me know if you need me to do anything specific to assist you. I'm approaching giving birth with the same mentality. Tell me to push when I need to push and we'll be golden.


    And for the love of Ryan Gosling, do not ask me if I need a mirror to watch the birth. Puff's book said that could be a "motivator" to keep pushing. I'm pretty sure being exhausted, in pain, and wanting to meet Bimmer will be enough motivation, thankyouverymuch. I don't think seeing all that's happening down there will do anything other than scar me for life.

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Flash Bulb Friday



    My friend, Rowdy, hit the nail on the head during a recent conversation. She mentioned loving old homes and castles and was hoping to get to Versailles. Since that didn't work for her schedule this year, her husband suggested a trip to The Biltmore instead.

    It's almost comical when a home in the random, out-of-the-way town of Asheville, North Carolina, comes in second to one of the most magnficient palaces in the world. (Although, since I hate Paris, I'd be content to never go back there again. Peterhof in St. Petersburg, Russia, was just as cool!) But the truth is, The Biltmore Estate is awesome.

    I hate to repeat visits to places, even The Biltmore, but thankfully, the few times I have been have been spread out far enough, and in different seasons, so it was never a chore. Plus, new places to explore like the farm and the vineyard and winery always seem to pop up. This photo was from a trip there with my parents in 2009. It was the second time they had met Puff and I was happy they still approved.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Request Line

    As March is winding down and I realize I only have about 2 more months til Bimmer makes her debut, I thought I'd reach out to you guys.


    I'm sure my dedicated readers have realized that with all my down-time during unemployment, I've been diligently writing a good 4 to 5 times a week. In fact, I'm almost always two weeks ahead of schedule. (Which is why certain things, like a President's Day recap, happened so far after the fact.)


    So, since I know I will be short on time once the baby gets here, I would *LOVE* to have some stuff pre-written for you guys,so you don't forget about me. This is where you come in. I'm taking suggestions for topics. They can be broad range and general interest. They can be specific questions you have for me. They can be ideas for hotties to feature on Man Candy Mondays. They can be lists for Top Ten days. And if you know my previous travels and would like me to feature any photos on Fridays, that would be cool too. Or, if you want to guest post, let me know!


    I do want to take this time to give a big ol' shout out to all of you who read this. I know some of you personally, from a variety of different points in my life, and it's awesome that you're still interested in keeping up with my ho-hum life. And an even bigger shout out to all of those from around the world who do not know me, yet seemingly keep coming back for more. You guys totally rock my world. I am humbled by your presence.


    So use this as your big chance to tap into my rambling mind a little bit. You never know what I'm willing to share!

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    The Perfect Path

    All this down-time during my unemployment has got me thinking... maybe it's time for a career change.


    Without divulging the specifics of my industry, let's just say that the scope is fairly narrow, depending on the city where you live. And South Carolina isn't exactly a hot-bed for what I *thought* I wanted to be doing with my life. My degree is so specialized that very few schools had it at the time I went to college and even now, while some claim to be comparable, they just aren't. I pigeonholed myself, but it was the perfect fit.


    It still is a perfect fit.


    I'm just disheartened with the lack of opportunities in this industry in our town. Plus, the fact that nights and weekends are inevitable doesn't make the Mommy in me very happy. Puff doesn't want to be a single parent every Saturday! Nor do I want to leave my little bundle of cuteness in the morning and find her asleep when I get home at night. I need to find some balance and the longer I search for a job, the more I worry that's not possible.


    Especially when I had an owner of a company tell me during a recent interview that I was the perfect candidate. And if I weren't pregnant, she would've hired me on the spot.


    Some of you (ahem, Julie, lol) got a little fired up by that comment. Sure, it's discrimination and I have rights, etc. But am I going to start a legal battle with someone over a job that would've had me working over 40 hours a week, 3 Saturdays a month (at least), and had me working under a woman who probably would never be too keen on me having to take a sick day with Bimmer? No. It's just not worth it. Perhaps it was the eye-opener I really needed. I love the type of work that I do. I am qualified. I am super good at it too! But maybe this is the time I step back and re-evaluate my priorities. Maybe now is the time I suck it up and find a M-F, 8am-5pm sorta job.


    Just one that won't make me want to gouge my eyes out.


    I think if I could create my own fabulous job scenario, I would work the mornings as a travel agent and the afternoons at an elementary after school program. And I could free-lance in the industry I love, just to keep my feet wet. And maybe every third Tuesday, I would fill in for the local meteorologist. Oh yeah, and I'd spend about an hour a week coming up with names for Cabbage Patch Dolls. And while I'm throwing the impossible out into the universe, can you please find Puff a new job that he doesn't hate going to every single day? Thanks for having my back.


    The sad thing is, there is a job in my industry that is perfect for me. I am chummy with the person who would be my boss. I would have a super flexible work schedule. I would have a great opportunity to further my career and expand the company. Sure, there would be some nights and weekends, but probably only two Friday nights a month with the occasional Saturday thrown in every few months. Plus, I'd get comp time for those weekends. And the pay? Well, it would be at least what I was making at my last job. I also would have the ability to work from home, if necessary, on those "Bimmer's sick" days.


    So why am I not already IN that job?


    Therein lies the problem... it's back in The Fort, which is my hometown, which is 400+ miles from where we live now. It's a place Puff doesn't really want to live. And I'm not sure I want to live there either. But the perks of that job, coupled with the fact that Bimmer would have family to grow up around? Not to mention the fact that we would have HELP with the kids? ::sigh:: If they just lived in a more desirable city, I don't think the decision would be all that hard. I think we'd be painting the house, planting some flowers, and staking a "For Sale" sign in the yard.


    Lots of big, major, potentially life-changing decisions are on the horizon this fall after Bimmer is here. I just hope Puff and I can weed out the best scenario for our family and make the right decision... no matter what type of compromise that may be.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    30 Down, 10 to Go



    For some reason, crossing the threshold on the 30 week mark seems to resonate the most with me. I've been in the third trimester now for a few weeks, but something about that 30 just jumps out at me. Probably because now I know that there is a distinct possibility she could arrive before I hit 40... which is only TEN WEEKS AWAY!!!

    Bimmer has definitely turned into quite the wiggly one lately. Just like her mama, she can never get comfortable! One night she kicked me so hard I thought she might just burst through. And she's started this awesome game of "press a random body part into Mom's stomach as hard as I can and then drag it across Mom's stomach, freaking her out." Puff's caught a few times when my stomach is just moving around on its own. It's really quite creepy.
     
    But so damn cool at the same time!
     
    I suppose I passed my glucose test, since I never got a phone call asking me to come in for the 4-hour monstrosity of a follow-up for gestational diabetes. Perhaps all that sugar I've lived on all my life has built up my tolerance. ::shrug:: Now I've just got to get plugging away on finalizing her pediatrician and her daycare. (Don't get me started on whether or not we really will need daycare... but I've got to be proactive and get her on a waiting list at a few places!) The thought of all of that stuff makes my head spin. So I try to focus on how much we are going to love and dote on her once she gets here, not the grown-up worrying about how we're going to pay for everything and re-arrange our lives to make it work.

    I've also started getting the occasional Braxton Hicks contractions. They don't hurt and they're not uncomfortable, but they definitely did freak me out. (Thanks, Miss, for making me feel normal!) I just had no idea you could have those so early in a pregnancy! Alas, until they are rhythmic or painful, I suppose I will just let them go. And pray this baby bakes for as long as possible. But not longer than necessary... because we are super anxious to meet her!

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Plumber's Crack

    As an expectant mother, I battle a slew of concerns and fears every single day. Behind the typical health, happiness, and well-being concerns, lies this doozy...

    The fear that our one and only toilet in The Bungalow will suddenly be out of order.



    Cue Sunday evening. I was curled up on the couch, watching "Frozen Planet" when I hear Puff start screaming from the other room. "No! No! Don't! Dammit!" That was then followed by a panicked rush to the hall linen closet where he loaded his arms with our clean bath towels and ran back into the bathroom.

    Thankfully, the flood was fresh water from the toilet refilling, but it was still a flood. My heart jumped into my throat. We dutifully cleaned up the water, washed the towels, mopped the floor, bleach wiped the toilet, and stowed away the plunger. Then I decided we better try flushing it one more time, just to be safe.

    And the water rose and rose until Puff had to manually turn it off to prevent another catastrophe.

    Immediately, I had to pee. Really bad.

    I kept my calm as long as I could while Puff plungered and tinkered and stared at the scene. I eventually asked him how long until he would call a plumber. However, once a plumber was called, they hung up on Puff. Apparently they thought he was prank calling them. Most likely because he used the term "Number Two" over the phone. (I about died!)

    A trip to a ghetto McDonald's at 9pm to use their bathroom was followed by a very nice plumber who came about 30 minutes post call. (Apparently that VIP membership we signed up for to save a hefty % off some tub work a few years ago paid off in the speed department!) The guy tested everything and had to use his auger twice to snake out the problem. He then informed us that we have the most basic toilet on the market and that my toilet paper is too thick.

    The entire time he was there, I was texting Kimhead, trying to convince her to let me get his number for her. He wasn't bad looking, bald, and was articulate and nice. Turned out he was married. ::shrug::

    When all was said and done, we were only without a toilet for about an hour and a half and I didn't have to pee in a bucket all night long. (Good thing, since I don't think we even own a bucket!) Granted, it cost us a pretty penny we don't really have, but I'm not sure we had much alternative.

    I am, however, implementing a mandatory dual flush. We've got ancient plumbing in The Bungalow and I don't want to go through that panic ever again! Even if it did amuse everyone I told.



    

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Flash Bulb Friday


    When did I know that Puff and I could get married and live happily ever after?
     
    Once we survived a week in Ireland together.
     
    We had only been dating about 10 months when we hopped the pond to drive ourselves around the Emerald Isle. I tediously planned our trip with a spreadsheet loaded with directions, B&B info, attractions, maps, links to websites, restaurant recommendations, etc. Somewhere in the middle of the trip, we found ourselves taking a route on a basically unmarked road that came straight from a "Drives of Ireland" book I had gifted Puff that Christmas. It was the one and only time we got lost.

    And boy were we lost! Since our directions were basically just "follow the river until you get to town" we were screwed when we realized we had somehow veered away from that path. We flagged down a very helpful person in his car who got us back on track. And then when we came to a dead-end and just chose to go left for the heck of it, I got to yell out the window to some old ladies on the sidewalk. "Is this the way to Lismore?"
     
    "This is Lismore!"
     
    Talk about embarassing! But c'mon... it's not like there was some giant neon sign that said "Welcome to our tiny rural Irish town!"
     
    Anyhoo... Puff likes gardens and I like castles, and I like anything that is photogenic, so Lismore Castle fit the bill. The family still lives and uses the castle, so we couldn't go inside, but we got to stroll through the gorgeous gardens that were just in bloom, since we were there in April. It was a wonderful stop... even if I figure we were the talk of the town after questioning those old ladies on our whereabouts.
     
    Just another fun travel story I'm sure we're bound to never forget!

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Public Pubes

    Dear Public Toilet Users,


    Am I seriously the only person ever who leaves a toilet seat clean after use? (Or at least clean to the naked eye?)


    Because as a pregnant woman with an over-active bladder, I'm becoming quite the connoisseur of public restrooms. And some things that the rest of you "ladies" are doing in there are starting to perplex and irritate me.


    Is it really that hard to FLUSH the toilet after you've left a giant shadooby in there? Even at 7 months pregnant, I can hike my foot up high enough so I don't have to touch the handle with my hand.


    Is it really that hard to not pee on the seat? I get that some of you are hoverers, which is fine. But can you at least wipe off the dripples when you're done?


    Is it really that hard to not grunt when you're clearly not alone in the bathroom? I'm pretty confident I overhear a woman coaxing herself into doing her business at least once a week.


    And lastly, is it really that hard to not leave your pubes on the seat? A recent trip to Publix had me in the FOURTH stall before I found a toilet without an errant hair lounging and staring at me from the bright white seat. What are you women doing? Is the 70s porn-star look coming back? Am I out of the loop in pubic hair fashion trends? Because last I checked, I didn't ever want my hair-down-there to be long enough to fall off and curl up in public view.


    So, I would greatly appreciate your assistance in helping me out with these issues. Since we all have to share public facilities, let's try to make it a more pleasant experience for everyone.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Settling Down

    I'm (wo)man enough to admit it. Sometimes, I've experienced that "I wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere" phenomenon.
     
    OK... don't freak out here people. I am crazy stupid in love with my husband, and minus the whole being unemployed thing, I'm also crazy stupid in love with my life.
     
    But that doesn't mean that I haven't had that perfectly human question pop up into my head. It doesn't necessarily have to be in terms of a relationship, but really, any major life change or decision. What could have been? What should have been? Was this the right choice? Am I settling for something less than the best?
     
    What does this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with me changing up my walking routine. I've typically gone out in the early afternoon to stalk the mailman. Or well, it seems that way since he always drives past at the time I'm out. But a few days recently, I headed out mid-morning, before I bothered with a shower. Note to self: If you're going to do that on trash pick-up day, make sure you're going the opposite direction of the truck.
     
    I digress...
     
    What does this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with the fact that on a few of those morning walks, I happened to pass our neighbor's house three doors up. It's an elderly couple that I don't think I had ever seen before, minus maybe through their windows when I was doing some night-time decorating stalking. On these few occasions, the man has pulled their van into their yard, up to their front door, and is helping his wife into the car. I'm not sure if she's in a wheelchair or uses a walker, but she definitely needs his help.
     
    And seeing that made me tear up. In fact, thinking about it now as I'm writing this makes me tear up as well. For all the mistakes and bad decisions I've made in my life, marrying Puff wasn't one of them. And I'll be damned if I let myself fuck up this amazing thing we have. Because, I want to have him there to help me in the car when I'm old.
     
    Our life is a never-ending roller coaster right now, and I long desperately for the day when it settles back into place. The love and support that Puff has given me through this rough patch shows me that he is in this for the long haul. I just hope he can put up with me for the rest of his life!
     
    I'd like to dedicate this post to my mom's man-friend, Roger. They'd been "seeing" each other for the past few years, I guess. My mom is young at 52, but in a nursing facility. She struck up a relationship with Roger, whom I always pictured to be about 65 years old. They spent every Tuesday together. He was a painter with a gray ponytail. I never met him, but I knew he took great care of my mom and lit up her life. So, it was heartbreaking for me to find out that he had passed away. My mom was strong when telling me, but I know it was rough. He was 78 years old but had lived a long, full life. And I am so grateful to him for helping make the last few years of his life so special to my mother. I'm sure he felt the same way about her.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Man Candy Monday


    Hello, hottness!
     
    It's funny, because Adam Levine, frontman for Maroon 5, is probably sexier to me clothed than unclothed. But he's got one rockin' bod.

    And that video for "Makes Me Wonder" where he about humps his guitar while playing? Yowza! Makes me swoon!

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Springtime in the City

    "Springtime in the city's always such relief from the winter freeze. The snow is more lonely than cold, if you know what I mean..."

    10 points to anyone who can name that really obscure song by a random band. LOL.

    Anyway, it's been gorgeous here already. It's so hard to believe that it's only early March and already everything in is bloom and they are forecasting temperatures near 80 this coming week. On a recent walk around my neighborhood, I took these pics from my phone.

    Just a quick glimpse (with crappy photos) of the awesomeness that is spring in the south!




    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Flash Bulb Friday


    Last fall, Puff's company sent him to rural Germany for a business retreat.

    He learned really important things like how to hike the Alps and bike ride through quaint villages along the Austrian border.
     
    While I totally hate his company, that trip made me super jealous. (Must make a mental note for my next employer... paid European vacations are a necessity!)
     
    Puff flew in a day early and took his Audi on back roads (like, so back that there were cows in the way) and stopped to check out Neuschwanstein Castle. Not too shabby a view, eh?
     
     
    Makes me anxious for what I suspect will be one of our first international trips with our babies... the back roads of Germany. We can't wait to take Bimmer and her sister/brother on whirlwind adventures!

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Nursery: Step 3

    The biggest necessity in a nursery, besides the baby, is the crib. And even though we're about 3 months ahead of schedule, Puff was in a furniture-assembling mood recently, so I just rolled with it!


     


    And I totally rocked one of Puff's old t-shirts that read "Green Shirts are for Pimps" on it. Because we're nothing if not classy when doing stuff for Bimmer.


     


    There were lots of silent moments of perplexed thinking during the assembly process, but in reality, it only took us about 45 minutes to put the entire thing together. And no fights!


     


    Unfortunately, the crib can't stay where it is shown in this picture, due to the window. Can't give Bimmer reachable access to those cords on the blinds. But for now? Well, it's going to stay right there until we have all the other furniture in place. I do have to give a shout-out to my mom with regards to the crib. Thanks to a generous donation from her, a coupon, and some stockpiled gift cards, we ended up only paying $43 out of pocket for the crib. Which made that higher-than-anticipated pricetag of the of-course-we-like-a-higher-end-crib a little easier to swallow.


     


    And because every newborn needs a flat screen TV... we figured we'd give her one of those as well. :)

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Where are You, God?

    I'm trying to find God.


    More specifically, I am trying to find a place in which to worship. So, in layman's terms, Puff and I are "church shopping."


     


    And to be quite honest, I totally hate it. Shopping for a church is almost as bad as shopping for bathing suits or purses or shoes. Shoot me now.


    Here's the deal... Puff was raised uber-Southern Baptist and I was raised a lapsed Catholic. So he's used to spending his entire Sunday at church with potluck suppers and Wednesday night choir practices. Me? Well, I'm used to watching "Criminal Minds" on Wednesday nights and staying in my pajamas as long as humanly possible on my weekends. He knows the prayers and the songs and pays attention to sermons. I sit there for an hour thinking about grocery shopping or cutting my toenails. Puff comes away with some sort of message and fulfillment from a service. I come away singing "la la la la, and the holy ghost" as annoyingly as possible during the car ride home.


    Although there was that time we started the car in the church parking lot and a rap song came blaring out the open windows. Or the time after that when Puff reached over and touched me inappropriately as we were driving away. Or the time I snuck out to the bathroom during the service to eat fruit snacks and text Kimhead. Maybe we just aren't meant to be church-goers.


    To be flat out honest, I'm only partaking in this entire charade because Puff seems to be anxious to find us a place to belong, meet people, and get involved. Oh, and my shrink told me to.


    I'm not anti-church or anti-religion. I do, in fact, believe in God. I'm just at a point in my life where I find myself rolling my eyes at lots of little bits of organized religion. Like my grandmother's priest telling her that he couldn't baptize Bimmer since we didn't have a Catholic wedding. Or other churches bashing gays for no reason. Or even others acting elitist and entitled. I'm just frustrated with the process. I like immediate results. I want to walk into a church and have it be full of nice people, relatively similar in their ages and interests, where the priest/pastor is cool and open-minded and doesn't ever go over an hour.


    Church shouldn't seem like a chore. But right now? It feels like I am being forced into it.


    My shrink has advised me to seek spirituality in my life and my marriage... to help save both from falling to pieces. She says right now, in this very dark time in my life, that I need it more than ever. But it's also the time I am opposed to it more than ever. And not being able to logically wrap my mind around a solution? Yeah, that's driving me batty. I will say that my favorite part of any service/mass at any church we've visited, is the time in the Catholic church where I have time to pray myself. Not guided or in a group. No, I like that when I walk in, I kneel and I pray. And after communion? I pray. It's the closest I feel to connecting to God, because I lead the conversation and not someone else.

     

    It's also where I get to ask forgiveness for my sins. And since those are dripping off me, I like to have an extra few seconds to throw those out into the universe.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Third Trimester



    Since I know you were all wondering, I will soon start posting pregnancy updates every 2 weeks. My stickers get closer together from here on out. ::insert smiley face::

    The past 4 weeks have been fairly quiet. My doctor's appointment at 24 weeks (well, actually 25 weeks and 2 days) had them spouting that I was the "model of a good pregnancy." I'm not so sure about that, since I've definitely had my share of scares and bumps along the way, but it has been fairly smooth sailing lately. Thank God.
     
    The worst thing lately has been the sleep. Or lack thereof. People tell me it's good practice for when the baby gets here. But I tend to think even babies sleep in longer than one hour increments! If it's not my restless legs, it's being thirsty or hungry, or itchy feet, or not being able to turn off my brain. I've always been a bit of an insomniac anyway, so not being able to get comfortable to sleep is just making it worse. And I know everyone keeps telling me to get a body pillow. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I just don't know how that is going to help. Because the biggest culprits in my lack o' sleep is being forced to sleep on my side (where my legs rebel against me) or thinking and worrying too much about stuff. No body pillow will fix that problem.
     
    I'm sure you're keeping up with my nursery updates, so I won't bore you with any details here about those. (Stay tuned for more posts to come on that!) I've also been trying to keep up with my exercise. And by that I mean trying to take daily walks around the neighborhood and raking leaves. Never thought you'd hear me say I was raking, did ya? Just had to get to 7 months pregnant to feel motivated to tackle that, I suppose. One walk last week was made even better by the trash guy on the bulldozer smiling and waving at me while I walked past. I still got it.

    Even at 25 pounds heavier than usual. (Roughly.)

    And for the love of Ryan Reynolds, this having to pee every twenty minutes is beyond ridiculous.


    Not to mention these giant boobs that now hurt almost every time I wear a bra with an underwire. I want my X cups back! (Yeah, not gonna just blatantly tell you my bra size on the InterGoogle. Sorry!) And then I got to take the glucose test yesterday. It was like a bar challenge to suck down that bottle of flat orange drink in under five minutes. No one ever told me there was a time limit! Thankfully, while it did make me feel a bit icky, I didn't have the "sugar crash" I had been warned about. Fingers crossed I passed so I don't have to do that crap again!

    Monday, March 5, 2012

    A Pregnant Hike

    Last February, I rearranged my work schedule to guarantee having Presidents' Day off with Puff.

    We took the convertible out in the 70 degree sunshine and enjoyed spending some quality time with each other. (Read about that day HERE.)


    This year, of course, I didn't have to rearrange anything. The schedule was solidly booked... A long weekend with my hubby. The weather was cooperative enough, but not nearly the gorgeous warm day that I had hoped for. Alas, I am not in charge of controlling the weather. No matter how hard I try! So, we settled for sunny and mid-50s and headed to North Carolina.


     


    Our first stop (well, after several stops to pee... pregnant bladders do not make good travel companions!) was a slight turn-off to view the Connestee Falls. The new boardwalk they had built prevented us from getting down to a good vantage point. But we had the place to ourselves, it was conveniently en route, and it was an easy few steps to see something pretty for ol' fatty over here.


     


    Speaking of getting fat, this was our lunch at Rocky's in Brevard, North Carolina. The town is adorable, if not slightly nauseating to get there. (I'm sure there's gotta be a back route, but we always go up and over the mountain on these super windy roads!) Our cute little waiter at the soda shop diner made the hot dog suggestion, so I had to go for it. I topped it off with a super yummy chocolate malt, while Puff had a root beer float and a fried peanut butter & banana sandwich.


    (Which leads me to a totally different topic of Puff informing me that he has trouble spelling the word "banana." I pointed out that Gwen Stefani spells it for him in that stupid "Hollaback" song. He wasn't so sure. He thought she was just saying "anna" over and over again there apparently. He's so cute!)




    Our last stop was on the way back to SC at a place called Hooker Falls. We had been to Triple Falls before, which is the same river, but a hike up-stream instead of a "nature walk" down-stream. Puff told me to be sure not to call it a "hike" since it was along a fairly flat gravel path. He never wants me to get any credit for my hard work in nature! Ha! But dammit... I took my 26 week pregnant ass down that path (and down a fairly steep hill) to get up to the falls. Puff had been unsure about the "cool quotient" for these falls, since he hadn't been there before. But we were both pleasantly surprised. And it was a good, easy excursion for me to handle.

     

    On our way home, I mentioned that even after almost 4 years together, and countless trips to waterfalls, hikes, and the mountains in general, that I was happy we could still find places to discover together. Now, we just can't wait to share those with Bimmer!

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Flash Bulb Friday



    Back in the summer of 2009, Kimhead and I took a whirlwind trip to Washington DC. We hit up a ton of museums, all the monuments we could handle, and a failed Kennedy-themed tour of Georgetown. (We salvaged that trek by hitting up a great H&M sale!)
     
    On the last day, July 5th, we got up early to drive back to South Carolina. However, en route, we made a detour to Mt. Vernon. I had been back in 6th grade (and maybe again later with family???) but didn't really have much recollection of it. Kimhead was gung-ho about it, since she's a history buff, and I was happy to oblige.

    Apparently going on the morning after a holiday that includes people being out late drinking & setting things on fire, is the perfect time. We had the place to ourselves. Literally... I have a photo of the front of the house with NO people in it. When would that ever happen?!? This particular photo was from the back porch.
     
    Oh, to have a nice porch with a gorgeous view to survey my land. How nice to not have neighbors!

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Baby Poo

    It's surprising to me how many people have been so negative about a decision Puff and I have made with regards to Bimmer.


    We are going to try to cloth diaper.


    Now, I understand it's not for everyone. But I don't go around telling you that I think breastfeeding is disgusting and I really don't want to see your saggy old boob flopping about with no discretion at all. Maybe I should start. Because apparently it's everyone else's opinion that matters in how we raise our child.


    Did I expect people to jump on board? No. But did I expect some of my good friends to tell me they won't even change my child if we use cloth diapers? Certainly not. Am I resigning us to a fate of never being able to be away from our child because people don't want to change her diaper?


    Then, a comment from my dad, made it sink in a little bit. He said I would have to teach him how to pin the diapers so he could change her. A lightning bolt hit me. People don't realize that cloth diapers are now as easy to use as disposable ones. They are shaped the same, fit the same, and are changed the same. (Sure, there are differences in what you do with the dirty diaper after you take it off, but Puff and I will accept that responsibility.) They even come in cute different colors.




    I won't bore you with the specifics of how we're going to start off with a handful of hybrids and all-in-ones. I won't explain the cleaning process or the storage process. All I will say is that if we choose to make a $200 investment in cloth diapers and it bombs, well, then you can say "I told you so." But if we are successful? Then we'll save, on average, $2000 from not buying disposables. We're not totally disillusioned into thinking this will be easy. We know there are times we will have to use disposables. We know there are times it might get gross or stinky.


    But we are both excited to try.


    And you will be totally jealous when our toilet has a holster and yours doesn't!