Saturday, December 22, 2007

Home for Christmas

Finally! Chris is home. We didn't think he'd return from his business trip until Christmas eve, and I really, really wanted him to be able to spend all of Christmas with us - both Christmas eve and Christmas day. To my great joy, he was able to come back last night. He actually arrived around 2 AM this morning. I was sleeping, but he woke me up and through my groggy fog I could hardly believe that he was standing there smiling at me. Surely, I thought, this has to be a dream. But it wasn't, and it's not.

He's been traveling constantly for the last month and a half, and I've been missing him so very much. He's been home a couple days here and there, but mostly he's been on the road. I know that what I go through can't begin to compare with what military wives go through, but knowing how blessed I am does not make me miss him less or ease the strain of daily life without him.

And so we go into Christmas with the blessing of having him home a couple days earlier than expected, and the two Reed girls (Willow Grace and myself) could not be happier (or merrier).

Here's Willow Grace getting ready for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

To Clarify....

I should have explained fully to begin with, but here goes....

My subbing job is different from most, I think. I teach at a private Christian school,Christ Presbyterian Academy, and I'm going to be working with the same people that I've been working with for the past ten years. I'm just going to be helping them out when they need to take personal or sick days, and I'll be working on organizational and administrative tasks. My first year at CPA was a lot like this, except that I didn't know as much about the people and the school as I do now. Most of my sub work will be in the middle school, but I'll venture over to the high school occasionally which is so cool because I'll get to be with some of the student's that I taught before and miss so much. I will be there every day just like I was before; I just have a different job title.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Interesting tidbit of news....

For those of you that don't know, I have been taking this semester off of my teaching job to be with my sweet Willow Grace. I plan to return to work in January, but there have been some "developments." I will not return to teaching English, at least not for this year. Maybe never. I don't know. What I will be doing is subbing full time. I will be there every day filling in wherever I am needed mostly in the middle but a bit in the high school. Just so you know I am THRILLED about this.
1. no take home grading
2. no lesson plans
3. At the end of the school day, I'm done.

The curriculum has moved to primarily teaching writing. While I myself love writing, I do not enjoy teaching it, and, quite frankly, it's not one of my strengths. I love teaching literature; it's the primary reason I choose English Education in college.The head of the middle school English department even told me that she has never met a teacher more gifted at teaching literature. But sadly, over the last few years, I went from being just a literature teacher to teaching mostly grammar and writing. I didn't mind when the curriculum was more balanced between literature and grammar, but that's just not the case anymore.

What will happen after this year? I don't know. I can only see the next few steps in the path that God is preparing for me. But I'm excited. I can't wait to see what He's going to do b/c I trust that He has great plans for me.

Chris and I have some new dreams that we are working on together, things that we are researching and praying through. And, hopefully, soon we will resume work on the novel that we've been writing together.

I know that returning to work will be extremely difficult for me, but at least I have Mom and occasionally Chris's mom to care for my daughter. That, at least, is a great relief. I'll be praying until then that God helps me to make the transition smoothly and with fewer tears than I expect.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What City Do I Belong In?

Here's the result of a little quiz I took.

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and expressive, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.


I don't think I'd ever want to live in Paris, but I would love to visit it again. I went once when I was a senior in high school, and I think it would be fabulous and oh so romantic to go with Chris.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Little Bit of Blah

The holiday season is in full swing, but it just hasn't really started for me yet. I love everything about Christmas: the carols, the gift giving, the festivities, the lights.... It just makes me feel an extra measure of delight and puts me in a really good mood. Usually, I put my tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but that just didn't happen this year. Chris wasnt' feeling well, so we decided to put it off for the following Saturday. The problem with that is that he had to go on a business trip. So, it's still not up.

Having my home decorated for Christmas makes me feel like the magic of the season has crept inside the door and is filling the place. Our apartment feels glaringly normal to me right now. Usually I really enjoy seeing other people's homes decorated, and I still do but it's also just reminding me that mine is not. That makes me feel a bit Scroogey. But it's only a few more days. Chris will be home in a couple days, and I'm planning on putting up the tree on Friday.

Today I'm taking Willow Grace to have her picture taken with Santa. We have an appointment at Sears studio. No line. No stress. Different poses and personal time and for the same price as the mall Santa. You can't beat that. I'll be sure to post a pic of her with Santa here.

Hmmm, maybe I'll dig out my Christmas music and start playing it here, and I can put some orange peelings and cinnamon on the stove to simmer. I can start Christmas here in some ways even if the tree is not up.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Yay! Turkey Day

Over the river and through the woods... to two sets of grandparents houses. First, we had lunch at Gran Gran and Pop's (Chris's parents), and then it was off to Nana and Papa's for dinner. Both Mom's totally outdid themselves with the feast they prepared. Thanks so much for all the work you put in, Mom and Donitta. You're amazing!

Of course, we are so thankful that Wayne is back safely from Iraq. Here's Willow enjoying a few moments with her strong and brave uncle.


And now, back home, the three of us are exhausted. Willow just crashed.

I think she's thankful for more than just Mommy and Daddy. She's thankful for the same thing Chris and I are... a warm bed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Glimpses of Willow

Chilly Night!
This little pram suit is too big for her, but she looks so adorable in it, and it definitely kept her warm.


Finally in the Swing!
We've been trying to put her in the swing, but she always hated it. However, in the last couple days, she's started enjoying it.

She liked it so much that she drifted off to sleep!


Hanging in the Bumbo

(For those of you worried about the Bumbo recall, Willlow is sitting safely on the floor and is being supervised. It was recalled only because people were putting them on tables and not properly supervising the babies.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Brother, My Soldier, My Hero



In the fifteen months he’s been in Iraq, he has weathered many storms -- those literal sand storms that engulf everything there in the desert making routine tasks near impossible as well as unimaginable obstacles and duties which he either can’t or won’t tell us about. Serving his country, he has endured more hardships than I could even begin to recount or will even know including the burning of his barracks and his vehicle being bombed. This is his third tour in a hostile environment, and yet he serves with dignity and honor and bravery.

He hasn't been here to share birthdays, holidays, family dinners and get-togethers, his sons sporting events, the birth of his niece, and so much more. We’ve missed his presence, his laugh, his perspective, his conversation, and his goofy antics.

All of our lives have been altered.

Soon, however, he will return. The wait will be over. This Thanksgiving will be richer. Our lives will be more complete. My brother will be home. I couldn't be happier... or prouder.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

What's in a name?

I snagged this from my sister-in-law's blog who got it from someone else. Thought it was fun and interesting.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Bandit Rover
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Vanilla Fudge Twirl Chocolate Chip (That one didn’t really work out well for me.)
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) M-Ree
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Green Bunny
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Kay Nashville
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) - ReeKa
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (“The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) The Red Tea
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Nathan Robert
9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) Divine M&M’s
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Frances Wayne
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Greer Gainesville
12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Winter Tigerlily
13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) Apple Caprisy
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Cereal Dogwood
15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) The Painting Snow Tour

And for your viewing pleasure, a couple pics of our fam.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

First Halloween

Willow Grace is, of course, too young to trick-or-treat. However, she's not too young to look cute on Halloween.

Playing with Pumpkins


Asleep in Nana's Pumpkin Patch


We wanted to visit both sets of grandparents, but circumstances beyond our control prevented that, and we were only able to visit with Nana and Papa (my parents). I really wish that we'd been able to go both places, but hopefully we can make up for it today or later this week with a trip to Gran Gran and Pop's (Chris's parents).

This morning, I rose bright and early to run down to the Walgreens to pick up a costume for next year for Willow. I'd seen it there last night and knew that it'd be half off today. I ended up buying three costumes, all for under $20! I bought her an adorable princess bee costume for next year. I also bought a Renaissance dress. If she gets the chance to hang out with my during one of the Renaissance Festivals at school, she'll be all set. Also, I bought a Belle costume for her. I already have a Beast costume, and Chris promised me that when she's older he'll take her out and wear the Beast costume so that the two of them can be Beauty and the Beast!

Here are the costumes:



While I was at Walgreens' I received a great tip from a fellow shopper which I will undoubtably do when Willow is a bit older. She said that her friend had gone out just after Halloween and bought a bunch of costumes for her daughter for a costume trunk that she gave her for Christmas. I love that idea! Of course, anyone who knows me is aware that, being theatrical, I love to dress up in costumes. I don't think it would be out of the ordinary for someone to stop by our house sometime in the years to come and to find both Willow Grace and I in costume enjoying a tea party. There's so much to look forward to!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Superstore Wars

I've been spending a great deal of time at Walmart, much more than I ever did before Willow Grace was born. I just can't seem to get everything I need in one trip. Just last week, I went four days in a row! I was thinking about those big superstores. There are three major ones: KMart, Walmart, and Target. They all carry the same types of products; their layouts are very similar. Their prices are comparable. Yet, somehow, there's a hierarchy with Target being at the top. I've known many wealthy famlies who would not admit to having stepped foot in a Walmart or KMart, but somehow Target is OK. Why is that? Target does have some fun commercials, and they do seem to attract a few fashion designers. It seems that the stigma has changed somewhat over the last few years, at least with Walmart. Walmart has been updating its image and placing stores in affluent areas. But some people are still more likely to admit that they bought a sweater at Target and not Walmart. Even I have a sort of prejudice. I just don't like KMart. I don't know what it is, but I always feel a little sad and dirty when I go in there. Walmart makes me happy because it feels safe and homey to me; I suppose that's due to the fact that I've spent a great deal of time there over the years. And Target somehow seems like a fun outting to me. Sometimes I treat these stores like a free museum. I'm not planning on buying; I'll just wander around and gaze at all the stuff they have. There's always something interesting to see, even if it's just the variety of people that walk through the door.

Right now I have a plan to visit a few different Walmarts. There's a certain Christmas dress for Willow Grace that I want. I didn't grab it at my usual Walmart, and now they're out of her size. I went to a few other stores (Target, Babies R Us, etc.) looking for a dress for her, but nothing compared to that dress. So, the quest is on....

Speaking of Willow, I hear her stirring. She's going to want her breakfast.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Travelin’ Man

Here in Nashville the air is crisp, and the skies are once again (thankfully) threatening to rain. It’s been such a dry summer, and the rain is much welcomed. If only the rain could have saved us from the drought that we suffered from for so long. I’m sure there are those who along with me are praying that God will send rain to California to help in the efforts to extinguish the fires there.

My husband is in California on his third business trip with his new job. He’s nowhere near the fires for which I am very thankful. While it’s so hard for him to be away, we are so thankful for this job. Of course, these trips are nothing like what others have to go through. My brother and his wife have had to be separated for much long. Next month he will finally return after a 15 month deployment to Iraq. And still so many others have had to miss so much time with their families as they have had to serve two and three tours overseas. I can’t wait to have Wayne home again and to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with him this year.

With Chris’s job, he only works when he’s traveling. When he’s home, he actually gets to spend all of his time with Willow and me. What a blessing! Last week I was so spoiled with all of the time that we were able to spend together which made his departure that much harder this time. There are those who might have a hard time understanding why he doesn’t work, do something else on the side, when he’s home, but he works such long hours on the road. Last night he had to go back in around 1 AM to work for a few hours after working all day long. He really puts in a lot of hours when he’s on site, so he deserves some down time when he’s home, and we deserve that time with him since we are deprived of his presence when he is working. This is the longest trip so far. In all, the trip was supposed to take six nights, seven days. There are a few complications that may keep him away a little longer this time, but I’m really hoping that he’ll be able to make it home for Halloween. I don’t want him to miss Willow’s first one.

I know that many of his trips will be a week long, and he may even be gone for two weeks at a time. I am so blessed with the support of our families. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time with my parents, and Chris’s mom often calls to check on me and even visit with me a bit as well. Willow is also such a great comfort. She’s my little buddy and keeps me company when Chris is away. I cannot adequately describe the joy that she brings me. Even getting up with her in the middle of the night is welcome. When she gazes up at me and seems to be taking in all I say, I can almost feel my heart grow larger in an effort to hold all the love I feel for her. Right now she’s on her little play mat, and I don’t believe she’s going to be happy for much longer. So, it’s time for me to wrap this one up.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

She Smiles

Yes, I know. I've been a bad blogger. I guess it's just because I am so enamored with this little one, and I haven't taken much time to be on the computer. But I will try harder to be here if only just to post pictures of my sweet girl.

Last week she started smiling. She smiled from birth, but now she's smiling at people. Last Wednesday morning I went in to check on her. I was wondering why she hadn't started crying to be changed or fed, but she'd been cooing and squeaking in her bed for a while, perfectly content. As I peered over the railing, I greeted her, "Good morning, sweet girl!" She looked up at me with those big round eyes and smiled. It just melted my heart, and I started crying... which was frustrating b/c it was keeping me from seeing her sweet smile, and I didn't want to miss it. I had been trying not to cry since Chris left for his business trip that morning, but seeing that smile couple with missing my husband just broke the levee.

By the way, Chris got a new job. It's all travel. So, we're going to be apart quite a bit, but this job is really what we've been praying for. Maybe, in the not too distant future, we'll be able to move out of this apartment, get a house, and get our dog back. All I know is that it feels like new adventures are ahead.

Here she is reading with Chris. It's never too early to start reading!

Friday, August 24, 2007

One Month In

Life with a new baby leaves very little time to do much else other than attending to her. Of course, that's nothing new to those of you with children. People kept telling me how much my life would change after she arrived, and I just kept saying, "I know." I didn't know; I thought I did. While it was quite annoying that people seemed so intent on pressing this reality on me, it is no less true that everything does indeed change.

Willow is four weeks old today and is seated just to the right of me in her boucy seat. She is so alert and seems eager to discover all that she can as soon as she can.

We received quite a surprise this last weekend. After a dinner at my in-laws to celebrate the engagement of Chris's younger brother, we went to my parents' house to see my brother's wife and kids. We found just a couple hours earlier that they were making an impromptu visit to Nashville to see Willow. Just after we arrived, my sister Eva bounced in the door laden with several boxes announcing that she had brought pizza. Just in behind her strolled my brother, Wayne, with a bouquet of flowers for me. What's so surprising about this is that he's supposed to be in Iraq. I felt like I was hallusinating. Surely, I couldn't really be awake! But there he was! He hugged me, and I just started crying and trying to spit out the question, "How are you here?" To which he sarcastically replied, "Well, they have these things called airplanes...." He is actually here on emergency leave, sent home by the Red Cross, as he needed to see about a situation with one of his sons. Thank you, Clara Barton (founder of the American Red Cross). I am so thrilled that he was able to see Willow while she is still so tiny, and I was blessed to witness my rather formidable, strong brother hold that sweet little girl in his arms.

And now she is becoming not so content, so I need to turn my attention to her.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Willow Grace




So, I've been a tad busy lately. Our sweet daughter was born on July 27 at 6:39 PM. Today she is two weeks old. She weighed 6 lb 8 oz and was 19 inches long. Such a lovely little lady.

The labor and delivery was quite difficult. My blood pressure and swelling was getting to a scary level, so they admitted my Thursday night in order to begin enducing labor. Around 4:30 the next morning, my water broke, and they started me on Pitocin. I had tried to go all natural for the birth, but the contractions were so fierce that I ended up asking for the epidural. I was in labor for 14 hours and pushed for 3 1/2 hours before they realized that she wasn't going to be able to come out, so we had to do an emergency c-section. With the epidural, the first dose I was given of pain medication worked, but the problem is that my epidural slipped out at some point, so most of my labor ended up being natural anyway. When I went in for the operation, they didn't check to make sure the epidural was working. I told them that I felt pain but was told that it was just pressure, and I felt, among other things, the doctor cut me open. I was screaming and arching up off the table, and finally they put something in my IV to knock me out. So, I missed the birth of my daughter. I missed her first cry.

For about two and a half hours after I woke up from the surgery, I didn't know who I was and I didn't recognize anyone from my family either. They took everyone out of my room, I think, to save more on their distress than mine. Finally, after some time, they brought Chris back in and I knew who he was much to his relief. I asked to see the baby, and they didn't want to bring her but Chris convinced them that they had to bring her. So, around 10:30, I met Willow Grace face to face.

Recovery has been slow, but I love having this little one here with us. It was a rough beginning, but she is so worth it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Not So Normal Day

(I meant to post this yesterday, but that just didn’t work out. So, here it is now….)

So, what did you do yesterday?

I worked, went to visit with Mom after work while the carpet was still being laid, saw a guy get shot and then beat up, went home to have dinner with Chris and Jonathan, and then unpacked a few boxes while they brought the rest of the stuff up from the U-Haul. Pretty normal day, right? No? Really? You don’t usually see people getting shot and beat up? Me neither, but there it was.

I was sitting in my parent’s breakfast room when I heard a shot outside. I got up and looked out the window. There were three men across the street, one with a small handgun. He was shooting at one of the other guys. The one being shot tackled the shooter, and then the shooter and the third man proceeded, in the middle of the street, to beat up the one who had been shot. Before I knew it the two attackers ran off one way, and the guy who had been shot disappeared down the alley. A few minutes later I heard sirens. The whole thing was quite surreal; I felt like I was watching someone filming a scene in a movie or some cop show. I was shocked and had a hard time reconciling in my mind the fact that I had really just witnessed such a violent crime.

On to something less dramatic… the carpet in our apartment looks very nice. We had no idea what we were getting as our landlord ordered it. It’s a warm chocolate brown. When Chris called to tell me what it was, I was very skeptical about it. However, it gives the apartment a very welcoming, homey feeling.

Anyway, here’s hoping that the rest of this day is low key and closer to normal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Slow as Molasses

The time just drags on. I sit here fielding calls, retrieving and delivering the mail, and completing various other tasks that are dropped off on my desk. I read educational books, devotionals, and novels. I check my email and people’s blogs and the Scots network. I listen to the radio or CD’s I’ve brought with me. I keep myself pretty busy, and yet the hours still pass slowly.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am so uncomfortable. I have to keep switching positions in order to try to find a few moments of comfort. But as soon as one part of my body is relaxed, another part starts feeling sore or swollen or just painful. Yeah, ok, I’m complaining a little. Sorry.

Last night my sister’s husband, Matt, came and helped Chris pack the U-Haul. He even called us last week to volunteer to help! How cool! And now, Chris is home while the carpet is being laid. Later, his brother, Jonathan, will come to help unload the U-Haul and put everything right again. Maybe after that we can decrease the chaos for a while… at least until the baby is born.

Last night I think that I was having some mad Braxton-Hicks contractions. I didn’t tell Chris because I didn’t get him all riled up if I wasn’t sure if it was the real thing. After a little while they dissipated, and I was glad that I hadn’t made a big deal about it. I think he’s nervous enough as it is. Honestly, though, I don’t think I’m going to make it to that due date. I just need her to wait another two weeks. I’ll be a little more ready for her then. I realize that you can never be totally ready, but I just need enough time to put a few things in order.

Just in case you want to know…. Among other things, right now I’m reading:



This it the devotional I’m going through. It has a companion workbook that I am completing. Since I’ve read most of the other stuff by John Eldredge, this one hasn’t been as difficult for me emotionally, but there’s still some stuff that it’s helping me to work through.



I just finished Inkheart, and this is the sequel. I just started it today and am enjoying it so far. I enjoy fantasy and juvenile literature, so this is a good fit. Chris has already read them both and loved them. He reads so fast, just devours books, and his literary interests are so limited. It’s so hard to find enough books to keep him reading.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Stacked Up

We have been caught in a flurry of activity as of late: various outings with the nephews, baby showers, doctor appointments, packing the apartment, painting the nursery, general errands, family visits, and of course there’s our jobs…. Most of the hard stuff has fallen on Chris. I am not allowed to do much, or someone will fuss at me. Mostly the fussing comes from Chris or Mom when I try to do a little more than they think I should. (They’re right, by the way, but I’m stubborn and want to be Super Woman.) I’ve also gotten a little fussing from the doctor as well. (Yes, I’m resting and elevating my feet and staying off of them. Yes, I’m drinking my water and sleeping on my left side.)

I’ve been very busy for the last several days with writing thank you notes for the baby showers I’ve had as of late, three in the last three weeks which meant about 75 thank you notes! This baby is going to be well cared for. We now have almost everything we need and more blankets than we will ever need. However, all of the stuff is with Mom or Donitta, my mother-in-law, because our apartment is still in a state of chaos.

We’re finally having the new carpet laid tomorrow. Thank God! That really, really needed to happen before the baby arrived. All the stuff in our apartment has been mostly packed up and is ready to move. We’re getting a U-Haul today to put a lot of it in, and the rest of it is stacked in the hall bathroom. I know it seems crazy to get a U-Haul when we’re not actually moving, but there’s just not much else we can do. There’s nowhere else to put all of the electronics and boxes of stuff that has to be moved before the

Last night Chris spent a few hours painting the nursery. It’s a lovely soft green, and it looks perfect! I’m so excited, and I can’t wait to get all of the furniture and décor in there. He got up early this morning to start working on the trim but ran out of time and will have to complete that little task later tonight so that it will be done before the new carpet arrives. He’s putting a fresh white coat on the window and the floorboards.

I have finally conceded to the wishes of my family and agreed to stop working earlier than previously planned. I was going to work right up until I had the baby, but I have now given my two weeks notice. They were trying to get me to make this week my last one, but I feel like I’ve compromised pretty well with just two more weeks. My last day at work will be on July 20, which gives me two weeks before my due date even though I think this little girl will be ready to come a little early. Yes, I’ve seen people roll their eyes or try to hide some little knowing facial expression when I say that I think she’s coming early. I know these things can’t truly be predicted and that many first-born babies come late. It’s just a feeling I have. And if I’m wrong? Oh, well, I’ll just be wrong. No matter when she comes, I’m just thrilled that she’ll be mine.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Last Leg of the Journey

You’re on a bicycle having just crested a hill that seemed interminably long and nearly impossible to ascend. When you started out on that journey, you had no idea exactly where you were headed, but you knew that you were ready for an adventure, and that’s just what you got! New twists and turns and discoveries appeared with each corner you turned, some met with delight and others with hesitation and dismay. And now, looking down the other side of that formidable hill, you see that though it’s mostly downhill, there are still a few smaller hills to climb. Near the bottom, the road curves sharply to the left, and there’s no way to tell just how it ends. It’s sure to be challenging and exhilarating, but there are so many possi. Of course, to experience the thrill and to feel the wind rushing against your face and through your hair even taking your own breathe away, you must go on. There’s no turning back.

Yep, that’s where I feel like I am.

Just a few more weeks to go…. This really is the hardest time, with the waiting and anticipating. We finally were able to get the carpet layers to come earlier. They will be laying the carpet next Tuesday; our previous appointment had them coming just two weeks before my due date. That was cutting things a bit too close for my comfort. To make things run a bit more smoothly, all (hopefully) will be packed up in the next couple days, and we’re planning on painting the nursery this Saturday. I think it’s a better idea to go ahead and paint with the old nasty carpet in place rather than risk ruining the new carpet. If anything happens to a wall, we can do a little touch up. But it finally feels like things are coming together. Thank God!

I have the last of my baby showers this Sunday. Once again, I will have to store the baby gifts at my mother-in-law’s house, but it won’t have to be there very long. Just after we have the carpet laid, I’ll bring all my little treasures home and start arranging things until it feels just right for welcoming our little girl. I can’t wait to be able to do this.

The only real problem with all of this happening right now is that the doctor has told me that I need to both keep my feet elevated and stay off my feet as much as possible. Yesterday I spent the majority of the holiday reclining with my feet propped up on three big pillows. For the first time I can remember, I didn’t go watch the fireworks from downtown; I actually sat in front of the TV and viewed them that way. Not at all the same! Still, it’s a part of taking care of this baby and myself, so it’s totally worth it. At work I have a crate or a chair I’m using depending on what the task I’m working on. I can’t help with packing up the apartment to make ready for the carpet layers, but I will not be robbed of working on the nursery once all the other stuff is done. I will do it in little spurts with lots of time keeping my feet elevated in between, but I want the joy of that part of nesting.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Kid Time

On Tuesday afternoon, Chris and I journeyed to Fort Knox to pick up our three oldest nephews (Brent, Seth, and Jack) for a two-week stay. They’re mostly staying with my parents, and then on the weekends they will be with us. I’m so thrilled that they’re here, and I know that Chris is, too. He gets to have video game buddies. This afternoon they are supposed to be at my place when I get home so that we can all go swimming for a while before Chris and I go dinner at Chris’s parent’s house.

I’m hoping that we’ll be able to do lots with the boys while they are here. I love having them around. I know Mom has a whole list of things she has planned. As for Chris and me, we want to swim a lot, and we’re going to go to the park to build a fire in one of the pavilions in order to make s’mores and roast hot dogs, an activity that Jack seems the most excited about, only he keeps saying that we’re going there to burn the hot dogs.

The first night he was here, we had the following conversation in Mom’s kitchen:

Jack began, "I can tell that you’re pregnant."

"Really? And how can you tell?" I inquired.

Eyeing my blossoming belly, he replied matter of factly, "Because you’re so big."

His older brother Brent shook his head and said, "Nice, Jack, real nice."

"Oh, it’s OK," I said, rubbing my tummy. "I am big, Jack. Did you know I have a whole person in
there?"

His eyes widened, and, as he headed for the stairs, he declared, "I’m outta here!"

Last night we met my parents and the boys at Dairy Queen for some ice cream. I’ve decided not to keep ice cream in the house anymore, so going out for it is a nice treat, which was made more special by the extra company. Chris sat at a table with Brent and Seth, the three of them lost in conversation about movies and video games, while Mom, Dad, Jack, and I sat at another table talking about Jack’s ideas about God. He wanted to know what God looks like. In his head, God looks like Morgan Freeman, thanks to Bruce Almighty!

At eight months pregnant, I’m not sure how good of an idea it was for me to take that long car ride on Tuesday. I tried to put my seat back and rest my feet on the dashboard to help the swelling in my feet to go down, but it didn’t help much. Lately, my hands and feet stay in some state of swollenness. I’ve gotten to the point to where I can’t wear my rings anymore, and I don’t want people to think that I’m some poor knocked up single girl, but there’s just not much I can do about it. And yes, I am drinking tons of water and elevating my feet as much as possible.
Swimming is, I think, my happiest time. I feel light, cool, and refreshed, and I can get plenty of exercise. I thought that I would walk a lot with this pregnancy, but in addition to swollen feet, my tummy starts to hurt and feel terribly heavy. I can walk back and forth in the pool and do all sorts of stretches and other exercises. It’s not just float time for me; although, that is quite nice as well.

I know that getting into shape after birth is going to be a long process, but I do have the treadmill that can help me. I miss being able to do my Firm, Pilates, and Tae Bo workouts. But have you seen the new Hip Hop Abs workout? I REALLY want it. I keep talking Chris and Mom about it. It looks like so much fun. Every time I see the infomercial for it, I feel a tremendous urge to call. I’m trying to wait until right after I have the baby to order it. I can’t do all that bouncing right away anyway, but, oh, I can’t wait to try it out.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

In Process....

I was reading over some of my previous posts and entries from my personal journal from the last year or so. There have certainly been a lot of changes, and there have been those things I so desperately wanted to change that did not. Somewhere in that time I lost some of my zeal. It has certainly been a difficult year, and, instead of using those challenging experiences to strengthen my resolve and enthusiasm, I folded. I’m not really sure if it happened all at once or if it was gradual; I suspect the latter.

Galatians 6:9 (English Standard Version)

9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.


Part of my problem, I think, is that I did not follow the verse above. I grew weary. I put myself on autopilot and decided to “just make it through.” That didn’t work out so well. Without passion, I might as well be a silk tree. It looks nice and basically does the job, but there’s no life there. In many ways, I did give up, and so, even though I did the work, I did not receive the desired results.


If anyone reminds me the value of being positive and not getting weary, it’s my dad. Just today, he stopped by work to chat with me for a little while. It’s all about faith and trusting what God can and wants to do in your life. Trust. Sometimes I don’t trust God the way that I should. In my heart, I know that He loves me and is taking care of me, but I start looking at the waves and listening to the roar of the wind. My head starts to take over, and I… just forget. But Dad reminded me that you keep reminding yourself about God’s promises. You keep your head up and focus on Jesus. It’s hard to not be cheerful when focusing on Jesus.


I think one of the areas where I get most frustrated with myself is how forgetful I can be when it comes to the lessons God has taught me. I learn them anew and vow not to forget again. I plan to “write them on the tablet of my heart.” (I’ve even wanted to paint them on the walls at my house and would if I weren’t renting just now.) However, as time passes so does the impact of the lessons. When I return to notes I’ve made or journal entries I’ve written, I feel the shame of having let my faith waiver, and so I resolve once again to live all that I know in my heart to be true. Two steps forward, one step back. It’s progressive but not completely so.


So, what is my resolution now? That’s what I’m working on now.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Taking a Hiatus

Yes, I know that I haven’t written in quite a while. I do, however, have really good excuses for not writing. First of all, I was really sick for a while. I couldn’t do much of anything. It was the couch, the kitchen, and the bathroom. That’s about it. Then we’ve been winding down the school year, and that’s been extremely busy, especially because I fell behind after missing so much work with being ill. Other than that, we had our little babymoon weekend, and I just haven’t been getting on the computer hardly at all lately.

The school year finally came to an end, but I am still at the school answering phones all summer. I plan to work up until I have the baby which makes Mom and Chris a bit nervous. I don’t think anyone wants to think about be driving to work at 9 months pregnant, but I am sure that I will be just fine.

We finally scanned our ultrasound pictures into the computer. So, I wanted to share a couple with you. I know it’s a little late as our 8 month check-up is tomorrow. Oh, well.

Here’s our sweet little girl:

January 2007





March 2007

I can't believe that I get to meet her soon. Hopefully we'll be getting new carpet in our apartment next week and then we can start on the nursery. There's so much to do before she arrives. My due date is August 7, but I really think that she's going to be here a bit earlier than that. I guess time will tell.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Best Sleep Ever!

Are you kidding me? I’ve had so many women say to me, “Aren’t you getting the best sleep of your life?” NO! Yes, I’ve always had trouble sleeping, but now with having to get up to go to the restroom, training myself to sleep on my side, and maneuvering this large hump around, I’m constantly waking up and moving around. I will say that if I get to take a nap in the afternoon or early evening, that sleep is usually pretty good. However, I take few naps because I don’t want that to end up being another factor to keep me from good sleep at night.

Every year I’m surprised at how self-absorbed children can be, particularly middle school children. Of course, since I spend 8 hours a day around these adolescents, I observe this in my classroom. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that their words, actions, and even facial expressions have an effect on others. Just today there was a little incident in my room. I won’t go into it, but I will say that I really had my feelings hurt. I really had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to respond emotionally and end up saying the wrong thing; so I just didn’t do anything. It disturbed me so badly that I went to talk to one of the administrative assistants to gain some guidance on how to handle the situation. By the way, she gave me brilliant advice, and I can come at the whole affair from a positive perspective and receive, I believe, a much more positive outcome than if I had let me emotions get the best of me. Sometimes it’s good to get a fresh perspective on things.

Spring fever has definitely hit with a fury. Not only do the kids not want to engage in school, neither do I. I have just 19 days of school left. After that, my days will be filled with sporadic phone calls, mail delivery, and plenty of time to read. Working at the front desk of the school is completely low maintenance in the summer and will be the perfect job for a very pregnant me. Here at the end of the academic year, I give myself little pep talks throughout the day. Most of these occur in my head, but it’s all about only having a few days left, running the good race, and finishing well. I do so want to end the year well. I’m putting all the effort I can muster up into it, and I believe that, in the end, I will succeed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Facing the Belly

Since I was a young girl, I’ve struggled with body image and being fit. There have been those times when I was in really great shape, and then there are those times when I just had a shape. The year before I became pregnant, I was struggling a great deal with my health and gained weight despite doing everything to move in the opposite direction. Even the doctors I was seeing couldn’t figure out what was happening. Blank, confused, unknowing looks from doctors are far from comforting.

And then I became pregnant.

And for now, we love the belly.

Just today, I mentioned to one of the office ladies that the baby was moving around quite a bit, and she immediately leaned over with her face very close to my belly and starting talking in high pitched, baby-talk. And then there’s the uninvited touching of the belly. Before I even have a chance to stop people, I receive a little pat or a quick circular rub as if the person is trying to call forth a genie or receive some sort of good luck. I thought that I would be greatly annoyed by this intrusion, this infringement on my personal space. However, it really doesn’t bother me at all. It just reminds me that others are excited about my baby, too, and that thrill is stronger than the strangeness I feel about someone touching a normally off-limits area.

Normally, I would want as little attention as possible directed towards my belly. However, maternity clothes accent the belly, and I find that I often absent-mindedly rub my tummy. You always notice pregnant women doing that, and I used to think that it was a result of more purposeful thinking, but now I think it’s because it often makes the woman feel closer to the baby without her even realizing what she’s doing.

We went to see the second hospital tonight, and now we’re leaning towards this one. The first one only allows two people to be in the room during delivery, and I really want to have Chris, Mom, and Eva with me. The second hospital allows up to five people to be with you! Also, the delivery rooms are a bit bigger, and all of the other services are the same. I don’t want to make a hasty or emotional decision, but I do think we’ll go with the second one.

For now, it’s been a long day, and I must get some rest. With a chest cold and cough that’s developed and the increasing activity of this little one, I’m quite worn out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bounce on, Baby Girl!

Have you ever listened to someone give some sort of speech and thought, "Hmmm, that sounded really insincere." Some examples are when they include the following statements: "Oh, you really didn't have to do that." "I didn't need a present; your presence is gift enough." I'm not saying that every time these things are said, the person is being false. I know I've said them myself and wholeheartedly meant them. However, there are times when the body language, facial expressions, or ton just gives a person away. There are occasions when I sit listening to people and wonder if they realize that they are betraying themselves. And then, of course, I inevitably wonder if people have thought the same thing about me, which leads me to suspect that I may be being too hard on the person I'm listening to.

Chris and I went to look at hospitals on Sunday, but we haven't made our final decision on where to have the baby. We can choose between two hospitals, and we still have to take a tour of the second one. The current plan is to take their scheduled tour Wednesday night. We'll see how that goes.
OK, on to more exciting things….

The baby has been moving so much lately. I hadn’t really felt her for a couple days, and then all of a sudden she started moving around like she was hopped up on caffeine! Last night it felt like she was literally bouncing off the sides of my stomach, and I thought it might be something like bouncing around in one of those inflatable playgrounds that people set up at carnivals. I hope she was having fun; it sure was amusing me! And Chris was able to feel her move for the first time!

While I was trying to settle down for bed last night, I wondered if she’d settle down as well so that I could fall asleep. I just talked to her while patting my baby belly, and she eventually calmed down. Then, today, while my students were taking standardized tests, I felt her kicking, and I wanted to giggle so badly. I just smiled to myself and discreetly rubbed my tummy relishing the thought of my little dancing baby and trying to calm her down a bit so I wouldn’t lose my composure.

Every time we see her on an ultrasound she’s bouncing around, and I know that we’re going to end up with a little energy ball on our hands. She’s going to keep us on our toes!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Busyness of Spring

Life’s gettin’ busy! It always happens that the later in the school year it gets, the more I have to do. It’s not just with all the stuff we do to wrap up the year (conferences, awards programs, fine arts productions, graduations, etc.), but there’s also all the showers and parties and weddings and things that inevitably come with the onset of spring. This year I am adding to the busyness with my upcoming showers, and in a few weeks we finally get to go on our babymoon. This weekend, I have a Body Shop spa party on Saturday and a bridal shower on Sunday. Next weekend, there’s the Baby Fair at Baptist Hospital on Saturday to which I’m going with my friend Ralanna who is also due on August 9th and having a baby girl! Then on Sunday afternoon we’re having our community group picnic. Every weekend from now until the end of the beginning of June has something extra tacked onto it, and those June weekends will not doubt be filled soon. I’m not complaining at all; I like my life to have special occasions sprinkled throughout. I’m just noting that in the spring it’s more like a steady rain than a sprinkle; I suppose that’s appropriate given the general weather patterns at this time of year.

We’re studying poetry right now in my class. I used to write quite a bit of poetry in college and for a bit thereafter. However, times being what they are, I haven’t felt the inspiration or had the time to let the muses do their work. Creatively I’ve been dry, and I miss the thrill of putting pen to paper and spinning a tale or weaving words into patterned fluidity. I wonder if a time will ever come again that I’ll be able to think of myself as a writer. I also haven’t picked up a paintbrush in months, and that too brings me a small dose of grief. Perhaps with the awakening of the world in spring, something will also awaken in me enabling me to produce something beautiful.

Speaking of things that are beautiful and inspirational… Chris and I attended the funeral of a family friend’s mom yesterday. She was 87 when she passed and had raised 7 children as a single mother when her second marriage didn’t work out. She worked very hard well past retirement, volunteered at Baptist Hospital, and followed the Lord closely. Truly she was a remarkable woman. It was a life well lived. I remember thinking while I sat there listening to her life being recounted that I hope that someday people will be able to say such honorable things about me. As I studied her face, I was struck with how brief life is and how we have such a limited time to truly make a difference. With each day I hope that I am leaving behind me traces of grace and dignity and kindness. I hope that even now when people remember me it’s with warmth, and those thoughts of me lead them to thoughts of Christ.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Nursery Duty

Last Saturday I met Eva in Rivergate at the Babies R Us store. There’s also one on Nolensville Road, but Rivergate is about half way between her home and mind. Five and ½ hours later, we had finally finished registering. Seriously, if it hadn’t been for her, I probably would have left the store in tears. It was so overwhelming, and she helped me so much. Thanks Eva! We choose the colors, theme, and furniture for the nursery along with all the other things I baby needs. At least, I hope that I didn’t leave anything out that a baby needs; I’ve asked a couple of moms to look at the registry to inform me about any essential I may have left out. We’ll see what their verdict is. I’ve changed quite a bit online since I did my walk-through on Saturday. I have a feeling that it may morph a bit more.

By the way, I’ve chosen sage green and antique white (cream) with baby pink accents for the nursery, and the theme is the Hundred Acre Wood/Winnie the Pooh. Chris and I went through two other themes before we settled on the last one. First, we thought we’d do an underwater theme, but it just didn’t really suit us. Next, we decided on a fairy tale theme, but I just couldn’t find exactly what I wanted for the décor. Finally, we choose the Winnie the Pooh. I seriously don’t know why we didn’t choose that one to begin with. Prior to getting married, I had always thought that I’d do the Hundred Acre Wood for my nursery. It’s amazing how much Winnie stuff you can find that has the colors I’ve chosen. It’s perfect.

The only problem with all of this is the fact that in our current living situation, we don’t have anywhere to put a baby. We do have a two bedroom apartment; however, the second bedroom, our office, has our dog crate where Bella stays while we’re away from home during the day, treadmill, computer table, my easel and painting supplies, two bookcases full of VHS movies and books, tons of random computer parts, and a plethora of other stuff that really should go in storage (if we had extra storage). There’s a small open area in the middle of the floor, and that’s about it. Though we could find some way to adjust and figure out some place to store the things, it just doesn’t feel like a welcoming place for a baby. The apartment is in need of many repairs, is very difficult to keep clean, and desperately needs new carpet. We have been house hunting for quite a while now, and we hope that something will work out for us soon.

I am so longing to begin preparations for this little one. I don’t know when nesting typically begins during pregnancy, but I would really like to be working on this now while I have some energy. The further along in the pregnancy I get, after working all day, I don’t know how much I’ll have left for home chores. I’m doing good to get a couple things done each day when I get home now. I’ll be working up until the day my baby is born, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I may go into labor at work though I hope that doesn’t happen. I would much rather be home with Chris for that particular event. Why don’t we just plan on that?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sugar and Spice

So, I haven’t posted in over a week, but last week I was on spring break and hardly went near the computer at all. It was both a restful and busy week, and there just wasn’t much to write about. However, the last couple days have been pretty exciting.

All day yesterday I had the hardest time concentrating. I was lost in the anticipation of going to have the big ultrasound. Our appointment was at three, but we had faulty directions and were lost. By the time we finally made it to the right place, I was flustered and a bit shaken. I was so nervous that they’d tell us it was too late, and we’d have to come back later. Thankfully, they were totally understanding, and within a few minutes all the paperwork was filled out, and we were in the dimly lit room watching the monitor. The lady checked every possible angle on the baby and declared that each part of our little one was developing normally and looked great. She paused for quite a while and chatted with Chris about computers and cars while I patiently waited for her to finish the examination. She was just waiting for the baby to move in order to finish checking out everything. Finally she started looking around again and confirmed that all was well. And then the time finally came for us to find out the gender. She asked me what I thought the baby was, and I replied that I thought it was a girl. She exclaimed, “Well, you’re right. It’s a girl!” I was so overwhelmed with joy that a few that I giggled and started to cry a little at the same time.

Last night, after the appointment, we meet our parents at O'Charley's for dinner. We stopped on the way there to pick up little gifts for our parents in order to break the news to them. I found little gift bags with animals on them that said "It's a boy? It's a girl? It's twins?" Inside them, I had stowed little pink bunnies, and we gave those to our moms to let them know what we were having. They opened them up at the same time to squeals of surprise and delight followed by hugs and congratulations. Of course Chris had to call his brothers right away while I phoned Eva and my sister-in-law. Everyone was thrilled with the news.

And the excitement continues….

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Babymoon

A babymoon is like a honeymoon except for the fact that the trip is taken before the big event!

I’ve been reading about them in the pregnancy magazines and books and really wanted to take one, but finding the time and resources isn’t always easy. However, we finally were able to book ours. In a couple months, Chris and I are taking our friends, John and Christina, with us to a resort in Gatlinburg for a weekend getaway. The resort was built in the last year, is beautifully decorated, and complete with indoor/outdoor pools and Jacuzzis, a spa, and a billiard room. Our setup is much like a condo with two separate bedrooms, a fireplace, full kitchen, DVD player, and a washer/dryer combination. It’s quite nice, and we can’t wait to relax with our friends, watch movies, swim, walk along the strip, and visit the aquarium. We really need a mini-vacation.

To add to my list of strange pregnancy phenomenon, lately I’ve been having the strangest, most bizarre, and disturbing dreams. Really, it’s sci/fi or horror channel kind of stuff. I could not even think of recounting even one for you here, but the baby books assure me that this is quite normal. Another strange occurrence has been the presence of random leg cramps in the middle of the night. I’m sure I gave Chris quite a fright a couple nights ago when I awoke both him and myself with hysterical screaming when I was seized by a sudden and severe calf cramp. He tried frantically to help me, and I was finally able to stand and walk around a bit in order to work it out. The feeling has lingered for the last couple days, and I plan to do lots of stretches each night before I go to bed in order to hold off these painful sleep interrupters. I suppose I didn’t have enough interrupting my sleep already!

Spring break has now officially started. I don’t have to work tomorrow, and I have all of next week off as well. Before you get too jealous, I do have a box of research papers waiting for me to grade, and I will be spending a good deal of my time trying to accomplish a little spring cleaning. However, I do plan to rest a bit and maybe even get a little sun on my pasty white winter legs. Normally, my skin would have a nice brown glow at this point in the year from weekly trips to the tanning bed. However, with my “delicate” condition, I just don’t think going to the tanning bed would be a prudent decision. Anyway, I am super excited about the change of pace and location for a week. I’ve been extremely tired as of late, and a week that affords me a little extra rest is more than a welcome respite.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sweet, Frustrating, Exhausting

Sweet: Yesterday morning, I was busily getting ready for my school day when two of my students, girls, came through my classroom door. They were holding a small plate covered in aluminum foil and smiling a bit sheepishly. One of them spoke up, “Mrs. Reed, we made you some strawberry bread.” A slight tinge of pick colored their cheeks as they passed off their little gift to me, and I gushed with thanks. What sweet girls!

Frustrating: After a long day of classes and an afternoon tutoring, I had decided to meet Mom out in Rivergate to go to the Old Navy there. Yes, there are Old Navy stores which are much closer to me; however, I had checked online and found that this particular store had a maternity section. I had been looking at their sundresses and really wanted to go pick up a couple. The one at Opry Mills has a maternity section, but I hadn’t been very impressed the last time I went, before the new spring line came out. Anyway, I drove nearly an hour to get out there and discovered that the website had been wrong! They do not have a maternity section! So, I just bought a couple of larger dresses with room for a growing tummy, and I’m going to wait to wear them or remove the tags until I check the maternity section at Opry Mills. I really want some cute, roomy sundresses without looking like I’m wearing a muu muu! (I actually had to look up the spelling for that word.) It’s easier in our modern times to find cute maternity clothes, but I can still be rather picky and have a difficult time finding things that work just right. Both Mom and Chris know to never buy clothes for me; gift certificates are much safer.

Exhausting: We’re working on research papers in my class. At CPA, 7th grade is their first experience with research papers. I feel really good about that because our new student teacher told us today that she was teaching a juniors’ honors class to do research paper for the first time at the high school where she just had her first assignment! Anyway, I told my students today that the week after we finish these papers is spring break, and by that time, after all the craziness with these papers, we (and by we I mean me!) will have earned a good break! If you’ve never gone through this process with a room full of seventh graders, there is no adequate way to describe just what a delirious process this is. At the end of my classes every day I feel like I’ve had a full mental workout. I drag myself to lunch and try to decompress and fuel myself up to finish the rest of my day with some amount of humor and willingness to tackle the rest of the tasks before me. I am desperately hoping that I can finish grading these papers before spring break so that I can rest. I do so need to relax.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Weekend in Review

We had a rare treat on Friday afternoon as Chris finished work about the same time I did. We decided to take ourselves to an afternoon movie and went to see Ghost Rider. Afterwards, we stopped by Bed, Bath, and Beyond to look for new pillows (which we bought but now don’t really like.) The rest of our evening, we spent having a leisurely dinner and resting.

On Saturday, Chris, Bella, and I journeyed to Pleasant View to spend the day with John, Christina, and their dog, Marley. Everyone had a friend. While John and Chris busied themselves with video games, Christina treated me to a few hours at the spa. I had a steam that I could not long endure – too hot and cramped. Afterwards, while Christina received a manicure and pedicure, I had an hour-long prenatal massage. I love the prenatal pillow they had me rest on. It had a hollowed out place in the center for my belly, and it was so comfortable! I really want one for home so that I can lie down on my stomach. I used to always fall asleep on my stomach, but that doesn’t really work now. I can still lie comfortably on my stomach, but that would not be good for the baby. Anyway, back to the spa…. After my wonderful massage, I had a quickie pedicure and manicure while Christina had her own massage. We were so relaxed afterwards that we practically floated back to her house.

When we returned to the men, they went to the grocery store for us to pick up dinner and some snacks to hold us over until then. (We have the best husbands!) Next, Christina and I watched Facing the Giants, which I highly recommend, while the men resumed their game play. After the movie, John and Christina made us steaks, corn, baby glazed carrots, and rolls. We all ate our fill and then went to the bonus room for the four of us to watch a movie together. As soon as I was reclining and all curled up with a comfy quilt and Chris as my pillow, I fell fast asleep and remained so for most of the movie. I woke up intermittently but only because of the others’ laughter and then went right back to sleep. Around nine or so, we decided to call it a day and make our way home. We felt like we’d had a mini vacation and were so grateful to our sweet friends for their hospitality.

On Sunday, Chris and I went to church, ran a few errands, and spent the afternoon at his parents’ house celebrating our sister-in-law’s birthday. His mom made a delicious lasagna and sent a couple pieces home with me for my lunch this week. After being there for about 2 ½ hours, we realized that we should have returned home after church to take care of Bella but had neglected to do so. We had to cut our time there a bit short and go home to her. She was a bit crazy and seemed very grateful to see us. The rest of the evening we spent looking through the Sunday paper (one of our favorite activities together), watching The Incredibles, and eating sandwiches for dinner. I retired early last night, around nine, as I had been feeling pretty ill all day.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Just a Little Update

As the school year begins to wind down, I’m looking forward to my summer answering phones at the school and preparing for the baby. Hopefully, by that time, we’ll be in a new home. While this year has rushed past, we’re starting the fourth quarter, and it really starts to pick up momentum. It will be over before we know it.

It seems that I’ve been limiting my postings to once a week. With the end of the quarter closing in on me, I’ve been so busy grading papers and trying to get make up work from the twenty students who have been sick lately. I can’t remember when we’ve had so many students out all at the same time. I’m trying to stay well. Anyway, most of my “free” time is spend grading... or resting.

Most days I do pretty well getting through the school day, but by afternoon I’ve used most of my energy. Still, Chris and I decided to start walking together again last night. We did a couple miles and felt great for it. I’m so excited that we’re going to be doing this together; it’s always a wonderful opportunity to talk about serious issues or to recap our day or just to laugh together. Plus, there’s the health benefit.

On Monday, I had another checkup. It seems that everything is still going quite well. We were able to hear the heartbeat, and it sounded just like a horse galloping. Even before we heard the heartbeat, the doctor said, in observing the baby on the ultrasound monitor, “The baby’s heartbeat is strong. Look how active it is!” The baby was moving around so much – stretching, reaching, and rolling from side to side. I love the checkups because it makes everything seem more real. I can’t wait until our next appointment. We’re doing the major ultrasound with the big machine. We’ll be able to see the baby much more clearly, and we get to find out the sex of the baby! So exciting!

We’re still house hunting. We’ve been looking, off and on, since before we were married, but nothing has been quite right. For a while, we were starting to become quite discouraged, especially when so many friends and relatives were getting great houses. However, we’ve come to see that God is preparing us for the right place for us, and we need to be patient and wait on His timing. It’s difficult when I think about my growing belly and the fact that I desperately want a house in which to bring the baby home. However, it’s about trust and patience and faith. God’s working on us!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Proud

I was very productive when I returned from work today. It’s been my most productive day of pregnancy! I know that might not sound like a big deal, but it really is for me. I haven’t been able to do much. It’s just after 8, and I am so tired. However, it’s so worth it!

Since I arrived home, this is what I’ve done:
-walked Bella
-started the laundry
-cleaned the kitchen counters
-mopped the kitchen floor three times (once is just not enough)
-unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher
-cleared many of the clothes out of the closet and bureau that are not “pregnant friendly” and finally put away the maternity clothes I bought a week ago
-walked for 20 minutes on the treadmill
-scrubbed the kitchen sink with Barkeeper’s Friend (so great at cleaning stainless steel)
-washed, folded, and put away 4-5 loads of laundry
-fixed dinner for myself and ate (Chris is still at work.)
-fed and walked Bella again
-sat down to write this post

I had plans to iron, but I think I’ll leave that for tomorrow. I also plan to clean the bathrooms then. Big plans! Seriously, I know it might now sound that exciting. However, as sitting or reclining on the couch has been my primary home activity, it’s nice to have a change of pace. Hopefully that elusive second trimester energy is starting to kick in.

Last night Eva and Matt stopped by with a friend. It was so nice to engage in girl talk and just chat with Eva about what’s been going on in our lives. We haven’t had much time for that kind of thing lately. And I know that Chris enjoyed hanging with the guys. Matt bought a whole Coca-Cola cake for her from Cracker Barrel. Have you tried it? It’s so rich… and, oh, so delicious! Since I found out that they brought it back, I’ve been wanting a piece so badly. I’m going to have to get Chris to take me to the Cracker Barrel for a little treat.

And now that I’ve been so wonderfully industrious, I think I’ll reward myself with a nice little foot soak, People magazine crossword puzzle, and relaxation.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What new things can I tell you?

I think it’s interesting that I started this blog just after the Renaissance Festival last year, and tomorrow I will be going through it all again. Today, we had our Renaissance stations day. The students shuffled among six centers where they engaged in various activities such as making large mosaics, trying to imitate Michelangelo in his Sistine Chapel role as they laid under chairs with paper taped to them and created art masterpieces with colored pencils or markers, played human chess, and created banners to hang from partitions. Everything we did today will be used to decorate the gym tomorrow as it is transformed into the Lion’s Paw Castle so that we can help their parents travel back to the Renaissance. There will be a feast, and the children will be performing, among other things, Shakespearean monologues.

It was a draining day, and tomorrow will be even worse in that regard. But I always have fun with it and look forward to interacting with the students in a different way. I miss the type of relationship I had with the kids when I directed the plays and was involved with the youth group at church. Perhaps some day I will go back to theater, but that is just not supposed to be part of my life right now.

I can’t believe that I have to wait until the 26th to go back to the doctor. I know it’s just a month between visits, but it seems so long. I know it’s crazy, but I can kind of understand why Tom Cruise bought his own ultrasound machine. My tummy is poking out, and the maternity jeans are coming in very handy. There’s no more nausea, but I’ve been so tired. I go to bed so early right now even if I just lie there until, but I guess I need to load up on the rest and sleep since I won’t be getting any after the baby arrives. I have to refrain from talking about the baby at work. I’m not supposed to mention it around the students unless they ask me a question about it. While that is sometimes difficult, I understand. However, I am so excited about all the changes, it’ so hard not to talk about it. I feel like I’m carrying around a secret all day long.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Little Treats

So, I finally had a legitimate snow day last Friday (Feb. 2). Since then I’ve been anxiously awaiting my next freebie. I cannot take any sick days as I am saving them up for my maternity leave. I didn’t do anything on my day off except rest. I took a nap in the morning, watch Steel Magnolias while I ate lunch, and puttered around for the afternoon. It was wonderful. I never have days like that as I always feel the need to be constantly doing something. However, this baby has made me so tired that I need three times the amount of rest that I was getting before.

I have a list of things that I’ve’ been praying for, just basic requests for myself. I don’t want to sound too selfish; I do pray quite a bit for others. However, I just wanted to spend a little time focusing on a few things that I need or want but cannot really acquire for myself at this point. Two of the things at the top of my list were a massage and a pedicure. I supposed I’ve been praying for these for almost a couple months now. Would you believe it? My sweet friend Christina called me up out of the blue this last weekend and told me that she wanted to take me to get a massage and a pedicure! She had no idea that I had been asking the Lord for these things. In fact, unless she has read this post, she still doesn’t know. I know these are not things that will change the world or even my life, but because I care about it God cares as well. So, I thank the Lord and Christina for this tremendous gift.

This last Friday was a jeans day at work. Every year we have a Cake Bake in which the middle school boys bake cakes, and the girls, in groups, bid on the cakes. There are all types of cakes: huge hearts, wedding-style layer cakes, cakes shaped like fish, cakes with themes (Coke, American Idol, sports), and an assortment of other interesting creations. Anyway, back to the jeans…. When I put on my jeans, I discovered that I could button them; I just couldn’t breathe. Well, I decided that oxygen was important for both me and the baby at the same time that I discovered that I could no longer “get by” with my regular clothes. The time had come to do a little maternity clothes shopping.

So, yesterday, Mom, Eva, and I took to the stores. Among other necessities, I was able to buy five pairs of pants and six shirts, all very basic and plain. I couldn’t find anything that I found particularly cute, but I think I’ll have better luck when the spring lines come in. At least I now have jeans that I can breathe in! With the various other items in my closet which still work, I have a good start. Oh, and Mom and Dad bought a lot of the clothes yesterday. Mom was so happy in being able to get me my first maternity clothes. I have a bit of money saved up, so I’ll be able to buy a few more things on my own.

Of course the best part about yesterday was being with Mom and Eva. I rarely ever get to see Eva, and I was thrilled that she was able to come. I miss her so much, but with our adult, married lives and living so far away from one another it’s difficult to find time to get together. She really is an enchanting creature. Being with those two women yesterday was like food for my soul.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dancing Baby

In answer to my question last week, they do happen in threes. On Friday, my parents’ next-door neighbor, a man they’ve lived next to for 25 years, died from cancer. Being a very private man, we didn’t even know that he was sick. Another shocking death.

But let’s move on to some good news. I had my second checkup yesterday with the OB/GYN. Apparently, I’m in great health; everything is progressing great. Also, we had another ultrasound, and we were able to see the baby more distinctly this time. In fact, the baby actually seemed to be dancing! The baby was bouncing up and down and moving the arms in front of the little face, almost like a boxing stance. So amazingly cute!

Though we saw the baby’s heartbeat on our first visit, we have to wait another month before we get to hear the heartbeat, and it’ll be another two months before we get to learn the sex of the baby. It’s going to be so hard to wait.

Chris and I went to Target a couple nights ago and looked at all the baby stuff. I got so excited looking at the baby beds, strollers, high chairs, little baby baths, and all the other stuff. I started to get emotional and had to move on to the entertainment section in order to calm down!

I’ve been reading books and magazines and online articles about the pregnancy, delivery, and the first twelve months after the baby is born. However, I have a feeling that nothing will really be able to prepare me for what’s ahead. I’m a planner, so hopefully I’ll be at least as prepared as I can be. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Do They Really Happen in Threes?

Last week, The Reeds had a sweet friend pass away, and this week it was one on the Bratcher side. I’ve often heard that these things happen in threes, and I’ve often known that to be true. My guess is that it’s just coincidence. However, it’s hard not to have a sense of anticipation. Is it just bad things that happen in threes, or is it big things? In my community group, we have two pregnancies and another family moving to a new house. That’s three big things. On a side note, the other girl that is pregnant is due two days after me!

Last night, Chris and I were supposed to go to community group. However, he was busily helping his family clean out their friend’s apartment, and I was in no condition to be good company for anyone. We had both been looking forward to going, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Anyway, I could not the phone number of our community group leader, so I jumped in the car to go over there and tell them why we couldn’t be there. I know that sounds crazy, but they thought we were coming. I didn’t want them to worry or think that we were being rude. So, I told them about Chris’s helping out his family and my pregnancy, had them right down their number for me, and fifteen minutes later was on my way back home.

We’ve been trying ot keep a running tally of foods that I just can’t consume at this point. I feel very limited right now. I have a lot of saltines, water, and Sprite. Generally, I’m a really picky eater, but it just seems ridiculous at this point. And I really feel bad for Chris; I just can’t cook for him right now like I used to. However, I think he’s surviving just fine. On Wednesdays, it’s Pappa John’s pizza day at school, and at the end of the day they sell the leftover large pizzas for $5. If you get there early enough, you get some delicious rice crispy treats thrown into the deal. That’s what I brought home for Chris last night, and he seemed pleased.

For the last couple days, I’ve been feeling pretty terrible. Having a migraine for two days in a row, along with the “side effects” of early pregnancy, has not made for very pleasant teaching experiences. I just had to keep reminding myself that time was passing, and my bed would happily welcome me when I arrived home.

Speaking of a welcoming bed, I think it’s calling to me now….

Friday, January 19, 2007

Zapped!

I really wish that I had the energy to write more during the week. However, as it is, I can just barely make it home at the end of the day, walk Bella, and crash on the couch; and next week I’ll start up with tutoring again in the afternoons. While I’m sitting on the couch, I think about opening the laptop, doing laundry, or being productive in some way, and just thinking about it makes me more tired. I actually fell asleep at eight o’clock last night! That seems so crazy. Hopefully, I’ll have enough time and energy to get a few things accomplished this weekend. I have a small mountain of grading I brought home with me. The promise of good feelings and more energy in the 2nd trimester keeps me looking ahead.

On Tuesday, I had a frustrating thing happen at work. Somehow during third block, I was one copy short for the quiz I was giving, even though I made exact copies. It’s not hard to make exactly 40 copies. Anyway, I went to make an extra copy. Interestingly enough, I absent-mindedly made a copy of the key and gave it to the student who promptly returned it to me! So I went again to make a copy. Can you believe it? I copied the wrong quiz! The third time did turn out to be a charm, and he was finally able to get busy working on the quiz.

I just found about maternity leave and insurance for the baby. First, I will use all of my sick days that I have accrued over the last few years. You can accrue up to 30, but I know I only have 27. After that, I only get six weeks of actual maternity leave. This will put me back at work in late October. I can take 12 weeks, but the last six weeks would be unpaid. For insurance, I have 30 days, absolutely no more, to add the baby to my insurance, and it will be almost $400 a month! I need to check with Chris's insurance to see how much it'll cost to add the baby to his. We really need to win the lottery; we'll buy a ticket next week!

With all the changes ahead and house hunting and dealing with issues at work that I’m not allowed to discuss, it really could be enough to make me overly concerned, but I’m not going to let it get to me. It’s true that we need a better place to live, and, sure, I would love to be out longer with my baby. Who knows? Maybe somehow I will be able to. However, I’ve decided that I will put my trust in God. He will take care of me, Chris, the baby, our finances, and every other aspect of our lives. I’ve been hearing negative comments from so many sources lately about what could happen or what we should have done or should do or whatever. We can’t do anything about any of that. No matter what circumstances or “what ifs” people can drum up, that doesn’t change God’s plans for our lives or His provision or His promises. “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Well, I guess Chris and I are just exercising our faith, and I can tell that we’re stronger already.

And now, so I can continue to be strong for this little miracle within, it’s time to rest!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

100 Things About Me

I borrowed this idea from my sister-in-law who borrowed it from her sister. It’s actually a challenge to think of things that I think might actually be interesting to others. I thought for a long time about it, so I hope you enjoy. Here we go….

1.I am pregnant with my first child.
2.When my mom was pregnant with me, she craved crushed ice and Three Musketeers candy bars.
3.I am a Christian.
4.I have the bad habit of popping my fingers and often don’t even realize that I’m doing it.
5.I’ve never been in a limousine.
6.I’m only been snow skiing once, and it was the worst trip of my life.
7.I don’t like seafood.
8.I often cover my mouth when I laugh.
9.I sometimes wore a fake nose ring during college, and I really liked it.
10. It took me five years to graduate from college.
11. I lived in the projects when I was a little girl.
12. I’m in my 10th year of teaching 7th grade English.
13. I teach in a Christian school.
14. I took six years of French but remember very little.
15. I have lived in the South my entire life.
16. I’ve been to Ireland, France, Mexico (twice), and the Bahamas.
17. Five of those trips were mission trips, and I also went on one to New York.
18. I am a middle child.
19. I enjoy cooking and cleaning but have been able to do very little of that as of late due to early pregnancy issues.
20. I love swimming.
21. I kept my maiden name as a second middle name.
22. I fancy myself to be a writer and desperately want to have a book published some day.
23. People who are very close to me often call me Kay-Kay, and despite a lapse in my fondness for it during adolescence, I love it.
24. I like talking on the phone.
25. I love holidays or any chance to be festive.
26. I don’t like doughnuts.
27. Before meeting my husband, I was never in a romantic relationship that last more than three months.
28. However, I never had anyone break up with me.
29. I would love to own a theater some day and produce/direct plays.
30. I am left-handed, but I throw right-handed.
31. I really hope to go on a cruise someday.
32. And I want to go to Hawaii. Maybe I’ll go on a cruise to Hawaii.
33. My favorite poet is Robert Frost.
34. My favorite painter is Vincent Van Gogh.
35. I love reading novels.
36. I never had the chicken pox as a child and neither did my brother or sister.
37. We also never wore braces.
38. I’ve never broken a bone.
39. I sprained my arm when I fell of a slide when I was four or five.
40. I badly bruised my sternum during a car wreck, which was not my fault, in January 2005
41. I once had hypothermia in the 7th grade.
42. I wanted to be an actress until I was about 25.
43. I would still love to be in a Spielberg movie.
44. I didn’t get married until I was 31.
45. On Sunday nights, I love watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In my opinion, it’s the best show on TV right now.
46. I also enjoy Gilmore Girls.
47. My husband and I are house hunting.
48. Among my plethora of costumes, I own three Renaissance dresses, a ‘20’s flapper dress, and a Beast costume.
49. I love butterflies
50. … and bunnies
51. … and snow people.
52. My favorite dessert is Mrs. Smith’s Dutch apple crumb pie.
53. I almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning when I was seven.
54. I used to talk to myself a lot when I was home alone, but now I get to direct all of my random comments and queries towards my dog, Bella.
55. My best friend is my mom.
56. I own all 10 seasons of Friends and frequently watch them before I go to sleep at night.
57. I once, briefly, had pink hair.
58. I hate small talk.
59. I once stayed in a monastery in New Mexico for a week.
60. I’ve been on at least 30 summer camps and/or retreats.
61. I just started wearing reading glasses in the last year.
62. I don’t have any tattoos, but I do enjoy wearing fake ones from time to time.
63. My hair is naturally curly but was only slightly wavy until I became a teenager.
64. I’ve had eighteen different roommates, sixteen of those being during college.
65. I love reading People magazine.
66. I own about 300 movies on VHS and DVD.
67. I believe that anything in your home should be either beautiful or functional, and it’s even better if they are both.
68. I met my husband because of a candy cane.
69. I got lost at Huntsville Space Center when I was in fourth grade and was almost left behind.
70. I prefer silver or white gold jewelry over yellow gold.
71. I’m terrible at playing video games, but I like to watch other’s play.
72. I’ve been to about 30 Vigilantes of Love shows.
73. I often have a difficult time getting to sleep and/or staying asleep.
74. The first play I ever directed was during my senior year of college, and it was about drug addiction in the 50’s.
75. I love ice skating and roller skating.
76. I can spin around and skate backwards.
77. I love being tan.
78. I am very girly but can be pretty tough as well.
79. My parents are still together as are my husband’s, my sister’s husbands, and my brother’s wife’s. Cool, huh?
80. I love Southern sweet ice tea.
81. I am allergic, in some cases severely, to almost everything, except dogs.
82. I have one dog, a Great Pyranees/Lab mix named Bella.
83. I really want to get more dogs after we get a house.
84. I like my feet.
85. I have never fired a gun.
86. I once tried to climb behind a waterfall, slipped, and was knocked out.
87. It’s almost impossible for me to hide my emotions.
88. This means that I cannot lie.
89. I enjoy studying/teaching about the Civil War.
90. I can’t keep houseplants alive.
91. My favorite job in college was working in the school’s library.
92. Racist people infuriate me.
93. I enjoy spending time with my husband’s family.
94. I hate feeling like I’ve disappointed someone.
95. I love my job.
96. I greatly enjoy going for walks and drives with my husband.
97. I sound exactly like my sister on the phone.
98. I miss my toe rings, but I don’t want to put them back on until after I have my baby.
99. My husband is one of the greatest blessings in my life.
100.Other than God, family is the important thing to me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Do you hear what I hear?

Well, it’s not my voice. I lost it somewhere between school, the pharmacy, and home. I didn’t even realize that it was gone until Chris called me from work to let me know he’d be a little late. When I answered the phone, we both found that I had become a squeaky mouse. I picked up some Robitussen at the pharmacy hoping to alleviate some of the sinus problems I’ve been having. I didn’t fall asleep until around 2 this morning, ended up moving to the couch to keep from disturbing Chris with all my tossing and turning, finally fell into a fitful sleep, and woke up feeling like a couple dozen elves beat me up during the night. Still, I was able to make it through my day with the students; however, I began to notice towards the end of the day that there seemed to be a slow leak with my energy.

I was going to come home, take a little medicine, and hop on the treadmill. That did not happen. By the time I had finished taking care of Bella, about 90% of my energy had fled. So, I set up camp on the couch with my big faux fur blanket and my box of Toy Story Kleenexes. After talking with Chris, I tried calling Mom. That was a short conversation, lots of squeaking on my part and advice from Mom to stop talking and rest. I fixed myself some tea and resumed my campout on the couch.

Oh, one of the most intriguing shows I’ve been watching lately is Without a Trace. Have you seen it? It’s all about missing people and the FBI agents who work hard to find them. It stars Anthony Lapaglia. Have you seen him in Betsey’s Wedding? It’s an old movie with Alan Alda and Molly Ringwold. What a great movie! I love his character, my favorite gangster of all time!

I must feel better by tomorrow. There’s just one more day left in this work week; I have to make it. I just can’t think of taking a sick day right now. I’m sure that by morning my voice will return, and I’ll be just fine. The only problem is that I have to work the ticket table at the middle school basketball games until 6:30 tomorrow night. After getting to school at 7 AM, that will make for a very long day. But I will be retiring soon with prayers whispered heavenward for a quick recovery and a couple extra measures of energy to fuel me for my Friday.

I hope your Friday finds you well and happy. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winter Dreams

“Back to life. Back to reality.”

Is it sad that on my first day back to work after Christmas break, the words that define my life are from an old song by En Vogue? How did those lyrics even find their way into my head? Is this the result of a life full of pop culture overload? I do have to defend myself just a bit by saying that I did have to look up the song and artist; I couldn’t remember the origin of the lyrics.

After have a fortnight off of work, even with the busyness of the holiday season, it’s somewhat strange to get into the back into the swing of things. Of course, a day of meetings isn’t quite the same as being with a room full of seventh graders; I believe that I have mentioned I much preferred the room full of students. During one meeting today, I actually started to do the sleepy head nod. I had to get a piece of ice out of my water jug to rub on my wrists and hands to wake me up. I was sufficiently revived and able to gain a few inspirational tidbits from the rest of the meeting.

Tomorrow the kids return, and it’s a whole new ballgame. In the spring semester, seventh graders start to feel a little closer to eighth grade and a few more sassy attitudes materialize. Many of them have growth spurts, and what fit them in September is now much too short. It’s an exciting time, and I am very much looking forward to getting back to them. They certainly make life more interesting.

It’s January, the time that all school children and teachers start dreaming of snow.

“Snow” from the movie White Christmas

Snow
It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow
Snow
I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

Snow
I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow
Snow
Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow

Where it's snowing
All winter through
That's where I want to be
Snowball throwing
That's what I'll do
How I'm longing to ski
Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Those glist'ning houses that seem to be built of snow
Snow
Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow

What is Christmas with no snow
No white Christmas with no snow
Snow

I'll soon be there with snow
I'll wash my hair with snow
And with a spade of snow
I'll build a man that's made of snow
I'd love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye
Go to sleep
And dream
Of snow

I must have heard the word a dozen times today, all from teachers speaking wistfully of early morning snow chain calls and days off. I wonder if we really have a chance this year. Every year I anxiously anticipate the arrival of snow; I cannot help but get my hopes up. Many years have found my dreams to be sadly unfulfilled, but I still manage to muster up a sufficient amount of optimism each year and watch the skies with expectation. Maybe this year, I, and countless other school bound citizens, will get our wish.