Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Baby's Room

Well folks, this week I'm 35 weeks and loving life. Seriously. I would say this must be the pregnamoon (as in 'honeymoon' or 'babymoon'). I'm big enough now that when the baby moves around, I don't just feel pops and nudges, I feel body parts shifting in there. I feel hiccups down low, where the baby's head is, and occasionally I feel movement there so I assume that must be the hands. I feel knobby bulges that must be feet and a little round bump that sticks out above my belly button, which must be the baby's little butt. I love to tickle it with my fingers. I really feel like I'm finally carrying a baby around, not a bad case of indigestion.

(Speaking of, the other day, I, um, passed gas, so suddenly, that I startled the baby and the baby jumped! I'm sorry if that's too much information but I consider it to be too funny not to remember forever.)

At 35 weeks, I'm not too big to be on my feet, my symptoms haven't gotten any worse (and in some cases, better... maybe it's my body giving a grievous sigh and just deciding that this is life now, and that it's just going to accept things the way they are). Whatever the reason, I give my body a huge high-five for letting my nose finally, finally clear up at night. Thank you, body.

At 35 weeks, we're smack in the middle of April and God has blessed us with a nice, cool spring so far. (Normally the weather seems to jump from winter-fifties to summer-eighties within a week or so, with no turning back, but not this year.) I am leaving the windows open while I work at my computer and work around the house. I am very busy with projects on my work to-do list, my house to-do list, and my baby to-do list, but it's nice to be busy.

And at 35 weeks, my hormones are either finally regulating or surging with oxytocin, because I am suddenly very patient with the dog, very happy to make dinner for Brian, and very much looking forward to each day. I think I am walking around the neighborhood each morning with a springy step and a cheesy grin to accompany my big bubble belly. I probably look like a Macy's Day float.

I will look back on these moments very fondly when I am crying incessantly in the weeks after the birth and saying things like, "I don't know why I'm crying... probably because the bacon grease splashed on my arm... and because the garden needs to be watered... and because it's so hot."

Thankfully, one thing I can almost cross off my baby to-do list is... drumroll, please... the baby's room! It still needs blinds, and the rocking chair needs a coat of finish, and the baby's clothes and things need to be washed and organized, but other than that it's pretty much done.

The baby will sleep with us for the first little bit (three weeks? months? years? who knows?) in this:

We'll move it downstairs when we get closer to May 22. It's pictured in the empty baby's room, but now it's sitting in the loft.

When it's time for Dubs to leave the nest, he or she will fly on up to the nursery where he or she will surely sleep blissfully for nine hours straight.

Whether the sleep part is true or not, the baby will finally occupy this room. And let me say, I can't wait. Because I LOVE IT. Everyone has their own vision for a nursery, and it is so darn fun to finally be able to put YOUR vision together. I can't tell you how many times I'd walk up to this room and stand in its empty light and imagine what it might look like one day.

I wanted a room that was not too full, not too 'permanently decorated' (because sometimes kids grow up and develop their own tastes, and also because sometimes people move home to Michigan, and you just never know what might happen), and not gender specific. I wanted it to be simple, bright, and warm. I also wanted to look for things I could use in the very distant future, when there is no more chance of new babies, so I picked things out that could be used in other rooms of the house one day (for example, the changer top can be removed to transition to a bookshelf). The only thing that can't transition is the crib, but I loved the drawer so much I looked past that.

Without further ado!

The crib and mobile:

Changer with mirror and hanging fish above it:

Baby toy basket, non-baby-proof lamp and treacherous cord (don't worry, I'll take care of it someday), our hospital bag (yet to be packed, I'm afraid), and a nightstand to sit beside the rocker. Someday this nightstand will sit beside a twin bed and hold journals and artwork and little-kid treasures:

I can see little hand prints on this mirror in the future. Also, selfishly, one day I will steal it and put it in my room. It's huge! (I just love the Michigan teether sitting on the top for now:)

The rocking chair will sit to the left. The wall cards add some color and can be taken down without leaving marks. I LOVE them because on each one, there are a multitude of little things that start with the letter on the card. I hope my baby and I can look at these and have fun finding all the items:

Bo just loves this rug:

Another look at the mobile. I saw this on Etsy and decided to make my own. It's not perfect, but it was made with love and I enjoyed doing it:

The bottom of the changer will hold board books and toys for the baby to grab. These have been gifts from family, friends, and some toys that Brian played with as a little boy:

The beginning of our diaper stash (the pink was a hand-me-down, and if we have a boy, well, he'll never know):

Baby's clothes are still being organized and sorted:

That's all, folks!

I'm hanging up now. See you soon!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Here, Kim!

At the behest of my friend, here is a blog post about The Baby.

Hmm. What should I write?

The Baby seems to be doing well, as far as I can tell without being able to look inside. He or she has been head-down for at least six weeks, which makes me wonder, in fourth-grader fashion, isn't that uncomfortable? Why doesn't all the blood rush to its head?

I think the Baby's butt is facing my left side because its feet are all up in my right ribcage. Which isn't too bad, actually. I have the feeling this kid is going to be fairly mellow. Instead of kicks and punches, I get stretches and wiggles. I think, to Brian's great disappointment, that I am growing a little yoga master and not an MMA champ. Sorry, Bri! But thank you, Baby.

And me? I am feeling fine as a spring day in North Carolina. I believe that I have discovered the perfect time to have a baby. MAY! (But maybe wait to ask me when I'm trying to lose my baby weight by pushing a stroller in two-hundred-degree heat.)

Pregnancy has been pretty easy on me. The worst I've had to deal with is a blocked nose, some hip pain that comes and goes, and frequent guilt about eating candy. Actually, no. I take it back. The absolute worst thing I've had to deal with is a dang double chin! Oh, would that this double chin were a hemorrhoid, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia! Anything instead of its matronly sag!

(With all due respect to my pre-eclamptic friends, that was a joke.)

Are we ready for the baby? Not quite. We have a few things to finish and a couple things to buy, which I'm waiting on our registry completion discount to do. My birth center bag isn't packed yet. And - OH yeah - I'm not ready mentally. It's still in the process of sinking in that I'm even pregnant. I need a mean old coach to come over and scream, "Get your head in the game!" The truth is, I thought being pregnant would sort of ease me into Life with a Baby. I thought it would act as a little trial run. But somehow I am still sleeping through the night and feeling fairly normal. (Albeit slightly huge.) A trial run, this most certainly is NOT.

The only thing this pregnancy is preparing me for is life without wearing high heels. My feet look like dough blobs after a few hours of wearing cute shoes.

So the closer my due date gets, the more I'm feeling a bit panicky that I don't know how I'm going to do it! I'm going to go from carefree Baby-less living to being a MOM in one day! (Gee... I hope labor's not any longer than that. Maybe we'll say two days, just to be safe.) My recent dreams include me grilling hotdogs at midnight in a tired fog, holding my baby floppily in one arm while my mom tries to wrestle me back to bed - "Maegan, what are you doing?" Or finding myself, with the baby upside down in the stroller, on the other side of the neighborhood, taking a sleepwalk at 2 AM while my mom drives around trying to find me.

(Can you tell I am glad my mom will be here?)

So suffice it to say I am hoping the next six weeks do something to prepare me. Because at this point I'm not as curious to know whether it's a boy or a girl as I am to find out if I can actually take care of it!

Speaking of whether it's a boy or girl, it might look like one of these:

GOLLY! We are pretty cute, if I do say so myself. I just love Brian's little chin. I suppose MY current chin is a worthwhile burden for a cute little one like that on my baby. My current CHINS, I should say.

Anyway, since you've read all this blather and blah, and since you've mustered the courage to peer into the dark, swirling cavern of my anxious mind, I will hereby reward you with a picture of pregnant Maeg.

Bedhead, morning face, ugly striped socks, and all.

Sincerely, I love this ride. When I think life can't get any better, I get pregnant. I mean it when I say that this has been the most blessed time of my life so far.

Chins and all, I'm extraordinarily thankful.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Montana, Part 3.

Every March, a magical thing happens. I receive an email telling me that my credit card has been charged for the renewal of my WonderWife domain name. And as the breezes of spring and the waves of pollen pour through my windows, I'm inspired again... to blog. And since I finally figured out how to post large photos from my Picasa web albums (it's so much easier than it was before!), why not continue with the saga of our Montana trip?

Day 5.

Visiting Glacier was quite a high point of the trip, but it was also nice to hang out with our friends for a few days while we waited to go back to our main game - elk hunting. (Actually, I did most of the hanging out and relaxing. Since his friend was working long shifts, Brian hunted morning and evening in local block management areas for mule deer. So far, he had been unsuccessful.)

On Day 5, I relaxed with my friend and her little ones (if I hadn't had baby fever before holding her 6-week old, I sure got it bad then). Brian went out hunting that morning locally, and came back in time to help his buddy go looking for a lost tree stand down in the river bottoms. When the two of them got back home in the afternoon, we all headed to a city about 2.5 hours away. Our friends were going to do some hunting of their own, at one of their spots, and Brian and I decided to see if we could stumble upon some good mulie-hunting land in the surrounding area while we waited.

We drove many, many miles along the state highway, turning off at random points to explore various dirt and gravel roads that we thought might lead us to a big old buck. But after plenty of searching, the land that we were finding wasn't suitable for hunting mule deer. There were lots of trees and a lot of thick brush, and when you're hunting for a mulie, you want lots of open space to be able to spot one.

Brian was a bit discouraged as we headed back to find a motel for the night. On the way back, we spotted an open field with dozens of deer and horses grazing in it. It was clearly private land, but we had never seen anything like that - so many deer in one place, just grazing openly by the road! We turned onto the gravel drive beside the field, pulling in just enough to get off the road. A large sign indicated that it was some kind of ranch, and warned, "NO TRESPASSING." Brian looked through his binoculars at the whitetail bucks, exclaiming over and over that there were 'some huge monsters out there!' This person obviously was cultivating a huge wild deer population on his ranch for some reason.

As Brian enjoyed looking at quite possibly the only deer he had seen so far on our trip, I noticed the brake lights of a car starting way down by this guy's barn. Could that guy be coming to see US? I wondered. The car drove up a second road on the other side of the field, and turned onto the highway. He drove past the field and turned onto the shoulder behind us. Yup. We'd attracted the ire of this local person. The grumpy old guy sat in the driver's seat, jotting down information on some notepad.

"You'd better get out and tell him why we stopped," I said to Brian. I didn't want the guy to think we were planning on poaching one of his bucks later that night. (But right off the highway, really? How could we have even gotten away with that?)

Brian walked up to the car and said, "Sir, is there a problem?"

"This is a private drive," the man barked back. He was writing down our license plate number.

"We're just looking at your deer," Brian explained in a friendly voice. "You've got an impressive herd out there!"

"This is a PRIVATE drive!"

"Well, we didn't want to sit in the road."


Brian was fed up. "Well, when you're done, could you please move so we can leave?" He walked back to the car. When the man had finally finished, he drove back to his house and we pulled away.

"Do you think he's going to call the cops?" I asked.

"Who cares?" Brian replied. "We weren't doing anything wrong! Plus, this is a rental, and it's not even a Montana plate, so good luck to him getting our information!"

So although we got to admire a flock of deer (seriously, a weird sight) we saw ZIP otherwise. Everywhere we drove there were thick woods - not good for mule deer hunting. Brian was discouraged and so was I. We decided to spend the night in the motel, relax, sleep in, and head home the next morning.

Day 6.

It was a good plan. Brian hadn't gotten enough sleep the entire trip, and it was good for him to recharge. We checked out mid-morning and headed over to see how our friends had done that day- turns out, a lot better than we had! My friend (the wife) had shot both a doe and a nice buck with her bow, all in one morning. They had captured the hunt on video and were on Cloud 9. Thankfully, although they'd forgotten their (photo) camera, I had mine, and we got some nice shots. They planned to stay another night, so Brian and I headed the two hours back to their home.

On the drive, we talked about what the next steps should be. It was too soon to go back to the national forest for elk-hunting, Brian thought. Our time would be better spent hunting for mulies nearby. But where? He hadn't had much luck at the few spots he'd hunted so far. His only hope was asking a local rancher if we could hunt on his property. This guy had acres and acres of rolling, grassy hills, between which were nestled several coolies of thick trees and bushes- perfect hiding spots for mule deer.

Nervously, we pulled up to his house. "You come in with me," Brian said. "He'll have a harder time saying no to a girl." From what we'd heard about this rancher, we thought he'd be a crotchety, grumpy old guy. Nope! Both he and his wife were there, and they were so friendly. We chatted about the weather, and they gave us the go ahead to hunt to our hearts' content (as long as we stayed far away from the cattle). The rancher even rode out on his four wheeler to give us some tips.

Brian was on top of the world! We were sure that this was The Place to Shoot a Monster. We decided to hunt there right away, that afternoon.

Brian target-practiced for a bit, while I played with my camera.

We were excited to get stalking. Unlike hunting for whitetail deer, for which you'd sit for endless, boring hours in a tree, hunting for mulies entails lots of hiking. You climb to the top of a grassy hill (which incidentally doesn't look all that tough from the car, but seems endless when you're actually walking it), look around with the binoculars, (ideally) spot some mule deer, and then start walking toward them. There are also thick, brushy areas where the mule deer will hide, so if you don't see any mule deer from the top of the hill, you can stalk around those little valleys.

So, walk up, walk down, tiptoe. Walk up, walk down, tiptoe. Throw rocks into bushes to try to scare things out. Repeat over and over and over.

At one point, we definitely heard stirring in the brush. It was definitely a deer! The problem was that it was on the other side of a huge clump of brush, nestled somewhere inside it, and when Brian tossed rocks at the noise, the deer stayed put. We needed to stalk our way around the brush in order to get to the deer that was bedded down inside.

It took an agonizing ten minutes at least, tiptoeing ever... so... slowly. I stayed far behind in order to minimize the sounds of two sets of feet. When Brian finally reached the other side, his careful demeanor changed. He smiled and waved me over. "It's a fawn," he whispered.

The little guy (or gal) was scared. No wonder it wouldn't come out of the brush. We admired it for a while, and then trekked on.

The rest of the afternoon into the evening, we walked and walked, alternately creeping, climbing, letting our feet take us endlessly up and down, and tossing rocks into brush. But there was nothing for us but yellow hills and hot sunshine.

I was tired, very tired, at the end of the day. My feet were sore and a bit blistered, and I was so happy to be able to head back to our friends' house - with a real bed and a shower - that night instead of a tent. On the way home, we bought a bag of grits, shredded cheddar cheese, and a package of bacon, and made ourselves some bacon cheese grits on the stovetop.

With the whole pound of bacon and half pound of cheese. It was delicious.