Monday, February 27, 2012

Playin' Outside

This weekend on a lazy Sunday morning, Kev & I were sitting in front of 
The home we're trying to buy... our fingers are crossed at this
point... waiting for inspections & we're praying it all works out!            
the wood  stove in our pajamas, drinking coffee (decaf for me, bleh) and chatting about the house we're hoping to buy, our little boy who we can't wait to meet, and lots of things in between.  We've always been pretty good conversationalists, one of us is better, but I'm not saying who.  ;0) 

Somehow we got to talking about pets we wanted as kids.  I am a huge science dork and love all things wild, so if this little boy is anything like me, we'll have lots of crawly critters in our house, which is awesome!  When I was small & freckle-faced, I thought Marty Stouffer's Wild America was the best television show ever (with close favorites being Punky Brewster & Looney Tunes) and I pretended to be like him, constantly on the hunt to observe salamanders, frogs, grasshoppers, snakes... really anything lurking under old rotting logs or nestled into Mother Nature's nooks & crannies.  Sometimes my dad would take my sister and I walking through the woods, teaching us to be as quiet as possible, which is tricky for 5-9 year old twin girls!  Once we even saw a fisher slinking between the pines on a cold winter's day, we felt that was a major sighting!  

Nowadays, my hair may not be in pig tails (as often) and I may not have as many pants with ripped knees and grass stains, but I still love the outdoors & being a teacher allows me to foster this love of the outdoors to expose my students to how amazing the world right outside their doors is, and most importantly, how much for exciting it is than their video gaming equipment!) I can't wait to explore the backyard with our little boy!

Back to our morning conversation, pardon my rambling... Kev was telling me about how his dad would help him catch turtles and frogs when he was a little boy.  I love the mental image I got from this story, I imagine little Kev in rubber boots with Grandpa Dave holding his hand and trudging through the muddy marshes & cranberry bogs in search of turtles, frogs, or other interesting discoveries.  Kev has stories of a little pet snapping turtle named Divet that they found on a golf course & fed tiny pieces of meat and lettuce to.  Just this week "Grandpa Carriere" spent the day with a 2 year old friend taking trips to the dump, to get cookies, and working in the yard.  Our little boy will have the most amazing grandparents.

I can't wait to create memories like this with little Will.  Today we took him on a short adventure snowshoeing across the lake, although it was freezing cold, the kind of cold where it hurts to breathe through your nose. Here are a few pics of our day:
Mt. Washington from Highland Lake
Bailey didn't seem to mind the blustery wind!
Some ice fishermen made an awesome fort!
King... or should I say Queen of the Mountain
Tiny little island across the Lake from our house, I liked to swim there when it was warm.

Oh, and I picked up these wooden letters the other day for a nifty little project I am working on for the nursery.  More to come later... Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

22 Weeks

This week, I'm the size of a Papaya! 
Just like the ones my parents used to find in the rain forest in St. Croix, 
they're gonna take me there someday!

Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?:  halfway, plus 2 weeks!
Total Weight Gain: hovering around 7-8 lbs.
Clothing: still wearing my favorite jeans, but don't know how long that will be true, they're starting to feel uncomfortable when I sit down or when they're fresh out of the dryer.  
Catching Zzzzs: some tossing & turning, maybe because we're trying to buy a house and that's all kinds of exciting/terrifying/stressful/wonderful!  Turning 30, having a baby, buying a baby-mama car, AND buying our first home makes for lots of reasons to be awake at night! Life is good! :)
Best Moments of the Week:  Scoring a Pack 'N Play, play mat, and other goodies off a local facebook mom group, beginning the process of home ownership by signing our names a bazillion times (my 2nd graders love that word!) and having a week off to handle all the appointments with the realtor & mortgage broker & home inspections! I can't wait to go back to school, I miss my kiddos & need a vacation from my vacation!  I also got to drive my grandfather (Puppa) home from the hospital this week and visit with my family up north, which is always a gift.   
Miss Anything?: I would have loved a glass of wine after signing the mortgage paperwork!  I don't miss anything though, this is an amazing time of my life and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 
Movements: Lots of kicks & what I think must be rolls/tumbles, but I am looking forward to feeling hiccups sometime soon :)
Food Cravings: STILL watermelon, can't get enough, just wish it were in season!!!
Queasy/Sick: nope, that ship has sailed for the time being it seems :)
Gender: Snips & snails & puppy dog tails, Baby Will is our little boy!
Labor Signs: goose eggs (insert sigh of relief here)
Symptoms: HEARTBURN... all.the.time.  Plus the same rib pain when I am sitting, but still small potatoes kinds of things.
Belly Button: normal
Wedding Rings: right where they belong 
I'm feeling: nervous/excited about the house buying process, but ready to finally live in one home that we own and not having to move in a year for the first time in my life!!!
Looking Forward to: Having the realtor tell us the radon & water tests come back with no issues, then hopefully having the seller be okay with some of the minor repairs we think are necessary... fingers crossed!!! I am going to remain optimistic and continue designing rooms in my mind, this has become a major slight addiction! :)

"Hey Mama, look what I can do!
 adapted from

Little papaya me isn't quite so little anymore, I am 11 inches long and nearly a whole pound now!  I am looking like a miniature newborn now and my face is fully formed.  My eyelids, eyebrows and lips are becoming more distinct and I am growing tiny little tooth buds under my gums. I have a feeling they aren't going to be much fun later.  My eyes are here, ta-da, but we aren't sure what color they will be yet. My mom is hoping for them to be blue like my dad's, but he wants them to be brown like hers.  Maybe I'll be like a husky, with one of each color!  I think my parents are really just hoping for eyes that see well so I can smile at them, no matter what color they turn out to be.  I'm a hairy little person right now and my wrinkly skin is covered with this stuff called lanugo that I'll have until I have some more baby fat.  In my tummy, my pancreas is developing steadily.  My mom is starting to notice my sleep cycles, I sleep 12-14 hours a day, but she can tell when I am awake because I like to wiggle around.  Sometimes my dad calls me a little wiggle-worm and my mom thinks that's cute! :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

21 Weeks

Hello Baby Bump!!
Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?:   21 weeks, we've passed the halfway point!
Total Weight Gain: starting to feel like I'm carrying a baby!  My belly feels huge these days, I know it's only a sign of things to come though! Bring it on!  I'm still hovering around 5-7 pounds so far but at the end of the day I FEEL more pregnant and my belly feels bigger, I wonder if that's normal?
Clothing: most of my regular clothes still
Catching Zzzzs: Sleeping well so far
Best Moments of the Week: Kevin felt our little Will kick for the first time this week and later on I could actually see him kick, which was so surreal.  We are loving every minute of this!  Also, having Kevin's parents  surprise us by offering to buy Will's crib & mattress and having my dad and step-mom offer to buy the matching bureau, this kid is already loved and so are we.  
Miss Anything?: a classroom full of 2nd graders just before vacation... I really wanted a glass of wine the other night!  It's been an amazing week in 2nd grade land, just a LOT of energy! Will is getting to hear lots of kid noises & read alouds!
Movements: All the time, I think I can feel him roll now, there are these "waves" for lack of a better term, and I love it!  I think he likes reggae, he moves around a lot when I'm listening to it, that's my little island boy :)
Food Cravings: watermelon
Queasy/Sick: nope
Gender: little buckaroo :)
Labor Signs: nada
Symptoms: some round ligament pain & left rib cage discomfort (front & back) but very minor
Belly Button: just doing what it does
Wedding Rings: on
I'm feeling: like God must really love me to bless me in so many ways, I am feeling so incredibly grateful each and every day
Looking Forward to: finding our house (fingers crossed!), February vacation & time to design the nursery.

"Hey Mama, look what I can do!
 adapted from

This week I am about the length of a banana (roughly 10 1/2 inches long) and I weight about 3/4 of a pound.  I'm working on my black belt because my little butterfly kicks have turned into full-fledged round house kicks and nudges, my daddy even felt one this week!  My mom is starting to tell the pattern of when I like to move around, she's pretty smart, but worried I might be a night owl. :) I now have eyebrows and eyelids, which will come in handy for making expressions to make my mom and dad laugh.  My mom's hoping I'll be as funny as my dad, but I don't know, he's pretty funny!  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What's In A Name?

I assume that most parents quickly learn that naming a baby is no easy task.  Luckily for Kevin and I, we have some very special people in our lives that have made naming our little boy both an honor and a privilege.  I have been incredibly blessed in many ways, but especially in that I have grown up with all four of my grandparents my entire life until this past fall when my dad's father passed away.  Like most kids, my grandparents have been treasured my entire life and they were the creators of the fondest memories of my childhood.  I love them like only a grandchild can love a grandparent and our little boy will be named for both my grandfather who recently passed away and for my brother, who I think of each and every day.  Here is the story behind what's in a name.

William Leslie Williams
September 13th, 1925- October 26th, 2011

My grandfather, known as Leslie to many and Grampy to my cousins & I, was born in Wales and then traveled to Canada as a toddler where he worked, lived, and raised a family of five children, who went on to bless him with 11 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, soon to be nine.  My memories of him are myriad & his noticeable absence is still very fresh among our close-knit family.  Among my favorite memories of Grampy are when my sister and I were little girls dropping small items down the old vents in the kitchen ceiling and sticking marbles in the holes of the old highchair stool in the kitchen.  When it was time to leave Woodstock and begin the long drive home, he would "hide" us inside the coat closet in the kitchen and pretend we weren't there, standing in front of the folding doors with his broad shoulders and square jaw, eyes glinting with mischief.  I'm sure our giggles were audible and that everyone knew exactly where we were, but everyone played along and I can still hear his laughter and see that twinkle in his eyes.  
I loved the way he called all of us girls "doll" and kissed both sides of our cheeks in greeting while hugging us snug around the shoulders.  Whenever it was time to leave, he and Nana always stood right outside the doorway to wave as we drove away and when I leave now, I can still see him standing there, waving with that proud grin.  I dearly miss that grin.  Summer trips to our family's bright green camp on North Lake are almost tangible images in my mind, this place where he taught me how to play Chinese Checkers, catch a fish, and where I always got teal paint on my hands from the inside of the boat we would travel across the lake in.  If I close my eyes, I can smell the fresh, soft scent of lake water, feel the sand in the sheets of the tiny twin beds, sense the warmth on my cheeks & nose from a day spent in the sunshine and hear the crackle of a campfire on the beach.  We picked fresh vibrant veggies right from the garden and rinsed them in spring water.  One time he helped me plant a watermelon seed that actually grew into a tiny marble-sized watermelon.  At the end of a sun-kissed day, we would listen as the loons sang down the sun and everyone would pile inside the camp to listen to stories and make memories to last a lifetime.  As a WWII veteran, my grandfather was a hero to many, but to his grandchildren, he was even more than a hero and his legacy will live on longer than any of us may ever realize, like a ripple in the water.  I know we are all still making him proud today and I hope he likes the name we chose for our little boy.

My brother Chris, "Bro"
July 28th, 1972- November 23rd, 2006

Knowing there are so many happy things going on in my life, it's easy to write with a bit of humor in my tone and a smile in my words, but even during the most blessed days, sometimes shadows block the sun.  The other person who is not here to meet our little William is my brother, my first best friend.  

I don't know if anyone else has experienced this, but I suppose being pregnant makes you think about counting all the blessings you have, and sometimes that leads to reminiscing about those things you may have lost along the way.  To describe for you what my brother means to me would be impossible with just mere words, it would require a trip back 
through time & memories so you could see the light in his eyes, hear the joy in his laughter, and feel the love in his heart that he carried for his two little sisters, a love I think some people search their whole lives for and never find.  He was a hero to the two of us and always will be, we even had a secret handshake, but I can't tell you about that, it's still classified for the three of us alone.  
I guess in writing this I am feeling some sorrow for myself, but also for my child who has been robbed the chance to know their "Uncle Chris", because anyone who knew my brother knows he would have been the most incredible uncle, that's putting in mildly.  He was the kind of big brother who bought us the biggest, most ridiculous Super Soaker water guns for no reason, just because it was a sunny day and it was time to create mayhem together, which we quickly did.  
In middle school, he accompanied me on my first ever date, and no, this was NOT my decision!  
We saw Happy Gilmore at the movie theater and he sat right smack-dab in the middle of my date and I and kept giggling and offering us popcorn!  I was mortified and the guy didn't call again, tough loss... not really.  If I could tell 8th grade me that memories like this would one day be treasured because my beloved date-crashing brother would be watching my wedding from the balcony seats in Heaven, things might have been different.  I would have cancelled the date altogether and gone dirt road driving in Bro's pickup truck instead, talking until the twinkling stars disappeared and first rays of sun poked over the hillsides and chased us back home again. 
My brother taught me a million things, some life lessons, some more of a "don't try this" variety (ie: spray painting, chewing tobacco, not hooking up with the pizza delivery guy's girlfriend!) but all of them resound in my mind and help me to see that, although he isn't physically here on Earth, he is with me every moment of every day, in my heart and in my mind and in the sound of my laugher.  I like to think that my memories of him are so strong that he's a tiny little part of this little baby boy growing inside of me because, if this baby contains the best of his parents, a big part of the best of me is my big brother, my hero.  I miss him now and always and I hope he's proud to know that my little boy will carry his name and he will live on. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day & 9 Years of Happiness

In honor of Valentine's Day (which I've honestly never been a huge fan of, except that it's such a fun day to be an elementary school teacher) & all the lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy stuff, I wanted to share that my heart is feeling extra full this year, full to over-flowing it seems.  This isn't the kind of love that is expressed in roses (I much prefer hand-picked wildflowers) or a box of chocolates (hate them, what's with the gross filling anyway?) or even jewelry ( I have a bad habit of losing/breaking it) it just feels so much more than that to me, more than can be summed up by one day on a calendar or one Hallmark card.  I keep thinking to myself how incredibly blessed I am to have married my best friend and to be creating a family with him... wow... I keep worrying that if I pinch myself this will all be a dream!  Tomorrow (the 15th) marks the 9th year since Kev & I began dating after I finally sucked it up and asked him out (to a hockey game, of course!) since I didn't think he was ever going to get around to it.  

The story of Kevin...
We met through a strange (long story) turn of events and became college roommates, along with my best friend.  Later, I found out that he had told his parents that he moved in with "a maid and a cook", and rest assured, I hit him for that one, with my left, he never saw it coming. As a roommate, he was cute, made me laugh, played guitar, liked ice hockey and had a killer CD collection, so it wasn't long before my roommate became my boyfriend who lived in the room at the end of the hall.  We moved into a log cabin on a mountain together, so naturally I showed up with a puppy one day after work, just praying he was a dog person.  He was, so the two became three and we are still inseparable today, although the 3 amigos are about to get a new addition that will change EVERYTHING for the better.   

Fast forward 9 years, 8 different houses/apartments all over the place, lasting friendships made, an 800 mile backpacking trip on the AT, a spontaneous move to the Caribbean, road trips, crazy inside jokes, joys and sorrows, and here we are today, about to embark on the craziest journey of all... parenthood.  There is no one on this Earth I would rather be experiencing this with.  I know our first 9 years are just a drop in the bucket, we have much more waiting for us and I can't wait.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

20 Weeks: Birthday Shenanigans, Pond Hockey, New Car & Ice Fishing

Me & my sister on our birthday after some pond hockey!

 Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?: 20 weeks, halfway baby!
Total Weight Gain: 5-6ish lbs.
Clothing: same, most of my regular stuff with yoga pants being the most comfortable things on the planet & my old hiking long underwear still fit when we went skating today! Yay!
Catching Zzzzs: Sleeping GREAT! Plus the doctor said it isn't a big deal that I wake up on my back, which is nice.
Best Moments of the Week: Our doctor's appointment Thursday... it's a BOY and his name is William Christopher Carriere, but we will call him Will. He's named after my WW II hero grandfather & the world's best big brother, both of whom have moved on to a brighter place, but are missed everyday. 

Oh, and then there's my birthday present... dun da da da... My new car!!! Kev bought the four of us (Bailey's a big dog & needed more room!) a Pacifica with a sunroof, heated leather seats, backseat DVD player, the list goes on and on, we've never owned anything so nice! I can't wait to have a car seat in the back! :)
Miss Anything?: Not having a list of "do-nots", although my sister & our husbands and I skated today on the lake and it was awesome (I've skated my whole life & played ice hockey, don't freak out and tell me I'm gonna break the baby) being pregnant didn't stop me from a little stick n' puck, plus, only the husbands fell (haha) so I guess it's our Canadian blood :)  Oh, and can I just tell you how annoying it is to have people treat you like fine china?  I'm a pretty tough girl & can hold my own no problem & when people refer to me suddenly as being "delicate" or "fragile", it just about drives me crazy because of the absurdity!  My dad gets it, when I told him someone described my "delicate condition", he laughed his you-know-what-off, thanks Dad, I needed someone to get it, and you know me pretty well. :)
Movements: lots of kicks especially when I play music, which matches what we saw during our ultrasound, the doctor had trouble getting measurements because this little boy would not stop rolling, kicking, moving his arms, and tumbling around in there.
Food Cravings: Fruit constantly, especially watermelon & coconut
Queasy/Sick: nope :)
Gender: snips & snails & puppy dog tails and I am so excited!
Labor Signs: zip, zero, zilch, goose eggs
Symptoms: heartburn constantly and left rib cage annoyance, but nothing major
Belly Button: pretty normal
Wedding Rings: on
I'm feeling: like the happiest girl on Earth :)
Looking Forward to: having this little boy in my arms (halfway there!), driving my new car, picking up some great baby items from a friend on Tuesday, my next ultrasound in a month (to finish measurements if little Will cooperates!) I am also designing some baby bedding that my husband's wonderful cousin is creating for the nursery, now that we know it's a boy, I've got BIG plans and can't wait to share them!  

"Hey Mama, look what I can do!" 
 adapted from

Check me out!  I now weigh in at about 10 1/2 ounces and am roughly 6 1/2 inches from head to bottom and 10 inches from head to heel!  It can be really hard to measure babies like me because we like to curl our legs up nice and cozy, then roll around and wiggle like crazy.  My mom showed the kids in her classroom my length with a ruler and they thought I was pretty cool! As the days pass, I keep working on my swallowing to get my digestive system ready.  Kinda on the gross side, I can make meconium now, which happens when I digest food.  You'll see more of this stuff when I'm born with my first little diaper donation. :) I am also proud to announce my daddy parts are now formed, my dad is especially proud of this recent development. 

19 Weeks: Mango!

Baby is the Size of A Mango, My Favorite Fruit!
Me, a Mango, and your daddy with a 2-couch-pillow baby belly :)

Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?: 19 weeks, time is FLYING!
Total Weight Gain: 5 lbs.
Clothing: most of my regular clothes with some maternity dress pants mixed in for teaching 
Catching Zzzzs: sleeping great except for waking up on my back and then switching back to my left side, like all the baby books & sites recommend
Best Moments of the Week:  We were pre-qualified for a home loan & are meeting with our realtor today to look at 6 houses! Fingers crossed we'll find a home sweet home for this little baby.
Miss Anything?: Super Bowl Sunday required an adult beverage given the loss for the Pats, but feeling this baby kick is way better!
Movements:  kicks every day, especially when I am listening to music, which is a great sign! :)  I have a little stuffed elephant (the first present given to us for the baby from a sweet friend)  that plays a lullaby and when I hold it to my stomach the baby kicks, it's become our nightly routine. :)
Food Cravings: watermelon... I would seriously eat it every day! 
Queasy/Sick: No, still no real desire to eat meat though, it grosses me out just looking at it.  
Gender: We find out THURSDAY!!!
Labor Signs: Nope, but just read the labor section of What to Expect When You're Expecting and no, I am not scared of delivery. Being scared or worried wouldn't help anyway! :)
Symptoms: Heartburn is becoming a constant companion, even after drinking milk, who knew milk could give you heartburn? When I sit down at the end of the day I have some pain under my ribs on the left side, but it's nothing too major, I know later I'll remember this fondly later when the real discomfort begins
Belly Button: doing what belly buttons do... whatever that is!
Wedding Rings: on
I'm feeling: so happy about everything in my life right now :) (except having to buy a new vehicle while also buying a new house, while also buying baby "things", but we'll make it!)
Looking Forward to: The ultrasound on Thursday with Kevin, then my birthday Friday.  My sister & brother in law are coming for the weekend & we'll do the big reveal about this little boy or girl then. :) 

"Hey Mama, look what I can do!
 adapted from
So growing is kicking into high gear this week, making some very important things happen for my sensory development.  My brain now has special areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch and I can hear my parent's voices now.  I've realized that my mom loves books because she reads to me every day and my dad has a much better singing voice than my mom.  I also think it must make mom happy when dad plays his guitar for little 8 1/2 ounce, 6 inch long me.  I also know they have a very spoiled dog named Bailey who they are trying to prepare for my arrival.  I just know we're going to be buddies!  Oh, and I look pretty cute now that my arms & legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of my body.  I am even sprouting hair on my head!