Thursday, June 28, 2012

Letter from Mama

So the past 2 days at school we've had an incredible conference all about writing instruction and since William hasn't arrived yet, I was able to attend and it was wonderful.  During today's session, we were asked to try out persuasive writing, which is something kids are expected to be able to do according to the Common Core Standards.  It was a lot of fun and this is what I came up with, I hope you enjoy.

June 28th, 2012

Dear William,

It’s just me, your mom, writing to you because I am so over the moon and beyond the stars eager to meet you!  The question that has been swirling around my brain all day is this: Will today be your birthday?  The doctors said it might be and I think it should be.

One reason that June 28th would be a perfect birthday is that sharing is hard to do sometimes.  You’ll learn that quickly.  If you are born today, you won’t have to share your birthday with America as it is almost the 4th of July.  Instead, you’ll have a special day just for you!  Another reason your candles should forever be lit on this day is that you have a furry big sister named Bailey who is waiting to meet you.  She is your dog and our family’s best friend.  Although she is very ill, she’s trying her hardest to stay with us until the day that she can meet you. I know for a fact that she would very much love to kiss your face at least once and joyfully wag her tail simply at the sight of you, her much anticipated little brother.  My final reason that you should consider joining our family today might make you giggle.  If you don’t show up soon, your daddy and I just might lose our minds in anticipation of finally cradling you in our arms, kissing those rosy cheeks, admiring your tiny fingers and toes, and smiling down at your face with teary eyes for the first time.  We have been waiting nine long months and our whole lives through, it seems.

Sweet baby William, please join us as soon as you can.  There is an incredibly beautiful world that’s yours to explore and it’s all here just waiting for you, whenever you decide it’s time.  Many loving people in your life are sitting on the edge of their seats, holding their breath, anxious to jump for joy at the news of your arrival. I cannot wait to shout it from the rooftops.

With All the Love in My Heart,

40 Weeks!!!

Okay little boy, where are you?

Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?:  Woah baby, where are you???
Total Weight Gain: 23 lbs.
Clothing: hahaha...
Catching Zzzzs: again... hahaha
Best Moments of the Week: seeing your little face on the 3-D ultrasound again, what a magical feeling it is watching you rub you eyes
Miss Anything?: nothing, not even my ankles... I am going to miss having you all to myself and feeling you moving around, reminding me you're here
Movements: lots of nudges, especially tiny little toes on my right side that I can actually feel... those little piggies better watch out, I can't wait to tickle them 
Food Cravings: nope
Queasy/Sick: nope
Gender: BOY oh BOY!
Labor Signs: Lots of Braxton Hicks every day, the doc says I am over 50% effaced but still waiting for real contractions and for this baby to tell me he's ready to come on out and say hello to the world
Symptoms: swollen toes & ankles, heartburn (still?!?!) oh, and there's this ENORMOUS belly I'm sporting 
Belly Button: craziest looking thing ever! 
Wedding Rings: off, but soon to be back on again I hope
I'm feeling:  completely in love with this little boy, full of hope and positive thinking for the natural delivery I want (with no epidural, inducement or c-section) but knowing that nothing is in my control at this point, I'm hoping that no matter what, this little boy is born healthy, happy and safe, regardless of what happens in the hospital.  We are SO ready for this!  
Looking Forward to: Hmmm? What do you think?  William's birthday!!!
"Hey Mama, look what I can do!
 adapted from 
Hello... I'm STILL waiting... 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All You Need is Love... And A Dog

Today was one of those days you don't want to remember, but can't ever forget.  If I were to paint it, it would be shades of somber blue with grays and purples mixing at the edges.  My furry best friend of 9 years has cancer which is untreatable and uncurable and she may only have a few weeks left with us, best case scenario.  I am a problem-solver, a fixer, a doer by nature, and situations such as this one leave me feeling hopelessly inadequate because there's really nothing anyone can do to lessen the pain when cancer arrives on your doorstep, be it human kind or a beloved pet.  All too many people are aware of this.  When you're watching someone you love go through it, which has happened in my family, to my friends, and to so many countless people, it strips you down to your core and makes you thank God for every breath you are fortunate enough to take, for every sunset you can admire, for every laugh that escapes your soul and every warm embrace from a loved one.  

Nearly ten years ago, Kev and I had been roommates, then began dating and moved into a beautiful cabin on a mountain in the Maine woods.  The rustic house was nestled in the hillside on 17 acres among huge moss-covered boulders and you had to cross a wooden bridge over a roaring stream and climb winding stair steps to get from the driveway to the house.  We loved it, and because I was living with my best friend in an amazing setting, of course I realized that it was time for a dog... of course... what else would two twenty-somethings need?  I was in college full time and Kev was working in and out of town crazy hours... but love isn't rational, so I went searching for a puppy.  We hadn't really discussed this, but I figured what the heck, he loves me, I love dogs, so what could possibly go wrong?

First stop was the humane society where there were plenty of dogs needing homes, but they were all older and I worried about being able to afford vet bills for elderly dogs, and having the inevitable sad good-bye.  On the way out the door, I spotted a flier saying that a woman would be bringing in puppies that week, but that you could see them in person at her house.  Her ad said "giant black puppies" and I was immediately interested, having loved a Newfoundland as a little girl.  I drove out to her house and met a loving St. Bernard mama and her 9 bouncing black babies.  The pups were St. Bernard/Black Labs and I was in love, sitting there on the floor amid a mass of tumbling, rumbling warm fuzzy bodies, all vying for my affection.  Off in the corner I noticed the sweetest little face, a tiny female who was the runt of the litter and who stayed back out of the action.  I reached out my hand and called to her and she same tumbling over, climbed clumsily into my lap, reached up her front paws and kissed my chin.  I knew then I couldn't leave without her. We've been together through thick and thin ever since.

On the way home I called Kev at work and told him I was coming home & I wasn't alone... Long, wonderful story short we named her Bailey and she adored Kevin from the very start while becoming my furry little shadow.  She has been with us since we've been "us", our little family wouldn't be complete without her.  She goes pretty much everywhere we go and always has, including hiking along the Appalachian Trail, "helping" me set up various classrooms every summer of my teaching career, visiting her grandparents who have lovingly named her the "grand-puppy", and everywhere and anywhere in between.  She's our truest and best friend. 

Now she's nearly 9 and I keep wondering how that's possible.  Earlier in the spring our sweet girl developed a pretty nasty limp and fell coming up the stairs to bed, resulting in Kevin and I jumping out of bed in a panic and rushing to rescue her. After trying 2 different vet prescribed pain medications and having a diagnosis of doggy arthritis in her back legs, we ended up going to a different vet because nothing seemed to be helping.  Then she was diagnosed with a CCL tear in her knee, similar to when people tear their ACL.  We have been keeping her on pain medication that has been working but went to see a specialist to repair the tear via surgery today. 

I had a sinking feeling before going in and when the vet came in with the x-rays I knew something was terribly wrong just from the look on his face.  I recall smiling just to try and reassure myself, but that smile quickly vanished with one look at his face.  He was kind and cut right to the chase, saying there's nothing to be done, Bailey has a terrible form of bone cancer and it's progressed to the point of no return.  She was still under sedation and he said we could proceed with an amputation or euthanasia.  I lost it.  This was not why we were there, we were supposed to go in, get her a fancy new nylon tendon and walk out of there the happy little family we've always been.  We just weren't ready to say goodbye so abruptly and I asked him what he would do if it were his dog in this situation.  He was incredibly compassionate and said to bring her home and spoil her rotten for the remaining days she has left... cheeseburgers, ice cream, you name it.  We left the office with our trusty companion and plan to give her the best last days any dog has ever seen.  When the pain overcomes the medications he gave us, we'll have to take that dreaded next step, but until that day Bailey will be even more spoiled than she already is. 

The worst part... I have long daydreamed that this little boy I'm carrying would grow up loving and befriending this sweet, beautiful big sister of a dog that would love and adore him and now, that won't happen.  I think that makes me the saddest of all. 

For now, I'm going to go bury my tear-streaked face in her comfroting fur and give her an enormous hug, followed by a big bowl of vanilla ice cream and think of the memories we've shared over these past nine years. 

"He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds;
my other ears that hear above the winds.
He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea.
He has told me a thousand times over
that I am his reason for being;
by the way he rests against my leg;
by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile;
by the way he shows his hurt
when I leave without taking him.
(I think it makes him sick with worry
when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.
When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.
When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.
When I am a fool, he ignores it.
When I succeed, he brags.
Without him, I am only another man.
With him, I am all-powerful.
He is loyalty itself.
He has taught me the meaning of devotion.
With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace.
He has brought me understanding
where before I was ignorant.
His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.
His presence by my side is protection
against my fears of dark and unknown things.
He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever -
in case I need him.
And I expect I will - as I always have.
He is just my dog."
~ Gene Hill

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

38 Weeks and Holding

Woah Mama, a Pumpkin, seriously???

Reflections this Week:
How Far Along?: the question I have is "How much farther to go?"
Total Weight Gain: holding at 20 lbs, but it feels like wayyy more!
Clothing: sundresses & flipflops, thank God for stretchy material!
Catching Zzzzs: not easy, but some nights are better than others
Best Moments of the Week: still oohing and aahing over the 3-D ultrasound we got a week ago, getting to see his little face just blows our minds and we can't wait to meet him! The last day of school was yesterday and it was bittersweet for me, it's so hard to say goodbye to my students but I know they are in great hands next year and I have a kiddo all my own to look forward to.
Miss Anything?: MY ANKLES!  Seriously, if you see them hiding somewhere, I would love to have them returned to me, I could even offer a reward!!!
Movements: lots of movement, just not big all over twists & turns because it's getting crowded in there
Food Cravings: not many these days, although watermelon is still amazing, I would love some really good sushi but am going to make some prego-safe versions tonight for dinner
Queasy/Sick: nope
Gender: bouncing baby boy
Labor Signs: the doc says I'm about 50% effaced but he's still pretty high & hasn't dropped much AT ALL, although he's measuring 40 weeks as of a week ago, so I hope he decides to stop messing around with the B.H. contractions and shoot for the real thing, although I know he'll come when he's ready.  His mom & dad are always early, I wonder if he's rebelling? 
Symptoms: swollen ankles that make me resemble the stay-puff marshmallow man, weird sausage like appendages that used to be my toes... the warm weather makes me realize how tough it is on mamas who live in warm climates for their whole pregnancy, kudos to you ladies, this part is seriously no fun!  I still love being pregnant though!
Belly Button: flat as a pancake
Wedding Rings: sadly... off, they are just too snug by the end of the day
I'm feeling:  ready to meet this little boy!!!
Looking Forward to: another ultrasound next Wednesday to check his growth & progress

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

I am quite a baby, just waiting for the time to be right!  I am a healthy baby boy, unsure of my size at the moment, somewhere hovering around 8 lbs. most likely and ready to be born!  My organs are fully developed and I have a firm grasp that my parents will feel when they hold my hand for the first time ever, which will be very soon! Ready or not... here I come!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Photo Dump!

Outdoors, where everything is better: 


The sweetest old dog, Miss Bailey looking for frogs
 & failing to catch them


My giant peonies

Lilacs, my favorite smell other than Frangipani flowers

Wild roses beside the pond

Twins, just like Kristi & I

Mama bird's nest outside my little "nest" for Will

Bleeding Heart, being overcome by ferns because I have no time to play in the garden

Froggy Friends

Blueberries... well, technically green berries, but they will be blue 
unless the birds get to them before I do!
Forget-Me-Nots, because there's someone I'll never forget

House Transformation Pics:

Downstairs Bathroom Before, 
birdy wallpaper and everything, yippie!
Downstairs Bathroom After, 
it's hard to tell due to the lighting, 
but it's actually gray


Kitchen/Dining Area Before:

Kitchen/Dining Area After:


And on a totally different subject, how cute is my family?  
Wishing Kev's Nana a Happy 96 Years! Wow!