Category Archives: Family

36 Weeks!

I’m nine months pregnant now — how weird is that?!

We had an appointment this morning, including an ultrasound to see how Joe is doing in there. He’s upside down (that’s a good thing), with his feet up by my ribs and his head bouncing around on my bladder. We didn’t get a photo of his fingers and toes, but we did get a look at them (not enough to count them all, but enough to see they are CUTE!)

Here’s his profile, labeled for those of you who (like me!) can’t always make heads or tails of these things:

He kind of looks like he’s smiling, doesn’t he?

They estimated his current weight at 6 pounds, 10 ounces. His heart was beating away at 140 BPM. He’s a healthy little monkey!

After the ultrasound, my doctor examined me and said that it doesn’t look like anything will happen soon. That’s actually a relief, since I have lots to finish up at work and home before I’m ready for this little dude. I don’t want him to be weeks late, but weeks early would have stressed me out for sure.

Once we were done there, Patrick and I went to Friendly’s and ate a gigantic lunch. We came home in the pouring rain, and soon Lola was shaking like a leaf. She gets a little nervous during thunderstorms, but for some reason rain alone was completely freaking her out. She couldn’t hold still!

It wasn’t long before we figured out what was scaring her: a tornado about a mile away! We never heard or saw it, but the emergency service sent us e-mails and voice mails to say that there was a tornado warning, and soon all the local TV stations were breathlessly reporting cars flipped over and stacked on top of one another at the local Target shopping center. Sirens were screaming by and every dog in the neighborhood was howling. Crazy!

Patrick’s folks were here for the weekend and got to see me in all my large, slow-moving glory. I did manage one lap around a flea market without passing out, but spent most of the weekend with my feet up. Pregnant women make terrible hostesses — thank goodness Patrick was here to pick up my slack.

Tonight we have an infant CPR class at St. Francis. I wonder if we’ll get creepy mannequins like these to work on?


This weekend my friend Alecia flew down from Boston and threw me a lovely baby shower in Fayetteville. The room was full of women I love and admire, some of whom I’ve known since I was a baby myself! (My mom pointed out the wide age range of the group, too — there were women there in their 20s, 30s, 40s … on up through their 80s!)

(From L-R: Anne, who was our neighbor and regular babysitter when we first moved to Fayetteville in the ’70s; me; my sister, Amy; and Laura, Anne’s daughter)

Aside from a huge haul of amazing gifts (Joe is pretty much set now!) we also had a yummy lunch and a delicious buttercream cake.

My only regret? In all the activity and picture-taking, I didn’t get ONE SINGLE SHOT of Alecia and me together. Alecia, please return immediately so we can fix this.

The rest of the photos are on our Flickr account!

Christmas in March!

I swear, every day this week there has been a package waiting for us on the porch. First came the Britax marathon baby seat from Patrick’s folks:

It’s nice and roomy, which is great because now you have to keep your kids in safety seats right up through, oh, 11th grade or so. We almost put Lola in it for a test drive — that’s how big it is!

Next came a crib mattress and bedding from my folks — we were eager to get these so that when we put Patrick puts the crib together, we can get the whole thing all dressed up and ready to go.

Today we got another package from Patrick’s parents. In it was a snuggly baby carrier and a mirror we can put in the car to keep an eye on Joe while he snoozes in his little throne.

Last night was our last Confident Childbirth class. We almost made it through without laughing, but at the end we did this exercise where you have to clutch ice in your hand (ow!) and breathe through the pain. I was leaning against Patrick and hee-hee-hooing when he chastised me for not looking at my focal point. It won’t be as funny during the real event!

We might sign up for infant CPR or one of the basic baby care classes next. If I can get a photo of Patrick changing some doll’s diaper, you will see it here!

I visited MCV today. The midwives were lovely, but I don’t think that’s the place for Joe to be born. So St. Francis it is. My doctor has gotten a lot less nervous about the natural plan, so I’m feeling better about that.

This weekend, we’re off to Ikea to find some baby furniture. Joe’s room is looking a little bit like a warehouse now, with boxes and boxes of stuff but nowhere to put it all when we unpack it. If we can come home with a little armoire and a dresser/changing table, we’ll be almost finished!

Mending Fences

We had a full day of really high winds last weekend, and came home from the grocery store to find that the privacy fence on one side of our yard had blown down! We never did figure out whether the fence belonged to us or the rental property next door but it came down to this: If it was theirs, the landlord wasn’t going to fix or replace it, and if it was ours, we’d have to pay a $1,000 deductible to repair it under our homeowners policy. Patrick figured he could do it himself for less than half that, so that was his weekend project.

As you can see, the whole thing was pretty gross and rotted, so he kicked it all into the neighbors’ yard and started from scratch. Look at the finished product, a day and a half later!

(Please excuse the messy yard. Between water restrictions and pregnancy, it’s been pretty neglected for the past few months!)

Lola is so happy to have her fence back. She was on the leash for a while there, and not happy about it.

We did get down to Fayetteville for a day to celebrate Dixon’s 3rd birthday. He had a party at Jumping Time, which is a big warehouse full of those inflatable bouncy house things. Patrick had as much fun as anyone — we might have to do his birthday there as well …

In other news, Joe has been a little kickin’ chicken for the past few days! He may be developing into a morning person (God help us) — yesterday morning he did a whole dance routine in there, complete with high kicks. It never ceases to amaze me. Some days I sit on the couch with my shirt pulled up, just watching these little pokes pop up all over my belly.

We started our confident childbirth class last week. We learned about stages of labor and various positions for dealing with the pain. At the end of the class, we all had to lie on the floor and do this guided imagery thing where we were supposed to imagine ourselves on a beach with the waves crashing and just relaaaaax … It didn’t work. We got the giggles so bad that I thought we might be asked to leave! We have three classes to go, including a tour of the birthing center. Fun!

Patrick has started a blog on Joe’s behalf. ( He’s only got a few posts up, but you may want to bookmark it for future reference. Enjoy!

Happy New Year!

We went to Fayetteville for a couple of days to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my mom’s mother and stepfather. Mumsey and Grandy came from Arkansas for the occasion and “Aint Naincy” (my mom’s sister) came up from Florida.

At dinner, Grandy (who is 94 and sharp as a tack) shared lots of stories with us about everything from World War II to the various animals he has bottle-fed to adulthood.

We also got lots of time with the niece and nephew, who make us all the more eager to meet this little person we’re waiting for. Seriously, how cute is this:

We came back to Virginia on New Years Eve, just in time for a visit from my friend Mike. The three of us stayed awake long enough to say “Happy New Year” and then promptly fell asleep. Lola was unnerved by the sound of fireworks outside and had a harder time settling down, poor thing. It just breaks your heart to see her shivering with fear.

So today we started another year. It’s going to be a big one for us — stay tuned!

Post-Christmas Post

We are back safe and sound from NY, where I saw my first white Christmas in who knows how long. We had a nice time with Patrick’s folks, racked up some great gifts, ate our weight in candy and just relaxed for a few days.

We also saw I Am Legend, which was scary as all get-out and incredibly sad at one point. That’s all the details you’re getting out of me — go see it!

I’m happy to report that I am finally starting to feel Champ move! What a weird, amazing feeling. It usually happens at bedtime — just when I’m nodding off, this little tumbly sensation pops up in my belly. Tonight I took a long bath and that inspired some acrobatics, too! I can’t wait until Patrick can feel all that movement going on. It makes Champ more of a current presence to me instead of just someone I’ll meet eventually.

This weekend we’ll go to my parents’ house to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my mom’s mom and stepdad, known to us as Mumsey and Grandy.

After that, New Year’s!

Back at home

We had such a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. We all packed up and went to West Virginia, where we stayed in a cottage at the Greenbrier. We ate a lot of food, walked around the grounds, toured a giant old Cold War bunker (from 1962-1992 it was prepared to shelter both houses of Congress in case of a nuclear attack!) and had lots of fun with the children. Oh, and Patrick and I discovered a love of checkers, which I let him win once or twice.

I got a miserable cold while we were there, so I didn’t take a whole lot of photos. We did get some nice shots of ourselves and the extended family for Christmas cards, though!

This weekend we’ll be decking the halls for Christmas. (Every other house on our street is already lit up like the Eiffel Tower!)