Well, hello there!

16 Sep

I know, I know…it’s been 6 months since I last posted!  I’m a horrible blogger!  I have no excuses…Oh wait, but I do…I’ve had a (not so new anymore) permanent guest in my house! Ha!  Goodness gracious, you guys weren’t kidding when you said that extra time would be in short supply!  Sheesh!

In all honesty, though, I think I’m finally to the point where I’ve can wrap my brain around everything and get back to something I’ve always loved the most…sharing all of our adventures with all of you!  I’ve missed you!  Luckily, I’ve seen many of you- at least here and there- in these last 6 months, so this will just be like filling in some of the gaps :).  Anyhoo, my plan is to go about things a little differently than I have before…I’m going to have to do a little backtracking to catch myself up!  Heck, we went to Jamaica for the first time in April- and absolutely, positively LOVED it!- and I didn’t even get a chance to tell you about it!  We’ve also been to Alaska and I’ve got nearly 400 pictures to whittle down!  Not to mention that our Miss Neve is now a whopping 8 months old!  Jeez!  Time fly much?

So…I guess I’ll start with some of our favorite pics of Little Miss since we last talked…So basically 3 months until today :).  Then my goal is to do a Jamaica post or two, followed by some Alaska posts…Wish me luck!

End of March 2012 (Neve was 10 Weeks Old)…4 Generations…

Neve’s first Flowertown Festival, April 2012, 11 weeks old…

Easter Weekend 2012 with the Thomas Clan in Gatlinburg, TN…Neve was soon to be 12 weeks old…

Heading to Sunday Brunch…14 weeks old…

16 Weeks Old

Myrtle Beach, SC…4 months old…

18 Weeks Old

18 Weeks Old

18 Weeks Old

18 Weeks Old

Meeting Aunt Sam for the first time…Early June…Neve was 21 weeks old…

Poolside, early July…Neve was almost 24 weeks old…

Cincinnati, OH…4th of July Weekend…

First trip to Kentucky…Up on the Hill…July 2012

6 Month Check Up…Happy Girl…

Front porch pool day…August 2012…Neve was 28 weeks old…

August 2012

Neve and her Poppy :)

She LOVES Little Gym! Almost 30 weeks old…

Almost 7 months old…

Hanging out with Uncle Mark and Aunt Bethany…

Uncle Andy <3

Celebrating our new jogging stroller…Late August…

She LOVES riding in the buggy…and she loves Trader Joe’s :)

LOVES her bike…

September 2012…

An Afternoon with Grandma :)

8 Months Old…Taken just a few days ago :)

OK, so you’re all caught up, right?! Ha!  I know, there’s no way to possibly catch you up with just a handful of pictures of our girl to cover the last 6 months, but at least you get the jist!  She’s growing like a weed- 90th percentile still for height and weight!  In a nutshell…she sits, she rocks on all fours, she loves downward dog pose (for you non-yogis, that’s all fours but with feet instead of knees)…She laughs and squeals ALL the time :)…She still furrows that brow, but not near as often…Still adores her bath time- and all water, for that matter…Enjoys just about any fruits or veggies we’ve put in front of her- her favorites probably being sweet potatoes, bananas, prunes and green beans…She prefers restaurants that provide free bread for her to gum while we eat- as well as ones with comfy high chairs as she now REFUSES to do any meal in her carrier and not at the table with the rest of us ;)…Her favorite things on Earth are her pups and being outside :)  Life is swell.

Next up…our Jamaica trip, where Neve turned 10 weeks old!  Thanks for joining us…AGAIN! :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Month 2…Gone??

13 Mar

Hey, y’all!  Can you believe it?  It’s been over four weeks since my last post, which means that Neve is already two months old!  Time is flying so quickly here in the Thomas household…Although that’s not to say that some days go more quickly than others- say, the ones when John’s gone on work travel and Neve’s having a growth spurt!  Ha!

In all seriousness, though, Neve is doing wonderfully and I just wanted to take a second to share some picture proof :).   First, what can I tell you about Miss Neve…Hmmm…She is growing- and changing- so quickly that I find myself wanting to freeze time occasionally.  We found ourselves impatiently waiting on that elusive first ‘real’ smile for what felt like an eternity…knowing that it would melt our hearts for sure!  And it did. :)  Just in the last 10 days, she’s really started smiling, laughing and getting excited.  It’s awesome…And makes us so excited to know that it’s only going to increase!  She loves everything that lights up, blinks, glitters, etc.  Loves being outside, windows, glass doors…She prefers real music to the lullaby ‘baby’ versions and isn’t really a fan of anything that vibrates…The swing is growing on her, though only the front to back motion- not the side to side.  Still adores bathtime, both in her own tub or with us in the big soaker tub- will float there and let you pour water over her- face and all- for as long as you want to.  Lotion time afterwards?  Not so much- you’d think we were cutting her arm off just about any time she’s naked and not in the tub!  Although, I will say that she’s getting better about it, though, as we maybe she’s coming to the realization that it’s going to happen every single day of her life :).  She’s discovered the front-facing baby carrier and absolutely loves it- definitely her daily walk vehicle of choice :).  Still not a fan of the carseat, the Bumpo seat or tummy time, but again, we work on all daily…

John just got home from his second work trip since her birth…It was the Hawaii trip we were all supposed to go on, but at the last minute, the trip got moved up (to early March instead of April), so Neve and I decided that we’d just wait and go with him the next time, over the summer.  As a consolation, though, John thought it would be nice for the three of us to still have our ‘first family vacation’ as planned, so he took it upon himself to plan a quick tropical trip to a place we’ve never been- a place we could all discover it together…a real adventure.  So this time next week, we will be heading to Jamaica for a week of sun, sand, waves…and learning to vacation with a newborn :)  CAN. NOT. WAIT.  (One of the) best parts?  This blog will finally get back to its travel roots!  So stay tuned for updates from the Caribbean!

One month old...2-12-12

Happy Valentine's Day :)

<3

Told you she loves bathtime! :)

Three of our four generations...5 Weeks Old...

Meeting Uncle Mark for the first time...with Aunt Bethany :)

With Daddy

Playtime before bedtime...

Tummy time, 6 Weeks Old...

Only Charleston could have such perfect porch weather in February...

This is deceptive...So far, she hates the Bumpo! Approximately 7 seconds after this picture, she was screaming! Ha!

First day we discovered that Neve loves the carrier...as long as she's facing FORWARD! :)

Sister playtime :)

7 Weeks Old...

Napping with her brother...

Our happy girl :)

Quiet time daydreaming out the window...

Laughing at Poppy :)

<3

8 Weeks Old...

Sending love to my JT while he's away :)

So there you have it, just a glimpse into our second month having this awesome little person here with us.  She really is neat and we can’t wait for all of you who haven’t met her to meet her!  You’ll surely be smitten :).  And in the meantime, here’s our latest Nest Pic, taken this past Thursday.  ‘Til next week from paradise…

Neve is 8 Weeks Old!

 

Rounding Out the Month…

9 Feb

Hey, y’all!  Well as the title says, today marks 4 weeks since our Neve came to join us!  It’s so hard to believe it’s been that long since we were camped out in the hospital room on Day 1 of this adventure…Although this week, time does seem to be moving slower- sometimes not at all! Ha!- with John being gone and me manning the fort solo!  Totally have a newfound respect for single moms.  Jeez, those women deserve the biggest award known to mankind!

That being said, Neve, the pups and I are trucking right along and excited to see our JT this Saturday night (yep, looks like they’re going to finish up early this go around!).  And you know, there are probably some positives to John’s absence if I really think about it.  For starters, of course it’s eliminated my ‘fear’ of flying solo with this awesome little infant.  Now, I’m not going to lie and say there haven’t been times over this past week where I’ve wanted to pull my hair out or where it could be debatable who has more tears at a few given moments- Neve or me!- but all in all, it’s proven that yep, I got this. :)  But most importantly, it’s forced me to devote extra time to creating ‘systems’ to help things run as smoothly as possible…By only having one set of hands to do everything (baby-related, house-related, pup-related, work-related…), I quickly discovered- probably more like reconfirmed- that routine and organization is key to optimal time efficiency.  For example, I calculated that I was spending an average of 47 minutes per day disassembling, cleaning, sanitizing and reassembling bottles and pump equipment.  Who has time for all that?!  So back to the store we went to purchase enough bottles to last us 2 full days at a time, along with baskets to keep parts organized in the cabinet.  Now, everything just goes in the dishwasher that’s run every night and is ready to use the next morning!  Viola!  Instant 40 minutes added back to my day! :)

Anyhoo, I just wanted to share some pictures with you guys from the last two weeks…

Neve's Birth Announcement, mailed last week...Isn't she such a doll?

Deep conversations...

My first tutu...with red socks...One day, I'll probably wear tutus with rainboots and a cape.' :)

Favorite time of the day...After bath :)

Faithful Guardians of the Driveway...and of Neve :)

Gazing out the window in my office...

First coffee date with the ladies...Very comfy with Aunt E holding her :)

John is actually sitting just outside of this frame, playing the PlayStation. It's a family affair ;)

One of my favorites...Laughing :)

...As are mealtimes :)

Neve's first smile...Yes, she was asleep, so it wasn't a 'real' one, but it's the first one that looked really genuine and lasted forever :)

Goddess helping with bathtime :)

Neve knows how much fun we make of 'cheesy heart hands' and wanted to get in on the fun! (No, we didn't pose them!)

We're loving that Neve now stays awake for most- sometimes all- of our daily treks! Yesterday happened to be our first true jog and she loved it! :)

One week ago today, right before our JT hopped the pond...Can't beat Charleston weather for front porch feedings...in February! Ha!

Pumped Up Kicks ;)

One of my favorite pictures so far...Happens to be our first self portrait, too.

Couch time with the brother :)

Washcloth hat...

Meeting her future suitor, Fleet...He's our good friends, the Mossers, 4-month-old who came to visit this week :)

Playtime on the floor before lunch...

Checking out our new owl hat, handmade by our friend, Nichole, especially for Neve :)

Cheese!

Making a video to send to Daddy...

So that’s it for now- life in the Thomas world for the second half of Neve’s first month!  As you can see, we’ve been keeping busy: lots of visitors, lots of outings with friends, daily power walks and jogs…Hope everyone is doing well!  Talk to you soon!  Oh, and before I forget:

Neve is 4 Weeks Old!

How about a little Q & A?

6 Feb

Well hey there!  It’s me again, in the midst of Week 4 of our latest adventure that we like to call Miss Neve!  I know I’ve said it in the last couple posts, but seriously…How is it possible for time to go by SO quickly now when it was barely moving as fast as a snails’ pace for the 9 months before?!  I just don’t get it…Anyhoo…as promised, I wanted to get away from the cliche mom posts for a minute and get into some of the nitty gritty stuff…Y’all know me, I like to keep it real, especially now, considering that I’ve got quite a few friends in my same boat (there were about 6 of us that gave birth in January- something in the water last April perhaps??) and a good many more due this spring and early summer (I’m talkin’ close to 10!).  Sheesh!  Needless to say, I think it’s important for someone to get it all out there- the good, the bad, the funny…Although since I know I’ve got some male pals who check in here to keep up with our happenings, I’ll try my best to keep it PG-13.  So here we go!  Lots of this is coming from questions both right before Neve’s birth and in the weeks since…The rest, well…it can just be my own musings :).

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Neve’s means of arrival…So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I have no qualms talking about it.  Any woman who has gone through delivery should be oh-so-proud of herself.  And I mean that regardless of circumstances- vaginal, Cesarean, natural, pain med free, home birth, emergency, planned…However which way that baby that she’s carried for almost a year makes its entrance is cause for celebration…and a pat on the back.  And this isn’t something new for me since going through it myself…No, I’ve always felt this way: that it doesn’t make a woman any more or less of a woman- or a mother!- to choose (or in some cases have no choice but to…) one way or the other.  If you want to do it naturally and without pain meds, great.  If you opt for an epidural, great.  If you have a C-section, great.  Everyone gets a gold star for a job well done as all of these options come with their own unique set of goods and bads.  Remember back in one of my early pregnancy posts when I used the analogy about the journey vs. the end result- you know, we may not like doing laundry, but we like wearing clean clothes?  And how that was my view on pregnancy (more on that in a little while!)- hating being pregnant, but ecstatic about the idea of growing our family?  Well, that sums up my feelings on delivery, too.  It doesn’t matter how babies arrive…just that they arrive and that everyone is happy and healthy…

OK, back to my own story.  I had a C-section and am damn proud of it. :)  No, it wasn’t an emergency or anything grand done as a last resort after hours and hours of unsuccessful labor…Although I wouldn’t call it 100% completely ‘elected’ either.  For years, long before I got pregnant, docs had told me that I had a higher likelihood than some of going this route.  For starters, my mom had needed one (and yes, her’s was after hours and hours of unsuccessful labor!), which significantly increased my chances of needing one.  But more importantly, my body shape apparently isn’t the most conducive to vaginal labor, specifically, my hips.  My normal body is about the same width front to back as it is side to side (*sigh* No waif-thin Giselle shape for me)…In other words, if you were to stretch a belt around my hips and take it off, you’ll see a circle…Not an oval.  And by the end of my pregnancy, their width hadn’t changed at all- they hadn’t widened even an inch, which meant that Neve’s shoulders were planted firmly ON my pelvic bones rather than in between.  Now don’t get me wrong, I talked to my doc about my options and had always remained open to either option as both had very definitely pros and cons for me.  And he was very open, too- telling me that he was certainly OK with me trying a vaginal delivery if I needed that experience…that ‘right of passage’ that so many new moms think they need…That sure, it could end up working out in the end…but that he really didn’t think it would and that a probably more realistic scenario would be that I labor all day and still end up with in the OR when it was all said and done.  So in my mind- and in John’s, it was a no-brainer.  I didn’t NEED the experience of a vaginal delivery to validate anything within me…I didn’t WANT Neve or myself to (most likely) be in labor all day getting all sorts of medicines only to end up exhausted and sore before even getting to the OR.  I wanted to be well-rested (that’s almost comical to write because by the end of pregnancy, you’re lucky if you’re getting 3 hours a night! Ha!), mentally prepared, and HAPPY when I met our daughter!  Trusting my doc- and my own instincts (no one knows you better than you know yourself…), I made the decision about 6 weeks before her birth, that when labor started, we would go to the hospital, Dr. Reeves would meet us there, and Neve would be born via C-section shortly after.

And that’s just how it went…We went to the doc on that Monday the week she was born- I was 39 weeks and had been having contractions.  Dilation had started, but not active labor.  Contractions continued for the next few days and on Thursday morning, I noticed some extra moisture down below.  (I told y’all I was going to keep it real!)  Now by 39 weeks, you’re used to some of this and there’s no telling what exactly it is…It’s hot outside (yes, it’s January, but we’re in Charleston!), you might have sneezed, your body might just be adding one more thing to its list of rebellions…You just don’t know!  So at our 10:30a doc appointment that morning, I happened to cough while he was doing his check to which he quickly said, ‘Hey, do that again.’  ‘Do what?,’ I asked.  ‘Cough, I think there’s fluid.’  Long story short? My water had broken- though nothing fancy like you see in the movies, but rather a slow and steady leak- and it was (FINALLY!) time.  ‘No turning back now!,’ he said.  ‘Why don’t you head on over the hospital to get checked in and hooked up to the monitors and I’ll be over later this afternoon so we can have ourselves a baby!’  BAZINGA!!

I know I already posted this one a few weeks ago, but since it was taken just moments after the above conversation, I thought it only natural to post again...Having just driven across the street to the hospital. Neve was born about 4 hours later :)

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The actual delivery…And no, not to worry…No need to go too into the details here…But since lots of folks- from expectant parents (possibly) planning for a C-section to older generations who’ve had ‘em in the past- seem fascinated with the process, I think it only right that I hit the highlights!  So…we spend the early part of the afternoon hooked up to monitors, taking care of paperwork and meeting the team.  Most important to me?  The anesthesia team.  Now, y’all know I can have panic issues, so the idea of being wide awake and completely numb scared the HELL outta me, so it was important that I talk with these folks BEFORE the fact…

So once that was all out of the way, Dr. Reeves arrived in time to poke his head in for a quick ‘Hello!  See you in there!’, and with that, the nurse (my friend, Melissa) and I headed down the hall to the OR.  (Husbands can’t come in until everything is set up and ready to go…)  It looked different than what I’d expected…Smaller, brighter, colder (downright chilly!) and with way more people.  I’m talkin’ like probably 20 blue scrubs walking around in there!  I crawled up on the table, my legs- complete with their warm alternating compression socks- dangling off the side.  Then it was time for the part I dreaded the most…Dread is probably an understatement- it was more like a petrifying, I don’t think I can do this sort of fear that I’d been wrestling with since the day we made the decision to go this route.  But at that point, all I could tell myself were these two things: 1. She has to come out.  And 2. All these people are already in here.

The anesthesiologist got behind me and began to clean the area on my spine just below my shoulder blades.  Per my request, he announced what he was doing each step of the way to avoid any surprises.  So, I was ‘hugging’ Melissa and pushing my back out like a cat, per his instructions.  Next, he gave me a shot to numb the skin- this felt alot like a bee sting.  And I guess because I knew what was coming next, my panic intensified for a minute as he did the actual spinal tap.  It didn’t hurt at all- just an odd sensation that felt like he was ‘tickling’ the inside of my spine.  And just like that, those compression socks that had been keeping my legs warm- and that I’d been counting as they did their thing- quickly stopped working.  You know where I’m headed with this, right?  They actually hadn’t stopped working…the feeling in my legs had.  And then in my pelvis…my stomach…and even a bit up my rib cage.  As all this jazz was taking place, the team was quickly swinging me around and laying me flat on the table.  I remember them positioning my legs like a frog just before they started to put the drape up- the one that would separate my chest and head from the sterile workspace below…A funny note: since that’s the last position in which I saw my legs, I assumed they stayed like that for the remainder of my time in there.  And I fretted about it!  Several times I thought to myself, ‘Jeez, all these people in here and I’m stuck with my legs like THAT!  How awkward!’  After the fact, though, I asked Melissa about it and she reassured me that my legs had, in fact, only remained like that for about 2 minutes and had then been laid flat.  Phew! :)

Within just a few minutes, when everyone was in place and ready to go, in came John- in his sexy scrubs, cap and mask ;)- and it was Go Time.  My panic was under control and we were giddy in anticipation.  No quicker had he sat down by my head and grabbed my hand when I asked the anesthesiologist (also camping out by my head) if we were close to starting to which he replied, ‘Oh we’ve been started, give it just a few seconds…’  Wait, WHAT?  Ha!  And sure enough, within less than 30 seconds, he reached over the drape to push on my abdomen and Dr. Reeves announced, ‘Here she comes…’  And we heard her cry.  Oh my, there really are no words for that moment.  That one single cry…John and I looked at each other and cried ourselves.  Then the doc held her up above the drape so we could see her for the first time.  We just stared…in awe and in disbelief.  That this moment we’d waited for was finally here…That she was healthy and perfect…That that’s what she looked like…That we had a daughter.  John kissed my forehead and whispered, ‘We made that.’  Wow…

The nurses quickly took some preliminary measurements (6 lbs., 8 oz., 19 inches), bundled her up and brought her to formally meet us.  Another moment that will never be forgotten.  We were a family of 3 (actually 5 :) ) now and it felt good.  John then went with Neve and the nurses to handle the rest of the ‘just been born’ stuff, while I stayed behind for about 45 minutes (no one tells you how long it takes AFTER the fact!) to let Dr. Reeves wrap things up. :)  And he was awesome- great to keep me informed of what he was doing each step of the way.  Melissa and the other nurses kept me distracted in between until it was time to head next door to the recovery room.  John and Neve met me there, followed quickly by my parents.  *Happy Hearts All Around*

Really, this picture can't even begin to capture all the love and overflowing emotions of that moment...

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OK, enough with all the serious stuff!  Let me get into some of the other questions we’ve gotten before I go :)

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No, our house is not falling down around us as we forego dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc…From the day we got home, we have both maintained our normal duties and it looks just the same as it always does.  Definitely don’t understand all the stuff about ‘just let it all go and focus solely on baby…’  We would go nuts!

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On that same note…No, I’m not letting myself go either.  Do women really do this??  I have showered twice a day, gotten dressed, put on makeup and done my hair just about every single day since we got home.  In my opinion, ESPECIALLY after being pregnant for 9 months (y’all do know it’s actually 10, right?!), I’m more inclined than ever to look good and feel confident!

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Yes, I am breastfeeding- and pumping- exclusively.  No formula.  Yes, my already giant tatas have once again defied my wildest dreams and increased in size.  Please, Lord, let this be it!  Yes, I hate this part.  But other than that, things on that front have been going pretty smoothly, knock on wood.  We’re definitely figuring it out as we go and adjusting our ‘system,’ often daily, as we learn.  That being said, I view breastfeeding in the same way that I view just about everything else in life.  I definitely see the benefits of it and want to give it a shot.  If it works for us, great.  If it doesn’t, there’s formula.  And my job is to do what’s best for all of us…It’s that simple.  So I set small goals for myself from Day 1.  ‘I will do my best to make it to 3 days.’  (The first ‘benchmark’ for BF benefits).  Then, ‘I will try to make it to 2 weeks.’  (The second ‘benchmark’).  Now, I’m working on getting to next Thursday, the 1 month benchmark.  In other words, it makes more sense to me to set small, realistic goals, (rather than ‘I must do this for at least a year!’) especially during a time that’s already so overwhelming and life changing.  Knowing that, statistically, I’ve already done more than many new moms takes alot of the pressure off.  I won’t have guilt if and when I choose to stop… :)  But for now, we’re trucking right along…

My Liquid Gold stock pile in the freezer :)

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Yes, we were SO very fortunate that John has been in a position to take as much paternity leave as he wants to.  It ended up being about a month and I truly believe that it made all the difference in this transition…For all of us.  He went back to work in the form of travel to Rome- this past Friday, for about 2 weeks.  Speaking of Italy, they’re in the middle of a frigid cold spell and their first snow (6+ inches when John landed!) since 1985!  Needless to say, John may be a bit underdressed during his visit!  On the plus side, it’s now Sunday which means that Neve, the pups and I survived our first- and now second- solo nights!  WOOHOO!  Coincidentally, about an hour after we dropped John at the airport Friday morning, Neve hit her first growth spurt, right on schedule at 3 weeks.  Jeez Louise, let me tell you that THAT has made for a fun couple of days!  *Totally joking, folks.*  Lots more eating, lots less sleeping and lots more fussiness going on in this house!  Fortunately, my Mom and I had already planned a ‘Girls Slumber Party’ and she came to hang out and spend the night with us last night, so that helped to take the edge off.  I’m so glad that she was able to be part of things like bathtime, playtime, etc.  You know how there’s a very small handful of people who you can do absolutely nothing with yet still consider it time so well spent?  Yeah, that’s us. :)

From John...The Roman Forum on Saturday as the snow had just begun...

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Yes, I made it through pregnancy without a single stretchmark!  BAZINGA!  I know, I know…they say it’s genetic, but I totally swear by the daily BioOil rubdowns!  Why not at least FEEL proactive, right?!

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Yes, I do finally know how much weight I gained during the preggo adventure and no, I’m not going to share it with all of you, at least not right now!  C’mon, you should know me better than that!  In a few months, when I’m back in the shape I like to be, I’ll probably share, just to help show all new moms what’s possible :)!  I will say that I definitely never got on the scale facing forward, though.  Instead, I had the nurse write my final pregnancy weight (taken the morning Neve was born) on the back of one of my hospital discharge papers, so I could look at it at home when I was ready.  Then I waited two weeks- no need to weigh when you’re retaining all those fluids they pump you so full of!- and figured it was time to bite the bullet and see the damage.  So I mustered up the courage to not only look at the not-so-tiny number she’d scribbled for me, but also to get on my own scale for the first time since last May.  *SIGH*  And I’m not gonna lie…my mini meltdown in the privacy of my bathroom that morning probably wasn’t pretty!  But it gave me a starting point, an exact number to reach my goal weight, and thus, the control over my body that I’m accustomed to having- and have SO missed, which is a fabulous feeling.  Getting back into the swing of clean, healthy eating and exercise is a bit challenging, of course, but it’s SO worth it…Especially as I watch that number (slowly) decrease :).

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And speaking of exercise, yes, I’m gradually returning to a more normal activity level.  And it feels SO good!  We’ve been walking- with Neve and the pups- since Day 7 and, with my doc’s OK, I started to reintroduce moderate exercise back into my schedule by Day 14.  Now, before you guys start sending me notes about taking it easy and not overdoing, I assure you that all is well.  :)  No one knows her body better than the person herself and I’m certainly letting my body dictate what it needs, what it’s able to handle each day, what it’s not, etc.  Right now, at 3.5 weeks out, it’s good with long power walks pushing the stroller, about 4 miles on an elliptical, and light weights avoiding the midsection (which sure, that’s a bit discouraging as that’s the part that needs the most work! Ha!)…This week, I hope to include a spin session or two, but we shall see :).

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No, we’ve definitely not become homebodies- at least not any moreso than we’ve ever been!  We got home from the hospital on a Saturday afternoon and our first outing- to lunch and to run errands- was that Tuesday…And we’ve been going strong- and venturing out on our normal routine!- every day since!  Disclaimer: That’s definitely not to say that it doesn’t take an additional 30 minutes to get ready to go and that it can be challenging (even that’s probably an understatement!) to run lots of little ‘quick’ errands!  If only you could crack a window and leave her in the car with the pups! Ha!

———-

Speaking of leaving the house, yes, we are planning to take our first family vacation- to Hawaii- this spring and will head back to Europe over the summer.   I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a tad nervous about the usual stuff: Neve’s first airplane ride, time changes, overall traveling with an infant…But our excitement and confidence trumps it all, so we can’t wait!  We’ve always known that she’d be a world traveler and that it’s best to start early if you want something to seem like second nature!  Like everything else these days, it’ll be a new adventure and a learning experience for all of us :).

Neve's passport picture. With all the guidelines they give you, it took me 157 attempts, but I got it! :)

———-

(Knock loudly on wood :) ) Yes, we’re actually get pretty good sleep, especially when John’s here to tag team this beast!  Ha!  Granted, we don’t have much to compare our experience to, but based on some of the horror stories we’ve heard, we think we’ve lucked up in that department, at least so far.  Since the first week, she’s only needed one feeding in the middle of the night.  In other words, she eats before we go to bed, wakes us sometime between 3-4a, then eats breakfast when we get up or when I get home from the gym, depending on the day.  Now, I know what some of you will be saying: ‘You’re supposed to feed more often than that!’ or ‘You should wake her every couple hours to eat!’ or ‘This could mess with your milk production!’  And for the first week, we tried it that way, but it just didn’t feel right for us…And I truly believe that’s what you have to go on, folks.  Neve’s simply not hungry quite that often- she definitely prefers larger but fewer meals as opposed to smaller, more frequent ones…And we’ve made that work for us.  Yes, we definitely wake her to eat during the day if we need to, but as for the nights, there just hasn’t been a need to so far.

———-

Which brings me to a big question we’ve gotten alot from our fellow new parent/soon-to-be new parent friends…Scheduling and routine.  Now, if  you truly know us, you should be able to guess where we fall on this debate!  We are creatures of habit…We prefer order, routine, schedule, etc.  Our philosophy is pretty close to the old school notion that babies thrive when they know what to expect…That they crave ‘normalcy’ just as much as their parents do.  So that’s how we’re approaching this latest adventure- shaping Neve’s world into one that fits into our world, complete with an ever-slightly-changing daily routine…We wake, eat, play and sleep at roughly the same times each and every day…making for a happy Neve and happy parents.  :)  With her help, we’re creating a schedule that best fits into our schedules, so it’s as win-win as we could ask for.  Oh, and I strongly recommend the ‘Babywise’ and ‘Baby Whisperer’ series for anyone with similar thoughts.

———-

No, my feelings about pregnancy (ie. loathing it!) have not changed since Neve’s birth and yes, I do remember being pregnant (do people really conveniently forget that??  Yeah, no likely to happen for this girl…Ha!  That being said, I will say that the cliche ‘I’d do it all over again to have her’ definitely applies, but the buck definitely stops there! :)  She’s awesome and totally rocks our world, so there’s no need to push it, right?! Ha!

———-

OK, well I think that about sums things up for the moment!  Things in the Thomas household, as crazy and as different and as exhausting as they are, are WONDERFUL.  Seriously, we are loving this season of our life.  And not just John and me, but our families, too.  Neve has brought something to all of us that we didn’t even realize was missing.  It’s amazing…So profound…

Anyhoo, I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend and I’ll be in touch again soon- this time with lots of pictures rounding out Month 1, I’m sure!  Love you guys!

Two Weeks Already?!

27 Jan

Hey again, guys!  OK, so it’s been a week since my first Neve post (have I said how incredibly thankful I am to FINALLY be at this point in the game as opposed to her still being in my belly?!) and I just wanted to make good on the promise I left you with to round out Neve’s first days home with us.  In these 14 days, she’s already done so much it would put other tots to shame! :)  She’s met both sets of grandparents, both great grandmothers (what a blessed little girl to have all these grandparents in her life!), some aunts and uncles (and y’all know that we always use these terms in both the ‘traditional’ sense and in the ‘unconventional, yet often makes more sense, family we choose for ourselves’ sense), lots of friends…She’s been to her newborn AND 2-week doctor’s appointments (all is well- as of today, she’s 6lbs 14oz, 20 inches!), she’s gone out to eat, she’s run errands, she’s voted (Go Newt!)…She’s gone on stroller walks, on baby carrier walks, taken her first real bath with Mom and Dad (yay for belly buttons falling off on Day 8!) and even made her first visit to Waterfront Park where her Dad proposed to her Mom nearly 8 years ago :)…I’m tellin’ ya, this is one active chick!  And speaking of active chicks, I’m beyond thrilled to be getting back to my own active routine.  Yesterday marked my first post-baby weight workout, followed by this morning’s first post-baby real cardio workout…4 miles, albeit slower and with a bit more huffing and puffing than usual!, ain’t too shabby after a nearly 9 month break!  No worries, though- I’m being smart about things and doing my best not to rush the process :).

1 Week Old and already walking the pups through Azalea Park...Coincidentally, this was the first (and only time so far!) that Miss Neve's worn a bow. It's just not her thing ;)

Our first real outing...Sesame for lunch :) Yes, I look tired (it was only 5 days after delivery!), but I was happy :)

6 days old...Meeting John's parents, Grand-D and Papaw...

And John's grandmother, Neve's other (Great) Grandma...

First trip downtown, to Waterfront Park...John proposed on the bench to the left :)

Proud Daddy sharing Neve with Grand-D, Papaw, and Aunt Bethany

I told you Max was being an excellent big brother :)

~ Love ~

The night the belly button fell off :)

First day wearing pants...because the waistband finally fits! :)

If you happen to be in Azalea Park around dusk on any given day, this is what you're likely to see :)

Or this :) (That's our house in the background...)

LOVES bathtime...We knew she would- she had at least one, but often two, every single day she was in my belly! We're bath people, what can we say!

Undershirt Twins :)

John's folks got to join us at Oscar's for last week's Friday Night Dinner Out :)

So there you have it, Week 2 in the new adventures of Thomas, Party of 5!  Things really are going well- we’re all figuring it out, settling in and growing in love every single day.  We’ve been VERY fortunate that John was able to take a month off from work to be home during this awesome time- I still can’t say enough good things about him and his new role in our family…Our first ‘minor challenge’ will come a week from today- when he leaves for Italy for two weeks on work travel.  He’s already getting antsy at the thought of being away (it’s amazing how perspectives change with the addition of a little one!)…As for me, sure, I’m a bit (and yes, occasionally alot!) nervous about flying solo in momhood for the first time here on the home front, but then I just remind myself that Neve, the pups and I will be A-OK because what other option is there?! Of course we’ll be fine! :)  Our first family trip will come in mid-March when we head back to Hawaii- of all the times we’ve been there, this one will surely be one of the most memorable!  And since we’ll likely be headed back to Europe by late spring, we’ve already taken care of getting Neve’s passport, so we’re good to go!  It’s never too early to become a world traveler!  WOOHOO for getting this blog back to its roots as a TRAVEL blog- definitely not interested in it only being a baby blog- the world’s sure got enough of those already!  Ha!

Thanks again for the outpouring of support you’ve all shown to us since the arrival of our Neve.  It has made the start to this adventure all the sweeter.  And now that I’ve gotten a couple cliche ‘I’m a new mom, let me show you pictures of my baby since I’m sure she’s the cutest one you’ve ever seen’ posts out of the way, I think I’ll use my next one to ‘keep it real’ for y’all.  I’ve gotten plenty of questions about everything from delivery to initial thoughts on parenthood to final thoughts on pregnancy, so we can all have a little fun (and probably a few laughs!) as we delve into all that deep, nitty gritty stuff next week :)!

~ Neve's Nest ~

Miss Neve is Here! BAZINGA!

21 Jan

Well hey, y’all!  Ah, my first post as a mom…WOW!  Still haven’t wrapped my brain around that one, but I’m definitely liking the sound of it so far!  NEVE IS HERE!  Did we ever think it would happen??  I was convinced there at the end that I was going to be the first permanently pregnant gal on the planet…Ha!  And believe me, I’ve been dying to get on here to share the beginnings of this latest adventure, but extra time has just been at such a premium these last 9 days.  And again, WOW…It’s already been 9 days since Miss Neve made her debut into our lives.  And as a good friend put it to me: 9 days since two parents were also born.  :)

Anyhoo, I don’t even know where to begin…There’s so much swirling around in this head of mine!  For starters, I just have to say THANK YOU to everyone who has shown us so much support and friendship and overwhelming love in the last week.  The calls, emails, Facebook posts, and visits have just been wonderful- and so appreciated.  If what they say is true, that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’- then I’d say that our village is actually closer to a small town.  What a great, great feeling…To say we are blessed is an understatement.

Now, since there’s no way for me to cram everything I’d like to share into one measly post, I suppose I’m going to keep it simple…We can get to the nitty gritty maybe next week.  For now, let’s just talk about Neve :).

Miss Neve

Neve Louise Thomas was born on January 12, 2012, at 3:34p, at Summerville Medical Center.  She was 6lbs 8oz (coincidentally, the exact same birth weight as her mom) and 19″ long.  She has 10 perfect (very long, like her mom) fingers, 10 perfect toes and the perfect little amount of brown hair.  She has her Dad’s wide mouth with the cutest elfish lips and her Mom’s forehead, complete with the ‘Knox furrowed brow.’  And her complexion…Oh, it’s to die for.  Friends, she’s just beautiful.

My Aunt Julia says she looks like 'a little sprite.' And remember that Knox furrowed brow? :)

Her birth went smoothly- no complications at all.  Both she and I did just fine from start to finish.  We had an awesome Labor and Delivery team, coincidentally complete with my childhood friend, Melissa (also my best friend, Sam’s, sister-in-law), as our nurse!  Having her there was just awesome and definitely gave a sense of familiarity on a day of LOTS of unknown.  And our doctor, Bo Reeves, was fantastic.  Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about him…

Our first family picture...

John's first picture with his daughter. Gives meaning to the word, 'beaming...'

And speaking of John…And let me preface this with an apology for getting sappy for a minute!  There is no other word to describe John in these last 9 days other than AMAZING.  I am just in awe- and humbled- of the man I married.  As a partner to me, his love, commitment and dedication is unwavering…There’s no way I can thank him enough for all that he’s done for me- and for our family- since the moment Neve arrived.  He’s done it all…And as a new dad, he’s so in love with Neve and has been, like me, since the moment we heard that first cry.  Of course, I’ve always known that he would be a wonderful father…That he’s one of the kindest, gentlest, most giving souls I’ve ever met.  But this latest adventure has just skyrocketed so far above that.  Seeing him with her is surreal.  Watching him just sit and watch her is beyond words…And not that I had any doubt, but in terms of sharing the load…Again, what an understatement.  Changing diapers, bathing, swaddling (he’s THE pro at that one, btw), getting up in the night…You name it, he’s on it in a flash- and with a smile on his face :).  It’s funny, though: both of our grandmothers have repeatedly commented how ‘odd’ it is for a Dad to willingly- and excitedly!- take such an equal and active role, to which John replies, ‘How could any Dad NOT?’  (Yes, ladies, he’s still most definitely taken :) ).

One of my favorites so far…After her first bath at home…
Neve’s favorite time of the evening- right after bath and lotion time when she can watch herself in the mirror :) 
Our other babies, preparing to help with Neve’s lunch feeding ;)
And being otherwise engaged to avoid having to help with her dinner feeding, too!  Sure, we may have a new addition, but these two are still our ‘firstborns!’

Speaking of Dulcie and Max, they’re doing wonderfully with this latest adventure…Better than we could’ve ever hoped for!  Sure, they may see Neve as a temporary houseguest :), but all in all, they’re settling in so nicely.  Max is calm and collected, just as we’d expected.  But he’s also protective- of both Neve and of me, especially during mealtimes.  Not in an aggressive way, but just in a ‘I need to be right here just in case something goes down and I need to be the man of the house for a second’ way.  It’s so sweet how he gets right up against my leg to snooze or snuggles up to Neve if she’s within reach.  My little man :).  Dulcie was our wildcard going into this.  At just over 2 years old and with more energy than a freshly hatched flea- and not to mention the (spoiled) apple of her Daddy’s eye!- there was just no telling how she would handle sharing her people, her house, her time…with a new addition.  But low and behold, she’s put our worries to rest.  In many ways, she’s almost indifferent.  Sure, she knows Neve is here, but she’s just not too concerned with the situation.  When she does interact with her (we’re sure to regularly get down on the floor with them and Neve, or lay on the couch, etc. lots of times every single day), she’s very gentle and loving- sniffing her face, licking her hands, even bringing her toys…As I’ve always suspected: pups instinctually know these things.  They were created that way :).  Oh, and the same goes for cats…Merlin LOVES Neve.  Considering he usually spends about 90% of his time outside in our yard…Well, let’s just say that since we got home, we’re realizing we should’ve named him our ‘Shadow!’

Holding hands…
Looking out the kitchen window…
My morning work routine, with one slight adjustment :) SO thankful to be self-employed, btw!
~ Love ~ at 5 Days Old…
Waving :) 

OK, I must stop for now…We’re definitely becoming those cliche parents…You know, the ones with the camera permanently attached to our persons ‘just in case!’  Ha!  Needless to say, we’re 9 days in and we already have a zillion pictures, so there’s no way to put them all on here, at least not in one sitting! :)  Fortunately, John’s family was able to make it to town to meet their first grandchild (and great grandchild!) and spend some time with us for the last few days, so I’ll save all of those shots for a post later this week, as well as our first stroller walk and our first trip to Waterfront Park downtown Charleston…Good times are being had in these parts, folks :).

But before I go, I’ll leave you with two more pictures…The end of one tradition and the start on a new one…Yep, you guessed it…One FINAL (BAZINGA!  BAZINGA!!  BAZINGA!!!) belly pic! :)

Walking into the hospital to have our Neve…39.5 Weeks…

And now, a new tradition we’re starting: Weekly Nests.  I’m sure many of you have seen the ‘Weekly Chair Pictures’ that everyone’s doing these days…Well, we wanted to spice things up a bit, of course ;).  We’re going to use the nest I made Neve to take a picture of her every week until her first birthday (and perhaps even after that!  Don’t judge.).  At the end of the first year, what a great 52-picture progression- with the nest used for scale!- we will have!

One Week Old…

And with that, I must go get Miss Neve ready to go spend some time with her Poppy and Goddess.  John and I are headed downtown tonight for our first solo date night :).  Wish us luck!  Talk to you again very soon!

An Afternoon on Johns Island…

8 Jan

This is it- my last post before Miss Neve arrives!  As promised, I wanted to share with all of you some of the pictures taken from our afternoon spent on Johns Island (an awesome little rural island about 15 minutes south of Charleston for all my non-Lowcountry peeps) just last weekend.  Like I said before, so many folks kept telling me that I needed to get at least SOME pictures as we’d want to remember this time in our lives…to be able to look back and ‘remember when…’

So about a month ago, I bit the bullet and decided to give it a shot.  Our first plan actually involved two of our other favorite photographers on the planet- Allie and Levi Monday, who did our ‘A Day Downtown’ shoot for us almost a year ago (www.AllieMondayPhotography.com) and who happened to be in town on a quick break from their yearlong Romanian mission trip.  We were supposed to meet them in Columbia just before Christmas for a funky preggo shoot…Only God must’ve had other plans as I wound up spending the night before and the morning of in the doc office, in what turned out to be false labor :(.  So…up a creek and realizing that we may not get our last minute pictures after all, I called in a favor to an old dear friend of mine, my other favorite photographer on Earth, Whitney Neubecker (www.WhitneyAnnPhotography.com).  She’s taken pictures for us for years now and her stuff is AMAZING.  But since we’re not the only ones who know how fabulous she is, she books up ages in advance, so I knew it was a total long shot asking her to squeeze us in.  But she did and she was excited about it and she helped us capture the perfect ‘maternity’ pictures.

I use quotes around ‘maternity’ because what we wanted- and thankfully, what we ended up with!- were totally out of the box, non-traditional shots.  No hands shaped like hearts on my huge belly, no cheesy studio backdrop cloths, no flowy gauze wraps around my rotund self, no ultrasound pictures, no nudity (although, yes, I did get 3 shots of my bare belly just for us to have)…You get the idea.  We just wanted some pictures of our family of four (yes, pups included, of course) in the final days before we become a family of five.  And we SO got ‘em. :)  Here you go, taken January 2…38 weeks, 2 days.

My one cheesy, traditional shot...plus the pups :)

Because I suppose every woman should have this 'traditional' shot...

And before I go, I just want to say thanks to all of you who have come along with us on this latest journey into unchartered territory.  There’s no doubt that it’s been one of the most eye-opening, challenging and awe-inspiring so far…and from what we hear, that’s not likely to change any time soon :).  Your support, love and friendship has meant the world to us.  And that’s not likely to change either.  So for the last time as ‘Thomas, Party of 4…’  Thank you.  Really.

So now that the holidays are over…

5 Jan

…Neve can feel free to grace us with her presence at any time!  In the words of Bob Barker and Rod Roddy (no, Drew Carey and his announcer guy will never be adequate replacements and therefore will never rank high enough to be included in my brain’s commentary…), ‘Neve Thomas, COME ON DOWN!’  :)

So, Christmas was great this year.  We joked Christmas morning that it seemed to be a ‘practical Christmas…’  We all got lots of goodies that were useful…Needed…Necessary.  You know how it is- some years you get mostly sentimental things that just make you feel warm and fuzzy and other years you get the stuff you can really use.  Well, without planning it, we all seemed to end up in the latter boat this year…And we all liked it :).  John ended up with his dream backpack leaf blower, a smoker (he’s putting on his second batch of jerky this week as I type), a Keurig coffee maker…I lucked up with new sheets, tumblers and canisters for my kitchen, perfume…And even a pretty ‘Gownie’ (you can Google it) so I don’t have to wear that God-awful hospital gown while I’m at the Summerville Medical B&B!  :)

I told you he was putting on his second batch as we speak! New Year's Day pork and turkey jerky coming up in about 7 hours...after marinating for 3 days! He did top loin beef the first go around. Wow. I'm not a huge jerky fan, but that stuff was delish. :)

More important than all of the above, though, was the family side of Christmas Day.  It was wonderful.  That morning, we were all so aware that it would be the last Christmas morning spent the way we’ve always spent it- small, quiet…That next year, when Neve is nearly a year old, will be a whole new world.  And we can’t wait.  By the afternoon, we had 20 of our closest friends- you know the kind of friends I’m talking about: the family that we choose for ourselves- here in our home for the loveliest of holiday celebrations.  This year, we opted for an ‘Italian Christmas,’ which meant we feasted on pastas, breads, meats, fresh veggies and the wine flowed freely (yes, except for me!)…The day was grand and we fell into bed that night (at 9+ months pregnant, yes, I literally fell into bed more exhausted than if I’d run a marathon!) thinking only how truly blessed we are.

Our Italian Dining Hall for the day...

New Year’s Eve came and went without really so much as a thought.  I suppose this is what happens when one feels like a UHaul truck- you just don’t feel like donning sequins and heading out to sip on water with a few thousand peeps you don’t know!  :) Oh well.  We instead took advantage of the 74F Charleston weather and spent the day with the pups at Charles Towne Landing and the night playing Call of Duty MW3, finishing just in time to catch the ball drop with Dick Clark.  Good times :).

So now…we wait.  *Sigh*  OK, a really long, drawn-out, heavy *SIGH.*  Both of us are back to the daily grind and doing our best to stay busy- otherwise, it feels a bit like watching paint dry…Most importantly, I think, is that we’re both aware that these are the last days- for a while, at least- that it’s going to be just the two of us.  And that’s definitely not a bad thing, just a different thing considering it’s been just the two of us- plus our pups- for nearly a decade…Interesting times ahead, folks.  And we’re ready.

And before I go, I’ll share one more picture with you.  Now y’all know our fascination with birds (how both of us actually dislike them, yet each room in our house has them in some shape of form…Odd, I know.  Don’t judge.)….Well, since the day I got pregnant, I’ve known I wanted Neve’s newborn picture to be taken in a ‘nest.’  I’ve searched for this ideal, lifesize nest for the last 9 (it’s actually 10, but who’s counting?) months, but…Nada.  Nothing looked like the picture I had created in my mind.  So last week, I set out to make my own- complete with twigs, moss, feathers…Now the only thing that’s missing is Neve :).  It’s funny how they say that moms-to-be often ‘nest’ right at the end.  My mom says I must’ve taken it literally.

Betsy's egg keeping the nest warm until Neve can arrive...

So that’s about it from this end, folks!  The doc says everything is going smoothly and he thinks we’re definitely within the 2 week mark.  BAZINGA!  I’m going to try to get one more quick post in over the weekend as we finally broke down and had a good friend of ours (who happens to be an amazing photographer), Whitney, take some ‘untraditional preggo pictures’ for posterity’s sake.  Yes, I’ve avoided the camera like the plague since Day 1 of this baby-baking adventure- the only pictures that exist are the belly ones that I’ve taken here and there along the way- but after hearing so many ‘You’re going to wish you had pictures to remember this time in your lives,’ we figured ‘what the hey.’  So, at 38 weeks, we spent this past Monday afternoon playing on a farm in Johns Island…and letting Whitney document it.  Let’s just hope that one shot turns out OK!  And if not, then you’ll know that’s why my next post will fast forward to Neve’s arrival- Ha! ;)

38 Weeks, taken on New Year's Eve...

Happy 2012, y’all!  It’s going to be fabulous, I just know it!

Final Countdown Contemplations…

20 Dec

OK, as I mentioned in my last post earlier this week, I’ve had several folks ask me my thoughts on this whole pregnancy thing since my ‘Midway Musings’ posting 16 weeks ago…Whether or not my feelings had changed, how I was dealing with the continued physical and mental changes, etc.  So…as promised, here’s a quick post to build on that original one from WAY back in August, along with some new contemplations and maybe even a picture or two ;).

What better way to start things off than with my current fridge decoration?! Neve's profile from early December...at 33.5 weeks :)

First of all, let me just say how CRAZY it is as I go back and look at that original post and see ‘Baby Boy T’ throughout!  My, my how some things have changed! Ha!  Luckily, not all things have changed…At least not all that I’d listed as good!  So let’s start with that…The Good :)

1. Our excitement over Neve’s impending arrival is just indescribable and we’re still in such complete awe (and shock!) over the whole idea of having ‘an actual person’ growing and developing inside me that will join us soon.  Seriously, it’s just amazing what the human body can do…and create!  We’re reminded constantly of this ‘miracle’ by her steady- and often visibly strong- movements!  Remember how we’d just felt her move for the first time that week at the halfway mark??  Well, let’s just say we’re so far past flutterings and subtle nudges!  We’re smack dab in the middle of right hooks, jabs and one distorted mama’s belly that gets a kick out of (pun intended) freaking out Daddy!

2. John.  Just as in all previous posts, he’s one of the single best parts of this whole process and that’s only grown daily right along with our Neve.  He’s sweet, he’s supportive, he’s looking for ways to help and be a part of things at every step of the way…And bless his heart, he’s put up with ME!  Not an easy feat by any stretch and he’s just been phenomenal…And I should add that all of the above should also be said for my parents.  They’ve just been so awesome through all of this and are absolutely more thrilled than anybody about being first time grandparents.

3. Thanks to nightly bathing in BioOil, still no stretch marks (KNOCK ON WOOD x infinity!)!!

4. This part of the journey is almost OVER!  That can be on the ‘good list,’ right? :)

——-

Now, to continue my style in keeping it real…Bottom line: No, I still don’t like being pregnant.  At all.  But I want to share a quick story with you about a conversation I recently had with an old friend…She really helped me to put a few things in perspective…After telling her all about many of the physical challenges I’ve faced during this pregnancy (weight gain, inactivity, change in diet, lack of travel, lack of cute clothes that fit, etc.), she immediately hit the nail on head.  ‘You’re having an identity crisis,’ she said.  Having three kids of her own and having gone through some major life changes this year herself, she quickly followed it up with, ‘That makes so much sense and I can so relate!’  In a nutshell, she reminded me that all of these things are mere that…THINGS.  They are things I do, things I like, things I am accustomed to…But they aren’t actually WHO I am…They aren’t my identity.  And while no, these changes aren’t pleasant (nor even welcomed!), they are only temporary and, in fact, aren’t changing diddly squat with ‘what’s on the inside.’  And it’s not that the conversation caused some grand epiphany for me, but it definitely offered me a new perspective and I’ve thought of it often ever since, which means that it had to be one great life lesson.  :) So with that, I suppose we can move on to the ‘Everything Else That’s Not Particularly Good.’ :)

1. The physical changes are just so overwhelming…Moreso than they ever thought about being at my halfway post.  Sure, you hear of pregnant women feeling uncomfortable, but that’s SUCH an understatement.  No one prepares you for half of all this stuff!  Sure, if you think about it, it all makes sense that one would feel ‘crowded’ with the addition of a human within another human body, but for some reason, that just doesn’t register…Or at least it didn’t for me!  Specifically, the bigger Neve gets:

  • The less I can breathe (Can I get an ‘AMEN’ for stopping for a breather at the top of an average stairwell?!)
  • The less I can eat (God’s natural appetite suppressant??  If only He could do it without nausea and miserable fullness as the cue to put the fork down…)
  • The more frequently I have to pee (Who can’t make it 14 miles down the road without having to make a pit stop?!)
  • The more pronounced is my waddle (yes, with my belly button proudly leading the way!)
  • The less I sleep at night (In addition to #3 posing a problem, just getting the energy to roll this belly over takes so much energy you absolutely have to wake up just to muster it!)
  • The more swollen I get (my poor feet…)
  • The itchier my skin gets (Good Lord, this is my nemesis and I’m sure that half of this town must think I have lice!
  • And finally, the worse my anemia gets (This is actually a whole ‘nother post in itself, but in a nutshell, I’ve battled anemia- low blood iron levels- for my whole life and it’s been absolutely horrible throughout my pregnancy.  Let’s just say I’m ready for the day when I can buy groceries and walk my dogs without hitting the floor like a sack of potatoes!)

2. The emotional changes are just about as equally overwhelming.  Yes, all the ones I/we had at the halfway point are still there, except now they’re even more pronounced…More ‘real,’ if that makes sense…Again, you watch movies where expectant couples ponder ‘Will we be good parents?,’ but seriously, that’s just the snowflake falling on the other snowflake sitting on the top of the tip of the iceberg!  Ha!  The closer we get to Neve’s arrival, the more I wonder:

  • Will be any good at this at all? (Y’all remember, I’ve never been a ‘kid person!’)
  • What happens if I’m not good at it?  (Or even worse, if I just plain don’t like it?!)
  • How can they send us home without some sort of instruction manual?  (Or better yet, maybe a coach?!)
  • Are we sure about this?? (I know, a little late in the game for that one, but just keeping it real!)
  • Which book/article/blog/magazine/guru is right?! (Breastfeeding vs. formula, crying it out vs. not, schedule vs. no schedule…everyone has an opinion and everyone spouts said opinion as gold!  For the record, we’re going to wing and just go with what works for us for most things :)!)
  • Please let her be healthy.
  • How will my body ever return to its pre-preggo form? (Even Stretch Armstrong circa 1988 had limits!)
  • The whole delivery process… (Is teleportation an acceptable means of arrival??)
  • Are we sure about this?? (Did I already say that?  ;) )

Jeez!  All the things running through a new parent’s mind!  Another quick side story…Just last week, I met a dear old girlfriend for lunch and found out she’s pregnant…with twins!  (How crazy that my childhood best friend and my adulthood best friend will both have twins?!)  Anyhoo, she’s always been alot like me- not so much a kid person, not one that fawns all over babies, never in a rush to have children, etc.  So as we talked about some of the above list and she said something that really made alot of sense for me- a way of putting into words my own feelings that I’d never quite realized…She said: ‘You know, nothing’s really changed for me.  I’m still not a BABY person and I still think that first year or two may be extra tough because of it.  But, I’m a FAMILY person and that’s what we’re so excited to create- that family unit.  Sure, we may find ourselves overwhelmed by the baby phase initially, but to create and grow a FAMILY is just indescribable…’  I thought to myself, ‘AHA!  That’s just how John and I have felt about it from before we even got pregnant!  It doesn’t have to be ‘we want a baby,’ but rather ‘we can’t wait to have our FAMILY!’  Comforting, huh?

And just in case you’re wondering, no, John doesn’t spend near as much time pondering the ‘what ifs.’  Sure, he’s anxious and a bit nervous- he IS human!- but his approach to impending parenthood so far has been much the same as it is to just about everything else: ‘Prepare as much as possible (or rather, let Erin prepare on some of the big stuff and then prepare me as much as I need to be! ;) ), then just take it as it comes.  All will work out in the end.’  Like most men, his thoughts on the subject are very simple: ‘Why fret about something until you know whether it’s even worth fretting over?’  Ah, to have his level of calm…and blissful naivete.  In fact, if John were to do a list of his top concerns for Neve at the moment (other than the obvious wanting a healthy baby and a smooth, safe delivery, of course), it would probably look something like:

  • I hope she plays sports.
  • I hope she cheers for the Cowboys, although she won’t really have a choice.
  • I hope she’s cute and doesn’t look like a boy (he’s concerned that his ‘manly’ features will dominate- Ha!)

John, deep in thought...Clearly...

——-

Now, I guess this is as good a time as any to delve a bit more into the nitty gritty since we seem to get plenty of questions as to when to expect our Neve’s debut.  Well, her due date is January 15, which makes me just over 36 weeks right now.  WOW.  She’s been head-down and facing my back for nearly 2 months now (lowering weekly for the last month) and they estimate that she weighs 5.5 – 6 lbs (is it weird that part of me wants to holler, ‘Just stop growing already!” ? ;) ).  And her heart rate, as of yesterday’s doc visit, is still firmly in the low 140s, which is right on track.

And finally, to answer just a few of the random questions I’ve gotten in the last month…

  • No, I have absolutely no clue how much weight I’ve gained (I still back onto the scale at each appointment and reiterate for the nurse not to so much as raise an eyebrow!), nor do I want to…at least until I can focus on taking it back off!  (Note to self: Just a few more weeks!  BAZINGA!)
  • No, Mrs. Random Person in the Checkout Line at Piggly Wiggly, you can not touch my belly.
  • Yes, I do like to think that my huge tatas (see any post from earlier in pregnancy) have shrunk along the way.  And yes, I realize this is likely only because the entire region directly beneath them has grown exponentially, causing them only to appear smaller.  Don’t judge.
  • Yes, my high fiber cereal ritual every single morning of my life is still working.  Knock on wood.
  • Yes, I do realize it’s December and that I’m in a maxi dress and flip flops.  Fortunately, it’s Charleston- where we all know this is acceptable attire year round!- and it’s been unseasonably warm.  Thank God.
  • No, I’m not ‘about to pop,’ although I assure you that a) I sure feel like I am, b) the doctor says I’m not likely to, and c) you thinking that you’re the first person to utter those words only makes me want to kick you in the shin even harder.
  • Yes, the verb ‘waddle’ should be eliminated from the English language.
  • No, the thing I’m most looking forward to once I’m not pregnant is not having a drink!  My Top 3: Sleeping on my stomach, going for a run and taking our first family trip overseas :)

Last weekend, at 35 Weeks...

Well folks, we’re definitely be doing our best to enjoy all the season has to offer (yep, we’re even hosting Christmas again this year!), then come New Years, we’ll be in full-on countdown mode.  YIKES!   No worries, unless Neve has other plans, I hope to get in at least one more post before her arrival, but if not, rest assured we’ll definitely keep everybody up to speed right here after the fact.  Afterall, baby pics will be so much better than belly pics, right?!  CAN.  NOT.  WAIT.  Here’s hoping everybody has a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year!  Cheers!

Longest Holiday Season Of All Time. Ever.

12 Dec

It’s the holidays, y’all!  I hope everyone is having a great season!  In case you couldn’t tell from my title choice, being nearly 9 months preggo isn’t necessarily the ‘best’ for this ‘best time of the year,’ at least I don’t think so…All I can say is ‘Good Lord, time is moving slower than molasses in the Thomas household these days!’  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard many a’woman say that the last trimester is a nightmare, but once again, I have a whole new understanding- and sympathy!  Bottom line, John and I (OK, probably me a little bit more than him) are ready for Neve to get here already!

On the plus side, though, I suppose it helps in a way considering that the holidays are so busy.  Like a distraction, you know?  Granted, there ain’t much of a distraction I can think of at the moment for this ginormous belly and just how ‘over this’ I am (short of maybe an alien invasion or a piece of the sun breaking off and landing in my yard…), but surely it has to be helping to have even more to do than usual, to hear happy Christmas carols playing on repeat in every store, and to people watch at all the fun spots around town, right??

Coming to a mailbox near you...Merry Christmas from the Thomas'!

So far, I’d say that the season is going well in our neck of the woods.  We’ve been really busy, actually.  Work stuff, house stuff, baby stuff, holiday stuff…You name it, we’re on it!  On the work front, of course it’s been a little different for me than usual…Considering this is Lowcountry Pet Sitters’ CRAZY BUSY season, it’s been a challenge for me to change roles a bit to an even more ‘behind the scenes,’ but that’s OK.  I managed to get all 7 dozen homemade cookies baked and delivered to the local vets, groomers, etc. whose referrals keep us in business.  I got all 711 LPS Christmas cards addressed and mailed to our clients, and I got our LPS Christmas tree put up on Town Square for the 6th year (last year we won 1st place!)  Other than that, I’m beyond lucky to have the best team of pet sitters handling the day-to-day.  Seriously, they’re the greatest and I wish I could thank them a zillion times a day for all that they do.

If you're in Summerville, be sure to check us out on the Square- we're right across from Flowertown Players!

And in case anybody didn't know, my folks own the Child Care Center of Summerville and this is their first year on the Square, so be sure to check them out, too!

On the home front, we’ve been enjoying lots of time with family and, of course, decking our halls.  John’s grandmother, Earline, decided to spend the month of November here in Summerville at my grandmother’s house, so that was such a special treat.  It was so nice for us to walk the pups in the afternoons and be able to stop by to see ‘the Grandmas.’  :)  And we also got to do lots of festive stuff like Thanksgiving and the James Island Christmas Lights and yep, even a Girls’ Night Out just the two of us.  :)

On one great note, Santa Claus came early for me!  Now, I’m sure many of you know that I’m a Jeep girl through and through- I’ve had several, and with the exception of my most recent 4Runner for the last 18 months, I haven’t been without a Jeep in nearly a decade.  I’ve been lusting after the new Jeep Grand Cherokees for nearly a year now and had built my ‘perfect’ one online.  Well,  apparently my JT took my print out to the dealerships and…well…

Merry Christmas to Me! :) :) :) It's better than perfect!

And finally, what kind of holiday post would this be if I didn’t at least post our own gorgeous Christmas Tree?!

I guess you could say we like an 'eclectic' tree...Big, colored retro lights with the occasional blinker...Ornaments that we've collected- and made- throughout the years...No boring, stuffy tree for us! :)

Now, to get into some of the fun baby stuff that everyone loves to be updated on :)…We’re just about as ready as we’ll ever be in terms of preparations.  John jokes (although it’s pretty much fact) that Neve already has more clothes than he does.  Her nursery is ready and waiting.  Other than putting the finishing touches, all that’s missing is her!  We actually finished our final big project this past week- a height chart created from one of the original wooden boards used to build the barns on John’s family’s farm in Kentucky.  It was important to us to incorporate as much of ‘Dad’s home’ into Neve’s nursery as possible…

Better than we'd even hoped for...We'll measure her height on the right, then write on the birch tree. You can't really tell, but the board is actually very textured with dark greys and browns (not black, like it appears here.) And if you look closely, you can even see the three knots in the lower half of the barn board.

Hmmm…what else pregnancy-related can I say?  Well, I’ve had several folks ask me how I’m feeling about everything since my big ‘Midway Musings’ post back at the halfway mark, so I think I’ll try to write a ‘Final Countdown Contemplations’ sometime in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned; it’s sure to be loads of fun :).  So I guess I’ll just leave you this time like usual…With some belly pics. :)   These were taken a few weeks ago at the 30 week mark.  And yes, I really do feel like I’m about to pop.

You know what?  I actually have an even better way to wrap up this holiday post…Yep, better than belly pictures!  I’ll share with you a picture of my JT from this afternoon.  Because my belly is now too big and because my feet are usually pretty swollen to fit in many shoes other than flip flops…

Yes ladies, he's most definitely, 110%, whole-heartedly taken :)

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