Holiday Changes

Christmas Eve, I found myself in bed unable to sleep. I was so exhausted and Seth was sleeping soundly next to me. I wasn't too excited to sleep or anything like that. It just hit me that this was our last Christmas alone together. We have had 7 Christmases together now. 7!

Our Christmases together have been a lot of fun. I've forced Seth to sleep on the floor next to the tree most years - and also made him watch "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" with me. I've dragged him to a plethora of family parties much to his frustration (he likes to be lazy on Christmas). He even proposed to me the night before Christmas Eve.

We've always just had our time together during the holidays. It has been a great 7 years.

As I tried to sleep on Christmas Eve I realized that I felt a bit sad. Next Christmas everything will be different. While I do believe it will be different in the best way possible it will still be different. In one month our lives will change in the most profound way imaginable.

Next Christmas Millie will be 10 months old or so. While she won't understand what Christmas is I know I will still have the desire to give her gifts (although we will likely just wrap the toys she already plays with). We'll be trying to keep our baby away from the Christmas tree. She'll be all over and into everything. However, she'll be spoiled by her grandparents. I'll want to take her to the Zoo to see the lights. I'll likely dress her in a ridiculous Christmas dress. I'll read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and sing Christmas carols to her. Millie will be playing with her new little cousin - just a couple months younger than she is. I am so excited!

Everything is about to change.

And it's not just Christmas. I've realized the last few years that holidays just aren't that great anymore. Halloween isn't that fun as an adult. I can't WAIT to dress Millie up and take her trick-or-treating. I can't wait to go to her elementary school Halloween parade! I'm excited to help her make a Valentine's Day box and help her sign all of her adorable valentine's for her classmates. Easter baskets, eggs, dresses and pictures with a creepy Easter Bunny will make that day so much more memorable. She'll be enthralled (or terrified) by fireworks on the 4th of July. And Christmas - oh Christmas. Children make Christmas wonderful. While she'll just be tiny next Christmas it'll just be the beginning of creating a magical season for my baby girl. Even New Years - while I believe it means more to an adult - who doesn't have great memories of banging pots and pans at midnight?

I've had 30 years of amazing holidays and they are about to change so drastically. I remember the anticipation of waiting on the stairs on Christmas morning for Dad to get out of the shower so we could open presents.

I remember the feeling of playing outside in the snow and how great it was to come inside where mom was waiting with hot chocolate and dry clothes. I remember searching sometimes endlessly for the hidden Easter basket that Dad managed to hide all-too-well.

Mom spent countless hours trying to create Dorothy's ruby slippers for my Halloween costume and always had chili and breadsticks waiting when we returned home cold cheeked from trick-or-treating.

Valentine's Day meant delicious sugar cookies, and doorbell ditching friends and family with special Valentines. Even St. Patricks Day meant green eggs and pancakes! My parents created some magical holidays and I can't wait to do the same for my Millie.

One month to go....hopefully less.

Somehow I think she may put a damper on this year's Valentine's Day.

But I doubt it.

Mothers & Daughters

I am officially less than two months away from having my baby girl Millie. Everything is becoming very real. The fact that I am about to become a mother is becoming very real. My growing belly and my growing lack of comfort is becoming very real. Feeling Millie move no longer feels like flutters, or kicks but feels more like she is rolling around in my belly. I can feel hands/feet/elbows as they drag across my stomach. I can see my stomach moving and jumping. She is a busy little lady. Doesn't she look smart?!

We have started to assemble her nursery. The walls are painted and the crib is up!

Her wardrobe is beyond full right now. Some nights I like to go in her nursery and talk to her while I look through her cute dresses, toys and books.

I like to play the piano and sing for her. Poor kid really will only know musicals when she comes out because that is all I know how to play. The other night I did ask Seth to play some James Taylor for her - which he happily did. I like to read her bedtime stories. I find myself apologizing to Millie when I swear.

We have been through our 5 week birthing class. Only one baby shower remains of three.
We are ready. I am ready. I am ready to meet my little girl.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my relationship with my mom and how I hope that my relationship with little Millie will someday be as special.

I was the youngest of four siblings. I asked my mom what she remembers about my birth and she said she just remembers giggling and laughing. She said she was so excited to have a little girl again.

I only hope that I am giggling as I try and have my baby girl naturally!

My earliest memory is the feeling of being rocked in the middle of the night by my mom. I remember the sound of the creaking rocking chair. When I told my mom about this memory years ago I mentioned that for some reason in my memory the brown chair was by the front door - and not in its position at the time in the living room. She laughed and told me that the chair WAS by the front door as a baby.

Interesting that my earliest memory was of my mom comforting me. She hasn't ever stopped comforting me after all these years. I still need my mom when I find I am having a bad day. I still need my mom when I am sick. Sometimes mom still the only person that is able to make me feel better.

We were the best of friends as a kid. I was her little side-kick. I remember spending hours "bumming" with mom. Bumming is our family expression for "running errands". For the most part I didn't mind our trips to Pic-n-Save, or to the Hostess outlet but boy oh boy do I remember being dragged to Mervyns! I hated that store but we went there often.

Mom used to sing to me. She had lots of songs that she made up for me. Songs in the tub, songs in the morning, songs with nicknames (which I had a million of).

I recall her making me homemade playdough and sitting for hours at our table playing. She used to make me lunch and set it outside on the picnic table for me.

As I got older and my parents got a divorce I became mom's travel buddy. She started working for Delta and we used to be able to fly for free. I used to beg her, "Mom can we just stay home this weekend!?" We had a great time navigating the streets of San Francisco, Portland or San Diego. How lucky we were!

Mom and I have been close our whole lives. However once I got married I felt our relationship deepen. It was less of a mother/daughter relationship and became more of a confidant relationship. We was there for me through many difficult times.

We have been extremely close friends for many years. It is a rare day that I don't hear anything from my mom. Even before cell phones, text messaging and instant messaging I would receive at least a call a day from mom. Most days now I receive a text along the lines of "How are my two girls today?" or "How's B an Millie?" We stay very close. So close in fact that when I see that she is calling I can almost ALWAYS predict what she will say when I answer.

"Hi - how did your meatloaf turn out?"

"Hi - how was the movie?"

"Hi - did you just get back from the gym?"

I love that.

We have a special relationship. We make each other laugh - a lot. We are two peas in a pod!

We have a relationship in which we can both be honest with one another, oftentimes brutally honest. I know that my mom has my best interests at heart - as do I with her. I know that my mom will always be there for me. Whether that support is lending an ear, helping me clean my house, running errands or giving me some much -needed advice, she is there.

Having now gone through nearly an entire pregnancy I feel as if I need to thank my mom for having me. Being pregnant is not easy. The nausea, fatigue, heart burn, back pain and emotions definitely take a toll on a mom. And yet how special it is to create a beautiful life inside of you. How close I already feel to Millie. It's amazing.

So as I anticipate the arrival of my own baby girl, I can only hope that we will be as close as my mom and I. I know there is something special between a mother and daughter. I just can't wait to experience it from the opposite perspective. I know having Millie will actually bring my mom and I even closer together. I'm looking forward to this.

And maybe, if we are lucky, she'll look a little bit like this. Dang that's a cute little girl!

Half a Lifetime Ago

I just got home from seeing my nephew Tanner in his high school musical. I have to say I am very impressed by the job that Hillcrest High School did in "Aida". The leads were fantastic, the sets were great and the chorus - although really large - was wonderful.

Mainly I left the show feeling very nostalgic. It was 16 years ago that I first went to Hillcrest High School to see their musical. I was new to Cottonwood High School and in the musical. Some of us made an effort to go and see the local high school's productions. I remember so clearly the night we went to Hillcrest to see their production of "West Side Story." I remember being thrilled that I was actually invited to go. This was the first time I was invited to hang out with the "older/cool" kids. From then on we were close friends. This was the first time I felt part of this great group of friends - even if Joe Smith wouldn't let me sit by Jason and physically picked me up and moved me down the aisle.

I remember when I was just 16 and Tanner was a baby. I was spending all of my time at musical rehearsals. I remember balancing my classes with all of my extra-carricular activities and feeling so overwhelmed. It's been fun to watch Tanner the last couple of months experience this. While I heard him complain several times about being tired from all the hours he was spending at school - I knew he was loving it. Because I loved it.

That was 1/2 of a lifetime ago. Wow. How is this possible? How in the world did I become 30 years old?

Here is Tanner when I was 16.

And here is Tanner now - fresh haircut - for the musical.

I told him that he should feel lucky that he had to cut his hair - rather than grow it. I seem to recall some really ugly hair from my friends leading up to "The Crucible".

I think he misses his afro though.

Some of my greatest memories as a teenager stemmed from my high school musicals. I remember being in the chorus of "My Fair Lady" my sophomore year and crushing so hard on Jason Rhead it almost hurt.

I remember those long Saturday rehearsals and late school nights. I remember the costumes, the rituals, the gossip and the songs. I remember being a bit annoyed that I had to be a boy in "Oliver" my junior year - but I also recall how Mark Gurney lit up the stage.

I remember the pain I felt when I wasn't selected as a lead my senior year in "Guys & Dolls" but being excited to see so many of my dear friends finally have their chance to shine.

Tonight I found myself really choked up during the curtain call of "Aida." I know how it feels to hear an audience applaud your performance. There was a time in my life where I really thought I was going to be an actress. Because what other career could possibly help me feel the way I did during curtain call?! Funny, I wasn't good enough to be a lead even in my high school musical but I still had that dream.

So tonight I did feel a bit sad. I miss the theater. I haven't done a show since high school, which is fine. I have obviously found a career that fulfills me and at this point in my life I don't think I could stand to be around theater people all the time (no offense to my dear and talented friends who have managed to find success in this field).

But I do miss being 16. I miss my biggest problems being whether or not my crush likes me. Whether or not I'll get an A on my chemistry test, or whether I will get asked to Prom by the guy I really want to ask me. I miss that. While I know at the time it all feels much more serious, now it is just sounds so nice.

Doesn't it?

Being a grown up can suck a lot of the time. Now I don't worry about whether the boy likes me. I worry about whether I am being a good enough wife to keep him happy. I don't worry about grades. I worry about my career and whether I am raising enough money to sustain an organization I am passionate about. I don't worry about allowance and having enough to go to dinner with my friends. I worry about how we'll ever afford this new baby we are having in less than 3 months.

Life was so much more simple when I was 16. Dreaming about a life on the stage....

Oh how I envy my nephew.

Enjoy the ride Tanner....

The ADD & The OCD

Seth and I have been watching a lot of Modern Family. This show has definitely climbed the ranks to be my favorite TV comedy. If you aren't watching it - shame on you! Ok, not shame on you, it took me a year of people talking about it to get into it. Really though it's wonderful. I belly laugh every episode. It also has a lot of heart. It's not too rare to find myself choked up over an episode. It's a great show. Watch it. I beg you.

As we have watched this Seth and I have realized how much like Claire and Phil we are. I'm sure everyone that watches this show can relate to the characters and probably feel the same way. I think the reason we relate so well to them is that Phil has ADD (attention deficit disorder) and Claire has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) paired with neurotic tendencies. This is Seth and I. I love Phil and I find that Claire drives me crazy on the show. I suppose that is how it should be though right? We tend to hate what we see in ourselves?

I am very OCD - a topic which I have blogged about before:

Seth has ADD. Some days I will come home when he has had a day off of work and I will find the house a complete mess. I will see several projects that have been started and not finished. The TV will be on, his laptop will be open and he will be frazzled. This is how I expect to find him most days. Other days he hyper-focuses on stuff and works like a mad man to get a project completed. He leaves me long rambling voice messages. Often I know he is distracted by something while he is leaving me a message (a car the passes him, something on TV, a piece of paper). In his regular speech he has a hard time completing a sentence or thinking of a word (even a basic word like vacuum). This is all very frustrating for him. And me. Sometimes.

We have found ourselves laughing hysterically as Phil and Claire navigate their ways through their marriage with these two competing disorders. And yet it works.

The same could be said for us.

While I find myself ready to KILL Seth because of his "piles" around the house, or the way he absolutely forgets about plans we have, or the way that he gets distracted from project to project, in the end I find him very endearing.

While I know Seth hates that I can't go to bed without my pillows being in the exact spot, or my face washed/teeth brushed. He hates that I refuse to go to bed with dirty dishes. He thinks it is odd that I have to separate my candy by colors and eat them in twos. He hates that I can't relax until things are picked up. After all of this, he somehow still loves me.

Seth teaches me to relax. He teaches me to not worry about cleaning or organizing but just to take it easy with him. He has taught me that it is ok to not have everything perfect. And honestly, living with Seth perfection isn't really a possibility.

In the same regard I help Seth stay focused. I help him make to-do lists. I help him follow-through with a project. Most days I help him finish his sentences.

We just balance each other out. While we want to kill each other many days, we work.

Last night we had a terrible fight. The stress of the baby, a house being under construction, money issues, fears about how drastically our lives are going to change, etc. just added up and boiled over. We worked through it but it was a rough couple of hours. We decided that what we needed was to watch Modern Family - and to laugh.

So we sat down - and once again the show proved very real to us.

There is scene in the episode we watched last night in which Phil and Claire discuss their son Luke. Claire is afraid that Luke is ADD like Phil and they take him to a child psychologist.

The psychologist claims that Luke is just fine. But Claire, being the neurotic mother that she is expresses her worry to Phil. She says, "How will Luke survive?" to which Phil replies "Somewhere there is a 12-year-old little girl who is busy labeling her toys and obsessively organizing her bedroom."

At this line I started to cry. And I glanced over at Seth - who was also a bit choked up. Which made me cry even harder.

I was that 12-year-old girl. Oddly obsessive and really neurotic. I am sure that Seth's parents worried how Seth and his ADD would ever survive.

Yet somehow we find people that compliment us.

And I love that.

It's Officially Time to Panic

This week I will officially be 6 months pregnant. 6 months! That's my "holy crap this is real" marker. Overall I am feeling great. I'm definitely showing - showing to the point that strangers can look at me and figure out I am pregnant. Showing to the point that I can't really comfortably zip up my jackets and coats.

I really feel like I have started to pop the last 3 weeks or so. So much in fact that my normally huge "inny" belly-button is starting to turn into an "outy" belly- button. Trust me, I never thought this would happen. But it has and I think it's hilarious. It's getting harder to bend over and do things I am used to doing like painting my toenails. And my normal sleeping requires 2 pillow and a body pillow. This has now increased to 3 pillows and a body pillow. Seth barely has room in the bed anymore. I feel Millie moving all the time now. Seth can't really feel it but I now recognize the movements. Oh and I can't stop craving sugar. I had not one but two carmel doughnuts from Leslie's Bakery last night (man if I had another here I would totally be eating it right now). I have always liked sugar but I'll tell you what - pickles and popcorn are not nearly as appealing now. I just want cookies, candy, freaking chocolate chips (if that's all you have in your house - which is totally my situation right now). I was talking to a coworker and he asked me what I was craving. I told him sugar. He said, "Huh. Alice craved celery."

Why can't I be more like Alice?

I kinda hate Alice (I don't even know her)

Being pregnant brings out really funny behaviors in other people. A few weeks ago I ran into an old Make-A-Wish volunteer at Cafe Rio. He is about my age, single and well - not the smartest guy in the world. But nice. Awkward but nice in general. We weren't ever close when he was a volunteer, like I was with many others. He was more of an acquaintance. Anyway a few weeks ago I did have a small belly but nothing like I have now. I haven't seen this volunteer in 2-3 years. He didn't hesitate to walk up to me, give me a side hug and then proceed to put his hand on my stomach and say, "I see you are with child."

Um. First, yes, I am with child but pretty ballsy at this point to say it outright. I mean, even when women are noticeably pregnant I worry about asking if they are pregnant. You just never know. Second, wow really? You had to touch me like that? Ha. I mean I know lots of people are going to touch me and for the most part I don't care. However if I barely know you please don't touch me without asking. That's just weird. When was the last time you walked up to a relative stranger and touched their stomach without asking? Unless that person is Santa you probably haven't done it.

The fact that I am at my 6 month mark has really made me anxious. I feel like Seth and I still have so much to do to get ready for this baby. Our house feels like we are in a constant state of construction. Ok it doesn't just feel like it, we ARE in a constant state of construction. The baby room is being insulated and is covered in 3 inches of insulation and dust. The workers didn't put down tarps on our carpet. Who does that!? I still have no bathroom upstairs and have to share the bathroom with our friend Steve who is now living in the basement. I have this huge need to "nest" but that really just turns into me dusting, vacuuming, and mopping my house 2 times a week because of all the construction dust. Even if I had the baby's room empty and ready to go I am nervous about picking the crib. What if I pick one that isn't safe? I am nervous about picking the right stroller, car seats, high chairs, etc. I just want to take a big nap and have someone else tell me what I should get.

I feel a bit like Miranda in Sex and the City, "Why do we need a Crib World? Why can't there just be one great crib that is the best and you can have it delivered and set up?" I totally feel that way. My taste is far too expensive. I mean this is the rocker I want for crying out loud. We can't afford it.

It's funny because I actually feel not that nervous about the baby arriving. I think Seth and I will be pretty good at taking care of Millie. I've always been a baby person. I have always been comfortable with babies. They don't scare me. I can't wait to have her here. I dream about her nearly every night and I'm always a bit sad when I wake up and she's not here. I am just scared of having everything I need once Millie makes her grand entrance.

Speaking of grand entrances - labor is starting to scare me. I really want to have her naturally. I think I can do it but man am I nervous! I guess it's time to start looking into birthing classes. (note to self: add this to my loooooong to-do list). Oh wait, if you look closely you will see it's already on the list. Pick a list - any list!

So is this much panic normal? Is this feeling of being totally overwhelmed normal? I know that the last 2-3 weeks have been chaos with the KUER Fund Drive, 2 surprise birthday parties for my mom and dad, construction, etc. I just feel like I am going to cry. Oh and I want to sleep all the time. It's 8:45 pm and I am excited for the 9:00 hour to roll around so that I can have a reasonable excuse to go to sleep.

On a lighter note - fall has arrived! I am so happy. My pumpkin candle is nearly always lit. Tonight we had home-made chicken noodle soup and acorn squash. I can wear my maternity clothes that I bought for fall. Fall is good. This makes me happy. This keeps me going when I feel like I am going to cry.

Oh brother....

The Babymoon

Seth and I have been talking about going out of the country for the past 2 years of our marriage.  We threw around ideas - Prague, Ireland, some exotic island, etc. However we never committed to it. Work got busy, life got busy, money was too tight - we always made some excuse.  About a month after we found out we were having a baby we finally said "lets do this" and planned our trip out of the country - to Paris.

As much as I hate the name "babymoon" it really is a good description of our trip.  We had a harsh realization that in less than a year we would no longer be able to leave at the drop of a hat (not that we ever did).  Even after we had the baby it would take a few years before we would be comfortable leaving the kid with family for longer than a few days.  We needed to do this.  We needed to go somewhere together because we know that in 4 months now our lives will change forever.  And what a better way to celebrate the last trip as just the two of us than the city of light?

The wise thing may have been for me to save up my vacation time so that when I am on maternity leave I would actually have some paid time off.  Nope - lets use it all! My work was great and supportive and so we set a date for September.  Perfect timing, 2nd trimester, not too big, not too sick, and perfect weather. We decided on Paris for many reasons: 1). It's Paris. 2). We can fly nonstop from Salt Lake to Paris (and we were flying standby) 3). It's Paris!!

We decided to rent a flat instead of a hotel room.  We knew we weren't going to find a decent room for less than $100 a night in Paris and we had a good friend suggest that we stay in a vacation rental instead.  We are so glad we did.  We were in a great area in a great little flat and we felt like we had a more authentic experience being around the Parisians.

Side note about Parisians:  They are every bit as stylish, confident and classy as I imagined - even more so.  All of the French women were thin - it's true what they say about French women being skinny.  In fact the only obese people we saw in Paris, were Brits or Americans.  The women and men were so fashionable but in the most casual way.  No Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts there - but really stylish clothing.  Even the way they do their hair is stylish but not too done.  No tight curls, no overly styled hair.  The French women have wild locks and it looks great!  Finally the thing that struck me the most about the Parisians - their confidence.  Every woman (and man) walked down the street like they were the greatest.  But not in a pretentious way - just in a "happy with who they are" way.  And I loved it.  Sure they were a bit rough around the edges but overall I found them to be wonderful. Seriously I want to be French when I grow up. :)

We had 6 nights in Paris and nearly 6 full days.  And boy did we see everything.  Well not everything but all of the main sites.  We hit all the major museums...

We took a night cruise on the Seine...

We visited the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower....

We ate good food...

And stopped by some of the greatest chapels and churches....

We even took a train to Versaille for the day....

We had a lovely time. But I must say at the end of the day I could barely walk I was so exhausted.  We must have walked for 6-7 hours a day but it was wonderful.  We made our way on the subway and on foot and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

This wasn't a vacation in the sense that it was relaxing.  In fact, Seth has told many people that our next vacation we are going somewhere with a beach and not plans and we are doing nothing. Ha!

I'm so glad we went. I know that the money we spent could have been spent on a million different projects around our house.  Perhaps we could have furnished the nursery with the money we spent.  However I think this was just as important.  We needed some time together - alone before it is never just Seth and I again. It has been just Seth and I for 6 years now - hard to believe.  I can't wait for little Millie to come.  But it is scary and emotional knowing that our lives are going to change in such a drastic way.  I teeter from feeling elated and excited for the baby to anxiety and fear.  It's a whole slew of emotions right now but what a fun ride it has been.

I'm officially 1/2 way through the pregnancy.  She's coming soon - whether we are ready or not!

As for Paris - what a city. If you haven't been, you should go.  It's beautiful and full of more art, history and beauty than you can imagine for one city. It's pretty amazing.