Friday, November 18, 2011

My, oh my... how time flies!

Obviously its been a long time since I've updated my blog. You could say I've been... busy.

So where are we now? Well, Baby Neal is now 14.5 weeks and in these last three months I've learned so much about babies, boys, boobs, bottles, butt cream and everything else starting with b and beyond. Mostly I've learned that motherhood is NO joke. It truly is the hardest, yet most important, job of my life.

If you're my friend on Facebook, then you've probably seen the multitude of pictures I've posted of our new family. I'm pretty sure my son thinks the camera is a permanent fixture on my body. He's just as familiar with the camera as he is with other parts of my body, haha.

(TMI?)

Too soon, too soon.

One thing we started is taking "basket pictures" through all major milestones of his growth. We started with "Week 1" of life, to 2 weeks, 3 weeks, etc... I've been uploading them to Facebook and they generate quite a few comments on how this tiny lil baby has exploded into a bonafied man child. I see him every day and there's times where I cant believe how big he is. Sometimes it seems that hes grown exponentially overnight. Some of you may not be on Facebook, so perhaps you haven't seen the basket pics. And in that case, feast your eyes on my growing baby boy!









Now that I've bragged about my beautiful son, I seriously vow to be better about blogging. Its a good outlet for me and a way to document things in baby Neal's life. Stick with me friends, there's a lot to write about!

~Jenn

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Deliver me, Lord

So it's been 10 whole days since Baby Neal Michael came into this world. On one hand, it feels like it was just yesterday and sometimes it feels like I've been doing this for weeks already.

Monday, August 8th, was an interesting day to say the least. Neal and I reported to Baptist Hospital at 4:30am and I was induced at about 6am. I had already started contractions the night before, but my doctor was disappointed that I had not dilated anymore over two weeks time. Not only that, the baby was turned upside down and had not "dropped" far enough. The doctor said with the combination of those things, she was leaning towards a possible c-section but wanted to see what a few hours of pitocin and labor would do. I was very upset with the idea of c-section because it had never entered my mind. This whole pregnancy had been "textbook" for the most part and I guess in my mind, I figured the delivery would be the same. However, after several hours of labor, the baby was not progressing anymore and neither was I.

By lunchtime, there was still no change and my doctor once again said the contractions pattern and every else was pointing to a c-section. I spent the entire day praying that God's will be done. I was so scared of a c-section, but I also knew that my doctor had to do everything possible to keep me and the baby safe. I swear to you that in an hours time, everything changed. I went from 4cm to 9cm, the baby completely turned around, dropped and after 50 minutes of pushing and his umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck THREE TIMES, Neal Michael came into the world at 2:59pm weighing 8 pounds 10.6 ounces and measuring 20.5 inches long. But best of all, he was healthy.
Meeting Neal Michael for the first time.
My doctor said it was a miracle of the human body and there was no other way to explain how my body did everything it needed to in an hour. Well, I say its a God thing. There is no other way to explain how everything turned around for us. I am thanking God for how things went that day. I will swear on my life that He's the only reason our delivery turned out like it did.

It was a fast labor and relatively easy, after the epidural of course. Baby Neal arrived safe and sound and healthy as all get out. We spent a few days in the hospital and now here we are in our loving home in Hendersonville, trying to adjust to this new path in our lives. There have been a few sleepless nights and some lively days, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Daddy Neal and Baby Neal just after he was born!
 Being a mother is something I cannot explain. Just saying "I'm a mother" sounds surreal. But after a very long 41 1/2 weeks, there was nothing better than seeing my baby for the first time. He's beautiful. Perhaps I'm partial, but he absolutely is a beautiful baby. He has a head full of auburnish hair and big blue eyes, like his dad. He has full lips like me, 10 long fingers and 10 perfect toes. Even when he's screaming at me, hes gorgeous.

Keeping this blog during my pregnancy has been wonderful. I like to think of it as a great way to reflect back on my first pregnancy and a way to keep stories for baby Neal one day. Now we're onto another great blog... one of a first time mom and dad in welcoming this precious life into our world. So stay tuned. Lord only knows the stories that will follow!


Meet Baby Neal Michael!
~Jenn... the newest member of the MILF club. (Or so my husband says.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sleep little baby....

Slowly, but surely, the nursery has been completed. Well, except for the obvious missing piece. :)

Side Note: Speaking of that, I had another doctor's appointment today and Baby Neal is just partying like a rock star and seems as comfortable as can be. Since last week's appointment, there has been little to no change in dilation and the non-stress tests just shows an active, but happy, baby. Anything can still happen, but my doctor believes that he will most likely arrive on the scheduled inducement date, which is set for this upcoming Monday, August 8th. (On a personal note, I think 8.8 is a cool birthday to have and easy to remember!) I really wish he would come on his own accord, because knowing that I have to report to the hospital so early on Monday will most likely keep me anxious for the remainder of the week. So I ask your continued thoughts and prayers for peace of mind and most importantly, health and a safe delivery for both me and baby!

But back to the original reason of this blog...
We are very proud of the nursery as it was put together with sweat, love and tears (hormone induced, of course!) It's a very peaceful space and Neal and I find ourselves stopping and just staring in at it all the time. Planning and completing the nursery together as a couple was a wonderful experience for us. Sometimes we'd just sit and talk about what the next few weeks, months and years will hold in this room and we can't help but just smile (or cry, in my case) over the blessing we're about to receive. And we welcome it with wide open arms!
ENJOY!

We didn't go with a "theme" per se - we went more with colors so we could have more options. The micro-fiber chair is a rocker glider and OH SO comfortable!  

Hand painted letters for his name and applique's that match his quilt.
We went with espresso stained cherry furniture, which my husband lovingly put together. (And it was NOT easy!!)
Here is an up close view of some of the goodies on top of the drawers. His "first" picture from our first ultrasound, an engraved memory box, UT booties for upcoming game days, and a cute police car picture frame. We already have a cute police onsie for him to wear when he meets Daddy's co-workers, then we'll work on filling the picture frame! :)
Just another view of the nursery. We have a matching changing table to the left of the crib with organizational baskets full of baby stuff just waiting to be used!

Friday, July 29, 2011

I can't wait...

I can't wait for the obvious thing... Baby Neal.

But as much as I can't wait to meet my lil' baby face to face, there are some other things in life that will be welcomed with open arms into the Harris home.
  • Cold lunch meat. (Pregnant women can't eat it because of the risk of listeria. I'll start with a Publix deli sandwich. YUM!)
  • To be able to wear my wedding rings again. (My fingers have been a little swollen to the point where its hard to get the rings off at night, so to be on the safe side, I'm not wearing them. However, I've been wearing another ring so not to be confused with a baby momma with no baby daddy.)
  • Non-monitored use of splenda, tea and seafood. (All in moderation, of course.)
  • The use of hot tubs at my local YMCA or whenever we go on vacation again.
  • An occasional glass of wine. (I didn't drink much at all before I got pregnant, but have you ever wanted something that you KNOW you can't have? That's been my issue. The smell is wine during my pregnancy has been divine!)
  • My crystal clear skin. (Pregnancy has not been my friend when it comes to acne.)
  • To be able to wear all my cute shoes again. 
  • Prenatal vitamins (My hair and nails look amazing!)

Things I will not miss about pregnancy:
  • Prenatal vitamins. (But Jenn, you just said that you'll miss them!? YES, hear me out.... My OB just advised me that I'll have to continue to take them as long as I'm breastfeeding. However, they give me the worst indigestion, after tastes and they're huge.)
  • My increased migraines. (They were pretty bad in the 1st and 2nd trimester.)
  • Cankles
  • Comfortable sleeping positions. (Notice I didn't say "sleep" because I realize I won't get much of that when Baby Neal arrives. I just want to be able to sleep without tossing and turning due to this big belly.
  • The ability to move without grunting or making noises. (BTW, I don't do this on purpose, its just really hard getting up and down these days.)
  • My annoyance with incessant noises. (Clicks, rattles and roaring noises (like the AC) annoy me to no end.)
  • Heat sensitivity. (I think this summer has been brutal for anyone, but being this pregnant in July is particularly cruel.)

Things I will miss about pregnancy:
  • Baby Neal's kicks
  • The excuse to not have to suck in.
  • Comfy, flowy clothes
  • Pulling "the pregnancy card"
  • "Eating for two" excuse. (Although I've gained minimal weight during this pregnancy, it's easier to get away with having ice cream at odd hours due to my current condition.)
  • Taking naps in the middle of the day because "I feel like it."
  • Gifts randomly showing up at my front door (people love buying baby stuff it seems! And I'm grateful for them!)
  • Buy One, Get One Free yogurt from Sweet CeCe's
  • The excuse about being so tired that I don't have to work out.
I'll probably add to this list, but these are the major things that come to mind.
Oh! My next blog will include completed nursery pics. So stay tuned!

~Jenn

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What a wonderful world

Thinking about the arrival of Baby Neal brings alot of different feelings. I feel overwhelmed with joy and excitment, but with that also comes some anxiety of how much our lives are about to change - in all ways. But even when I think about that, nothing compares to what the baby will go through.

Have you ever thought about what birth is like for the actual baby?

For the last 39 weeks, Baby Neal has been in a dark, warm space. He's fed when he wants, he sleeps at will, it's comfy in there, he can practice acrobatics all day. He has no idea that in a matter of days or weeks that he will be ripped from the only home he's known and brought into a bright world with massive versions of himself staring at him all day. The muffled voices he's heard since conception will now have a face. But he doesnt even know what a face is! And thats one thing I find really facinating about newborns.

Everything I've read says that for the first few weeks, the baby doesnt need rattles and colors and toys. They focus on faces and intently at that. It's just hard to imagine whats going through their little minds. So when I think about our first day with Baby Neal, it probably wont compare to his first experience with us. (Good thing my husband looks like a giant baby in the face, so he'll be in good and like company!)

UPDATE:  We had another appointment yesterday morning that included an ultrasound. The ultrasound shows that everything is normal and seemingly healthy. Baby Neal, once again, proved to be camera shy and kept his little hand balled up over his face, so we couldnt get a good profile picture. He's estimated to be about 8.1 pounds, give or take half a pound. He's still very active and seems to be comfortable in there. My doctor is still good with an induction date of August 8th but we're hoping he makes his own way out before then! The actual due date (7/30) is fast approaching, but I'm keeping faith that he'll come with the time is right. :)

~Jenn

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I wonder....

One of the biggest things on my mind (aside from the fear of the unknown with my impending labor and delivery) is what this little baby boy will look like. Especially in the last few months it has consumed my mind on a daily basis.

Will he look just like his daddy, or his mom? Or will he be a perfect mix?
Will he have my brown eyes or will Neal's baby blues win out? (My vote is for big blue eyes!)
My husband was born a red head (on St. Patrick's Day no less.) Will Baby Neal be a ginger too?
Just some of many questions....

I know he'll be beautiful, no matter what, but I cant help but wonder what this little life we've created together will look like.
I've never "seen" him. I haven't heard his cries. I'm not even sure how big he is. But I love him already. It's a feeling I cant describe. I've already gotten to know this little baby over the last 38.5 weeks through his little jabs of love (I hope!) and all the fun and not so fun things he's put me through. Its so weird to think that in a matter of days or weeks that I'll finally be able to put a face with this little baby I've been sharing my body and life with for these last 9 months.

I'm anxiously and eagerly awaiting Baby Neal Michael's arrival. I think the three of us have no idea what to expect of each other, but I can tell you this... he is totally loved already and there's alot more where that came from!

~Jenn

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another Baby Neal update

For those I haven't talked to, we had another OB appointment on Monday. Unfortunately there was no change in a week's time - I'm still only 1 centimeter dilated. My doctor was hoping for a little more difference, and so she's scheduled an ultrasound for this upcoming Monday to make get a fetal weight estimate. My doctor said they can tell his weight within a few ounces. She wants to do it to find out his size and make sure he's not too big. I may have mentioned in my last blog that just in case, an induction date of August 8th has been set. However if the ultrasound shows that he's already big enough, they wont let me wait that long. I'm just excited to see Baby Neal again and to get some updated ultrasound pictures for his baby book. So you wont hear me complaining about see him again! :)

I can feel differences in my body already. He's dropped lower and so that's put a lot of added pressure in my lower back. And Sleep? Ooooh, sleep. I miss you. I think this is nature's way of preparing me for a newborn. Apparently babies don't let you sleep through the night either, so why not start now? Also, in the last few days, my adorable son has felt it necessary to revert back to 1st and 2nd trimester activities including nausea and vomiting. Yes, I know, fun stuff.

In the last few weeks, people have been asking me if I hate pregnancy yet. A week ago, that was a very odd question to me because I had grown perfectly content with my pregnant body. Now a week has passed and in that time we've had some awesome Tennessee heat advisories and that has radically changed my perspective on how agreeable pregnancy is with me.

Ask me that question now. Want to guess my answer?
Let's just say, I'm getting anxious to meet baby Neal....

~Jenn

Friday, July 15, 2011

Baby Neal Update

Okay, so I think it’s safe to say that I’ve failed my blog while transitioning to my new job as a “Stay at Home Mom.”  I thought I’d be updating on a daily basis, because I feel there’s so much to say at this point, but who knew this lil’ baby, who hasn’t even entered the world, would keep me so busy!

I had my last appointment on Wednesday and the doctor immediately noticed that I had “dropped.” I kind of laughed, because people have been asking me if I’ve dropped and I give them the same “WTF?” face that I give to people who ask about my mucus plug. Well, now I can say, yes, he has dropped.

For those of you who are not well versed in the world of pregnancy terms (myself included), dropping or “lightening” happens late in the pregnancy and describes when the baby is settling deeper in the pelvis, another sign that labor is on the way. This has been a welcome event for me, because Baby Neal has been sitting so high that it’s made me short of breath in even the slightest of activities and my heart burn was daily and in some cases pretty severe and uncomfortable. Now that he’s a little lower, I’ve noticed some good changes in those issues. Now I’m just dealing with extra pressure on my bladder.

Also, my doctor said that I have dilated 1 centimeter, so and for all intents and purposes, everything looks good. The due date is still July 30th, but she’s comfortable if he comes anytime before then or even two weeks after that date. Just in case, we set an induction date of August 8th. I can’t imagine waiting that long, but its there as an option.

I ask for your continued prayers and support as we enter this last phase of pregnancy. In particular, the heat has been really difficult to deal with. Yall know I hate summer under normal conditions, so with this horrible heat wave, it’s been really uncomfortable to deal with. But I swear it feels like yesterday that I was just announcing to the world that we were expecting. And now here I am in the final stages and in complete shock that in a matter of days (or weeks) we will have a lil’ baby in this home. Neal and I are so very thankful for all the support we’ve received – from the baby showers, to the sweet notes and everything in between.

I’ve said it before that Baby Neal is one lucky baby. Already. But really, I feel like Neal and I are truly the luckiest.
Here’s to new changes, new life and new experiences!

Love, Jenn

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SAHM

UrbanDictionary.com defines a "SAHM" as the acronym for a "Stay At Home Mom."

And in two days time, this will be my new job title.

It feels a little weird to type that. I've always been the kind that enjoys working. I like having a schedule and knowing what I'll be doing every day. I like having a challenge in my duties and doing something that I enjoy. I also enjoy pay day! Who doesn't?!

With most of my jobs, I've loved getting to know my co-workers. Have you ever thought about how much time you actually spend at work? And do you realize how much of your daily social interaction involves co-workers? I've been very blessed with most of my jobs to have people I don't mind seeing for 8+ hours a day.

Specifically, for the last 14 months, I've been working as a Real Estate Assistant for Lindy & Mike Gaughan, co-owners and agents with RE/MAX Choice Properties here in Hendersonville. Through them, I have learned alot about this field and have been introduced to many wonderful people. These people aren't just co-workers....they have become friends, confidants and like family to me. It made the decision to stay at home much harder for me than I had anticipated. I have loved (almost) every minute with my RE/MAX family and I am grateful for the opportunities it has give me both professionally and personally. Working here has given me a more personal link to the city I call home and I have no doubt that I'll keep in touch with the friends I've made.

But in a month, (or less, depending on when Baby Neal makes his big arrival) I will be taking on a much more important "job." A role that will never end, and I want to do everything I can to be prepared for this new challenge. I'm scared, I'm anxious, but most of all, I am in love with the idea of being a mother to this baby that I've been toting around for the last 34.5 weeks. Most of all, I can't wait to see my husband as a father. We already love this lil dancing baby so much, and I can't wait to finally see him face to face. And when I think about that, theres never any doubt in my mind that our choice for me to stay home is the right choice.

Now that I'm having to wipe tears away from my keyboard, I'll end this blog now and share more thoughts on my new job with my next post...

~Jenn

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shower Season

I had my first (and much-needed) Baby Shower this Saturday, thanks to my lovely mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

While I was slightly apprehensive about seeing friends for the first time since being noticeably pregnant, it actually went really well. I saw some of my friends that I hadn't seen since... my wedding, probably. The shower was scheduled from 2-4, but before I knew it, it was 7pm and we were still sitting around catching up. And even after my friends left, me and Neal, my parents and my in-laws all sat around the living room and reminisced about our childhoods and our impending parenthood... Just imagining what this baby will be like, who he'll look like, and what he'll call his grandparents. But mostly, just how much he will be loved.

Later that night, I left their house, hand in hand with my incredible husband, so grateful for loving parents and families that genuinely love each other.

I'm incredibly thankful for my mother-in-law for opening her home to me and my friends to celebrate Baby Neal. Through the thoughtfulness and generosity of my family and friends, I'm reminded of how emmensly blessed I am. And not just me, but this family Neal and I have created for each other.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm not quite sure what I've done to deserve all of the wonderful things in my life. But I am happy and forever grateful for everything God has done for me. And for us.

~Jenn

Friday, June 10, 2011

I’m on FIRE!


It was a chilly day in late December when Neal and I first learned we were having a baby. I was eagerly wearing my sweaters that I had waited all summer to pull out. The air was crisp and frigid and I swear the smell of snow was in the air.

And then my doctor set a due date…. July 30th.

I immediately started fanning myself in anticipation of being big ass pregnant in the peak of a Tennessee summer. On the way home, I looked up the bright blue sky and said, “You got me this time. Very funny, God.”

I remember saying a prayer the night of that first doctor appointment, thanking God for both the blessing and miracle of life and praying that this would be a healthy and happy pregnancy for all involved. And I think I remember adding in there that I certainly wouldn’t mind a mild summer. I mean, if God would allow it.

Now here we are in early June and we’ve had 13 straight days of 90+ degree days, most of those being mid to high 90’s. And that’s not even touching the “feels like” temperature, rising over 100 on some days. It’s unseasonably warm and humid and technically ITS NOT EVEN SUMMER YET. (Could this be what approaching the gates of hell feel like?)

They say that God would never give you more than you can handle, but sometimes I wonder why he seemingly trusts me so much? I feel like I’m growing bigger each and every day. I like to think that an overturned elephant has better luck getting out of a mud pit than I do getting out of bed each morning. Rolling over is both noisy and disgraceful looking. It’s a wonder that my husband still finds me attractive after this daily plight. But… he does. And I adore him for it, even if he’s screaming “WTF have I gotten myself into” inside. I’ll never know.

It’s probably out of reach to think that the weather will become milder in the coming weeks, but I’m trekking through. I just ask for prayers, chilled bottles of water, invites to ice cream dates and pool buddies. :)

~Jenn

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Surprise!

The DVR is my best friend these days. It’s always there for me… for the nights that I can’t sleep, or the early mornings where my internal clock demands that I get up at the ass crack of dawn, or when baby Neal decides he wants to practice his Zumba moves incessantly during my much needed REM cycle. The DVR is always there.

In this time, I’ve gotten roped into some ridiculous shows. Most of them are on A&E or TLC. One such show is “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.”

The title drew me, I must say. I knew I had to see what this was about. And sure enough, it’s stories about women of all ages who carry a child, in most cases, full-term and never knew they were pregnant until they “pee themselves” and start having horrible “gas pains” and lower back pain. Thinking they are near death from some food-borne illness, they scramble to the ER only to give birth minutes later. And that’s for the lucky ones. Some give birth in grocery stores or in their own laundry room during the spin cycle.

Frozen grapes in hand, I sit there in utter confusion wondering how the hell they went 9 months and never realized they were pregnant. I try to put myself in their shoes and I still can’t imagine. That might have something to do with the fact that my pregnancy has been (knock on wood) “textbook” in most cases. I started with regular cycles, conceived in a timey manner, experienced morning sickness, put on the suggested amount of weight, the baby is growing normally and seems healthy, etc, etc. Because I’ve been intently aware of what is going on with my body from the beginning, I notice everything. Every little (or as of late, the not-so-little) kick, every mocking stretch mark, every twinge and turn of pregnancy.

But let’s just say that I didn’t know.

Hell, I can’t even imagine it.

As I lay on the couch with my swollen hooves propped up and the remote on my ever growing belly, the remote starts to shake and dance. No biggie, that’s just Baby Neal. Readjusting. Turning over. Hiccupping. Fist Pumping for joy at the warmth of my uterus. You name it, he does it. And for a few seconds it’s like an earthquake on my tummy as the remote bounces up and down for something I have absolutely NOTHING to do with. I guess that would be the biggest “sign” that something is wrong if I “didn’t know I was pregnant.” Maybe my baby is way more active than some, but if my belly was hard and enlarged and shook and rocked without my doing, I’d take my ass straight to the doctor expecting some alien-filled tumor to be discovered.

I guess that’s why this show doesn’t make sense to me. And maybe I’m just a critical pregnant woman. (It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been called that.) It’s just odd to me, yet I watch every episode intently with the same WTF look on my face. And TLC is laughing all the way to the bank because once again they’ve lured someone in to their ridiculous shows and they know they can’t turn away. Jokes on me.

~Jenn

Friday, June 3, 2011

We have class

Last week, Neal and I took our first class at Baptist Hospital. We entered the room and were met with a bubbly nurse, lots of pregnancy images, brochures, and plastic baby dolls clothed in diapers and onesies.

My first thought?  
"Lord, there's no telling how many germs are on these babies. I wish I had some antibacterial wipes." 

I was a little nervous about it, not really knowing what to expect, but then I looked over at my giddy husband cuddling this creepy babydoll. I couldn't help but laugh at how cute it was, and then I stopped and realized we are mere weeks from this being a real baby. It all kind of hit me. Those same feelings I've had all along - nervousness, excitement, anxiousness and complete and utter happiness.

Neal practicing his role as daddy.
The class was all about breastfeeding, and it reaffirmed all my thoughts that this is what we want to do. I know you don't want the gory details of a deep latch or colostrum, so I won't go there. Although I didn't have a choice in being subjected to graphic photos of baby bowel movements through the first week or so. Gross.
The biggest thing we need to learn from this class? We need to man the f up. Neal sees the most ridiculous things in his job, things people should never have to see in a lifetime, but he about lost it during the poop pics.

What have we gotten ourselves into?!

~Jenn

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Milk does a body good!

The fear of the unknown is starting to set in.

What will childbirth feel like?
Should I get an epidural?
What are the best diapers to get?
I thought colic was a vegetable?
Contractions or Braxton Hicks?
Breastfeeding do’s and don’ts?
Will the room be ready?
Will we get all we need before he gets here?
WHEN will he get here?!

And that’s just to name a few…

However, I think some of these fears will be relieved soon enough. Neal and I are attending our first class on Friday. Because we’ve chosen to breastfeed, our doctor suggested a class at Baptist Hospital all about breastfeeding. We go on Friday night, and truthfully we don’t know what to expect from the class, but I’m hoping a lot of my questions and anxieties will be relieved.

It’s always surprising to me how many people ask me if I’ll breastfeed. I thought maybe it was personal question, but I’m learning fast that it’s a common pregnancy topic. Honestly, I’ve never questioned my desire to breastfeed. Both Neal and I were breastfed babies, and I think my husband borderlines on brilliant and I’m not so bad myself. I know research and studies support that it’s the best things for the bonding experience, for antibodies and immune health and not to mention its cheaper. Those are a just a few of many pro’s to breastfeeding.
But deep down, I just feel like it’s the right and natural thing to do.

Case in point…
Neal and I were driving down a country road last weekend and passed a horse farm. We pulled up next to the white picket fence and watched these beautiful baby horses awkwardly stand next to their mothers. And then they started to feed. How do those babies know to do that? Those horses didn’t take classes or instruction from people. They just do it. Because it’s nature. I mean, why else would the female body be able to produce milk? To me, there’s never been any question that this would be our plan. I just hope its baby Neal’s plan too.
Feed me momma!

So that class is on Friday night. I’m looking forward to it and hoping Neal isn’t too scarred by the experience. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about watching “graphic” videos from the 80’s and secretly I’m sure the men are hoping for a real live example. Haha. Sick, I know. I’ll have to update yall next week once we’ve taken it.

~Jenn

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nursery Update

One of the biggest questions I get is how our nursery is coming along. Actually, it’s short of harassment from friends and family. J

Well, I can tell you that my amazing husband surprised me a few weeks ago by basically gutting the office-turned-nursery room while I was at an appointment. If you had seen the “before” state, then you would know why this was such a huge accomplishment. The office furniture in there will be put on craigslist this weekend and the painter comes Monday to paint. We’re in the midst of getting a second bid on the carpet and once that is replaced, then the room will be ready for loads of baby furniture, clothing and things.

I have been taking pictures of the room, which I’ll post once complete because the “before” picture is too embarrassing to do now, and I’ll need some redemption when it’s complete.

I’ve been warned about this “nesting” phase that most moms go through. I can tell you that it’s starting to settle in. I’m getting very anxious about getting everything done before Baby Neal makes his big appearance. I feel like I’m running out of time because these weeks are just flying by. If he came tomorrow, I don’t know where I’d put him. And that does weigh on me quite a bit.

But on a good note, there are a few baby showers being planned and I should feel better after those because all we have is the bedding, a few outfits and a box of diapers. It will be welcome relief to get a jump on some of the necessities that Baby Neal will need.

I’ve said it before, but it just amazes me how one little baby could need SO many things. I’m just praying we have everything we need before he’s welcomed into the world!

~Jenn

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pregnancy Parody

Tina Fey, quite possibly one of the funniest women today, hosted this weeks Saturday Night Live. Being tired and very pregnant, I tried my hardest to stay up for the entire show. I won’t lie, I only made it about 20 minutes in. But I like to think I saw one of the best parts.

Tina Fey was doing her SNL intro and she was showing off one of those sickeningly perfectly round baby bumps.

Sidenote: I was just having a break down this morning to my husband because I noticed a few small, red stretch marks appearing. I started freaking out. I don’t want these things. All these famous women have perfectly round, gleaming bellies. Show me one famous person with stretch marks on their bellies?! SHOW ME!!

Moving on…

Tina brought out Maya Rudolph, who is also very pregnant and has one of those magazine pregnant bellies. They greeted each other by saying:

Maya:  “Hi Tina, thanks for having me”
Tina: “Yeah, that’s what the baby will be saying!”

They then burst into song about their unborn children. This video is a must see. (The song starts about 1:50 into it.) I hope you’ll laugh as much as I did. Pregnant or not!




Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm still alive

I promise! :)

It's been a crazy last few weeks as we head into the third trimester of my pregnancy. I've got alot of thoughts and blogs on the way! Stay tuned!

~Jenn

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Future Soccer Star?

I wonder if there’s any indication as to whether or not we’ll have an active baby based on the amount of movement he does in the womb? If so, we may have a future soccer star on our hand. However, if I had my choice, I would much prefer a football star. J

Baby Neal is one active lil’ baby. I remember early in the pregnancy, I would research tons of websites to figure out when I would be able to feel our baby moving. Now, as I sit here and watch my belly move, that is just a distant memory. Let me tell you, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt something more amazing in my life.

A few months ago, my in-laws were kind enough to give us tickets (excellent tickets might I add!) to the Grand Ole Opry to see my BFF, Carrie Underwood. Going to the Opry never gets old and I always end up shedding a tear (or in my case, many tears) over the awesomeness that is the Grand Old Opry. This time was no different. I think in all the excitement of the moment, combined with the music, Baby Neal must’ve been feeling the excitement with me because I felt some type of “fluttering.” I remember walking out of the Opry hand in hand with my husband and telling him, “You know, in a few weeks I think I’ll look back at this moment and be able to tell for sure if this is kicking.” And sure enough, it was.

Now Baby Neal kicks all throughout the day taking breaks here and there to sleep. I can even see the movement through my shirt. I haven’t seen any pokes through my belly yet, but it does jump when he moves.

I’ve seen pictures, such as below, where you can see a hand or a foot actually press through the belly. However, I asked my OBGYN about that, and she said it is totally photo shopped! She said we’ll see pokes, like perhaps an elbow, coming through but its unrealistic to see a foot or a hand so perfectly. But still, the thought is neat.

Don't get your hopes up - this is totally photo shopped, as confirmed by our OBGYN.


~Jenn

Monday, April 25, 2011

Build-A-Baby

Lately, it’s consumed my mind of what baby Neal will look like. We had a wonderful profile shot from our last ultrasound that I could just stare at for days on end. He just looks perfect to me!
(The only thing I can’t figure out is that lil’ button nose he has going on.)

But Neal and I are always talking about what he’ll be like…
Will he be born with his daddy’s big blue eyes or big brown ones like me?
Will he be as big as I’ve dreamt in my recent nightmares and completely skip the 0-3mos baby clothes?
Will be have big ole lips like his momma?
There’s a lot of talk of a possible “Ginger Baby” (another name for a red headed baby) because Neal was born with flaming red hair and on St. Patrick’s Day no less! And while his hair has turned to a dirty blonde with age, his sideburns are just as auburn as can be, as well as his facial hair when it grows out a little.

But more so than that, what will he BE like?

Neal said he was very shy as a small child, which doesn’t surprise me because he’s such a quiet, observant man. I remember being so confused after our first date because I felt like I did most of the talking and I honestly thought he didn’t like me. But I’ve come to realize that its just part of his amazing personality. He’s a great listener and his cool, calm demeanor has really helped to balance my much more opposite traits. But as a child, Neal said he didn’t make a lot of noise and wouldn’t necessarily talk to strangers.

I, on the other hand, was a big ham. It helped that I resembled a big baby doll, but mom said I would just eat it up when people would pay any attention to me – like lil’ old granny’s in the grocery store isle that would pinch my chubby cheeks. That led to me giving nightly choreographed concerts on the coffee table like a lil’ diva and then developing some diva like traits such as an attitude and a certain bossy tone. Ironically though, with age I’ve calmed down quite a bit and some might consider me to be a bit on the shy side.

So will Baby Neal have those traits? Do we have any control over those kinds of things? I’m not sure, but until then we are anxiously awaiting his arrival into this world and feel that no matter what he’ll be like in the end… he’ll fit right in. Just fine.

~Jenn

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby Po Po

Back before we knew what Baby Harris would be, most of my girlfriends kept wishing a little girl upon us. I think it’s because most girls grow up playing with dolls - dressing them, fixing their hair, “mothering” to an extent. And now we’re in our mid to late 20’s and we see having baby girls as having a real life baby doll. A perfect little girl to dress up and tote around in pinks and purples.

In thinking back, I never really played with dolls growing up. I can remember having one Cabbage Patch “Preemie” baby doll whose soft plastic head smelled like baby powder and he was smaller than most Cabbage Patch dolls. That’s the only doll I consciously remember taking care of, and most of the time he was naked. (Or ‘nekked’ as we say in Tennessee.) I hope that’s not a testament to my maternal instinct….

But who’s to say that you can’t have fun dressing baby boys?? I haven’t purchased a lot of clothes for Baby Neal, because I’m afraid he’s going to be a massive child and be born wearing toddler clothes. But I did buy one lil outfit!


My husband Neal is a police detective, and he loves his job. That’s one thing that I absolutely loved (and envied at times) about Neal. When we first met, I was slaving away at Nissan and hating every minute of it. He was working longer hours than me, and never complained about it. His eyes light up when he talks about his job. As many horrible things as he may encounter and deal with, he still loves what he does. And if you ask him, he’s always known what he wanted to be when he “grew up.”
My husband, Neal, as a baby wearing his dad's policeman hat.

I surprised Neal with the cute lil’ baby PoPo outfit and he loved it. It’s a possible Halloween costume contender... if the baby can even fit into it by October! I bought it in a 3-6mos. size and hopefully it’ll slip right on. But even if it doesn’t, this is probably the outfit he’ll wear when he goes to meet Neal’s co-workers for the first time.

I can’t wait!!!
~Jenn

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby Registry - Round Two

How can one little person need so much?

We started our baby registry at Babies R’ Us a few weeks ago. And in my usual style, I had to go home and take a nap halfway through it. (And that was after sitting in those amazing rocker gliders for a while in the store.) I got overwhelmed with all the brands, the choices, colors, stuff. You name it. I felt under prepared to be honest, so we’ve taken the last few weeks to research things better so we make sure to choose the right items and brands for our family.

We also registered at Target last week. That wasn’t so bad, although I think most non-mom’s will turn their nose up at my list. If you’re accustomed to looking at wedding registries and then pull up a baby registry, prepare to be grossed out. When you register for a wedding, it would be really inappropriate to register for KY jelly. (Right?) But when you’ve got a baby on the way, it’s totally okay to register for nipple cream, petroleum jelly and Boudreaux’s butt crème.

My, my, my….how the tables have turned.

We will probably finish up the Babies R Us registry this weekend and that will be a big step for us. But I know there are “showers” in the future, and I already have people asking me about the registry. My goal is to finish this weekend and then run my list by some seasoned moms to find out what to take off. Which is probably quite a bit. We ended up scanning things because they “sounded good” but whether or not they’ll be used in the long run is a different question and one I have no idea about.

On a fun note, I finally found some bedding that I love and ordered it. It should get here in a few day and then we can match our paint and get going on the nursery. I’ve taken a very scary “before” picture of the office/man room and it will be huge shock to see the “after” picture once we get it all done.

~Jenn

Monday, April 11, 2011

I don’t have a disease!

Get ready yall…. Soap box time!

People who treat me, or any other pregnant woman for that matter, like we have some incurable and infectious disease, are really beginning to ANNOY ME.

Just to put this out there, this is NOT directed at anyone in particular, so please do not think this is some kind of personal call out. But lately, I’ve just had my fair share of disgusted looks and people referring to my baby as some life-sucking alien moving inside of me. I have to get this off my chest.

I’ll be the first to admit. I had to get over my own awkwardness about being pregnant. I’m STILL working through some of those emotions.  I like to think some of this is natural and happens to most first time mothers. And if not, sue me. I’m not quite to the point where I feel like mother f’n nature.

So to all you ladies who have chosen not to procreate at this time in your life, or to those who simply don’t have a filter, let me help you out.

Here a few ground rules on what NOT to say around a pregnant woman:
1 – “I don’t like/want kids.”
If you don’t want kids, just keep it to yourself. I don’t want to hear about how expensive they are, how you don’t want to ruin your body and how you prefer your furry, four-legged “children.” Good for you. So children aren’t for you. But it IS for my family, and I don’t like you making me feel like I’ve made some ridiculous choice.
2 - “No offense, but pregnancy just freaks me out.”  (This is usually followed up with a disgusted look towards my growing belly.)
Here’s a clue. If you have to start a comment with “no offense,” you can almost count on my hormonal self taking immediate offense to your statement.
3 – “Remind me not to drink your water.”
At first, this didn’t bother me. I’ve heard it a lot, but people continue to say it to me and frankly it’s getting old. NEWS FLASH! Pregnancy (in most cases) is a choice, not some uncontrollable genetic disease passed down to women. No worries, drinking my water or eating my food will NOT implant your egg.
4 – “Oh my gosh, you’re getting so… BIG!”
Need I state the obvious?!

These are a few of many things that are really irritating me right now. I’m hoping getting this out will help me calm down a little bit. But if not, this blog may “be continued.” Either way, a good word of advice if just FILTER YOURSELF around the pregnant girls. We have enough to deal with than your judgmental stares and comments.

Thanks,
MGMT

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Austin Memories

Neal and I joined my entire family in Austin, Texas last weekend for the wedding celebration of a god family friend, Andrew. (Note to self: Add a star to the great state of Texas to notate that Baby Neal has in fact visited.)

The wedding was beautiful. It was very personalized to the styling of the couple and reflected their personalities really well. They are a well-liked couple so there were a lot of younger folks there which made for a really fun and entertaining reception. The music selection was planned out perfectly and there was never a dull moment on the dance floor. We were right up front and had a good view of the craziness taking place. Because of my swollen “hoofs,” as my brother so lovingly put it, I didn’t dance a lot. Neal and I got a few good slow songs in, but my pregnant ass just couldn’t keep up those crazy kids.

But with all the excitement of the surroundings, the music, and the abundance of really awesome cake, Baby Neal REALLY enjoyed himself. I could just feel him dancing and moving and shaking all night long. As a matter of fact, he never stopped. After a long night, we arrived back to our hotel, with take-out cake in hand. I laid down, propped up my feet and partook in the cake (again.) Baby Neal must really like wedding cake (or was on an insane sugar rush) because he started practicing his dance moves again. Being completely relaxed, I looked down and noticed movement through my pj’s. I couldn’t believe it. I sat there are just stared at my belly and once again saw my belly jump in reaction to his kicks. To add to the theme of the day, I once again, started blubbering crying. I called Neal in right away so he could witness the movement and he actually got to feel Baby Neal kick. He just laid there with his hand on my tummy, feeling all the little movements that Baby Neal produced.

Honestly, that moment ranks right up there with seeing his heart beat for the first time. I’ll never forget it.

The weekend was fabulous. How could it not be? Good friends. Good food. An amazing celebration of love. And life. I’ll never forget it!

More details to follow on our trip to Austin. So stay tuned…

~Jenn

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Well Traveled Baby

Tomorrow, Neal and I will be flying to Austin, TX to meet up with my parents and my brother and his girlfriend for a family friend’s wedding. I’m really excited because I’ve seen Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth, but have never been to Austin. It got me thinking about all the places that Baby Neal has been to, and he doesn’t even know it yet!

Neal and I love to see new places when we can, and we’ve traveled a lot in the last 5.5 months. So far Baby Neal has walked the streets of Atlanta, seen the bright lights of Las Vegas, obviously done the Nashville scene and will now add the great state of Texas to his travel resume. He’s one well-traveled baby!

Several people have suggested that I start a photo album for the baby, which I haven’t yet, but I’ve already thought of some good “chapters” for the book. I have photos of us in all the places we’ve traveled to since pregnant, a before (and soon to be after) photo of his nursery and baby Neal’s “first photo” (ultrasound.) I suppose I’ll start those dreaded baby belly progression photos too. (However, they will NOT be posted on Facebook, so don’t even ask!!)

In any case, send up prayers for our safe travels to Austin. Also, keep in mind my friend Andrew and his soon-to-be wife, Becky, as they start their married life together. It feels like yesterday that Neal and I said, “I Do” and I just love weddings because it reminds me of the day I married Neal and all the abundant blessings we’ve received since then.

Baby Neal is one lucky (and loved) baby!

~Jenn

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Belly Rubbers

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read or been told…

“Get ready… Pregnant bellies are automatic hand magnets.”

Or as my friend Andrew put it, “Pregnant bellies are public domain. I’m sure you can read that in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Well, I didn’t, and I’m finding this to be increasingly true.

I’ve never been a big touchy-feely person, so this concept is a little uncomfortable for me to say the least.  I’ve been able to conceal the baby belly for the most part, so no strangers have attempted to touch me yet, but people who know I’m pregnant have tried to. So not to make the situation more uncomfortable for me than it already is, I have kind of pulled away or jokingly requested that they not do that. And what do I find? Most people forget this request. It’s bad enough that I think people are constantly staring at my stomach and discussing its growth, now people are trying to rub it? Um, no thank you.

One of my friends said she’s going to get me a t-shirt that says, “Look But Don’t Touch” with an arrow pointing down. That’s genius, but no one likes a crabby pregnant woman, so the chances of me wearing that are slim to none.

I guess it comes with the territory of being a pregnant woman, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

This is the way I see it. Any reasonable adult would never rub someone’s stomach under normal conditions. Why is that when women are noticeably pregnant, all brains and couth go out the window? If it weren’t acceptable to touch my stomach 6 months ago, it certainly isn’t acceptable now. Unless I invite you to do so.

(Which probably wont happen either…)

~Jenn

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Neal [?] Harris V

Lord, I had no idea how much drama went into naming a child.

Neal and I had agreed on a boy and girl name, even before we found out we were expecting. It never crossed my mind that people would feel the need to give their unsolicited suggestion for a name or even have the audacity to voice their opinion on our stated choice. But it happens. So to spare any more drama and name suggestions, we’ve decided to share baby Neal’s middle name.

(Drumroll….)

Neal Michael Harris V (the fifth)

My husband and I were really happy with our choice. We knew we wanted a saint’s name for baby Neal’s middle name, but along with a strong meaning, it had to sound right with his first name, too. Michael is not necessairily a family name for us, but it does have some special significance.  

The primary reason we chose Michael is because of St. Michael the Archangel 

In the Catholic faith, St. Michael is the patron saint of Police Officers. Neal has a St. Michael medallion that was given to him by his father with the police officers prayer engraved on the back and I’ve always admired it. So we felt that St. Michael, who was the leader of the good angels in the fight between and heaven and hell, would be an appropriate saint to watch over our first born child.

St. Michael Police Medallion
On a lighter note, Michael is also the name of some our favorite people.

For instance, my husband has always loved the great Michael Jackson. Neal has been perfecting his own moonwalk for years and even showed it off at our wedding.
The late great Michael Jackson


Neal's version of the Moonwalk at our wedding.


I, on the other hand, adore the loveable boss from NBC’s “The Office,” Michael Scott.
The loveable boss, Michael Scott from "The Oriface." (That's what he said.)

So yeah, silly as it may be, there’s a lot of special stuff behind the name Michael. But say what you will, we couldn’t think of a more perfect name!
~Jenn

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shy Baby!

Some of you have asked why I haven't posted a new ultrasound picture of Baby Neal. I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any great ultrasound pics to share this time around. I was hoping the baby would take after me and be a camera ham, but he was a little on the shy side. He was lying on his tummy and we couldn’t get him to turn over to get a good picture of his face. With that being said we couldn’t get a good image of his heart either. So I’ll be going back in a few weeks for a follow up ultrasound to get a clear reading on his heart.

The good news, everything seems healthy for all intents and purposes. We did get to see his beating heart, but the ultrasound tech measured and took pictures of everything and it just wasn’t at the best angle. But I won’t be complaining, I could watch these ultrasounds every day!

Our next appointment is April 6th, so maybe then I’ll have a good picture to post of his face.

~Jenn

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baby Boy Harris

A lot of you have asked questions about the name “Niblet.” Most of you say:
1 – WTF is a Niblet?
2 – Where did you come up with this name?

I couldn’t answer either question, to be honest. I just wanted something cute to call the baby besides the obvious “Peanut” or “Bean.” When I started looking at early pregnancy pictures, I saw one lil’ fetus and excitedly exclaimed, “Look at that lil’ Niblet!” And it just kind of stuck.

No, I didn’t name my baby after corn. On that note, please do not refer to my baby as something that can be eaten. Disturbing.

Now that we know “it” is a “he,” I guess its only right to tell you his true name. For now, I will share with you that his name is Neal. It was easy.
Neal (?) Harris V
(We’ll share the middle name in time.) My husband Neal is the fourth, and so it’s only right to name our first son Neal, as its tradition on his side. And because many of you will ask, yes, he will go by “Neal.”

When I first met my husband, I was confused as to how both he and his father went by the same name, but he always said there was an obvious difference in the tone of his mother’s voice, a difference that made it clear who she was calling for. (Although to this day she still calls my husband “Neal Joseph.”) J

I think it will take some getting used to calling my husband and my son the same name. Although truthfully, I rarely call Neal by his name – it’s always some variation like Nealy or a Southern take on his name, Nealy Jo. (He’s from New York originally, so I think its fitting to give him a good Southern sounding, double name.) And NO, you will never hear me use the phrase “Hubby” or whatever. But I guess this may be the time to start calling him “Dad” too.

We’ll let yall know the middle name when Neal and I can agree on when to release it. J

~Jenn