Monday, February 28, 2011

Ahhhh, I can breathe now…

I bought my first pair of maternity pants a few weeks ago. Until this morning they still had the tags on them because I was undecided and I felt they were too long. But as I ripped through my closet like a mad woman this morning, putting on and then throwing every pair of works pants that I owned across the room, I decided to bite the bullet and put on the maternity pants.

OMG… THIS is what I’ve  been missing?!

For the last month, I’ve been wearing my normal pants and leaving them unbuttoned at the top, and in the last week they’ve been very uncomfortable around my midsection. Today I slipped those glorious pants on and all felt right with the world. Or with my belly at least. I’ve been sucking out like a mofo today and I like to think that Niblet is content with my happiness too – and a lil’ extra room. J

So this week’s mission is to find some jeans and other casual maternity pants because I may or may not have had a massive “closet breakdown” on Saturday morning over having nothing to wear. (Neal has been sworn to silence on such an event.) Maternity clothes selection is slim and what is out there is expensive, so we’ll see. I’m keeping my eyes open and for any moms out there with suggestions – let me know!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Up in the gym just working on my fitness

I hate to say that I probably haven’t stepped foot in the gym in close to 2.5 months. Just before I got pregnant, I participated in a “Biggest Loser” program through work. I was doing really well with my diet and exercise and managed to lose close to 15 pounds when everything was said and done.

And then, the baby news broke.

I’ve managed to keep off about 10 of what I lost, thanks to intense months of morning sickness and lack of appetite.  Now I’m feeling much better and realizing what a gym relapse has done to my body. Any definition that my chubby arms had is now rounded out and same with my legs. While I know it’s unreasonable to lose weight now, I want to get moving again so I don’t gain an exorbitant amount of weight during this pregnancy so I can at least try and be a cute pregnant lady. Haha.  I’ve purchased a lot of cute summer dresses and I don’t want my legs to resemble tree trunks, you know? I’m currently searching for a maternity bathing suit to grow into, because I have a feeling the pool and I will become total BFF’s this summer.

Also, my taste buds are becoming a little more open minded. For a while all I wanted was Krystal’s and Taco Bell. (I know, disgusting.) Now I’m eating a little more normally and trying to bring back fruits, veggies and healthier foods.

As much as I hate when he makes me, my husband’s job is to drag me to the gym with him on the weekends. I think it’s a win-win situation because he’s trying not to gain any of that “sympathy weight” with me. (Though HE’S the one who suggested we visit Sweet Cece’s last week!)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Its the beat of a heart...

I had another OB appointment yesterday. I never know how to prepare for these things… you know, like am I going to be probed? Are they going to pry blood away from me again? Should I wear socks? Luckily, it was just another quick one. I got to ask more ridiculous questions such as are pedicures safe? Can I get my hair colored now? Etc… But the most important thing is I got to hear the baby’s heart beat again and it’s a strong and healthy 154 beats per minute. That sound never gets old! I laid there as quiet as I could be to listen and I didnt know whose heart was beating faster - mine or that precious baby?

In less than two weeks, Neal will come with me to my next one for the big ultrasound. Hopefully Baby Harris isn’t concealing him/herself and we can find out what we’re having. Then, I think it will be a little more real for us.

Sometimes I think Neal is even more excited than myself about this baby. If you know him, he’s a man of few words. He’s a great listener, but can talk your ear off if it’s about a subject he knows and love – things like police work and Tennessee sports teams. Lately, it feels like he’s becoming quite knowledgeable on the subject of babies. He has co–workers that are recent first time dads and have shared bits and pieces with him and he fills me when he gets home from work. For instance, we talked last night about the worries of adjusting to this new life and the “baby blues” (which he brought up, actually.) He is the one that has suggested tried and true brands of items such as pumps. But it is really endearing.

I’ve said it before that Neal is someone who was born to be a father and I can’t wait to make that a reality for him...


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pregnancy Over Share

When I first announced that I was pregnant, I had several moms suggest to me what books to read and what books NOT to read. The verdict was split – about half suggested the ever so common “What to Expect when you’re Expecting” and the other half said run away from that book... run as fast as you can.

Those that did not recommend the book said that it scared them into every paranoia that a first time mom did not need. I followed this group’s advice, but that did not save me from the same diagnosis the internet will give you.

Well, now here I am just over 4 months pregnant and I’ve got friends asking me about doula’s and mucus plugs. WTF?! Apparently if I had read that dreaded book, I’d be all up on that stuff by now. Instead, I made myself google these things and had a relapse of morning sickness. (Note to self: I really need to toughen up.)

Now I’ve surrounded myself with books that teach me about pregnancy and make me laugh at the same time. My mom bought me a book called “Exploiting My Baby” by Teresa Strasser. It stemmed from her blog she wrote when she was pregnant with her first child. I’m only a little into it so far, but I identify with her in a lot of what she writes about. She has quest for pregnancy knowledge, but also has a twisted humor about it, too. I believe this book will be much better for my pregnancy nerves then those others ones that will make you believe you have a higher chance of a two-headed baby with rabies.

My mom read the whole book first and would call and ask me to ask if I’ve done similar things to the writer. For instance, like googling every symptom I had. I went back and looked at my google search history and I’ve even freaked myself out with the things I’ve researched. (But we all know that Google will not fail you.)

Even being a seasoned mother, my mom found a lot of humor in it, and I’m glad she shared it with me. It proves that I’m not the only soon-to-be-mom with quirks.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Engagement Story...

In the spirit of Love and Valentine's Day and to follow up from my blog yesterday, I thought I’d share with yall the entry I wrote back in 2009 where I shared with Facebook the story of our Engagement. For those of you who didn’t know me then, or didn’t read it for whatever reason, I give you this giddy explosion of mush and love.


I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since Neal asked me to share his life with him. The last 12 days have been a whirlwind of happiness and planning (and continually pinching myself to find out if this is really truly happening!) I have told the story so many times that I’m starting to sound like a walking TLC show, but I’m still not tired of telling anyone about the happiest day of my life.

So many of you have messaged me, emailed me, texted me, etc to get the story and I’m just now having a chance to post it along with my photo journal. If you know me, then you know I never go anywhere without my camera. So we were able to take pics of the night (after they happened. But NO, I did not tell him to stay on his knee to take a picture of that. I took pics AFTER all the excitement!) :)

So here we go…

On Saturday, February 14th, yes, Valentines Days, we got up like any normal day. Neal told me that he had to take his friend Steve down to South Nashville to get an estimate and some work done on his hot-rod vehicle and give him a ride back. Now, I’m not usually a gullible person, but considering we had just taken a ride in said hot-rod, I knew that it needed some work. Neal just told me to be ready to leave the house by 4:15pm and to pick out a suit for him while he was gone. I sent him on his way, chastising Steve the whole time for taking Neal away on Valentines Day.

Neal came home later that afternoon and as planned we got all dressed up and left. I was nervous that Neal had not made dinner reservations because as of Wednesday it sounded like he was still trying to find a place. (If you know me, you know that I’m a planner by nature and like to know every detail of what I’m doing. But at the advice of my mom, I just sat back and watched what the night had in store for me.)

We started driving toward the Orpyland-area so I had some idea that we would be eating at a restaurant inside the hotel, which excited me because:
A) I was going somewhere and
B) I had never eaten in the hotel.
We arrived and walked towards the Delta. Turns out, Neal had made reservations at The Old Hickory Steakhouse, which is a really, really, really, REALLY nice steakhouse in the Delta Atrium.

The Old Hickory Steakhouse is modeled after an old traditional Southern mansion with the double deck balconies and white columns. The hostess led us out to the first floor which is a patio overlooking the entire Delta atrium. We had the best seat in the house. It was right up against the railing so we could see all the greenery and the fountains (which had a light and music show that night.) The meal was great, some of the best food I have ever had, hands down. During our meal, the General Manager, Nando, stopped by to thank us for spending our special day with them and offered after the meal to give us a tour of the rest of the restaurant. I thought this was a great touch (and figured we were getting some special treatment because Neal’s dad works there.)

After we finished our meal, Nando met us back at the table to take us on the tour. We walked up a winding stair case to the 2nd floor balcony. On the way up, Nando was telling us about the architecture, the builder, and the inspiration behind its design. As we got to the top of the staircase, he stepped to the side and said, “Well, I will leave you two now.” As he walked away, I was left staring at a small linen draped table and chair set, complete with two glasses of champagne, candles, and a single red rose. It was then that my heart began to jump out of my chest. Truthfully I was thinking, “If he doesn’t propose now, we have bigger problems.” Haha. And in my usual style, I started bawling.

It was perfect. Just the two of us at the highest point of the atrium. We could see everything and everyone, but were confined in a private space where it was just the two of us. Perfect.

Like most girls, I had thought of the day that my man would ask me to marry him. I’m a very modest person and can be on the shy side, so I knew that I didn’t want hundreds of people staring at me. But in the same sense, I didn’t want to it to happen in our living room either. Neal took my hand and from what I remember he said some really nice things, which I’ll leave for the two of us to remember. (Awww!) He got on his knee, pulled out a ring box and asked me to be his wife. At least I think he did - between my crying and the haze of chaos of the moment. It was a moment we shared that I’ll never forget in all my life.

After we both calmed down, he said he wanted to show me another view. So we left our peaceful little balcony and walked down the winding staircase. As we left the restaurant, the entire team was lined up at the entry smiling and congratulating us.

(NOTE: This is the part we don’t tell my Grandmother…)

Neal walked us up and down the hallways of the hotel. I kept waiting for him to find this little inlet overlooking one of the atrium's, but instead he stopped at a room. I was really surprised about that because I had always wanted to stay at the hotel in one of those balcony rooms that you see from all the gardens. We walked into the room and there were rose petals all over the floor and the furniture. There was light jazz music playing and a dozen red roses waiting for me. It was gorgeous. And you know what they say…the rest is history! ;)

But really, I had NO idea Neal had so much romance in him. And if he’s not romantic for the next year, he’s already made up for it. Needless to say, he wasn’t with Steve and his hot-rod in South Nashville that day. He was at the hotel preparing for our engagement. Neal made our day so perfect and memorable. I will never forget it for as long as I live.

And for those of you wondering, the ring he got me is beyond beautiful. It’s a white gold vintage set. The center stone is a large round diamond surrounded by a halo of pauve diamonds. It also has pauve diamonds on the sides as well a circular band of pauve diamonds under the center stone. I can’t think of a more beautiful ring. I stare at it all day and even look at it when I wake up in the middle of the night.

The man did good. And I’ll love him for the rest of my life for it.

Now let the wedding planning begin!! <3 <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All you need is love…

Sorry, I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus the last week or so. I’ve tried to stay regular in updating at least 3 times a week and I vow to stick by that. Part of my lack of blogging is that my pregnancy has been uneventful in the last week or so. I’m almost 18 weeks at this point and like all you moms assured me, things are getting much better. I’m not as tired, the morning sickness has pretty much subsided and now I’m just waiting for my skin to clear up and the maternity clothes to look right. J

As you know, Monday was Valentine’s Day. Facebook was an entertaining space on such a day. It was filled with V-Day haters and V-Day lovers alike. The haters were kinda sad in a way, but some middle-of-the-road people on FB tried to convince them that V-day isn’t just about romantic love, it’s a time to remember all those you love and who love you. (A little cheesy and idealistic if you ask me, but hey, whatever works.)

Valentine’s Day holds special meaning for Mr. Harris and me. We were engaged two years ago on V-Day at the Opryland Hotel. He put a lot of thought and effort into it and it truly made that event in our lives very special. (I have a blog that I posted on Facebook about our Engagement when it happened. I may tag it on here so you can see the giddy ramblings of a diamond-bearing, wedding-planning freak.)

This is where we got engaged - on the balcony of the Old Hickory Steakhouse overlooking the Delta atrium in the Opryland Hotel.

Sidenote A: We had our Engagement photos taken at Opryland Hotel and at the exact place where he popped the big question.

Sidenote B: People who bitch about how cliché it is to get engaged on Holidays, annoy me. (And are probably single or divorced.)

This year, we exchanged little gifts and we both realized we’re probably not “newly weds” anymore because we ended up (not purposely) getting each other baby related gifts. No lingerie. No chocolates. Just bibs and the like. True story.

No matter your situation, I hope you had a pleasant Valentine's Day!

Love, Jenn

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Maternity Clothes

My in-laws gave me a gift card to the “Motherhood Maternity” store for my Birthday. I don’t know what possessed me to actually go there on my Birthday, but I did. If you know me, you know that I don’t care to shop, even when I’m at my thinnest and in the very best mood. But I had to bite the bullet because I only have two pairs of pants that fit right now – a pair of grey trouser pants for work and a pair of fitted sweat/yoga pants for the weekend. I’m pretty sure people are judging me at work for wearing the same pair of pants every day, so when I can, I wear my other pair of black work pants and just leave the tops unbuttoned. Not classy and very uncomfortable.

Shopping for clothes right now is a hot mess. I don’t look pregnant to anyone, but I’m pooched out enough that my current pants don’t fit. Maternity clothes look a little funny on me, as if I’m trying to cover up a recent, unexplained weight gain. However, the pants are heaven, in terms of comfort.

I was able to scour the clearance racks and get some nice cotton, light weight dresses for the summer. I’ve decided I’ll probably live in dresses this summer. Pants are too constricting and hot, and the dresses I got are really cute. Again, they’re a little big, but I tried on detachable pregnancy stomach and it looked funny, but believable. I’m guessing that’s what I’ll look like in 2 months time or so. Now if the rest of my body would stay the same size and only grow in the tummy area, I’ll be happy. (Wishful thinking.)

This interim period is really frustrating. I’m 15 weeks along, and starting to feel better physically, but the tummy isn’t catching up like I’d like it to. But I’ve been told to enjoy it while I can because in a few months I’ll wish I looked the way I do now. I’m trying to relish every moment of it, but its hard when only three outfits look half way decent.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Where have the years gone?

On Sunday I celebrated my 29th Birthday. I was just saying that it feels like yesterday I was celebrating my “sweet 16,” the big 21st Birthday and even my “Quarter Life Crisis B-day (25.)” Now I’m looking 30 in the face, but it’s been neat to reflect on where I was at every Birthday and all the days in between.

As usual, Facebook filled my wall with love yesterday, another reason FB is so addicting. I love it! I noticed several people, particularly moms, would say, “Happy Birthday Jenn! Enjoy your last Bday that’s all about you!” Or “Just think, next year you’ll have a lil’ baby celebrating too!” Neal and I did the quick math and figured Baby Niblet would be roughly 7 months old by my next Birthday. CRAZY!!! I can’t even imagine a newborn baby in our lives, let alone a 7 month old!

I’ve gotten used to sharing my Birthday with the Super Bowl every few years. (I like to pretend that all these people are eating, drinking and celebrating in my honor.) Now that’s nothing when I think about having a baby to help celebrate it next year. Neal and I daydreamed yesterday and having a Birthday dinner and pulling up a high chair for our first baby to join in. I suppose I can’t enjoy Birthday cake without having a baby play in the frosting. (Good photo op, too!)

It’s amazing to think how much our life will change by my next Birthday. But we’ve got Neal’s big 30th coming up on Saint Patrick’s Day, so we’ve got a little more celebrating left to do before Baby Niblet shares the spotlight!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Crazy Dreams

My mom claims from the second day home from the hospital that I slept soundly through the night. If that’s true, it’s something I’ve been blessed with all my life. I’m an 8 hour of sleep a night kind of girl, always have been. I’m the party pooper because I can’t stay up past 10 to save my life. I fall asleep before midnight every New Years Eve, and I’m up at 6am with the best of them.

Earlier in my pregnancy there were nights that I was in bed by 8pm and even after 11 hours of sleep, it never felt enough. In the last week or two, I’ve felt my sleep patterns start to adjust a little. I’ve been waking up at 2 or 3am, wide awake. Most of the time it’s my husband that wakes me either by his incessant snoring or asking me if I’m ok. And usually it’s a resounding no.

I have been haunted by the most ridiculous dreams. Some are so real and vivid. Some include people I know well or just stalk on Facebook. Some are just odd and some are really disturbing. (I don’t share the disturbing ones because I don’t think this old friend of mine wants to know that I dreamt of her in a coma last night. Hell of a way to spark up a conversation.) Some are just flat out scary. Mom always said that “dreams are only interesting to the one that had them.” I try to remember that, but some stick with me and I insist on sharing them.

Like last night.

I dreamt Neal and I were walking through MTSU’s campus at night. All of a sudden I see this half horse and half lion puppy. It was oddly cute so we went up to pet it and then heard this huge roar! We turn around and see a full grown half horse half lion being ridden by a crazed knight aiming at us with a bow and arrow. We were running all over campus, though every building trying to warn people to stay inside and hide from this odd creature. I recall every building we were in… my dorm freshman year. Peck hall. The gym where I took a water aerobics class. It was so vivid, it felt real. I woke myself up in fear and I can’t get the vision of this horse lion, arrow shooting man.

Anyways, I wish the dreams would go away. They put a cramp in sleep cycle and I’d like to enjoy sleep before a baby comes into the world. But I hear it only gets worse from here. So who knows.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hormones. Schormones

Pregnancy has given me an excuse to cry without being belittled about it. It’s to the point where my husband is whispering to others, “Don’t worry, she’s okay. She’s just pregnant.” I almost let the cat out of the bag of our impending news on Facebook when I admitted to crying at an episode of “The People’s Court.” Now I cry at Folgers commercials. My point is, it doesn’t take much.

Now I’ve realized that these hormones may make me overreact at times. For instance, I took my wedding rings to our jeweler to be sized up just a bit. Ever since I had the two bands sauntered together, it’s been a tight fit. I’ve wanted to do this for a while now and since I’m pregnant, I imagine my fingers will only get chubbier. So we went on Saturday and I felt like the “ master jewelry repairman,” as he introduced herself to me as, was being a bit argumentative with me when weighing the pros and cons of resizing my set. I felt myself on the verge of tears in the middle of a jewelry store yall. W…T…F?! We got out to the car and Neal assured me he just wanted to make sure I was making an informed decision. An informed decision?! No. No. You make informed decisions about marriage, babies, moving 401l's to IRA’s, jobs, etc. Not on a decision to resize my ring up a quarter size.

I called a friend last night because I wanted to lament over the fact that I can’t eat tuna anymore. (Turns out mercury poisoning would be bad to contact with a baby growing inside me.) I really wanted tuna last night. And I was… distraught! Said friend didn’t answer the phone, and that’s probably a good thing.

So unless you’re Neal or my mother, I would advise that you not answer the phone if I call you between the hours of 6 and 8 pm. Those seem to be the worst times for me because I’m usually home, alone, with entirely too much quietness to reflect on things. Also, this is prime time for tear-inducing commercials. Just giving you a heads up.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Come home Piper

My brother and I came back to my parent’s house last Thursday, following my grandmother’s funeral, to find that part of the backyard fence had fallen down and two of my parent’s schnauzers, Jill and Piper, were MIA. We immediately called the local vet and animal control and put up fliers. We found Jill two days later. Almost a week later, Piper is still on the run.

Piper is my favorite out of my parent’s schnauzer collection. He has a bit of the middle child syndrome and so I’ve always made an effort to give him lots of extra attention when I visit. He is very sweet and incredibly gentle. On several occasion’s, Neal and I have kept Piper at our house by himself to see how he would do as an “only dog.” I can’t believe how well he adapted considering he’s a country schnauzer who has been in a “pack” since birth. He’s very quiet, which is uncharacteristic of yappy ass schnauzers. He doesn’t really bark at much and when he does, it’s a few yelps. (I think he never truly discovered his voice at my parent’s house.) He’s afraid of cars and horses. If you toss him treats, he never misses them. Even if he has to walk backwards and do a back flip, he’ll catch it!

I have been heartbroken. It’s almost a week and no sign of Piper. Mom calls the vet and animal control daily and still nothing. This whole time I had imagined that he’s cuddled up in a near-by home, enjoying the riches of being an only dog. But you can’t go anywhere without seeing the signs for him, so why hasn’t someone called!?

And then, someone at work dropped the bombshell on me.

Co-worker: Your parents live out in the country, right?
Pregnant Jenn: Yes.
Co-worker: Oh boy. I sure hope the coyote’s haven’t gotten to him!
Pregnant Jenn: <<look of shock on my face and run to the bathroom for a good hormonal cry>>

So I’m sending up prayer to St. Anthony (patron saint of lost things) and St. Francis (patron saint of animals) that Piper will come home soon. I hope he’s just in a warm house looking out a window, and if that’s the case I hope those people see our sign soon, because he is missed.

Oh! And I have it in writing from my husband that when he does come home, he’s coming to Hendersonville to live the life of an only dog!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Saturday's are the best days!

Every Saturday, I move into a new week of pregnancy. I’m set up on a website that emails me every Saturday morning welcoming me to week such-and-such. We have a ritual that I wake up Neal and read to him about what our baby is doing this week. It makes the whole experience a little more real. To know that right now there is a lil’ baby inside of me, that I can’t feel, that is dancing for joy. S/he is now clenching lil’ fists and there are even tiny tooth buds under their gums. THAT is thriving within me.

I pray every day that this baby is healthy, first and foremost. It can be a boy or a girl, I just pray that it has 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes. (Though, tiny toes are unlikely because momma has size 10 feet and daddy struggles to find 14 Wide’s. But there is hope.)

And after I pray for a healthy baby, I pray that it’s happy. Like its dad. I’ve said it before, though quiet, Neal is the happiest man I’ve ever met. And it takes nothing to make him that way, he’s just… is. (Which at first, I thought it was a lil’ screwy, but whatev. Haha.)

And then I pray s/he has Neal’s beautiful blue eyes and his chubby cheeks, with my winning smile. I hope Niblet is smart like both of us, has a zest for life like Neal, and a talent like mine.

But most of all, I just pray that we have a healthy child. And I guess that’s all you can really ask for.