She’s Back!

Well, well, well…look who decided to show her face around these parts again.  Yes, it’s true.  I’ve been M.I.A. from the blog world lately.  My mind has been elsewhere – busy with baby preparation, nesting, work, and enjoying  time with my husband.  And, this third trimester has me feeling super tired lately!  I mean, really, really tired.  But enough about that.  Let’s get to the good stuff!

31 weeks belly shot! Looks more like I ate a giant hoagie, but it's a baby. Not a hoagie. I've always wanted to call a sandwich 'hoagie' like Cliff Huxtable.

Here’s a pic for Bump Watch 2011.  I’m nearly 31 weeks in this photo.  The kid is going NUTS in there!  She’s constantly moving.  In fact, I think she’s trying to get out…through my abdominal wall, a la that classic scene in ‘Alien’.  This is probably payback for me referring to her as an alien in the past.  For that, I am sorry, Baby.  You are a calm, sweet, beautiful and precious little angel that simply adores being squished into a yogic ball, upside down, forced to enjoy mommy’s latest fondness for ALL THINGS DAIRY (ice cream, yogurt, milk shakes, protein shakes, cheese, cheese curds, cheese spread (i love you), butter, and sundaes.  You’re welcome, darling girl.

Besides eating, I’ve been busy nesting.  And I’ll tell you what…I LOVE NESTING!  Nesting alone is reason to get pregnant!  It’s brilliant!  Normally I’m a big planner but not a good do-er when it comes to house stuff.  But, the organization fire is burning and I’ve been checking things off the list.  With the help of my talented mom (she has a serious knack for this stuff), we’ve been organizing rooms, drawers, and closets (all three of them!).  My husband and I are desperate to eliminate as much clutter and excess from our lives as possible, to help make our transition to parenthood as easy and calm as possible.  This purging and organizing process has been cathartic and wonderful for both of us.

So far, my favorite part has been putting the nursery together, and it’s nearly done!  It looks so beautiful. I stand in there for minutes on end just admiring the loveliness and envisioning our little one laying in her crib.  The vision of her in this room makes me so happy.  We turned our second bedroom into the nursery.  The transformation has been amazing!  Here’s a little tease  with the before picture.  As soon as we put the finishing touches on the room, I’ll post the after.

Here's the nursery in a state of chaos.

Dan and I assembled the crib together and lived to tell about it.  So that’s good.  We’ve painted the walls a gorgeous shade of pale aqua using this fantastic eco and baby-friendly VOC-free paint from Mythic.  My wonderful parents visited for a couple of days and painted the room and assembled the changing table while Dan and I were at work.  So nice of them!  They did an amazing job.   We’re just waiting for the chair and the pillows I had made to arrive and voila!  Baby’s got a room of her own.  I can’t wait!!!!!!

We’re also busy taking a baby class once a week.  Now this is funny.  Since Dan and I have zero experience with labor, delivery, and newborn care, this class has been quite helpful…and comical.  The videos they make us watch are worth every dollar we’ve spent on this class.  Though, they have now turned me off of the idea of actually delivering this baby.  I’ve decided I’d like her to just arrive the old fashioned way – via stork.  This week we moved on from the terrors of labor and delivery and learned how to care for our newborn.  Here’s a pic of Dan burping the baby.  Awwww.

Burp the baby. I practiced on Dan later.

All in all, there have been many adventures in Cheeseland lately, with updating our kitchen (doh!), and a visit from my beautiful sister, Sara, to celebrating lot’s of 30th birthdays of my (younger) friends, and spending time with new friends, which has been especially lovely.  Life is good.   Now, will someone please bring me some ice cream.  Mama needs to get her snack on.

A Father’s Love

As we prepare to bring our first child into this world, I have become increasingly aware of the role my parents have played in my life.  I wonder what kind of parent I will be to my child, and I know that if I can be just a fraction of what my parents have been to me, then our child will be just fine.  Not too long ago, my grandpa told me the story of my father’s birth, and it reminded me once again of the enduring love a parent feels for their child.

My father was born on February 21, 1943 – on his parents’ first wedding anniversary.  I’ve always loved this fact.  I find it inexplicably romantic.

My grandpa at sixteen years old!

My dad’s father, my grandpa Joe, was in the service when my dad was born.  He was in  training in Louisiana, preparing to leave for the South Pacific to fight in World War II.  It pained him to be so far away from his young wife, my grandma, who was pregnant with their first and only child, hundreds of miles away in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  They spoke often on the phone so he knew their baby would be born soon.  He also knew that he could not leave to fight a war without seeing his newborn child first.  He had to get home.

So, my grandpa went to his captain and asked if he could leave for a few days to visit his newborn child.  The captain said no.  My grandpa was crushed.  He decided to go to his lieutenant, who he liked very much, and plead his case. He said, “I know we’re about to leave and I respect that.  But my child is about to be born and I cannot leave without seeing him or her first.  I’ll come right back.  I just have to go home.” His lieutenant patiently listened and said “Listen, if we let you go, don’t try any funny stuff. Trust me, it will hurt you more than you know.”  The lieutenant spoke to the captain and miraculously, he acquiesced, and the next day my grandpa was on a bus back to Tulsa.  Late that evening he was dropped off at an old bus depot in the middle of nowhere.  Not a sign of life in any direction.  He was to wait for another bus to take him home.  Silently, he prayed that a bus would come around the bend, because not a soul on Earth knew he was sitting out there waiting.

My dad at age 5. My little brother looked just like him at age 5. So cool.

A few hours later, a bus pulled into the depot and took my grandfather home to his waiting wife and newborn son, Daniel Joseph Millsap.  He only needed a day or two to make sure his wife was okay and to meet his beloved child.  Everything was okay.  Regrettably, the next day he boarded the same bus to take him back to boot camp.  Leaving was the hardest thing he ever had to do, but he was satisfied and grateful for the opportunity.  A father’s love – no, a parent’s love, knows no bounds.

My father is clearly the product of immense love and devotion by his two doting parents.  My blue-collar grandparents worked hard to give him a quality life, and the love they showered upon him is evident in every fiber of his being.  My three siblings and I have been the fortunate recipients of  this byproduct our entire lives.  In fact, I know this quality is one my mother loves the most in my father. He, like his own father, was destined to be a dad.

My dad and I have a very special relationship.  We are very similar creatures, he and I, and we understand each other in a way that no one has ever been able to match.  I inherited his blue eyes and broad nose, his painfully tender heart, his athleticism, his curiosity, and his receding hairline and knotty, bunioned feet. Thanks dad.

My dad walking me down the aisle (Photo by Erin Hearts Court)

My dad is unwaveringly devoted to his family.  Us four kids and my mother know, without a shadow of a doubt, that my father would do anything for us at the drop of a hat.  He has always been there for us…every step of the way, and even as we have grown older and have moved on, his love and loyalty have only grown stronger, and for that, I am one lucky kid.

I love you, Dad!