Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Not Dead, I Swear

Hey all!  We're doing well, Alexa is still incubating nicely. 

On Nov 6th, work decided to go into hyper drive and has JUST started to slow. Therefore my usual blogging time (when I'm bored at work) became nonexistent.  Today I'm making a special stop here just to let you know I'm still alive and doing well, just rediculously busy at work.  I'm hoping this short post will encourage me to post a longer update soon.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eye Appointment/Pediatricians

About the time I became pregnant, or shortly after, I noticed this weird bump on my lower eye lid. I showed Doctor Raspa at each appointment and he blew it off as a mole. Well, it seemed to grow, so I decided to go to my eye doctor to have him check it out. He didn't like the way it looked and referred me to an eye surgeon for a biopsy. I had my consult with Dr. Nicolitz today, who is the eye surgeon that I was referred to. After looking at the ‘lesion’, he said almost instantly that he would like a biopsy. Because it was so dark and because it’s so close to the tear duct, they want to just make sure its not melanoma. It is possible that it’s just a mole that got darker because of the pregnancy hormones, but they want to be sure. Unfortunately, they can’t do the biopsy until after Alexa is born, so after delivery we’ll have to call and make an appointment. It’s a simple procedure they do in-office, but I’ll have to be numbed up and then patched, so I’ll need a ride. (With needles that close to my eye, I might need a valium too!) If it comes back as something they want to remove completely, it will mean surgery under full anesthesia, so HOPEFLLY it won’t come to that.

In other news, we found our pediatrician(s)! Barry and I went to an open house last night at Progressive Pediatrics and absolutely fell in love with the doctors there. They are certified in Holistic Medicine, so they are focused on keeping our children well more so than just dealing with them only when they’re sick. They seemed to be on our wavelength for much of our thinking (breast feeding, vaccines, etc) so Barry and I are both super excited that we found them. One of them is a certified Lactation Consultant also, so if I have trouble she’ll be there. They emphasized that they are ultimately there for the child, but that they are our advisors, and that they leave the decisions up to the parents. They are HUGE on educating the parents, so their after hours calls are less than a typical office because the parents. I like that. Unfortunately they don’t visit St. Vincent’s (where I'll be delivering), but they were confident in the neonatologists in attendance there and they’ll be in constant communication with them. Every question we asked, they gave the answers I was hoping to hear (ex: appointments every 30 minutes, not every 15 and then a long wait). The only bummer is that they don’t have Saturday or evening hours, but they are definitely family focused, which means they feel their family is important, too (hence the hours). Yay for finding a great fit for us!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flour Baby!

"Is it normal to feel clumsy during pregnancy?
Yes. Many women feel ungainly when they're pregnant, particularly in their last few months."
Well, this is rediculous...

I decided to make pumpkin bread. (This recipe sans the clove.)After over an hour and a half of cutting, cooking, peeling and pureeing the pumpkin, adding the eggs, sugar, oil, and water, then maticulously measuring the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, etc I opened the cabinet above my dry mix to put my flour away when a can of Tomato Basil soup decided to escape the cabinet and PLOP! directly into my flour mix. As you can see, flour went EVERYWHERE. I really wish I had a camera on me because it was probably effing hilarious. But now, after all that measuring, i don't know how much flour and spices I just lost. So what do I do? I sweep the floor, then measure the dirty stuff (over 1/2 a cup!). Then I just remove a 1/2 a cup of the wet stuff, mix and bake! It turned out SO GOOD. :)
The loaf is still in the oven, but I had a bit left, so I made a dozen mini muffins and they turned out YUMMY!

Somer Thompson

Those who live locally here in Jax know about Somer Thompson. If you don't, please click here, then read on.

North Florida has been heartbroken for the past 72 hours, first with her disappearance, then with the discovery of Somer's body. When the story first broke, I was annoyed that they interrupted my Big Bank Theory to talk about a missing girl that never came home from school. Then when Barry said (who, at first, was also annoyed) "What if it was Alexa?" my annoyance quickly dissipated.

I admit, I kept my distance. Even though it unfolded in Orange Park, minutes from where I grew up, I felt as I did with any other story on the news. It was a "There goes another one" attitude. Then, yesterday morning, I listened to Somer's mom give a news conference on the way to work. Her voice was so... distraught. I've never heard heartbreak, real sorrow, like I did from her.

Then, last night, they found the body but couldn't confirm it was Somer. So again, I kept my distance - they don't know yet.

But listening to the news on the way to work this morning, they confirmed the body found in the landfill was indeed Somer Thompson, a 7 yr old who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I've never let a news story affect me like this. I sobbed all the way to work. I'm realizing that, as a parent, you see the news in a completely different light. Prior to Alexa, I could sympathize and say "I can imagine what they're going through." Now I realize that I really didn't have a fucking clue. No one can tell you how scary it is going to be as a parent. No one can warn you about these things. Does it get any easier to listen to the news? Knowing that the family on the screen really isn't any different than us and, just like my family, doesn't deserve to feel that horrific grief?

Somer, I didn't know you. But I know that your mother loves you. Your brothers and sisters love you. And now, a whole town, state, and country love you. Please dance with the angels, and give my Grandma a big hug from me.

Honest Scrap Award

Alix at Casa Hice has bestowed upon me this Honest Scrap Award...

The Honest Scrap Award requires that I list 10 honest things about myself, and then I have to pass it on to 7 people with blogs that I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have
encouraged me. So here goes:

1. I'm pregnant with my first baby. (Duh!)

2. I'm scared to death that Alexa is going to end up completely screwed up and hate me.

3. My husband thinks I eat too much sugar and that our baby is going to be born diabetic. If he only knew how much sugar I really ate...

4. At work, I'm not as happy in my current position as I was at the branch, but I feel 'stuck' here.

5. I want sex a lot more now that I'm pregnant, but am getting it a lot less.

6. I cuss a lot in the car at other drivers. I mean... A LOT.

7. One of my favorite things to do is sit by a campfire on a chilly night and stare at the flames. Especially if its a starry night, I have hot chocolate in my hands, and I'm surrounded by friends and family.

8. I don't know how to program my MP3 player with play lists. I think if i had an iPod it'd be much easier.

9. I'm constantly worried about money. It's probably not healthy.

10.I wish I would read more. I have so many books on my plate that I started and haven't finished.

On to the 7 people. I don't have that many blogs that I follow, so you're pretty much all tagged. :)

1. Angelle @ Crabby Mama

2. Rhiannon @ DaveRhi

3. Laurie @ Welcome to the Madhouse

4. Nikki @ Tales of a Sweet Life

5. Katie @ The Palmaro Diaries

6. Joanie @ Joanie's Random Ramblings

7. Garret @ RV'ing

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ode to 100 Grand

Oh, 100 Grand, how I love thee. Your perfect combination of crispy crunchies and chewy caramel makes me overbound with joy. I am saddened that I only have a "Fun Size" of your chewy, yummy goodness, but am grateful for your existence, however short it was. I thoroughly enjoyed created 10 bites out of the 3 that it would typically take to consume you, to only prolong your wonderment.
You are so seductive, oh 100 Grand. It is taking all of the power within me to not take the long trek across the building to find another Fun Size to partake in. I must resist.... I... can't....
mmmm........ *Crunch*

Monday, October 19, 2009

Roller Coaster of Emotions

The weekend started with a BUST. Going to bed on Friday night, Barry and I had a conversation that made me cry, and once I started I couldn't stop. It was a serious discussion about parenting and money (fears, expectations, etc.)but it wasn't something that would typically cause me try cry uncontrollably. But there I was, gushing, with no end in sight. I went to sleep upset, something I hate doing. I woke up early to let the dogs out in OP, threw on some sweat pants and a sweatshirt, and was out and back home by 8:00am. I crawled back to bed and slept another 2 hours. I woke up in a funk. I didn't feel like going anywhere, but didn't feel like being at home either. I didn't care about what was on TV, or even what I was going to eat for breakfast, even though I could feel my stomach growling. Barry finally asked me if I was OK, I said no and started crying again. He asked if it was him. I answered "No" but I really wasn't sure. I couldn't talk about it... didn't want to talk about it. I just wanted to wallow in my funk. Then I realized that I CRAVED Barry to hug me, touch me, kiss me, whatever, but I felt like I couldn't ask him to do it; I wanted him to want to do it on his own. At one point he gave me a hug and it seemed that I clung to him like I was going to loose him or something. (I don't know if he noticed.) It was so bazaar. I looked at my bed and thought how great it would be to just lay down again, but at the same time, didn't want to waste my time there - I knew as soon as I laid down that I would be bored. I never felt this way in my entire life before - very strange.
So, about 3, I got out of my sweats and dressed for the day. We headed to Orange Park for another dog sitting session. We found a cat that was lost and that perked me up for a short while. Then we headed to a friends, I got to watch the Gators win (barely!) and I slowly felt like my old self again.
On the way back to let the dogs out for the last time that day, I was finally able to talk to Barry about my funk. I described what I felt and he said I sounded depressed. Hm. In my 29 years of life, it was the first time I had ever felt that. Depression. (And it only lasted a 1/2 day - makes me feel very lucky.) Then I was able to tell him that I realized that I just missed his touch so much. It must have been an accumulation of a few days of unconscious preggo-induced thoughts of a poor body image or something... who knows? So as soon as I was able to talk about it, the weekend went MUCH better than it started. Sunday was a great day of spending time with family and friends, and the weekend ended with a great bang (If you know what i mean! :))

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sympathy Bitchiness?

Ok, I've heard of sympathy weight, where the husband gains weight along with his pregnant wife, but is there such a thing as Sympathy Bitchiness?

Barry will blame my pregnancy on any little bickering I do (For example, when I have to put away our Calphalon scissors for the 15th effing time, or when I come home to an xBox-playing husband when the sink is FULL of dishes and the dishwasher is empty.) I don't see this as being pregnant, I see this as being a working wife wanting to come home to a decent house. Can you blame me? But anyway, I digress.

Night before last we were driving to Orange Park (a 25 minute trek across the river) to dog sit for our friends who are on vacation. We got all the way over the bridge when I realized we forgot the house key. ARGH!!! I HATE wasting the gas and time (especially since SYTYCD was on!) so I got a bit annoyed. PLUS Barry drives like an 85 year old Grandma, and most of the time I am very patient. I just happened to make a comment this time after making our U-turn. Something along the lines of "Can you at least go the speed limit on the way home?" Well, he blew up! He went off the reservation and then ANYTHING I said just made it worse. So I stopped talking. And of course that made it worse too.

Finally, after about 5 minutes he was like "aren't you going to say something?"

"I didn't know if I was allowed." (Secretly I wanted the argument to last until we got home because in his rant he said that I should just stay home and he'd go back alone, which is what I wanted in the first place!)

"Well... blah blah blah" He calmed down and apologized.

After I knew the storm had blown over I made a comment I have made in the past: "You're such a woman sometimes."

He knew exactly what I meant and didn't even argue.

Monday, October 12, 2009

23 Weeks Randomness

We had our monthly check-up on Friday. Everything is going well! Saturday marked 23 weeks. First, I keep forgetting to announce that we've finally decided on a name. So, without further ado, introducing...

Alexa Jade Swedlow

Now that that's out of the way, on to the update:

Alexa is coming along! The doctor says she's very active, and I can concur with as much as I feel her doing her gymnastics in my ute. He measured my belly and said I was running a little big - hopefully that means she'll come earlier, not that she'll be a big baby! I'm REALLY hoping she inherits my shoulders, not Barry's. Barry has amazon shoulders - OUCH!

I'm doing pretty great too. My lower back hurts quite often, and the doctor said it's because my hips are out of alignment and one leg becomes longer than the other. He gave me an exercise to do that should alleviate that, so I'll work on it. Other than my back, though, I'm feeling pretty good!

On Saturday morning I went into cleaning mode. I don't clean that often, but I had high hopes that I would get a shit-ton of stuff done. I ended up focusing on the guest bathroom. I cleaned that bathroom like it had never cleaned before. I went from dusting every little nook and organizing under the sink to actually taking a soapy rag to the base boards! It looked as good as the day we moved in, but my back paid for it later that day after being on the floor all morning. Nesting? maybe, but it seems to early for that.

Today I watched a Baby Story on TLC, and later watched bits of Knocked Up. Both times right after the delivery and the baby was placed in the mom's arms, I got teared up. I can't wait until that moment more than almost any other. I can only imagine right now the overwhelming emotion that I'll feel when I see Alexa for the first time. Just imagining it makes me sniffle!

Something I enjoy about being pregnant - That giddy in-love feeling. Its like when you first start seeing someone and you've just left a great date. You go over the moments in your mind and feel such excitement and anticipation. I feel like that when I rub my tummy. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

And My Day Was Going So Well...

It goes without mentioning that it's Friday - so 100 bonus points for that.

Second, I went to bed before 10 last night so i could wake up a few minutes early to eat breakfast. I actually did get up early and got ready quickly enough to make myself a YUMMY Egg & Cheddar grilled sammie for breakfast. and I still got to work on time!

Third, we got our first Virtual Branch customer! As most of you know, I am the Virtual Branch Office Manager at my bank, among other things. And since going live on August 8th, every application has failed (rightly so, but still). Then, as I was checking my reports this morning, I didn't see my typical 'denied'. It says "In Progress" Wha-what?! YESSS!!! So what if it's our CFO's father. He's 4 hours away, and if a 94 year old man can open an account online - anyone can do it!

Also, I've got awesome leftovers from barry's yummy porkchop dinner last night. As soon as I'm done w/ this post i'm gonna chow down.

Then why, oh why, after having such a great morning, must I get this:

This makes me so sad. Now I can only enjoy people of walmart at home. *sigh*

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blip! Blip! Bop!

Last night while watching TV and futzing around with FarmVille on FaceBook, I felt a little Blip!Blip! in my lower abdomen. I told Barry that I thought I just felt the baby and he says, "Shouldn't you know when you feel the baby?" That made me second guess myself. (Jerk.) But this morning, while sitting here at work, I felt it again. So I went downstairs to the branch, where one of my co-workers is due in November. I explained what i felt and she said "YEP!"

WOOT!!! Yay, Baby Girl!

What I thought was interesting was that for the last 3 weeks, I was trying what everyone told me to try: To lie in bed or on the couch and just relax. So there I've been, concentrating on my baby bump hoping that I could will her to kick me. It never worked. When I did feel her, I was sitting up on the couch, kind of hunched over the laptop that sits on our coffee table. Same with today - sitting up at my desk at work. It's never really in the same exact place twice, so she's a little swimmer. OMG, I just love her so much. Its rediculous! I've never even met her yet!

Just another step that makes her and this all the more real - and just another level of excitement for me - I can't wait to meet her!!!!

Update: I'm just so excited i can't concentrate on the procedures i should be writing right now at work. I never wanted to be kicked in the gut so badly in my life!! HA! Oh, Baby Girl. You just make me want to dance a jig I'm so excited for you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I have been sneezing every day since being pregnant. I learned through the miracle of the Internet that it's a very common 'symptom' of pregnancy called Pregnancy Rhinitis. Who-da-thunk?

Well, last night Barry and I are laying on the couch (foot-to-foot, to give you a picture ;))watching TV when I feel a sneeze coming on. I do a sit-up (to avoid the obligatory piddle otherwise), cover my mouth and sneeze. Barry goes "EWWWWW!!!" Thinking I sneezed on him, i say "SORRY... I covered my mouth!" He said, "It wasn't the sneeze - your belly was against my leg!"


He was creeped out because 'it was all hard and stuff'. What a freakin' wuss. He has yet to touch my tummy. Just wait till this kid starts kicking. He better touch my belly then!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

People of Wal-Mart

I can tell this is going to be the cause of aLOT of workplace slacking in my future.

I'd say this is the best website I've come across in quite a long time. Please, click the link. I want to share the enjoyment with you. Come back after and tell me your favorite.

PS, here's a sneak peak:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Growth Spurt?

This morning I woke up to start my morning ritual: Turn off the alarm, roll out of bed, walk the 4-5 steps to the toilet, pee, turn on the shower, wake up gradually under a hot stream of water. This morning I woke up fairly quicker when I noticed some pink on my TP. AH! It wasn't a lot, so I didn't freak out. I pulled out my "What to Expect" Book, and didn't feel too worried when I didn't have any pain associated with it. So I took my shower as usual and called the Doctor when I got out. (Its so nice when he answers the phone.) He said just to keep an eye on it and to not have sex for a few days, then give him a call. Then he said "I'll feel better when you feel the baby move." UGH. Great. NOW I'm worrying! Sure, I've been anxious to feel her, but I saw her moving on the ultrasound just last Tuesday, and heard her heartbeat at a strong 153 on Friday, so I've been OK with it. I am a little overweight, so according to my books and websites, it's usual to not feel fetal movement right now, sometimes until 26 weeks. (I'm at 19.) But when the Doctor says he's worried, shouldn't I worry too? And now, of course, I'm wondering if every little twinge is more than it is. Meh. I'm going to do my best to not be stressed about it, since he didn't make me come in, or even tell me to lay down for the day or anything. Stress is not good for a baby. This is me, not stressed.

One thing I've felt the last 3 days now, is that even if I eat or drink the smallest meal, I feel like I just ate Thanksgiving Dinner. All of it. My stomach and sides are super tight (above my ute) and all I want to do is lay down. Saturday I mentioned to Barry that I thought she must have had a huge growth spurt or something because I felt SO tight (but again, not at my uterus, but above and around it). Its like she's growing faster than my body can compensate. To all my other mothers out there: is this normal, too? I did mention this to Dr. Raspa, too, and he didn't seem to make a deal out of it.

The Registry

On Saturday Barry spent the rainy afternoon in Babies R Us with a gun. A scanning gun that is. We picked out everything from my breast pump to our stroller system to our bedding to Every. Little. Thing. In between. By the time we got home, 4 plus hours later, saying we were exhausted was an understatement. We heated up some left overs and vegged in front of the TV. By 10:00, I woke up from the couch and migrated to the bed, not bothering to even take my hair out of my ponytail. I woke up again at about 1:15 (to pee of course) and noticed that Barry was still in the living room. I yelled to him "I can't believe you're still awake!" Not a minute later he was next to me. Apparently he fell asleep on the couch too (TV, computer and lights still on). We both woke up the next day about 9:00. I slept for 11 hours!! I haven't done that in I don't know how long. Goes to show that making decisions really is tiring. That plus growing a baby can really wear you out I guess. ;)

On a side note, a few of my friends/family had taken notice to our Registry and made some comments on our 'over-abundance' of scanned items. In my defense, Barry held the gun the whole time and he even admitted that if it said "A Must Have for Parents!" on the label, he scanned it. (Hence the baby timer thingy on the registry - what does it do that a normal timer doesn't? We have no idea.) Also, we fell prey to the New Parent Syndrome that Babies R Us love to spread by giving you a checklist that has everything under the sun on it. Luckily, Angelle set me straight on a few things, and as the weeks and months pass, I'm sure I'll be updating it with more or less of the necessities and less of the thermometers (Apparently we had at least 5 different ones scanned. OOPS.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Front Porch Looking In

My radio at work was tuned to the country station today. I typically listen to "lite work favorites" but for whatever reason it didn't want to come in. I love most country music and although many lesser fans think it's all shotguns and dead dogs, the majority of the songs are full of beautiful lyrics about love. Not just romantic love, but songs about family, patriotism, and the love for the finer things in life. I just finished listening to "Front Porch Looking In" by Lonestar. From Wikipedia: The song describes how the sight of his beautiful wife and two adorable children is far better than anything including his "panoramic view" of his estate or "the paintings from the air, brushed by the hand of God." He also describes that after seeing the whole world, he "can't wait to get back home to the one He made for me."

As the song ended, I realized that I'm going to be a part of this privileged club all too soon. I've watched from the outside for so long and it wasn't until just now that I realized how much I was missing. She's not even born yet and I already understand why it's worth writing a song about. I am so overwhelmed with joy that I will experience that love. Not just imagine it, but truly feel it and experience it. Its more anticipation than high school prom, that first roller coaster, or my first kiss put together, yet its so calming. I know now that I was born to be in this club. To be a parent. My wallet may not be ready, but my heart sure as hell is. Bring it on.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice...

...that's what little GIRLS are made of!!

That's right, She's a SHE! I can't say I was super surprised, since I've had the feeling of a girl the whole time.

A common question everyone asked me was "What do you want it to be?" I always gave the PC answer of "As long as its healthy, i don't care" and I was pretty sure I meant it. After seeing her on the ultrasound and realizing that all her parts were in the right place and growing at the right place, it really confirmed what I had been saying the whole time. I am just SOOO grateful that I could see each individual bone in her fingers, all in the right places. Everything looked perfect and she even gave us a big "thumbs up" at one point. :) I'll post the picture when I remember to scan them. :)

So, thank you to everyone for their well wishes. Now that i know she's a she, it's all the more real. Now I keep picturing the 3 year old version of her. I can see her long flowing black/brown hair and beautiful blue eyes. I'm praying for her daddy's complexion... and if she's lucky, she'll have the mailman's nose. :)

Baby Girl, I can't wait to meet you!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sugar 'n' Spice or Snakes 'n' Snails?

If all goes well, we will know the sex of Little Cashew today!!! Our appointment is at 2:45. It's my first major ultrasound (the only other one was a quick 'hi' as a favor from my Doctor) so i don't know quite what to expect. I'm utterly excited, though. It's 12:06 according to my clock on my computer at work. I'm doing my best to get what I can done between moments of just wishing and praying that 2:15 would come quickly so i can head out and SEE my BABY! And HOPEFULLY see his or her little wang (or lack there of).

I was reading about Old Wives Tales yesterday to figure out what they would say the sex would be. According to a quiz collaborating many famous OWTs, we've got a 74% chance of a girl. One OWT made me chuckle, though... a grandmother was talking to her pregnant granddaughter. She said if you're crabby during your pregnancy, its a girl because all girls are crabby and if you have a girl you're twice as so. If you're happy during your pregnancy, it's a boy because you have a 'peter' in you for 9 months! LOL! Gotta love spunky Grandmas. *sigh* I miss mine... I wish she could meet her newest Great Grand baby. But that's another blog...

12:14... SO CLOSE!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grandpa's 80th Birthday Party

I haven't made that much time on blogger as I used to, which has caused me to slack on my 'everyday posts'. Things like what i do over the weekend or a funny thing my nephew says always seem to be forgotten by the time i finish reading all the blogs I keep up with. SO, before I let life get in the way again, I just have to tell you what I got to do last weekend. :)
About 2 or 3 weeks ago Barry's Dad offered us (out of the blue) some money for a vacation. I was so grateful, but said I'd rather take the money and pay down some bills. Then I remembered that my Grandpa's 80th birthday party was right around the corner, and that I REALLY wanted to go, so we told Barry's Dad that we would take him up on his offer if he enjoyed the time with us. He agreed and the quick planning went underway. In a few days, I had to shop for the best deals, and then get 3 airline tickets, a rental car, and sleeping accommodations squared up. (I not so secretly love doing that stuff.) So a week before our trip we were settled to go.

We flew from Jax to Chicago's Midway airport and arrived about 9am Thursday morning. We decided to spend the day in Chicago, since, in the 76 years of Morty's (Barry's Dad) life, he's never been to Chicago. Our first stop, of course, was Chinatown for a yummy dim sum breakfast. Then we decided to drive around downtown a bit and check out "the Bean" (one of my favorite spots in Chi-town), then go down Lake Shore Drive to the Field Museum (Chicago's Natural History Museum). We were there from about 11-5 and only got through the top floor of the Field's 3 floors of exhibits. They had an AMAZING exhibit on the history of the earth (from 4.5 BILLION years ago to today) that took up most of the day, but that's because Barry's a earth-science freak and had to read EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I walked ahead and sat a lot. ;) From there it was rush hour and I didn't feel like driving in Chicago's traffic, so we headed BACK to Chinatown for a YUMMY dinner at our favorite noodle house.

Some pics from the museum:

The Field Museum

Mandi Pirate. ARRRRR!

Me, Capt PegLeg, and Barry

Nice Bone!
We got to my Grandpa's about 7 or 8 and got to spend some time with family before it was bedtime for them. For some reason, Barry, Morty, and I stayed up until midnight playing Thirteen Wild, which is the resident card game in the Hart Family (kind of like rummy). We had to teach Morty if he was going to be able to hang. :) By 11:30, we had been up for WAY too long (about 20 hours) so we started to get the sillies and knew it was time for bed.

Before I go on, most people who read this blog know how much I LOVE my Grandpa. My Grandpa is probably my favorite person on this planet. (and yes, I'm including Barry). He's the kindest, gentlest man in the world who has more love in his heart for family than anyone I've ever met. Anyone that's met him can attest to this as well. :) If I could, I'd make sure that everyone I loved had the chance to meet him and experience his huge leprechaun smile.

Back to the weekend: Friday we had to get everything ready for the party. My Aunt was expecting about 100 people, both friends and family, from across the country, so there was a lot to be done. (there was even a port-a-potty delivered!) The tents were set up, the Cornhole games set out (and what my Uncle Buzz calls Testicle Toss), and the beer and liquor were put out and on ice. The morning went by way too fast, and it was time to drive to Milwaukee to pick up my Dad from the airport. Before doing that, we stopped by the Milwaukee Museum of Art and got some cool pictures of my favorite building in Milwaukee:

My attempt at an 'artsy' shot. :)

Across the bridge, looking back

Inside, looking up.

Everyday, at noon and 5:00pm, the "sails" of the museum open and close. This is a mid-way shot.

After the museum closed, we had dinner at a great German place called Maders, and then picked up my dad and headed back to my Grandpa's house.

On to the Big Day! Grandpa's ACTUAL birthday was Monday, the 31st, but we celebrated on Saturday. People started trickling in about 10:45am and staying until about midnight. There was fun, games, lots of laughter, and LOTS of beer. It also ended up being one of the coldest days in the month of August for the area. I don't think it hit close to 70 the whole day. So, by 5 or so, the bonfire was lit and the bags of marshmallows were ravaged. :) I didn't get as many pictures as I probably should have, but here's a few:

The Cake (Courtesy of Lovin' Oven Cakery)

The Backyard (AKA Party Central)

The Booze (no, I did not partake)

My Dad, Cousin Stephanie ("Stevie") and Father In Law, Morty

The Bonfire (after it's died down quite a bit)

Mama Irene and Dad (Mama was my Grandma's best friend since like the '40s)

Aunt Karene (Grandpa's youngest) and The Man Himself

Cousin Robbie and his niece Neveah (and she's a DOLL!)

Uncle Harry, making his grand entrance, riding an Ice Cream truck down the driveway. It's becoming a tradition for him to hi-jack one each year :)

It was a great trip that went by way too quickly. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

17 Week Randomness

Apparently, Cashew is starting to hear now. I wonder what that's like. I mean your whole world is quiet, then all of a sudden there's a whole new sense to explore. I know that it's gotta be scary. From that, I wonder what his/her first sounds were. Was it my voice? a burp? a fart? I wish it was something we could document, like their first words. Its interesting, when I first learned about him/her, I talked to my belly and I knew he/she couldn't hear anything. Now that i know that he/she can, i haven't found myself able to say something. I'm hoping its because I haven't been alone with my belly yet, and I don't want to appear crazy talking to myself.

A week from today, at 2:45, is our ultrasound appointment. HOPEFULLY, if Cashew cooperates, he or she will show us their junk and I won't have to say "he/she" anymore! I really think she's a girl, which is why he's probably a boy. If we do have a girl, the poor thing may end up just being named "Baby Girl Swedlow" because her parents couldn't decide on a name. Barry will not listen to anything except Iylana ("ill-ana"). I thought it was pretty our first night we found out we were pregnant and he's taking that as law that I liked the name, so he doesn't see why I don't want it now. I really like Ella, especially thinking that was a compromise for Iylana, but he thinks it sounds like an old person name. Grrr.... Maybe we'll just let her name herself, like Picabo Street. (OK, as i posted the link, i learned that she didn't name herself, but was named after a small Idaho town. Geez)

According to a book or 2, i should be 5-10 pounds heavier by now. Although I look like I've gained 15 pounds, I don't think i've gained more than 1 or 2 pounds, if any. Hopefully I'm not starving the kid.

Barry continues to be sweet as can be. In fact, I make more fat jokes than he does. I'm surprisingly less sensitive about it, and he's surprisingly more sensitive about it. Once he called me "Hot Mama" and i thought he said "Fat Mama". I thought it was funny, but he was appalled that I even thought he would say something like that. My hubby never ceases to surprise me. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weight Watchers Dessert Recipe

I had this dessert at a friends house last week and she just emailed me the recipe. It is SO GOOD!!

WW Cinnamon Crisps with Honey (Sopapillas) 3 points

4 (8 inch) fat free flour tortillas
Butter flavored cooking spray
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350. Stack tortillas, cut into four wedges, separate wedges and place in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle wedges with sugar mixture. Drizzle on honey
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp.
Yield: 4 servings, (4 wedges each)

WW Ginger Fruit Salsa 0 points (Gotta love that!)

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped cantaloupe
1 cup chopped pineapple
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing gently. Let stand at least five minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 servings (1/4 cup serving size)

OPTIONS: Robin added extra ginger, pineapple, and cranberries and I thought it was delicious.

Use the sopapillas as your 'chips' and enjoy!! It's got a kick w/ the ginger and jalapenos, but its so satisfying and delicious.

Monday, August 10, 2009

14 Weeks and Counting

Friday we had our monthly check up. The VERY first thing Dr. Raspa says to me after our hello's is "You know, it's OK to color your hair - it doesn't absorb into your skin." LOL! I guess my roots are getting pretty bad. So, time for a trip to CVS now that I know it's safe.Here's some other things that went on:
~We listened to the heartbeat again. He/She is going strong and swimming like a fish! Every time he got a good read, you'd hear it quickly fade away, like Cashew was playing with us. At one point we heard a bit THUMP! and was told that it was a kick. SO COOL!
~Between my last appointment and this one, I actually lost a pound! The Dr. was OK with this and very satisfied by my weight. Because I'm a little hefty anyway, he doesn't want me to gain as much as what my book say. Now that my appetite is growing, I'm going to have to be better about keeping that in check. I want to eat every few hours!
~My next appointment is September 8th, which is our ultrasound! Hopefully we'll find out the sex. I can't wait! (Then we can go "shopping" and register!)

Yesterday as I was in the shower, I felt my baby bump! Not the fatness that has been there for a few weeks, but the actual hardish mound right above my pelvis. Its hard to see, but I can feel it. I tried to get Barry to feel it too, but he wasn't having it. He thinks its weird. Once this baby starts kicking, his ass better be willing to feel it, that's all I'm sayin'.
Today at work I want everyone to touch my belly! BUT, I know that 1 - they probably can't feel it yet (its a little bump) and 2- You can't feel it through my clothes yet. I don't think I'd be working here much longer if I kept asking people to put their hands down my pants. I'll restrain.

On another note, we got a crib and a pack n play! I am SOO grateful of my friends' generosity. My friend Jen's mom is moving and no longer needed the crib she had. I checked it out and was very happy with it. So what if it's not the exact one that I would want; a free crib is a gift from heaven. So Saturday I put it together and put it in its place in our spare bedroom er, i mean, the baby's room. (weird) When I was done, I caught Barry in the room just staring at the crib. It was kinda funny. Not even an hour after the crib was in place, we looked in and saw Harley (our Tuxedo cat) sleeping in it. It was so cute, but we don't want him to think that it's HIS place, or that the cats are even allowed inside. Any ideas on how to divert them? We thought about putting tin foil on the mattress. I did spray some vinegar water on the mattress in hopes that that will make them not want to be there. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!
Also, a friend at work gave me her pack n play! I haven't put that together yet because I'm not sure exactly where I'm going to put it, but apparently its only a few years old and has the ability to be raised up for a changing table.

It's getting more and more real everyday. For the most part, I just think of the amazing-ness of having a baby. A person that Barry and I created. My dream of becoming a mother is coming true. A little package full of hugs and kisses. I can't wait to feel the love that is already beginning to grow for this little nut. I can't wait for the power of a mother's love when they need a booboo kissed. (I could go on and on...) But the other parts are making it REALLY real. How will we afford this? Who will take care of them after I go back to work? How will we afford this?? What if something horrible happens? What if they grow up to be a douche bag? I'm sure those 15 year old girls don't think about those things when they go on Maury Povich. I'm 29 and I never really thought about it until now. It's scary. But at the same time, I can't worry. I know that our support system is amazing and that this child will never want for anything.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

An Unfinished Post... I Think?

I've been meaning to post about this, but of course, I kept forgetting.

My memory has been SUCKing since I've been pregnant. I mean, its not great usually, but this is ridiculous. My sister says that I will never be as smart as the day I found out I was pregnant, and you just get stupider with every kid. Great...
    • I almost left the house without shoes
    • I'm always saying "left" when I mean "right", and vice versa
    • ...

OK, so i started this post with a list of damn things I forgot to do, and now I can't remember them. Lawdy!! (<--Like the black lady from Alix's Larry's flight)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So i was just looking at these pictures and noticed... That guy must have a little Captain in him. Ya think?
(Can you tell i'm out-of-my-mind bored at work?)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Barry's Coming Around

I've really done my best to not overload Barry with baby stuff. He probably would beg to differ. But I'm enjoying watching him warm up to the fact that a baby is coming. Don't get me wrong, I'm still warming up to the idea, but I think it's a bit easier for me than him. But I've caught him in 2 remarks that make me flutter inside with smiles...

This weekend I stared at my messy house and kept thinking "how are we going to bring a baby into this world with our messy habits." I think I even mentioned to Barry that we need to keep the house clean because soon it's going to be filled with the baby's crap. Finally Sunday I was OVER the kitchen looking like a shit-pot mess. It still had days-old dishes in the sink, after I washed all of his messy dishes from his brother's visit on Wednesday. I was feeling the whole: "I work all day then come home to THIS and have to clean before I can even think about cooking something for myself and my baby is probably gripe gripe..." Sorry. Back to Sunday... SO, on Sunday when it looked like he would much rather watch House on DVD after I asked him to help me clean, I said "F-it" and started doing it without him. He kept asking me to stop and go to the couch to snuggle with him. I'm like "NO, shit needs to get done, snuggling is not going to make it cleaner." He insisted that if I gave him 2 minutes that he would clean the whole kitchen for me. I gave in, even though I was NOT in the mood. When I laid next to him, he hugged me and said "I don't want to see you get all worked up like that, it's not good for the baby. I'm sorry I let the kitchen get like that..." I really tried to resist breaking my bad mood, but he worked his wiles and I just couldn't help but feel good when he seemed truly concerned for the baby.

Then yesterday, while he was cooking the YUMMY filling for our enchiladas, I asked him why he didn't use the flavor packet. He said "I put my own spices in so I know exactly what's going into my wife and my baby." He said my baby. It was the first time I heard him say that. He's the kind of guy that is more inclined to call the baby "it" than "baby".
I enjoyed the moment and gave him a kiss.

Another Step Forward

I gave up today. My pants don't fit anymore and my tops are too small. I've done the 'hair tie trick' to extend my pants and, for the first time, I'm wearing a maternity top to work today.

...and I think I look super cute :)

A friend/co-worker has promised me 2 trashbags FULL of maternity clothes and I can't WAIT to raid them!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Trip to the Denist

As I mentioned previously, when Willie comes to town, he brings with him 1/2 the inventory of NYC's Chinatown BBQ pork (Char Sui). Needless today, I've been eating a hell of a lot of the yummy goodness in the last few days. I've been doing a hell of a lot of flossing, too.

Two days ago, after an especially good batch of Barry's pork fried rice, I went to the bathroom to floss and felt like I just couldn't get what-ever-it-was out of my teeth. I took my little floss/pick thing and just watched TV while flossing... It got to the point where I just gave up, thinking it might just be in my head. As the day progressed through, my tooth started to hurt. Take-three with the floss: no avail. I go to bed.

Yesterday I was hoping it'd be better when I woke up, but it wasn't. I flossed like 3 times before I gave up. I called the dentist. Honestly, I was afraid some pork got stuck underneath my crown, then I'd be in BIG trouble. I felt kinda silly calling the dentist basically saying "Can you floss for me?" I didn't think it was THAT big of a deal, but she was ready to accommodate me right away, so I left work about 10:30 to trek across town.

As I sat in the chair, feeling stupid for going to the dentist for being an inept flosser, they seemed quite concerned. I guess it wasn't that uncommon? She worked at it for a good minute or 2 before she was able to retrieve the tiniest piece of what i am assuming was 2-day old char sui. Ga-ROSS. PHEW! Am I done? Nope. She gets out a drill. EH? She then proceeds to sand down my tooth - for what i wasn't quite sure, but 20 minutes later I was back in the car with sore, but food-free gums. I didn't even sign in or out! I don't even think they're going to charge me.

And this morning I'm pain-free. I love my dentist.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baby Bump or Belly Blab?

So, when I look in the mirror, both nekkid and with clothes on, I think I look bigger. Not bigger, fatter. I don't know, though, if it's my mind playing tricks on me and I'm just seeing my true fatness for what is, or if I'm actually starting to show a baby bump. The reason I'm questioning it is 1 - I haven't gained much weight. If my home scale and the Dr. scale are in sync (which i doubt), I've only gained 2 pounds. Not nearly the amount of weight of which my mind sees surrounding my midsection. 2 - my clothes aren't really any more uncomfortable than they usually are, and 3 - the bump I see isn't in my lower abdomen, where I thought my ute hangs out.

Sooo.... I wonder... am I showing? or am I using this pregnancy as an excuse to let it all hang out?Hm...

Pictures from Kennedy Space Center

Please do not adjust your monitor... for some reason my camera decided to take on a blue tint for all the pics. Hmph.
In a model of an Apollo Command Module, to give you a feel of the size
That's a rocket. A big one. (But not the biggest!)
To Infinity....AND BEYOND!!!

Launch Pad B, getting outfitted for the next Saturn launch

THE walkway that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins used. The next time they walked would be on the moon.

Apollo 11's Command Module. Not very comfy looking...

That shuttle behind us went into SPACE. Can you see the burn marks?
Explorer. Bitchin.

The undercarriage of the Saturn V rocket. Only the largest rocket ever made.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fetal Senses

I came across this fascinating article. Even if you're not expecting you might find it interesting. Maybe it's because I'm a psychology major, but I just think all of this is so cool! I copied some of the highlights below.

Tasting and Smelling
"Until recently, no serious consideration was given to the possibilities for olfaction in utero, since researchers assumed smelling depended on air and breathing. However, the latest research has opened up a new world of possibilities.
"The nose develops between 11 and 15 weeks. Many chemical compounds can cross the placenta to join the amniotic fluid, providing the fetus with tastes and odors. The amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus bathes the oral, nasal, and pharyngeal cavities, and babies breathe it and swallow it, permitting direct access to receptors of several chemosensory systems: taste buds in three locations, olfactory epithelia, vomeronasal system, and trigeminal system (Smotherman and Robinson, 1995).
"Associations formed in utero can alter subsequent fetal behavior and are retained into postnatal life. The evidence for direct and indirect learning of odors in utero has been reviewed by Schaal, Orgeur, and Rogan (1995). They point to an extraordinary range of available odiferous compounds, an average of 120 in individual samples of amniotic fluid! In one experiment, babies registered changes in fetal breathing and heart rate when mothers drank coffee, whether it was caffeinated or decaffeinated. Newborns are drawn to the odor of breastmilk, although they have no previous experience with it. Researchers think this may come from cues they have learned in prenatal life."

Listening and Hearing
"Sounds have a surprising impact upon the fetal heart rate: a five second stimulus can cause changes in heart rate and movement which last up to an hour. Some musical sounds can cause changes in metabolism. "Brahm's Lullabye," for example, played six times a day for five minutes in a premature baby nursery produced faster weight gain than voice sounds played on the same schedule (Chapman, 1975).
Researchers in Belfast have demonstrated that reactive listening begins at 16 weeks g.a., two months sooner than other types of measurements indicated. Working with 400 fetuses, researchers in Belfast beamed a pure pulse sound at 250-500 Hz and found behavioral responses at 16 weeks g.a.--clearly seen via ultrasound (Shahidullah and Hepper, 1992). This is especially significant because reactive listening begins eight weeks before the ear is structurally complete at about 24 weeks.
These findings indicate the complexity of hearing, lending support to the idea that receptive hearing begins with the skin and skeletal framework, skin being a multireceptor organ integrating input from vibrations, thermo receptors, and pain receptors. This primal listening system is then amplified with vestibular and cochlear information as it becomes available. With responsive listening proven at 16 weeks, hearing is clearly a major information channel operating for about 24 weeks before birth."

"In utero, eyelids remain closed until about the 26th week. However, the fetus is sensitive to light, responding to light with heart rate accelerations to projections of light on the abdomen. This can even serve as a test of well-being before birth. Although it cannot be explained easily, prenates with their eyelids still fused seem to be using some aspect of "vision" to detect the location of needles entering the womb, either shrinking away from them or turning to attack the needle barrel with a fist (Birnholz, Stephens, and Faria, 1978). Similarly, at 20 weeks g.a., twins in utero have no trouble locating each other and touching faces or holding hands!"

Senses in Action
"Ultrasonographers have recorded fetal erections as early as 16 weeks g.a., often in conjunction with finger sucking, suggesting that pleasurable self-stimulation is already possible. In the third trimester, when prenates are monitored during parental intercouse, their hearts fluctuate wildly in accelerations and decelerations greater than 30 beats per minute, or show a rare loss of beat-to-beat variability, accompanied by a sharp increase in fetal movement (Chayen et al, 1986). This heart activity is directly associated with paternal and maternal orgasms! Other experiments measuring fetal reactions to mothers' drinking one ounce of vodka in a glass of diet ginger ale show that breathing movements stop within 3 to 30 minutes. This hiatus in breathing lasts more than a half hour. Although the blood alcohol level of the mothers was low, as their blood alcohol level declined, the percentage of fetal breathing movements increased (Fox et al, 1978).
"Babies have been known to react to the experience of amniocentesis (usually done around 16 weeks g.a.) by shrinking away from the needle, or, if a needle nicks them, they may turn and attack it. Mothers and doctors who have watched this under ultrasound have been unnerved. Following amniocentesis, heart rates gyrate. Some babies remain motionless, and their breathing motions may not return to normal for several days.
"Finally, researchers have discovered that babies are dreaming as early as 23 weeks g.a.when rapid eye movement sleep is first observed (Birnholz, 1981). Studies of premature babies have revealed intense dreaming activity, occupying 100% of sleep time at 30 weeks g.a., and gradually diminishing to around 50% by term. Dreaming is a vigorous activity involving apparently coherent movements of the face and extremities in synchrony with the dream itself, manifested in markedly pleasant or unpleasant expressions. Dreaming is also an endogenous activity, neither reactive or evoked, expressing inner mental or emotional conditions. Observers say babies behave like adults do when they are dreaming (Roffwarg, Muzio, and Dement 1966)."

There's Something in the Water...

There hadn't been a pregnancy here at work in quite a while! I think the last baby born from a TJB employee is now 3. Shortly before I found out (like the DAY before I found out) I learned that one of my co-workers was pregnant.

Then me, 12 weeks later, decides to take the drink.

Now, I just found out another co-worker is 4 1/2 weeks behind me! OMG!

Soooo, if you're looking to stay bun-less, don't drink the water at The Jacksonville Bank!

Bro-In-Law Visit

It's been a while since I've just posted a 'what-I've-been-up-to' post, so here ya go:

This past weekend Barry's brother, Willie, visited us from NYC. Every time he comes to town we always end up doing some fun and exciting things, not to mention a lot of great eating. Friday night we went to my favorite Italian restaurant, Sorbello's. If you're a resident of Orange Park/Jacksonville, you've more than likely heard of this place. It is the best Italian I've had outside of Italy itself - it's almost like going back! The best part is that the owners are friends with Barry's family, so its a great "Cheers" kinda place (They always know your name!)

Saturday I think we just lounged around the house most of the day. Whenever Willie comes, he always brings us goodies from NYC, and this time was no exception. He brought us a huge slab of Katz pastrami, 3 pounds of char sui (Chinese BBQ pork), some Chinese roasted duck, a pound of Katz hot dogs, and a big ol' tub of Katz deli mustard. YUM-O. If you're not familiar w/ Katz, its just the best damn kosher deli in NYC, if not the world! The pastrami melts in your mouth like butter... I digress. We didn't go out Saturday because we had plenty to eat at the house. Sat night we went and saw The Ugly Truth. It was really funny and not your typical romantic comedy. Oh! and I made Chocolate Cracked Earth again, too. :)

We also introduced Willie to RedBox. They don't have these in NY yet, so he was just amazed at how cheap and easy it is to rent movies. So throughout the weekend, we watched Miracle at St. Anna (very interesting movie) and Knowing (very good :))

I took Monday off, since he wasn't leaving until Tuesday. We decided to head down to Kennedy Space Center. I hadn't been since i was a little kid, so it was really great to visit! I took some pics, so as soon as my lazy ass gets around to it, I'll post them. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm Annoyed With My Nose

I have been pretty lucky, as far as pregnancy goes. Tomorrow will mark the end of my first trimester (!!!) and I haven't been terribly sick or craving anything strange. The one thing I have had, that doesn't seem to be letting up, is f'ed-up sinuses. My nose won't run, but won't stay clear either. I feel like I'm never getting enough oxygen or something, then I get tense and my neck starts to hurt and/or i get a headache. If i could hold my nostrils open all day, it'd be GREAT. OR, the phlegm/snot/whatever you call it drains down the back of my throat, which makes me gag, which makes me throw up (especially in the morning or brushing my teeth).

I'm just ready for this sinus thing to QUIT! I mean, they say it gets easier after the first trimester, right? Well, that's tomorrow. Deadline is here. I'd like to breath easy now, ok?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Twilight to Billy

If you've been on Facebook, then you know that I've started to read Twilight. I'm borrowing it from Angelle and slowly started it on Saturday. Well, it's Wednesday and I'm already half way through it, and for me, that's fast. (I've been reading a Drizzt novel for the past 3 years and still haven't gotten through 3/4 of it. I couldn't even tell you the name of the book.) I'm reading it before work, during my lunch break, and when I get home. This morning, Barry had to talk me out of playing hookie because all I wanted to do was read about Edward effing Cullen. I haven't even gotten into the "good Jacob parts" yet, and I'm already cultivating a plan to borrow the next book.

How ridiculous is it that this 'tweener book is having such an impact on me? I took a full hour today for lunch, sitting in the covered patio of my favorite downtown lunch spot, flipping page after page, wishing I could take longer than my hour. (I normally don't take more than 20-30 minutes for lunch.)

Stephanie Meyer has an amazing way to take you back to feeling 17 again, and all of those rushing feelings of infatuation and not knowing has been making my heart flutter all over again.

You see, my Edward was Billy Yoakley. *Sigh* Billy made my heart flutter like no one else. He was the cutest boy in my youth group and I remember feeling like a yo-yo every time he would talk to me (or wouldn't). My sister said my heart would beat "Bil-ly, Bil-ly" instead of the normal pit-pat. So, because I have nothing else I'd prefer to be doing at work right now, I'm going to tell you a story...

The Facebook of 1997 was AOL. After every shift at work, I'd stay up to the wee hours chatting online. This Friday night was no different. I got off of work about 11:00, and without changing out of my Publix uniform, I was on AOL minutes after I got home. This particular night, Billy Yoakley was hanging out with his friend Matt online. We started chatting and he asked if I wanted to hang out. Mind you, I'm only 17 and it's 11:30 at night. I think my curfew was 12:30, and there was no way my parents would let me LEAVE the house this late. Luckily, my parents were out of town that weekend. Only my sister was home, and she was fast asleep already. I mean, BILLY YOAKLEY asked ME if i wanted to hang out. So i called my friend Erin and she was in, so I quickly changed into the sexiest outfit i had, grabbed the keys to my mom's minivan, and left a note for my sister ("Took the van, Don't worry, I'll be home later.") I picked up Erin, made a quick stop for some cigarettes (Erin was a year older) and we were off to Fleming Island to meet up with the boys.

We picked them up (they were waiting outside) and followed their directions to a dock on Doctor's Lake. We sat under the stars, chatted and flirted until "it" happened. BILLY YOAKLEY KISSED ME! It was the most glorious kiss! I had been waiting for over 2 years for him to like me and he finally kissed me! It was amazing.

After who knows how long, Erin and I were on our way home. I was elated. I kept screaming and hitting the wheel; i was overjoyed! HE KISSED ME! As we turned into my neighborhood, though, those feelings of happiness quickly turned to dread.

My sister's bedroom light was on.

I was freaking out. I slowly walked in the house, Erin behind me. Christy was sitting on the edge of her bed with the note. She threatened that she had already called Erin's mom (she really didn't) but told her to get her stuff together, that she was taking her home. When she got back, the only thing I remember her saying to me was "If you don't tell Mom and Dad, I will." I was nauseated. Literally. I'd never done anything like this before. I hadn't even skipped school before. I ran to the bathroom and threw up. It was only Friday and my parents weren't due back until Sunday. The whole weekend I was nauseous. I was supposed to be leaving for Europe in 2 weeks. What if they don't let me go? Sunday came, and I was somehow able to get it out to my parents that I stole their car in the middle of the night to meet up with a boy that they knew I'd been infatuated with for 2 years. Luckily, I was still able to go to Europe (the money had already been spent), but I was unfortunately, grounded from Erin, Matt, and Billy for an excruciating month, and my curfew my entire senior year was pushed back to 11:00pm.

Apparently, the only reason I got caught was because of the note. Christy had gotten up to get a drink of water and saw it on the door. Without it, she wouldn't have even noticed the car missing from the garage. Damn me for being 'responsible'.

...and that is the Story of Billy, my Edward.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Adoption Rights for ALL

Did you know that it is ILLEGAL for a gay person to adopt a child in Florida? How rediculous is that?? Well, please see the below post, and if you are a resident of Florida and feel that children deserve a parent, no matter what their orientation is, please send Mr. Crist an email. I recieved this in email form and have decided to post it here as well.
Thanks, Mandi

Securing Our Children's Rights, Inc. (SOCR), is pleased to announce HB 3 - Adoption, for the 2010 legislative session, introduced by Representative Mary Brandenburg, D-West Palm Beach, that is a full repeal of Florida's ban on adoption by its gay and lesbian citizens. Senator Nan Rich has a companion bill in drafting at this date.
Governor Crist has declared Wednesday, July 22, 2009 as Explore Adoption Day and we must contact Governor Crist and the legislature to Explore Adoption by repealing the ban.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
WHO: Governor Charlie Crist (850) 488-7146 or email to
House Speaker Larry Cretul 850-488-1450 or 352-873-6564 or email to
Senate President Jeff Atwater 850-487-5100 or 561-625-5101 or email to
Your Florida Representative -
Your Florida Senator -

THE ASK: Please ask the Governor to support the repeal of the adoption ban on gay Floridians and ask him to encourage the legislative leadership to pass the repeal. Please ask the House Speaker and the Senate President to support the repeal and encourage Committee hearings for the bills. Please ask your representative and senator to support the repeal, and to become a co-sponsor.


A poll, released January 22, 2009 by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, found that a clear majority of Floridians, 55% to 39%, believe the Florida legislature should repeal the ban.
Click here for poll information We are very hopeful that this independent poll will help give Florida legislators the assurances they need to do the right thing. Now we know that it's not only the right thing to do from a scientific and child welfare perspective, but a majority of Floridians now support the repeal as well.

TALKING POINTS - Gay and Lesbian Parenting: THE FACTS
(1) Florida's gay adoption ban was passed in 1977 at the height of Anita Bryant's anti-gay "Save the Children" campaign. This law has done significant damage to children in foster care by not allowing the best interest of the child to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Curtis Peterson, the lead Senate sponsor, said upon passage of the ban, "We're trying to send [homosexuals] a message. We're really tired of you. We wish you'd go back into the closet."

(2) Destructive impact on children - over 4,500 children languish in Florida's foster care system today. The adoption ban arbitrarily excludes hundreds, if not thousands, of potential parents based solely on the irrelevant criteria of sexual orientation. These adults could provide stable, loving, PERMANENT homes to many of these children if this ban were lifted.
(3) In 2003, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute released a research study, stating, "reality on the ground is outstripping the pace of the debate. That is, a growing number of lesbians and gay men are becoming parents and are living as families every day, irrespective of what the policymakers do or say."
(4) There is no credible scientific evidence that the sexual orientation of parents has any effects either on the quality of parenting or on the well-being of their children. In fact, the reliable social scientific evidence indicates that lesbian and gay parents are as fit, effective and successful at parenting as their heterosexual counterparts. (See American Academy of Pediatrics February 2002 Policy Statement, Vol. 109, No. 2, pp. 341-344)
(5) At least eleven (11) mainstream child welfare, social science, and professional organizations have issued policy statements SUPPORTING adoption by lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people: Child Welfare League of Amerian, American Bar Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of PediatricsAmerican Psychiatric Association, American Psychoanalytical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychological Association, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, National Association of Social Workers, and North American Council on Adoptable Children
(6) Decades of research indicate that optimal development for children is based not on the sexual orientation of the parents, but on stable attachments to committed and nurturing adults. Children with two parents, regardless of the parents' sexual orientation, do better than children with only one parent. (American Psychiatric Association 11/2002 policy statement)
(7) Adoption decisions should be based on an individualized assessment of what is in the best interests of the child to be adopted. Applicants should be assessed on the basis of their ability to successfully parent a child in need of family membership and not on irrelevant considerations such as sexual orientation.
(8) Regardless of what policy makers do or say, gay Floridians are raising children and legal protection is necessary for these children. Families have been created by adopting in other states, artificial insemination, previous heterosexual relationships and family tragedies such as the death of a sibling.

HB 3 on Adoption Sponsored by Representative Mary Brandenburg - District 89Co-Sponsors areRepresentative Evan Jenne - District 100Representative Mark Pafford - District 88Representative Ari Porth - DistrictRepresentative Scott Randolph - District 36Representative Darryl Rouson - District 55Representative Ron Saunders - District 120 If you don't see your representative please give them a call and ask them to sponsor the Adoption bill. To find your representative's contact info,
click here.
The Florida Senate bill sponsored by Senator Nan Rich is currently in drafting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mini Vacay

The Fam in Gatlinburg, TN

Last Wednesday Barry and I packed up and drove to Dillard, GA to meet up with the family. My parents used their timeshare to rent a condo in Sky Valley, which sits right on the border of Georgia and North Carolina. It was the first time that all 11 of us were able to spend a vacation together (2 Grandparents, 3 daughters, 3 son-in-laws, and 3 grandchildren!) Its so beautiful up there. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much on the drive up because we got in after dark.

The next day we (all 11 of us!) drove to Helen, GA to go river tubing. It was a great surprise to arrive in Helen and feel like we just drove into Bavaria! All of the houses have the same Hansel and Gretel look and there are all these fun shops and restaurants. We quickly found the tubing place and got our gear. Tubing in the mountains is nothing like moseying down the Ichetucknee! The average depth was about 12 inches, the river had a rocky bottom and goes much quicker than in flat Florida. We had so much fun! Towards the end they take your picture, so we got all linked together so we could hope for a fun group shot. When we got back to the main camp, it turns out they only charge 9.95 for a CD that includes all the pictures you want (up to 400!) So we got some GREAT shots. I'll try and remember to post them soon.

From Helen, we drove to Tallulah Gorge. Its in between Dillard and Helen so it would have been ridiculous to be this close and not visit. It is beautiful! Barry and I ended up going down one side and up the other, and probably took 1000 steps to do it!

(going down wasn't nearly as bad as coming up!)
I know the baby got plenty of oxygen that day because my heart was racing. But we took it slow and I was very proud that we did it. :)

At the bottom of the gorge!
On our way back up, maybe?

My Parents. How cute are they?

On Friday, we drove north to Gatlinburg and visited Ober Gatlinburg. Its a quaint amusement park in Gatlinburg that was a lot of fun for both the kids and us big kids. The coolest part of the day, though, was as we were going up the ski lift to the Alpine Slide, a black bear walked right underneath us!!! It was unreal. I love wildlife. Seeing it in the zoo is one thing, but seeing a for-real black bear in the mountains was just unbelievable. I was only quick enough for one snapshot before he went into the woods. It was a-mazing.

Getting ready to go down!

We passed my dad on the way up!
From Gatlinburg, we drove across to see Angelle and Laurie and their families, but broke up the drive by stopping at my brother in law's parents house for a much-needed good night's sleep. I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of the dogs barking and the smell of bacon. mmmm... to my happiness I walked into the kitchen to see the largest pile of bacon and sausage links that i have ever seen. :) After a delicious breakfast, we headed east to Monroe.
We arrived just before 1:00 and spent the next day and a 1/2 with the Maddex's and the Galler's. We always have so much fun together and I was so sad we were only there for a day. But we made the most of it and played lots of games (Loaded Questions is hilarious!!), watched the kids play and just caught up. By Sunday afternoon, Bryan ALMOST had me convinced to talk to Rhi about buying her house on the cul-de-sac. Sorry, Rhi... its a no-go.
After a 6 hour drive home, we came home to an empty house! Our roommate had gotten the keys to her new apartment and ended up moving out just a few hours before we got home. The first thing we do? Get nekkid in the living room. It was marvelous!! It was nice to have her, but it's nice to have our place back.
Now it's back to the daily grind. *sigh*

Monday, July 13, 2009


This was an email I wrote last week to my family... now i can share with everyone!

True Story: Yesterday I wanted McDonalds French fries and a BK Whopper. I seriously considered driving through both places just to get it. I also wanted a Wendy’s Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty, but was afraid of being disappointed when I got there if they didn’t have a decaf version. Then I thought for a substitute I could get a DQ Brownie Batter Blizzard, but it was too out of my way so that idea went quickly by the wayside. (but not before scanning a mental map of the Southside area to be sure I wasn’t missing another DQ somewhere.) I was able to resist though, and came home and made chicken pot pie that tasted DeLISH! :)

Telling the Friends

Saturday we spent the day telling friends and showing off the little cashew's picture.

First stop was our Kung Fu instructor's. He's been a mentor of Barry's since Barry was about 16. He's like a father to us and it was the hardest not talking to him. He was so excited and promised me a shopping spree when my belly starts to sprout! He said 'no daughter of mine will be caught in ugly clothes. You're gonna look cute!" I can't wait for that day!! :)

Then we FINALLY told our roommate. We were certain she had figured it out already, with the father's day cards floating about the house and my "What to Expect" book on my night stand. But she claims she was oblivious and she had a great reaction.

That night, we went over to our friend Bozz's house with some friends for the UFC 100 fight. I kept giving Barry the 'eye' to say something. Finally right before 10, Barry says, "Before the fight starts, i want to say something. I'm going to be a Dad."


They were waiting for the punchline! If you known Barry before he met me, people would have put money on the bet that he would never get married and have kids. Enter Mandi, 2001. BAM! Did I mess his plans up or what? :) So everyone started looking at me to confirm, which I did by pulling out Cashew's picture, and then they were like, "Woah. Congratulations?"

I got a little googly at that moment when I realized it was the first time I heard him say "I'm going to be a Dad." I've been keeping my distance on the mushy stuff because I know he's scared shitless and I want him to come to terms with things on his own.

So, it's pretty much out there. It's killing me to not put the picture on facebook, but we are waiting to tell Barry's brother when he comes to visit on the 24th. Once he knows, it's on!