90 Days to go...my momentary meltdown

I was attempting to get dressed for work today. Most days, it hasn't been too difficult. Everything goes with black pants, right? I'm accepting the fact that I look sort of bulgy. But the forecast today was calling for temps in the 70s, so I thought I might whip out some sandals and let my puffy winter-feet breathe.
WRONG! The feet are already expanding a bit. I definitely have some sandals I can wear, but hardly anything suitable for work. It's just not cool to wear my birkenstocks to an event with a donor who gave "building money." I'm not looking to be a fashionista here, but I also don't want to look like a round lump of dump!
The only work sandals I had to go with brown wouldn't quite fit around the cankles. Change clothes completely. Black sandals that fit are my dressy back-ups...only suitable for wearing short periods of time and not for all day working.
So, I finally got myself covered and in socks and winter shoes and started my pity party. It's hard enough some days to get my job done (especially this time of year)...and then to have to maneuver dress outfits with dress shoes on fat feet. My lack of sleep and generally feeling of overwhelmy-ness just spilled out. I cried all the way to work. Not bawling, just frustrated.
I started thinking about all the events I have coming up, what I'm going to wear to them (I really have plenty to wear--don't let me fool you here) and how I am going to get everything done for them...and how tired they're going to make me...and how standing up at them is going to make my feet EVEN FATTER and I won't be able to wear ANY shoes I own...
You know.
The spiral.
To the pit of despair. :)
I walked in and had a few moments to compose myself and get my leaky eyeballs under control.
My boss walked in and handed me an April calendar of all "my" events. She had already written "Let's talk" on it. She proceeded to tell me that some of our other staff members could relieve me at some of these and to let her know which ones I'd need help or a substitute.
I probably looked at her like she was Jesus himself.
Because in that moment, she was. The Lord answered a prayer of tears. I saw no way around the sheer busyness and stress and long hours that I was facing. He did.
And on my lunch hour, I might have gone to Shoe Carnival and gotten a suitable black and brown pair of work sandals in WIDE a size up...fat feet need love too.


Things I don't get...

I've been toiling over calendars all day. Made a list this morning (for others on campus who need it) of my events between now and June 20...there were 34 events. And since I made the list, I've added four to it. And no telling what we'll add between now and June.
I've been updating calendars and event details like a mad-woman all day, tracking down people to get guest lists, numbers, and coordinate logistics. My brain is just tired. So, here's a random blog because this brain needs a BREAK! (ever try doing this much detail work with "pregnancy brain?" sheesh.)

So, a short list of things I don't get (hint: there's a theme)
1. Fancy hand towels in a restroom that I'm not supposed to use
2. Having china that takes up space but you never use because "it's too nice, and I wouldn't want to break it."
3. Candles that are "too pretty to burn" and end up with crusted dust all over them
4. Rooms in a house that go unused because you don't want to mess up the furniture
5. Dining room table covers (that look like wood) that never come off--so the table you're "protecting" is never seen (??)6. Plastic runners over rugs

That'll do it for today's list. Why have things you feel like you can't use? They take up space and are useless. I believe in USING what you have and not living in a museum full of things to gaze upon.

Random. I know.


So Long, Armoire...Hellooo Nursery

Well, our house lost about 100 pounds last night. I nearly did a jig for joy when I saw our beautiful Lexington armoire heading out the front door in the arms of another man. Ever since we found out about wee baby Jones, we have been furiously (at times) trying to reorganize the house to accommodate this 7-10 pound addition. Our house needed to go on a serious diet plan.

The office moved into the guest room, which became the "guest/office suite," as I like to call it. IKEA to the rescue with some fantastic bookshelves.
The nursery, however, has been lagging behind my schedule. We were the proud owners of a lovely all-hardwood Lexington armoire...a lifetime piece...as Jerod would say. It was something he purchased for his bedroom before I was in the picture. Agreed, it was lovely, but after it had been moved around a few times, it lost its usefulness to us. It was too large for the new suite, too formal for the nursery, and too small to hold our TV. "Lifetime" or not, it needed to go.
As an aside, I'm not sure I even believe in "lifetime furniture." If I spend so much on it that I can't bear to part with it, then what do I do when my needs and tastes change?

After three listings on craigslist and reducing the price each time...plus some calls to local furniture consignments...and after three months of it just being in the way...it's GONE! Yahoo!

Now I can get this nursery shaped up and find someplace to put all of this amassing baby stuff. I already have piles of clothes and gadgets! Babies are "lifetime furniture" for sure! But at least the kind I can believe in.


What's in a name?

Jerod and I have talked about what we might name a baby for years...long before we were even ready to HAVE a baby. We had a loooonnnng list of girls' names we like quite well. So, here we turned up pregnant, and one of my first orders of business was to get this kid named. It's just not something I could save 'til the last minute. I wanted to know boy or girl, and I wanted said boy or girl to be named.

For about two years I've kept a running list of names I liked on my computer. Whenever I'd hear something I liked, I'd be sure to jot it down. Again, the girl column much, much longer than the boy one. The difficulty we had in coming up with a boy made me quite sure that we would definitely be having a GIRL.

For any teachers out there, you know quite well the pitfalls of certain names, and after teaching for 12 years, Jerod has lots of names that had to be immediately crossed off--mostly because of a kid he remembered less-than-fondly. There were also a few names I really liked, but were names of kids Jerod has at his current school. It would be weird to name our baby after a kid he's teaching right now, unless it were something fairly common or generic.

Just those strikes decimated the better part of my list.

OK, well, I also had two other criteria. With Jones being such a common last name (4th place in the U.S., first in the U.K.), I wanted something not-as -common for a first name; so I looked up list after list of the top 10, top 50, and top 100 names and tried to avoid those.

My other criterion was that the name be something that one could easily look at and pronounce, so my child didn't have to constantly tell his teacher what the heck his name was.

So, our finalists were "Cole" (my grandmother's maiden name) and "Ezra." The more I said "Cole Jones" the less I liked the way the "o" sounds worked together. And Ezra started losing luster since in our circle of friends and family, we knew about 15 recently-born boys with Old Testament names. I love Bible names, of course, but we didn't want to just join the trend by choosing another name to add to the list of Jacob, Caleb, Micah, Jonah, Noah, Malachi, etc. But, I liked it because it had a "Z" in it. :) And Ezra in the Bible was an amazing dude.

Over Christmas break, the name Shepherd emerged. Something about it clicked with us, both with the sound of it and the meaning of "shepherd," both literally and spiritually. We put it in our back pocket.

After much discussion and more discussion, we decided to let it rest a few weeks until we found out for sure it was a boy.

Man, that sonogram technician took her own sweet time getting to the gender part of the exam. I'm sure all that checking out the heart, measuring the head, and making sure he had fingers and toes was important; but I was DYING to know what kind of baby was in there! :)

And so, as you've seen on his first pictures...he's a BOY. Yikes! And Shepard returned. The more we said it, the more we liked it. And for spelling, we decided to go with a less literal, last-name spelling. As an aside, I had met a fellow named Shepard Fairey a few years ago--a well-known graphic artist and a grandson of a former president of Winthrop University. He's best-known for this poster and this poster. And, there's a FOX newscaster named Shepard Smith. So, it's not unheard-of as a first name.

Then, there's my tall guy. He's a lover of animals and tends after our little flock of fishes and dogs, and generally one who herds kids all day. I like that the attributes of the word "shepherd" seem to fit him as well.

We weren't terribly particular about the middle name; so we went with my maiden name, "Giles." As a first name, it sounds like a butler or chauffeur; but as a middle name, I quite like it.

There you go. Shepard.

"Return, faithless people," declares the Lord, "for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding." Jeremiah 3:14-15


Baby Bump

You can tell a really tall person took this picture...


The First "Mommy" moment

I can't believe I didn't post this when it happened...so I'll back-track. My hope is that one day I can look back on this point in life on my blog and have some nice memories recorded of the journey. Especially when Shepard turns two, and I'm not sure if I really want to keep him (I kid, I joke, I kid.)
I spent about the first 8-9 weeks knowing I was pregnant trying to convince myself that it was true and that we had an actual due date on an actual calendar. It wasn't a "someday we'll have a baby..." anymore. It was "in July we'll have a baby."
I really struggled with some anxiety about whether there was REALLY a baby in there. Even the 9-weeks ultrasound didn't seem to quell those anxieties for long. I mean, shouldn't I be barfing or something?
I quickly signed up for all kinds of e-newsletters and scanned internet forums for news, tidbits, "am I allowed to eat that?" information, and downloaded the "What to Expect" app for my ipod.
The app updated me on the baby's size and growth milestones, and I began to pray every few days for whatever it was the baby was developing...heart, lungs, eyelids, fingernails, etc.
The day that got me though was the day that it said "His eardrums are developed now, so he can hear sounds like your voice..." What sweetness!!! Here I had known about him (or her as far as we knew then) for weeks and weeks...but suddenly he began to know about ME too! I got misty-eyed.
"Here I am, Baby!" I said aloud. "I love you." I hope he heard me. :) I'm sure I'll tell him again and again.


Special Delivery!

Now that there's a growing boy inside my belly, I am faced with a horrible reality. He has to come out somehow. I am not the woman who thinks delivery of a baby is a magical, spiritual moment. I cannot watch "The Baby Story" or any other show about delivery...never have been able to. I have a weak stomach, as they say. The whole process seems frightening, painful, messy and horrifying. Especially the part when they hold up the newborn covered in...well, goo. I'm getting a little queasy just writing this out.
I hear women talk about the miracle of birth, how the pain connects them to the Earth (or something...I tune those ladies out pretty fast), how it's an honor to bring a person into the world...And I gotta say...on THIS side of childbirth, I am not experiencing any of those lofty ideas. I would be just fine with going old school and being put to sleep pregnant and awoken with a clean, fresh baby in my arms. But, I hear they don't do that anymore.
So here are five things that are getting me through this anxiety:
1. My friend Michelle described labor as one day of really, really hard work. (Um, it is called LABOR for a reason) With that mindset, she says, you can get yourself through it. It's pretty much ONE day that will possibly make you very tired and be difficult, but it will pass and you will have (literal) fruits of your labor. This mindset makes it easier to wrap my brain around.
2. Bazillions of women have done this and lived to tell about it. There's something to be said about history being on your side. Women gave birth in fields and less-than-delightful circumstances. Assuming all goes according to plan, I'll be delivering in a clean hospital surrounded by medical professionals and family. If so many other women can do it, surely I can too.
3. Epidural. I do not diminish those (crazy) women who want to experience all that pain. Everyone has to make her own decision on that. I don't believe I get any extra brownie points for going all natural or demerits for using some meds. Do not send me links to "reasons an epidural will make your child a freak" articles. I won't read them. As of now, I plan to use pain management resources that are available to me. Like most rational humans, I have a healthy fear of intense pain. Call me crazy.
4. The hospital tour. Jerod and I took our tour of the hospital where we will deliver on Saturday. Hearing about the check-in procedure, seeing a room where I might deliver, and getting visuals on everything have been extremely helpful to my mindset. It makes the abyss of unknown a little more real. I was comforted about having a nurse assigned just to me and seeing the sweet little newborns in the nursery. We've also had several people tell us what great experiences they had delivering at this particular hospital. As a planner-type, just seeing locations and walking through the steps a bit have given me some peace of mind.
5. Prayer. God and I have been discussing this whole arrangement. I know my mom has been praying specifically about the delivery. God has never promised to make anything easy on us, but I do think He promises to be THERE and PRESENT with us in our hardest times. So, I am putting some faith in Him to walk me through this, to give the staff presence of mind, and to help Jerod to help me.

So, Mr. Shepard, I will be beyond excited to see you. I just pray that you come out tall and skinny like your Dad, quickly, and in the hospital. Is that too much to ask? :)