Tuesday, September 25, 2007

26.4 Weeks

Things I have learned:
  1. I require EXACTLY nine hours of sleep each night. If those nine hours are interrupted for, say, an hour at some point during the night, I will sleep right through my alarm for the entire interrupted portion of the nine-hour requirement.
  2. Pregnancy Senility is a very real condition. I hear it morphs into Mama Senility after delivery.
  3. Swimming is the most luxurious form of exercise and stretching during pregnancy. Bonus benefit: quick and true relief for swollen feet!
  4. Sitting in a jacuzzi (heated to exactly 99-degrees) under the stars is the best way to bliss out before bedtime.
  5. Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream tastes better during pregnancy, especially if you mix in a copious number of mini marshmallows.
  6. Fast food really IS as bad for the body as they say it is, and the effects of sodium and caffeine are swift and sure.
  7. There is no point in pre-registering at the hospital for delivery. No matter how many times you dutifully FAX the carefully completed form to the correct FAX number and then follow up with a phone call to confirm receipt, "Susan" will not enter your information into their registration system until "about a month before your due date." Hmmmmm....wonder what happens if labor starts before then?
  8. The "Tummy Sash" from A Pea in the Pod is the best invention EVER. Favorite pre-pregnancy jeans, pants, skirts and shorts are entirely wearable with the simple technology of this wonderful little piece of lycra (as long as your ass hasn't grown as large as your belly...)
  9. Maternity clothes really have gotten a lot cuter since our mothers were pregnant.
  10. Baby's first real kick is the best evidence that there is a God.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ahoy, Me Hearties! Yo Ho!

International "Talk Like a Pirate Day" is the perfect day for sharing the adventure of my 37th birthday. Having been reared in the Greater Tampa Bay Area, I am a long-suffering Buccaneers fan. You may know of the loveable losers - some of us call them the "Yucks" for their tendency to dwell in the cellar of the NFL - or, perhaps you remember the unfortunate branding of their early identity: a very clearly gay buccaneer "Bruce" outfitted in creamsicle and white. Absolutely yucky! Anywhoo, in a very clear case of the "clothes make the man" the Buccaneers - yes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - actually won the Super Bowl four years ago after changing their entire identity: pewter and red uniforms, a menacing pirate logo and a fancy, shmancy new stadium in which to destroy those who dared to field a team.

When the Bucs started winning, all of Tampa Bay - and her natives - rejoiced, and they actually started going to games. All except me. I was living in the ATL by then. So, for my birthday this year, my love took me to my very first game at Raymond James Stadium. It was the home opener for the 2007 season and, in a stroke of positive universal energy, the Buccaneers played like defending Super Bowl Champions and beat the New Orleans Saints (and their Heisman-Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush...) by 17 points!

It made me think of the song that the Morning Zoo on the old Q-105 wrote for the Yucks of old..."Hey hey hey, we're the Buccaneers!...Ho ho ho we're the Buccaneers! Offense, Defense, now we're here to say, Make the Saints walk the plank and throw 'em in Tampa Bay! Hey!"

These are the pictures from our really fun day at RayJay...

These pirates were on-hand for a corporate party on the pirate ship in the north end zone. They were very kind to pose for a birthday picture with a 37-year-old pregnant girl drinking an O'Douls. Not quite the grog to which all worthy pirates are accustomed, but a refreshing, festive beverage nonetheless!

The pirate ship is super cool...there is a cannon that fires whenever the Bucs enter the "red zone" and whenever they score. We heard that cannon a LOT on Sunday, and the BEST part was that it was fired for FOUR touchdowns. Peegie took the picture at right while the sun was obscured by a cloud. I think the background makes the ship look even more menacing. Just before this picture was snapped, the cannon fired at a moment when we were not watching the action on the field, and not expecting the boom...pretty funny involuntary reaction from Peegie.

At right is a close-up shot of the figurehead...I couldn't help but wonder if Blackbeard is a football fan...

One of the coolest things about Raymond James Stadium is the fan-friendly atmosphere. Fans are allowed to wander freely along the main perimeter of the field on the second level of the stadium. Peegie and I spent the second half of the game taking in the action from "50-yard line seats." We also visited the south endzone just in time to see a Buccaneer touchdown. The photograph at left was taken just after the Bucs scored their fourth touchdown. And, for good measure, our signature ending.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Icing on the Cake

On my way back to the office after a lovely and delicious birthday lunch with friends, I stopped at home to drop off birthday balloons and (hopefully) give my man a quick peck on the cheek.

As I entered the house, I heard water running and assumed Peegie was taking a shower. But, oh no, this is the scene that greeted me.

So, what DO you do when you walk in on your boyfriend as he is shaving his legs?? Laugh, of course, then take pictures and then post them to the internet!! At least he is a hottie.

Ode to Joy

Today is my birthday and, at 37, I can honestly say that I cannot imagine how life could be any better. I'm happy, healthy, madly in love with my best friend and a baby is on the way. Life really is good. I thought about that this morning when my eyes opened to another sunny late-summer day, my beloved right next to me and baby doing somersaults. If this is what it means to "grow up," I am all about it!

Shy Baby

It's been exactly two months since Peegie and I got the biggest surprise of our lives. On or about December 29th of this year, "we" will become "three" when we welcome a child into our lives. It's a good reason to (finally) figure out the scanner feature on the printer in my office. I'm a little slow on the technology curve. Clever, but slow. Here is a picture of the wee tot we are calling "Ziggy" (a term of endearment for Zygote...) Baby looks shy in this photograph but, then again, the poor dear had to endure an hour-long torrent of ultrasound waves that day.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Michigan - A Final Reverie

Aunt Ford's LOVELY cottage in Leland...I LOVE Leland. If ever I were to move north, to Leland I would point my sails. A tiny town situated on a peninsula between two lakes - Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Leelanau to the east. Summers are warm and sunny, but temperate and non-humid. The best part of Leland is Peegie's Aunt Ford. She is just awesome...that's the only way to say it!

Everywhere we looked along the M22 Corridor there were wildflowers. I thought these were lilacs...they certainly smelled sweetly similar to lilacs; but I think they are just a variety of pretty wildflower.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The park is so named because the dunes resemble a sleeping Mama Bear and Baby Bear. I couldn't "see" the bears (I also can't "see" the Man in the Moon...) but, even so, the park took my breath away. We are standing on a dune that is 450' above the shoreline. There is a path to the beach below, but I was terribly afraid I wouldn't be able to make the strenuously steep climb. I love this picture for two reasons: 1. it illustrates the steepness of the dune in comparison to the lake and horizon; and 2. I appear as tall as Peegie.

Don't FALL! If you look closely, you can see people climbing the dune from the beach. Oy!

Space Monkeys. That's all I have to say about that.

A way of life: Life, Liberty, Beaches & Pie. This is a picture of the famous Cherry Republic where everything is all about cherries. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba describes to Forrest all of the different preparations of shrimp? Imagine a similar scene with cherries as the star ingredient, and Bubba is on crack. THAT'S what you find at Cherry Republic. You also find Cherry Butter (yum!) and Cherry Snickerdoodles (double yum!). We left $170 with the gracious and helpful ambassadors and they kindly shipped lots of cherry goodies home to us.

Sunset over Lake Michigan. A perfect ending to another perfect adventure.

The Arcadia Series

One of my most favorite memories of our trip to Michigan is Camp Arcadia, a Lutheran Family Retreat along the shore of Lake Michigan. Peegie spent two weeks there every summer from the age of 9 until he was a sophomore in college. I have heard about this magical place for longer than 8 years now, and it was high time that I see it for myself. It was nothing like I imagined it would be. It was better. The grounds are lush and green and shaded by beautiful trees. The beaches are sandy and the dunes and bluff ripe for climbing. It was easy to see why Peegie, Mom LeB, Aunt Rochelle, Aunt Marlene, Uncle Marlowe and Derek and Dawn love it so. More than just the natural beauty of its location, I loved seeing my beloved's face light up as we walked the grounds and he recalled stories from childhood - raging bonfires on the beach, climbing the north bluff, petoskey hunting, playing games in the Wigwam...

The picture at the top right is titled "New Friends Familiar Places" because we are standing near the family plaque that Peegie and Mom LeB installed in the main building. I love the photo because Peegie's face radiates light and joy. Below is a close-up of the LeBoutillier Family Plaque. It boasts a starfish from Miami and the woodworking skills I have come to know and appreciate so well.
Another really cool thing about Camp Arcadia is the Cottage Colony. The Cottage Colony is where Peegie forged a friendship, at age 9, with John Neff. They became fast friends, and are still best friends today, at age 41. John and his wife, Dixie, live in Columbia, SC with their two boys, Zack and Parker. Happily, our vacation dates coincided and we were able to rendezvous with them in Arcadia. The picture at left is titled "Old Friends Familiar Places" - for obvious reasons. The one right below it is titled "Seems Like Old Times" because as soon as the boys, er, men, saw the box hockey, they cracked sticks and started playing as if no time had passed.

Arcadia, MI is nearly the southernmost boundary of fertile petoskey-hunting grounds. Petoskey stones are fossilized coral and are found only in Michigan. Hunting for them is much like hunting for sharks teeth on a Florida beach. It requires a lot of patience, and a lot of focus. My focus was distracted by all the OTHER pretty-colored stones, so I found only one petoskey stone. Peegie found three. He's a show-off like that.