Monday, December 17, 2012

35 weeks and counting

It is hard to write about my joy in the midst of the sorrow that a nation has felt since Friday. I place my hand on my stomach and wish that Gwendolyn would be born into a peaceful world where all children were safe and their greatest worry was what kind of mudpie they would make that day. But since the beginning of mankind, there has been this thing called sin and this thing called choice. And we make the choice to sin and that sin can devastate people's lives whether it is by telling a lie or murdering innocent people. 

So, 35 weeks. I am at the point where my sister-in-law was at when she was induced with Jackson due to high blood pressure. If I were her, Gwendolyn would make her grande entrance tomorrow. I have a scheduled ultrasound tomorrow because I am measuring a little small. At 34 weeks, I was only measuring 32 weeks, so tomorrow is to make sure that Gwen is growing well and that I have plenty of amniotic fluid. My best guess is that Gwendolyn has decided to take up residence more in the inside of my body than on the outside, which would explain the small measurement. Either way, I get to see my little girl tomorrow and that excites me!

In other news, Joseph and I had our maternity photos taken last week. We met with Christy Gantt of Studio 9 photography located near Sumter, SC. We met at a beautiful red barn near sundown to capture some pics before moving on to a Christmas tree farm. Christy was fun to work with and made our photo shoot relaxed and easy by letting us improvise but also gently directing us.

How far along?  35 weeks
Total weight gain/loss?  18 pounds! So we will see my grand total of weight gain during tomorrow's appointment.
Maternity clothes?  What else is there?
Stretch marks? None yet...but I am sure they are coming and I heard that sometimes they occur overnight.
Sleep?  Sleep has been better as I have gotten the acid reflux under control. Though I find myself waking up 4-5 times a night to pee or just to toss and turn.
Best moment last week? Just watching Gwen roll around in my belly. Sometimes it feels like she is sliding into home plate. She goes from one side of my tummy to the other like a flash of lightening! Joseph and I also worked on the nursery and it is coming along quite well.
Movement?  She is always moving around and has been having the cutest hiccups!  At first I thought it was just an intense heartbeat but then I realized what it was and I melted!
 Food cravings? None. Sometimes eggrolls.
Gender? She is still a she and forever a she shall she be.
Labor signs? Maybe? I am new to the pregnancy thing. Someitmes it feels as if my uterus gets tight but there is no pain associated with it, so maybe it is a Braxton-Hicks? Who knows...
Belly button in/out? Completely in. Though I can roll it out a little and it looks like an outie! I am hoping it stays an innie though...outies freak me out.
What I miss: Seeing my toes.
What I am looking forward to: Gwendolyn's arrival! I am ready to start my life with her in it.
Funny Story:  I had my first "sneeze and pee" session. That was interesting. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

31 Weeks

When it comes to pregnancy, all I can say is people lied. See chart below:

Midnight milkshake cravings
Midnight pee runs
Hating my body
Loving my new bump
Severe Acid Reflux
Yeah…they didn’t lie about that
Amazing cravings: fast food, ice cream, chocolate
No cravings except the occasional gummy bear
Crazy stretch marks
No new stretch marks (forthcoming maybe?)
Waddling like a duck
Still walking like a normal person
Glowing skin
Acne popping up in the weirdest places
Fear of birth process
Calm, knowing that my body is made for this purpose
Swollen feet
Yeah…that is true.
Random people touching my belly
Not one person has yet to touch my belly without asking.
Looking like a blimp by 5 months
People could barely tell I was pregnant

For some reason, I think I have been one of the lucky pregnant women who have been blessed with a fairly easy pregnancy. While there have been a few bumps in the road (failing my first glucose test and having to take the 3-hour glucose test that I swear almost killed worries though I passed and a minor heart mishap that was due to stress), my journey has been smooth sailing.

Gwendolyn has been growing and moving, I have a husband who is supportive and extremely involved in the preparing process (and in dealing with my extremely emotional, tired self). I honestly thought I would complain a lot more. 

How far along?  31 weeks! (Almost 8 months!)
Total weight gain/loss?  11 pounds! I am very proud of how much I have gained. I am right on target for not gaining too much or too little.
Maternity clothes?  Yes, on the reg.
Stretch marks? None! (Well besides the ones I already had)
Sleep?  Lately sleep has been iffy. Acid reflux has taken it's toll on my sleeping habits, waking me up in the middle of the night. I havestarted propping myself up on three pillows which isn't too comfortable but any sleep is better than no sleep.
Best moment last week? Our baby shower in Conway and at my work! It never ceases to amaze me how much people love us. I am so grateful for my mom, sister and sister-in-love for all they did for the shower in Conway and for my co-workers for raising $145 for us!
Movement?  Constantly and I love it! (Except when she sticks her hand/foot in my rib or decides to karate chop my bladder). I have noticed peak times when she is active and I freak out if she doesn't move during those times. I love how she responds if I press on my belly or tap on it.
 Food cravings?  As long as I stay away from Pinterest I usually don't have intense cravings. While Pinterest is a bride's ebest friend it is a pregnant woman's enemy! All the amazing food! I bought my sister a 3-pound bag of gummy bears as a thank you gift for helping with the shower and since then I have wanted gummy bears.
Gender? She is still a she and forever a she shall she be.
Labor signs? Not that I am aware of. I am new to the pregnancy thing. Someitmes it feels as if my uterus gets tight but there is no pain associated with it, so maybe it is a Braxton-Hicks? Who knows...
Belly button in/out? Completely in. I don't think it will ever pop out! Though, isn't that how you tell when a baby is done cooking? Your belly-button timer pops out?
What I miss: I miss gin and tonic. People are going to think I'm an alcoholic. I miss medium-rare steak.
What I am looking forward to: My maternity photos with Studio 9 Photography! I am looking to do some Christmasy photos (as well as regluar ones) If you have any ideas, let me know!
Funny Story: So last night I woke up and noticed that my legs were wet. My first thought: "I peed the bed!" Second thought: "My water broke!" Then I realized I was just really hot and sweaty.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Letter to Saint Peter

On Veteran's Day, I want to share with you a song that has been one of my favorites. Many of you know about the obsession love I have for Edwin McCain. The song, "Prayer to Saint Peter" is off of his Messenger album.

Little did I know, that this song was actually a poem written by Elma Dean in 1942. From Oakland, California, Elma realized that the war (WWII) was not going well for the US and the poem was written to convey her sorrow for the young men who were being killed, including some of her son's dearest friends.

The poem was originally converted to a song by John Gorka and then covered by Edwin.

On this Veteran's Day, let us remember to thank those Veterans whose eyes may not shine as bright as they once did, clouded by the haze of shrapnel and visions that we can never imagine. The one's in wheelchairs and hospital beds. The one's that wear the "Vietnam" hat and quietly walk by you. The one's that just returned home and have yet to learn what the aftermath of being a combat soldier is. Let us also remember those who gave their lives.

Let them in, Peter
For they are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires
Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired by the sun
Not war-times bloody guns
May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die

You know God knows how young they were
To have to die

Give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give dance hall bands not golden harps
To these our boys
Let them love Peter
For they've had no time
They should have bird songs and trees
And hills to climb
The taste of summer
And a ripened pear
And girls as sweet as meadow wind
And flowing hair
And tell them how they are missed
But say not to fear
It's gonna be all right
With us down here

Let them in, Peter
For they are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires
Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired by the sun
Not war-times bloody guns
May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die

You know God knows how young they were
To have to die

And tell them how they are missed
But say not to fear
It's gonna be all right
With us down here

It's gonna be all right
With us down here

Thursday, November 8, 2012

29 Weeks and counting

So I have hit the third-trimester mark and I have to say that being pregnant has been such an amazing experience thus far. I have been blessed with an "easy" pregnancy (minus having heartburn sent directly from Satan himself, swollen feet and the normal aches and pains). I feel as if I have been in one of the best emotional states of my life, even if I cry over the smallest things.

There has been so much joy that has come out of carrying Gwendolyn. I have grown closer to our Father, how can you not when you are carrying a little miracle inside of you?

So I have been absent for the past month, mostly due to my camera disappearing (blog posts are 10x more interesting when there is at least one photo). I found the MIA camera in our Halloween decoration storage box, what was it doing in there? Probably the Monster Mash. 

So here I am with a 29 week update. I will post a picture of our amazing Halloween costume a bit later.

Looking a bit swollen.

Joseph and I took a Babymoon to Maggie Valley/Asheville (thanks to our wonderful friends Mark and Jessie!) Joseph wanted to see a waterfall so after a nice little hike down a steep mountain side, we ended up here, at this beautiful sight. The trek back up wasn't much fun but we made it.

How far along? 29 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 11  pounds...The doctor was a little concerned last week at my check up as I am measuring 17 cm. She said if I was measuring 16 cm or less she would be more concerned. She actually told me to eat more red meat!
Maternity clothes? Yep. There are a few of my pre-preggo shirts that I can still wear but not many.
Stretch marks? They are still there but not getting any worse so that is good!
Sleep: On and off. Gwendolyn has found my ribs and she enjoys kicking them frequently. Between her kicks and my overactive bladder I wake up at least 5-6 times a night.
Best moment this week: Watching my stomach before bed. I try to go to bed an hour or so early so I can read. She usually decides to squirm and kick (I don't think she is enjoying Jane Austen) and I love watching my tummy roll and move with her movements. It is such an indescribable feeling to see your stomach move.
Miss Anything? Gin, Jack, Jim...I miss sleeping on my back, seeing my toes, being able to shave my legs without having to prop my leg up on my sister-in-love's medical chair from when she broke her back. I miss running too, which I never thought I would say. Since I wasn't really a runner before getting pregnant (I had only participated in one 5k), it wasn't safe for me to continue running after pregnancy.
Movement: She is always moving and I love it! (Except when she kicks my ribs or rolls on my bladder. No fun...)
Food cravings: No crazy cravings, soda mostly. Though I have learned that Pinterest is a pregnant woman's worst enemy. Anytime I see a food item on there, I want it immediately!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Chinese food still isn't happening...the thought of it makes me want to hurl. Mexican food isn't on the top of my list either but to my husband's dismay.
Have you started to show yet: Oh yes, over the past two or three weeks she has popped out! It is nice that people can actually tell that I am pregnant and not just gaining weight at a rapid speed.
Gender: Sweet Southern Girl. I was listening to Carrie Underwood's "All-American Girl" and it made me so happy that our first little one is a girl. My mom just told me that my nephew (though 2 hours away) keeps saying "Pink Baby!" So he knows he will have a little girl cousin on the way!
Labor Signs: Not really, though I contract frequently when I pee.
Belly Button in or out? Innie! I hope it stays that way.
Wedding rings on or off? I finally took them off and put them away this week. It was getting to the point where they hurt. I started wearing my right hand ring but before then I looked like an un-wed, pregnant woman. (People give you looks).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy! Though moody at night when I am super tired (Poor Joseph)
Things you love:  I love watching her move in my tummy. I love talking about being pregnant. I love dreaming about who she will be. I love planning for her arrival. I love planning her nursery. Most of all, I love her father.
Looking forward to:  Her arrival. Though I don't want to wish away this stage of my life as it is so special. I am also looking forward to our baby showers! So many people have put a lot of effort into planning these events for us and we are so grateful and can't wait to spend time with family and friends in celebration of Gwen!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The One About the First Trimester

Since I am coming up on my third trimester, (what, already? Sheesh!) I thought I would give you a little look into my life as it pertained to the first trimester. 

Over the last few years, I have seen my share of pregnant women and have heard their stories. Many heart-wrenching miscarriages, women lit with new-found pregnancy only to lose their little light in a few short weeks myself included. Many successful pregnancies, now with little ones who are one, two even three years old; walking, talking and doing what toddlers do. I have heard stories of post-partum depression, premature births, divorce, of such debilitating sickness during pregnancy that they refuse to go through it again.

The beauty of pregnancy and birth is that everyone experiences it differently, whether it is a sad or happy occasion. The women own their stories and I own mine.

The first trimester was just that, trying. It was one of mixed sensories (I don't think sensories is a word but I am going to coin it now. It means anything combination of things being felt emotionally, physically or spiritually. If there is another word...comment below and I may decide to start using the correct one instead of my made-up jargon. Preggo brain is real, people): joy, hope, fear, anxiety, nausea, fatigue, dreams, realizations...the list goes on.

The one that stands out most is nausea. While I only had morning sickness a couple of times the nausea was unrelenting. From around 8 weeks until 12.5 weeks, the sick feeling plagued me. I was prescribed Zofran which causes constipation which, surprise surprise, causes nausea. I tried pickle juice, lemon heads, lemons, ginger tea, candied ginger, preggie pops, oyster crackers, saltine crackers, ginger ale... Women at work would look on my green self with pity, offering any old wives tale remedy that they could remember from their Great Aunt Roberta. Ackerman strived every day to make sure I had some sort of food that wouldn't make my stomach turn. Our poor baby was raised on bean burritos from Taco Bell that first trimester. Maybe we should rename her Lolita. He was my hero in those last weeks of the first trimester. Patient, understanding and most of all kind.

Fear was also a strong presence. At around eight weeks, we attended a friend's wedding. During the reception I went to use the facilities (peeing becomes a ritual) and I noticed some spotting. I felt numb. This isn't happening again. Not now. You can't have this one too. You can't. Ha. Like I could really tell God that He couldn't have a life He created. I calmly told Joseph and we left immediately, post-poning a trip to Myrtle Beach to see my family. I went home and laid on my left side, I covered my stomach with my hand to hold the baby in place and drank water. I prayed. So hard. Not this one. TMI ALERT: I called my midwife and she asked if we had had sex the night before and we had. That is what caused the spotting. The relief was so great. Selfishly, I had made up my mind before we knew we were pregnant that if I miscarried again that we weren't trying again. Little did I know that a few months later, one of my good friends would miscarry her second time and then a few months after that, she would miscarry for the third time. I've learned a lot about strength, faith and trust through her. 

These first few months went by so slowly like a five minute car ride when you were a child; never ending. I didn't want to get excited about baby. We got to see our little one at 6 weeks old, a little string bean with a heartbeat. Then the nausea came and the tiredness ensued and I lived the next five weeks in slow motion. I didn't want to plan a nursery or buy any clothes. We told those around us and that was it. I felt like I was holding my breath those months, I couldn't relax. I just wanted to wait and wait we did. 

But then it did end. The nausea lifted and the magic 12 weeks passed and I had hope that this baby would live. The world sighed and I sighed along with her. 

The second trimester has been a completely different experience and while I have had a few complications and have experienced the usually aches and pains that come a long with pregnancy, I feel amazing. But more on my second trimester later.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

24 weeks pregnant and counting

Looking a little tired, but that's okay!

How far along? 24 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 8 pounds...Staying within the healthy weight!
Maternity clothes? Oh yeah, haven't broken into the sweatpants yet.
Stretch marks? I have a feeling they aren't going anywhere but luckily they aren't getting any darker.
Sleep: On and off. Gwendolyn is starting to build strength and is kicking a lot harder. She seems to like my bladder in particular!
Best moment this week: Hands down: Joseph feeling Gwendolyn kick for the first time! It was so exciting. It is hard for husbands as they can't feel the baby constantly. It made me feel like he is more connected.
Miss Anything? Being able to walk across the Horseshoe at USC without being winded. Also, eating normally. Sometimes I can't stop eating...other times I don't want to even think about food.
Movement: She is doing the hokey pokey in my tummy! Her peak hours are around 9:30, 2:30 and 9:30
Food cravings: Sweets still...especially cheesecake.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Chinese food still isn't happening.
Have you started to show yet: See the photo above! People are starting to comment that I am getting bigger! I am glad I am preggo because I definitely wouldn't take it as a compliment!
Gender: She is still a girl! As weeks go on, I get more and more excited about her being...well....a her. The bows! The lace! The frills! The prospect of her being the next prima ballerina!
Labor Signs: I cramp every once and a while. I think it is more of the long ligament cramps as it happens when I walk too quickly.
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? Barely on. A few more weeks and I am sure my fingers will be too big.
Happy or Moody most of the time: I am getting into the wonderful part of pregnancy. I feel good, I am starting the nesting instinct, I feel closer to my the mood is great!
Things you love: I love the long nails and glossy hair. I love that my husband is extra sensitive to my needs. I dislike how people treat me like I am sick. No...I'm pregnant.
Looking forward to:  Her getting here! I get so excited about the birth process and being able to finally hold her. I hate to wish time away as pregnancy is such a short part of a woman's life (unless you are Michelle Duggar) but it is hard to think of her swimming around in my tummy and me not being able to see her face!

Head on over to The Art of Making Baby for your chance to win a Maxi Cosi Pria70 Convertible Car Seat. I mean...take a look at this thing!

I haven't done a great job at comparing carseats, strollers, cribs, etc...there are so many options, so many opinions...just too many and frankly, I trust the opinion of TAOMB. Go on now...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Write me a song...and a little rant

First a rant:

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the birth process. The pain, happiness, problems, successes, overwhelming love and everything in between.

I have been lucky to talk to a few strong, inspiring women who had natural births with out the use of pain medication (one even had to have Pitocin and birthed without meds...I don't know how she did it!)

 When I express my desire to have a natural childbirth, women look at me like I have a third eye. Their eyes get round and they exclaim one of many statements:

"You are crazy! You just wait, you will be screaming for pain medications!"
"Oh...well...good luck. IIIIIII (emphasis on the I) wouldn't do it."
"You can have a pain free birth...why not?"

But it is the one thing that they don't say that bothers me the most. It is their implication that I am ignorant and dumb for not taking the IV to my arm and shooting up with the "serum of the gods".

At first, I found myself making excuses for myself as to why I was choosing to forgo the big E (epidural). I blamed it on my fear of needles...which is true. But I then realized that my fear was not the only reason I was choosing to go natural. It's better for baby Gwen to not be pumped full of the medications that would make me comfortable, there is a greater risk of cesarean section when you are induced (and believe it or not, c-sections are major surgery) and most of all: God made my body to give birth, to work with baby Gwendolyn in a way that will never happen again and ultimately to bond with her.

Just a little statistic: in 1965, the national cesarean rate was 4.5% and  raised to 32.8% in 2010.

So this is where I state that I am not ashamed of my choice for a natural childbirth and I will no longer make excuses. Yes, I am aware that it is going to hurt and Cash's song, "Ring of Fire" will take on a new meaning for me. But this is an experience that I choose to have - to feel alive - to feel what it is like to bring a baby into this world and not fear it.

If you go for a medicated birth or have to have a c-section, more power to you.
Now, I am not going into this expecting everything to be peachy and easy. I know that I will probably go through the most pain I have ever been through before. I remember the pain I experienced when I miscarried with Lord Volde so I can only imagine that it will be exponentially worse.

I am also not going into the labor and delivery room thinking that the birth is going to go the way I want it. I know that sometimes c-sections are necessary but I also know that some doctors tend to push c-sections so they can make it to happy hour or can protect themselves from lawsuits. Not me, pal.

Second, the music:

One method I will use to ease the pains of labor (or at least take my mind away from it) is music. I have ready that you should have a soft, relaxing play list and a more upbeat play list for the times when you are pushing. I tend to rely more on soothing music when I am in pain so while I will make a play list of pumped up tunes, I will focus on the softer side.

Through the Floor – Edwin McCain
Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
Wild Horses - The Sundays
American Baby – Dave Matthews
Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars
How He Loves – David Crowder
Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor
Fill Me Up – United Pursuit
Running in Circles – United Pursuit
Color Blind – Counting Crows
Fire & Rain – James Taylor
The Funeral – Band of Horses
Tequila Makes Me Crazy – Kenny Chesney        
Fast Car – Tracey Chapman
Worth It All – Rita Springer
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Johnny Cash
#41 – Dave Matthews
Soon – Hillsong United
We Found Love – Rihanna
First Day Of My Life – Bright Eyes
Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee
Your Song – Elton John
Gravity - Sara Bareilles
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Ingrid Michaelson
I Have to Believe - Rita Springer
Ho Hey – Lumineers
Gotta Have You – The Weepies
Part One – Band of Horses 

Viorar Vel Til Loftarasa – Sigur Ros

I am sure that I will need many, many more songs (I will probably add the entire Civil Wars Album and some additional Edwin McCain songs...)

So, that is my list thus far. Is there anything I should add or delete from the list?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Let me introduce you to Fives. His real name is Fievel (after the mouse in American Tale), but after a while his name was shorted to a simple "Fives" and then it was changed to "Sir Fives" when we knighted him with a sword that was sitting in our living room. So he is now, "Sir Fives" and I daresay he enjoys the title. We have had him since before we got married, when he was just a cute little kitten. He was innocent, with cute paws (that I endearingly call paw-paws).
Sorry for the bad quality photo
He is a relatively spoiled cat, enjoying paw-paw massages and belly rubs. I mean...look at those paws! They are so cute! He also enjoys sleeping upside down in your lap. He is a talker and will let you know when he is hungry or if he just needs to be petted.

Which is always.

Much to his chagrin, we dyed his paws pink and blue for Easter. Don't worry it was vinegar and water!

Ackerman and Fives have a love/hate relationship...mostly hate. Joseph abhors the snootiness of cats and the way they look at him with a smug, all-knowing glare. But every once-in-a-while, you will catch him petting Fives (usually at my direction).

Fives getting up-close and personal
While I adore Fievel (and my husband), the cat has a tendency of waking up at 6:00 am, coming to our door and meowing. Sometimes, if we stay quiet, he will go away for about three minutes and then come back and meow some more until Joseph or I (usually Joseph) gets up to let him outside.

For the past few days I have had a new alarm clock and it is not one that I like.

I will leave you with a photo of our puppy Simcoe (named after one of my husband's favorite hops)...though he is not much of a puppy anymore!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The One About Crying

Declining temperatures always brings more than coats and scarves. Along with cooler weather comes changing leaves and the promise of bonfires and s'mores. Apple cider (sans alcohol for us preggos which is sad as our good friend makes the most delicious apple pie moonshine), leggings and long sweaters, sweatshirts dug out from our high school and college days, slightly tattered but too comfortable and nostalgic to throw away. Pumpkins with funny faces and corn field mazes. Snuggling a little closer to those we love. Front porch, hot coffee mornings with dog-eared pages of your favorite classic.

And also, Fall cleaning. No one ever talks about fall cleaning. It is always, "spring cleaning this" and "spring cleaning that". What about fall?

Ackerman and I began our Fall cleaning yesterday, which mainly consisted of purging our 6 bookcases of duplicates and books we would never (and have no desire to) read, organizing the back room as it had been taken over by beer aliens, shuffling through papers that should have been filed long ago (W-2s from 2004 anyone?) and high school/college binders.

Fall cleaning while pregnant is a challenge. First, sitting on the floor does a number on your hips. I would waddle for a good minute, hunched over before I could stand up and walk straight. My husband (and my mom via telephone) were adament about me not picking up anything heavier than a pencil and then there are the emotions.

When you are pregnant, you cry. over. everything. Even if you are crying over nothing, the emotion that is welled up inside feels like you have lost a loved one. This has made me come to the conclusion that hormones are a pregnant woman's worst enemy. They make you sick in the first trimester and then uber emotional during the remainder.

Here are a few examples of meltdowns that I had. Note: this was just yesterday and happened within a 2-hour span.

Example 1:
We had some black mold issues in the nursery and had the mold professionally removed. Since then, I have not walked into the nursery. Yesterday, upon opening the door and stepping into the room, my face became instantly wet. Last time I checked, there wasn't a hole in the roof so yes, I must be crying. Over what you ask? I'm not quite sure. The realization of having a baby girl, knowing that this is where she will spend her first years...where WE will spend our first months getting to know each other. Maybe I was shedding tears over all of the work I have to do: tearing up carpet, pulling up carpet nails, refinishing the hardwood floor, putting down toe-molding, painting, etc...well who am I kidding? Most of the work will be done by Ackerman, but I am the one who makes lists and worries about it.

Example 2:
While rummaging through photos, I found one of my grandfather and me. He enjoying what was probably a Bud heavy and me enjoying a margarita. Why that photo made me cry, I am not sure. Was it that I miss him? Was it the memory of sharing in my first alcoholic beverage with him? (Well one of the first...) Or was it that I just plain miss tequila?

Example 3:
I came across a letter while filing that was written from Ackerman's friend Speegs while he was in basic. He wrote to Ackerman detailing life in the Navy. There was nothing sad about the letter. It just made me cry.

I will also note: it seems like once something makes you cry, it is hard to snap out of the funk. The rest of your day is on the brink of tears. Heaven forbid someone look at me the wrong way or I see one of those Sarah McLaughlin animal commercials...those puppy eyes get me every time!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The week of 21.

So yesterday, I turned 21 weeks and my sister turned 21 a couple of weeks ago but we are actually celebrating this it is the week of 21!
I learned that the baby is the size of a pomegranate (which I must tell you I LOVE pomegranates.) Next week she will be a papaya and I don't like papayas, but that's okay.
She is well on her way to being a foot long (10.5 inches) and just imagining her growing is such an amazing experience.

I have started to refer to her as "My Little Mermaid" and she is constantly swimming around and bumping into my innards. Her real name is Gwendolyn Raye. Two names that are very special to both Joseph and I. Gwendolyn was my Mom's mom's name (my grandmother) and she passed away in 1993 from lung cancer. She was always such a driving force in my life.

Raye comes from both my Mom's Dad's name and Joseph's Dad's Dad's name (our grandfathers). My grandfather passed away right before Joseph and I met in 2009. I felt very lucky to have spent the many years I did with him. He taught me to drive and always let me know that he loved me. Joseph's grandpa, known as "Pop" died last year and I feel completely honored to have known him. He always let me know how glad he was to have me in their family. I took to him as I would my own grandfather and he came in my life at a time when I had just lost mine. The spelling of "Raye" comes from Joseph's maternal side of the family where many of the girls have the last name, "Daye" so it works.
Grandpa Pressley and I...yes I am adorable.

Pop and Nonny at a Clemson game
Unfortunately, I don' t have a photo of my grandma (aka Nana) on the computer, but once I get one, I will put it up.

On a different note, Joseph and I went and registered at Buy Buy Baby (which I just found out you can use Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons at the Buy Buy Baby stores!) and Target. While it was fun, it was also exhausting. I am sure I forgot to add things and I am sure I added things that I don't need. Oh well.

How far along? 21 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 2 lbs gained so far (gained 4 but lost 2)
Maternity clothes? All maternity and not ashamed.
Stretch marks? Yep, though they aren't getting any bigger/darker thanks to slathering myself with lotion on the daily.
Sleep: Sleep is getting better, though I can't wait to sleep on my back again. I registered for a Snoogle at Buy Buy Baby...hint hint.
Best moment this week: Feeling my Mermaid kick and squirm! It is such a sweet thing!
Miss Anything? The same things...sushi. Beer. Port wine. A margarita or two...or three.
Movement: The Mermaid is on the move! I am starting to see my stomach move a little
Food cravings: Sushi. Sweets.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Still not digging Chinese food...
Have you started to show yet: See the photo above! My midwife said that I am carrying more inside so who knows how big I'll get.
Gender: She is still a girl!
Labor Signs: Not a one!
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? I'm mostly wearing my wedding band and have put my engagement ring aside. Though, I got agitated one day because someone told Joseph that he needed to get me a bigger ring...because I only had my wedding band on. Really? Because the size of your diamond really measures your marriage.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy most of the time. I had a cry-fest one day, over nothing really and I've had one (or two) hormonal outbursts...I am trying to keep those to a minimum.
Looking forward to:  Seeing little Gwen next week for my second ultrasound! I also can't wait until Joseph can fell her swimming around.

Monday, August 27, 2012

18 weeks and counting

Technically, I was 18 weeks last week. Seeing as how I am moving at a slug's rate of speed I will go ahead and give a fun 18 week update with a 20 week update coming up soon.

How far along? 18 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 4 lbs gained so far
Maternity clothes? All maternity and not ashamed.
Stretch marks? Yes...I am getting stretch marks in places I never dreamed of getting them. I've been lotioning up to try to avoid them but one circumstance involving sleep and a cockroach has got me shying away from my cupcake-scented lotion.
Sleep: Sleep is on and off. Solely sleeping on on side of another is tough. I long for some back sleep!
Best moment this week: realizing that I am almost halfway there.. BOOM!
Miss Anything? Raw sushi. Beer. Port wine. A margerita or two...or three.
Movement: Ooooh yes. Little one loves to do flips especially during worship time at church!
Food cravings: So far I've been raising Miss Gwen on bean burritos. While cravings have been at a minimum I have wanted some chicken tenders something fierce today.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really sick...but anytime I think of BBQ and Chinese food I make funny face and shiver a bit.
Have you started to show yet: Yup! The belly is poking out. I never thought that it would feel so tight, like a drum.
Gender: We found out that Ackerbaby is an Ackerlady!
Labor Signs: Not really. I've been having sharp pains for the past 4 weeks but I figured it was baby moving around
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? Both. I was one to wear my rings 24/7 but they've been getting kind of tight so I take them off at night and then more than likely forget to put them on in the morning.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy most of the time.
Looking forward to:  Going to the beach for Labor Day. A year ago I miscarried so it will be wonderful to celebrate and enjoy looking at the ocean over my growing belly. Watch out Edisto Beach!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Without further ado...

Boy or girl? Girl or boy? I would say that this was one of the first thoughts that ran across my mind when I first found out I was pregnant.
Would the little one in my womb that was turning somersaults be a little ballerina or a baseball player? Bang on the drums in his father's footsteps or tickle the ivory's in mine?

So today we went to Prenatal Peek to find out. We watched as Ackerbaby turned flips and wiggled in my tummy. His/her little hands and feet wagging and waving. Instead of finding out at the ultrasound place, my mom bought two outfits from Belk, one boy and one girl, had the salesclerk wrap them in identical gift wrap and then put a card on each one indicating the gender of Ackerbaby. When we left the ultrasound room, the tech put a bow on the present that indicated the correct gender of the baby. We then went to Olive Garden with friends and family to find out....
So...without further ado....Ackerbaby is actually an....


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Baby's First Lullaby

This post is as much to record a specific moment and time in the history of Ackerbaby as it is to let you, my family and friends, in on our little life.

At 16 weeks, baby can "hear". I'm not sure if this is mostly through vibrations and I am sure that Ackerbaby feels like "The Little Mermaid", having to listen though all that fluid, but I surely hope he/she enjoyed the first "lullaby" I sang him/her.

What song?

Carolina In My Mind by James Taylor

While this song is about our sister state, North Carolina, I love the sense of nostalgia that goes along with listening to James Taylor's voice and listening to this song in my Mom's car. I like to think that the song is about our South Carolina. The Carolina that will be the home to our little one. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

16 weeks and counting. Boy or Girl?

I am 16 weeks pregnant today. Or four months. Or 112 days.

However you want to count the measurement of pregnancy, I am definitely more pregnant than I was a few short months ago.

My waistline is growing, there are little movements in my tummy that could be contributed to either gas or Ackerbaby. My vote is for Ackerbaby.

Over the past four months, I have learned what miserable really means with almost 6 weeks of non-stop nausea. I honestly told the hubs that if my whole pregnancy was going to be plagued by nausea that we would have to adopt the rest of the our children.

I have learned what faith is by putting the life of my little one in God's hands and just enjoying having the baby here for as long as God decides to let me have him (or her). Also by stepping out and putting in my notice at work. Yep, that's right. I am going to try the good ole "stay-at-home mom" routine. (More on that later).

I have learned that sometimes spilled milk really does make you cry and yes, it is just because of the hormones. I have learned that putting your car keys and other random items in the refrigerator is a normal occurrence and that sometimes you will forget to wear your bra to work. Preggo-brain is real and it is here to stay.

So, I have learned all these things but what I have yet to learn is the gender of Ackerbaby...and that, my friends, we will be finding out this weekend.

Many people have weighed in. Some think Ackerbaby is going to be a girl, the majority think it will be a boy. I have dreamed that it was a girl but I have always called him, him.

So weigh in...what do you think Ackerbaby will be? Boy or girl?

Thursday, August 2, 2012


In my last post, I mentioned that I would be writing about another huge announcement that involves beer, swords and shiny objects.
Well my friends, those shiny objects FINALLY arrived yesterday.
Over the past year and a half, Mr. Ackerman and his best friend of umpteen years have been praying and working on opening their own brewery here in Columbia.

Conquest Logo created by Jess MacCallum

Let me start by saying that I am SO incredibly proud of Mr. A and his partner. What started out as a dream and some talk over beers has finally turned into something tangible. A dream that has been realised. Through hard work and honestly a considerable amount of intervention from God (what??? Did I just say God and beer in the same blog post?) things have slowly come together.

Opening the very first crate - a hot liquor tun!
Conquest Brewing Company is located at 847 Stadium Way, near Williams-Brice Stadium. The brewery will produce a string of regular beers (including Sacred Heart IPA, Artemis Blonde, Brutus Stout and a hefeweizen) and will expand to seasonal releases as well as limited release beers such as The Finisher (sounds daunting, no?).

Hot liquor tun

Columbia has had a few brew-pubs including Hunter Gatherer and Liberty Tap Room but has not harbored a production brewery for many years. With cities such as Charleston, Asheville and even Myrtle Beach sustaining 1-8+ breweries, Columbia should be able to harbor at least one and hopefully more will pop-up around the Midlands making the area a beer mecca.

Tap handle designed by Mr. A and Mr. E (Joseph's partner).
Fabricated by Laserformn & Machine, Inc.

So far, Conquest has received tons of support for the local community (thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have commented, tweeted, messaged and called) and looks forward to brewing it's first batches and opening in mid-late September, right in the mix of football season. Check out coverage from the Free Times and WLTX.

If you want to keep up to date on the brewery, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or their Web site (currently under construction).

And remember: History is written by the victor.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The One About Baby A

Since we have officially announced our little news on Facebook (because you know that NOTHING is official until you post it on Facebook), I thought I would write a bit about our news!
Joseph and I are expecting a little bundle of joy! Or in layman's terms a baby. Knocked up. Pregasaurus-rex.  A bun in the oven.
Studio 13 Photography by Corrie Defelice
I will be 14 weeks tomorrow. It seems like just yesterday I took a test and instead of one measly line, there were two. Two. Two lines. Check the box. That means I'm pregnant. While there was extensive joy when I found out, there was also worry and a tinge of sadness for the baby we lost last year. There was such a cloud that followed the miscarriage that when I took the pregnancy test and saw that it was positive this time around, I got in the shower and cried with mixed emotions. But God is good and sovereign and has blessed us beyond our imagination.

Studio 13 Photography by Corrie Defelice
The first trimester came and went. Let me tell you something about the first trimester...whoever came up with "Morning Sickness"  lied. It was all day sickness and it comes with extreme fatigue. Instead of going to bed at 10:30-11:00 pm like usual, I turned into a pumpkin around 9:00-9:30 pm much to my husband's dismay. It felt as if we had no time together because I was going to bed so early. In the moment, I honestly thought this phase would never end. I forgot what it felt like to want to eat and to actually enjoy it.

It was also hard to balance the idea of complaining about the discomforts because of the miscarriage. Right after I miscarried, I would see friends complain on Facebook about their pregnancy ailments and I would get so upset because "at least they were pregnant". But now I know first hand their discomforts, but how do I complain about something that clearly means my little baby is growing and thriving?

Studio 13 Photography by Corrie Defelice
I have now graduated to official "Maternity" clothes as my regular pants and jeans do not fit. I tried every trick in the book to stay in my pre-maternity clothes including using safety pins and hair ties to keep my pants up to wearing loose, baggy tops that weren't so tight. But I find that I love maternity pants. They are super comfortable and I don't think I will ever go back.

And has anyone ever told you about prenatal vitamins? Um, hello long nails and long, glossy hair! I am a nail biter so it has been like a dream to have long, beautiful nails. I am due for a manicure soon. But what no one ever told me about is the horrible skin that comes along with pregnancy (for some women at least). I have had breakout upon breakout and nothing helps. Whatever happened to the "glowing skin" of pregnancy? It completely skipped me.
Studio 13 Photography by Corrie Defelice

Let's just go ahead and get it out in the open: smaller bladder. Yeah. The toilet and I have become best friends. At work, the stairs have also become my best friend since I see them ALL the time while running to the first floor for a bathroom break. But what happens when I have to waddle down and up the stairs? The dreaded elevator in our old building takes forever. I am talking a good 20 seconds for the door to open once you have reached your the question at hand is, what will I have more patience for? Taking 10 minutes to waddle up the stairs or 10 minutes to take the elevator? We shall see.

Studio 13 Photography by Corrie Defelice

So I am "due" January 22. Between now and then, I am sure I will have many questions and many things to figure out. I plan on posting updates and how I prepare for birth. Look forward to seeing my birthing plan, gender reveal, hospital baby bag, quest for baby names, have to get baby furniture?, birthing music mix, my reasoning for an "all natural birth" (which mainly has to do with my fear of needles) and all of the other things that happen while pregnant.

***Up next...another HUGE announcement which involves beer, swords and shiny objects.***