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Gregg keeps telling me how prepared I am for our soon-to-be-here baby. I’m loving preparing. Washing clothes, getting the nursery together, decorating, figuring out what I want to store where. Like the 100s of pairs of socks people have given us and the teeny tiny shoes. How accessible do these need to be? I’m thinking socks should be more within reach than shoes. They’re cute, but does a baby that can’t walk really need shoes?
The nursery is upstairs and we are downstairs, so its been a challenge to figure out what should go where. So far, we’ve got the changing table, swing, Rock N Play sleeper, and our glider (thanks, Mimi) downstairs. Upstairs, we have the dresser, crib, a year’s worth of clothes, stuffed animals and books, and, the one item that every baby needs, a fish tank (yep, pictures to come). Graham will be downstairs with us for the most part, so I really debated over whether I even wanted a nursery, but I’m really glad that we made a space for him. Its really a space for his stuff, but I like that its organized and not all thrown haphazardly into a room. I like to call it the staging area, but I don’t think that’s the correct use of the phrase.
I’ve started listening to a podcast about pregnancy and new mom topics. While I don’t like listening to pregnant women complain unless they are my friends (there’s some of that on the show), I do like learning. Through nursing school and my job on the maternity floor, there are some things that I do know. Like, how to take care of a baby for the first three days of life. But, that’s where my questions arise. What happens when you and your baby get home?
I’m enjoying learning about things like babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping. It sounds like we’re going for the hippie-parenting award, but they don’t teach you about these things in nursing school. Gregg and I went to a childbirth class where we didn’t get on the floor once. No hee hee hoo hoo’s to be had. There was just a powerpoint. I didn’t mind it. It was a nice review and I learned a couple things. Gregg, not the classroom type, would rather have been practicing breathing techniques or sleeping. He was a good sport.
Again, as I’ve mentioned before, there are so many unknowns, so many things that I can’t prepare for. So, if I can prepare for something, I’m going to. Getting our boy’s gear ready.
A woman that I work with is pregnant, due about 3 months after me. Its her third baby and she’s had c-sections in the past, so she will have a scheduled c-section this time around. She will get to decide when she has her baby. Or, at least, she will know months in advance when she will have her baby. I wonder what that feels like. Once April gets here, I feel like I’m stepping into a great unknown (cue the dramatic music).
The not knowing effects more than just me. Sometimes I like to see my patients in 2 weeks or a month to make sure they are doing okay, to make sure the changes that we made are helping them. And I’m starting to say, I should be here in a month. But, I really just don’t know. I feel a little bad about that, like I’m leaving them high and dry. They’ll be able to check in with someone else, but I want to see them myself.
My sister-in-law, Jennica, and her mom were sweet enough to throw me a shower on the Eastern Shore. Almost all of my book club pals, our doula, and a few other friends were in attendance. It was farm-themed and we made a bird mobile (pronouced mo-bill or mo-beel?). We stitched and stuffed felt birds that are now hanging from a nest looking thing ready to entertain our boy. Thank you, pinterest.
I’ve had a shower of old friends and this was a shower of new friends. This shower came with lots of love, too.
We’ve got sheep. Three of them. We don’t actually have them yet, but they have been purchased and wrangled from their former homestead. Currently, they are living with our friends’ sheep. We’re hoping that our sheep will mate with our friends’ ram before the weather gets too cold. Surely they can still mate in the cold, but, for some season, now’s the time for mating.
We also still have some chickens. They aren’t living with us right now either, since they would get eaten. There’s no protection in the openness of the farm. So, for protection, Gregg might actually get a Great Pyrenees. These dogs have been bred to (get this) protect sheep and chickens. As much as I don’t want another dog, I don’t want Gregg’s sheep and chickens to be another wild animals’ prey.
We do have a small autumnal (like that word?) garden with some leafy greens growing in it. Each year, I’m hoping we produce more and more food from our own (rented) land. With a bigger garden next year, we’ll have more to eat in the summer and maybe even be able to can/freeze some goodies for the fall and winter. I’ve been happy (and jealous) to see Instagram photos of friends doing the same thing with the produce from their own gardens. We’ve learning that produce grows quicker than meat is produced. Duh. It’ll be nice to produce something on our land, since we won’t be eating lamb for at least a year from now. Even the chickens won’t really be good egg-layers until next year.
Our friends with the sheep (okay, their names and Robert and Jen) got wind of a free Holstein (super good dairy cow) that a family in the area is looking to get rid of. A cow, for free. Gregg really wants fresh milk (so do I), but he doesn’t want the responsibility of milking it twice a day (I don’t either). Lazy…but understandable for two suburban kids. I’m not sure what the latest is on the cow, Gregg mentioned it to me early this week. I’m not sure if we would keep it at our place or if our friends would keep it at theirs. Don’t know. My non-reliable google search tells that such cows will produce anywhere from 5 to 20(!) gallons per day. We would need to share the wealth.
A friend asked me how Gregg’s farming was going. Slow. I guess that’s why they call the organic/local movement the Slow Food Movement. Like I mentioned, we might have lamb to eat next Fall, if everything goes as planned, which it may not. Farming is the slowest of learning processes, because sometimes you don’t know if you’ve made a mistake until months after the initial bad decision was made. But we’re still learning. Slowly.
I hope its all worth for us. For Gregg to do what he loves (and actually love it, not just the idea of it). I’m definitely guilty of liking the idea more than the reality. For us to eat what we grow and raise. For us to know exactly where our food is coming from and what went into growing it/raising it. I think that will be worth it.
I want to write about this process and talk about it, but we don’t have a lot to really show for ourselves yet. No meat. No eggs. A small amount of produce. We’re getting there though. Gregg’s getting there, I’m trying my hardest to be his cheerleader. Its just the slowest cheer I’ve ever done.
We had some friends over for dinner on Friday. Gregg grilled burgers and made homemade potato chips. He did not catch the house on fire while slicing, dicing, and frying the potato chips. (Thank goodness, we like our little rental house.) Our friends, Robert and Jen, are in their thirties and have been on the Shore nearly forever. She moved here in the nineties, and he is a local, born and raised here. Gregg says that he’s one of the good locals: helpful friendly, open to newcomers. Robert and Jen have some land of their own down the road from us. They have a donkey and some Hog Island sheep. Their sheep are feral (survived in the wild) and native to the area. Our soon-to-be sheep, which Gregg is planning on purchasing this week, are going to stay with our friends’ sheep for awhile and hopefully create a baby lamb or two in the process of their stay. Stay tuned…
I also had my first Book Club meeting this Saturday. We decided to read We Need to Talk about Kevin. It looks a bit morbid, but we liked the title and one of the girls really wants to read it. I was definitely the “newbie” of the group which is to be expected but a tad uncomfortable. Talking about books gave us instant common ground though. “What kind of books do you like to read?” Everyone loved answering the question around the table.
In addition to blooming friendships, football season officially started this weekend. For me, this means knitting on the couch so that I can spend time with my football-watching husband. It also means asking interested questions about fantasy football and learning all of the NFL quarterbacks names. You can’t beat RG3’s nickname.
Knoxville still feels like home to us. After living in a handful of different cities and states, coming back to Knoxville feels like home. Our families and friends are there. Our church is there. Friends that we’ve had for years, and other friends that, even if we haven’t known them for very long, they are forever friends.
Making friends in a new place is like starting from scratch. There are no connections, no common ground, no friends in common.
Last week we took a road trip that ended in Knoxville. Our friend and matchmaker, Joe, got married to a lovely girl that I’ve known since middle school. I love that connectivity. We stopped in the Outer Banks for me to frolic on the beach, in Boone to hug Ruby (and Meg and Tim), and in the mountains for Gregg to frolic in the Smokies. (Picturing Gregg frolicking is really funny to me.)
We went home to Knoxville, and came back home, to the Eastern Shore. Not really sure where home is. Maybe its good to have more than one?
A the end of our trip, we were unloading our car after our 10 hour road trip across Virginia when we noticed a cute letter neatly tied to our door. It was from our neighbor inviting us over for drinks. Also, this week I have my first book club gathering, and Gregg is meeting with a friend to talk sheep, cows, and milk-shares. Several nice little gifts awaited us upon our return to the Shore.
We’ve been in denial about moving. Afterall, on July 1st, we hadn’t even packed box #1. I have been thinking about what we are gaining and, alternatively, what we are losing in our move.
Convenience is a primary thing that we are gaining. We will have a dishwasher. No more scalding of the hands while washing the dishes. We are gaining 15-20 minutes with each trip we take. We’ll be that much closer to the grocery store, work, etc. (We’ll be that much farther away from the Bay and our neighbor-friends.) We’re gaining a garden! (Yeah right, you’re probably thinking. I’ve heard that from you before.) Well, despite you nay-sayers, I really think its going to happen this time. Not only did our landlord say he’s excited and even tickled to have us as his tenants. He also said for us to let him know where we want our garden, and he’ll till it up for us. Yessss! And, I think Gregg is finally over his burned-out-ness that has been plaguing him ever since he finished up Green Fingers’ Farm two years ago. My helper has arrived. We’re gaining a fig bush, a barn, a fenced in paddock(?) not sure that’s what its called, a free-standing garage, aka, storage bin. We’re gaining air conditioning. They’re window units, but that’s better than what we’ve got now which is nothing but fans to keep us cool. And we’re gaining the prettiest 1970’s wallpaper you’ve ever seen.
The Chesapeake Bay. And the porch that looks out over it. A two minute walk to the beach. On our last night in the house Gregg was getting sentimental about our move. Thankfully, he took that sentiment to the kitchen and made us a dinner of bacon-wrapped scallops, marinated lamb, and corn-on-the-cob (Mmmm Mmmm). Then, we sat out on our porch, listened to Bon Iver, and watched a lightning storm. Why haven’t we done this more often we asked? Life just gets in the way sometimes.
I’m imagining that as we move into this new house that our just-us time is over. I had an idea to have a house-warming party and invite all the friends or acquaintances that we have met since we moved here. I don’t think its going to happen because it would be very awkward for everyone. There’s not a lot of overlap of the people we have met here and there around the Eastern Shore. But, I just feel like, as soon as we move into this house, all our friends will arrive. Or, the people that we’ve met, will all of the sudden show up on our doorstep with a prepared dish, laughing about an inside joke that we don’t have. Not going to happen. We don’t have inside jokes with anyone here. No memories or easy breezy conversation. It takes time. Our new house is not going to be a magical fast-forward time machine of friendship. But, I think it is one more step in settling in.