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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.
Somehow I always seem to move to a new place just before a major life a event. We moved to Knoxville, then got engaged. We moved to Virginia, then got pregnant. So, since I’m about 6-12 hours away from many of my nearest and dearest, I didn’t expect to have a Baby Shower. But…we managed to meet up at Wimbo’s parents cabin in Hendersonville, North Carolina over the weekend. I knew that it would a challenge for friends and family to gather in one place because everyone had to travel. But…I’m so thankful. My mom and dad came, and so did some friends from Knoxville and college. I cried a lot and felt very loved.
Last week, when E linked up to my post on emyselfandi, I got over 300 hits. This is about 4 times what my traffic typically is. So, for my first confession, that is the main reason why I’m linking up today. That was such an ego boost for my little blog here!
I’m knitting a scarf for me. I feel a little bit guilty about it, because I’m pregnant and so many of my friends are pregnant. I should be knitting baby stuff, right? I knit during my downtime at work. My co-workers will ask me what I’m making, and I say “A scarf for me, BUT as soon as I finish it, I’m going to start knitting for Baby.” This is true, but I’m always very quick to mention what I’m going to knit next to avoid any judgmental eyes (that would probably never come).
I miss Knoxville. So does Gregg. I idealized moving away, now I idealize moving back. We like it here on the Eastern Shore (more and more-its rhyme time, apparently). We love our house and our farm, and I love my job (once I drive the hour to get there). But, we miss home and the people there.
We got a new dog. Her name is Aspen. She is enormous. More than 100 pounds of Great Pyranees? Probably so. This is a confession, because she makes 5 pets for us. But! She’s a working girl. Gregg got her to keep predators away from…
these three (hopefully) pregnant girls…
as well as these mama hens. I think she’s doing a good job because she spends all night barking.
Last confession, I don’t really like turkey that much. Happy Thanksgiving!
A BFF came to see me this weekend. What a treat! Gregg made us pizza on Friday night. Sam (her 16 month old) got to run around with the dogs, cats, and sheep. Did I mention our (hopefully) pregnant sheep are finally living with us? We also roamed around a town yard sale on Saturday. That’s right, a whole town came out to sell their stuff in a yard sale. We racked up. I got a necklace, a pile of lace for crafting, some Christmas ornaments, and a leopard print coat for a six month old girl(I have a hunch okay). [Comment on animal print: I never have worn animal print except for a snakeskin tube top I owned in high school. Was that even me? Not sure. Animal print is just not my thing, but on a little girl? Come on, that’s going to be adorable. Gregg was not a fan.] I didn’t pay more than $2 for anything (better than Goodwill!). E, Jeff, and Sam got an array of classic boardgames.
The best thing about this weekend was being known. Even for just 24 hours, I had friend in my house who has known me since I was three years old. (Wow.) We knew each other as little kids in preschool, as Freshman year roommates, as newly married friends, and, now, as moms and moms-to-be. So, so thankful. These kind of friendships are rare. My college friendships are rare, because they are lasting. They have a future and a past. I heard that the average friendship only lasts 6 years.
Meeting friends on the Eastern Shore, we’re starting right where we are, in the present, that is. There’s no past. Only a now and a future. In a place where people already have long-standing friendships with handfuls of people, nobody really feels like they need a new friend. They’re all lived here their whole lives, or so it seems.
This brings me to my resolution. I want to be welcoming to new people in the future. This resolution is stemming from our experience here so far. It seems like our friendships are two steps forward and one step back.
After getting settled in my community (in college, in San Francisco, in Knoxville), I have been pretty hesitant to reach out to new people. Small talk is hard and exhausting. But making people feel welcome is really important.
I prayed for a friend this weekend, after E left, and God began to answer me. At Sunday school, the girls were really excited that I was pregnant. Its fun to connect with people over an unborn baby. Its like insta-connection.
We had our first Book Club meeting last night. I laugh when I think about it, because it was my idea to start it, but I didn’t invite one single person to join it. (Not true, I invited two, neither of which joined). But, I think it is working out well because I’ve planted myself in the middle of a group of sisters and their friends who have all been so sweet, fun, and welcoming.
We read We Need to Talk about Kevin. The mother narrates the story. and she is brutally honest about how she dislikes/distrusts/disdains her son. Her dislike may be justified, since her son goes on to murder 11 people in a school shooting (this isn’t giving away the story). There’s a lot of lovely and wordy inner monologue from the narrator about her fears leading up to becoming a mother and, later, how she feels about her son’s dark behavior as he gets older.
INTENSE. I NEVER would have chosen to read it on my own, but the challenge was good for me (and some of the other girls as well). One of the sisters in the Book Club loves darker (more sinister?) books, so she suggested this one. (She also suggested The Undertaker for book #2 which we all quickly vetoed, opting for a more light-hearted book our 2nd time around). She caught on to symbolism that I didn’t see, but, after she pointed it out, it was so obvious. I need my own personal English teacher to point out what I’m missing in each book I read.
I loved seeing and hearing how everyone responded to the book differently. We asked questions and shared our different thoughts and opinions about what happened in the book. We even shared how we related to the fears that the mother wrestled with throughout the story, though we had different opinions about whether she was justified in her feelings. Also, a looming question was whether or not it was her fault that her son turned out to be a murderer.
Just in case you’re curious, our Book Club includes two stay-at-home-moms, an English(!) teacher, two girls with top-secret government jobs, and our hostess (I don’t know how she spends her days).
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.
Step One: Invite someone else to be in the Book Club.
I think, by definition, a club has to have at least two and probably more like three to four people to be considered a club. That said, I sent a text to a semi-friend asking her if she would be interested in joining a book club. I also asked her if she knew anyone else that would want to be a part of a book club (the whole thing about a club needing more than one or two people came into play here).
Step Two: Wait for a response.
She said yes! I only had to wait 24 hours, but I was kinda nervous, imagining her reading the text and trying to figure out how she could get out of the invite. But. now, my confidence is up, so I can go to Steps 3, 4, & 5.
Step Three: Invite more people.
Step Four: Pick where and when we want to meet.
Step Five: Start getting to know each other and pick a book that everyone will love and be excited to talk about.
If we’re doing a repeat, like, let’s all pick a book that you like/that you’ve read before/that would be a good Book Club book, I’d suggest…
or the classic
But, if we’re going to branch out and make suggestions for books we’ve wanted to read but hadn’t gotten to yet. I’d say…
I had to wait until I finished Harry Potter before initiating this Club.
Any book suggestions?
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.
Austin and Megan are our very very good couple friends. We went to Hawaii together. We started a small group together. We got married a couple of months apart. We cooked dinner together once a week. We lived down the street from each other. And, now, they’re coming to visit us. Our friendship continues. 🙂
With Austin and Megan, Gregg and I learned how to have couple friends. Friendship changes when you get married. I’m less vulnerable with my girlfriends than I was when I was single because I’m not only dumping my stuff out on them but my husband’s and my marriage’s as well. With couple friends, I can be vulnerable because Gregg is right beside me to defend himself if needed. Or, I can check in with him as I am talking, “are you okay if I tell them this?” He can’t really say no at that point, but at least I ask.
The best part of couple friends is the “us, too” part. When I share something with a girlfriend about myself, a huge part of me is sharing so that they’ll tell me I’m not alone. “Me, too” or “I know what you mean,” can be the most reassuring and refreshing of phrases when I am pouring my guts out. When Gregg and I share with Austin and Megan, there is almost always a “the same thing happens to us, too” during the conversation. Marriage isn’t all hard, but when it is, to know that other couples have issues and even the same ones can be so encouraging.
Last week I emailed a friend of a friend that lives on the Eastern Shore. I was so awkward. “So….Um…if you want to and if you have time…could we…like…um…hang out? I know you’re busy…but…if you want…maybe…you want to…uh…be…friends…?” Obviously, I didn’t write that in an email, but that’s how I felt. Like a stuttering sixteen year old boy asking a girl to go out with me. She responded, by the way, and invited Gregg and I to attend church with her family. Woo Hoo! We’re in! They want to be friends!
Making friends after college is quite the challenge. There’s no sororities or clubs or weekly get togethers organized by someone older than you to force you into friendship. So, after college I have ended up being desperate and brave. I’m sure there are other reasons why friendship becomes harder as we get older. More responsibilities and commitments. Grown-up concerns like bills and budgets and marriage. Do we become less brave as we get older as well? I’m not sure. I think that when I was younger, I used to be more friendly to strangers than I am now. I’m not sure all of the whys, but it does seem to be more difficult.
I just thought of another reason! Different life stages. In college, everyone (mostly) is single. Everyone is at the same place in life, talking about the same things, thinking about the same things. End of story. After college, people start to get married and have babies all at different paces. I think this makes friendship more difficult. I’m still not quite sure how to be friends with a mom with three kids, even if she is my age. She probably doesn’t know how to be friends with me either. We CAN be friends, but isn’t it easier to have friends with people in your same life stage? I think this life stage difficulty is true for new friends, whereas with friends that have been around for awhile, the life stage doesn’t matter as much.
Not the church we visited.
We were invited to a Baptist Church. I never thought “Baptist Church” and “Gregg and I” would be used in the same sentence. There was Sunday School for young adults and a Baptism (5 to be exact) and a Church Lunch. Everyone was just as friendly as the members of the other church we visited. There were a couple of differences though. It was packed. Maybe because of the baptisms, but there was hardly an empty seat in the house. Also, there were “young adults.” After Sunday School, we got to talking to a few of them, but then we got separated before we could exchange any contact info. Please let me make a friend today, I was thinking.
From Sunday School, we moved on to the worship service where the baptisms were taking place. During the Baptism, the floor of the altar opened up to reveal a tub of water under the stage. The pastor and the baptisees were waist deep in the water with only their top half exposed. We were in the back of the church and couldn’t see a thing. I have to confess. (Maybe I should save this for Wednesday.) During the Baptism, I was getting kind of woe is me. I was missing our Knoxville church and our Knoxville friends. And, (getting very honest here), it seemed like every woman over the age of 25 had a baby or two or three. Woe is me. Gregg encouraged me to stand up and watch. Guess what? I got out of my woe is me thinking and listened to the stories of those getting baptized. Amazing that thinking about other people can get me out of myself.
As church was ending, I stole a pencil from the pew ahead of us. I was determined to get some digits from some “young adults”. We were off to Church Lunch. And we were off to making…friends! For Gregg and I, there were definitely some awkward moments when we found ourselves standing against the wall and looking around wondering what to do next. But, we had some lovely get-to-know-you conversations during lunch. We even got to talk to the pastor. And, as lunch was ending, I was handed a piece of paper with two phone numbers and an email address. I could just cry. Not really. I provided my contact information in return and left Church Lunch walking on air. I even returned the unused stolen pencil to the Sanctuary. I had used my friend’s pen to write down my contact info.
P.S. On the Eastern Shore, everyone is connected. Everybody knows everybody. For example, the woman that conducted one of my interviews used to babysit Gregg’s boss’s daughter. Here’s another one. Gregg’s boss’s wife is best friends with one of the greeters we met at church yesterday. The greeter is the mother-in-law of the friend that invited us to church. Do you like how I’m not naming any names?