Monday, June 30, 2008

It's Official

I officially have a job for next year! I will be teaching first grade 65%. That means I will work every day from 7:30-12:00 and another teacher will come in for the afternoons. This is truly a blessing since we do need the extra income but I couldn't possibly part with my boy full time. Joshua will be able to stay home with him some days and work late. Other days he gets to go be spoiled by his grandma. So now I can relax and enjoy the next month and a half with my little guy and not have to go job hunting.
This picture obviously has nothing to do with this post, but doesn't Matt look cute in his diaper? It was taken a few days ago and his cord has since fallen off, but I didn't want to deny you the viewing pleasure.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

All American Boy

Jackie had a much better picture of Matt in Daddy's choice of outfit. The shirt and hat say "All American Boy". I wonder if he'll fit the hat and glasses by the 4th of July ...

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First Outings

Matthew has been such a delightful baby and sleeping in longer chunks (wahoo!), so we were able to venture out of the house the last two days. Yesterday we went for a walk around the neighborhood enjoying the wonderful weather. After about 40 minutes we were both exhausted and came home for a nice nap.

Then we went to Grandpa and Grandma's house to enjoy an evening BBQ and time on the beach. Matt slept hard despite all the hugs and kisses fro his fans. We have not quite mastered feeding yet, so attempting to fee him with a cape over me was rather difficult. But we managed.

Today we went to Point Defiance Zoo so Aunt Jackie could enjoy a little bit of the beauty of the northwest. I got to be pushed around in a wheelchair. Joshua is a terrible driver! After a very warm day outside, we headed out to dinner. Matt ate and then crashed out for he duration of the meal. What a sweet boy! Now we are home again and I think we both need a nap (after my little milk man eats again of course.)

Daddy picked out his outfit for today and he couldn't be more proud of his precious little guy.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Baby Boy Joy

As all of you parents know, I am in a daze from lack of sleep, major pain, and falling in love with Mr. Matthew. I awoke from a nap yesterday and didn't see Matt in his crib. Daddy had him in the office and was hard at work on the computer.
My wonderful sister arrived yesterday to help with housework and such and of course to love on her newest nephew. She has been such a huge help already running errands, driving me to appointments, and attempting to organize our crazy home. We love you Aunt Jackie!
I know every mother says that her baby is the cutest baby in the whole world (and of course they are all right), but now it's my turn. My baby is the cutest little boy on the planet! He is truly a gift from the Lord and I get teary just thinking how special it is that God chose me to be his mother. What an honor!
Matthew's cousin Caleb who is 6 months old sent some of his now too small clothes. Doesn't he look adorable in those bright colors? He is so precious! Funny side note, Matt's Uncle Gary is enjoying the fact that the three boys are all in the "Matthew Graham" club. Gary Matthew Graham, Caleb Matthew Graham, and Matthew Graham Hardwick. We didn't do that on purpose, we just really liked the name, but it is pretty neat that he has that connection with his relatives. All three Matthew Grahams are awesome boys!
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Newspaper

I was quoted in today's paper. Front page, cover story, first paragraph. The article was about how the rise in fuel prices have gotten people to start using public transportation. I sent in my story last week and included a spreadsheet calculator that I had made for the comparison of driving versus using public transportation.

He didn't include the calculator in his story but I am including it in this blog post below. It's handy, it includes toll roads and can even calculate if or when it makes more sense to carpool instead of riding the bus.

Click on the links below for more information:

Front page (full color PDF)

Just the article

Car Vs. Bus Calculator (Excel)

Monday, June 23, 2008

We're home!

We were finally honorably discharged at 5:20pm yesterday (Sunday). We received our papers stamped with approval that we are competent parents that can care for this child on our own. We piled all our stuff into the trunk of the car and fiddled with the car seat for the better part of five minutes. Erin was frustrated with the seat because it seems to make Matthew's head fall forward. She sat in the back to be with him for the ride home.

Our first stop was the gas station, and I think the price jumped 20 cents while we were gone. Luckilly, I had my handy "10 cents off a gallon" card with me, so it only went up 10.

Erin, who's "seat" still hurts, realized that the medication she uses to minimize the pain wore off moments after entering the car. But she didn't realize it enough to let me know that she had a prescription for more that needed to be picked up on the way home. I never go to the doctor myself, and am pretty confused by the process of getting drugs. When I used to go to the doctor, they just gave me some samples they had in their office. Apparently they don't do that anymore.

Once we arrived home, Erin moved at the speed of a Galapagos turtle toward the house with Matthew in arms. I quickly brought our belongings in, and locked Six (the cat) in the garage. Minutes later my sister Pattie and her daughter Madison arrived with our first "Meals on Wheels" delivery: Chicken Casserole. It was perfect, just what we needed. They stayed to chat, and Madison was able to meet her new cousin while we ate our delicious meal.

It quickly became apparent that Erin was in serious pain. I called every pharmacy in town, but Gig Harbor isn't friendly to all-nighters, or Sunday-ers for that matter. I decided to bite the bullet, and pay the toll, and crossed the bridge to the 24-hour Walgreens. When I arrived, I handed them the prescription. "This isn't a prescription." she paused, "This is directions on when to take the medication." My heart sank. I called Erin, who's dragon fire comments burned my ear-hair through the cellphone, and appologized. Thirty minutes later I returned to the store with the proper document.

Our first night home was filled with all the late night feedings you could avoid. Believe me, I tried. Why is it he feeds more easily and more often at night? During the day we have to strip him near naked and tickle him half to death to get him to open one eye. I guess he gets that from his daddy.

Mommy's napping now until we go back to the doctor's office.

(this post was written while Matthew was napping on my chest)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

He has a name!

If you were here to visit yesterday, or were lucky enough to get a phone call, you heard about us beta-testing a baby name. Well that name has moved from beta to full-release.

Matthew Graham Hardwick

Among the visitors that came to see new baby Matthew was one of Erin's students from this past school year, Katie. Her mom is one of the nurses on the floor here. Ever since Katie knew Mrs. Hardwick was pregnant, she's made sure the baby knew who she was.

The day was filled with learning how to feed, bathe and change Matthew. As first time parents, Matthew is pretty patient with us. So far he eats like his mom and sleeps like his dad.

I have made a collection of G-rated pictures for you to see the adventure we had. View them by clicking here!

Thank all of you for tracking the progress with us. It has been really fun to receive your comments, chats, emails along the way. I know it helped Erin through the labor process every time one of you would give your input, we had quite a few laughs. We didn't expect our labor to go the way it did, but being able to share it with you has encouraged us along. This may be the end of this series, but it isn't the end of Matthew's, Mom's or Dad's story. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks Erin and I can put together our own memoirs to share the experiences we had during this time. God Bless You!

Now back to regular programming

Saturday, June 21, 2008

How it happened - continued

In the last two hours of the delivery, Erin, now pleasantly under epidural's spell, started pushing with every contraction. Since we were at the top of the tallest building on a very tall hill, we left the curtains to the oversized, oval shaped windows wide open. At 9:40pm there's still considerable twilight, and the mountains rose majestically above the horizon. With every push, Erin gave her full concentration and effort to make the baby come microscopically closer to the end goal. Our birth team was excellent in giving her encouragement and advice through the process.

Near the end, Erin was screaming with every push, yelling, "Baby, get out!" For half an hour the top of our baby's head was poking out with his black, curly hairs going every which direction. The doctor asked if she wanted an episiotomy, and Erin declined; but there was trouble brewing inside. Erin had a secret tear beginning on the inside and during one of the last pushes she tore in two places around the baby's head. The doctor was quick to perform an episiotomy to avoid future tearing. Upon the next push, our new boy shot out into the world.

Suddenly the room exploded in activity. Baby Hardwick was placed on mommy's chest immediately after the birth, and the two began their bond. The doctor was lightning quick to have me cut the umbilical cord. A moment later the baby's nurse brought him to the crib to check his vitals. Torn between watching the baby and caring for my shuttering wife, our doula took charge and gave me permission to watch over the baby as she took care of Erin.

I carefully watched as my new son changed from purple to "normal" colored skin. His legs were long and skinny, same were his fingers and toes. Covering his shoulders and back is hair like I've never known. I joked that we should name him Esau, but that name didn't make the list.

During all the tests, he was very calm. Only crying slightly until he heard my voice. Even when he does cry, it's not very high pitched.

After our baby's birth, Erin was on her way to the OR to have her tearing sewn up. But first, another woman needed our doctor to have her twins born. At 12:45am Erin was properly drugged up and was taken into the OR to have her more than thirty stitches put in. I stayed back in the, now emptied, room of labor with my new son. I sat in the rocking chair next to the windows staring at the midnight-glow of downtown. I introduced my son to Tacoma, and pointed out where daddy worked. Minutes later I fell asleep, with baby in arms until Erin came back at 3am.

When she returned, the nurses helped us pack our things and moved us down one floor (from 14 to 12) to a smaller postpartum room. Like a zombie I followed their direction, mumbling uncertain comments or questions, into our new living space. The only thing we forgot was the list of potential baby names that I hung in the birthing room. Like a drone, I sent myself on autopilot to retrieve the document.

Today's to-do list: choosing the name

Stay Tuned...

11:21pm - continued

We started pushing at 9:20pm. At 11:21pm I was able to announce to Erin and the rest of the personnel in the room, "It's a BOY!"

7 lbs 6.6oz.
20.5 inches

Baby is healthy. Mommy has a fourth degree tear from the inside and is waiting to go to the Operating Room.

With all the activity around here, this is all I'll post until tomorrow.

Next up...
The first feeding
Baby pictures
Update on mommy
Baby name

Friday, June 20, 2008

9 1/2 centimeters!

9 1/2 centimeters. That's all for now!

Update: 8:30pm - Doctor is having dinner. We will start pushing when she's done having her strawberry shortcake.

more to come...

The end of labor? - continued

Since you saw us last, we kicked up the intensity of labor. From 4am to 10am there was no improvement in dialation or effacement. So at 10:30am the first small doses of Pitocin were administered. Within twenty minutes labor picked up and things got exciting.

To help distract from the pain, I turned the Computer into a DVD player to show Friends episodes. Erin bounced through her contractions on a tylenol shaped excercise ball while watching Monica and Chandler plan their wedding. That was when it was managable!

Two hours later it was time to check Erin's progress again. I politely asked my mother to leave the room as it was about to get pretty exciting. 6cm dialated, we were elated! Next to the whirlpool tub, where she labored for another hour. This time the moans were getting louder and louder. The most fun about this part was the amount of space in the bathroom and it's need to include Erin's IV medicatons, a nurse, me, doula, stabilizing bars, and a toilet with measured urine sitting in a "hat". An hour later she was at 7cm.

The time for the tub had ended and Erin wanted to be on all fours. We moved to the bed and this time she couldn't keep still. Every contraction she needed a new position. Thrashing wildly to reduce the pain. At one time it looked as if she were performing an African Tribal dance, complete with clawed fingers and grinding teeth.

An hour and a half of this we checked again... 7cm. What?! The last hour was the worst. I'm not normally a crying person, but seeing my wife eye-to-eye writhing in pain, I broke down in tears. So when I heard that there was no improvement in dialation, I was hoping that Erin would request an epideral for herself. It only took two more contractions before she did.

Six contractions later, the anesthesiologist arrived and quickly administered the epidural. Two minutes later, there was no more intense pain. Why so quick? Said the anesthesiologist, "She has great landscaping."

She was quickly relaxing into the bed. "Am I still having contractions?"

"You're having one now."

"Can I take a nap?"


Since Erin was on her way to sleep, our doula Julie gave me permission to go and get some dinner. I headed down to the cafeteria and had a double-meat, double-cheese, double-bacon burger with sweet potato fries with my mom.

I returned at 4:30pm, just in time for the next check: 8cm and 100% effaced! Now we're just waiting for 10cm and a new kind of pressure, the one to push the baby out.

Thanks for staying in touch, your prayers are appreciated!

More to come...

Adventures in Laboring - Continued

We moved to the Active Labor rooms right after the last blog post. But the contractions haven't really progressed beyond where we were back then. Since there's not much new to speak of, I thought it would be fun to share some pictures.

Below is Erin just after enduring her IV injection. Cute face, I think I'll be seeing a lot of it in my near future.

After sleeping on the floor for over an hour, our nurse was able to find an available cot to sleep on. The birthing unit is pretty full these days.

Next shows Erin as a happy camper because the contraction just ended.

At last, breakfast arrived, it took over an hour. Pancakes and eggs with bacon and hash browns, but I forgot to order ketchup. Erin tried sleeping between her contractions. She broke her water at 2am the previous morning, and was trying to induce labor all last night, and now with contractions at their current intensity, she's just plum tired.

One interesting thing to note is the attention paid to making sure the hospital staff is taking care of the appropriate patient. The cafeteria gal who brought in the breakfast checked Erin's tag and asked if she was Ms. Hardwick. "Yes" she replied. Next, she turned to me and asked, "Are you the guest?" "Yes, I'm the baby dad." I replied. Without a flinch she put the food on the table and left. I'm guessing they actually hear that a lot.

Next up
Meeting the daytime On Call doctor Dr. Vanudo

More later...

Active Labor Begins - Continued

It's 4:50am on the second day. Active Labor just started 30 minutes ago; Dr. Ho measured Erin at 3 centimeters and 75% effaced. Mom barely slept during the night, and had her last dose of Cytotec while dad slept on the comfortable bed for four hours (he also slept on the floor for an hour and a half before that)

Erin is off of insulin for the time being. Now we're able to walk around and deal with the labor without having to be strapped to the bed. In the night they hooked her up to an IV because she was loosing too much fluid, which also slowed her labor progress for a bit. The IV was also used to administer antibiotics to help fight off infection because of her water being broken for so long.

We sent our Doula home at 6pm yesterday because of the lack of activity. But today we'll probably be calling her in about 2 hours from now; I'll need somebody that has had a full nights sleep for help then.

Sorry this post is a bit choppy, it's being written in the throws of labor contractions.

More to come...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

At the Hospital - Continued

Okay, it's been six hours since my last post. There has been far fewer exciting things happening since we arrived at the hospital. I think the baby just wanted to be born at home. Since we arrived Erin was hooked up to a heart and contraction monitor, and the nurse was going to start inducing with Cytotec. We hadn't yet seen the doctor or had her cervix checked.

Erin had bouts of tears every time the nurse came in to progress the pregnancy in a drug induced way. We called in our second line of defense, our Doula Julie. She was very helpful in managing our concerns about our circumstances.

We had the nurse check the cervix and started walking around the hallways for the next hour. During that time Erin received a call for an interview with Discovery Elementary tomorrow. "Sorry, we're at the hospital trying to have a baby at the moment." Oh well, missed that opportunity.

Below is a picture of St. Joseph's Hospital. We're on the top floor looking out toward the Port of Tacoma on the edge of Commencement Bay.

Below is the view from our room. You can see my workplace in the lower right corner of the window. We can see much of the Cascade mountains just up to but not including Mount Rainier.
At 4:30pm We met with our On-Call Doctor, Dr. Ho. She was very pleasant and explained her reasons why she thinks Cytotec is a good choice for us. Also, a bit earlier we ran into our favorite Midwife that eased some of our concerns for the drug.

At 5pm Erin took a half dose of Cytotec and nodded off to sleep. 45 minutes into the medication, contractions are up. Cytotec only needs to be monitored for an hour then Erin can walk around and eat a bit for the next two hours. My sister Pattie arrived and is sharing her birth stories while they walk the hallways together. Erin hasn't needed to use her breathing excercises yet, but it seems that every other door they pass has a woman inside moaning through her pain.

Next, it seems, is more Cytotec as it seems to be gradually increasing the contractions without intense jumps in pain magnatude.

Still more to come...

On our way - Continued

We're done with our walk, and now the contractions are increasing in their intensity, not incredibly painful yet, but moving in the right direction.

Taken moments ago; the picture below shows Erin's belly lowering and shrinking. She must've lost half a gallon worth of fluid by now, but don't worry, she's making more.

I had to get in on all the picture fun too. I'm wearing a boring white wrinkled shirt. Erin didn't want me to wear one of my favorite striped shirts on the baby's birthday. Boo.

I'll forgive her, though.

Now, off to the hospital...

Stay tuned...
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Baby Day - Continuation

It's now 10:30am and the contractions haven't quite picked up since early this morning. We made an agreement with the hospital that we would head their direction if there's been no progress by noon. We're trying some techniques to start labor at home: walking, squatting, cleaning chores. If something doesn't happen soon it'll be "tune in Tokyo" time.

Today feels like one of those days when you are going on vacation, but your flight doesn't leave until late afternoon. Most of your morning is just filled with anxiety and boredom. We're all packed and sitting, twiddling our thumbs waiting for departure time to come. It doesn't really matter when we get to the airport, the flight will be delayed anyway, then we're just waiting at the airport instead of at home.

It's said that the breaking of water precedes labor in only 10 to 12 percent of all pregnancies. I say those 88 to 90 percent of women should count themselves lucky, we've gone through a whole roll of toilet paper since 2am.

More to come...

It's Time!

It was 2 o'clock in the morning when Erin turned the lights to the bedroom on, and in the sweetest morning-scratchy voice says "Good morning, honey." She paused to make sure that I was awake. "Are you ready to have a baby today? My water broke."

It's 6am now and her contractions are only 5 minutes apart. They don't have much pain yet, but she is feeling them in her lower back where she's supposed to.

Since 2am was still pretty early, Erin wanted to get more sleep. Besides, who knows when we'll get another chance at sleep again? I placed a plastic bag and towel on the bed for her to sleep on in case of any more spilling.

We haven't called our doctor yet. Actually, our doctor is going on vacation today for a week. So we get to have an on-call doctor, which we're fine with because we didn't feel too connected to our current doctor.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for the rest of the day for more updates on baby Hardwick.

What's next:
Hospital Arrival Time
Doctor's name
Baby Arrival Time
Baby Stats
Baby Name

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Latest

Do you ever feel like you have to ask a zillion questions to get a straight answer from your doctor? Maybe it's just me. Anyhow, I went in for my non-stress test today. Baby has flipped sides and the nurse must have seen my panic at the thought of baby being breech or backwards. So she had one of the midwives come and check me out. Baby is still head down, s/he just has his/her back on the opposite side. Phew! While the midwife was there, I told her that my other doctors and support team were asking about my cervix, but the doc had not checked. So she did and my cervix is softening but not dilated yet. She asked if the doctor had scheduled me to be induced and I told her all the very limited info I had. She went to talk to the doctor and came back with this report: The textbook solution with gestational diabetes is to induce at 38 weeks. Since my sugar levels are OK and baby is doing well, she has decided to wait until she comes back from vacation to induce. That means unless baby comes on its own, I will be just about 41 weeks along at the time of inducing. Part of me is thinking "Hooray! I did NOT want to be induced and now baby has some time to finish cooking!" And the other part of me is thinking "Yikes! This baby had an estimated weight of just over 6 pounds three week ago! This kid is going to be enormous!" But, there you have it. Sorry Lighthouse friends, it looks like I could have finished out the year after all. All that thinking has worn me out. It must be time for my afternoon nap. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Nursery

I know you can't see much of the room in this picture, but quite frankly, there isn't much to see. It's a very small room. But, here is the crib with the Winnie the Pooh bedding (I can't decide if the bumper is inside out or right side in - does it really matter?). The wall to my left is a pale creamy yellow (it's the wall with the window) and the other walls are a pale minty green. I put myself in the picture only because I really like that shirt and wanted a picture in it. :) I won't scare you this week with a profile of the protruding belly. Speaking of that, my father in law told me it looks like I have a tumor or a serious need for colon cleansing. Thanks a lot Dad! Soon enough it will be back to normal -with any luck and a lot of sit ups.
Today is Joshua's first Father's Day. Since it is sunny (finally) we are headed to the beach for a family BBQ and play day.
My wonderful husband, you are going to be the best Daddy ever! The baby already knows your voice and the feel of your strong hands and soft kisses. He or she will soon know the smile you have in your eyes and the optimistic outlook you have about everything around you. Baby will see the way you love me and make your family a priority in your life. I can't wait to watch you with your little one. Happy Father's Day!
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Great News!

Sorry folks, no baby yet. And the great news is we still don't know when baby will arrive! At our appointment this morning, the doctor said that since baby and I are both doing so well, we do not yet need to be induced! Hooray! She scheduled my regular twice a week non-stress tests and an appointment next Friday to see how things are going. She also said it would be a great idea to start working with the naturopath to see if we can get baby out sooner than later. I will go see him on Monday, and he says that if baby is ready, I could go into labor right away! Joshua is hoping for a very special Father's Day gift, so come on out by Sunday baby! I'm sure none of our doctors will mind.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The End

Today was the last day of school. I thought it would be fun to dress up to say good bye to by first grade friends. They all agreed that the baby had grown bigger since they last saw me. :) We had a little awards ceremony in our class and then the staff had a luncheon. It was sad to say farewell to those who are not joining us next year (wait a minute ... I may not be back next year either ...) but I am so glad I was able to attend! Lighthouse has been such a blessing to me from the very beginning. When I was offered the job I had another offer at the same time. I was seriously leaning toward taking the other job and can't imagine my life if I had! From the HR director praying for my decision about what job to take, to one of the teachers inviting Joshua and me to a Bible study group, to the other first grade teachers dismissing my class so I could leave early for doctor appointments, to kindergarten teachers coming to watch my class in the afternoons so I could go do blood tests, to students coming to pray for the baby and me, (I really could go on all day ...) Lighthouse has become a family to me! My wonderful class and their amazing parents have helped to restore my love for teaching, which I thought had gone completely after my burnout in California. Although there is no position for me yet, I have such a peace knowing that God will provide one way or another, and I am quite hopeful that it will be at Lighthouse in some capacity. So no good byes from me, just a see ya later!
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ahhh the Weekend

This is how my boys like to spend their Sunday afternoons.

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My Poor Baby!

Yesterday Joshua came home from work looking like this:What in the world happened you ask? He fell. That's right, just plain old slipped and fell. He was moving the bar stools back after having had the carpet cleaned over the weekend and while maneuvering very carefully on the just mopped bar floor, he lost his balance. On the way down he hit his face against the wall. Luckily, what you see seems to be the bulk of his injuries. His hip is a little sore too, but it could have been much worse! He got some extra special attention last night. He was exhausted after a long day, so I set him up on the couch with a pillow, blanket, movie, and leftover pizza. Now you will know in advance why all the pictures of Joshua with his new baby will have that red spot on his cheek.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Still pregnant

Here we are at 37 1/2 weeks. The doctor says baby is quite content and not showing any signs of wanting to come out. So, next week I go in for my twice weekly non-stress tests, and on Friday the doctor will make a date for me to be induced. I am not looking forward to her drug of choice, and she does not seem willing to try anything else. As a back up, I have planed to go see my naturopathic doctor the day before the induction is scheduled for a more natural approach. I have to keep reminding myself that God has perfect timing for this baby and s/he will be born in the way that He has planned! It just isn't the way I had planned. It doesn't seem fair that baby has to come out so early when s/he could safely be in there for another 5 weeks. Sorry kiddo, diabetes hasn't been any fun for me either!

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Just passing the time

Since I have had this week off from work I have been busy relaxing at home. A typical day for me includes 2-3 loads of laundry (this baby has a ton of stuff to wash!), a doctor appointment, 3 insulin injections and 5 blood tests (I think we have finally found a good amount of insulin - my sugars are much better lately), a couple hours organizing baby things, a movie with an afternoon nap, way too much time checking out Craig's list and blogs, an hour or so of school work (I turned in report cards today - phew!), reading parenting books, and running errands. It seems silly, but Joshua gets home after work and I feel like I was so busy all day! I know this is only a taste of what busy will feel like in a few weeks. :) At least for now I can still get 8 hours of sleep at night. I've been having lots of contractions, but nothing strong enough to push this baby out yet. I get to see the doctor again tomorrow so we'll see what she says about how long baby can stay inside.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mom's 68th Birthday

It was my mom's 68th birthday yesterday, and we celebrated her special day at my sister Pattie's house. We had barbequed hot dogs and rhubarb pie with ice cream. Pattie's husband Jim (as well as the rest of the family) has built a large backyard railroad which we spent the evening watching G-scale locomotives chug in circles around infinite lengths of track.

It's always fun to see the new additions they add to the layout. An out-of-work clown with hobo friend camping on the edge of the forest, crime scene in motion as a cop stands nearby facing the opposite direction while eating a donut, and a countryside wedding can all be seen upon closer examination of their mini-world. Also included is a re-creation of the house that our family used to live in when Jim was dating Pattie only 25 years ago (pictured below, along with the car Jim drove).

As the sun set on our day, we closed the evening with a bon fire, s'mores, and relaxing in the hot tub. At 10:30pm, before the twilight ended, my tired Dad and Mom left for home. A half hour later I dragged my own sleepy and pregnant wife home for the night.

We love you, Mom. Happy Birthday.

Showered with love

I am not really as tired as I look in this picture, but I wanted to give you another baby belly shot. Here we are at 36 1/2 weeks. Only 2 more days until full term. (Did you hear that baby? Two days and you can feel free to come on out of there!!) Friday was my last day of school and the wonderful moms had planned an end of the year party at one of their houses. What I didn't know was that they also had planned a baby shower! I am telling you, this child has been so showered with love we may have to move to a bigger house to accommodate all the new things! It's a good thing I don't have to work this week. I have some serious nesting to do!