Full term and fabulous

Yeah, ok, so not really. When the OB asked how I was feeling today, I told him I felt like an irritable, sore gummy bear. And it’s true! I have very little patience. My pelvis is coming apart in places. My belly is so big I can’t reach my feet to tie my own shoes and I’ve officially got two chins.

So here we are, nine months and twenty pounds into our pregnancy. My rings still fit but just barely. I haven’t been able to breathe out of my nose for at least the last three months. I am SO. OVER. IT.

But damn, my hair looks good. So there’s that. (I took this pic this morning. If you compare it to the one I took a couple weeks ago, it looks just about the same, which kind of cracks me up. I have A LOT of purple maternity shirts, yes?)

Almost done

And the little guy seems happy to bake away in there. He measures up around the 77th percentile now, a sizeable jump from the 47th percentile last month. According to the ultrasound, he looks a lot like Homer Simpson – which totally explains the cravings for donuts and beer.

Anyway, now that we’ve gotten our twin blizzards out of the way and my husband is officially forbidden to travel anymore, I do declare that we are ready to have this baby. Not that the declaration influences him one way or the other, of course. I think he’ s perfectly content to continue harassing my rib cage.

But really, Baby Homer, anytime is fine. Mom and Dad are ready to meet you. Big Brother is beginning to think Mom is lying about there being a baby in her belly. Aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins are looking forward to tickling your toes and snuggling you – and several of them are even flying all the way up here to do so!

Your friends from all over the world, the ones who read this blog and comment and keep your mom sane through everything, they’re ready to see you too. They’re ready for Mom to stop whining about being pregnant and just post baby pictures already, dammit. They’ve even sent gifts for you – outfits and toys and this beautiful, handmade blanket from sweet Jennifer who writes Just Jennifer and lets mom sit at her lunch table on Twitter from time to time.

blanket

You are already so loved. See you soon.

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SnoPocaGeddon ’13

I find that when you can’t overcome or prevent something, it’s best to just give yourself over to it fully.

We woke up this morning to snow that was just beginning to fall. Over three hours, we accumulated about seven inches and it’s still falling. The gnomes were not impressed.

#SnoPocaGeddon

Neither was the dog.

#KCSnow

At first the kid was less than thrilled.

#KCSnow

But wait, this is kind of cool.

#KCSnow

Nah, Daddy, I got it.

#KCSnow

Ok, that’s enough. Pick me up now!

#KCSnow

Final verdict? I think it’s safe to say that while our son is genetically identical to his father in appearance, he’s totally Texan deep down in his blood like his mama and is not a fan of this cold, wet, sticky mess!

#KCSnow

The 2012-2013 Holiday Saga

Spanning two weeks, three states and five different beds, here’s Mamamash’s fourth grade essay, “What I did on my Christmas vacation.”

Let me preface this by saying that over this holiday season, I did a few things differently. One, I deleted my Twitter, Instagram and for a time, Facebook accounts. I needed a break from the external noise and a chance to focus just on what was in front of me. Two, I don’t think I used my big fancy camera at all except for Christmas eve and morning. And three, I didn’t think about blogging during any of the festivities. I just sort of hung out with my family, completely immersed myself in the insanity and ate ALL the food.

So yeah, the pictures, they kinda suck. But they do give a pretty accurate portrayal of what this incredibly special holiday was like for us. 

My mom, sister and nephews made the trek to Kansas City the weekend before Christmas Eve. They arrived bearing bags of citrus fruit, Christmas gifts and even a large Swiss Colony tray – a tradition we’d had as children that my mom thought it would be fun to start again.

Christmas 2012

I’m not sure if we would call this Christmas “The Pajama Christmas,” since we pretty much spent three days in our jammies indoors thanks to the freezing temps, or perhaps “The Christmas Poo Debacle,” since a water main in our neighborhood broke Christmas Eve morning, leaving about 50 houses without running water until late afternoon.

(FYI, it takes several gallons of water to make a toilet completely flush the morning waste of eight people, and the people at Walgreens will totally look at you funny if you keep popping in to buy more gallons all day, and you will definitely want to kill your husband when you find out he’d neglected to mention there was a full five-gallon bucket of water in the basement you could have used instead.)

We adopted a few new traditions (a Mexican casserole feast on Christmas Eve instead of gumbo, at my husband’s request, and a popcorn tin and Christmas movies before bed) and continued a few old traditions (driving through the Longview Lake Christmas light display, baking a birthday cake for baby Jesus and singing to him).

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas morning was the usual mad dash down the stairs (the adults looking for coffee) and slow plod through the hallway (the children, lured from their warm beds by the over-excited adults who were entirely too cracked out on caffeine to pay attention to the early hour) followed by a brief break to clean up wrapping paper, a long family nap and lots of playing throughout the evening.

Christmas 2012

Two days later, we loaded everything up into two cars to make the trip back to Texas with everyone. My husband had been unexpectedly called to work down there at the last minute, so we got to have one more visit with our extended family before the baby comes.

The drive was a little scary at times through Arkansas, which had received almost a foot of snow in places. Although the roads were mostly clear, there were a few mountain passes that required white knuckles and prayer. And of course, The Posh had to stop and get out to touch the “ice rocks.”

Christmas 2012

We stopped about eight hours into the drive to spend a night at a hotel, not something I normally do but definitely a welcome break from being cooped in the car. Third trimester traveling is frowned upon by my OB, but between this hotel stop and the eleventy hundred gallons of water I drank, I managed to avoid any pregnancy-related issues.

The little boys wreaked havoc in the hotel room together while the big boys went swimming downstairs with their mom, then we all passed out for a few hours before hitting the road again.

Christmas 2012

The visit to Orange was an absolute joy. There was no shortage of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents to play with.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Sometimes play was gentle, like with the other little guys and girl.

Christmas 2012

Other times, it was wild and probably dangerous, like spinning chairs and dogpiles with the older boys.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Some cousins shared their toys willingly, others, not so much.

Christmas 2012

texas 2013 14 Christmas 2012

Not even if you hug them first and say please.

Christmas 2012

We got to help Meme peel shrimp for gumbo and help Aunt Jan grind pepper for steaks.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

There were a few Texas-true moments, like finding a deer tail in the outside fridge, making sauces using produce from Pop’s own trees and driving back and forth over the majestic bridges between Bridge City and Port Arthur.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

We even got to go to work with Daddy for a little while.

Christmas 2012

New Year’s was rainy and a little cold, but we still headed out to the country to blow things up with some friends. Living next to an amusement park has made Monkey pretty immune to the noise of fireworks, but he still enjoyed the “BOOM! BOOM!” they provided.

Christmas 2012

On the way back to Kansas City, we stopped for a night at the lake house. When we arrived we were greeted by a roaring fire and a gorgeous home still decorated for Christmas. And by decorated I mean decorated. Aunt Karen even has a Christmas tree in the bathroom. Oh, and yeah, that’s totally a Santa dressed in camo. Of course it is.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

The next day hubs, Monkey and I set out for the longest part of the drive – the drive back to life as usual. As we snaked our way north among forests and mountains, I amused myself by snapping pics of such wonders of the world like snow-capped ridges and my husband’s massive beard.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

About halfway through Arkansas, Monkey was totally over the drive. OVER IT.

Christmas 2012

So we stopped and let him run in an indoor playplace while we stretched our legs. Man, you give my husband a couple of McRibs and my son unlimited access to a slide and life is good once again.

Christmas 2012

I am thankful we made it home safe and mostly sane. It has taken us a few days to recover from the holiday, but life is up and running again as usual and we’re finishing up preparations for the newest member of our family, set to arrive in a couple of months. As you can see, I’m now more than a little bit pregnant, although some of that might be gumbo, and cookies, and Shipley’s donuts, and…

29 weeks

Santa, no. Trains, yes!

Union Station is one of my favorite places in Kansas City, especially during the holidays. Every year we go downtown to see the model train display and marvel at the Christmas decorations. The majestic architecture of the train station is beautifully complimented by the brightly lit trees and sparkling snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.

This year we figured Monkey was old enough to enjoy the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express, a train “unlike any other train in the world, with its smiling engine “Rudy”, gingerbread boxcar, flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village, snow covered stall filled with model train displays, the elves’ workshop and even a little red caboose.”

If you want to catch the Holiday Express, you have the option of standing in a three-hour-long line OR, if you’re quick with the internet skills, reserving VIP tickets online so you can enjoy the not-so-cheerful glares of others as you skip ahead to the front. We got lucky this year and snagged reservations before they ran out.

We did not get so lucky with the Santa picture.

My son HATES Santa. HATES HIM.

But he loves trains, and so through the Holiday Express we went.

At the end, Monkey received a big red bag of candy which he later enjoyed, minus the parental chocolate tax. We posed for a quick picture in front of Rudy the locomotive, checked out a few Extreme Gingerbread Home Makeover Prize Winners and got home in time for dinner and snuggles and (unfortunately) another football game on tv.

Next weekend, Texas invades Missouri and we’re looking forward to the house full of chaos with my mom, sister and our nephews. Our chances of a white Christmas are slim, but no matter the weather we’re expecting a festive holiday full of food, friends and family. We wish you all the same!

Pop the Patriarch turns 80

Sometimes when things come together, it’s luck – like my husband needing to go to Texas for work at the same time I needed to go to Texas for a family gathering. He didn’t have to use any vacation days and I didn’t have to drive myself!

But most of the time when things come together it’s because a bunch of people worked their asses off to get it done.

My grandfather’s 80th birthday was last week and my entire family worked closely together to plan a fantastic celebration. From compiling a guest list and sending out invitations and request for letters detailing memories from my grandfather’s past to buying, prepping and cooking enough food for a gaggle of people to providing technical support – we all pitched in.

And what a success! Even with the snags along the way (food warmers that didn’t work, obnoxious building personnel) the party was a happy, sentimental affair.

Folks from all over the country sent in letters for my grandfather telling him about their favorite memory of him. His high school class was very helpful with this. They’re such a close bunch and that makes me happy.

We had guests attend from near and far, and we were so grateful for them all for making the trip.

There had been talk of getting a recliner for my grandfather to sit in to receive guests, but I don’t think his rear end touched even a plastic chair once that day. He went from table to table, from crowd to crowd visiting with his well-wishers and it made my heart grow about 10 times to see the smile on his face the entire day. (And of course I cried when I presented him with the stack of letters. I’ll blame it on pregnancy hormones.)

And although the joy of seeing all these smiling faces was pretty much just indescribable, my favorite part of the afternoon was when everyone was getting ready to leave and several of us stayed back to clean.

Without even being asked, my cousins jumped in to clear tables, put away food and mop the floor. My husband threw knives to pop balloons that had gotten stuck up too high for us to retrieve them. (This was quite the spectacle to behold.) In less than an hour, we had the venue back to its original form. We laughed and cut up along the way, and I was just so in love with my family right then.

Sometimes I worry about my generation of our family – that we’ll lose touch as the older generations pass on. But after Saturday I don’t see that happening. We work together so well and genuinely enjoy each other’s company. I love these guys and look forward to the day when we can get together much more often.