Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Already

It's hard to believe that Christmas is almost here. It seems like just a couple days ago that it was Thanksgiving, and now another month has already passed. Maybe I should revise that statement - for me, the time has flown, though for Tam, it seems like each day brings on a newly discovered discomfort of the third trimester.

So here we are tonight, relaxing a bit and enjoying our last Christmas together as just the two of us, since we'll have a little extra help celebrating next year. The presents are wrapped, Christmas music is playing, and we'd have a fire burning if it wasn't 70 degrees outside. We're off to Jax in the morning to spend the day with my family, and this will likely be the last trip out of Gainesville for Tam until Ava makes her arrival. We're at 33 weeks now, and she could decide she's ready in two weeks, or she could wait as long as another ten. We're hoping she makes her appearance around week 37, because this kid is pushing and kicking and putting pressure on some pretty sensitive places.

In the time since Thanksgiving, we've gone out for a couple of maternity portrait sessions - one at Jax beach in the 40-degree early morning the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, I made her walk barefoot in the cold wet sand while I was nice and warn in my jacket, but as you can see from the sample images below, the results were well worth it. The second session was here in Gainesville, in the very same park where we had our engagement photos taken five and a half years ago.

We also had a second baby shower in Jax a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of my sister. This was a smaller affair than the one we held in Gainesville in November, and was more of a get-together for longtime friends of the Johnson clan. Tam and I are grateful to everybody who came to the showers, and we appreciate everybody's excitement about Baby A.

I don't see how anybody could be quite as excited about her as we are, though. I'm already shoving my blackberry in people's faces to show them pictures of our 4D ultrasound on the blog, and she's not even here yet. I am going to be that guy who says "let me show you some pictures of my kid."

We hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and Tam and I will try to update a little more frequently now that the nursery is all done, the baby showers are over, and we're reaching the home stretch.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ava's Baby Shower

After lots of planning (if you can't tell yet, that's what we do best - plan. And by "we" I mean "Tam") we had Ava's baby shower on November 14th at the West End Golf Club. The venue was great, because while the girls oohed and ahhed and played baby shower games, the guys hacked away on the golf course. Jesse and Amy hosted the affair, and we had roughly 36 guests in attendance. If you're reading this, you were probably one of them, so thank you for helping us celebrate.

The cake was amazing, and we only hope that Baby A comes out as cute as the topper on the cake. Kudos to Tammy Denmark for another incredible cake. We'd like to thank her for coming out of "retirement" to do one more cake for us. We'll have to bribe her when Ava's first birthday is getting close.

Baby A received LOTS of presents from friends and family, and we are very grateful! It was a lot of fun not only opening the gifts, but also figuring out what each one of them was for. (This is our first time at this, after all) After the shower, Jennifer and Becca stayed over and organized all the clothing in Ava's closet in order by size (newborn, 3 month, 6 month, etc.) Then over the next two days, everything else made its way from our living room into its proper place in the nursery.

Here is a slideshow of the day's festivities:

In the meanwhile, we've also been working on completing the nursery. We finally found a glider, after we figured out that the recliner Tam really wanted was too big to fit in the nursery. Who knew that would be one of the hardest pieces to find? We also got lucky on a shopping trip and found a handpainted wooden sign with "Ava" painted on it, and now it's hanging on her door.

And also this week, we went to our 4D Ultrasound appointment, where we were finally able to see more than just the typical 2-dimensional black and white ultrasound image. We spent half an hour mesmerized as we watched Baby A suck her thumb, curl up for a nap (which we poked and shook her out of), yawn, lick her arm, and even give us an unmistakable sign that she's going to be trouble. Look at the images below and guess which one we mean...

Friday, November 13, 2009

What happened to my ankles?

It's been a while since the last post, but things have been chugging right along. The third trimester has arrived, and the defining segment between my calves and my feet has departed. Maybe it's not quite as bad as all that, but there is definitely some swelling.

The last post documented Michael's efforts to put in the new nursery flooring. He got that done, and then tackled the job of painting. It didn't seem like too big a job at first, but he ended up using two coats of primer on EVERYTHING (walls and ceiling) and painting three walls in pink - "sweet baby girl" is the exact name of the color - and one wall in chocolate. Then a light cream color for the trim, doors, and ceiling. 

Once that was done and the masking tape was peeled, the furniture arrived. There was a little fiasco involving incompetent warehouse employees destroying one of the pieces, but it was replaced pretty quickly. Once we had the furniture in place, we decided that we had not done quite enough painting, so we decided to start on the mural. We painted the tree from the crib bedding on one of the walls, and we think it really brings the whole nursery together.  We have a couple more pieces to find (the glider and the rug), but we're very close to having the nursery complete.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nursery Progress

The second guest bedroom in our house is finally being shaped into a nursery. The first major step was taking out the somewhat shabby carpet and replacing it with laminate flooring. We found a fantastic deal on a beautiful style at Lowe's, and I figured "how hard can it be to do it myself?" 

I should never say that before a project. 

The carpet came out without too much trouble, and then it took an hour or so to prep the concrete floor. The closet and the doorframe were the toughest parts, and once those were done, it was just a matter of measuring, locking pieces together, cutting, and repeating until the flooring stretched all the way to the far wall. I made a few cutting mistakes, and when all was complete, I had two planks left over out of the 88 I started with. 

The flooring itself took about 12 hours of labor over one weekend. Then came the quarter-round molding, which was far more tedious than the floor, with the mitered corners and such. But the flooring is now done, and our next step is to pick out paint colors and furniture, which we're doing this weekend. Here are a few pictures from the ordeal:

I'm doing my part to get the nursery ready, and as you can see, Tam's doing her part to occupy it. We're past the halfway point now at 21 weeks, and there's undoubtedly a baby on board.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bed Rest!

Most of you know that I don't sit very well. I like to be moving and getting things done- which is why I consider this restriction true torture!!! I am hopeful that at our next OB visit the ultrasound will be OK and the other symptoms will have resolved and I can get back to work (It's FLU season afterall!) and complete some house projects in preparation for Baby A. During my downtime I thought I would share a funny story with you...

On September 7th, Michael and I awoke early to drive his sister and nephew (visiting from Atlanta) to the airport. Our plan was to head straight to Babies R' Us in order to register (At the urging of our good friend Jesse) for baby goodies. We arrived at the store just as it opened (9:30). We met with an employee who signed us up for the registry and gave us the neat little gun scanner and a map of the store. At first we were excited, but this would quickly turn into an overwhelming feeling of being in over our heads. We had been given lots of tips by friends and family over what we "needed" and what were considered the best options. Of course all of this information must have been banned at the door because neither of us could remember a single tip once inside. Michael took down every stroller we thought might work for us and tried them out. He was looking for ease of opening and closing and overall weight of the device. After the first few he announced that we would register for the first stroller he didnt end up cursing in his effort to either open or close. It took us a while to find one :) After the stroller issue we seemed to be moving along a bit more smoothly...until we came to the wall of bottles! There were literally shelves upon shelves of bottle options! Before panic set in, we decided to call our friends Daisy and Nate and get their expert advice. Unfortunately for us they were out enjoying the beautiful weather. At this point we had lost all track of time...when my cell phone rang. Michael answered because I was busy trying to decipher the difference between the $25 baby lotion and the $3 version. The conversation went roughly like this:
Michael: Hello?
Caller: Mr. Johnson?
Michael: Yes?
Caller: This is (insert name here) from Babies R Us. Your wife was in our store this morning and registered with us. We think she may have accidentally taken the scanner home with her.
Michael: (Laughing) Oh no she didn't take it. We're still here in the store. We're just very slow.

The woman apologized and Michael assured her that we were nearly done and would return the scanner shortly. We must have set a record for them. We were there for nearly 6 hours!!! And we weren't even done registering yet...we still had to register at Target. But a nice end to the day was dinner at The Cheesecake Factory with my favorite company, Michael :)

Our next post will include photos of my growing tummy (for Grandma Argen) and the beginnings of our nursery. We finally found flooring!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sugar and Spice...

We had a very important visit to the doctor's office today. It was another round with the ultrasound machine, but this time we were far enough along to walk out knowing if we were having a boy or a girl. The ultrasound nurse got things going and we watched along on the screen as she found different landmarks and measured different bones, etc. And after a few minutes of poking and prodding and measuring, the little butterbean uncrossed its feet, and the nurse said "I'm pretty sure I see a little girl." Overjoyed, but still a little skeptical, we asked how sure she was, and she said about 90%, but the Dr. was going to do a detailed ultrasound as well, and if the baby cooperated, we would know for sure. 

The Dr. came in with a couple of residents, one of whom was running the ultrasound under his guidance. She found the same things the first nurse did, but then she got to a much clearer view of the baby's bottom. The Dr. asked her what she saw, and she said "That's a baby girl," and he said he very much agreed. Tam asked how sure he was, and he said "sure enough to start painting the walls pink." And aside from showing us that we've got  little girl on the way, the utrasound showed that everything looks good. 

Right after the appointment, we started calling family and friends to tell them, and then it was time to go out shopping to find some baby girl clothes. We had looked before, but had not bought anything yet. It's all very adorable, and I can tell we're going to be very broke. Tam made a beeline for an adorable pink tutu that she had seen a few weeks before, and now it's hanging in the closet in the soon-to-be nursery.

We're more excited than we can possibly say, and we can't wait to meet our little girl. We've got plenty of work to do in the next few months to get prepared. Check back to see our progress with the nursery!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fingers and Toes, Plus Baby's New Ride

It's been a while since we last posted any news, but it's been pretty busy around here. We are right in the middle of week number 12, though, and thankfully nausea has loosened its grip on Tam, though there are still some rough days. We had our second ultrasound yesterday afternoon, and the difference between the previous one and this one is AMAZING! Last time all we saw was a slightly fluttering heartbeat, and this time, we saw a rapidly developing little person, complete with teeny fingers and toes.

In the pictures above, our butterbean took the time to wave to us before getting back to the business of thumbsucking. 

We also found and bought the babymobile last week. The Altima with 166K miles on it and questionable reliability has given up its spot in the garage, and our new CR-V is sitting in its place. It's the car Tam has wanted for years, and it's got plenty of room for us, the baby, the dog, and the three dozen bags that people with newborns are obligated to carry everytime they set foot out the door. 

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sharing the News

It's been a while since our last update, but it's funny how near-constant nausea can bring productivity to a grinding halt. But despite the queasiness, we took a trip up to Hiawassee, GA over the 4th of July weekend to tell Michael's family about our news. Our first stop was in Jacksonville to see Polly. She cackled with delight and told us that she has prayed every day that she would get to see us have a baby.

From Jax, we headed north, arriving in Hiawassee that night where Granddaddy Mike and Grandma Argen were waiting for us. We tried to be all smooth and tell them that we wanted to show them a video of some renovations we were doing to the house, but they were suspicious, and it wasn't much of a surprise when the video started playing and it was our first sonogram. But they were excited, and one of the main topics at dinner right afterward was what the baby would call them. (it's still up in the air, but granddaddy and grandma might be in the lead at the moment)

We had a great trip, and it was a relaxing one for a change, since we didn't try to pack it with things like white water rafting, tubing down the Hooch, horseback riding, etc. Pregnancy kind of forces you to take the more leisurely path, and we have to say that it was nice. 

On the day we headed back home, we stopped by Clarkesville to see what's new at granddaddy and grandma's house. They've cleared out about a half acre of land to build Granddaddy's workshop, and Argen told us that they're going to make sure to seed it with lots of grass to make a nice spot for the baby to play. It's wonderful to picture summers where our child will get to do the things that Michael did in Hiawassee when he was a kid. And it's wonderful to see how excited granddaddy and grandma are.

Our last stop on the way home was in Atlanta, where we stopped to see Michael's sister and tell her the news. She was excited, too, and was very surprised that both Polly and Argen managed to keep quiet about it the entire long weekend we were in Hiawassee. 

It was nice to get back home, especially to sleep in our own bed again. We would like to thank everybody for the advice on how to get rid of the nausea. Some tips have worked (briefly) and some haven't, but we've tried them all. All except for one recommendation that Tam roll over Michael to get out of bed in the morning. That's how we got into this mess.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hello Nausea

We've made some purchases since we've learned about our pending arrival, but so far they've been limited to some maternity clothing items for Tam, and some books to help us make sure we're doing what we're supposed to. And "Preggie Pops." The name may be cute, but these little candies have been life savers against all-day sickness. No, not morning sickness. That would imply that it leaves at some point. Instead, it's been more or less constant for the last week. Well-wishing friends all swear that it will be gone after the first trimester.

Only six-ish more weeks of it to go. Blargh.
On a more pleasant, and less queasy note, our baby has received her (or his) first goodies. Nate, Daisie, and Joshua came by last weekend to help us celebrate Fathers' Day (their first, as well), and they brought some adorable outfits and a very cute blanket.
And Annette gave us our baby's first teddy bear!

It turns out that baby stuff is all very soft and very cute. As such (the soft cuddly part), we're going to have to make sure to keep it away from Misha, who loves to unstuff soft plush things.

Nurses, Doctors, Ultrasounds, Oh My!

Our second appointment was less about business and more about baby. Instead of going to the financial office, we were met at the door and ushered right into the ultrasound room where we anxiously waited to find out if everything looked okay. There were four things they looked for, and they found all four - including our baby's heartbeat. It's amazing that they can show us a heartbeat when the whole baby was just 3mm long. Seeing it on screen was incredible, and made the whole experience a little less abstract, and a lot more personal.

We also learned that we were not quite as far along as we originally thought. We calculated that our due date would be the end of January, but they told us February 15th. So we're splitting the difference and figuring on February 5th.

Behold. The little butterbean:

And once we found out that things looked okay (knock on wood), we started to tell our friends.

Slightly Overwhelming...

The last two weeks have been a flurry of health care appointments. First we had our nurses appointment where we were given an estimated due date of January 31st. This appointment was first and foremost to go over the cost of having a baby- literally! After we signed in they had us meet the financial specialist to go over all fees for the next nine months. Thank God for insurance.

Once we realized we had just invested our nest egg (no pun intended), we were shuttled off to meet with the OB nurse specialist. Of course this was not before leaving the first of what I am sure will be hundreds of urine samples. Then it was off to the scale. I was insulted when the nurse laughed when I told her that my shoes weighed at least a pound (They really do!!! I've weighed them!)

We then endured 45 minutes of information inundation. I am sure at one point I saw Michael's eyes glaze over in fear. It's a good thing you have this visit after you find out you're pregnant because if you did it beforehand, you'd make sure you never did anything to get pregnant!

Finally after drawing about a gallon of blood for at least a dozen tests, we were allowed to leave. But not before scheduling our first ultrasound - June 18th at 3pm. On our way out Michael commented, "It seems kind of unfair that your body has to go through all the changes and mine gets to stay just how it is." Lucky for him he was too far away to hit!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's official!

June 1, 2009

The world changed today at 9:00. There were plenty of things going on – the start of hurricane season 2009 and GM’s announcement of filing for bankruptcy to name a couple. But the biggest news was the appearance of one small pink line.

Tam had taken a couple of tests over the last week, each one turning up negative. She kept saying that something didn’t quite feel right, though. Well, not quite. What she said was that she didn’t feel like her cycle – now late – was about to start.

Fast forward now to Monday morning, 9:05. I got an e-mail from Tam, but not from her work address, or from her AOL address. It was a Sprint picture message, and the picture was a QuickVue test. A test that will most likely end up enshrined somewhere in our home. It had a dark blue control line, and a faint pink test line. And we know what pink means. (At least, I knew once I did a holy crap Google search for QuickVue test results)

It’s still a long road ahead, and of course we’re going to confirm things with a blood test (confirmed, by the way), but it looks like it’s official, and months of trying without success have finally yielded the results we’ve been hoping for. This father’s day is going to have a special meaning to me, because for the first time, I’m going to be one.

Everything else is secondary now. The volume on the drama that sometimes surrounds us is suddenly turned way down. This is the time that we’ve hoped for, and worked for, and it’s finally here. I’m excited and happy and scared to death. I want everything to go perfectly. I want Tam to be healthy throughout the pregnancy, and I pray to God that we are blessed with a healthy baby. I would say a healthy baby girl, but I don’t want to ask too much all at once.

A miracle has happened here. An everyday miracle that happens thousands of times every day across the world, but now it’s happened for us. I know that I’m going to be a sucker for this kid. I’m going to have to try my hardest not to spoil her (or him). The time for “what if” and “do you think “ has passed, and now we get to do what we’ve been hoping for/scared to death of. We get to raise a child together. I hope we do it right.

The funny thing about the timeline is that by the time you conceive, you’re technically already two weeks pregnant. Go figure. So by the time you’re late, and thinking that something might be going on, it takes a little time for it to show up on a test. So here we are, June 1st, - the first day that we know that we’re going to be parents – and one of the nine months has already passed. It’s like getting on a rollercoaster and by the time you realize you’re on it, it’s already about to crest the first hill and you barely have time to catch your breath. This is just one of many things I’m going to learn in the coming months.