Today is our 4th anniversary. I am happy. I love anniversaries. They are better than birthdays because they are about two people instead of one. I love celebrating marriage; it is a worthy reason to live-it-up a little. Our first two anniversaries we planned extravagant trips. The outtings were a disappointment, probably due to our high expectations.

The first anniversary we went to a place in Missouri called Big Cedar Lodge. We stayed in a deluxe suite for two nights. We had an unexplainable crappy time. We tried to hike, tried eating yummy food, tried playing games, tried taking pictures, tried everything... and just could not get into it. We were both in a weird funk and couldn't shake it.

The next year I planned an anniversary trip for us. We went to Kansas City and stayed in a hotel near the Plaza. I had been there several times before on research trips for my job. I wanted Chad to experience eating at The Cheesecake Factory. Unfortunately it was the weekend before Christmas and we had to wait FOUR hours in order to eat there. The rest of the trip was centered around shopping, which I love. I had not thought things through very well though because Chad does NOT enjoy shopping. The premise of the trip was exhausting for him... people, shopping, waiting, concrete, traffic. Oops.

Last year for our third anniversary we decided not to go anywhere. Instead we simply went out to dinner, exchanged gifts & cards, and kept things lowkey. It was a success. Less is better sometimes. I dream of big anniversary celebrations for the big years of 5, 10, 20, etc. Someday I'd love to spend out anniversary in New York City. I hear it is an amazing place to visit at Christmas time. Of course if not careful that could turn into a bigger version of the Kansas City experience.

As for this year, Chad has some plans that I do not know about. I have a feeling we might be going somewhere nearby to spend the night away. My expectations are not high though -- I'm excited to simply relax and be together this weekend. I hope our Wonderful Saturday Trend continues. It is crazy to think that on our next anniversary we'll have an almost-one-year-old baby.


the state of ready

People keep asking me, "Are you ready?" There are several different types of "ready" they could be referring to. Is the house ready for the baby? Am I physically uncomfortable enough to want to go into labor? Is the nursery ready? Are the baby's clothes and bedding washed? Am I mentally prepared for contractions?

I am getting closer to all of these types of ready. Each night turning over in bed is more difficult. It borders on painful. I groan and lunge and pull the covers off Chad in the process. The baby's room is almost all together. The bedding and blankets are washed and sealed in large ziplock bags to keep them as dust free as possible. Tiny clothes are hanging in the closet. They are so small that they don't hang down more than 12 inches from the rod. I have a stash of diapers underneath the crib. Newborn. Size 1. Size 2. Tons of wipes also.

I guess the next step is becoming mentally prepared. Lately I find myself daydreaming of holding the baby immediately after she is born. I try to envision what it will be like to behold her for the first time. Her face, body, hands, feet, etc. Who will she look like? Will she make eye contact with me? Will she have a loud cry? I also daydream about the first days of taking care of her. Baths. Diapers. Feeding. Holding. Carrying. What will it be like? I am excited, but I don't know if I am ready. Some say you are never ready. This may be true, but I feel about as close to ready as I think I'm going to get.


wonderful saturdays

Chad and I have had two awesome Saturdays in a row. Last weekend we carved out time to spend the whole day together. We went out to breakfast and shared a large mocha with our egg sandwiches. Then we bought an eight foot Christmas tree. We set up the tree in the corner of the living room but ended up not decorating it because the branches needed to fall in order to hang lights and ornaments. The scent of pine filled the house as we misted the tree with water from a spray bottle. We spent the rest of the day playing games and taking it easy.

This past Saturday I woke up with a sore throat. Chad made me breakfast and hot tea with honey and lemon. Then we played Monopoly in front of the fireplace. He got the yellows by chance as well as three of the railroads. Because of this he would not make a deal with me; and he won! I think it was the first time he's beat me at Monopoly since we got married. He was pretty happy. We also played poker. Texas hold 'em, seven card stud, five card draw, deuces Wild. I had a few full houses. The trick was betting conservatively because Chad is fast to fold, being the cautious person that he is.

From time to time we'd talk about the baby and how soon she will arrive. We go for brisk walks in order to prepare my body for labor. Our neighborhood has quite a few Christmas lights. This is a fun time to be expecting a baby. I can't wait to hold her wrapped up in a soft fuzzy blanket.


letters and packages

I have a long time friend. We've known each other since junior high. We've been through close times and not-so-close times. With the exception of 3 months we've always lived in different states. I was a lonely 6th grader with no friends when her family moved to our town in Northern California. We met at church and hit it off immediately. Three short months later her family moved again... far away. Thus began a long friendship of letters.

We wrote to each other on a weekly basis. I saved a lot of the letters. It is fun to go through them all these years later. Our handwriting was bubbly back then. The stationary was bright florescent colors. I loved Lisa Frank stuff back them... purple, pink, stars, hearts, unicorns, kittens... very junior highish stuff.

As we got older we talked on the phone more. We talked about boys late into the night. I remember one conversation where we listed out the ten boys we wanted to kiss! I think we were in 16. (Neither of us had kissed anyone yet at that point.) We also continued writing letters during this time. We both wrote with the same amount of detail. This common hobby of writing is the thing that kept our friendship alive.

During college we were not as close. We drifted a little after she got married. I was busy with new friends while she was occupied figuring out marriage stuff. Letters were more sporatic and phone calls less frequent. After a few years I go married. We started corresponding more, which leads us to present day.

My friend is also pregnant. She is due two weeks after I am. For the past 8 months we've been emailing, writing, and chatting nonstop about our pregnancies and the future. We've been exchanging packages full of babies items. When one of us finds a clearance item or a steal at a garale sale, we think about the other and wonder if it is package-worthy. We know each other's tastes. She knows I love the Baby Gap. I know she dislikes the feel of micro-fleece.

I am thankful for our letter-writing and package-sending hobby. It's fun to have a friend who has the same delight in sharing silly details and baby trinkets.


feeling strange

I am starting to wonder how far away labor is. My body is doing weird things. I experience small contractions often, but not regularly. Usually they don't distract me from what I'm doing at the moment. I am trying not to get too excited. After all, I'm still 5 weeks away from the due date.

I'm still growing. I had to buy yet another pair of pants over the weekend. The ones that I thought were going to last me until the end are too tight to wear. The tight band made it impossible to bend over. One doesn't realize how often she bends over until her pants start to cut her in half! Simple tasks like tying one's shoes becomes a major feat. I was annoyed to have to buy another pair of pants when I'd rather spend the money on the baby. The new jeans are wonderful though. I actually feel kinda cute in them!


hot dish

Wednesday night was especially fun. Laura had us over for dinner. Beck recently decorated their duplex for Christmas. It is cozy and relaxing. I got comfy in the recliner with a homemade quilt while Laura and Neil finished making dinner. We had Hot Dish. I'd never heard of it before -- it's a midwestern thing I think. She layered ground beef, tomato soup, green beans, and mashed potatoes in a dish and baked it. It was a success. Chad renamed it "Tater Pie" which made us all laugh and be silly. Thankfully my laughter didn't turn into unexplainable tears this time.



I am having naming issues. When we found out we were going to have a baby I was excited to talk about names. Soon we had a short list of options. We decided on a boy name easily. Logan Hunter. We like Logan because it is unique, but not weird. I also like 5-letter names for some reason. Two syllable names are nice. We had a harder time with a girl name. Melody was on the list from the beginning. It was my favorite. After a few months we settled on it. A few weeks ago Chad said out of the blue, "Are you positive about the name Melody?" I had been wishy-washy as well so we began to reconsider. The problem is, no other names have jumped out at us. We are blank. We settled on Melody again.

I am still unsure though. Ellen and others love the names they've chosen and "know" they are right. I like the name Melody, but I don't love it. I wonder if she won't look like a Melody when she's born. Or will people mistake her for a Melanie her whole life? Maybe we'll have a surprise boy and the name thing won't be an issue. I thought about using Logan for a girl, but Chad feels strongly that it is a boy's name. I don't know what we'll do.