39 weeks 5 days and a few delusions

2 days, or 48 hours, or 2,880 minutes, or 172,800 seconds until I arrive at the baby’s official due date.

The 39 weeks leading to this moment went by in a blink, but these last few hours feel like slow, grinding years.

Everything on the to-do list is complete (seriously, I have no list for the first time in my life!). And, yes, these last quiet hours before the arrival should be relished and cherished as this kind of solitude will probably not be revisited for another let’s say 5 or 10 years! Yet, I feel nothing but restless energy. So many of the mommies I have spoken with  describe a similar emotion when it was their time. They shared that now that the finish line is completely in sight the waiting becomes unbearable. When I try to describe this to the non-pregnant around me, they tell me to relax and to rest my aching body.  The thing is my body doesn’t ache.  I am very lucky that despite my large belly full of baby, I do not have any aches or pains to complain of and could theoretically continue on in this fashion for quite a bit longer. The only “ache” I have is in my emotional center. I am ready to meet this little guy, I am ready to face labor head on, and I am ready to endure the birth process. And this waiting, this daily waiting around, goes against every fiber of my busybody being!

So what happens to one’s mind under these conditions? Delusions start.

Delusion number 1: I am not pregnant. Despite the protruding stomach, I have begun to rationalize that there is not a baby in there after all.

Delusion number 2: If delusion number 1 is not true and I am indeed pregnant, then at this point my body has begun to reabsorb the baby.

Delusion number 3: I don’t look pregnant in the mirror.

Delusion number 4: If I wake up in the morning and have not already started labor than that day is “lost” and won’t turn into a labor day.

Delusion number 5: I will be waiting forever.

Obviously, I know that these thoughts are nothing but frivolous notions that fill the lagging time until the baby’s ultimate arrival but with each passing day they become a little more vivid and I have to check in and remind myself, “Melissa, you know this is just your boredom talking.” To counter the boredom, I have tried to at least venture outside once a day.  David doesn’t want us to go too far in case my water breaks but, “See delusion 4,” I  sometimes say to him.  We have gone on walks in the park, the mall, and the arboretum. We have spent some time shopping around Whole Foods and lounging in our backyard. These have all eased my spirit a bit but inevitably the restlessness returns. I know I am on “his time” and I know the closer we get to the due date the better for the wee man but I also know that this is hard for me and I am trying my best to stay relaxed while I wait incessantly for the inevitable.

spinach & fruit salad

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I have decided that the best way to beat the winter blues is by making summertime lunches. With another snow storm approaching, we have decided to focus on our countdown to our “babymoon” in 18 days!! In just a little over two weeks, we will be packing our suitcases full of shorts, bathing suits, and tank tops and heading away from this arctic chill that won’t shake Boston and onto the sunny beaches of the Caribbean.  While I still enjoy my belly warming meals for dinner, lunchtime has become a time for light, crisp, and citrus infused meals.  While David and Laura painted the nursery upstairs (I will post pictures soon!), I busiest myself in the kitchen tossing everything “summer” into a salad bowl. The final result was exactly the slice of summer I was aiming for.

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In a salad bowl toss together:

baby spinach

1 diced apple

1/2 diced blood orange

1/2 diced avocado

1/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup yellow tomatoes cut in half

1/4 cup diced strawberries

drizzle of fig balsamic dressing

Salad is best paired with Girl Scout Cookies, preferable Thin Mints and Caramel Delights…

beach babies?

In approximately 192 hours the school year will commence. Gosh this is a cliche but the summer flew by! I feel like I just got settled into a routine I enjoy (which includes iced coffees most mornings with Laura) and finally shook off the post-school year fatigue and now it is time to head back in. Yes, I know that the majority of Americans do not have the luxury of a summer vacation like a school teacher and believe me I am so grateful and appreciative of the time I do get off. But, it is always a little sad to say goodbye to the long summer days. As soon as I see the students and get settled into my classroom, it will be second nature and hard to imagine ever not being in the classroom with those particular students. The only really difficult part of the school year starting is the inevitable loss of summer’s sunlight that will be exchanged for winter’s snow.  Therefore, Laura and I set out on Monday to hold onto summer just a little longer with a full day at the beautiful Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester. At the end of the day, we packed up our little campsite and bid the sand and surf adieu until next year.

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Welcome to Good Harbor!Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.17.49 PM

Despite being a random Monday in August the beach was PACKED but we still enjoyed ourselves even though we had to share the shore ;)
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The obligatory feet in water shot. The water was freezing cold.  So cold that I felt my shin bones freeze and Laura and I dared each other to dive into the waves. Which we did three times. Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.24 PM

See those two mansions out there on the cliff?  Yes, that is where we live.Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.41 PM

Laura reading at our campsite for school.Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 7.18.58 PM

I brought The Art of Racing in the Rain and have fallen in love with this story. It is funny, poignant, and makes me want to snuggle my puppies ever closer. I am devouring the novel as my last summer read.

post 3. the great wall.

It has been over a month since my last great wall update. You are probably thinking that the silence must indicate intense progress and therefore there is no “material” for me to cover on the blog. Alas, if only this were so. Unfortunately, when looking back over Summer 2013, it has become quite apparent that there were many excellent moments like our family vacation in June to Florida where we were able to spend much needed time together (not knowing then that it would be the last time I would see my Nanny). But there have also been quite a number of lows. And these lows have been low. The passing of my Nanny has been and continues to be a grave pain and sorrow. I still struggle to wrap my head around it and often find myself about to call her on the phone only to remember I can no longer do that.  While the wall is in no way the same type of low as the loss of my beloved nanny, it remains a thorn in the summer that continues to bring David and I down.

Two weeks ago, our neighbors invited us to a cookout. Perched high on their deck, we had the vantage point of looking down into our backyard. And, what did we see? A mess. Stones tossed haphazardly across the backyard in random heaps, a bobcat backhoe parked on the side of the house, a dirt pile stacked so high you cannot see the house next door, a partial retaining wall built, tools strewn about, a broken tent tossed to one side, another tent set near what should be a “work station,” trees and shrubs uprooted and dying on the dirt, and cement and sand where once grass grew. My personal favorite item in the backyard is a canister of the mason’s urine that he has left in the sun which we dare not go near for fear of a toxic death. A project that was projected to last 3 weeks is edging ever so closely to 3 months with no true end in sight. To say communication with the mason is difficult would be an understatement. David and I have tried to take a relaxed approach this past month and half. We have not called or texted him (as he prefers texting over answering his phone), unless he has not appeared at our house for more than 7 business days. Typically, when he does text back, he makes grandiose promises to work the next days including the weekend!  Of course, this never happens and David and I are left feeling foolish, powerless, and frustrated. The excuses continue to pile up including my two favorites thus far: getting wisdom teeth taken out and being attacked by a dog (though there were no scratches or bite marks!?!). Of course, if these things did happen along with the many other tragedies he has shared with us this summer then, like us, the mason is having the WORST summer ever!  But I cannot help feeling like he is a little bit of the boy who cried wolf.

Whenever we look out the windows or enter and exit the house we are reminded of our life savings that has seemingly gone down the drain and the disaster that has exploded in our yard. Lately, after finishing up a walk with the pups, we stop in front of the house and say, “Geez look at this house.  It is like the owners must not care about it at all. What a mess.” Then we hang our heads and walk inside. In my fantasy world, I wake up and the wall is completed this week, the fence goes up, and our “dog pen” (as the mason so eloquently calls it) is finished. But, this is not so. David and I have a knack for finding the lemons of life. Our pups (who we love unconditionally) have tons of health problems including explosive diarrhea should they eat anything other than their dog food, our house has numerous small but annoying glitches, and now our mason has taken the cake and become the lemon of the summer. Anyone have a recipe for lemonade? As ridiculous as this is and as outlandish as his excuses have been, we just want him to finish this project so that he saves face and we save some money.

Upon doing a walk around the “lack of job site”, Laura declared, “You got a shitty (expletive) deal! It is unconscionable!” I agree bestie, I completely agree.

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Laura examining the mason’s urine canister. She could not believe he would leave such a thing behind for weeks.

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*What is complete looks great and we are happy with the (unfinished) product but man, oh man, the process is a nightmare.*

rainy boston weekend

Friday was not at all how I planned. When Colleen said she was coming up for the day, I immediately knew what we would do. Starting with a cozy breakfast at home, we could catch up over some lattes and cuddle the puppies before heading out to the day. The plan would be to spend the day outside in the sun. Cochituate State Park would most definitely be a stop.  Paddle boarding is something I have wanted to try and Colleen is just the gal to be game for it. Then we could end the night over some wine and a cookout. Unfortunately, Friday was a complete wash out. We did in fact enjoy a cup of coffee together in the morning but then had to regroup and figure out what we could possibly do in the rain. Of course there was bowling or walking around the mall or even driving to a museum but none of them were quite right.

Instead, we decided to forgo our comfort and hit outdoors and the city anyway. We drove into Boston, parked at the seaport, and took the T to lunch at the Parish Cafe. After a delicious lunch and few adult beverages, we thoroughly embraced the crumby weather and walked the length of Newbury Street stopping briefly to pay our respects at Restoration Hardware. Then through the Boston Garden and Boston Common we went sharing stories, laughs, and questioning what the heck we were thinking walking through the rain like this? We continued through the downtown crossing to Government Center and through Faneuil Hall for a few free samples from food vendors. We walked along the water back to the seaport and dried off in Flour Bakery over cups of hot tea and an oatmeal raisin cookie. To say we were soaked to the bone is an understatement. We drenched the floors of the bakery and found that our raincoats had done very little to protect us from the deluge. But, then again, we had a fabulous time and a fabulous visit.

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florida vacation

In mid July David and I were able to fly down to Florida to visit with his brother, sister-in-law, and their littles. Each year around the fourth of July we make our trek down for a long weekend of fun and sun. This year we met our newest little nephew only 14 days old. When we arrived a tropical storm was trailing us, promising to keep us indoors during the visit.  Somehow though, it broke up allowing us all to enjoy the outdoors. We had a picnic at the beach at sunset, went to a cookout in a local park to honor the Navy Reserve, took walks around the block, had a massive water balloon fight, and just soaked up as much time together as possible. It is always so hard to leave on Monday.  I wish I could pick up Florida and place it right next to Massachusetts so that we are only a short drive from one another.

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Uncle David meets our newest nephew. They are both rocking the same hairdo.IMG_4329

Just a little beach nap at sunset.

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Setting up our camp site. We packed blankets & fried chicken and sat in the sand between sea turtle nests.

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Nothing beats this view

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Did not done a bathing suit this time, but still had to put my feet in.

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The little guy woke up right before it was time to head home. First visit to the beach at just a few days old not to shabby.

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Our niece and nephew splashing around in the waves. They are fearless, beautiful, little fish.

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A little family portrait?  Gosh do I want us to start a family. Holding little boy really made that desire apparent. Maybe someday…

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While we were there, I was reintroduced to ramen noodles and fell in love with that salty, noodle soup

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Kid races at the cookout. About to launch off for the potato sack race.

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David and his littles