Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dear Grandpa...

In honor of Grandpa Boettcher 2B's birthday today, this entry has been created in response to his comments and questions on the "Four Months" post:

Will it be Osh Kosh bibs and Nike, or Isod button downs and Stride Rites?

Unless some horrific mutation occurs in utero, depriving our child of the crucial gene that controls the fashion savvy part of the brain (called the stylus impeccabilus), our child will possess an innate sense of all that is stylish (that Timothy and I will be passing on, of course). We intend to nurture this gift from day one to help the baby develop the vital schemas necessary to maintain the level of coolness it will need to realize its full fashion potential.

Will it be a soccer ball, a football, a basketball (Tim is tall), or a baseball (boring.....)?

Assuming that the child will be a boy, these are our respective answers:

Timothy: yes, yes (tight end, probably), yes - if he gets Tim's "tall" gene (you see, at 6'-3", he could play a four guard in high school, but would likely have to move to the one or two guard position in college. Probably won't be tall enough for the pros, but he'll have his education to fall back on if he doesn't get drafted), and...yes

Sarah: yes, no (I like to point out every time a player gets hurt and say, "Is that what you want for our child?"), yes, and...only if they shorten games to five innings

Our little girl, however, will play soccer and volleyball (I'll coach the team), and maybe basketball (if she's not cheerleading). She will excel in dance class and take piano lessons and probably participate in an art class or two. But only if she wants to, of course.

Will you read it (for lack of a better term), Tolstoy or Silverstein, Dr. Seuss or Dr. Ruth?

Farbeit for two book junkies like Timothy and I to put a limit on our child's reading materials. I'm not sure what was read to me before I could read to myself, but I believe I learned to read with your good old-fashioned "See Tom run. Run, Tom, run." primers, which seem to have worked pretty well. From what I've heard, the moment I
could read I would read anything with words on it (shampoo bottles, grocery store receipts, etc.). But I will be sure to expose "it" to my early childhood faves - like Silverstein and Suess - in hopes of avoiding some of the bad cartoon-inspired kiddie books on the market today.

During mid-childhood, Tim and I both enjoyed the
Encyclopedia Brown series and those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books - good choices that encouraged creativity and helped to develop some logic-building skills. I'm hoping "its" teenage years will inspire some more enriching reads than The Babysitters Club or Christopher Pike thrillers, both of which I was virtually glued to every second of my early teenage years. I'd be happy if "it" would actually read the books your supposed to read for high school lit. class - in high school - and not wait until after college to read all the classics like Tim and I did. That said, I think we'll play it by ear and expose them to as much as possible without turning them into anti-social bookworms.

Will it be reruns of Mr. Rogers or Chris Matthews of MSNBC?

Although I do not intend to encourage excessive TV watching
, I am not wholly opposed to exposing the child to a few select programs that should aid in the process of creating a well-rounded mind. For example:

To prepare the child for the athlete's life that it is in store: A daily quota of ESPN1,2,3, and 4 (is there a 5 now?) will be required. Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon will be referred to as "Uncle Tony and Uncle Mike". And Sportscenter will run a continuous loop on a 42" flatscreen mounted over the child's bed. Plus, unless it learns the difference between negligence per se and res ipsa loquitur or can dissect the intricacies of a motion in limine, what will it talk to its father about?

To encourage creativity and imagination: When I was growing up, I loved the program Imagination Station with Mark Kistler. It was an interactive "space-themed" show where the host - "Captain Mark" - would teach the kids at home the basic techniques and terms relating to drawing. With marker and paper in hand, it was there that I first discovered how to locate a horizon line, found out what foreshortening meant, and learned how to shade and shadow effectively. As far as I know, the closest thing to an interactive drawing program today is Pappy's World, whose name alone inspires little confidence. I may have to hop on the Ebay train and see if I can find Captain Mark on VHS...

To develop basic motor skills and encourage a healthy physique: I will give credit where it's due and say that much of the children's programming today does focus on getting the kids up and moving, allowing them to participate physically as opposed to turning them into vegged-out, TV-watching drones. For example, an occasional viewing of the Wiggles would be acceptable, although our beloved Greg recently left the show and it probably just isn't the same.

To enrich the mind and soul: I am actually impressed by the amount of today's children's programming that does center around learning, whether it be learning how to count to ten, how to tie your shoe, or how to share your toys with someone that isn't very nice to you. I appreciate the focus on bi-culturalism as demonstrated by programs like Dora the Explorer (am I the only one who wants to call it "Dora the Explora"?) and Handy Manny. Christian-based programs like Veggie-Tales will always have a place in our home, and I think the Baby Einstein series is genius (and I'm sure its shareholders agree), in that it covers such a wide array of developmental areas and age groups.

That being said, I will always prefer that my child picks up a book instead of a remote control.

Must the urchin (for lack of a better term), eat the entire balanced meal in order to partake in a healthy dessert of assorted fresh fruit, or simply be required to chomp half the hamburger, most of the fries and two Mountain Dews in order to get a Dove bar to enjoy in front of the TV during reruns of Dynasty?

Timothy and I hope to be able to set a good example for the urchin by eating well-balanced meals as a general rule with only an occasional fast food binge now and then. Seeing as we don't generally keep junk food and soda in the house now, I don't intend for that to change once a child enters the picture. I will strive to provide fresh meals daily where the ingredients do not all come in a single bag from the freezer section of the grocery (mystery meat chunks included). I vow to expose my child to the fresh produce section of the market so that it may become familiar with the many vegetables that I never even saw until high school (and that Timothy had never seen unfried until college). Finally, I will require a standard of effort when it comes to trying foods the child thinks might be "icky" based on how it looks or smells. Failure to meet said requirement will result in the deprivation of the healthy dessert of assorted fresh fruit.

So dad, I hope that satisfies your curiosity for now. Let me know if I have failed to address any of the issues that are of concern to you as Grandpa 2B.

Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Preggo Shout-Out: Robin Most

This shout-out goes to Robin Most, representing Rogers, AR (holla!). Robin has been married to a great guy named Brian for about two years now, and this will be baby numero uno for the excited couple. We met the Mosts when we joined a community group at our church, Fellowship of NWA. Luckily, our entire group hit it off right away and we all became fast friends.

The Mosts "little firecracker" is due around the Fourth of July - just days from when our baby should be arriving! In fact, if we were to assume the date we've calculated to be accurate (as opposed to the June 30th date that the clinic is suggesting) Robin and I might be delivering on the exact same day!

Robin and Brian will be great parents, and as long as Barkley and Mr. Kitty are on board, they should have no problems introducing their little one into their happy family. In fact, Robin (the "Embroidery Queen") already has a slew of adorable items ready to be monogrammed, so their baby will be sure to learn his/her name in no time. We are so excited for them and happy that we can share this experience together. Congrats and good luck Robin and Brian!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Doctor Visit #2

Doc visit #2 went splendidly. Good pee, good blood pressure, good weight. I had only gained 3 pounds since my last visit instead of 4 (the typical is 1 per week), but Mari assured me that I was just fine, especially considering I that had been exercising regularly. She measured the distance between my pelvic bone and the top of my uterus to be 17cm, which she described as "perfect" - can't get any better than that!

She asked whether I had felt the baby moving yet, to which I replied, "I have no idea." So she proceeded to perform an unexpected ultrasound to make sure that it was indeed moving. And boy, was it!! That little critter was flailing about inside my belly, throwing arms and legs all over the place. Mari explained that my placenta was anterior, meaning it was positioned between the baby and my stomach instead of behind it, so there was quite a bit of cushioning that was protecting mom's gut from the Tae Kwon Do maneuvers the baby was throwing. But being that it was such an active baby, Mari suggested that I would be feeling obvious movement in no time.

She printed another pic, to which she compared to the original pics we had from our first ultrasound in December. What a difference! This time the baby seemed to resemble a human much more than an alien life form, despite its enormously disproportionate head. Of course that mystery was solved when Timothy removed his hat, pointed to his own overgrown noggin and said, "Well, what did you expect?"

We scheduled our next visit for February 23, where we will (hopefully) be finding out whether a little boy or little girl will be joining our family. During the ultrasound, Timothy became convinced that he had spotted some boy parts. I was convinced that the "boy parts" were a leg. Of course Timothy considered that to be support for his own case. But we'll find out soon! 'Till then, we will be waiting eagerly in anticipation...

p.s. We hope to be getting a scanner this upcoming weekend so we can post both ultrasounds. Be sure to check back if you'd like to see how the baby (and its head) have grown over the last month!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Preggo Shout-Out: Kelly Cheshier

This shout-out goes to our good friends Jacob and Kelly Cheshier, representing Kingsport, TN. Jacob and Timothy have known each other since their Rock Solid days in El Dorado and have been great friends ever since. Kelly and Jacob have one darling little son named Ethan and will be welcoming another baby around April 4. This time, a baby girl will join the family! For Jacob's sake, we hope that she will quickly grow accustomed to the boyish nature of Cheshier family traditions (e.g. if she can dodge flying pieces of bonfire-propelled hominy can shrapnel, she'll be just fine). I am confident, however, that big brother Ethan will be more than willing to show her the ropes.

I'd also like to add that Kelly was a very adorable - and very fit - preggo the first time around. We visited the Cheshiers in Kingsport when Kelly was in her second trimester, and thought it would be a good idea to go hiking through the hills of Tennessee. We were hesitant knowing Kelly's condition, but quickly ate our words as Kelly proceeded to run circles around us non-preggos and made it to the top without even breaking a sweat. Mad props, Kelly!!

That being said, I'm sure Kelly is handling this pregnancy just as gracefully and is probably as adorable as ever. Good luck Kelly!!

A Day in the Life: January 17-19, 2007

It's odd having my family so far away during a time that so many changes are happening, so I promised that I would start posting more pictures of me in my daily life, performing such mundane tasks as making dinner, exercising, playing with Murphy, etc. Apparently there are people out there who actually wanna see these things. For those of you that already have the pleasure of seeing me everyday, now you can look back and reflect on each glorious day that you've gotten to spend with yours truly.
You're welcome.
January 17, 2007

January 18, 2007

January 19, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Four Months: Bowl Full of Jelly

Four wonderful months of pregnancy have come and gone. I am now in my seventeenth week, and my week-by-week pregnancy book says that the baby inside me is about the size of my hand with the fingers spread. The recent growth of the fetus is evidenced by the recent growth of my waistline, which can be witnessed in the lovely rendering to your left. I'm a little apprehensive about posting this one because I'm not sure that it accurately depicts my growth up to this point (I look slightly smaller in the mirror). Oh well, close enough. In addition to monthly weighing and picture taking, I've also taken to measuring my waist, which has expanded to a vast 32 inches from what was once 26. Yikes!!

I honestly have to say that, of all my jiggly bits and physical flaws, a flabby belly was never really something I had to worry about. Which is what makes this extra bit of blubber all the more difficult to handle. I naively assumed that, as it began to grow, my belly would be of the firm and not-at-all-jiggly variety, just like all the other pregnant bellies I had encountered in the past. But apparently, this transition occurs at a much later point, as the womb needs time to cast organs aside and expand into the abdomen, filling it up and causing the belly skin to stretch over it tautly.

So needless to say, (and I have every confidence that I will regret making this statement) I am looking forward to being bigger and leaving this awkward Pillsbury stage behind. Until then, I will just take this minor discomfort in stride and learn to cope with the woes of having a doughy soft midsection. Hee hee.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Preggo Shout-Out: Marjorie Westmoreland

During the wedding festivities last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Timothy's great Aunt Irma, his second cousin Marjorie, and her lovely family - the Westmorelands. Marjorie and her husband David have three beautiful children - little Marjorie, Julia, and Wells - and will be welcoming a fourth addition to their family in July.

Marjorie was very excited to hear that we had chosen a nurse midwife to deliver our baby, as she had used one for her last two deliveries and would be doing the same for this upcoming birth. Since the midwife concept was pretty foreign to me, I was really happy to hear from someone who not only had used a midwife, but had great experiences and was eager to advocate for their use. Marjorie offered some sound advice and encouragement, of which I am very appreciative.
Thanks Marjorie! Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy!!

Itchy & Scratchy

AAARGggggghhhhh! The skin on my belly has been so itchy the last few days. However, my sister Rachel warned me that scratching of the pregnant belly has been known to cause stretch marks, a thought that frightens me to my very core. As a result, absent-minded belly-itching is typically followed by an ear-piercing shriek, followed by a mad dash to the bathroom where I frantically slather three coats of Palmers Vitamin E and Cocoa butter lotion all over my recently assaulted baby bump. Phew, crisis averted.

If this madness continues, I may have to resort to duct taping oven mitts to my hands. Of course I work on the computer all day, so that could be a problem. I guess I could tape them to my stomach. Aah, genius at work...

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Preggo's First Wedding

This past weekend, we traveled to Nacogdoches, TX, where Tim's cousin Brooke was getting married at Stephen F. Austin University. Other than Christmas, this would be my first real event as an "out of the closet" pregnant woman. Further, it was my first real venture into the world of maternity wear, as I was planning on donning a brand new maternity dress to the wedding.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful, as were Brooke and Susan. Timothy sang two songs, delivering an inspired performance that earned many compliments. My new dress earned many compliments as well, although most of those were followed by the statement, "You really are pregnant." Apparently an empire waist does more to emphasize the belly than to hide it.

As we headed to the reception, Aunt Sylvia attempted to warn me about the dangers of wearing three inch heels while pregnant. She had a point, and I had to ask myself: Is it really worth having to suffer fallen arches and agonizing back pain for the entirety of my adult life to look cute for one single formal event? I immediately answered myself with a resounding, "Heck yeah" and sauntered into the reception hall atop my towering stilettos.

The reception was tons of food, I mean fun. And the food was good, too. There were four stations set up, each featuring a different course. The meat table had a roast beef carving station, there was a mashed potato bar, a cheese table, and la piece de resistance (that means "pregnant lady's favorite" in French), the chocolate fountain. I was so thankful to be out of my extremely selective morning sickness phase and was able (and willing) to eat everything offered. Oh, and cake. Did I mention cake? Another reason why maternity clothing was the right choice - lots of room to expand.

In addition to eating, we danced and chatted with friends and relatives. Timothy and his cousin Matt spent some time trying to decipher ultrasound pictures - to no avail, it seemed.

When the reception was over, we went to the hotel to change clothes and came back to the school to contribute to the clean up effort, which really just amounted to us "cleaning up" what was left of the chocolate fountain.

The night ended at Aunt Susan's house, where we played games and ate some more, before retiring to the hotel. The next morning, we ended our little adventure at the IHOP for a much needed pancake fix before heading back home to Fayetteville.

A New Development

Supposedly you can start feeling the baby move somewhere between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy. It has been described as a fluttering, which is also known, in more scientific terms, as "quickening".

Although I have yet to experience this much anticipated event, I have recently noticed an odd sensation that indicates that something might in fact be in there. It's not movement, per se, but rather, what feels like an ever-present gas bubble lodged in my abdomen that especially makes its presence known when I lay on my side, bend over, or sit down.

Maybe I'm not having an alien after all - it might just be a gas baby. Hopefully made of helium. Then it will be easy to carry.

I'll keep you updated as this story develops further.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Preggo Shout-out: Amy Sutherlin

This preggo shout-out goes to Amy Sutherlin of Denton, Texas. Amy is Timothy's cousin-in-law, married to his cousin Matthew. Amy is due in March and will be adding a little guy, tentatively named Aidan, to the mix. As with Tim and I, this will be Amy and Matt's first bundle o' joy, so the whole family is very excited about having not one, but two new babies to spoil in this upcoming year.

Recently, Amy and Matt have encountered a teeny obstacle that will cause Amy to remain on bed rest until delivery. A major bummer for the activity-inclined individual that Amy tends to be. But with a little knitting tutorial from Matt, maybe she can fabricate little Aidan's entire wardrobe by March.

Hang in there, Amy!! We are thinking about you and will be praying for your good health (and sanity) for the (short, very short!!) remainder of your term!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Updates by Email

We have had a few requests for the ability to let people know by email when the blog is updated. We thought this would be a great idea, so we've added something that may be of assistance. For those of you who already ready use a blog service such as Bloglines or Google Reader, you should be able to add our blog in that service the way you would add any other.

For those of you interested in the email updates:

If you look to the left column of the page now you will see a box where you can enter an email address. By doing so you will be sent to a page that will ask you to confirm your email address by entering a series of letters and numbers. I'm confident all of you are literate so this should be a breeze, right? After you complete that form you will be sent an email that will allow you to click on a link to make a final confirmation of your email address and your intent to receive email updates of the blog. Once you've clicked on the link in your email, you will be successfully subscribed to our blog and the next time a post is added you will receive a notification in your inbox.

Let me know if you need any help,


Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Along for the Ride

And now for a quick shift in authors - Tim here...

As you can see, Sarah is a bit excited about this baby business. And who can blame her? I'm just a little excited as well. Unfortunately, our roles in this experience are quite different. She gets all the fun stuff - she gets to carry the baby, she gets all of the attention, all the magazines are focused around her, she'll get all sorts of gifts at the baby showers, she has a brand new excuse to buy new clothes, and everyone is oh so concerned with how she is doing. And me? I'm stuck getting the cheese doodles at 11 p.m. because she feels like cheese doodles and schlepping around all of her new clothes and other gifts. I mean how is that for getting the raw end of the deal?

But seriously, Sarah is a great at being pregnant. Her complaining has been all but non-existent, especially considering the state that she is in. She is able to fake her health in social situations so that no one would ever be able to guess how nauseated she has felt. She took our holiday road trips in stride and has completely embraced her temporary foray into the world of the big-bellied. Hopefully the second trimester will bring with it less nausea and more energy.

My contributions to the pregnancy so far, other than fathering the child, have included some highly important matters. Such as, you ask? Such as maintaining the myriad timetables for the birth. As Sarah has already mentioned, there was some question of what date should actually be the due date, a matter since resolved. With the different possibilities it became difficult to remember what week of pregnancy we were actually in, however my mesmerizing Excel skills made short work of this herculean task. What else do I do? I drive, I clean, I take her out to eat when she tells me to, I tell her she looks pregnant and not fat, I'm just an all-around good guy. There is so little I can do in some aspects that I'm trying to make the effort where I can. I'm sure she'll let you know if I'm coming up short.

Anyway, I hope that you'll drop by occasionally and see what is going on. It will definitely make it easier for Sarah to continue writing new posts if she knows someone is reading them. Although, I think the primary benefit is just to give her an outlet. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Three Months: Man, I'm getting fat...

So... I'm actually about three and a half months now - halfway through my fifteenth week, to be exact. Morning sickness has really improved a lot in the last week or so, which is a huge relief. Although headaches seem to have picked up the slack. But somehow those are a bit more manageable. Yay for second trimesters!!

Depending on the time of day, I feel humongous or not pregnant at all. I have a ton of maternity clothes now, but most of them are just waiting in the wings because I am really in an odd, in-between stage. I've perfected the 'ole rubber band through the button hole trick because I am just slightly too big for my old pants but slightly too small for my new ones. The "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant" phase is in full effect, so sometimes I find myself either sucking in or pushing out my gut so as to convince onlookers that I am a normal pregnant (or non-pregnant) lady.

We took a bunch of pics trying to get one that most accurately depicted how I really look on a daily basis. This one was the winner.

What's Up, Doc?

Our second visit to the clinic was on Thursday, December 28. The agenda for this visit was to get a routine exam and, hopefully, hear the baby's heartbeat. We finally got to meet Mari Slape, our nurse midwife, who will be conducting all of my exams and, if all goes as planned, delivering the baby.

She asked a couple of basic questions and then we discussed due dates. Since our first visit, we knew there was a discrepancy between when we thought the date was and that which the clinic had calculated. Mari suggested we do a quick ultrasound to determine a more accurate date, to which we responded with an emphatic, "Let's do tha dang thing."

In less than two seconds she had slopped that cold goop all over my bulging gut, stuck that ultrasound gadget right into it, and a fuzzy picture of my insides appeared on the screen next to my head. She moved it around a bit until she focused on the little creature that was taking a nap on top of my bladder. I looked at Timothy, and he at me, and it was at that moment we realized...

We were going to have an alien.

Not really. At least I hope not. But it was quite odd to see a weird little body that was residing amongst my organs. With Mari's help, we could sort of make out the head with a piggish little face, some bony, armlike protuberances, teeny feet and toes, and most importantly, a strongly beating heart that helped put the rest of the body into perspective.

It's funny, I really expected to have a much more emotional reaction to seeing our baby for the first time. Not that there was no emotional impact - I definitely felt my heart racing with excitement and felt great joy to see that our little guy (or girl) was living and growing. But I guess the surreality of it has not worn off yet, so the inner scientist in me took over and I was just fascinated by the notion that my body could grow another little body inside of it. We could even see it moving around, stretching a bit, getting comfy on its bladder pillow. Mari measured the head and the body, which came in at 6.8cm long (around 2.5inches), indicating a due date somewhere around the 2nd or 4th of July. With such a small difference from the original date, she decided that June 30th (mom's birthday!) was close enough.

She completed the physical exams, said that I was the size and weight I should be (I had gained 3 pounds since my first visit), and sent us home with some ultrasound pics. All in all a really good visit.

Preggo's First Christmas

Road Trip!! (skip ahead to Fetus' First Christmas for baby stuff)

So a couple weeks after the big reveal, my little bro Nick and sister Rachel decided to embark on a short road trip that would eventually bring them to Fayetteville, where they would crash at our pad for couple of days before the four, well, five... er, six of us would caravan back up to Peoria, where we would all be celebrating Christmas together at our parents' house. After a quick stop in Champaign to pay homage to our alma mater and a short visit to Metropolis, Illinois - home of the famous Superman museum - the sibs made it to our house.

After my Christmas work party Friday morning, we piled into our respective vehicles, walkie-talkies in hand, and headed north. We decided no road trip is really complete without a stop at Lambert's, so our first leg ended in Ozark, Missouri, where we were assaulted by roll throwers and stuffed ourselves to the point of bursting.

The trip progressed without a hitch until we got to Springfield, IL, where Nick's van got sick and we had to pull over on the side of I-55 to try to make her feel better. Several phone calls to dad and two police officers later, we got back on the road and completed our trek without further incident.

Home Sweet Home (baby stuff, next section)

Got to P-town late Friday night. Saturday was spent shopping (a $263 stop at Motherhood Maternity in the mall left mom determined that, pregnant or not, she was going to start wearing maternity clothes on a regular basis. Cute and comfy clothes with stretchy, expandable waistbands - can you blame her?), watching movies, and eating.

We spent Christmas Eve at my Aunt Suza's, which was so much fun, as always. I got some good pregnancy and parenting magazines, of which Timothy took full advantage by torturing my poor, disgusted cousin Emily with the details of how to care for healing belly button and circumcision wounds. Good times.

Fetus' First Christmas

Finally, Christmas morning arrived, which leads me to the real reason why this entry is at all pertinent to a babyblog. Although there is no baby to benefit from gifts - nor will there be for six long months from now - baby 2B has already reaped the benefits of being a spoiled rotten grandchild/niece/nephew. We've taken the liberty of including some pics of fetus' first gifts. Auntie Leah, who apparently wants to make sure that 2B doesn't forget her face while she's gone, has customized an adorable onesie that made us bust-a-gut upon opening. This, in addition to a hilarious bib that I will most definitely use in public, were much appreciated.

2B also got his/her first rattle from my good friend and coworker Adela, a babyhood favorite of her adorable 2 year old Lathan; Rachel brought back a mini sarong from Hawaii that will be perfect for afternoons by the pool; Mamaw Meador contributed 2B's first stuffed animal - a super soft Gund teddy bear that Murphy really wants to sink his teeth into; $100 from Mamaw Evans was used to start baby's first savings account; a hand-made blanket from Lois Jones that she had promised to us long before we were even pregnant; and Timothy's crocheted baby blanket from Vicki that will be a fun keepsake to pass down.

Vicki also sent Timothy's baby book and some pictures that we spent a lot of time oohing and aahing and laughing and joking about, which led us to dig up my baby pics, resulting in more oohing and aahing and laughing and joking. At some point, we may attempt to scan some of the more embarrassing ones so that you all can anticipate what 2B might end up looking like.