Half way there

Half way there

It’s hard to believe I’m already half way through this pregnancy. At first, the days seemed to drag on (24/7 nausea, excessive saliva production, and constant fatigue will do that). But for the last several weeks, time has just flown by. Before I know it, the holidays will be here and gone and the baby will be arriving.

I’m trying to savor the moment though, now that the majority of the nausea has subsided (thank you Diclegis!).

I’m starting to find it harder to do certain things, like bending over (squishes the baby) or squeezing through tight spaces (can’t suck this belly in). I’m also finding it a little harder to concentrate sometimes as Baby wiggles and kicks and flips around in my belly distracting me from whatever is at hand. For some reason, while I’m driving seems to be one of Baby’s favorite active times…

I’m savoring the feeling though, because it won’t always be like this. I want to be able to look back and say I enjoyed it while it lasted.

We’re working away at our pre-baby project list and planning our 5 year anniversary vacation to New England. Hard to believe it’s almost fall already. I’ve had the windows open the last few days and it’s been downright chilly when I go out to feed before dawn (48* this morning!). As a self-proclaimed lover of all things fall, I’m beyond excited for the change in weather. I even brought out the plaid and red boots.

Fall pregnancy

So here’s to enjoying a lovely fall, not being too busy, and prepping for the lovely little addition that will be joining us soon =).

Creating traditions

Creating traditions

This year Husband and I are celebrating our second Christmas together. Right now, life is full of flux. We ebb and flow, we try to keep up, we try to slow down. Husband has had four different jobs since we married just over a year ago and I have gone from part-time work/full-time student to full-time work/part-time student. We have moved, added a puppy to our home, and so much more.

That said, Christmas is hardly “established” in our little family. And I am determined not to force us into establishing all of our Christmas traditions all at once just because of my inexplicable fervor for holiday traditions.

When we were dating, we made a gingerbread house together. We did so again last year, on the day we brought our puppy home (hence the name “Ginger”), and we made another one this year. It’s a lovely tradition–fun and not too difficult, great to do with other couples or families or whatever.

Our first 3 gingerbread houses

Last year we traveled all the way to the mountains to cut down a real Christmas tree (we went to the Blue Ridge mountains about 3.5 hours away from our coastal city), and we did it again this year. The smell of fresh pine in the house is divine!

Cutting down our first Christmas tree

We have gone to visit “the lights” every year. When we were dating it was the lights on the boardwalk at the beach. Every year they do a big lights display and close the boardwalk in the evenings so cars can drive down it. Last year we went to Norfolk Botanical Gardens where we were delightfully impressed by the array of lights as we drove through the park. We’re planning to go again this year, hopefully with Husband’s brother and Husband’s brother’s fiancee. Someday we’ll get up to Busch Gardens for their Christmas celebration, we’ve heard it’s truly inspired. It also costs about $25 a person and we are, after all, poor newlyweds.

Giving chickies from World VisionAnd we gave each other (sort of) a chick for Christmas. It’s a great way to give without adding clutter and unnecessary consumerism to your life. Instead of stuff, you can give a gift that can truly change a life, and help children escape the cycle of poverty and hunger. Learn more at World Vision.

This year we’re adding baking gingerbread men to our list. Husband loves gingerbread men decorated with Royal icing, and I have never made them (although I bake an array of other Christmas cookies), so I agreed to make them if he helps =). We’re going to work on them this weekend…

And I asked Husband to make crepes on Christmas Eve (he hasn’t made them since we were dating, and I do love crepes).

Our HO scale trainWe have also brought over a few traditions from our childhoods, and modified them to fit us. I LOVE having grapefruit on Christmas morning, so Husband preps one for me =). And last year we started having fondue for Christmas dinner; my family used to have it on Christmas eve. We attend the Christmas eve service at church. We visited a few train stores this year and bought a little building; my family used to spend an entire day building new model pieces for our train set (and we received a train and track from my parents as a Christmas gift last year which Ginger somehow feels the need to attack).

Now that we have these traditions established and a few modified, I’m looking for additional unique ideas that will work for our crazy, delightful little life.

We’ve talked about celebrating the 12 days of Christmas (like they do in parts of Europe), but I haven’t been able to find a lot out about those traditions, it seems they are as varied as the groups of people who celebrate Christmas.

Last year, we received several ornaments as gifts (apparently it’s popular to give “First Christmas” ornaments to newlyweds). If we don’t receive one this year, we might have to go in search of one. Having at least one ornament from every year can be fun. I have them from my entire childhood.

We’re working toward decorating our tree together. Last year Husband was so busy with work that I did the decorating alone. But this year we managed to do it together by working on it in stages: putting up the tree one night, hanging lights another night, adding ornaments on a third night, etc. Maybe someday we’ll be able to do it all at once!

Maybe we’ll get to take Ginger on a special walk Christmas day…last year it snowed Christmas evening and we were able to take a walk on the beach in the snow! Unfortunately, white Christmases here are rare.

And who knows what other lovely traditions will join our repertoire over the next few years? I’m looking forward to every minute of it…

Puppy in the snow

TC 5: Bike Rides

TC 5: Bike Rides

Today I am thankful for evening bike rides with Husband on the rare warm days of November. It was nearly 70*, so as the sun fell gently behind the harvested farm fields, we took our beach cruisers out of the garage for one last ride. We didn’t go far, there were things to do, but for a few moments of bliss, we pedaled down the street and took in the falling leaves, the muted pink of twilight. We laughed and chased each other down the street, reveling in the freedom of a Sunday afternoon.

I love fall and winter, I truly love Christmas. But today, I am grateful for the last vestiges of summer.

TC 23: Breath Clouds and Frost

I am grateful for these frosty mornings when I walk outside and my breath clouds around my face, then slowly vanishes into the chilly air. It is a reminder of the life in every breath and of the lovely things to come this season.

Frost and breath clouds are the first indication that the holidays are approaching. It lets you know that its time to curl up in front of a toasty fire with a cup of steaming cider, sharing time and laughter with family members and friends.

I know its still early for Christmas, but Thanksgiving is only three weeks away, and I am thankful for this chilly reminder of the beautiful season awaiting us.

Rejoicing in fall

I would just like to point out that it is 75* and sunny here in Virginia Beach. You know what makes that even better? It’s starting to snow in Buffalo.

I understand that most people wouldn’t compare their own cities and towns to Buffalo (it is considered more comparable to faraway lands like Siberia, after all), but I used to live in Buffalo–for ten years. Then I lived in Montana (where it is currently 45* and snow is in the forecast for Tuesday).

And I realize that our 75* will yield to 55* tomorrow, but for now, I want to revel in the fact that it will NOT snow before Halloween here. Sometimes I really love Virginia.

Of course, come time to prepare for Christmas, I will be bemoaning the shortage of snow. Last year I was incredible bummed because not only was it my first Christmas away from my family (and my brand new husband was working really long hours at the time), but I just knew we wouldn’t have snow. My supervisor at work had NEVER seen a white Christmas.

Ever since the age of 10, I have never NOT had a white Christmas.

Then, on Christmas night, fluffy little white flakes began to fly and I was absolutely elated. In fact, it snowed enough (and the city is so ill prepared to clear roads) that Husband and I were snowbound the following day and he didn’t have to go to work.

To make it better, we were living in a beach house. Snow on the beach? Yes please! We took our puppy for a walk and played in the strange mix of snow and sand.

So come Christmas, I will be begging for snow. But for today, I am rejoicing in a lengthy fall.