Friday, August 28, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
As we all know, my doctor said Carly (so long, "Lil") was very unlikely to come on her own. So I had settled into a very relaxed state, wondering what I'd be doing with my week of free time. Sunday, August 9th, my house was a mess, we had very little food, and I had a big list of "To Dos" sitting on the table. That day I was also extraordinarily uncomfortable. I missed church and spent the majority of the day in a warm bathtub--though, I never showered or washed my hair: this will be important as you see the coming photographs of me. Around 11 on Sunday night, I started having severe pains. They felt like menstrual cramps times a billion. The "Braxton-Hicks" Contractions I'd been having felt nothing like this. I was confused. But the pains were coming every 20 minutes on the dot. "I think you're in labor" Chris tells me. "I can't be. I'm not anywhere close to labor--and Dr. M is in Texas" I reply. Alas, I am up all night timing contractions (another important note as you see coming pictures of me) and by 6 am, they are about 4-5 minutes apart and getting really strong. So we call the on-call doctor and he tells us to come in and get checked.
My new opinion of having a child is I could do labor and delivery over again easily. That part hurts, but modern medicine is a gift from God. The recovery? That's the part no one tells you about. That's the part that will be really hard to knowingly choose to go through a second (and third, and fourth) time. That's the part that makes it hard to walk even 10 days later. Our little Carly is so worth it of course. But that's the part I really wasn't ready for.
When Carly was born her hair looked very red--or at least auburn or strawberry-blond or somewhere in there. Since we've gotten her home, though, her hair has darkened quite a bit and I think its almost exactly Chris's shade now. I'm sure it will change many times throughout her life. Chris is still "holding out hope" that it will be red (though, we'll accept her if it stays brown). She's a good baby and never cries, really. The only two things that really make her cry are hunger and sponge baths. She is nocturnal, however. She sleeps all day and is wide awake at night. Not fussy usually, just hanging out and looking around with her wide beautiful eyes. The nurse at the pediatrician's office says that will reverse itself soon. Here's hoping.
We took Carly home on Wednesday, August 12th--my due date. A pretty good way to spend your due date, if you ask me. We have slowly but surely been getting the hang of things trying to keep her happy and well-fed. It can be exhausting and overwhelming at times, but nothing has ever brought us more joy. She is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes one, and we are both totally smitten.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
But we're not here to talk about August 09 for that reason. August 09 is also a landmark all its own.
It marks one whole year in Tennessee.
Yes, it was August 12 (my due date, ironically) of 2008 that we arrived in Rocky Top after a long and excruciating car ride. I remember driving into Tennessee. I was in complete shock at how many trees there were. I grew up in the relatively treeless desert of Idaho. I thought I knew trees from my time in Indiana, but you just don't know trees until you drive through East Tennessee. I remember feeling claustrophobic. Just outside of Knoxville there are just endless rolling hills of trees. That was my first impression of Tennessee. Whats with all the trees? Despite the trees, we made it into town, found our apartment, settled in. Remember how it smelt like smoke? We had vinegar and oranges and all sorts of stuff sitting around, trying to get that smell out. It never really came out, which is why I'm so glad we moved apartments in February. I love our new apartment. Its smaller, but feels so much more like home. That was a good move by us.
I still spin a little thinking that we actually live here. That I actually consider it home. We've grown up a lot here, Chris and I. This may have just been us, but the atmosphere at BYU and in Provo is so cozy, so nourishing to young newlywed LDS couples. There are a million other people in your exact position. Marriage in the early 20s is no surprise. Church activities abound. The temple is a 2 minute drive up 9th East. For us life was relatively "easy". We were sustained by the support of everything around us. We knew coming to Tennessee would be a drastic change. We knew it would be a challenge, but also a blessing. Not only would Chris continue to get a great education (and get paid for it), but our marriage would be strengthened as we set out on this crazy adventure with just the two of us. And that is exactly what has happened. We have had no one but each other. We still receive a lot of support from family and the Church, but the cocoon is gone. I am more in love with Chris and more tied to him now more than ever. Sure, that just happens with time, but I think being here and facing the challenges we have have accelerated the process. I'm grateful for our time here as a family. I do wish, with our daughter arriving, that we were closer to my family, but our return to the West will come (hopefully sooner rather than later? Umm, we'll see.) But our time here as been a blessing for our soon-to-be family of 3.
A few observations on the South? Because I know you're dying to know.
1. News stories on obesity are not an exaggeration. Coming from the West to the South, the prevalence of obesity here is noticeably higher. Just looking around at people in the mall, grocery stores, restaurants--so many more obese people, or at least heavily overweight people. I think its frustrating for someone as health conscious as Chris to see obese 30-somethings riding a Rascal around Wal-mart filling their cart with the worst possible foods. I'm not a specter of perfect health, but it can be stressful when you see people's habits and then hear them complain about their weight or bad knees or whatever. The real problem is how much people eat out here. At least once a day. Fried chicken biscuits with gravy for breakfast, 5 Crystal sliders for lunch, drop by Chick-fil-a for dinner. That's a slight exaggeration, but when Southerners hear how Chris and I limit eating out to 1 or 2 times a month max, they are shocked. If only they new how many calories--and how much money--we save.
2. Tennessee is in the bible belt. No doubt. Its nice. In other places, even Utah, God isn't spoken about is public spheres. But here is all about God and blessings and mercy and grace. And I think its been good for the people who I have interacted with to see that Mormons believe in Christ and blessings and God and prayer. Mass emails are sent out in my office requesting prayers for family members. Coworkers walk around listening to Gospel music on their Ipods. No one is shy about their faith, which can be refreshing, considering sometimes I think LDS people (or maybe its just me) worry about being to "forward" about their faith. That being said, Joel Osteen and similar money-making preachers kind of creep me out. Well Joel Osteen really creeps me out. Its just me, but something about him I don't really like. We'll leave him to the Baptists, I suppose.
3. I have a serious love/hate relationship with Tennessee weather. The Fall and Spring are absolutely beautiful. Not humid, perfect temperature, sunny. I absolutely love Fall and Spring. Winter also spoiled me. It was cold, but not like Utah and Idaho cold. At it was gray, but I don't mind gray. But there was hardly any snow. I thought I'd miss it, but I didn't. I didn't miss digging a car out or ice on the windshield or slick roads. Winter was like late fall in Utah, and I didn't miss it at all. I did get a "White Christmas" in Idaho, though, so maybe that filled my snow quota for the winter. Along with Fall and Spring, one thing the South does right is thunderstorms. A few weeks ago we had the loudest thunderstorm with the brightest lightening. It woke me up in the middle of the night and our whole apartment lit up with every flash of lightning. Chris and I watched it out the window. It was magnificent. What does Tennessee do horribly wrong? Summer. The last month or so the humidity as been suffocating. I get dizzy when I'm outside for too long. Lungs aren't meant to breath water! And I've been told I'm lucky to be pregnant during such a "mild" summer, as last summer was much worse. So while the weather is beautiful 3/4 of the year, I think a summer home in Idaho would be required for any long-term Tennessee living.
4. People are remarkably friendly. One night Chris and I were shopping at Walmart. I was "showing" quite a bit at this point, and I had 4 conversations with total strangers about Lil and her impending arrival. Every conversation ended with well-wishes. The guy at the seafood counter even told me that he "prays that God will bless you and send you a healthy beautiful daughter". I was almost in tears. People were so sweet and sincere and just struck up conversations like we were old friends. There is still something to be said for Southern hospitality, though it certainly doesn't apply to all Southerners (though, I'll keep those stories to myself;-).
So one year down, one year to go in Tennessee. Chris has been looking into PhD programs, and they range from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Utah to who knows where else. Only time will tell what surprises are in store for our future, but for now, we'll enjoy whats left of our time here in Rocky Top Tennessee.