Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've read all the books and heard all the stories but I wasn't quite prepared for the obsession of nesting. Last week we found a few fleas on Miller, even after we had applied Frontline on both dogs. Dustin simply said, "we need to pull out the couch cushions and vacuum," and the wheels started turning. I began obsessing about the poor quality of vacuum we had and then our washer wasn't quite up to par and before I knew it we had the furniture in the kitchen, a rug doctor and every soft surface of our home was at the laundromat being cleaned. Bug bombs were let off and we bought a new door and window to keep our house sealed up tight. I have never been so sore and so exhausted in my life, but how could I not be? 7 months pregnant and I'm on my hands and knees scrubbing base boards!
Our house is nearly as clean as a house can get, every crack and crevice is vacuumed, scrubbed and polished to a shine. But that doesn't mean the obsession of nesting has ended. In my mind all I can think about is getting my front door painted, buying under the bed containers for sheets, and making sure my ceiling fans are clean. Why? Because the powers of motherhood are smart, that's why. What mother has time to make sure the space under the bookshelf is clutter-free when attending to the needs of a newborn? It's all part of this beautiful phenomenon called nesting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


When I was a kid, I had a placemat that was all mine. It was a picture of a Peanuts character, I can't remember his name, but he always carried a blanket. The quote said, "Happiness is a thumb and a blanket." At the time I thought so too. I don't agree as much anymore but I do think happiness can be as simple and concrete as a thumb and a blanket. Two things that make you feel comforted can make all the difference. All people need different things at different times in their lives, happiness is different as a kid than it is as an adult. It is different before you become a parent than it is after. As a teacher some things can make your day that others would find hilarious. But what is the answer to the question of what makes a person happy? It's almost as broad as the secret of life quest. So, what makes me happy....
A cold beer and a bonfire, falling asleep in the car during a long trip, forgiving an old grudge, the cold side of a pillow, seeing the face of someone I love when they are as excited to see me as I am to see them, a visit with a girlfriend, catching my husband checking me out (bonus points that I'm pregnant and fat), a great book, diet pepsi and chocolate chip cookies, and feeling my baby kick in my womb. These feelings are simple but each make me smile. So even though I've outgrown my thumb and blanket, it still only takes a simple pleasure to find the happiness I need in my life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baby Steps

Pregnancy can sometimes go at a snail's pace. As you go through the agony of morning sickness and breast tenderness you think it will never end. Then the weight gain begins and the debate of PINK or BLUE????!! It seems to take forever before you finally get to a point when you are just done being patient. And then little by little you come to realize that you only have a few weeks left! That little baby begins using you as a punching bag and all you can do is stop and smile and hold your belly hoping to feel it again. Reality begins to set in as you realize that belly is actually a baby and she is going to be your's soon and you love her so much already that you can't help but love it.
I have by no means loved being pregnant. I hate being a sober driver (drunk passenger is more my style), I hate gaining weight, cutting back on diet pop, and feeling left out of everything. But when I feel that little kick I just want to smile because I know a little secret that no one else knows. This doesn't mean I've changed my mind, I still would rather hold her in my arms than my belly but if I'm going to be stuck in this limbo at least I have this small piece of happiness to hang on to. She is going to grow so fast, right before my very eyes, so taking this one baby step at a time is okay for now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weekend at the Lake

My cousin turned 50 this week so our family got together to, as we do, party. Well, I can promise you, our family is a lot more fun when I'm drunk! It started out harmless enough, Labor Day weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks with a few of my favorite people and some good outlet shopping. Those needs could've been met in one day but we were scheduled for 3 and I had to toughen up or be forever remembered the grouchy pregnant lady. (If you don't believe me, ask my God Mother, Marcia. She was pregnant 30 years ago and my mom still comments on how bitchy she was....)

Friday night was a blast, it was just a small group and we hung out at a small bar. We danced and sang old country songs. Marla smoked her pipe and we told stories. Saturday morning we got up early and hit the outlets, I found tons of baby clothes and Dustin got some deals on clothes that were much needed. We got back to our hotel and the large group started to arrive. Lesson #1: A small, intimate group is always best.

I let everyone shower ahead of me to show my generous nature, and do you know what that got me? Left is what it got me. I got out of the shower and everyone but Lulu was gone! My own husband didn't even come say "see ya in a bit." I knew right then that the feeling of being left behind because I was sober wasn't going to let up. After getting ready I headed down to the pool to meet up with everyone who left me and immediately the pregnant molesting began. Lesson #2: People love a fat belly, pregnant or not, people just love to rub all over a big, round stomach.

We sat at the pool and enjoyed the weather and good company, everyone took shots and I was beginning to think that this was going to be a breeze, I mean, I love these people, so what if they drink a few beers, it's not like anyone was being belligerent. That's when the auctioneering started, not only do people love a pregnant belly but they love talking to it too or auctioneering in the case of some. If my child comes out screaming, "5, 10 now 15, 15, who will give me 15" I may cry! But it was all in good fun and I know little Baby Neal loved the attention.

We spent the rest of the weekend at Dog Days, a bar right on the water. I drove the herd a lot and surprisingly Dustin was very patient with my driving; we were a good team getting out of tough parking spots. Marcie completed her scavenger hunt and we took tons of party pictures. There was a lot of laughing, singing, and dancing and everyone had a great time. Surprisingly, enough I learned Lesson #3: It is possible to have sober fun.

All in all it was a great weekend. We had some hilarious moments and even funnier comments. I hung with the crowd and even outlasted a few. My nickname for the weekend was "Trooper" because I really was. I have a great family, how many others can get 25 people together and actually enjoy each other's company? Not many, and that makes me feel pretty lucky to bring a little girl into this world, she's already got quite a fan club. I'll just start praying now that she doesn't start smoking a pipe, telling dirty jokes, or negotiating in her auctioneer voice on the playground! And if she does, it will just add to the charm of this family I am lucky enough to call my friends.
Here are a few hilarious moments from the weekend, being sober does have it's advantages, I wrote down some of the finer moments....

  • Marcie before getting up to hear her birthday poem says; "I'm not going to cry!" And then immediately cries before the introduction is over!!

  • Marla: "Okay, I'm going to give my disclaimer...I'm going down early tonight, I'm wasted."

  • Dale Blue, the singer, "Wow did you bring a rod to go with those curtains you call a shirt?"

  • Dale Blue: "Is that your boyfriend?" (pointing to a 40 year old Shaun) Diane: "No, he's back there in the orange shirt." Dale Blue: "That old dude? I thought that was your dad!" (Marla and I proceeded to deem that "a classic")

  • Dale Blue to Marla (paraphrasing): Is that old guy your dad? Marla: Yep, that's my Pa. Dale: And he dates her? Marla: Yep, that's my sis. Dale: Your family is f!@#-ed up! (Family joke, Diane is NOT Marla's sister, but they were mistaken as that once and it never died)

  • Shaun: "Nobody has H1N1 do they?" Walt: "No but I put it in one last night!"

  • Dustin (to Bill): "So, she'd give you her viriginity if she still had it?" Bill: "Yeah, we talked about that but she said I was too late, I did ask if I could check though. I told her that if you don't have enough for everone then you shouldn't give it out."

  • Lindsay: "Hey!" Bill: "That's the first stage of bullshit." (good point)

Lesson #4: Being a good sport is sometimes hard work, but those bitches will eventually drive your drunk ass around someday; or at least babysit for you because if you can't count on family, who can you count on?