Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Dear Lula Rae: I can't believe so much of my pregnancy has gone by without documentation, but I hope maybe one day when you have your own family (if you want to!) you will understand how busy things can get! After my last post, we found out (much to my surprise!) that we would be welcoming a baby girl! Parker was so sure you were a girl from the very beginning- I should have just believed him! I'm sure you'll hear this story for the rest of your life, but Parker is actually the one who picked out your name. You'll see family pictures he drew starting at around 2 years old that include his baby sister, Lula. When we found out a baby sister was on the way, it only seemed right that you be Lula, since apparently you have been with us all along. :) Your middle name is after my best friend, your Auntie Leah Rae, whom I have been friends with for over 20 years now. I hope if you read this at some point that you already know her well. If only she didn't live way across the country in Oregon! Right now I'm sitting at my desk, two weeks from my due date, having wrapped up all loose ends and simply counting the hours until I am blessed with some sign of labor! This pregnancy has been harder on me physically than the first time through, and though I love you dearly and have cherished this time with you in my belly, I'm ready for you to come out so I can admire you face to face! :) Just like when we were expecting Parker, I have the feeling that I have no way to understand the many wonderful ways you will change and enhance our lives. I'm sure it will be a wonderful, joy-filled rollercoaster. All of us are so excited to hold you and kiss you and welcome you to our family. Mimi and Papa will be coming down right after your arrival, and then Grandma and Grandpa will follow shortly after from Oregon. I'm sure we will have many friends and family members coming to see our sweet new addition! Your room is ready, and we are too, so feel free to come on out! Well, I'd better get back to getting things in order here in my office, but wanted to fit in at least one more post before your grand arrival. We love you darling daughter and can't wait to look into your eyes and rock you to sleep. Love, Mom

Monday, January 30, 2012

Little Wiggles!

I don't have time to write much, but wanted to make note that I've been feeling Little Bug moving around over the past week! I just looked back at the posts from my pregnancy with Parker, and I felt him for the first time at week 14 as well. The most noticeable instance was during one of the living room dance parties that Parker and I often have to entertain ourselves. Little Bug was dancing along with us! :) Just little taps and flutters at this point, but I'm so excited for the near future when Parker and Chris will get to feel the movements too! It is such a magical experience!

Friday, January 27, 2012

In little more than a blink, here we are at second trimester!

I can't believe a month has passed since the first time we got to see with our own eyes the little person growing in my belly. Our pregnancy confirmation appointment was on December 27th, and Chris, Parker and I all got to see that tiny little being on the big screen. At just 9 weeks, we saw that tiny beating heart, and that itty bitty little gummy bear shaped being. Parker dubbed the baby "Little Bug," though he has decided he's sure the baby is his long-time imaginary baby sister, Lula.

I didn't realize how nervous and apprehensive I had been about that appointment until I sat on the table for the ultrasound. My hands started trembling and out of nowhere I was crying with a tight knot in my throat. When the technician found the baby and we saw the fluttering heart, my own heart had its own little explosion... of joy, of relief, of disbelief. I realized how much fear I had built up wondering if we wouldn't be able to have another baby. The confirmation of that new life was transformative for me, as it will continue to be for our family.

Nearly five weeks later, I am in my 14th week of pregnancy and in my second trimester. We had a second ultrasound last week that showed a fully formed little person with fingers, toes, ears, and a tiny little upturned nose. Seeing that visual of our wiggly little baby was such a nice reassurance of what I can't yet feel. I've felt a couple of little taps and flutters, but know in the coming weeks I will have more regular reassurance from within. In just two weeks, we'll be going to find out if we're having a boy or girl, and I couldn't be more excited.

Chris, Parker and many friends think I'll have a girl, I still have a feeling I'll have a boy. The Chinese Birth Calendar says 'Girl' and the needle test says 'Boy.' (As in hanging a needle on a string over my belly- not poking anyone!) I've had dreams about both. My pregnancy has been pretty similar to mine with Parker. Not much morning sickness, severe insomnia, fatigue, and swollen breasts. I'm so busy at work that I go to bed along with Parker at 7:30 or 8:00 more nights than not. I've gained 2-3 pounds, which is less than I had with Parker by this time, and I attribute that to the volume of activity I have every day giving tours and hosting events.

My big cravings have been bagels and cream cheese, frozen yogurt, and other dairy products. I have been having some aversion to meat (chicken, pork, some beef), but still crave a cheeseburger now and again. :) I'm definitely eating plenty, taking my vitamins, and making an effort to stay hydrated.

Parker is wonderful as ever, and forming his own social circles with new friends and teachers at school. It is such a joy to look out my office window and see him running, jumping, and playing. I feel like this school really supports kids in enjoying childhood to the fullest, and I am so grateful that he can be here. There's not a day that I don't fall in love with my sweet son even more.

This post is getting long, and I need to run, but Chris is doing very well too and has been a great support. He is working really hard, and making great advances in building his career doing just what he loves- making, teaching, and talking about music! I'm so proud of him and really admire the perserverence that he has had to follow his dreams all of these years, even when it was an uphill battle.

Have a great weekend, and I'll try to find time to post more frequently than every month. I've had so much fun going back over my entries from my pregnancy with Parker, and I want to capture those same memories of this time with "Little Bug." :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

It is often funny re-reading previous posts, and realizing how quickly things change. This has been especially true this past year, where change has been around every twist and turn. I don't think there is anyone who still reads this blog (who would? I post about as frequently as I put on my tennis shoes to go out for a run). But, if you happen to be reading this you will be privy to the insider information that even as I wrote my last post, I had a tiny little someone beginning life inside me.

No one was more surprised than I when, just a few weeks after losing a very early pregnancy, we found out that we were once again expecting. We hadn't been trying, and let's just say the odds of that happening were quite slim! I had a hard time not feeling terrified, and worried that I was not ready to face the possibility of another loss. Chris and I decided to share the news that weekend, while both of our parents and family were together for Thanksgiving, in hopes that more people sending good energy to our little bean, the more likely we might have a happy outcome. I'm encouraged to report that we're 8 weeks along, and though not out of the woods, we are getting closer and closer to the end of the riskiest early weeks of pregnancy.

We are cautiously optimistic that we might finally welcome a much awaited second child late in Summer 2012, and are hopeful that our December 27th ultrasound (10 weeks) will show a healthy heartbeat and fingers and toes in all the right places. This journey has been a rough one, but one that has built strength in our appreciation for our family, personal strength to persevere in the face of adversity, and faith that there will be a right time for our family to grow if it is meant to. My focus right now is providing the best possible opportunity for success through rest, nutrition, and positive thought, and trying to find peace in knowing that I am strong enough to handle the process, no matter what.

Love and resilience,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Growing, Learning, Living...

We attended the wedding of one of Chris' co-workers this past week, and on the way Parker asked, "Do you think Michael Jackson will be there?". Our boy has such a funny, creative mind, and only continues to be the center of our universe every day. Parker is loving his new school (also my school!), and has grown in to quite the independent, tender, and always brilliant little man. I truly can't believe we just celebrated his fourth birthday, though at the same time I can hardly remember my life before him. We held a wonderful fisherman themed birthday party, and enjoyed the company of family and friends who came from near and far to help us celebrate. Even Andy and Anna Kennedy came down with their two little boys (Cole was only 10 weeks old!), along with Mimi and Papa, to spend the long weekend with us.

My new job is going well, and I feel so lucky to spend my days on the same campus where my little guy is learning and playing. High Meadows School is a indescribably magical place, and I feel very fortunate that this is what school will be to our son. The responsibility of my position is huge, and I struggle sometimes with the amount of pressure that is on my shoulders to make sure our enrollment goals are met, so, as one teacher pointed out to me "we can all have jobs next year." (No pressure). I feel confident in the changes I have made to some processes and in the product I am representing, so I remind myself not to be consumed by "meeting the numbers." Being a working mom and finding balance is no easy task, there is no question in that.

I've been thinking about posting on my blog for some time now, as a lot has been going on. Chris accepted a full-time job at the Atlanta Institute of Music as a curriculum coordinator, and is really thriving in that position. I flew to Oregon twice to stand in the weddings of two of my best friends, April and Leah, and cherished those special moments with friends and witnessing the love they have found in their grooms. We gave up on selling the old house, and have rented it to a very nice bunch of twenty-somethings who may have some interest in buying it down the road. The rent doesn't cover the mortgage, but it allows us to be where we are and get by, which is what needs to happen for now. Fingers crossed for economic recovery over years to come and the opportunity to sell without catastrophic loss. We have lost a pet, and added two (Leo our cat ran away, and we adopted a puppy, Pickles, and a lizard, Chucko.) We have also struggled with our pursuit of adding a second child to our family.

I feel the need to stay authentic in what I write in this blog, and have realized that sharing our experiences can only help others who might find themselves in similar shoes at some point. In October 2010 I lost a pregnancy after about seven weeks, and went through the same experience last month. I have gone through some extensive testing, which fortunately resulted in the conclusion that these were most likely just isolated incidents unrelated to a medical issue. That said, it is really a heartbreaking experience, and after having gone through it twice, I am left fearful that maybe it just isn't going to happen for us. I do believe that if we are meant to bring another little person into the world, he or she will come when the time is right. There is a heaviness in my heart over both of these losses, but I remain grateful for the extraordinary child we do have. I'm not sure there is anyone who even reads this blog anymore, but I wanted to share our story because I know that miscarriage can be a very isolating thing to go through, and I have been comforted by others who have helped me realize that I am not alone, and that happy endings do happen more often than not.

Next week, my parents are flying in from Oregon, and for the first time in nearly 10 years together, the Nicholsons and Richerts will celebrate Thanksgiving together at Chris' parents home in North Carolina. I am very much looking forward to being surrounded by family, eating yummy holiday food, watching Parker play with the other kids in the family. My parents will then be traveling to Tennessee to support Peter during his mother's memorial service. Sadly, Pinky passed away several weeks ago after struggling with many health problems for years. I know that Peter is comforted that she is now freed from her pain, and we join him in envisioning her dancing through the heavens.

This has been a long, bitter-sweet post, but I am glad to have updated the history of the many transformations of our life. Through each, I learn something new, and realize the value of the many blessings we have been provided.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Nicholsons Reinvented

It seems nearly impossible that my last post was only six months ago, because reading back over it I realize that our entire lives have changed since then. A school, a job, and a move later, we are settling in to our new home in Roswell, I am settling into my new job at High Meadows school, and we are hoping and praying that our old house will sell in the near future. Parker is spending the summer at home with a nanny, Selina, and her 8 year old daughter, Riley, which he is enjoying very much. He will be starting the preschool program on campus with me at High Meadows in August. I am so grateful to have a job where Parker can be close, and benefit from an amazing school opportunity.

Leaving our neighborhood full of friends, as well as the house we came home to as newlyweds and brought our little 6lb 12oz Parker home to, was sad, but it also really felt like the right time. My new job is 34 miles away from our old house, which would have translated into a VERY long and traffic-ridden commute for me and Parker every day. My new hours are 8-4, which is awesome, but I couldn't imagine leaving the house at 6:45 every day to make it by 8:00. SO... with an immense amount of emotional and financial support from our family, we took a leap of faith and leased a new house near my work, and got the old house market ready. Yes- this is the worst possible time to try and sell a house. Yes- we will be taking a huge hit and writing a big, fat check whenever the house sells. Yes- it has been one of the scariest decisions of a lifetime, but in the end, we really felt it was what needed to be done, and that the long-term implications were all positive.

We are still in the breath-holding stage with the old house on the market, and I know I won't feel truly relaxed until that process has closure. We've had some rental interest, so that remains 'Plan B' if we don't accept an offer before fall rolls around. Our new house is amazing, and we absolutely love it. I think we both, however, feel as though it can't be real that it is OUR house. Once we are able to proceed with the purchase part of the lease/purchase I know we will both feel like we can let ourselves sit back and enjoy the new place to the fullest. In the meantime, we aren't having any trouble enjoying the pool, lovely open living space, and safe, quiet neighborhood.

It definitely feels as though we are well on our way to a more peaceful, happy, and established chapter of our lives, which is a really good feeling. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way and can't wait to throw a house warming party once we get a little more settled and organized. Now that I have a few extra hours in my days, hopefully I will remember to stop and write a little more often. I know these are times I'm going to want to remember.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Back on the Change Train and Birthday/Thanksgiving Recap

Well, because we hadn't had quite enough excitement lately, we decided to turn our house upside down by converting our master bedroom into a family room, our master closet into a recording studio, Chris' office into a guest room, and our guest room into our master bedroom. Actually, it was a lot of fun and gave us a whole new perspective on our house! This weekend I will be finishing up the painting. Note to self- next time you paint a room purple, make sure you really want it to be purple forever because it is impossible to paint over!

In addition to that change, we are changing Parker's school (again) which I feel horrible about, but it is really out of necessity. Parker's part-time nanny's new spring class schedule required her to resign, and Chris' work volume is picking up a lot (great news!), so it was becoming increasingly impossible for him to stay home with Parker during the day. All in all, it should be ok. There is a really good program right down the road from my office and the people there are very nice. I am ridden with guilt about putting Parker in his first full-time preschool situation, but I'm sure he will love it. I will feel good that he is close at hand if he needs me.

I realized that I didn't do my usual post for Parker's birthday! We had a great little 3rd birthday party for him with close friends at the house. Upon Parker's request, it was a "Super Hero Party," complete with a transformer cake of his choosing. Friends in attendance were Jeff and Nicole, Kevin and Lindsay, Erica and Jake, Marina, Deborah, Emma, Julia, Robert, Ian, Heather, Henry, Allen, Rebekah, Dave, and Holland (I feel as though I'm forgetting someone...). Parker had a great time and was blown away by all of the cool presents he got, the highlight being a giant batcave complete with batman, trap doors, and an elevator. Thank you so much to all who came to celebrate!

To my sweet Parker, you continue to amaze me daily with your intelligence, sense of humor, kind heart, and abundant "I love you's." You are my most precious thing in the whole world and I feel so lucky to be your "Mom" as you now call me. Although it is bitter sweet that you are growing into an independent little boy so quicky, I couldn't be more proud of the wonderful little person you have already become. I love you so much and always will. xoxo Mommy

I am really looking forward to the holidays this year and am trying to ignore the fact that along with them will come my 30th (gasp) birthday. When the heck did I get so old!?! I'm pretty sure I was 23 last year... Anyway, I am reminded that 30 is the new 20, that you're only as old as you feel, and all of those other sayings people recite to make themselves feel better about aging. In all seriousness though, I'm looking at this birthday as a good opportunity to reflect on who I'd like to be "in my next 30 years" as Tim McGraw would say. I'd like to invite a little more joy and a little less seriousness into my world, and appreciate that what I've got going on is a pretty darn good thing. Cheers to throwing away too-tight jeans and embracing my mom-booty, to finding happiness in special moments with family, and to becoming more comfortable just being me. Ok- that's my sermon for the day. It is 4:00on Friday and I'm ready to BLOW THIS JOINT! :)

Happy Weekend!