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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Teal Steel.

Pregnant or not, I don't tire of the tank top and cardigan combination. The cardigan's color caught my eye at Target.

Like the black ones, I got these gray knit flats for $10.

The necklace was on clearance at Target. It's distinctive, and the length is adjustable. I love the braided blue, green, and gold.

Maternity Pants: Motherhood
Tank Top: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Necklace: Target
Flats: Nine West

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Two Favorite Colors.

Some days, one favorite color isn't enough. I needed to wear both of mine, and I credit those colors, at least in part, for my cheerful day.

The cardigan was a serendipitous find at Old Navy. The color is gorgeous, and these gauzy flowers have held up nicely.

I found this necklace on sale at Target. The colorful bead clusters are so pretty and look great against this green maternity tee.

I was feeling particularly proud of my bump.

Maternity Pants: Motherhood
Maternity Tee: Motherhood
Cardigan: Old Navy
Necklace: Target
Flats: Nine West

Monday, August 29, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Purple Pattern.

I bought this top at Target while we were trying to get pregnant. It's not maternity, but I thought it would work whether I were pregnant or not. It does!

I'm not usually a pattern person, but I like this...more because of the sleeves and color than the design.

My mom bought these earrings for me in Charleston. They are something special.

Maternity Capris: Motherhood
Top: Target
Earrings: Charleston boutique
Headband: The Icing
Flats: Nine West

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Final Travels.

On Thursday night, Josh helped me paint my nails. I wonder if we'll do that again before our darling arrives. We used Nicole Light a Candle (is it purple? Is it silver?), which reminds me of Gelly Roll Lightning (now Silver Shadow) pens and Sephora by OPI It's Bouquet by Me (purple microglitter). Pretty nails are a nice surprise every time I look down, even if the surrounding fingers and toes are puffy and red.

I had a short day on Friday, but I was so eager to finish it. The sky was gloomy with hurricane anticipation, and I was sleepy. When I got home, we finished packing and loading. A little over halfway through our drive, we stopped at Target for a break. I definitely needed to move around (and use the restroom...twice). I also hadn't been to Target in almost two months. You know how Target is. If you haven't been there in a while, it's a magical wonderland where you can spend a good bit of money on big or little treasures. I chose little. The next time I spend any noticeable amount of money will be when Josh and I buy the remaining Oliver essentials, probably this week, after our showers.

I was there first of all to get a birthday card and some little gifts (which my Mom and I would classify as prizes) for my dear friend Melissa, whose birthday was last week. I knew I'd be seeing her at the shower for which Mom had made her decorator extraordinaire. I found a good card with an inspirational quotation ("Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated." --Osho) --we're both fans of those. I found a few pairs of earrings, some adorable pens, and precious (though probably impractical) tiny dry erase marker. I hope she can use the latter items at her new teaching job. Melissa has quite distinctive taste in earrings (large, somewhat tribal), so I hope I got it right. Gifts never seem sufficient to me, but the attempt is fun anyway.

For meeee, I found one pair of earrings, two pairs of flats, and four beautiful headbands (which I'm sure will appear in photos later). I get tired of wearing barrettes everyday during this transitional hair period, but my headbands for close repetition. Now, I have more choices! And referring back to quotations, I love how Target has begun carrying nice (but still inexpensive) journals, and I found two with fantastic quotations. One soft cover green journal with golden fruit has Rilke's "Think of the world you carry within you." I've certainly been thinking about that a lot. The other is a blue and brown floral hardcover with what is probably my favorite quotation about writing: Anais Nin's "We write to taste life twice."

I'm usually a Sephora girl when I buy eye makeup, but I decided to try a couple of other brands. I found Almay's Intense I-Color trio for green eyes in greens and purple...and Sonia Kashuk's eye shadow quad in purple haze--two purples, a brown, and a silver. The colors in the latter set looked so metallic and shimmery that I couldn't resist. I hoped they wouldn't disappoint.

So I was in a good mood when we arrived at Mom and Shane's house. I got to see the rabbits. I'd begun to think I could no longer believe rabbits were real. You have to see these particular tiny rabbits to understand how magical they are...we say they are made of imagination. Oliver has often seemed that way, but we will believe in him too!

We ate quesadillas stuffed with grilled vegetables...many of which I would normally avoid, but my body must need them, and they were good. The slathering of guacamole was good too. I love how thoughtful my mom is about Josh's veggie-headness.

Mom told me that she had recently finished reading Never Let Me Go--which I see as a stunning book. It floored her too! We spent much of the evening discussing it. This culminated in Josh kindly running out to Best Buy to purchase the DVD (which I wanted to own anyway). I liked the movie just as much the second time (and I knew more details because of the book). Mom liked it too, and we had more discussions before bed. Few pleasures are so keen as sharing and discussing beloved books and films with a dear one.

(Image: Never Let Me Go.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Silver Sparkle.

This is probably the last round for my non-maternity silver dress...until later, of course. 
This cardigan with silver sparkle stripes belonged to my Great Aunt Bea who died last year. At her funeral, I noticed one of the attendees' perfume while no one else did. I later found out that I had been pregnant with the twins and didn't know yet. My mom inherited some of Bea's clothes, and she gave me this after I gushed over a similar cardigan someone wore to church. Mom is more gold while I'm more silver.

I do love keys on anything, elaborate or simple.

I found these gorgeous silver earrings at Black Lion for under $10.

This outfit prompted a student who hadn't seen me since May to say, "You're about to pop!"

Dress: Ann Taylor Loft
Cardigan: Inherited...most likely from Chico's (Bea's shop of choice)
Necklace: Charleston boutique
Earrings: Black Lion
Barrettes: Wal-mart
Flats: Shoe Show

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Read More.

*Have books around. They're tempting, and they will make you feel like a reader. Get used to them. Treat them as friends. You don't have to read every one. This, from Sarah Addison Allen's Sugar Queen, is one of my favorite quotations: "Sometimes it's a comfort just to have a book around. Many of these books haven't even had their spines cracked. 'Why do you buy books you don't even read?' our daughter asks us. That's like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course." 

*Keep lists. Write down the books you want to read and the books you have read. You'll forget titles of both, and you want to keep track of your accomplishments even if you only manage one book a month.

*Make goals that are reasonable now. I've had a time in my life when my goal was six books a month and a time when I wanted to finish a book just about every day. One book a week is frequently my goal. When life is really crazy, I may just hope to read one or two a month. Goals help but only if you're realistic about what's going on in your life.

*Ease your way out of a rut. Keep some easy or just yummy books around. No one can read fat classics or dense poetry all the time. If I've fallen out of the reading habit, even contemporary novels can be difficult for me. I keep light lifestyle non-fiction (love those French girl books) and YA novels mixed in with those this-has-been-on-my-list-forever books. They help me get used to reading again without overwhelming me.

*Get your tools.  If you think those gorgeous bookmarks or that mac-daddy booklight will help, go for it. Why not?

*Keep a book in the bathroom. Don't blush. This works best with really difficult books or with sweet sentimental books. Both are probably books you can benefit from reading just a little at a time. Josh makes comments when a book moves out of (or into) the bathroom.

*Subscribe to magazines. If you find a magazine (or literary journal) you love, just subscribe. It's cheaper, you won't miss any issues, and you get the added excitement of mail. I subscribed to Real Simple and Oprah just before we moved, and they have been great treats in the new mailbox. Reading is reading, and lots of magazines have reviews that can lead you great books.

*Call yourself a reader. Make books part of your identity. You don't lose that identity because of a rut or because you only read romance novels for six months.

*Try festivals. Maybe you need six months of romance novels. I go through periods of reading poetry, YA, journals, memoirs, or children's lit almost exclusively. This is also fun if you fall in love with an author (be careful, though, to avoid the grief of running out of his or her books) or a series. If you're crazy about something in literature right now, indulge it. Why not? You'll only get more reading practice and be more ready to conquer the rest of the book world.

*Keep a book with you. Unexpected reading opportunities pop up while you're waiting at the doctor's office or when you suddenly decide to sit at the park for a while. Be prepared with a book in your car, purse, or computer bag. This doesn't have to be your "main" book that stays at your bedside. Give your books stations and rotate them if necessary.

*Try reading aloud. This can be a good way to bond with a child or partner. It can also help you get through a difficult passage or really savor a delicious one. I often read poetry aloud to help me stay focused and feel the elements of it.

*Give yourself a book allowance and diversify. Whether weekly, monthly, or occasionally, allow yourself to buy books. Amazon can be great fun (you get a package!), but be sure to spend some of that at used bookstores and regular bookstores. Get yourself excited about reading. If you have had too many negative experiences with books (at school, perhaps), you'll have to be really diligent about making yourself see the joy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Black and Stone Green.

This dress was one of the first maternity pieces I bought. It's beautiful and fits like a dream. Before this, I'd only worn it once--when my thesis adviser gave a reading on campus. I think I'll wear it a lot more in the next several weeks. Dresses are so comfortable in the heat, and I like not feeling anything across my belly.

This is the other cardigan I bought at Belk while waiting for my first baby shower. I like the unusual gray-green color.

I think this was the second pair of earrings I bought to go with my work clothes.

Maternity Dress: Target
Cardigan: Belk
Earrings: Target
Flats: Shoe Show

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Little Foot.

This is Josh's hand and the current size (at 34 weeks) of Oliver's foot. It's so tiny, and yet I can't believe that such a foot...let alone two such feet and a whole self to go with them...resides in my belly. This little foot that Josh could grasp in his palm (and eventually will) is tickling my ribs. It's shifting around for a more comfortable spot. It's so much chubbier than it was even a few weeks ago, and it will get chubbier still. I can't fully imagine the thrill of unwrapping the swaddles to look at these feet for the first time. I'll wrap them up again quickly, so they don't get cold, and then I'll be lifting a little cap to examine hair and the swirl of tiny elfin ears. I'll get to do all of this so soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Earthy Authority.

This was the outfit I chose for the first student day at school. I didn't have any classes, but I'd be answering plenty of questions as students wandered into my office. I wanted to be comfortable but pretty formal. This dress is the one I bought at Belk while waiting for my first baby shower. It fits nicely even now, has a pretty ruffle down the middle, and is a length that doesn't make me self-conscious at work.

This jacket was a fantastic find at Goodwill. My mom uses that wonderful word--seasonless--to describe it. It's light and not too boxy.

I wanted green pearly jewelry, so I bought these in Charleston with birthday money from my dad. The necklace attaches with a magnet clasp.

Of course, Mom's Ozma shoes were the perfect addition. I won't be happy to give those back. I do have some lovely green heels for the post-pregnancy version of this outfit though.

Dress: Belk
Jacket: Thifted
Necklace and Earrings: Charleston boutique
Flats: Nine West

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Page from My Journal: August 21, 2011.

Another weekend storm is upon us. It actually woke us from a nap. The sky seemed to be breathing angrily. Now, the thunder rumbles, and the lightning flashes through the room. I can smell the cinnamon candle Josh lit. My shelves of journals and stacks of books look both cozy and somehow mysterious in the light of my pink-shaded lamp. I'm drinking my afternoon Dr. Pepper and wondering if I'll have the energy to cook dinner. When did I last cook? Josh has taken over the muffin baking on weekend mornings.

I finished reading A Mango-Shaped Space last night, and I cried quite a bit over it. That's twice this week, though this one wasn't sobbing like I did over my terrible, stressful day on Wednesday. I'm glad I've been able to cry though--it seems to make me feel better physically.

Today, I'm about halfway through Sheila Kohler's Cracks. It has an atmosphere similar to Never Let Me Go. I think I'll want to see about getting her other books. This copy came from the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio. More and more, the books I order online arrive with library plastic and stickers. I wonder how many people checked this one out.

There goes the first light flicker. I'll be sad if I can't write or read. My mom called earlier to discuss the menu for my shower. The shower is only six days away now.

I can't believe I've already been back at work for three weeks. Tomorrow, I'll be busy with a meeting and preparations for the club fair. The fair, convocation, and class will take up most of Tuesday. But I've got to get my classes ready through the end of October and meet with my subs soon. I wish I could actually know when Oliver is coming.

Maybe I can get back to reading a book each least for a while. That seemed to keep me going in the spring. I can't believe I've almost been teaching college classes for two years. That's real experience! I'll probably stay at my current school for a long time. I only really see myself leaving to work on a Ph.D. in Greensboro or to move closer to Charlotte. We both like the idea of living in downtown Monroe again. We do miss the nice walking neighborhood, the library, the proximity to Target and Charlotte.... We could probably rent from the same man, who didn't mind our many cats. That's years away if it happens though.

Yesterday, Dad and James took us to dinner at 215 on Main. I made a light choice--tilapia with rice, peas, and spinach. I did partake of the Parmesan and Herb fries though. In a wooden-gated alley next to the restaurant, we saw four beautiful orange cats--older kittens. We could have scooped them all up and brought them home. Corvette had spent some time on my lap. She couldn't fall asleep because Oliver was hiccuping against her.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Periwinkle.

This was a comfortable, cheerful outfit for a Friday. The colors remind me of my tiny white gold and tanzanite engagement ring.

I found this cardigan on major sale at Target. I knew the flowers would give me a mood boost.

The earrings were also on sale but still a splurge. I only have a few pairs that cost more than $10 or $12. These were rather lovely though.

Maternity Pants: Motherhood
Tank Top: Target
Cardigan: Target
Earrings: Ann Taylor Loft
Flats: Shoe Show

Saturday, August 20, 2011

4 1/2.

Tuesday marked four and a half years of marriage for Josh and me. We usually only remember the years (oh yes, we've reached that point), but I remembered on this day. I'm amazed we've been married that long. It should seem much longer, considering all the moves and jobs and so on.

We were in our last semester of college. Both of us were a bit chubby despite the fact that Josh was getting up early in the cold every morning to work out at the student union gym, and I was taking dance classes four days a week (I needed three more hours to graduate, and my adviser told me I couldn't take any more English classes). Looking back, the steady diet of grilled hot dogs, Ruffles, and ranch dip and the regular McAlisters soup and spud together in the solarium while we watched the snow explain all that, but at the time, I just could not figure out why none of my pants fit.

I wore a champagne lace dress, and Josh wore a matching tie with his suit. The Charlotte courthouse was huge and beautiful. Mom lent me her black velvet coat. Our judge was disheveled and hadn't zipped his fly. I barely paid attention to the vows because I was trying to figure out the grammatically correct response ("I do" was definitely not it. I said, "Yes."). I was having horrible pain which I would continue having for a year until I found out it was endometriosis.

I don't remember what I ate at supper, but it's in my journal. Melissa and I shared macaroni and goat cheese, and most of us had ice cream and triangular shortbread cookies in little bowls. I thought of the word husband and how it now applied to Josh, and no one could avoid acknowledging it.

Now, our son is due to appear in six weeks. We've made a slow crawl east. We've had rough months and bad times--some that weren't our fault and some that were. Josh is next to me, watching Mystery Science Theater. A cat is snoring. My belly is quivering and morphing with an impossible little creature. I believe more firmly than I did four and a half years ago that marrying Josh is the best choice I ever made.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Third Trimester.

I never could have imagined myself in the third trimester of a pregnancy. Now, I wonder if this is the only time I'll experience it. Josh and I are both leaning toward having one child, but I wonder if either of us will be able to stick to that plan.

I now have a month and a half to go. I keep adding pillows to the "nest" Josh arranges for me each night. I have the body pillow, the heart pillow that goes under my head, the Panthers pillow under my belly, the Cinderella pillow that either goes against my lower back or between my knees, the regular pillow, and another pillow to go under my hip. I've started having pain in whichever hip I'm putting weight on when I lie on my side.

I expected to have to pee constantly, but it has become impossible to empty my bladder. This means that I go to the bathroom, lie down, and get up again minutes later. This is the worst when I'm trying to go to sleep and can't distract myself from the sudden I'm going to wet the bed sensation. I can only guess that Oliver is squashing my bladder into compartments, and only when he moves does another compartment become suddenly and painfully accessible.

The belly button is sometimes visible through my clothes. When I'm in the shower, I just stare at it bemused. My belly button has been through a lot. I thought I wouldn't have one anymore after my laparoscopy for endometriosis a few years ago. I'm sure it will recover from this mortification as well.

I wish I could describe the sensation of hands pressing my hip bones and toes tickling my ribs from the inside. Sometimes, I nearly jump or laugh out loud in meetings. It's so strange. I'm still not used to the side kicks either, even though I've had plenty of those since Oliver was transverse for weeks. Now, he likes to press something into my palm as hard as he can--I'm guessing it's a knee. Sometimes, he just shivers or gives rapid taps. And the hiccups continue. I feel so bad for him with those hiccups.

I snore now. Josh says it doesn't bother him. The other night, he had his hand on my belly as I fell asleep, and he said that once I started snoring, Oliver went wild. Mama's asleep--party time! My nose must be swollen too because even during the day, I tend to whistle when I breathe.

The swelling in my feet is very weird. When I walk, I have this floppy feeling like I have big cartoon feet. Sometimes, they look puffy and pitiful in my flats at work.

Though the condition of my back has worsened or stayed the same, and I can't wait to get to a dermatologist after Oliver is born, my skin is behaving well otherwise. I really only had major breakouts in the first trimester. I have had a lot of dry skin though, which is odd in the summer.

The heat hasn't been bothering me. I have great AC at home, at work, and in the car, so I'm lucky. The swelling is probably worse because of the heat though. My face is a little puffy. My hands ache, but it's more after lying down than after typing.

I've been having sudden chocolate cravings a few times a week. Maybe that's my body's attempt to fatten up the munchkin. I don't know what my weight is doing. If I can stay under a total gain of 35 pounds, I'll feel fine. I thought 25 initially, but I'm already there, so that's not realistic.

I've had some awful headaches and some stomach cramps. My digestive system is definitely slowing down. My lower back bothers me most of the time. Having a heating pad in my chair at work is nice. My tailbone area also aches...I guess it's dealing with a lot of weight.

My nails look thick and healthy, but my hair has not taken the benefit. Oh well. I'm looking forward to dying it after delivery, and I'll probably ask my mom to trim it while we're in Charlotte for my shower. I had thought about getting it cut in a bob before classes began, but the front still isn't quite long enough.

Emotionally, I feel calm about how soon he is coming. I don't really think about the process. I've seen the hospital...anything else probably won't help me. Josh will be there. He's used to seeing me with needles, tubes, blood...of course, this will be far more major, but I know he isn't going to freak out. I love his calmness. When I said, "Do you think you could deliver him?" he said, "Yes, I'm sure I could." I doubt we'll have trouble getting to the hospital on time, but how many men are relaxed and confident like that?

I feel good about the way I look most of the time, but I have been a bit needy and clingy. Josh always has sweet things to say. He brought home a sassy little card for me. And we've been going out on some dates. All our appointments have been nice.

I'm looked at pictures of babies born at this point. They are totally babies, just a little thin. I can't really believe that such a being is curled up inside me. I can't really believe that he's going to come out and look at us. I must not be the only one...this disconnect is clear in the way people say, "When he gets here," when he's already here. And I can't really believe that anyone else has ever done this. I may still not believe all that when he arrives. But I know I will know him. I think often about speaking to him and seeing him recognize my voice. I think about touching his suede-soft skin and looking at his hair, belly, hands, and toes. I think of rubbing his knee and putting my nose against his forehead. I think something wiser than my mind (body? soul?) will know what to do from the first big contraction onward. The three of us will just have to trust each other.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Maternity Fairy Clothes: Refined Peacock.

Okay, this dress is certainly not slimming, but it's incredibly comfortable. I like seeing the bright color too. I made it work-appropriate with a tank top underneath and a short-sleeved cardigan on top. I'm already thinking about how I can wear the dress again. It was comfortable even during this day when I left home at 7 a.m. and didn't get home until 8 p.m.

This little short-sleeved cardigan has been a life-saver in warm weather. It goes with everything and makes just about any colorful tank top or sleeveless dress work-appropriate. When I saw it at Target, I somehow knew.

I call this my rock candy necklace. I love holding the crystals to the light. This is the other necklace I bought during that early pregnancy necklace spree. Notice the chain of "diamonds" threaded through the silver chain. I didn't even notice that until I'd worn the necklace several times.

I was already sleepy. I think you can tell here that I was once thin...right?

Maternity Dress: Target
Cardigan: Target
Flats: Shoe Show
Necklace: Ann Taylor Loft