Thursday, December 23, 2010


63 days, plus or minus a few, and the roller coaster lets go from the top of the big hill! It seems like it was just yesterday that Lil' Shrimp was a pulsing blip in the ultrasound confirming his (or her, we still don't know so there's no need asking or assuming) arrival.

Being December 23, we're in the full swing of Christmas, the end of a year, and the beginning of a new one; which, for many people, brings about a certain amount of sentimental introspection.  This year, I find myself looking forward as much or more than looking back. Looking forward to new life. Looking forward to new experiences, new challenges, and new responsibilities.

I'm finding that the nine months that new parents have to get ready really turns out to be a good thing, mostly from the standpoint of emotional/mental preparation.  This isn't like getting a dog (or cat).  You don't run down to the baby store, pick out the cutest one from the pen, and take it home for a lifetime of happiness and joy.  You can't just take it back when it pees on the floor or poops where/when you don't want it to poop :)

On the baby front, Lil' Shrimp seems to be doing great.  Measuring fine, heart beat sounds fine, moving all the time, etc.  There is less kicking going on these days, but that's expected, since there's less room to move.

As we move into a new year, and I really feel an emphasis on the NEW part of that, I wish you the best.  May God's blessings be upon you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

And in this corner...

Our journey recently took a very surprising turn, but it really doesn't have anything to do with us :)  It turns out our Lil' Shrimp is going to have a local cousin show up on the scene in June.  We're so excited for Aaron and Sarah and that they will quickly be joining us as parents.

My parents are both from Midland.  For many of my childhood years, most of my cousins lived up in the Midland area (about 2 hours away from here.)  We only got to see our cousins (and grandparents) a few times each year, and I have to admit that I was always a little jealous of my cousins who got to see each other (and grandpa's and grandma's) on a more regular basis.

Knowing that our baby will have at least one cousin to grow up with, and that neither set of grandparents lives more than an hour away, really does make the situation all that much more warm and fuzzy.

We've only got about 11 weeks left, give or take a day or two.  The reality of Lil' Shrimp's imminent arrival is starting to hit me harder...when I get time to think about it. Work's still been crazy busy and I sometimes feel like that's distracting from our journey, and not in a positive way.  Working 50 and 60 hour weeks isn't something I'm doing by choice.  The work's there and it needs to get done, but my feelings about that are about to hang a hard left.  I've been chanting a mantra in my head that once Lil' Shrimp gets here, all the extra hours are over.  If my company won't hire enough people to make sure the work is done well, then I guess they'll just have to deal with it not being done well.  We do have a new person who will be starting (not sure when) but experience tells me that even their addition won't be enough to bring our ability to provide quality service up to what I believe to be a realistic level.  The hard part for me is that that seems to be perfectly acceptable in the education industry.

Back to the task at hand, sorry about the tangent...we really haven't done much around the house to prepare for Lil' Shrimp's arrival.  Sara isn't going to be going back to work after Christmas, so I'm sure that will start to change soon.  It's a good thing babies aren't very independently mobile for the first 6 months.  I think it's going to take us that long to really get our house in order and prepared for a mobile child!

We had another doctors appointment today and the old adage that no news is good news applies.  Things seem to be progressing very normally at this point, which is great.  It's hard to believe that by the time we get through the holiday rush we'll be down to 2 months.  Enjoy the holiday season and have a Merry Christmas, I know we're going to try to!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And then there were 13...or 12...or 14...

The last of the monthly doctors visits was today, we're starting every two weeks now, followed too soon by weekly visits and then, WHAM, itza baby!

We seem to have a very hiccupy baby.  Sara was able to identify the crackles when listening to the heartbeat with the flutters she feels on a regular basis and it turns out they're hiccups :)  The super accurate measurements (small tape measure stretched across a growing belly) today show the baby is growing well, maybe too well.  The doctor said our little one is a little ahead of the curve in terms of size and development for 27 weeks (not by much, just a little.)

In other news, we've had our first "what's that poking out of my belly moment."  Sara noticed a "lump" on the side of her belly the other night.  Not sure which part of the baby it was, but it was exciting to realize it was our Lil' Shrimp.

It's hard to believe this chapter will be over in 3 short months and a new chapter begins.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I gotta, I don't...yes, I do...

Lil' Shrimp's itching for a name change these days.  Sara came home from work one day and regaled me with the tale of how the baby had been kicking her bladder all day long at work.  One minute she's fine and the next she's ready to explode, then back to fine.  I try not to laugh about it (at least not to her face.)

Apparently, her bladder has become the baby's favorite punching bag.  It's been pretty much constant since then.  A good push or punch, then wait a couple minutes and do it all over again.

We're just getting into week 24, so the next 4 weeks mark the time when babies are usually most active.  I guess it's because there's still room enough for them to move around in there.  Of course, Lil' Shrimp (or is is Baby Bladder Blaster) is on to me.  Sara will tell me when there's kicking and spinning going on, and by the time I get my hand down there to feel it, Lil' Shrimp stops.  Must be a boy...already challenging dad :)

It's been over a month since we had the ultrasound and it's hard to believe the anxiety we went through deciding whether or not to find out the baby's sex.  Now that the decision is a month behind us, not knowing doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

Statistically speak, Lil' Shrimp should be about 9 inches (head to rump) and about a pound and a half.  Still a lot of growing to do, but we're well on our way.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Half way home...

We're officially half way through the journey to the big day (actually, a little more than half way.)

Yesterday, we went out and did some registry stuff.  First stop was Toy House & Baby Too, here in Jackson.  This is where we shop for gifts for the other children in our lives, but it's really the first time we've gone through the store and really scrutinized what we would like for our child.  If every city in America had a Toy House, that other big toy chain would go out of business.  Of course, the Baby Too section of the store is less about toys and more about life, especially the sleeping and mobility portions.  The best part about Toy House is the staff, they are so nice and pleasant to work with.  At times it felt like we had our own personal shopping assistant, which was great since we really have no idea what we're doing at this point. :)

After registering for all the cool stuff at Toy House, we headed to Target (properly pronounced tahr-zhay), to look for the "day to day you're going to need this, and this, and this" stuff.  Bottles...check, pacifiers...check, onesies...check, etc...check.  The only problem we ran into was trying to register for clothing. Saying that the selection of gender neutral infant clothing is sparse is, shall we say, an understatement. Apparently if you've decided that knowing the gender of your baby in advance isn't something you want to do, retailers don't have much to offer.  Oh well, they always look good in white...

In other news, I think we're feeling our first movements.  For a while there, it was hard to tell if what Sara was feeling was baby know...gas.  I think we've turned the corner though and it's definitely more often baby.  She had me check to see if I could feel anything last night, and I did!  Even knowing that I would eventually feel this little one squirming around in there didn't prepare me for that little flutter I felt.

Work is still super busy, and that doesn't look like it's going to change a whole lot before Christmas.  Fortunately I did get to take a week off recently, and it was wonderful spending all of that time with my beautiful wife and the Lil' Shrimp. We headed up north and did the color tour thing and spent a few days at home doing absolutely nothing. All in all, this experience is going by way too fast for me.  Of course, Sara's experiencing just the opposite.  It feels like she's been pregnant forever :)

We have another doctor's appointment coming up soon, and I think we're quickly heading to the time when they start coming up more often than once a month.  We'll keep you posted if anything changes.

Here's a picture of me, Sara, and the Lil' Shrimp enjoying the Tunnel of Trees in northwest Michigan.  It took us almost 2 hours to drive 30 miles from Harbor Springs to the "end of the road."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Today was the big ultrasound, and we're having a...!

We decided that finding out can wait, at least for now.  There's an element of surprise that is nice, and we feel like it takes some of the pressure off of picking a name...for now anyway.

No issues with the calendar today.  We arrived on time, and then waited for almost 15 minutes...which really didn't make me very happy knowing that when we were 15 minutes late, the appointment got canceled, but they can be accommodating when the delay is on their side.

Afer it was all said and done, the lady who did the ultrasound says it looks like the due date estimate of the last week of February is right on track, so they're not adjusting anything in regards to expected delivery time (I know Aaron has money on the 24th...)

So, without further our Lil' Shrimp swim around for a bit:

They gave us a few pictures, too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Because reading a calendar is just so hard...

It's my fault...100%

This appointment has been on my calendar for four weeks.  It's on the right day.  It's even got the right time in the appointment notes.  Ultrasound @ 11:00AM.

The calendar appointment is set for 10:30AM.  I wanted to make sure no one at work scheduled me for a meeting that would run up to 11:00AM, forcing me to have to reschedule so I could make it to the appointment.

I've looked at this appointment on my calendar every day for the past four weeks in anticipation of today.  I looked at it multiple times through the morning and still managed to screw it up. :(

It feels like the worst day ever, even if it isn't...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Thirty is the new least that's what I heard...

Whew, what a whirlwind.  I'd say it's nice to take a break, but that's not entirely the truth.  I'm actually taking a sick day, thus giving me time to compose some of the things I've been thinking about for some time (and yes, I'm actually sick, it's not like I took a day off work to blog.)

Way back when, in the time before any of you knew that we were going to have a baby, a friend casually mentioned to me, in an unrelated conversation about having children, that "thirty is the new twenty."  At the time, she had no idea she was saying this to a late 30's, just found out his wife is pregnant, and been keeping the big secret for almost two weeks now fella.  The impact of what she said really didn't hit home until recently.

When we first found out this was actually happening, numbers started running through my head.  I'm a numbers kind of guy.  Playing with numbers fascinates me for some reason.  I realize that puts me in a special group of people. :)  Now, these numbers don't necessarily mean anything, they're just things I think about.  They're not necessarily positive or negative, just numbers, numbers related to my life and the life of our child.

Here's one I've posted before:  I'll be 39 when our child is born.  Brett Favre (yes, that Brett Favre) is a little more than 2 years older than me and his grandson will be almost 1 year old when my child is born.  Now there's some numbers to think about.

I was 13 when my dad turned 39.  I remember what a big deal it was when he turned 40.  If 30 IS the new 20, maybe my kid will think the same thing about me turning 50 (eek!)

When my mom turned 39, I was a junior in high school, 17 years old, little more than a year from heading to college.  This kid won't head off to college until I'm about much for retiring when I'm 60 :)

My my mom's dad turned 45...3 months after I was born.  I'll be 44 when kindergarten rolls around.  At first, this number terrified me, especially considering the sentence at the start of this paragraph.  I couldn't help but think what it would be like to be at kindergarten roundup with the rest of the parents who will technically be young enough to BE my children.  However, the more I started thinking about it, and pondered what my friend had said, the more I realized that I may not be the only "old man" in the room.  I actually know a lot of people in their 30's, and not just their early 30's, who are having children...maybe 30 really is the new 20, after all! There will be plenty of other people using canes and walkers at high school graduation in 2029!

We're 17 weeks in at this point.  We've got the big ultrasound coming up next Wednesday.  At this point, I think we're leaning strongly toward telling the technician to keep any information about gender to themselves.  It might just be a game day decision though :)

In the interest of keeping things visually "interesting" below is an image of what Pamper's tells me the lil' shrimp looks like right about now.  Weighing in at about 7 to 8 ounces and 5 to 6 inches from head to rump.  Fingerprints are actually starting to form right about now.  Bones are hardening and the baby will starting hearing us soon, if he/she hasn't already.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Give me a beat boys...

We'll, we had out second official doctor's visit today.  It was short and sweet to say the least.  30+ minutes of waiting in the lobby for a 10 minute visit.  The payoff was worth it though...we got to hear the heartbeat of our child again :)

We also set the date for the ultrasound, 4 weeks from today, on September 29.  The big question is: do we want to know or not (the gender of course)?  I have a feeling we might not make up our minds until just prior to going to the appointment.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A stitch in time...

Those of you who know my wife, know that sewing is something she enjoys. Based on some of her projects from the past, I think our baby will be the cutest one on the block.

Below is a picture of some of the quilt blocks she's putting together for a baby quilt.  It should be ready for some work come Thanksgiving, so get your quilting supplies ready great grandma Ware :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Operation feline release is complete...

Well, if you're reading this, you're definitely in the know!  Our little secret ain't so secret any more :)

The congratulations and positive feedback has been overwhelming!

I'll do my best to keep this blog up-to-date, so feel free to check back now and again to see the latest on our lil' shrimp.

Did I let the cat out of the bag?

First, who keeps their cats in a bag?

Today is the day!  In a mere 2 hours, this little secret won't be a secret any more.

We actually told my parents yesterday.  Sara's parent will find out at around noon today, and the rest of you will find out soon after.

Guess I'll have to change the subtitle of the blog, eh?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just like Christmas morning...

It's quite possible that you'll all find out about this in just a couple of days. :)

September 12 really is just too far away.  When Sara got home from work the other night, she commented that it's been getting harder and harder to "suck it in" so the folks she works with don't notice that she's starting to show (not a whole lot mind you, but just enough that it's unrealistic to think we'll make it another 4 weeks without having to come clean.)

With that in mind, this may just be the weekend.  I talked to her today and I think she's in agreement that now that we're more than 13 weeks in, we might as well just get this one little detail out of the way.  And it will actually be a relief.  I've never been great at keeping secrets, especially good ones.  I'm lucky that we typically don't buy each other extravagant Christmas and birthday gifts (if we buy any at all.)  If I buy a gift for her more than a few days in advance, I have a horrible time not just giving it too her.  The fact that I've made it to mid-August is actually quite a feat.

Waiting until September 12th and announcing it to our parents on Grandparent's day would have been neat, but it also would have been almost half way through the pregnancy.  I think any of you who have had a baby can probably attest to the fact that hiding something like this at 17 weeks would be more than just a little difficult.

Maybe she'll talk me out of it, maybe not.  If she doesn't you'll all have the scoop by Monday morning!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time is slipping away...

I was just reading through all my posts, it seems like I just posted a couple of days ago but it's been almost 2 weeks!  Like I said earlier, as we approach the start of the school year, time just gets a away from me at work.  I haven't had a day off since we got home from Boston, but I'm planning on taking this next weekend off, no matter how big the fires at work have gotten.  A man's gotta rest at some point.

The shrimp is getting to the point of needing to add a "jumbo" in front (have people always compared the size of their developing baby to food, i.e. peanut, pea-pod, peach pit. apple, etc.?)  With almost 4 weeks to go until we plan on telling everyone, Sara is at the point of hoping people just think she's getting fat.  In my heart of hearts, I'm pretty sure I've never met a woman who actually hoped people thought she was gaining weight. :)

We're 13 weeks in now.  Clothes are starting to become a problem.  Old clothes don't fit, actual maternity clothes are too big.  Shopping for maternity clothes can be surprisingly difficult, when you're trying to keep something like this a secret.  It might be awkward to explain why you're in the maternity section holding clothes up to see how they might look/fit if someone you know walks by, and Murphy's law pretty much assures that they will.  However, Sara has been able avoid it somewhat by shopping during the day, when most people we know are working.  She doesn't work on Tuesday and Wednesday and most of the people shopping in the early afternoon don't know her from Eve (that's probably the nicest way of saying the average shopper on a Tuesday afternoon is a little older than our friends and my parents fact, they're pretty darn old.)

Of course, as the time seems to go by quickly for me, it's kind of dragging for her.  She's looking forward to that 2nd trimester when most women get a little of their energy back.  Maybe then I can talk her into mowing the lawn on those days of work... :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thumpity, thump, thump.....

We got to hear our babies heartbeat this morning.  Everything sounded good to us and good to the mid-wife doing the exam.  She confirmed that we're at 11 weeks which means the shrimp is a little over 1.5 inches long now.  Just a couple more weeks and everything that makes up a baby will be there.  The mid-wfie said that after about the 13th week it's mostly just growth, with little development of new parts and pieces.

Hearing the heartbeat got me thinking, I'm starting to wonder if the "information age"is having a negative impact on people's reactions to these things that used to cause great joy.  We've been doing our homework, so we kind of know what to expect at the appointments.  We heard the heartbeat, smiled, and that was about it.  I think the mid-wife was expecting a little more of a reaction, but we've both heard babies heartbeats on the internet and in videos prior to this...a lot, so hearing it was mostly just comforting, not a surprise.  The same thing happened when we had the ultrasound at the clinic in Ann Arbor; we were happy, but neither of us started crying, shouting, jumping around, or were overcome with emotion.  You could tell that the doctor was probing for more of a response than he seemed to be getting during the ultrasound.  

Has information numbed us to joy?  Are the surprises of yesterday just expectations today?  Of course, I'm not just talking about our pregnancy, I mean as a society as a whole.  Does having practically unlimited access to more information than we can possibly comprehend make us a little less human?

Either way, we're excited, even if it doesn't show in the exam room!

Another visit to the doctor coming up on September 1, followed by the big announcement on September 12 (sorry if you feel left out, we're only planning on inviting our parents for that,) then we'll finally get an ultrasound in late September or early October.  By the time we go back to the doctor again, shrimp should have outgrown the nickname and be about 4 inches from head to rump.  By the time we get to the ultrasound, over 6 inches.

PS - As I was listening to the current Brett Favre drama on the way home from work today, it occurred to me that Brett, who is 2 years and 3 months older than me, has a 4 month old grandson right now.  How weird is that?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time flies...unless you're pregnant...

It's been a little over 6 weeks since we first found out.  For me that time has flown by...not so much for Sara.  Apparently being pregnant makes every day drag on in an endless eternity of discomfort and pain. OK, that may be a bit hyperbolic, but I'm pretty sure it seems to be going a lot faster for me than it is for her.

We've made it through the big July 4 camping weekend, a couple of big family get togethers, and a week in Boston with her sisters.  So far, no slips, which is pretty amazing.  With so many people we know having babies, and the reality of it something we talk about every day, I'm amazed that neither of us has let it slip out, absentmindedly, in a conversation yet.

Once you all find out, I hope you don't mind that we waited so long to tell.

Out planned "coming out" event is just a month away now.  That time will be over before I know it.  Work is kicking into high gear as we prepare for the new school year.  Daily training sessions start next Monday and I've still got 3 or 4 weeks of catch up work from last year in my queue.  No rest for me until Labor Day, which may be a good thing.  The more focused I am on work, the less time I spend thinking about the "shrimp" (the official name now bestowed upon our offspring) during the work day.  The less time I spend thinking about the shrimp, the less likely I am to spill the beans without meaning to. :)

Back to my poor dear wife...

I'm surprised she didn't just blurt it out while we were in Boston, especially the first couple of days when she was trying to keep up with her sisters.  They were pretty active during the day, out and about, shopping and doing lots of walking.  I'm learning that lots of activity isn't something most pregnant women enjoy.  She was completely pooped by the end of the first day.  She hung on (and out) as long as she could before succumbing to "shrimp exhaustion."  So Sue and Felicia, now you now, your big sister was feeling sluggish for a reason.

The trip to Boston helped me gain some perspective, too.  It was probably the last big trip event we'll do as just a couple for another 20 years, maybe more.  As we did our sight-seeing I got the warm fuzzies thinking about how in the near future, these types of things will be "family" events, not just the two of us.

Our first official appointment with the doctor here at home is coming up in two days.  I think we're both a little anxious and curious about what's going to happen.  We had our last appointment, and confirmation of the pregnancy, in Ann Arbor over a month ago.  Even with everything we've been reading about the process, it feels like we still don't know what to expect.  Going to a doctor here definitely makes it seem more real (not that it hasn't already felt real, it just MORE real now.)

September 12 feels like it's right around the corner....for one of us anyway.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The times, they are a changin'

We may have experienced our first craving (does it bother you if I refer to "us" even when I'm really just talking about her?).  As Sara was getting ready for bed the other night she commented that she felt hungry and wanted a bologna sandwich with mustard.  We'll classify this as a craving for 2 reasons:
  • Sara would normally choose death over a bologna sandwich.
  • If she did choose a bologna sandwich, the last thing she'd want on it is mustard.  Mustard is an ingredient she'll cook with, but to put it on food is not something she does often, if ever.
This may have been a one time thing.  Last night, I mentioned bologna sandwiches with mustard as an option for dinner and she was pretty clear in letting me know that that no longer held any appeal.

I've been doing a lot of reading about pregnancy (I was told it was my job to be the designated researcher) and this really is an amazing process.  We were blown away that we could see the heart beat so early.  As of today our baby is almost half an inch long, and it looks like it grows about a half an inch per week from here on out.  The next doctors appointment is August 4.  I'm anticipating it, and find myself counting down days to specific points on the timeline on a pretty regular basis.

Other things that keep creeping through my head tend to be a little more selfish.  Things like watching TV without being interrupted (or just watching TV), snuggling up in the morning, making last minute plans to go out, etc. are all lifestyle things that have days which are numbered.  Sara and I have 14 years of togetherness that's about to be shaken to its core.  I'm not anticipating this in a bad way, just anxious about how big of a change it will be for two people who have not had to share themselves with anyone but each other to now have to devote a significant amount of energy and resources to another person.  That sounds a lot worse than I mean it to be (and I've tried re-writing it a dozen times.)  I guess that's why God gives us 9 months to figure it out and get used to things.

Still, I can't help feel like there are lots of positives to having waited so long to have kids as well.  Sara and I have an identity as a couple that's not bound up in other things or people..for now.  We have 14 years of just being ourselves and I feel like we've built a pretty solid foundation as far as who we are as people and as a couple.  I think some couples probably don't get to experience the relationship we have now until they finally get their kids out of the house.  That's not to say I think people who get married and have kids right away are making mistakes, I think they just experience some of life's pleasures in a different chronological order than we have.  Our feeling is that we know what's waiting on the other side of raising a family, so there won't be too many surprises when we get there.  How's that for thinking ahead? :) It's likely I'll be in my early 60's before it's back to just being the two of us.

A big challenge for me, even just 3 weeks in, is keeping this news a secret.  Each day it becomes more real for me, but the people around me have no idea.  The more Sara and I talk about things at home, the more self-censoring I find myself having to do in conversations at work, especially when planning out training sessions and other items for the next school year.  I spent yesterday morning in a planning session. I know I'm going to be taking some time off work in February/March, but it's hard to come up with reasons not to schedule training for those weeks without having a "why."  So far people haven't pushed me for the why, let's hope it stays that way for at least another 7 weeks.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cat's still in the bag

We wrapped up our 4th of July successfully. Four straight days spent with close family and friends, and we managed to get through it without letting our little secret slip out. In the end, it wasn't as hard as I had thought it might be. Speaking for myself, it was mostly just watching what I said and being careful not to tip my hand, especially during conversations about "the future."

We've decided that we're going to try not telling anyone until September. The goal is to first tell our parents on Grandparents Day (September 12 for those of you who keep track of these things) and follow up with our family and friends soon after.  We'll see if we can make it. :)

We know that the reaction of most people will probably be pure shock. We'll have celebrated our 14th anniversary prior to telling people. At this point most of our friends and family have probably just assumed having kids was something we'd never do.

We've always wanted a family, the sticking point's just been getting it started. We weren't sure if we'd even be able to have our own kids, so we'd talk about adoption periodically, but we never put any plans in motion (life's what happens while you're making plans, right.) I guess we just reached a point where the desire to try outgrew the fear of trying. It's been a long road since we made that decision, and doubt has been an ever growing obstacle, so we're just as shocked as you are :)

September 12 seems like both an eternity away and like it's right around the corner. From one perspective it's 10 weeks away, over two months! That seems like a long time to wait and tell anyone. From another perspective it seem's like it's going to fly by. We have "events" taking place the next 4 weekends in a row, and my work schedule is going to keep me super busy well into the start of September. August will be here before you know it, and for me it's going to fly by (even if it is one day at a time.)

One of my worries at this point is that I'll end up missing out on some of the "doctory" stuff that will happen between now and the end of the first trimester. Starting August 9, my schedule is jam packed with training events right up until Labor Day weekend. Between now and August 9 I have a lot of work to do getting ready for that training. Sara hasn't scheduled anything with a local OBGYN yet (last trip to IVF Michigan was the day before we went on vacation) so I'll just have to wait and see when things get scheduled. They did finally hire me a co-worker to help with the work load, but he just officially started on July 1, and has minimal experience right now. We have 15 work days where we'll both be at work between now and August 9 and I've got to get him trained to the point where he can lead training on his own. Like I said, each day will probably seem long, but they are going to fly by at the same time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wouldn't it be nice...

Now that we're into "full blown acknowledgement" mode, but still in "our little secret" mode, too, we find ourselves both relishing things that will be our last "just the two of us" moments as well as thinking forward to "what will this be like with a baby?"

We're camping this weekend, the annual 4th of July camping trip we take every year, to Somerset Beach Campground, with anyone from my mom's family who can make it. If everyone came, we'd have 34 people. For various reasons we usually hold steady at about 25. What makes this year different is that there will be at least 4 new babies (God willing) eligible to make their first 4th of July camping trip next summer. Having babies at camp is nothing new, we've been through it 4 times in the past few years now. However, having OUR new baby at camp is a somewhat terrifying (pleasantly terrifying) thought.

Of course, everyone but Sara and me only knows about the "other" three babies. At times, it's been difficult keeping that secret. In the course of conversation, someone will mention the three new babies next year, and I find myself holding back a "no, four." Other times, it's hard not to bring it into the conversation. In thinking ahead to what camping will be like with a 4 month old baby, we'd like to change lots next year so that we're not so close to the nightly campfire noise, but it's hard to express that without expressing the why. Instead I probably just come across as a crotchety old fart (which, admittedly, I am becoming.)

One of the big challenges this year has been trying to avoid the "pregnant" conversations. My cousin is expecting her second later this year, and her brother's wife is expecting their first in just a few months. They have both been camping with us and my other cousin, who didn't make it this year, is expecting his first in just a few short weeks. As I've mentioned before, Sara and I have both typically shied away from the "here's what my pregnancy/delivery was like" conversations.   In a setting like this it can be kind of funny to watch and see how quickly either of us can get up and move away, without it looking too obvious, when such a conversation starts up. Bless you all for caring and sharing, but we really want to experience as much of this as possible without having any preconceived notions or expectations. We're just not at a point where hearing other people's stories (horror, funny, or otherwise) is helpful for either of us.  A time may come when it is, but just not yet.

It's been a fun four days, knowing something that everyone else doesn't know, and looking forward to a completely new experience next year. No matter what, it's is sure to be different. :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One, two, three strikes....

Today was the day! We visited the IVF Michigan in Ann Arbor for our last visit with Dr. Ayers; but, most importantly for an ultrasound to confirm what we've known/suspected for the past 11's a baby.

Of course, we knew it was going to be a baby, despite the dreams Sara has been having about having puppies (can I get a LOL?) But we've had our worries. When you have difficulty getting pregnant, sometimes it can feel like things are bound to go wrong, even when they're going right. You try and fail. You try and fail. When something good happens, acceptance isn't as easy as you'd think it would be, regardless of how happy you may be.

Anywho, our fears/concern/anxieties/worries have been alleviated (at least until the next round kick in.) According to the doctor everything seems to be good and he thinks we'll have a (one) baby sometime between February 14 and February 28.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two down, one to go....

The reality of things is still setting in.

Positive home pregnancy test...check!

Positive blood test...check!

Trip to the doctors week.....

An overall feeling of excitement has started to creep in, but I think we're both still waiting for that final "check" before we finally feel like this is for real and happening. It's not that we doubt the results of the first 2 test, and it's not that we're not happy. We're extremely happy, just reserved in that happiness.

That reservation is probably a result of the process and some of what we've been through in trying to get here. We first started this process almost 16 months ago. For those of you who get pregnant just at the thought of having a baby, we're a little jealous. We've fallen into the category of those who need a little pharmaceutical help in this area. The frustrating part for us was knowing going into it that this was our most likely reality, but it didn't feel like we could convince the doctors of it. They were determined that we should just let nature take it's course and THEN if nothing happened they'd start checking into things. I guess that's fine for most people, but we're not most people and, without going into the details, we had some insight that said there might be some extra challenges to overcome.  It took us 13+ years to get to the point of really wanting this to happen. Having to wait almost a year and a half, and endure the doctors visits, takes some of the shine off the apple. 

One of the hardest parts has been watching other people "get it right." Since we started trying:
  • one of my cousins had a baby about 1 month into our process
  • my brother and his wife had their 3rd child about 5 months into our process
  • another of my cousins announced their pregnancy about 8 months into our process
  • two more of my cousins announced their pregnancies about 11 months into our process, one a first timer, one on her 2nd
  • one of my wife's cousins announced her 2nd about a month ago
We're really happy for all of these people, honestly, but I'd be lying if I told you we weren't jealous and frustrated watching other family and friends enjoy the experience we've been longing to have ourselves.

With this in mind, we hope you'll all understand why we didn't rush right out and tell everyone. Add into the mix that we're both first borns and we both want to go through this process as a couple, without a lot of preconceived (no pun intended) notions about what to expect.

We're less than a week in, fully expecting that this will be our happy little secret for at least a few months.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Timing is everything...

Ironically, yesterday was Father's Day. :)

Less than 24 hours after finding out that fatherhood seems to be impending, I had to leave my beautiful bride, Sara, for a 3 day conference. On my way out of town I stopped by Culver's to grab some lunch via the drive through. When I pulled up to the window to pay and get my grub, the cashier asked if I was a father...I'm pretty sure she must have thought I was mentally challenged based on the look that was probably on my face and the way I fumbled with my response, "uhhh....huh?, not yet anyway....uhhhhh." Apparently they were giving away free frozen custard to fathers. :)

I was expecting some type of euphoria to have set in by now, but mostly I find myself in a state of disbelief. Can this really be happening? Will that euphoric feeling ever arrive? Mostly I'm starting to feel more nervous at the prospect of being a father.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two pink lines....

I'm not going to lie, I'm still in shock.

After 16 months of trying, we finally got two pink lines on a pregnancy test. We're both happy, but I honestly think we're both in shock. At this point, you really almost feel relief more than anything, I'm sure other emotions will flood in over the next few days, but tonight it's enough to cuddle up together, sleep sweetly, and hope for the best.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Every story has a beginning, even ones that don’t have a happily ever after. Here is ours…

Sara and I met at Spring Arbor College in the spring of 1995. She was a freshman living on Alpha II. I was a dropout who was returning to finish my degree. We didn’t start dating right away; as a matter of fact we really didn’t get to know each other until she returned for her sophomore year. I got her attention that spring with my two beagle puppies. I had gotten them the previous fall, while living with my aunt and uncle in Muskegon, and brought them home with me when I moved back to go to college.

In the fall of 1995, I was a part time student with a steady income and lots of time to spend hanging out in the dorms. I remember sitting in the TV lounge one day and spending more time watching the girl sitting on the couch across from me than the TV. It wasn’t long before she started hanging out near me, especially if I brought my guitar to the lounge. We eventually started talking, staying up late, and getting to know each other. Homecoming was just a few weeks away and I was trying to work up the courage to ask her to go with me when, surprise, she asked me. I found out later that she only asked me after putting a letter in the mail in which she broke up with her boyfriend back home. Sucked to be him, I guess.

The Homecoming dinner was held in the college dinning commons and I was the MC for the event. Part of my duties included introducing all the couples that had gotten engaged over the past year. I didn’t know at the time that I’d be married to the love of my life less than 10 months later. That night was magical. We held hands, went for a walk, talked about “us,” and decided that “us” was a good thing to pursue. At the end of the night, I dropped her off at her dorm and kissed her. It was our first kiss. One I’ll never forget. That was October 27, 1995.

The next night we went to a dance. I’m not all that much into dancing, but every time an opportunity to slow dance came, I made sure Sara was in my arms, slowly twirling around the barn floor. I fell in love with her that night. She looked up at me with a look in her eyes that I would see again on the most special of occasions and I was sold.

We were the stereotypical annoying couple; always together, always holding hands, always smooching more than anyone wanted to see. I went to visit her family for the first time over Thanksgiving; she came up to Midland to visit my extended family. Neither one of us got scared or ran away. I remember writing in my journal that weekend that I was sure I’d found “the one.” It was less than 30 days after we had started dating, but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Sara. Unfortunately, she wasn’t as sure at that point. We got back from Thanksgiving break and she started to wonder if this was really what she wanted. Had she been any other girl, my persistence would have probably driven her away. Three weeks later, as we sat in my car on a cold snowy night, I gave her my ultimatum (was I really that stupid?) She needed to make up her mind about whether she wanted to be with me or not. She must have felt sorry for me, because she leaned in close and whispered, “I choose you.”

Christmas break arrived, and I got the chance to meet her mom’s extended family. A week later she had a second chance to meet mine. For the second time, we’d seen the circus and neither one bolted for the door. I’ll never forget the night, near the end of break, when we sat in the dark in her parent’s dining room talking quietly around long kisses. At one point I told her that, “If things keep going the way they’re going, I just might ask you to marry me.” She didn’t pause as she responded, “I just might say yes.”

Sara’s birthday was on January 11. She was going to be 20 years old and I thought it might be a good idea to take her out to eat to celebrate. I had no idea what the night had in store. I picked her up at the dorm and we headed out into the dark cold night to the Brandywine. We both ordered steak for dinner. We both ate a little, but spent more time holding hands and looking at each other across the table. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I’ll never forget that night. It was starting to become obvious that neither of us was going to eat much more. The conversation had dwindled to nothing. We just sat there, looking at each other, and the words just spilled out of my mouth, “How do you ask someone to marry you when you don’t have a ring?” Again, she didn’t pause before saying, “You just ask.” And so I did. I got down on one knee, took her hand in my hand, and asked, “Will you marry me?” She blushed, and her eyes had the look they had when we slow danced on that night several months before, and without missing a beat she said, “Yes!”

We realized we needed to let our families in on this. I wasn’t too worried about mine. I was going to be 24 in just a few weeks, getting married was something I knew my family would embrace, even if it hadn’t been discussed or expected. We went to my mom’s office in the morning and broke the news. There was a spontaneous party with her coworkers. I don’t remember telling my dad, but mom must have taken care of it for us. I have a vague memory of her making a phone call to him at work while we were in her office.

Telling Sara’s family was another concern. I’d only met her parents a few times. I had asked their daughter to marry me without talking to them about it first. We drove over to their house, about an hour away from school, and sat out in the driveway for a good 30 minutes trying to work up the courage to walk in and make our announcement. We finally took a deep breath, got out of the car, and made our way inside, only to find an empty house. The entire family was out picking up movies to watch from Blockbuster. By the time they returned home, we had chickened out. Pleasantries were had and we were soon watching the first feature of the night, which just happened to be Four Weddings and a Funeral. As the credits rolled, and people started getting up to stretch, grab some snacks, and get ready for the second movie, I managed to blurt out that Sara and I had something we wanted to talk to them about. I remember the room getting really quiet. I got even quieter when I told them that Sara and I wanted to get married. Sara’s brother, Daniel, finally broke the silence by asking if this was a joke because of the movie we’d just watched. I’m pretty sure her parents were mostly just shocked. We talked about marriage, and what it meant. Her dad kept asking me questions about marriage and what I thought marriage was about while trying to use allegories of boats to make his points. That night probably could have gone better, but it could have also gone much worse.

The next 8 months went by in a blur. The next thing we knew it was August 10, 1996. We stood in front of God, our families, and friends; declared our love and devotion to each other, and were pronounced man and wife. The next 14 years were filled with adventure, devotion, challenges, and even a few disappointments; but mostly they were filled with love; a love that culminated in the story that started its tale in this blog on June 19, 2010.

The picture above was taken two weeks after we found out that Miranda was on the way.  We knew it would be the last camping picture with just the two of us...