25.) Baby bumps!

14 weeks...

15 weeks! (almost 16 weeks, actually)

Baby is growing!!!!


24.) Sweet gifts from thoughtful friends.

How perfect is this?!?!  Words can not explain how in love I am with this book, and the concept behind reading to children as soon as possible (including in utero!).   Love, love, love this gift!

23.) Time spent with family and friends.

We spent a week in our shared hometown to visit with family and friends during the holiday season.  It was the first time that our loved ones had seen us since we found out we are expecting, and I'm sure that Baby felt the love!  We even received some really sweet and special gifts for Baby, including this book, which we can't wait to read to our little one.  In fact, we also looked through many, many children's books, set aside from my own childhood, and took a trip down memory lane while setting aside the potentially re-usable books (some were tattered from so much use!) for the future. 

We also visited the city we were married in five years ago and took some gorgeous pictures of the chapel, which I may to post later. 

We were very lucky to have a chance to see numerous friends throughout the week, many of which probably squeezed us in amongst holiday parties, Christmas shopping, busy work schedules, and family responsibilities.  We love our friends and hate being nearly 20 hours away, but thankfully, the distance is only physical - we still feel so connected despite seeing each other only once or twice a year. 

Our families were thrilled to see us, and it was one of the best visits "home" I think I've had in a while.  We took each of our parents out to dinner and spent time with 2 of our 3 brothers/brothers-in-law, as well as their long-term significant others.  We are all so lucky to get along and I can really see us all enjoying each others' company in the future, and hopefully doing fun things together like taking vacations with all the kids, etc.  So much fun stuff to look forward to!

We returned home last night (no delays in either direction - can you believe it?) and we are now ready to spend what should be our last Christmas as "just us two".  Hard to believe!!!!  Finally!!!!


22.) Seeing a tiny baby dance inside of you.

We just had our NT scan this morning, which is an ultrasound done on a high-resolution machine that looks for soft markers for genetic disabilities such as Down's and other trisomies.  It was awesome!  We got to see the baby flipping and flopping, and moving all it's limbs.  We were able to count 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we could visualize some of the organs (including the brain, stomach, bladder, and heart). 

My eyes started to tear up during the scan, as I have seen many of these pictures before (friends babies, mostly) but I've never looked at one and known "this baby is ours".   Life is amazing!


21.) Give Thanks.

This year, I have a lot to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for the fact that my little brother made it back home safely after his second tour of duty overseas, this time in Afghanistan (last time in Iraq) with hardly a scratch on him.  He does have a giant scar on the side of his forehead after a metal pipe dislodged and hit him on the face during the dissembly of a tent, but aside from that, we are thankful to have him on U.S. soil all in one piece. 

I am thankful, too, that both my husband and I have jobs and can pay our bills.  I'm extra thankful that right now, I can afford to only work part-time, leaving me some time left during the week to restore my sanity, considering my job does make me crazy at times.

I am thankful for our home, filled with laughter and love, and fur-balls from our two precious kitty cats.

I am thankful that, after many many attempts to start our own family, our luck finally came through for us and we are now expecting our first bundle of joy in approximately six months. 

I am also thankful for my family and my husband's family.  We aren't a perfect bunch, and sometimes we drive each other crazy, but I do know that if we ever needed anything, we could call upon our parents and our brothers, and they would never hesitate to help us out in any way they could.

I am over-the-moon-thankful for my husband, who truly does love me just the way I am.  He is my absolute best friend in this world, and means more to me than just about anything.  I am so proud of the way he lives his life and the person that he is, and I can honestly say that I would hardly change a single thing about him.  I just love him to pieces.

And last but not least, I am thankful for my friends, who I don't get a chance to see face-to-face very often, but who have been there for me (in their own ways) each step of the way during my journey through the land of infertility and trying to conceive.  I needed all the support I could get at that time in my life (it's still strange to refer to it in the past-tense... wow, am I really past it?!) and my caring, supportive friends were always there to listen.  Sometimes I complained, sometimes I cried, sometimes I laughed and feigned acceptance.  Some knew the details, some knew the jist, and others knew nothing at all, but likely suspected.  They comforted me with grace, they encouraged me with love, and they congratulated me at the end of the race. 

I am a lucky girl in many ways.  I try to remember that every single day, not just the last Thursday in November, but sometimes we need an appointment.  And that's what I love about Thanksgiving!


20.) Maternity pants!

They may be funny looking, but ahhhh the comfort!  Why is it unacceptable to wear these little pieces of heaven all the time?!  I guess the full panel type might be a little bit of overkill, being as though I'm only 10wks pregnant, but the elastic waistband is surely something that I could get used to. 

Only problem: The selections are awful!  At least, around here anyway.  Take Old Navy for example.  Their "maternity department" consists of random ugly shirts all mixed up on a rack way in the back corner of the children's section, plus 2 colors of corduroys stocked only in sizes 2 and 6, and a hodgepodge assortment of jeans, including some that appear cute at first glance but then turn out to be skinny jeans once you pull them out of the single over-crowded rack they are all jammed onto (and as far as I'm concerned, maternity skinny jeans = no thank you!).

I will take myself to Motherhood Maternity as soon as I can justify it.  For now, two pairs of jeans to throw into the rotation when the bloat gets bad will be sufficient.


19.) America's veterans.

"On this day, we honor every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform of the United States of America.  We salute fallen heroes, and keep in our prayers those who are still in harm's way -- like the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan." - President Barack Obama, November 11, 2010.

Today is Veteran's Day, and while many of us complain that it's not Friday yet, that our lunch sucked, or that dammit, we forgot to DVR Gray's Anatomy... our veterans are suffering.  They have sacrificed their families, their comfort, their holidays, their bodies, and sometimes their lives, for America and it's people.  Our veterans have given their all to protect us... but, ask yourself, how are we protecting them?  What have YOU done to honor, support, or assist an American veteran or member of the United States military?  Nothing yet?  Well... here are some ideas to get you started. 
  • Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org). 
  • Donate your old car (helpourveterans.org). 
  • Volunteer your time at the local VA hospital (va.gov). 
  • Purchase a Vet Pack or crochet a blanket for a wounded veteran (soldiersangels.org). 
  • Donate money to help make a paralyzed veteran's house wheelchair accessible (pva.org). 
  • Can't crochet, and don't have money?  Give blood (redcross.org)! 
Just do SOMETHING.  Did you know:
  • There are an estimated 107,000 homeless veterans on any given night. 
  • There are 140,000 incarcerated veterans. 
  • 4 to 5 veterans commit suicide everyday, which is over 7 times the national average. 
  • 300,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ALONE suffer from PTSD, and 320,000 have experienced traumatic brain injuries. 
A military friend of ours said it nicely today on Facebook: "Honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, but also praise the spouses and children of veterans who endure long hours and extended deployments supporting a loved one who chose to serve."  Well said, my friend.  Freedom is never free.