Saturday, August 25, 2012

Christmas Everyday

Truly! It is like Christmas everyday at our home lately. There are boxes by the front door or we get the key o'joy in our mailbox that gives us access to the BIG mailbox where they put the special mail. I am pretty sure I have written about the generosity of our friends and family. But, I am not sure I have expressed it enough. We are blessed beyond belief; they are spoiling us and our soon-to-be-here Little Dragon.

I love getting packages in the mail. Who doesn't, right? It is so fun to open up a box that just has your name on it and a return address of "Fulfillment Center." Peering inside and seeing what is hiding under those little air pillows is a perfect little moment of joy. I especially love reading the notes that friends write to go with the gift. They are always sweet and heartfelt. Yeah, you all know who you are and you have made this hormone-crazed pregnant woman cry more times than she can count.

Outside of the boxes sitting by the front door, we have experienced Christmas-like celebrations three-fold (with the fourth and final one this weekend). Yes, that would be four baby showers. No, really, four baby showers! This is what I am talking about -- generous, amazing people!

Every shower has been full of love and celebration. The gifts have been wonderful because we now have a fully stocked nursery and we are ready for a baby, but it is the time with special people that makes it feel like Christmas. Seeing our friends light up and smile when they talk to Ryan or I and ask about our Baby Dragon. The hugs, the kisses, the laughter and giggling. Just thinking about the baby showers, I am overwhelmed with happiness.

We have known that we are pretty lucky with the friends and family who surround us, but the last couple of months have left us awestruck. Our little one is going to have an extended family of aunts and uncles unlike any other child. Hillary Clinton says, "it takes a village." Well, Mrs. Clinton, we have our village and it is filled with some of the smartest, wittiest, kindest, loving people.

Yep, it is Christmas everyday at our home. And, I just have this feeling the holiday spirit is going to continue for some time. We have the best gift of them all coming very soon.

P.S. Christmas gifts usually have a tag that tells you from whom the package has come. Every box we have received thus far has had such a label, either outside or inside so we can thank the giver. This week, we received a secret package. I have put in an inquiry to our baby registry to find out who the generous gift-giver is. The gift is a high chair we had on our registry -- a generous and wonderful surprise. We really want to thank whoever sent it. If it is you...please email or call.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My First Impulse Purchase

Ryan and I haven't been purchasing too many baby things. It may be a bit of superstition, but 90 percent of what we have for the baby right now is from others.
Not that we haven't roamed around the Babies R Us on a Sunday afternoon. Or, trolled the internet, looking at adorable toys and clothing -- I have accumulated quite the list of bookmarks on my computer, all filed neatly under the folder called, Baby.

This all changed on Wednesday evening when I had my first impulse purchase.

Okay, now for some people who adore shopping, this may not be a huge thing. But, for is a pretty big deal. It was the first time I had wandered through the baby section at the store, honed in on something and had to have it. Right then.

It had started out innocent enough. We had gone to Target to purchase thank you cards and a few other things. Lately, when we go to Target, we also stroll through the baby section, just to look and see what is new. We were just about to move on to the sections of the store we had come to visit, when I asked Ry if we could walk down a newly organized aisle (yes, we walk over there often enough that I could tell there were some new things).

Lining the aisle were rows of swaddling blankets and onesies. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed the soon-to-be desired item. It was a flash of orange. A familiar comforting feeling took hold of me. I believe what I just saw was Halloween-related.

So, let's stop here a moment. As long as I can remember, I have been enamored with Halloween. I was proud of the fact that when they asked you in elementary school which holiday was your favorite, I didn't give the Christmas answer others gave. Halloween is just wonderful! It is during my favorite time of the year and it happens to be in the same month as my birthday. Many times my birthday napkins and plates were halloween-themed. On my 21st birthday, friends and family came over for dinner and cake, hanging above us was a giant spider we had attached to the ceiling. I also have a weakness for Halloween-themed clothing - socks, earrings, t-shirts, pajamas, anything. And, I wear them throughout the year, not just in October. Now that you know I am a Halloween fiend...let's continue.

I turned my head toward the onesies and saw them hanging there in the middle of the row. Halloween onesies and caps to match. My heart melted. And, a sound of indeliable fondness was emitted from my throat.

"Awwww. Ryan, we have to get these."

I held the onesies in my hands and you would think I had never seen anything more precious. They were beyond adorable to me and I would not be leaving the store without them. Cute little cartoon bats, black cats, frankenstein monsters, vampires. An orange cap that looked like a jack o'lantern. I ran my fingers over the embroidery and I was bewitched (yes, pun intended). The baby will be a little over a month old when Halloween arrives this year. This would be perfect!

My logical side grabbed hold. What was I doing? This was ridiculous. I hung the items back up on the wall display.

"I really love these, but we don't need them. We can always come back for them after the baby is born."

"Honey, I think we should invoke the Costco Rule. Get it when you see it because it may not be here later. There are only a few left."

With my sweet husband's reassuring sentence, I took them off the wall again and we were on our way. I had a huge smile on my face and was very excited about my purchase. I couldn't stop looking at them and thinking about our child wearing this special outfit on Halloween.

Since Wednesday, the reality that our child will be here very soon has been so much more vivid, so much more tangible. The purchase seemed to trigger within me that I really will be a mother very soon. I have that comforting, happy Halloween feeling. I think I will have a new favorite holiday --a birthday.

So, here is a photo of the onesies and caps I purchased so you can see either how cute they are...or, how insane I must seem in this post. Note: if you think I am a bit crazy, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Victory. Or, getting a car seat installed on a Sunday afternoon

Last Sunday, we were happily informed by a Babies R Us email that the car seat for which we had registered was on sale (for 3 days only!). We pondered and decided that we would purchase it that day (in my head I saw anxious pregnant women scrambling to Babies R Us to purchase the car seat until there were none left). It was one thing to purchase it, but we had no idea what we were getting into when we decided we would try and get it installed in the car.

One thing to understand is that the car seat we chose was given five stars by the Department of Highway Safety not just for its effectiveness, but because its instructions are easy to understand. Instructions are pretty important so you can put the seat in the car for maximum safety effectivness, right?

We proudly put the large box into the back of Ry's car and broke it open when we got home. Ryan inspected the seat and looked at all of the little different straps and safety warnings. I proceeded to read the booklet. The first two pages of the booklet were filled with bulleted, bold, all caps, red text of DO NOT's. I thought it was rather thoughtful that the writers of the booklet actually apologized on the first page for so many DO NOT's, but explain politely enough that they existed because they are important to know.

As I proceeded to read the remainder of the booklet, we would stop and discuss. There are scenarios in the booklet about how the car seat should be installed based on the child's age, weight and height. And, there are some "or" scenarios included. Being the engineer and the communicator, we were clarifying together that we understood what the booklet was telling us. We were looking a bit bewildered after reading the instruction booklet for 30 minutes. Were we getting this and would we put the car seat in the car correctly so our child would be safe?

Time to move from studying theory to practicum. We took the car seat out to the car. When we placed in the back seat of my four-door Mazda, the car seat looked quite large. It didn't look so big in the store. "Honey, is this going to work in my car?"

After getting the seat adjusted for rear-facing position (this is for an infant; the back of the car seat will face the front of the car), we got it placed perfectly in the middle of the back seat. Then it was an exercise in looking at the seat and looking at the manual.

"Where does this strap go?"

"Let me take a look at the book. Um, I think that based on this diagram, it goes here? Do you agree?"

Thank goodness for the LATCH system in my car. Once we figured it all out, it was really just two hooks into the LATCH system on either side of the car seat, a knee onto the seat and a tug of a strap to ensure all is snug. After we got it installed...we decided it wasn't too difficult. "Hmmm, that wasn't too bad."

But, the process of figuring all of this out took about 30 minutes or so in the garage on a humid and hot Sunday afternoon. In the end, we were sweaty, yet triumphant -- kind of like finishing a 10K run.

"Let's take it out now," I told Ry.

He looked at me. "No, let's leave it in for a while and go in the house."

The car seat has been in my car all week. I like it. Another touch of reality for me that sooner than I think...this will be my new normal. I asked Ry one day, after driving my car around to run errands, what he thought of seeing the seat in the car.

"It's a bit freaky. But, I like it." Followed by a big beautiful grin.