Monday, December 19, 2011

What Child is This?

"The babe, the son of Mary"
"Holy infant so tender an mild"
"For unto us a child is born"
"Glory to the newborn King"

For the first time this year, these words have stood out to me like never before. How many times have I read Luke 2 or how many carols have I sung without really thinking about it? Like all of us, the Savior was, when he entered this mortal world, a baby. Having a new one myself, it truly never occurred to me until now how miraculous that is. As Sam and I watched the Primary children reenact the nativity on Sunday and we looked at our little baby, we thought, "can you believe that Christ himself was once as she is?!" The Son of God, the creator of the world, was once just a tiny, vulnerable infant - cold, needing to be fed every 2-3 hours and changed just as often, with no control over little flailing hands and kicking feet, unable to communicate except by crying, completely dependent on earthly guardians for His care....and He did it for us. He did it for my little Alexis and for me and for everyone who has ever had to live as a helpless baby and for the rest of our mortal experiences and pains too. And what a wonderful time of year to be and have a new baby. You might call Christmas the ultimate celebration of a new baby.

I'm tempted to make a joke about gold, frankincense, and myrrh as being the ultimate baby shower gifts, but we'll leave this on a spiritual note. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Little Obsessed

I used to love "A Muppet Christmas Carol" growing up, so when I saw the full movie on Youtube I was so excited to re-live old memories and see it again for the first time in years. It's better than I remembered! The inspiring story by Charles Dickens + the humor, music, and fun of the Muppets = genius. I've had these and many other songs in my head for days. Sam sweetly bought me the movie as an early Christmas present, but I think it has only served to exaggerate the problem.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Miss Lexie

It's amazing how much you can learn about such a little person, and for us the little personality that we're discovering in our Lexie.

  • Nursing. Her favorite thing ever and it makes me proud.
  • Getting her diaper changed.
  • Making her dance while we sing "every baby's shuffling".
  • Her pacifier.
  • Doing the Hokie Pokie with Mommy.
  • Bath time (this is a new development).
  • Josh Groban's Christmas album. Her eyes just light up when she hears his voice.
  • Getting bounced on Daddy's knees.
  • Bottles. She'll only take one if she's absolutely starving and the situation necessitates it, and sometimes not even then.
  • Tummy time. It begins and ends with screaming.
  • Sitting in her swing for any longer than 5 minutes. She's learned that it means we will not be paying attention to her exclusively.
  • Going to bed at a reasonable hour. Right now she has the sleeping habits of a teenager: she's up until 2am generally and sleeps until 10am. We can't figure out how to change that. 
We're also finding out that she has quite the sense of adventure and we can't stimulate her enough. She gets bored easily and LOVES to be played with constantly, which can be pretty exhausting to do all day long. Thank heavens for baby carriers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In December

Behold! A post not entirely about babies!

In my middle school chorus years ago we sang this sweet song called "In December" for one of our Christmas concerts. Of course, it's one of those pieces only written for such choirs so I can't find it anywhere to hear it, it's only in my head. But for some reason I've never forgotten it and think of it every year. The last line of the chorus goes, "In December, we remember all the joy that love can bring." Because it has been stuck in my head for a week, it's message has also been stuck in my head.

I love this time of year. I love how it brings families, friends, and even strangers together. I love how we turn our attention and our lives more fully to the Savior. I love driving around after dark admiring the Christmas lights everywhere and thinking how it symbolizes that He is the Light and the Life of the world; how His love lights up the darkness. That's the joy the song was talking about.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I Wish I'd Known Before Becoming a Mom

I can't help but recount some of the lessons I've learned in the last few weeks. My days are defined by new lessons, so I love to share the knowledge.

1. Manna from heaven on all the confusion that is breastfeeding. Feeding Alexis was surprisingly easy and enjoyable from day 1, but we've hit a few speed bumps along the way that I'm so grateful to have resources for.
2. You never know what ideologies, methods, or tactics you may completely embrace that you didn't expect to, so keep an open mind. For me, co-sleeping to some extent has been a lifesaver. I never would have guessed that before she came.
3. Purple crying is the pits. Sometimes babies just cry, and hard as it is to hear it, especially when you've tried everything and feel guilty for not doing more, it's ok. Alexis had one night this week where nothing we did calmed her down and we finally had to walk away and let her cry it out, because it was 3am and we were going to collapse. I probably cried almost as much as she did, but the next morning? Happy as a clam and cooing away at us. Babies are resilient.
4. You can never judge another parent. You never know what issues they or their children are dealing with. I'm impressed by the sacrifice of any parent that's capable of feeding, sheltering, and just keeping their child alive to see adulthood.

and finally... 5. you will figure it out. I remember thinking that first week home how impossible it seemed to care for a newborn and do ANYTHING else after my mom left and how scared I was to have to do it. And guess what? When she left, somehow I figured it out. I'm still figuring it out, but every day is progress.

The poor thing has already suffered through her first cold, sniffling, rattling cough, sore throat (we think) and all. She is resilient as well as strong, stubborn, and very intelligent. It's amazing how much individuality and identity there is in such a little person. No doubt she was her own person long before she joined us here on Earth. I guess that's the last lesson: never forget that they are first a precious child of God and you will always have His help in raising them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The One-Armed Life

 Rocking the wet hair. No point in hiding reality from you.
I think I'm getting the hang of this mom thing. I think, no matter how much advice you hear, it comes down to just figuring it out yourself - like driving stick-shift or leaning to water-ski. The trick is to do it.

Some days are easier than others, though I've managed to shower, get dressed, and even put on a little makeup every day this week before noon. I hear that's pretty good progress for having a child this age and it certainly helps me feel more human. Getting work done is a different story, though, as I really have a hard time staying focused while she's awake, not to mention typing with one hand is a little challenging. Then, when she finally does go down, I'm left with a very short window during which I can do anything else, including pick up, make myself lunch, or catch up on sleep. Amazing how I can stay inside all day and still not have enough time in the day.

BUT.......look at that sweet face. How could she not be worth it? (A sample of her newborn photos, courtesy of my friend Monica. I can't wait to get the rest!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

This is Piglet

 She's already a week old, and thus far she has truly lived up to her name. She has the chubby face, eating habits, and adorable squeal to prove it. Oh, and she's in pink a whole lot. :)
She also responds to: Squeakers, Princess Fusser-Face,
Dollie, and of course, Miss Lexie. (Maybe I should add Zombie-Maker to that list).
Nights are long, but she really is such a good baby. Also, blessings upon the head of my mother who has been with us helping out since she was born, doing our laundry, making dinner, taking Alexis so I can shower, and so much more. I remind myself that this is the same woman who 24+ years ago was the one nursing, swaddling, changing, and rocking me. Every day I learn more just how noble the calling of Motherhood is.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Legends are Born in October

And as we had hoped, so was our baby girl, Alexis Leigh Shannon. She came on Halloween, of all days, so not only will our little pumpkin always have a fun birthday every year, she will share it with her uncle Ross. I'm thrilled to continue the tradition.

Since you all want details, here's how it went down:

Saturday night the 29th was a terrible night of sleep with cramping all night long, which up to that point was pretty typical for me. But then I woke up Sunday morning and noticed that the cramps weren't going away - they were getting worse. After about 30 minutes I noticed that they were about 10 minutes apart. For the first time all month they were regular, which could mean only one thing: real labor. Yay! Also, hurray for no induction! I'm so proud of my body for doing it's job!

I woke Sam to tell him that I didn't think we were going to be teaching a lesson at church today, because I was about 90% sure I was in labor. I took the morning to rest a bit and start timing them more, taking every opportunity between contractions to finish picking up the house, packing the bag, showering and even drying my hair. I have to say, at that point they weren't too painful and for awhile I thought that maybe labor wouldn't be so bad after all.What wishful thinking.

Around 4pm they were about 4-6 minutes apart, but as I mentioned still not that painful, and we hopefully jaunted off to the hospital while still in pretty good spirits. We were there about an hour and a half before they finally determined that I hadn't progressed AT ALL since my last prenatal appointment and sent us home. I was devastated thinking this might be a really really long labor. Ironically it was at the hospital that the contractions really started picking up and getting harder and harder to talk through. By the time we got home around 7 they were 3-5 minutes apart and right about the level they should be when most folks leave for the hospital. We were so afraid of being sent away again for lack of progress that we hung around until midnight, trying a warm shower, massage, different positions, anything to keep my mind off the increasing back labor.

We were back to the hospital at 12:30am, but this time the contractions were so bad in my back that it felt like someone was driving an industrial drill through it. I was near hyperventilating through them and it took several nurses and Sam by my side to remind me to breathe. My wonderful midwife evaluated me, and even though she was really hesitant to admit us since I had only progressed one more centimeter since the last time we had come, she felt that my pain was too much to be making my labor effective and that an epidural to help me rest through them and might actually speed things along. She was right. And so is everyone who's ever had one - they are a miracle.

It took until 3:30am to get it going, break my water, and get us settled, but from that point we were finally able to rest, and within 2 hours I was at 7cm. 2 hours later I was at a 9, and a 10 an hour after that. Thank heavens for modern medicine, because it really made the second half of labor a breeze.There was a 30 minute period in the last hour before we started pushing when the epidural wore off in one spot and my back was in intense pain again. It didn't quite fade all the way, which made pushing rather uncomfortable, so I was bound and determined to get her out quick.
After an hour of pushing, she was born and was immediately checked by a respiratory specialist since they had found some meconium in the amniotic fluid, but thankfully she was alright and didn't need any special treatment. I was so dizzy and tired after pushing that I was in sort of a trance and it felt a bit like an out of body experience, but it didn't change how amazing it was to bring her into the world. They placed her on my chest and I will never forget that moment of looking into her eyes for the first time. That and watching Sam hold her for the first time.

She's a good little chunk at almost 9 lbs. and was 20.5 inches long, but she's a wonderful eater and breastfeeding has been second nature for her since the moment she was born. We're both recovering well and adjusting to this new life as the three of us.We are so blessed. I am so in love with my little family.

 Just minutes old.
 Daddy's little girl
 Mommy and Alexis
We love our little "Eskimo Baby"
Bundled up and getting ready to go home
 More pictures and adorable videos to come. . . once I get a spare moment. ;)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Big 4-0

Hi there. Yep, still here. But not for long! Thank heavens for long tests at the doctor to let me hear and see my little one, and to post her eviction notice. Non-stress test and growth ultrasound were in order today. Blood pressure is still high, but not surprising after a month of mild contractions. We're both doing great, though, and baby girl is going to be a tall one! 98% percentile for her length. No wonder her little feet haven't moved from my side for months, they're too long to fit anymore!

So if I'm not in labor by this weekend, I'll go back for more tests on Monday (Halloween!) and have a firm induction date of Nov. 2nd. Still hoping for an October birthday, but we'll see how stubborn she decides to be.

In classy Myspace self-portrait style, here's our last shot together as one entity.
 6 days or less until we can hold her in our arms. Hurry out, little baby! We can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Still Waiting

Sorry my posts are kind of one-note these days. You know that feeling when you've run out of excitement? How you spend so much energy anticipating Christmas coming all year that by Christmas Eve you're sort of spent and almost numb to the reality of it? I think I'm at that point. I feel like it's never going to end at that I might as well give up being excited too, because I just don't have the energy for it anymore. It's a weird feeling. 

I think it goes without saying that there's still nothing to report. I had some pretty painful contractions off and on last week, but they've mostly subsided now. Why things would slow down at this point is beyond me. I'm still measuring ahead and on track for an Oct. 22nd due date, but I'm still in the record books as Oct. 29th, meaning that if she's stubborn and doesn't want to come, I wouldn't be induced for another 3 WEEKS!! Oh boy. On the agenda this week: get in 20 hours of work, finish her costume, and walk as far as my little swollen feet will allow me. Anyone know where I can get my hands on some castor oil?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I love when Sam says things to me like, "I hope you're ok with no longer being the only girl in my life."

Or when he goes first to my tummy instead of hugging all of me so he can love on his little girl.

Or when he whispers sweet little things to her in French that I don't fully understand.

Or how excited he gets to hold her, to fuss over her, and to have her here.

I've never been so happy to be replaced. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Home-Body & Halloween Stuff

So this week began my "Maternity Leave" or my first few days transitioning to work outside the office. I plan to continue working from home until my due date and then pick it back up at least part time once the baby comes. It's amazing that it has worked out in such a way that I can work from home. I am extremely grateful for my co-workers, modern technology, and God's hand for this.

It feels good to be needed, but it does make me feel guilty for leaving. I know that's silly, I'm pregnant, like due in a week and half pregnant, but it's hard to shake that lazy feeling since full-time work has been my life for the last almost two years.

All this being said, I'm so grateful that my to-do list is basically a to-done list, and aside from work, my days consist of keeping the house VERY clean, actually making homemade dinners again, getting some walking in, some reading in, and working on some fun crafty stuff that I never seemed to have the time for until now. It's pretty nice, I'm not going to lie. Some projects I'm working on:

- Alexis' Halloween costume. More on that this week. Just you wait....
- Finding a Lumina pumpkin to paint (or just a regular pumpkin painted white). I'm digging the spiderweb pumpkin that looks like it could be done with a permanent marker.
 - Making one of these. Looks pretty easy and I'm game for any simple Halloween decor.
 - Hanging rope spiderweb on the back deck.

The biggest thing on the agenda: being patient. I'm now officially full-term by whichever due date you go by. I've been in sort of a false labor for over a week now and have progressed a lot as of my last appointment. The same will probably be true this week. I just wonder how long this can go on before the real thing hits.

et viola - 38.5 weeks. Could I get any bigger? (Please don't answer that)


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I can't say that lately I've had the ridiculous urge to clean and organize my house....because I ALWAYS have the ridiculous urge to clean and organize my house. I'm kind of a freak about it. if I went through a pregnancy version of it at any point, I didn't notice.

But the last few days I've definitely been feeling a mental nesting, if you will. Like a sort of urgency make sure everything on my to-do list is ready and that all my plans are in place before time runs out:

- pre-register at the hospital
- make sure all my office work is moved to my home computer and all maternity leave assignments have been delegated and reviewed
- decorate for Halloween
- get my manicure and pedicure scheduled for this week (so excited!!)
- go on a nice date with Sam
- have at least a few days at home sans work to read, rest up, go for walks, do a final deep cleaning of the apartment, etc. 

I think if she wanted to come next week or later, I would be totally fine. That would give me a few days grace period to accomplish all the above. But strange as it sounds this far along, I hope it's not sooner. What am I saying?? Watch me go into labor tonight.... or not.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What a Weekend

I love to see the temple, I'm definitely going here someday.

When this happened, it was evident to me that the Provo Tabernacle was a sacred and special place. I can't wait to see it as Provo's SECOND temple. Tears accompanied this announcement, you can be sure.

Some other highlights from General Conference:

- I shouldn't feel ashamed or guilty about starting our family before we have a house, a solid career, or other "prerequisites" that the world tells me we need, because I remember now why I felt like this was the right thing for us. We're making a righteous choice and it's ok that we don't have a "fancy nursery or a designer crib" as Elder Andersen put it so well. Even the Savior himself came into the world in a lowly stable. Little Alexis will start with more than that. She will of course have all her needs met, an eternal family to be welcomed into, and all the love in the world. Really, what else matters?

- Being busy does not necessarily equate to being productive. Am I spending my precious time (that I seem to use up so quickly every day) on that which matters most? Food for thought.

-  "It's better to look up." - President Monson. What a clever, eternally cheerful, and inspired man to give us all such great advice when we want to hang our heads.

Really, I just loved all of it. Can't wait for more tomorrow. Conference, fall coming, baby coming. Seriously, could October be a better month?!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ready or Not

It's finally fall. The season I've been anxiously anticipating for about, oh, 8 or 9 months now. And you know what? I'm SO EXCITED to meet my baby girl! Sure I'm fat, tired, uncomfortable, and life is scary and changing fast, but it also feels like anticipating Christmas morning. Why didn't anyone tell me that part about pregnancy? How excited you get to meet your baby? Seriously, no one talks about it. Everyone focuses on how horrible the end of pregnancy is, but it does end and you get a precious little child out of it, so who cares!

My fall centerpiece (and almost empty cake stand that until recently held yummy pumpkin muffins. You'll just have to take my word for it; they were good). Underneath the green, all the leaves are turning yellow and the days keep feeling more crisp. I love it! What a delightful season to enter the world for baby girl. I know her Uncle Ross would love her to come on his birthday and be a little ghoul like him. I'm more than ok with keeping the Halloween birthday tradition alive. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Brother the Hero

Pictures stolen from Facebook. Thanks, Ross, you had a boat-load to choose from.
Today my baby brother officially become a missionary. He's off to serve for 2 whole years in Concepion, Chile, and I couldn't be more proud of him. He will learn to speak fluent Spanish, teach the Gospel, become immersed in the people and their service, and will surely change some lives, no doubt including his own.

Ross and I have always shared a weird special connection. I don't know what it is, but I have always felt like he's a little older than he really is and somehow on my same plane. Call us "kindred spirits". Our 5 year age difference never slowed us down growing up, all the way through my high school years, and even when I came back for the summer during 3 years of college. When he came out to BYU for his freshman year, we got to relive that just a little bit and I'm so grateful for it.
Ross is one of those anomalies among us. He's a talented musician and composer, actor, filmmaker, scholar, dancer, free-runner, writer, snowboarder, drummer, budding chef, pianist, swimmer, and a spiritual giant.
Heck, he's basically good at everything he touches -
 like Midas.
He's also a goofball,
 and a philosopher,
 a comedian, 
an adventurer, 
a true friend,
and now, missionary.
Boy, I just read this through one more time and lost it. In case you didn't know, I kinda love this kid. And will miss him like crazy. I've done the waiting-for-a-missionary thing before, I know I can do it again. (Except this time we're already an eternal family, so that really helps.)

God speed, Elder Wilcox. Use your Midas touch on the Lord's work in Chile.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Love Letter to September

I love your hazy sunlight and cool morning air as the heat begins to fade.

I love your wild sunflowers blooming all over the hillside and golden mums that start to make their appearance.

I love your harvest markets, country fairs, and football games.

I love that feeling of Halloween on the horizon (and I'm stoked to decorate for it).

I love the way you welcome in fall while gracefully sending summer on its way for another year.

You sure love beginnings and ends, little transition month. You do a great job of it. If only you could do what life in August failed to do and calm down a bit!

Thankfully, the fast pace means the end of pregnancy is near and my little one will be here in one month! Here we are at 34 weeks:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 10 Years Later

10 years ago today, I remember sitting at my lunch table as a high school freshman and hearing rumors of an American plane being hijacked...and that was all we knew. Understandably, censorship was high that day at our school filled with students who were kids of Delta Airlines employees. Whispers circulated all day until one brave teacher in 6th period finally ended class early to explain the whole situation. I remember how panicked he was, especially as he drew the Twin Towers on the whiteboard and dramatically wiped them away to show that they had been destroyed.

I remember coming home and seeing the footage for the first time on the news. I watched as the planes hit and then the towers fall over and over again on every single channel. I remember we ate spaghetti for dinner and Sister Purdy cancelled Mutual that night. Little details like that still stick for me. I remember the fear and uncertainty that gripped the nation, even my own parents, as we contemplated the threat of further attack and going to war. It felt like the world was ending.

Then I remember the patriotism and faith that was rekindled in everyone following the attacks; how every home flew an American flag the next day and the morning Pledge of Allegiance/moment of silence held profound significance for the first time.

To this day I'm amazed that people would question "Why would God let something like this happen?" when it was a blessing in disguise for a nation on the brink of completely losing faith. It united us like never before, to each other and to our God. I think sometimes we have those same thoughts when we face our own personal tragedies, but the answer is the same.

I could go on and on about it, but I this is one of my favorite videos that summarizes those same thoughts. I'm sort of on a Mormon Messages high right now. :)

Friday, September 9, 2011


Just a few of the bunny things baby girl has inadvertently collected. 
I see a theme here and love it.
My inspiration: 
It has opened the floodgates of creativity for her room (when we move and have a room for her, that is) and all the fun projects that go along with it: making shabby chic bunting from fabric scraps, collecting stuffed bunnies, finding deals on Beatrix Potter books and an old tea set. She really only has the basics and not even a real nursery, so I'm entitled to some cute touches, right? (Meanwhile, let's not get into the fact that she won't know, care about, or remember what it looks like and that it's all for me.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So Long, Sweet Summer.

Taking  a much-needed day off today. My eyes were so red and puffy this morning when I woke up that I could barely keep them open. Oh, and the backaches. Hurts all day unless I'm lying down. I think I've been pushing myself so much lately with everything that my body finally said "NO!"

As a follow up to my latest post, we're doing much better. Just a lot of stress all at once with new job, start of classes, broken down car, baby on the way, every possible thing backing up and breaking down in our apartment at once, unexpected bills, late nights trying to get it all done, all that fun stuff. But blessings always follow trials if you have faith and remain faithful through them.

On that note, Sam started his LAST semester of his undergraduate career this week! This is very exciting and relieving at the same time. We're glad to finally be moving on with life. The sad thing about it is it also means summer is over, and I'm always sad to see it go. It's been a pretty good one this year and I'm glad we've been able to fit so much in. Not to mention the weather, which has been rather pleasant overall.

Just getting ready for fall now. I swear each day the mornings get just a little bit cooler and I can't wait to see the leaves start changing on the mountains. And hang my fall wreath. And make pumpkin muffins. And wear long-sleeve shirts. And break out my vanilla and fall spice Scentsy bricks. And get ready for Halloween. And get ready for the baby NEXT MONTH! Yikes!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

There's a Talk for That

Having a rough week. I mean truly horrible. A lot of bad days, major expenses, stresses, setbacks, and the like. That's why I love the Mormon Messages on YouTube. No matter what you face or how overwhelmed you feel, there is a message meant for you that's free and will uplift the soul. Try finding an iphone app that can do that. (Actually, there might be one. Anyone know?)

One of my favorites from a dear former Apostle:

Monday, August 22, 2011

3 Years Strong

To my Samuel,

 I love you, best friend.
We've had 3 fantastic years of you and me.
I can't wait for little Alexis to join the fun.

We're planning a nice dinner to our favorite La Jolla Groves tonight and maybe a free night at Sundance this weekend if anything is open (love the perks of the job). 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dear Baby

Sorry for all the chocolate I eat. It's probably not good for you. I bet you wish you got more vegetables. You won't feel that way forever, so I should probably relish it while I can. Tell you what, I'll do that if you move the hand (or foot or elbow or whatever it is) away from my bladder.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dog Days

This is a very random post.

Here we are in the last month of summer. How did that happen? Also, it has gotten very hot lately. Thank goodness it's not also very humid or the nights would be miserable.

Sam and I subbed for the 3 year-old class at church today and survived. It's funny that I was so worried about the lesson plan, when really it was 40 minutes of coloring with teaching the lesson of "Heavenly Father is happy when we learn to say 'I'm sorry' and 'I forgive'" in tiny doses. It applied well when a few colors were stolen from the crayon pile. They were pretty cute and surprisingly understanding. In 3 years it will be our baby running out of class to show us her drawings and the new Primary hymn she learned.

But right now she's moving into my sides and my ribs, and for the first time it's starting to hurt. I think she's finally running out of room.

I took a surprisingly comfortable 3 hour nap today. No shame.

Med school applications have me on edge lately and I'm not even the one applying! In so many ways, I'm just trying to get through this month.

Nothing like starting the "longest" trimester in the dog days of summer.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Home Stretch

I can't believe I'm into my 3rd trimester! Didn't I just find out I was pregnant yesterday? Sometimes it feels like I've been pregnant forever, and other times I can't believe how fast this is going.
I brought back a bunch of adorable, loaned maternity clothes (THANK YOU Jennifer!) from the trip and spent Monday storing away everything that no longer fits. I mean it, everything: shirts, skirts, pants, dresses, you name it. I'll put them back for motivation after she comes, but until then I love being able to to walk to my closet and know that I can wear anything in it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back from Vacation: Part 2

After an already packed weekend, we left for the beach on Saturday morning. We had torrential rain all the way down, which was both unusual and sort of depressing, plus rain all day Sunday, but the sky cleared and we had gorgeous weather for the rest of the week.
  Thanks to my sister, I did have a maternity swimsuit to wear.
While still in manuscript form, my mom's book has been bound into several copies, so just about all of us spent the week reading through and doing lots of discussing. Let me tell you, it is a fantastic story.

We did a lot of fighting over this little one too.
There's no denying that she was the center of attention this year!
Why yes, those are burgers the size of a man's head! Ross and Sam decided this was the year to challenge a Jetty Giant each. I'll spare you the gory details, but here's how it went down:
Feeling motivated. 
Making progress.
Slowing way down.
The cold sting of defeat. After the one hour time limit, they managed to finish all but the bun (which was actually a whole loaf of bread).
But they made up for it by digging an enormous tunnel...
..and then crawling through it...
...and destroying it.
There were also movies, card games, ice cream nights, more reading, relaxing at the pool, dinner out at our favorite beach-side and harbor-side restaurants, playing with kiddos, sunset walks on the beach - basically perfection.

Last night at the beach.
Goodbye until next year!
After getting back to Georgia, we had dinner with Sam's family and older brother who was back in town from the Middle East, then were lulled to sleep that night by the sweet sound of cicadas and crickets outside our bedroom window.

I was NOT happy to leave. In fact, I may or may not have had an emotional breakdown as our plane took off for Utah. Every year it just gets harder. I want so much to live near family and call the South my home again.

Also, flying is terrible now. The ugly truth about air travel while pregnant: 
Ankles become nonexistent.

After getting a surprise work holiday today for Pioneer Day, I've been happily unpacking lots of adorable baby things and loaned maternity clothes and looking forward to the fall. Since I have her arrival to look forward to and prepare for, it makes the slow end of summer so much easier.