Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Kindness of Others

I have an incredible family. I love them all dearly, but from afar... I am on one edge of the country, and they are about 3,000 miles away on the other side. Google maps will tell you that you can make the trek from my town to theirs in one day and twenty-two hours, but I'm pretty sure that's only accurate if you're carpooling with a robot that doesn't need to take breaks to eat or sleep. Point is, they're super duper far away. While modern conveniences like Facebook and texting and cell phone calls help keep us all in touch, it's not the same as having them here, in my neighborhood, available to pop over at any time. Especially not when you're about to birth a baby.

I also have incredible friends. Friends that are so kind and supportive that you'd think they were family. Friends that do so much to show that they care, it makes you wonder what you did to deserve them. Friends that are local, that have become an adoptive family of sorts.

I am in awe of these friends, especially recently. So many people have rallied around us to show their support of our expanding brood through countless selfless acts. Throwing incredible baby showers. Coordinating meal drop offs and childcare pickups. Volunteering to spend time with me and the little one to help me heal from my c-section once Ryan has to go back to work. Offering to take Ethan - not to get him out of our hair, but to do something fun with him so that he'll know just how special and loved he is. Taking time off from work to be at the hospital when baby brother is born. They give, and give, and give, with open and sincere hearts. These amazing people are like family to me, and I appreciate them more than words could say. Asking for help is not one of my strong suits, and right now I am surrounded by people that just "do" without waiting to be asked.

Let's face it - when you get to this final stage of pregnancy, and definitely once you have a fresh little newborn at home, you may not want to ask for help, but you most certainly need it!

(And this shot is a month old, so imagine what I look like now!)

Perhaps it's the lingering scent of Thanksgiving turkey, or the holiday tunes that play in the background of sappy commercials, or the fact that my little family is about to change in such an amazing and dramatic way, but I can't stop thinking about how important it is to have a strong, supportive, loving family. Be it through birth, marriage, or friendship, the individuals that I have in my life right now have been blowing me away, and I can only hope that I am as good to them as they are to me!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had such a lovely holiday! It started with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which, as it turns out, no one in my house is interested in besides me (I know, it's absolutely un-American, but those boys of mine are total party poopers). Ethan was mildly interested when the Buzz Lightyear balloon floated by, but outside of that he was much more into playing with his wooden train tracks. And, while we're on the subject of the Macy's Parade, can we digress for a moment and talk about the fact that Newsies is now on Broadway?!?! What?!?! I was ridiculously obsessed with that movie back in the day. The performance of "King of New York" alone was enough to make watching the parade worth it. My boys don't know what they're missing.

Given that we're exactly two weeks away from meeting baby brother, I kind of cheated my way out of cooking this year. I cooked a turkey, but most of the side dishes were purchased from our local boutique supermarket already prepared. Call me crazy, but spending hours in the kitchen peeling/boiling/mashing potatoes and making complicated recipes from scratch does not jive with the big baby belly and end-of-pregnancy pains and fatigue.

We did most of the cooking preparing while Ethan was napping, but once he woke we pulled a stool up to the counter and let him "bake the bread" (roll up all of the crescent rolls and put them on the baking sheet). We set the table with "fancy" plates and real silverware, dimmed the lights, and lit candles. Music played in the background as we talked about holidays and family, and I almost burst into happy tears several times. I was too busy enjoying the moment to take any photos, which is a testament to how absolutely wonderful the evening was.

However, a Notch blog post would not be a Notch blog post without *some* pictures. As per usual, I'm horribly behind in posting (It's been over a month! Yikes!), so I have a few catching up photos cued up and ready to go.

Here's Ethan as a scary green dinosaur (don't let that goofy grin fool you - he's a vicious beast).

He began asking for a dinosaur costume back in August, I broke down and bought it for him in September, and he intermittently wore it around the house all through October. We got some serious mileage out of that zip up dinosaur suit.

While this was taken with an iPhone camera in my office, and not with one of Ryan's fancy cameras in just-the-right setting, I figured I should post it anyway. This year for Halloween I dressed up as Mother Nature (ba dum ching!). My amazing friend Stacie spent hours with me coming up with the concept and making the skirt and headpiece. I also wore it to Ryan's office Halloween party and when we took Ethan trick-or-treating, so I suppose I got some good mileage out of this costume as well!
I will do my best to post once more before baby brother arrives - I have some recent(ish) belly shots to show you, and should do so while they're still relevant!