Weeks 28 & 29 ~ December 18 - 31, 2005
~ Pre-Christmas/Post-Christmas Madness
Har har har, I am officially into my third trimester!
I've heard that this can be the toughest trimester, with all the physical discomforts, anxiety of getting ready for labour, etc., but I almost don't care! We're getting closer to the home stretch, and I just want this thing done! I want Aaron and Charlie and I to all be at home together, safe and healthy, watching TV and resuming life as normal. Only a few quick months to go, hurrah!
Well, I managed to make it through my gestational diabetes testing without too much drama. Of course, it was a miserable experience, but we have to do what we have to do. The appointment was first thing in the morning, so after fasting since dinner the night before, I was not just tired, but hungry and cranky too. They brought me out my glucose drink, and then left me to down it, and wait for it to work into my system. The first sip of the stuff isn't so bad, and I was thinking, "why does everyone make such a big deal about it?" Well, that was just the FIRST sip. As I worked my way through the cup of awfulness, the full sugary sweetness of it began to take its toll. My empty stomach did not like it at all, and by the time I had finished the cup, my eyes were watering, and I was shaking a little bit from sheer repulsion. That accomplished however without too much gagging or throwing up on the waiting room floor, I sat with my boring magazine and waited. And waited. And waited. Now, I know that we all go through the same long wait, but still, I want to complain! It's the first appointment of mine that Aaron's ever missed (he's working super late with the holiday rush, and doesn't even get to bed until almost 6 in the morning these days), and without him there to comfort me, the blood-sucking needles were looming heavily on my mind. I was finally called back, and tried to mentally reassure myself that the last time I gave blood, it was hardly terrible at all. However, as it always works out for the people who are most nervous about it, the bloodletting did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. They tried and tried, but couldn't find a good enough vein. Apparently, they're all very thin, and deep. They stabbed me here, stabbed me there, and finally called in a specialist who ended up taking blood from the top of my hand. Yeeouch! But, it's done now, so here's hoping I won't have any more needling up until Charlie's birthday.
The pregnancy has really been taking its toll on my Christmas preparations this year. Every season I go through the same thing, with the insane cleaning and last-minute gift buying, but wowee, it's amazing how much the little guy in my tummy (plus the 785,000+ lb. weight gain) can wear you down. I've been cleaning the house so that any and all visiting friends will be bowled over by my mad domestic skills. Our bedroom, the last room to be completely unpacked and decorated, is now finished, and this time I will admit openly that it is rather on the girly side of things (oops, sorry Aaron), but there's no time to change it now! The baby's room/storage hell, which was just starting to come together, is now a total wreck again, filled to the brim with Christmas storage insanity. However, the tree is up, the designer cinnamon candles are lit, and all the small finishing details that I can think of are taken care of. Aaron has been warned that we are living under a Clean House Advisory until further notice, so he is not to touch or move anything until after the New Year! Any and all dishes left in the sink will be taken as grounds for full-on war. Not that he has time to leave any dishes in the sink, with me always right there, following him around with a sponge in hand, ready to clean. Extreme? The laid-back 24 year old in me might agree with you that it's a little overboard, yes, but then the Texan in me resumes mind-control and off I go again to make sure all the towels are straight!
Scrubbing the house, as fate would have it, turned out to be a far more enjoyable task for Pregnant Jennifer than the other thing on my holiday to-do list: shopping. Now, I love shopping, I even love Christmas shopping, with all the throngs of people, believe it or not. However, I have discovered that extended shopping sprees + baby do not mix well. Aaron and I went out on a brave trek a week before Christmas to find gifts for all his family members. He had assured me that he had lists and registries of what everyone wanted, but as it turns out, he was lying! We spent hours circling the mall, Target, all over the place, and found nothing. By the time we got home again that night, my back was killing me from standing so long on the hard floors. Repeat the whole process two days later (albeit with success this time), plus all the cleaning I had to do and all the presents I had to wrap, well, we did not have a happy girl, let me tell you. The chores were endless, I felt absolutely miserable, but I persevered, and somehow it all got done.
Sweet! Bring on the guests!
With all of the work out of the way, it's finally time to let myself be really excited about seeing all of my visiting friends again. Post-college is so weird, because everyone you've known and seen consistently for all this time suddenly moves on. You're still friends, you still know each other better than anyone else does, but you don't get to SEE them and it's just not the same. For a couple of weeks, I'm going to have a great college reunion with some of my best friends ever - Yarrow and her husband Eric, Shawn, and Bree. Woohoo! Uh oh, that reminds me… I never ordered Y & E's Christmas present! Gah!
And now, with all the hoopla of friends coming into town, excitement over people I haven't seen in months, let me take a minute to regroup and recognize all those loyal friends who are local, and I can see on a regular basis. This is a little something I like to call the Ode to Taylor (because she guilt-tripped me!): Feel not overlooked! You are daily in my thoughts. How could you not be, a friend as precious as you (a.k.a. I can't escape you because you're local)? When the time comes to bring Charlie into the world, you will be called first to come join in the celebration, my trusty friend. Oh Taylor, how can I count the ways to say… come the heck over to my house and get your Christmas present already! It's taking up space, and it's not like YOU live in Indiana! Sheesh!
Ok, now back to the regularly scheduled pregnancy ramblings.
The last pre-Christmas thing worth noting is that Aaron has gone all weird about my Christmas present, and I'm highly suspicious of all his sneaking about. There is some serious espionage going on in my house these days, and I don't like it one little bit! Long phone calls, whispered conversations, and little notes he writes to himself on pieces of paper that he won't let me see… When I ask him about it, he gets all shifty, and says something along the lines of, "it's nooothing… just your Christmas present!" and runs out of the room like a lunatic before I can press him further. Tricky, tricky, that Aaron, always tormenting me. The thing is, he's already had my present wrapped for a while now, but apparently there's something new and secret in the works. I guess all I can do is wait and see…
Quick update: The house is still clean, my back still hurts, but it was worth it, and yes, I did get the present I had forgotten to order for Yarrow and Eric taken care of. Phew!
Well, Christmas 2005 is over with now, and man, am I glad! Not that we didn't have a great time, but I have never been so exhausted in my entire life! I have apparently grown far too pregnant to have several days of sheer fun in a row, and need to be able to nap extensively between them. How pathetic!
Christmas Eve was spent with my family, and we did our traditional Christmas Eve routine; afternoon movie (Chronicles of Narnia), after which we come home to be lazy for awhile, snacking on crackers and dip. Then in the evening was our annual pinto beans/sausage/tamales Christmas Eve dinner, followed by each of "the kids" getting to open one present before we had dessert (homemade cheesecake, mmm!) and went to the late mass. The Christmas vigil mass is my very favourite of the whole year, but this year I could hardly stay awake to enjoy it! Even our lazy day of food and movies (and spying on Aaron as he made another of his mysterious Christmas present-related phone calls) was too much excitement for poor little me!
After mass, Aaron and I went home to open up our presents to each other before bed. I had given him the new Talking Heads box set, "Brick," which includes all 8 albums completely digitally remastered, and on the flip side of each one is a DVD with additional special material. 8 CDs and 8 DVDs in one box, not too shabby. Aaron's present to me was the Michael Jackson portfolio, with 5 CDs of remastered music and bonus tracks, plus a DVD with additional special footage - gee, do we think alike, or what? My super secret other present, however, hadn't arrived yet as had just been shipped from Tennessee the day before. Aha, a hint! Tennessee is where his mother lives, and works at a jewelry store! Hmmm, more waiting, more waiting… Presents done, we went to bed early (after I fell asleep and snored through March of the Penguins), aware that we had a very long day ahead of us.
Up early on Christmas morning, we got dressed and drove back over to my parents' house for presents and Christmas brunch. We had pancakes (special coconut pancakes for me, delicious!), sausage, bacon and hashbrowns, with eggnog flavoured coffee to set the mood. Afterwards we all opened our stockings and presents together. Aaron made off with lots of tools, and a very nice new wool coat, among other things. I'm very happy with a gorgeous new bolster pillow for the new bed we'll be getting, as well as the Twin Peaks DVDs, and a gift certificate to the Aveda store to buy myself some luxurious facial products, mm. My dad gave my mom a diamond ring, which surprised and pleased her so much that it made her cry. Of course, that immediately set me off crying as well, so then we were both crying and hugging our respective partners while my poor grumpy brother Tony grumbled about who was next to open a present! Once we had finished with everything, we were all very satisfied, warm and fuzzy, etc., and Aaron and I had to scamper off again to get ready for Christmas with his family.
We drove back home to pack up, and I remembered that we hadn't yet opened our stockings. Late to leave already, we stopped packing anyway and sat down to do that, as we couldn't leave without doing Christmas stockings with our cats (yes, they have their own stocking)! The pair of them got a bag of kitty treats each, and a new Santa toy to chase around. My stocking had in it the expensive Brilliant Brunette shampoo and conditioner that I won't buy for myself even though I love it. Aaron got the elusive "I Love Daddy" bib that he had so griped about never being able to find for Charlie, which probably thrilled him more than any of his other gifts combined - he's such a daddy already! Finally, with everything done, we threw all of our things in the car, and headed off to Denver… and we only forgot and had to come back for one thing! Pretty good considering everything!
We made it into Denver in pretty good time, and headed straight for our hotel to check in before continuing on to his sister's house. We got to our room, freshened up, changed clothes, and then headed back out. After all the morning's activities, we were only 45 minutes later than we had hoped (a miracle), and arrived just as they were starting to slice the ham. We were ushered in by his younger sister Courtney, and sat down at the table, completely unaware of the chaos that was about to ensue. All my life, Christmas has always been just myself and my family, four people total, with, vary rarely, the occasional random grandpa thrown in. There were nine people at this dinner table, including two little boys. Everyone gabbed with each other, the boys played with their food, and I just watched in awe of this whole new family dynamic. We then moved on to open presents, which was an even more insane experience than dinner. The living room floor literally was completely covered with torn wrapping and toys, from the boy's Christmas morning. We all settled in haphazardly wherever there was space, and Jennifer (A's sister, not me) started handing out gifts. Not only were there just copious amounts gifts for everyone, but instead of taking turns, everyone just dug in at once. If you can image, there was paper flying all over the place, and everyone was talking over each other, oohing and aahing and thank you-ing. Aaron and I got a lot of things for the baby, including an adorable storage cart, which we desperately need. The boys literally had so many Christmas presents that they got tired of opening things, and when we stopped, there were still quite a bit more than a few boxes left to be unwrapped later. When all was said and done, it was only 7:30, and I was exhausted! Aaron and I waded through the wrapping carnage, hugged everyone, said our goodbyes, and headed back to the hotel.
All I can say is thank God we had opted to stay over in Denver rather than drive the hour and a half back home, we were so tired. I suggested we stop at a grocery store to pick up a few snacky things, as I knew we'd be mildly hungry again in an hour or so, and stupidly hadn't thought to bring any Christmas cookies with us for the journey. However, even WalMart was closed (!), and we had to settle for take-out appetizers from the Denny's next to our hotel. An hour's wait for our fries and onion rings later; we finally were back in our room, and able to relax. Comfy in our jammies, we rented an exorbitant pay-per-view movie from the hotel new release movie library ($13!!! Madness!!!), and then hit the hay.
The next day we got up, checked out, had lunch, then drove home to vigilantly clean the house again, and then settle down early to get ready for work the next day. No rest for the wicked . . .
However, with another short workweek ahead of me, friends still in town, and a New Year's Eve party this weekend, I somehow think that we won't be getting too much relaxing in any time soon!
And lastly, and update on exactly what it is that Aaron's been so sneaky about for the past couple of weeks, for those of you who were waiting on the edge of your seat for further evidence of how spoiled I am. I got home from work last night, and there were two wrapped jewelry boxes sitting on the coffee table. Aha! I was right, it's jewelry! However, there was also a note from Aaron telling me that I was NOT allowed to open anything until he was there to watch. That creep! So I had to spend my entire evening eyeballing the boxes, suffering in suspense until he got home! I even called my mom, and she offered the idea of steaming the tape so we could slide the boxes out, but no luck, they were also tied with ribbon, ha! So, at long last, when he came in around 2:45 in the morning, I burst out of bed and asked if I could finally open my presents. We sat down together on the couch, and he watched as I opened the long box first. That, as it turns out, was my Christmas present from his mother, a necklace. I opened the other box, the one from him, and there was a pair of long, dangly blue pearl earrings, which are gorgeous, and best of all, a silver floating heart necklace. Aaron told me that the pendant on my heart necklace was custom designed for me, per his specifications, because he didn't think they had any existing necklaces that would be perfect. So now I have my very own, Jennifer-only, custom made, floating heart within a heart necklace that I absolutely love, made all the more special because it's all Aaron just for me.
So, all told, a very excellent Christmas 2005!