The Inherent Dangers of Christmas Lights and Biscuit Dough, as Covered in Section 32.b, Clause 7

Yesterday Tony and I had an appointment with our insurance agent to talk about life insurance*. Today Tony is convinced that he has almost died twice in the last few hours alone. Apparently now that we're talking policies, Death is following him around the house.

The first "deadly" occurrence occurred while putting the Christmas decorations away. Ya'll might remember that due to my delicate condition, Dad came out and hung my Christmas lights on the roof for me. (I'm sure I could have managed it just fine, but my mother promised me a slow and painful death if I so much as even thought about climbing on the roof while carrying her grandbaby). Anyway, as much fun as it has been to have the lights up, all good Christmas lights must come to an end. And it just so happened that today dawned warm and sunny, and we had the time, so it seemed to be the perfect day to remove said Christmas lights. Only Dad wasn't around. And I'm still not allowed on the roof.

So that just left Tony.

(Here's the thing you need to know about Tony. SERIOUS fear of heights. Not just that he doesn't like them, but that he won't go past about the third step on the ladder. Hold a snake? No problem. Catch a spider bare-handed? Doesn't flinch. Investigate weird noises in the middle of the night? He's a pro. But heights? Not his thing).

Now, it's one thing to be scared of something, (Lord knows you wouldn't catch me with 50 feet of a snake or a spider or potential home invaders), but I think it shows a special brand of bravery to know you have this fear and yet man up and do whatever needs to be done anyway. To take the sweats and the shakes and the paralyzing fear lodged in your throat and just grit your teeth and work through it.

Which is how Tony found himself on the roof, convinced he was about to die.

(To be fair, he was not anywhere close to dying. I go up there all the time. It's very safe. Besides, he was army crawling on his belly across a very gentle slope, a good 4 feet from the edge at all times. And even if he did manage to fall, it would only be a drop of about 10 feet, so maybe a bad sprain at the very worst).

But that is not the point.

The point is that Tony (metaphorically) looked death in the eye and very bravely said, "Not on my watch, Death!" while trying to unhook Christmas lights from the gutter without actually opening his eyes. Then he scurried back down the ladder, kissed the ground several times, and very manfully hyperventilated for the next hour. (All because I needed him to remove Christmas lights. How can I not be crazy about this guy?)

The second "near death experience" was slightly less deadly, but much more shocking. Tony was in the kitchen making Hamburger Helper for dinner while I was in the living room, messing around on this here computer. He had just pulled a tube of crescent rolls out of the fridge and had walked in to ask me something when the can very suddenly exploded in his hands. (And I'm not talking about the little pop when you unwrap it...this sounded like a gunshot going off. The entire can exploded literally, with biscuit bits flying through the air and landing on me from a good 12 feet away. Dough on couch, dough on the carpet, dough on me and was the wildest thing I've ever seen).** We just stood there in shock for a moment before Tony threw his hands up in the air and yelled "Happy New Year!" Talk about ringing in 2011 with a bang!

After several minutes of trying to extract raw dough from the carpet (hint: don't try to vacuum it up), Tony decided that this was a sign from the life insurance gods. Apparently the world is out to get us (or at least him) with bizarre and creative death threats, so he might as well fill out the forms and get them back to our insurance guy for processing post haste.

I suppose it makes sense (well, maybe not the death by biscuit threat, but the end result of getting life insurance). We all have to go sometime, right? And none of us knows when that time is coming (or how), so the least we can do is be mature about it and prepare as much as we can.

Plus that way Baby Girl will be provided for while she waits for the wrongful death suit against Pillsbury to come back.

*To make a long story about 30 year term vs universal long life coverage short, it seemed like a responsible thing to do now that Baby Girl is scheduled to make an appearance. (By the way, while the life insurance people were more than happy to cover Tony, it seems that they consider pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition. They want to wait until after the birth to sign me up. I guess it wouldn't be good business for them if I suddenly kicked it during delivery, and only after three monthly payments to boot, so they're waiting on me). Thanks for the vote of confidence, life insurance people.

**Technically, Tony likes to count the exploding biscuits as two attempts on his life. One because he was holding the can when it went off, thus subjecting him to potentially serious shrapnel dough, (can uncooked crescent roll put your eye out?) and two, the reason that the whole thing exploded in the first place was a pressurized buildup of bacteria in the dough. So even though the expiration date was fine, the biscuits were bad, and Tony is just sure that we all would have died from biscuit food poisoning given half the chance.***

*** Tony's food poisoning conspiracy aside, the cats thought that covering the living room in uncooked dough for New Year's was a great idea, and they each managed to eat several pieces off of the floor before we could shoo them out and get the rest picked up. So far, no one has exhibited any poisoned dough-related side effects.

10 weeks

I was looking at the calendar today, and it occurred to me that I probably only have about 10 weeks left of being pregnant. (I'm 27 and a half weeks now...they figure I won't get to the full 40 weeks, so 37 and a half weeks sounds pretty accurate at this point). But 10 weeks! Do you know how fast that goes?! 10 weeks is nothing! A blink of an eye! And then she'll be here and...and I'm just not sure I'm ready.

I mean, I just got used to the idea of being pregnant. I was doing okay with the doctor visits and playing set up the nursery, but I'm not sure I'm ready for this whole life-as-you-know-it-will-change-forever bit. It was a big enough adjustment just to get to this point, and this was the easy part!

I know that the whole point of all this incubating is so that she can eventually make her way out into the world, and I'd love to meet her, I really would...but at the same time, part of me wants her to stay right where she is now. I like her in here where she's all safe and easy to carry around. She takes care of all her needs automatically. I can't really screw it up. Now I have 10 weeks to figure out how to take care of a baby, and I'm not sure it's enough time. I've been so focused on the pregnancy part that it didn't really occur to me that I'd need to know stuff for when she actually gets here. And I'm not just talking about the feeding and the changing and the bathing stuff. I'm talking about the other stuff...the not as apparent stuff. The stuff I haven't even thought to ask about yet, but am still supposed to know. (I'm so in the dark that I don't even know what stuff I don't know). I'm afraid that we'll going to break her out of ignorance. I'm afraid the world will break her out of ignorance.

Plus, (and I know this is selfish of me) I kinda like having her all to myself. She's mine, and right now I don't have to share her with anyone else. All her rolls and kicks and hiccups? They're for me alone. I get her 24/7, and I never have to leave her. Like my shadow, or an invisible friend. Why should I have to share her? We already have each other.

I realize that this is exactly why no one gets a choice about when they are born. When it's time, it's time, no matter what my personal preferences are for her staying. And maybe in another couple of months I'll become big and miserable and be like those women who are all, "I CANNOT WAIT TO GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME ALREADY!", but right now?

10 weeks seems frighteningly short.

A Christmas Recap

I just wanted you to know that we have made it safely back from our Christmas travels to the Great White North (which happened to be particularly white this year with all the snow everywhere). But it was good, and we had fun, and it's always nice to see family.
  • We flew to Chicago Friday morning. I had studied up on all the "flying while pregnant" articles and advice, and had snacks, extra water, a copy of my medical records (just in case), and a note from my doctor informing anyone who asked that he had cleared me to fly. (The articles suggested this, as some airlines require a doctor's note just to make sure that you're not going to try to spontaneously give birth at 30,000 feet. I'm still three months away from my due date, but I studiously followed the advice and got my note just to be sure, which exactly no one requested to see. I was actually a little bummed).

  • Tony's parents, brother and youngest sister were all in attendance for Christmas (his other sister and niece were scheduled to arrive the day after we left), and we had a grand old time playing in the snow, attending the Christmas Eve mass and having a hearty holiday dinner at his grandmother's house. (With Christmas cookies. We can't forget Grandma's famous frosted sugar cookies. I had failed my first glucose test and wasn't scheduled to take the 3 hour one until after we returned, so I ate my body weight in Christmas cookies, just in case it would be my last chance until after the baby was born).
(Like that old saying goes, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we might be diabetic").

(Or something like that anyway).
  • They had a good 6 inches or so of snowfall while we were there, so Tony challenged his whole family to a snow ball fight in the front yard. (Well, not me, obviously. I was bundled up and assisted to a nice non-slippery spot out of firing range to observe. No hitting the pregnant lady and all that...although that didn't stop me from tossing a couple at Tony anyway, especially since he couldn't retaliate. Gotta take advantage of this baby thing any way you can, you know?).
  • Christmas presents were awesome as always, with Baby Girl making out like a bandit. (Is it fair to get Christmas presents when you aren't technically born yet? Apparently family members think yes.) She racked up dozens of cute little outfits and toys and a stuffed Tigger that is bigger than she is (at the moment anyway), all of which I'm sure she'll appreciate once she does arrive.

  • Tony had to work the following Monday, so it had to be a quick trip. We did manage to get in a nice brunch and visit with Seester and her hubby, (Stubby) back in Chicago though, so we were able to spend some time with all of the Illinois relations, quick trip or not. Then it was back to the airport, back through security, back on a plane (delayed an hour and 15 minutes, but in airport time, that's still practically considered on schedule) and back to scraping three days worth of ice and snow off the car in economy parking.
  • The cats were certainly happy that we were home. Due to the above mentioned delay, we actually didn't come stumbling in until after 11pm, but that didn't stop the cats from being significantly relieved to see us. So relieved, in fact, that we couldn't move with all the cat attention. (You know those kids who cling to your legs as you drag them from room to room? Imagine that, only smaller, furrier, and times 5). You'd think we had abandoned them for years instead of just three days. In fact, they were so excited that we were back that we were showered in homecoming gifts. That following morning, I opened my eyes to discover that I was nose to nose (beak?) with their rattiest, most chewed, best loved stuffed toy, Birdie, nestled lovingly on the pillow next to me so I would be sure to see it first thing. (In addition to a slightly slobbered on bundle of feathers and escaped stuffing, further investigation also revealed another stuffed toy (Mason's favorite) and a catnip pillow, tucked under the covers and next to my feet, respectively). I'm not sure if these were tokens to express their appreciation that we returned or bribes to keep us from leaving again, but these most beloved toys, willingly shared, were some of my favorite Christmas gifts this year.
All in all, a pretty good Christmas. We were able to spend time with family, have a white Christmas, eat good food, laugh a lot, and get back home without too much trouble. If that doesn't make a holiday a success, I don't know what does.

Snowball Fight!

Some quick pictures of the snowball fight that erupted due to all the winter precipitation in Illinois.Tony's Mom and sister with Buddy the dog, out enjoying the snow.

But what's this? Tony lurking in the background, getting ready to pelt his unsuspecting mother with a snow ball!

She loves him anyway.

No attacking the pregnant lady!

Baby Girl is safe from snow balls. (Although notice he's still "armed and dangerous").

Enough posing for pictures! The Snow Ball Warrior is on the hunt for his next target!

Here's hoping your holidays were filled with fun and laughter also!

Baby Update: Kicking Butt and Taking Names

We haven't done a baby update in a while...let's do that, shall we? I know you guys are just dying to know all about my incubating adventures.

  • So we're at 26 weeks this week, which is almost to the end of the second trimester. 2/3rds of the way through. While I'm totally psyched that we're this much closer to getting to actually meet Baby Girl, I must admit that I'm a little sad to be leaving the manna from Heaven stage that is the second trimester. I mean, the second is easily the best. The first trimester was filled with nausea and fear of miscarriage and sleeping ALL THE TIME, and the third (from what I understand) will play host to being so large you're uncomfortable, and swollen feet, and random aches and pains, and the inability to ever find a comfortable sleeping position ever again. But the second? Golden, baby. That was filled with first flutters, and finding out the sex, and really getting to watch her grow. (Not to mention the return of my appetite, increased energy, and finally having enough of a baby bump to keep the maternity pants from slipping down). Still, I guess all that pales in comparison to actually getting to meet Baby Girl and hold her in my arms, so once more into the breach, I suppose.
  • You'll be glad to know that Baby Girl is doing fine. She's a little over a pound to a pound and a half, and measures somewhere around 14" long (think the length of an English hothouse cucumber, only not as skinny, of course). When they last "weighed" her two weeks ago, she was a little on the small side weight-wise, but since her current studio apartment is also the same way, the doctors are not concerned. (Better to have a small baby in a small uterus than a big baby in a small uterus, I say). They'll measure her again next week to make sure she's growing at a constant rate, which is the important part.
  • I'd also like to report that she's an active little thing. Always moving and turning and kicking and generally making her opinions known. She used to only kick at certain times of the day, but I feel her pretty much constantly now. The only time that she's still is when my family is around, which is funny because they all love nothing more than to run over to put their hands on my belly to feel her kick, so she's deliberately quiet then, the little stinker. After 10pm seems to be her most active times (naturally), but she has recently shown an increased interest in kicking during hockey games on TV. (Tony considers this a positive sign).
  • I'm still not that large in the whole baby bump area. I mean, I measure exactly where I'm supposed to, but due to the whole long torso thing, I tend to carry more up and down than out. (The rule of thumb is that for every week along, you're supposed to measure around that in inches from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. I'm 26 weeks, and measuring 25.5", so I'm right where I need to be). I look like I'm smuggling a small volleyball under my shirt. Shorter women at 26 weeks look to be smuggling the entire volleyball team. It all depends on how big you are as the team bus, I suppose.
  • In not so awesome news, I failed my glucose test yesterday. This is the test that checks for gestational diabetes, and the way it works is they give you this sugary orange drink that takes like liquid Popsicle, and then do a blood test to make sure that you're processing the sugars the way you should. Long story short, I was supposed to be under 130, and I ended up at 179. Not so good for the whole sugar processing thing. Of course, they design that test to have a lot of false positives in order to make sure they catch all the people who really do have diabetes (I was number 10 to be tested that morning and number 4 to fail), so we won't know if I really have diabetes until next week when I take the in-depth, 4 hour, multiple-melted Popsicle and blood drawing test. (My doctor thinks I'll have at least a 75% chance of passing the second test. I don't have a history of diabetes, nor am I overweight, so he thinks I'm just one of the false positives). Just in case though, I'm eating all the sweets and candies and chocolates I want this week in case I'm not allowed to after next week. Call it sugar processing practice.
  • You'll be glad to know that other than growing another human being inside me, I'm not suffering from any other bizarre pregnancy symptoms. (I had no idea there were so many weird things that went along with pregnancy! Everything from out of control acne to exploding body hair to double vision and hemorrhoids. Ewwww! If I'd known about half of this stuff beforehand, I'd have locked myself away in a nunnery.) But you'll be glad to know that NONE of that stuff appears to be happening to me. In fact, I seem to be growing less body hair than before. (I tell you this not as a TMI, but completely in the spirit of "neener-neener, I can now go twice as long between shaving". You're welcome). In what I can only assume is a gift from the angels, my leg hair has appeared to have taken a long winter vacation. I mean, it still grows, but that growth just seemed to...slow down some, you know? Like baby-growing and hair growing required the same ingredients, and the baby-growing part snuck in and cleaned out the shelves before my personal body stock boys could restock. Which, you know, I am TOTALLY okay with. Especially since it's gotten a little hard to reach my legs anyway. But who knew that Baby Girl is my own personal internal version of Nair? Chalk one up for the kiddo.

So that's that. I am officially 152 lbs of lean, mean, baby-growing machine. With the exception of that tiny little glucose test failing incident, we are kicking butt and taking names on this whole pregnancy thing. Bring it on, third trimester!

Edited to add: You'll be happy to know that I passed the 3 hour glucose test with flying colors. Four blood draws and 4 passes. I celebrated with a pan of rice krispie treats.

A Gun is the Only Way You'd Ever Get Tony To Do A Headstand...

My mom sent me this link about awkward pregnancy photos from Pregnant Chicken, and some of them will just make you laugh until you wet yourself. (Or shoot a beverage out of your nose, depending on what you happen to be doing at the time that you click the link, and what orifice out of which you prefer to have liquid rapidly and unintentionally leave your body).

Really. Click right now. It's the perfect thing for a Monday, and you'll never look at pregnant ladies and guns (or naked guys) the same way again.

Tony, the Blahs, and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Oooooh ya'll, I had the best time yesterday. We went to the Christmas show that the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra puts on, and it was just beautiful and magical and lovely, and I just had the best time!

Of course, the day didn't start out like that. You ever just wake up in a cranky blah mood for no particular reason? Well, that was me. Color me blah. And the closest reason that I could come up with was that I needed some excitement. My previous week was blah, my errands were blah, and we had absolutely no Saturday plans, which was blah cherry on top of my blah cake.

I think you get the picture.

Now normally, Tony (being of the male persuasion and all), can be somewhat blind to my blahs. On any given Saturday, the list of items that gets Tony's attention is 1) the sporting event currently playing on TV, 2) what is available to eat in the kitchen, and 3) the upcoming sporting event that will come on after the current sporting event is concluded. Whether or not his wife is emitting deep theatrical sighs falls somewhere around 4,783 on the Tony attention-o-meter. (Unless I cry. Sudden bursting into tears gets me up into the top 5, but only for as long as it takes me to tell him what it wrong. Lack of a specific reason drops me back down to around 28...high enough to make him pat me awkwardly on the leg while I sniff uncontrollably, but not enough to actually remove his eyes from the Bears/New England game. Like I said, he's a man).

But Tony must have been on especially on his game yesterday (or else it was halftime), because he picked up on my blahs without even a sniffle to clue him. And then he did the best thing. He gave me a hug. A good long bear hug. And then the second best thing...he asked if I wanted to go to dinner and the symphony.

To which I replied, "Oh my word, you've got some kind of terminal disease you aren't telling me about, don't you?"

See, I love the symphony. Love it love it love it. But this is a small miracle in terms of how Tony is usually willing to spend his Saturday nights. And just so you understand the full and total scale of this miraculous miracle, you should know that also playing at the Civic auditorium, at the very same time, in the very same venue as a the symphony orchestra, was a hockey game. So not only was Tony willing to sit through the symphony, but he was doing it instead of watching a hockey game.

And nothing says I love you like Tony skipping the chance to see a hockey game in order to sit through Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

(In fact, I'm still not sure the terminal disease thing is entirely off the table).

But we went, and it was fabulous. I got all gussied up in my finest giant blob maternity going-to-the-symphony clothes, and we had a lovely dinner at the new hibachi Japanese place (my choice...I was jonesing for some stir fry zucchini), and then we went to the Christmas show, which not only had the orchestra, but also the Knoxville Choral Society and a ballet dance troupe.

(I know! The symphony AND ballet! Not only is he terminal, but he's probably lost the house in a poker game and isn't telling me).

But you know what? I think he liked it. Maybe not enough to get season tickets, but enough that he didn't fall asleep or sneak off to catch the hockey score during intermission. And I loved it. The music was fabulous, the singing was fabulous, the dancing actually made me cry at one point. (Happy crying though, not blah crying. Apparently pregnancy hormones REALLY enjoy the Waltz of the Flowers. Go figure.) In fact, the one and only thing I'd change was the guy with the 2 year old girl that sat next to us. Don't get me wrong. The 2 year old was perfect...she never made a peep. The man, however, sang along with the orchestra on some of the songs. I did not come to the symphony to listen to you warble along to Little Drummer Boy, sir. Especially since you do not know all of the correct words.

But other than that? Fabulous Saturday night date. My own personal Prince Charming rode in, battled the blah monster, whisked me away for a magical night of music and dance, and then returned me safely home (where he promptly checked the game highlights, because he SWEARS he isn't dying).

So I guess the moral of the story is that my hubby is the best hubby ever. (Sorry ladies. He's all mine). And also, it's impossible to have the blahs when listening to the KSO do their Christmas show. And if you get a chance, go see it, because it is awesome.

You don't even have to have to be on your death bed.

The Year The Cats Finally Agree to Pose for the Christmas Card

Nothing thrills me more than getting a Christmas card from friends and family, even when it's a virtual one. So a very Merry Christmas to all of you out there in the blogosphere from all of us here at the House of Quirk!

Top row, from left to right: Tony, Me, Dixon, Sebastian.
Middle row: Bella
Bottom row, from left to right: Mason, Magellan, Baby Girl

Note: This is a scan of my hard copy cards from Shutterfly. The cards looked great this year if I do say so myself, so if you're in need of some last minute Christmas cheer, you still have time to head over there and make your own. (Adorable cat faces not included).

Tender Tennessee Christmas Tour

Well, it's that time of year again! The lights are lighting, the eggnog is nogging, and the Nester is doing her annual Christmas Tour of Homes! This year has a special bonus, because it just so happens to be snowing right now, which may not be much of a howdy do where you live, but pretty much thrills our little souls here in Knoxville, TN. (And by thrilled I mean flurries will shut down the city and cause a run on the milk in the super market, because hey, snowing in the South. But it does make for some pretty pictures, no?)

But where are my manners? Come on in and have a nice warm cup of cocoa.

I'm going to admit that we didn't really go all out this year like we have in years past. (For years past, feel free to click here or here or here). Reason number one is that we'll be traveling for Christmas this year (although with a house sitter so all of those with larceny in your hearts can just settle right back on down, thank you), and reason number two is that it's a little harder to deck those halls when the preggo belly keeps bumping into anything. But we did manage a little bit of Christmas cheer, so feel free to take a look around anyway.

Okay, so it isn't your traditional Christmas tree, but I think it makes a pretty stand-in. This is the Bird of Paradise from the back porch, and since it had to come in for the winter anyway, I thought a few snowflake decorations might liven it up a little bit.
What's with all the stockings, you ask? Why, one for each of the cats, of course! (If you're just passing through, you should know that we're cat people). 5 cat stockings, and 2 people stockings. And if you think that's crazy, just wait until next year when we add another one for Baby Girl! (I'm going to need a bigger mantle).

One thing that I absolutely insisted on, traveling or not, baby bump or not, is the icicle lights on the house. I love love LOVE coming home to all the colorful lights all lit up. It's so festive! So my dear ol' Dad very lovingly came over one afternoon to climb around on my roof and put them up for me. (This is usually my job since Tony has a fear of heights beyond the second step of the step-ladder, but something about the idea of a five and a half month pregnant woman climbing around on the second story roof and my mother nixed that idea toot sweet and sent poor Dad out as a stand-in). But he did a fabulous job, and I love all the pretty pretty blue lights, so thanks Dad!
So I suppose that's it. Thanks for stopping by and checking out our little tender Tennessee Christmas. If you're here by way of the Nester, then leave a comment and I'll return the favor.

Have a safe and blessed holiday, ya'll!

Hopes for my Daughter

Sometimes I sit around and daydream about how life will be for my daughter. I have hopes and dreams and expectations for her, and I thought I might jot a few down so that once she's here, I can remember and share them with her. These are for you, baby girl:

Number one, I hope you're healthy. Fingers and toes all accounted for, and healthy as a (small, easily birthed) horse. So far you look fabulous on the just keep up the good work in there, and you'll be just perfect when we get to see you in a few months, okay?

Secondly, I hope you get my nose. Not that your daddy doesn't have a simply delightful nose of his own, but his is a very manly man nose, and it might look a little strange on a little girl. Therefore, in order to avoid that awkward "growing into your features" phase, let's just hope you inherit my nose from the get-go.

I hope you like cats. Presently, there are five of them running around the house, so I hope you don't turn out to be a dog person. Not that there's anything wrong with dogs, or that you can only like one or the other but not both, but the number of cats in attendance (five) greatly exceeds the number of dogs in attendance (zero) and I just don't want you to be disappointed (and no, we're not getting a dog). Actually, I'm not too worried about this since I've never met a little girl who didn't like cats, but all the same, I thought I'd give you a heads up.

I hope you love to read. Obviously in your first few years, I will be doing all the reading for you while you just listen and look at the pictures, but my hope is that when it does come time for you to do your own reading, you'll love it as much as I do. Reading opens up a whole new magical world where anything is possible, and my hope is that you'll fall in love with all the places a good book can take you.

I hope you get the best traits from me and the best traits from your Daddy, and I hope you surpass them all. We're pretty good, but I have the feeling you can be exceptional. I want you to know now that I believe in you even now, baby girl.

I hope you love at least one sport. I'll let you in on a little secret...your mama is not very coordinated. Most sports require a little thing called depth perception, and I do not have it (although your Daddy isn't bad). But good or not, I think it's important to find an activity that gets you moving and you enjoy playing. You'll feel better, make more friends, get better grades, maintain a healthier weight, and not just zone in front of the TV all day. (Note: Your Daddy is already planning to put you in peewee hockey. Of course, you have the right to choose what sport you would like to try, and keep trying them until you find one that you love, but I'm telling you now that he's going to be pushing hard to get you out on the ice. Be warned).

I hope that the craze for Hannah Montana, the words "diva" and "princess" on clothing, Bratz dolls and Justin Bieber will be over by the time you're aware of them. I hope that whatever new fads that have taken their places are less obsessive.

I hope you have some kind of talent in music. Neither of your parents play an instrument, or sing, or read music, but in the interest of being better than we are, I thought you might enjoy the cello. (Yes, it's big and bulky, but it sounds so lovely! No? Okay, we'll talk about that one later). This one isn't a make or break...heaven knows you'll be okay if you can't carry a tune in a bucket (like your parents), but I'm saying that if you did want to take up the cello, we'd be happy to go to your concerts.

I hope you're a night person like me. Actually, I wouldn't mind if you went to bed early like your Dad, but I sincerely hope that you aren't a (gasp!) early riser. Your mama just doesn't function pre-8am, and if you're really looking for some quality time with her, let her sleep a little first. (If you find that you absolutely must get up early, please wake your daddy. He's better at that kind of thing).

I hope you are kind. I hope you see the wisdom in treating others as you would want to be treated. I hope you have a good heart, and can love freely. I'll try to help you with this as much as I can, since this will become the essence of who you are. Insides count, you know.

I hope you go easy on your old mom and dad. Remember that we haven't ever done anything like this before, so we're learning as we go too. Try to cut us some slack, especially during those terrible two years, and when potty training, and when you become a teenager. (Oh heaven help us!) We aren't always going to agree on things, but we'll always be there for you, so try to keep that in mind when I won't let you pierce your eyebrow or date that older boy with the motorcycle. (We'll talk about the purple hair later).

Lastly, I hope you know we'll always love you. From the moment I found out about you, to my last dying breath and beyond. You're someone I never knew I wanted, but now realize that I absolutely cannot live without. No matter what. We haven't met yet, but you'll always have a place in my heart. You are my precious baby girl, and I love you.

No doubt after you are born, you'll start making your own hopes and dreams for yourself. I can't wait to see what they are. But for now, maybe these can get you started.