Monday, December 11, 2006

Decking the Halls

So, I'm HUGE. And, I'm the only one who can say that! ;) Unless you would like a very large disgruntled pregnant woman on your hands! 37 the countdown progresses, I'll try to keep the blog up to date with the size of belly and general state of mum (that's me!)

I am feeling great, no moodiness (wink!), fatigue, or other prego 3rd trimy symptoms. I am very happy - very thankful for this time in my life. I have so many great joys and gifts to give thanks for and focus on. I really am overcome with gratitude.

Here is a pic from our Christmas Party on Saturday night! I was decking the halls for sure!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tree Farm Time

It was such a blast getting our Christmas tree this year - we went two days after Thanksgiving. We had the ultimate selection - the huge lot of trees was nearly untouched. We found the perfect one! She is pretty huge! Sure is feeling like Christmas. It will be a quiet holiday for us this year, unable to travel home for the first year ever. Just us two...errr, three, or, I guess two and a half. It's kinda weird...but another unique experience. :)

Professional Pics of the Bump

Although, more than a bump now - a growing mountain is more like it...scroll down to the previous entry for recent pics from earlier today...

Our wedding photographer, Eloise Farr, does absolutely phenomenal work. We have really enjoyed working with her, and when she learned of our pregnancy, she offered to take prego photos of us. So here we are, in Asheville, NC, at 28 weeks.

Whoa! Four More Weeks to Go

We are officially in the homestretch with four more weeks to go. This week, I am 36 weeks prego - next week, I will be full term at 37 weeks.

I am feeling great - I still feel pretty darn normal (a relative word, I know!). I have lots of energy, don't feel too emotional (any more than normal that is), very happy and excited to meet our son. I am so thankful for how good I have felt this whole pregnancy really. The only symptoms that are beginning to intrude on an otherwise blissful pregnancy are breathlessness - I find it a little more difficult to catch my breath - I get winded more easily. Also, it is a bit more tricky to move around - I can still bend over and touch my feet, do my yoga and stretches...but the little guy has been applying quite a bit of pressure to the pelvis area, making bathroom breaks a real frequent need. Also, it is just not super comfy at all times when he goes into certain positions - he is feelin' really big. According to my reading, he is about 6 pounds about now.

So, here are some pics from this evening! In front of our mammoth, full-on Christmas-filled-spirit Christmas tree. Yes, it is the Griswald Family Christmas ...I think I am in for many years of over doing it! But, I wouldn't have it any other way ;)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Time To Fiesta!

It is time! The count down really has begun! Only seven more weeks to go till game time! I intend to live it up to the fullest these last few weeks - and despite all the commentary on 'how your life will never be the same again', I believe it will be even better and more exciting and fulfilling. It's onto the next episode...

So, we have been partying it up these first few weekends in November! November 4th, I threw Connor a full-on fabulous (if I do say so myself) surprise birthday party! I really got him good! All events did not perfectly line up, but somehow all the imperfections turned into a beautiful celebration fiesta! I did manage to get some of the party-goers lost en route to the party location. But, the party location was beautiful and worth it! We held a cookout in one of our fave local parks - great hiking trails, etc: Alum Rock Park. As it turns out, the party was very small and cozy - about 5 of us! It turned out to be a total blast. Connor brought in his 29th year with his fave brewskey (Negro Modelo), chicken wings and cheeseburgers - oh, and a fantastic carrot cake which we all dug in on with our forks - no plates!


Then, the next Nov weekend, my girlfriend Kari threw me a fabulous California baby shower with some of the local ladies! It was awesome - such great girl time. I haven't laughed so hard in a while--my stomach still hurts! I really feel the love - I am so blessed to have such wonderful girlfriends and genuine support and love. I am so grateful!


And, in the theme of lettin' the good times roll - we recently caught a killer band in San Franny - a U2 cover band, Zoo Station!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Did I Mention I Was Growing an Alien?

Our little boy is one creative and VERY active little dude! Check out these shapes he likes to twist into. I try to move him into a different position when he gets all crazy looking like this! 'Come on little guy, this is not a good look for moms!'

Guess I should have made a very big formal announcement...we have known for awhile now - that we are having a little dude! We have been so excited and just amazed to get to know our tiny son! It is amazing how much you can love someone you have never even met.

Beer Belly Surprise

Yes, I think I had everyone's jaw on the floor when I showed up at our good friend's fantastic Halloween costume party! No she deeedn't! But oh yes I did! I turned my gigantous belly into a large beer belly - I was a world-class redneck for Halloween. My lovely wife Connor joined me, in house robe and curlers! We wanted to do something besides what nearly all other preggy bellies do - be a pumpkin for Halloween - so this was definitely different! My water-filled red label Bud was just the finishing perfect touch!

Smokey our Pumpkin!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pregnant or Not, Here We Come! Baltimore!

Yes, we are moving back to the East Coast ... to the quaint harbour town of Baltimore (I'm really trying to romanticize this place for myself right now, b/c I'm not a huge fan at the moment).
Third trimester, nothing doing! We're on our way out!

So, there's more...
The decision to go with the Baltimore job offer was literally gut-wrenching. I say gut-wrenching because it literally felt like it was wrenching my guts after all the lack of sleep and general stress-mental-mode mumbo we had kept ourselves in just contemplating the decision on whether or not take the leap. Connor had two fabulous job opportunities - one in CA and one in Baltimore...ultimately, career wise we chose the East Coast move - this also places us much closer to my family which means SO much, especially as we anticipate our son's arrival. It just means so much to share this with family.

Now...indecision continues to reign! When to move! Before or after Little Man Bates?! We love California and would like to make the move an enjoyable adventure (not rushed) and have our son born out here, but then - is doing a cross country move with a little baby really realistic? Some parts of the move are lining up nicely...but finding a place to live...are not (details!). And, moving in the 3rd timister, at 9 months is a little daunting. What the hey, we can do it if need be! So, stay tooned...

Yes, the belly is getting very large! While back on our East Coast trip recently (early October - Baltimore then down to Raliegh, NC - then over to Gastonia, NC - stop in Asheville for prego pics - then back to Gastonia!) my family threw me a fantastic baby shower! It was such great girl time - lots of great food (and the best spice cake ever) and tons of gifts - much too much. It was super special, and I realize how deeply blessed I am.

As we count down to the arrival of the little guy, and make these important decisions - please do keep us in your prayers! We need them more than ever (or as my husband would probably tell you, I am always in thislevel of need, so just keep them coming, will ya!)

Recent belly pic - proof of the alien.
23 Weeks:

29 Weeks - at Baby Shower in NC last week with my sister, Carly:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

26: One Week of Baby for Every Year of Me!

This week, he and I find our lives overlapping!

26 years, 26 weeks - I am overwhelmed when I stop, quiet myself, and fully absorb (or try to) my life over the past several months. Just thinking about what is going on about two feet below my nose is still really hard to believe. It is no less than a miracle. A true gift - I am filled with gratitude. I still just can't believe it's all happening, though. I really can't. WILD!

Really bizarre are the twists, tackles, lunges, and flips - all confirming that something is alive inside my stomach. Wierd takes on new meaning!!

What's Going On This Week

Kari and Bob's Fantastic Wedding

September 3, 2006 - Their Big Day! Yes, I'm a bit behind in blogging, but this is one of those too-spectacular-to-miss events I just have to document! The Big Day was held down at Lover's Point in Monterey. The festivities kicked off on Thursday night, August 30th - Kari had the most fabulous Bacholorette Party down in Carmel - 17 Mile Drive Area! Lady time! The rehearsal dinner was a wine-tasting event with a special 'Toast or Roast' Extraordinaire! While I was beyond sad to be missing out on this most fabulous event of tasting fine Monterey wines, I still sipped my safe PLC's (Pregnant Lady Cocktails - aka, water) and thoroughly enjoyed myself! The wedding day was just gorgeous - it was such a good time with close friends and memorable activities. I really had a wonderful time and am so excited for the new MC (Married Couple)!

Here are the MANY pics of the Big Day!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Redwoods, Wild Elk and CA Campin'

It had been awhile (and many pounds) since my last camping trip - it was due time for me to saddle into the sleeping bag and prepare for campfire cooking. The only real issue I faced - well, the only two issues I faced were 1) frequent bathroom needs 2) extra weight causing discomfort during sleep - mother earth does not provide quite the same support as my padded bed!

We had a total blast though! Our good friends, Pete and Heather, and their 7-month old little lady, Lena, took a road trip down Hwy 1 from the Seattle, WA area (Mukilteo) to the top of California and into Redwood land - at Orick, CA. Connor and I drove up from San Jose and met them at the Redwoods National Park. It was absolutley gorgeous! The park was positioned right on the coast of the pacific and right in the heart of redwood territory. We saw herds of wild elk (in their mating season, I might add), wild quail, and of course the mammoth Redwood beauties. It was definitely a trip to remember!

Pete, Heather and Lena camped in the lap of luxury! Their VW Bus! It is awesome - very cozy and perfect for roadtrips. We took hikes during the day, roasted mellows and chatted about well, babies mostly - but since it is a very relevant topic for both of us, it was a fantastic time ...and a great learning experience for me, I might add.

Their little girl has the most addictive personality - her whole face lights right up when she sees you - she is just full of joy. We missed her when we left! The whole trip was just a blast, and we hope to be able to make it up the coast to see those guys again soon...maybe with our little dood.

I highly recommend a roadtrip along Hwy 1 at least once in a person's lifetime - it is a westcoast experience you will not forget!

See All Our Pics!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Lesson in Parenthood!

Calm and Collected - Pete makes it look SO easy!

I'm doing something wrong here...

Okay, he's worse at it than me. We may be in trouble...


Heather and Lena - Beautiful ladies!

A stroll along the Pacific...Gaining mental preparation :)

Two Years - Wow!

Where does the time go? Such a cliche...but man is it ever true! It seems, especially, as though this past year has just FLOWN by. It feels like we just started 2006...and now we are in September...

Somehow it has been two years since Connor and I tied the knot. September 5th, 2004 - our big day. Our time together has been indescribable. I am beyond grateful for Connor. Our friendship, relationship, surpasses any mental concept I had ever had of what the guy-girl, marriage thing could be. It is good!

To celebrate, we took a roadtrip up to Inverness where we stayed for our one-year anniversary - we stayed at this awesome hunting lodge joint, Manka's Lodge. We piggybacked this trip onto a camping trip to the Redwoods National Park where we camped right by the ocean with our good friends Pete, Heather, and now Lena too! It was awesome! We saw herds of wild elk, quail...I'll write more on our adventures in Orick, CA soon.

Our two-year was great - definitely a time I will remember. Right now, that's what it's all about - creating memories. Living each moment ALL the way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Our Canadian Holiday

We just returned from what was an unforgettable trip to Beausejour, Manitoba. All of our families came together. My parents made the long haul from NC and Connor's family took good care of us in the Manitoba praries and towns - Winnipeg, Gimli, Piniwa, Selkirk, and, of course, Beausejour!

The ladies threw me a surprise baby shower our first full day there - I was floored! Completely surprised! They threw a spectacular event - filled with tons of healthy food concoctions (key for me these days!), fancy drinks, mountains of beautiful gifts - and a room filled with family and friends. It brought me to tears, I could not believe they had done so much for me! It was a fantastic time, and little man Bates totally RACKED UP!

We spent most days on one adventure or another - day trip to Piniwa Lake (and small boating accident - victims include propeller and some other random boat part, ugh), shopping day in Gimli, sports day, explosion day - good fun for guys and girls alike. It was an absolute blast! I will not forget this trip.

Life is better when shared! It was incredibly special to share this unique (rounded) chapter of life with my mom and dad, and Connor's family. I swear love them like I love my own family, and that's a WHOLE LOT!

Check out all the Bates - Akulis Good Times Here

The Bates Boys! Piniwa Lake Picnic Day - Cole gets buried alive!

On the bird

Random Trip to Boston

This is a trip I have to blog on. August 4th, Friday - mid afternoon...

Sitting on the bird, only an hour and a half after the ticket was purchased - on a total whim. Staring down at the shrinking landscape, I was completely emotional. I know, it’s got to be the prego hormones. But, so much inside me was screaming out loud (and, no, I did nothing overly embarrassing on this particular flight!) I wanted to travel, be off in a moment’s notice – skip across the country to one of my favorite cities…just because it felt like I should! And, so I did.

Connor had been relentlessly pursuing me all week to join him in Boston for the weekend. No, no no. Then, something hit me. My life is under undergoing so much construction. It is soon to be completely remodeled. And, that just shook me. I had to catch that flight!

And, so glad I did. I LOVE Boston - it is a town drenched in memories and good vibes for me. This is one to remember!

Seaside in Beantown @ 19 weeks

By the New England Aquarium

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Yes, it’s intermission time for this gal – we are half baked. Acutally almost 2 weeks past half-baked (I'm on back-order these days with posting my life events!) Twenty-one, almost twenty-two weeks. Over half way through our Prego Experience. It is really going by fast, and I am so thankful that I've been feeling so good. It is still really hard to fully absorb. We look at my growing belly and we’re like, that’s SO weird!! It is an absolutely wild experience!

I am just returning home now from a fantastic trip to Canada... My folks from NC made the trip up this summer & it was really one for the books! More soon...

Friday, August 18, 2006


Yes, that about sums up our recent hiking trip in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. We hit a semi-rigorous trail in the Alum Rock Park on about three Saturdays ago. It was a very dry, HOT Saturday afternoon. The ascent up the side of the steep hill wasn’t too bad given our stop-and-go pace! Ha! It was Connor, Allie, and myself on the climb. We did happen to see a few signs – something about watching out for rattlesnakes which had been spotted on the trails – or something like that. Yeah, yeah. I had seen the mountain lion, wild boar and various other ferocious animal warning signs, never actually spotting one – or encountering one myself. I felt nearly invincible – ha!

Just off on a daydream or a ramble, I suddenly saw Connor, leading the group, freeze dead in his tracks and extend both arms back in a wide arc, signaling us to stop. What? I didn’t see anyth…. And, just then … I saw it! AHHH! He was well camouflaged – blending right into the surroundings. A giant adult snake coiled up in a huge ball sat on the corner of our trail. He could not have been more than 10 feet away from Connor. I was so freakin’ scared! I very slowly began taking big steps backward, looking behind me for brothers or sisters of this slimy beast! The snake was HUGE. He slowly began uncoiling himself and little by little and then began slithering his long thick body up the side of the grassy hill back into the wood. He was long. VERY long. At the end of his trunk, probably about 10 feet long, we spotted his identifying marks – a large rattle was sticking up in the air at the end of his tail. HOLY PETE, Sweet Mary! We watched until he had completely slipped away.

Just then I think it was Allie who turned to say, ‘You know, he’s really more scared of us than we are of him.’ It was too late for me. I had already taken off high-speed down the trail. I hollered back over my shoulder, ‘Fat chance!’

That is one encounter I will not forget. And, I think I’ll pay attention to those wild animal warning signs now too!!

Crying While Eating

The new marketing hotness in the online world of SEO (search engine optimization) and viral marketing is 'link baiting'. Getting online sites to link to your site is a very sought after phenomenon to many SEO gurus looking for number one rankings in Google. The latest strategy in increasing these backlinks to your site? Brainstorm "brilliant" ideas that people will naturally want to link to. Set up this viral campaign, and watch the ahrefs pour in.

Well, now doesn't this just open the playing field WIDE open. How creative can you be? One online guru group really captured the spirit of link baiting if you ask me with:

Crying While Eating

See, I'm linking to it, because it is a friggin' riot!
Check it out for a good Friday afternoon laugh!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Finally, It Has Sunk In... I'm Growing an Alien

May 21st, 2006, Sunday, I had just returned home from my week-long work trip in Vegas. It had been a very stressful month for me, both personally and professionally. I gave very little thought to the fact that I had gone period-less that month. And, when I realized the event that had gone missing that month, it was not a great surprise, given the month's hairiness. Besides, I can barely keep track of my conference calls, travel dates and whether or not I remembered to feed Frankie that day. Heck, I was not really sure when my day was to come! Still, for some reason, maybe an itch of responsibility, or a sign from God above, I felt compelled to take a home pregnancy test. I was thoroughly convinced of the results before I even saw them. In fact, I did my business on the stick and went about unpacking my suitcases... Laundry, ugh!

Oh! The test. I went back in to have a peak.


Numbness. Disbelief. I stared blankly at the pink line forming a cross in an utter stupor. ‘What does this mean’ I kept asking myself despite the crystal clear instructions (and illustration!) all over the packaging. I stood there for what seemed to be eternity. And, then, I heard a small shaky voice eke out of my throat, “Hey Connor, you better come up here...(voice crack)”


We hopped in the car and drove straight to Target (where else?) where we bought one of each type of home pregnancy test kit they carried. Digital, not digital, Clearblue, the cheap-o brand…

Then, we raced home and I promptly did the deal with all the test sticks!
Postive * Pregnant * Positive
By Sunday night, it was looking like we were pregnant. Yikes! But, with so many questions.

The top of both of our lists: How??? Yes we know how, but not really. We were using what is advertised to be a 97% effective form of birth control! It was all very confusing. [Yes, you must insert the famous 'Friends' episode here when Ross finds out Rachel is pregnant]

OMG, what a tremendous surprise!

We ultimately came to only one conclusion—this child is meant to be. God is in control and it is His Will for this child to be here at this time.

Surreal. It is a beautiful surprise that we are embracing. I am filled with gratitude. God is great!

Prego @ 18 weeks

P.S. For those of you with more time on your hands, or an abundance of curiosity, you may like to know that there is actually much more to this simple suprise pregnancy story. I have been through MANY surprises - not all good ones. I must say this, BE PROACTIVE ABOUT YOUR HEALTHCARE. No one else will for you. And, choose wisely who you entrust your health (future) to! As soon as I can figure out how to post a Word Doc here (geez, I know, I work with computers all day!), I'll post the story of what happened to me here. But, don't worry. The ending is a happy one!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

I'm just kidding! This is a very beautiful thing. My sister recently (about 2 weeks ago) got engaged to a great guy, Matthew Raynor. They are a perfect match for one another, both generous, patient, and brilliant! Two doctors in the house - look out! I'm sure together they will change the world - or at least find the cure for cancer! I wish them a lifetime of happiness.

Check out my cutie sis, Carly, and her fella below, in my 'Sister Sessions' ramblings.

Olay, Carly Renee!

The sparkler!

Dad celebratin' with a stoge, a brew, and Maggie, Carly's hounddog! The kiddie pool is for pooch...but I'm not sure who had more fun!

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Cat Loves Pop Rocks

It's the wierdest thing. The whole time I'm hearing her little mouth crackle and pop, I'm wondering, why is this something she's okay with.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why Airmiles Rock...Kauai!

We racked up a truckload of airmiles on our new United credit card, and took advantage of a mileage special on trips to Hawaii. We dropped everything to spend a week in Kauai! It was AWESOME!!

Kauai is so beautiful - very quiet and magestic. We went on several killer hikes around the island - one 8 miler to this amazing 500 ft waterfall. It really was spectacular!

Check out all the Kauai pics here

Hideaways Beach - we had a few sunrises all to ourselves - it felt as though we were living a scene out of the movies!

Hapakauni Falls (totally butchering the spelling - yikes! Can't find it!) - about 4 rugged miles in and 4 out - it was quite the experience!