Not for sissies

**This post was originally written on January 31st, but was hidden until after we started telling people in February!**

This pregnancy business isn’t for sissies!

Luckily I’ve managed to sidestep my mom’s 1st trimester experience with me of throwing up all-day every-day for the first three months, but that doesn’t mean it has been all fun and games.  In fact, even as thrilled, excited, overjoyed, and ecstatic as I am to be pregnant, I never realized how hard the first trimester could be!  I’ve read the books and been around pregnant women before, but somehow it just never sunk in how much my body would begin to change in such a short period of time (and with only a ½ inch little embryo inside of me!).

Word of warning, if you are offended or not interested in hearing about my pregnant body and symptoms, stop reading now!

The first change I noticed was with my breasts. Since the first day of my missed period, my breasts have been extremely tender and sensitive (which was also my first clue that I might be pregnant!).  Also around this time I started experiencing a lot of excess saliva.  At first I just thought I was crazy, but after checking one of my pregnancy books I realized this is an uncommon, but possible first trimester symptom.  So how much is a lot of excess saliva?  Enough that I find myself choking on my own spit on and off throughout the day.  Nice, huh? Along with this came the need to use the bathroom all the time; like seriously all the time! I wake up at least 2-3 times every night to go to the bathroom!

The last two symptoms came on about the same time and have only gotten worse as the weeks have progressed… the dreaded nausea and tiredness!  While I haven’t thrown up, I am nauseated all day long (and even at night).  I’ve tried just about everything and no matter what I do the only time I feel even slightly ok is when I’m laying down or immediately after eating (which is hard to do when you feel like you’re going to throw up all the time).  This is combined with me being tired all day long.  Even after getting 9-10 hours of sleep, I wake up and just want to crawl back in bed.  I go to work and can barely keep my eyes open! On the weekends I’ll have a to-do list of all the things I want to get done and am lucky if I even do one thing on my list!

And the last symptom? I am one of those lucky people who shows early.  I am almost 8 weeks pregnant and I can NOT button any of my pants comfortably.  My pants fit everywhere else and I haven’t gained any weight, but there is no way they are getting buttoned and staying buttoned for any length of time.  Luckily I figured out the rubber-band trick, so now the only thing I have to worry about is wearing shirts that cover up my lower stomach!

Baby Jones definitely is letting me know he/she is in there and keeping busy!

And even for all my symptoms (and occasional whining), I wouldn’t trade them for anything because they mean I’m pregnant, which means the world to me!! 🙂

January walk

Other than James plowing the driveway, we’ve pretty much stayed inside this month.  Yet Sunday afternoon after lunch, James surprised me by asking if I wanted to go on a walk with him around the yard.

We started by heading down the driveway, over the bridge, and then east following the creek.  It wasn’t that cold and there wasn’t any wind, which made the walk quite enjoyable!

After checking out the creek, we then headed back to the west side of our property to check out how the pond was doing.

At the beginning of winter the pond was pretty much empty, with only a little water at the bottom.  We weren’t sure what to expect when got there today, but were happy to see that additional water and snow had started to collect.  It wasn’t anywhere close to being full, yet just seeing a little bit of progress was nice!

Hopefully with the snow they are expecting this week and the spring rains, we just might have a filled pond by the end of summer!

James’ birthday gift

**Note: This blog was written on the 17th of January, but not published until February 15th when we officially started telling people that we were pregnant!**

Sunday morning (James’ birthday) we woke up at my parents house.  We had spent the night in Kewanee for James’ mystery birthday weekend and were planning on having breakfast and then taking off for the rest of our weekend adventure.

As we laid in bed before getting up, the conversation turned to some symptoms I’d been having (or not having) and whether I could be pregnant.  We had semi-officially been trying since last February, but hadn’t really gotten crazy about it until last month.  In December I’d really paid attention to my cycle and calculated that I’d be fertile the whole week we were in Florida.  Needless to say, we were on vacation, relaxed, and made good use of our time that week! Yet, we realized mother nature often has plans of her own so we didn’t get our hopes up.

The week after being in Florida, we were on our cruise and I was really sea sick on and off of the ship! To try and alleviate the symptoms, I decided to get acupuncture done.  I’ve already blogged about our vacation and me getting acupuncture, but what I didn’t talk about was that when I started getting nauseous as she was doing the acupuncture, the first thing she asked me was if I was pregnant.  I told her no and then that I actually didn’t know if I was pregnant, but if I was, I was just barely pregnant.  She promised that everything she was doing wouldn’t hurt the baby if I was pregnant, but brought up a couple of other times that she really thought I might be pregnant.

Fast forward to January and the morning of James’ birthday where I started this blog!  So we were laying in bed talking about the possibility of me being pregnant and James said wouldn’t it be cool if we could tell our child we found out we were pregnant on their dad’s birthday.  I said yes, but questioned if he really wanted to know (previously he had said that he didn’t want to know yet).  We talked some more, but I didn’t think anything had been decided when we finally got out of bed.

James got ready first and then while I was in the bathroom getting ready, he snuck out of the house and went to Wal-Mart for a pregnancy test!!  Just as my mom was calling that breakfast was done, James surprised the heck out of me by popping into the bathroom waving the box.  I was shocked because I didn’t realize he had gone to get the test and a little scared because I wanted to be pregnant so bad, I was worried that maybe I wasn’t.  Luckily I got a brief reprieve because it was time for breakfast and I’d just gone to the bathroom.

After breakfast and opening birthday presents, James I headed to the bathroom to take the test.  James wanted to make sure it was done exactly right, so he timed everything down to the second and covered up the test while we waited.  After the required 3 minutes was up, he uncovered the test and we saw this…

First pregnancy test... is it one line or two??

I freaked out and started shaking because there were clearly two lines there indicating PREGNANT, but James insisted the second line was too light to mean it was positive.  I told him a line was a line and that there was definitely a second line, but James wouldn’t believe it.  I told him we needed a third party to break the tie and to go show my mom.  Previously we had said we weren’t going to tell anyone immediately if we found out, but I needed the confirmation and honestly couldn’t wait to tell my mom!

James took the test out to my mom and told her he needed her opinion on something and then showed her the test.  At first she wasn’t sure what it meant, but after getting the test from James and looking at the test instructions, she declared it was a second line and I was pregnant!  James was still in denial and got online to look up more information about a light colored second line.  What he found was that a light colored line is still a line and that I was more than likely pregnant! [Yet, he did insist that he wanted me to take another test Monday morning, just to be sure.]

We ended up then hanging around my parents for longer than expected because we decided to look up how far along I was (5 weeks) and when the due date would probably be (mid-September).  When we finally left, we were both still slightly in shock and just kept looking at each other and making funny little comments about getting pregnant and being pregnant.

Monday morning, I got up pretty early because I needed to go to the bathroom and surprisingly James (who is not a morning person) got up as well to make sure the second test was done accurately.  We waited the required 3 minutes and once again got two lines!

And the second test... Still looks like two lines to me!

James insisted I was going to have to do better than that and that he wanted to see two dark pink lines.  I told him that since I was pregnant with HIS child, I was sure nothing was going to be normal or work the way it “should”! 😉

By this point I think James pretty much knew I was pregnant (he kept me up the night before arguing about baby names), but he really wanted it confirmed (I think it’s the mathematician in him!).  Thus I did some research online and found a midwife practice associated with Carle Clinic in Champaign that I liked and called in to schedule an appointment.  They told me I had to go into one of their  clinics and get an official pregnancy test first, so we decided to go get the test done in Monticello (the closest Carle Clinic) after meeting his Dad and Alice for his birthday lunch.

At lunch, before his Dad and Alice had gotten there, James asked me if I thought we should tell them about us being pregnant.  I told him it was completely up to him and that I’d let him make the decision.  We were about 1/3 of the way through lunch and I thought he’d decided not to tell them, when James looked across the table at his dad and asked if how he’d like being a grandparent again.  His Dad paused for a minute and said he sure would and would we be providing this new grandchild?  James and I said yes and then we had a good time talking about finding out and James not really believing the tests.  We also made sure to let them know that we didn’t want anyone else to know until later because we weren’t ready to share the news with everyone quite yet.

After lunch we did some grocery shopping and then headed to Monticello for the “official” test!

It felt like we waited forever before we got called back by the nurse and then it felt like even longer when she sat us down in a room to wait for the results of the test.  James had of course brought the camera to “document the results” and when the nurse finally came back with a big smile and said congratulations, there was a definite feeling of relief and excitement!

James got his “official” confirmation and the nurse also established that I was 5 weeks (but would be 6 weeks on January 20th) and due @ mid-September.

The last big decision we made after finding out we were pregnant was to tell my Dad over the phone and not in person.  He wasn’t at home on Sunday when we found out and told my Mom, and I had sworn her to secrecy because I wanted to tell Dad in person.  Yet, after we got our confirmation and all the other parents knew, I decided that I couldn’t wait and wanted to tell my dad immediately.

I called Mom on her cell and arranged for her to show dad the picture I had texted her of the positive test result when I called to talk to Dad on the house phone.

Happy new Grandpa!

Dad was pretty excited once I told him the news and I filled him in on all the details about my approximate due date and everything else.  It was great to share the news, but I swore him to secrecy because we didn’t want anyone other than our parents to know yet. (Dad spilled the beans big time when Mom was pregnant with Ty, and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again!!).

And that is the story of how we found out we were pregnant! We can’t wait for later in the pregnancy when we can share our happy news with everyone!!

James’ birthday adventure

Sunday morning was James’ birthday and he had no idea what we were doing.  When he was getting dressed I told him he would need to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt (in contrast to his normal shorts and short sleeve polo), so he knew we were doing something that would involve the outside or being outside at least a little. Yet, he had no clue what we might be doing.  He guessed maybe Wildlife Prairie Park outside of Peoria, but I just offered non-committal shrugs!

Before leaving on our adventure, my mom made us a huge breakfast and then we opened birthday presents!

James got more polo’s from Ty & Austin (they were the same type that he got for Christmas and he really likes them!), a card from my grandparents, and some extra warm winter socks and a gift card from my parents.

James: Kona left out a funny story about the socks.  When we arrived there Friday night, Kona’s mom said she had some socks that I left there.  We were pretty sure we hadn’t left any socks back in November, but we looked at them.  They were huge and stretched out and definitely not mine.  Anyway, Dianna had purchased extra-large thermal socks based on the assumption that those were my socks and I had really huge feet.

We took longer than we expected leaving my parents, but we finally got going and headed to our surprise destination.  I let James drive, but didn’t tell him where we were going, only gave him directions as needed!  He was pretty clueless about what we were doing until right before we got off the interstate; there was a blue attractions sign along the road advertising “Ski SnowStar Winter Sports Park”.  Thus, James did end up guessing what we were doing before we got there, but not until right before we got there!

I had done some research and found a place in Andalusia, Illinois where we could go snow tubing!  I know James enjoys adventurous activities and I thought this would be something enjoyable for him.

Once we arrived and parked, we got on our outdoor clothes that I had hidden in the back of the car (including James’ snowsuit, hat, heavy gloves, and snow boots!) and went check in.  We decided to pay for one hour of tubing, which automatically came with access to the conveyor belt that takes you to the top of the hill!!! No climbing the hill for us!!

At the top of the hill they had four chutes with staff members assigned to each one to make sure people were going down the hill safely and to help spin you if you wanted to spin!!

The first time down the hill we went by ourselves down individual chutes, but we saw that others were linking their tubes and going down together, so that’s what we ended up doing for the rest of the time.

Linked together, the staff member at the top of the chute would spin us around at the top, which would cause us to spin most of the way down the hill!

We had a great time and averaged about 7-8 minutes between trips down the hill!

When our hour was up we headed to the next stop for James’ birthday, Arsenal Island in Rock Island, IL.  I had double checked online and it said the museum was open on Sunday’s, but unfortunately when we got there it was closed because of the Monday holiday.  Thus we ended up wandering our way over the bridge into Iowa, then back into Illinois where James decided he’d had a great day, but was ready to go home.

James: We also stopped by Gander Mountain to exchange the socks and picked up some Polartec thermal long johns while we were there.  Then we stopped at Culver’s next door and Kona amazed me by eating 2/3 of a banana split.

Mystery weekend

James is a hard person to surprise, but I decided for his birthday this year I was going to try and plan a whole weekend of birthday surprises!  I told him we would be gone from Saturday-Sunday and that he would only need to bring his laptop and whatever book he was reading.  Otherwise, I was going to pack everything he would need!

After much guessing and assuming on his part during the week (which he was mostly wrong!), James did finally get one location correct, Kewanee.  I had written a list of things to remember to pack and accidentally left it on the kitchen counter (turned upside down though).  For some strange reason James, who normally never picks up the kitchen, was actually cleaning up while he was waiting for me Saturday morning and found my list!  On the list it had for me to remember stuff for my mom, so that definitely gave it away that we would at least be passing through Kewanee.  That also gave away that he would be getting a massage while in Kewanee because he had already figured out that he was getting a massage (he just didn’t know where), and we have a normal massage lady in Kewanee that we really like.

Luckily, he was still clueless about everything else, so I got him to let me drive and we headed off for his birthday weekend!  After stopping in Bloomington for lunch, we got back on the road and James (still trying to figure out his surprises), mentioned that maybe we were doing the home building tour that we always see advertised along the interstate by Good field.   And yes, amazingly, he was right!  I had called ahead and Homeway Homes has a free factory tour every Saturday at 1pm.  Granted we are definitely not interested in having them build us a house, but every time we passed the sign advertising the tour, we would wonder how their modular homes were built.

We got there with a little time to spare and there were a good number of people already there for the tour (@ 15-20).  It started pretty promptly at 1pm and was led by one of the owners of the company, who was happy to answer people’s questions (and yes of course James had some questions for him!).

The tour was pretty interesting and it was neat to be able to walk under half a house and to see the inner workings of the electrical, plumbing, etc…

After the tour we got back on the road and made it to Kewanee for our afternoon massages!  I scheduled a massage for James with the normal lady we go to and a massage for me with a new person, so that way we could get our massages at the same time.  We both enjoyed ourselves immensely and were quite relaxed afterwards! Yet, by this time it was dinner time, so we were both hungry!

Earlier, on the way to Kewanee, James was back to guessing what else we were doing for his birthday and once again he guessed what we were doing for dinner! We were going to the Grill-n-Chill so James could grill his own steak!

We were staying overnight in Kewanee at my parents’ house, so they came with us and we made it a family meal!

Award

James was sick the entire first week of January and being the wonderful husband that he is, he shared his sickness with me.  My throat started hurting Saturday afternoon and by Sunday morning it was so bad, I was convinced I had strep throat.  I never go to the doctor, but I felt so awful, I told James to find me the closest clinic that was open!  Luckily we found one that was open Sunday mornings, and after checking me out, the doctor declared I had an ear and sinus infection and needed antibiotics.  Even with the antibiotics, I felt absolutely horrible and ended up having to call in sick to work Monday.  Tuesday morning I didn’t feel any better, but there were things at work I really needed to take care of and Convocation was that afternoon and I thought I should be there.

Convocation is kind of a big deal at Richland. It occurs twice a year, at the beginning of the fall and spring semester, and everyone who works at Richland attends. The President, Vice Presidents, and various other Richland employees use the time to update everyone on previous issues/events and provide information about upcoming things going on around campus. It’s also when they handout Employee Recognition awards.

Wonderfully enough, I was nominated for an Employee Recognition award this year, so even though I didn’t know if I’d won or not, it seemed like a good idea to be there if I could.

James and I sat in the back of the auditorium and I rested my head on the back of my seat, trying to focus on what the different speakers were saying.  As it got to the awards, the President started by announcing the first award (The Above and Beyond Award) and then recited a little from one of the nomination forms that had been submitted for the person that won.  When the President first started, an instructor next to me leaned over and whispered that she wished she would have nominated me for the award.  As the President continued, it became obvious that she was talking about me and James leaned over from the other side and said, “she’s talking about you!”

And yes, she was talking about me!  I won the “Above and Beyond” award this year!  It was an amazing experience and I managed to make it on stage to accept the award and get my picture taking without making my illness too obvious.

Award I received!

It was an amazing honor to be nominated, and then be selected by the Employee Appreciation Taskforce.  It was also nice to feel appreciated, but a bit overwhelming to think of the high standards I’d need to keep up in order to live up to the award! 🙂

Here is a little more information about the award:

Do you know employees who have gone “above and beyond” in carrying out everyday responsibilities? If so, we want to recognize them! Submit details about their efforts via the form below to nominate them for the Above and Beyond Award to be announced and presented at the Annual Recognition Awards Presentation during Spring Convocation.

In describing the rationale for this award nomination, please include how the nominee went “above and beyond” in the areas of dedication, follow-through, extra effort, attitude, and hard work, and displayed that extra “WOW” factor in getting the job done.

December Trip

December Trip by the numbers…

Our December trip was a crazy 19 day trip through 10 states (Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, & Kentucky), 3 state capitals (Mississippi, Louisiana, & Florida), 3 countries (Mexico, Guatemala, & Belize).  We covered a combined 5,860 miles (land and sea) and took 6,774 pictures.

Day 15: Cavetubing in Belize!

We started the trip following the Mississippi River down to New Orleans and then southeast down to Orlando for a total of 2,030 miles. This first leg also finished our goal of visiting every state east and adjacent of the Mississippi River in 2010. After almost a week in Orlando, we headed to Vero Beach for Christmas Eve and then Christmas day started the second leg of our trip.

The second part of our trip was an approximately 2,366 mile Western Caribbean Cruise that stopped in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Key West. We got back New Year’s Eve day and started the third and last part of our trip.

We left the port and headed up through Florida along the eastern coast and then continued north to Illinois, stopping at a number of places along the way. Our mileage for this part of the trip was 1,464 miles which combined with the other parts of the trip added up to 5,860 miles.

Route for our December 2010 Trip

Day 1: Sikeston, Missouri – Lamberts Cafe (Checkpoint B); Blythville, Arkansas – Art Deco Grayhound station and Lights on the Delta.

Day 2: Jackson, Mississippi – State Capitol; Nachez Trace Parkway;  Windsor Ruins; Rodney ghost town (Checkpoint C); Baton Rouge, Louisiana – State Capitol

Day 3: New Orleans (Checkpoint D) – Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, Bike Tour, Frenchman’s Market, & Mardi Gras World; Foley, Alabama – Lamberts Cafe

Day 4: Tallahassee, Florida – State Capitol; Kissimmee, Florida – Star Island Resort (Checkpoint E)

Day 5: Nothing! We stayed in and relaxed at the resort!

Day 6: Kissimmee, Florida – Monument of States & Gatorland

Day 7: Sandford, Florida – ZoomAir Adventure Park

Day 8: St. Cloud, Florida – Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours; Orlando, Florida – Congo River Golf & Treasure Tavern Dinner Show

Day 9: Orlando, Florida – Sea World

Day 10: Melbourne Beach, Florida – Beach; Vero Beach, Florida – Christmas Eve with Ty & Austin

Day 11: Vero Beach, Florida – Christmas morning brunch; Port Canaveral, Florida – Board Norwegian Sun cruise ship (Checkpoint J)

Day 12: Straights of Florida and Gulf of Mexico – At sea & Kona accupuncture

Day 13: Cozumel, Mexico – Photo tour around the city (Checkpoint F); Gulf of Mexico – At sea, James and Kona acupuncture, & comedy show

Day 14: Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala – Go with Gus Tour (Checkpoint G); Livingston, Guatemala – boat ride along the river & walked around the town of Livingston

Day 15: Belize City, Belize – Cavetubing & Zipline through the jungle (Checkpoint H)

Day 16: Gulf of Mexico & Straights of Florida – At sea & James acupuncture

Day 17: Key West, Florida – Southernmost point of the US, walk down Duval St., Trolley tour, Shipwreck museum, aquarium, Malory Square (Checkpoint I); Straights of Florida – At sea, James acupuncture, and celebrate New Years Eve

Day 18: Port Canaveral, Florida – Off ship (Checkpoint J); St. Augustine, Florida – Fountain of Youth; McRae, Georgia – 1/12 scale replica of the Statue of Liberty (New Year’s Day)

Day 19: Chattanooga, Tennessee – Ruby Falls; Hendersonville, Tennessee – family visit (Checkpoint K); Metropolis, Illinois – Superman; Argenta, Illinois – home (Checkpoint L)

We had an amazing time on our trip and made a ton of memories!!

Superman

When looking at the different possible routes to take home, I mentioned to James that I had never been to Metropolis and seen Superman, so James decided we’d head home through Paducah, KY (which is directly to the north of Metropolis).

Arriving in Metropolis, there were a ton of signs directing us to Superman and the Superman museum.  Superman really was pretty cool and I had a good time taking pictures with him and the cutouts.

We also stopped by the museums gift shop and picked up a Superman magnet and a James Dean magnet!! James couldn’t believe I got it, but I just couldn’t pass it up!

Quick family visit

After visiting Ruby Falls, we then got back on the road and headed to Hendersonville (outside Nashville) to visit with James’ sister and her family.

Joanna must have been reading James’ mind because she was ready with KFC for lunch (James’ favorite) when we got there!

James and Joanna

We had a great time talking and laughing, especially when we gave Tom a gift from our travels!  It was a bottle of water from the Fountain of Youth!! 🙂

Yet after a while the young men were getting tired and needed naps (and no, not just James!), so we decided to take that as a cue and get moving.

Ruby Falls

Sunday morning we got up bright and early and headed up Outlook Mountain to Ruby Falls.  James had been there before and really enjoyed it, so I was definitely looking forward to getting to see the falls.

Kona getting ready to go into the Ruby Falls Cave

The tour guide was very good and kept things interesting and informative, and the cave was pretty amazing!  A little modernized and built up for my normal tastes (they actually had lit signs next to some of the different rock formations, two big flat screen TV’s, a PA system in a couple of places, and a music/light show at the actual falls), but overall it was still very nice.

One thing I found especially interesting was that this cave system was found while Leo Lambert (a local cave enthusiast) was trying to find a new entrance to Lookout Mountain Cave (whose entrance had been closed off by the railroad years before).  Prior to being discovered, no one else had ever been in the system (including animals), so there is no graffiti or other ancient human presence you normally see in other caves.

The best part by far though, was the falls.  It is 145 feet tall and one of the largest underground waterfalls.

After the cave tour, we then hiked to the top of their lookout point to check out the view!