Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More About Your Name

I made the terrible mistake of watching "Up" on TV tonight. It was either that or "Waters of Mars" and I thought this would make me cry less. Fortunately, I missed the really tough first 20 minutes. I did, however, have to endure the "thanks for the adventure; now go find your own" scene. This led me to an epiphany: we didn't choose the name Ellie to name you after a character. Granted, she's a hoot...

...who's filled with big dreams.

She's also a strong woman...

...who knows how to be graceful and tough simultaneously.

I even found this description of the character a while back:
In under 4 minutes Pixar created a brilliant imaginative positive super fun role model for children everywhere. She is proactive, engaged in the world, exploring on her own terms, inviting others to join adventures in her clubhouse with minds wide open. 

Ellie is unencumbered by ideological baggage, social conventions, burkas or glass ceilings. She is 1,000 percent: Center of Action. Her mind is alive and she is animated by it. 

There is no excuse for not being inundated with such female characters. Ellie should be the norm. Instead role models for girls -- particularly in children's animation -- are virtually non-existant. That is the result of decisions which can easily change.

Maybe the concern has been young boys not being interested in films about princesses and fairies. Fine. Ellie is the girl every single guy has fallen in love with, some of us over and over and over again. Guys dream Ellies. Dads will take their children to see movies with all sorts of female characters embodying Ellie's fun, proactive, inviting spirit. She is a phenomenon. A precious archetype. She is the embodiment of a philosophy which must be woven into the fabric of culture worldwide -- and ultimately the reason some of us believe in the power of Art.

Ellie is a MIRACLE.

It is conceivable Ellie may become the most important character Pixar ever creates. We need more Ellies, less excuses.
I wish I could remember the source.

Yes, Ellie is a great character. But for me and your daddy, Ellie isn't about the character, it's about love. I know it's just a silly movie, and your mommy is being pretty cheesy, but this movie is oddly a very important part of the story of Mommy and Daddy. We got engaged while we were up in the air, and then I walked down the aisle to the theme from this movie. Ellie means love to us - love for another person, love for life, and even love for a persistent goofy dog. To us, this is what the world is all about, and you're the next chapter for us in that world. I hope that someday you'll be able to understand the gravity of love; I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Oh the Places You Went!

As I've mentioned on here, your mommy and daddy really enjoy traveling. Sometimes we like to try out new adventures, sometimes we visit old favorites just to relive some of our favorite memories. Sometimes we explore close to home, and sometimes we travel to the other side of the world! We're really looking forward to traveling with you, and we hope that you have the same appreciation for wanderlust as we do. In fact, you've already been to a few places before you even got here!

When I was just 13 weeks pregnant with you, we visited our friends Sara and Jon in Washington, DC, the city where your mommy was born!

I was juuuust starting to get out of the first trimester queasiness, but unfortunately this transition into second trimester bliss was masked by bronchitis complete with a low-grade fever. It was not our best vacation, but we still did lots of fun things! We went to a Nationals game, we saw Seth Meyers do stand-up, and most importantly, we caught up with one of your mommy's best friends.

At 23 weeks, we visited our friends Emily and Jonathan at their new home in Philadelphia.

Look how much you'd grown in just ten weeks! I was feeling pretty great at this point, and Emily and I did lots of walking around the city since we had such beautiful weather. We ate lots of good food, and spent a lot of time at the art museum. We also toured historic parts of Philadelphia, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

For our next adventure, we visited our family in Orlando when I was 29 weeks. We stopped by my old stomping grounds on our way down.

We celebrated your Auntie Amanda's 25th birthday at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.

We always have a blast hanging out in Orlando. I can't wait for you to meet your cousin, Keira!

Our last trip was to Elon, North Carolina when I was 32 weeks pregnant with you. I had to go to a class up there, and your daddy was nice enough to keep me company since I was getting pretty big and uncomfortable! This was more of a work trip than a fun trip, but we managed to squeeze in a little fun! We found some great food, including this ridiculous BBQ joint:

And we stayed at this really cute B&B just a couple of miles away from the class:

Here are some other fun things that happened right here at home:

When I was 10 weeks pregnant, Chelsea celebrated her 8th birthday...

...and Auntie Amanda, Mimi, and Sally came to visit.

At 17 weeks, Auntie Amanda came to visit again and I actually went out to a bar in Buckhead.

Then, we got all dolled up for our friend Melissa's 30th birthday party.

The Ohana came to visit and we took them to the Georgia Aquarium...

...and they took us to a 311 concert!

We watched a lot of football. It went well for your daddy...not so much for your mommy.

But baseball DID go well for Mommy! Here I am celebrating the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox at 31 weeks (Disclaimer: you're not allowed to root for the Red Sox because it makes Daddy very upset. We, as a family, are Braves fans).

We also had a Halloween party, where Mommy dressed as the TARDIS and Daddy dressed as the 10th Doctor. He taught your friend Alba, or Indiana Jones that night, how to use a sonic screwdriver.

As you can see, we sure have had a lot of fun waiting for you to get here! We can't wait to see what kind of adventures we can go on together!

Shower Recap

Your Auntie Amanda is the world's greatest party planner. She was so much more than a Maid of Honor at our wedding, and she did a heck of a job planning my bridal shower. Your baby shower was no exception.

Your shower was Peter Pan themed, complete with whimsical invitations...

...delicious food adorned with adorable details...

...the most fun decorations ever...

...and some of the greatest women I know.

We got so much great stuff for you, Ellie, and it made it all feel SO MUCH MORE REAL that you were going to be joining our family in just a few short months!

Adventures in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the most bizarre experience I've ever had. I'm in complete control and yet lack any control all at the same time. I feel simultaneously hungry and full. I've never felt so womanly, yet I've never felt less feminine. It's incredibly weird and difficult to describe, but I wanted to share with you some of the many lessons I've learned over the last eight months:

Pregnancy symptoms are cliché, novel, and unique all at once.
Yes, I had nausea during my first trimester like everyone says they do. Yes, my second trimester was a breeze just like everyone else's. Yes, this third trimester has been uncomfortable and fatiguing just like every book out there said it would be. But you know what else? I cannot stop hiccuping. Or burping. I also have no filter and so I say things that I would normally keep inside my head. And my sense of smell is heightened, which makes my sense of taste superhuman. I haven't really had specific cravings, but some foods just taste amazing. Like orange juice. And there was this one time that Daddy's friend Dan made us spaghetti with a tomato ragu, and I literally drank the sauce. He didn't know about you yet, and a less oblivious person (like a woman) would have totally called me on it. He figured it out eventually.

Maternity clothes are awful.
Even the high-end, expensive ones are frumpy. Apparently, designers believe that it's not just bellies (and possibly hips) that expand during pregnancy, but also shoulders. Target and Old Navy have some cute ones, but the quality is pretty terrible. For example, I have one tank top from Old Navy that is so unevenly cut, the straps have about an inch difference between them. It's fine, it was $5 and I just pinned the long strap. But still. I found this one really great British company called Asos. They make really cute maternity clothes that are reasonably priced and fit well, but they'll only fit for a few weeks.

Pregnancy hormones don't just make you weepy.
I was rarely weepy. I was, however, anxious/angry/impatient/frustrated/confused/agitated.

Sometimes, pregnancy is hard.
During my first trimester, I vividly remember feeling like, "Work is hard! I'm tired! And it's really hard using my brain to work AND study when my attention is so poor right now because of all this fatigue. WOULDN'T IT BE GREAT TO JUST NOOOT WORK?!" Of course, I love my job and my career, and this is not what I ever truly wanted, but this was the first time I ever really felt this way and I felt ridiculously guilty about it because I fancy myself a feminist. If you ever find yourself feeling like this someday, I'm not going to tell you to not feel guilty because that can be impossible in that moment. Acknowledge your feelings, and move on. This kind of negativity is usually fleeting, anyway.

Prenatal vitamins don't make everyone's hair fantastic.
I really hope you get your daddy's hair.

Feeling you kick was exactly everything it was cracked up to be.
I'd like to say that feeling you kick for the first time was one of the greatest moments of my life, but I'd be lying. At first, I wasn't sure what that feeling was! Once I got used to it though, it was absolutely amazing. I'd feel you most first thing in the morning, so sometimes I'd just lie in bed for a little bit longer just to absorb the fact that you were learning how to move and strengthening all those muscles. As we got bigger, the kicks became crazy! Sometimes, I could even poke at you and you'd poke me back!

Your daddy is the greatest man in the entire universe.
I knew this already, but recently he's shown me how wonderful he is in a million new ways. Did you know that he brought me breakfast in bed every day during my first trimester? Sometimes I was too nauseated to get up and fix something for myself, so he'd bring me my dry cereal and ginger ale. When I was dealing with unreasonable pregnancy anxiety, he knew to tell me that it wasn't me and it was just the hormones. This helped put it all in perspective that these feelings were necessary to help you grow. On the other hand, when I felt burnt out and sensitive towards the end, he knew to tell me that these feelings were real and wouldn't it be great if the world would expect a little less of me? He brought me tulips in November after a rough week. He went to every single doctor's appointment, no matter how early in the morning:

Your daddy does all of these things not only because he loves me so much, but because he loves you already and you're not even here yet. Pregnancy is full of ups and downs, and it's all worth it because you're the end result!