Crying About Nothing, Then About Everything

So it's 3:10 in the afternoon as I'm starting to write this down. I'm sitting at my kitchen table with a bowl of white and orange mini-pumpkins carefully arranged in a piece of servingware at the center of the table. There's a fall themed candle burning to my right, and a stack of children's books gifted to my impending newborn on the left. It is 67 degrees and I am looking at the fiery leaves of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the window of my house. 

And I am crying big huge tears. 

Why? 

I don't know that I really know, to tell you the truth. 

I think it started because I was feeling really overwhelmed about whether or not I chose the right car seat. 

But from there, I started thinking about the baby that will be sitting in that car seat, and how excited I am. And then how much I hope that everything goes well with its delivery and first few days on this planet. 

And then I started to worry a little about this planet, because everything just seems to be exploding around us. 

I can't reconcile the actions of the President. I don't think anyone can. I think there are people who voted for him and are so sorry they did, and if they aren't, then I think they probably know they ought to be sometimes. I know there are people who aren't ever sorry and who don't think they should be even an iota of sorry, and it makes me sad and scared that some folks in the country think everything he says is good and right. I don't recognize the country around me, and I don't know who I can talk to about it because a great majority of people I know helped elect a man who is devastating me. 

I feel so heavy, wanting to talk about the bad things, but not knowing what to say. I'm so grossed out by Harvey Weinstein. I'm so supportive of the Black athletes who are taking a knee, and of the White players who have spoken in favor of those actions. I want politics to stop being driven by what special interest pays our elected officials the most money and to stop ruining the optimism of our young politicians. I think gun reform should be easy and common sense. I don't understand why it hasn't been. Puerto Rico is something we should all still be talking about. And what about education reform, and animal abuse, and homelessness, and normalizing mental illness, and gender inequality? 

And then I see people just screaming into the void on Facebook and Twitter, unwilling or unable to listen to anyone but those who agree with them, the progressives and hardline conservatives spiraling themselves deeper down the wells they're into which they're shouting. I throw out my two cents on Twitter and almost always wish I hadn't. 

I kind of hate my phone. I kind of hate Instagram. I hate the compulsive need to check in with what's going on in a robot lightbulb box of doom. 

I watch too much reality TV but it's because I feel like engaging is so hard sometimes. I want to learn to meditate and yet I fear what would bubble to the surface. I am against animal cruelty but I had McDonald's for lunch. 

I don't think I'm the only person feeling this way in the world. Or even on my street. I think we all have the "cry about nothing, then about everything" moments in the privacy of our bathrooms or showers or closets or cars. There is a lot to deal with and dealing with it, even in the smallest degrees, scrapes layers off our hearts that are removed more quickly than they are regenerated. Optimism gets shaved down a bit at a time, and courage along with it. 

So I'm going to go get a tissue (or more likely the hem of my shirt) and go outside for a little while, which always makes me feel better. And I'm going to keep doing the things that a person does, like water the plants, and reminding myself that my life is actually so ridiculously good in all the ways that count. And I'll cut myself a break for crying at my kitchen table, because, if nothing else, I'm 32 weeks pregnant, so I get a pass. 

It doesn't mean I don't believe good is greater, because I do. Crying doesn't mean I've given up, because I haven't. Simply that I needed a moment to sit here in this stillness and really feel all the things the world needs to toss at me, instead of running from the rip tide of all the bad news. Now that I've done it, I think it's necessary, not weak. 

But I have to go change the laundry now, and I can't be here for long. The problems will be here when I get back. And by then I'll have found something new to offer in response, likely sourced from the smell of the detergent that's cleaned these impossibly tiny baby socks. This is how we recover, and re-engage, and decide that the world is beautiful and terrible, and that we won't be afraid, after all. Next week, the clothes will be dirty again. And I'm going to wash them. 

The Final Countdown: Do's, Don'ts, and Myths

Goooood morning! 

Coming to you live from between weeks 31 and 32, we're talking today about all the things people tell you not to do during pregnancy, how much those things are based in fact, and the insane myths that somehow are still perpetuated (like "Don't sleep on your back," or "Any amount of alcohol is going to give your baby FAS."). Also discussing all the things I'm ready to do again post-pregnancy (spoiler alert: club. SAMMICH). 

Please ignore my knife skills in this video, as they are horrible and upon watching this back, I'm realizing I need to go to culinary school. Yikes. 

Music used: Rockabye Baby! 
Songs: Don't Stop Believin'
Here Comes the Sun
Can't Stop the Feelin' 
I do not own this music - just purchased it on iTunes! 

Baby Shower in Birmingham!

I feel like I am getting so spoiled during the month of October. Jordan is transitioning from one practice to another, and in between, he took three weeks off. We've been to Tulsa, to Santa Fe, have gotten to spend TONS of time together (beginning each morning with him waking up before me and bringing me coffee - #winning!), and last weekend, we got to see so many friends and family members in Birmingham. 

Most of my family still lives in Alabama, so when it came time for a baby shower, Birmingham made the most sense as a host city. My sweet Aunt Dana, Mom's youngest sister, volunteered to host! She'd just re-done her beautiful kitchen in Homewood, and it was the perfect location to have a little party. The theme was "Mary's Little Lamb" - how cute is that?! 

I wanted to keep the guest list small because I like the idea that the people in attendance will really be a part of this baby's life in a meaningful way. Despite the nasty hurricane weather, I was touched that friends and family gathered to celebrate the arrival of this baby. Moments like these make me want to fall on my knees in gratitude for the love, encouragement, and support I always receive from the people closest to me. 

Every gift I received was SO generous, but a couple of highlights stood out from my two grandmothers: my dad's mom, who I call "Nonnie," gave me a pair of baby booties that my dad wore when he was an infant. So special!! My mom's mom, who I call "Gee Mommy" (I know, I made it up as a child, it works for us), gave me the Christening gown that all my cousins on my mom's side have been Christened in, beginning with me. I was the first grandchild on both sides, just like this baby will be, and so it was a really neat moment to think about the legacy of this beautiful gown. 

Another really unique thing about this time in life is that one of my best friends on earth, Ginny Tyler, is pregnant and is only THREE WEEKS behind me. How insane is that?! Totally by accident, we're pregnant together. What makes this even more significant is that Ginny and I have photos of us together as little babies, and now OUR babies will be friends! It makes me cry. I can't. 

Jordan saw that baby picture of us and asked if my hair had been burned in a fire. Um, NO THAT'S JUST HOW I LOOKED AS A BABY, thank you, Jord. 

Extra great was that my grandfathers came to pick up my grandmothers, so I got to see and love on the important men in my life, too! I'm missing one sweet grandfather, Hank, but he was there in spirit! 

Thank you so much to everyone who made this day memorable for us - I already count it as one of the sweetest parts of pregnancy to be able to spend time with such an incredible group of women. 

The Final Countdown

Jordan and I (okay, just I) saw this great web series that Whitney Port (of The Hills fame) did during her pregnancy called "I Love My Baby But I Hate My Pregnancy." Each week, she did an update about kind of a "real girl's pregnancy," with all the yucky stuff no one likes to talk about but everyone experiences. 

I haven't had as rough a time as Whitney Port, but I did love the idea of documenting a little bit of this process in an honest way because it's so special and once-in-a-lifetime. I love looking back on old photos and video, so more for Jord and me than for anything, I thought it would be fun to have some tape of these last 10 weeks. 

Here's installment one, where he and I talk about The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of this process. If you've ever had kids, I'm sure you can relate to lots of this - because, let's be honest, pregnancy is all of those things.

Also, somehow we end up talking about comic books. And the time I tooted on Jordan's foot. 

Hope you enjoy this early morning, no-makeup look! (The lighting gets better, I promise.) 

Yellow, The Space Between, and Landslide are copyrighted by Rockabye Baby! and are not my property. 

Santa Fe, Part II! (And MORE maternity clothes!)

Start with Part I here

And away

we

GO! 

(Billy on the Street? Anyone? Anyone?) 

Wednesday - Sommelier Throwdown and Geronimo

What a fun and, if I'm being honest, bougie day. I mean let's be real folks, Jordan and I are doing fine and all, but we're a quarter of a million dollars in debt and don't often get to do things where the word "sommelier" features prominently in the title. 

This was actually a really cool setup - the week we were there was the Wine and Chile Festival, so all over Santa Fe were sommeliers and wine masters. If you haven't seen Somm on Netflix (which is a mistake you should remedy RIGHT NOW because it's so amazing and will suck you in even if you hate wine), which is where all my knowledge of sommeliers comes from, the highest title in the game is Master Sommelier. To earn this title, you basically have to be a Rainman-level genius who knows pretty much everything (not an exaggeration) that there is to know about wine. There are only 100 in the United States, so it was EXTREMELY cool that we got to meet four of them (!!) that week. 

The structure of the event was: two wines are poured - one having been chosen by the Master Somms to go specifically with the dish; the other, a similar, decoy wine. Audience tastes wines. Audience is served a course of food to accompany said wines. Master Somms introduce both wines. Audience votes as to which is their favorite. And then the "game" is: did the audience favor the wine the Somm chose? Meaning, did we have good taste? 

Most of the time, the answer was yes! 

That was probs way more than you wanted to know, but it was so cool that I had to write it down (mostly so I'd remember it in a year). 

Here are some photos of the gorgeous food!

Okay but the most exciting part was yet to come. Emily and Parker immediately figured out that Fred Dame, the biggest deal in the somm world in the US, was one of the Master Somms at the event. On the way out, we happened to run into him. Here's a transcript of the conversation: 

Me: Thank you so much, Mr. Dame! This was really fun. 
Frank: Did you drink?? 
Me: (pointing to my belly) I sipped! 
Frank: Ahhh, I see. How did that happen?? (Also points to my belly.) 
Me: Too much wine! 
Frank! (laughs, we high five) I know all about that. That's why I have an 11-year-old and I'm 64. 

Aaaaaand scene, kill me, it made me so freakin' happy. 

Fred's Dames - Emily and me! 

Fred's Dames - Emily and me! 

Then it was time to walk around! 

Sweater is from ASOS, runs a bit small and is available here. Maternity jeans from Target and are so comfortable! And the booties are Old Navy and are ALSO super comfortable. 

Dinner that night was at a famous SF restaurant and was probably my favorite meal of the trip. Geronimo is so beautiful, so elegant, and so CRAZY FREAKING DELICIOUS. There were 4 desserts split among 6 of us at the end of the night. I say "split" as though it was even. 

...it was not. 

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Then we all died of joy and fell asleep with our mouths open. 

Thursday - Cafe Pasqual's and Meow Wolf

Okay, simple part first: we had breakfast, it was fantastic, Emily and I match. 

Red stripe-y maternity shirt is from ASOS, available here! 

NOW for Meow Wolf. 

What the hell is Meow Wolf, you might be wondering? 

I can't even explain it to you. I don't even know, still, and I was there for almost five hours. 

Mom and Dad would only tell us that Thursday afternoon was a surprise. We knew absolutely nothing. I've never pulled into a parking lot, looked at a building, and STILL not been sure what it is. 

This is us being unsure. Even after we were inside. 

All I can do is upload my Snapchat story to you and let you see what this was. You're going to ask me questions like, "WHAT?!" And I have no answer. The best thing I can say is that it's an experiential, experimental art exhibit that spans an entire house and is basically like being inside someone's acid trip. Beyond that...well, just see for yourself. 

Enter through the refrigerator: 

I know. 

I know. 

I don't know. 

I'm not kidding when I say we were there for almost five hours. I didn't even feel it go by. Could've stayed for another five. If you're in Santa Fe, Meow Wolf is a must. MUST. 

Friday - Riesling Seminar and Lunch with Rick Bayless

And by "with," I of course mean that he cooked it. He didn't like, hang out. Which would've been the best ever. 

So in continuation with the wine and chile festivities, we got to sit in on a REALLY cool riesling seminar in which some somms gave us three flights of three wines each, described them, and then let us taste them in a particular order. It's the coolest to get to taste different wines, all under the same umbrella of general name, and see how wildly they can vary. I sipped and spit (mostly, but I mean a couple were really good so I just sipped) because there were fancy spit buckets. BECAUSE I'M A PROFESSIONAL WINE TASTER NOW, Y'ALL. 

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After we (they) got good and sauced up, we ran off to our lunch plans with our old buddy Rick! Rick Bayless' restaurant Topolobampo in Chicago just won the James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant, so we were in for a HUGE treat to have tickets to a special meal (paired with wines, naturally!) cooked by the man himself. 

We also had some seriously charming company - Glenn and his wife Allison, the couple at the end of the table! Glenn, fun fact, was a writer for a bunch of awesome cartoons like Doug, Scooby Doo, Adventure Time, The Smurfs, and a couple others. Cool, right? He actually was nominated for an Emmy for Doug! Obvi I loved talking to my boyf Glenn. 

The blue and white striped top is an Old Navy tunic button up in a large. Black maternity jeans are from GAP with stretch paneling in the sides so they fit any belly! Shoes are those Vince Camuto loafer mules that I'm now realizing are sold out, but you get the picture. Slides = the best. 

That last photo is Mom and Rick! How awesome is that?! 

After lunch, we drove around a bit per some recommendations and stopped by Tesuque Village Market for some pastry and to tour the sculpture gardens. Here's Parker making himself into an "F" so that he could spell the word 'fart!' Because we're CLASSY! 

(It was my idea.) 

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And just like that, the week had flown by. We capped off the night by celebrating my dad's birthday a day early with the tres leches cake from our first day, hot tubbed, got takeout pizza, and soaked up the last rooftop experience by lighting a fire and enjoying each other's company. 

Thanks, SF!! We love you so!