Sunday, December 19, 2010

Full Schedule

Christmas stresses me out. I hate change and rearranging and so decorating for Christmas gives me a headache because my "stuff" is out of order. Christmas shopping wears me out because I'm so worried about making sure that I get things that people will like - I'm very thoughtful in my gift selection and so I guess I just want that thoughtfulness rewarded by the person thoroughly enjoying their present.

My mother is the easiest person for me to shop for - because if I like it...there is a good chance that she will like it as well. Craig and my father are the two most difficult people to shop for because they're "guys" and don't really ever say that they WANT anything and they both have difficult hobbies to buy for. My dad is an auto body repair man who loves cars and Craig's two favorite things to do right now are travel and collect baseball cards. Hmm.

All last week at school the teachers were talking about how much they couldn't wait to RELAX over the holiday break. "Relax?!" I thought, "I don't have time to relax! I've got too much to do!" Before last week was over, my calendar was already booked up. Here is a quick overview:

1. Monday 12/20: Haircut for Locks of Love at 9:30 with my friend Emily, her sister-in-law Jennifer and Emily's two nieces, Claire and Mary Kate. We are all chopping our hair off to donate it and I am so super excited to get rid of this mane that is occupying my head right now. I LOVE having long hair because it is relatively easy to take care of, but it's getting out of control and heavy. I'm ready to have it about shoulder length. Tomorrow night Craig and I are going over to my parent's house for Christmas with my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law and nephews since my brother Mike and his wife are in town from Maine. We are doing the whole big Christmas dinner and present unwrapping and so Craig and I have been wrapping presents fast and furious this weekend because as of yesterday...I had NOTHING wrapped.

2. Wednesday 12/22 - Friday 12/24: Craig surprised me with a trip to Nashville to stay in the Gaylord Opryland hotel complete with tickets to see Garth Brooks perform one of his benefit concerts for the Tennessee flood victims of last summer. I LOVE Garth Brooks...I know all the words to every song on "Ropin' the Wind" and I can't wait to see him perform. While we're there we're going to go to their ICE show, get massages and try out this famous pancake place that a coworker of mine demanded we go to.

3. Friday 12/24: With having both of our families close by, Craig and I are able to celebrate the actual DAY of Christmas with everyone so we have chosen to celebrate our family Christmas with each other on Christmas Eve. This might change in a few years when we have to play Santa but for right now it works out really well with everyone's schedule. We always cook a good dinner together (this year it's steaks, potatoes and green beans) and watch a holiday movie (usually Elf or Love Actually) and then open our presents to each other...and Angie's presents too of course.

4. Saturday 12/25: We're getting up early on Christmas morning for breakfast and gift opening with his family at his mother's house which is just a few neighborhoods away from us. We will open and receive presents from Craig's mother, sister, Memaw and Aunt Kay. Since my family will have already done the Christmas present thing earlier in the week, my mother decided that she would just make a lasagna and have us over for dinner around 5:00.

5. Tuesday 12/28: Through the grapevine I think I might have found a child care place for Natalie at the end of the school year and next year! She is a woman in our neighborhood that keeps 3-4 kids at a time during the day and she comes highly recommended by a coworker of mine as well as a good friend who used to have her own son taken care of by this person. We're going to go over to her house at 10:00 to meet her and her family as well as take a tour of her house to see what kind of facilities Natalie would be in everyday. I'm really optimistic about this woman because she is so super close to our house and she sounds wonderful. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

6. Wednesday 12/29: Craig will be turning 37 this year! I have a birthday surprise planned for him at 10:30 that morning followed by a Stars game with his friends in the evening.

7. Friday 12/31: Stars game for New Year's Eve.

8. Saturday 1/1: TCU bowl game party at our friend Doug's house whose daughter attends TCU.

9. Monday 1/3: Go back to school!!!

And somewhere in there, our good friends Dana and Brian are going to be having their baby girl, Jacklyn and therefore we will be going up to the hospital to visit them and meet Natalie's future best friend!

Whew! That's a lot of stuff...but I'm hopignt hat since I really only have a few things planned everyday that maybe I will still find some time in there somewhere for some much needed napping.

What's in a name?

First of all, I need a new blog title. I originally chose "Being the Cheese" because of the Farmer in the Dell the end of the song, the cheese always stood alone and that's what I was doing when I first began this blog. I was the sole single woman out of all my friends and I was carefully (and sometimes not so carefully) navigating the dating world. Well, obviously I'm not standing alone anymore because I have Craig, Angie the pup and a baby girl on the way. So what to rename this blog? I don't want it to be anything like "The Nelsons" because no offense to my dear husband...this blog isn't always about US, sometimes it's just about me which is how I like it, thankyouverymuch. It gives me a space to kind of sound of or express things that are going on in MY brain or MY life which I think will be very helpful and necessary when Natalie arrives and most of MY life is devoted to taking care of her. I know I have some very creative thinkers out there and I welcome all of your suggestions!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


After I found out that I was pregnant, mymother bought me a book entitled "100 Questions from My Child" byMallika Chopra and inside, Chopra answers all the silly, tough, insightful and absurd questions that her two youg daughters ask her on a daily basis. I started reading through it this morning as I was trying to make Angie patiently wait to wake up her Daddy in the spare room (he has snoring issues sometimes) and as soon as I read some of the questions, I wanted to get my answers down in writing. So here it goes...

"What does my name mean?"
Natalie is traditionally associated with Christmas time but that meaning has absolutely no correlation to why I chose it for you. I like alliterations "Natalie Nelson" and I like how classic, timeless yet still relatively unique it is in this current time. It is also easily translated into Italian - Natalia. I was never called "Laura" by my beloved Italian grandma...she always said my name how it would be pronounced in Italy "Lau" (think alLOW) "ra" (roll that r!) and I want my daughter to have that same special connection to her heritage. Your daddy chose Teneile as your middle name because it means "champion" and "passionate," both of which are characteristics that your parents hold near and dear to their heart and hope that you someday inherit.

"Am I the most beautiful girl in the world?"
Yes. And your big sister Angie is the most beautiful puppy dog in the world.

"Will I be different when I am 27 years old?"
How ironic that I write the answer to this question at my current age of 27. I hope that you are not completely different from your little girl self...I hope you carry with you the imagination, determination and enthusiasm of your youth with you your entire life. I hope that you are very different when you are 27 - different from other people in a way that sets you apart and makes you successful in work and your personal life.

"Mommy, why can't you take my pain away?"
Without even seeing and holding you little girl, I am already frightened of the day you come home heartbroken and in tears over a friendship, a boy or anything else that life throws at you. Because I will not be able to fix everything; I will not be able to hunt down everything that harms you and cast them or it out of your life. I will have to sit patiently, holding back my desire to hug you close and never let you go but instead talk you through your own feelings and guide you towards a resolution. My deepest desire will always be for you to experience a life full of contentment and peace but I understand that my role as a mother will sometimes be to stand back, allow you to experience some pain so that you may grow into a strong, healthy and competent young woman.

"When you get old, will you get sick and die?"
Yes I will. And so will your Daddy. But we will never leave you. On a cold fall night someday in the future when I am gone and you step out onto your back patio completely broken and lost, you will look into the sky and see the stars and I will be there, comforting you like I always have. My grandma does it for me and someday my mother will join her as my guardian angel as well.

"Who is your Prince Charming?"
Ahh...the princess complex that Disney has manufactured in our little girls. Prince Charmings come in many forms and more often than not are not riding on white horses charging in at the last moment to rescue you from an imminent danger. Prince Charming is that man you makes you laugh everyday, the one that always seems to know exactly what to say...even when you don't want to hear it, he will never fight your battles for you but instead always be by your side in any form of combat, and he will always tell you that you are the most beautiful girl in the world. Your daddy is my Prince Charming and Momma sure did have to kiss a lot of frogs to find him.

"Do I remind you of someone?"
This is the question I can't wait to find the answer to. I am so ready to meet Natalie and dissect her features...and then eventually her personality. Being pregnant is like one big science experiment - what kind of person are we going to create? Craig and I have such differing features: he has blond hair, blue eyes and fair skin while I am dark haired, brown eyed with olive color skin. What will she look like? What personality traits will she inherit and pick up on from us? I can't wait to meet her.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adventures in Middle School

From 1:45 to 2:15 I am in charge of 300 7th and 8th graders in the cafeteria while they study, work on homework or read books...all silently. Yesterday in anticipation of an emergency drill that is this afternoon, I was asked to review all the emergency procedures with the students in Advisory should an emergency ever occur. After I finished explaining the proper behavior and expectations in the case of a fire or tornado a 7th grade boy asked me what would happen in a lock-down...if an intruder came into the cafeteria with a gun what should the kids do? I answered him honestly and told him that I didn't know and that I would ask the principal and get back to him. The student, being one of our more witty young men, asked if they should all run to me so that I could protect them. Knowing this child well, I looked at him and rubbed my belly while saying "No offense, but I'm protecting myself and this baby before I protect you." He and the other students laughed and then got back on task to studying and reading...more or less. Later during the class as I was walking around monitoring a young man in the 7th grade asked me very politely "Coach, are you having a baby?" I was a little surprised that he didn't know because I figured that gossip and news travels pretty fast throughout a middle school. I just answered him that yes, I am going to have a little girl in March. He grinned sheepishly at me and said "Oh. I just thought you ate too much at Thanksgiving."

And that's why I get paid the big bucks to teach middle schoolers. Ha.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Secret Fears

I feel like there is a part of pregnancy that no one talks about. I've heard and talked all about morning sickness, aching backs, bizarre dreams, weird cravings...but what about the emotional part? What about the part of pregnancy that makes me want to run as far away from this thing as I can? No one talks about the anxiety, the fears, the worries...I might even go as far as to call it a "pre-partum depression."

Angie had a meltdown last night which ultimately involved washing the comforter and the bath mat, Lysol-ing the bathroom floor, Craig consoling Angie and me upset that I'm going to be the "bad guy" for the next 18 years. How did I get from rubbing Angie's belly on the bed to having an anxiety attack because of how I will inevitably one day get mad at Natalie and how I'm afraid that my temper will somehow negatively impact her life?

Of course I pray that she is a healthy, beautiful, smart and athletic little girl, but most of my prayers have consisted more of...

"Dear God (and Grandma), I have been given such a pure and perfect gift. Please don't let me screw her up. Amen."

My grandma was an Italian Red Cross nurse during World War II and she always spoke of how on their deathbeds, the soldiers did not ask or call out for their wives or girlfriends...but it was always for their mothers. I am overwhelmed with the prospect of being that important of a person for another human being. I look at myself in the mirror and don't see anything particularly special...but yet I am going to be the end all and be all for this child's life in the first few years. And the impact of my decisions, actions and words will possibly impact her for the rest of her life. How can someone so imperfect and sometimes utterly ridiculous as me be given such a great responsibility as caring for and raising a child?

I love Craig dearly but I don't think I fully comprehend the type of love that I will have for a child that I have carried for nine months. Maybe I'm afraid of the love that I will have for her because I know that with such a great love there will come great pain as I watch her throughout her life. Through the broken hearts, the busted friendships, the failures, the disappointments...I don't want my daughter to ever feel any of the pain that I felt and I can't imagine the helplessness that will devour my heart when I have to sit back and let her make her own decisions; decisions that I know might lead to heartache. I think about my own mother as she watched me through all my disastrous love affairs and how torturous it must have been for her to see her (in her eyes) beautiful, smart, funny, caring daughter be so careless with her life and her heart. I told Craig the other day that I part of me doesn't want her to be born because while she is in my womb, I can protect her from everything that is bad and evil in this world but once she is born...the process of her leaving me and experiencing life on her own, the good and the bad, begins.

And again, I will reiterate that I love my husband dearly, but I don't think he is truly grasping the tidal wave of emotions that are coursing through my body on a daily basis. He hasn't expressed any nervousness, anxiety or fears about becoming a father which makes me feel like I'm very much alone emotionally in this journey. Everyone that I speak to about pregnancy and motherhood only talks about the positive things...which again, makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills for feeling these things. I just want to hear someone say that yes, this is normal and it's okay to feel these things, that it doesn't make me a bad mother and not brush me off by telling me that everything will work out and how I'll be a great mom.

I'm afraid that I'm just not going to be any good at this "motherhood" thing and I keep asking Angie if I'm a good mom and she just licks my face. I'm not sure if that's a "yes" or if I have the remnants of dinner on my cheek.