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Brad & I both had Friday & Monday off for the holidays. Friday we saw Closer, relaxed with the Vikings/Packers game and then went to church. Saturday we went to Brad's parents for the day where we exchanged presents and ate lots of food. Meanwhile in Michigan the kids were sledding & skiiing over the weekend. Zach gave Brandy a promise ring until he can afford the "real deal". I'm very happy for them! Sunday we went to Archivers, had lunch at Noodles, visited Pam at Lemstone and then drove to the northern suburbs where was visited Dutch/Amy/Brooklynn and then Mike & Jess at their new townhouse. We had dinner with Mike & Jess at California Pizza which ended up being free because it took over an hour (we didn't even notice) so we were pleasantly surprised. Monday I worked on the baby announcements and did a little bit of shopping while Pete came over to watch football with Brad. I had a doctor appt. this morning and I still haven't dialated any. Sam did put two scratches across my belly button yesterday...they're both at least 2 inches long. I guess he wants Ben to come out!

The joy of being pregnant

My favorite conversation: When are you due? Jan. 15. Wow, really? You must be having twins or triplets!

I've had this conversation several times with people I know and also with strangers. Today it was with my co-worker Chuck. Why do people think this is a good thing to say to me (or any other pregnant person). My dr. told me not to listen to them because I'm measuring right on schedule, but it's still annoying to hear it over and over.

I want to go home! I'm a bit bored and extremely tired.

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Randy spent most of the week with us last week because he was working in the MN office. He taugh me how to use my breast pump so that was nice :) Tuesday night I had my facial from Jenni & Rhiannon and it was fantastic! She massaged my head, arms, feet & legs in between different masks. Wednesday afternoon my co-workers gave me a baby shower at work. It was kind of weird opening presents at work...they were very generous and I didn't love being the center of attention, but it was really nice. My first shower with men :) Friday was weird because when I got to work there was a present on my chair...a silver rattle and an angel ornament, but it didn't say who it was from. I asked a lot of people, but never found an answer. Saturday night Brad's boss took us and his co-workers to dinner at The Dock Cafe in Stillwater. It's a good thing we're not wealthy because I could easily get used to eating that well...we had a lot of appetizers, I had a WONDERFUL salmon dinner, and desserts. It was just heaven for a hungry pregnant lady. Everyone else was getting drunk on the wine, but I was just eating away. I talked with Juan's wife a lot and they just found out that their youngest child has diabetes so she was still pretty upset :( Even though I had a sore throat most of the week, it wasn't until Sunday that I realized I was just ridiculously sick with a cold. I had to skip teaching Sunday school and skip the special church service that I really wanted to go to. I think I spent most of the day watching TV and sleeping. I did get a call from the Table 15 group at Rhiannon's holiday party #1. Apparently Jenna was really enjoying reading what people wrote in Rhiannon's yearbook :) This Tuesday morning I had a dr. appt - it was the first time she actually checked me to see if I had dialated - I didn't yet. It kind of hurt and for the first time I slightly panicked about the physical pain I'm going to experience eventually. Yesterday we had a holiday lunch at a chinese buffet with Jan's group. Sandy, Gigi & I were having fun making up work romances and laughing about Sheila being the office ho because really Sheila is a sweet woman who might even still be a virgin at 40+. We were just hyper and being ridiculous. Brad's at home today because he can't carry his vacation days over to the New Year, but I'm here (still sick) and pretty bored. I've been training people in all week on my job for while I'm on maternity leave. The week kind of went slow, but now I'm glad it's Thursday. My whole family will be in Fulton for Christmas (including Tim & Daph from NC) and I'm gonna miss it :(

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Last Tuesday we had another completely un-eventful doctor appointment. I gained 5 pounds in 2 weeks, but she didn't seem concerned and that was about it. I LOVE listening to his heartbeat :) Wednesday I had dinner at the church, we had a quick outreach meeting, and then Brad met me for advent service which was very short. Pastor asked me to read some lines for Mary because he thought it would be funny since I'm hugely pregnant. I'm SOOOO glad I said no because the woman who ended up doing it was very animated and there were a lot of lines - I would've hated being up there in front of everyone. Brad went to a Pro Lacross game on Friday night and I stayed home and washed the baby's clothes & blankets and watched Love Actually AGAIN. We just watched it last weekend! Anyhow, he had big loads of laundry! Saturday I took Sam & Ernie to the vet for their annual shots. The vet loved how friendly they were, but when Ernie had to get up on the table he kept hissing. He was scared and I felt bad for him. They both didn't even notice when the actual needle was going in though. The vet said they must be at least half maine coon's because they're sooo big/long. She also said they're at a perfect weight and not to let them lose any more weight...just keep them stabalized. I went to the church's Christmas tea in the afternoon which was nice. I ate a lot and really enjoyed the tea which is weird because I don't usually like tea. I noticed when it was over that our table was the only one that cleared all our plates...the bread, sandwiches, and dessert. Brad & I then met the Benbow's at Grizzly's for dinner. My meal was excellent and Jake was very entertaining as usualy. He's 4 and he touched my belly and said "baby". I completely melted of course. Jenna (who's only 1.5) was confused and couldn't find the baby :) Then Jake came and spent the night with us...we watched the Christmas Veggie tales video, played Go Fish, Chutes & Ladders, and CandyLane. We played in the baby's room...now that it's all finished I want to be in there ALL THE TIME. In the morning we were woke up with Jake at our door "I have to go potty". Later when Brad asked him what he wanted for breakfast he said "Welll, what kinds of gogurt do you have" as if everyone always has gogurt. He was soo cute the whole time and perfectly behaved. It was funny to play go-fish with him because he'd lay his cards on the floor so we could see them :) Brad took him back home while I worked at the church bake sale and then after service we headed to Julie & Henry's to see 3 week old baby Ava for the first time. She was a DOLL. I really didn't want to stop holding her. It was funny when we were ready to leave Henry had been changing Ava's diaper for like 10 minutes and Julie laughed because it always takes him forever...when we went to see him she had peed all over the changing pad cover :) Sunday night we went to the children's Christmas program at church. Abbey gave me a little paper box that she had made/decorated and Stephanie gave me a little plaque thing. They are so cute, but teaching Sunday school isn't exactly my favorite thing. I love playing with kids, but I don't like having the responsibility of keeping them actively learning, etc. because some of them are (let's just say, difficult). Anyhow, today it's sunny, but freezing and the day is flying by. I need go Christmas shopping, but I don't want to go out in the cold. Tomorrow I'm going for a facial at Aveda and I can't wait!!!! Oh, we also found out this weekend that a builder offered Brad's parents a ton of money for their house/land so they're taking us to Hawaii! It's a great surprise because Brad & I are ready to go back anyway :)

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Last Thursday I left work early because I was exhausted. I've been waking up 2 to 3 times a night for no reason...it's extremely frustrating. Some people have told me that my body instinctively knows to get ready for baby being up every 2-3 hours, but that seems crazy/amazing to believe. I had a LWML meeting that night and then Friday I left work early and picked Jenni up at Rhiannon's aunt & uncle's in St. Paul. We hung out there for a little bit while they finished their Clue game and I was amazed at how much Vinnie reminded me of Morgan. Then Jenni & I headed to the pet store and after a slight delay of getting rear-ended we picked up a kitty-condo and somehow squeezed it into the backseat of the Accord with Jenni smashed in with it. The little accident really wasn't a big deal, but I was a little shaken up thinking about having a baby in my backseat soon. We then picked up Brad, grabbed a quick bite at Wendy's, and headed to see Polar Express on the Imax at the zoo. It was very, very wonderful and definitely worth the $14 Imax price. Then we picked up Rhiannon at her aunt & uncles and Jenna from the airport and we were all together!

Saturday morning we headed to Ikea and then to the Mall of America. Time went by fast and before we knew it it was dinner time and we had been shopping most of the day. Rhiannon found a lovely (possible wedding) dress and I found matching mommy-son pajamas so the trip was pretty successful. Brad was helping Chad with his bathroom as a surprise for when Crista gets back from Switzerland & Paris. He then met us at the mall and we had dinner at Chevy's and then went to see Frog & Toad at the Children's Theatre. It's such a feel good show and it was just as good as I remembered. Luckily Cousin Larry (aka Mark Linn Baker) was there to play Toad :) Afterwards we went to the Hardrock Cafe for Jenna to get a martini glass for her collection and then we went back to our house and watched Love Actually.

Sunday we had brunch at Perkins and then saw Bridget Jones 2 while Rhiannon visited Dan & Heather Price. Jenna & I then took Jenni to the airport and went home to watch It's a Guy Thing which was just as bad as I thought it would be. This morning I dropped Jenna off at the aiport and Rhiannon off at her aunt & uncles :( The weekend seemed long, but went by fast. I am seriously sleep deprived. I was surprised at work this morning because Jan painted baby Ben a John Lennon picture for his room :) We're all heading to Target now to get Adopt-a-Family presents :) Pam's on her way to Hawaii now with Bonnie, Mary & Nancy.

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For having a long weekend, I feel like I haven't had any downtime in a long time. Thursday Pam, Jack & Lissa came over for dinner at our house - we had ham & yams, etc. - no turkey. Brad helped Lissa burn some CD's and we spent a lot of the evening playing with my "birthing" ball. Friday I went to Best Buy right away to get a digital camcorder. The line was about 1/4 of a mile or longer and once I got inside I had to wait 1+ hour to checkout...INSANE! I went home and went back to bed :) Friday night we had dinner at Buca's with Cari & Cory, Becky & Eric, Chad & Crista, and Jessica & Dave. Everyone was pregnant or trying (except for Crista). Babies galore! Saturday we had dinner at Brad's parents with everyone and then Sunday Brad went to the Vikings game..I went to church and then shopping...I also used my foot massage at the MOA which was wonderful! I bought a baby book so I started to work on that last night and now I can't wait until I can work on it some more :)

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Time is just flying by. Last Saturday I did some shopping and then we went to the German restaurant for Lissa's birthday and we met her boyfriend, Brian, for the first time. Mike & Jess bought a townhome the same day so we had a lot to celebrate.

Sunday morning I taught Sunday school and then I had a baby shower at Michele's house. It was very nice and there were about 24 people there. I was exhausted by the time everyone left. Brad & I put the stuff away that night...his room is looking so cute!

Monday night I had an outreach meeting at church and then last night I went to Ikea after work to look for a bookshelf for his room. I bought one, but I'm gonna return it because I found one at Target that we think will work better. There is so much to do before he comes!

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Last Tuesday I had another dr. appt. They're every other week, but they're very quick and painless. She takes my blood pressure (it's fine), listens to the baby's heartbeat (it's fine), measures me (you're a little big, but not a big deal), and then asks me if I have any questions. I can't wait for next week's appt. though because for the first time, things are going on...I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions and last week my lower belly hurt.

Thursday was painful when I walked around so Friday I didn't go to work, but Saturday (and ever since) it's been fine...my nurse thinks the baby was just positioned weird - thank goodness he moved! Last Wednesday we went to a sneak preview of National Treasure which I liked a lot. I had very low expectations of it so that always helps. The theatre was packed! We even got their 45 minutes early and there was a line. Friday night Lorie asked us to watch Emily & Abbey so they came over and we watched Cheaper by the Dozen.

Saturday I ran some errands and then Dutch, Amy & Brooklynn came over for dinner. She's only 2 mos. old and she's very tiny :) Sam (our cat) was actually the evening's entertainment though. He was laying by Dutch and he had his tongue out...for a long time. Dutch even touched his tongue and Sam still kept it out! It was adorable.

This week at work is hell because the bank auditors are here and I'm in charge. It hasn't gone very smooth, but it's going. I've also been loading the budget to our new system. Tuesday I wanted to give up, but now I'm feeling more like things are in control.

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Friday after work I stopped by the Hunter's so Lissa could give me my b-day present (a gift card to Archivers) and then I went to Michele's Longaberger open house to get some baskets for the little baby's room.

Saturday morning Brad & I headed to day 1 of our Birth & Parenting Prep classes. I wasn't expecting our class to be so big...there were about 18 couples. It was fun seeing women with bigger bellies than me :) A lot of them were due in January. It was also amusing to see all of the mom's run to the bathroom at each break. We watched a birthing video, practiced breathing/relaxation techniques, and just learned a lot about the whole birth process and possible complications. We also toured the maternity floor at the hospital. Unfortunately it was gorgeous on Saturday and we missed it because we were cooped up in the class :(

Sunday after church I taught Sunday school and then we headed to day 2 which was focused on post-labor/caring for the infant. I loved seeing Brad bathe & put a diaper on the baby doll. Both of the classes were great and I really, really liked one of the instructors and the other was ok.

Bring on that baby!

Today Lori & I started car pooling. It was nice to be picked up in an already warm car :) Jan C got let go for using her corporate credit card for personal stuff :( Everyone is shocked, but only a couple of us know the real reason why she's gone. It stinks.

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Last Wednesday (the 27th) Brad & I went to my dr. appt. and found out that i'm measuring a little ahead of schedule. My doctor said short women tend to do this, I could level off over the next few weeks OR I'm having a big baby or he's coming early :) I also took the gestational diabetes test and I was warned that the drink is really thick and yucky...I loved it - it tasted like really sweet orange pop :) The results came back fine - thank goodness - I would freak out if I had to limit my sugar intake. I just don't feel myself without my daily juice, fruit, and candybars :) Brad picked me up from work and we headed straight to the airport for K-zoo.

Thursday my mom & I went shopping and did errands. Friday Brad, Zach & my dad went golfing while my mom and I did more shopping and errands. We took Krystal to her senior pictures (Cheryl met us there) and we even did a picture with my mom, Cheryl, Krystal & I. Krystal was so cute with her flag thing...she LOVES IT and she's doing it in the Western band next year. Kaitlynn stayed the night Friday night and then Saturday morning we prepared for the baby shower. All 26 of us were packed into my parents little house, but it went well and I had fun. Rhiannon made the awesomest blanket and hat for the little one and Darcy's aunt made him a bunch of stuff, too. The homemade presents were the best :) My least favorite part of the party was having to get my picture taken with my favorite cousin Ginny who was wearing a George W. shirt. Zach & Brad went to the U of M/State game and got back late because I think it went to double/triple OT, but they had a great time and were even able to get tickets just $2 over face-value.

Sunday Heather came over with Damien who was kind of cranky - poor Heather because she said that Destinee was never like that. Then Brad & I went to Target and to see I Heart Huckabees which we both liked, but it was weird.

Monday we spent most of the day with a realtor looking at houses in the Kzoo area. It's tough because we have no idea where Brad will be working. We did fall in love with a couple of houses, but we're gonna wait until next fall to actually look seriously. It was fun though. That night we met Cheryl and Zach & Brandy at the Olive Garden for dinner.

Tuesday morning my mom took us to the airport early. I hate leaving my family, but it's hard to share a house with my parents for 5 days. We planned to work that day, but since our flight was a little late and then our baggage took forever, we decided to stay home. We put the baby stuff away which was scary/overwhelming. Babies need so much stuff! Luckily we did absentee ballots so we didn't have to wait in line. I had a knot in my stomach all night because I just knew Bush was gonna win again. It's very hard to be pregnant during an election year because I'm soooo overly emotional about it.

Wednesday was just a sad day. My co-worker Lori started tearing up at my desk so then I did and I had to make her leave. Brad & I tried to watch a movie called "It Had to be You" starring Michael Vartan that night. It was HORRIBLE. I went to the beadstore after work so I had some jewelry to make while it was on so it partially distracted me from the HORRIBLE plot and HORRIBLE acting.

Yesterday at work I made myself sick eating halloween candy - it's EVERYWHERE. We also had Bakers Square for lunch and I got talked into ordering pie. Then Julie, Randy & little Logan came over and brought pizza and cookies/ice-cream. Logan is SOOOO ADORABLE. He's 8 months and just such a little happy baby. We watched the O.C. for the first time which was good because Julie could tell us what was going on. Yay, it's Friday today - this has been the quickest week even though I haven't had much sleep.