Thursday, April 21, 2011

Registry Madness

I recently went to Babies R Us to add some things to my registry. I went to the cute little counter to get my cute little scanner gun and also asked the lady if she'd print me out a copy of my registry so I could see what I've already put on it. "You only have 18 items on your registry?!?!" I assured her that I was just getting started, hence why I needed the gun to add more, but I refrained from adding that the other half of my items are on a Target registry. She then told me, "Not that you have to do this, but there was a lady in here earlier with more than 700 things on her registry. Granted, she is having twins." Good heavens! Even if she duplicated everything, that's still 350 items. I'm proud of my now 32 items, no matter what the sales lady thinks. But I'm still a little paranoid that I'm forgetting some things.

This brings me to the objective of this post. A friend of mine did this on her blog and it seemed to work for her so now it's my turn. For all of you that have already been down this road...

*What items are must haves for new moms? [Especially those that I may be overlooking.]

*What common registry items can I probably do without and shouldn't waste my money on? [i.e. I've had a few moms tell me NOT to get a Diaper Genie.]

Thanks in advance. And no response is too short. I am a sponge for information right now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Staff Sergeant Jericho J. Belcher

Being with child, I get asked a lot of questions. How are you feeling? When are you due? Have you thought of names yet? Do you know who the father is? I don't mind them. It's fun to talk about babies and get advice. A couple of topics that bring the biggest reactions and most follow up questions are 1) I am quitting my job once the baby comes and 2) Jericho is getting deployed to Iraq later this year. 

I will tackle these topics one post at a time [sorry this is longer than I planned]. First, Jericho's deployment. I will tell you what I know at this point. Jericho is getting deployed to Iraq for an amount of time that has yet to be determined, but we're expecting less than a year but more than 5-6 months. The baby is due on or about August 5th. On or about July 24th, Jericho goes to Texas for 30 days of training prior to going to Iraq. He will leave directly from Fort-something in Texas for Iraq. There is a possibility that he may be able to come home for the baby's birth. There is a possibility that the baby and I may fly to Texas when they do their big send off to Iraq.

What will Jericho being doing? I find that when I say "Iraq", it creates an image of him being dropped into the front lines of a battle-ridden Iraqi city, machine gun in hand, camo-painted face, writing letters to me by dim lamplight while he stares at my faded, sepia-toned picture and nursing a gun-shot wound in his shoulder. Totally not what's going to happen. First of all, there's nothing really going on in Iraq anymore. It's all in Afghanistan, where Jericho will NOT be. And as Jericho pointed out, you're more likely to get shot in Charlotte, NC than in Iraq right now.

Jericho is part of a transportation unit in the North Carolina National Guard. He drives these. Aren't they sexy? I once asked Jericho why he choose this particular kind of army unit to join and he said, "What little kid doesn't want to drive a really big truck around?" It was so cute. This time around [he did one 13-month tour in 2003], he's a Staff Sergeant which means he'll be a passenger giving orders. But Obama says we're getting out of Iraq, right? Exactly. Their unit will be stationed in Kuwait and traveling to and from Iraq to move big stuff out of Iraq [mainly tanks].

I told Jericho I was excited to send him lots of mail and pictures and care packages. I asked him what kind of cool luxuries I could send him. He reminded me that he'll be stationed in Kuwait where they have Pizza Hut, Burger King, Taco Bell, Starbucks, among many other American luxuries in the middle of the dessert, including phone and internet access to call me every five minutes [too much?]. The US base in Kuwait is much like any other permanent military base in the US or anywhere else in the world. While at the base, he'll probably be eating better than I will. Fortunately, the safety aspect of Jericho being deployed is not of major concern. Sure, I'll still worry but not like I would be if his assignment was in Afghanistan or if he was infantry.

Those are the logistics of Jericho's deployment. Now on to the emotions of Jericho's deployment.

Last year when we talked about having a baby and deciding it was time, we knew that Jericho's deployment would be an issue. As the months went by and no sign of baby yet, I was really scared that the baby wouldn't be born until after Jericho left for Iraq. I was sad and scared and confused. At some point prior to knowing if I was pregnant, it was if one day I woke up and all panic, fear, sadness were completely gone. Jericho and I are only part of this equation. Heavenly Father knows what our life holds and that whenever this child comes to us, it's going to work out and it's what Heavenly Father has planned. Children are always a blessing. I'm not saying it won't be hard. I'm not saying I'm not going to cry a lot and get lonely and worry about him. But I know it's doable and this is what I'm going to do. Without consciously asking for it, I've been extremely blessed with faith in our situation. Or maybe it's avoidance and denial...

Another reason I know I need to be calm and resilient in this circumstance is for Jericho. I know he doesn't want to leave so why should I make it any harder on him by kicking and screaming and whining and making him feel even worse? Of the two of us, I will have an easier time while he's deployed. I will be safe in our home, with our child, with family, with church every Sunday, with real food, with air conditioning, with friends. I remind him that I'll miss him but focusing on the negatives is pointless. He's only here for another three and half months and I don't plan on spending my time with him as a whiny, annoying wife.

I LOVE that Jericho serves in the military. He rejoined the National Guard for the future benefit of our family. [And come on, who doesn't love a man in uniform?] He is extremely responsible and focused and having financial security has been a tremendous blessing, thanks to his dedication. This is only a short period of trial in our lives and one that military families go through on a much more regular basis than we ever will. And with even more kids at home! 

My greatest point of worry is embarking on first-time parenthood more or less as a single mother. Although, I don't truly know what I'm getting myself into. If I truly knew, I probably wouldn't be this calm. But calm is what I need to be so I'm considering my naivete a blessing. I'm blessed to have family close by and a wonderful network of women/moms/friends. Some of them within walking distance. They may not know how much I'll need them in a few months, but they'll find out soon. Even if it's just to sit in their house to be around lots of people [I don't do alone/quiet time very well].

That's the big stuff we're preparing for this year. I get a little sad when I'm counting down the days to when baby is born and realize it's about the same countdown for when Jericho leaves. It will be a very bittersweet time in our lives but one that I know will be filled with so much love and excitement and we'll do our very best to bring our family closer together.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Some Things I'm Learning- Part 2

Pregnancy books, internet resources and articles can make any new parent honestly believe that their child is for sure going to wedge themselves between crib bars, die in their sleep, be strangled by their pacifier clip, fall off a changing table, grow an extra arm from the evil baby monitor radio waves, or get brain damage from an incorrect angle of their car seat. I learn much more from the parents in my lives, that, would you believe it, haven't had their children die from completely arbitrary baby-product mishaps. 

My friends aren't helping me in my quest to not gain 500 pounds during this pregnancy. Actual conversation: Me- "Here. I bought two cookies. Take one." Friend- "No. One's for you. One's for baby. Baby needs a cookie too." Me- "My one pound baby does NOT need a one pound cookie." Friend- "Fine. Take half." Me- "Fine. But it better be the smaller half."

I'm oddly sensitive about people's comments regarding my pregnancy physique. It's a little weird knowing that the people you see on a regular basis are checking you out and then making comments about how much you are/aren't showing. Some of these people are openly dieting. I'd like to think that, in turn, I should be able to say to them, "Ya know, you're not really losing as much weight as I thought you'd be." But that'd be catty. I'm just glad I'm not to the point where I've got a huge baby bump and people think they can touch my stomach at will.

Now that I know I'm having a girl, my shopping bug is on overdrive. I thought it was bad in the beginning of the pregnancy. I'm having a hard time not going across the street to the Carter's outlet store every other day. And I've had to convince myself that I don't need everything from this website and this one. Don't you think my baby needs these? 

When I heard stories about couples that had a baby and two days later still didn't have a name, I scoffed and exclaimed in complete judgment: "You've had NINE months to pick a name and you still haven't figured it out? It's not a game-time decision folks." I now must seek forgiveness from these people. I struggle immensely with this decision. Partly because I think I'm trying too hard [I keep expecting a grand celebration to occur the moment I find the right name, much like what happens to Harry Potter when he finds his perfect wand]. Partly because Jericho's main contributions are in vetoing my ideas but not in presenting any counteroffers. I threaten him by reminding him I will be the one filling out the birth certificate and if I have to, I will put down whatever name I dang-well please and, depending on my mood, I may not even put him down as the father. I also resorted to dramatically handing over the baby name book and telling him if he could find a name that he was over the moon, crazy excited about, I would accept that name, no questions asked. He flipped open the book and read the first name he saw: Imogen. I rescinded my promise and have assumed responsibility once again.*

*Update since I started this post: The middle name is set [and the last name]. And we have the first name narrowed down to two.  But I think we're going to keep it under wraps. I want it to be a surprise and I don't want anyone's opinions psyching me out. On the other hand, I know about a dozen people having baby girls this year and if I make the name public, I can hold intellectual property rights on that name and anyone who uses it before I do will be copying me. What do you think? Public or secret?

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