Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wonderful Christmas

And no baby yet. :)

Though we had another very nice long hand-holding walk with the pooches, followed by romping around in the field next door, (literally hopping about) under the almost full moon changing "come on Petunia".

Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 24, 2007

No Baby Yet

But any moment now.

The phone has been ringing off the hook. Kinda fun, but I imagine it will get less so when we are actually in labor, or over due.

Alexe's doing well, after a 24 hour stomach bug. Petunia's fully prepared to come out, firmly planted head down, and making Alexe ache in all sorts of new places.

We're officially due on Friday, but who knows if we'll make it that long, or if we'll still be waiting 2 weeks from now.

We're doing everything we can to help the process along. We went for a very pleasant walk in the wilderness preserve a few miles away, all the way down to the river, through the cypress groves and swamps. Wandering through the woods, holding hands and chattering, with the pooches racing through the woods, cutting in front of us periodically to make sure we're still moving; We saw our life this afternoon as just this, walking along holding hands, with the weather, the trees, the terrain, the seasons, and the things racing around us changing, and us just strolling along, enjoying it all. Heaven on Earth.

I have a question for anyone who can find an answer: How often are beavers crushed by falling trees?

We're sitting in the sun filled living room, Alexe snoozing on the couch wrapped in a duvee, hand on belly. Shadow's pooped, flopped half on my foot and gently snoring. Dido's chewing away on her chewy-chip, looking worriedly over at Shadow, who finished hers more than an hour ago.

Oh, that's something I wanted to mention here, to anyone who is interested. I have been conducting a study of tennis balls. We have the perfect stress tester, powerful jaws, slightly sharp teeth, and a love for tennis balls that keeps us up at night with the incessant slobbering/chewing sounds.

I've been looking for a tennis ball brand that does not come unglued with a couple strong chomps. The "made for pooches" brands, all of them, are good for maybe 10 minutes. They are made of thicker rubber, but less flexible, and as all tennis balls are made in 2 halves and then glued together, they need to be plyable to stay together. (John and Christy, Shadow loved her present-balls, but had them in little pieces all over the house in under a half hour.)

Penn, while expensive, last under 2 hours, 3 if Shadow's savoring them. Almost every other brand, whatever Walmart has on the shelf, will break down more quickly.

Far and away the best: Wilsons. These, for some reason, are guaranteed to last overnight, sometimes 2 nights, sticking together even after Shadow has gotten a tooth or 2 through them.

Hope that bit of info comes in handy at some point.

Much love to most everyone.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Merry Holidays

We just said goodbye to Caitlin, Jim, and Natalie this morning.
Alexe went into town to send off our last Christmas boxes and cards, and do some other errands, leaving me at home to catch up on rest, do laundry and clean up the house, and generally shake off my funk at having my family leave.

We had a very nice visit, a full house since last Sunday evening. They brought lots of presents, my hunting rifle that my father was storing and packed up for me, (now I can try for a boar, something I've wanted to do since I moved down South) my paintball equipment, (not sure what I'm going to do with it, but fun to have) and a ton of fun board games. I won at all of them.

We received a package from my parents and another from Nicholas and Emily, both loaded with goodies.

This post is a general wrap up of recent events, and a few pictures of my various interests / projects.

I've been cleaning bricks in the upstairs of my building. I had intended to bring the first floor almost to completion before working on the upstairs, but as I realized the mess that would trickle down on some projects, I've been fitting those in to my schedule. Cleaning bricks, with the final step being a good long hose down with a pressure washer, makes for a watery mess flooding the first floor, so I'm working through that as quickly as possible.
This is a portion of the structural repair I put in. With guidance from 2 different engineers, I've run three 24 ft 3/4 inch steel rods from the back wall running into the floor joists of the building. The floor joists have been tied to each other, so the pressure is spread evenly. A turn buckle in the middle, and I pulled the back wall in about an inch and a half. The south wall has 4 rods going through it, tied to the end of the floor joists that were cut off 60+ years ago to make a hole for the stairs. Now I'm going to put in a floor and ceiling, and forget about this corner.
This is our baby girl's room. When we first started thinking about having Petunia (nickname, not her actual name), we talked through how little a baby actually needs, and how crazy the people who redecorate and dedicate lots of energy to beautifying a room for a creature with vision that doesn't reach beyond their crib must be.
Then our wonderful landlord came by and painted the room a beautiful blue that Alexe picked out, I put in new carpet, replaced the window Alexe broke, and slowly Alexe has moved furniture in, made curtains, and generally made it into one of the nicer rooms in the house.

A picture from the local Railroad museum of my building before the top floor was removed. Awesome, isn't it? The owner of the building was an elderly woman whose father had built this in 1870. She was concerned over the cracks that had formed on the southern-rear corner of the building (the ones I just repaired) and was convinced by someone that these were caused by the weight of the building. So she had the extra story removed to make it lighter. Grrr.

Natalie opening her final Christmas present. Alexe made her place mats and napkins from the same fabric she used to make the curtains in Petunia's room. And I went on a long search through every antique store in Oxford in search of an elegant set of silver salt and pepper shakers. A nice first apartment gift we thought.

Natalie in front of our Christmas tree. (After a word of caution from my mama, I won't go over where this tree is from. :) )
My darling bride, even though she is full term and the bay dropped a few nights ago, was a champion hostess. She took a bit of ribbing from my sisters on the cleanliness of the house, and Alexe's compulsive measures to keep it that way, but I'm proud of her and love showing off the home she provides for us.
The dinner table.
Everyone except for Alexe, who needed some time to work, took a road trip out through the Delta to see the Mississippi river. This is Natalie jumping off an old bulk-head at Friar's Point.

This is my sisters and brother in law, where we stopped at Morgan Freeman's club, Ground Zero, for a photo opportunity. The club is one of the most popular destinations in Northern MS, and it's always an interesting contrast for Northerners to see what prosperity looks like in the South. Looking at the run down towns in the North-East, it is still obvious the immense wealth and industry that used to exist. In the South, the past is also easy to see, and the disparity between the North and South's heydays is shocking.

Caitlin silhouetted in front of the setting sun over the Mississippi river.