Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Really Long!!!!

Hello faithful readers!!! I hope you are still here with me!!!

I'm finally settling down after a long semester to reflect on all of the adventures we have tackled...and there have been many! One of the more taxing ones was our recent trip to Ireland with Marching Mizzou. The trip was quite a task to orchestrate, and we were excited to finally get it underway.

Tom and I departed STL with the band on the Wednesday before St. Patrick's Day and landed in Dublin about twenty-four hours later. It was the first international flight for both of us, and Tom's first flight since 9-11. He thought I was being ridiculous when I urged him leave out most of the electronic/sharp metal trinkets and gadgets he had been stowing around in his backpack all year. Apparently I didn't do a good enough job...because he still got stopped at EVERY security checkpoint for a detailed scan and swabbing of his things. Something to do with him carrying his conducting baton in a repurposed PVC PIPE!! Wow. Pipe-bomb anyone??

Poor Tom...
After our awaited arrival in Ireland, we did some sightseeing for a couple of days and then marched the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin on Saturday morning. Here are some of my flute girls before we stepped off: 

The next day, we loaded up all six charter busses and hauled everyone to the west coast of Ireland to spend a few days in Limerick. Here's a pretty view from the bus window:

Following the parade in Limerick, we did some more sight seeing including Blarney Castle/Botanical Gardens, Blarney Woolen Mills and the Cliffs of Moher. Here is a shot of me in the Blarny Castlegrounds:

Tom overlooking the Cliffs of Moher...we climbed to the tops of the cliffs in the background. 

And on the way to the top, we encountered this sign. Don't worry, I didn't act stupid like the kids and actually go that close to the edge. Stupid kids...

More cliffs along the coastline...he was a brave one. I would've never stood where he is standing in this picture. Captain Morgan, anyone?

The trip was EXHAUSTING...but it was absolutely beautiful. I am very happy to have the experience under my belt, but we were SO glad to finally get home to finish out the semester. We sacrificed two weeks of time in our graduate music classes and it was a tough chore to catch up. 

About a month and a half later, the semester's end drew nearer, but the numerous contests, concerts, research papers, and finals were really weighing us down. Normally, I can keep up the pace pretty well, but this time it was getting the best of me. I found myself crying in the silliest of circumstances, one of the more confusing ones being the time our director informed me my pitch was a little low in one of the pieces we were playing. Literally...I could barely keep the tears from falling down my cheeks. I am a grown woman, people, I should be able to handle constructive criticism! Though it was strange, I chalked it up to end of the semester exhaustion mixed with a few monthly big deal.

A few days later, the biggest weekend of the semester had arrived: State Solo and Ensemble Contest. This is the day that all of the high-schoolers in Missouri who recieved a "I" rating at their district contests come to be judged and rated on our campus. It is a non-stop three day event, and all of us Band TA's were in charge of trouble shooting. The work load really wasn't that bad, but for some reason I was finding it more and more difficult to put one foot in front of the other. TOTALLY not like me. I'm usually right in there with the boys pulling my fair share of the load. Though it was excruciating, somehow I made it...and then performed in three additional concerts that weekend. Whew!

It wasn't until about a week later I woke up early one morning after a very strange dream about a little baby when I finally realized that my period was seriously late. For those of you who know me well, you are aware of how "in-tune" I usually am with my body...but with the hectic life we've been living for the past few months, I had completely stopped charting. I still knew approximately when everything was supposed to be happening, but I just really wasn't paying a whole lot of attention.

After using one of the little test strips we keep under the sink in the bathroom, I stared in disbelief at the result:

The second line was sooo faint, but after talking to a few expert mommys, I was assured that it signified a positive result. (and the twenty more test strips that followed in the succeeding days proved the hypothesis by displaying darker and darker second lines...)


Of course, this was the greatest suprise....but we just weren't prepared for it at all. Tom was especially speechless!

As the news sank in, we had a few more celebrations:

Tom's 32nd Birthday complete with sour cream coconut cake:

And my completion of the TriZou Sprint Triathlon....Pregnant!!

Here I am waiting 2 HOURS to get into the pool for my 400m swim. I'm a slow snail in the water...and waiting that long did absolutely nothing  for my nerves. Do you like the little ankle bracelet they made us all wear? I felt like I was breaking my probation...

 I side-stroked most of it. I'd trained to do freestyle since January, but it was all I could do to not hyperventilate in the water.  I did pass one bigger dude, though...I think he was wearing a snorkel. :)

And my favorite part...the 14 mile (and very hilly) bike!! I held my own...even though I had a mountain bike without the fancy toe-clips. Woot. 

And then the concluding 3.1 mile run. Or in my case...the run/walk. I'm so slow...I'm pretty sure I ran about 11:44 mile. Oh well. It was hot..and I was trying to stay pregnant. My amazing coach, Erin, is running my last few steps with me. She's the real champ. She completed a half ironman about a month before this.

So...after the triathlon Tom and I had a week of finals and then FINALLY the semester was over. We are super psyched to have finished our first year of Graduate School, and we are praying REALLY hard for wisdom about the upcoming year...and the years to follow. We had planned to continue with school to pursue Doctoral degrees in 2013, but we are really going to have to consider our commitment level with a child in tow. Heck...I'm just hoping I can finish the second year of this program. It's all very overwhelming, especially when I let all of the "what-ifs" cloud my thoughts. All I really need to remember is that God is sovereign...He ordained this...and He will give us the strength, love, and wisdom to embark on life's next journey.

Until then, however, I'm going to enjoy the ride by beginning my baby bump chronology!!

Week 5 (about a week and a half ago):
Belly Measurement: 37"
Weight: 143lbs
Symptoms: Extreme lethargy, incessant hunger, loosening ligaments
Cravings: Hotdogs with ketchup and avocado, relish and tortilla chips, steak.
Exercise of choice: Yoga and Swimming laps.

And...(drum roll please)...acording to my baby is a blueberry. Yum!

I am, however, convinced that this prediction...along with the doctor' about a week ahead of where I actually am. So, in reality, my baby is a sweet pea...thankyouverymuch.

Ok...well thanks for sticking it out until the end!! I will try try try to post more often so marathon ramblings such as this can be avoided in the future:)

Pray for a sticky bean (or blueberry..)!

 BabyFruit Ticker

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