Monday, February 6, 2012

I've Moved...Come Follow My Mom Blog Adventures!

Dear Readers,

Here's a link to my new blog:  The Milk Tree.  I'll miss this blog, but I'm excited about the changes.  Since so much has been happening in the real world, it only seemed fitting that I make some changes online, too.

You can follow me on my blog, as well as on Twitter and Pinterest.    

Please add my new blog to your link list, your blog roll, your weekly list of must-reads.  We'll have fun.  A hoot and a half.  I promise.  And maybe I'll post some cool ideas now and then.  A rant occasionally.  A little bit of everything and then some...


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Blog Update

Changes are coming.  Get ready.  This blog has been good to me.  It has seen me through the arrival of three babies and one major move/career change.  But now it's time to change things up.  Once I'm ready to launch my new blog, I'll be back to announce the move.  I'm excited.  Very excited.  Stay tuned...

Friday, January 6, 2012


I am so in love with this little girl! Enjoy the new pictures and her most recent stats:

Age: Three weeks already!
Weight: 7 lbs, 15 ounces
Height: 20 3/4 inches
Head 14 inches

Favorite Song: Sydney (I'll Come Running) by Brett Dennen
Favorite TV Show: Mad Men
Favorite Lap: Toss-up between Riley and Adrian
Favorite Activity: Sleeping and Stretching
New Year's Resolutions: Sleep longer at night and grow some hair! :)
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby Sidney is Here!

Last Wednesday, at 8:02am, Sidney Alexis Harding joined our family!  We are so happy to have her in our family, and we are so thankful for a healthy birth and recovery.  It has been a whirlwind couple of days for sure.  Here's the story of our little girl and her first five days:

1.  My dad arrived at 5:10am the day of my c-section, five minutes before we had to leave for the hospital.  Talk about timing!
2.  We had Sid at St. Mary's.  The family birthing center is beautiful, and our room was huge!  They even call food service room service.  So nice.  And, we didn't have to move after the first day.
3.  The surgery went great!  I had an awesome team of doctors and nurses.  The spinal went in smoothly, Shawn joined me, the curtain went up, and before we knew it, a persistent cry cut through the room.  Sidney is our smallest newborn, coming in at 6lbs, 2 ozs, and a little over 19 inches long.  We decided she's also our loudest newborn.  Shawn went with her to the nursery while I was stitched up. 
4.  Sid joined us in the room not long after I returned to it.  From the get-go, she has been a great nurser.  I love the whole experience of pregnancy, giving birth, and then nursing a newborn.  The whole process just fills me with so much awe and wonder. 
5.  Grandpa was Sidney's first visitor!  He welcomed her with her very own Gund Christmas bear, flowers, a balloon, and a holiday sleeper from Grandma.  We are so thankful and excited to have my dad here for Sidney's birth and help us out at home, too.  Since we left the hospital, he and Shawn have been engaged in Operation Leaf Removal.  Quite the process considering the size of our yard and the thick coverage of leaves.  He's also been great with Riley and Adrian, and meal preparation.  Plus, it was nice having some one on one time with dad while I was in the hospital.  Thanks, Daddio!  This week would not have been the same without you!  You've got our vote for Grandpa of the year!! 
6.  Caroline also came up to visit and help us out.  Since I haven't seen Caroline all semester, her trip was doubly exciting!  She is awesome in hospital situations, and didn't seem to mind waking up several times at night to help with Sidney and even change a few diapers.  She definitely spoils me and Riley, Adrian, and Sidney, too.  It was great getting to catch up in person for a change.  Her time here went by way too quickly, though.  I miss her like crazy.  Caroline, thanks for being an amazing best friend.  Thanks for being a part of such a special time in my life.  Thanks for celebrating with us.  Thanks for your generosity and kindness.  I could go on and on.
7.  Highlights of our hospital stay include lots of HGTV, a special lunch for Shawn and I before we left, the nourishment room, walks to the Christmas tree, one game of Settlers, and lots and lots of cuddling with Sidney!
8.  We came home on Saturday.  The weekend was kind of crazy with everyone at home, but it was great to just be home.
9.  On Wednesday, we'll leave for Virginia to see my family for the holidays.  I cannot wait for everyone to meet Sidney, and see her proud and happy big brother and sister. 
10.  Sidney is definitely the best early Christmas present I have ever received.  She is such a sweet and peaceful baby.  Sometimes, she sounds like a squeak toy.  Sometimes, she sort-of smiles.  Sometimes, she tucks her legs under her and lifts her arms above her head in a triumphant-buddha pose.  All the time, she's adorable.  All the time, she's mine.  It doesn't get any better than this.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Pregnancy Profile...

Before next Wednesday morning at 7:30am, I wanted to be sure to document some details about my third pregnancy.  In some ways, it was the easiest of the three; in other ways, it was a lot harder to manage.  I cannot believe we are five days away from meeting baby #3!  What a wonderful early Christmas present!  Sure, I'm a little nervous about starting the spring semester with three little ones, but I know we will make it work and figure it out and have so much fun along the way.  The other day, it occurred to me to think how easy it was to manage two at once.  I know it will take a little while before I am saying that about three, but it felt good to experience that moment and see the cyclical nature of child-raising.  Before I turn this post into a set of paragraphs, here's a list that celebrates and explains and characterizes this pregnancy:

1.  Due date: December 29th.  C-section date: December 14th, 7:30am (because my fluid is low again, my doctors want me to deliver at around 38 weeks).
2.  Weight gain at 37 weeks: 21 pounds.
3.  1st trimester woes: threw up once, then just all-day nausea and weird food moods.
4.  2nd trimester woes: some late summer ankle swelling, varicose and spider veins.
5.  3rd trimester woes: more fatigue, some muscle aches and nerve twinges, braxton hicks contractions every once in a while.
6.  Cravings: Ranch dressing!  That's probably been the big one this time around.  So strange.
7.  Aversions: None, really.  I could even eat sweets and peanut butter the entire time.
8.  Mood: Shawn says this has been my happiest and nicest pregnancy.  I've had a couple of meltdown and anxiety attacks, but for the most part I've been really cheerful and mellow.  Does that mean we are doomed?
9. Showing: I think it got hard to hide the belly in work clothes around 25 weeks.
10.  Feeling baby move: Early this time!  Around 17-8 weeks!  That was awesome.
11.  Favorite things about this pregnancy:
       *Talking to Riley and Adrian about it, not that Adrian has any clue really.  Riley is getting really excited, though.  She's convinced its a girl!
       *Showing my students that it is possible to have a job, take classes, and raise a family.  Not that I want my freshmen tackling all that quite yet, but I think it is good for them to know that personal and family pursuits can be achieved simultaneously.
       *Watching my belly move and shift, feeling the baby move.  This one is always among my favorites!
       *Not feeling as stressed.  This time around, I really tried to just enjoy being pregnant, woes and all.  I am so amazed and in awe of the whole miracle, and I am incredibly thankful that I was able to experience it again.
12.  Funny moments: Riley using a fetal doppler to listen to her heartbeat.
13.  Other big life changes: Moving to Athens, GA.  Starting a Ph.D. program.  Shawn starting a new job.
14.  Hobbies and interests: Beyond the obvious of reading and writing...Pinterest, Netflix, Veggie Co-op, working out at the YMCA.
15.  What I'm most looking forward to at this point: Holding our baby.  Finding out girl or boy.  Seeing how the kids react.

In five days, we become a family of five.  Wow.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Semester One = Done: A Series of Lists to Celebrate

Today was my last day of teaching for the semester! Last week, I had my last classes, too, so I am done on campus until January. I still have to grade portfolios in the next week, but I am really excited to see what my students have come up with. From the exhibits I've seen so far, some students have really gone all out. Should be fun to check out all of their hard work.

In looking back on this semester, here is what I have learned:

1. I love teaching college students.
2. I miss teaching high school students.
3. College freshmen and high school freshmen are very much alike.
4. Even if you put critical information on your syllabus, class calendar, announcement board, and share it in class, students will still ask about it.
5. No matter how many times you go over something in class and all students nod their understanding, at least one of them doesn't get it.
6. My students inspire me.
7. UGA students love their Dawgs, leggings, Chacos, Chic-Fil-A, and Northfaces.
8. Yes, I'm already looking forward to next semester, trying out a new syllabus, and meeting a new bunch of students.

So now that I have all this free-time to fill, here's another brief list of what I've been up to or in other words, channeling my inner domesticated diva:

1. Reading David Foster Wallace and his essay on cruising. Amazing.
2. Making two soups to freeze: cabbage and potato soup and roasted tomato soup (both recipes from Pinterest and my Veggie Fest board).
3. Making a pork roast for tomorrow.
4. Filling Riley's photo album with pictures from May through October.
5. Helping Riley make a winter book called Snowman, Snowman, What Do You See (another Pinterest Idea!)
6. Doctor's appointment.
7. Holiday shopping (online, of course).
8. Starting to pull out baby stuff (okay, so I've only dug out a couple of burp cloths so far...).

And finally, here's what I plan to get done besides grading in the next week:

1. Baby Shower at Shawn's School
2. Prepare and ship presents to friends (except Caroline...since she'll be up here in a week and a half!).
3. Finish crafty gifts for Alli, Claire, and Libby. Can't tell what this is yet, but I'm pretty excited about it.
4. Gifts for kids' teachers and my professors (I know what these will be, but I need to get them and drop them off).
5. Sign up for the Southern Miss. conference I will be presenting at in March.
6. Work on my latest creative writing project! This I am so excited about....will reveal later!
7. Read, read, read (more David Foster Wallace, Grub, New Grub Street, Remediation, and The Economics of Attention to name a few!).
8. Finish preparing for baby!

So basically, I've got a week for baby prep, holiday prep, and fiction! LOVE IT!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

O, Christmas Tree, etc.

This weekend was certainly a busy one! Since I've still got one more assignment for the semester, I'll give you the run-down in pictures and bullet points. Who am I kidding? I'd probably stick to the list-picture profile for the weekend even if I wasn't still in school mode...:)

1. Mommy-daughter movie date! Riley and I went to see Arthur Christmas yesterday. We wanted to do something special for Riley since the baby's arrival is rapidly approaching (t-minus ten days!). She chose Arthur Christmas, but we both thought that it was Arthur's Christmas, like a feature film starring Arthur, the cute animal friend with his own series? Nope, this was totally different. But it was a really enjoyable movie and perfect for getting into the holiday mode!

2. Which takes us to getting our Christmas tree. We chopped down our own Leyland Cyprus late Saturday. Well, Shawn and Riley did the hard work. Adrian and I just watched. Good times! The farm was right down the street from our house, and the tree looks beautiful. Now we just need to finish getting ornaments up.

3. Dinner at Five Guys and our first trip to Trader Joe's. Best time to grab a burger? How about at the start of the SEC championship game when Georgia is playing? We accounted for four of the six patrons in the place.

4. Homemade ornaments. This year, we all pitched in to make some salt dough ornaments. What a fun and easy holiday craft! They turned out really well, and Riley even let us know she wants to be an artist when she grows up.

5. Reading. Riley has been really into her library books recently. She's even got most of one book memorized, and she really enjoys "reading" it to us.

6. Monster Cookie. I found out today that a proposal I submitted for a conference was selected! I will be reading a short story at Southern Miss in March! So exciting! I got to enjoy my second monster cookie in two weeks.

7. Friday Night Lights. So in scanning Netflix for shows to watch once the baby comes, I realized I never watched the final season of FNL. Love, love, love this show, the cast, everything about it. I've been staying up way too late to watch it, but it is so worth it!

Okay, that about does it. Time to get back to my school work! Enjoy the pictures. More to come once we finish up the tree!