Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Baby BOY 'T' and a sweet pair of cowboy boots.

Well, well, the months just fly on by…is it really the end of September already?

You can probably gather by the title that gender of Baby T has been revealed and it’s no longer Baby T but Baby BOY T, whoop whoop!

We knew we wanted to find out the gender but had the ultrasound lady write it on a sticky note and put it an envelope that was pinned to our bulletin board for a solid 6 weeks. Brian’s sister in law Karla had offered to throw a gender reveal party so we were waiting for the big day, to share with family and friends before we found out. Brian and I had talked about what we hoped for and both decided that all we really wanted was a healthy baby, gender didn’t really matter. I know everyone says that but after the adventurous 1st 14 weeks of pregnancy, we are all about the baby’s health.

The gender reveal party was amazing and way more than we ever thought it would be. Starting from balloons on the mailbox, to a pink and blue themed party filled with all sorts of cute additions. Think pink and blue candy, a tally station for the guests to vote on what they thought it would be, boy or girl, mason jars wrapped in pink or blue ribbon with fun sayings on them, and of course, the cake, which was filled with a pink or blue frosting, and would reveal to us what it would be.
When the time came, we skyped in my parents and sister so they could be part of the fun. We picked up the knife, dug in and as many had predicted, we saw BLUE! We were having a boy! There were many hugs, maybe a few tears and much excitement, as we will be having the first boy on Brian’s side of the family. Everyone was thrilled, even my parents who can already boast of their 7 grandchildren!
It was a moment that made everything seem more real. Instead of this ‘thing’ growing inside my belly, it was a boy, and he was going to be our son. A little surreal still and an idea that is still sinking in. And some added excitement as one of my best friends Keri, just had sweet Baby Boy Benji and knowing that they will grow up together, living only blocks apart made the idea of a boy that much better. He isn’t even born yet and already has a best friend.
Brian did confess after that deep down he was hoping for a boy. He wants to teach him how to play some hockey and my guess is the kid will be up on the ice as soon as he can walk. And although Jake pretends to care less, we know that deep down, he too is excited for a baby brother to protect. As long as he doesn’t take his tennis balls…

So a boy it is. The next step was to register for a baby registry as a few baby showers were planned and we needed to get going on it. We walked into Buy Buy baby one Sunday having no clue what to expect. We were given that little gun thing to register the items, a checklist and set out on this 4 hour adventure. Yes, I said 4 hours. Who knew that there are 5,238 types of swaddles and just as many types of bottles, and car seats, and strollers and bouncy seats, oh my. I mean really, does anyone really know the difference between all this stuff? We walked out dazed, not really sure what we had done but convincing ourselves that we were all set. I mean, we had checked almost everything off the list, that meant we were good right?

To take a break from this baby stuff, lets go back a few months to an exciting announcement. As many of you know, I love country music. Love. it. And as far as artists go, Garth Brooks is near the top of my list. When I wrote out a bucket list about 20 years ago, seeing Garth was a top priority. And much to my excitement, a few months back it was announced that Garth was going on tour for the first time in 20 years and his first stop was Chicago! Beyond amazing and something I was going to figure out a way to make happen. Tickets went on sale at 10am one random day and like the rest of Chicago, I was online and on the phone trying to get tickets. He had a total of 10 shows and my goal was the Sep 11 show because what could be better than Garth Brooks on Sep 11. In my mind, nothing. After calling ticketmaster a whopping 140 times I finally got through and was able to get tickets for Sep 14th. Not the 11th, but that was OK, I was gonna see Garth! After posting it on facebook (the miracle site) a friend offered to trade her Sep 11 tickets for my Sep 14th ones and a dream was gonna come true. Whoop!

But let’s go back again, this time to Saturday July 26, around 2pm. Yes, I’m getting specific. My phone rang, caller id said somewhere in TX, I picked up the phone and a guy on the other end of the line says, ‘Hi, my name is Walter and I heard through a friend that you were hoping for tickets to see Garth Brooks on Sep 11.’ I replied with a ‘Yes, I was, but thanks to friend I already had them’. After a few awkward minutes Walter offers up the information that we have a mutual friend in high places and that Garth himself wanted to give me 4 tickets to his Sep 11 show. After a slight heart palpation and a stunned moment of silent, I replied with, ‘Um, what?’ Walter went on to explain that he and I had met before at the W100 (high places, eh?) and that someone would be in contact later on that month with more details but that I was going to get 4 tickets from Garth to his show. I hung up in disbelief. I couldn’t breathe and being home alone and not knowing what to do, I danced around the house in excitement wondering if this could all be true. I called my parents who immediately asked if they could have the other 2 tickets and would make the drive up for the concert. We speculated on if there was more to it, maybe a backstage pass, maybe front row seats, who knew really…

My first action was naturally the purchase of some pretty sweet flag cowboy boots that I’ve had my eye on for years. Finally, an excuse to buy them! And then waiting in anticipation for the concert and the wonder of if this was a hoax or if tickets would actually be at will call, like I was told they would be.

One of my best friends Megan made the trip down from MN for the concert and a group of us decided to take a limo to Allstate, arriving in style. Brian in his cowboy boots and belt buckle was a sight, I always said I wanted to marry a cowboy and I couldn't keep my eyes off him.
 It was Sep 11th and what greater American way to celebrate my love for this country than with Garth Brooks. The limo pulled up and I anxiously waited in line at will call hoping the tickets were there. A huge sigh of relief that not only were 4 tickets there, but in the 3rd row! We made our way to our seats, preparing for the show of a lifetime. And let me tell you that at 53 years old, Garth dances around like he’s in his 20’s. Never a dull moment as he runs back and forth, up and down off his knees, sweating 
profusely and singing so many of his old tunes that we all wanted to hear. A great concert no doubt, even better to be there with Brian and my parents and Megan, all dancing away in our seats. The only bummer was that he didn’t acknowledge that it was Sep 11. Maybe I talked it up too much in my head, maybe I’m more patriotic than some, but even when the crowd started to chant USA, there wasn’t a word about it. So a little bit of a downer but still a phenomenal show and a check to add to the good old bucket list!

And before we get back to this whole baby thing, we had an awesome 
Chicago weekend back in August when one of my best friends Tiff and her boyfriend Tim came for a visit. Think the air and water show, architecture boat cruise, Kayaking to the pier for some fireworks, Some wine and paint, lots of tasty food and some good laughs. How I wish we lived closer, it's always a great time when we get together!

Ookk, back to the baby. As I write this I am at 30 ½ weeks, so 9 ½ weeks left and I know it’s gonna go quick. Aside from some pretty bad headaches and this weird rib pain, I can’t really complain too much about the pregnancy. Although my prosthetic leg doesn’t fit as well as it used too, I’m still able to manage getting around pretty well, I haven’t had any sickness or too many cravings and things seem to be going well. As much as this pregnancy thing is not for me, I’ve come to slightly enjoy the 3rd trimester and the reassuring kicks or body parts that make their way around my belly.

As an athlete, I think the hardest part for me is the body changes and not being able to be as active as I want to be. My running leg is collecting dust as it doesn’t fit well and running just doesn’t work anymore. I’ve been told by my doctor to do no core work and my biking leg no longer fits. Sooo.. I’m left to the pool. Not a bad thing as I’ve always loved the water but stepping away from athletics for 5 months has been harder than I ever imagined. Seeing my USA teammates compete at World Championships while I’m home with my feet up staring at my growing belly. A sacrifice that I know will be worth it come Nov 28, but still a tough adjustment. Especially on these beautiful fall days when there’s no better feeling of a cool morning run.

Next month we will hear what classifications will be going to Rio in 2016. If my classification, Tri2, is in for Rio, that is the absolute goal. To have a healthy baby, an uncomplicated birth and to get back in shape as quick as I can. A process that will be a tough one after not running for 6 months but one that I am prepared to tackle. The goal will be to get back into shape and competing as soon as possible to get the much needed points that could eventually pave the way for Rio. Next year is a crucial year and I need to come back quick. A lofty goal but one that I’m excited to give a try.

And if it’s not in for Rio, well, I still have a wedding to get in shape for. That’s right, next May, I get to marry Brian and I am already counting down the days for him to become my husband. We have the venue set and are getting all the big stuff done before the baby is born. Including trying to find a wedding dress, which I would NOT recommend when you’ve gained 25 pounds and are 7 months pregnant. But it will all get done and it will be a wedding to remember as my dad will finally get to walk me down the aisle. And this time around, our son will be there to look on. It’s gonna be a good one.

Some exciting stuff for sure. And now doing some last minute travel while I still can, getting the nursery going and realizing that ready or not, I am going to be a mom. Crazy? yes. Scary? yes. But rumor is, its an adventure well worth taking on. And lucky for Brian and I, there are all sorts of baby classes offered to we can figure out what we’re doing. Or maybe we’ll just learn as we go. Can it really be that hard?

I cant help but share a quick link that aired on the Today show on Labor Day... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K94gcK-KGuo A story of myself and 3 other female wounded warriors who were all at Walter Reed together 10 years ago. All of us having lost a limb and becoming the first females to be injured in Iraq. And now, 10 years later, all having kids of our own. A story I am honored and proud to be a part of. The ‘Band of Mothers’ and a truly happy story. How I love these ladies.

And lastly, but certainly not least, a huge THANK YOU to Debbie Tolsma for throwing such an awesome baby shower last weekend! My mom and
soon to be mother in law, what great ladies they are.

So there you go. Baby BOY T and a sweet pair of cowboy boots. Until next time.