Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Great Not to Be Pregnant Anymore

My Top Ten Reasons It's Great Not to Be Pregnant Anymore

10. My big belly has been replaced by big boobies...the 'pantry' is fully stocked!
9. Soon my pants wont have an elastic waistband. (I haven't tried on any non-preggo pants yet.)
8. I'm wearing Matt's shirts since their easier to nurse Abigail, and not because they are the only ones that fit!
7. It's easier to do simple things without a big belly (i.e. brush my teeth!).
6. Wine for New Year's Eve! Not a lot, but it's finally allowed now.
5. I don't have to pee every 5 minutes.
4. I'm going to try on my wedding rings today, and I think they'll actually fit again!
3. Heartburn is now just a bad memory.
2. No more cankles! Or any swelling from the knees down, for that matter!
1. Abigail is finally in my arms, and out of my belly!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When Hiccups Attack

Abby Has the Hiccups from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

Abby met another great-grandfather today. Matt's dad, grandfather and sister drove up for the afternoon. Abby had just finished eating and was wide awake when they arrived, then slept oh so cozily in PawPaw's arms the rest of their visit. We hope to see you again soon PawPaw!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to Work...

Well, it's Monday morning (Dec 29th) and this is my first day back at work after taking last week off for Christmas and Abby. I'd love to say that I had a great night of rest and was ready to jump right back into the job this morning, but that just wasn't the case. The culprit...not Abby. No, she actually slept pretty well last night. It was me who was tossing and turning because my throat has some annoying problem going on with it where I must swallow every 30 secs while clearing my throat. I really don't think I'm coming down with anything since having throat problems has been common the last few years for me, especially during the winter months. And so, despite my 2-3 hours of sleep that I squeezed in, I'm considerably chipper far. Anyways, getting up was easy this morning since I was already awake. The commute was a breeze due to the number of people still calling this week vacation time around Atlanta, and by the looks of things from my desk this office is missing many of those. The office has been quiet with just a few regulars here. I've managed to show off a few baby pics of Abby already and knock down some coffee and hot chocolate, too. However, my project log is practically nil since the team planned for me to be out for a few days around this time with Abby's arrival, and pretty much all of the project managers, art directors and designers are no where to be found. Heck, my boss is still in Holland visiting with family. Oh well, there's always a need to clean up my cubicle a bit so I can start the new year right. Now if only I could get rid of all these surge protectors, cables and other stuff I've been working on the last few weeks. Whew!

By the way, I did take a little time to update the blog a little bit. I've slowly been tweaking things here or there, but I finally took another shot at developing the title page. With Jill and me blogging simulatneously now, I've change the blog title also. Who knows, Abby may be blogging away any day now. :-) Well, enjoy the refresh and feel free to check out the photos from the last week. It was quite a doozy!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Week One Review by JILL

Wow, what a week. Just last Saturday our daughter, Abigail was born. Since then this past week has been quite a blur with days in the hospital, Christmas and plenty of visitors dropping by to say hello to the newest member of the family. We were lucky to be released from the hospital Monday night, being able to get a little settled before Christmas. On Tuesday, Matt's Aunt Gail, PawPaw & Myra dropped in to meet Abigail. We kept Christmas Eve very low key, Abigail had her first appointment with the pediatrician and I went to get my staples removed. On Christmas Day, Matt's family spent the day with us.

On Friday and Saturday we had more visitors. Cousins, Christina & Eric stopped by on their way to Pigeon Forge while Uncle Steve, Aunt Joanna and Cousin Alyssa drove up for the night from Tampa. Matt's co-worker from Griffin (in Nashville), Mark and Samantha (his girlfriend) dropped by. Then Great Aunts Carol & Irene and Cousin Debbie visited too (from Sherry's Mom's side of the family). Abigail is one very loved little girl!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

Hands of an Angel

As daylight slips through the windows of our home early this Christmas morning, I just wanted to reflect a little on how special this day is for my family. Today, my daughter celebrates her first Christmas as well as her 5th day in the world. On a day that is meant to celebrate Christ's birth, Jill and I have a very special example of how precious a small child can be to people's lives. We're so blessed.

On a side note, I'd like to update everyone real quick on us. We were able to go home on Monday night after both Abby and Jill were cleared to leave. So far, we're had one really rough night and a few better nights...mostly because Wayne and Anita have been so gracious to keep Abby company for a few hours during the night so we could get some rest. Yesterday, Abby had her first appointment with her pediatrician and everything went very well. After dropping a little weight from birth, she's back on her way up as she weighed in at 5lbs, 12 oz. Oh, and she's grown a 1/4" already, too. Also, Jill had her checkup yesterday and had her staples removed. Um, considering the view I had on Saturday night in the OR as all the craziness happened, to now have both my girls home is really a miracle in its self in my mind.

And so, we have more than enough to be thankful for this Christmas day. We'll have a house full in just a few short hours as we make a full day of the festivities. There's going to be plenty of food, plenty of gifts, and a whole lot of pictures taken for sure. And I plan to kick everything off by getting into the kitchen to start up breakfast here shortly. Pancakes & bacon anyone??? :-)

Well, enough of the blogging. I'm gonna lean over and kiss my baby girl who's laying in her boppy next to me here in bed and thank the Lord that he gave us such a special gift this year. So, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day Two

It's been a fairly quiet and slow day for us here since no visitors have dropped by and we've had time to enjoy it just being the 3 of us. Not too long ago we were spending some time cuddled into Jill's hospital bed to watch a little tv, which had to have been a sight. Overall, Abby is sleeping and eating well at times, but she does occasionally show signs of that Barnes/Henriquez stubbornness that Jill and I possess. After some helpful tips from the lactation specialist, though, Abby seems to not fight her feedings as much. To make things easier, Jill's in a laying position that is allowing her to rest comfortably while Abby eats (and semi-naps) next to her. And yes, I'm keeping a watchful eye on them both in case you were worried about Jill rolling over or something.

By the way, we may be able to go home tonight if Jill's OB gives the final sign-off. The OB came in this morning and said everything looked good and would be back after office hours to make the final call. If we do go home, I'm sure you'll see photos on the blog tonight of our grand arrival. Stay tuned.

So, I haven't been able to snap that many photos today, but I did process a few that I shot yesterday. Now I know she's already one whole day older than when I took the pics, but you should be able to recognize her still. Ha!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Abigail Celebrates Her First Day

At 7:08pm last night, our baby daughter made her official entrance into the world and as they say, "the rest is history." Jill's labor moved slowly in the early stages, but Jill's lack of sleep combined with increased strength in her contractions pushed us to the decision to call for an epidural. Around 6:30pm last night, the epidural procedure was finished and Jill began to fill some relief. Seeing an opportunity to step out, I made my way to the waiting room to choke down a chicken sandwich and talk with everyone. I began walking back to Jill's room and was about to bid farewell to my parents (I had just got out of my mouth that the birth was still maybe 4-6 hrs away) when Anita gave me a ring on my cell. Abby's heart rate had dropped from the 145bpm earlier to 75bpm. She was going into fetal distress and Jill's OB made the call for an emergency cesarean section procedure to save her. I ran back to Jill's room just as the nurses were wheeling her out, so the nurses got me suited up in surgery apparel and down to the OR I went.

While Jill lay on the table already being opened up, I waited outside for them to take me in. Within a minute (felt like an eternity) I was sitting inside the OR behind the curtain trying to comfort Jill as they pulled Abby from her womb. I was completely traumatized because this event was supposed to be all about overwhelming joy, but instead I was having to watch my semi-sudated wife go through some excruciating pain. Once Abby was out Jill was given a heavy sedative and I was able to pay attention to our baby girl crying over on the warming table. Of course, she was beautiful and already wiped down I might add (since I joked with Jill throughout the pregnancy that they should hose her off before handing her to me, ha). I know I've heard it a hundred times from other fathers, but when I walked over and begun to talk to Abby, her cries quieted and she opened her eyes at me. It was just about the coolest, most heart-warming thing I've ever experienced. After Abby was measured and weighed (18", 6lbs & 2oz.) and they had Jill all sewn up, the 3 of us headed right back to the original delivery room.

There we were met with Jill's parents and my parents (proud grandparents) and watched the nurse give Abby her first bath. The rest of the night seemed to fly by, but we did manage to move to our permanent room and have the many visitors stop by for their first visit with the newest member of the family.

....I now pause tonight's blog as we all sing "Happy Birthday" to Abigail... :-)

Jill, Abby and me both managed a few hours of sleep last night after a little restlessness with Abby early in the AM. We all woke up first to talk with Jill's OB doc, and then next we met with the on-call pediatrician. The OB explained the situation that led to Jill's C-Section and talked about a few other details, while the pediatrician checked over Abby and gave her a great bill of health. Both Jill and Abby are recovering from the delivery very well, although Jill is still a "little" sore from the surgery. Despite that, both my girls managed to get more rest this afternoon (about 4.5 hrs each). While I've been cleaning Abby's black-tar meconium poop (3 times already, woohoo), Jill has switched over to solids and just ate her first meal. I'm not completely sure, but I think we may be able to go home by Tuesday if Jill continues to recover well.

We're all set for night #2 here, so wish us luck everyone. I've managed to get most of the photos from last night converted over, so look for more photos to pop up as tonight and tomorrow go along.

Welcome, Abigail Jaclyn Barnes


It's about 1:30am here and I have little energy left to explain the events that just took place over the last several hours. Things progressed dramatically from my last entry @ 4pm, so I'll spare you the details for now. Basically, Jill was rushed into the OR for an emergency C-Section due to Abby's heart rate dropping. At 7:08pm, Abigail Jaclyn Barnes was born. I will update the blog sometime in the morning after some much needed sleep. Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers.


Matt, Jill & Abby

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Oh Baby...Here We Go!

UPDATE @ 4pm: Jill had her water broken around 3pm, and she's been on pitocin for a little over 2 hours. Now we're adding pain killers to the IV cocktail to give her some pain relief, which should in turn give her a chance to get some rest. Jill wasn't able to get a whole lot of sleep last night ever since we found out yesterday that she was going to be induced and had to wait for the call that a room was available. With contraction pains growing stronger as time goes by, this should be some great sleep before she jumps into the next stages of labor. Although I should probably catch some shut-eye myself, I just don't think I'll be able to sleep. I'll update in a short while.

Early Stages @ 8:45am: The long-awaited arrival of our baby girl is now only hours away now that Jill is in the first stages of being induced. We've arrived at the hospital around 6:15am this morning after getting the call that a room had finally come available. From there it has been a slow process of checking in, settling into the room, having the baby monitor and contraction monitor hooked up, and now waiting for the drugs to kick in. Since this is the first, the nurse does not expect the labor process to be quick, especially since Jill is not dilated yet. That means we could welcome Abigail into this world anywhere between this evening and sometime early morning tomorrow. I'll be updating the blog as things progress, so stay tuned and keep Jill and Abby in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sooner than Expected by JILL

I just read Matt's blog from earlier today, and Abby will be here sooner than we expected...

I just had my 39wk appt. They did another ultrasound to check on Abby's growth (to compare to the 35wk ultrasound). Abby is weighing approximately 5lbs 9oz (give or take) so my OB wants to go ahead and induce me. I'll be admitted within the next 24hrs, whenever the hospital has a room, and they'll start me on pitocin. The OB said it should be a long process since I'm not dilated at all yet. Please keep us in your thought and prayers, and we'll post as soon as we have more news.

Here Comes Christmas...& Abby!

Holiday Home Decor

Considering how crazy things have been, especially over the last 2 months with our move to Atlanta, Jill and I are welcoming the next couple of days with arms wide open. Christmas is only 6 days away, and normally that would be a big enough event in itself, but of course you all know what we're really waiting for. That would be the arrival of our precious little daughter, Abigail Jaclyn, who is officially due in 4 days on the 23rd. Yeah, we're hoping she's early, though. And now that Jill's parents and Abuela are here from Tampa (drove up yesterday), I'm hoping Abby's done waiting for the perfect time to leave her comfortable little home in Jill's belly and make her appearance into this world. Regardless of whether it happens today, tomorrow or next Tuesday, I can't wait to finally hold my baby girl in my arms and give her plenty of daddy kisses! :-)

By the way, above is a photo of our home all decorated up for the holidays. Since we're expecting many visitors in the next few days, I figured it would be nice to have the house all lit up for this year's very special Christmas. And yes, "Christmas Vacation" is one of my all-time favorite holiday season movies and so maybe that explains all the lights. Ole Clark W. Griswold would be proud. Haha!

"Is your house on fire, Clark?
"No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baking & Burrowing & Giving Blood by JILL

I've somehow been up since 5:30AM! I woke up and was wide awake. Calmly, I nudged Matt from his slumber to inform him NO I WASN'T IN LABOR, just awake and was going downstairs. I made myself some banana nut muffins and some coffee. Then decided I wanted to bake. I pulled the mixer out (yes, mom, I was very careful!) and all ingredients for Toby treats! I even treated Matt to some strawberry muffins. He has to be up so early for his job at Philips I haven't made him breakfast since Griffin!

The huge batch of Toby treats wasn't just for Toby. I bagged them and sent them down with my cousin, Stephen, for Toby's Tampa cousins & friends. After wrapping the remainder of gifts and watching some TV, I took a nice long bubble bath! I really hope Abby likes her bath time, because she's really squirmy when I try to relax and enjoy. Then I decided to treat my swollen feet to a pedicure and on my way out of the driveway I managed to puncture a tire. Matt wasn't thrilled when I got the extra warranty on my tires ($44) but they fixed the tire for free! Unfortunately the pedicure only made me feel worse, the cute Asain lady kept commenting on my swollen feet. :( Yes, they're huge and they hurt! That's why I'm here, paying you, to pamper them!

When I got home I decided to keep baking (more Toby treats, this time actually for Toby and his Atlanta friends). Since the swelling wont be 'cured' until after labor, standing and walking (letting gravity taking it's tole on Abby) while baking has been the project this afternoon/evening. I've definitely had stronger Braxton Hicks or pre-labor (since I don't know what that's like, I don't know if that's what it is) since yesterday. And the burrowing has become more prevalent. You may be wondering what is this 'burrowing' I speak. Basically, it's my description of what it feels like Abby is doing - digging her way out! It does not feel good, to say the least. Seriously, she better be O-U-T in 48 hours!

On another, more pleasant note, Matt gave blood today. While he's had to give blood before (medically), he's never donated. His reward, besides the satisfaction of a good deed, is the nutter butter he enjoyed afterward. Our fathers will be proud! (We think they're both part of the million gallon club by now.) ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uncle Wesley by JILL

My brother has been polishing up on his uncle skills recently. I received a phone call from my cousin, Alyssa, to share a bit on Wesley's behavior with kids. They were at dinner Sunday night at our grandparents, as usual. Mason (you've probably 'met' him in some of Matt's photos) was a bit cranky and didn't want what was for dinner. All of a sudden, Wesley's phone started ringing, he was getting a phone call from Santa Clause! Wes spoke with Santa, he was calling to inquire about Mason's behavior this year. The phone call got Mason's attention, and I was told he was on his best behavior the rest of the night. Who knew Wes was such good friends with Santa?

And yes, those are huge life-size inflatables IN HIS LIVING ROOM!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pregnancy Update by JILL

My 38wk appt was today. I'm 75% effaced, but still not yet dilated. There will be a lot of walking in the next week for me! Unfortunately, my feet, ankles and legs are swollen and the OB says it wont go away until a good few weeks after Abby is born. Oh joy! I asked about Abby's size since it really hadn't been discussed since 35wks, I was reassured that ultrasounds could be up to 3wks off (in either direction) this far along in pregnancy. Even though it could be off, the OB scheduled me for another ultrasound next Friday.

I am getting to the point of really wanting my body back to myself. I've had such a great pregnancy but it's about time for Abby to make her grand entrance. I'm not sleeping well throughout the night anymore, and it's not just because I'm up for potty breaks. I constantly feel worn down, probably due to the lack of good sleep and all the extra weight I'm toting around. Abby has been in position for a good few weeks, and my belly looks lower which I can feel more since it's now uncomfortable to sit in most positions. Somehow she has not received the eviction notice.

And this is where I stop complaining, because for those of you who have children, you already know exactly how I'm feeling. But for those of you who drank the water (from my previous blog), I don't want to cause you to dread these last few weeks, hopefully you'll just forget in the meantime! And for those of you who wont be drinking the water for another year or more, I do want you to drink eventually! I guess I'm due, after all I'm still overly thankful I didn't have ANY morning sickness! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chilly Visit to Stone Mountain

This past Sunday we decided to make a little trip over to the other side of Atlanta to visit Stone Mountain. We had see tv commercials about their Christmas decorations and figured it would be a good opportunity to get out of the house. The drive only took about 45 mins to get to the park, and we went ahead and purchased yearly memberships since we'll probably be visiting a few more times within the next year, especially for a summer picnic and laser show. And kids under 3 are free...woohoo!

Anyways, we took the late tram up to the top of the mountain where we we're greeted with some even colder temps than at ground level. It took Jill only a few minutes before Jill headed back inside, but since I hadn't made much time to shoot any photos lately I stayed out there. Unfortunately, we had to take the last tram down just as the sun was setting, so I didn't get any full sunset shots, but I'm pleased with what I got.

Don't Drink the Water by JILL

Seriously, do not drink the'll get yourself knocked up!

It wasn't long after we discovered I was pregnant that it started going around. Kristin, a co-worker of mine, revealed she was expecting a month after me. Next was Sara, Matt's co-worker's sister - she was on the co-ed softball team with Matt, she's 8wks behind me. A bit down the road Julie (she was AU IND with Matt) shared her news, she's due in March. Then another co-worker of mine from the hotel, Marina, is due late April or early May. Unfortunately, all but Julie is in I'll be missing out on those babies! Julie actually lives here in ATL, so that'll be exciting for the kids to play.

Onto more pregnancy revelations: My cousin's sister-in-law's surrogate is pregnant with twins, due in June (they've been trying to get pregnant for 5+yrs!). Last month we got the news that as of July, we'll be Uncle Matt & Aunt Jill...Matt's sister is pregnant. And today, I received the news that our friend from Birmingham, Danitza, is preggers now too!

We are so excited for the baby boom! It'll be a lot of fun having more babies around the same age as Abby. And Abby already has one friend waiting on her arrival, Matt's HS buddy's daughter Evie. Abby & Evie will only be 6mo apart, lots of fun! The next few years are going to be so much fun with many little ones around!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tropic Thunder by JILL

Seriously an absolutely HORRIBLE movie. Matt wanted to see this one, so it was added to our Netflix queue. The three main actors: Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. (as a black guy). The actors play actors trying to make a war movie that's gone horribly bad.

The most ridiculous? There a ton of unadvertised actors in this movie too! Nick Nolte supposedly wrote the script of the film. Matthew McConaughey (and his hair is extremely long) is Ben Stiller's agent. Tom Cruise is some flim maker big-wig, he's bald on top with super hairy chest and arms AND he's really into Rap music. Bill Hader is another film maker guy (he's from SNL). Others making cameos playing themselves? Tobey McGuire, Jon Voight, Lance Bass, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alicia Silverstone and Tyra Banks.

I guess Hollywood is still trying to recoup from the writer's strike. So sad!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Wonderful Husband by JILL

It's been rainy all day here. We went to the grocery store first thing, because we managed to finish up all the milk and oj before I went and bought more. We had a late breakfast, I wrapped some Christmas presents and football was on TV. The Christmas decor was pulled out, and Matt started putting together our tree. (Never buy a pre-lit tree, such a pain in the rear!) We pulled off all the pre-lit and put other lights on it, it looks much better! I'm sure it will be less of a hassle taking it down, and putting it back up next year. While the tree isn't ornamented yet, it looks great, Matt did such a good job! He even strung the lights during the Iron Bowl! Although the TV is right next to the tree, I'm impressed...unfortunately our dear Auburn Tigers weren't playing a game worth watching. It's now late in the evening and I decided I wanted chocolate chip cookies. We don't have any and Matt asked if we had ingredients to make them, fresh! We do, so we mixed up a batch. Now I'm patiently waiting for the delicious cookies to finish baking in the oven...and eat them with a big glass of milk! Isn't he wonderful!?!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fun with Matt & Toby by JILL

I was hungry, waiting for Matt to come inside from working on the yard (yes, more leaves!). I decided to snack on Cheez-It's and when Matt came in, he wanted me to share. I started throwing them to him, he caught a few and the ones that fell, Toby ate. It was cute so I decided to capture it on video.

Oh, and my pregnancy genius decided to video sideways to get a better angle. I didn't think anything of it until Matt mentioned it. So, turn your laptop or head sideways and enjoy!
Fun with Matt & Toby from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Walk in the Park

The last few weeks have been a bit crazy (hmmm...I wonder why?), and so we really needed to just enjoy a relaxing Sunday in our new city. Jill had brought up Piedmont Park as an possible spot to shoot this year's Christmas card a few days ago, so we decided to trek down to Midtown to check the park out. I've driven by the park a hundred times, especially when I would meet up with friends in Virgina Highlands, but I've never actually walked around before. From a location standpoint, the park is close to downtown, which means that you can get some really great views of the Atlanta skyline while walking around. And since Jill & I would just be walking around for a while, we figured Toby would enjoy some time outdoors time also.

Although it was a little cool and the skies were a bit gray, we enjoyed walking around in the park and definitely will be back, especially when were able to take Abby. Now since I'm battling a migraine headache right now, I'm going to end this blog here, but feel free to check out a few of the photos we took today from Piedmont Park.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our 2nd Ultrasound by JILL

We got to see Abby today! The ultrasound went well, she was completely asleep the entire time. She is in a head down position, her spine is along the left side of my belly and her booty under my right boob. This puts her legs on the right side of my belly, which is why I can always feel her kicking me on the right side. She still looks like she has my nose & lips, we're in luck! :)

The ultrasound tech said she's measuring 2wks smaller than average. My due date hasn't changed, Abby is just measuring petite (this is great news for my petite hips!). The doctors might schedule another ultrasound in a couple weeks, to make sure she's growing - that she's petite and nothing is wrong with her growth. My next appointment is Wednesday.

Understanding the picture: Abby's forehead is on the far right. There's a very dark almond shape, this is her right eye. Her nose is horizontal, slightly highlighted. Then her hand/arm is under her chin (her left hand is directly 'under' her chin and right eye). You can slightly see her chubby cheeks! Remember though, her face is a bit smushed since she's positioned low already.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Cold Outside by JILL

I ran some errands today... Toby needed a trip to the Vet, dropped off our DirectTV remnants with FedEx (yes, we canceled our service with them) and some dry cleaning, then refilled my asthma meds. I was in and out of the car a bit, and it's chilly out there! I guess I wasn't expecting this cold weather so soon, I thought moving more south would give us a little more time to enjoy cool but not cold weather.

Matt is getting very familiar with the weather right now! He got home from work early (right around 5pm) in order to work on the front yard of leaves. And there are A LOT of leaves! I brewed him some hot tea and just put some chicken noodle soup on the stove. The yard really needs the attention, but I really don't need a sick Matty! We really wanted a yard with mature trees, and now we're responsible for maintaining the mess those trees leave in the Fall. And since we've been so busy with the interior of the house (painting, unpacking, etc.), the yard hasn't been given any love until tonight. I hope the neighbors will appreciate all of Matt's hard work...and that Matt isn't sick tomorrow either!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Arrival Date Predictions by JILL

Abby Shower
We're down to the last FIVE weeks before Abby's due date. Everyone has their opinion on when they think she'll arrive and we'd love to hear your thoughts.

If you have more specifics, like a time of day or what the weather will be like please post is as a comment to the blog. And if you would like to share why you chose your specific day, please share too!

I'm looking forward to seeing what day will be most popular, and why!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Future Big Brother by JILL

Last night Toby laid with me in bed for a while before Matt came upstairs. He was getting lots of pets, enjoying his last few weeks as the baby of the house...little does he know! Well, he ended up with his head on my belly so sweet! I just wanted to share it with you, I tried sending it via cell to a few people but I know some of you couldn't open it. I'm hoping he'll be just as sweet to Abby after she's out of my belly!

Maybe Toby can follow the excellent example of the Steinhauer 'boys' and how they're so sweet with their little sister Chase - Pic1, Pic2, Pic3, Pic4. --For those of you who don't recognize this cute little girl, she's the daughter of Matt's friend, Uma, from college days. Uma, I just couldn't resist showing off your adorable kids! I can only hope Toby will be as wonderful as a big brother as Patton and Brutus!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Six Weeks To Go by JILL

Abigail's ETA is now only 6wks away! I had my 34wk appt with my new OB today. Everyone was nice at the new office. There was only minor difficulty with the new insurance, since Matt only started with Philips on Monday. I was tested for Strep B and the doctor said my cervix is thinning (which is a good thing for those of you not familiar with this pregnancy process). The nurse was shocked over my excellent blood pressure after hearing about our interstate move. (Abby just started with her hiccups again!)

I'll go to the OB every week from here on out. Mostly so I'll have a chance to meet with all four of the doctors in the practice, since one of four will be the delivering doctor. The huge plus with this whole job/insurance change, we're getting another ultrasound! It'll be reassuring to see Abigail again, and make sure she's been growing as she's supposed to (although from measuring my belly & my weight, they say I'm right on target). Maybe we'll even get a glimpse of who she favors in the looks department. We're all expecting her to look more like Matt, since the majority of 1st born children look like their daddy's. And as our friend Danitza said, hopefully Abby will have my nose. ;)

Abigail's room still needs some work. With the help of his parents, Matt was able to get her room primed on Sunday. My parents will be back this Friday (on the way back through from their week vacation in Pigeon Forge). The plan is to paint her room Friday then we'll all be off to La Grange on Saturday for another showering of presents! Then her room can start looking like a baby's room! We'll be able to put her crib together and the glider (and by "we" I really mean Matt and our parents). Then Abigail's crib can be made and her clothes can be put away...all in time for her arrival in 6wks or so. We're looking forward to it! (...sooner than later!!!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

My First Day @ Philips Design

2nd Day @ Philips
Just like that my first day with Philips Design has come and gone. After spending most of my night restlessly tossing and turning, I got up around 6am to begin my Monday. Just so you know, waking up at 6am here is about 3 hours earlier than I've been used to during my days at Griffin. Spoiled...yes, but I'll survive! Anyways, I made my first full length commute to work since we lived in Birmingham, and this time it was fighting Atlanta traffic on I-285. Despite having a few miles of bumper to bumper driving, the commute to the office was fairly easy (I know, I may have just cursed myself for future commuting).

So, I arrived at the office bright and early only to be welcomed with a mostly empty office since everyone usually didn't get in until 9am. The receptionist was really cool about it though and made small talk while blowing up my "Welcome" balloon (yes, I got a gold star balloon tied to my chair). After a walk-around tour of the office and greeting the early risers, I grabbed a cup of coffee and settled in at my new desk. Slowly the office filled up with everyone else and then I was off for another walk-around tour to meet those I didn't the first time. Needless to say, my morning went by really fast. Next thing I know, it was 12:30 and I needed to grab lunch asap before the planned 1pm meeting/workshop...but with the office around the ultra-busy Perimeter Mall area my options were slim due to time. So, what did I settle for lunch on my first day...a gas station Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and Harvest Chips. After choking down two bites of the nastified sandwich, though, it was all about eating those chips and heading back to the office.

Now today was not only my first day, but also the first day of the design workshop for our Atlanta office. The global creative director is in from Eindhoven along with a few others from the global offices for the 3-day team-building workshop. I'll spare you all of the details, but 5 hours later we finished up the workshop and headed down the street for some tapas/appetizers and drinks. I stayed for a little while as we all had some good conversations about things from kids to politics to anything else. Fun times, but I had to call it an evening, so I said my farewells and finally made my evening commute back to Jilly Bean. Good ending to an extremely long day. And now I'm going to go crash. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Word Change

Main Entry: CHANGE
Pronunciation: \ˈchānj\
Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French changer, from Latin cambiare to exchange, probably of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish camm crooked

Transitive Verb
A:) to make different in some particular : alter (never bothered to change the will)
B:) to make radically different : transform (can't change human nature)
C:) to give a different position, course, or direction to


It's a late Tuesday night as I lay here in bed watching the national election results on our fuzzy tv and ponder the true idea behind the word "change." This word has so many more meanings for us than most could possibly think of on this important election night, however it's only fitting for the word to be thrown around so much at this time in our lives.

From a personal perspective, change revolves around our move to Atlanta, my new job with Philips and ultimately the arrival of our baby girl, Abigail. The move has been tough already because it is what it is...a move. First, you've got to find a new place, which thankfully went extremely well. Then you have the frustrations of boxing up everything you own, scheduling movers to load up all that stuff and move it to your new location, and then unboxing all that stuff. At least we have a much larger home to fill instead of trying to squeeze more into less. Of course, there are things we have instantly begun to work on with the house. Honestly, would any of you expect anything less from Jill and I, especially after all the work we did to our home in Birmingham. Haha! And so we're unpacking everything still, but the change in our surroundings has been welcomed with open arms overall by us.

The cause for our change of address, of course, is due to me accepting a new position with Philips Design here in Atlanta. Over the last few days I've really began preparing myself mentally for the new responsibilities and challenges of my new role, and I can honestly say that I'm both anxious and excited. And although there is some uncertainty since I've not yet stepped foot inside that office as an employee, there is a deep sense of pride knowing that I am joining the Philips Design team. Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a change for the good of my career, as well as the good of my family.

Regardless of the current change being brought about by my career move, there has been a beacon of change in our lives that has been growing in Jill's belly over the last 33 weeks. Yep, our baby girl will bring about more change to our lives than any career move I've made to date or could ever make. And more than anything else, we welcome this little bundle of change into our lives...and our lives will forever be changed. How inspiring! :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Since Jill and I will not be calling the city of Nashville and state of Tennessee home next Tuesday, we both made sure to participate in early voting. Jill voted late last week and I did my duty as a citizen this morning. Is that a great feeling or what!!! :-)

We all know how important this presidential election is for our country, and the theme for both major-party candidates has been about changing the culture of government in Washington. No matter who wins, I truly hope the stagnant, bi-partisan politics of today's US government is on its way out and our politicians (Democrat, Republican & Independents) can all work together in the years to come to get things done for the American people.

Alright, so if if you haven't already voted then make sure you do so by next Tuesday.

A Fabuloso! First Day by JILL

My arrival in Marietta was smooth yesterday. The fun filled day started with the early morning drive. Then I stopped by American Signature to buy what we're going going to use as a changing table for Abby. I met the Realtor to get the key to the house and then waited for the DirectTV guy to arrive. Matt and I picked out a refrigerator and he got that ordered (and it was delivered this morning at 7:30am!).

Family friends, Robert & Jeri Menendez and Betty Rodriguez, dropped by to see our new home. They had also been commissioned by my mother to unload my car for me, their help was much appreciated. Meanwhile, DirectTV showed up and DID NOT get things hooked up. He had some lame excuse about his ladder being broken and needing to move the satellite (to a more visible FRONT corner of my house - not happening!) so I needed to get a second opinion. Lame! Now I have to wait another couple days for the supervisor to come out, an absolute waste of my time.

Then I waited for the homeowner to arrive. He brought extra house keys, a list of helpful hints for the neighborhood & good places to visit near-by and to approve our paint colors (since we're not buying immediately). I headed out to pick up something for dinner and came back to the house to wait on my Dad and Bob Ball to arrive (they've come up from Tampa to help with some pre-move in tasks). While watching Dancing with the Stars online from Monday, I decided to see how difficult the wall paper in the dining room was going to be to remove. Dad & Bob showed up, got a tour, and we attacked the dining room wall paper together.

Dad thought he was mixing warm water with liquid soap, but when he sprayed it on the wall paper, I smelt Fabuloso. (Now if you're not familiar with Fabuloso, it's a floor cleaner. It is purple and has a floral scent, quite pleasant. My mom became hooked to the stuff while working at Bombay Company years ago, they used it there to clean the wood floors; and now I'm hooked on it too.) Well, Dad discovered a new wonderful use for Fabuloso, it works much better than the wall paper stripper I purchased at Home Depot! And it's cheaper too!

Now, still early in Day Two, the horrible wall paper is now just a memory. Dad and Bob are finishing removing the glue layer; I'm on a break and it's good timing because the remnants must be reached by step stool and ladder. (For the record, MOM, I'm leaving all step stool and ladder activities for everyone else!) It's nice seeing the progression so far...and it's only going to keep looking better! Matt is going to be so impressed when he arrives on Saturday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Last Day in Nash by JILL

It's officially my last day in Nashville. I'm heading to our new home tomorrow morning so I can meet up with a few utility companies to get things rolling before Matt arrives with the movers on Saturday. Then my dad and cousin (Bob Ball) are driving up tomorrow night as well (to help with some pre-move-in painting). **And by 'help', I really mean they'll be doing all the work. The pregnant one is not allowed to be around the fumes.**

Matt and I had a full day yesterday. I had my last Nash OB appt (32wk), picked up a smell-good Toby from the boarders, and checked a few other items off my list. And before you continue reading, I asked my doctor today about what I could and could not do. She said I'm not allowed to lift more than 25lbs (and really anything more than that is too awkward with a belly so I can't do it even if I wanted to!). She also recommended taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated - which I do both!

Once we returned home, we had a fun-filled evening of packing and stacking (yes, Matt did all the stacking). Our garage is looking more and more like how Bombay's storage room used to looked (full of boxes on boxes on boxes). Matt worked on the office. I tried to tackle some weirdly shaped items, creating boxes for them (like fireplace tools and the cool metal centerpieces from our wedding). My goal this time around: everything in a box! This way we can maximize all the space on the truck (I think this is where we got in some trouble last move - so many things were not stackable and we ran out of space). The Titans v Colts on Monday night football distracted Matt a bit, but their victory kept him energized enough to help me take apart the baker's rack before we headed to bed.

This morning, I'm heading to breakfast with a few co-workers from Hotel Preston (Yum! IHOP!). Then I'll be here at the house the rest of the day doing more packing. I really WANT to splurge myself with a pedicure today, but I'll have to hold off, there's much to do...and I don't need to waste any time (I'll waste enough time just being myself, either procrastinating (like writing this blog) or easy distractions (Toby needs pets!).

Wish me luck on my last day!!! May it be filled with tons of productivity (and relaxation)!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Mason's 3rd Birthday Party

I'm really tired and we have to get up early to go to church, but I made sure to edit all of the photos I took today of Mason's 3rd birthday party. Here are just a few that I've posted on Flickr.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tampa Bag Swap

Tampa Downtown

Alright, we're down in Tampa for the weekend for another series of events (Mason's B-day party & Baby Shower for Abby). Despite a stressful start to our trip (arriving at the airport 30 mins before our flight departed), we made it onto the plane and had a fairly easy flight down. Once we arrived at Tampa we were greeted by Wayne & Anita, grabbed our bags for baggage claim and then headed over to International Mall for dinner with Wes and Mr. Charlie O'Reilly at the Cheesecake Factory.

Unfortunately, the smoothness of our arrival was interrupted when I opened Jill's bag to find a bunch of stuff that did not belong to us. Yep, I managed to grab the wrong bag. Now before you give me the speech..."Matt, why didn't you check the tag???"...I will go ahead and say that under the circumstances I just didn't even think that was necessary. You see, I noticed our main black bag almost immediately when I walked up, and only a few bags down was what looked to me to be Jill's sporty duffle bag. Now this bag is unbelievably unique unlike all those black suitcases you normally see. It's a blue bag with some tan trim (blah, blah, blah), and as luck would have it that there would be a person who would somehow possess this strangely unique bag as well. We never even use this bag...ever...but Jill needed a large expandable bag so she could be able to pack all of Abby's goodies from the baby shower. And so we used the bag...and it was cursed. I still can't believe that someone out there owns the exact same bag, much less that one other person in this world who owns it managed to take our flight. Unreal, but that's just my luck. And honestly, are you surprised by this story?? Come on, this is Crash here so you shouldn't be. :-)

Anyways, we (Southwest Baggage Team) managed to reach the guy who had also grabbed Jill's bag without even noticing until he was at his hotel. After a short wait, we both swapped handshakes, apologies, and bags of course. Within minutes Wayne and I made it back to the mall to join up with everyone else for a tasty dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (Pasta Da Vinci rocks!).

And so we're about to crash for the night before getting up tomorrow morning and going to Mason's 3rd birthday party. The theme will be SHARKS!, so stay tuned for a few photos. And as I mentioned above, our baby shower for Abigail will be Sunday. Both events should give me plenty reasons to snap away on the camera so look for photos at some point. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Packing Stinks by JILL

Moving Makes You Tired

I slowly started packing over a week ago. We saved some moving supplies from last year, so that was helpful. I've been picking up booze boxes from the liquor store and Matt brings used boxes from Griffin. Somehow, we're filling up the garage more and more of packed boxes, yet it still seems there is so much stuff for us to pack!

We mostly attacked the kitchen this evening. And since it looked like a disaster zone, we called out for pizza to make it easy. There's only a few remaining things left in the kitchen. No worries, I bought paper plates and we have plastic cups! Luckily, some box sizes allowed for us to pack some wall art as well. It was really a challenge to match frame sizes throughout the house to pack like sizes with like.

Toby must really get worn out watching us work! We get started packing, and he starts snoring. Maybe he's just storing up some energy for the fenced back yard? (Maybe that's wishful thinking on our part!)

I'm exhausted and tomorrow is my last day at The Hotel good night for now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Our New Home in Georgia

After much waiting today, we received the seller's counter offer. They had a few modification, but no deal breakers. After dealing with such crazy buyers on our Pelham house only a year ago, we weren't sure what to expect. I'm excited, but when I really think about it, it's more relief. After five months of house searching last year, we managed to find a home this year in one weekend. Wow! We have ourselves a home in Marietta!

Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of work to be done! Officially, our townhouse went on the market today. We've been slowly packing and are accumulating quite a nice stack of boxes in the garage. I'll be on the phone tomorrow with the movers getting them finalized, and then with utility companies to get the Arden home all switched over to us. There's still a lot of packing to be done. While I'm off work tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday will be my last two days at Hotel Preston. Then Friday we'll be heading to Tampa for the weekend for Mason's 3rd Birthday (expect lots of pictures!) and then a Shower for Abby (probably lots of pictures too!). We'll return to Nash Monday, then I'll be heading towards Atlanta on the 28th or 29th to prep with my dad & friends before the movers arrive on November 1st. Time is really going to fly in these last few weeks before Abby's ETA.

Here is a link to more photos of our new home:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Update by JILL

Matt and I returned from Atlanta this evening. We had a very productive weekend. After looking at a bunch of homes Friday & Saturday, we put an offer on one today. The seller should respond in the morning.

The home is in Marietta, off Powder Springs for those of you familiar with the area. It has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, two stories built in 1973. The kitchen has tile and granite counters while the formal living and dining rooms have wood floors. It has a "woodsy" living room and a finished sunroom. The entire neighborhood has mature trees and our future home is nicely landscaped. The bedrooms are very roomy, as well as plenty of closet space. And for all of my extra holiday goodies, a very spacious attic.

We're hoping to get keys on October 28th so I can get back down there and start prepping for painting. Then the plan is for the movers to pack up in Nashville on October 31st, then deliver in Marietta on Saturday, November 1st. All quick enough for us to get settled for Matt to start at Philips on November 10th.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Official...We're Moving to Atlanta

WoCC Skyline View

As some of you may know, the last few weeks Jill and I have had to make some tough decisions about our family's future, as well as the future of my career. Over the last 3 weeks I was pursued by Philips Design in Atlanta about the Sr. Structural Designer position, and so we began to consider our options here in Nashville versus another move. And let me just say that I was not looking for another job. This opportunity just seemed to fall out of the sky and really caught me by surprise. However, recognizing the brand name of Philips and their presence in the everyday lives of consumers, I was instantly intrigued. Of course, it always makes it that much harder when you least expect to be put into a career move & family move situation. That's the business world, though, and you've got to prepare yourself mentally for anything that may arise. So, after a 3 weeks of interviewing, negotiating and considering every possible scenario Jill and I came to a decision this weekend to make the leap. This morning I officially gave notice to Griffin that I would be leaving for the position with Philips in Atlanta.

Another move...

Yes, here we go again. This will be my 6th move and 5th job since college, which should earn me some kind of award, but I will say that 4 of my 5 career moves have been for the right reasons...the advancement of my career. And honestly, our move to Nashville was a ultimately a better career move despite being put into the position of finding a job due to losing mine in Birmingham. Losing my job allowed me to find a much better one where I further developed my skills in a completely different arena. Bye, bye corrugated boxes...hello product packaging! And so now I take everything I've learned from my time at Griffin and apply it to my new job with Philips Design.

Nashvegas, We Love Ya!

The journey to Nashville began when I accepted a job with Griffin, although it was a rough couple of months thanks to our housing situation. My first day at Griffin was June 18, 2007. We didn't officially move into our townhouse until the first of November 2007. That was a very trying time for us, but we stayed focus on the prize...calling Nashville home. As brief as our time here was, we really made the effort to become a part of the metro area community. Whether it was going to a Preds or Titans game, or attending country music shows and touristy stuff, we were making this city our home. And that came easy because Nashville is such a great place to live. Looking back, I will be able to see how much this place influenced and impacted our lives. Here's a few things:

1.) We Got Pregnant!!! Our baby girl spent most of her unborn life in Nashville. Yes, that means she gets to keep her pink cowboy hat and boots, Anita & Wayne. ;-)
2.) We made some great friends and got to spend time with existing friends (Clint & Fernanda). This includes all my peeps at Yazoo! Man, I'm going to miss those Thursdays after work downing a few pints.
3.) My photography hobby completely took off like a rocket. I went from a casual photographer to a semi-pro photographer whose work will be published in the upcoming Capture Music City book.

So, that's that. My last day at Griffin is October 31st. My first day with Philips is November 10th. I'm sure I will update as we go along in this transition. Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and prayers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Music Monday Returns w/ Apocalyptica

I've always thought that the blend of rock and symphony, when done right, can really compliment each other. This is one of my new fav songs by Apocalyptica, a Finnish group known for their cello renditions of Metallica music over the last few years. Being a huge fan of Metallica's S&M album from '99 where they played live with the San Francisco Symphony, it's nice to hear more of this "symphony rock" coming out.

By the way, it's a slow Monday here in Nashville, but things will be drastically changing in a matter of days for Jill and I. Look for updates soon. Have a great day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Passed! by JILL

I heard back from the OB today that I passed the fasting Gestational Diabetes test with flying colors! I'm very excited.

Tonight we have our 3rd Labor of Love class. We should be meeting with an anasteseologist and getting to tour the maternity ward.

Bye Bye, Tony

(Photo/Charles Goldberg)

And so the Tony Franklin era came to a screeching halt today at Auburn as head coach, Tommy Tuberville announced the firing at an afternoon press conference. I'm a bit shocked about this, but only because of the timing. Just yesterday Tuberville was singing Franklin's praises and saying how Auburn was looking forward to this weekend's matchup against Arkansas. Wow, what a difference a day makes. Franklin got canned early this afternoon, which means that either there was some conflict that arose before afternoon practice or the firing took longer to play out. Legal issues possibly? And while Tony was cleaning out his office, the team was already on the practice fields preparing for Arky. Of course, the media in Auburn got worked up into a frenzy and absolutely ate up this event that was unfolding right in front of them. There's even several videos of him packing his car and leaving the AU Sports Complex. Such is the case when it comes to anything dealing with college football in the state of Alabama. I really think this is best for Auburn's future, but I just hate for something like this to happen. It hurts the public perception of our University and Tigers football team, and I just can't imagine what kind of gut punch this was for Franklin. On the bright side, maybe we'll see more of Auburn's smash-mouth offense that's produced some somewhat common names as Bo Jackson, Joe Cribbs, Carnell Williams & Ronnie Brown. Only time will tell...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Surprising Turn of the Day by JILL

I was really bummed about today, since yesterday. I found out I "failed" the 28wk gestational diabetes screening by 4 points. I had to be at the doctor's office at 8am for a fasting gestational diabetes screening (meaning I was not able to eat past midnight last night- which really meant 10pm, since that's what time I was in bed). I was hungry while driving to the appointment. They drew blood at 8am then I drank the sugary stuff. Then they took more blood at 9am, 10am and 11am. I was bored out of my mind (thanks to those of you who pre-occupied me with text messages) and the hunger kept increasing. Since I had no energy and they were taking my blood, I was getting tired too. Finally that part of the day was over!

Then I had to get food, and waste time before a 1pm meeting at work. I wanted so much to bail and go take a nap instead!!! The hotel has been cutting back on hours, so I really could use the extra hours from the meeting. As I walked up to the hotel, I discovered the mailman (on his off day) was delivering a diaper cake, and he made it for ME! Well, Abby will be the one using the items. :) Needless to say, I was completely shocked and surprised. I mean, I talk to him a couple times a week, he's a nice guy and very social. He'll ask how my pregnancy is going, and he is actually expecting another child (a girl too) a month or so after Abby's arrival. The diaper cake is amazing! There's a bunch of travel size items and little clothes attached. The teddy bear topper is so soft too! What a wonderful surprise!

My favorite about the picture is Toby checking out the diaper cake. We've been telling him he's going to be a big brother, and sometimes Toby will even love on my belly (well, when Matt makes him). Very rarely, he'll come and lay with me, it's really's mostly self-fish because he gets belly rubs when he lays with me! He's going to be in for a big shock when he's not the center of attention anymore!

And if you're wondering about my health over baby gifts (presents are just so much more fun!), I'll get the test results back on Thursday or Friday.

Presidential Debate Comes to Nashville

Belmont Debate Flair-light pole
Originally uploaded by gwynefere213

As some of you may have heard, there's a Presidential Debate tonight here in Nashville at Belmont University. I look forward to seeing the two candidates spar over the issues in this "town hall" style debate. With our country at a crossroads, especially in regards to our economy, I'm interested to hear how each candidate would lead this country out of the current financial woes and into a brighter future.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Tiger Blues in Nashville

Auburn Got "Vandy-lized"(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Nashville is known as the Country Music Capital where thousands upon thousands of sad country songs have been written and sung over the last half century. One of the most famous being "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" by the legend, Hank Williams. And after last night's losing performance by my Auburn Tigers here in Nashville, I honestly believe that given a little time I could write a few of those sad country songs myself. Here's just a list of a few I come up with so far:

"Tiger Blues in Nashville"
"Just Another Music City Heartache"
"Watching the Game, Singing the Blues"
"Defense Goes to Heaven, Offense Goes to Hell"
"There's Pain on the Plains"
"Tear in My Yazoo Beer (After an Auburn Loss)"
"The Night the Season Died"
"Everyone Loses to Vandy, Just Not in Football"
"The 'Dores Broke My Heart"
"Tears of Tuberville"
"Tame My Tigers and My Heart"
"The Tigers Went Down in Nashville"
"Vandy Broke My Heart, My Achy Breaky Heart"

Cheeseball, yes! But I'm honestly trying to find humor in the heart-breaking loss to Vanderbilt last night. Jill was an absolute gem in getting me a ticket to the game, and at first I thought I was going to see a much different Auburn team offensively than what had shown up the last 5 games. Unfortunately, a fast first quarter scoring performance to get to 13-0 was followed by a painful 3 quarters of unproductive offense. Vandy held the Auburn offense in check the rest of the game while their offense scored just enough to win the ballgame (14-13). I'll give it to Vandy, they have a small school, no football tradition, and such a small stadium, but that didn't keep the campus from being electric last evening. And the Commodores aren't a bad team by no means. It's just knowing how much more talent Auburn has, and how little we've managed to use it. Just goes to show how important coaching is in developing the players and using their abilities to the fullest to win. Of course, this loss hurts for many reasons and one of the most prominent is the because we call Nashville home, and now I must endure some of the weirdest and most humbling taunts from a fanbase ever...from Vandy fans. Ouch!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 28

Each week, Jill and I receive a newsletter email from about the stages of pregnancy. Sometimes they're a little too informative to share with all of you, but I thought this one was a little less "revealing" and I really liked hearing how our baby girl is already about 16 inches in length.

By the way, we're heading down to Atlanta for some reasons I'd rather not share right now, but some of you family members may already know. For those who don't know, I may share the details at some point this week or next. Stay tuned...

Week 28: Dream, Dream, Dream

Are you dreaming about your baby? Your baby may be dreaming about you, too. Brain wave activity measured in a developing fetus shows different sleep cycles, including the rapid eye movement phase, the stage when dreaming occurs. By now, your baby, who weighs in at about two and a half pounds and stands — or rather lies — at almost 16 inches (measured head to toe) has added blinking to his or her growing bag of tricks. (Outside in the real world, blinking is necessary to help keep foreign objects out of the eyes.) Other impressive new talents being added to your baby's roster include coughing, more intense sucking, and, perhaps most important, better breathing.

The good news is that babies born this week, though premature, have an excellent prognosis because their lungs have reached the point (for the most part) of maturity — so you too can breathe a little easier now. Of course, it's still best if a baby doesn't check out of that uterine hotel just yet — there's still a lot of growing and maturing to do over the next 12 weeks.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Golf & Football

This Saturday is close to being officially over and what a long day it's been. We woke up early to the phone call of our A/C repair guy who was waiting outside our front door ready to fix the A/C unit coil that has been the root of all of our A/C issues since the first of July. Yes, I could spend 3-4 paragraphs explaining why it took over 2 months for the correct problem to be fixed, but honestly it doesn't matter at this point. Anyways, we now have A/C again for the first time in a full week. Lets hope the 5th time is the charm.

Thankfully, I had an excuse to escape this morning (sorry Jill) while the repair guy was here because John (Jill's 1st cousin) drove down from Louisville and we went out to play a little golf. He's in town mostly for a golf clinic course that he's taking with his boss on Sunday, but they wanted to do a little warm up before so we headed down to Smyrna. Now I haven't played in months, but somehow came out playing really well. I managed a few pars and even a birdie, so I was definitely pleased. Of course, the Auburn-Tennessee game was at 2:30pm, so I only played 9 holes and headed back home. Good thing, I usually play poorly on the back 9 anyways. Ha!

(AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Jill, Toby and I went over to Clint and Fernanda's for some grilling out and to watch the game...and I've got to say that the grilling out was by far more interesting than Auburn's 14 to 12 win. Sadly, Auburn's offense continues to struggle to find some form of consistency, but thankfully our defense continues to keep us in games and even scored the same amount of points (7) in this contest as our offense managed. I know, it's hard to complain when your team is winning and we are now 4-1, so I will just pray that our offense finds itself eventually. Also, after watching Alabama throttle "blacked-out" Georgia 41-30 in Athens tonight, I think that just shows how on any given Saturday a team can find a way to win (see Ole Miss' upset win over Florida today, too).

Oh, and tomorrow we'll be going to the Titans game thanks to some free tix that I got from vendor. This will be my first Titans game, and hopefully they'll beat up on the visiting Minnesota Vikings. I may blog that tomorrow. Right now, I'm ready to crash. Time to call it an evening. War Damn Eagle and goodnight!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Baby Barnes Has a Name

In case you were wondering what we were going to call our baby girl, the wait is over (we think, haha). It really took us a while because frankly, we were over-thinking the whole name game. Of course, that's incredibly easy to do since we're having to think of a name that will be our baby girl's for the rest of her life. Scary, right. I mean really, think of all those kids you knew who just didn't seem to fit their names. "Oh, he definitely looks more like a Chris than a Walter." And for me, it was important to find a less than common name mostly due to the fact that my name was Matt. Just to give an example of how popular that name was, when I was turning 12 I had invited 7 friends over to the house for my birthday. Of those 7 boys, 4 were named Matt including me. Sheesh!

And so we came up with Abigail during one of Jill's craving dinners at Outback a few weeks ago. We weren't sure it was going to stick because we still had to determine a middle name and that could have changes everything. Jill wasn't thrilled it was in the Top 10 girl names of 2007, but we still liked it best. Thankfully, we didn't have to go back to the drawing board when Jill pitched the name "Jaclyn" as Abby's middle name. Of course, I've already worked on some nicknames for her including "Abby Jack." :-)

And since we're talking about our little one I just wanted to let everyone know that tonight was our first pregnancy education class. We got to learn a few things about the birthing process tonight and I'd be lying if I said that I was close to hurling at one point. Matt doesn't do graphic photos, illustrations and talk very well. And let me tell you, those photos of the baby "crowning" as well as the placenta were really gross. Oh well, I've got 12 weeks to get used to it before the big day. The class continues next week and continues for 3 more weeks so stay tuned.

Beyond that, I also wanted to post Jill's photo of her new haircut and soon-to-be donated hair. She'll be mailing the 10 inches that was trimmed off to Beautiful Lengths. She had grown her hair out ever since a donation to Locks of Love back in April 2006.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Duct Tape for Toby

And so some of you may know that Toby has this nasty "lick granule" on one of his hind legs, and any attempt to stop him from continuously irritating the area has not succeeded. And before you suggest Toby wearing one of those cones or wrapping his leg in a bandage, trust me when I say that we've practically tried everything. Despite a cone, he can lick the spot. Despite having a bandage on it, which is then soaked in some strong smelling substance such as Vicks, he manages to eat the bandage off. Well, it had been a nuisance only in the sense that he would make loud licking noises at night while we're trying to sleep, but never really got too gross. That is until recently when his nervous habit had created a really disgusting open wound that...well, leaves nasty spots every where he lays (sorry for the gross details). Anyways, I had enough late last night and tried to get creative with another option...DUCT TAPE! That's right, I took a wash cloth and then proceeded to secure it to his leg with duct tape. Unfortunately, this too was overcome by the Toby. Not sure what else to do other than place the lower half of his body into a burlap sack. Just kiddin!
The left photo is of Toby with an unsure look of what I just wrapped on his leg. On the right, that's him relaxing on my laptop bag after a long day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last Day of Summer 2008


Whoa, this weekend has really flown by. We were able to get a brunch trip to Loveless Cafe and a little driving on the Natchez Trace Parkway today before Mom and Dad left early this afternoon heading back to Georgia. Not bad for the last day of summer, eh! Today's activities definitely helped me get over last night's tough Auburn loss to LSU. Wow, they sure know how to rip a Auburn fan's heart out...for the 2nd year in a row. And at this point, I would typically turn this particular blog into some kind of rant about why Auburn loss and what should've been done differently like many other fans do on Sundays...however, I will spare you because I've resigned myself to believing that my team is going to bounce back for next week's game against Tennessee.

And now on to random hilarious vids. With this being the last day of summer, shouldn't we all have been doing something like this...

...yes, I know not "everyone", but come on. How cool would a human slingshot be? Definitely has potential to make it into the X-Games. And with Autumn around the corner maybe pranksters should turn their attention to this idea first done by those crazy Germans...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Football, Parents & No A/C (again?)

It's Friday, and yes Janet we have been slackers this week with the blog. OHHHH, I just called out one of our readers!! Haha. No worries, the blog is back just in time for the weekend. My parents have bravely made the drive up to Nashville despite gas shortage fears looming in the Middle Tennessee area. According to the Tennessean, 85% of area gas stations are empty. Does this make sense to anyone else?

By the way, today was Talk Like a Pirate Day. In honor of that, I give you my joke of the day.

Q: Of all of the letters of the alphabet, what is a pirate's favorite letter?
A: That would be the letter "RRRrrrrr!!!"

Q: What would a pirate's keyboard look like?
A: See below


And just so you know, we're having issues with our A/C again. I came home after work this evening to the house being at 78-80 degree temps. I've turned off the A/C in hopes that the pipes may have frozen up, but I'm still a bit frustrated with this since we now have a brand new A/C unit, which was installed only a few weeks ago. Thank goodness we live in Middle Tennessee where nightly temps for this time of the year drop into the low 60's. Windows down tonight!

Finally, I give you some football talk. Tomorrow is a big day for my Auburn Tigers as they take on division rival, LSU. Those Tigers are defending national champions and come in ready to battle my Tigers in a Saturday night showdown at Jordan-Hare. I think that alone is a big positive since Auburn is notorious for playing big in night home games. Also I must mention since my dad is here that Georgia is traveling out west to Tempe to play Arizona State. Both big games will be on tomorrow night. And all the football craziness begins with ESPN's College Gameday in Auburn tomorrow morning. Awesome!