Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moments in the mountains and the sun

Well, we did truly enjoy our mini vacation, and have been back in Chicago, grinding away for a few days now.  Nick and I have experienced role reversal= he is working and I am home with Arnie for another week. (And, yes, I did cry when we he went on his doggie vacation to Pet Suites, and turns out, he had a fine experience and probably didn't miss me at all...).  Sometimes, the unknown can be traumatic.

Anyhow, we are home, I am organizing and cleaning, and intermittently napping away in the sun pools in our apartment.  I've been going through the remainder of our old boxes of belongings that Theresa and Jere brought us a few weeks ago, it's amazing what comes out of boxes that have been closed for over a year, equally amazing at how inconsequential the contents seem, and I wonder really about our decision to pack so much stuff that seems useless now.

The baby room continues to be in disarray, and I continue to compare myself to my other baby coming soon friends who are so organized, have everything, and have cute decals on the walls to boot.  Alas, comparison never gets me anywhere, so I'll try my best to be in the moment here, first things first: the potato, celeriac, noodle soup that I made last night is delicious.  I am on bowl 2 of the day so far.  Even though it is sunny and warm out, I can pretend it's Fall, and soups are on my mind.

Back to baby:  I have had 4 friends deliver babies in the past month.  It is amazing to be surrounded by all this motherness. My dear friends Lynn and Matt had a baby girl yesterday!  Congratulations to them and their beautiful little lady.  Upcoming, Nick's cousin Lucy is due in November, and then US in December!  Then, Nick's other cousin in January, then Nick's other cousin in February.... It is truly the time for newborns.

We took a lot of pictures on our trip to the Smokies, for my kids at school who are studying regions of the US, and for the little one in me, so we can show LW2 someday all of the places s/he went.

We didn't make it to Maine, but we did walk on the trail a little bit in a few different places in the park.  There is something timeless and soulful about the Appalachian Trail, it has to do with all the different people that have chosen to be immersed in nature and challenge and endurance.  Maybe next summer, with a baby on my back, we can do a few days along the trail somewhere.

The views are stunning at every turn, and the camera doesn't do it justice.  We had perfect weather, we hiked 3-4 miles each day, we slept well and read lots of books.  (Highly recommend Room, by Emma Donoghue).

The forests were pristine and unending, and most of the trails we took traveled along a bubbling creek that added to the aural experience.

The trees formed a canopy over much of the water, making it seem protected from the elements and the tourists.  We saw a lot of fly fishermen in waders.  It was so peaceful.

When the land was made into a national park in the 1930's there were still 100 families living on the land. Naturally, they had to go to school, this 1 room school house still stands firm with the original desks and chalk board inside.

I'm going to show my students these pictures, and say "see how good you've got it!"  Appreciate your school!

There never was a more diligent student (or husband :).

or boy scout...  We loved the cabin we stayed in.  We had fires in the fireplace each night, we went to bed early and slept in late.  It was amazing.  Below, you can see our little kitchen, and me cooking up something.

This is the view from the cabin in the misty morning.  Our cabin was in a valley, so it took a while for the sun to burn off the mist.  As soon as we'd drive out of the valley though, the temperature was warmer and the sun was up.  Amazing what a few mountains will do.

This is our cute little cabin from the outside, we did a lot of sitting in those rocking chairs on the porch.

We also did a lot of sitting near creeks, lunching, thinking, talking, watching.

Swirling and rushing.


Soaking up the moment and the sun.

On our last day we took a hike to Andrew's Bald (a high plains prairie of sorts, an outcropping on a mountain where they are reintroducing native grasses and preventing the trees from growing so that the land can be historically correct- buffalo used to roam there!).  The hike itself was only 3.6 miles, but pretty arduous.  Completely worth it in the end though.  Breathtaking views of the mountains, you can really understand why they call them the blue smokies.

And then there's me.  I had to hike up the pants, it was a little warm.  We went from the most beautiful views straight to the car, our trusty Subaru had to get us back to Cincinnati in time to pick up Arnie, and meet my parents for dinner.  We made it, barely.  And now we are back in Chicago.  There are no more trips planned until after the baby arrives, and even then, probably not for a while.  I am ready to relish in the mundanity of daily life, taking it slow and quiet.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bring it on baby...

October 4th.
At my parents house with an intermittent internet signal= forced to write and save publish until later. 
We are on October break right now, my school is one of those which gives 2 weeks to teachers in October, and then requires an early August start date.  It’s a trade off.  We also get 3 weeks during the Winter holidays and a 2 week Spring Break.  We are doing a stop by visit in Cincinnati on the way to Smoky Mountain National Park, TN- one of those items on my forever to-do list.  Since reading BIll Bryson’s book about the Appalachian Trail (A Walk in the Woods), I’ve been wanting to visit this park (in the off season).  It is near Dollywood and Pigeon Forge, and hopefully we can avoid the crowds and get straight to the trails.  We are staying in a cabin on a little farm with a small organic garden.  On the website it says that you can choose a vegetable from the garden to cook for dinner. I think they have pony rides too.  Just my kind of place. 
Wish me luck today as Arnie goes on a doggie vacation, I am already anticipating separation anxiety (mine), and his antics as we try to drop him off.  I am going to try to not be too judgmental of whoever receives him.  It’s very possible I may have to stay in the car for the goodbyes.  It’s only 3-4 days, but still, it’s our first time being apart.  Do I sound crazy?  Maybe I am just getting ready for the motherhood feelings.
Speaking of, the baby is 31 weeks and a day today.   The second week of my October break I am going to start to really think about what we need to feel ready for this baby.  I know there will be all kinds of personal and sticker shock, but I am ready for it.  Bring it on baby.