On this Thanksgiving holiday I am grateful for:

1) My husband who shows me everyday just how much he loves and supports me without conditions
Today I pray for all couples who are struggling in their marriage that they may find common ground and cling to their love for one another.

2) For this healthy baby who grows bigger and stronger inside me
Today I pray for all those who are struggling with infertility and for those who are pregnant with severe complications.

3) For my family, both near and far
Today I pray for those who are estranged from their loved ones. May they find a way back to each other's love.

4) For my friends
Today I pray for those who are lonely or isolated, that they may be comforted by the smile or hug of a new friend.

5) For my wonderfully, comprehensive health insurance and health care
Today I pray for those who face everyday with the uncertainty that lack of coverage or health care brings them. I pray that our leaders in Washington will continue to work towards a better solution than what we have in place so that every man, woman and child who wants to have health insurance can.

Happy Birthday to Me!

J got me this Nikon D40 SLR camera. I am so excited! I have been wanting a new digital camera for about 3 years. The one I have been using thus far has served me well and is about 6 years old. It's a Mintola DiMAGE s414 and has suffered a big fall at ancient ruins in Thailand, a million road trips and family vacations and was basically on it's last legs.

I was ton between getting another digital point and shoot, with a much slimmer profile, or jumping into the digital SLR world. I took photography in high school and learned all about F-stops and composition, lighting and aperture on a 35 mm manual Panasonic. But since then I've pretty much just used point and shoots (first 35 mm and then digital).

So I am excited. This is an entry level DSLR and according to it's product description, I should be able to use it pretty much straight out of the box:

The D40 is a compact and lightweight high-performance camera that makes it possible for anyone to create stunning images with an SLR. Designed specifically for ease of use, the D40 lets you use the kind of digital and optical technologies that professionals use without the need to deal with complex functions. Whatever you shoot there is an automated Digital Vari Program that lets you achieve fantastic results in any situation. Help menus are easy to navigate and the in-camera retouch menu makes it simple to edit and enhance your images on the large, bright 2.5-inch LCD monitor. Perfect for people who want an affordable camera to explore what it is that makes SLR photography stand out, the D40 is so user-friendly that all you have to do is concentrate on the scene you want to photograph and the camera's advanced Nikon technologies will take care of the rest.

So here's to becoming obsessed with lenses, accessories and all things Photoshop. I plan to get a good grip on how to use this thing before our little one arrives, since we all know she'll be ready for her close-up!

The Highlight

of today was getting our photos from our maternity/photoshoot today. We narrowed our choices down to ten favorites (out of seventy-two). Here they are. The rest of my day was pretty craptastic. The good news? I think it can only get better from here, right?

35th Birthday

Today I turned 35. It didn't go quite as I expected...and was actually probably one of the worst days of my life. It certainly ranks up there.

I think I need to give up the notion that birthdays are supposed to be special. Maybe that's for youth and when you're 35 you're no longer young enough to get away with such pollyanna ideas. I don't know.

All I know is that when I used to think of what I'd be and where I'd be at 35 this is not even close to what I had imagined for myself. And for the most part, I am okay with that. But there are certain things that definitely should be more together for someone who's just turned 35. And those things are now what I will work to get together by the time I am 40. Maybe that is a more realistic goal. Only time will tell.

Maternity/Family Photos - Sneak Peek!

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather later and boy did it pay off last Saturday! We could not have asked for better weather. We spent 1.5 hours with a local er, Malisa Morgan Walrop at Woodward Park with our puggies. The weather was glorious! It was nearly 80 degrees!
Here are a few snaps from Malisa's blog:
We cannot wait to see the rest!

Overdue Update

My last post was right before I headed to Nashville for 10 days for work. It was our 63rd Annual Convention and Competition and we had well over 7,000 attendees from all around the world. We even established a new world record for the largest singing lesson ever! The week was jam packed and unfortunately, lots of sickness was swirling around! Of the 22 staff members who went, two came back with H1N1, three with Bronchitis, one with Tonsillitis and one more with a sprained shoulder after falling on-site. EEK!

I managed to scrape by with the same stuff nose and chest congestion I had before I went. Turns out it's my raging fall allergies! I am allergic to the leaves that fall off the trees and decompose this time of year. As much as I love fall in all it's crispy, colorful glory, I do not like my nasal reactions to it all. Thankfully, Zyrtec is helping it all and I have managed to be able to breathe through my nose now with it and faithful use of my SinuCleanse neti pot. I did have to travel home from Nashville with my stuffy nose and that led to the most painfully blocked Eustachian tube ever! I was desperate for relief, which finally came 12 hours later with a trip to the pharmacy at 2 a.m. for some real-behind-the-counter-so-meth-cooker-cannot-get-it Sudafed, more time wrestling with my neti pot and a hot shower. Oy! I can totally see why babies cry on airplanes! It hurt so bad, I cannot even tell you.

I took last Monday and Tuesday off to recover from the breakneck schedule in Detroit and on Monday I saw our OB/GYN. We got another peek a lil' miss Libby...who's measuring at around 2.5 lbs. at 26 weeks gestation:

She's very active now and I feel her kicks and jabs nearly every hour or so. Some are even visible on the outside. From here forward, I see my OB/GYN every two weeks instead of every four. Next time, November 9, I get the Glucose Screening to test for Gestational Diabetes. I was in such a panic about it that I've had my mom test me with her blood sugar kit just to be sure. So far, there's nothing to worry about...thank goodness! Hopefully, I'll pass the one-hour glucose screening so I won't be subjecting to the more trying three-hour test. It also means we'll get to "see" miss Libby again. Yay! I love to see her and hear her heartbeat.

As Libby has begun to grow, so have I! I have only gained 3 lbs. this entire pregnancy (which is okay since I was very "fluffy" to start), but my waistline is ever-expanding:

I am feeling pretty good considering I am now in the third trimester. I do have some achy joints and such and sleeping soundly through the night has become a novelty. It's a rare occasion that I am getting a full night's sleep that is uninterrupted. But I figure that's my body's way of preparing me to take care of a little infant. We start our Bradley Classes next week and J has been reading up on Husband Coached Childbirth and taking copious notes.

The stuff we need for Libby is slowly coming together too...we just got the SpaBaby (aka Tummy) Tub. It mimics more closely the baby's feeling of being in utero...the videos on YouTube of calm little babies enjoying their baths convinced me that I wanted to try it rather than go with the traditional, reclined infant tubs.

We have yet to get a crib or car seat, so they are next on the list. I am not as concerned about getting the crib before Libby arrives because we do have an Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper than we plan to use for the first several months anyway. But every baby is different and it would be nice to have a crib if she's the type of baby that prefers not to room-in with mommy and daddy as well as to have a place for her to nap safely during the day. Thank goodness for my mother... she has been instrumental in us getting all of our baby gear together. Yay for grandma!

Well that's all for now. J and I have a photo shoot on Saturday morning at Woodward Park with the puggies. It's a maternity/family portrait session. I am so excited! The weather has been gorgeous and is forecasted to remain through Saturday. It's a beautiful time of year in the park with all of the leaves changing. I'll post proofs as soon as I can.