15 Weeks, 5 Days

I cannot believe we are already only a few days away from being 16 weeks along with our sweet little Baby Bee.  Ever since we found out we were expecting, we’ve been calling Baby Gurley our little Baby Bee.  We buy lots of bee things around here because it reminds us of a special time in our life – when the Tar Heel was a SCAD Bee down in Savannah!  Now we can hardly wait to add one more very special Bee to our family this fall :)

We started a garden, the perfect spot for our baby Bee spinning flag!

And as of almost two weeks ago, we now know what our little Baby Bee will “bee”!  We are so excited.  When we went for my 12 week visit and ultrasound, we were presented with the option of doing some testing for chromosomal changes that may indicate serious disorders or syndromes.  I had really wrestled with this, and after speaking to a few friends, had pretty much decided we wouldn’t do any testing.  We figured no matter the outcome of the tests, we wouldn’t change anything.  One of the major perks of being pregnant in PA school is having access to some incredible medical resources.  One of my mentors at school happens to have practiced women’s health for 20+ years. When I mentioned to her we decided against testing, she kindly asked if I cared to know what she often told patients with regard to testing. Of course I was interested to find out. She told me that for many years she carried the same belief that I had – regardless of testing, it wouldn’t change the outcome (with regards to aborting). And that was ok for a while, until she began to see the many couples who opted not to test who ended up having a child with needs who could have benefited greatly from being born in a hospital with every resource available, a decision the parents could have made with the knowledge gained from prenatal testing.  And for those children, every prolonged second of care in transport can significantly impact their quality of life down the road.  I share all of this for anyone who may come across the blog who is trying to make the same decision we were.  Of course, this is not a blanket statement for everyone and each mother-to-be should have a very candid discussion with their partner and physician before making this decision.  But for us, the option to test made a lot of sense, so we went for it.

The test we chose to go with is called Panorama and is a simple blood test (not invasive). The test separates my DNA, the baby’s DNA, and Dustin’s DNA (by a cheek swab) in order to analyze for chromosomal abnormalities.  This test is over 99% accurate for detecting changes of chromosomes 13, 18, and 21.   As an added bonus, it also looks for the X and Y chromosomes which determine the baby’s sex. So, two weeks ago this Friday we got a great test report AND found out what our sweet Baby Bee will “bee”!!  Isn’t medicine amazing?

For now, what our little Baby Bee will “bee” is our little secret. We are keeping it a secret for another little secret we have :) Gosh, secrets are fun when you’re the one who knows them!!!!!!

Here’s some pregnancy stats so far:

Weeks of morning sickness:11.5 (thank goodness we got through that!)

Baby is the size of: Avocado!

Favorite food this week: Watermelon and Chocolate Milk

Babymoon: Ocracoke Island in April!

Maternity Clothes: Still sporting my dresses, tops, and some work pants. Just purchased first pair of maternity jeans!

Thing I miss the most from pre-pregnancy: My beloved Diet Pepsi

Thing I love most about pregnancy: Of course I look forward to seeing our little Bee on U/S, but there’s nothing like waking up each day remembering that our bundle of love is growing stronger each day inside my belly. I am still in awe at the whole process. More superficially, the thicker locks are nice. :)

Dustin Day

Yesterday my sweet Tar Heel turned 25 years old.   We started the celebration a little early this weekend on Saturday.

Saturday morning the Tar Heel woke up to this.  The rules of “Dustin Day” included that the gifts had to be opened in order, at specifically designated times throughout the day.  The Tar Heel was so excited and kind of nervous about what the day would hold.   The first gift was a fun gift for him that he has asked about previously and I (luckily) remembered from a few months ago.

The second gift was a bag for his GoPro camera.  I asked him to bring along his GoPro and we took the camera and Gift 3 on a little bike ride.

I packed the Tar Heel’s favorite Orange Cinnamon rolls and we had a little picnic in “our” spot of Daffin park.

Gift 3 was a bike mount for the GoPro, so we were able to mount it to my bike and film our beautiful ride home from the park!  I remember thinking on our ride home that I would truly miss the natural beauty of Savannah.

The fourth gift was a present the Tar Heel asked for specifically — two new Yeti long sleeve tees in white and blue.  I couldn’t believe his excitement when he opened his new tshirts.  This boy LOVES tees and his ENTIRE wardrobe is made up of various shades of white, blue and gray with an emphasis on “Carolina” blues.  It is hilarious/sad. :)

After our breakfast picnic in the park, we started our afternoon at a beautiful winery called September Oaks Vineyard in Ridgeland, SC. This was the entrance to the winery and needless to say it was pretty amazing!

We enjoyed delicious wines and wonderful company at the picturesque vineyard.  The live oaks were so impressive, we couldn’t help but take several (hundred) pictures of the vineyard grounds.  As soon as we drove up to the tasting room, we commented on what a beautiful wedding venue this vineyard would make and as soon as we walked in I saw a couple meeting with their wedding planner and discussing all-things-wedding.  You can spot a couple planning a wedding from a mile away, but these two were especially stereotypical in that the girl was emphatically speaking with the planner and the guy had his head down on the table with a look like “I DON’T CARE ABOUT NAPKIN OPTIONS.” It was amusing, but made me grateful my sweet Tar Heel was such a wonderful fiance and indulged in all my guilty wedding planning pleasures entirely complaint free!

Here I am standing under one of the Live Oaks.  They were h-u-g-e!

My love and his second love (photography) and sporting his fresh new white tee. Hah!

We headed back to Savannah and stopped in at this b-e-a-utiful bakery called “Back In The Day” Bakery.  This was our first visit to the bakery and they are releasing a new cookbook next week!  Scoop up a copy because the Drunk Blondie I had was aaaamazing!

Finally, we wrapped up Dustin Day at Vic’s on the River for dinner.

I even had a surprise present number 5 waiting for the Tar Heel to open when we arrived.

His present came in the box above from PhotoJoJo with the cute little dinosaur in the package.  I LOVE artsy design companies!  The Tar Heel’s final present was another photog gadget-y thing; a Diana lens and adapter for his D90.  The Tar Heel was so excited and couldn’t wait to open it until he got home so it was completely removed from the packaging and in his pocket by the time we left the restaurant. So cute.

Happy Birthday to my Quarter of a Century “old” man – I love you more than you can ever know! -xoxo

ps. So glad you are back down to only one year younger than me.  Those four months are always so long to me. ;)

Faith Like a Child

Sometime in late November,  I volunteered to coordinate the sponsorship of three children with Compassion International through our church, LifeBridge.  When a child is sponsored, the child sends an introductory letter and we received several pamphlets explaining more about the daily life of our sponsored child.  All three of our children happen to live in Dominican Republic, which is a place the Tar Heel holds near and dear to his heart because he went on a mission trip there several years ago.

When the Tar Heel and I started attending LifeBridge, he began volunteering with the Production team right away and I found my place in the Children’s ministry, called UpStreet.  I thought it might be a fun idea to blend my duties of coordinating Compassion International with the kids in our children’s ministry, so this morning we had our 2nd/3rd grade students and 4th/5th grade students write letters to our sponsored children.  I can honestly say this was the GREATEST EVER because the letters are just precious!!!  I have transcribed one of the letters I received this morning below.  I just HAD to share this.

“Truly I say to you, Unless You turn around and become as young children, you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens.” Matthew 18:3

Dear Joldy,

My name is Lindsay, but most people call me Lou Lou.  I am 11 years old.  I go to Lifebridge Church.  In fact, my parents are the people who started it.  Before now, Lifebridge was tiny.  There were only 5 or 6 families coming to my house.  After we got some more people coming to my house, we moved to my school, May Howard Elementary.  We were there for about 2 years, then we moved to the Island YMCA, which is were we are now. I am in my last year of Elementary school.  I heard that you were doing really well in school.  Congradulations. I really like my school, and I am in the smartest class.  I am not kidding.  Everyone is at least on honor roll.  My teachers name is Mrs. Dillon.  She really likes to do science expiriments IN CLASS.  She is really sweet.  I hope your teachers are okay. I would like school a lot better if there were only nice teachers.  Another thing I do not like is the music.  At my school, when we go to the lunch room, they have to play music so we don’t talk.  I only know a little bit of spanish, but I am really interested in it.  There is a spanish club at my school, and I am the president.  I get to sometimes teach the classes!  I am also the president of the whole entire school.  It feel good to know that everybody knows me, like when I am walking down the hall, random people will say hi.  I don’t even know any of them.  I do have a lot of friends, but the most important thing to me is Jesus Christ.  I feel that he has touched my life in so many ways, like knowing the connection to talk to you.  I really hope you have let Jesus into your life.  He is really, really important. No matter how bad things are, He will always be there.  If you haven’t let him into your life, I would really think it would be cool if you would talk to someone or to pray to god about it.  If you think you are ready for IT, just ask God to clean you of your sins.  Also ask for the Holly Spirit.  He will be there for you always.  He will also be there to help you make tough decisions in your life.  You should also forgive any others that you have hurt.  It feels really good to be a brand new person.  People like you make the world go ’round.  I have really enjoyed this time writing to you.  I hope you will appreciate this letter.  Make sure that you and Jesus are best friends.  Keep him in your heart forever if you already know him.  I think it is cool that we could talk.  Maybe we couldn’t talk in person, but this letter should be enough for you.  Don’t forget about God or Jesus.  Thanks a lot.

Sincerely,

Lou Lou

Is Jesus your best friend?  If not, you can learn more about why Lou Lou hopes Jesus is your best friend HERE.

You can sponsor a child today with Compassion International HERE.

May we all grow to once again have faith like a child,

2012 Already?

I am staring in disbelief at my screen telling me that the last time I blogged was in September of 2011.  Goodness – where has the time gone?  More importantly, where the heck have I been? I guess the short version would go something like this:

1. Started full-time travel job and divided my weeks between Grand Junction, Colorado and Louisville, Kentucky.

Hiking  Serpent’s Trail on the way to the Colorado Monument

2. Hated said full-time travel job and the travel, but at least got to meet some incredible people and had some good experiences.

3. Celebrated my 26th birthday on October 27.

4. The Stately Lady blog turned Two on November 2.

5. We enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving and first Christmas as a married couple back home in North Carolina.

My stocking on the mantel at Dustin’s Mema’s house for Christmas.
All of the stockings at Mema and Papa’s house for Christmas.  I am so blessed to be a part of this family!

6. We celebrated the Tar Heel’s completion of his Candidacy Review, which marks the approval of his Thesis work and allows him to be able to graduate in June!

7. Received the best Christmas present to date when I accepted a seat in Physician Assistant School, Class of 2014! Yes, this means we are moving BACK to North Carolina in a few short months.  And YES this is probably the last time I am going back to school.

8.  I rang in the New Year with my best friend and husby, the Tar Heel.  We went to Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub on the River to celebrate with great Irish music in downtown Savannah.  You can see from our picture above that we opted to visit Party City for our News Year’s Eve accessories this year.  The Tar Heel was adamant about finding a 2012 “wizard hat” and crown.   I love that man. :)

So far, 2012 is off to a beautifully blessed start.  And with this New Year I hope to return to blogging with renewed vigor.  I have a feeling this year will be one of the best yet!

Take A Back Road

Two weeks ago Hondy (our Honda Accord) got into an accident.  I was rear-ended after only a little over five weeks of owning our new car.  Fortunately, neither myself nor the other (reckless) driver were injured. Hondy, however, did not survive the incident unscathed.  She suffered a good bit of rear-end damage and so a repair was in order.  I could get on a serious soap box about how backwards our insurance world is (medical, car, etc) but that might go on for days.  Suffice to say, I was the one who was driving correctly and stopped for the red light.  I was the one who was hit from behind by some careless guy. And I was the one that had to file the insurance claim and set up times for an estimate, repair and drive a rental.

But….Our rental car is what I like to call a little “Justice.”  Our Rental is actually a beautiful, white 2012 GMC Acadia fully-loaded (including remote start) with only 4k miles, and I have been l-o-v-i-n-g it!  I know Hondy is the best car choice for us right now, but let me tell you I am getting more and more spoiled by the day driving this sweet Acadia.  Hopefully Hondy will be back to us soon.

In the mean time, we decided the timing could not be more perfect for a lovely fall road trip with the pretty new rental.  We have done so little traveling in Georgia since we moved here, we decided it was well overdue to head West and see where it takes us.  We only had one real requirement for this road trip:  No highways allowed.  That’s right, we decided to take a few back roads.  The Tar Heel grabbed all his photog gear, including his old medium format Mamiya, and we headed towards an adventure.

We stopped at every quaint Main Street we could find to take pictures and grab a glass bottle Coke.  (You KNOW those just taste better than bottled coke.)  It was amazing.  The first “small” town we came to was actually Statesboro, home to Georgia Southern University.  As luck would have it, we arrived to Statesboro at noon on a GAME DAY!  It was so much fun!  We loved driving around the campus and seeing everyone in their Navy and Gold, and I especially loved visiting their Greek Court.  It was pretty impressive, and the greeks were out EVERYwhere.  It was great!  Crazy enough, GSU was also playing Western Carolina, a school back home in NC.  I love seeing college campuses no matter how large or small — it always reminds me of my college experience at NCSU and brings back fond memories.

We continued our little journey and headed toward a small town called Millen.  We stopped at a few barns and took some great shots and then headed to their main street. I am NOT the photographer in this family, but I have NO patience to wait for his film to develop, so I took a few Hippstamatics to share on the blog. :)

After Millen, we headed back towards Savannah while stopping in a town called Sylvania on the way.  We drove straight past a really impressive looking winery (especially to be in the middle of no where) so we had to turn around and stop for a tasting.  When we got to the gates, several cars were driving through even though there were signs saying closed for a private event.  We knew what that meant, and it did nothing but make us want to go in even more!  So we drove down a beautiful, winding dirt path running alongside a picturesque vineyard and stumbled upon a breathtaking wedding taking place outside complete with twinkle lights.  It.Was.Gorgeous!!  We decided against crashing the wedding, but we were both amazed at the view.  The chairs.  The lights.  The sunset.  I couldn’t help but think of our wedding and hoped that the couple getting married gets to experience the wedded bliss the Tar Heel and I share.  It is truly a blessing to know this kind of love.

Finally, here are a few shots from along the way.  If you ever just need to get away for a bit, I would encourage you to RUN from the city lights and take on a long stretch of back roads. It is good for the soul.