Friday, January 27, 2012

Goodbye "Chuck"

The NBC series "Chuck" ends tonight.

In the grand scheme of things, this probably won't mean much to people. It doesn't have a huge cult-following like "LOST"; it hasn't been promoted ad nauseaum like "The Sopranos"; it's pretty much just an awesome show. NBC did keep changing the night that it was shown, so maybe that contributed to the (in my opinion) short run of five seasons and the fact that it didn't have a huge following. However, "Chuck" holds a special place in my heart.

The first season ran from 2007-2008, and I didn't watch it. However, over that summer, all of the episodes were online (it was one of the first shows that did stream the whole season) and I had a lot of time. I was working at Washington University in St. Louis, doing textual editing. At night, I just didn't have too much to do, so I watched the series and enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, in Tuscaloosa, a guy I had never met, Adam Copeland, also decide to watch the series during that summer. Like me, he hadn't watched it during the year, but watched the episodes during that summer.

When school started in August of 2008, a few friends had a party and I was introduced to a cute, nerdy guy (just my type) named Adam Copeland. But he was a TESOLer and I hadn't seen him before (despite us being in the same department for over 1.5 years!), so I wasn't sure if I would get the chance to know him. Anyway, some of my close friends (Tamara, Nic, Natalie, Frederick, Nick, and Rachel) had decided to get together on Mondays (I think?) to watch "Heroes" that year, and they decided to also watch "Chuck" because it came on an hour earlier. When they asked if I wanted to join, I thought it would be fun...and I was right! Frederick had also asked Adam to join in, and so we got to know each other through these fun nights. "Heroes" just wasn't that wonderful, but all of us enjoyed "Chuck" quite a bit. Adam baked cookies for the group--who could resist that?--and, as we got a chance to chat, we discovered that we had both followed "Alias" and currently loved "LOST." We had a lot of other things in common too, and I found myself trying to ride with him to Chuck/Heroes nights or (subtly?) manipulating the seating so that I could be near him. Ah, 'twas true, young, puppy love.

Eventually, we did start hanging out together without "Chuck". And we found out that the combined nudge from friends and "Chuck" could result in a friendship, love, and a blissful relationship. No, we didn't have a "Chuck"-themed wedding. No, we won't be naming our child Chuck. But, we have continued to watch the series, and we both feel sad that it's going away. The series finale of "Chuck" certainly won't be the end of Adam-n-Cathy, but it's still a little sad to watch something that brought you together end. The pregnancy hormones could just be working overtime, but I know that "Chuck" does hold a special place in my heart and always will.

So, thanks to friends for providing a gathering place for me to get to know the future father of my child. Thanks to my now-husband for pretending not to notice how I wormed my way into your heart via a television show. And thanks to "Chuck" for giving me laughter, geekiness, spying galore, and, as it turned out, the love of my life.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pregnancy: The Second Trimester

Weeks 13, 14, and 15: So far, the second trimester hasn't improved much. Still a lot of nausea, and it bites. However, I've become good at avoiding nausea triggers and in forcing down the things that I can stand. It makes for a fairly bland diet, but it works---and allows nutrients into my (and the baby's) system. You gotta do what you gotta do.

You can see me getting a bit larger.

Weeks 16 and 17: The nausea seems to be lessening. I'm scared to say that out loud (and I don't let Adam say it without giving him a dirty look), but I'm cautiously optimistic. Maybe my nausea will go away for the second trimester. I hope, hope, hope! I have felt guilty not eating perfect meals and giving my child perfectly balanced meals every day. Even though I'm sure it's silly, I feel like maybe I'm not giving him the absolute BEST chance of being a little genius or perfectly athletic. I know I'm being a bit idiotic, but I guess it's my way of feeling entirely responsible (right now) for a little tiny person. Our child has a whole life in front of him, and I want it to be an absolutely wonderful, rewarding, and amazing life. I just want to do whatever I can to make his dreams come true (even if he isn't dreaming and doesn't have a focus right now).

Week 18: All of the information I read said that pregnant women generally start to feel the baby's movements between weeks 16-20. For first-time moms, I guess it's usually between weeks 18-20 because we aren't quite sure what to expect. For the last couple of weeks, I would put my hand on my belly and just feel nothing. Not surprising, I know, but I was looking forward to feeling kicks.
Anyway, the night of the Alabama-LSU game was a sad night in the Copeland household. That stupid honey badger! Not the best Bama playcalls! All those missed kicks! However, after the game ended, Adam and I were just sitting on the couch, frowning, and trying to figure out how we could be optimistic. To be honest, I was more bummed than Adam; I take losses a lot worst than my even-tempered, optimistic spouse. Well, lo and behold, I had my hand on my little bump, and I felt a kind of weirdness happening. The things I read said that early fetal movements could feel like butterflies, but that's not how I would describe it. It was like there was a patch of emptiness but it would move across my bump for a couple of inches. Then, I would feel absolutely normal. Then another patch of emptiness would hover and float around. It was FREAKY!

I think the baby chose that night to showcase his movements for a few reasons:
  • He was attempting to tell us that, in 19 years or so, Alabama will finally have a great kicker--him!
  • He was trying to kick me out of my funk.
  • He wanted attention.
  • He was trying to tell us that football, while interesting, would not be his sport of choice. He wants to be a soccer player or a martial artist.
So, those are my best guesses. Whatever the reason, his little movements did make me smile! Roll Tide!

Week 19: Not too much different, other than a lot of stress. I had a bunch of grading and work to do, and that tends to distract from the baby. But, hey, you can't be baby-crazy or baby-focused all the time! However, the nausea seems to have gone away completely...THANK GOODNESS!!! 10+ weeks of non-stop nausea was more than enough!

Week 20: This week was a great week, as we found out the sex of our baby! We're having a baby boy!  Adam and I decided on a name fairly quickly (actually, we decided on the first name when we were only dating....our minds meld nicely), but we're only letting immediate family know the name. So, everyone else will be surprised!  :)

Strong leg...our little soccer star!

Also, this week was Thanksgiving, and so Adam and I enjoyed our first major holiday just by ourselves, no traveling! It was wonderful and we registered at Babies R Us and Target. Registering for baby was a little overwhelming, but it was fun too. But, man, there's a lot of stuff for baby....hopefully the baby showers will help us get it under control.  :)

Week 21: Not too much different, except in how I'm popping out.

Week 22 and 23: Between decorating for Christmas, grading finals, and doing stuff at the Arboretum, I have little time to worry about the baby. I'm glad that I'm only teaching two classes next semester because I'm really tired almost every day and I know it'll just get worse. Plus, this is the time of the semester where my due date will be in April! I've got to stay focused for grading at the end of the semester, so a lightened load will be helpful.

Ready for a Christmas party!

Week 24, 25, and 26: The holidays! See my post about traveling and our splendid baby showers!!

Week 27: I just feel huge all the time, like a load of junk has been strapped to me. Good fun. What bothers me the most, though, is that I'm still a real person! Seriously, everyone just always asks about the baby and comments on things that I write or say (that have nothing to do with the baby) with baby stuff. I'm still a person! I can go to the movies and buy non-baby furniture and more...all without necessary baby commentary. I guess it's just frustrating because I already feel like my body has been taken over by Baby Copeland, and I still want people to acknowledge that I have a mind and feelings of my own! Luckily, teaching is nice because at least my students know that I have something to teach them...and talk to me as one person, not just a baby-carrier. And, luckily, Adam and Oliver treat me as myself--that makes me feel much better.  :)
Beyond that, though, I'm glad to have lots of support and happiness in my life. And I hope that the third trimester continues happily! Thank goodness that the nausea has gone away...stay far, far away! Maybe some of my heartburn will lessen, and I'll be able to sleep better but, compared with the nausea, I feel lucky with those smaller issues.

Giant belly...

On to the third trimester! Huzzah!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's a ROLL TIDE victory!

Well, that was awesome.

The National Championship game was last night, pitting the LSU Tigers against our beloved Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide simply dominated, and that made the Copelands VERY, VERY happy!

We had some wings, mushrooms, and a flatbread pizza appetizer from Buffalo Wild Wings; Adam also requested mini-corndogs to celebrate the absurdity that is LSU. All of the food was delicious, and we ate as we watched all the pre-game stuff. Mr. Oliver got ready for the occasion thanks to his mom...

Adam and I were also dressed for the occasion. Usually, we wear our Bama shirts for luck but, because we both had to work that day, we had to dress a little bit differently. Adam received a red sweater and houndstooth tie from his sister Anna for Christmas, and I wore the fabulous houndstooth hat that Anna got me and a red shirt that my mom had purchased for me. Hey, the team did so well, that these might be our new lucky outfits!

I was pretty nervous when the game started, but Alabama just kept moving the ball and scoring field goals. Go, Shelley, go!! Sure, I would have liked a lot of touchdowns, and I was concerned when Maze was injured, but everything just kept progressing. Our defense was A BEAST. LSU didn't get anywhere, and it made me so happy. Goodness, I love our defense.

Les Miles looked a bit befuddled; the Honey Badger was sad; Jordan Jefferson was upset and angry. That's just how I like it! That said, LSU tried hard and their defense did well stopping the Bama offense, especially in the Red Zone. By the fourth quarter, when Trent scored the only touchdown, the LSU defense was just broken because they had tried hard and were simply exhausted. The LSU offense simply couldn't match the Bama defense and were outplayed on every instance. Goodness, I LOVE ALABAMA'S DEFENSE. They bring the power, and they make it look so logical and easy.

Of course, you have to thank and think of Nick Saban. That man can think his way through the game, and he knew what he was doing, how to motivate his players, and could continually adjust. Goodness, I love Nick! Jim McElwain, the offensive coordinator, made up for the November game playcalls and showed why he'll be an asset as head coach at Colorado State. Kirby Smart, the defensive coordinator, is simply a genius.

I know that I was surprised when the fourth quarter rolled around, and we were so superbly in control. I think I expected more of a fight from LSU after all their trash talk (i.e. the Honey Badger bragged that he studied the names of Bama players' mothers, so he could trash talk more effectively....maybe he should have studied how to avoid being pummeled during a lousy attempt at a punt return). But, I think Bama just prepared and overwhelmed....and, hence, we've got 14 National Championships!

ROLL TIDE, indeed!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Traveling Christmas/Baby Shower Extravaganza

Who knew Christmas could have so many baby showers in it?

Adam and I were lucky to be able to travel to see both of our families for Christmas this year and, since it's probably the last time we'll be able to get together en masse before the baby, both of our families threw us baby showers. We were so humbled that people took the time and energy to think of our baby during this holiday season, and we were lucky to receive a lot of wonderful gifts to use in the nursery.

Of course, getting to our families is the biggest hurdle. We live in Virginia. Adam's family lives in Florence, Alabama while mine lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. You don't have to know your geography very well to know that Alabama, Indiana, and Virginia aren't exactly right next to each other. On the other hand, though, at least they are all on one side of the Mississippi it could be a lot worse.

For our first leg of the journey, we drove from our house to Nashville, TN. Because we left mid-day, we knew we'd be tired and wouldn't want to drive all the way to Florence. Plus, my aunt and cousins live in Nash-vegas and we wanted to see them! It was wonderful to catch up with all of them, and Adam's brother stopped by to catch up for a bit too. I love time with relatives! Oliver LOVED destroying playing with my aunt's dog's toys and running around like a crazy boy. (He doesn't like the car and his car harness.) While outside, he *may* have peed on some Christmas lights and gotten an electrical shock, but there weren't any marks on him and it was a very odd occurrence too. Maybe he just saw a possum and yelped. The case is under investigation.  :)  But, we had a very restful night, and drove to Florence the next morning.

 I found this wig in my cousin's room! Merry Christmas to me!

Over the next couple of days, we relaxed, played a lot of games, and had an early Copeland family Christmas.

Some Christmas shots of me, taken by my photog-hubby, in the Copeland's beautiful, new family room.

The pillow says "Merry Christmas, Y'all" because this is Alabama! Roll Tide!  :)

There were SO MANY presents! We are all so very lucky!

All of the next shots were taken by my sister-in-law, Laura.

The Copeland siblings

All of us at a fantastic meal prepared by my m-i-l

The girls all received beautiful scarves from Grandma Butler! Thanks!!

Bethany's present to each person was wrapped in wacky costume....funny!

My m-i-l cooking up a storm

The outlaws!

On Friday the 23rd, the Copelands and the Spiveys met up for a Christmas lunch and some gift-giving at Grandma Butler's house. Afterwards, they threw Adam and I a beautiful baby shower. The decorations were adorable, the cakes & cupcakes were delicious, and so many people came to celebrate with us. It was great! Also, Laura took these pictures as well, since I was "busy" unwrapping gifts. :)

Laura's gifts...the onesie is an inside joke. The frame, and in-set picture/design, and the elephant all are perfectly coordinated for the baby's room.  :)

Look at the gorgeous decorations and desserts. YUM!

Diaper cake made by Anna!

A friend of the family got our little guy a perfect Shakespeare shirt.  "Read More Shakespeare." That's right!!

We left Florence on the 26th and made the trek on up to Fort Wayne. The trip was uneventful and, thankfully, the shortest leg (a mere 9.5 hours), so we were glad for that. We woke up the next morning to the only snow that we saw the whole Christmas break!

View from my parents' back porch...I forgot to get pictures of their new hot tub. Dang!

My parents threw their annual sing-along that first night. The Bloses are kind of known for singing and doing the motions for all 12 days of Christmas. We are basically the masters of the 12 Days. My brother and I have, recently, turned it into a competition to see who can do all 12 days the quickest on the last refrain. (For those who don't know, you gradually get to all 12 days on the last refrain.) What follows is the 11th day (regular speed) and then proof that I am the TRUE master (even whilst pregnant, I'd like to point out) of going through the 12 days the quickest. All 12 movements are there. I'm awesome.

The next day, my mom and sister threw me a baby shower. They also had beautiful decorations (including some blue, foamy punch with a duck in it---bathtub punch? it was awesome), delicious food, and friends and family!

Me with two great high school friends, Jenny and Sarah! I'm so glad they could come!!!

Some of the cute decorations

The food was amazing

My sister also decorated with creative!

And she got Baby Copeland a beautiful cake.

The punch was superb! And so super cute!!  Plus, the ducky can function in Baby Copeland's bathtub because it has a sensor on it to tell when the water is too hot. Practical and cute!  :)

Diaper cake made by my sister, Annette. (She had to change the look completely after she saw a picture of Anna's diaper cake because they had made almost the exact same one. Great minds think alike!)

We then had a few days to relax with family--especially with our cutie-pie nephew and niece! We went to a hockey game, toured DeBrand's Chocolate Factory, caught some colds (thanks to the aforementioned cutie-pie niece), played some new games (Quarkle was awesome) and just had a brilliant time!

Uncle Adam and Eva

Annette, Ethan, and Eva

My dad, with Ethan, trying to create a living indoor Mickey Mouse snowman.

Two DeBrand's ice cream sundaes plus a mint hot chocolate. The one on the left is raspberry and dark chocolate, or the right is caramel and dark chocolate.

'Twas decadent!

Ethan with the iPad

Aunt Cathy and Eva

Here are some funny videos. The first is of a dance session by my adorable nephew. He's got the moves! The second is from a "halftime" show during the ice hockey game. It was a non-virtual take on Angry Birds...pretty awesome.

We headed back home on the first day of 2012. Thanks to Christmas + baby-showers, our car was PACKED. (Mr. Oliver was not thrilled to share his seat with giant suitcases.) My brother-in-law and Adam packed the car well, and we borrowed the Bulls' car-top carrier. Adam drove most of the way because it was windy and I was scared; I'm lucky to have such a caring husband who lets me nap while he does the hard work. When we got home, we unpacked it all and then promptly collapsed. What a great, busy Christmas!