This is evening numero eight in our new house and we are tired.  And uncomfortable.

First, let’s just be clear: I’m a very, very lucky girl.  Very lucky.  And I know it and I’m beyond grateful for the good things happening in my life.

Now that you don’t think I’m ungrateful, I’m going to bitch.

This process has been rough.  I’m not a crier, and I’ve been crying on and off all week.  I’m not hormonal.  I’m overwhelmed.

Leaving the townhouse was really emotional for me.  There were a lot of beautiful memories tied up in that place.  Plus it was familiar, it was comfortable, it was my home.  Leaving it was solid, irrefutable proof that my entire life is changing in enormous ways.  And I’m not ready for it to change.  I loved living in that little townhouse, just me, my boy and my dog.  It was bliss.  I so dearly loved that phase of my life.

Now I’m in this big, empty place, and it doesn’t feel like home AT ALL.  I suspect it’s partially because the largest space in the house is bare-ass empty.  And there are no curtains, very few blinds, no photos, no decorations – there’s nothing that indicates we’re doing anything here other than squatting.

We’re working on that, though.  But first, before we started in on the new place, we had to get the townhouse in good shape, which involved daily trips over there to paint, sand and scrub.

And we still have to unpack the dozens and dozens of boxes waiting for us in the garage.  Allan has a goal to park in there come February 1, and right now it’s overloaded with boxes.  There will be no parking anytime soon.

Plus, we’re finding that at least 25% of those boxes contain stuff that we don’t actually want anymore.  There’s a lot of sorting in our future.

Although we still live in a suburb of Raleigh, it’s not close to our old life.  We’re very familiar with this area – and it’s a great area – but it still seems foreign to me.  Yesterday we had to venture through our old neighborhood to run some errands, and I was so happy to be near those street signs and landmarks and grocery stores – I felt such relief.

We’re not even sleeping well.  It still feels like we’re sleeping in a place that’s not ours.  You know how you can go to a friend’s house and know where the bathroom is and the towels are and where to find the snacks, but it’s not yours?  That’s how we feel.  We can’t fully relax, and because we’ve been so incredibly busy AND unable to relax, we’re just walking zombies.

We’re walking zombies with a giant dog attached to our hips because Murphy isn’t comfortable, either.  He’s having a hard time adjusting and is having some anxiety/attachment issues right now.  Like, when Allan leaves the house to go run an errand, Murphy cries at the window.

That’s one dog situation, but there’s another.  And oh, I hate it.  I hate it to the core of my being.

We’re on the last street of this community.  Our yard and the yards of our neighbors (five houses on this street total) butt up against a 2+ acre piece of land, so we don’t have any houses in our backyard, which is really nice.

But there’s a dog back there.

A big, old (or just dirty?), shaggy dog.  He lives in a small pen.  Which is overgrown with weeds.  And he is never let out.  Since we moved into the house, the weather has been awful – grey, cold, windy, rainy, very little sun.  And he’s been outside in all of it.  He cries a lot.  Is it because he’s hungry?  Thirsty?  Cold?  All of the above?  It breaks my heart.  I hear him cry and actually beg him to stop.  Please, please, please stop crying.  I say this out loud in my bedroom or living room or any room in my house from which I can hear him.  But he can’t hear me begging him to stop.

I get that we moved to the country and that in the country – and in the South – some people treat their dogs as if they are just that: dogs.  But as far as I’m concerned, they’re abusing that dog.

What the hell is the point of having a dog outside in a pen?  Why?  What do you get out of that?  And what kind of life is that for the dog?

Allan said to mind my own business, that it doesn’t have a direct impact on me.  Except that it does.  I live here now.  There is another family that lives here now.  And in a few months, there will be three other families living here.  The dog cries basically straight through from 7am through 8:30am – I’m assuming because he’s hungry – and it wakes me up.  It wakes Allan up.  I suspect it wakes our neighbors up.  So, you see, it is my business now.  And when I have a sleeping newborn, it will very much be my business.

I care far less about the sleep than I do the dog, but it’s my in, you see.  It’s my excuse to call animal control and demand that they check on the situation.  And I will call.

That situation is contributing a whole lot to my discomfort – I literally wake up every morning with an aching heart.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I knew about the dog during construction.  Except I thought the dog was only outside when the people at that property weren’t home – I didn’t realize how overgrown the enclosure was, and didn’t realize that you often can’t see the dog.

I really don’t mean to seem so ungrateful.  The house is wonderful.  When it’s unpacked and decorated and has furniture, it will be even more wonderful.

But I’m overwhelmed.

So much can happen in nine days, which is how long it’s been since I updated this here blog o’ mine.

Actually, when I tell you what happened, it’s not going to sound like much.  But it is.  Oh, it is.

I moved.

That’s it.  I moved.  But do you have any idea how much work is involved in moving?

My goodness gracious, it was (and continues to be) a huge pain in the ass.  It’s no exaggeration to say that Allan and I have not stopped working/lifting/unpacking/sorting/scrubbing/packing since Thursday.

In addition to moving, we had to get the townhouse ready for its tenants and we had to do the whole Christmas thing.

Thanks to some wonderful, very, very helpful friends, we got 96% of our stuff in the house

by Saturday afternoon, and most of it is still in boxes in the garage, which we may never be able to pull our cars into.

The house is big, beautiful end empty.  Just last night we got some blinds on the master bedroom windows – the rest of the blinds are in boxes on the living room floor to be hung in stages.  I don’t think I realized just how exposed I felt with the lack of blinds, so I’m happy they’re on their way to all the windows.

With each box that’s unpacked, each photo that’s put on a shelf, and each drawer that’s filled, this structure is feeling more like home – but it’s going to take a while.  I still kind of feel like I’m staying at a friend’s house or
something; I’m starting to relax, but I’m not completely comfortable.  But I’m really happy to be here.

Internet, I’m having a girl.

A little baby girl.

This creature hanging out inside of me is my daughter.

Daughter.  It’s such a big word.  I never, ever pictured myself with a girl.  I never actually pictured myself with a child, period, but if my mind ever wandered in that direction, it was always with a boy.  I grew up with boys.  Some of my closest friends are boys.  They’re easy.  They’re low-maintenance.  They’re boys.

But I’m having a girl.

And I’m so, so excited.

Allan, well, he’s a little terrified.  A lot, a lot, a lot happy.  And terrified.

I couldn’t help it – I already bought her a dress.  I’d been eyeing it for the past couple of weeks at Target, and I told Allan that if it was a girl, I was going to get it.  And I got it.

But here’s why: it’s because of a commercial.  A Dell commercial (though I’m typing to you on a Mac). A commercial for a computer inspired me to get a navy blue tulle dress covered in silver and blue sparkles.

In the commercial, a young boy falls for a girl who is moving away to the city. Once there, she finds that she can no longer see the stars.  So the boy, using his Dell and a time-lapse camera, recreates the nighttime stars for the girl and sends her a video.  He gives the stars to Charlotte.

I can’t wait to give the stars to Charlotte.  I can’t want to give her the whole world, my heart, and every, single star in the sky.

In the meantime, I’ll give her a sparkly dress that reminds me of those stars.

Our house looks like it’s been straight-up ransacked.  Because it kind of has.

We’ve torn apart the kitchen, our bedroom, our closets and bathrooms.  The guest bedroom is a holding tank for boxes, as is the dining room.  It doesn’t feel like home anymore, and for a while after we move into the new place, that won’t feel like home, either.

I’ll feel like a vagabond, except I’ll still have to go to work.  A vagabond, by definition, is someone who has no regular employment.  Which, actually, could be me with all of my layoffs. (But I’m happy to report that I recently celebrated two happy years with my place of employment.)

Although I’m super excited to move into our new house and am looking forward to turning it into our home, I fully recognize that no other structure will hold the special memories for me that the townhouse does.

Within those four walls, Allan and I decided to give us a shot.  He told me he was in love with me, and he asked me to be his wife.  It’s where we met Murphy for the first time, and it’s where we conceived our child.  It’s an incredibly special place for me and I’m going to miss it very, very much.

I’m also going to miss Raleigh.  Right now we’re five miles from downtown, and we’ll be 18 miles away in our new house.  Raleigh, though a small city, is a city none-the-less, and it helped me feel connected to my urban roots.  I love the energy and vibrancy of it.  I also love the restaurants, parks and festivals.

I love the convenience of where we currently live, that I can pull out of my community and be at a grocery store in less than five minutes.  But at the same time, the opposite is what I find charming about our new place; I will be able to drive for miles and miles without hitting a stop light.  I have never lived in an environment like it, and I’m excited.  And I’m apprehensive.

I have a whole bunch of emotions going on inside of me right now, and no, it’s not because I’m pregnant.  There’s just a lot of change going on right now and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around all of it.

Yep, it’s true.  I’m pregnant.  I’m having a baby.

Holy guacamole.

In September, after two years of marriage, Allan and I decided to go about our lives as normal, but remove barriers to pregnancy.  We thought we’d actually start trying for a baby in January, and maybe get pregnant in the Spring.

But much to my shock, as soon as the barriers were gone, the baby was here.  I found out on my birthday.

I really couldn’t believe it happened that quickly.  Part of me still can’t believe it happened at all.  Right now, to look at me, you wouldn’t see a pregnant lady.  I look the same.  But inside of me is a peach-sized human with arms and legs that move in a spastic fashion.  And it has adorable feet.  The cutest feet I’ve ever seen, in fact.

I still haven’t quite made the connection between this being I can’t see (or feel) and the baby that will make its appearance in mid-June.  Like, how is this going to work?  I’m going to get a belly?  And swollen feet?  And stretch marks???  And then there will be a baby in my arms?

It’s mind-blowing.

Although I’m not exactly ready for this, I know how incredibly lucky I am.  I know people who have struggled to conceive, and I recognize the gift I’ve been given.  And I’m grateful.  Scared shitless, but grateful.

Oh, and Allan.  He’s over the moon.  Way, way over the moon and full of unabashed joy.  I’ve never seen the man happier.

I truly believe that my kid will have an advantage over all the other kids born in the world simply because Allan is its father.  His character is so outstanding and good, our baby is already one of the lucky ones.

Like I said – the timing wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it actually couldn’t be better.  My grandfather, who’s dying, knows about the baby.  He was there when I told my whole family at Thanksgiving, and he’s hoping to be here when the baby’s born.  But even if he’s not, he knows the baby is coming and he knows his family is growing, which means a lot to both of us.

With a June due date, I won’t be stuck inside of the house with a scary newborn.  Look – I’m terrified.  But at least with a Summer babe, I’ll be able to get outside, go for walks, go to the park.  Baby S. and I won’t be trapped inside the house for fear of frostbite.  We’ll have freedom and flexibility, which I think will really help me adjust to my new life.

And as far as life goes, Allan and I are as ready as we’re ever going to be.  We’ll be settled into our new house, we’ve taken numerous wonderful vacations together (and a babymoon is on the horizon – yay!), we’ve had time to be alone together, wrapped up in ourselves.  We’ve been through stressful situations, joyful situations, and everything in between, and we know how the other reacts.  I’m not saying we’re 100% prepared to deal with a screaming newborn at 3am for the 11th night in a row, but we at least have stressful experiences tucked under our marital belt.

All things considered, my pregnancy has been a breeze.  I went through about a month of feeling like I got the flu at 2:00 every afternoon.  My bedtime has hovered between 7:30 and 9:00 each night since the first week of October, but other than that, I’ve felt really good.  I had some bleeding at two different points, which scared the bejesus out of me, but ultimately everything was/is fine, and it gave me two unexpected opportunities to have ultrasounds and peek in on the kid.

Yes, yes, YES, we’re going to learn the sex of the baby.  We’ll actually know before Christmas (because of a genetic test I had done – but no worries), so it’ll be quite the present.  The way we look at it is this: it’s a surprise whenever you find out.  It’ll be a surprise at three months, at six months, in the delivery room, whenever.  We would just like our surprise a little early.

When we met with the doctor for our 12-week appointment, I asked if it was okay to start making plans, to be excited, to tell people.  He said that pregnancies are like plane rides: the dangerous parts are at take-off and landing.  And we’ve made it to cruising altitude.