You guys, I did it.  I survived four days and three nights in my big, new house ALL BY MYSELF.  Well, Murphy was there, but otherwise I was ALL BY MYSELF.

Allan was in New Mexico on business, enjoying spring-like temperatures and being a brat.

I was home in 15-20 degree below average Raleigh, ALL BY MYSELF.

I was especially nervous about my predicament for two reasons.  One, this house is more than double the square footage of the townhouse.  What does that have to do with anything?  Well, there are twice as many square feet in which the knife-wielding serial rapist can hide.

Two, we don’t have an alarm.  Yet.  In the townhouse, we had an alarm system.  When set, if someone opened a door or a window, ear-destroying noises would spring from various corners of the house.  And most likely, the serial rapist would run in the other direction.

But we don’t have that at the new house.  I want to get it, I think we’re going to get it, but we don’t have it.

So I improvised.

It was me and the dog and the wind chimes against the world.  And we won!

And last night, I slept.  Screw romance (no pun intended), but when Allan gets home from a long trip, I get into bed as quickly as possible and go to sleeeeeeep.  Sweet, sweet sleep.  I do this after I smother him with kisses, by the way.

Other than for sleep reasons, I’m thrilled Allan’s home.  I missed him.  A lot.  He’s my favorite.

So, my period was eight days late and I was in denial.  Surely I can’t be pregnant.  There’s no way.  I’m definitely not having a baby.

Allan knew I was late and with each day that passed, he got more and more excited.  I tried to tell him to calm down, that I wasn’t pregnant, that numerically things didn’t add up to a baby.  To his credit, he didn’t push me to take a pregnancy test.  He let me go at my own pace as his suspicions increased.

My birthday rolled around.  October 15.  Unbeknownst to Allan, I decided that would be the day to take the test.  If my period didn’t arrive before then, of course.  And it was totally going to come.

Because I knew what I was doing later that day, I went out of my way while driving to work to get a great, big, giant latte at Starbucks.  My logic: as far as I knew, I wasn’t pregnant.  With knowledge comes responsibility to act accordingly, but at that point, I knew nothing.

I left work early – Allan and I had plans to go to the State Fair that night – and rather than go straight home, I stopped at Target.  I was so convinced that I wasn’t pregnant, I didn’t even want to spend the money on a name brand pregnancy test.  I grabbed the Target box (with two tests) and went home.

Within one second, the plus sign appeared.  Positive.  You’re having a baby.  Holy shit.

So I called my sister-in-law who, with kindness and grace, told me everything was going to be okay.  She knew I was terrified and she didn’t get overly excited or force me to do the same.  She was calm and reassuring and perfect.

Then, just to be sure, I took the other test.  I needed two positives before I told Allan.  I needed to be certain.  I chugged and chugged and chugged water until I thought I would explode.  Another plus sign.  Yes, Virginia (Allie), you are having a baby.

The second stick wasn’t even dry before he got home.

I was a nervous wreck.  I put my iPhone on the table, hoping to catch his reaction so that I could someday show it to our child.

He gave me my birthday presents, which I barely registered, and then he rambled on (and on and on) about the concert tickets and the cool trip to DC we would take, all the while I was thinking SHUT UP I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!

When he (finally) stopped talking, I asked him if he was ready for his present.

Then I tossed him one of the pregnancy tests.

And here’s what happened next.  (you might want to turn the volume up)

I planned to also record my family’s reaction to my pregnancy news.

After Allan and I did the Pumpkin Pie run in Allentown on Thanksgiving morning, we gathered my family together under the guise that we were going to take a family photo.  Allan was going to use the Nikon while I used my iPhone.

What my family didn’t know was that instead of taking photos with the iPhone, I was actually taking a video.  What I didn’t know was that my hands were shaking so badly (I was nervous) that I didn’t ever actually hit record.  When I thought I was ending the video, it was actually just starting.

So, my family was all gathered and I asked them to say CHEESE!  I then asked them for one more picture, but this time I asked them to say I’M PREGNANT!

They just looked at me and blinked.  And then my mom yelled I’M PREGNANT!  (At least she follows directions)  Then I said: No, I’m pregnant!

This photo captures Jason’s responses, which cracked me up.  And this video (you might want to turn the volume down) is the aftermath of the announcement.

I didn’t take these videos or photos for any reason other than to be able to share them with my child.  I want her to see how thrilled everyone was at the thought of her, at the knowledge of her.  I want her to see that she was loved right from the get-go.

Today the Supreme Court started hearing arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, about doing away with it – all of it or parts of it.

I changed my Facebook profile photo to show my support for gay marriage.  I was afraid to do it.  I was afraid to offend the ultra-conservative family I married into.

But then I thought, you know, this is how I feel.  This is what I believe.  This is who I am.  And I’m not ashamed.

So, my profile photo was changed… and the symbol for equality now rests up against one of my favorite photos from my wedding.  Fitting.

I’m a writer by trade, yes, but I’m not a writer writer.  I can’t spin words into magic, though I wish I could.  I often can’t articulate the things I think and feel.  So I’m going to steal from other people.

Before the thievery begins, I will tell you that I wasn’t as passionate about gay marriage before I got married.  I thought civil unions were fine, what’s the big deal?

But now I have a husband, and I realize that that word carries more weight than a thousand life partners ever could.  If I tell you that Allan is my husband, you already know an enormous amount about how I feel about him and how he feels about me.  You know that we share a life and a home and a bed.  You know that we have vowed to love and cherish each other, through good times and bad, for the rest of our lives.

When I realized the true weight of husband, my stance on gay marriage changed almost immediately.  When I got married, when I was lucky enough to be legally joined to the man I wanted to count the stars with every night of my life, I didn’t want to “protect” the institution, I wanted to share it.

So, let the plagiarism begin.

From HelloGiggles:

“It is true that we are allowed to believe whatever we want to believe in. It’s also true that we are able to express those beliefs freely. But just as the human heart has the capacity to hold so much love, it seems to have the ability to brim full of just as much hate. When we disregard the claims of others to rights we fully enjoy ourselves, simply because we adopt a “normative” sexual preference? That’s when we’re no better than all the people we’ve learned about in history classes in school who denied the rights they enjoyed to those who were not in the majority with them.

See, it’s not about whether you believe in whether it’s right or wrong to be gay. It doesn’t actually matter. What matters is when you begin to be okay with forcing someone else to follow your scripture, when it is not their scripture. When you sign into law something that forces those of the minority to follow a mandate of your religion, when it is not their religion. That is wrong. If you want to claim the freedom to choose your religion, to choose your opinions, you cannot do so while denying others that same right.”

From the Cato Institute:

“No compelling reason has been proffered for sanctioning heterosexual but not homosexual marriages. Nor is a ban on gay marriage a close fit for attaining the goals cited by proponents of such bans. If the goal, for example, is to strengthen the institution of marriage, a more effective step might be to bar no-fault divorce and premarital cohabitation. If the goal is to ensure procreation, then infertile and aged couples should be precluded from marriage.

Instead, most states have implemented an irrational and unjust system that provides significant benefits to just-married heterosexuals while denying benefits to a male or female couple who have enjoyed a loving, committed, faithful and mutually reinforcing relationship over several decades. That’s not the way it has to be.”

Do you see this crap?  Do you see it?

According to our esteemed weather forecasters here in the Research Triangle, the average temperature for this time of year is in the mid-60’s.  I’m not dumb, people.  I moved here for a reason: the weather.  And Bojangles.  But mainly the weather.

We have spectacular springs and falls here.  They’re mild and long – there’s a beautifully slow ascent into warm weather, and a mercifully slow decent into cooler temperatures.  You have an opportunity to savor the variations in temperature before you get clobbered by the chill of winter or the extreme heat (and humidity) of summer.

Right now I should be relishing the 60’s – I should be giddy when I put my feet into flip flops.  But instead, I’m reaching for my winter coat.  Again.

My bitching is pointless.  There’s nothing I can do about this – nothing anyone can do about this – but it sucks.

In addition to the cold temperature readings, it’s been cloudy as hell.  Normally there’s sunshine galore.  Winter is cold, sometimes very cold, but the sun is generally out, giving me a feeling that I can handle any temperature as long as it’s sunny.

But no, no sunshine.

And it’s been hard.  Between getting acclimated to the new house, the new neighborhood, the baby I wasn’t quite ready for, my grandfather’s cancer, etc… it’s been a really hard couple of months.

So, Sun, if you’re reading this (and I realize that you’re probably not): come out, come out, wherever you are.

I’m Catholic, but I’m not.

I’ve been fascinated by the recent resignation of Pope Benedict and the ascension of Pope Francis.  I love the history and the pomp and circumstance of it all.  It’s so, so interesting.

But I’m not Catholic, though I am.

I don’t agree with Catholicism on a lot of levels.  I don’t like that priests can’t marry, that women can’t be priests.  I don’t agree with the church’s stance on contraception and divorce and euthenasia, and I hate its view of homosexuals.

All the years of CCD, my communion, my confirmation, my upbringing in the church all make me Catholic.  But I’m not.

If anything, I’m agnostic.  I don’t know that there’s a god, but I believe there is.  I also believe that organized religion has nothing to do with it.  I don’t need to belong to a church, to tithe, to join prayer circles or praise bands to have a relationship with the god I believe exists.

I believe all religions are trying to know the unknowable.  I believe that the vast majority are well-intentioned.  While I don’t agree with them, I respect them and their followers.

My religious beliefs have already caused me problems and once my daughter arrives, they’re going to cause more problems.  I have some family members who will respect the way we raise her religion-wise,  whichever way we decide to go, and I have some that absolutely will not.

It’s incredibly stressful.  Unnecessarily so.  This is my daughter and Allan’s daughter, and as far as I’m concerned, our opinion is the only one that counts as it pertains to her religious upbringing.

Allan (to my belly): Murphy’s going to be your brother.  He’s a dog.  He’s short and furry, and he has four legs.

Me (to my belly):  Allan’s going to be your dad.  He’s a human.  He’s also short and furry, but he only has two legs.

Do yourself a favor – don’t picture me naked.  Though when I tell you this, it’s going to be hard not to.

So, baths were cleared by my doctor at my last appointment, and since then, I’ve taken three!  And oh, they are glorious.  We have a really big, deep bathtub, and I’m (way more) excited (than I should be) to finally be able to use it.

But, anyway.

Last night I was in the tub, reading my US Weekly, when the baby started to move around like a wild woman.  She moves with some regularity throughout the day, but while I was in the tub, she was just going crazy.  Thump, thump, thump.  Pop, pop, pop.

And whenever she moved, little ripples scattered across the water.

I must admit, it was pretty cool.

My girl’s already making waves.