9 Things I Learned in April

Linking up with Emily.

1. Road trips with toddlers? Not so bad, actually.

Well, at least not with this toddler. Your mileage may vary and I mean that quite literally. I was absolutely dreading our time in the car, but was pleasantly surprised at how well Natalie did. I suppose the corollary to this would be “That Thing You’re So Anxious About will really not be as bad as you imagine,” or maybe “my kid is a lot more resilient than I give her credit for.”

2. We’ll probably have to adjust our housing expectations.

This is both good and bad. Spending 30 seconds on Zillow makes it obvious that housing prices are much much much MUCH better here than in Boston (duh), so we’re thrilled that a 4-bedroom home with plenty of space for our growing family is within our budget. That being said, the Knoxville market definitely has some quirks that I wasn’t aware of before we got here. For instance: IT’S SO HILLY. It’s really important to us to find a quiet neighborhood where we can take the kids for walks without having to put Natalie on a leash, but all of those neighborhoods have KILLER hills that might possible be the undoing of my postpartum self if I attempt it while pushing a stroller. The nice, flat neighborhood we had in Boston really doesn’t exist here. So, we might have to compromise on the “flat” part.

3. I LOVE giving Natalie the opportunity to miss me.

Living across the street from my parents while we look for a house has been amazing so far for a number of reasons, but pretty close to the top of the list would be having someone to watch Natalie while I go to my midwife appointments, we check out an open house, or even something totally wild and crazy like GOING TO DINNER BY OURSELVES. And my favorite, favorite, favorite part of all this? The look on Natalie’s face when I come back. Usually she’s outside with my mom, checking the mail for the 10th time or inspecting the dandelions in the front yard (“DAH-DO!”). She’s happy. She’s occupied. She’s not thinking about me at all. Then she glances up and sees me waving to her, and her face just beams with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. She waves back ecstatically and starts shrieking, “MAMA MAMA MAMA!” then points at me and looks at my mom like, DO YOU EVEN SEE WHO IS STANDING THERE RIGHT NOW?! LET’S MOVE, WOMAN!

Oh my gosh. It’s the best. She throws herself at me and I scoop her up in a big hug and this, this, is one of the best parts of motherhood. And not one that I had many occasions to experience before now, because Natalie and I were together all the time all the time allthetime. 


4. Ants and other little buggy pests are a big problem in TN.

Yeah, we got ants sometimes in Boston. Throw down a few ant traps and you’re golden. Termites occasionally rear their ugly little heads, but it’s not a super super common one. But down here? Apparently having your home sprayed for pests four times a year is par for the course. The balmy winters that make this such an attractive place to live also mean it doesn’t get cold enough to kill the bugs. Ick. We’ve had ant problems on and off over the past 4 weeks since we got here, but I think we’ve finally conquered them for now. We’re finding we need to be waaaaaaay more careful about cleaning up every speck of food on the floor than we were before. You know how hard that is for me, but if swiffering the kitchen several times a week and crawling underneath the table and Natalie’s highchair armed with a bottle of all-purpose cleaner after every meal means we’re ant-free, I’ll do it.

5. I miss my Mama Beasts like crazy, but I’m more motivated to stay on track with my solo workouts than I’ve ever been before.

I was verrrrrrry concerned that leaving my Beasts would sap me of all my workout motivation, and I’d just sit on my rapidly-expanding butt for the last three months of this pregnancy. That was kind of the case for the first two weeks we were here, but now that we’re really starting to find our groove and figure out daily and weekly routines, I’m really proud at my consistency (for two whole weeks; somebody slap a gold star on me pronto). This has really helped: home-gymI call it MY PRESCIOUSSSSSSSS even though it’s not even mine; it’s my dad’s and he scored it for $100 on Craiglist. Yep. A weight bench, barbell (be still my heart!!), adjustable dumbbells, and enough plates to keep things challenging and interesting for me for quite some time. I’ve been following the plan from The New Rules of Lifting for Women (AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME BOOK) with some modifications for the bump, and whew, is it awesome. I’m not even going to try and disguise this as a humblebrag, because I’m so frickin’ proud of myself for still lifting weights at almost 7 months pregnant.

(Side note, before you recoil in horror and send me angry emails about how I am totes magoats going to hurt the baby and why do I feel the need to lift anything heavier than a soft downy pillow, keep in mind that a. Natalie weighs 30 pounds and asks to be picked up about 1,000 times a day; b. I was in good shape before I got pregnant and am very aware of proper form, etc., to be able to do all this stuff safely, and c. I have the full support of my doctor to continue working out.)

6. Knoxville has the BEST used bookstore on the planet.

Not even close to exaggerating about this. It’s called McKay’s and I very nearly wept with joy when I walked in. It’s bigger than several libraries I’ve been in and MUCH better stocked. My current dream is to have someone watch Natalie so I can spend the entire day there. I’d probably walk away about $1,000 poorer and 500 books richer, but I firmly believe there are far worse things to indulge in than books.


In related news I might have a slight topical obsession at the moment.

7. The Lord works in mysterious ways in the South.

I was prepared for people to approach me in the grocery store and ask if I’ve found Jesus (for which I was prepared with Robin Williams’ line, “No! Come help me look!”). They haven’t.

I was prepared to drive by roughly 100 churches on our way to pretty much anywhere. Yep. That is true.

I was prepared to see billboards for churches very nearly side-by-side with billboards advertising adult video stores. Yep, that is also true.

I was not prepared for my breakfast to quote scripture at me. Heh.


8. It’s really really REALLY hard not to be obnoxious about the weather.

So far I’ve reigned in the urge to respond to every post from Boston friends on Facebook about the arrival of spring with, “awesome, my kid has already been outside in her bathing suit!” Nobody likes that girl. That being said OH MY GOD THE WEATHER IS SO NICE, YOU GUYS. You might have to remind me of that in July when I’m 39 weeks pregnant and dying in the true summer heat and seriously considering the logistics of sitting in Natalie’s water table. (Conclusion: pretty sure it doesn’t have that kind of structural integrity. Doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it.)

9. People are quite bold and have NO fear in assuming I’m pregnant.

This doesn’t really bother me because I AM pregnant and at 29 weeks I’d say it’s rather obvious. That being said…I would never ask a woman about her pregnancy unless she was literally pushing out the baby in front of me. And you know what, not even then, because hopefully I’d have the wherewithal to call 911 instead of asking her if they’ve picked out a name yet. Here, though, I can’t go anywhere without people asking if I’m pregnant, when my due date is, is it my first, etc. When I was shopping this morning the cashier asked if we knew the sex. I said yes, it’s a girl, with a big smile on my face because: Yay! Baby! There really is no bad outcome here! When he found out that I already have a girl, he asked if we were disappointed that it wasn’t a boy/would we be trying again for a boy.

Um. What.

“Yes, total stranger, this is basically a throw-away pregnancy and I’m drowning daily in a river of my own tears at the HORROR that is having two girls.”

Also, just for future reference, the polite time to ask about future pregnancies is generally NEVER, and ESPECIALLY not when the womb in question is ALREADY OCCUPIED.

Gosh, April was an enlightening month.

2 Responses to 9 Things I Learned in April

  1. Victoria April 30, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m here for the link up!!!

    Roadtrips with toddlers can go either way! Overall, I tend to enjoy them though! :)

    We’ve been doing a bit of house hunting and it is NOT easy…We’ve lived in a house we don’t love for 7 years and it has taught us what kinds of things just don’t work for us. We know what we’re looking for this time around, but I feel the compromises already!

    Used bookstores are WONDERFUL! I love finding books and remembering where I got them. :)

    I think people’s brains fall out when they meet a pregnant person. That’s all I have to say about that one! :)

  2. Renee April 30, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    hi i’m here from the linkup too! Chattanooga has a McKays as well–love it. i’m a TN girl originally (though living in Arkansas now) and my husband and I lived in Boston for a year while I was in grad school. Boston is such a great city–but I’ve liked the south a little better for raising my babies =) welcome!

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