Sunday, December 28, 2008

Open hands

Open your hand. Go on, open it. It won't kill you. Either one, left or right. I opened my left, because that is the hand that I write with.

Did you open it? Now, look at it. Spread your fingers out. Are you ready for this factoid?

That's the size of Poppy.

If we could look at Poppy in the eyes (which we don't want to do right now) "shem" would be resting in the palm of your hand. Poppy is 5 inches long and weighs in at a whopping 3.5 ounces. And Poppy has ears! Loud noises (like me laughing, or listening to Michael Jackson in the new g-ride) startle Poppy. And, if you can believe this, over the next week there will be fingerprints on the teeny, tiny little fingers that will be with Poppy through all of their days. That is, when the little thumb is not in the little mouth.

Please note that I am trying REALLY hard not to use "it" and I have to be creative.

Poppy is 17 weeks en utero tomorrow. I am almost... ALMOST half-way through this business you call pregnancy. 3 weeks to go before we hit the top peak and then start the downhill descent.

And I look pregnant. Sometimes. Right now, I feel like I look like I just do not know any better and am wearing clothes that are too tight (with elastic waist bands). But, today I was walking into the hospital to see Will (who is on call tonight, again) and my reflection in all 86 life-size window panes showed a bump that could not be mistaken for too many cocktails, candy bars, and too few miles in the New Balances.

That was a bump under that shirt.

Oh, Poppy-- let's pray for random hands off my belly, the nausea to subside, and you to grow safely and soundly for another few months.

Also, I updated my "gadgets" on meetthenewestcagle-- see to the right? That's how many days until our ultrasound (I had to redo an "end of the world/alien" countdown-- can you tell??), above is a pollster- what's Poppy's gender?? Boy or girl-- you pick. Will and I are very curious to find out. Lower right is a 3D rendition of what computer generated Poppy looks like en utero each week. My friend Faris had one of these on her page & I thought it was neat to track her future Eliza Faris.

So, open your hand again- grab the mouse, drag it to the top & cast your opinion on what the Cagles are having!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bless us, Oh Lord...

Tonight was Brennan Family Christmas. This has been a tradition in my mother's family since before I can remember. Always, ALWAYS the weekend before Christmas- mom, her sisters, and all my crazy cousins get together for a weekend of shopping, eating, drinking (drinking), and being Merry & Bright.

A long time ago, Big Dad told His Girls that he did not care when he saw them during the holidays, he just wanted to see them all together. He understood what it was like to grow up, have a family... and a life outside of the childhood home. When all of the Brennan Girls were married and off in their own part of the state, he asked, just asked, if they could make it back home the weekend before Christmas to be together as a family.

He bribed them with good food (beef tenderloin), good spirits, good presents, but mostly- just good times with the family.

He had an easy time convincing them.

And 8 turned into 16 in the blink of an eye. Those 16 are now 26 with 2 en route with summer arrival dates. And we all squeeze into a living room, with a Christmas tree, and share each other & our family. The room is different, Big Dad & Millie moved from Powder Horn Road to Poindexter, and then Big Dad could not have us all over to his house anymore-- this tradition had to be moved, first to Helen's home, then to Mama's-- but the time, the good times, are still the same. Those under 15 still run around gathering up the adults to open presents. Those over 40 (now 50) dragging their feet at the dining room table, sharing one more glass of red wine & one more Christmas story about which sister snuck out when and did what. Or my favorite-- a story about Uncle Nick who passed in 2001, a quiet enigma in my mind. They all are.

Before every Christmas dinner, Big Dad returns thanks to the Big Guy Upstairs looking out for every one of us. Every year I hold my breath & hope, just hope, that he will give the traditional Catholic Blessing- the one I grew up with, the one I taught my Protestant husband, the one that I think is the most perfect, most all encompassing prayer. This year, I am sad to report that he did not do my favorite blessing; he did His Prayer that he does when there is even just one Protestant in the room and it starts with, "All Mighty & Eternal God..." and goes from there.

My blessing, the one that I remember hearing when I was wrapped up in my dad's arms, or holding my aunt's hand in a circle around the white formica bar in that little home with the green carpet straight from 1963-- perfect for any grandparents home, is what I will always carry with me. My blessing is what I said every school day at 11:50 from Kindergarten through sixth grade in my small uniform at that little parochial school on Monte Sano Ave, a stone's throw from our current residence.

Bless us, Oh Lord
In these thy gifts
Which we are about to receive
From Thy bounty
Through Christ, Our Lord

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More to say...

I wish that I had more to say today. Currently, my foot is propped up and I am sipping on hot chocolate wishing Husband was not on call tonight. This week will total 3 nights at the hospital. That is four nights home.

Stupid Call.

But, in much more fun things to talk about-- we went back to Erin today and had our check-up. Poppy is quite the swimmer- every time the Doppler found Poppy, it took off swimming to another part of my ever-growing uterus. The heartbeat was in the 150s (when we could hear it) and very strong.

We go back in exactly 28 days to find out the sex of Poppy. If it's a boy, we will have to come up with a new nickname for "IT" as Poppy does sound a little girly. We even have names picked out-- we are just hoping (trying) to keep it a secret until we actually lay eyes on Poppy and make sure that _______ ______ if it's a boy or ________ ______ if it's a girl are the names we want to saddle them with for the rest of their days. We have had "our names" since about the day we saw Poppy on the screen for the first time. People offer up ideas & all we say is, "We have some ideas, we're just waiting until we meet it" or something to that effect-- it is such a personal decision... naming a child. Our child. In June. Oh Gawd, how am I going to keep a secret for another 5 months?! SIX! Six months!

I was trying to think of a creative way to let both sets of parents know what we are having, but currently, the baby is taking all my smart & creative cells and replacing them with extra "ummms" and "uhhhs." I do know, that whatever parts Poppy has, we are very excited. The nursery will commence January 16th, as soon as we know if the booties will be pink or blue.

Well, my hot chocolate is getting cold & I am leaning towards going to sleep early (if you did not know, it's 7:35pm)...

This weekend is Brennan Family Christmas and all of Mama's sisters and children AND children's children will be here on Friday-- I love Brennan Family Christmas, but more on that later.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A lady always arrives 15 minutes late...

Tellis is here. It took all day and into the night, but she is here.

I clearly think that A-L-L newborns look like Winston Churchill for the first month (at least) & all of the beautiful babies I have seen have been no exception.

Until Wednesday.

Tellis is, by far, the most beautiful sack of sugar I have ever seen. She has the most perfect eyes, nose, and microscopic fingernails. When I hold Ford, I simply forget that he was ever that small. That small & that perfect.

She is going home today to start, what I am sure to be, a very fun journey.

When I held Ford for the first time, I whispered in his ear all the secret things we would do together on his way through life... the zoo, the lake, fishing, going to the park, swimming, playing, football games, Athens, picking peanuts, and driving Wrangler stick shifts to name a few.

When I held Tellis for the first time, I whispered different things in her ear, all the secret things we would do on her way through life... still the zoo, going to the park, and swimming... but also, shopping, wrapping her parents Christmas presents & drinking non-rum egg nog, teaching her how to cook chicken bog, pedicures, but I also included driving a Wrangler stick shift. All girls should know how to do that. Especially ones like Tellis.

When I look at my little niece and nephew, I wonder if that is how my amazing aunts looked at me-- overwhelmed with love & affection and knowing that I would knock the fire out of hell for them.

What a blessing it is to be an aunt.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It's not quite 7am & I am still, literally, bleary eyed. My whole family is a-buzz with excitement. We're all up (Will's sleeping, no surprise there) & sitting on our hands so we do not go straight to the hospital this instant. Dad has already left, as a matter of fact-- he was there when they got there at 6am.

Tellis is coming.

The greatest, cutest, most awesome nephew is getting a sister in mere moments...minutes...probably hours. Probably a lot of hours.

Anna Tellis Merry- AKA Ford's little sister.

For the next 20 years she will be known as Ford's Little Sister... how do I know? Because I was the previous Bradford Woodhull Merry's little sister for 26 years.

Oh, nausea subside... we have bigger fish to fry today!

As I type, Martha is getting hooked up to all kind of machines, lines are getting set in to her veins, and I believe it would be safe to use the term "Human Pin Cushion." By the time I get to the hospital (a paltry hour and a half from now) we will see two sets of heart beats on the monitors: Martha & Tellis-- two of the most important women of Brad Merry's life. Martha will have two lines in her veins & probably already one in her back.

All in anticipation of Tellis.

Send a prayer upstairs to the Big Man for a safe landing. The wheels are lowered and locked and we are on final approach!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Something is in the water...

I thought I would be the only one pregnant when we found out about Poppy. Boy, was I wrong!

Check it out:

Catherine: My SIL is pregnant with her third child. They already have two precious children who are the light of my life. I love calling her oldest and asking about her day. See, Catherine home schools her and that child is smart as a whip. Catherine takes such effort to make sure that she is learning all kinds of cool things, so when you call to ask what she learned in school today- you had best be ready- because she learned something!!
Due: Early May

Mary Margaret: Mai and I have been big buddies since we were 15. Mai was a year older, so she could drive long before anyone else and had this very, very swanky 1963 yellow station wagon. One door would not unlock, the other would not lock- the interior was brown pleather & had two bench seats- there was an eight track... good grief, there was an eight track that did not work. When the car turned, the radio dial would roll, thus causing the radio station to change. The horn? Oh, the horn... it was not on the front of the steering wheel... it was on the side. The "power locks" were just that, power locks. They said "power locks" on the top.
This car is what stories are made of and legends come from.
In my mind, this car... THIS CAR was awesome. Everyone needed a friend growing up that had a "shaggin' wagon." And, boy howdy, I did!
Due: Late May

Blake: Sweet and quiet Blake. I love Blake- she and Brandon were (are) high school sweethearts and are from Tiny Town, USA... AKA South Carolina. She has perfect curly dark hair & their baby is going to be fair skinned and dark haired just like "it's" awesome parents. She's way better at secrets than I could ever be & I feel so bad that her nausea passes mine on an icky level of 12.
Due: Late June

Laura: New-to-town, Laura. She had the most perfect wedding. Her wedding was so perfect, that at the end of the evening, her dashing husband- my buddy since kindgergaden-- stopped the band, grabbed the mic, looked at his wife, and unabashedly said, "My wife is the most beautiful woman." Tell me that won't be two people who are not going to spend a lifetime together making wonderful memories and beautiful babies! Laura and her husband just bought a great house that is perfect for raising babies.
Due: Mid June

Kristen: Hee Hee Hee... Krissy just spilled the beans. She's having Baby Number 2 in the ATL at the end of July. Baby Number 1 is a pistol ball, so I have great, GREAT hopes for BN2. Kristen was one of the prettiest pregnant people I ever met; pregnancy just agreed her. Great skin, great legs, great hair, just GREAT. They just bought a new house that will raise an amazing family and Kristen has an amazing job that will allow her to be an active part in their lives and upbringing. She works at Buckhead Church doing all kinds of cool stuff with all kinds of cool people. She loves it. I picture Kristen getting up every morning and whistling as she starts her day.
Due: Late July

Alexis/Colleen: Very cool, old school friends from about an eternity ago. We just met back up recently & they are both due early in 2009. I thought they might need a shout out to add to my list, even though they aren't adding to the "babies due around Poppy" time frame. Especially since Alexis and her husband had THE GREATEST costume this past Halloween and Colleen is an awesome photographer.

I feel like I am missing some people... but, 5 + 2 is still a good, many people!!