Putting the Pedal to the Metal

I haven’t written about the book much lately. I guess it’s kind of been playing second fiddle to everything else that’s been going on around here.

I’ll admit it: I was floundering. I felt like I was not coming up with anything good and I was getting royally stuck. I’d gotten probably about 25% finished and pretty much stalled out. Adding to the problem (mostly mental) was that I hadn’t gotten an “official” stamp of approval from my editor to say that she had liked some pages I had sent her a couple months ago, so I was nervous that when we finally did talk, she’d want me to go back and redo it again. This is mostly due to the fact that between the manuscript that my agency picked me up on and the book I am working on now, everything has changed. Everything. Person, tense, characterization, plot. I’m not just writing a new book, I’m writing new characters too, and that change felt kind of foreign to me at first because I’d spent so long writing my main character a certain way and now I’m changing that. (And for the record I’m glad for that, the characters have all evolved out of what I had and what my editor suggested for me and I really think they’re more three-dimensional now.)

Luckily, I was wrong on that front, and when I spoke to her yesterday, she did like the direction I was going in. We finally laid out a plan of action concerning how the rest of the year is going, and she wants me to try to have a first draft done by November before the baby comes. That will leave only editing and revisions after the baby comes, which–though I will really have to push to find the time–is doable. It has to be. But I figure, this is going to be my job, and I’m lucky enough to not have to go back to my day job after the baby comes, which frees me up to work on this even if it’s just an hour a day. It will get done. A first draft completed this year also means potential publication by next year–so that’s exciting. Considering I was signed by this agency last October and then had such a long pause due to Hurricane Sandy, it really feels good to finally have a potential end date on this project floating around. 

The other benefit to having an editor is they seem to magically know exactly where you needed to go when you were totally stuck. Some of the suggestions she gave me yesterday really left me going “oh jeez, why didn’t I think of that in the first place?” She gave me tons to think about as far as characterization and side plots go, which is something I was really struggling with. Formulating a novel is harder than you might think. It isn’t just–this is my plot and these are points A, B, C, and D. There’s so many side points and arcs and other bits of meat that fill in the skeleton. So I’m still working on that but I have a feeling a lot of it will come as I’m finishing up the first draft. That’s how it’s worked in the past anyway, when I was working on my own schedule. 

So now comes the part where I wade through all the ideas, stick to a few, and really put my nose to the grindstone. I’m filled at once with some really exciting ideas and a looming sense of dread and self-doubt about the whole thing (can I really finish this novel in 3 months??)…but that must mean I’m a writer. 

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Balance

The last week has been a struggle with finding balance. With determining priorities. I am beginning to feel mildly overwhelmed with the fact that we are 18 weeks away from having this baby. Stuff gets in the way of what’s really important.

Last Friday night, Cameron was taken to the ER by paramedics after I found him having difficulties breathing. We learned when we got to the hospital that he had pneumonia. I don’t want to go into too many details but suffice it to say his airway was nearly all the way closed. It was very serious and very, very scary. We haven’t been talking about it much because it’s been pretty traumatic, so if this is the first you’re hearing about it, I’m sorry. He was in the hospital most of the day Saturday but is feeling so much better now. I am still trying to cope in ways that I didn’t think would happen–like constantly feeling the need to check to make sure he is breathing during the night. I know that this will pass, but there is definitely a feeling of helplessness that I can’t shake when I start to think of all the things that could have happened that night.

Anyway. On to different topics. In an attempt to get back to something relative to normal, on Sunday we drove down the valley to poke around inside Babies R Us. I’ve been trying to get all my ducks in a row as far as preparing things for the baby. Part of the feeling of “overwhelmed” that I’ve been happened lately is related to the fact that last year, when I was preparing for the wedding, I had a definitive timeline of…this is what I need to get done and this is when I need to have it done by. For some reason I don’t feel like I have much of a concrete timeline for this. I don’t want to spend much money buying things ahead of time because I know a lot of them will (hopefully) graciously be gifted to us by friends and family at the baby shower, but that isn’t until the end of September, which leaves me feeling woefully unprepared until then. I like being prepared and ready! So, I wanted to go to Babies R Us so that I could see some of the big items rather than just add them to the registry without “trying them out” first. The crib I went mostly on looks and reviews, so I wasn’t as concerned about that. As long as it is convertible and actually comes with the conversion pieces I was happy. We have a king-size bed in the baby’s room right now and I figured between that and the changing pad we got when our neighbor sold us their pack and play, I didn’t need another piece of furniture so I opted out of buying a changing table. We are already short on room as it is. I was really confused by the whole car seat/carrier/stroller business though. Do I continue to use the car seat base with a booster seat? What if I got one of those all-inclusive 4-70lb car seats? Do I still need a carrier then? WHY IS EVERYTHING SO BLOODY EXPENSIVE? We poked around for a while and the registry person helped answer some questions and eventually we decided the best way to go would be with a travel system, which is the stroller, carrier, and car seat base all in one box. It’s a big expense out front, but probably cheaper in the long run than buying all the pieces individually. We’ll have to buy an extra car seat base for Cameron’s car and probably one for Grandma’s car too, but as long as we have one we’ll at least be covered initially. So we played with all the different strollers and finally picked out one of the more expensive models, but it had so many perks (mainly that it’s lightweight and can be folded up with one motion) I figured it would be worth it than to save some money and hate it in the end. I also wanted to see an Ergo carrier and cloth diapers, but despite selling them on their website they do not carry them in the store. That is one thing that despite all the references I have been given by friends I am still so freaking confused on. We decided that we will put stuff on the registry and if we get it new from friends and family, awesome. If not, we will try to look for it used. Last week I snagged a high chair at the thrift store for 12 bucks. It’s nothing flashy but why should I spend $75 on a chair that is just going to get dirty all the time? So we’ll be hunting for thrift store finds a lot in the coming weeks I’m sure.

I’m pretty sure Celia is going to end up being a dancer or some kind of athlete. I swear most of her day she spends having a rave inside my tummy. Our doctor told us Cameron probably wouldn’t be able to feel motion until 24 weeks or later, but Celia’s kicks have been so strong not only can he feel them but he can see them too. I feel like the opening sequence of Aliens some nights, ready for her to pop out and get going. She’s already even kicking the remote off of me. Definitely a mover and a shaker. She probably weighs right around a pound now. I have officially put on a solid 10 pounds but I am happy to say I still look and feel amazing. Thanking my lucky stars for that. Everything is right front and center. Yesterday we were taking a walk and I noted that from my shadow you might not even know what was going on in there. It feels pretty good when people either 1) don’t even realize I’m pregnant or 2) can’t believe that I’m almost 5 1/2 months along. It feels nice to be considered “small” for once in my life! I am a little daunted by the notion that Celia is going to put on anywhere from 5-7 pounds in the next 17 weeks, which seems super fast to me, but I think I have a decent head start as far as not having gained too much excess weight so far. I think a lot of that is coming from the fact that I haven’t really changed my diet, I’m not eating in excess, and what I am eating I try to keep relatively healthy. In the end as long as Celia is growing appropriately, I’m happy. But if I can continue to look good I’ll be happy too. 🙂

Some bumpdate comparison photos, for your viewing pleasure…(And because I had 2 pictures with the same shirt)
Week 17:

And Week 22:

Moving right along!

5 Months

Holy moly! 5 months! We are HALFWAY THERE!

 

It’s kind of weird because at once I feel like it took forever to be here and yet it went by really fast. Everyone tells me the next half will go even faster. Eee!

We had our ultrasound on Tuesday and it was awesome. All the pieces and parts are there and baby measured a tiny bit small, at 19 weeks instead of 20, but the OB wasn’t too concerned about that and did not want to change my due date. Our range of due dates is now November 19-25. I am hoping for closer to the 19th as I really want to be sans fetus by Thanksgiving, but of course I will be happy whenever the time comes. (But let’s be real here–I want the fattest thing in the room to be the turkey, not me!)

And we were able to see the gender. I know I said we were going to wait till the shower to tell everyone, but I pretty much spilled the beans the second my mom picked up the phone, so since she was really the only reason we were going to wait, I suppose it was fair game after that. So now I present to you….

Celia!
Celia!

We have a girl! We have a girl! I feel some weird sense of accomplishment about this because of how few girls we have in the family. I’m so stoked. It took Cameron a little while to come around to the idea of a girl–a few weeks ago we were walking through Kohls and a girl ran by us and he said, “What happens if we have a girl?” But then last weekend we were on a flight from Atlanta coming back from North Carolina and we were seated next to a sweet little girl. At the end of the flight he turned to me and said, “I think I’d like a girl.” Obviously we both would have been happy either way, but I think he was a little daunted by a girl (and to be honest I am too), but I’m happy that he’s so excited. Her name is going to be Celia. We are still working out her middle name, but we have plenty of time to work on that.

And happily, at 20 weeks pregnant, I am stoked to say that I still feel like I look fabulous. Hey, I might as well embrace that feeling as long as I possibly can. What’s wrong with feeling great and sexy and beautiful while pregnant? Sometimes I get this sense from other pregnant women that we should all feel like whales or that we’re not good enough to look good, but to hell with that. I feel awesome, I look awesome, and I’m gonna ride this wave as long as possible.

halfwaythere

And, another small milestone happened this week. We’ve lived in our house a whole year! This might not seem like a big deal considering we’re not military, but we moved 3 times in 14 months since 2011, so it’s really nice to not be unpacking for once.

Anyway, hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July–please remember your pets tonight when you go out to the fireworks shows.