Monday, January 30, 2012


As most of you know, there are a lot of big changes coming my way.  I can't really fathom yet what being a mom will be like.  I mean, logically, I know, but the experience of it I am not sure I can truly be prepared for.  It is a whole new life and I am intimidated by it a bit.  Luckily for me, I'm not the first woman in the world to go through it.  I have a great mom, so does my husband.  I have two sisters and 5 sisters-in-law to watch and learn from and I am so very happy to say, my best friend will be joining their ranks anytime now.  Literally.  She is in early labor right now!  It seems like just yesterday I was throwing her a baby shower and tomorrow (probably) I will be adding a new niece to my list.

I desperately want to call her every half hour to say "how ya feelin?" but I am trying not to make her whole labor a running commentary to me over the much as I would like it.  I am a little sad, however, because I haven't gotten a picture of the two of us pregnant at the same time.  We missed our opportunity at Christmas and I haven't seen her since then.  I am also afraid that I will miss being at the hospital. It's not that the hospital waiting is particularly fun, but I don't want her to need me and have me not be there for her.  (I know, I know, her husband and family will be there but I am the best friend, so I am allowed an inflated sense of self-importance in her life.)  I am afraid it is the way it's gotta be though.  I have to work all day tomorrow so afterward I will be hightailing it the almost 2 hours to try to make the birth of my best friends first little girl.  I CAN'T WAIT! It will be a long night of not really sleeping for me.  So everyone, say prayers.  

Say prayers that Courtney has a safe and easy labor.  That she can make it to a 6 before she needs paid meds (it's her goal).  That baby Hazel is absolutely perfectly healthy. That Matt is supportive and attentive.  That I don't get a mega speeding ticket and I make it there just before baby with my super nice camera built for just the occasion. Thank you and Amen. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I don't know about you other mama's out there...but I have ridiculous dreams.  I hear lots of women have crazy pregnancy dreams and it's happenin over here.  Don't get me wrong, I have ALWAYS been a dreamer.  Every night, and I almost always remember them the next morning.  They have just been odd lately in that they are FULL of people from my past.  Classmates mostly.  People I literally haven't seen or talked to in years.  Then I like to mix in a little bit of my own more recent history.  Case in point, my dream from last night.  

Two things you should know....I have been watching the show Downtown Abbey and I used to ride the school bus with a girl named Tabitha, that wanted people to call her Abby.  It drove me crazy.  Two people, within close proximity shouldn't have the same name.  Especially when it is not your given name.  I am Abbie, you are Tabitha.  Done. 

So last night I fall asleep peacefully in the middle of the bed since Zac was out of town, all set for 9 hours of highly interrupted sleep like usual.  Cue dream sequence #1

I am RICH! Or more to the point, my dad is rich.  We are livin it up in our mega-house when my high school best friend/somewhat boyfriend Casey shows up.  He has been out of town (he works way out of state, somewhere, or at least he used to.  I don't know where cause it changes a lot and I haven't talked to him for almost 3 years but I digress...) and wanted to come visit us.  I give him the tour of the mansion...which I can describe in detail but won't.  I show him the pools, and then take him to the bathroom because for some reason in my dream, he was literally fresh off the road and needed to shower.  Odd in and of itself.  Anyway, Casey showers, then we resume the tour.  We meet up with my Dad.  Dad tells Casey that he can have my entire inheritance if he marries me.  Dad will sign over the papers.  For some reason, this does not seem entirely outlandish to me.  Part of my mind is reeling....why does Casey get my inheritance? where is zac? etc.  The other part is happy to see Casey and find out where he has been in the world.  Then my alarm went off....I snoozed it and bam, Dream #2

I am at a concert with 3 kids I went to high school wiht, Todd, Jared and Tabitha.  Now I never really hung out with any of the listed...but I think Jared and Todd were there because they were taller than me and I needed a back row....anyway.  Here we are, jammin at a concert with a drummer that also happens to be named Abbey.  And in the dream, I know that it is spelled EY.  Just know it.  So Abbey the drummer is doing her thing as we all watch.  The other people at the concert are going on and on and on about her.  I gradually get annoyed because it keeps interrupting my conversations thinking they are talking to me.  I turn to my friend on the right to say, "it's times like these that I wish I were not named Abbie." when Tabitha/Abby beats me to the punch.  Why the next part happened, I don't know...but I turned to Tabitha and I LOST it.  I yell at her "What are you even talking about you crazy bi**h!  You are standing next to a girl that is ACTUALLY named Abbie, complaining about being named Abby.  YOUR NAME IS TABITHA!"
Alarm #2
Yep.  I super mega freaked out on Tabitha in my dream and offered her no dream time for retaliation.  Occasionally my dream-mates have to abide a cussing.  No apologies.  

This is now happening on a nightly basis.  Not the cussings so much as all these people that I went to high school with, popping back up in my dreams.  It is weird.  Thanks to Facebook for enabling me to see my classmates now, they are all grown up versions of the teenagers I once knew.  All I've got to say is look out Shelbyville High School Classes of 2000-2005.  You are on my dream radar and I am not afraid to be mean!  

(ps....sorry tabitha)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Drumroll please....

I left out a few things from our family Christmas.  This video in particular is fab!

Yep, that's my husband. Yes, I told him I wanted to see "how much you dig it" in reference to his painting.   I just told him that we are having a baby and he is gonna be a dad and yep, he did tell me "Congratulations." Hahaha I love him so bad!  
(ps...neither of us can believe our voices in this video.  is my voice really that deep and zac's really that nasally?  i say probably.)

That's how I decided to tell my manny.   I knew for a few days but didn't wanna just blurt it out when he walked through the door.  All the online ideas were too....I don't know....just not right for me.  I am simply not gonna make a whole baby themed dinner and have to repeatedly ask Zac to pass the baby carrots.  He wouldn't get it anyway.  He would've just told me that he doesn't even really like carrots.  I know him.  Anyway, I figured we needed a family portrait sooner or later and this was the perfect excuse.  This is our little painting.  

And just to make sure there was no confusion, he got a little note on the back!

Of course the day I told him we had all of 10 minutes before we had to leave and head out to a joint birthday party for Maggie and Aubrie.  We did our best to snap a few pictures of the moment and went to eat ice cream and cake, which is reason enough to celebrate :)  

At this point, I already knew I would just wrap up my painting and have mom open it at Christmas.  I figured, I will tell my family, Zac can tell his.  I should've handled Zac's....

As I mentioned, we always go to Zac's parent's house for Christmas.  We went up on the 23rd.   I waited the whole night, he says nothing.  NOTHING about baby.  I just wanted to tell someone...darn Zac.  The next day was of course Christmas Eve.  I worked in the kitchen with Zac's ma Lolla and he hung with his dad Jim.  I kept waiting.  Lolla told me Emily was playing baby Jesus.  I snuck out of the kitchen, told Zac he has his in, go tell your ma that our baby can be Jesus next year.  He replied "I don't want our baby to play Jesus."  What?!  He gave no further explanation....I was frustrated.  Zac drug his feet the entire morning.  Finally his dad says they are going to his parents house and I told Zac he absolutely had to tell his parents because he WOULD be telling his Grandma Betty when he was there.  She WAS NOT going to find out through the grapevine.  He said ok, he would tell them.  Lolla bought  him some time by suggesting lunch before they left for Dick and Betty's.  We ended up at Hardee's.  We ordered our food and the nice lady brought it out to us.  We were about half way through our meals when Zac throws it out there.  He said "So, Abbie and I have news.  We're gonna have a kid."  
Nice.  Not, "were having a baby" not "you're gonna be grandparents again".  It was "we're having a kid" as if I'm birthing a toddler.  I'm surprised he didn't follow it up with a "Can I have one of your fries?"  He is the master of nonchalant.  

His parents were thrilled, this will be grand baby #17 for them.  Crazy right?!  17.  When we got back to the house I had to ask Zac "At Hardee's...really?  That's the best you could come up with?"  He laughed.  I asked him if I should take care of telling the rest of his family.  He agreed I should go ahead and handle that.  

My parents announcement went a little smoother.  I wrapped up the painting again.  Of course Mom opened the wrong side first and was confused.  She looked at me funny, I rolled my eyes and told her to turn it over.  She cried..

Then she showed everyone sitting in the living room

Then she realized Dad wasn't next to her, and yelled for him.  He smiled...

then kissed my mama.

Then ma told Aub and Ev who didn't quite care...

Then she expressed herself with her hands :)

Mom was thrilled of course.  I think first she said she had "oh I am so happy!  I had given up hope."  I think I replied, "what the hell I'm only 26?!"  Then she explained "No, I mean given it up on an announcement for Christmas."  (She assures me, she knew I would have babies, she just didn't know when.)  Apparently Grandma Toots called it.  She and mom both debated about us having news to share this Christmas.  Grandma was right.  

Zac and I just got home from our first appointment.  We got to watch baby's heart beat.  I am due August 30th....I thought Aug. 26th so I was pretty darn close.  It was exciting.  I told Zac that I had no problems identifying baby's head from it's "rump."  He agreed, stating "I know how embryos have giant heads."  I laughed and told him baby takes after it's Dad already.  To which Zac replied, "Let's hope not. Otherwise baby is walking around lookin like a grapefruit on a straw til it's like 20."  Hahahaha!  He kills me.  Not his fault it took awhile to grow into his head :)

So there ya go world.  My announcement is official.  I've got a bean-on-board.  Here's to eating ice cream without apology and having a legit reason for ignoring some of my housework!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

High Point, Low Point

Zac has some great ideas.  Saturday he came home with one.  He said that when we have kids old enough to participate, he wants to do high point/low point of the day with them at the dinner table each night.  This, of course, immediately led to high point/low point of our day.  

I went first....on Saturday, the high point of my day was a day hanging out with Maggie and the babies.  Caroline and Penelope can brighten up any day.  The low point of my day happened right after I got home.  Dad called me, he had a job.  One of my neighbors had called him and put him on high alert.   As you may have guessed by the name of my blog, I live in a trailer, in a trailer park.  Mom and Dad had a renter they evicted this fall.  Apparently when he moved out, not only did he leave a mess all around the trailer, but he left the doors unlocked.  Some of the trailer park kids found this to be pretty fortuitous playground.  They had been in and out all week.  When I got there, the lights were on as was the stove...set to 500.  The neighbor lady pointed them out.....I wrangled kids and promptly walked them back to their respective homes and chewed ass.  If you won't watch your kids, don't be surprised when I lay down the law.  And in that same right...I guess that I shouldn't be surprised that, with the exception of 1 parent, they really didn't care that their kids were at risk of falling throught a rotten trailer floor as it was burning down....or that they could be abducted at any point, by any random person driving through the park.  But I said my piece.  Darn trailer park. 

Zac told me his high point and it cracked me up.  Ya'll know he is ridiculous by this point.  Zac told me this was his high point was being being able to stop on his drive and take a pee in the middle of the road.  Yep, peein in the road.  It went a little something like this...
"Ya know one thing I love about working in super small towns?  I was driving to a job today and I super had to pee cause I drank a bunch of coffee and I just stopped and peed in the road.  That never would've happened in St. Louis. In St. Louis you are never alone for a second!.  Here no one is around.  I could've taken a dump this morning if I wanted to."  My response.."Please don't do that."
Hahaha he kills me!  Seriously, who says that!  

His low point I'm afraid was not nearly as amusing.  I guess some guy completely blew a stop sign and Zac had to swerve to miss him...that was how his day started.  Luckily with a lot of coffee and a little  road everything improved.  Thank God for wide open spaces!

Now I am curious, what was the high point of your day?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fox Family Christmas

Every year at my family's Christmas we rock a theme.  We've had funny hat Christmas, the ugly sweater Christmas, and last year was all about being Vestive.  This year, elf hats!  Thank you Oriental Trading.  And additional thank you's to mom for buying me jingle bells and to Zac for begrudgingly helping me sew said bells on to the elf hats.

I snapped a few pictures before we destroyed the pile of presents.  
Zac and Dad....and for some reason I think they look a little alike in this picture...glasses and beards I guess...

Mom and Dad

I called the sisters as soon as Zac and I got to Mom's because we were an hour early.  I was just sure they would yell "Be right there!" Turns out, they were more like "Ok, see ya in an hour." 

Eventually the Daniels and Reids made it to the party.
Mag and Kylie

and the ever-smiley Penelope.

Zac showin off his super uncle skills before we got down to the real festivities.  

As I mentioned, we like a themed Christmas.  Mom and Dad got special elf hats, they were green AND red and had far more bells.  They rocked em. 

We all did really....

Even Ollie O found some festive antlers.
  Here she shows her disgust with uncle Zac insisting on wearing his Cubs hat over his elf hat.  Sub par uncle Zac. Sub Par.

Luckily Zac's hat fiasco didn't slow down Ev

Or Mom and the Beans

I painted the 3 of us girls for Mom a few years back.  I decided it was time for her to have her grandkids too.  Peneolope looks ridiculous.  It's the eyebrows.

Dad, lucky man that he is, got a bunch of new man toys for his soon to be butcher shop.  He was pumped. 

Beans was too.

Even in the middle of all the excitement we like to take a minute to pose for the camera.

Annie vogue-ing

We do too much P90X yoga....

There were a few more great pictures to come, but this post is already picture crazy so I will wait. This is really what Christmas is like with my family. Presents piled to the ceiling, wrapping paper EVERYWHERE and a good time had by all.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

A very Ballard Christmas

Every Christmas Zac and I make the rounds.  When I was growing up Christmas Eve was always reserved for Grandma Toots and Grandpa Howard's.  They aren't able to handle it anymore, primarily because Grandpa has a hard time with crowds and lets be honest, Christmas for 45 people is overwhelming.  Especially when you are 87 and 92 respectively and trying to buy presents for every single person there.  It is crazy.  When I started dating Zac I found out his family had a big meal on the 24th.  Everyone comes.  I was sad to give up Grandma's but did.  Then made Zac give up his family's for a year or 2 until Grandma and Grandpa decided it was their last year and back to the Ballard clan's we went. 

This is Lolla's (Zac's mom) tree.  This is the reason, every year, that Zac goes on and on about how fake trees suck.  I myself prefer a glittery tree.  Doesn't matter if it's white, gold, or silver, let it shine!  But Lolla's tree is beautiful.  It can't be denied.  Just don't tell her it was me if she comes home to a spray glittered evergreen.  

I think I have mentioned before that Zac has a big family.  If I haven't, I have been remiss.  He is the baby of 6 kiddos.  He is also the biggest, even though the camera angel steals some of his height here.  This is almost the whole family.  Brendan's kids didn't get to make the trip from Texas, otherwise there would be 4 other crazy yahoos.  I will give ya the run down.....

Back row is Brendan (brother) and his wife Katie, Logan, Ange (sister), Gary, Chris (brother), Zac and I, Jim (dad), Sara (sister), Casey and Joe.

Middle row is Lexus, Sam, Sue (sister) and Emily, Max, Cheyenne, Esme, Angie and Alexander, and Lilly.

Up front is Owen, Nolan and Kaylee.

This is how the families go...Brendan is married to Katie, he has Meredith, Caleb, Ben and Josh from his first marriage.  Ange is married to Gary and has Lexus and Logan from her first marriage.  Sara is married to Joe and has Sam, Lilly and Max.  Chris is married to Angie and they have Cheyenne, Owen, Esme and Alexander.  Sue is married to Casey, they each brought 1 to the party, Kaylee and Nolan and have baby Emily together.  Whew...confused yet?  I frequently call them the wrong names.  Sorry guys.  Now back to Christmas....

On Christmas Eve Lolla's church always does the Christmas story.  The little kids act and sing.  It's sweet.  This year baby Emily was the star of the show.  She put forth a very solid baby Jesus performance.  

Just look at those little lambs and angels!  They were cracking me up.  My favorite part is that they kids each prepare a gift for Jesus, based on what talents they feel he has given them.  Most sing or play piano.  Apparently the kid playing Joseph didn't feel musically gifted because he dribbled a basketball.  Jesus gave him mad b-ball skills.  There was one other boy that was killing me.  The kids that did sing generally kept with the holiday theme.  A little Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, etc... then my favorite little wise man got up and busted out the national anthem.  Ha-larious!  But I kept a mostly straight face, except for that I was grinning big time.  He got me good!  

After that we always go back and get to chowing down, then presents and chit-chat and kids wrestling. Then there is the loading of the cars and bundling of the kids before everyone sets off home.  Zac and I always stay the night then drive down to my parent's house the next morning.  Here are a few of the family pics from our time and Jim and Lolla's

Zac and Jim

Katie and Nolan


Lolla and baby Emily (exhausted from her lead role)

Sara and Sam

Casey and Kaylee

Brendan and Katie

Lexus and Owen

I got lucky when I married Zac.  I did inherit a big family that is hard to keep track of, but they are great.  The like each other and that is so nice! I am just blessed to not be the girl that dreads her in-laws.  I remember when I first met them his sister Sara said to me "Thank God you are normal!"  to which I replied, "yep, very normal."  And while normal is maybe not the right word for us, we are definitely happy and look forward to time together and that is what counts! 

Next up....Elf hat Christmas with my family!

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