Short post this week. We hope this the last weekly picture we'll take. In fact, with Ezra's due date being next Sunday (December 26th) we hope that the next post is delayed. All of our bags are packed and ready to go. The house is in decent condition. Charlie's travel bag [for the lucky one(s) who get to watch him while we're in the hospital] is packed and sitting near the door; poor little guy keeps eyeballing it thinking he's going to Blacksburg or Virginia Beach.
Once school gets out on Tuesday, we will both be at home on vacation / leave. For now, we're just waiting patiently for our son to get here. We are ready to meet him.
It's kind of the running "joke" at this point in the house. Every morning when we get ready for work, we have the consensus "yup, still pregnant" statement, spoken or unspoken. On a daily basis, Jessica is asked how she's feeling and if she's ready for the baby to get here. The answer is always the same: "I'm feeling okay, and I'm very ready." The underlying answer is, I'm uncomfortable, and we just need to get this show on the road.
Today one of our favorite couples from church, Chuck and Cindy, told us they'd heard of a funny method for inducing labor. The method instructs the husband to prepare a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese [yup, the blue box with the powder cheese that neither have us have eaten in years], a bottle of A1 steak sauce [undetermined serving size], and the pregnant wife to eat the entire dish. The result is a trip to the hospital within 24 hours.
We might be having mac & cheese for dinner sometime this week.
To pass the time until Ezra's arrival, we finally got Christmas decorating started. It's the favorite holiday for both of us. Who doesn't like decorating for Christmas? We'll pick out a tree tomorrow once it stops raining. Can't wait to get the smell of that tree in this house.
Rule 23: Always keep your head on a swivel.
It can apply to just about every situation. I've heard this saying a lot, but I have no idea about it's true origins. I've heard it most often when used either in connection with football or the military, but it applies perfectly to both. It's all about awareness for the sake of safety.
A swivel is nothing but the connection point between two things that allows each side to freely spin or rotate. The rule just dictates that your head should figuratively be able to spin on your body so that you can always see your full surroundings.
Keeping your head on a swivel is not about paranoia. Instead, it's about being aware and prepared at all times [not just on the football field or battle field] so that you're ready for anything that comes at you.
Ezra is officially full term now at 37 weeks so it's just a waiting game at this point. We're excited for his arrival, and it could really happen at any point now. We took it easy this week and continued to stay at home. Unfortunately, that means less [interesting] pictures for the blog than usual.
On Saturday, we got a special visit from Justin's best friend, Steve, who was in the Raleigh area for a few days. He brought snow with him. Charlie enjoyed it.
Meet your 2010 ACC Champions! Our Hokies played a fantastic championship game [44-33] against Florida State on Saturday. The championship was held only two and a half hours down the road Charlotte, but considering how far along Jessica is in pregnancy and how cold and rainy it was at the game, it was a good idea to stay at home to watch the game.
The season started out shaky, but we can't be more proud of our boys for pulling off a 12th win in a row which includes an undefeated conference season, conference championship, and extends the longest streak in the nation for 10+ win seasons (7 in a row).
Only one more game left, and that's the Orange Bowl in Miami on January 3rd against Stanford. Over the last four years we've watched Tyrod Taylor grow from a young buck into a solid leader. We'll certainly miss him.
Rule 10: Drink your coffee black.
Okay, this one qualifies as a not-so-serious rule. Believe it or not, I learned this from your mama who learned it from her dad and grandpa. Due to her "delicate condition," she is currently on a coffee hiatus. Before I met your mother, I wasn't really a coffee drinker. Though I can't remember when I started, I do know that I dove straight into the deep end and never put anything in my coffee.
Rabbit Trail: In my book, the only drink that deserves extra sugar is good old fashioned sweet tea. It's just in it's own category [e.g. brews from Bojangles, Chick-fil-A, Smithfield's Chicken 'n BBQ, or the quality homemade variety].
So if you're drinking coffee with cream and/or sugar, phase it out. It might take a little while, but once you do, you'll actually be able to taste what your coffee is supposed to taste like.
Rule 6: Chivalry is not dead. Be a gentleman at all times.
I learned about being a gentleman at two different points in my life and from two very different places.
When I was a young boy, my dad said to me, "When you're walking with a girl, put yourself on the 'danger' side. For example, when walking on the sidewalk you should be between the street and the girl...just in case." I dare to say that most men would not actively think about it that way [maybe subconsciously]. It's a pretty specific and extreme example, but either way, it stuck with me. In fact, this is how your mama and I walk down the street to this day.
Being a gentleman is not just about the actions of a man toward a woman--the "chivalry" we associate with today like laying your jacket across a street puddle or opening doors. It applies to all forms of conduct. The oldest sense of the term [dating back to Medieval times] refers to having honor, virtue, and courtesy. While in college, I had the fortune of being a part of a fraternal organization that still holds these principles highly. The first pillar in the ritual of the G.E.R.M.A.N. Club of Virginia Tech states clearly:
G stands for Gentleman. Be first of all a gentleman at all times. The true German Club man bespeaks the manners, culture and good breeding that mark the true gentleman. See to it that your own conduct rather than other men's words should praise you. Good manners and good morals go hand in hand, and gentlemanly conduct is everywhere a passport to the high regard of worthy people. In flaming words shines the German doctrine: When dignity is lost, and honor dies, the man is dead.
No doubt it's a hard thing to do in some situations, but a real man should always be a gentleman.
For the rest of my life, I promise to teach you [in some way, shape, or form] everything I know so that you can grow up to be a strong man of God and a leader for your future family. Starting from this point, I will document some "rules" that I have learned along the way in order to show you exactly what your old man is made of. Some of the rules will be serious, others will just be a little silly, and they'll come in no particular order despite the numbering system. However, I believe that you'll be able to apply allof them in some way sooner or later.
Family [Justin, Jessica, Mom, Jered, Charmagne, Uncle Rick, Auntie Marie, Jason, Eric, Anna + Charlie, Athena, & Sake]. 18-pound turkey. Ham. Mashed potatoes. Sweet potatoes. Green bean casserole. Broccoli and cheese casserole. Dressing. Apple cranberry sauce. Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. Football at the park. Post-Thanksgiving turkey noodle soup. Guitar playing. Card games.
We are thankful that Justin's mom's side of the family came down and shared Thanksgiving with us. As part of our usual tradition, we followed up our meal with a trip to the park for some touch football. Winded, significantly slower and less agile, we played furiously in an offensive showdown that ended with a good ol' fashioned tie game [Justin/Eric vs. Jered/Jason with Uncle Rick at free agent]. Does it get any better than that?
It does. Our Hokies beat down rival UVA (37-7) en route to our 10th straight victory. Virginia Tech has utterly dominated Virginia in football over the last decade.
On the home front, Ezra's car seat is now installed and inspected which only means that we're officially in the home stretch. We are now going to weekly doctor's appointments, and at any moment now, we'll be headed to the hospital. We can't wait.
Week 35 is capped with a foggy, fall morning picture in our back yard at 7:30am. On Saturday our Hokies beat rival, Miami, with a score of 31-17. If you haven't realized, this is our 9th straight win as we slowly made our way back into the good graces of the college football community.
Ezra will be here in no time, and we can't wait. We are thankful for our future son and Jessica's healthy pregnancy. We are also thankful for our committed marriage, our home, our jobs, our health, and our country.
This weekend we learned more about the origins of this holiday. During the early 1600s, there might not have seemed much to be thankful for, but those at Plymouth Plantation still gave thanks for what little they had. We learned that President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, and for the 147th time, we will observe Thanksgiving Day later this week.
Historically [and currently in this household], Thanksgiving was/is celebrated as a day of gratitude to God for family, friends, and everything He has provided. Let this be a reminder that we need to be thankful on a daily basis.
1 I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. 2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. 6 The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. 17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Psalm 116: 1-2,6,17
No official pictures for this week except for an update on our upstairs loft / den. Be sure to check out the pictures from Justin's work trip to Toronto in the previous post.
Bienvenue a Canada. Well, not Quebec but Toronto, Ontario, home of the CN Tower and the beloved Maple Leafs, Raptors, and Blue Jays. The weather held up on Tuesday so I was able to get a few shots of downtown.