Week 1: I left for the U.S. on March 10. Unfortunately a rogue snow storm caused the cancellation of my morning flight from Busan, so I had to stay overnight and try again the next morning. I am now very familiar with the Busan airport's routines from 5:30 - 7:00 a.m.
Snow on Geoje! As seen from our apartment window. Keegan took this, as I was in the midst of airline hell in Busan.
One of the first things I did when I arrived home was to visit Chrissy (my cousin) and her husband Ryan in Asheville, NC. I have heard such great things about Asheville, and I was curious to see it for myself. It's great! We had a good time eating at all kinds of wonderful restaurants (Mexican! Pizza! Vegetarian!) and taking a trolley tour of the town. Chrissy and I hit a consignment shop, and I picked up all kinds of maternity clothes for summer, as well as an adorable baby bathing suit. Chrissy and Ryan were very understanding of my jet lag and my inability to stay awake if we stayed still for too long in the evenings.
Seeing my parents and Dude and Laura and Jamie and Emily, and meeting Emily's youngest son Jonah, were more highlights of my first week at home.
Week 2: The highlight of my second week at home was my Blessingway in Lynchburg. A Blessingway is a celebration of motherhood that is a little like a baby shower, but more focused on loving support than on gifts. Emily made me a cake shaped like a pregnant torso (complete with strawberry nipples), and I got to wear a flower crown and soak my feet.
Blessingway food, including Emily's pregnant lady cake.
Each of the guests brought two beads for me to make into a necklace that I can wear during my labor, and everyone also brought a favorite childhood book for Baby's library.
Wearing my bead necklace.
I felt so special and so happy to share my pregnancy with all of these important people in my life.
Week 3: During the third week at home, I met Keegan in Costa Rica to visit our friend Solson, who lives in Heredia close to San Jose. We had a wonderful time catching up with Solson and relaxing at his house. His sweet dog Bonita was definitely a highlight for me - she happily accepted hours of petting and frequently rested her chin endearingly on my knee, which was adorable. Solson was a wonderful tour guide and took us all over the place, but I definitely loved our afternoon at the beach the best. The water was so warm!
At Esterillos Beach in Costa Rica!
On the same day that we went to the beach, we also visited a jungly national park where we saw howler monkeys! I had been dying to see monkeys, so I was thrilled. They were huge, and there was no missing them swinging through the vines and branches high above us, just like in a nature documentary. It was impossible to get good pictures, but the memory is enough for me.
Week 4: Back in Charlottesville, we celebrated Sue's birthday with a big dinner at the Boar's Head Inn. A lot of the family was there, and it was wonderful to have everyone together. The next day was my baby shower, which was beautiful. Grandma, Sue, Holly, and Mandy really put together some great food and stunning decorations, and we couldn't have asked for a prettier spring day. It was nice to see a lot of the people I had met at my wedding shower and engagement party, and we received an enormous bounty of baby gear and adorable clothes.
At the baby shower, with a beautiful blanket knitted by Nana (aka Sue).
It's been a lot of fun to unpack everything in the nursery.
Week 5 brought a chance for a brief visit with my parents and one last chance to see everyone at Jamie's wedding on the weekend. Catching up with friends at the rehearsal dinner and seeing how beautiful and happy Jamie looked on her wedding day were real highlights.
Jamie and Colin are married!
After the wedding we had more time to chat with Chrissy and Ryan over pizza, and on Sunday we took a wonderful walk on the bike path with Emily and Tony. On Sunday afternoon we had a few precious hours to spend with my parents and Dude the black beast, and afterward we had dessert with Sue and Steve back in Charlottesville. The trip definitely ended too soon, as always, and I know Keegan especially would have liked more time, but overall it was a wonderful visit, and we feel refreshed and much more prepared for Baby, at least in terms of Stuff. Whether we're prepared for Parenthood remains to be seen.