Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

What a year this has been! Thought I'd look back at some highlights...

Started off the year running through the woods, and had a blast participating in the MRTC Cross Country Race Series in January and February! I ran more in the Spring, and had some PRs in April races. I was still considerably slow, but managed to finish races in the front half of my age group.

February marked the 5th anniversary of our engagement!

I took my master's comprehensive exam in March...and spent nearly every waking moment outside of work studying.

In April, a tiny little life started and is now about to enter the world : )

In May, I graduated from UT with a Master's in Social Work! Yay!! No more school!!!! I also had my last beer in May...at Bosco's on my graduation night (it was a Midtown Brown) I found out three days later that I was pregnant...oops!

We also received a car in May, so our days of walking and taking MATA everywhere stopped. I need to get back in the habit of walking around Midtown instead of driving everywhere!! It's so easy to hop in the car even to go down the street to the coffee shop.

In June, Jonathan and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and also went to Argentina for the third time with our church. What a fun time we had partnering with our fantastic friends at La Mision!

In July, I changed jobs at Youth Villages and have enjoyed every minute of volunteer coordinating : ) I'm learning so much about development, fundraising, and event planning along the way!

In September, my sister got married, and we enjoyed a fun wedding weekend in Vermont!

In October, I handled my first really big volunteer event - the Hauntedweb of Horrors!! We had between 40 and 75 volunteers each night for 14 nights putting on the haunted house, and we raised $65,000 for the kids at Youth Villages : )

We also attended Jonathan's 10th high school reunion and my 5th college reunion in October!

November and December were pretty much a blur, as work got insanely busy and we have tried to put finishing touches on preparation for the baby.


Wow! I cannot wait to see what 2010 has in store : ) It should be a busy year with a new baby(!), getting back into running, supporting my wonderful husband as he interviews for jobs, Jonathan's graduation, Jonathan's celebratory trip to Disney World, a possible move in the summer to wherever Jonathan has found a job, and...could it be...the possibility of getting to stay at home taking care of a household after Jonathan's job starts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Calling all my foodie friends!!!


As the clock ticks down to baby time in the Hulgan household, I need to start prepping and freezing food so that we can eat after the baby gets here! At first, I intended to go to Super Suppers in Germantown or Bartlett, but they have changed so much since the last time I went (oh....2 years ago), and now they have very limited walk in hours. My sister is coming out to visit this weekend, and I think we might spend some time prepping meals for the freezer the old fashioned way at home.


So here is what I need from you - your favorite go-to freezable recipes!


My favorite is here - shepherd's pie from Everyday Food. (made with turkey instead of lamb)


Thanks so much for your help : )

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our first "Memphis" Hulgan Christmas

With Baby H scheduled to come in 4 weeks, we stayed home for Christmas this year. Our families stayed in Chattanooga and Dallas, so it was a 'just us' Christmas. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I was a bit mopey and sad, thinking that I would feel very lonely without all of our family around. We were blessed with a very sweet, relaxing time to enjoy being two before we become three. Looking back, I'm glad we had the time to ourselves.

So what did we do??

Wednesday - Spent the morning in a lot of pain! Finally went to the dr after abdominal pain had not lessened despite 3 hours of walking around, drinking water, resting, taking a shower.... Diagnosis? Hmmm...just some random muscle pain that is normal. Maybe body getting ready for labor? Placenta, fluid, cervix, kidneys, and most importantly baby were all fine - I was just in a lot of pain : ) Oh, and the newest baby weight is 6 pounds, 12 ounces. The dr joked about having a 30 inch baby! Long and skinny is how the dr described the baby after looking at the measurements.

Spent the afternoon resting and trying to take care of work related stuff (I had planned on being at work Wednesday).

Thursday - Slept late, hit the grocery store, prepped food for Christmas Day, and relaxed! We went to the 11pm Christmas Eve service at church, which was wonderful. I got to sing some of my favorite Christmas songs, reflect on Jesus' birth, and calm myself down. I must admit I got a tiny bit emotional at one point in the service, thinking that this might be our last Christmas in Memphis. Our church is such a blessing to us, and although I know we will find another church in another city, I am very sad at the thought of leaving Second Pres.

Friday - Slept late, put breakfast casserole (Jonathan's request) and cinnamon rolls (my request) in the oven, talked with family on the phone, and opened presents. I took a nap on the couch while Jonathan broke open DJ Hero. Our sweet friends, Dan and Katie, invited us to enjoy Christmas lunch with their family. We headed out and had a wonderful time with them. Katie prepared a delicious lunch, and it was fun to meet their family! The highlight might just have been Sam eating his birthday cake, though : ) Such a cutie!

I dragged Jonathan out to see Sherlock Holmes, and we ran into some friends at the movie theater. Another thing I love about Memphis : )

Saturday - We stayed home all day, being very lazy! That's pretty much all I can say : ) I did get an itch to be productive later in the day, so we cleaned out our bedroom closet and did a lot of laundry.

Last night before heading to bed, I told Jonathan I was so glad we had not spent half the day in a car on the way back to Memphis. I think I slept more this weekend than I have in the past month - between naps and sleeping late. Just what I needed : ) Now we're in the home stretch - just four weeks until the baby is scheduled to arrive, so we need to be prepared for anything!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Pancake Study Break!


For Rhodes students, pancake study break is a highlight of the Fall semester! The Sunday night of finals between 9pm and 11pm, the Refectory is opened and faculty and staff serve pancakes to hungry, sleep-deprived students. The tables are also lined with butcher paper and students can color with crayons to release some energy before returning to exam cramming. I always loved pancake study break : )


Since Jonathan is an instructor at Rhodes this semester, he received the call for volunteers and asked if I wanted to help out. Of course!! We grabbed a quick dinner after church Sunday night, and headed over to Rhodes. Despite a rocky start (no one was really there to tell the volunteers what to do...), we quickly got into a pancake-making groove. I poured the batter and sprinkled the chocolate chips while Jonathan flipped! We were cooking in the kitchen, but I was able to catch a few glimpses of students when I would bring pans of freshly prepared chocolate-chip pancakes out to the serving area. They looked a little weary, but seemed to be having fun!


For Rhodes dorks out there, it was pretty cool to see the kitchens, and we even got a tour of the super-creepy basement as we were frantically trying to find chocolate chips and blueberries!


I took a couple of pics of Jonathan flipping pancakes, and I'll try to get them from his iPhone to share.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Natural Parenting

My lovely husband sent me this link. It gave me a bit of a chuckle at work...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Slowing down

Things are slowing down for me in a few different ways:

1. Walking from one place to the next. I'm pretty slow. I used to be an insanely fast walker wherever I went, but now I kind of teeter from side to side as a walk and I physically cannot go very fast. Jonathan told me I had a very pregnant lady gait yesterday at Target. Ummm, thanks?
2. Standing and sitting. This includes getting in and out of cars, getting in and out of bed, getting up and down in church pews, and especially getting up from the couch.
3. Baby's growth. Thankfully the baby is starting to level out. At my appointment last week, the baby's head and abdomen were only measuring two weeks ahead (previously it had been 2 weeks then 3 weeks ahead...I was fearing that it would be 4 weeks ahead before I knew it). The tech mentioned something about the 60-something percentile. I don't quite know what that means, and I didn't ask. She said it was good - we apparently start to worry when the baby is around the 90th percentile. Although we could still get surprised, I've gone back to thinking the baby will come in January as originally planned.

Oh, and I have some additions to things you should never say to pregnant women (honestly, you should never say them to women in general). I do not know what gives old people to right to say things that are rude.

1. "You really should drink more water, because I notice those spots on your face. You need to drink at least 7 glasses a day." - from an older lady referring to my pregnancy acne. I drink plenty of water, but my body is producing crazy amounts of oil due to hormones. So much so that I no longer use conditioner on my hair.
2. "And look at her face. It really is filling out. That baby can't come soon enough." - from an older lady at church last night, talking to my husband who was standing right next to me, after inquiring about my due date.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Running Itch

This week is taper week for a large number of Memphians. The St. Jude Memphis Marathon and Half Marathon are Saturday morning, and runners are hydrating, stretching, and resting for the big race. I have actually come close to tears a couple of times this week because I am not running the Half this year. Although I have only participated for the past two years, the first weekend in December has become marathon weekend in my mind, and it just feels weird to not participate in it.


One thing that keeps me going:



We checked out the BOB SUV jogger in Atlanta last weekend, and I'm going to order it through one of our local running stores. It is pretty sweet - nice shocks, sturdy wheels for off -roading and curb hopping, a mud guard for the front wheel so baby doesn't get completely dirty on trails, easy fold up, etc. I can walk with baby at 8 weeks and run with baby at 8 months. I will hopefully run without baby much sooner than 8 months, but I am preparing myself mentally and emotionally for a slow re-entry into the running world.


I already have promised myself that no matter where we are living next year, I will be in Memphis the first weekend of December 2010 to hit the road with 15,000 other runners!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The importance of adopting older teens

If you haven't seen Blind Side, please go see it!! It is a great movie based on real life events surrounding a homeless teen and the family in Memphis who adopted him. One line in the movie is something like, "He'll be 18 soon, so there isn't much point in looking into adoption." Obviously, the family does go down the road of adoption, and it makes a huge impact not only on the life of the young man, but also on the life of each of the family members. (Only down side to the movie is that it was filmed in Atlanta, not Memphis : ( I was really looking forward to seeing some Memphis landmarks in the movie, but alas, no.)

Here is another story about older teen adoption (from the Youth Villages internal website):

Mary's story: the importance of adoption
Watch Mary Lee, who works in our Business Development Department, tell her life story and how important it was for her to be adopted at age 17.
Mary spent part of her life in foster care. Her greatest wish was to be adopted before turning 18. She always wanted a family who would love and support her, and who would be there for her for life.
She wanted what most people take for granted – a family to visit for the holidays, a mom to call for advice, siblings to bond with, parents who would cheer her on as she graduated from college, a dad to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day and parents who will be grandparents to the children she hopes to have one day.
Just days before her 18th birthday, her wish came true. Mary was adopted by her former case worker and his wife. And she even got a younger sister.
Mary began working at Youth Villages while she was attending law school. She stayed on working in human resources after graduating and today, as a business development specialist, is dedicated to marketing our Transitional Living program and expanding it to new areas of the country.
She has an extensive background in lobbying for permanency rights for children in foster care. After she spoke on Capitol Hill in 2005, Congress passed a bill that allows former foster children to apply for student aid as independent adults, without claiming their adoptive parents' income. This means that older foster children don't have to choose between financial aid for college and a forever family. The legislation was nicknamed the "Mary Lee" bill.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bigfoot

I had an ultrasound on Friday because I was in a very minor car accident. A lady rear-ended me on Sam Cooper on my way to work. The car is fine, the baby is fine, I was just super paranoid (and bawling...). Amazingly my blood pressure was perfect when I went in to the doctor, despite my worries that it was high. While doing the ultrasound to make sure baby/placenta/fluid and all were doing well, the tech went ahead and updated the baby's measurements. The baby is measuring 3 weeks ahead, so I am trying to prepare myself for an early January instead of late January baby. Apparently the size of the abdomen shows how far along the baby is developmentally (is this because of the internal organs??), and both the abdomen and head are measuring 3 weeks ahead. Also randomly, one of the feet measured 7 cms (that is 2.75 inches). When I was in Dallas over the weekend, my mom pulled out my footprint card from when I was born, and it was 9 cms. I think that if this child is under 24 inches long when born, I might actually be disappointed! Weight on Friday was about 4.5 pounds, and the baby was curled up with its head down.

We get another ultrasound on December 4th to monitor the baby's size. I think I've been pretty spoiled with ultrasounds - so many people tell me that they had one ultrasound, and I have had about 6. Thankfully I have a really, really good insurance plan that covers all of them!

Hat!

I went to Dallas over the weekend to see family and enjoy a super fun baby shower hosted by my mother and sister! My sister took pictures, and I should have some to post soon. We went to a Tapas restaurant and just spent about 3 hours eating, chatting, hanging out, and opening a lot of sweet presents.


My sister taught me how to knit hats over the weekend, and I finished this one on the plane last night!



I also started a blue one when I got home (it won't look as nice, because my sister actually started the pink one for me....). My plan is to take the pink and blue hats with me to the hospital as possible 'focal points' during labor. Baby Hulgan will get to keep one!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More baby blogging...

As due date approaches, I will probably spend much more time publicly airing my thoughts about the coming baby...

* I think I am having third trimester morning sickness! Anyone else deal with this? It may be the antibiotics I'm on, but I feel slightly ill when I wake up and have to eat something before showering or else I feel like death. This is exactly how I felt in the first trimester.

* The labor and delivery dreams continue! In my dream last night, I was chatting with Stacey (who just had her adorable baby two weeks ago) about how both of our labor and deliveries had gone. I had a hard time remembering the details of mine, and then I realized, "Wait - you have not actually given birth yet!" I woke up and could not honestly tell you whether I was disappointed or relieved.

* I am soooooooo looking forward to our trip to IKEA next weekend!! We get to shop for our crib, extra storage units, lamps (to replace a couple death traps we currently have), a high chair, and maybe a couple of other fun things for the baby. We are also going to REI while in Atlanta to check out some high end jogging strollers. A relative gave us money to buy a really nice stroller, and I am excited about that. I have very high hopes for my half-marathon training next year - Becky has been quite inspirational this season as I have had to sit it out.

* I am going to Dallas this weekend to see my family and have a little shower hosted by my mom and sister. I'm travelling by myself, but I am going to wear something on the plane that makes it very clear I am 7 months pregnant, and hopefully people will treat me nicely. I STILL have people at work who get surprised when I tell them I am going on maternity leave in a couple of months. Seriously - have you not noticed the protruding tummy?

* We toured the maternity ward of the hospital in our prepared childbirth class this week, and it is pretty nice. The post partum rooms are a bit tiny, but the labor and delivery rooms seem to be roomy and comfortable. We got to see a baby in the nursery who was only an hour or two old, and I must admit that I had a very hard time holding back tears. I am totally going to lose it when our baby arrives!

Alright, those are my baby thoughts for now!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ack!

Just checking my email as usual today, and I read my Baby Center update for 30 weeks. I read about how big the baby is (well...how big a baby with normal sized parents is), some discomforts to expect as the third trimester continues, and other stuff like assembling the crib and swing.

Then I just kind of stared at the computer screen and thought, "Good grief! In 10 weeks I'm going to be a mother!!!!"

After mini panic attack at my cubicle, I am okay again. Although waiting to find out the sex of the baby is going to make for a fun surprise at the end of January, I must admit that it makes me feel like this whole pregnancy thing is a bit pretend. I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and wonder why I have to pee. Then I feel my ever growing tummy and remember that I am pregnant! We are purchasing furniture for the baby over Thanksgiving weekend, so maybe having an assembled crib in my bedroom will make it all a bit more real.

I went to the ER on Saturday morning because I was throwing up A LOT and also having some urinary issues, and I wanted to make sure everything was okay with the baby. When Jonathan and I arrived (half asleep b/c it was 2am), they almost sent us up to labor and delivery, but decided to keep us down in the ER until I had been initially examined. Thankfully we did not have to go up to labor and delivery, because the baby was perfectly fine although I was puking my guts out. I got to practice my breathing as I had a catheter and IV put in, and Jonathan got to practice his coaching through those processes. I am almost recovered at this point, but still a bit fatigued. I also learned that you feel amazingly better with fluid in you!! Despite the initial discomfort, I think IVs are my friends.

Jonathan looked at me last night and said, "Did it freak you out when they almost sent us to labor and delivery that we could have had a child on Saturday?" Granted, it would have been a child in the NICU, but a child nonetheless. We keep telling baby to stay in there until Christmas, when it will be 36 weeks. But now that we're 30 weeks, 36 weeks doesn't seem that far away.... And now I'm starting to panic again!!

Okay, enough stream of consciousness for one day. Whew!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cafe Eclectic is crawling with Rhodents!!

I am a bad person. Jonathan and I always breath a huge sigh of relief when December 20-something hits or May 20-something hits and all of the Rhodes students GO AWAY FROM MIDTOWN! Then there is always January 20-something or August 20-something when we realize there are a few more luxury cars on the roads with out-of-state plates, and you can no longer enjoy a meal at Central BBQ, Huey's or Memphis Pizza Cafe. I am a bad person, because not too too long ago, I was one of them (minus the luxury car, of course).

Tonight I am eating dinner alone at Cafe Eclectic, because - ironically enough - Jonathan has a dinner at Rhodes. Yes, he is going to all of the extracurriculars that he can to hopefully prove to the Math powers-that-be that he would be a totally awesome professor, and they should hire him in 2010. There are multiple study groups here right now, and I hear snippets of "short answer question, we can do this" mixed with "do you think this is store bought hummus or do they make their own?" Ah, Rhodents....

Since I have married an academic, I should get used to the college-town vibe. Jonathan is immersed in job applications currently, and every now and then he tells me about a new school that has made the list of places where he will apply. I have always thought that staying in a city would be the best possible living situation for our family, since we enjoy city life. We like being in an apartment; we like going to sleep to the lullaby of homeless rants outside our window; we like being less than 5 minutes from every possible thing we could ever need (minus Target). However, Jonathan is applying to some schools in the middle.of.nowhere. It makes me wonder what we will think about the great college student migration in a place where half of the population is college students!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Donations for Breast Cancer 3-Day


Do you remember last spring when I told you I was walking 60 miles to raise money for breast cancer research? Then do you remember that I got pregnant?


I am obviously not walking 60 miles this weekend in Dallas - I have a hard enough time walking from my car to my desk every morning! However, my mother and sister are both walking this weekend, and they are still in need of funds. I know that I spoke with several people who were interested in donating to my walk effort. Since I am not able to go, I highly encourage you to support either Karla Pollock or Katie Pollock (McCray) as they walk!


To donate, click here. Please do not donate to my page, as donations to me unfortunately do not help them reach their goal of $2300. All donations made in the month of November go toward the walk this weekend.


Let me know if you have any questions, and thank you so much for supporting the cause!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reunion Weekend!

Hmmm...maybe I should start taking a camera with me when I do fun things...

I don't actually have any documentation, but I promise that I had a fun time at my 5th college reunion last weekend! Several friends from far away came into town for the event, and it was fun to just hang out with the girls for the weekend. Here are some highlights:

Friday night: Alumni reception where "eeeeeee!!! *jump*jump*jump*" was the quote of the night as friends saw each other for the first time in several years. Then on to Celtic Crossing where they played ridiculously loud music, but we had fun spotting more friends from out of town. I went home after Celtic Crossing, but other friend headed out to the Saucer. Hmmm...maybe for the next reunion I should not be pregnant....

Saturday morning: I got my Ina Garten on with a brunch for friends. Seriously, I think I may have a complex. I pretty much hopped out of bed at 7:30am on a Saturday, eager to bake scones and mix up a frittata. We also had yogurt/fruit/granola parfait, maple bacon, and mimosas. Hmmm...maybe for the next reunion I should not be pregnant...

Saturday afternoon: We walked to Rhodes, and split up so that I could practice the National Anthem with girls from my old a capella group. After rehearsal we had about 45 minutes to kill, so I walked across campus to mingle at the Economics and International Studies open houses. I saw a couple of professors and tried to sound like I was using my undergraduate degree in my current line of work. I talked a bit too long, and had to almost sprint back across campus in time to literally run onto the football field and sing the National Anthem. Hmmm...maybe for the next reunion I should not be pregnant... After the football game, we walked around campus, stalked our dorms and classrooms, and checked out some improvements on campus. Then a walk back home, a moment to rest and then a late lunch/early dinner at Huey's.

Saturday night: The fifth year reunion party was outside on a pretty cold night, so we spent the majority of the evening huddled around heaters, watching a slideshow of classmates from college. There were pretty much no pictures of my group of friends, but that is because we were lame and did not submit any for the slideshow. The highlight (or at least the shocker) of the slideshow was a picture of three classmates riding the lynx in the nude. I had a chance to catch up with some friends, and it was great to hear what everyone is up to. Since I am boycotting Facebook, I actually talked with people and had nice conversations to learn about their lives.

We left campus (although not before Becky rode the lynx - fully clothed - and traumatized some current students), and I drove my friends downtown to drop them off at the next stage of the reunion party on Beale Street. I, of course, drove home and went to bed, although I had my phone on ringer next to my bed in case someone needed a ride back home. I sometimes think I am a 45 year old woman stuck in a 27 year old body.

Sunday morning: After church, I met the girls for brunch at Cafe Eclectic, where I had a surprise baby shower waiting for me. Well...almost a surprise. Kara had possibly divulged the secret under the influence of vodka the evening before, but we are not holding it against her. Baby Hulgan got some fun clothes, books, toys, a sling, and a jogging stroller from his/her many wonderful aunts-to-be. After hugs and goodbyes, I went home and took a nap!

It was so much fun to see everyone, catch up, and act a bit like a college student for the weekend! 5 years has gone by pretty quickly, and I'm sure it will just be within the blink of an eye that we are celebrating our 10th reunion. In the meantime, I need to get a nice camera and start taking pictures of all these events!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Positive Story about Memphis!

Last Saturday afternoon, a freelance journalist with CNN came to one of the Youth Villages group homes in Memphis to do a story on volunteers. He is canoeing down the Mississippi River, stopping in at different cities, and reporting on positive stories. Since our news so often focuses on what is wrong with this city, it is nice to see a story about what we are doing right : )

Click here to watch the video! Oh, and yes, I am in it - it was pretty scary to be interviewed by national media!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Update

We had a good doctor's appointment this morning! It was busy: glucose test, H1N1 shot, ultrasound to check on baby's heart, and normal exam. Our kid continues to resemble his/her mom and dad as he/she insisted on being on his/her tummy and was not excited about moving out of that comfy spot for the tech to see the heart, approximate weight is 2 lbs 2 oz (average is 1.5 lbs), and the head is measuring 2 weeks ahead of the due date (both the father and maternal grandfather of this baby have big heads...). All this to say, I will be quite surprised if we make it to the 1/26 due date - I'm betting on an earlier delivery date.

Echoing Stacey's post, I feel that the quote of the week should be "you look too small to be 6 months along." How can that be when I have a baby who consistently measures big for his/her age??? I think the general public just assumes that your tummy automatically gets huge when you announce your pregnancy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poor Sigma

Our cat is 3.5 years old and is very sweet. Of course, if you have come to visit since she was a kitten, you would never know this, because she has severe agoraphobia. Sunday night, Jonathan informed me that he found two fleas on her ears, and we immediately went into disaster mode at the Hulgan household! When we first brought our kitty home, our vet told us that since she is an indoor cat and we do not have any other animals, she would be fine without regular flea treatments. This is the first time we have ever seen a flea on her or in our home, and I must admit it is freaking me out. Jonathan and I spent a long time trying to figure out where they came from: our recent trip to Chattanooga during which we interacted with 3 cats, my visit to a volunteer's home earlier on Sunday during which a small dog was sitting on my lap, the stray cats that live in our parking lot and sometimes sleep where we do our laundry??? After about 30 minutes of trying to figure out how the fleas got in, we finally started just doing work.

As of this writing, all of the upholstery has been vacuumed, the slip cover and all blankets have been washed, two down comforters are on their way to the dry cleaners, and our poor Sigma has had a bath. Bathing her was simultaneously the most pitiful and funniest thing we have ever seen in our lives! Jonathan held her, and I lathered her up. She made the most horrible howling sound you have ever heard (seriously, I was afraid our neighbors were going to call the Humane Society on us last night!), and she tried to literally climb up the wall of our kitchen. She was surprisingly calm after the bath; Jonathan and I took turns holding her in a towel and telling her how good she was and that we loved her a lot.

She seemed to be okay this morning, letting both of us pet and hold her. This evening will be more vacuuming, and I will probably start compulsively vacuuming every day now, because the thought of little fleas in our home grosses me out!!!

Oh, and yes, Sigma is now on a 12 week regimen of flea treatments and a 30 day regimen of baths. We learned our lesson there!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I know I promised...

...that I would not constantly talk/blog about this baby, but I could not resist sharing. Jonathan asked me this morning about the baby's movement, since I apparently haven't been telling him every five minutes that the baby is moving. I don't know, maybe I'm getting used to it? Well, that's enough to set off an already paranoid person - now I am starting to worry about whether the baby is moving enough! But today, every time I have had the thought, "Gee, I can't remember the last time the baby moved. I hope everything is okay," the kid gives me a swift kick to remind me that he/she is still there. Maybe it's just coincidence. Or maybe my kid is psychic. You make the call.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The elliptical machine

Since I can no longer run, I started walking and I took a Zumba class. Yep, I felt like a complete idiot during the Zumba class, and it costs $5 (which I didn't have on me today), so I'm not sure how much more I will go back. I must admit that it was a pretty good aerobic workout, though!

Yesterday when I forced myself into the office work out room, I saw the elliptical machines and thought I would give them a try instead of walking. Whew! I am glad I did! By my sweat, the burning in my legs, and the overall feeling afterward, I got a much more intense workout than I would have simply walking for 30 minutes. Since the machine propels you forward, I was able to give about the same amount of effort as a slow, plodding run. And if you know me, I am the queen of slow, plodding runs!

I have started getting worried that all of the work I put into running before baby will be lost once the baby actually comes, but hopefully working out on a regular basis will help me bounce back in the spring. So, I'm headed back to the elliptical machine today!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I look like death, but my sink sparkles!

Had to share...

Last night I was wide awake between about 1:45 and 4:15am. I went into the living room to knit, but I felt antsy. So what did I do? I scrubbed my sink and back splash, found some jars in a closet to organize my dish washing utensils, and cleaned the dish rack. I was about to start scrubbing more kitchen surfaces when I saw what time it was and forced myself to get in bed and try to sleep. If this happens much more at least the apartment will be clean.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tears on my pillow

So, I think I am in the weepy part of pregnancy.... I have cried three times in as many days, and I have felt like crying much, much more than that. Part of the problem is that since we are past the half way mark, I have started trying to get things ready for the baby, and then I get overwhelmed and feel like I am in this all by myself and wonder why we are trying to have a baby in a tiny apartment, etc. etc. etc. and I start crying (or wanting to cry). Jonathan's coping strategy is to joke about things, which makes me cry (or want to cry) even more because I think he is not taking things seriously. He is, of course, he just makes jokes to try to lighten the mood. I find that I am worrying considerably more as well -worrying about boundaries with parents/in-laws, worrying about going back to work and not getting to stay home with my little one, worrying about the possibility of Jonathan being in San Francisco when I go into labor....

I am also in the "feeling like a cow" part of pregnancy! This is due to the fact that I physically cannot run anymore. I knew I would reach that point, but it came much sooner than I would have liked. I tried to run for five minutes on a treadmill the other day, and couldn't even manage that! So I am walking now, and I may try a Zumba class at work tomorrow, and I will make prenatal yoga when I am not busy Saturday mornings.

Maybe that is why I have been so weepy - I don't have my usual endorphin rush of a run every few days. I think I'll spend a little extra time walking this evening, pray a bit more for some peace, and try to focus on the end goal of bringing a little life into the world!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Prenatal Yoga Class

This morning I went to Midtown Yoga for their prenatal yoga class. I have wanted to go for a while, but every Saturday morning I have either been working or out of town, so this was my first chance. There were just three students - one 25 weeks, one 36 weeks and me. We got a lot of individual attention, and we chatted after class about doulas and stuff like that. The class was kind of like normal yoga only much more focused on relaxation than strength. We did a lot of poses to work on opening up our kegel floor to prepare for childbirth as well as some techniques to relax back muscles once baby is here. The instructor kept talking about labor and birth as a very primal thing that our bodies know how to do, we just have to let our bodies do the work. It was at the same time freeing and terrifying : ) I have never really thought about having a doula, but I might look into it a little more. I'm not sure Jonathan will be up for it - he is more on the side of 'just do what the doctor tells you' as opposed to having our own birth plan. Anyone out there have any experience with a doula?? I have told many of you that I am more afraid of the epidural and the numbing sensation than I am labor pain. I know that I won't really know what I can handle until I am in the moment, but hopefully this yoga class will help me prepare for a drug-free labor and birth.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shop for a Cause



Every year, Macy's has a special shopping pass that helps raise money for local non-profits. I have a stack of shopping passes for $5 each (all proceeds go to Youth Villages) that can be used on October 17th at any Macy's around the country. For your $5 donation, you receive 20% off purchases throughout the store all day, 25% off one purchase, and an entrance into a drawing for a $500 Macy's gift card.
Let me know if you would like to purchase a shopping pass, and I can get it to you : )

Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby update

I had another ob appointment today, and here are some highlights:

  • Baby is 15 oz, which is still above average (the 20 week avg is 10.5 oz, and the 21 week avg is 12 oz. If you care!). Not quite as bad as being 9 oz when the average is 5 oz...but still a big baby.
  • Baby showed us his/her cute little spine, but was not positioned correctly to check the heart. Apparently he/she is like me and enjoys sleeping on the stomach! Needless to say, the tech thinks my baby has a personal vendetta against her, because this is the second ultrasound in which the baby has not been too cooperative.
  • Despite all of your kind words that I look good, the number on the scale today nearly made me faint!! I was a bit of a big girl before getting pregnant, but I never thought I would see that number on a scale : ( I know it's normal, but it still freaks me out!

I also signed up for prepared childbirth classes, which will start in November. I am glad to have that checked off of my to-do list, but it is also a very real reminder that I am actually having a baby!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Contemplating September 11th

On my way to work this morning, the radio host on 94.7 read Psalm 91 as a prayer for protection and a remembrance of September 11, 2001. That got me thinking about this day eight years ago.

I was in the quad in Bellingrath Hall, wearing a pink flowered skirt and a pink button down shirt. I put on the Today Show as I was drying my hair, and saw the World Trade Center towers up in smoke. I immediately called my dad at work, and we talked for a few minutes about what was going on. I tried to call my sister, who at the time was working in a building a few blocks away from the State Department in D.C. All cell phone lines in the D.C. area were swamped, so I couldn't get through. I later learned that she had walked over 2 hours to get home from work because all of the public transportation systems were shut down. I thought about my brother, a Marine in San Diego. Little did I know that a year and a half later, I would be at his bedside in the burn unit of a hospital in San Antonio as he recovered from an injury sustained in Baghdad.

It is sometimes hard to process how much our lives have changed due to the terrorist attacks from eight years ago. In other ways, I sometimes feel like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan do not really affect me at all. I am praying today for everyone in the world who does feel the impact of this day in a very personal way, as I was reminded this morning from Psalm 91:

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Running with kids...at work!

As I came into the building today, a coworker asked me how I am enjoying my new position (I have been the Volunteer Coordinator now for about 2 months). "It's great!" I responded, "Yesterday I got paid to run with kids!"

We have a running club at two of our residential campuses, and since it is a volunteer-run program, I have been out there the past two weeks meeting with the volunteers and running with the kids. It is such a joy to see these children running! The first week, I ran with a boy who kept saying, "Miss Megan, this is the farthest I've ever run in my whole life!" I didn't get to run with him yesterday, but he and a volunteer passed by me on the track and he had a HUGE smile on his face! Here are some more highlights from yesterday's run:

* A girl - who swore she would not run at all - smiled as we helped her finish her mile in a sprint!
* A boy yelling back to me, "Have a good day, Miss Megan" as he left the track with his group.
* Several kids checking with Spunky to find out whether their finishing times this week were better than last week.

We have running club every Monday from 4-5:30, Tuesday from 4-5:30 and Saturday 10-11:30 if any of you would like to join in the fun!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Polo Match to Benefit Youth Villages


Have you ever wanted to see a live polo match but didn’t know where to go? Look no further!


The Memphis Polo Club hosts a benefit tailgating picnic for Youth Villages on Saturday, September 19. Come enjoy the charming sport of polo while enjoying the picturesque 200-acre Memphis Polo Club farm, and supporting the Youth Villages—all in one fun-filled afternoon.This special event for Youth Villages is open to everyone, so spread the word. The match starts at 2 p.m. and will last two hours, but feel free to come early, stay late, socialize, and enjoy yourself. A concessions stand will be available, but bring food, drinks, umbrellas, or whatever you like to tailgate with. Free pony rides will be provided for children at half-time, so bring the whole family! Also, get ready to continue a longstanding halftime tradition- the stomping of the divots.The Memphis Polo Club, in scenic Rossville, Tenn., is just 45 minutes from downtown but feels worlds away from the city.


Tickets are $10 per person, and kids under 10 get in free. Tickets will be sold at the gate or through Paypal. Most proceeds from ticket sales go to Youth Villages. Come support our community while enjoying the thrilling sport of polo!Go to our website for more details: http://www.memphispoloclub.com/

Directions (from Memphis) :
Take 385 East (Bill Morris Parkway) to the last exit, Piperton, TN-57
Turn right off of the exit ramp and continue east for 6 miles
Turn Right onto Frazier Road
At the 2 way stop, 1.25 miles down, turn left onto Stinson Road
The entrance to the club is a few hundred feet on the right

Gates open at 1pm, match starts at 2pm.
See you there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"...the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

~Teddy Kennedy

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trail Running

I have not been out on a trail in a while, and I think the last time I was on a trail I walked most of the time. So Saturday morning was a lot of fun! Well...getting up at 5am wasn't that fun. Thankfully it was around that time that I had to get up to use the bathroom anyway, so I actually woke up and started getting ready before the alarm clock went off. I enjoyed a nice breakfast of G2 and headed out to pick up Becky. We were both considerably more awake than I thought we would be at 5:40 on a Saturday morning!
Why were we so awake? We were meeting about 30 other marathon and half-marathon hopefuls to run the trails at Shelby Farms as part of the Breakaway Marathon Training. We thought we were only running 3 miles, and I had mentally prepared myself for that. Then we found out we were going to run 4 miles. In the back of my head I thought that I might have to walk at least a little bit of the trail. Then we found out that really the first two miles of the run would be on a gravel road. Uggh... Straight roads are not my cup of tea. Straight gravel roads are even worse because of the extra effort it takes as you plop each foot down and bring it back up again. But, we were surrounded by bunches of eager runners, and the temperature was a beautiful 65 degrees, so I tried to tell my mind that it would be okay.
During the first two miles, I found my stride (albeit a very slow stride), and I kept telling myself that I had to keep running. Lately if I stop in the middle of a run, I find it very difficult to get back to running, and I did not want to walk for 3 miles! There was a girl in front of us doing the run/walk thing, and every time she walked, I told myself "you are stronger than that! keep running!" Just about at the time that I was getting insanely bored with the gravel road, we turned onto wet grass and headed into the trees for the trail run. Becky picked up the pace (I swear...she might disagree with me) because there is something about running on spongy damp ground that puts an extra spring in your step. You are surrounded by trees, it smells awesome, and there are sounds of birds and bullfrogs to keep you company. I felt great until about the last half mile, when I started to get super winded, but I kept telling myself to keep going! Becky was also a big help as she told me she was impressed with how far I had gone. When someone tells you that, you cannot start walking - you have to finish running.
We finished at 57 minutes, which had to be more than four miles because we were definitely running faster than a 14.25 minute per mile pace. I chugged a good bit of G2 and neglected to stretch (ooo...would I feel that later in the day!), and pretty much felt amazing. I don't think I could have run 4+ miles out on the roads Saturday morning; there is something fun about running through the woods that gives me a bit more energy than running past mailboxes.
Will I run the Overton Park 5 miler this Saturday? I'm still trying to decide. At first I was not, since I should probably stop paying to run. But after the fun I had this weekend, and the awesome feeling in my body from getting my blood and endorphins flowing, I might just have to plunk down the $18 and run through the woods again.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Why am I not surprised?

Already, just at 17 weeks gestation...we have a big baby. My glucose test is in two months, so it might be gestational diabetes. Or...it might by that this kid's parents are just the size of wookies. I'm hoping for the latter.

When we were looking over the results of the ultrasound this morning and looking at due dates, the doctor just smiled at us and said, "Well, we just have a big baby!" With a 5'11" mother and a 6'3" father, I guess that should not be surprising : ) Everything else looks great! It is amazing what we can see with ultrasounds: how full the stomach is, what the brain looks like, the spine, little fingers and toes... I totally started crying during the ultrasound because I was in such awe at this little life inside me! Gender is still a mystery to us, but the tech said that the sexual organs are good too. They don't even write the gender in my chart, so my ob doesn't know the gender either. We'll all be surprised!

The pictures we have are a bit blurry, because little baby was wriggling around the entire time and he/she had the hiccups. I won't attempt to post a pic, because it will just be super blurry. However, I am already showing anyone I run into the ultrasound photo, like a mad woman! It's so cliche, but I am so in love with this kid already! I'm just praying for at least 20 more weeks of good development : )

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mayoral Election

Okay, Memphians...you know that we have a big decision to make soon! I honestly have not done a lot of research into any of the mayoral candidates, but I'm going to go ahead and support AC. As a member of the child welfare system for the past 5 years, I have seen what AC has done to promote healthy children and families in Shelby County, and I do have faith in his administration that he will continue that work if he becomes mayor of Memphis. He seems to be good at delegating, giving important jobs to some pretty smart people (again, I am only speaking from my experience in the child welfare system). I have sat in a meeting that he directed, and he impressed me by how he listened to every one's opinions, explained what he would do with the information he gathered, and helped everyone feel like a valid member of the team. Here is an email that I received about supporting his run for mayor, and I wanted to share it with you:

Dear Megan,

Earlier this week, I emailed to let you know that our campaign's Facebook page had just gotten its 2,500th fan. Even in the short time since I sent that message, hundreds of new friends and supporters have signed up to show their support. With less than 60 days until Memphis chooses its next Mayor, I am going to need every single volunteer, voice, and vote!As you know, I have been campaigning aggressively for several weeks. Just last week, we launched a new version of our campaign website, ACWharton.com, and I'm sure you've seen our bumper stickers and yard signs around town. Tomorrow, we will take another important step in this campaign - and I want you to be there with me. Please join me tomorrow, August 20 at 12:00 p.m. when I will pick up my petition for the upcoming special election from the Shelby County Election Commission. We will gather on the steps at Second Street and Washington Avenue before walking to the Election Commission together.More details can be found by clicking here. As always, if you have any questions or comments about my campaign, just let me know.This campaign is about people, because my administration will be about people. Thank you for all your support. I look forward to seeing you Thursday.

A C Wharton, Jr.

P.S. This weekend, we'll formally open our campaign headquarters at 5016 Park Avenue. I hope you'll join us at 3:00 p.m. to sign my petition and meet my campaign Co-Chairs!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A note to my politically conservative friends

Jonathan and I have been the recipients of a slew of emails requesting that we either oppose President Obama's proposed health care plan or that we watch Fox News propaganda that serves no purpose whatsoever. I recently received an email that I could not just let slide, so I responded to the author. Since rising blood pressure is not good for the baby, I am sending this out to anyone who reads this blog - please do not send me hateful email about the government. When I opposed the Bush administration's policies, I did not send you hateful email. Okay, so here is my response:

Dear ______,

I understand that you and many of my friends are very upset about what is going on in Congress and the Senate. This can be a confusing time for many reasons, and I think we all need to be in prayer at all times for God to guide the future of our country. I am concerned about stating that Godly Americans must oppose what the government is doing. I think that it is the role of Christians to respect and pray for our leaders whether we agree with their policies or not, and to not assume that one political party is Godly while another is not. I think that it is very possible for two Christians, who are both saved by the blood of Jesus and striving to live for him, to have two different views about what is happening in Washington right now. I do not want to sound disrespectful in any way, and I thought for a long time on whether to even reply or not.

I appreciate you thinking about me when sending this email, but you can take me off of your distribution lists for future emails like these.

Sincerely,
Megan

Friday, August 7, 2009

Policy Brief About Infant & Child Health in West TN

**I put an incorrect date in this post. The One By One ministry, which reaches out to under-resourced mothers, kicks off at 2PC on September 17th.**

The Urban Child Institute just put out a new brief about infant and child health in Tennessee, breaking up the data into the three grand regions of Tennessee. It comes as little surprise to Tennesseans that West TN ranks lowest in all categories of infant and child health. You don't have to be a social worker to understand the implications this has on our region socially and economically. We can talk all day about health care reform, individual vs. social responsibility, etc. until we are blue in the face, but I feel that these numbers demand action.

Okay, so what can we do? Here is social worker Megan's take on what we can do:
1) Take very, very good care of your own little ones (obviously).
2) Support government programs that help with health and nutrition of children in the first five years of life. Federally we have WIC, TANF, and Head Start. Locally, there is a Shelby County Office for Infant Mortality. Memphians - we are about to have a mayoral election. Find out what the candidates' views are on this subject and what they plan to do about it as mayor.
3) Give your money and your time to organizations that serve the health and nutrition needs of children in the first five years of life. We have the Food Bank, the Church Health Center, Christ Community Health Care, the Urban Child Institute, and many more local agencies that you can support.
4) Become personally invested in the cause. My church is about to start a new program that can help you do just that! The new program kicks off Monday, August 17th with an informational dinner meeting. It is a mentoring program for new mothers (both currently pregnant and with little ones) who are in the at-risk demographic for infant mortality. The mentors develop a relationship with the new moms and help provide support as they raise their babies. Although I am only 15 weeks pregnant myself with my first child, I am going to participate in this program. I spoke with one of the ladies heading up the program, and she thought that I could help come alongside a woman who is also having her first baby, and we could walk through this journey together.

If you read the brief, are moved by it as I was, and want to know what you can actually do to help, I would be more than happy to talk with you about options for involvement. What is that overused quote? "Be the change you want to see in the world" or something like that... I am a firm believer in the monumental effect one person can have on their environment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

walk.run.fight.AIDS

The 5k on Saturday went fine. I went in with zero expectations, and just did what felt right. I ran, then walked, then ran, then walked...pretty much the whole thing. It was hot, but there were plenty of breezes. I stayed with the same pack most of the time. I was slightly disappointed in myself that I didn't run the whole thing, but I got over it pretty quickly.

I went home to eat breakfast, took a quick nap, and then did 3 hrs of yardwork with the boys from Youth Leadership Memphis, so I know I got a good work out : ).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Longest 15 seconds of my life

So I wanted to be one of those pregnant women who did not constantly talk about her developing child.

That is harder than it sounds to do!

Just wanted to post an update that I had a good visit at the doctor this morning and Baby Hulgan has a good, strong heartbeat. Of course, it took some poking and prodding with the doppler for the doctor to hear the heartbeat, and it was possibly the longest 15 seconds of my life. I thought I was a worrier before this pregnancy, but I have been on pins and needles all week about whether that little heartbeat would be there. Prayer has helped ease worry, but I need much more faith. I need to give my worry over to God, who I know will take care of me, no matter what happens with the baby.

Next appointment is the big ultrasound, where I will exhibit all the restraint I can to wait on finding out the gender of the baby : )

Tomorrow is the Walk.Run.Fight.AIDS 5k at Shelby Farms! I will be running much slower than normal, so don't be afraid to come out and pass by me : ) The funds go to support Friends for Life, and agency that helps with AIDS prevention as well as serves Shelby County Residents who are HIV/AIDS positive.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Start of the Memphis Marathon training season

If you are reading this and have not been outside today - get outside NOW! Memphis is enjoying an unseasonably cool, low humidity day in the middle of July, and it is fantastic!

This morning I headed out for the first marathon training run of the season at Breakaway running. No, I am not going to attempt the half marathon at 8 months pregnant. I want to try to stay as healthy as possible for baby, and peer pressure has always been my best motivator for exercise. There were a bunch of people at the store at 6:45am, most looking like seasoned runners but a few like me. My friend Justin from church was a welcome sight, and we ran the first three miles or so together. The group ran through Overton Park, and it was great! Thanks to the sub-70-degree temp, virtually no humidity, the pretty flat course, and the company of friends, I ran 5 miles (with a couple of walk breaks when my breathing got heavy). I was the last one back to the store, but I am very used to being at the back of the pack, and there were a handful of participants who only did 3 miles.

I know I cannot hope for similar weather for the rest of the summer, but the run this morning was encouraging. I originally thought I was completely back at square one fitness wise, and I would have to start this training season like last year - barely making it through 2 miles on the first day. Next Saturday is the Friends fo Life 5k at Shelby Farms. I am not going to try for any PRs, just a slow and steady pace to keep baby happy.

Oh, and I celebrated my accomplishment with pancakes from Cafe Eclectic! I pretty much came home and demanded (sweetly) that Jonathan take me there to eat : )

Friday, July 17, 2009

First real craving?

I think I had my first real craving today. A lot of people have asked if I have had weird food cravings, and I don't think I really have had any. I have plenty of aversions - unfortunately (or fortunately...depending on how you look at it) I cannot stomach Dr. Pepper or Dt. Coke anymore. I am just now getting back to eating sweet things. I actually passed up ice cream while in Buenos Aires because just the thought of eating something sweet made me ill. So back to my possible craving...

I was heading out of the office for lunch with the full intention of getting a Lenny's kids meal with a chicken salad sandwich. I have pretty much been living off of chicken salad since finding out I was pregnant. As I left the building, a lady came through the door holding an Arby's bag. Curly fries! I stopped at the gas station to fill up the car, telling myself that I should be healthy for the baby and get Lenny's instead of Arby's. But I could not get curly fries out of my head! I think I could actually taste them. It was awful. My willpower did not prevail, and I got a chicken sandwich and fries for lunch. They were possibly the best curly fries I have ever had in my life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finally, I think I can report...

We have told almost everyone we know, so it might as well go up on the blog...

Baby Hulgan is due to arrive on January 26, 2010!

Definitely more to come later : )

Dodge This!

Looking for some healthy competition while staying cool in the AC??


WellWorx Sporting Club is hosting the 3rd annual Dodge This Dodgeball Tournament on Saturday, August 1st. Teams can be coed with 6-10 participants per team. The fee to enter is $180 per team, which includes registration, t-shirt, adult beverages throughout the day, and catered lunch...oh - and a trophy and bragging rights for the winning team! All proceeds benefit Youth Villages, a national nonprofit based in Memphis that helps emotionally disturbed youth and their families live successfully : )

For more info or to register, go to www.youthvillages.org/dodgeball. I will be working the event in my new role in the Youth Villages Development Department, and I would LOVE to see you there!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Better attitude

Yesterday's post was a little frazzled, to say the least. I am still feeling a bit like all the balls I am juggling are getting away from me, but today has gone pretty well. My team has come through very well, and we have all made things work as we are in different offices. Now, I will not lie, I did curse at the copy machine this morning in the 100 degree office because it was not working. I am going back to the 100 degree office tomorrow to try to pack up my things for my move, and I am praying for a better attitude. I am learning through this silly little experience that I do not like it when I cannot control the change around me. I am having to learn to be more flexible and adaptable...and to not curse at inanimate objects : ) My team semi-officially changed to its new supervisor today, and that was a huge weight off of my shoulders. The staff member who is taking over the team is very reliable, highly qualified, and already respected by my team. I honestly think she will do a much better job than I have done over the past year. Although this year in management has had a lot of struggles, I am glad I took the plunge, and I feel that I did the best I could. I am so excited about becoming the Volunteer Coordinator for YV! It will be difficult for the first month or so while I learn my way around the position, but I think it will be a good experience overall with so much room for me to learn about development and community relations.

Get ready for phone calls and emails about volunteer opportunities ; )

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Air Conditioning blues

The AC goes out at my office about 3 or 4 times a summer (and the heat goes out about 3 or 4 times a winter). We have just accepted it as the norm. Usually when the air goes out, it is only for a few hours until it is repaired, so we survive. Today, though, was unbearable. The AC must have gone out sometime in the night, because there was no remaining coolness left in the entire building this morning. I sat in my office for 15 minutes, sweating profusely, trying to gather up the files that I would need to work out of another office for the day. We had a meeting a Starbucks and then I hopped into my soon-to-be cubicle at our Operations Center. I called all of our potential foster families to cancel class tonight, and I tried to rally my staff to get work done despite being split up around the city in various offices. Now word is that the mother board of the AC is broken, and we require an entirely new system. Plus side - maybe this AC unit won't go out as frequently as the old one has. Minus side - I am not in my office for the rest of the week, and this is my LAST week in that office, and I have 5 million things to do before moving over permanently to the Operations Center!!! I am trying to remain calm...really I am.

I should get back to work instead of writing this silly blog, shouldn't I?

Monday, June 15, 2009

My worst race ever...so bad I would hardly call it a race...

I have a very bad habit of training hard for a particular event and then just completely falling off the wagon after the event is over. In 2007 I trained a good bit for the Memphis Half Marathon, and after it was over, I don't think I actually ran for almost 2 months. In 2008 I really trained - I mean trained with a coach and everything - for the Memphis Half Marathon, and after it was over, I thought I was doing well. Granted, I didn't run between December 6th and January 1st...but I was pretty steady about running at least twice a week during the winter and spring. I trained again for the Youth Villages 5k in April, and my training paid off with a personal record of sub-11-minute miles. After April, I pretty much stopped exercising all together : ( I blame it on late nights at work, getting a car, and I think some bad weather on the weekends. Really, I should just blame myself for not having the internal motivation to keep going! So, last Saturday, Becky and I decided to run the Gibson 5k. We were trying to be supportive of a friend who didn't actually end up running it with us, and it was 90 degrees outside, and poor Becky had been without power for 24 hours, and I had just been a lazy mess for the past two months, and again we both had a significant lack of internal motivation. As my title should guide you, it was the worst race I have ever participated in. We ran the first mile, and then I had to stop. My mouth was dry, my heart was pumping, and my head felt like it was about to explode. I think if I had looked at myself in the mirror, my face would have been a similar shade to a radish. For the next mile, I kept wondering where the water station would be (this from the girl that has normally scoffed at water stations in 5ks! I mean, it's just three miles! Why would you need water half way through three miles). Oh, but I needed water, badly. I also drank the entire cup of water once we got to the aid station - I would have taken five if they had let me! Becky and I talked about our lack of motivation, reminisced about our other more successful races, our first 5k, our drinking habits while in Europe, and paid almost no attention to how long the race was taking us. Then within 0.1 miles two horrific things happened. At mile 3, the volunteer timer just happened to be an MRTC member who has been very condescending to us in the past, and to whom we have tried to show we are 'real' runners. But no, this time she was shouting out "48:10, 48:11," as we passed her at the three mile mark. I made the mistake of making eye contact, so she smiled back at me with gut wrenching familiarity! Then, as we rounded the last corner to finish the darn thing, there is a man with a camera at the finish line. I hate finish line pictures for two reasons: 1) I always look like a developmentally delayed velociraptor, and 2) the pictures go online for ALL the world...well running world at least...to see. Uggh! Thank goodness for free sno cones at the finish line!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

4th Anniversary!



Yay! Today is our fourth wedding anniversary! The only pictures I have of Jonathan and me are ones that other people have taken...um...because we hardly ever take pictures. These two are from our mission trip to Argentina in 2007:





Some things I love about my husband:

  • He is a strong Christian and keeps me grounded.


  • He is super smart but also very down to earth.


  • He puts up with all of my pitfalls.


  • He tells me he loves me about five million times a day!


  • He likes to dream with me about the future.


  • He is very supportive of all of my crazy ideas: getting up at 5:30am every Saturday in the summer and fall to run (me...not him), buying lots of planting accessories when all of my planting attempts fail miserably, eating turkey instead of beef and pork, insisting on making our wedding thank you cards instead of just buying thank you cards...the list could go on.


  • He still gets excited when he sees me across a crowded room. (I do too!)




Okay, that's enough! We are very blessed and thankful for four great years, and hope the next four are even better :)





Monday, June 8, 2009

Really?

I seldom watch Fox News. This is part due to the fact that I do not have cable. And part due to the fact that it is Fox News. The only times that I watch Fox News are when a screen is forced in front of my face, usually at my dentist's office. Yesterday, Jason's Deli had Fox News on its screens during lunch time. So, as my husband loaded up his salad bar plate, I watched an interview with some talking head about the environment. It went something like this:

"Sure, a few solar panels on a few roofs are good. But the laws of physics tell us that the sun does not shine all the time, and the wind does not blow all the time. But coal is something this country can count on." (smug smile)

My mouth pretty much just dropped open. I am pretty sure that the sun and the wind are more reliable than fossil fuels. Granted, I'm a social worker, not a physicist...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pictures from Graduation

Before the ceremony with my mother.
After the ceremony with my Uncle Archie

Yay Jonathan for putting up with my crazy schedule!


Mom, Jonathan, Me, Dad




Sister Katie



Uncle Archie, Me, Grandfather (we didn't have enough tickets, so poor Gran was back at our apartment)





Check out that Volunteer Orange!







Monday, May 18, 2009

Master Social Worker

I am now officially a Master Social Worker! That is a funny way to say it - all throughout the ceremony we kept being referred to as "master social workers." It totally makes me think of the Colonization computer game I played when I was younger. You had blacksmiths, and then master blacksmiths, carpenters, and then master carpenters, and so on. So now I have earned enough points to move from social worker to master social worker : )

We had a nice dinner Friday after the ceremony with my family, and then we had a barbecue picnic Saturday afternoon with friends. I had a lot of fun just hanging out with my friends, enjoying the moment. My apologies go out to anyone who was cornered by my grandfather or my great uncle. They are incorrigible to say the least!! My dad took a lot of pictures, and I will post a few up here.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me these past four years and especially sat through my gripe sessions.... Your friendship and support helped me reach this day : )

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back to the normal world

Jonathan and I received an incredible gift on Sunday - a car! It was a combined effort by his grandfather, grandmother, and parents, and we are very thankful that they were sweet and gracious to give this to us. It is a 2001 Subaru Forrester, and it has more miles on it than my poor Jeep, but it's engine works...the Jeep's engine does not work. I will post a picture soon : )

I must admit that I was skeptical at first. I did not want to take a hand out, and as I thought more about it, pride was at the heart of my attitude. Not only pride that I wanted to take care of myself instead of having others take care of me, but pride in being a little rebellious and living as a Memphian without a car. So, we accepted the gift, and I was still a little uneasy about it. But then as I was driving to an appointment Monday afternoon, it hit me..."Our family GAVE us a CAR!" There is no way that we could have afforded to buy this off of a lot, and it has been such a blessing in the three days we have had it! I have been able to help out my team more at work, Jonathan and I were able to grab a quick dinner together in between appointments last night, and my commute to work is now 15 minutes instead of an hour.

Downside to owning a car is that I have not walked more than a few hundred feet at a time since Sunday (when I walked from church to Jason's Deli for lunch). I am going to have to do something to get exercise into my life!! I think we will still walk for errands around our neighborhood, there will be days when Jonathan needs to car, so I will still take the bus to work, and I still plan to run to church on Wednesday nights as much as I can.

So, friends, hopefully you won't receive many more emails and phone calls from the Hulgans asking for transportation places. Thank you for your support over the past nine months : )

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How the President's proposed budget will help pay my salary...

I know I have mentioned before on this blog that since my salary is paid through federal and state funds, your tax dollars help pay my salary (and subsequently feed me, keep a roof over my head, clothe me, pay my student loans, etc.). We just found out today that Youth Villages has been listed as a beneficiary of funds in Obama's proposed budget. Read slightly more HERE.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some encouragement for the $250 challenge!

This is for my Memphis friends...since I think it would be pretty difficult to do this for out of towners:

The FIRST person to donate to my Breast Cancer 3-Day account will receive a home-cooked dinner for their family! I'm a bit of a foodie, and most of you have tasted at least something that I have cooked, so hopefully this is a good award : ) I can cook something you request, or I can surprise you!

So there it is - FREE home-cooked meal, brought to your home, for your family, lovingly prepared by yours truly. I need to raise $250 by May 15th!!! Donate by clicking on the 3-Day box at the top of the page, or click on the "My 3-day page" link on the left side of the page.

Thank you for your support as I raise money to end breast cancer!!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

$250 Challenge!

Hopefully you know about my participation in the Breast Cancer 3 Day in November! My fundraising goal is $2300, and the organizers have issued a challenge to raise $250 by May 15th!! Cutting my ultimate fundraising goal into smaller segments is supposed to help keep me (and my donors) motivated : ). If ten people donate $25, I will meet the challenge!

I recently read an article about a Canadian study that found exercise significantly decreases death rates among women diagnosed with breast cancer. That may sound like common sense, but now that there is a scientific study backing it up, hopefully more women will begin exercising regularly before diagnosis, and more doctors will perscribe an exercise regimen to their patients battling breast cancer. I am fundraising and walking 60 miles to promote more research like that! So, if you don't exercise regularly now...start! If you already do...keep it up and encourage a friend to join you! And all of you...donate to the cause by clicking on the 3 Day box at the top right of the blog : )

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Jonathan and I went to see Sunshine Cleaning last Friday in my continuing "Of course I can't go see normal movies" phase. I loved Little Miss Sunshine, so I thought this would be equally as good. Hmmmm.... It was just slightly too depressing for me for about 99% of the movie. The main chartacter looked to be at the point of tears for most of the movie because she was so depressed and digusted with her life. Thankfully the last three minutes had a positive spin, so I didn't cry into my dinner at Memphis Pizza Cafe. I think what made it slightly more depressing than Little Miss Sunshine is that it was more believable - single mom, kid with antisocial behavior, not measuring up - at least in the character's mind - to the rest of her high school friends. Oh, and the grandfather character isn't a heroin addict in this installment.
If you solely go to movies to escape reality and have a laugh, don't see 'Sunshine Cleaning.' If you go to movies to delve into the inner workings of complex character's minds - ugly though they may sometimes be - then this might be a good movie to see.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Get Ready for Earth Day

What are your plans for Wednesday April 22nd? (Aside from recovering from the haze that will descend on April 20th, of course)

Here are some of my suggestions for celebrating Earth Day:
*Walk, ride your bike, or take the bus instead of drive your car.
*Can't live without your car? Carpool with someone to work or on errands.
*Start recycling if you don't already. Call waste management to request a recycling tub to set out with your weekly garbage.
*Go to the Memphis Farmer's Market this Saturday (opening day!) and prepare a meal Wednesday night with local ingredients.
*Don't cook? Go out to eat at a Green Fork restaurant. Green Fork restaurants are working to become sustainable.
*Unplug your appliances and electronics when you are not using them.
*Support President Obama's high speed train proposal.
*Switch to soy/rice/almond milk. Its production is much more sustainable than cow milk.

Just a few ideas for Earth Day : ). What else can you think of to do?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter!

We had a great weekend! I think I probably posted this time last year that Easter is my favorite holiday, and I will say it again : ) Spring is - in my mind - the most beautiful season. I miss my Texas bluebonnets, but have come to love Memphis azaleas and dogwoods! I enjoy hosting Easter lunch, since it's my only holiday to host a big meal, and I spend a long time planning and prepping for it. Of course most of all, this holiday is the pinnacle celebration of the Christian faith, since we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ and with it our assured salvation, victory over evil in the world, and the hope of our eternal life! I have had "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" in my head all morning...probably because I sang it, oh, nine times yesterday in all of the church services!

To back up, the weekend started with a meaningful Good Friday service. I obviously enjoy worship through singing, and the Crucifixus that we sang was my thank offering to God for Jesus' sacrifice. Although it is a somber service, I cannot help but leave uplifted, knowing that with Jesus' death all of my sins (past, present, and future) are forgiven. What a weight lifted off of me, and what a challenge to dedicate my life to Christ. After the service, I went into prep mode doing a final cleaning of the apartment and making honey yeast rolls (thank you Nancy Simmons!). We watched Donnie Darko, because Jonathan wanted to see if a certain scene had a certain song that had been stuck in his head all week. (for Becky, it was the first school scene where we are introduced to all of those characters) If you care, it was not the same song...but it was the same band from the 80s. Only my husband would have a mind that works like that. You can never go straight to sleep after watching Donnie Darko, so we tried to wrap our minds around its meaning. It could be a possible good pick for Good Friday, since one way to interpret it is that Donnie voluntarily sacrifices himself. Every time I watch that movie, I try to pay attention to every little detail so that I can figure it out. Jonathan thinks we need to track down a director's cut version, and then the pieces will all come together. In my mind, DD is possibly Jake's best movie - the Smurf scene may be his best monologue as well!

Saturday morning started with our third annual running of the Bunny Run 5k around Audubon Park. Erin, Becky and I all did very well - I want to say we all PR'd. Bunny Run 2007 - 40 minutes. Bunny Run 2008 - 36 minutes. Bunny Run 2009 - 33 minutes. Erin ran hers significantly faster than that - those are my times! It was supposed to be a tempo run preparing us for the Youth Villages 5k next Saturday, but we were in a groove and ran faster than anticipated. Hopefully we can do just as well on the 18th! Jonathan's grandmother and great-aunt came into town from Chattanooga Saturday morning, so we headed out with them to brunch at Cafe Eclectic (where I got a very nice sunburn sitting out on the patio), and then went to the zoo...along with everyone else in the tri-state area. We love the zoo and are very spoiled living across the street from it! I prepped some more for our Easter meal, and then we had dinner at Ciao Bella. After dinner, I needed to purchase a baby shower gift, and we were already in East Memphis with a car, so we visited the new Target at Ridgeway. It is huge! And it has everything you could ever want! I am completely satisfied with our little Target on Colonial, but I can see what all the fuss is about with the new store. A friend's toddler was telling me about the 'new' Target and the 'old' Target last week - even he knows the difference!

Sunday of course was lots of fun (see first paragraph)! We were at church from 7:15 to 12:30, and we sang in three services. All of the choir members, our director and organist were wiped out afterward, but we had a great time worshiping. At home, we had a total of twelve for our meal, and I was able to get everything out on the table in a semi-reasonable amount of time. Meat always takes so much longer to cook than the directions say! We had pork tenderloin (thanks Becca for the recipe), sweet potatoes, asparagus, green salad, honey rolls, cornbread, and 10-cheese pasta (thanks Ashley for bringing it!). After lunch, a bunch of folks headed out, and those that remained played a rousing game of Harry Potter Scene It (in which I was a big dork and looked up a few answers in the books...because the game is over the movies, but most of my knowledge is from the books). Then we had our Bunny Melt - a Pollock tradition in which you melt a chocolate Easter bunny and eat it, fondue-style. Ashley was brave enough to try a chocolate covered peep, and her facial expression let the rest of us know that it was not a good idea! After all our guests had gone home, we had a very nice nap and didn't really do much of anything for the rest of the evening.

I don't have pictures because I am not a big picture taker : ( I felt the need to share our weekend with you anyway! We had a lot of fun, and all of the fun moments were spent with friends and family : )

Friday, April 3, 2009

Breast Cancer 3 Day


Some of you may have noticed the 'widget' on the right side of the blog about the Breast Cancer 3 Day. What in the world is that? The 3 Day is an event to raise funds for breast cancer research, raise awareness about breast cancer, and honor those women and men who have fought the disease. I am blessed in that I do not have breast cancer, and none of my family members has had breast cancer. I assume that there are a few of you reading this who cannot say the same thing. My 'family' of friends has been affected by this disease. Some have survived while others have lost their battle. I decided to participate in this event because it is something that I can do, with my two feet (literally) to help win the fight against breast cancer.

Here are some details about breast cancer:
- One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
- Breast cancer knows no boundaries – be it age, gender, socio-economic status or geographic location.
- The greatest risk factors for breast cancer are being female and growing older.
- Early detection and effective treatment for breast cancer have been shown to improve survival.
- Making healthy lifestyle choices may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- There are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today.
- Breast cancer affects more than just the patient – co-survivors (friends, family and co-workers) need support, too.

Here are some more details about the event:

  • The 3 Day is in Dallas/Ft. Worth November 6-8th 2009.
  • We will walk a total of 60 miles over the course of three days.
  • I will be walking with my mother, my sister, and one of my sister's friends.
  • Thousands of women and men participate each year, and after we walk all day, we will camp out in pink tents all together before rising the next day to walk some more : )

Here are some details about fundraising:

  • The minimum amount I must raise to participate is $2300.
  • Donations are tax-deductable.
  • Donations can be made on-line, by phone, or by mail.
  • To donate online, click on the widget at the top right of this page.
  • To donate by phone, call 800.996.3DAY. My personal # is 3211253.
  • To donate by mail, ask me for a donation form!
  • Net proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust, funding important breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.

I have a long way to go, both in fundraising and training, and I hope you will join me in this journey!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

6 Months



We passed our 6 months without a car in mid-March. As you can see, it was such a monumental occasion that I lost track of when the date was! Being a pedestrian has really become part of who I am now, and I often forget that I'm doing something different until I get the occasional question of "How do you and Jonathan manage?"

There is a great sense of community amongst us non-car-owners. Although I don't know any of their names, I feel like I have a friendly relationship with my bus drivers, fellow riders and fellow walkers. I actually found out a few weeks ago that the guy who cuts my hair does not have a car by choice. He said that he used to live in Atlanta, which has a much superior public transportation system to Memphis, and when he moved back to Midtown he decided to keep on using public transportation instead of a car. I am very pleased that at least Midtown is pedestrian friendly, since we have such a nice mix of residential, business, service, and cultural outlets in a reasonable walking area.

Of course there are downsides to not having a car. Some of them are having to stay two more hours at work late at night when I miss a bus, getting hungry at work when I forget to pack an afternoon snack and I have no way of getting one, feeling like a mooch a lot when asking friends for rides, and not being able to visit our family out of town as much.

The upsides (is that a word???) are also plentiful: walking everyday, forced running several evenings a week, lots more face time with my husband (since we walk together to the grocery store, to Target, to eat dinner out, to Overton Park, etc.), leaving a smaller carbon footprint, enjoying all of the spring flowers and trees, quality time with friends while they transport me hither and yon, and a better appreciation for people in Memphis who also rely on MATA and friends for transportation.

I must thank all of our friends for getting us through this past six months! I know I can't name all of them, but the ones I can think of now are Becky, Justin, Ashley, Prentice, Katie, Ryan, Stacey, Leslie, Brian, Whitney, Lindsey, Luke, Chris, Crystal, Matthew, Lenox, LaShonda, Lee, Leigh, Elizabeth, Jerry, Marjorie, Wiley, Josh, Marissa...and I'm sure others that I am forgetting.

I'm always eager to help fellow Memphians join the revolution : ) I'm going to put my challenge out there again to pick one trip in which you would normally drive your car and instead walk, ride your bike, or take the bus. If you want to take up the challenge but don't know where to start, let me know and we will figure out a plan!