Sunday, April 23, 2006

Just a quick note to let everyone know I've updated our Photosite and added wedding and baby pics! Also, we went to see the Cubs play in St. Louis today, and hooray! They whoooooped the Cardinal's ass. Jim bought me some "bling" (a red and blue beaded necklace with a cubs "medallion" type thing on it, but made of plastic), and we think that's what brought the luck. I'm thinking of mailing it to Dusty Baker (the manager) so the team will go on winning. I'll add pics of that tomorrow, hopefully. :)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hello (x3!)

Well, a really good day today. After a bit of a crummy start during which (short version!) Amy and I decided we definitely have to move sooner rather than later, we went to our first meeting with Chris McAtee, our OB lady, and soon-to-be midwife. Things went a little scary for a half-hour or so. First Amy had an external doppler-type ultrasound - audio only - just to check the baby's heartbeat but... er, no heartbeat could be heard. While this was a little un-nerving, the fact that the baby is so young means that the heartbeat is faint enough to escape an external ultrasound's "sensitivity bits" (sorry to use such a technical term.) So Chris decided, "just for peace-of-mind's sake", to do a picture-type ultrasound, again externally. This showed that Amy's uterus was the right shape, that everything else looked normal except for... no baby! At least, not within the field of vision of the ultrasound machine. By this time Amy was quite upset, and I'll admit that I was just a little perturbed. Chris McAtee said we should go right next door to Pro-Imaging, who specialise in ultrasounds and medical imaging of all types, to get an internal scan - oh, and not to worry. We nearly didn't, while we waited twenty minutes to get scanned again, and this time... BABY! Moving baby! Heart beating visibly baby! Dancing like crazy baby! Arms starting to develop baby! Okay, so I'll quit adding baby onto every sentence, but phew! And cool! And wow, baby! I have to say that as well as arms, our little one is fast developing some great moves. I asked if perhaps Amy's movement was causing the baby to jig, but she said nope - it's just stretching and moving around (and probably thinking "Hey! Get outta my bubble! I'm developing arms and moves here!") Upshot was, between visits Amy's uterus had flipped over (scary sounding, very normal) which partly explained the difficulty in seeing/hearing the baby the first scan around.

The lady doing the sonogram added the "Hi" at the bottom btw. :)

So, everything is good and as it should be, and we left extremely relieved, a lot more happy, and with some better, clearer new scans to show you. The uterus-flip explains the fact that he's... oh yeah! Facing the other way! As a very cool bonus they also gave us two video clips of our baby wiggling around and busting some moves. We can't put them on the site here, but if anyone wants to see them we can email them to you. They're really, really cool, but quite sizeable files so they may take a while. We are about ten weeks and two days along, now. By twelve weeks - and the next visit - we will be able to determine whether it's a boy or a girl, and whether it has learned to do 'the robot'.

Love to everyone,

Jim, Amy, and Flipper

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hey y'all how's it goin we're fine and dandy so how 'bout you guys then cool well here's a blog entry for ya,

How's that for an intro. As promised, here are the ultrasound scans from this morning. We're having a real baby!!!! It has a heartbeat and everything! Right now it's about two inches long, has little blobs that are becoming feet and hands, and IS a definite sex, though is keeping it a secret from everyone for another month or few.

All is good and healthy according to the doctor, and the heartbeat was measured at a steady 170bpm, which is spot on correct for a nine week-old baby-to-be. Wahoo!

It felt so, so good to actually see the little guy (or gal) growing in there. It feels more real, and also more vulnerable. I suddenly don't want Amy to go anywhere near a trampoline. In fact, the damn things should be made illegal.

We have another appt. next Tuesday, but we're not quite sure what for - as far as we know it's just to meet the midwife who will be with us throughout the pregnancy.

So there he/she is! Nine weeks and already almost a quarter of the size of a newborn. Hope you like him! I think he already takes after me. He obviously is very happy lying down. Oh, and this is for Ali - I'm gonna try and play some Libertines through Amy's tummy while she's pregnant. That way it gets both a genius musical education and a sound lesson in the foolishness of drugs before it's even born. And it'll probably know how to rock. They say that comes very early on.

Hey there dude! We plan to find out the sex at some point, and truly, either way is GREAT by me, as long as it's not a gameshow host. Seriously, healthy boy or healthy girl - there is no second place here, is there?
"Here's looking at you, kid," is what I wanted so badly to say, but thankfully didn't, during the examination. Isn't he/she awesome, though?

And there you go! Hope you are all doing well and healthy. We'll of course keep you posted and updated. Speak again soon!

Jim, Amy, and Peanut.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hello again from Jim and Amy Rennie!

Wow... not posted for AGES, but that's cause things have been happening. Good things!

First off, thank-you everyone for all your cards and phonecalls and good wishes before our wedding. We had a truly lovely weekend. Monday definitely came too soon, especially for the work-returning Amy.

Friday began really early, and we were both pleased to see that the sky was blue, and the sun was beginning to shine. All sorts of storms and tornadoes had been forecast for Friday, but thankfully it seemed they had by-passed us. Amy awoke to go to work at 6:00AM as usual, and as is often (but not ALWAYS) usual I woke too. Amy was due to work until 11:30, but it was a lovely surprise to see her come back through the door at about 7:00 to tell me the boss at her daycare had arranged for someone else to take her classes. So Amy took a well-deserved nap, and I tried, but found I was far too buzzed and nervous to sleep, so I read a Tim Allen book (funny!), collected together the stuff we would take to the hotel ("Where the heck have all my pants gone?"), and visited the bathroom a great many times (nerve-induced). The wedding was at 3:15pm, so at about 2:15 after getting dressed we set off for Amy's Mom and Dad to pick up Amy's flowers, and from there to the courthouse in Pekin, with Amy's Mom and Dad, sister-in-law Ashleigh, and brother Joel and his fiancee Sarah following. My excitement had well-and-truly rubbed off on Amy by this point, but after mounting the pavement three times on the way, we safely arrived, sun still shining at the courthouse.

First we had to book in, then we all stood on the ground floor and took pictures and chatted. It was getting nearer 3:15, so I went to ask if things were on schedule, to be greeted by a hilariously rude response from the woman, if that's the right term, behind the desk. "We do two every fifteen minutes." Swivel of chair, back turned. Oh, okay! Finally, we were called to go up to the third floor of the courthouse, and then the wait began. We watched three or four weddings and their attendees emerge, until finally at 3:45 (I made a note to remember to send the rude desk woman 345 severed horse's heads in the mail, then decided that would be very heavy on postage, so made another mental note to research seahorses, purchase and beheading of) we were called, and we stepped into the room where we would be married.

We were greeted by Judge William J. Reardon, who was, at first, a little too inadvertently amusing for comfort. The were several among our party who found themselves unable to stifle this amusement, but nevertheless a good show of throat-clearing was made. We think he was probably in his eighties, and told us he was retired as a judge but continued to perform weddings, which was really cool we thought. He then proceeded to apologize that everything was running so behind (I thought of the seahorses again) and then explain, quite slowly, every single aspect of the ceremony we were about to take part in. I for one reached terminal giggle velocity when he began to explain that "the marriage certificate itself has a space for your names here, and here, and a space for my name here. I will proceed no to fill this space in - don't worry, I will be trying very hard to spell it correctly. Now some couples like not to fold their certificate in order to keep it flat for framing. You may wish to do this. However you may wish not to do this, and so in anticipation of that possibility we have provided for you [here he produced an envelope as a magician would produce a rabbit, or seahorse] a stiff, white, card envelope. Simply by folding it in thirds, you may keep your certificate safe in this way. For many years." And this was a good sample of his marrying technique which, the longer it went on, we became less amused by and more gratified for. We both envisaged the ceremony being more of a signing ceremony, and after the phrase "two every fifteen minutes" had been well drummed into us, nothing very personal. But Judge Reardon seemed genuinely interested in us, the step in life we were taking, and the emotions involved. The way he delivered the vows portion was so sincere and personal, and the fact that this was a man who must have performed so many weddings in his life, seen so many bright, hopeful couples stand before him, and wished them the same success, that by the time he talked of "through trials and days of trouble, times of happiness and joy" tears were certainly knocking at the door. And so, at the prompt, as Mr. Reardon had said, we passed the rings, said our "I will"s, and then we were married!

After the ceremony we went to Wal-Mart and bought some chalk-paints to decorate our car, then went right to Springhill Suites, a really nice hotel in Peoria, where we had booked a suite for the night. We had looked at a few choices online, trading hot-tub-in-room for location for more space for price, until we decided Springhill was the best looking of the bunch, and I think we were right - it was a great place. I especially was extremely enamored of the view across Peoria, and mentioned it a number of times. That number is 47. We got the "Romance Package" which for nine dollars atop the original price we got a late checkout of 1pm (VERY nice) a complimentary bottle of champagne (alcohol-free on request) and a free movie. So, at 8:30 after watching our movie, sipping our champagne, and even having a swim in the pool we went to Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, also in Peoria, and just three miles from our hotel. Seriously, if anyone reading this is ever kidnapped, dropped in Peoria, IL before 11pm with a little money and an empty belly, I can suggest only one place to go: the cops, clearly. But the NEXT DAY pay a visit to Johnny's. Everything about it is top-notch including, thankfully, the food, of which much was consumed by all of us (Amy's Mom and Dad, Joel and Sarah, Amy's Grandma Sherrilyn, Keith and Ashleigh, Mark and Marsha, and Amy and I) in a really lovely atmosphere. By the time we had all said goodbye, and Amy and I returned to the hotel we were as pooped - as Capt. Blackadder might say - as the Chinese weightlifting team's official rickshaw driver.

Next day we went shopping, visited the Peoria Guitar Center, had a lovely drive around the countryside and that, as they say, was that. It's hard to explain in details such as these what a great weekend it was, but the two things that stand out for me were firstly that everyone around Amy and I - Amy's family, strangers, indeed the world itself - seemed to be sharing in our good feelings for the day. Secondly, I realized at the end of the day that I had a little scrapbook already made in my head of a selection of really special moments from the day which I will never forget. Top of that pile is the look in Amy's eyes during the ceremony which I will truly strive NEVER to forget. Next would possibly be swimming end-to-end in the hotel pool in only eight seconds. Maybe. :)

So thanks to EVERYONE in our lives for not only your good wishes on the day, but also all your support through this whole long journey of Amy's and mine. We will always love you for that.

We have a whole bunch of pictures ready to go online and be printed out etc., but they will take a few days to get shuffled and sorted, so we hope the little selection in this blog may tide you over. There WILL BE MORE, we promise. :)

Thanks again, everyone, so much, and we hope our happiness sends out a ripple through all of you. And, at the risk of getting corny, follow your heart. As a guide-dog it may not be so well trained, and will drag you through the odd hedge along the way. You'll probably even have to carry it the flippin' thing yourself sometimes. But, in the end, it knows better than you where you really want to go.


Jim and Amy (Rennie)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hey everyone!

NON-SMOKER FOR: Had a slip, cause I ended up like this:

Still doing good though... Never mind. Better news to report! Look down!

I got my instruction permit this morning after passing my written drivers' test with a score of (drumroll...) ONE HUNDRED (100) PERCENT. I thought I could probably do it, but I never expected the ton! Actually, I had no idea whether I could do it, until Amy pointed out the man eating his own shoe in the corner who had come to renew his license, and convinced me that if HE could do it... well, anyway. I can now legally drive about and practice doing the right things and turning here and braking there and going wheeee! and brmmmm! and waving in a cool way with one hand at other road users. WAHOO! My signature went a little squiffy though - can you tell I was excited?? :)

In other news, I've been cycling alot - I did 18 miles the other day! Really enjoying it.

That's me above! I'm on Hopedale road heading towards Townline Road, on the way to Pekin. It sounds corny but I feel like I am reconnecting a little with the countryside rather than always driving past it at 40mph. It makes you feel a little more rooted in the place you live, I think, to know what it smells like and how cold it is and what it sounds like and feels like about you. And Illinois is wonderful in all respects I am pleased to report - except for the immediate area around one farm which, to be frank, reeks it up a treat.

Amy is doing good - her sickness was getting really nasty. I'd never seen someone try to repaint a major highway orally, but I can check that box now. Seriously, she's being extremely brave, and thankfully for the last 48 hours it's been a bit better. We're going to see the OB on Wednesday - pray for us that all is well.

Anyway, half a bag of cheese popcorn has made me rather thirsty. Hope you are all great, and speak soon.

Jim (and Amy!)