Everyday in Atlanta G-A

Andy, Amy and Ainsley in Atlanta

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Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

We love our little girl and now have another one coming soon! Stay tuned...


30 pounds later

Oh my gosh! Less than 3 weeks to go until baby Odle joins us. Boy or girl? That is the question. I've dreamt several times that it's a boy, as has Andy and I've been convinced this whole pregnancy that we're having a little man. But now as it gets closer I have no idea and I'm so curious to find out! Either Isaiah or Elizabeth will become part of our family sooner than later and we will most definitely keep you posted. As of last Thursday I'd gained 29 pounds and I can sure feel it in my joints, muscles, bones, etc. Overall I still feel great and am so thankful that this pregnancy has been a breeze. But of course I'm now not sleeping well at night and get a sore back, legs, etc. quite easily. However, as of last Wednesday I am officially on maternity leave so it's nice to have the ability to rest and put my feet up whenever I please. I do have a list of things I'm trying to get done in the next couple weeks too so I'm definitely keeping busy. If only I could always not work and get paid for it! That would be great! Also, since I last wrote about the pregnancy we've attended a couple of prenatal classes at the hospital which have been very informative and helpful. We've got 3 more to go to in the next week and a half or so. We've also been "showered" with more gifts for the baby. We feel so blessed by people over here. It has been very comforting considering we're so far away from family. I think that's about it for the updates at the moment. You may or may not hear from us before the baby arrives. Since my mom and Andy's parents will be here when the baby's due there will be plenty of people to pass on the information about how things go in hospital. The picture attached was taken yesterday. That's how I look with a bump that's 37 weeks along...big! :)


Just spent a week in Ireland......

......and we loved it! We flew over to Dublin on Thursday, June 7th with our friend Liam (he's from Ireland so we had our own personal tour guide). When we got there we rented (or "hired" as they say here) a car and drove all the way across the country (it took us about 3 hours...not a very big country) to the west coast of Ireland to set up camp for a few days in Castlebar, County Mayo where Liam is from. Most of his family and friends are there and he still owns a house there so we were able to stay at his house and use his sister's car. But, to start off the Irish experience we come back to the initial car rental story. So, we drive the car to the west coast and had arranged with the Budget Rent-A-Car people in Dublin to return the car at the Knock Airport once we got there around 10:30 or 11 pm. Well, we drove up to the entrance of the Knock (International, mind you) Airport and all gates were closed and locked and it was dark. The airport was shut down for the night. We thought, "Great, what do we do now?" So, we found a phone number on the Budget paperwork we filled out in Dublin but had no luck at that number. Where we drove up to there was a car rental return area for National, Avis and some other company but not Budget! Liam found a phone number on the door of that place and called it, getting some lady who said, "It's almost midnight, everything's closed. I'd recommend you just go to Castlebar to catch a sleep and bring the car back in the morning". Well, we weren't too keen on that idea since we were supposed to return it that night in order to not get charged extra. So, Liam tried the Dublin phone number again and got Michelle, the manager of Budget in Dublin on the phone. He told her the story and she said, "Oh, you shouldn't be having a problem, customers have been dropping cars off there after hours for years. You just give the keys to the night watchman in the hut by the front gate." Well, imagine us all looking around wondering what she was talking about, because there's no night watchman or a hut anywhere! Thanks for the help Michelle! We then found a number to the Knock Airport so Liam called and got no answer. He tried again a few minutes later and finally a man answered. So, Liam tells him the story that we're trying to return this car and that Michelle in Dublin said to give the keys to the night watchman. He says, "We've not had a night watchman here for 2 years! I'll tell you what, ya see the yellow box through the front gate there? Just 'fire' the keys over the gate toward the yellow box and around 2am (it's midnight at this point) I'll come out and collect them and return them to the Budget desk here for you." So we're just supposed to park the car outside the front gate, "fire" the keys over the gate and hope that our car is returned safely the next day. We had no other choice so that's what we did. We documented the "firing" with pictures just in case. The picture above is of Liam holding the keys through the gate before we let them go for good. We never heard from Budget and when looking at our credit card statement we only got charged what we were supposed to so it all turned out okay but I'll tell you, we were a bit nervous about this whole return experience. Welcome to Ireland! The next day, Friday, we drove out to Achill Island which was so beautiful. "Next parish America" is what they say about that place because apparently if you were able to keep going on the road we were on you would eventually end up in America. We went for a walk on the beach then had some afternoon tea, coffee and scones at a Bed 'n' Breakfast place there. The whole day was lovely. If you didn't know you were in Ireland you would have thought you were in Hawaii when walking on that beach. There were huge cliffs, soft white sand and bright blue water. It was very picturesque. We really lucked out with our weather too. It was 75 and sunny all but our last 2 days in Ireland. Saturday we drove with Liam's friend Fiona down to Westport which is a coastal town, very cute, and then out to Croagh Patrick which is a Holy Mountain. That mountain is where St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland back in the day so it has become a pilgrimage sight. There's a church on top and people come from all over to hike to it, especially on St. Patrick's Day. We didn't make the trek (that would've been pretty impressive considering the state I'm in) but we did climb a short way to the statue of St. Patrick at the base of the mountain to get some pictures. (For our Protestant friends...you can get an indulgence for making the trek and saying particular prayers for the Pope at the church on top.) There's also the National Famine Memorial across the road that commemorates the thousands that died during the potato famine. Then, of course, at the base of the mountain there's also a pub. Now, this was a good 'ol traditional Irish pub. Andy had his first real pint of Guinness there (you haven't had a Guinness until you've had one in the motherland). That's where the great picture of Andy and Liam holding up their pints was taken. Sunday we went to Mass at Liam's home church then drove out to Knock. Knock is one of the churches official apparition pilgrimage sight. (The vision has been re-created by eye-witness accounts as you can see in the picture.) A Basilica has been built there, Pope John Paul II said Mass there, and quite an industry has been built around this sight. People make pilgrimage there from all around the world. On our way back to Castlebar we stopped at Ballintubber Abbey which is a ruined Abbey connected to a restored church. That was neat and, a little bit of pop trivia for you, the church is where Pearce Brosnan got married a few years ago. Monday we drove down south a little ways to Galway. We had lunch and walked around a bit looking at different cathedrals, buildings, historical sights, etc. That was a neat town too. Now some general American trivia for you, John F. Kennedy visited there during his presidency (a memorial is built for him in the Galway Cathedral) as well as Bill Clinton during his presidency. Each night we were in Castlebar we did something with someone in Liam's family. We met and spent a bit of time with his parents, two of his brothers (the 3rd one lives in the States) and his sister. What a sweet family! We also met a couple of his friends. We loved it and had a great time. Tuesday we drove back to Dublin where we stayed for 2 nights until we came back to Aberdeen on Thursday, June 14th. Dublin is a great city! We took the "hop on, hop off" sightseeing bus tour which was very informative and allowed us to get around to more places since I'm moving a bit slower these days. We visited the two Cathedrals and the pro-Cathedral, Trinity College, the Temple Bar area, and the many historical sights in the city. We did go to the Guinness Factory, but unfortunately we didn't go on the tour, or go into the "Old Library" at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells (both "must sees" when you're in Dublin) due to lack of funds, if you know what I mean, but we still loved everything we did see and our time there. I'm sure there is plenty we have forgotten to tell you about but you get the picture, and when we come back in November/December to visit you can see all the pictures. Liam was a wonderful host and tour guide, nothing like seeing a country with a native.


It's Already June?

Hi everyone. It's been awhile since I last wrote so I thought I'd give an update. A lot has been going on since April. I've had 2 baby showers, we had visitors for 2 weeks straight, I've still been working full time, my belly has grown a lot, I've been to the midwife twice (with another appointment this Wednesday), received a couple unexpected Mother's Day cards and phone calls, the baby kicks all the time and so on......
So, I was thinking to myself that I probably wouldn't get to have any baby showers because people over here don't do that. Plus, it's not the same as being at home where you have family and best friends to throw them for you (thankfully I had one in January when we were home...you've already read about that). I was a little disappointed thinking about it but it was fine. Then, my friend Kelli offered to throw me a baby shower over here. It was on May 5th and there were about 11 women there (all but 1 was American). It was nice and we got really practical gifts like nappies (diapers to all you North American folk), wipes, baby shampoo and lotion as well as a giftcard to Mothercare, a couple wee sweaters and some onesies (they call those baby grows over here) and other odds and ends.
On May 11th our friends Mike and Meghan came to visit us. They were actually doing a mini European tour and made sure that we were included in that tour. They stayed until the 14th so during those couple days we showed them around Aberdeen and took them to Edinburgh, Stirling and St. Andrews. It was fun taking them all 3 places but we loved taking them to St. Andrews because Mike is a huge golf fan and was most excited about seeing the Old Course. I think the only thing that could have made it better was if he got to actually play a round while he was there. Andy and I have been to St. Andrews several times but there has always been people playing so we've only looked at the course from the sidelines. But, we found out this time that the course is closed on Sundays and since that's when we were there we were able to walk on the course and, the highlight, get our pictures taken on the famous bridge leading to the 18th green. The weekend went by fast but it was really fun hanging out with Meg again (we lived together in college for 3 years) and getting to know Mike better.

Then, on May 15th Jeff and Sarah flew into the Aberdeen airport to stay with us for 12 days. Of course that went by way too fast as well. We can't believe they've already come and gone. We did a similar weekend tour with them where we went to Edinburgh, Stirling and St. Andrews but we added on to that Inverness as well. Even though Andy and I had just been to most of those places the weekend before we still loved it. These are all our favorite main places to see in Scotland. Also, we are fortunate enough to have a good friend, Marty (pictured with us just below), that lives in Edinburgh so we always have a place to stay when we head down there. I also forgot to mention that I had that first week Jeff and Sarah were here off from work which was so nice. The second week, however, I had to work every day. Most of the days I was working Andy took them around Aberdeen and one or two of the days they went off and explored on their own. Most nights we had different friends over for dinner so Jeff and Sarah could meet the people we hang out with most. We also took them to eat at our favorite pub, talked about being pregnant and becoming parents (Sarah's pregnant too), ate fish 'n' chips from the chippie around the corner, took them to our church both Sundays they were here and Sarah and I got pedicures. It was just fun to hang out together again. We miss living so close to such good friends.

One of the nights when Jeff and Sarah were here I had a store meeting I had to go to (or so I thought). I don't have any pictures from that one though. Andy, Jeff and Sarah walked with me down to the store and were going to eat somewhere while I was there. So, I went in and was sitting there with everyone when a couple of the people I work with came around the corner with gifts in their hands saying, "well, we were going to have a store meeting but we decided to have a baby shower instead". Then they went and opened the front door so Andy, Jeff and Sarah could all come in and join us too. They all knew the whole time that it wasn't a store meeting! Now, I'm not sure if you caught this a couple paragraphs ago when I said it but, they don't do baby showers over here. A lot of people don't even know what that is. So, you can guess I was pretty shocked. It was so thoughtful and really meant a lot to me. Of course I cried. I opened the gifts and then we all ate pizza and hung out for a little bit. My co-workers got us a basket which was full of a 13-piece set of onesies, outfits, a blanket, stuffed animal, booties, hats, etc. Also, a Disney cosy play gym which I'm sure the baby will love. And something I love...a gift certificate to a spa here in town for me to get a "Mum-to-be treat". It's like an hour and a half of pampering for expectant women. I can't wait! Also, they had a bunch of customers sign a card for us and two of the regular customers even gave us some money! I was blown away with how kind that was. What a great surprise!
The last appointment with the midwife was a couple of weeks ago at 31 weeks (the picture to the right is of me is at 33 weeks).We heard the heartbeat again and she was able to feel the position of the baby. It was head down then but apparently still has quite a bit of room to move. At 36 weeks is when the baby's position stabilizes so that's when we hope it's head down. I'll keep you posted. Everything was fine at that appointment. I'm healthy, baby's healthy and my stomach measurement is spot on where it should be. At that point I had gained a total of 20 pounds. At 22 weeks I had only gained 4 pounds which means that in 9 weeks I gained 16 pounds! I'm not getting any smaller, I can tell you that much. I know the baby's not either because it's kicks are much more forceful now and I can feel it move more often. We have our 34 week appointment this Wednesday, June 6th. I will be getting a "fit to fly" certificate in order to fly to Ireland on Thursday where we'll be spending a week seeing the country with our friend Liam who's from there. If I don't have this "fit to fly" certificate, which has to be issued by your doctor or midwife, with me then I won't be allowed on the plane. This Monday we start some classes which the hospital puts on. It'll be over the course of the next few weeks and covers birthing, pain relief, a tour of the hospital, parenthood, breastfeeding and I'm not sure what else. I'm looking forward to learning some things because at the moment I'm getting a bit nervous about all that stuff. Although I'm feeling uncomfortable at times now, especially when the baby decides to bounce on my bladder or kick my ribs, I'm still not quite ready for this baby to come. I'm sure I will be in 6 weeks time but for now I can wait.
Well, I'm hungry. What's new? So, I'm off to eat dinner (Andy put in a pizza...yummy) but will write again soon.