Dec 22, 2011

2011 Year in Review

A wise man once used the following explanation to help me understand why the years seem to pass more quickly as we age:

A year seems like an eternity to a 3 year old because that year is 1/3 of that person’s entire life. One year is a much smaller portion of an 83 year old's life.

Makes sense to me! 2011 certainly went by in a blur. Here’s a look back at some of the events from our busy year. I’m sure I’ve missed some crucial moments so I apologize in advance.

January started on a chilly note. We experienced some wintery weather at the same time Auburn defeated Oregon in the BCS national championship game. Insert your "hell freezing over" jokes here, Bama fans. My parents, my sister and The Branches joined us to watch the game and celebrate. I still get goosebumps thinking about that night.

Later in January, I took Julie down to Montgomery to her first went to Montgomery to watch the Inauguration of newly elected State officials. My dad (below, pictured on the far left) was asked to take part in the swearing-in of family friend Kay Ivey to her position of Lieutenant Governor. He’s helped out in her previous 2 inaugurations when she was State Treasurer.

In February, I joined Covenant Presbyterian Church. Julie has been a member for several years and we were married there in 2009. My golf season officially kicked off with a round at Bent Brook Golf Club in Bessemer.

Julie continued her impressive blogging practice in March. She had lots of projects going on – from painting doors to framing a bathroom mirror to much more. Looking back, maybe all of this was just early “nesting” activity. On the golf front, I got to play at Grand National in Opelika for my only golf outing in March.

April was a monumental month for The Baggetts. As many people in Alabama were recovering from the April 27th tornadoes, Julie and I learned that we were going to be parents. Trying to determine the results of a pregnancy test by candlelight is not as romantic as you would think. But it is exciting! Julie and I also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary and I played two rounds at Highland Park Golf Course near downtown Birmingham in April.

May was packed with golf! Not only did I get to attend the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek Country Club, but I go to do so in style thanks to our good friend Emily Branch. I attended the Saturday round with Emily’s husband Clay and Julie joined us for the Sunday round. Emily hooked us up with tickets and very valuable transportation passes. I also got to play a round on the Ridge Course at Oxmoor Valley near Hoover and represented my employer in a credit union tourney at Highland Park. I won a closest-to-the-pin contest on a par 3!

I’m not sure why I waited until it was so hot but I finally did some much-needed yard work in June . I spent 6 hours taming a hedge in our back yard ("before" picture below). When I regained my strength, I enjoyed a round of golf at Timberline Golf Course in Calera. I registered for a drawing on their website and won a free round – which was great because I sure would have hated to pay for such a poor performance.

Julie and I joined her parents and sister in Destin for the July the 4th holiday weekend. I enjoyed playing a round of golf at Kelly Plantation with my father-in-law and I also squeezed in a round at the local par 3 course. It was a GREAT weekend! Later in July, I played another round at Oxmoor Valley’s Ridge course and at Highland Park.

I received a lot of help from my sister when it came time to paint the nursery in August. I would probably still be painting if it wasn’t for her! Julie and I had a fun “reveal” party with The Branches (below). It was exciting to learn that Emily and Julie were both having boys! I enjoyed my return to Farm Links in August but the trip was bit lacking in some areas. Plus, I got to celebrate my birthday in Camden!

While September marks the beginning of college football season for most people, this year it meant the beginning of baby classes for us. Julie and I did manage to attend the Auburn / Mississippi State game with her parents and we really enjoyed our visit from Anna Kathryn Talbott and her mom at the end of the month! AK is so much fun!

There were a lot more treats than tricks for us in October as baby shower season got underway. We had a great time visiting with friends and family in Atmore and they really went all out for us. I attended an Alumni Board meeting at Huntingdon College in Montgomery and we went to another Auburn game – this time, a win against Florida!

More baby showers in November, this time in the Birmingham area. I enjoyed 2 more rounds at Highland Park before Julie and I traveled to Auburn for Thanksgiving with her family. While there, I got to play a round of golf at the Auburn University Club with Clay Branch and his family. Julie wisely declined to join her family and me as we watched a helpless Auburn team get pounded by Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Yuck.

Unusually warm weather allowed for shorts at this year’s Bring Your Old Buddy golf tournament in December. Since then, Julie and I have been decorating for Christmas and playing the waiting game. The down time gave me a great opportunity to learn Julie's thoughts near the end of her pregnancy.

If you’re keeping score at home, I played more golf in 2011 than I did in 2010. I’ve been told by men and women, friends and family members that the number of rounds of golf I play in 2012 will definitely decrease. I don't agree with these people and I don't know why they would intentionally try to make me sad. We’ll have to wait and see if everyone is right. It’s been a great year and I know that 2012 will be even better with Graham! Thanks for reading and have a safe and merry Christmas!

Dec 16, 2011

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like American Horror Story. Since LOST ended, it’s been difficult to find a serious, make-you-think type of show to enjoy. American Horror Story comes close. This show packs a lot of mystery and leaves a lot of questions unanswered, much like LOST did. I like this show because it features a great cast and the writing is better than anything else I’ve come across lately. There’s part of me that tries to avoid becoming attached to a television series because of the way LOST burned me. But if the intrigue of Season 1 carries over to the next season, American Horror Story could become an all-time favorite. You can watch past episodes at the show’s official website but be warned: this program is not for kids. It’s actually alarming to realize how much non prime-time cable programs can get away with in terms of language.

This week, I love our Christmas tree lights. Julie did an amazing job with our tree (as usual). Even though I am a huge fan of big, colored lights, I have to admit that I enjoy watching TV in the dark with all of the lights in the room off except for the Christmas tree lights. The white lights that Julie prefers give off a nice glow. Julie even got a timer that the lights plug into so we don’t have to worry reach awkwardly over a bunch of presents to grab the plug!

This week, I don’t like the Michael Buble Christmas Special. Did anyone else see this train wreck? It aired on December 6th but Julie and I just got around to watching it this week. We’re big Bublebrains* but I knew this special was going to be bad the moment I realized he was going to put his own cutesy twist on all of my favorite Christmas songs. Listen Bubs, if you can’t sing The Christmas Song like old Nat, then don’t even try. Throughout the program, Michael was joined by a variety of singers, including Kelly Pickler and Justin Beiber. The sense of puzzlement felt while watching these odd duets was only topped by the awkwardness of the forced interviews that Michael conducted with random kids. Surely the comedy sketches filmed with Ed Helms would save the day, right? Wrong. I seriously expect future critics to point to this program as the worst attempt at entertainment to ever be seen on television. It reminded me of the time Michael hosted Saturday Night Live – he bombed that night too. Maybe he just doesn’t have the knack for variety shows. Oh man, just thinking about this show is giving me a headache. I bet this video of the BEST CHRISTMAS SONG EVER will help ease the pain.

* By the way, Bublebrains are the members of Michael Buble's official fan club.

Dec 6, 2011

Interview with Julie

If you’ve been keeping up with us lately, then you know that the arrival of our first baby is getting closer by the minute. Julie’s due date is December 28th but I’m willing to bet that Graham is born before then. As I’ve reflected on this time and taken in my last “pre-parenthood” moments, I thought it would be really neat to get Julie’s thoughts and post them on the blog so that we can look back one day and remember these frantic last days before our lives really changed.

I managed to get Julie to sit still long enough between periods of ongoing nesting and arranging Christmas decorations to answer some questions. Here’s what she had to say:

Can you describe what it’s like to be pregnant to someone that’s never been pregnant before?
“I really can’t. It’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a combination of anticipation and other crazy emotions. It’s hard to describe how it feels to bond to someone that you’ve never met but absolutely love.”

What’s been the most difficult adjustment to being pregnant?
“The daily bodily changes – from the growing stomach to the swelling ankles – have been difficult adjustments. Compensating for my belly in my daily movements has been a challenge too. I’ve managed to sleep well until recently. I can’t seem to get comfortable lately.”

What’s something that you’ve always heard about pregnancy that didn’t happen for you?
“I haven’t had many food cravings other than a short period early in my pregnancy in which I could not go without chili from Wendy’s. I haven’t really been sick (nauseous) at all. I have felt like my normal self up until my belly really expanded.”

What have you done to educate yourself throughout your pregnancy?
“I haven’t read many books other than an Academy of Pediatrics book and The Baby Whisperer. But I do have a pregnancy app on my iPhone that gives me daily and weekly updates about the baby. I’ve also asked my mother and my friends a lot of questions.”

Have you experienced any weird changes to your body during your pregnancy?
“I basically have a beard now. [It’s just some fuzz, folks – Nick] I 'crack' my neck a lot and my hips also crack when I stand up after sitting for a long time. My belly button protrudes and feels like it is being stretched to the max. The vitamins I am taking make my fingernails grow faster, and I think that my feet have gotten bigger – both longer and wider.”

Tell us about your baby’s name.
“I’ve liked the name ‘Graham’ for a very long time. It’s not a weird name but it’s not too common either. We wanted a family connection for his middle name so we decided to honor my mother-in-law by using her maiden name – McIntyre.

Tell us about Graham’s current schedule and movements.
“He is active in the morning from 9:30 until 10:30. He settles down until about 2:30 in the afternoon. He becomes very active around 9:30 pm and he moves throughout the night. His favorite move is to bury his right foot into my ribs as far as he can.”

Based on his schedule and his movements, do you think Graham will be more like you or more like your husband?
“He’ll definitely be more like you. I think he will be very tall and a night owl.”

What do you anticipate Graham’s arrival being like?
“It will be emotional. I don’t think there will be any complications with the actually delivery, but I know I will come completely undone when he is born. If there’s one thing in my life that I’ve always been sure of, it’s that I know I’ve always wanted to be a mom.”

What do you anticipate Graham’s first few days and weeks will be like?
“Stressful. Our time will probably be spent adjusting and figuring it all out. We’ll have to get him on a schedule. I know I’ll be worried about every little noise he makes and I’ll rush to his room every time I see him move on our video monitor.”

I’d like to thank Julie for taking the time to chat with me. And I thank Julie for being the best wife – I am so very fortunate. God has truly blessed me, and I cannot wait to be a parent with Julie. I love you Julie!