17 weeks, 5 days pregnant in St. Simons Island, Georgia

This is not to rub it in, but let me just start by telling you that, as I type this post, I am sitting on the back deck of a marshfront condo, in my happily-pregnant-but-this-still-fits two-piece bathing suit, inhaling the familiar scent of pluff mud and frying shrimp in the distance.

Say it with me now: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

This week has been a fantastic one so far, to say the least. I only worked two days this week (Monday and Tuesday) and then we took off for my parent’s lakehouse (on Lake Marion, near Manning, SC) on Tuesday night. It just cuts about three hours off our trip from Greenville, and it’s free, so we figured why not?

After a short stay overnight there, we got up and headed south to our destination: St. Simons Island, Georgia (hereafter referred to as “SSI”). We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast (not so coincidentally, the same CB we hit up almost four years ago on our way to our honeymoon, also in SSI). Nothing like a plate full of over-medium eggs, salted tomato slices, and hashbrown casserole to let you know you’re officially “on vacation!” Yum! After an easy two-and-a-half hour drive, we arrived on the island just in time for a late lunch. We went straight to our absolute favorite SSI haunt, Cafe 4th of May (also just calling “4th a’ May” by the locals here). After a light lunch, we were ready to go walk around the island a bit.

The great thing about SSI is that it’s a vacation spot, but it’s hardly a “tourist trap” the way that Myrtle Beach is. And I know a lot of people get all up in arms when I say that about the “Redneck Riviera,” but I was born and raised there, so I can talk about it however I like and you can just deal with. Anyhow, in Myrtle Beach, it often seems so overdeveloped and just…icky…as if every single toilet seat harbors a strong case of crabs. The locals seem to grin and bear it as they are increasingly shoved into box developments and poorly planned infrastructure, without even the slightest thought as to how local leaders and officials are going to continue keeping up the charade of calling that place “a family beach.” Can ya tell I’m not interested in moving back any time soon? Maybe Murrell’s Inlet or Pawley’s Island would be perfect for me, but no more Myrtle Beach, please. I mean…well, whatever, but Myrtle Beach has its place in the heirarchy of vacation destinations, and a “family beach” it ain’t. Sorry, Liz Gilland, Burroughs & Chapin, and and the rest of the whole MB motley crew, but that’s a load of horse crap disguised as cornbeef hash.

Again, sorry for the digression, but it’s my blog and that’s my hometown and screw it, I’ll say what I want. (sticks tongue out at computer screen, sips lemonade, and returns to train of thought)

To me and Jon, SSI really is a family-oriented, mostly untouched place. The “Village” area is a small couple of blocks of kitschy shops and quaint restaurants, with a large fishing pier at the end that is always crowded with old men and young children reeling in some sort of odd catch. It’s not uncommon to see a school of dolphins making their way by the pier that looks across the bay towards Jekyll Island, and there’s almost always a family of stingrays congregating under the pier to scavenge discarded bait shrimp. But aside from that, it’s mostly small, older neighborhoods, one tiny elementary school, and the rest is natural beaches and marshes. The place has some pretty rich history, and amazingly enough, they’ve managed to leave those parts – like the old Fort Frederica settlement and the Christ Church site – safely preserved but respected by the developments around them. They give the history some space to sink in and resonate from decade to decade, century to century. There’s something to be said for that. Something we can all learn from.

Anyhow, enough of my blathering about development and politics and pluff mud.

We scored a pretty good deal to come down here, too – under $500 for a 4 day/4 night stay at a really nice little condo on a wide-open, protected marsh? I’ll take it! It’s really not an expensive place to vacation, especially if you’re a more laidback sort like us. Most of our time here is just eating good food and doing active stuff to burn it off and…um…naps. An embarassing amount of naps. We also love SSI b/c it’s really easy to work off all that yummy food we’ve been eating – we walk A LOT while we’re here. It’s been a blessing that we decided to come down in early April, because the temps are perfect (low 70s to low 80s for daytime highs so far, mostly 60s at night). You can lay out without breaking a sweat, and an hour-long walk yields nothing but a lemonade craving and a slight farmer’s tan. Pretty good if you’re an already hot-natured preggo.

On Sunday, we’ll pack up and head out of here, with the knowledge that after almost four years of marriage and three trips down here, we’re leaving SSI for the last time as “just us two.” Next time we come back, which I suspect will be sometime in Fall 2011 or Spring 2012 (wow…2012…that’s crazy), we’ll have a little “tagalong” of our own. It’s pretty funny because this is the first week that I’ve had people offer unsolicited “Congratulations!” and “When are you due?” comments. I even got a “Oh ma GAWSH, her belly is soooooooooooo cuuuuuuuuuute!!” today from a very Southern local shop-owner in the village. All of this is starting to feel very real, especially with the knowledge that, on Monday morning, we’re probably going to get to see if this little person is going to be Wren Caroline Wilhoit, or Russell Clark Wilhoit. I cannot wait. 🙂

And a lot of baby developments are happening this week, too. The belly is, of course, growing – but the movements have REALLY taken off this week! I’m starting to actually notice patterns, but more than that, we’re getting a lot of new moves from our little gymnast: last night, I swore this kid did an entire somersault. One minute, I felt this huge lump on the lower side of my abdomen, just to the right of center (my right). Two seconds later, there was this big poke and then a long drag across and the lump moved to left side of my belly – I’m pretty sure his/her feet ended up under my bladder or something, because then I had to pee so bad I couldn’t stand it. Go figure (haha)! The baby dances around a lot when I eat something hot (he or she seems to really enjoy all the she crab soup I’ve been downing), and also seems most active when mommy is just about to fall asleep. Hopefully that’s not an omen for my future as a mom, but by now, I know better than to even hope for a good sleeper.

We’re just really having a good time lately. I know that pregnancy will get rougher at the later stages in August and early September, just before I’m due. But for now, I feel pretty good – both emotionally and physically. I have my weepy days, sure – and there are days that I wish I had a rubber band gun to pelt people who wander into my cube at work with really silly comments or requests. But I’m just a normal woman, going through a normal process, and so far I’ve been really blessed to have a very happy pregnancy. As the summer heats up, I know it’ll get a little bit more hairy, but here’s hoping I can deal with it. Remember, there was a time when I didn’t think all of this would come so soon or so easily…having that perspective has changed me as a mother-to-be. I can deal with being a little pissy and looking a little chunky for the next few months. I know it’s all worth it.

Until next time, peace & love! 🙂


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