Tuesday, November 26, 2013

fool in love.

This is the time of year for thankfulness - and I suppose a post about all of which I am thankful would be appropriate. 

But this is instead an apology post - an enormous, "I'm sorry," and an admittance that "I have unfairly judged you, and I was wrong."

From my closest Facebook friends to bloggers I don't know but read regularly, I have been rolling my eyes at all of your nauseating "look at my cute kids!" behavior since I can remember.  I've scoffed at your willingness to abandon all civilized decorum and intelligent conversation in favor of complete goofiness and baby talk.  I've vowed that if ever I loved a child enough to thaw my cold, black heart, that I'd never become one of you. 

But now that I, as of a week ago, joined the ranks of crazy, psycho, completely obsessed aunts everywhere, I finally get where you have been coming from.

Now I understand why parents feel the need to update social media hourly with pictures and status updates highlighting every single accomplishment or movement their child makes. 

I understand that why after having 19 of them, the Duggars are still counting children.

I even understand why people steal babies  Wait. What? Just kidding on that - don't steal anyone's baby.  No matter how cute. 

But no doubt babies - especially nieces like mine - are the greatest things that ever happened.  Ever.

See what I mean?


I expected to love her - she's family; but I didn't expect to love her so much, so fast.  I also didn't expect when the time came to leave her, that it would physically hurt.  Maybe it was PMS, or that I was so overcome with joy over her arrival and watching my brother in his new role as a doting father, but I actually cried.  Like real tears. 

Unfortunately for me, but likely VERY fortunate for you, I live several hours and too many miles away from this little nugget, or else I might have to rename this blog, "The Gray Project."

Clearly I need to get a life, but if you have five minutes, you must watch this video I made to highlight her first week of awesomeness.

WARNING: You might die of cuteness overload and it will probably cause you to do the "ugly cry."

BabyGray from Stephanie Gallman on Vimeo.

The Gallmans have much to be thankful for this year.

Wishing all you turkeys a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

magnificent views.

What Mt. Rainier failed to give us in scenic views, Yakima Valley made up for.  Jacob and I headed there - the "Palm Springs of Washington" - to get a taste of Washington state's version of wine country. 


I knew from the online research we'd done before we got there that a Yakima wine tour wasn't going to be like the movie Sideways or at all like the few California wineries I'd been to.  To start, there weren't a lot of accommodations.  Or restaurants.   

Luckily Jacob found Candace - a nice, older hippie with a guest room (complete with a compost toilet) behind her garage she rents out through Airbnb.com.  When we got there and asked Candace where we could find somewhere to eat, she recommended a sports bar that was across the street from a Target, and our suspicions were confirmed: Yakima "wine country" is more like Yakima "farm country."  No fancy limo tours, no decked out tasting rooms - we instead sampled wines in winemakers' basements and garages. 


It was rustic, and not exactly the wine-tasting experience I'd hoped for - but that didn't stop us from eagerly sampling and eventually buying 10 bottles of wine from the wineries we visited.  Since we returned to Atlanta to enjoy our souvenirs, however, we've been less than impressed without purchases, asking each other more than once, "What were we thinking when we bought this?  Were we drunk?" 

We have to believe our taste buds were playing tricks on us, or we were caught up in a vacation moment, or, more simply, that it's quite difficult to look the actual farmer/winemaker in the face after he's given you a taste of his product and decline his offer to buy it. 

The wines aren't bad - most are just sweeter than we're used to, and not really our favorite.  It was part of the experience, but for our next wine tasting tour, we've vowed to be a bit more selective.  (The sparkling rose from Treveri Cellars is amazing, though - we're looking into buying a case.)  

But the views - especially from Candace's property - were magnificent, and they, along with a birthday dinner at Gasperetti's,  capped off an awesome week in the Pacific Northwest.


Speaking of magnificent views - check out this perfect little baby.  This is my niece, Katherine "Gray" - born Monday, November 19th at 5:55pm.  To say that I'm obsessed would be an understatement. 

 IMG_0369photo (2)

Much more on this nugget to come . . . Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

sunshine and rain.

Holy November.

I hate that I'm about to be one of these people who says things like, "Can you believe it's (blank)?" But seriously, Can you believe it's November? Can you believe Thanksgiving is two weeks away? Can you believe it's going to be Christmas soon? Can you believe it's almost 2014?

I really can't. There is so much going on.

Two of my friends Lauren and Trish have added babies (welcome Bain and Matthew) to the end of the year madness, and I’m also in the throes of helping plan another shower for a third baby due after the first of the year. New babies mean home visits (with homemade lasagna dinners) and hospital visits – good fun chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

Just when things had started to settle, and I was ready to throw all of my attention to Gallman Baby Watch 2013 (whose due date is TODAY), I found myself again last weekend driving back to South Carolina for a hospital visit of a much different variety.

This time for my dad who spent five nights to be treated for an irregular heartbeat. He’s fine – and “broke loose” (his words) from the hospital on Tuesday – but his stay has stirred up a lot of emotions in me I haven’t really known what to do with. I’ve been anxious and distracted and have had little desire to write.  And because sometimes the universe is cruel - not writing has led me to feel more anxious and distracted.


So, short story long - I'm baaaaaack to finally tell you about the end of my trip to Washington State. You know, that trip I took in SEPTEMBER?!

When we left Seattle, it looked like this:


(Side note: I've developed a "thing" for lighthouses lately.  I'm not sure why, but lighthouses and bridges light my amateur photographer fire.  Perhaps it's because where there are lighthouses and bridges, there is water.  And I love water.)

We congratulated ourselves before we left on our good luck/good planning that the day we were driving out of town for our hiking adventure to Mt. Rainier National Park was expected to be the best weather day of our trip.  Two and a half hours later, we arrived at Mt. Rainier prepared to bask in the glory of Washington's picturesque active volcano and the lush landscape that surrounds it. 


Instead, we saw this:


The rainy and cold weather created treacherous driving conditions that took years off of Jacob's life and he had a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel throughout the entirety of the drive.   

We managed to stop a few times to hike and see some cool stuff, but I can say confidently that despite having been to Mt. Rainier, I've never actually seen Mt. Rainier.  

I remained optimistic that the sun would eventually shine, and it did . . .and the pay off was lovely. 


A better, more profound and more creative writer than I might tell you how the less-than-desirable weather was merely a metaphor - they'd write that in order to truly appreciate the glory of the sun's glow, we must first drive through the rain.

But that would be disingenuous.

I don't need cloudy days and zero visibility to help me appreciate the sun - and I definitely don't need unexpected, scary trips to the hospital to remind me how precious life is. 

Because if it were up to me, all hospital visits would be to see new babies and all road trips to national parks would happen when the sun was out.

Here's to a weekend with a little more sunshine, a little less rain, and fingers crossed - Baby Gallman's arrival.  It's good to be back.