Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Obligatory New Years Post

I really hate this holiday. Have I mentioned this before? Probably the last two New Years. Although, I do remember having fun the past two years doing murder mysteries with Rob's fam. We're waiting right now for some of them to come over, and to have a low-key (but loud) night with the fam, playing games, eating snacks, and whatever. I actually think it will be kinda fun. But I'm also exhausted and feeling tired and pregnant and like it's been a long week. If I can forget that it's the holiday I most despise.

Anyone doing anything creative or fun? Or making resolutions? I'm not big into the resolutions, but I do like beginnings and fresh starts, so will probably being changing some things or making new plans pretty soon here. Rob's Dad gives out a great goals sheet every year about this time, and maybe tomorrow when I'm not feeling so anti-resolutions, I'll post it on here.

Hope you're all having a happy New Years!

Better Get on That Potty

So...for the past several days, Sawyer has been telling us BEFORE he goes poopy, not just after. I am in serious need of some time to read through potty training stuff! Eek. I guess I'll add this to the list of things to do before baby...

Growth!

I've noticed lately that Sawyer is taller, mostly because he is reaching things on countertops and tables that he couldn't before. He is almost to the point that he can open doors now, which is freaking me out. He can reach the knob and turn it just a bit, but so far not quite enough to open them. Yikes! Yesterday he was standing on the scale in our bathroom, and he's 25 pounds! Which is fantastic since he'd been 22 pounds forever. And my scale tends to be a little low, though I don't believe that when it comes to MY weight. Then it's high. In any case, yay for my growing little guy!

Natural Birth...in Nature

Here's another fun Christmas birth story. A woman in Allen, Texas gave birth Christmas Day on the porch outside of a birthing center. She and her husband planned a birth at the center with a midwife and doula, but when she went into labor on Christmas Day, a comedy of errors ensued. Her husband gave a wrong estimate to the midwives of when they'd arrive, so the center was locked. When the midwife and doula arrived to open the building, they couldn't turn off the screaming alarm in the center. And then the baby decided it was time. You can't really argue when the baby decides to come out, so this baby was born on the front porch. Crazy! Here's a link if you want to read the whole article.

Talk about the Pressures of Motherhood...

An English woman took the idea of being the perfect mom to a whole new level on Christmas. She labored at home while fixing Christmas dinner, went to the hospital to deliver, and less than an HOUR later was home eating the Christmas meal. On the surface, that may look like a case of someone trying a little too hard, but she said the real reason was that she was starving. I can relate to that! Click here to read the full story.

The Beast Does Yoga

Yesterday, the Beast just about burst out of the front of my body. S/he was doing what I can only describe as the splits. There was suddenly intense pressure like little feet pressing outward with great force on both the left and right sides of my stomach. Painful to the point where I was giving the Beast a talking to and trying to shove those little limbs back into a comfortable place. If only s/he weren't posterior, I would have tried a first spanking. But alas, the butt is right now at my back. This baby is definitely ready for some more space!

Things to Do Before Baby

As the weeks fly by and I approach the safety date of any-day-now, I'm realizing how much I want to do before baby comes. Admittedly, some of it's more mental preparation, but still. I am very much one of those people that if I don't prepare way ahead of time, I feel stressed out toward the end and it doesn't get done. In college, I realized that if I wrote papers and finished them 24-hours in advance, they were well-thought-out and good and I had that last day to look over it, if I wanted. If I waited til the last day and wrote all night, I could still pull off a paper that worked, but it was a mess and it would take me probably double the time because my brain was all frazzled. So I better get on this stuff NOW.

-Re-visit my birth plan and figure out who I want at my birth.
-Pack a hospital bag, just in case. (A huge mistake last time!)
-Finish writing out notes to myself for labor.
-Write out verses to read in labor.
-Finish the nursery and Sawyer's big boy room.
-Get the birth kit and necessary supplies.
-Buy diapers and a few newborn outfits (in case what we had for Saw doesn't work).
-Arrange a phone or contact list.
-Enlist someone to take care of blog and facebook updates during labor.
-Finish that dang novel.
-Take our bed off the frame. (It's way too high and I had a hard time getting in and out last time with baby.)
-Clean and organize clutter in the house.
-Get out the newborn things of Sawyer's that I've packed away.
-Enjoy every moment that I have with our little family right now before it grows.

That's a long list, but not overwhelming. I'm going to try and do as much as possible in the next month so that the four weeks before baby aren't stressful or preparatory, but just time with the fam and getting mentally and emotionally prepared for the Beast's debut. What a wild time! I definitely feel like I'm in countdown mode.

Holiday Schedules

It's funny how we all adapt to the holidays and company around here. It's currently almost 9am and I'm the only one up in my house. Sawyer is sleeping 12 hours a night, just about, and then napping for 2-3 hours. It's just that the times are weird, since we keep having events that keep us out or up later than he'd usually be, then he sleeps in to recover, and then his nap schedule is late, so we end up being on this crazy time frame. He doesn't seem to mind. Neither do I, really--he's gotten some fun adult hang out time the last few nights when all the girls came over on Tuesday and then all the guys came over on Wednesday. Since he thinks he's old, chilling with the adults is no biggie to him.

I was reading this morning in the gospels and I keep finding places where it says that Jesus withdrew to desolate places. Sometimes it was to pray, and sometimes to mourn, like when John the Baptist died. He never got much time there, as the crowds and his disciples and the ministry always found him, but I love that he did it. We have had a great time with all the family and company and big get-togethers, but I'm ready for my own desolate place, and have enjoyed getting up a bit before people most mornings to have a desolate place at the kitchen table with coffee. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday Confession, One Day Late As Usual

I love cooking, but otherwise really stink at housework. Laundry sits in the dryer (or washer) sometimes for days, and once out, never gets put away, then gets thrown back in the wash because it's been in the floor forever. The last time I mopped the floor was...um, did I ever mop? Probably not. I like to think that I make up for it with good food, but it's still pretty embarrassing. I know I can't be supermom and try not to feel pressured to do that, so the house is what suffers. On the plus side, dust bunnies really love me.

Big Boys and Little Faces

Sawyer has been increasingly tired of the high chair. After all, he's a big boy. This morning he sat at the big table in our kitchen and shared some cereal with Rob while playing with his trucks. He also paused for a photo op for mommy. I'm glad he still remembers how to make his Face.

Midwife Visit, 32 Weeks

I didn't have a very eventful visit this week, other than Sandi coming with me, which was fun. Everything seems normal and good, other than baby being posterior right now. There's still loads of time to turn, but I know that baby has been very comfortable in that position because it's been the same for quite some time--little feet and knees in the same place. Cathy suggested spending time each day on my hands and knees, which is a position that helps baby turn, and said that I should be careful to recline about never and lean forward as much as possible. Turn, baby, turn!

The reality of how close we are is setting in! Aaaah! We're going to have a baby! I'm super excited.

We're Having a Girl!

At least according to Sawyer. I was telling him today about the baby, which I do often despite his lack of real understanding, and when I asked him if we were going to have a girl baby or a boy baby, he said, "Girl." I asked him again and he nodded firmly. "Girl," he says. My friend Ginny also had a dream that we were having a girl, so I guess that settles it.

So why do I still feel like we're having a boy?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Too Much of Ourselves

Rob gets a magazine through work at church called Christianity Today. I usually flip through when it comes in, but for the most part, it's just kind of an okay christian magazine. There was an article this month that had a few really great things to say regarding the idea of christian parenting. Rob and I are always in talks trying to figure out how our faith in God plays out in the day to day and in the long term with Sawyer and our growing family. We're definitely figuring it out as we go, making lots of mistakes along the way. One thing that's always struck me is how hard the christian community can be in regards to how kids grow up. I've seen and heard comments about how if parents are doing it right, their children will grow up in the faith. And if the kids go astray along the way, it must have been something the parents did or didn't do.

In any case, here's an excerpt from the article that really resonated with me:
...There is serious error in our beliefs about parenting. We have made far too much of ourselves and far too little of God, reflecting our sinful bent to see ourselves as more essential and in control than we actually are. It's also our heritage as good Americans...We believe we can fix every problem, that we are masters over our fate....We are so focused on ourselves--on our own need for success and the success of our children--that we have come to view parenting as a performance or a test.

The article goes on to talk about how God's greatest requirement of us is faithfulness. Someone told me in high school that God calls us to faithfulness (or obedience), not results. Meaning that we are called to obey, but that there is much that God is responsible for, not us. We don't know what he'll do with our faithfulness--we don't know what he'll do with our children, even if we succeed at being as faithful as we can. The article talks about how if we grade on a curve, we'll fail compared to others, and if we grade on an absolute scale, we fail even more miserably. Which brings us to the crux of Christianity--the need for a savior.

It was very freeing to read this, and I'll close with this quote that sums it all up to me: We will parent imperfectly, our children will make their own choices, and God will mysteriously and wondrously use it all to advance his kingdom.




The Black O Christmas

Today we celebrated Christmas with Rob's family, and what a wonderful and chaotic day! There are 13 grandkids now, and it's fun to be able to let Sawyer play and know that the older kids are old enough to actually make sure he doesn't ride his bike out into the street or into the fishpond. We did our gift exchange, ate dinner, watched the Aggie game, and generally had a rollicking good time. I like continuing the Christmas celebration on past Christmas! Helps perk up some of those post-Christmas blues...

Saw jumping on the bed with Colin and Kevin.
Tex decided to make Sandi his new seat. Sergio slept through it.
The kids out by the gum tree, a long-held tradition.
The kiddos all together. No one is crying!
Buck and Lynn (aka Boppy and Mimi) with all of their grandkids, even Tex.

A Little Parrot

The latest thing I'm noticing about Sawyer these days is his chattering. He is now picking up new words every hour, it seems, and whenever he hears a word he hasn't heard before, he tries it. Very adorable! Bicycle is his new favorite, and a long one, but today he also said things like "cousins" and "zipper." Rob and I always try to talk to him a lot, so it's fun to hear our words coming back to us in that cute little voice. We argue about whether or not he has a lisp, because while it doesn't sound (to me) like he's lisping, his tongue is definitely between his teeth instead of behind them when he said words with the sss sound. (Look in the mirror when you say something like "yes" to see how your tongue looks when you say it.) We'll see how his speech goes, but it's fun to have all these new words!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saw's New Favorite Three Syllable (!!) Word

Bicycle. By-si-cuhl. It's super cute and very clear, and three distinct and sloooow syllables.

A-dor-able. Oh, wait, that's four syllables...

Post-Christmas Blues

Every year, on the few days following Christmas, I feel this sort of intense disappointment. It's strange--like we've been preparing for weeks (or months, if you're the commercial stores) for this event, and then...it's over. I'd like to propose a slow dismantling of the holiday rather than an abrupt end, since there is such a long build-up. I guess there kind of is: people leave up their lights and often play Christmas music or do festive things til New Years. It's just hard to gear up, gear up, gear up, and then WHAM! It's over.

My family left. My house is a complete disaster zone. There is wrapping paper everywhere, and way too much chocolate. We still have Rob's family gift exchange tomorrow, so that will be really a fun time. But man, there's just something so empty about the days after Christmas.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My #2 Obsession

No, I don't mean my second obsession, I mean my one big obsession for baby #2. At least in the want-to-have category. For the most part, I don't think we need anything. Unless we have a girl and then we'll need some clothes, but we'll deal with that as it comes. This stroller, however, is the coolest thing ever, and I am a little too excited about it. It's the Kolcraft Contours Tandem stroller and has the coolest features ever, including the ability to switch the two seats so that the kids can sit facing different directions. You can go here and watch the neat videos about its different features, if you want to get as excited as I am. I definitely plan to use my sling the majority of the time, but this would be great for long walks and other outings. This will probably be the one thing that we do buy, and I can't wait to play with all the fun features.

Choice Christmas Photos

These are in no order and basically are just a smattering of our fun Christmas together with my fam and Rob's. Yay for family fun on Christmas!











Who Wore It Better?

Christmas Eve, Sawyer and cousin Braden showed up in matching outfits. I guess even when you're a little boy, showing up to an event in the same thing is a no-no. They definitely were not happy about it...

Texas Garage Sales Are Weird

So, this morning we had a garage sale. Yes, I know it's the day after Christmas. And it also happened to be like 30 degrees. Rob and his dad are planning to finish off our garage "bonus room" before the new year and the plan was to get rid of things. How well did the plan work? Funny you should ask.

In Va, these are called Yard Sales, and generally they take months of planning and preparation and a bunch of people all coming in together. You don't have them often, and they are a Big Deal. In Texas, people (literally sometimes) open their garages, drag some stuff out in the driveway, and plunk a sign in the yard. People just drive around looking for them, and stop to buy stuff. What I learned today, is that the stuff they buy is strange. As in, I had a few items that were bigger ticket--not that I was selling them for a ton, but they are actually worth something. A car seat and base, for example. A nice baby swing. An almost-new exersaucer. And yet, those are still in my garage while things like those old cookbooks and the ugly wall hangings I found and that ice scooper all sold. My theory is that if you say something is a dollar, anyone will buy it. I'm kind of like that, I guess.

I can't say it was a waste of time, as I have money I didn't have, and at least the junk from our bonus room is somewhat organized. But I still have enough for another garage sale. And the box of junk that was so junky I wrote "free" on the box and left it at the curb is GONE. They're like vultures, these people. Circling the neighborhoods looking for things to take. And poop--I just remembered that I forgot to sell the glass table from the backyard that I picked up for free on someone else's curb...

Anyone up for another garage sale next Saturday??

Friday, December 25, 2009

Reflections on Christmas

Genesis 3:21- And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skin and clothed them.

Luke 2:10-11- And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

John 19:30- When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Romans 5:6-8- For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

These four verses bring Christmas full circle to me. Christmas celebrates the entrance of Jesus into the world, God made flesh among us. But the story begins in Genesis, when God created the world, and it was good. Because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, man became sinful and separated from the holy creator God. I chose the verse I did in Genesis because it demonstrates God's love and symbolizes what He plans for us in Christ--he clothed Adam and Eve. They had made garments from leaves, ashamed of their nakedness after they sinned, but God's covering for them required death, for he clothed them in animal skins. In the same way, he clothes us in Christ, who died to be our covering. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

The second verse is a typical Christmas verse as the angel proclaims God coming into the world as a baby. The most amazing mystery: fully God and fully man. This is truly news of a great joy for all people! The joy culminates in the cross, which seems like a strange place for joy to culminate. At the time, it didn't seem like joy at all, this death. Only with the resurrection of Christ did God reveal the full plan he had set in place from the beginning. As he physically clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins, through our faith in Christ he clothes us in a spiritual sense, covering not our nakedness, but our sin and need. He completes us by placing on us Christ's righteousness in the same way our sin was placed on Christ on the cross. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. When we admit our sin and need, believe in Christ, and call on the name of Jesus, that transfer takes place: our sin for his righteousness. Hardly a fair trade.

The good news and joy of Christmas is made complete in the whole story: from creation God has shown his love for us and pursued us, despite our every effort to run away. That is the joy we're celebrating at Christmas--the arrival of Jesus in the flesh, God made man to take away our sin and restore our relationship with God. A celebration indeed! Merry Christmas.

Advent Readings: Days 23-25

Better late than never?

December 23 THE TENDER MERCY OF GOD Luke 1:39-80

December 24 SAVIOR FROM SIN Matthew 1:18-25, WORD MADE FLESH John 1:1-14

December 25 THE BIRTH OF JESUS Luke 2:1-20, Matthew 2:1-12

Merry Christmas!

Here's our merriest Christmas picture from this year! Hope everyone had a great day!

I Got Computer Issues for Christmas

I have great photos and verses and thoughts to post, but instead my computer is freaking out and won't let me sign into blogger. Yay! I'm back on our snail computer, and hopefully will figure out these issues with the new mac (which appeared overnight from Santa) so I can post my photos! Bear with me and Merry Christmas! Hope you got something better than I did...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Icing?"

After Sawyer had his one cookie that I allowed, he realized that he could sit at the table and clean up our icing spills, and it was almost as good. He gets his sweet tooth from my side of the family. :)


T-Minus Two Months!

It just hit me today, really hit me. I'M GOING TO HAVE A BABY!! I've known this all along of course, and believed it or disbelieved it in varying degrees, but I just realized how close we're coming. In four weeks, I'd be cleared for a home birth. FOUR. Not that I'm going to have the baby in four weeks, but the reality that I COULD freaked me out. Yes, I'm ready to have my body back to myself. But no, I'm really not ready yet for labor OR for the new addition to our fam.

It makes me want to hug Sawyer tighter to me, knowing that we're approaching the end of an era. Rob and I talked the other night about what we're excited and freaked out about, and I am most freaked out about the adjustment for Sawyer. We've had 19 months of pouring out all of our parental love and focus solely on him. And suddenly, in the moment that the Beast shows his or her head (and rest of body), we will be parents playing man-to-man, as Rob says. It's been 2 on 1 so far and I know that he is secure in our love. We've all established our relationships and our patterns and our routines and our comfort zones. Which will all be changed, subtly and not-so-subtly with the arrival of a new family member.

It's too late to turn back! Not that I want to, but at this point in pregnancy, I felt last time and feel now the headlong rushing toward the end. (Yes, some things seem to drag, such as my giant pregnant body..) I'm struck again by how strange the time passes in pregnancy--it takes almost a full year to grow the little one, and it feels both like forever and a moment.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finding That Perfect Moniker

Picking out names is tough! We learned last time that we didn't always like sharing our names, because that meant other people sharing their opinions about our names. So this time we've been a little more secretive, other than the name that we will most likely use for a boy, Lincoln.

The reason we've been open about that one is because the first time around, we had two favorite boy names, Lincoln and Sawyer. Sawyer was my favorite, and Lincoln was Rob's, but the other two were our seconds. We were most likely going with Lincoln (because I was really pulling for my #1 girl name over his), but decided to wait and see the baby first. I didn't really think that it would make a difference, but honestly, when I saw Sawyer, he LOOKED like a Sawyer. I didn't say that because I figured I thought that since that was my top name. But when Rob agreed that he was definitely a Sawyer, it meant his #1 name got shelved. This time around, barring some weird situation, we're going with Lincoln. Our girl name is going to stay secret...though I'm not sure we actually have a favorite yet.

I came across The Baby Wizard today, which has all kinds of fun articles and name lists, as well as an advanced baby name search, where you can be as specific as choosing the number of syllables or what the name starts or ends with. I still also like Nymbler, which is a name generator that predicts names you might like based on names you already like. I have a feeling our names will continue to change over the years, so it's definitely fun to build up a list!

Okay, I'm Sold

I wrote a few weeks ago about my frustrations with pantyhose and undergarments in general while pregnant. I'd bought a pair of Assets Marvelous Mama pantyhose out of sheer desperation, but never thought I'd pay $16-18 for pantyhose. Turns out that I love them. Perfect fit, super comfortable, and really made me feel a little more confident in a short dress. They're not uncomfortable or restrictive like control top, but they do smooth and shape. These days, pulling off anything short is iffy, so that was a big bonus for me.

I recently got the chance to try their tights as well, and would highly recommend both. If you're a klutz like me, you will want the tights, since I regrettably put my whole hand through the pantyhose leg, leaving a gaping hole. Nice! But that's me and the reality of pantyhose, not reflective of their quality. I think the tights will have a longer shelf life for me since they're thicker, and I will definitely get my wear out of them. I still plan to wear the hose with the hole as well, just probably under pants if I feel I need some smoothing and shaping. And warmth if it's cold. So if you're pregnant and looking for some great support, smoothing, and something to hide those lovely legs, try the Marvelous Mama line from Sara Blakely!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Confession: On Tuesday!

I remembered today! Yippee. So, what should I confess today? I feel like I have a lot, actually. Where to begin? Let's give you a few. Maybe these will help you through your days somehow.

-I have not gotten real gifts for anyone. A few small things, yes, but nothing significant. And I have no ideas. (Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, please feel free to return whatever you got for me! I'm pretty sure I don't deserve it.)

-I have already gained the "normal" amount of pregnancy weight. With two months left. Less than last time...but man. I'm good at this weight gain thing.

-I almost broke down in tears today in HEB for no reason that I can discern other than pregnancy hormones.

-I almost gave someone the finger while driving on I-10 yesterday. I swear, it was like a reflex, and I caught it just in time. (For the record, someone passed me on the SHOULDER of the highway and then got in front of me and braked to a stop. )

-I still hate monkeys.

Wow--I had a lot to get off my chest today. Thanks for letting me (over)share.

Fun Fam

Here are a few photos from what we've been up to this week. Geoff and Dad went to see the San Jacinto monument today, while Mom and I went to the zoo, but of course the only pictures I have are just from home. Here's Geoff in his unabomber hoodie with Tex.You know the 'rents are here when Saw is decked out in Mom's shoes and Richmond Spider colors!
The infamous finger of Geoff. No, not that finger. The no-no finger.

Just Like a Dog

I think it was actually one of our old cats that would drink straight from the faucet. Tonight Sawyer decided he was too thirsty to wait for his cup. And why not? I mean, he's already wet. The water's there. He's really quite the innovator. Cut out the middle man (er, Mom) and go straight to the source.

A Well-Placed Grocery Cart

Mom got Sawyer this great gift today, inspired by our time in the reptile house at the zoo when he pushed his stroller right past the gators and iguanas and pythons, shouting, "Shpping! SHOPPING!" He loved it. So much that he couldn't find the time to put on a diaper after his bath. Cuteness!

Advent Reading: Day 22

It's almost over! I just realized this. I mean, duh. But I just wasn't thinking about it too hard. I feel like I start thinking about Christmas early on, and then suddenly it sneaks up on me anyway. (Especially in the gifts department. Ahem. Not that it's about the gifts, but I probably should get something for my husband and parents...) Just a few more days, people!

December 22 SON OF THE MOST HIGH Luke 1:5-38

What I Wish Someone Would Invent for Me

What I could really use right now is something like a lift or electronic panel thingy that would go underneath me in bed and give me a boost to get out. Going to the bathroom two and three times a night is beginning to involve a lot of groaning and heaving. So, if someone wants to get on that, I'd be very appreciative...

I'm So Vein(y)

The other day, while getting dressed in the bathroom, I noticed another change in that morphing pregnancy body of mine. Tons of giant blue veins are now visible in my belly. They're not varicose or anything that's permanent, and I vaguely remember this from last time, but it still creeped me out. I look like some kind of science experiment gone wrong or something. I know it's not abnormal, and that my blood volume has increased, but I don't like looking (and feeling) kind of like an alien. Again, looking forward to the day when baby is ready so I can have my body back...

Trumps Giving Birth on a Plane

Giving birth on a plane is wild. Giving birth on a helicopter?? I don't even know what to say about that. But it happened. Click here to read more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent Readings: Days 20 & 21

December 20 KING ON A DONKEY AND PIERCED FIRSTBORN Zechariah 9:9-10, Zechariah 12:10-13:1

December 21 COVENANT MESSENGER AND SON OF RIGHTEOUSNESS Malachi 3:1-4, Malachi 4:1-6

Restless Sleeper

Oh, man. Somehow over the course of yesterday, Sawyer went from being perfectly fine to hacking coughs. His nap was interrupted by said coughs, and he had a pretty grumpy afternoon. Rob put him down, and just after he fell asleep and while Rob was still in the room, he woke up, coughed, and threw up dinner everywhere. Ick.

The poor little guy got his third bath of the day while we changed out his sheets. Rob got him back to sleep, but we could hear him coughing every few minutes, and sometimes crying out. He actually woke himself up at midnight, so I brought him into our bed. The last two times we tried him in our bed, it was a disaster, but he was feeling so bad I just hated leaving him in there. I wanted to try and get him sleeping while propped up, so we stacked some pillows between us, and Rob found some Wallace and Gromit shorts on youtube that he and Saw watched on his iPhone before we all turned in.

We did sleep, but I can't say whether we would have slept better listening to him cough via the monitor or with him tossing and turning all night. First he had his head on my shoulder. Then he'd put his feet up on me and his head on Rob. Then his head by my waist and his feet on the pillow. Then, cheek to cheek with me. It was really sweet sleeping with our little guy, and definitely helped his cough. He's much better this morning and hasn't coughed in probably thirty minutes--yay! But man I'm tired.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Morning Surprises

This morning, when I went in to get Sawyer, he was standing in the crib with no shirt on. My Dad put him to bed last night, so I thought, well, maybe he left him shirtless. But as I got to the crib, I saw his one-piece zip-up flannel pajamas sitting in a pile. And then he handed me his diaper.

Thankfully he had just taken everything off, so had not peed in his bed. Or pooped. I'm really glad for the non-poop part. But it just goes to show that the surprises never end.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Boss Party!

Last night, we had the Boss Holiday Party (my derby team). We played Greed, which was somehow a lot nicer than it should have been with derby girls. And we ate a LOT!

I love this. My gift was (among other actual good things) an ovulation test since we have so many pregnant Bosses. BabyFACE actually wanted to keep this.
Every good party ends with a hands-in!

Advent Reading: Day 19

December 19 THE SON OF MAN AND RULER FROM BETHLEHEM Daniel 7:9-14, Micah 5:2-5a

Handel's Messiah: Tonight!

If you're interested in great music, come to Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church (on the Katy Freeway near Ikea) tonight for a free performance of Handel's Messiah. The music starts at 8pm, but seats will go quickly, so get there early!

The Fam Is Here!

My parents and brother arrived last night--yay! I don't have picture proof (yet), but here you can see Rob putting together the cute Pottery Barn chair they got Saw for Christmas. We figured we'd let him use it now. I wasn't sure if he'd prefer the chair to the box, but in the end, he chose wisely. I think we'll still keep the box for play...




Friday, December 18, 2009

Now I'm Cool

So, today Rob and I got our unexpected Christmas presents to ourselves: an iBook and an iPhone. We'd been wanting a computer for a while, but debated about the money since we've got a bunch of expenses on the way. Yesterday, we found a random person that Rob had a connection to selling both the iBook and iPhone for a ridiculous price: $150. I don't have a data plan yet, and really wanted a blackberry when I did get a data plan, but you I'm a bargain shopper above all, and so am excited to have a phone ready when I have the money ready for the data plan. I have been kind of waiting until I get a book sold or make some kind of money, so we'll see when that is. But now I won't have to buy a new phone! And I think this one cost less than my current, stinky go-phone. Though i shouldn't complain too much since that phone has been so faithful.

In any case, I'm using the Mac right now and it's weird. I'm not sure that I love it...yet. I do like that it's not crashing and freezing every second like my computer (which just needs more memory, according to Derek--yay!), and new toys are always fun. We'll see how it goes. But for now, fun to have a new computer! Me likey.

Advent Reading: Day 18

December 18 THE GOOD SHEPHERD Ezekiel 34:1-31

Virtual Labor

I just (finally) checked the Birthing Naturally site, which is related to the books I've been reading by Jennifer Vanderlaan, the The Christian Childbirth Handbook and The Lord of Birth. There are great resources, but one really fun thing is the virtual labor. The computer randomly chooses how your labor starts, and then you get to decide how to respond to each scenario along the way. I love that, as it basically helps you to think about how the knowledge you have about birth and choices can actually affect scenarios that might happen to you! Check it out here.

Restaurant Review: Pradaria

Yesterday Rob and I had a date that I chose--despite the fact that it sounds like a very man date. We went to Pradaria, which is a newer Brazilian churrascaria in Houston. If you've never been to one, basically you pay a flat fee to have an amazing salad bar (think olives, cheeses, meats, fresh and high quality fruits and veggies) and an endless supply of Brazilian roasted meat. This type of service is called Rodizio, and it means that you will be served cuts of meat by gauchos who come by your table.

It's the same concept as Fogo de Chao, probably the most famous of these types of restaurants, only Pradaria is half the cost. Yesterday's lunch was $15.95 per person, and I can safely say that I ate my money's worth. The last time someone took us to Fogo, it was $45 a person for dinner. There's just not much likelihood that I'm going to eat $45 worth of food, even if it is succulent and delicious. I'm at the point in my pregnancy where I can eat a lot, but am not so filled up with baby that I run out of room. Rob was definitely impressed with me, and I was impressed by the service and quality of food. It was fabulous! I saw no difference from Fogo except price. (Dinner at Pradaria is $22.95.)

The thing that really pushed it over the top for me was the roasted pineapple. I love pineapple, and they had lightly coated the outside in cinnamon and either sugar or brown sugar before roasting. Honestly, Rob and I kept flagging down that pineapple guy for more. It was a fantastic way to end a great meal! I would definitely recommend Pradaria to you locals--very much worth the money. Here is their site if you want more information!

Fighting for Your Birth

My friend Stacy posted this article on facebook this morning, and it's great! It tells a few women's stories about their battle to avoid a C-section, and then there are some questions at the end to ask if you're in the throes of hospital labor and the doctor starts talking surgical delivery. Check it out!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time to Move Out

While I am feeling better about being pregnant, I'm getting to that point where I'm feeling ready for the baby to get his or her own room. You know how it is with roommates or people staying with you, when you're finally like, it's time for you to GO. It may not be bad--it's just time. That's how I'm feeling.

I don't want baby to come before his or her time or anything, but I am getting tired of sharing my body. I want my body back. I want it to be mine again. I'm ready to be normal Kiki size and to not have this little person constantly reminding me that s/he's in there. I do love the kicks and movement...but again, I can feel that time approaching. The normal, healthy time. Get your own space, baby! Mommy wants her body back. But only when you're ready...

Midwife Appointment: Week 30.5

I was really dreading my appointment today, mostly because I've been kind of depressed with hormones and/or weather, plus just am feeling really huge, and also have been having too many contractions. I don't know what I thought would happen, but Cathy was, as always, wonderful, and I left so encouraged.

First of all, she checked me and I'm not dilating or effacing or anything that looks beyond how I should look for where I am. Sigh of relief. I still need to watch the contractions, but don't need to worry so much that I'm headed into labor any minute.

As for my weight gain, Cathy said that it's fine and that some people's bodies react in a survival of the fittest kind of way to pregnancy--storing a lot of fat just in case of famine. :) I definitely gained a ton last time and thought I'd be less this time. I am less, but still more than the norm, and with all the comments in grocery stores (except the one great Kroger clerk today--bless you!) and church and wherever, I have just been discouraged. What she said makes sense, because I really am eating well, other than a few extra desserts. But I'm also working out 5-6 days a week, which is more than most pregos I know. I lost more than I gained last time, and I know I can do it again, so she just encouraged me to eat well and not worry about it.

I am measuring right on target at 30 cm, and the heart rate for baby was between 137-149. Everything looks great and normal and on track! We also talked a lot about what I learned in the last birth and what I'd been thinking about this one. All in all, I felt like it was a great visit and I am feeling less blah about being pregnant than I was yesterday, or even this morning. Yay!

Advent Reading: Day 17

December 17 RIGHTEOUS BRANCH Jeremiah 23:1-6
Jeremiah 33:14-19

Birth Mentors

So, I'm trying to finish reading one of the books I'm supposed to get back to my midwife today (which I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be keeping for another two weeks) and the chapter this morning is on birth mentors, something that I'd never really thought of in this way before. I definitely had friends that I spoke frankly about birth with--most specifically those who had home births like Stacy and Kelly, but also I talked with my mom and my sisters in law and my mom in law. But this book (The Lord of Birth by Jennifer Vanderlaan) takes this concept even further, pointing to the relationship that Mary (Jesus' mother) and Elizabeth (John's mother) have in Luke 1. As soon as the angel tells Mary she's pregnant, she goes to Elizabeth (who is six months pregnant) and spends three months there. We don't know, but it can be assumed she was there for John's birth.

Here is what Vanderlaan says about the roots of this mentoring idea: "For thousands of years, women shared their births with other women in the community, their friends and family. The women would assist the mother by helping her stay comfortable and providing the medical help that was available to them. The mother would assist the women by her example to those who had not yet given birth. In this system, both the mother and the community women benefited. This also ensured that each generation of women would be prepared to undergo labor and birth. When birth was relegated to being a "medical" event, it was moved from the supportive community of women to lonely, sterile hospital wards. Suddenly, women were expected to know how to give birth without really understanding what would be happening to their body. Instead of learning the skills necessary to give birth naturally, women were only told stories of the pain they would feel."

When I first read this, I was kind of nodding but also kind of thinking, that's not a full picture. We have so many books now about birth that are honest and talk about the nitty gritty of birth, even from the "medical" perspective. I just picked up The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy at a going out of business sale, and the author there tries to be as honest as possible about things. There are loads of books like that. And--blogs.

Yes, we are being more honest and forthright about some of these things than women were in, say, our mother's day. But, can reading a book make up for the community that was lost when birth shifted from home to hospital? (This isn't to say you can't have community in a hospital birth; but that when, historically, birth changed, the community was left behind.) I think that we're getting to a time when the idea of women coming alongside is growing with the increase in doulas, among other things.

But Vanderlaan's proposal goes even further--that as women, we should have a mentor that is someone whose birth we take part in, from pregnancy on to actual labor and delivery. And then we should be a mentor for other women. This, she says, is how women can really learn about birth. They don't take the place of a doula or husband or midwife at birth, but are present and serve in whatever way is needed, while getting to experience this event that they will also experience.

It's a neat concept, but I find myself bucking against it a little bit. I think because I'm in the point now where I'm thinking about who I want at my birth. And although I love my friends, there's also that nagging sense of privacy that kind of makes me feel like I only want family (and my midwife team) there. Of course, in my last birth, the Pope could have been there and I wouldn't have noticed. (Is that offensive, MaryBeth??) So, anyway. Something to think about. I mean, I really love the idea of community, and the level to which she suggests women should be involved in each other's births is definitely lacking today. But am I ready to fully embrace the idea of being a mentor? Or being mentored? It's kind of blowing my mind a little bit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday Confession--on Wednesday

Sometimes, I eat my feelings.

Fall in Houston

Yes, it is Christmas, but were you aware that it's also fall in Houston? The past week, leaves have been changing all over town. Granted, only about 10% of the trees here actually change, but the ones that have changed are lovely--yellow and orange and red. The other 90% either don't change at all, or just turn brown and fall off anticlimactically. It's kind of weird. I guess I'll take whatever fall I can get?

Review: The Christian Childbirth Handbook

My midwife had asked me to review this book for her, as she received it as a gift and wanted to know how helpful it was for her clients. Honestly, this is one of my favorite books I've read on birth. The snobby book part of me gets annoyed by things like layout and editing, as it's self-published, but beyond that, I felt like this was a really comprehensive look at birth and beyond, without being too in-your-face about birth choices or Christianity. It also avoided being overwhelming, though it's so long I feel like I could keep it by my bedside the rest of pregnancy and continue to learn.

Author Jennifer Vanderlaan tackles everything from healthy pregnancy to the stages of labor and on through the early days of having a newborn. There was a great section on circumcision that's really going to make me think again if we have a boy. I also appreciated that while she definitely has a viewpoint, early on she defines Christian childbirth as a matter of the heart, not of the outward things that you choose or that happen during labor. So I felt like there was a lot of freedom here.

The appendices are also super helpful with birth planning checklists, breastfeeding questions, and verses for childbirth. One neat section also presents the reader with scenarios for labor. Ex: "You have had contractions off and on for a few days, but labor does not seem to be starting. You are tired and emotionally worn out. What can help?" These scenarios get the readers thinking about how to apply the different things that they've read throughout the pages. There was also a great chapter on normal variations of labor v. emergency.

If you're not coming from a Christian point of view, this book might have more spiritual things than you want. Vanderlaan will often put verses in the margins for particular topics or discuss how she views birth within the confines of the Christian viewpoint. That being said, much of the book is simply valuable birth information, so I would recommend it anyway for the resources. If you want more information, check the Birthing Naturally site.

Advent Reading: Day 16

December 16 SUFFERING SERVANT AND LAMB OF GOD Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Such a powerful passage!!

Well, Duh--That's Why I'm Dirty

Is it bad that I'm always happy to see these kinds of articles that talk about an overachieving germaphobia being bad for your kids?? I think it just further encourages me to not worry so much about dirt. The study found that being too aggressive about cleaning in a house with children can depress their immune systems. And this was a biggie--it followed children in utero until the age of 22.

Little Baby Trumps

A long time ago I posted about baby toupees, which were a joke started on Saturday Night Live. (My friend Rob was in the skit!) I really thought they were a joke, and with the site looking so silly, I'm sure these were intended for parents like me who have an off-beat sense of humor.

However.

Parentdish has an article this morning about parents who seriously want to remedy their babies' baldness. Now I will admit that I've had thoughts about whether or not the Beast will have hair. Sawyer did, and honestly, I do think it made him even more adorable in those early days--the days when I tend to think most babies are not automatically cute. Hair helps. I've hoped for a baby that also has hair. I'll say it. But to actually make a real wig for my baby if s/he doesn't? Yeah...that's crazy talk. Hair isn't the only trend that is kind of scary these days with parents attempting to beautiful their young kids, or to allow them to delve into a more grown-up world. I'll admit that I've been disturbed seeing pictures of 3-year old Suri Cruise walking around in heels. Dress up is one thing, but regular wearing of heels as a toddler? Um, wrong somehow. Anyway, see what you think about hiding your baby's pattern baldness--Tyra Banks even weighs in!

Reflections on Sawyer's Birth: Fight or Flight..or Something Else Entirely

So I've been reading tons of birth books (or, for the last month, the same long one) and kind of mulling over Sawyer's birth while thinking about this upcoming one. Why I am, like last time pre-birth, excited about labor even after going through it, I don't know. But I am excited. Especially to meet this little kicker and mover, but also excited about the process and about having another try to have a healthy baby at home, and to make it through this crazy physical and emotional event. I think I see it kind of as a marathon. I'm in training now, but the training for birth is not like the training for a marathon because it's more mental--you can't work up to labor in the same way you can run a few miles here and then more and more as you approach the day. Heck, you don't even know when the day is!

One big thing that has struck me in my reading is the connection between fear and pain. I did read about this the first time as well, but now it means something different after going through it. The books keep talking about a need to give in to the pain, to surrender to it rather than fighting or fearing. There are physiological things that happen in your body as a response to your emotional state about it. (I'll do a post later, because it's fascinating.) Fighting and fearing have been linked to stalled and slower labors, because of what they signal to your physical body.

I am definitely not looking back and judging how I did in labor, but when I read the words, "Surrender to the pain," I know that I did not do that last time. I don't remember necessarily being fearful, but labor came up on top of me so fast and furious that I definitely wanted to flee. I had surrendered in the sense that I was in that crazy place you go when you're in pain that's kind of a weird fog--where minutes can seem like hours and vice versa, and where you're not really aware of who's around. There were a few people at my birth that I never saw or remember being there. Yet something things are so clear to me.

So this time, I think my number one thing to kind of focus on is to give in to the pain. To embrace it and know that it's doing the work that needs to be done. I don't want to try and think of ways out, or panic as another hard contraction sets in, or tense up to try and brace myself for it. I remember doing all three of those things before.

I don't know exactly what it looks like to surrender, but I do think it's a mental thing. I can compare it to times where I have really fought with the Lord about things--things he was calling me to that I wanted to refuse, or things he wanted me to cut out of my life that I clung to. That fight is also one that takes place on an emotional and mental level--no one else can visibly see it. The effects on your life can be huge, but again, invisible to others. You can't measure it. The only way to really know when you haven't surrendered to him is the feel of that pull and struggle and restlessness in your mind. The surrender doesn't mean escaping hardship, just as surrendering to pain in labor doesn't mean my pain will diminish. Surrendering to God doesn't necessarily make your circumstances easier or better. And yet...surrender to God I think is a great picture of what the surrender in labor accomplishes: a peace that washes down over everything and, while it doesn't take away your circumstances, it gives you the strength and ability to stand up under them.

This is all theory so far, since I haven't experienced this yet. But I do feel that when I look back and reflect on labor, I can see where surrender would have fit in. I don't know that my labor would have sped up or any circumstances would have been different. They may not be this time--I could have the same exact labor greet me again. But I think the color of it might have been different, the tone, the feel. Maybe not in ways other people will see, but I'll know.

So there is my focus for this upcoming labor and birth: total surrender. I'll let you know in a few months how that goes. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent Reading: Day 15

December 15 SERVANT OF KINGS, SUSTAINER OF THE WEARY Isaiah 49:1-7, Isaiah 50:4-11

When Baking Goes Awry

I love cooking, but I'm a bad baker. I don't like measuring and directions. This is what happens when I tried to improvise "cool on a wire rack." The banana-chocolate chip bars still tasted great...they just look like mush.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Me at 30 Weeks

I'm all too aware that I haven't been posting pictures of my "progress." If you had people telling you on a daily basis that you're huge, you'd be loathe to put photos of yourself online as well. Regardless, here they are. I'm 30 weeks and a few days. Ta da! I'm growing a baby!

The Best Toys...

...are sometimes things found around the house. Like laundry baskets.


I love this one!

Speaking of Daddy...

Especially given my "I'm doing too much" post, I need to take a second to thank Rob for being so hands on and doing so much to help me. Every week, there are tons of big and little things that he is doing around the house, with me and with Sawyer--in addition to being the one bringing home the bacon. So, thanks! I would be totally dead without him.

He also gets a special award for dealing with his current situation: he's shopping with Sawyer, who just poooped in a cloth diaper. Rob has one spare diaper, but no bag for the cloth diaper and no wipes. Yeah...that's a great way to round out the day. :)

Advent Reading: Day 13 & 14

Oops. Forgot to post this yesterday!

December 13 THE BRANCH FROM JESSE’S ROOT Isaiah 11:1-10

December 14 COVENANT AND LIGHT OF THE NATIONS Isaiah 42:1-10

Piano with Daddy

I basically love anything Sawyer gets to do with Rob, because I feel like that Daddy time is just so valuable. This morning Rob tried to teach Sawyer a few songs on piano. We wern't actually hoping he'd learn, which was good, but I think they both had a good time.

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