Sunday, November 29, 2009


Okay friends, time to take a poll here. This relates to a very large part of Christmas, a part that is essential to Christmas morning and is also an aesthetic pleasure throughout the season preceding Christmas:


Awesome, yes. Somehow, Josh and I have never had stockings at our home. Both of our stockings have remained at our respective parents' homes, and thus our home has been stocking-less. That's right, Cubbie doesn't even have one! Oh the horrors! :)

So. Here's the deal. I don't knit and while I try to be crafty, my focus nowadays is more on not hurling rather than being overly creative. So, it looks like Cub and I will be taking out the front-wheel drive sleigh tomorrow to hunt down the perfect stockings to hang on our, um, wall. Because we don't have a fireplace.

(Which should make the topic of not explaining Santa to Cub just a little easier. "See, this fat guy in a red suit comes down the chimney ... that we uh, don't have ...")

SO! Here's the dilemma. I've always had a bit of a matchy-matchy house when it comes to Christmas. My whole house is typically done with gold, amber, and clear and frosted glass. Especially snowflakes. But, I kind of think that stockings should be personalized, you know? And while I won't be whipping out the needle and thread any time soon to embroider each footy, part of me wants to veer away from the matchy-matchy path and find stockings that are just kind of fun, you know?

So, I'm curious. What do your stockings look like? Do you have a decorative "theme" throughout your home with which your stockings comply or do you have homemade stockings that are fun and unique? I'm almost thinking of getting some glitter (non-toxic) paint and letting Cub go to town on his. Is that crazy?

So. What do you think??

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flour Is More "Matte", Powdered Sugar Is More "Semi-Gloss".

Whenever we have holidays with my in-laws, we always stay at their house for a few days, even though we live in the same town. It's kind of like a little getaway, plus, it's the early mornings and late nights together that make the best memories, you know? So. Anyway. I was put in charge of pumpkin bars this year, so on Wednesday, I set about preparing my treats in my mother-in-law's kitchen.

I assembled everything--the cloves, the powder, the soda, the nutmeg, the ginger, etc.--and was juuuuuust about to put it in the oven when I noticed that the pumpkin bars weren't very orange. Hmm. I looked up and saw the sealed can of pumpkin sitting next to the Kitchen Aid mixer.


So, I dumped the contents of my pumpkin-less pumpkin bars into the mixing bowl, added the pumpkin, mixed it up, and popped it in the oven. About ten minutes later, I peeked into the oven to see it overflowing and making a gooey, bubbling mess on the bottom of my mother-in-law's new oven. GREAT. I freaked out and yanked it out of the oven (thankfully remembering to put on oven mitts first) and stared at the soupy, gooey mess in my 13x9 pan. WHAT IN THE WORLD. I've made this recipe twice before and NEVER has this happened! I cleaned up the mess and finished baking them (no more boiling over) and after they cooled, I covered the top with homemade cream cheese frosting (the best part). They still looked funny, but I tossed my hands in the air and said Oh Well. At least they were done.

Fast forward a few hours.

I'm helping my mother-in-law make the crumbly pecan topping for her sweet potato casserole and as I'm adding the flour, my mother-in-law hurries over and exclaims, "Wait!! You're using powdered sugar!!" I stopped mid-scoop and looked at the canister. All of her flour, sugar, powdered sugar, and brown sugar are in clear plastic (unmarked) canisters. Sure enough, I had grabbed the powdered sugar instead of the flour. Good grief!! It was definitely NOT my day in the kitchen!! I laughed out loud and stuck the canister back in the pantry.

Then my eye caught my pumpkin bars.



My eyes grew wide and I whirled around and exclaimed (to my bewildered mother-in-law), "OH MY GOSH I MUST HAVE PUT POWDERED SUGAR IN MY PUMPKIN BARS INSTEAD OF FLOUR!!!" We both started laughing so hard we almost fell over, and I grabbed a knife and started "slicing" through my pumpkin bars.

They were liquid. A thick, gooey, liquid that my knife easily sliced through.

The top had hardened enough for me to frost them, but that was it. They were a gooey, ruined, mushy mess. We wiped the tears from laughing so hard. Let's just say I hung up my apron after that one.

Good thing my husband's Granny brought her pies for dessert the next day!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On Being Thankful.

I love Thanksgiving. I think it is the perfect stepping stone towards Christmas, giving us a moment's pause before the crash of holiday activity, to stop and remember the things for which we are thankful. Whether big things or small. And, in a way, it prepares our minds and attitudes for the right way in which to approach Christmas. 

Humbly. You know?

So, here's to being thankful. And here is my list:


* My husband

* Almost out of the first trimester, all is looking well

* A gooey, snuggly, giggly Cub, whom we cannot imagine our lives without

* Food to eat on Thanksgiving

* A roof over our heads

* The fact that the Thanksgiving feast includes mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, and stuffing, all of which are mellow on a pregnant girl's tummy!

* A church where we are involved in worship, small group ministry, and I'm in women's ministry, and we love it all and learn from it and grow from it

* Family. Family family family.

* Dear friends. Friends friends friends.

* Two cars that are paid for and that run

What's on YOUR list?

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I'll see  you on the flip side.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Branson, Missoura.

If you've never been to Branson, let me describe it to you in this way: A Moral Las Vegas. 

Without the gambling, of course.

Seriously. The "strip" is lit up with glowing signs and studded billboards and each theatre beholds a show that is guaranteed to be clean. Between the shows on the strip there are little shops selling wares from the days of old--everything from harmonicas to apple dumplin's to antiques. The majority of the population visiting Branson are precious blue-hairs (with a good chunk of young families), but I'm not gonna lie--I love it. Our favorite stop is Silver Dollar City, an old time-y amusement park filled with glass-blowing, painted wood shops, quaint mercantiles, and a rollercoaster here and there speckled throughout. In November, they decorate the entire park with over FOUR MILLION lights, complete with a massive Christmas tree/light show, Christmas parade, and Christmas train ride that winds you through the Ozark woods and settles to a stop where "Grandpa", sitting in his rocker, tells you the story of  Christmas. 

I mean, really. I recently told a friend that if you aren't in the mood for Christmas by the time you leave, you'd better check your pulse.

We go almost every year with my husband's family and this year was especially special, thanks to the presence of a little Cub. 

Okay. I know. He won't remember this trip. I also used to be in the camp of "Why take them when they won't remember it??" with visions of moms dragging around five strollers full of tiny screaming babies around Disneyland. But, then, I had my own baby and now he's at a really fun age and schmooshy schmooshy schmooshy la la la you kind of forget every "never" you ever said and all you imagine is the way his face will look when he sees "LIGHTS!" and "SNOWFLAKES!"  and "GRANDPA READING THE CHRISTMAS STORY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOREST!"

And the next thing you know, you're loading up the stroller and dressing your baby in more layers than that one kid in A Christmas Story.

And some really awesome memories are made.

And you realize he doesn't have to be the one who remembers.

Here we go! Some pictures of our trip. And possibly some witty commentary here and there.

(Listening to the Christmas story while sitting on his uncle's lap. I cried and may or may not have had to wipe my nose on that cute little pom-pom hat.)

(If you ask Cub "What does an elephant say?" our little mime will lift his arm in response, impersonating an elephant trunk. Then he will shake his head and say, "Elephants do not talk, silly." Just kidding.)

(One of my favorite shops at Silver Dollar City. Cub's eyes were as huge as saucers as we walked through this store. LIGHTS. LOOK AT ALL THE LIGHTS.)

(Family pic! Mom has fat face already! Sweet! Nah, it's okay. I get plump with the babies. You just have to accept your fate and move on, yes?)

(Cub admiring a fountain show at Branson Landing, an outdoor shopping mall. We were expecting, perhaps, "Jingle Bells" or "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", but instead were greeted with "Dancin' in the Moonlight". It worked.)

(Attempted photo op with Cub. He was more interested in the fountain than cuddling with Mom for a picture. But, I got him back later when he snuggled on my lap during a show. HA! You still love Mama! Also, while on our shopping jaunt, a mid-fifties-ish woman stopped me and asked me where I purchased my "fabulous" boots. I told her Target for $15. She said she had JUST purchased some that looked JUST like them at Nordstrom's for JUST $250. I wanted to tell her she was JUST crazy for shelling out that much dough on a trend, but I instead said something lame like, "Go Target!" and quickly walked away, dancing in my cheap boots.)

(Okay. This is to document how my order of "What Wows Me" has changed. The condo in which we resided was very nice--granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, wood floors, high ceilings, a cool loft ... you get the point. BUT, what was I the most enamored with?? Our room's walk-in closet!! Because that means Cub could sleep in THERE and NOT IN OUR ROOM!!! AAAHHHH!! Um, yeah. Because that meant a guaranteed night's sleep every night. When we share a room, one of us never sleeps. I won't mention who CUB. But this way, everyone slept soundly! So, yeah ... the countertops were fabulous, but LOOK AT THAT CLOSET! THAT CLOSET THAT PERFECTLY FITS A PACK 'N PLAY! WOW.)

It was a great trip. And I'm happy to be home.

P.S. I finally found a lotion that I love! I don't typically use Bath & Body Works (or I'm too lazy to drive there?) so when I happened upon this on our shopping trip, I was thrilled.  Yeah, yeah, it's totally marketing off of the "Twilight" series yadda yadda ya, but it's warm, thick scent is deliciously winter-esque. And it works. Love it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random! Thursday!

Okay folks, here you go: Token Random Copout Post of the Week.


1) I've been using the purple Matrix shampoo and conditioner (color-treated, perhaps?) for my recently greasy-pregnancy hair. And it's amazing! My hair is soft! Shiny! Not greasy!

2) Yesterday I was doing the dishes and had the dishwasher open, but neither the top nor bottom tray were pulled out. I scrubbed some dishes in the sink and when I went to pull the bottom tray out, I was stunned to see Cub standing there, on the open dishwasher door, reaching for something on the countertop. He had climbed up, unbeknownst to me. Why, hello there!! GET DOWN BEFORE YOUR MOTHER HAS A HEART ATTACK.

3) I'm craving salty and sweet things alike. Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby Ice Cream is quite good, and so is Mexican food. And eggs and toast for breakfast. And milkshakes. Notice I am not craving salad. Why is that?? Why can't I crave lima beans and tofu? 

4) I need a good winter lotion. Any suggestions?

5) My nails are getting long, a la prenatal vitamins. That's nice.

6) Have you seen the specials with the poor woman who was attacked by that chimp? She might be the bravest person I have ever seen.

7) I love Thursdays because they mean play group.

8) Especially when the play group is meeting at my neighbor's house, so Cub and I can walk there.

9) Cub is walking everywhere and I absolutely love this stage. The walking and then the abrupt falling. Walk, fall. Walk, fall. His little center of gravity is so low that he doesn't have far to go, but he sure hits hard! And then he pops back up and keeps going. It's hilarious.

10) Lastly, gratuitous baby pic of Cub in the alpaca sweater his grandparents bought him in Ecuador. And he is carrying an (unused) nasal aspirator. :) 

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Wednesday!

Gosh, I know, I'm lame. It's Wednesday and I haven't posted since Sunday. Geesh! I'm a slacker.

See, here's the deal. It's all really my husband's fault, my husband whom I love dearly, because he now takes his laptop to work and in order for me to blog, I now have to type on the computer in our bedroom, away from the baby (unless I want him playing in our room and touching Daddy's guitar and other no-touchables). Or, I have to do like I'm doing now, type anyway, even though the baby is in the living room, and gage his activities purely by sound. Hmmm. No crashing, no screaming ... we're okay so far!

Yeah so the options aren't that great.

I can always blog during his nap, but I've been napping. Or I can blog after he goes to bed, but I use that time to catch up on e-mails and then I'm exhausted for the day. Bah. So, it's been slim pickin's. My apologies.

In other news, I really love my doctor. He's great. This past Friday, my symptoms went away. The throwing up, the exhaustion ... it all just kind of stopped. And I felt great all weekend. Like, second-trimester great.

Like, too great.

Given my track record, a sudden dissipation of symptoms isn't exactly a good thing, so I promptly called my doctor on Monday to let him know. I'm nine weeks, so I'm not out of my first trimester. I didn't want to overreact at the lack of symptoms, but I didn't want to under-react, either. He immediately called me back and told me to come in. So, I went in and he did an ultrasound and there was Baby Bean, strong heartbeat, lots of movement. I was so relieved, but then I felt badly for wasting my doctor's time. I apologized and he told me very directly that 1) I've never had a normal pregnancy, so to assume that a sudden loss of symptoms is "okay" would have been the wrong assumption and 2) If I hadn't called, he would have been upset. He told me that it's my responsibility to stay on it and gage how I'm feeling and to keep him informed. He said it is never a waste of time to make sure the baby is okay.

Didn't I tell you he was great? He's great.

And I know, I know, he's a "he". I know, this freaks some women out. Let me just say that once upon a time, a few years ago, I went to a female gynecologist (I was on an HMO so I had randomly pick one that was on my "list" of options). She was AWFUL. She was rough and rude and I vowed that I would never again be treated that way, by anyone, male or female. So, when a new hospital opened up in our town, I picked the doctor that specialized in high-risk pregnancies. Who happened to be a male. I thought it would be awkward, but it wasn't at all. He had great bedside manner and was very aware that I could feel awkward with him being a guy, so he was quick and to the point. And then he sat and listened to me and asked questions for 45 minutes. That was our first appointment, and he's been a great doctor ever since. 

And the little Cub found me! I gotta go. Have a lovely day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It Really Does Fly.

Today it was a rainy, chilly fall day, so we decided to get creative and build a fort in the living room. 

Granted, it was a small fort, but it worked and Cub loved it. We sat under the sheet and read stories and sang songs. And tried coming up with a secret handshake, which was basically a series of high-fives! High-fives! High-fives!

I snapped his picture and couldn't believe how grown-up he looks these days.

He's such a handsome little boy, right?? :) Thankfully, his smile is still a cute chubby baby smile, but every now and then I'll catch a glance of him and my breath catches in my throat. Oh my gosh, where has the time gone? My little baby who used to sit and coo is now toddling around the house, laughing his amazing belly laugh, and cracking us up. He loves to point, play catch, and "talk" (I can understand "mama" "dadda" and "ball" ... the rest are a bit of a mystery!). He's learning to put his toys away and he's understanding what we tell him more and more. I just can't believe it.

Tonight at bedtime, I decided to read some books to him. I used to read to him before bedtime all the time, but now he's content with just a sippy cup and a song. But, tonight I was in the mood for a bedtime story, so I dug around in his book basket and found "On The Night You Were Born".

Oh boy. Go ahead and start the waterworks.

I haven't read this book to him in so long--it has thin paper pages and over time has been buried under cardboard books that better withstand unsteady (but very strong) little hands. I dusted it off, settled Cub in my lap, and, as is par, I was in tears by page three. But, I trudged on, clearing my throat and reading each page, pointing out the beautiful pictures to Cub. His little head was pushed up under my chin and his legs hung over my legs. My big boy, who was so tiny the last time I read this, was now sprawled in my lap, yawning and rubbing his eyes, as my mind wandered back to the night he was born. 

And I suddenly realized I was reading to my other baby, too. My Baby Bean who hasn't been born yet, but is already very much a part of our lives. 

And so the last few pages made me teary as I imagined the birth of our little Cub and the anticipation of the birth of Baby Bean next year. And it was a sweet moment that I won't be forgetting any time soon.

For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again.

Heaven blew every trumpet
and played every horn
on the wonderful, marvelous
night you were born.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You Can Love Both Of Them.

Okay. Time for a real post. A reeeaaaaaaal post that has a point! And a purpose!

(I've learned an important lesson when it comes to posting de blog: Post when you feel GOOD! Not BAD!)

(And nothing else about vomit!)

So. I'm sure you've noticed the stores and streets and such are all bedecked for Christmas, or at least in the process of it. I've always been a tad annoyed by this, the way Thanksgiving kind of gets uncomfortably wedged between Halloween and Christmas and therefore a bit forgotten altogether. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The focus on being thankful, the food, the scents ... I love it all. I love Christmas, too, but I always feel that it sort of overshadows Thanksgiving. I've also always been a staunch supporter of No Christmas Decs Until The Day After Thanksgiving. 

Um ... until this year.

I'm blaming this one on the Cub. I'm SO excited this year to spring into action with the Christmas decorations. Last year was Cub's first Christmas, but he was only two months old and wasn't exactly fascinated with it yet. But this year, he is fascinated with EVERYTHING, so, naturally, there are some Christmas boxes in the living room and the beginnings of a nativity set up in the kitchen. And I can't wait for him to see the tree. And, I'm usually pretty matchy-matchy when it comes to Christmas decs, but this year I found myself in Hobby Lobby, passing by the glittery snowflakes and frosted gold balls and making a beeline for the stuff I thought Cub would like. Yep. I'm already headed that direction.

But, I'm still excited for Thanksgiving. I've always loved Thanksgiving. Ever since I married my husband, Thanksgiving has meant the gathering of a ton of family members and a full day of food and games (BUNCO!). I love it. Thanksgiving at my family's house was always a bit smaller, until recently when our California relatives realized that Arkansas is NOT SCARY and now love to come and spend an extended time for Thanksgiving at my parents' house. Christmas means a Christmas Eve service with candlelight and dinner with family. Christmas morning is a smaller affair on both sides, with immediate family only. And I love that, too.

So, here's the open-ended post for the week: Which is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving or Christmas? Why? And ... do YOU have Christmas decorations out yet?? :)

Have a lovely weekend, friends.

Coming Home.

Yesterday morning I deep-cleaned our bedroom. I felt good for the first time in a while and it was time to attack my sorely neglected home. I dusted and polished our bureau and cleared out any "piles" that were remaining. Then I cleared off our armchair, organized our DVD's, and dusted the windowsills. The finished product was quite gleaming, if I may say so myself, and I was excited for my husband to come home and notice all of my hard work.

At around 1:40 I got a call about a project (Operation Christmas Child) our small group at church is doing. For one reason or another, pretty much the entire project (purchasing and organizing toys for the kids in our Wednesday night kids program to help assemble boxes) had been put on my shoulders and there was a LOT of work that had to be done by 6:00 last night. I'll be honest--my attitude was a tad rocky. The nausea had come back by then and I had zero motivation. I had one clean bedroom, but that was it. But, I stepped back and looked at the situation and realized I DO stay at home and I DO have the time to handle it, so I went right at it. I worked non-stop until 6:00 (throwing up only once somewhere in there). I had the toys purchased, organized according to class, and once I was there I helped the kids organize the toys to put in shoeboxes to send to other kids around the world. (One funny highlight--one kid asked me "Why doesn't Santa just go to Africa?" Hmmm .... uh ... I said, "Well, this IS Santa's way of helping out the kids in Africa!" BLAH!! What kind of lame answer is that?? The kid accepted that but I wanted to say, "THERE IS NO FREAKING SANTA CLAUS." But, I abstained.) So.  Anyway. After we got all of the toys organized we had to put them in boxes and finished that around 8:00. Then I had worship team practice and halfway through practice I threw up (I made it to the toilet, thankfully). My husband had also been up at church helping out and we finally met up at home around 10:00. He had put Cub to bed and I stumbled into our bedroom.

And I laughed.

My polished bureau was covered in a huge towel and a humidifier (my husband said he needed it). My cleaned off armchair was covered in the clothes my husband had worn that day. All of my work was now buried at the end of the day. And so I laughed. 

I snuggled up to my husband, SO GLAD to be home. I ran to the bathroom one last time for one last release of whatever else could possibly be on my stomach, and then I was in bed for good. My  husband and I talked about our days and then watched a movie. It was a good end to the day.

I'm not sure where this post was supposed to go, except that it's just so nice to be home with the man you love at night. No matter what the crazy day brings, it's good to have him there. 

Even if his clothes are piled on your chair. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.

Our Little Sock Monkey
(For Pam.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Body.

A few nights ago, I ran through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru and grabbed a peppermint shake for a before-bedtime treat. The cold peppermint has done wonders to soothe my stomach and I couldn't wait to enjoy the frosty deliciousness after I put Cub to bed. I tucked in the Cubster and headed back out to my car to get the shake, waiting patiently in the cupholder in my center console. I reached for it and when I grasped the cup, it made the lid pop off and the shake went EVERYWHERE. Peppermint goodness sloshed all over my center console, passenger seat, and onto the floor.

I stood there, blinking, and peeked in the cup that was still in my hand.


The entire shake spilt.

I calmly walked to the trash can, plunked the cup down to the bottom, and walked back to my car. And then I cried. It was so stupid, really. A spilt milkshake. But in a moment my visions of relaxing with a shake had not only become shakeless but also not relaxing. It took me a while to clean up the mess. I came inside, put on comfy clothes, and promptly relayed my experience on Facebook. It was laughable and sad, all at once.

About thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang. My husband was gone, so I cautiously peeked through our guest room window to see who it could be. And I saw my old boss's truck parked in the driveway. I slowly opened the door and he stood there, smiling, with a huge peppermint shake in his hand. He said that his wife had just read my Facebook status and had given him the command to send a shake to my house. I couldn't believe it. I was actually a little embarrassed--I hadn't written the status update for pity, but more for laughs. But it was pitiful. He told me not to be embarrassed and that this is what the body of Christ does. We come to the rescue when we can, no matter how small the rescue might be. 

And, he's right.

I've had sweet friends drop off small gifts (even nausea medicine!), send notes, and shoot e-mails of encouragement this week. Totally unexpected blessings. I'm in a Bible Study right now and one of our weeks was on encouragement and what it truly means to love our neighbor. These same friends I study with are the friends who are delivering the treasures that have brightened my nauseated days. Initially, it's hard for me to accept these things. I hate to sound like I'm complaining about not feeling well--really, I understand that this is all a part of pregnancy and geesh, so many women have it worse than I do! But, I've also had to realize that it's okay to tell your friends how you're actually feeling. Transparency can be hard, but it is necessary. Some days I feel okay. But other days are honestly very, very hard. And if our friends are truly our friends, they will want us to tell them these things so they can love us in return. I know I want to know how they are feeling.

I love them and would do the same for them. In fact, one of these women is a neighbor of mine and had sickness run through her house for three weeks. Needless to say, it was wearing her out. So, I would load Cub up in his wagon and we would walk over every day to check on her. And we brought her dinner one night. Good deeds spur on good deeds, you know? And I can't wait to have the opportunity to bless these friends more as they've blessed me.

It's neat to see the body of Christ in motion. Serving others really is the biggest blessing of all!

Why Some C-Sections Involve a Tummy Tuck.

A dear friend who is also with child bemoaned to me yesterday that she felt "puffy". I knew exactly what she meant: Pregnancy Puffness. Your face, your arms, your ankles ... you just get kind of puffy, in odd places. I remember the day after Cub was born, I walked by a mirror and stopped and stared at my reflection. I couldn't believe it: I still had a JAWBONE. OH MY GOSH. It hadn't disappeared into the abyss of my triple chins. 

Then the whole puffy thing got me thinking about pregnancy and trying to look cute in pregnancy and actually feeling cute for a little while during our pregnancy ... when at the end, we just feel gross and fat. Really. I have yet to meet a woman who has experienced pregnancy and has not, at some point, felt fat, sore, awkward, or, well, puffy. 

Then I began to wonder: Are we supposed to be cute while we're pregnant? Since when?

I mean, don't get me wrong: I'm all about cute clothes and cute looks and trying our best to look cute at all times, even during pregnancy. But, I think that at some point, the focus of pregnancy became, well, pregnancy itself, rather than the baby that pops out at the end of it all. Maternity clothes are suddenly cute, celebs are suddenly traipsing around looking tiny thin with only a little pooch (and a hardcore physical trainer trailing closely behind), and now we're using terms like "baby bump!" and "preggo!". It's almost as if pregnancy has become a trend.

Okay, I know. It might sound crazy. But, think about it--this is very telling of our society anyway, right? The way people pour so much into weddings, for example, without giving a thought to the marriage. It's all about the short-term. Not the realistic long term. 

And, really, if we were supposed to be cute while we were pregnant, wouldn't our stomachs get smaller rather than bigger? Wouldn't our cheekbones become more defined rather than sink into our poochy cheeks? I mean, come on! We are just, you know, GROWING A HUMAN BEING.

That is bound to have some sort of outward physical effect, yes?

Not every woman grows to the size of a couch, like I did. And I understand that. But this ideal that we are supposed to be svelte and tiny and not look sleepy and not feel fat while we are pregnant falls right in line with the current idea of beauty, anyway. It's all about how you look--and, most importantly, what other people think of you. If you can convince them that you've got it all together, you've won. When really, pregnancy is the most beautiful thing, regardless of the dark circles and the swollen feet. And the puking. Ohhhhh, the puking. 

I'm only eight weeks along and I've got a pooch. This bothered me for about a day until I just tossed my hands in the air and decided to let it go. My body is going to do what it needs to do, regardless of how far along I am, regardless of how much I throw up, regardless of whatever. If that means getting a pooch, then bring on the pooch. 

I am, after all, pregnant. 


Monday, November 9, 2009

Warning: This Post is Gross.

I'm throwing up. All the time. Morning, mid-day, night. At the house, at church, in the car ... my nausea knows no bounds. 

This is something I'm fairly familiar with, as I was violently ill with Cub as well. This is the problem:


I know, you might be asking, Why? Why must you write that? Don't most people hate throwing up?

I'm not sure. I hope so. But I am a violent vomiter and I hate it. When the gag reflex begins, I've got about 2 seconds to find a toilet, trash can, or open window before it all breaks loose. And it is VIOLENT. 

(I warned you this was gross. Sorry.)

Last night, for the first time, I actually choked on the remnants of my dinner that were once again making an appearance. I inhaled mid-deluge and couldn't breathe. I slapped the tile with my hands and pounded my chest, trying to cough, and finally I coughed and my body finished telling me that it DID NOT LIKE THAT PIZZA. It was honestly a little scary. Choking usually is.
I purchased several ginger items yesterday, none of which worked, given that I still threw up last night. I'm thirsty all the time but when I drink water I'm basically just BEGGING my stomach to go nuts again. I've been guzzling ginger ale which I handle better, until I lose everything a few hours later.

Oddly enough, I do not have an aversion to all food. Just some food. Like those leftovers I saw in the fridge before we left for lunch on Sunday? All I needed was the thought of them before I was scrambling for a plastic bag as we sped down the highway in the car. Awesome. Good thing my husband was driving.

There is no point to this, really. I'm just informing you about the current happenings in our household. And I'm not even really complaining--I know this too, shall pass. I just hope it passes sooner than later! I go to the doctor tomorrow afternoon and I am going to ask him what he thinks. So, we'll see.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Second Time Around.

This post is mostly a friendly little reminder to myself, in case, upon the birth of our second-born, I suddenly forget everything we ever did with Cub and find myself standing in the middle of the living room wondering where and who I am and how we suddenly have three children and why one of them looks an awful lot like a Boston Terrier.

I'm just saying. Post-baby brain can be just a tad ... untrustworthy.

So, in an effort to help out Future Katie, I am making notes of some of the tactics we used for Cub so I can remember them with Numero Dos. Of course, I understand completely, yes, you can remind me if you'd like but I really do understand COMPLETELY that every child is different and that what worked with Cub might not work at all with Baby Bean. But, just in case it does, I might as well jot it down for reference. Heregoes:

1) Eat, Activity, Sleep
I got this tidbit of advice from Secrets of a Baby Whisperer (and countless moms) to encourage babies to fall asleep on their own, without depending on a bottle before they sleep (except at bedtime--then it's Eat Sleep!). Eat first, then play, then go nigh-night.

2) Stack Evening/Bedtime Feedings
This helped Cub sleep through the night at 9 weeks, I believe. Also from Baby Whisperer. His feedings were typically three hours apart, but we always made his last two feedings only two hours apart. He was a little guy who required a lot of feedings, so feedings on a typical day when he was a wee one would look like this: 7:00am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm. Yes, I realize his last THREE feedings were two hours apart and that's how we rolled for a while to fit all six feedings in. Eventually the feedings would shift, but we always kept those last feedings two hours apart. And it did the trick. I loved his one middle-of-the night feeding before he slept through the night, but I realized how much I loved my sleep once he slept through the night, too!

3) Routine! Routine!
Okay, okay. I know I'm immediately going to get daggers from some who immediately equate "routine" with "SCHEDULE". EVIL INHUMAN SCHEDULE THAT DICTATES LIFE. Let me put it this way: Humans are creatures of routine. We just are. God created us that way. The sun rises, the sun sets. Earth has a rhythm. And no, I don't mean that in a New Age moon goddess sort of way. It just does! God created things to repeat. Babies are no different. The difference, I believe, between a routine and a SCHEDULE is that a routine has a bit more flexibility to it and exists out of a compromise between the parents and the baby. Babies will generally want to eat around the same time every day. Very simple. Then it's up to the parents to keep that consistency. The time will vary day to day, because that's just life. And, just as it is important to teach babies consistency, it is just as important to teach them adaptability. We just have to be respectful of their needs.

4) Wake-up Time!
When Cub was a wee one, we established a "wake up time" every morning, at 7:00. Because he ate so frequently, that was the only way we could fit all of his feedings into the day without going into the middle of the night. Like I said, I didn't mind the middle of the night feeding, but we were both a lot happier once he was able to sleep through the night. So, every morning I would wake him up at 7:00. I know this sounds crazy to some people and trust me, I like my sleep as much as the next person. But, I'd rather have my sleep all night than to have it during the day. Also, breastfeeding helped with this. At about 6:45 my engorged pectoral region would gently shake me awake and encourage me to WAKE UP AND FEED THE BABY. So, I would. This also helped to establish a bedtime, which has grown progressively earlier and earlier as Cub gets older. And, he's extended his night sleep, too. He now sleeps from around 7:00-7:45. But, some nights it is later when we are out with family or friends. Again, compromise. We don't keep him out ridiculously late and he still gets a full night's rest.

5) Crying it out
Yes, it works, no, it's not inhumane. Cub fussed himself to sleep for a while and is now a sleeping champ. Bedtime is something that kids will always try to avoid, so training them at a very early age that bedtime is GOOD and SAFE and CAN BE DONE ON YOUR OWN is amazing. By over-soothing or rocking our babies to sleep (ALL the time--there are always exceptions!!) we indirectly teach them that they are not capable of falling asleep on their own and that bedtime is SCARY. That's my opinion, anyway. :) And bedtime is NOT SCARY. Trust me, I'm all about rocking and I still rock and sing to Cub before bed. He just falls asleep in his crib. :)

Okay. Notes are now noted. Now I have a reference point when the crazies set in and I'm trying to force a bottle down the throat of that one child who resembles our Boston Terrier. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Didn't Even Try To Make Him Nauseous.

Tonight as Josh stood in the kitchen, I lumbered in and asked him if he wanted to know how I felt. He said Yes, sure, why not. So, I walked behind him, draped my arms on his shoulders, and let myself hang behind him with dead weight. He started laughing and tried moving away, but I stayed put. See, isn't this fun? I asked him. Now try to imagine chasing a baby around, cooking dinner, doing laundry, AND tossing your cookies!

He appreciated the tangible example.

Sometimes the word "tired" just doesn't cut it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

At Least Mr. Lion Isn't Real.

So, when it comes to figuring out the best way to handle discipline with le Cub, I've found myself consulting dear friends of mine whenever my gut doesn't give me a specific direction. Usually my gut or common sense can guide me, but every once in a while I heed the advice of the greats that have gone on before me.

Like, say, the moms at play group. :)

Cub's most recent feats include lifting the lid on the trash can (whilst I avoid screaming, "SWINE FLU POLIO RUNNY CRUMMY GEEEERRRRRMMMSSSSSSS ROTTED BLAAAAHHH!!!!" and instead say, "Yucky.") and tossing his food on the floor (a feat our Boston Terrier greatly appreciates). Thanks to countless rounds of "Don't touch!" involving items such as our dog's dishes, TV remotes, and covered outlets, Cub responds pretty well when I (holding down my gag reflex) politely ask him to please remove his fingers from the trash can. Tossing his food has proven to be a bit more of a challenge, as I originally thought he did this in an attempt to communicate to me that he was "all done". So, being the sharp Mama I think I am, I showed him the sign for "all done", which he immediately interpreted as "SO BIG!" and consequently showed me by flinging his arms in the air throughout the remainder of the meal. Here, have a spoonful of SO BIG! peas and then let's SO BIG! take a sip of milk and your macaroni and SO BIG! cheese is almost done. And yes, you are SO BIG! so big. Good job, honey. 

We'll go ahead and deduct a point from Mama for that one.

So, we've started over. Now, when he holds food in his hand over the edge of the table as if to say, "Here it comes ...", I immediately grab it and say, "NO." Then I mimick like I am putting the food in my mouth and I say, "Put it in your mouth! Like this!" If he finds me boring and decides to fling his food anyway, I tap his hand (enough to get his attention and maybe sting for a second, but no it's not a SLAP! BANG! DEATH!) and once again I show him what to do. Usually he gets it by this point. But, if he once again drops food (while looking me straight in the eye, knowing it's wrong), I sternly tell him, "Caleb Scott, NO!" and then cheerily say, "All done!" and I pick him up and set him on the living room floor. If he's still hungry, he'll fuss.  And I explain to him why he's on the floor and not at the table. Then after ten minutes we resume. And he gets it by then. He doesn't drop food the second time at the table (not so far, anyway--we've only had to do it once).

I never thought I would be explaining things in full sentences to a one year old, but I'm amazed at how much he picks up. Seriously. It's nuts. Babies are way smarter than I had originally thought (I'm glad I learned this before number two makes his/her arrival).

Today we faced a new challenge. As we sat in his nursery reading books, Cub suddenly stood up, toddled over to his crib, and reached through the bars for his Mr. Lion. He had been perfectly fine up until that point, but as soon as he saw Mr. Lion, he started crying and whining and reaching for him. What? Really? I knelt down next to him and told him Mr. Lion was sleeping ("Night night") and took his hand. He started crying harder, but I calmly led him out of the nursery and shut the door and distracted him with some other toys. In a few moments, he was fine. I know I've said this before, but Mr. Lion is totally Cub's comfort toy. As soon as he gets a hold of him, he starts sucking his thumb. I already pull Cub's thumb out of his mouth when he starts sucking it while he's awake (sleepy time is different ... I know I'll fight that battle when he's older!) so I definitely don't want him sucking his thumb while he drags Mr. Lion around all day. Now, I know all moms are different when it comes to comfort toys. Some think it's fine if you let them take them around with them, and some are stricter about it, like I am. Mr. Lion is for sleepy time and trips (and special circumstances, I'm sure).  That's it. Especially if Cub throws a fit to have him. I wouldn't reward a fit for any other reason, so why reward this one? I don't know. I mean, geez, I cry every time I get a hold of The Notebook, but that doesn't mean I drag it around with me all day.

I worried that today would be the beginning of many battles with vying for Mr. Lion, but maybe not. Part of me hopes that a lot of consistency will keep the battle at bay, while the other part of me knows that battles with babies can be, simply, unpredictable. 

And, if it at the end of it all, sheer willpower fails me and pregnancy hormones win, you will find us sitting on the couch, Cub holding tightly to Mr. Lion while sucking his thumb, and me wiping tears as The Notebook plays on TV. :)

So, this will be my open-ended question to all the moms out there (or moms-to-be, or anyone who wants to share an opinion). Comfort toys: Should the kiddos be allowed to take them anywhere? Or should they be limited to bedtime only? I doubt I'll change my mind with this one, but I'm curious to hear what other moms have to say!

They All Are Important, But This One Is Significant.

Today is my Dad's birthday.

Some of you know from my old blog that this past summer my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer (not bone marrow, just bone). He had a tumor that had developed in his scapula and he underwent two months of rigorous chemotherapy and radiation. In fact, the type of chemotherapy he was on is referred to as the "red devil" as it is one of the harshest types of chemotherapy out there. It was a long summer and this whole journey has felt like there were a lot of unknowns. But, through it, I had to accept that sometimes there are things that exist within God's sovereignty that we just don't understand. And we won't ever understand. And, really, there's protection in that, somehow.

On Monday, Dad had a CT scan and on Tuesday, he went back to the doctor for the results.

And they were CLEAN! COMPLETELY CLEAN!! I jumped and screamed and cried. The tumor is gone. The cancer is gone. As of right now, Dad is cancer-free. I can't even explain to you the weight of those words.


SO. Knowing that today was his birthday, my husband and I concocted a plan to go visit him last night and surprise him, as this birthday was obviously a very special one. I decided we would pick up food from Red Robin and drive it to my parents' house. My Dad loves Red Robin and every time he and Mom visit us here, we always eat there. 

So, I drove over to Red Robin yesterday and explained the situation to the manager there, Mitch. I told him how much we had appreciated the good service they had given us and I told him Dad's story, and why this birthday was so significant. He said he was thrilled for us and would take care of whatever we needed. "Well," I said, "I need to know how to transport four burgers for over an hour without them turning into a soggy mess!" He laughed and said they would take care of it. So, I placed my order and returned back later that afternoon to pick it up. 

They had two huge bags waiting for me. After I paid, they helped me carry them out to my car. I'm telling you, smelling the deliciousness that is Red Robin while we drove to my parents' house was quite tempting. I would be lying if I didn't admit that, more than once, I crawled to the very back of our car to snag a fry for my husband and Cub and I! We arrived at my parents' house and Dad was definitely surprised. Mom had the oven heated so we could warm up the burgers and as we unloaded each one, I realized that they had disassembled everything. The buns, the burgers, the veggies, the cheese, and the sauce were all in their own containers, grouped together by each burger, so we knew which sauce and such went with what burger. All we had to do was put the buns and the (already cooked) burgers in the oven for a few minutes to heat them back up! Needless to say, everything was delicious. They even threw in a new huge bottle of ketchup, too. :) 

(Dad and I enjoying our respective sandwiches--mine was the Whiskey River BBQ Burger and his was the Crispy Chicken on Ciabatta bread.)

I understand that it is a restaurant's obligation to do as you ask, but I've worked in food service before and I know how frustrating it can be to have high maintenance customers. But, they really went above and beyond and I know it took a lot of extra work to get our order right. We appreciated it very much. 

It was so great to talk with Dad and hear more about his doctor's appointment. The doctors think that within a year, he will have most, if not all, of the function in his arm back (the tumor did some hardcore damage that will require some bone-strengthening treatment). It was so refreshing to hear good news and then more good news, after a summer of seemingly endless bad news. Dad was happy and relieved and I can't explain how healing it was to see him back to his old self. There just aren't words.

After everyone was finished, I picked up the dishes and as I went to throw some of the Red Robin bags away, I noticed a card tucked in one of the bags. I pulled it out and it had "Happy Birthday!" written on the envelope. I handed it to Dad and he opened it. It was a card from the manager at Red Robin, signed by the people that helped assemble our order! There were notes of encouragement and congratulations. Good job, Red Robin! That was a very pleasant surprise.

All in all, it was a great evening. After dinner, we sat and chatted while Cub played with his Memere and Pepere. 

(Check out Cub's relaxed double-chin! Little chunky monkey!!)

After a while we loaded up and headed home. It was a short trip, but definitely worth the drive. 

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

And It's Not Because I Didn't Like "Wanted".

I once read a quote from Angelina Jolie that said something to the effect that, unlike most women, she loved being pregnant. I think she was pregnant with her twins. I'm not an Angie J. hater, but I remember that comment didn't really resonate very well with me. Unlike most women? It made her sound a tad superhuman. I don't mind at all that she loves pregnancy--just don't assume that every other woman out there doesn't.

I thought again about her statement last night as I hugged the toilet. Hmm. Loving pregnancy. There are a lot of things I love. My husband, my son, my extended family, friends, my dog ... chocolate ... a full tank of gas ... yep. I love all of them. Of course, I love all of them with a different kind of love, right? I love my husband differently than I love my son. My love for a full tank of gas isn't anywhere near the depths of love I have for my extended family, and the complexity with which I love my friends doesn't exactly exist in the love I have for my dog. I've heard women who have very easy pregnancies say that they love being pregnant because Shoot! It's easy! And then there are women who have really awful crappy pregnancies and they still love being pregnant because, well, they're pregnant. And it isn't the difficulty or the ease with which we experience something that necessarily causes it to warrant our love.

I think I fall somewhere more towards the latter group of women rather than the former. The term "easy" in regards to pregnancy is relative, but I think it's fair to say my pregnancy with Cub wasn't as easy as some, but it was a breeze compared to others. This pregnancy, so far, has been easier than my pregnancy with Cub, but we still have a long road ahead.

But, as I was hugging the porcelain throne, I realized that my love for pregnancy now is because I know what exists on the other end of it all: The baby that will be placed on my tummy and then in my arms. So, yes, I love being pregnant. And not because it's easy or because my hair gets thick and shiny or because I glow (sweat?). I love it because the idea that I am, at this moment, housing a miracle in progress, is the most overwhelming, humbling, and beautiful gift I've ever been given. AND, that miracle continues after birth and then continues to grow outside of your body. This is why children are, truly, a gift of the Lord, really. For those of us who are not able to have our own, we are still able to take in children and watch the miracle of life continue to grow, even if that miracle began in someone else. We can still partake in the miracle of life, which is amazing.

So, Angie J., I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I disagree. I think if you ask most women, they would acknowledge that they do love pregnancy.

Now, being with Brad Pitt, well ... I think you've got us beat on that one. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

At Least I Didn't Try To Put The Key In the Ignition.

This evening, I stopped by QuikTrip to grab some hot cocoa on my way to our women's ministry team meeting. When I walked back to my car, I reached to open the door and noticed a man had stopped and was giving me a strange look. I looked down to avoid his glance, opened the door, sat down, and shut the door.

And then realized I had gotten in on the passenger side.

Hence, the strange look.


SO. How, exactly, does one coolly brush off this itty-bitty faux pas? I put my purse on, opened the door, and flung my purse onto the passenger seat, then shut the door and walked around to the driver's side. As if to say, "Ah yes! I always put my purse on the passenger seat before I get in!"

Smooth, Katie. Reeeeeeeeaaaaal smooth. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

No Rest Weekend.

My Weekend in pictures! Kind of!

Friday Night we went to a concert. Imagine us at a concert.


My husband ran a 5k (eeeaaaaarrrrlllyyyy in the morning) and beat almost everyone from his work! Way to go, babe! I was the proud support wife with a mug of Ghirardelli hot chocolate. I know how to do mornings.

Halloween with a little monkey who's pants were too big! Poor little monkey.

Little walking monkey.

The whole family.



Church. No pictures. Imagine me playing keyboard in skinny jeans that I had to button below my bulging tummy. Yes, I wear jeans to church.

The yellow heels dressed them up, I think.

After church! Photo shoot!

Love this family! You can see more here.

And now, I'm exhausted! How am I supposed to recover from a crazy weekend?? Hmmm ... hot chocolate and bed, I think!!