Here I am, folks, 27 weeks and getting big! Here are a few preggo updates!
*I had a slump of no energy around 22 weeks and it stuck with me for about a month, but now I'm feeling great. Hopefully the third trimester will treat me well for a little while!
*The baby is kicking ALL THE TIME, especially when I'm ready to go to sleep. :)
*Speaking of "the baby", we had another ultrasound last week and ...
*She's a GIRL!
*We are WAY. EXCITED. Tiny sisters for Cub. I can't wait.
*We have a name picked out, but we haven't decided on it for sure. I'll let you know when we do.
*Baby Girl is breech and has been since our 20-week ultrasound ... not a big deal yet, obviously, but I'm hoping she decides to flip before she gets much bigger!
*Or before I get much bigger. Oy.
*My weight gain is ... uh, on track, I think? I never actually look at the scale when they weigh me. Terrible, I know. I like to check right at the very end, just because it's fun, but I don't really care throughout the pregnancy. If I'm blimping up too much, my doctor will tell me.
*Speaking of blimping up, when I saw this picture, my first thought was, "Well, there goes my face!" Check out those round cheeks! And they will only get rounder as the weeks go by and the holidays encroach upon us. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas and a trip to Branson in there somewhere, I'm hosed. Bring on the stuffing and apple dumplings!
*Besides my face getting cheeky, I'm not swollen, which is nice. My ankles and wrists are still intact. I did have to take off my wedding ring, though. :( It never fit right after I had Cub (even after my drastic/crazy weight loss), so my fingers must have permanently gotten a size bigger with him, if that's even possible. Thusly, I had to move my right-hand pink sapphire to my left-hand, along with a cheap "wedding" band from Target to complete the set.
*I've already lost two "diamonds" out of my cheap wedding band. Ha ha. Classy!
*I'm anxious about having two girls, simply because I never had a sister, so I'm not sure I'll know what in the world I'm doing. I have friends I can ask, which is great. :) I'm so excited for the girls, though. Tiny sisters.
*No cravings anymore, but I do get fuller faster. Not what I would consider to be a problem. :)
When I was fifteen, the Baptist church we were attending suffered a split and my family left along with several other families in the congregation. I was what you would describe as an "active" member of our youth group, volunteering for various ministries along with singing for the worship band and youth choir, and playing the piano for the offertory on Sunday morning and Sunday night. I was known and affirmed for my service and appreciated the pats on the back I received in return. High-five for the involved kid in the youth group.
So, needless to say, the church split rocked my cozy little world and my safe walls came tumbling down. Adults whom I had known for years said hurtful things. Friends whom I had had for years said hurtful things. We were all hurting and we hurt each other in return. I turned my nose up to the idea of ever attending another Baptist church again and I allowed that hurt to settle into the deep recesses of my heart, where a tiny root of bitterness took hold. I can be a slightly cynical person by nature anyway, which didn't help anything, either.
I didn't have an issue with God or really of church in general--just of Baptist churches. I spent the next few years floating between my friends' churches, ignoring the bitterness and therefore letting it grow. My freshman year of college, I took a break from church altogether. I attended chapel at least once a week and felt it was sufficient. And really, at that time, I think it was.
My degree is in Family and Human Services and at the university I attended, this particular degree falls under the Department of Biblical Studies. That meant that along with my classes on counseling theories and family law, I was also taking Philosophy of the Christian Faith, Spiritual Formations, Theology, and the like. I studied the works of Augustine, Kierkegaard, and Bonhoeffer, and spent countless hours in the offices of my professors, discussing questions and revelations I had about my faith and the experiences that were shaping my worldview. I attended liturgical services, went to my first Ash Wednesday service, and observed Lent for the first time. I found these things to be tangible ways for me to worship and not altogether distant from my early years spent at a Dutch Reformed church that practiced its own methods of liturgy. It resonated with me and my faith grew enormously.
My sophomore year of college, I started dating the guy who would someday become my husband. I remember one night casually asking him where he went to church when he was home from college, and he said it was a Baptist church.
I don't like to think that I am dramatic, but sometimes my responses to things can be a little, eh, over the top. I promptly threw my hands in the air and declared that we couldn't date.
Thankfully, he ignored my little outburst and instead listened to the story of my hurt, the reason I felt the way I did. I was surprised when he didn't laugh or toss the story aside, but instead took it seriously. He said we would pray about where God was leading us as a couple, and that would be that. I nodded. That night I started praying. I prayed diligently every night for months, that God would release my hurt and, truly, my hate towards this specific kind of church--the same kind of church that the man I loved, and the man who's family I also loved, chose to attend. That root of bitterness had grown and had been nurtured over the years and was now a strong one. I know it seems silly to be weighted down by something that in the scheme of things seems so ... minor? Insignificant? I mean, the kind of church you attend? Who cares?
But wounds from the church are of the worst kind. If you've experienced that, you know it to be true. I couldn't forget the hurtful words, the dirty looks, from people I used to share my life with. All at a time in my life that was a decidedly poignant one.
In college, I became familiar with the Apostles' Creed. If you don't know it, this is how it goes:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
he sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.
The holy catholic church. The lowercase "c" refers to the universal church. The universal body of believers. As I studied the Creed, I realized that these were the things that mattered. These were the pillars of orthodox Christianity. If a Bible-believing church taught salvation and adhered to these truths and followed them, then I was on board, regardless of how they chose to worship or what denomination was listed under the name on their church sign.
Maybe even Baptist churches.
It was a historical creed, one that is rarely recited in Baptist churches (though is sometimes sung), that made me open to the possibility of the idea of attending one.
My last semester in college, I knelt one night by my bed and prayed again what I had been praying for a long time--that the root of bitterness would die. And in that moment, it did.
I opened my eyes and couldn't believe it. The hatred was gone. The bitterness was gone. God had answered my prayer. It was the biggest stronghold I have ever experienced and the disappearance of it was, thusly, the biggest relief I have ever experienced. It's like holding your breath just a moment too long and finally releasing it to breathe in fresh air. You want to laugh and collapse at the same time. I probably did.
Ironically, after my attitude underwent this crazy transformation, my husband and I didn't end up attending a Baptist church. We instead went to a church across town and stayed there for six years, and loved it. Then, almost a year ago, we felt God calling us to the church where he grew up. The Baptist church. We wanted our kids to have the experience of going to church with their grandparents, and after months of prayer and discussion, we did it. The transition has been a beautiful one. I'm still the same me--I will still attend an Ash Wednesday service and I still observe Lent and read through the Book of Common Prayer. These are the ways I love to worship. I also love the genuine joy of the body of believers God has called us to, the Bible Studies, the kids running in the hallway after church, and the glow on my in-laws' faces when they see their grandkids in the children's wing. The pastor and I have had really good conversations and even if we don't see eye-to-eye on everything, I respect him greatly and he has shown that he respects me as well, which is huge. God not only released my hatred towards all things Baptist, but He gave me love in its stead.
And as I sit here teary-eyed, I'm not entirely sure as to why I felt the need to share all of this with the Internet. But it was on my heart this morning, so, there you have it.
My friend recently made some handprint trees with her kiddos, so last week I decided to do the same with Cub. Once sister went down for a nap, Cub helped me gather paint from our craft closet and organize our assembly line of tools: Paint, paintbrush, damp paper towels, and a large piece of paper.
We started with the tree trunk. Using a paintbrush, I painted Cub's hand, wrist, and arm (to his elbow) with brown finger paint and pressed it on the paper. Then I wiped it off with a damp paper towel, rinsed the brush, and he picked the colors he wanted for the leaves. I repeated the process with each color (only painting his hand), and Voila! We soon had a fun fall-ish tree. He even added a smear of green for "grass". Such artistic flair! I hung it on our fridge and Cub is very proud. :)
I think it's safe to say that any sort of stomach bug is my least favorite sort of bug. I had heard of such a bug floating around our area and while I crossed my fingers and took my vitamins and hoped that perhaps it would skip over us, my efforts were futile. Saturday night, Mouse threw up six times in an hour and a half, once Sunday night, and then we all got it Monday night. "It" turned out to be a horribly painful bug, full of stomach cramping and subsequent loss of stomach content. Both my husband and I agreed that this was the worst sickness we'd had in a while, as we laid on the floor curled up in the fetal position, moaning and pounding the floor with our fists.
Yeah, it was that bad.
Thankfully, it only lasted for a few hours with the kids. It lasted for eight hours for my husband and I, and finally after midnight we were able to hold down Gatorade (it never tasted so good). By the next morning, we were at least functioning, and I took advantage of this energy burst to go into psycho-cleaning mode. It seems to me that the stomach bug spreads germs in the worst way and I was determined to nix every last trace of illness in our house. I strapped on a mask and yellow gloves, and after removing the shower curtain, rug, and towels (all of which went in the wash for a spin in the "sanitize" cycle) in our guest bath (where we camped out most of the night), I bleached the entire bathroom. On my hands and knees, scrubbing. GAH. It was awful and felt wonderful. Now, at the end of the day, all of the sheets and comforters have been washed, too. Phew.
While my husband and I tag-teamed caring for the kids and took turns throwing up between hand-offs, it made me appreciate him all the more. He is so sensitive and sweet to the kids and this was especially true last night as he consoled them and held them and loved on them while they were sick. At one point he reached over to me and said, "I feel like death. I can't even imagine how hard this is for you being pregnant. You're amazing." I managed a smile in the midst of a really horrible night.
Now, we are back in the land of the living. Kind of. We're all still feeling tired and weak, but our stomachs are better and the house is sparkling. I'm glad that episode is over.
I'm sitting here looking like I've been hit by a dump truck.
I'm looking snazzy in my sweatpants and maternity tank top (ow ow!) and I gracefully tripped over a sippy cup on the floor on my way to the computer. My laundry room is impassible, the dishwasher is full, and I've been having achy-breaky Braxton Hicks all afternoon. I started the day with gusto, however, with a breakfast with the kids' great Grandpa, a three mile brisk walk through the neighborhood pushing the kids in the jogger, hide-n-seek with Cub for an hour, and I even threw in a craft for good measure. Energy! Blessed energy!
Then I crashed at nap time. CRASHED.
The exhaustion that has decidedly accompanied this pregnancy is naturally blamed on the fact that I have two little ones to chase around. As you can see by the aforementioned game of hide-n-seek, the word "chase" is a literal one. As I crash into bed at the end of the day, I tell myself, "You had two kiddos to care for, no wonder you're tired!" I mean, right? Not just kids, but toddlers. Little kids. Baby kids.
It wasn't until today on the couch that it dawned on me that I've been wrong this whole time.
I don't have two kiddos to care for.
I have three.
The baby in my tummy requires his/her own amount of care, which, in this case, means stopping. Resting. Putting my feet up during nap time and taking a snooze myself. It's really the only time I can rest, seeing as any time I sit down while the kids are awake, even if they are on the other side of the house, they sense my pause in action and coming running to crawl on my lap and wallow and hang and pull and whatnot. Nap time = Rest time.
I kind of have to force myself to do it, since I see nap time as a time to get a few extra things done. But, sorry laundry room, you're just going to have to stay cluttered for a bit. I spend the morning paying attention to my two oldest. Nap time is now for the youngest.
Wow that's crazy to say.
And this "Dump Truck Chic" look will just have to be something to get used to. :)
My gracious in-laws took us on vacation this past week and we had a blast. Such a sweet time to play together. I am thankful for a healthy family (the older I get, the more I realize what a blessing that is) that loves to be together, no matter where we are. It was good to get away, and it's good to be home. And I'm still finding sand in our clothes. :)