Saturday, July 25, 2009

Final countdown (or at least it feels that way)

It's so cliche, but time really does fly. These past two weeks have gone so quickly, and I can only imagine the next few will be just as fast . . . and then we'll have a little girl in our arms! I find myself extremely tuned into every little movement, contraction, or difference that I feel. Some days I have a ton of "braxton hicks", I feel Baby K get the hiccups on a daily basis, and she just feels different somehow. I'm looking forward to our appt. on Wednesday where we hope to find out some details on how things are progressing. Wow.

I find myself flashing back over the past nine months to an abundance of pronounced memories and events that have marked this pregnancy with such joy. From finding out on a blizzard-y and eventful day, telling our families & friends, celebrating so many annual special events, some road trips, some guests, and a lot of daily things that somehow seem not so daily when you're growing a baby. I've treasured this time completely.

So, I lost my waddle as I somehow gained my ability to walk again (well, maybe I still waddle a little, but I'm not in pain anymore which has become the main thing for me). I lost my ability to sleep any past 7am, and I gained a craving for chocolate cupcakes and cool ranch doritos. I lost my head a couple times and gained the opportunity to show my brother what a crazy hormonal pregnant woman is capable of (i.e. sudden and quite unprovoked outbursts of somewhat negative emotions taken out on said woman's husband. Sorry Trev. And Drew, I like to think this is just continuing your education about enigmatic female tendencies, so instead of "sorry" I will say "you're welcome").

I often lose my fear of the future and depending on the day, I gain it back again. One day I think we're ready. The next I think my recurring nightmares of tornadoes (for real, I've been dreaming about tornadoes on an almost weekly basis) must have some deep psychological meaning. Most days I'm overwhelmed with awe of this miracle of life, and all days I feel blessed that God would entrust us with this beautiful creation.

One of the highlights of this week was discovering that the digital wrist watch Trevor ordered that came in the mail (which I thought he got just because he wanted a new watch) he got for the sole purpose of timing my contractions! How sweet. He really is a treasure.

Events-wise, these past couple weeks have been filled with very special baby showers, including one thrown for me by my co-workers (very special and fun!), one for a friend who's due with her boy ten days before me, and one for my dearest friend here celebrating her little girl due to arrive in October . . . the celebration of each life is beautiful, and to be even a small part of loving on these babies and families is an honor and joy. This weekend I also had the fun of spending a relaxing evening with a few dear college friends who were in town. In short, lots of good girl time has been had.

And in funny pregnancy comments, I forgot to mention a couple new ones (some resulting from the waddle, others from just getting rounder or the fact that apparently people can say anything to a pregnant woman):

- "You kind of look like my grandma!"
- "Oh, you look SO much better than you did yesterday."
- "Can you GET any bigger?!?"
- "You look like you could go into labor any time."
- My latest favorite was just uttered today. A very kind mother of a six week old sweet baby boy asked if I'm getting nervous. I said, "yes". She said, "Labor was the worst experience of my life. It was awful. I'm still getting over it". Ummmm, I'm sorry? Thanks for the warning?

HA. I love it. The redeeming comments have been, "You could be a pregnant model" (THIS from the same one who told me I look like her grandma), and "When you pull up behind a table you don't look pregnant" (then again, don't most pregnant women look not pregnant when you can't see their tummies?). Or, "Wow, you're butt is still small - when I got pregnant . . . ". They all make me laugh, and I'm continually amazed at what public property pregnant women can be to others (like, when hands fly to my belly with little or no notice). I don't mind.

Random picture time:

Here's the "almost 37 week picture". We still love watching her move around in her little womb home.

A fun summer afternoon in June with our youth group at Como Park, ending at "Connie's Cones" (amazing place, thanks Reeds for the introduction).

My dear friend N and I at the baby shower she threw for me . . . a picture of all hostesses to come once I get one - thanks to all the hands and hearts that made it such a special day!

Mothers, aunt, grandma, cousins, niece . . . several traveled a great distance to be there, I'm so thankful.

Wonderful friends from Trev's days at NDSU, on the 4th of July. Their little boy is such a doll!

My fab coworkers at the shower they threw for Baby K - amazing!

A brother dinner, some time ago . . . it's rare to get a picture of them all!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I've Got a New Way to Walk

Oh yes, the waddles are back. To be honest, this little girl is quite literally "getting on my nerves". You know, the sciatic one. The shooting pain down the leg with every step, which leads me to walk akimbo. But really, I might as well make the most of them, right? Does anyone remember that song from Sesame Street "I got a new way to walk -walk walk." The tune goes through my head often these days. You can watch and listen to it for yourself! This new way to walk has prompted many a thought, and a couple of stories. The thoughts first:

- I am so very thankful that I can sit comfortably and sleep quite well still

- I would rather have this than heartburn or sickness

- I am thankful to not be on bed rest

- I cannot imagine what people who live with chronic pain go through - at least I know mine will (hopefully) go away when we meet Baby K. My gosh, I have it easy. As Darius Rucker says, "It Won't Be Like This for Long" (that song makes me cry)

- This is a forced season of rest for me. I need to sit. I need to ask for help (laundry, groceries, garbage, watering flowers, everything. And thank God for an amazing husband who is so helpful!). If I were feeling great, I might not pace myself well, so this time to back off the to-dos is okay.

The stories:
- A truly dear coworker last week: "Andrea, are you feeling okay? You don't look so good. (in an apologetic voice) You kind of walk like my grandma." Oh my gosh, what was I supposed to say to that? I think I laughed. A couple other coworkers pointed out to me, "Oh, you look like you're moving a little slow today!" Um yeah, every step hurts. You would be walking like a slow grandma too. I'm laughing as I write this even though I hope it sounds sarcastic.

- Today we went to see the movie Earth. I was inspired by the monkeys and on the way out decided that's kind of what my walk looks like - so I walked out of the movie theater making "eeee eeee eeee" sounds and putting my hands near my armpits.

- Trevor told me my waddle is actually endearing. Isn't that sweet? Quite unfortunately, he thinks he has sympathy pain - his hip really hurts when he walks up stairs. Sad!

Speaking of Trevor, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HIM! He's 28 today, and I'm obviously so glad he was born. God bless you Trevor with the best year yet - it's sure to be an adventure! We've figured out that most years for his birthday my gift to him is usually a party of some kind. I remember our first year married I made a feast in VA complete with orange sorbet in cups made of real oranges, steak, and cheesecake (I've since WAY simplified my cooking!). Last year it was about 25 people for a bbq in our backyard (that was a messy pile of dirt at the time since our patio was in progress).

Here's a pic of the 2008 party

This year it was a grill out party on Friday, a pasta party on Saturday, we'll have a walleye party tomorrow night with family. Good memories! For his actual b-day, we went to see Earth, had take-out meat madness from Famous Dave's, and are going to finish with some Dutch Blitz and Gears of War (I'll let Trevor win this once. Just kidding - I don't even know what Gears of War is, but I know it brings Trevor great joy). Happy Birthday, Trevor!

Speaking of the movie Earth, it was very special to watch it yesterday as so much of the footage and followings were of mothers and their babies! Besides being so darn cute, I was struck by all the natural instincts of animals - everything is just so, well, natural. They're born, they feed, they leave. So yeah, I was kind of comforted thinking WE are so part of God's intricate and natural creation too, so the feeding issue (which I often worry about now) will of course somehow work out. Everything will. It was good to sit in the theater and just think on that.

And speaking of Trevor. Sometimes I get this panic of "I'll never have him all to myself again!" I know it's selfish, but it's true. I find myself just wanting more and more time with him, wondering just how things are going to change - how we're going to change. I know it's a waste to worry in this way, but I wanted to write it down to 1. Get it out of my head, and 2. Look back on and remember how silly I was to even THINK that! We are immeasurably excited to meet Baby K of course, but you know these thoughts are still just sometimes there.

Another thing I'd like to remember - yesterday I received (via Facebook) some sweet postpartum advice from an old friend who's now a mother of two gorgeous girls: "Don't worry about the dishes/laundry/other chores; they won't go anywhere." I like that.

Anyways . . . Pics from the quiet patio party

These boys like their meat

And here's me at 34 1/2 weeks yesterday. Baby K probably weighs about 5 pounds right now! My brother was funny - when Trev was taking the pic Drew said, "Are you sucking in? Let it out!" Yes, I walk around the house with my belly hanging out out my too-short shirts. I refuse to go buy new ones at this point!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh what a weekend

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table (maybe I should be outside? It's gorgeous out there - and by gorgeous, I mean NOT SMOLTERING) and I'm trying to soak in the wonderful weekend that just went by way too fast. I took Friday off to spend with family in town, and I thought so many times at my desk today, "I wish it were Friday again . . . " The weekend started at Don Pablos with my parents and two dear cousins - Sarah & Hillary are more like sisters than they are cousins, gorgeous girls with such character and personality and a history between us all that spans since they were born. After the yummy mexican fare, we settled in at home for some "Splitz & Blitz", i.e. banana splits and some raucous rounds of Dutch Blitz. So fun.

Friday was a delightful and relaxed day of girly-ness: we hit IKEA (did you know they have free coffee before 10am?), hit the Midtown Global Market, lunch at Noodles & Co, and some meandering around uptown. What sticks out in my mind from uptown (besides the wild stores, the stop at Penzey's, and a delightful coffee and sea-salt caramel break at Lucia's) was a lovely conversation with a cashier/make-up artist in a make-up store. I perched myself on one of the comfy chairs, and she came up to talk and went on and on about being pregnant and having children - she was so interested, and so encouraging and engaging. Again, people are so nice to pregnant women, it continues to amaze me. Her name is Collette and she said to bring baby in sometime. I just might!

The girls at IKEA - Hillary got a pineapple plant - how fun is that?!? 

Friday evening we had a pizza party at a table set for 10, where Trevor's parents and our niece Courtney joined us and my parents and cousins for a nice dinner and time of reconnecting - it was wonderful to have all our families here at the same time, the first since we moved here. We cherish them all so dearly and those times together are special to us.

Saturday was the event that prompted all the togetherness . . . a beautiful baby shower, where we were again humbled by a shower of love, creativity, memories, and gifts. My dear friends Nikki, Alyssa, & Beth hosted the morning and it was beyond what I could have expected! (I must interject - to a certain "YG" mom who reads this blog, you were spared being invited because there's a plan for a double YG shower!) The theme was "Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice (because that's what little girls are made of)", there were splashes of lavendar in all the decor & flowers, there were spices and sugars, an array of splendid sugar-y and spicy foods, spicy tea, & cinnamon sticks as favors. I was blessed (on behalf of Trevor and Baby K) to have so many dear family members and friends join the celebration and again it's hard to even begin to express our gratitude. I can't wait to show Baby K pictures someday and tell her how loved and prayed for she was before people had even met her! She is already one blessed little girl.

Some Shower Memories . . . (more pictures to follow in a separate post)

I will always remember the start of the morning when Trevor and I sat in the nursery together in the peacefulness of a sleeping home to fill out the "baby traits game" - we had a list of traits, ranging from personality to eye color, and we had to say which of us we hope our daughter to take after for each trait. They were surprisingly easy - Trevor's eyes and confidence and sense of humor and height and lips, my nose and hands and interpersonal skills and creativity. What I loved about after we played the game at the shower (and everyone had to guess what we had put down for answers) is that Nikki pointed out how amazing it is that God already knows all those things - what she looks like, what she'll be like . . . and then she read part of Psalm 139 (which is a psalm I read every birthday, and one we hope to read at Baby K's baptism. Nikki is a true kindred spirit!):

13 For you created my inmost being; 
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.

 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
       your works are wonderful, 
       I know that full well.

 15 My frame was not hidden from you 
       when I was made in the secret place. 
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. 
       All the days ordained for me 
       were written in your book 
       before one of them came to be.

Another meaningful moment was time spent in prayer for Baby K, as well as prayer cards that people wrote out and then gave to us . . . all are beautiful, and a theme from a couple of them very much stood out and touched my heart - perfectionism. A couple prayers written:

 - Neither of you will be "perfect" parents but may God grow you up to be more and more like Himself

 - Remember, nobody parents "perfectly"

I cherish those affirmations especially, because it's so easy to think (even now with Baby K in my belly) that I somehow have control (or could somehow mess up) the pregnancy, the birth, the parenting. Perfection is unattainable - and as Trevor would call it, boring. So, here's to being NOT perfect, to learning from mistakes, for being honest on the journey. 

There were other fun games as well - everyone guessed how much I measure around (Aunt Debbie was right on!), there was baby-food flavor guessing, and of course the dirty diaper game (thanks, Beth!).

The shower was also a tangible reminder of the abundant family and community God has blessed us with - we are so thankful. And thankful also in a way that our worlds could "collide", that our families would come all this way to celebrate and that our friends here could meet them all (and vice versa!).

Festivities continued on Saturday evening with a big bbq at the Pope household, filled with Popes and Pandolfo's (14 combined, to be exact). The evening was gorgeous so we all ate outside, celebrated Father's Day and recent birthdays, pondered some questions from a game that we have, and soaked in the summer night in good company. We took out our "question game", a contraption filled with all sorts of conversation starters. The first was "how old is 'old' and what is the secret to staying young?"  Courtney (our 9 year old niece) answered, "Well, 65 is old, and the secret to staying young is wrinkle cream!"  She is an amazing young lady, and our Baby K's first cousin - it'll be fun to see them together, and Courtney will be a wonderful role model to her. 

This week Trevor and I spent some more good time in the nursery unpacking generous gifts and organizing. It's hard to believe that a BABY will be in there with us so soon. We're terribly excited.

Trevor unwrapping a "diaper cake". Mmmmm, tasty.  It was an adorable cake, and its contents are going to come in very handy when I'm sure we'll be adjusting to cloth diapers and loving the convenience of these beauties. 

And tonight . . . we welcomed home "Brother Tay", Trev's youngest brother who was just in China on a 6 week mission trip. It's been a joy to see him take that opportunity and we loved hearing about his travels and experiences building relationships with the Chinese people he met and spent time among.

The brothers (well, most of them) - or should I say the dad and uncles? 
Please notice Taylor's amazing mustache and comb-over. 

And now, we're ready for a long weekend - happy 4th of July everyone!