Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday HodgePodge 12/19/12

  1.  How will you spend 'the night before Christmas'?

Unfortunately, Favorite has to work Christmas Eve evening and Christmas Day evening so I'll be spending afternoons and mornings with him and my family.  The night before Christmas will find me with my Mom's side of the family at her house.  It's usually a good time.
 2.  What is one thing you are not?

   These days?  I'm not someone who can multitask without freaking out.  In the hustle and bustle of preparation, I called Lil Bro and lost my mind the other night.  Normally?  I'm pretty together.  But something about prengnacy and lack of memory for the sake of organization just  Thankfully, it doesn't happen often.

3.  Fudge--are you a fan?  Your favorite flavor?

  I've always been a big chocolate fan, but I just can't find it in my to like fudge.  This holiday season, I doubt I'll be eating too many sweets since they give me such horrible heartburn.  (It's one way to keep the weight at bay!)

  4.  Did you attend any craft/vendor fairs in the month of December?  Do you prefer homemade goodies or the ore professional stalls?  Are you giving any homemade gifts this year?

 I went to a craft fair last month with my mom and aunt, and there were some really cool things there.  Since I am a lover of purses, I especially appreciated all the handmade bags the vendors had available.  Some of them look SO PROFESSIONAL!

Generally, I don't give homemade gifts because I am not together enough to handle all the planning along with my regular job stuff.  And this year I'm busy crocheting an afghan for Ryan's room.  I'll post pictures as soon as I have time to take one. 
5.  What's your favorite type of holiday gathering?

 My favorite is the same type of gathering I appreciate any time of the year--people who are willing to get together and laugh until their sides hurt.  I think it's why I enjoy Christmas so much--my whole family is together.  I so enjoy my brothers and their significant others.  Their presence in my mom and dad's house with my Favorite is my definition of home, you know?

  6.  We're approaching a new year...what's going to be different in 2013?

Well, for starters, I'm going to be a mom.  But I think that responsibility really has me considering the priorities in my life.  I'm reassessing my focus and continuing to order my days.  Some days that's harder than others.  And I'll admit that the holiday season and the rush of the last minute semester fixes has kept me from consistently getting into my SOAP devotions.  Honestly, exercise has taken a back seat for the last month, too.

Fortunately, I feel like those things are only minor set-backs.  In 2013, I refuse to dwell on what's behind and look toward what's ahead--which is really something I've been working on in 2012. 

But I have a break on the horizon (two whole weeks)!  And if there's anything I hope 2013 brings, it's an understanding of what is worthwhile and what doesn't deserve extra time.
7.  Share a favorite scripture, quote, saying, or song lyric relating to peace.

Earlier this week Big Mama posted something about these lyrics.  Since then, that's been one of the few things circling in my mind.
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

  8.  Insert your own random thought here.

 I keep trying to write about belief in my life and how it's affected my journey so far.  But the only intelligible thing I can think is this:  Despite what's happened or is happening, I still believe.  I do.  It was one of my deepest frustration this time last year and one of our prevailing joys this year--the hope of expectation.

And I pray that expectation for people who are waiting.  For those who are hurting.  Or lonely.  Or still working through the frustration of hope in general.  And I pray those people see Christ in a very real way over the coming year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

25 Weeks--Little Navajo

How Far Along: 25 Weeks

Size: Ryan is the size of a large rutabaga.  At our last appointment, he weighed in at 1 lb 7 oz.  The ultrasound tech said if he continues to progress at this rate, we're looking at a 7.5 lb baby, and that makes me happy :)

Gender: It's a boy--Ryan Christopher!

Movement: Ryan moves all the time.  This week we got to see him actually kick through my stomach which was cool and weird all at the same time.

Sleep: I'm getting enough to function so no complaints.  I don't stay comfortable for long, though, so I'm learning to move multiple times a night and get back to sleep fairly quickly.

Maternity Clothes: Yep.  I could use a few more pairs of pants, and I've realized that a couple more pairs of flat/wedge shoes would be a good plan.  See, this week?  I lost sight of my feet.  I have to purposefully look for them if I want to see them so comfy shoes that slip on easily are likely a good plan.

Symptoms: Heartburn and not being able to eat much due to lack of space.  There are few other things that come along with pregnancy.  But honestly?  Everything has been really manageable.  I feel awesome most of the time!

Aversions: I'm learning to incorporate more meat in my diet, but it's still difficult.

Cravings: Breakfast food--french toast sticks, muffins, milk, cereal.

Basically all the things I'd limited so well in my diet.  I think I'm going to work on giving myself one cheat day a week and then eating really well the rest of the days.  Maybe that will curb cravings (and significant weight gain--though, so far, I'm holding steady at about 8lbs).

What I miss: I'm so grateful to be pregnant. I can't think of one thing I should be missing.

Feeling toward pregnancy: People are forever asking me how I feel, and they seem shocked when I tell them I feel great.  While I'd like to tell you the way I feel is due wholly to an overwhelming sense of gratitude, I need you to know I'm not quite that selfless.

I really DO feel great most of the time.  Per my last doctor's appointment, Favorite and I have learned that my body literally functions better in pregnancy than it ever did when my uterus was unoccupied. 

First of all, my weight gain has been mild.  I don't gain four pounds if I give in to a couple of cravings in a week.  And I can generally get those pounds off if I'm careful about what I eat and incorporate a bit of walking into my day.

Secondly, my blood sugar levels have consistently dropped.  At 16 weeks, my first glucose tolerance test showed my level at 132--within normal range, but at the high end of normal.  My second glucose screening at 20 weeks indicated my levels were 98.  For someone who has pretty significant insulin resistance (proved out by horrible weight loss efforts, etc.), that's a huge win.

Thirdly, while I am certainly tired, I am rarely the bone-tired-cannot-get-out-of-bed-to-function-even-though-I-have-no-reason-to-feel-this-way.  And I don't feel like garbage after I exercise, either.

So when I say I feel great?  I mean I'm trying to find a way to stay pregnant until I die.  This is apparently my body's homeostasis.  And I'm enjoying every minute.

Best Moment this week: Watching different parts of my stomach jump and move because of whatever Ryan is doing in there.

What I'm looking forward to: Christmas!  My family will be together again, and I feel pretty blessed to have the opportunity to share our blessing with people who might be more excited than we are.

And after Christmas?  The nursery.  Without grad school on my mind, I'll be able to focus on getting things arranged and getting material so my mom can get to sewin' :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Magic of 12/12/12

I feel like I should mark the monumental occasion of 12/12/12 by posting a random listing of stuff surely someone will read and comment on.

Truthfully, I had a few pictures I wanted to share along with a few random statements that aren't really enough to make an individual post so I'm lumping them all in one.

*  Today is my mom and dad's anniversary.  They've been married for 37 years.  Isn't that an awesome accomplishment these days?

*  I love my classes this year.  My advanced class moved from a 78% average on their first test to a 90% average on their most recent exam.  Can you believe that?!  And I just love 5th hour.  They are such a diverse group of kids, but they are genuinely interested in each other.  Today, after a few informative speeches, they asked the respective speakers so many intelligent questions.  It was a proud moment to be a teacher.

*  A couple of weeks ago, Favorite and I did a belly comparison:

They're alarmingly similar, are they not?  (On a side note, I tried to get them to post side by side, but I'm not tech-savvy and blogger wasn't cooperative.  Use your imagination.)
*  I still can't talk about this gift my mom got me without saying all these things that apparently make my readers cry.  (You're an emotional group, aren't y'all?  HA!)  But, honestly, I can remember seeing it in Hallmark and repeatedly wishing I would have a reason to make the purchase. 
*  Speaking of gifts, I have several I need to post here so you can get an idea of how awesome my support system is.  My Aunt Diane gave Ryan an Ugly Doll (which matches his nursery perfectly), and since she saw it and knew how much I loved Sock Monkeys, Gloria gave me this:
He plays peek-a-boo, guys.  And then giggles with this little kid voice.  So.Very.Cute.
*  Favorite has been busy finishing up the closet in Ryan's room and the closet in our guest room.  When they come next week, BigBro and SILSheena may even be able to hang their clothes instead of unfolding everything from the suitcase.  And Ryan's room has closet doors.  When those rooms aren't disaster areas, I'll try to get some pictures up here for you all to see.
*  And just for fun, we drove out to the road to see our Christmas tree in the front window of our house.  That picture didn't turn out well, but the one of our tag-alongs was pretty indicative of their personalities:
We are stocking-less this year since I couldn't find any I really liked.  (Or, more accurately, I was unwilling to pay $35 a pop for the Sock Monkey stockings I found and llllluuuurrrrvvvveeeddd.)  But I'm almost completely done wrapping presents and have just a few more things to grade before I can officially relax.
And then?  I'll be chillin' until January 7th.
Which is about as merry as it gets :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

I kinda liked Jon Acuff's take on this particular image.  Visit his blog to see how an angel gets its wings.
(Hint:  This billboard may not be the way to make an angel fly.)

Maybe we should forget about verbiage for a while.

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
                                                       --Steve Maraboli

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Nursery Imagined

I've been working on some ideas for Navajo's nursery, and I thought I'd share the mood board I put together.  It's my first ever mood board, but you know what I've discovered?  It's kinda fun.  Granted, I would've probably picked most of this stuff even had I never put a mood board together.  But I'll admit the process has been fun so far.

So, here it is:

Feel free to share your thoughts.  Or tell me how I can get that rug (from Urban Outfitters) or the chair (from Target) for a little cheaper. 

In case you're interested, here's where I found the other products:

Crib:  Carter's Summer Infant (Amazon)
Table:  Kirkland's
Owl Lamp:  Target (I had to color the shade red.)
Material:  Etsy (Robert Kaufman Remix collection)

My mom is going to sew the bedding and the curtains out of those materials, but here are a few other things I found on etsy that would definitely match:

and this guy:

So now that I've cleared my mind, I need to go be a better wife.  So folding underwear it is.

No pictures of that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Snotty, Sweaty Side of Hope

Favorite and I try to pretend we're socially capable people.  We do this by occasionally leaving our hobbit hole and visiting restaurants, or if we're feeling particularly people-friendly, the movies.  We've even ventured out recently in search of Christmas decorations.  (Because I'm actually making it happen this year.  Well, I would if Target would ship my tree already.  C'mon Target.  I gave you business.  You give me a tree.  We all have Christmas spirit.  Right?)

But most of our forays into truly social behavior should be tempered with the fact that we rarely interact with anyone but each other while we're out, and we mostly avoid situations that would require the attention of an audience.  We may be funny, but I promise we're really only behind-the-scenes amusing.  We are not stand-up-comedian material.

You'd think this valuable piece of information would've come to mind when PastorJosh asked us to kick off the Advent season by reading in front of the church.

You'd think.

Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.  See, something about actually putting up a Christmas tree and decorating the house after seven years of not bothering coupled with an emotional gratefulness for Ryan's surprise conception tickled something in my heart.  So I forgot who I was for a second and agreed to PastorJosh's proposal.

When I read through his email, I felt good about the commitment.  The reading was about the light of the world and how Christ came to be a light in the darkness.  I nodded my head as I read each paragraph believing Favorite and I would do our part as asked.  Still, it never occurred to me that we are the people who light candles and accidentally set something on fire--information that would've been helpful to consider given the circumstances.

I was blissfully contented with our capabilities until PastorJosh brought me the print-out on Sunday morning.  Turns out, in a burst of genius, he decided to change the reading to coincide with his sermon.

"OK," I nervously thought to myself.  "All we have to do is read.  It'll be fine."

PastorJosh calmly explained he would call us up front and we would could take it from there.  Our responsibilities were three-fold:

1.  Read the assigned scripture.
2.  Read the attached information regarding the assigned scripture.
3.  Light the candle.

But by the time we were called to the front?  Favorite had started to sweat.

(A bit of a side note:  Favorite does not sweat well.  He only sweats when he is extremely hot or extremely nervous.  And it's not a "glistening" sort of glow, either.  He drenches clothing in an attempt to expel all water from his body.  It's a look-at-the-guy-who-just-got-out-of-the-pool scenario.)

By the time we'd taken the ten steps to the front of the church, the back of his shirt was completely drenched and he was well on his way to changing the color of his jeans.  PastorJosh smiled and commented that it was only appropriate to ask us to read given the fact that we were expecting our first child--a son--and during this Advent season we all look to Christ with hopeful expectation.

We smiled, but the emotional response behind the public recognition of our son was already starting to boil.

(Another side note:  Favorite and I do not do public displays of emotion well.  Because most of our public reactions tend to be socially "off," it should be obvious that emotional outbursts are red-faced, snotty messes.  And before you ask:  Yes, we are ashamed of this fact.)

PastorJosh handed us that microphone with a smile and returned to his seat.  (Likely with hopeful expectation.  He should've known better.)

Favorite began to read the words of Isaiah 9.

He really was doing a great job, sweat and all.  We'd managed to look normal, and then it hit us:  Isaiah 9!  Right as Favorite hit verse six, there was a catch in his voice:  "For to us a child is born,/ to us a son is given..."

Without much warning, his eyes teared up and he stopped for a few minutes.

Let's take a break to imagine a scenario together.  Imagine that the man you love, the one you've worked so hard with to achieve a goal, suddenly recognizes the blessing of that achievement and gets a bit teary-eyed.  That would be enough to cause the most unemotional woman to blink back tears.  Unfortunately, I'm not unemotional; I'm pregnant.  So his pause was my downfall.

I couldn't even stop them.  Tears start rolling out of my eyes and my body was involuntarily convulsing.  I was doing my best to control it, so it was only a slight shudder every now and again, but I'm pretty sure it looked like I was having mini-seizures.

When Favorite handed me the microphone, I proceeded to read my section as fast as my air intake would allow.  We  Otherwise?  I was going to fall to the floor in a fit of emotional gratitude that likely wouldn't translate to an all-church revival.  Trackin'?

Stiffening my body to control my seizures, I got to this portion of the reading:  "In times past, we looked forward to God's promise of the Messiah with great hope and expectation..."  

The statement itself, while true, should've been a relatively benign part of the reading.  But it was hot.  And my Favorite was already teary-eyed.  And Ryan was there.  After seven and a half years of trusting God to carry us.  So I really didn't have much control over myself.

I started crying.  Not the few tears I couldn't blink back from before.  We're talking an all-out-can't-speak-without-your-voice-shaking sob fest.

And when I started crying, my nose started running.  Not a feminine, little, sniff-worthy run, either, mind you. It was a rivers of mucus moment.  I actually had to take my mind off of the reading for what seemed like an eternity to make that age old decision:  do I wipe my nose with my hand in front of all these people and risk the great clinging snot escapade?  Or do I just let it run and hope this ends as quickly as possible?

Then, without much rational thought, I wiped.  With the hand holding the microphone.

Social outcasts, I tell you.

We finally stumbled through the end of our reading and, looking at the floor, managed to make it back to our seats forgetting the third part of our responsibility:  LIGHT THE STUPID CANDLE, YOU CRAZIES!

But given our stellar performance up to this point, it was probably just as well we didn't light any fires in the sanctuary.  Lord knows how that would've gone down.

The moral of the story?  We will never, ever, ever, ever read in church again.  (Make a song out of that experience, Taylor.)  And we will return to our hobbit hole where we can snot and sweat in private.

But we will do it with hearts bursting with gratitude over our situation.  And we will do it with the realization that hopeful expectation comes full circle in the hand of the Father.  We are so blessed.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.