Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On My Immediate Family

I've got family on the brain.... which you would expect, I think.  The last few weeks have been full of immediate family-related things.  I spent MLK Day cleaning out closets and making room for baby things.  Husband painted the nursery.  Furniture started to arrive (and be promptly assembled).  We started to organize some of the things people have already given us in the nursery.  We spent this last weekend out of town, just the two of us.  We went to our first Childbirth Education class last night.  And, of course, there is this constantly kicking baby who reminds me I'm never alone.


For most of my life, family has meant my indescribably amazing mom, my wonderful, caring dad, my best friend sister.  Grandparents who were here for us all the time, an aunt, uncle, and two cousins who are "our people."  In the last several years, it's grown to include Husband, obviously.  His family has, over time, become part of my family, too.  His mom, dad, sister.  Grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins.

But recently, I've just been considering my immediate family, which, somehow, no longer includes my mom, dad, and sister.  My immediate family is my husband, my dog, my baby boy.  I crave time spent with them, especially with Husband.  I pray ferverently that God would transform me into a wife and mother after His own heart.  I recognize that yes, He has placed in me in the roles of sister, daughter, teacher, friend, and I cherish and honor those roles and love them.  But He's also given me the role of wife and mother, and those just might be the most important things I ever do. 

How very un-feminist and un-independent of me, don't you think?  Particulary for this very independent woman who loves (and I mean LOVES) her job and always wants to be a teacher, wants to work, wants to be connected to students, knowing with full confidence that God has put me here, at this school, with these kids, for a very specific reason, and feeling sure that teaching life is a large part of my purpose. 

But if I had had the choice to stay home this morning with my husband and my dog, I would have taken it.  I love being with my family.  I always have, but recently it's different.  I am more thoughtful about it.  We are more intentional.  More fun.  More serious.  More together. 

My husband, my dog, my son-to-be.  I love them.  My family.

And seriously, could you blame me?

How could I not love my adorable, handsome husband, who, over the weekend, laughed with me, got me out of a funk, knew what I needed, cherished me.  Took me here, even though bookstores aren't as much his favorite as mine.

This amazing Husband, who was so excited to assemble the changing table when it came that, despite the fact he wasn't done painting yet and couldn't move it upstairs, assembled it right in the middle of our living room.

He even read the directions.

How could I not love this dog, who wants to be included in whatever we are doing, but has her own ways of entertaining herself.

What, Mom?  What are you looking at?

How could I not want to spend time with this man?  Husband and I at Panera the first morning of our weekend "getaway." We were totally distracted by the man who was taking coffee mugs out of the dirty dishes and getting coffee and stealing the pre-packaged pastries when he thought no one was looking.

Family.  I'm loving it, with all it's many changes, with all the ups and downs.  May God continue to work in my heart to transform me from the woman I have been to the woman, the wife, the mother (and yes, still the daughter, sister, friend, teacher) He me to be.

And may my family, and yours, find blessing and joy in times together.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fridays are For....

.... Catching up on what you've missed out on and for pretending you don't have work to do since you have the weekend next.  That's what I think, anyway.

Time for a quick "news-y" type blog post, since I haven't had one of those in a while.  You'll forgive me for the "list-like" style, won't you?  (And forgive the lack of pictures.... I was sick this week and didn't even feel like picking up my head, much less the camera.)

- Less than 10 weeks to go now!  You can read about pregnancy here and about my recent thoughts on motherhood here.

- The nursery is painted and the crib, changing table, and dresser have all arrived and are assembled.  Thanks to Husband's mom for the crib and changing table and his grandma for the dresser.  Next - finish cleaning out the closet, start bringing up and organizing all the things people have already given us, and get our final piece of furniture from my parents, the rocking chair.  Oh, and decorate some.  I have some ideas - I'm hoping for simple and classy-cute.

- We're headed out of town this weekend for a mini-vacation.  We're not going far, and decided to stay in a different area than we originally thought so we could afford to stay two nights instead of just one.  I will still have to do a little school work, but we're going to try to just spend some really good quality time together for the next few days.  The only problem right now is that it's currently snowing, so I hope the roads won't be bad.

- I've had a nasty cold this week.  It went downhill on Tuesday afternoon and on Wednesday I stayed home.  I love that my students all stated, "pregnant women should just not have to get sick.  That's not fair."  Feeling better, more human, less snot.  Think I'm keeping it from turning into the cough stage, so that's good.

- Lots has been happening with my Grandpa.  He's 96 and has been living in an independent-living retirement home for the last 9 years since my grandma died.  (Well, he's lived in two different places in that time, but both independent-living, not assisted.)   Two weeks ago he got bronchitis and it pretty much knocked the stuffing (and all the strength) right out of him, so he's been at my parents' house since then.  He's doing much better, I think, but he has to move to assisted living for at least 4 - 6 weeks for some PT/OT.  We'll re-evaluate whether or not he goes back to his place or moves to assisted living permanently later.  In the meantime, my parents and sister have all gotten very little sleep AND caught the cold, too. 

- Student Council stuff looms: a retreat in a couple of weeks that still needs to be planned, a major spirit week with events and a giant dance in a month, election things to be prepared so all the paperwork parts are done before maternity leave.   And most importantly, trying to still build relationships and be in the moment with them NOW.

- We go to our first birth class on Monday.  Husband was doing some reading and freaked himself out, apparently.  He's scared for me and wants to know why I'm so calm.  Umm.  I'm an ostrich, duh.  I'm ignoring it until I have to pay attention..... not really - but I know we're taking the class, getting the information, and that no matter how much preparation I do, it will still be an adventure like none I've had before. 

- Sort of wishing all the rest of the stuff was done and it was 10 weeks from now and we were getting onto the next stage.  But I'll keep working hard to enjoy life now, because I like my life, and I don't want to miss things.

Hoping your life has been full and blessed recently.  Happy Friday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

T-Minus 10 Weeks

Here's how I've been measuring time recently:

"Three weeks until the Student Council Retreat.  Five weeks until Sadie's Week.  Ten weeks until Baby."  The next ten weeks are full, people.  I mean FULL.  I have a StuCo Retreat to plan and pull off (Feb 10-12),  our school has a big Sadie's Week full of events and a huge dance (Feb 27-Mar 1), I need to get all the StuCo election stuff figured out in early March.  There are a couple of baby showers to attend, birth class to go to once a week starting next week, doctor's appointments every two weeks and then every week, a weekend get-away with Husband this coming weekend, a visit from family the week before Sadie's.  I'm supposed to have a room ready for baby to come home to, sub plans figured out for 8 weeks worth of class, and, of course, I have a job that I have to still do nowFULL.

I sort of have started wishing we had somehow gotten through all of that and that it was time for the baby now, even though the "I'm not ready mentally or emotionally (not to mention physically)" mentality is still in full effect.  A (increasingly larger) part of me wishes the Peanut were here!

With all that said, we are about 10 weeks away from our due date!

30 Week Update

Husband was actually home this morning, so he took the picture. 
Got it pretty cute in one shot, instead of my normal 10 attempts.

Size of Baby: 15.7 inches in length, more or less.  Longer than a ruler.  Not quite a ruler and a half.  I believe it - I can feel him kicking me in different places nearly simultaneously.  Weight?  About the same as a cabbage - 3 ish pounds.  Expected to grow significantly soon!  (hopefully him, not me).

Maternity Clothes: Clearly.  I just put aside my last pair of regular jeans this weekend.  They finally were just a little too uncomfortable, even with their low waist.  The jeans I'm wearing in this picture crack me up - the built-in "belly band" thing is hilarious... but also a bit obnoxious, as I keep feeling like my pants are falling down.  I wish it were a warmer season, because I think some fun dresses would be nice, but alas, it's windy and cold and unpredictable, so not worth spending the money.  Still, I finally feel "cute-ish" most of the time.  That's nice.

Gender: Boy.  We got our first round of registering done... speaking of which, if you have strong-but-nice opinions on what are "must-have's" or "how many to have's," I'd love to know.... and it was fun to pick out some little boy things.  Some friends of ours have a baby boy who will be almost exactly a year older than our little man, so they've been passing some stuff along already.  It's true that little girl clothes are cuter, but there are some super stinking cute boy things out there, too.  I'm getting a little excited about it, especially as I've been reading some things from other first-time moms with boys.

Movement: All the time.  Get 10 kicks in 30 minutes for a fetal-movement test?  Puh-lease.  When I stretch out in the evening, I can get 30 kicks in 10 minutes.  Or less.  (Seriously, the other day I had hit my 10 in less than a minute.)  Usually really fun feeling.  Occasionally he catches me off-guard.  My new favorite?  Feeling my belly get hard in a certain spot without touching it, pushing slightly, and feeling him roll away.   I showed that to my sister the other day and she agreed.  It's cool.

Sleep:  Oh, sleep.  I miss sleeping well.  It doesn't help that I'm working my way through a cold right now and trying to keep it from getting too much into the cough stage, which I really struggle with.  But my shoulders and back hurt (I've always been a stress-carrier there) and sometimes my belly hurts and it's super hard to find a comfy place to sleep.  Still, I am sleeping some, and I'm not too exhausted.  I wake up most mornings feeling refreshed, and that's a wonderful thing.

What I Miss: Still, the belly button.  I guess it will come back.  Feeling more independent.  I'm starting to get to the point where I know I need to ask for help with some things, and I don't like that. 

Cravings: I have been hitting the Cheetos pretty hard over the last week.... but I always have liked them.  Salty, salty, salty.  Mexican.  Chinese.  That all sounds pretty good right now.  In fact, anyone want to bring me lunch?  Sounds better than my PB sandwich and yogurt.

Symptoms: Nothing new to report.  Supposedly I could be feeling Braxton-Hicks now, but I don't think I have. 

What I Wish I Knew: Right now?  Shallow things, like who should be invited to baby showers.  I hate that part of planning.  Bigger things, like if I have registered for the right amount of important things, and what I should buy myself.  I want to do this right, but simply.  I don't want too much stuff, but I want the right stuff.

Best Moment of the Week: Actually not minding talking about the baby with total strangers four times in a row on Saturday.  For once, it didn't bother me. I mean, I wasn't gushy, but I felt happy to talk to them and didn't mind their questions or unsolicited input.  That's growth, people.

Oh, and getting the nursery painted (Husband kicked butt this weekend!).  That's done, we're waiting for our new windows, and the crib my MIL ordered for us should be here any day this week.  It's pretty fun to start putting it together!  And I've been able to use my "can't sleep" times at night to think about what decor ideas I might want (simple, again).   Pictures of the progress coming soon.

Now, as I look at the clock and realize my next class is coming in 20  minutes, I guess I'd better get something "productive" done.  Just thought 30 weeks sounded like a big milestone.  

Back to getting things crossed off the to-do list so I can get to the "Baby's here!" stage faster.

Happy Monday, friends.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thoughts on Impending Motherhood

It's been a little over a week since I last blogged - not because I haven't had posts ready mentally, but because the speed of life has been picking up and most minutes have been full.  Hopefully I will have time to do a "check-in" post tomorrow, but this post has been on my heart (and in my journal) for over a week now, so it comes first.

As of today, we have 71 days until our due date.  It was more the other week when I originally journaled this, but as of today, 71 days.  I realize it could be more, could be less, but still, 71 days.  Motherhood is impending.  Speedily.  

Read along with me.

It hit me (the other) night in the shower.  I was thinking how odd it is being a giant, pale hippopotamus is considered beautiful.  (Clarification - I do understand that the miracle of creating life, of pregnancy, is beautiful.  It's just the giant hippo part I think is a little weird.)  And it just hit me.

There is an actual small child inside of me, but he will be in our house before we know it.

And we'll be responsible for him.  And I'll be his mom.  How do you be a mom to a boy and acheive the same type of relationship I have with my mom?  Is that even possible?

A slight panic ensued - literally.  I stood frozen for a moment, on the verge of tears, unable to breathe.

This is REAL.  And VERY big.  (And I'm not just referring to my belly.)

I'm not ready.  Tears prick again as I write this.  I haven't read any books yet.  I haven't been seeking enough advice on what to do.  Most of all, it's nearly impossible to actually imagine him here.  Vague, blurry glimpses I can create, bu tthe real thing?

The overwhelming realization that this baby is real and will change my life entirely stops me in my tracks. 

Am I excited?  People may think I'm not, because I don't gush and offer up mushy detatils about loving pregnancy and nursery colors.  I'm more likely to, when asked, "how are you feeling?" respond with "fat" and a laugh.  Don't get me wrong - I may not love pregnancy, but I'm a pretty big fan of feeling my son kick and move and wiggle - it's my favorite.  But to be truthful, I'm not sure I could describe the word excited to describe what I'm feeling right now.  Excited is what I am for Christmas lights, seeing a new Harry Potter movie, eating Cadbury Mini Eggs, or drinking a Gingerbread Latte.  This is way beyond that.  I want to be a mom, and I know the moment I hold my son in my arms that I will be overwhelmed with love.

But excited isn't the right word.  This is deeper, more serious.  I cannot help but think about the weight of this change.  The responsibility.  The committment to raising him to be a Godly man. The tears I know I'll shed because I've watched my mom shed them for me. 

I guess I've been being an ostrich, still.  That I've not allowed myself to feel too much joy in anticipation or too much of the weight of how big of a deal being a mom actually is.  It would be so much easier to go back to just doing the "preparing to leave" stuff mentally and emotionally, but I know that (and I want to) need to embrace these deeper, more complex, more heart-stirring and heart-warming and terrifying realities, too. 

That there is great JOY in this experience.  And that there is great responsibility.

Perhaps, for the first time, I catch a tiny glimpse into Mary's heart.

Lord, God, Father, Spirit.  You are unfathomable in your complexity.  Your ways are higher than mine, and your plans infinitely better.  You have been weaving  this child in my womb, and You know every detail about him, just as You know me.  You have made me the way I am - do not let others make me feel guilty about not being gushy enough, or about being too "honest." 

Instead, Lord, walk with me into a joyful anticipation of this, knowing that You have placed a great responsibility on me, but also that You are with me and that Your plans are perfect. 

Teach me to focus on the Joyful pieces for these last many weeks - to claim for my own the depth of understanding of love and joy and incredulity at this life You are creating.  Let me become a woman who becomes a mother in love with her God first, transformed by Him in every way, so that I might have my eyes focused on You as I raise my son, that You will be whom I seek, and that I will heed you in all I do for and with my child.  Let me remember that You are Lord, and that no work of my own will cause this child to grow up into a good, strong man.  I, like I cannot change my husband, cannot force or will my son to be a certain way.  Instead, I must consistently and ferverently seek You in all I do, entrusting him to Your care, believing that You guide and lead me each step of the way.

Create JOY in me, oh God, and please, keep reminding me of Your truths and promises.


Just last night we were talking paint colors and making final choices.  We had the nursery set we bought out and were trying to envision colors and layout and other decor, and again, it was just this powerful moment of realization.  I finally started reading a book someone gave me (I'm not placing too much stock in any book, but I wanted to do some reading), and as the author wrote about how we should talk with our babies, and call them by name, from the beginning, I told Husband that I am hesitant to call the Peanut by name now, because that's really real, too.  And part of me is still afraid, I think. 

Either way, I want to accept the responsibility, but focus on choosing the Joy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Midweek Confessions

Okay, well, I started this yesterday, and then ran out of time, so.... I suppose my first confession is that I'm cheating and linking up a day late.

1. I am seriously considering bypassing my healthy lunch (leftovers) in favor of buying Cheetos from the vending machine.  Chances are, I'll give in any minute now and go get a bag of them, even if I still eat my lunch.   (And yes, I did.)

2. I will later complain about how fat I feel, despite the fact that I made the choice to eat Cheetos as a part of my lunch, instead of not eathing them and finding an apple, instead.  (I didn't complain about it, knowing I had written that I would, lol.)

3. I have been eating and drinking way too much sugar recently (oh, holidays and my love for creamy, sweet coffee), but fortunately, I never heard back after my first glucose-screening test, so I assume I'm doing fine with the glucose processing.  I am working on cutting down on the coffee and cream in my sugar, and today maybe I'll try to limit myself to two pieces of chocolate.

4. I am blatantly wishing that somehow we would have a snow day tomorrow (even though there is no snow predicted, just cold), so I could have a four day weekend.  Then I could do some things for baby stuff and feel guilt-free about it.

5.  I don't shower every day.  Sometimes I go three days without showering.  It's good for my hair, you know?  I never get greasy hair because of it.  Usually you can't tell at all.... but there are days I push it and hope I'm dressed cutely enough that no one will notice. 

6.  I have an extreme penchant for all things salty.  Put a bag of chips in front of me, and if you're not careful, I'll eat the whole thing right then.  Normally I don't let myself buy them for that reason, because I'm a compulsive snacker at times.  Pregnancy has been my excuse to buy them weekly.  I should probably stop that.

7. I like teaching SO much that I don't want to turn over my classes to anyone else.  If I could be a supermom and somehow manage figuring out how to survive no-sleep and delivery recovery, I would try coming in and teaching, newborn with me.  (Note.  Of course I know that when I actually have the baby, I won't feel that way.) 

8.  I get ridiculously excited about things like someone bringing me a cup of unexpected Starbucks, Cadbury Mini-eggs, the first Christmas lights I see.  I don't think the same word, excited, really can have anything to do with how I feel about becoming a mom.  More from me on this later.

As my students walk in (class begins in one minute), I realize I have the choice to post now or just scrap this altogether.  :)  So there you have me, for today, on a few things I'd like to confess.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Into the "Home Stretch" - Large and Sort of In Charge

Drumroll, please.....

We're now in the 3rd Trimester!  (My students yesterday thought it was awful that anything called a Trimester exists - Semesters are bad enough, and they immediately began imagining having to go to school for a third one.  It was hilarious.)

At 28 Weeks and counting, here I am.... don't judge, please. :)

Yes, you're right, I'm huge.  Well, I think so, anyway.  And with the knowledge that there are possibly 10+ pounds more to go, well, fantastic.  Pretty sure my belly looks as large as most of the women's I know RIGHT before they gave birth.  Can't do anything about it though, so..... large it is, and larger I'll be soon.

And a 28 Week Pregnancy Update!

Size of Baby: The size (I think weight, not necessarily width? Let's hope so, anyway!) of a Chinese cabbage  (Which, of course, I've never heard of).  Nearing 15 inches from crown of head to toes, and probably weighing less than three pounds, which makes it even more unfair that mommy here has gained quite a bit more than that.  Still, he's getting big!
Maternity Clothes: Clearly.  Did you not see my picture?  My only comfort is that I can still fit into a couple pairs of my low-rise jeans comfortably and that, unless they are lying to me (which could be possible), my friends and husband tell me that from the backside, I don't look different.  I should have taken a picture of that this morning to prove it.  Most recent purchase?  Some of those "sports-bras" that have the normal-bra spaghetti strap so I can wear them to school and be comfortable without having it be obvious that I decided to abandon regular bras.

Gender: Boy!   I've recently had the chance to look at bunches of pictures of my cousin's baby boy (who was born before Christmas) and am getting pretty excited.  We're finally tackling the nursery.  Husband just finished repairing the ceiling (from de-popcorning it), and the paint will probably be coming this weekend or next.  We've made a "date" to go "shopping" on Saturday to pick out what we like and to get our registry done, since shower-time approaches rapidly.  I'm a major procrastinator.  Anyway, boy it is, we're pretty set on his name, but I'll just wait a little longer to tell you that.
Movement: My favorite thing about being pregnant.  (Possibly the only thing I like about it, lol.)  I could sit and feel my belly for hours. I love the way he responds to my hands, even if I'm not pressing down, but just resting them there.  It totally fascinates me to watch my belly twitch and jump when he really gets going.  And I'm constantly amazed as I realize how much he has grown since I first started feeling him move, because there is movement all over the belly in rapid succession, rather than just in one localized place like before.  So. Cool.
Sleep: Depends on the night.  I'm getting it, and it's mostly good.  Dreams are weird sometimes, but recently they haven't been bad or unsettling, which is a nice change.  Body pillow is super helpful.  And I'm just getting better at falling back asleep after a bathroom break.
What I miss:  My belly button.  It bothers me extremely that it's this shallow little thing now (and please, let's not talk about it like a "turkey thermometer about to pop").  Feeling like a normal-ish sized person, instead of hippo.  People commenting on how nice I look, not how big I'm getting. 
Cravings: Nothing specific, as always.  Just a continued desire (as I've had my whole life) to eat salty, and to have some chocolate.  I need to eat less, is pretty much it.
Symptoms: Is my belly a symptom?  Just kidding.  My hips hurt at night sometimes when I move, but I'm learning to deal with that better, and I'm starting to be a little tired again, but not too much.  My shoes still fit, some of my rings do, too, but my face is a little chubs.  Mostly, doing really well.
What I Wish I Knew: When he's coming.  I would love to have that timeline set in stone so I could plan better.  (ha, I know, right?)  The calendar for the next few months is full, and I keep wishing I could really know when I have to be ready.  There's a lot of pressure trying to do my job well for the next few months, have it be manageable to leave school in some order for the sub, and, of course, having the essentials for baby to come home to.
Best Moment(s) This Week: Booking a weekend away with Husband.  Can we afford to go?  Probably not.  Can we afford not to go?  Probably not.  So we're going.  We compromised on the where to get a slightly more affordable hotel and agreed to eat cheap so we can stay two nights.  I think it will be really good for us to have some time together to be intentional and have good conversation away from home and from the "to-do" list.  It's going to be hard for me to let go off all the things I'll know I should be doing, but I'm really excited, anyway.

As for "Large and sort-of In Charge," well, I have some to-do lists, I'm working on prioritizing, and I know it's one of those things where things will be done even if they're not done, so.... I feel sort of okay with things.  We'll see what happens. 

It's going to be a crazy dash to the finish, which ,of course, is just the beginning.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Weirdest Dream Ever.

Had to share this dream, it was so bizarre to me.

I was at school, in my classroom, and my mom was there, too, logically.  We'd just sat down at the front of the room, getting ready to teach, I suppose.  I have this tall chair I got over break to sit in once in a while to get off my feet, so I was seated there, with Mom nearby.

The baby was kicking ferociously, and we could see the outline of his little feet pushing through my belly.  Suddenly, he crawled out of my stomach (through my belly button, I imagine?), curled up, and settled down right on top of my baby bump.  Completely naked, no more than 3 or 4 inches long, perfectly formed, and still connected to me through the umbilical cord, a baby curled up on top of my belly.  Curled up into the tiniest little ball, just like our dog does when she's sleeping.

And we thought this was totally normal.

Still, we told him to go back inside, because it wasn't time yet.  So back into the womb he went, and life went on.

Weird, right? 

Husband's reaction?  "It sounds like a little Voldemort baby on your tummy."  (Referencing the last Harry Potter movie where we see this weird, baby-like thing of Voldemort, of those of you who don't know.)

My friend's reaction?  "Sounds like a Kangaroo.  You should name him Joey."

Husband's reaction to my friend's reaction?  "Let's call him Roo from now on!"  And then a discussion about what Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals we had as children.

My family's reaction?  They just laughed at me.  And then we got into a discussion regarding how big the Peanut (or Roo, apparently) actually is - which is approximated to be 14 inches completely stretched out.  This resulted in Husband showing how long he thought 14 inches was, my sister thinking his estimate was too big and getting a ruler to test him, my mom getting up and looking at his hands and guessing Husband was holding up 15 inches, my sister only being able to find a 6-inch ruler, my dad going to get the yard stick to measure and discovering that Husband was holding his hands 15 inches apart, and my mom nodding with satisfaction at how correct her guess was.


Oh, baby dreams, how strange you can be sometimes.  Baby, we're not quite ready for you, but we're excited. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

30 Before 30: 10 Months and Counting

A few years ago, when I still had a little more time before 30 hit, I started planning a 30 before 30 list. Somewhere along the way I forgot to finish it, put it away, and never came back to it again.

A picture of my sister and I for Halloween many years ago... more than 20 years before 30 hits. 
Couldn't find a good birthday shot of me right now, so this will have to do.

Well, 30 is around the corner, my friends, right towards the end of October, and I figure that, if I want to actually accomplish anything on my 30 before 30 list, I'd better actually finish and post it now for some accountability.

Granted, a few of the things on this list are complete already or in progress since I originally began compiling my wish list a while ago. I also fully expect to not fully complete this list, which I suppose I can live with. Turning it into something I "have to do" and not something "fun" just seems plain old stupid.

Well, let's see what's on the list: 30 Things I'd Like to Do Before I Turn 30 in 10 Months.

Items in Black have yet to be completed.
Items in Red are in-progress. 
Items in Blue are completed, with the completion date in parenthesis.

1. Do the Incline and run down Barr Trail more than once.

2. Read "Les Miserables," unabridged, from cover to cover.

3. Bake a Mexican Chocolate or a German Chocolate cake from scratch.

4. Have a baby.

5. Climb Pikes Peak (up, not down, will be fine.)

6. Organize my photos into actual albums, physical and digital.

7. Learn how to bake my own bread at high altitude.

8. Make a budget for our family and create a system where we track our spending and actually use both.

9. Read the entire New Testament. (I'm only in Matthew, but it counts.)

10. Buy a sewing machine and make a baby blanket.

11. Go tent-camping in the mountains for at least one night.

12. Grow some sort of vegetable successfully in my own mini-garden. (Summer 2010 - I grew small tomatoes.  I'd like to try again, though.)

13. Go on a girl's trip with my mom and sister, even if just for a night.

14. Learn how to play the guitar, at least very simply.

15. Play a videogame with my husband. (Don't remember when, but I played Sonic the Hedgehog with him.)

16. Cook a full traditional Italian meal for my family, especially my grandpa.

17. Do something in a part of Colorado I've never been to, like Durango or Grand Junction or Telluride.

18. Spend a few days at the beach with no agenda at all.  (Summer 2008 - We honeymooned in Mexico and spent a few days doing absolutely nothing.)

19. Buy a house. (I'm going to mark this as finished - we looked into this summer and then decided we should re-finance our townhouse for now and look again in a few years.)

20. Run a 10 K race.

21. Start and work on a baby book for my son as he grows.

22. Lose the baby weight and the had-already-gained-before-baby weight.

23. Go to a professional athletic game of some type.  (Spring/Summer 2010 - Colorado Rockie's Games.)

24. Get my Master's degree. (Finished in December of 2009)

25. Read at least 10 non-fiction books cover to cover.  (Currently reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People," and "The Speed of Trust" for StuCo... have read a few others, have a few more on the list.)

26. Take a road trip to Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.

27. Visit a Spanish-speaking country other than Spain.  (Summer 2008 - We'll have to count Mexico for our honemoon for now.)

28. Go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or the New Year's Day Rose Parade with my husband.  (Not really going to be able to do this, since my birthday is before either of these occur again.)

29.  Take a digital photography class or learn more about how to improve my photos.

30. Sing special music at church with my husband.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Midweek Confessions: Tails from the Corral

Oh yes, I did intentionally mispell "tales" to be punny.  I am just that clever. (ha.)

My Midweek Confessions for this week can be summed up in one ridiculous story.

First, a bit of background.

This is my horse, Cowboy.  He's been mine for 15+ years and is now about 30 years old, and doing really well.

That has not always been the case.  A couple of years ago he impaled himself on a fence post and really should have died (I have pictures, but they are just too gross to put out for public consumption.)  The stories I could tell you about taking care of him during his road to recovery - priceless.  If you're up for a good one some time, let me know. 

Anyway, as a result of his injury, Cowboy has some significant muscle lose in his right hind haunches and is "retired."  He lives at my parents' house in the forest with a lovely pen, a nice shelter that matches the house, and a pasture down the path to graze in during the summer. 

Cowboy loves to eat.  He particularly loves grain, and he particularly loves to graze on fresh grass.  He likes Alfalfa hay, and will eat but is fairly neutral towards grass hay. 

Our story begins at meal time yesterday.  Husband and I headed out to the forest to do a little corral cleaning, feed the horse, and put his blanket on (he's old, and it gets cold at night).  Grain in the bowl, Cowboy begun chowing down while I blanketed him and Husband got to cleaning.  Deep in the midst of a good conversation, neither of us realized the gate was open.

This wouldn't normally have been a problem - he was eating his grain.  Well, neither of us realized that he'd finished his grain, had sniffed his grass hay semi-uninterestedly, and then had seen the open gate.

He was half-way out before I noticed.    And here come the confessions.

1. I've been a horse-person for years and have known this horse well forever, and I shouted at him and chased after him, despite that I should have known that would just encourage him to run away from me.

2. As Husband chased the horse up the street (which of course encouraged Cowboy to break into a run), I was shouting for my dad (who didn't hear me) while I looked for a halter and got some grain in a bucket.  I may have used a bad word when looking for the halter.

Cowboy crossed the street and disappeared into the forest (you have to understand - there are houses every so often and then acres and acres of trees), with Husband following as closely as he could and me trailing behind.  Eventually I caught up to Husband, who had lost the horse in the trees.  He called my dad to tell him to get in the car and drive around and then gave me his cell phone because

3. I had left mine in the truck and was off without a way to communicate with anyone and then went back to the house to get in the truck and circle the "block" where we knew Cowboy was.  We're talking acres, here, people, but Cowboy was moving pretty quickly and as there was no fresh grass to be found, wasn't stopping anywhere.  Still, we thought that, perhaps he or my dad would spot the horse.  My cell phone was in the truck, so he would have that. 

4. Of course, my cell phone was really buried deep in my purse, so Husband couldn't find it, and he was left without a phone for the rest of the story.

5. I then proceeded to traipse through the forest, which, in many parts, was covered in six inches of snow, wearing flats, shaking the bucket of grain as if that would lure the horse to me.  I had no idea where he was, I wasn't following any tracks or being very logical, and I am 27 weeks pregnant. 

6.  I was semi-rude to Husband's boss and dad when they called, because I was too concerned about the horse for formalities.  Fortunately, they understood.

Eventually I realized that I shouldn't be wandering through the woods anymore, no matter how much I love that horse.  I'd met a nice old man (I was in his "yard," after all) who walked for a while and looked too, and eventually we met up again on the road that runs parallel to my parents' street.  He got in his car to drive around the "block" and look for Cowboy while I called my dad to come pick me up.  Husband couldn't be reached, because my phone was buried in my purse.  We had no idea where he was.

7.  I had to pee, of course, so my dad drove me back to our house.  I confess that I was quite snippy with him, expecting to him to understand everything even though it hadn't quite yet been explained to him.  Sigh.  I apologized later.

I changed my shoes and we got back in the car to look for Husband so we could switch roles.  As we were pulling out, my mom was pulling in, oblivious to what was going on.  Because we had to stop to let her by on the drive, my dad saw Cowboy making his way back through the trees, back on our side of the street, towards his "house."  Mom honked, thinking that Cowboy had just gotten out, and we all went after him again.

This time, after a little coaxing, we were able to catch him and take him back to the corral.  As we were doing so, both my sister and my Husband pulled in.

8.  I told the horse I was really mad at him, and that he was stupid.  And then I cried.  Buckets.  Like a little girl.

9.  I was too tired emotionally and physically to do anything else, so my parents took us out to dinner and then I got into bed at 8 and stayed there until I woke up this morning.    So much for my "menu" and for doing the much needed lesson planning I was supposed to do.  I cancelled a coffee meeting, too, so I could just go to bed.  Lame.

The rest of the story?  Well, apparently Husband had, shortly after driving around, found the horse, cornered him in a pen in someone's yard (but the pen was open on one side), worked his way over to the horse without Cowboy running away, and tried to get the bridle he'd grabbed to go on the horse's head. 

Anyone who knows Cowboy knows he's a pain (if that wasn't clear yet), so of course he resisted the bridle, and since we haven't been able to ride Cowboy pretty much at all during our marriage, Husband wasn't quite familiar with how it worked.  After about ten-fifteen minutes of Husband working on it and hanging on to the horse by his mane, Cowboy decided he'd had enough, man-handled Husband (horse-handled?), and took off again.  Seriously, you try stopping a horse that ways 600 or more pounds than you.  Husband ran after him a little bit, but as Cowboy disappeared over a hill, ran back to his truck to head to our house to reconvene and figure out the next step.

Meanwhile, Cowboy made his way home (who knew he knew where he lived?  That dumb horse is actually pretty smart!) and we caught him just as Husband pulled into the driveway.

The bright side?  My 30 year old horse is still pretty active, full of spirit, and apparently can run well, despite the muscle loss he's experienced.  And he wasn't hit by a truck or injured, and none of us are too much worse for the wear, either.

Oh, Cowboy.  It's always something with him.

10.  No matter how idiotic or stupid he is, I love him to pieces.  I would have been distraught if we'd lost him or worse, found him too late.  He's my big, stupid, smart, loveable old man horse.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Truth #1: I want to write a post that is light-hearted, fun, festive, and new, since this is my first post of 2012, but if I am to be truthful about life, and where I'm at, well then, fun, festive, and new will have to wait until tomorrow.

Truth #2: Even if my heart was ready to write my 30 Before 30 post today, I don't have my list complete yet.   Better get cracking as the clock is ticking!  Look for that coming soon.

Truth #3: Marriage is hard.  Now, I know that some of you actually know Husband in real life, and so I hesitate to write what's on my heart.  But I continue to remind myself that you love him, and you know that I love him also.  Whole-heartedly.  And that we are commited to each other for always.  So I'm going to be a truth-teller, because my heart is thinking a lot about this.  Marriage is hard.

Truth #4: I can't share with you right now what is going on with Husband, but it's pretty tough.  Maybe someday, when his journey is a little farther, he'll allow me to share so that our story can be one to hopefully help others.  For now, though, I can just tell you that it's rough.  He's hurting, I'm hurting, and it's rough.  And deep.   And there is definitely a spiritual component attached to it, for which I would covet your prayers.

Truth #5: As I sat last night trying to stop bawling like a baby, I opened first the Bible and second my journal, and was reminded.

I haven't been doing all this spiritual growth recently for no reason.  God's in charge, and He has the master plan.  He knew this was coming, and He prepared my heart.

First, God reminded me in Psalm 31 to

Be brave.  Be strong.  Don't give up.  Expect God to get here soon,

and in Psalm 32 that,

We're depending on God; he's everything we need.  What's more, our hearts brim with joy since we've taken for our own his holy name.  Love us, God, with all you've got - that's what we're depending on.

Then, as I went back through page after page after page of writing in my journal, He showed me that He has been working in me, preparing me, teaching me.

Most of all, that there is Hope.

That His promises are swift and sure in coming, and that He always makes good on them.

That, in all things, I can praise Him and give Him glory, because He Is Good, even when things are not.

That I can trust Him with Husband.  That Husband is not mine to fix.  That I must be a praying wife, a loving wife, an encouraging wife, a supporting wife.  That God has Husband in His hand, and that God alone can be what Husband needs.

Truth #6: Because my heart has been being prepared, worked on, because I've been learning these things, I do not feel desperate.  I do not feel downtrodden.  I do feel hurt, I won't lie.  I am scared.  It is hard.  But I feel hopeful.  I believe that God is working, and I believe that Husband is His.  Because God has been walking with me, teaching me, I have faith.

Truth #7: I believe Satan is ticked.  I've been praying in faith for some very specific things for Husband regularly for the last month or so, and those very things have been attacked.  I don't like to throw spiritual warfare around casually in conversation - too easily we can blame our sin on it, in my opinion, and begin to see demons everywhere - but in this case, I am confident.  Join me, friends, in praying for a hedge around Husband, that He will not believe the lies that are being whispered to his heart about the very core of who he is as a man. 

Truth #8: Months ago I posted this song, and thought I should listen to it this morning, because I praise God that He has been faithful to me in preparing my heart, and that He will continue to be faithful, right until the very end. 

I forgot that it talks about Glory.  And you know that Glory is something I've been thinking and learning quite a lot about recently.  Okay, God, connection again.

And, for potentially the first time in my life, I started to understand this idea of being the Bride of Christ, of marriage to Him, of truly loving Him and Him loving me.  In marriage with Christ, He doesn't hurt me or let me down or be humanly stupid.  He loves unconditionally, perfectly, passionately, jealously.  I've been praying that I would learn to love God, to understand that relationship at a deeper level, and because of my own marriage and what we're learning now, I'm starting to get it.

Faithful.  Absolutely to the end.

Thanks for walking with me as I tell some truth today.  It's where my heart is, and I desire to be a transparent, real person, to live with integrity.  Even if it's hard or reveals that I, like all of us, am far from perfect. 

Please, again know that I love my man, and I believe in him completely.  This is a journey, and one we need to take to be the people that God wants us to be.  
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