Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Let Me Tell You a Story

On a cold, frosty morning in October, a mom and her baby, plus a pregnant lady, bundled up and headed to the nearest bus stop.

The beast of a machine took us up and down this street and that before crossing a bridge and taking us into a new city. We disembarked and became 3 among hundreds who were converging on one building. It took some walking up and walking down sidewalks but we found our entrance, commandeered our tickets, made a stop by the el banos and then found our seats.

And I think that is the last time we sat in our actual seats all day.

See, here's the tricky truth of the day: a 5 month old baby boy is not too keen on the conference scene.

As a result, we spent time walking up and down hallways, we spent time (lots of time!) in the nursing mothers' room, and we spent time sitting/standing in the back of the auditorium.

And you know what? It was still great. So much fun. I think if you were to ask any of the Women of Faith team members about why they put these events on year after year, they would say one of their main reasons is because of the relationships between the women that come.

This lady who so patiently walked alongside me that day is one of my dearest friends, who was 'randomly' assigned to the same room I was at NWC those many years ago. We don't get to see each other as often as we like, but we are kindred spirits.

And spending a day with her was priceless.

My Women of Faith experience didn't look like what I thought it would. I didn't get to take copious notes of  great speakers (because, guys? there were some GREAT speakers there!). I didn't get to worship alongside the thousands of other women there (it was a bit too loud for the babe). I didn't even get to go back for the second day (a situation came up which necessitated me leaving for home right away).

But I don't for one second regret going. Because it gave me a beautiful day of living life alongside one of my favorite women of faith. And it doesn't get much better than that.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tour of Homes (ND Edition)

As I mentioned in my SD house tour, we are currently maintaining two households. This is our other one:

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It is a 1985 Royals International fifth wheel camper that is currently parked in a guy’s driveway in a very northern (you can see Canada!), very western (only 40 miles from Montana!), small town in North Dakota. We found the driveway through my brother, who lives in the actual house.

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This is our bedroom, which is located at the front of the camper. The ceiling is really low, but at least we have a separate room. There are also his/her closets and plenty more storage space over the bed.

Also, when you have to accessorize a new house, sometimes you just have to deal with what you have/what you are given. Hence a purple/red bed. 

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This is the view of our bathroom hallway from our bedroom, and looking towards our bedroom. Shower on one side, bathroom on the other and a sink. However, we don’t have sewer hook-ups and our toilet runs continually (except in a camper toilets don’t run like in a house. they run water out, like on the floor), so we go in the house to shower and use the bathroom.

That’s why our bathroom is our storage closet.

And yeah, Drew was not impressed with me.

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And this is the view into our kitchen/living room from the top of the steps going into the bathroom. While the pictures may look identical, those who look closely will notice a difference.

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And this is our living room. Including extra blankets that my brother-in-laws were using that weekend while they stayed with us and the Mt Dews they were downing (this was early on. the stack was much more impressive by the time they left).

And that’s our alternate house! Which actually is our main house, because we are up north more than we are south. It’s cozy. And brown. Very very brown. Apparently in 1985 decorators thought that the color brown went really well with the color brown.

Some of you may be wondering where Drew sleeps. Well, let’s just say we have been a fan of co-sleeping from the beginning and that is a good thing, because there is nowhere else for him to sleep. And I thought a full bed was a bit tight when it was just me and Luke!

Once again, not a forever home, but we don’t mind. It allows us to be together while Luke is working, and that’s what matters!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tour of Homes (SD Edition)

Someone (cough BETHANY cough) has been begging and pleading and nagging (or, she just asked nicely) for pictures of our house. And since I aim to please, here they are!

Except, we currently have 2 homes. You see, it all started when a couple of years ago my brother heeded the call of the West and hit the oilfields. Well, soon enough he started a trucking empire and my husband heeded the call of the North. So, we travel back and forth between the Dakotas. At this point we are in the Northern one more often than the Southern one, but we still consider South Dakota home. So, I decided to start with that home.

But stay tuned for our northern home, because that tour is coming soon!

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Ok, first up is the outside. Now, as you can see, I took this way too late at night. And this was actually three trips ago, so I’ve been home in the daylight since. But, every time I forget. And this is only one side. The other side looks similar, but with a falling off deck. So that’s cool. And we live in the country, so there is scenery to see. Next time I’m home so I’ll try to take some pics of the surroundings!

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The door that you see up on the outside picture leads into our entryway. As you can see, it is kind of our dumping ground. These pictures were taken in July, before Luke cleaned it up. Now it looks much prettier! But it’s still the same general idea. Lots of stuff, including our dryer and our chest freezer. It also has the shelves that Luke built for me. Aren’t they pretty?

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This is the “master” bedroom. AKA our room. As you can tell, I’ve spent hours and hours decorating it perfectly.

Errr.

Actually, the last time we were home, we started to decorate. And now there are some pictures hanging in our room (my kissing pictures for those who have been in my previous homes). However, there is still plenty of work to be done. Including curtains. We are currently using a sheet. Klassy.

But, please note our bed. Our beautiful, comfy, cozy, QUEEN size bed. Since we were married we’ve had a full size bed, including through the duration of my pregnancy. We ordered this bed the week before I was due, and the day that I was stuck in the hospital was the day we were supposed to go get it. But our lovely friends went and picked it up for us. So when we came home from the hospital with Drew the first thing we did as a family was take a nap. And it was quite possibly the best nap I’ve ever had. I love this bed. I miss this bed.

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Right next to our bedroom is our bathroom. That was actually why I chose this bedroom, because when we moved in I was pregnant. Those of my readers who have been pregnant or known a pregnant woman know that they pee a lot. Especially in the middle of the night.

When we got married, we chose brown/autumn colors for our bathroom. It worked at that time, but this bathroom already had black accessories. Oh well. It works for us!

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Right next to the bathroom is Drew’s room. It’s actually pretty small, but it works. As you can see we make our poor child sleep in a pack-n-play. But he really does truly love it. And this way, whenever we go somewhere he’ll always be sleeping in his bed. So it’s a win-win. This is actually the 2nd pack-n-play we bought. The first one made my teeth set on edge with annoyance because of the pattern. I am much happier with this one. And I am in love with the changing table.

Before this was Drew’s room, it was a catch-all for a lot of junk we never unpacked. It was also next to the washer/dryer, and so Luke decided to hang a “clothesline” in there for wintertime. As you can see, I kept it. It makes me happy to hang stuff. And it works really well as a storage space.

What you can’t see is that to the left of the bookshelf is his closet. It doesn’t have doors, which is fine, because we just stuck his dresser in there.

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This is the hallway where we just toured. The door to the entryway is on the right, Drew’s room is there on the left, and our room is at the end of the hall.

And that is our washing machine. You might be wondering why our washing machine and dryer are separated … well, let me tell you Smile The entryway was added on after the house was moved in. So, if the dryer is inside, it vents into the entryway, unless we run a REALLY long hose to the outside. And the washing machine hookups are in the house, so we can’t find hose long enough to go between them. Ergo, a split up washer and dryer. There are worse things in life.

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This is the only (really junky) picture I have of our kitchen. Apparently I forgot to document its wonderfulness. So, here ya go! This picture was taken at night, when I was packing up to leave the next morning. Therefore, it’s messy. To the right, on the edge of the picture, is the hallway we were just down. As is our table.

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Our living room is connected to our kitchen, as you can see on the right corner of this picture. It’s basically all one big room.

So, anyways, this is our couch. It came with the house. Which is amazing by the way, because when we lived in Alaska we didn’t have a couch and it was sad. That is also our front door that you see.

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This is the other side of our living room as seen from our kitchen. Bethy should recognize the entertainment center, since we built it with our own hands. You’ll also notice some decorating (aka picture frames with the stock photos in them) and a baby who is not impressed with his swing.

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This is a close-up of Luke’s duck. It’s a hybrid of breeds, and so it’s a special anomaly. His friend Kyle mounted it for him, and did a spectacular job.

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View of the living room from the front door.

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This is the corner by our front door. The sign was made by Luke’s friend Josh. This is our “serious” bookshelf, so we can impress those who stop by with our wisdom.

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The last room on the tour is the guest room/office/workout room/craft room. Luke’s grandma made him that quilt (which is buried by my current sewing project), and his mom gave him the lamp. And that is our frivolous bookshelf, which means it holds my novels.

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And this is the other side of the room. It includes my elliptical, which doesn’t see a lot of use these days, and my desk (which Bethy should also recognize as she owns her twin), which is holding my amazingly beautiful sewing machine that I got for my birthday.

Well, there you go. A tour of our home from end to end. It’s not our forever home, but it’s treated us great this past year!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Drew Solon :: A Birth Story {part 2}

My induction process started Thursday May 26 at around 8:30. That gave Luke time to go home to shower, and grab some supper. I believe he brought me some supper too ... but I don't really remember :-)

Now, remember that going into this whole process, my body was basically at zero. I wasn't contracting, I wasn't dilated. Basically, I wasn't ready.

But, my health situation was precarious enough that my doctor felt it was worth going into the induction process. Since we had had a long talk just a couple days before about how I didn't want to be induced, and he was very understanding of that, I trusted that his opinion was valid.

That first night (Thursday) he used Cytotec, which is a pill (ahem. not taken orally) that is supposed to help my body start the process of labor. It took a couple of hours for it to kick in, so we spent the time getting Luke settled for the night. Since we were in the Labor and Delivery room (there is only one at our teeny tiny hospital), they only had a very not sleep friendly chair for him to sit in. After pointing this out to the nurses, they switched the chair out for the one that is in the Recovery room, which was supposedly good for sleeping in. According to my husband, it was not. So, he opted to sleep on the floor.

(waiting for the meds to kick in. and my only bare belly shot of the pregnancy b/c i forgot to take one before i got hooked up to the monitors. )

He fell asleep and I dozed in and out, before the medicine kicked in. And when it kicked in? Well, it felt like I was having my period, which is something I had not missed over the past 9 months. Basically it just gave me terrible, terrible cramps. After trying to make it better by trying different positions, and telling myself to get over it, I finally rang for the nurse and requested to use the whirlpool tub that was next door in the Recovery room. I hobbled next door, and sank into the warm water and enjoyed myself for about 1/2 hr. Then? The nurse made me get out and get hooked back up to the monitor. It was about 2:00 in the morning at this time, so I just sucked it up and tried to get some sleep, which was mostly a failure.

My doctor came around the next morning to check me and found that the medicine had done nothing. Besides keep me up of course.

So, the next medicine of choice was Cervidil. This is a string that has medicine in it, somehow. This one actually started some contractions, so I was hopeful we were getting somewhere. And while yes, I was contracting, it was not as awful as having a little urchin take a pliers and continually squeeze the heck out of my uterus, so there was that.

Guys, I'm not gonna lie. This whole day was a bit of a haze. I didn't get much sleep the night before, and I wasn't feeling the greatest. So I really can't give you a play by play. I do know that I spent most of the day in bed, because I was continually being monitored. And people would come in, look at my sheet, and then leave. Except, they weren't worried about me. They were worried about the babe.

And that? Made me a bit worried as well.

Basically every time I had a contraction, his heart rate would go way way way down. Now, it's normal for them to dip. But I don't think this was quite normal as my doctor was taking my sheets and sending them to Sioux Falls for the perinatologist to consult on (my wee little hospital is part of a bigger hospital system, so you get lots of perks without having to travel! for example, my 20(ish) week ultrasound was sat in via webcam by a perinatologist).  The answer was always to wait and continue to monitor the situation, but it added some stress.

Then we hit the 24 hour mark of beginning the induction process. And my body? Wasn't really having none of it. Basically I was at a 2. Maybe a 3?

It was time to take the next step ....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cynicism, Free Tickets and A Conference

My husband and I are fluent in cynicism. It’s one of our strengths. And one of our downfalls. It overflows into almost every area of our life. A notable exception would be our son, but that’s because he is perfect.

But a big part is our faith. We don’t doubt God. We just choose to be cynical about a lot of situations regarding His people.

Now, I’m not saying this is a good thing. In fact, it is something we regularly talk about in an effort to change. As we react to something, we point out our bad attitude and try to amend it. It doesn’t always work, but we try.

Anyways, all that to say, there are times that I look upon Christian events with a little gleam of mistrust in my eye.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some Beth Moore. And, once I get involved, ladies retreats. But there are certain parts of it I could do without. For example, I rarely turn to my neighbor and tell them that God loves them and I’m trying. Because I just don’t see the point. Chances are I don’t love them, nor am I trying to, because I have never met this person before in my life. And it’s awkward. And I try to avoid the awkward. It creeps me out. Unless I’m the one bringing it, then I love it (yes, that’s a double standard. yes, I realize this. yes, I will continue to do this).

In general, Christian conferences are a ground ripe for cynical responses. And I provide. I sit up in my chair, acting all judgy mcjudgerson. I don’t turn to my neighbor and give them a hug, unless I know them REALLY well (not that I’m against touching. but again, people, with the awkward!). I tend not to talk back to the speaker. And, a lot of times, I chose not clap. I know, I know. I’m a terrible person.

But, deep down in my frozen soul, I love them. I love the quality of the speakers, and I love how they BRING. THE. WORD. I love worshiping in music alongside 2000 of my closest girlfriends. I love how God is present. Everywhere. In the speakers. In the music. In the audience. EVERYWHERE. I walk away touched. And rejuvenated. And EXCITED.

Which is why I was really excited when I got an offer in my inbox one day from Booksneeze (Ya’ll know who they are right? Basically, they give you free books to read. In other words, they’re awesome.). They had partnered with Women of Faith to give their bloggers free tickets in exchange for blogging about Women of Faith.

YES PLEASE!

So, I signed up, crossed my fingers and then forgot about it. Until I got the email a couple of weeks later that I was one of the chosen ones. They wanted ME to go. And I certainly wasn’t going to turn them down!

So, now I’m making plans. My mama and hopefully my mama-in-law will be joining me Oct 21-22 in the Twin Cities for Women of Faith Imagine. And I am stoked! 2 days of great music and great speakers? Check. 2 days of hanging out with 2 of my most favorite women? Check.

If you kinda sorta wanna go, but you don’t know who you would hang out, then by all means, sign up! We can totally hang out. We’re cool, fun people. If you’re already signed up, let me know cause I would love to see you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Drew Solon :: A Birth Story {Part 1}

Let me remind you of what I looked like at the end of my pregnancy:


This is me at 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant (according to dating ... when baby came out, they figured he was about a week early).  I actually crawled out of my hospital bed to take one last belly shot before they induced me, so this was literally taken at the very end of my pregnancy.

This is also me at 184 lbs (which is 59 lbs above what I started at) and with a blood pressure that slightly elevated. And by slightly elevated I mean that I always have excellent blood pressure (seriously. almost every nurse comments on how great my blood pressure is) and on this day my blood pressure was low when it was in the 140s. So, that was probably not good. 

I actually was at the doctor for the second time that week. I went in for my regular 39 week check-up on Monday, where we talked about all my options. I really really didn't want to be induced because of all the horror stories I had heard, and my doctor respected that. However, he was leaving on Saturday for a week long vacation and he was worried about me, so he wanted to check me one last time before he left. It was his hope that I would come in on Thursday and he would check me and I would be dilated and ready to go with a little pitocin.

(a little foreshadowing ...that wasn't how it was at all)

When Thursday rolled around I dragged myself out of bed to get ready to go the doctor. I woke up with a sore throat and just felt crappy. I hemmed and hawed about packing my hospital bag (it was somewhat packed, but not really. the energy simply wasn't there!) and finally decided that even though I was most likely coming home, I should still take it with. So I halfheartedly packed (I packed facewash, but not my toothbrush) and headed into town. Unfortunately it was a super busy day in the ER and my doctor kept getting called away. My 11:30 appointment turned into 1:15, which turned into 3:30. 

At that point, I had been in town since 12:00 and I was ready to go home. Actually, I was ready to go to Mitchell with my husband for one last fun date night.

So, we got in to see the doctor and he was slightly concerned. After all, my blood pressure was in the 140s, I had gained 3 pounds since Monday (so basically I was packing on a pound a day ... even though I was supposed to be off of all sugar, and I mostly was), and I looked/felt like crap. However, I wasn't having any contractions and was not dilated/effaced in the slightest. 

All those things added up to a non-stress test. So I waddled my way up to the hospital and got hooked up. By this time it was about 4:30 and I was told I was supposed to stay connected for 1/2 hr, which put us at 5:00. We needed to get to Mitchell by 7:00, so we were watching the clock, commenting on how this was probably just a waste of time and how much we wanted to get out of there. 

Well, the time slowly ticked by, and 1/2 hr turned into an hour, which turned into an hour and a half. Obviously by this point we weren't going to make it to Mitchell, so we settled down disappointingly and waited on the doctor. He finally came in (like I said, it was a crazy busy ER day) and looked at the data. 

To say he wasn't ecstatic about my stats would be putting it mildly. In fact, he was so concerned that within just a couple of minutes he let me know we weren't going to be leaving that hospital without a baby. 

And that started our fun adventure with induction .....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Book Review: Wonders Never Cease

I have a bit of a shameful confession ... this book has been on my shelf for a year, waiting to be reviewed. You see, I get free books from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. And last year, while we were living in Alaska, I got Wonders Never Cease and you know what? I read it. I read it right away. But I never took the time to sit down and review it.

Then I started working, and going to school full time, and then I got pregnant. And then we moved. And then I was doing more school. And then I had a baby. And then we moved again (by the way, we sort of kind of are living in North Dakota part time now ... don't worry, I'll write a blogpost about it soon! But knowing me, soon will probably be in the next 2 months or so).

So here we are. A year later. 2 reads of the book later. And I am finally ready to share with you all of my thoughts!

Wonders Never Cease, a novel by Tim Downs, is the story of an opportunistic trio out to make money off of a has-been movie star, a girl who can see angels and the hospital that ties them all together.

The movie star, Olivia Hayden, is in a medically induced coma after totaling her car. The nurse in charge of her care, Kemp McAvoy, is opportunistic and greedy, which leads him to the idea of bringing her out of her coma every night in order to give her a message from the "beyond". He approaches her agent and a book publisher with the idea, and they all plot together to produce a message they want to tell her. Then once she is awake her publisher can press her about her "dreams" and they'll make millions off the story she will write.

While those three are busy conjuring a pretend "angel", a little girl named Leah is seeing actual angels. Her mom is also a nurse, who happens to be dating Kemp. While Kemp is busy with his business plan, he keeps blowing off the needs of his live-in girlfriend Natalie and her six year old daughter Leah. Leah keeps getting in trouble in school because of the angels, which leads to stress on Natalie.

Downs is a good writer. His story is engaging and he does a great job with the dialogue. However, I cannot give it my full stamp of approval because he does too good of a job writing an annoying protagonist - Kemp McAvoy. While Leah is supposedly the narrator, her voice gets lost in the story of McAvoy's arrogance, greed and narcissism. I would have liked to hear more from Leah's perspective, instead of just an prologue and epilogue that tells us she is the one telling the story. Instead we are stuck with having to follow McAvoy around as he becomes more and more of an entitled jerk.  To be honest, he just flat out annoyed me and it slightly soured me on the book. But the story is engaging, the idea is humorous (and not too hard to believe!), and Downs has talent with words.

If I were to give a star rating, I would have to say 2.5. Definitely one that I was able to re-read, but not one that I couldn't put down or raved about.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Let's Talk About Pregnancy {Third Trimester}

To read about my first trimester go here or here for my second!

Ahh, the third trimester. That magical 16 weeks where you feel the baby move, gain weight at a horrendous pace, and have to pee every 5 minutes.

Technically, I started to feel the baby (whom we affectionately called Waldo) in the second trimester, but as all you mamas know, the third trimester is where it's at. This was, hands down, my favorite part of being pregnant. There I was, going along with my day, and BAM there's a little kick. Such a cool, cool feeling!

Luckily everything was placed just right in there, which meant that Luke could feel him soon after I could. Baby Waldo LOVED his daddy. He'd just be chilling in there, not doing anything and then Luke would put his hand on my stomach and BAM! He woke up. It was magical.

When anyone else would try? Nada. Nothing. He'd be in there dancing away and then someone would try to feel him and it was like he left the building.

(2/19)

The third trimester was a busy time for me. I was in my final full-time semester of college, which meant I was taking 4 classes, plus doing an 135 hr internship. Of course I was also hugely pregnant, which meant I was exhausted. I spent a lot of time on the couch, watching ALIAS and sleeping. Then I would have to hurry up and finish the work that was due for my class, so I would spend 2 days working on Stats (ugh by the way).

(2/25)
 I definitely started to get the aches and pains associated with being pregnant. By the end, it was a major ordeal to turn over in bed. My one side would be in a lot of pain, but it took me a good 5 minutes of laying in bed giving myself a pep talk to actually flip over. Luke would wake up in a panic, asking me what was wrong because I was moaning and groaning so much (and no, I'm  not dramatic at all!).

I also dealt with my hands falling asleep. By the end, all I had to do was grip something (a fork, a knife, a pen, etc) and my hands would be gone. It made cooking and eating all that more interesting!

And of course there was the PUPPS. Luckily someone I knew had gone through it before me and she recommended using Dandelion Root. I seriously believe that is the only thing that kept it under control. That and lots of body butter.

My Boppy body pillow (affectionately nicknamed Jack) was a necessary sleep aid, much to the chagrin of my husband. We only had a full size bed, and there wasn't a lot of room left once the 3 of us were in bed. Also, any time I traveled Jack came with. He was a real conversation piece! He is now shoved underneath our bed, much to the relief of my husband!

(3/29)

The bigger I got, the more ungainly I got, which is pretty typical. Luke would have to pull/push me off the couch and forget about bending down to pick something up! My toenails went unpainted for a looong time because of this.

I also had a harder and harder time finding clothes that would fit me. By the end, even  my maternity pants were too small because of how wide my hips got. Luckily I have an amazing mom who would go to Target and buy me bigger (comfy!) clothes and then mail them to me (we're about an hour and a half from the closest Target and I wasn't about to hop in the car!).

(Easter Sunday)

In the middle of all that fun, I graduated from college! Well, kinda. I went through the ceremony and got a diploma holder, but I technically didn't finish until July 15th. But, I'm a college graduate! 

We debated a long time about whether or not to go to the ceremony. It was in Billings, MT, which is a 12 hour drive and I was a month away from delivering a baby. However, I received an award from my department and so we decided it was worth the drive. So we piled into the Expedition with my in-laws and headed West. We went right through the area in Montana we lived in so we were able to stop and spend the night with our friends. 

It was really nice to break up the drive, because sitting in car for a long time? Not very pregnancy friendly. However, I did get to rock some sexy TED compression hose!

Once we got to Billings, we met up with my mom and my sister-in-law who flew in from MN and Denver respectively. It was so awesome to have family with us. They have all stood beside me and cheered me on during the whole process, so it meant a lot to me to have them there.






(all photos taken 4/30)

As far as we could tell, I was the only extremely pregnant graduate, so I guess that's an honor too! Graduation itself was really hard on my body. I had to go stand in line for an hour on a hard cement floor before the ceremony itself, then I had to sit and stand and sit and stand in various forms for another 2 hours for the ceremony. 

By the time I found Luke afterwards I just started to cry because I was so tired and my whole body hurt and my mom and sister-in-law had to leave to catch their flight as soon as they saw me walk and I didn't get to say goodbye, and a lot of the pictures we took were fuzzy and everything was a BIG. DEAL.

However, we went out to eat and after I got some delicious steak into my body I felt a lot better! After eating we hit the road and headed back East. We stayed with our friends again that night and then the next morning we got to go to church with our dear friends at Hope. And I got to see my Fern (for those of you who read my wedding recap, she was the one who kept me sane!), so it was an all around good day. After we had lunch with Fern and her family, we went to Rapid City, where we met up with Luke's aunt and uncle for an early supper (eating was a major theme of the whole weekend, which I loved!).

By the time we got home at 1:00 that morning, I was done. My body was done. My emotions were done. I think I just laid around and did absolutely nothing the next 2 days to recover. But, in the end, I am glad we went!

After graduation all that was really left was to wait for baby (and prepare myself for summer school ... but that's a whole 'nother thing altogether isn't it?). 

This is the point in most people's pregnancies when they start nesting. Me? Well, let's just say I'm still waiting for that nesting energy to kick in and Drew is 2 months old. Instead of cleaning and organizing I was dreaming of cleaning and organizing and having panic attacks over the fact that it wasn't done. Gosh I was a bundle of fun to be around.

I also threw in some sleeping late, napping and other important tasks. It was nice because I was able to savor my last days as just the two of us. 

(39 weeks and 6 days; taken in the hospital right before induction!)

The other things I was doing at this time were gaining weight and making my blood pressure skyrocket, which made my doctor increasingly nervous. Those fun little activities took me straight to induction-ville, but since that's part of his birth story you'll have to wait on those details!




Thursday, June 23, 2011

Let's Talk About Pregnancy {Second Trimester}

To read about my first trimester, go here!

I honestly don't really remember much of my second trimester, at least on the day to day level. To be honest, looking back on it, it kinda seems like a blur. But, I do remember some of the big things that happened:

-We packed up our apartment in Anchorage, loaded it all back in the camper and headed down the Al-Can.

I am so glad that my mom came to visit us a couple days after Thanksgiving, because the packing did not really get started until she came! I would try during the day, but, well, still being on the tail end of the first trimester meant I was still a little nauseous and a lot tired. She packed up most of our kitchen, and our books and DVDs. It was SO SO SO helpful! Moms are just the best.

After she left, I was starting to feel better, so was able to work a little bit while Luke was at work. Then once he was done with work, we hit it hard, packing everything that was left, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and stuffing everything in the camper. After a feat of mastery by my husband, we were ready to hit the road!

The trip was long. I threw up once in a gas station bathroom, but was able to keep it together for the most part. The biggest struggle was that I was hungry all. the. time. And nothing we had along with us was appealing to me in the least. So, that helped the ol' pocket book. And sleep was hard because we were determined to get out of Canada was fast as possible, so we slept in half of the back of the Explorer the whole way home (except one night). Let's just say by the time we got to South Dakota I was 1. so ready for a shower (6 days without - blech!) 2. so ready to sleep in a real bed, where both of us could stretch our legs out (and since I'm only 5' 5", imagine what my poor 6' husband had to endure!). Also, my body was rebelling by the end and I just hurt.

-We stayed with my in-laws for 2 1/2 - 3 weeks while we tried to find a place to live.

We moved back to the area that my husband is from, and so while we were looking for housing, we stayed with his parents. It was actually really nice to be able to let someone take care of us for awhile. His mom is an amazing cook and so I definitely benefited from that!

I was starting to show, so we started to take some pictures:

(taken 12/13)
{door courtesy of my husband's childhood room}

(12/20)


I was tired, but that's nothing new. I was enjoying having my little bump and eating again. At one point I got hit bad by a terrible stomach flu, which made for a couple of not very much fun days because I couldn't keep down water and I was SO THIRSTY! But I recovered.

This was also the time that I had to do finals, and of course, my computer died. Luckily we were living my in-laws, so I was able to use their computer. I felt a little bad, because I basically hogged it all day as I worked on multiple papers, tests, and projects. However, I made it through. Even though it was dicey for awhile because of pregnancy brain.

What's pregnancy brain you ask? Basically it is that special condition where you can't remember a blessed thing. Especially important things like deadlines. Deadlines for bills. Deadlines for classes. Any sort of deadlines goes whooshing away! In my case, it whooshed away twice. For the same class. I felt like a pretty big dolt emailing my professor for the second time to explain why I had not yet turned in a project that was due. Blergh.

-We moved into our new place! I would show you all sorts of pictures now, but I don't have any. Mostly because we didn't really finish unpacking until a couple weeks before baby (and even then, we're not entirely done). We ended up renting a trailer from one of Luke's cousins. It's in the country and the rent is incredibly reasonable, so we're enjoying it! It comes with its special quirks, including skunks living underneath (not fun for a pregnant nose!), and lots of manure for Miss Millie to eat, but it's home.

-I started my last full-time semester of school, got lots bigger and found a doctor! It was also during this time that my pregnancy aches and pains starting making their way into my daily life. During the Christmas season I went to the "city" with a friend to do some shopping and invested in a pregnancy body pillow (the Boppy one is case you're wondering) and a belly band. Such wonderful inventions!

(1/20)
{this wall is in our new place! it's the only one that looks like that. and there's Miss Millie!} 


(2/3)
{if you look closely you can see my Elliptical that we dragged all the way back from AK in the background. 
Yeah, that poor thing hasn't gotten a lot of attention in awhile}

(2/12)

- We found out we were having a .....


boy!

Because of Luke's new job and insurance stuff, I didn't go to the doctor here in SoDak until my 22nd (or 23rd?) week. We squeeked in just in time on the cut-off on the 20th week ultrasounds. Too much longer and they wouldn't have been able to tell stuff they wanted to tell. But, we got in, and they could tell, and he was perfect! The only item to note that developed as a result of my ultrasound was another due date (I think I had about 4 or 5 due dates by the end), but that didn't bother me. I had no idea of when he was conceived (TMI? perhaps, but true!) and I figured he'd come when he came (ooo how naive I was!).

Was there other stuff that happened in my second trimester? Oh sure, but I can't remember it! So, I guess this (massively long) recap will just have to do!

Click here to read about my third trimester!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let's Talk About Pregnancy {First Trimester}

I have always been fascinated by pregnant ladies. I was the girl who would shamelessly stare at their bellies, listen to their stories and poke their bellies trying to get baby to kick me (ok, that was only one time and she IS one of my closest friends).

In fact, I've always had this strange intuition about pregnancy. It's nothing I've ever tested, but there have many instances where I have considered a person and the fleeting thought "she's pregnant" flits across my mind. I don't dwell on it, I don't set out to prove it, but when a couple of weeks later there is an announcement I think back to that brief moment. And no matter what my college Psych professor thought, it was not because she had an obvious baby bump. It's just ... I don't know. Maybe the glow? Something in the eyes? There is nothing I know of concretely. It's just ... a feeling I get.

Anyways, enough about that. Suffice it to say, I was pregnancy's numero uno fan.

Until I got pregnant.

Now the first month wasn't bad. In fact, I had no idea I was pregnant the first month. I just knew that I was really, really tired. As in going to bed at 9:00 tired. But I blamed that on the fact that I had gotten a job (I worked for 6 weeks as a temp receptionist at a road construction company), and so got up early with Luke so we could carpool (we only had one car, and it was way better than taking the bus). I went from having no wake-up time to getting up between 5 and 6 so I could work out, shower, and be ready to go when he was. Then I would drop him off and go sit at a coffee shop and do homework until I went to work. I was also starving. ALL THE TIME. I ate constantly and always brought a snack to work.

Finally, towards the end of September/beginning of October we started to wonder. My cycle has NEVER been regular, so it wasn't too weird that I hadn't had my period. However, we always knew pregnancy was a possibility. We were 25 when we got married (well, I was and Luke was only 17 days away from it), and we knew that we wanted kids when we were younger. Plus, we are open to the possibility of a bigger family (as in 6 kids) and I knew I wanted to be done before I was 40. Add in the fact that I don't react well to birth control (which I discovered in college when doctors tried to regulate my irregular cycle), and we were flying free, so to say. We wouldn't have minded waiting a couple of years, but, well, I guess that just didn't happen did it?

{sidenote: we were married for 9 months before I got pregnant. even though we weren't trying, I was starting to wonder a little bit if we were going to have trouble conceiving because it had been awhile. and because I'm a woman and I think about that}

So, anyways, we started to joke that I was pregnant. Any twinge I got was blamed on being pregnant. But we weren't ready to find out for sure, so I didn't take a test. However, soon mornings became a bit of an issue. My coffee shop experience was no longer working so well for me because they roasted their own beans right there. And roasting beans to this pregnant lady smell like burnt popcorn. And then towards the end of my job, I was barely making it. It was a real struggle to get through the day without throwing up. And even though I enjoyed my job, and extra money was nice, I was SO SO SO glad when they told me they didn't need me anymore.

Pretty soon I was throwing up. And laying in bed all day because any movement caused extreme waves of nausea to roll over me. At this point we were pretty certain I was indeed with child. If not, then there was something really wrong with me! Finally, on October 22 I took a pregnancy test (it was 2 months from my last cycle) and let me tell you, the pregnant line showed up immediately. Even before the "control" line had time to show. Apparently those hormones were raging through my body!

And so I spent the next month trying not to throw up. It didn't work. I threw up most days and celebrated the days I didn't. However, even if I wasn't throwing up, I felt like I was going to. Poor Luke. That month and a half wasn't the easiest on him. It was a major success if I took a shower during the day, let alone actually cleaned or cooked something. The only reason I did laundry was so I was guaranteed clean comfy clothes (yoga pants, t-shirts, etc). I started a Bible study with the ladies at church and only made it to a couple because of how I felt. Even when I would go I just prayed that I wouldn't throw up while I was there.

This following picture is pretty typical of that time. Pretty sure I did not shower that day, as evidenced by my greasy hair, glasses and pj's. Also, note the unfolded laundry sitting on top of the dryer. Now, the reason for this picture? It really wasn't out of the norm ... except if you look closely you will see my laptop. Now, I did not normally take my laptop into the bathroom with me while I expelled copious amounts of liquid. However, on this auspicious occasion, I was in the middle of a required chat for school when the urge came upon me in a strong way. Since I figured my professor and fellow students would not necessarily appreciate that sort of information shared with them, I decided that I might as well just take my chat with me. So I did. They never knew and this is the scene that Luke came home to. Lucky guy!

.
The only time I was really worried was one morning when I threw up some blood. In fact, I called Luke and he turned around and came home. We called a couple of clinics to see if we could get in that day, but they weren't very nice and told us to go to the ER. Well, we weren't exactly rolling in the dough and it wasn't a lot of blood at all, so we didn't. I did ask Dr. Google and put a post up on a mom discussion board, and we came to the conclusion that it wasn't life threatening (which is obviously true as I am still alive). It was just unsettling. Especially when I called the clinic and they weren't nice to me so I cried, a lot. Then Luke took care of calling after that :-)

{sidenote: I was a member of a "mom discussion board" for 2 days before signing off and vowing never to return. women are mean!!}

So, anyways, that morning we did find a clinic who was nice to us so we decided to make an appointment with them. Unfortunately, the first they could squeeze us in was 3 1/2 weeks away. Yikes. Oh well, we made it. By the time my appointment rolled around I was starting to feel just a bit better, which was nice. However, even though I had just gone through a month and a half of nausea and throwing up, I still figured they would tell me that I was crazy and not pregnant. Until that little baby bean popped up on the screen. Then I realized "holy crap, I really am pregnant!"

 The doctor gave us an encouraging report and a due date of June 5th (according to baby's size during the ultrasound). Dating wise, due date is May 27th. He also gave me the all-clear to travel, which was good since we were planning on leaving the next week to move back to South Dakota.

We also had a nurse who told me that I really needed to watch my weight, because I had put on 10 pounds in the first trimester.  Of course, I had just spent the last 2 months-ish laying around in bed, trying not to die, and barely eating anything, but still put on 10 pounds without trying. Thanks lady. (I'm not bitter ... really).

After our appointment, the only thing we had left to do was figure out how to tell people. See, we hadn't told anyone (with the exception of doctor's office people and my supervisor at the temp agency). So, for the past 2 months that we had known, we hid it. My mom would call and I would talk to her while laying down in bed, trying not to move too much. I would FB and email friends in between throwing up sessions, and I outright lied to one friend who asked me if we were moving back because I was pregnant. We rarely made it to church, but I was able to fake it through the one hour on Sundays, so no one there really knew for sure either (I say "for sure" b/c we went to church with a lot of guys that Luke worked with and they all figured it out when I had him come home the one morning I threw up blood).

Our appointment was on Tuesday and Thanksgiving was Thursday. So, on late Wednesday night I sent an email to both sets of parents, telling them how thankful we were that they are our parents, etc (which we are. we are so so so blessed by our families!) and then I told them I had attached a picture for them that we thought they might enjoy.

Luckily for my sleep, my mother did not call me when she first opened the email (because of the 3 hour time difference it would have been 4:00 our time), but was nice enough to wait a couple of hours. My in-laws did not open the email until much later that afternoon (and according to my sister-in-law, she was worried that something seriously bad had happened when she heard my mother-in-law's reaction!), but then called right away. Let's just say both sides are very excited to add grandchild #3 to the mix!

After our families knew, I spent quite a bit of the rest of the weekend on the phone, FB message and Skype telling our closest friends the news. It was a fun way to end the first trimester!

Click here to go to my second trimester recap!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life: A List

Current Book(s): I have been on a huge Tom Clancy kick lately, picking up one or two from the library every time I go. Currently I am reading The Bear and the Dragon. Normally I put down a book of his in a week or so, but this one has taken me almost 4. My goal is to finish it by Monday so 1. I don't have to renew it again 2. I don't have to pay more late fees on it. 
Current Playlist: The other night when I was making supper for Valentine's Day I was listening to my Rich Mullins mix, but then I went to grab a different CD and found the mix that Luke put together for when he proposed to me. I love popping in that CD and remembering exactly what happened during each song. 
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Daily naps. Of the 2 hour variety.
Current Color: Pink. Always pink.
Current Drink: Water. And 1 Cherry Dr. Pepper a day. Yummmm. 
Current Food: I have been on a huge quesadilla kick lately, so most of this week I have been eating one for lunch. My current mix is brown rice, corn, black beans, a mix of sharp chedder and pepper jack, with some splashes of lime juice. It really is the lime juice that pulls it all together and makes it AH-MAZING.
Current Favorite Show: ALIAS. Bethany and I started a fun little tradition where we would buy every other season and then share them with each other. We currently have all 5 seasons at our house and after I finished Gilmore Girls, I needed a new background noise series. I am currently in Season 3 and could watch it all day long. 
Current Wishlist: A pregnancy work-out DVD. And the ability to be crafty so I can make cute things for our baby like this. And a printer with pretty paper so I can print some of these and write letters!
Current Needs: Maternity clothes. Lots and lots of maternity clothes.
Current Triumphs: It's not my happy time of year, so I have been trying to beat it by doing my hair and make-up in the mornings, even if I'm just going to put on my comfy pants and not step outside of my house. It helps a lot to glance in the mirror and focus on my pretty eye color instead of nit-picking my complexion (pregnancy acne!) and obsessing over whether or not my face is gaining weight (I say yes. Luke says no.).
Current Bane(s) of my Existence: The 2 rooms filled with stuff I still need to organize/unpack. I'm waiting for that whole nesting thing to kick in so I can stop having a panic attack every time I step in those rooms.
Current Celebrity Crush: Jennifer Garner. She's cute, classy and has a great smile.
Current Indulgence: Girl Scout Cookies. Or the Pioneer Woman's chocolate Valentine's Day cookies I made on Monday. Yummy.
Current #1 Blessing: My husband. He is simply the greatest.
Current Slang or Saying: Baby is hungry, so I need to feed him. Now. 
Current Outfit: Purple cardigan, pink tank top and blue-camo gaucho pants. I don't care that blue-camo and gaucho are both out of style - these babies are comfortable! And super stretchy so I still fit in them.  Win-win.
Current Excitement: My awesome husband is building me shelves so I can store stuff! So I can unpack stuff! And also, we're going to have a baby in a little over 3 months. Do you know how cute babies/baby stuff is??? So cute!
Current Mood: Sleepily content. Is that a mood? Not sure. But I'm going to say it is!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Changes

Oh my dear friends. How I have missed you these past months. And yet, every time I thought to myself "self, you should go blog something!", I simply did not. The thoughts did not materialize, the words did not come, and so here I am, many a moon after last blogging with a simple apology, and a quick list to get you updated on all the changes that have happened to us since September.

Because? There have been lots of changes since September.

1. I applied to graduate from college! I am assuming that the information I got the other day about how to order my cap and gown means that I was accepted to graduate. Which. Is. So. Exciting!! My graduation date is April 30th and then I will be scott free ... until May 7th,when I have to start my final and last class. Ah well. At least I will be completely done with my BA in Mass Communications in July!

2. We moved! Yes, we reversed everything we had done a mere 7 months before, packed everything back into our little camper and hit the road once again. We will always treasure our time in Alaska, and the people we were blessed to get to know while being there. However, it wasn't for us. When I do not get sun in the winter OR the summer, bad things happen. Like all my energy flies away to Bermuda or somewhere sunny and lies on a beach, while I lie on my bed (because we didn't have a couch obviously).
We did discover something vitally important about ourselves while there though: we are prairie people. Now, there are mountain people and prairie people and neither kind are bad.  We just happen to like our flatlands where we can see for miles and miles. It energizes us. And helps us take a deep breath, one that we had held onto for 7 months in the mountainous/treed regions of Alaska.
Oh and remember how good I did at blogging our move there? I had pictures upon pictures to share and stories upon stories. Well, let's just say that didn't happen on the move back. I do have this picture:


Because it was cold and we somehow gathered more stuff while we were up there, it was simply not possible to sleep in our camper. So, we slept in half of the back of the Explorer. Which means everything else got thrown to the way way back. Apparently even Miss Millie. Doesn't she look pathetic?
Our trip back was an adventure, to say the least. It involved not showering for 5 (6?) days, a flat tire on the camper, getting stuck in the snow, breaking down on the side of the Interstate, getting pulled over in Canada and cranky border patrol personnel. But, we made it! We are now living in South Dakota where Luke grew up and loving it!

3. We got another dog! She was a stray who showed up at a neighbor's, so we took her in. We're guessing she is a black lab mix (strong on the black lab) and around a year old. She is very smart and sweet and attention deprived. Sadly, we are looking for another home for her as our landlord calves out a bunch of heifers at our place and isn't comfortable having a big dog around. But isn't she cute?


We named her Aleda (a-lay-da), but call her Leda all the time. She sleeps most of the day and is hilarious to watch dream. As I am typing she is woofing in her sleep and her paws are just a-going.  She also sleeps with her eyes open, which is slightly creepy.

4. We're going to have a baby! It's still surreal to type that, even though I have known since October. We did  not tell a soul until the 12th week (Thanksgiving), even though I spent half that time laying in bed, trying not to die. It's amazing how easy keeping a secret is when you live thousands of miles away from family! They didn't know that in between writing FB posts that I was running to the bathroom or that I was talking to them while laying down in bed, trying not to move. Now there is no keeping this secret since this is what I currently look like:


And this is what Baby Waldo currently looks like:

(don't worry ... we're not actually naming him Waldo)

According to my Dr my due date is May 27th and according to the ultrasound tech, my due date is June 2nd. My thoughts on pregnancy are varied, and sadly not all flattering. However, that is another post for another time! I am definitely digging his crazy antics though. He loves it when I eat and lets me know by doing a happy dance. However, I would appreciate it if he would give me my memory back. 

So, there you go! There are the highlights. Of course there was lots of other living in those months, including the holidays, living with Luke's parents for 3 weeks, getting stuck on the way to my parents, celebrating our 1 year anniversary, date nights, friend nights, and all around goodness. Can't wait to share more goodness with you in the time to come!