Thursday, April 26, 2012

{ Brain Dump...Not a Pretty One }

I want to blame it on something--third trimester hormones, the ridiculous busyness of April, lack of sleep--but to place blame anywhere other than my own heart, while convenient, is avoiding the real issue.


I'm afraid we won't get the office-to-nursery conversion done before Miss Peanut is, like six months old. Judging by our current rate of progress, that fear is one I eagerly justify even as I type this...because if I believe it's legitimate, then I'm not sinning when I freak out about it, yes?

I'm afraid our home is going to be a permanent construction zone. At least one room has been ripped apart and unfinished since the roof leak in mid-January. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy, every day walking around the same piles of unfinished we-haven't-had-time-to-put-this-back-up-yet.

I'm afraid life will never slow down from this not-sustainable-long-term-pace we've been on the past few weeks. Subconsciously, I brace myself: This is just how it's going to be. Mike's commute? His professional growth and change = investing time and energy? 8+ hours on Sundays, transforming a gymnasium and three trailers into a church for 700? Going to bed hours before my husband because his to-do list grows longer each day, while my capacity to help is slowly but surely diminishing as my belly grows? Is this life a hamster wheel we can't escape?

I want to write about the happy and the lighthearted: birthday celebrations and glorious spring days and how most of the time, I feel like Mike and I really get each other. In spite of how much these past weeks are stretching and challenging us, for the most part we have managed to stay on the same page, on the same team. Up until this week, those posts would've been easy {too easy?} to write.

But this week has been hard. Suddenly I feel like the cliched hormonal pregnant woman, crying at the drop of a hat and unable to cope with things that, a few days ago, I could have taken in stride. I'm overwhelmed by the undone. Frustrated by my pregnancy-induced limitations in helping whittle down the list of undone. Anxious. The emotional rollercoaster kicked into high gear on Tuesday, when I had to fast for nearly 12 hours for a gestational diabetes screening test {my results were normal}--that really turned on the waterworks. This was followed immediately by the news that Baby Girl's heart rate--which was at the low end of the normal range two weeks ago--dipped low enough when they checked again that we needed to do a nonstress test to monitor her heart rate and activity level for a longer period of time.

Ever since I became a cardiac sonographer, I've thought it would be the height of irony if I have a child with a cardiac concern; I know far too much about what can go wrong. And though in my head I knew it was likely just that Miss Peanut's normal rate is a bit slower than the norm, it freaked me out. In spite of a normal nonstress test and the midwife's admonition not to worry and that everything looked normal, I feel responsible. "Just keep track of her movement and let us know if it decreases," she charged me as we wrapped up the test. "That's something we need to know about right away."

So now I am the gatekeeper, the monitor of this tiny two-pound-person's well-being. On a deeper and much more serious level than I felt it before. It's up to me to determine if she's moving a "normal" amount throughout the day. The fear settles over me like a cloak. For a baby whose movements I still feel only sporadically, and which have only recently become pronounced enough to notice when I'm not holding absolutely still {thankyouverymuch, placenta that is smack-dab front and center in my belly}, determining what's "normal" seems like an impossible task. And the stakes are much, much higher than anything I've dealt with before. I am not adequate for this task. Comparatively, not being able to help move furniture or paint the nursery, and that baby registry I've barely started but which overwhelms me? It all seems ridiculously inconsequential.

On Sunday, I didn't know how pertinent Pastor Mark's words on fear would be for me this week: "Fear is not something to be explained, accepted, or accommodated. It is a sin to be repented of." This is not one of those pretty, I've-had-a-bad-week-but-here's-how-I-pulled-through-it posts. I'm still in the midst of the mess, much as I'd like to tack a nice resolution on this. And I know a lot of it is hormonal...but that doesn't make it any less real when you're the one working through it.

So there you go. Hopefully I'll be back soon, more at ease and ready to tell you about birthday fun and spring in the Northwest.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

{ Goin' to the Chapel }

I have three younger brothers. Last weekend, the middle brother {Emery} married his sweetheart, Becky. Emery operates heavy equipment for a "mobile unit" of a rock crushing company, meaning he travels all over Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and sometimes northern California running gigantic machinery at rock quarries. Becky lives in central Oregon, and their wedding was held in Bend, a lovely city in the high desert of central Oregon.

Mike and I drove down on Thursday to have a little extra time with the fam. Aside from accidentally going into Portland {instead of around it}, we had a fun little 7+ hour road trip--not nearly as lengthy as the 9+ hours of solid drive time it took the folks from Idaho!

People, let me tell you: Bend is cold. Beautiful, yes; sunny most of the time, yes; frequent little snowflakes drifting down from the occasional cloud even when it's sunny, yes; and cold! None of my winter coats fit, on account of Miss Peanut, and because it's pretty springy where we live, I was not about to buy a maternity coat I'd only need for a couple days. Once we got to Bend and the daytime temps stayed in the 30s to low 40s, I may have second-guessed that decision!

Together with my parents, my other two brothers Joe and Obie, Mom's friend Sharon, my cousin Christy, and Josh {Emery's best man}, we stayed at a huge, gorgeous rental house in west Bend. It was so spacious and comfortable and perfect for our crowd. All of "our people" who came to the wedding {15 total} spent a lot of time hanging out at the house--there was plenty of room for all, plus a pool table downstairs and a hot tub outside. {Mom ended up being the only person who took advantage of the hot tub, unfortunately!}

The kitchen is always the center of activity!

Mt. Bachelor, seen from the end of the street our house was on

View from the top of our street--see the Three Sisters on the horizon?

The first night we had dinner at the Deschutes Brewery Pub. The one thing Mike really wanted to do that weekend was tour the Deschutes Brewery, which is headquartered in Bend. {All the guys went on the tour on Saturday afternoon, after the wedding, while the girls drove to Sisters and poked around girly shops.} Here is Mike enjoying a beer at the pub.

Friday was pretty low-key. Here Joe, Sharon, and Mike are making hamburger patties for the wedding reception. This photo was taken just before Mike and I took a nap. We were worn out from all the, you know, chillaxin'.

Emery spent Friday night at our house too. We played Skip-Bo, and he won every time. We weren't even trying to let him win out of respect for his impending nuptials!

Saturday morning was mild and sunshiney. I managed to cut my left ankle and my right knee whilst shaving my legs that morning. Both of which injuries were clearly visible below the hem of my knee-length dress, but luckily Mom had band-aids and everything was nice and unnoticeable by wedding-time. {That's what I told myself, anyway. At least I can blame these injuries on a) hurrying, and b) the awkwardness of working around a big belly...not just pure lack of skill.}

The wedding was at Hollinshead Barn, a lovely renovated barn in a park. Lots of natural wood, the perfect rustic setting for a country wedding.

Deep breaths...don't lock your knees...

Obie was a groomsman

Joe was also a groomsman; Christy was one of the bridesmaids

The kiss

Mr. and Mrs.!

Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for the reception!

Mom had the cutest aprons and chef hats made for the grill crew: Becky loves sock monkeys, so a friend of Mom's embroidered sock monkeys on the aprons.

Cutting the cake--it looks like they're going to be nice to each other!

I guess not...

It wasn't 'til we got home and I downloaded my memory card that I realized how few photos I took. That makes me sad. I don't see my dad and brothers dressed up very often, and they all looked really sharp!

After we sent the lovebirds off on their honeymoon--a night in Portland, followed by a week or so in Hawaii--the rest of the day was spent relaxing with family and friends. The guys toured the Deschutes Brewery while the girls went to Sisters. We met up for dinner, then spent the evening at our rental house, talking and laughing 'til everyone literally fell in bed!

Sunday was Easter; we were up bright and early to clean the house and head home. Mike and I had debated what to do--it just feels wrong not to go to church at all on Easter--and decided to attend a church in Bend that is part of our church's church-planting network, then drive home. After saying goodbye to everyone, we had some time to kill before church, so we went to a park along the Deschutes River.

The river is so calm, it seems more like a lake

Lots of pretty houses

It. Was. So. Cold.
With the help of a Bella Band, still wearing pre-pregnancy skinny jeans--yay!!

The only photo I got of the two of us all weekend!

Happy Wedding + Happy Marriage, Em and Becky!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

{ Laundry }

I love laundry day.

The scent of fresh, clean linens.

The crisp whiteness of newly-laundered sheets and towels.

Yesterday I spent some time at the park with a friend. A hint of a breeze made the cherry blossoms dance in the sunshine, and I fell in love with springtime all over again.

Somehow cherry blossoms remind me of clean laundry. Maybe it's the rembrance of hanging laundry outside on the line to dry in the backyard as a child. Maybe it's the way the blossoms dance on the branches, like clean clothes flapping in the wind on the clothesline. Maybe it's just the clean newness that spring evokes everywhere you look.

Springtime, I love you. Stay as long as you like!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{ Weekend with Friends }

Disclaimer: All the good photos in this post were taken by Tim or Anna...I kinda borrowed them from Anna's blog. Thanks, Ann!

Anna, Chelle and I have been friends since we were wee little things. Actually, Anna is two months older than I, and our parents were friends before we were born--if I remember correctly, I think they even took a birth class together! It is one of the biggest blessings of my life that the three of us have not only stayed in touch, but have remained close friends for nearly three decades. Though we haven't lived near one another since early 2001, when I moved to Seattle, the companionship of these women as we navigate life--far from one another geographically, but close in our hearts--is an immeasurable treasure.

As husbands and children have gradually been added to the mix, it's become harder and harder to get together. That we were able to coordinate all our schedules and spend a weekend together is nothing short of miraculous! {Especially when you consider that only times that all of us--husbands and kids included--have ever been together were at my wedding and Anna's wedding, nearly three years ago!} Also providential is that Tim and Anna have a house big enough to comfortably house six adults, three kids, and two babies.

The whole group

Fun at the park

Katy Grace napping

Look--Mike put the baby to sleep!

One of many highlights for me was seeing Mike bond with the babies. He hasn't been around teeny tiny babies much, but he and Katy Grace took to each other and she spent a lot of time in his arms. And goodness, that little girl loves to talk--she babbles all the time! It's adorable and hilarious.

Some more highlights:
Finding prose and poetry us girls wrote as teenagers
Cooking together
Long chats over coffee
Beautiful weather
The guys enjoying beer and cigars
The kids' happy chatter
A nursery full of toys and laughter
Delicious food
A lazy Saturday with no agenda but to soak up one another's company

Oh--and did I mention that I got up on Saturday morning to find that they were having a "baby breakfast" in honor of Miss Peanut? Handmade buntings, homemade cinnamon rolls, fancy fizzy drinks, gorgeous flowers, and the cutest itsy-bitsy baby girl clothes you ever did see! I was so surprised!

Love these shoes that Annabelle found for Miss Peanut!

This photo was literally taken at midnight...just sayin'.

The whole weekend was a lot of work--especially for Tim and Anna--but so, so wonderful. Mike and I didn't even know if we could make it 'til a few days before: Mike's grandma passed away earlier in the week, and the funeral just happened to be the day before we were to leave. I'm so thankful that we were able to go. Hopefully we can do this again...and again...and again...over the years!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

{ Today I: }

:: painted my fingernails for the first time in a.g.e.s.

:: packed for our second road trip in less than a week {yay for a little brother getting married!}

:: wanted to blog about our trip last weekend, but clearly ran out of time...*ahem*...chose to take a nap instead

:: read this post from The Nester and now want to give houseplants another's just that with only north-facing windows and last year's lack of success, I think I'm already doomed to failure

:: ran across this beautiful image

:: came to the conclusion that maybe the reason Baby Girl does gymnastics when I lie down is because when I'm moving around, it lulls her to maybe my sleepytime is her awaketime?

:: vacuumed for the first time in an embarrasingly long stretch

:: had a sudden, intense craving for roasted vegetables at about 10:00 a.m., which resulted in making and eating roasted carrots at about 10:45 a.m.

:: missed my husband an awful lot

:: took this brooding self-portrait when I realized I was having a good hair day {such days may be in short supply in the future: it appears that Pantene has stopped producing my favorite curly-hair-taming product ever...and so far I have not been very successful in finding a replacement. My last bottle of the good stuff is just about gone.}

:: needs to get going or I'll be late for dinner with friends!